Friday, February 28, 2014

Sex, the Devil and the Second Vatican Council

Sex, the Devil and the Second Vatican Council, Letter to Mary K. Lastima continued:

When last I wrote, Mary Kay, I quoted the Venerable Paul VI’s words: “…from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God. There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation.” 

The Venerable Paul goes on to say:

“There was the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for the history of the Church.  Instead, it is the arrival of a day of clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty. We preach ecumenism but we constantly separate ourselves from others. We seek to dig abysses instead of filling them in. How has this come about? The Pope entrusts one of his thoughts to those who are present: that there has been an intervention of an adverse power. Its name is the devil, this mysterious being that the Letter of St. Peter also alludes to. So many times, furthermore, in the Gospel, on the lips of Christ himself, the mention of this enemy of men returns. ....We believe in something that is preternatural that has come into the world precisely to disturb, to suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council, and to impede the Church from breaking into the hymn of joy at having renewed in fullness its awareness of itself.”
The Vatican Council was most certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit, but at least in the estimation of Pope Paul VI, the so called “Spirit of Vatican II" was more like the ghost of Christmas past, or some other specter that goes bump in the night. I remember the craziness well.

I spent many years in a parish of interesting ethnicity. The liturgical music that flourished after the council in the out of the way country whence came my parishioners was mostly in the form of a tango or military march music. I suspect that if the council fathers had heard the tango at communion, they would have ended the council, packed their backs and gone home quickly and quietly. The same parish also had a large Spanish speaking component. Some liturgical genius adapted a 1971 Budweiser beer commercial for Eucharistic use. It was a very catchy melody, “When you say Bud, you’ve said a lot of things nobody else can say....” The banality that afflicted the liturgy immediately following the council was stupefying. From stupefying it went to horrifying. I cannot count the invalid Masses at which I failed to receive communion in my seminary training. From bagels and Mogen David we move on to matzoh and fortified Port and occasionally Coca-Cola. Non-Masses were offered on coffee tables amidst the detritus of college dorm rooms. The modern liturgy crowd has become more sophisticated but no less banal with giant paper mâché head liturgical dancing and circus style enthronements of the Scriptures. This was not what the council was about, but it is what the council means to most people who have never bothered to read the documents.

Can you say “rubric”? I knew you could!  A rubric is a decorative text or instruction in medieval documents that were written in red ink to distinguish them from the text to be read or spoken. They were like medieval parentheses. In the Roman Missal, or Mass Book, the words to be said are in black and the actions to be done are in red, hence “rubrics” as in “ruby red”. Here is a rubric from the Roman Missal: 127.

The priest, turned toward the people, extending and joining his hands, adds: The peace of the Lord be with you always.

There are seven or eight other rubrics like it. In other words the Roman Missal currently in use assumes that the priest is facing away from the congregation in certain parts of the Mass.

“No, that can’t be! The council directed that the Mass be said facing the people.” 

No, it didn’t. The thespian interests and preferences of people like Rembert Weakland dictated that the Mass be radically different. When people are suddenly and completely yanked away from what they have known for a lifetime, they are much more malleable, much more controllable. To alienate people from the things with which they are comfortable is a kind of “grooming behavior”. If you want to manipulate someone it is helpful to take away their sources of stability. For purposes of their own, Rembert Weakland and a few others alienated as much of the church as they could from the kind of liturgy that had sustained the culture and morality of Catholicism for more than a thousand years.

The Mass of Paul VI is a simple and elegant adaptation of the Catholic liturgy. It was not meant to look that different from the Mass of the 20 preceding centuries. It was meant to be more approachable and more easily understood by the faithful. The aberrant way in which the Mass came to be said by a group of people who seemed to hate their history was taken to be the dictate of the council, and as the Mass changed, so too did the sense of obedience and morality that are the hallmarks of Catholic faith. Just after the Vatican Council, Tom Lehrer, a Harvard math teacher and comedian wrote a song called “Vatican Rag”, using the melody of an old ragtime tune, “Spaghetti Rag”. Here are some of the words of Mr. Lehrer’s song:

First you get down on your knees, 
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!
Do whatever steps you want, if
you have cleared them with the Pontiff.
Everybody say his own Kyrie Eleison,
Doin' the Vatican Rag.
“Everybody say his own Kyrie Eleison.” That pretty much summed up the heady days following the Council. If a priest could make up his own Mass, the faithful could certainly make up their own rules, and when in 1968 Paul VI published Humanae Vitae reaffirming Church opposition to artificial birth control, the faithful, led by the clergy just laughed at him. Paul VI warned us of the consequences of widespread artificial birth control:

1.         A general lowering of moral standards throughout society;
2.         A rise in infidelity;
3.         A lessening of respect for women by men; and
4.         Tthe coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments.

It seems that the Venerable Paul was a prophet. Just ask the Chinese who need government permission to have a child. The European era seems to be drawing to a close. Europeans and their colonial relatives have a reproduction rate of about 1.60 children per woman. The rate needed to insure the existence of a nation or people is 2.1. Catholics in Latin America, Asia and Africa are still having children, and in the words of the historian Will Durant, the fertile will inherit the earth. Europe laughed at Paul VI and now can’t find enough children to sustain its own economy, or even existence for that matter. The misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council has been profoundly demonic in its effects.

Yes, demonic.

Liturgical chaos spawned moral chaos, which in turn spawned abortion, infanticide and abortive artificial birth control, and — you see — the devil hates babies.
Next week: Human sacrifice makes a comeback 


  1. One could be forgiven, in 1968, for thinking that Paul VI was being a paranoid alarmist. I mean, think what you will about the morality of contraception, but those predictions just sound so _crazy_.

    Of course, here in the 21st century, they don't sound crazy anymore, because it requires neither faith in God and His Church nor submission of the will to the authority of its magisterium to look out the window and see all of those crazy-sounding predictions not merely coming true sometimes, but coming true so pervasively as to define the entirety of modern Western life.

  2. Dear Fr., I am glad we agree!