Modernism in Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium On the Sacred Liturgy
A response

Specific charge against Vatican II documents Hermeneutic of continuity with tradition

Sacrosanctum Concilium On the Sacred Liturgy (SC 47, 48, 106), Holy Mass as “a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten” and a “memorial” in place of a propitiatory sacrifice (which obtains mercy [propitiatio] before God for our sins). Article 106 describes “the paschal mystery” (a new, obscure, and unusual name for the Holy Mass) in this way: it is the day of the week when “Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place so that, by hearing the word of God and taking part in the Eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, the resurrection and the glorification of the Lord Jesus, and may thank God who has begotten them again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto a living hope (1 Pet 1:3)” (SC 106). This manner of speaking seems to present the Holy mass essentially as a memorial and as a “sacrifice of praise” for the Resurrection, in the manner of the Protestants.

Furthermore, the definition of the Holy Mass in SC makes no mention of the dogma of transubstantiation or of the nature of the Holy Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice. Does this not fall into the specific error solemnly condemned  by Pius VI in 1794, when he exposed the heresies of the Jansenists, declaring that their definition of the Holy Mass, precisely because of its silence on transubstantiation, was “pernicious, unfaithful to the exposition of Catholic truth on the dogma of transubstantiation, and favorable to the heretics”(DS 1529/2629)?

The Sacrosanctum Concilium was about the presentation of the Mass. Critics of the council rightly state that VII was not to defend against heresy, so there is no need to defend the doctrine of transubstantiation. The definition is not changed. The documents are clearly transubstantial: “Christ is always present ... especially under the Eucharistic species ... at the table of the Lord's body;... due care being taken to preserve their substance (a theological term)... receive the Lord's body..." Protestant theologians would strongly disagree that the document represents their views.  The SC 6 says "... by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation ..." This is a definition of a "propitiatory sacrifice"

Liberal forces have tried to hijack the Mass and natually there were mistakes in the implementation of Vatican II because the devil hates the mass and nothing in the world is more important than than mass, literally! Pope Benedict reaffirmed the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our faith. JPII and Benedict began the reform of the reform. Benedict corrected liturgical abuses in the Redemptionis Sacramentum.

The SC says nothing about most of the complaints (communion in the hand, Priest facing congregation, etc.)

Regarding Pious VI Auctorem fidei in 1794, the only place we can find this is on sites that condemn Vatican II which seem to be copied from one another. We would be glad to see a reputable copy of the document. Jansenism discouraged frequent reception of communion because they said most Catholics are unworthy. Bringing it up here, seems like a disingenuous association with heresy that is orthogonal to the discussion.

Sacrosanctum Concilium: New competence given to the Bishops’ Conferences in liturgical matters, including the faculty of experimenting new forms of worship (SC 22 § 2, 39, 40); Sacrosanctum Concilium has introduced the principle of adaptation of the rite to the character and traditions of various peoples, to their language, music, arts (SC 37, 38, 39, 40, 90, 119) as well as through the simplification of the rite itself, which is desired to be shorter and clearer (SC 21, 34, 65-70, 77, 79, 90). many consider this principle to be the real cause of the current liturgical chaos.

While the SC was used by some liberals as an excuse to introduce novelties and nuttiness into some liturgical celebrations, there was nothing nutty in the document.

None of the common complaints against the modern liturgy are in the VII documents, ALL of which were signed off by Bishop Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX. No priest facing the congregation, communion on the hand, girl alter servers, etc. The SC was no more the cause of abuses than guns are the cause of murders. We have an in depth discussion of the Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary Mass.

Sacrosanctum Concilium: In Tra Le Sollecitudini, Pius X had said that what should be “provided for before everything else” is the “sanctity and dignity of the temple,” Vatican II Sacrosanctum Concilium says that “the aim to be considered before all else” is “full and active participation by all the people.” In doing so, it inverts the hierarchy of goods. Now the worship of God and its right condition becomes secondary to the people’s involvement. The activity of the faithful is to take priority in liturgical reform and conduct. 

Here's the full sentence from Tra Le Sollecitudini

"We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church."

The accusation substitutes "is the sanctity" instead of the actual words "for the sanctity". The sentence says the "foremost and indespensible font IS the active participation...." This is completely consistent with the SC.

Sacrosanctum Concilium decrees: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved (servetur) in the Latin rites” (SC, 36 § 1). But it also consents that “the limits of [the mother tongue’s] employment may be extended” according to the norms and cases determined by the Council itself (SC 36 § 2). The Council gives Bishops’ Conferences a “full competence” regarding the introduction of the vernacular into worship (SC 22 § 2, 40, 54). There are numerous cases in which the Council conceded the possibility of the partial or total use of the mother tongue: SC 63

Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, voted for the Sacrosanctum Concilium, in fact he voted for all Vatican II documents.  Almost no Catholic lay people or those we evangelize understand Latin. Before Vatican II almost no one went for Communion at an 11am Mass because they had had breakfast. Parishioners prayed their Rosaries during the entire Mass because they didn't understand. Thank God Tridentine Masses are much more reverent now than they were 60 years ago. Pope Benedict overrode Bishops who tried to prevent faithful congregations from using the Extraortinary (Tridentine) Mass. He issued a document to clean up abuses of the Ordinary Mass and created a new English Translation of the Ordinary Mass that was more formal and magestic.

Charges of Modernism in specific Vatican II documents:

Critics of the council have tried to map individual sentences or parts of the documents to this heresy but in context the documents do not represent, or yield, to the heresy. These are detailed in the articles below.

Partial list of Vatican documents clarifying misunderstandings and abuses of Vatican II

Growing up in Canada, we learned the Imperial system of measurement (pounds, inches, feet). In our late teens Canada turned metric. It was disorienting and even though we learned the metric system, it still feels foreign to us. Vatican II is like that for many.

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