What do you think was the single most damaging "innovation" of past 60 years?
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    I'm sure there isn't a single answer, and there's probably no way to prove anything, but I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts and justifications.

    I think it was giving the option (turned into requirement,) to not receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue.
    When Catholics started receiving Communion in the hand, then they forgot the sacredness of it, and they had no reason to believe that It is what the Church claims It is. ("It must not be all that important!") And after that, why go to church at all, or believe anything else that the Church teaches?
  • This is, like, every thread.
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    Puppets.
  • Ally
    Posts: 223
    Marajoy - how true.

    I had a choir member tell me just yesterday that he used to be AFRAID to kneel for Communion. In the last 10 or so years, he has really deepened his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and truly wanted to start kneeling to receive... but was afraid of people and priests criticizing or even refusing him Communion. One day he got up the courage to do it anyways. How beautiful! And how sad that he had to feel that way.

    I think the overall loss of the sense of the sacred is the biggest problem. I am sure there are many causes, but I agree that a loss of reverence for the Eucharist is probably the most important...since they say, you know, "it's just a meal" and we just keep calling "IT" bread and wine... Yikes! Also, there is the popular notion that we're here to "get" something ("we get to hear the Word and get the Eucharist"), without having to put anything into it ourselves. It has become an attitude of passive entertainment. No wonder people want to go somewhere that is more fun, flashy, etc if they think that it is for their entertainment. They are seeking something MORE, even (or especially) the youth, they just don't know what it is they are looking for. But, what do I know, I'm only 27 :)
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  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,418
    Giant papier mache puppets.
  • It was a surprise to see adults distributing communion. And even more shocking to see high school students at the high school, in a town where there were enough under-worked deacons available to do this.

    I have a friend, a very holy person, who thinks it's entirely appropriate. I just can't agree.

    It's become communion with a small c. This, to me, is the key to the entire mess. Good thread, thanks.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I would say it is Mass facing the congregation.

    So much of the nonsense of the past 50 years just doesn't make sense if the priest is facing the same direction as the people. When he turns to face them, it's his Mass. It's all on his whims. When he's facing with them, he becomes, like them, subject to the liturgy.

    The problems of late are nearly all some expression of clericalism. "Ad orientem" isn't about clericalism, "you've turned your back on us!" When we put the priest on a stage, making Mass like a cooking show, and put him on an elevated magnificent throne at the focal point of the church, is it any wonder that he's going to want to run every aspect of the liturgy??
  • Versus populum.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I think row-by-row communion is a big issue. Everyone goes, regardless of how prepared they are for it. I suppose there are folks present who are honest enough to abstain, but most don't. Sin has been declassified and degraded, even by confessors. I have known of confessors telling individuals to continue going to communion, when the more orthodox priests would say otherwise. Along with this, the dwindling of belief in the Real Presence of Christ, is a huge problem.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    Hello! What a great question to launch a maiden post - thank you!

    Communion-in-the-hand is indeed a vehicle for much abuse. As a front-row-sitter and observer of people in general, I see many disturbing things, ranging from palm-licking to couples standing side-by-side to receive in the hand from the priest, but then moving off to the side to feed the other their Host. Very few actually observe "making a throne by cupping the left hand with the right..."

    I live in a tiny parish - maybe 80 families registered with attendance of about 60 people per our one and only Mass on Sunday. We've had puppet homilies for children, monthly Healing of the Sick en masse, really lousy music (and I have to admit being a part of that - but I've changed! Really!:} ), and over-use of EMHC's.

    Beyond those things? Hands down, the most disruptive and uncomfortable innovation, for me anyway, is hand-holding during the Lord's Prayer. (Does that even count as an innovation?) Thanks again!
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  • The OP said "single most damaging innovation", presumably "... in the sphere of liturgy"; so no generalizations. And innovation is doing a new thing, not just say ceasing to insist on an old thing.

    So I'll vote for moving the Altars. It was the first thing, it was a tidal wave, it caused physical, historical, artistic, and symbolic destruction, as well as spiritual dislocation and damage, and it was based on a false view of history. It can be seen as leading to all the above. If there has to be one innovation, it's that.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "I think row-by-row communion is a big issue."

    What did they do before the council?
  • In most places you just went when you were ready. It wasn't a formal row by row with sometimes an usher trying to manage traffic. You just went. If you didn't go, you wouldn't be that guy in the row who didn't go nor would you feel obliged to go if you weren;t disposed.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,016
    Giant paper-mache ethnically diverse puppets, concelebrating.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Point well-taken, Andrew. But as is often the case there are exceptions that don't disprove the rule. For example, I'm sure we've all seen photographs or other visual art depicting priests in warzones, faraway mission outposts, etc. who offered the TLM ritually unchanged from how their postures and movements would be at a fixed high altar. These erzatz altars, free-standing, thus become necessary innovations for the circumstance. When that circumstance is over, one defers back to normative procedures and fixtures.
    So, I'm a little ill at ease with the pairing of "damaging" and "innovation."
    But my twopence answer would simply be the "allowance" for the use of vernacular languages beyond the lessons and homilies; in the inarticulation of that allowance, a crack in the dam, so to speak, we loosed the waters of tribalisms, nationalisms, and all sorts of unimaginable accretions that separated us rather than united us.
    I refuse to accept a premise that immediate cognition and comprehension of the spoken/sung word is a pre-requisite for just and right worship. And, of course, I'm speaking only to the Roman Rite.
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  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    (EAF- actually, this thread is quite different than any thread I've ever seen on here before. Most every thread ends up bemoaning a wide variety of liturgical abuses, large and small, but for the purposes of this thread, I'm asking people to consider what was the worst. Which of all those many abuses has had the longest reaching unfortunate effects?)
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Jani- Welcome to the forum!
    (side discussion alert) I'm curious, what do you think is wrong with "palm-licking?" (aside from the fact that it's obviously not receiving on the tongue.) Would you prefer that people allowed particles of the Host to fall to the floor after they have received communion?
  • melofluent:

    I like your point, but your example of the "innovation" of free-standing Altar in a war zone for example is/was nothing new. We have always had free-standing Altars, but I take your point to mean the austerity, simplicity and adaptations demanded of the circumstance not just the Altar itself.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005

    What did they do before the council?


    Individuals stood up and went to kneel at the rail. Now, especially in the schools, an usher or teacher gets the whole row up and they all go. It is almost like being pressured to go, and you really stand out as odd if you don't.

    I am at multiple masses on weekends. Unlike the Latins who can receive twice a day, we easterners don't receive more that once. If anyone sees me at a mass or liturgy, I probably received at an earlier mass. Once, a gentlemen asked me why I didn't receive. He said it worried him that I didn't. With my characteristic charity, I said it was none of his business.
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  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    Thanks for the welcome! Let me clarify, but where to start? First, I have the great honor of being an EMHC to the sick (hospitalized and homebound). The particles that remain in my pyx are almost nonexistent, and that is after being jostled around in the course of my work. Having received in-the-hand myself in the past, I haven't noted any particles.

    I don't know the best way for those receiving in the hand to deal with particles. It does seem to me that if it is that important to consume all the particles (Yes! It is!), then dispense with anything that might cause there to be particles, rather than continuing the obstinate insistence on the "right" to receive in the hand. If not, well the indult allowing for Communion in the hand, while cautioning all to assure that no particles are left, doesn't address how the faithful are to handle them in the hand. At least not that I can find. Please correct me if I am mistaken about that.

    That said, most people don't look if there are particles left. The few that do look make a great show out of inspecting their palms, raising the whole thing to their mouths, or licking their fingers repeatedly and dabbing at their palms. It just doesn't seem to give due reverence to receiving the Body of Christ. I read something recently online about what size of particles constitute the Body of Christ. I'll have to see if I can find it again.

    Considering I initially came here to learn about music, I hope I haven't made myself persona non grata :)
  • lmassery
    Posts: 249
    I think the biggest problem was the culture of dissent that was legitimized post Humanae Vitae. The hogwash that it is ok for Catholics to disbelieve what the Church teaches as long as you have a "well-formed conscience" has trickled into almost every doctrine and has undermined the understanding of the true Divine Nature of the Church.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 249
    I'm referring specifically to the BS documents published by the US and Canadian Bishops just after Humanae Vitae was published and the precedent that set.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I would ask as a follow-up to Mara's question: whatever your idea of the "most damaging innovation" is, is it something that the Church itself perpetrated?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I don't think all the mentioned externals are the problem. Turning the altar around didn't cause a wholesale loss of faith. The culture of dissent and disbelief did that. One who believes will still believe even if the altar is tipped on its side. The problems are internal.
  • The "culture of dissent and disbelief" isn't an innovation, 'sall.

    Moving the altars was not mandated, but building them "away from the wall" was, starting in 1969.

    Celebration versus populum was never mandated, but doing it is more convenient at a free-standing altar -- a fact that is mentioned in the Missal. It was already not unknown before the council: moving the altars made it permanent, expected, normal.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    OTOH, CW, the maxim reads in this order, "Lex orandi, lex credendi." If you gut and trash the very real corpus of universal worship rites and sacral language, for whatever theoretically noble purpose (purpose seems insidious prima facie) then you've opened the door for heteropraxis, then heterodoxy, it seems to me. YMMV.

    Addendum to my proposed answer- the change of universal Latin is also not a recent innovation, or post-concilior, obviously via the overused citation of the singmesse. And how did that work out for the counter-reformers. Mozart even had the sense to only to insert vernacular in his operas.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Postwar suburbia. A long-term drain on Catholic urban enclaves and their parishes, and substituted cookie cutter parishes without a strong identity that revolved around the automobile and a consumerist culture that valorized assimilation

    And row-by-row communion predated the Council; it was firmly in place with the Baby Boom.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    Maybe if you put all the above together, it might reveal a great part of the answer. I still don't think it all comes down to externals. The eastern churches have had freestanding altars for a couple of millenia, and it didn't cause any loss of faith. Of course, the priests face true east, not the congregation. I also heard from orthodox priests after the council that the seminaries were hotbeds of dissent. One even said the errors condemned by Pius X survived in seminaries. Who knows. Whatever the causes, we have problems.
  • The "culture of dissent and disbelief" isn't an innovation, 'sall.

    Moving the altars was not mandated, but building them "away from the wall" was, starting in 1969.


    Yes and No. The GIRM and other post-conciliar documents never called for the movement of altars. In fact you can go to the Bible and find that Jews and Christians tore down altars to pagan Gods. I wouldn't dare tear down an altar to my own God!

    In fact altars are supposed to be free-standing, because you are meant to walk around the entire altar when incensing it and not merely back and forth. Also, tabernacles on the altar were a 16th-Century development. Previously, they were in the back wall, a suspended pyx, or in the sacristy and were carefully guarded to prevent desecration.

    Celebration versus populum was never mandated, but doing it is more convenient at a free-standing altar -- a fact that is mentioned in the Missal. It was already not unknown before the council: moving the altars made it permanent, expected, normal.


    The GIRM and all other documents are written generally assuming an Ad Orientem position. In fact the whole versus populum issue stems from a mis-translation of GIRM 299, or rather that a literal translation doesn't carry the same sense (anyone who has studied a modicum of Latin grammar can see the problems).

    Like a lot of things, the exception to the rule has become the norm. My theory is that there was a whole build up in the 1960's, believing that things were going to change and that the church will be modern and with the times, that any opportunity to change something was milked for what it was worth. The old proverbial inch and mile scenario.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    Alius cantus aptus.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,397
    When thinking of my own formation and education, the lack of clergy teaching the catechism has been problematic. I have learned many false teachings from the laity. One of the reasons why I homeschool is because I am worried that my children will be given erroneous information and will believe it. I think the laity has been given too much charge over the Mass as well (at the parish level).
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I attended a diocesan catechism course a couple of years ago. A sister of an order I will not name, talked on various subjects, including theology of the body. One of my fellow teachers turned to me during the presentation and said, "That's the third heresy she's taught this morning." This sister, by-the-way, teaches religion in a school nearby. False teaching is systemic, not a rare occurrence, and ignorance is widespread and unchecked.
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    "Theology of the Body" is not a heresy, but a term coined by JP2 to describe his systematization of traditional Roman Catholic ideas of gender and sexuality.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    TOB is actually a pretty good course of study if it's taught well...the whole spousal relationship of the first man and woman and of each person's spousal relationship with God. About the "sister" thing(CharlesW) - this is not meant to be snarky or change topic, but at the conferences for religious ed and music that I've attended (and not many at that) there seems to be a correlation between habit/plain clothes and what they teach.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    TOB is not a heresy. It was not taught well, and the sister veered off into other areas that were not orthodox.

    This sister had a floor-length habit, and still taught heresy. I think it was not by design, but from ignorance. I am all for sisters wearing habits, but the extra fabric doesn't make up for ignorance of Church dogmas.
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  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    I'm going to go with versus populum. I say that, because it's the thing people of the Vatican II generation most associate with the Council (even moreso than the change to the vernacular, since you can turn on the television and see the pope celebrating Mass in Latin). A priest could not simply walk into a parish and celebrate ad orientem, but singing the propers in English would absolutely have been doable at any point since the Council, with minimal complaints from the congregation, had they been available. I think even at the most "progressive" parish, you could compose settings of the propers in contemporary style and the people would not mind, by and large. Further, people even expect the use of Latin, or at least of music with heightened solemnity, at least occasionally in most parishes.

    But versus populum has led to the most other issues, AND it's among the most difficult to reverse.
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  • I get the privilege of putting something actually new on this list. The introduction of the microphone (and the "speaker system" ) is the problem, because without it there can't be competition for the 'stage', as it were. It gives the impression that Mass is information for our enjoyment... and everything else flows from there.

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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,764
    Worst imposition on the Church of the past 60 years? My sins.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,075
    The mis-reading of ecclesiology. The effects were profound- bauhaus architecture, versus populum, "folk" music, bad art. No balance between the vertical and the horizontal aspects.
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    >>bauhaus architecture

    You mean you don't like church buildings to look like dystopian conex boxes?
    I thought EVERYBODY liked buildings that immediately plunge the visitor into existential despair...
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Adam, you have a gift for making my day.
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  • Mass "facing the people." A pure and simple innovation with absolutely no historical basis, as many studies have proved. Completely changes the "phenomenology" of worship. As a friend said to me, when she was a child she always thought the priest was speaking all the time to the people, and was quite surprised to discover later that he was addressing God. The moment you turn the priest to face eastwards, WITH the people, the entire feel of the liturgy changes from horizontal to vertical, from meal to sacrifice (not that these are opposed, but they need to come together in the right order). And with Mass ad orientem, other practices begin to feel either right or wrong, such as lay people sauntering into the sanctuary to distribute communion. This can happen only because there is an utterly horizontal and casual feel to the Mass. Bring back the "mysterium tremendum et fascinans" and you will see how long these post-conciliar innovations survive.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    doug-
    Thanks!

    Growing up, I thought all those institutional buildings from the middle of the century were like that because it was cheaper or easier to build or something. I was shocked when my wife was studying at the Boston Architectural College and I found out there were people who thought buildings like that were a good idea. That style is soul-crushing.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,397
    Growing up, I thought all those institutional buildings from the middle of the century were like that because it was cheaper or easier to build or something. I was shocked when my wife was studying at the Boston Architectural College and I found out there were people who thought buildings like that were a good idea. T


    Really? They didn't build them this way because it's cheaper/faster to build? They thought it was a good idea? Seriously? Wow. :(
  • Yeah, I would second that opinion of versus populum, and most of you seem to agree on Mass facing people being close to #1 most damaging.

    I would say the second most damaging is the destruction and removal of older church architecture, vestments, rails, stained glass windows, mosaics, frescos, etc. Especially removal of beautiful high altars and reredos, often which were up against the wall. (Though I respect the free standing altar, as in middle ages that was normal too, against the wall is more baroque 15th-17th fad, I would not destroy either one) Intentional factory like plain iconoclastic protestant looking churches made other innovations of the modernist/protestant variety all the more easier to spiritually digest.

    Thousands of older catholics have bad memories of their parishes and cathedrals being mutilated/renovated sometime between 1958-1978.

    For me being an artist, thats probably the most noticeable thing.

    The altar stone with the martyrs relics, maybe is a close tie to #2, definitely at least #3. As soon as that became no longer necessary to have in new church buildings, the apostolicity of the church becomes just a bit suspect in my mind. Imagine taking the antimension away from the altar of an Orthodox Church ! It is Impossible...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeXfbdr1jlM
    This video made the point very well. We need more videos like this exposing what happened to our culture of sacred art, how it declined.
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  • Also, there is the popular notion that we're here to "get" something ("we get to hear the Word and get the Eucharist"), without having to put anything into it ourselves.


    This.

    But, what do I know, I'm only 27 :)


    Don't sell yourself short: your first statement that I quoted was quite insightful.

    [What? You're digging up a thread that's been idle for three years? Oy.--admin]
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,712
    In most places you just went when you were ready.


    Not where I grew up. Of course, this town is heavily Germanic. Order, discipline, and all that.
  • Another suggestion or two for worst thing(s) -

    1. The First is -The decision was made to permit vernacular. While I do not believe that this was objectively or inherently bad, the greatest error (which was catastrophic in its effects) contingent upon that was not merely to translate what we now call the EF into fine English before actually permitting it. In other words, vernacular should not have been permitted until a masterpiece of English liturgical language had been prepared.

    2. And the Second is 'like unto it' - that the propers were not translated and were not retained as, shall we say, 'compulsory', essential, 'organic' elements of the mass.

    3. Third is that, having given us the mass of Paul VI, 'they' opted for rubrics permitting various options, and that the door was opened to (strictly speaking, 'illicit') non ritual commentary and ad libitum behaviourisms.

    4. The failure to apply every possible negative social, behavioural, attitudinal affect and response to the first people who shoved their way into church with guitar and spiral bound book of 'aonointed' songs in hand. (I at that time knew quite a few priests who thought that this development was totally out of place, unholy, and disrespectful - none of them had the backbone to tell these people to ply their musical arts elsewhere.)

    5. Finally - the failure to carry out the council's dictum that 'choirs shall be assiduously cultivated', to requre the only instrument mentioned by the council (being the organ) to be placed in all churches, and that the church's repertory of sacred choral music be found in all music programmes, and that new, high quality, music for both choirs and congregations, be composed to stand along side of it. & cet.........

    Oh, and one more -

    6. The abject, deliberate, and proudful failure to learn about vernacular liturgy from certain folk (you know who I mean) who had been at it for five hundred years.

    SO - in answer to the single most damaging thing: it was unpreparedness intelligently to carry out the council's real goals... which resulted in 60 years of chaos and liturgical slap-dashery.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    Many of the things mentioned above relate to externals. Externals can be attractive, but how relevant are they to anyone's faith? I find a bigger problem to be the breakdown in religious education. The faith was no longer being taught in schools, CCD classes, or even from the pulpit. If you don't know the basic tenants of the faith, it doesn't matter which way you orient the altar.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    The law of prayer supplies the law of faith. If the liturgical house falls, then no one will believe...Sure, Modernists were deeply embedded at the council and I would say more likely than not within the Consilium as well, but people didn’t violently rebel until the changes were being made. I think Communion in the hand is the most pernicious error but cannot come without Mass facing the people.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 313
    Thinking about the liturgy I agree with this statement:

    image
    3. Third is that, having given us the mass of Paul VI, 'they' opted for rubrics permitting various options, and that the door was opened to (strictly speaking, 'illicit') non ritual commentary and ad libitum behaviourisms." />

    I know this isn't entirely confined to the last 60 years (in 1828 a church 50 miles away from here sang the Hallelujah Chorus instead of Terra Tremuit on Easter Sunday) but the idea that you can sing/say what you like as long as it 'fits in with the readings' has opened the door to all sorts of ghastliness. I find particularly irritating the ditties that sometimes accompany the sign of peace.