12 January 2016

Vatican II debates

New Liturgical Movement has now made available a new, second tranche of the Speeches made at Vatican II; very useful and often amusing. I went back and browsed through the debates on Liturgy in the NLM's first tranche. Not scientifically, mind; I made no notes; what follows makes no claim to precision or accuracy. I am not an academic historian. I just enjoyed myself. Thanks to NLM for this handy and entertaining resource.

Take, for example, John McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin. He did a good line on rather short interventions, in which he crisply emphasised, not once, that he was speaking on behalf of the entire Irish episcopate. He also made clear that Ireland didn't have the problems other countries seemed to be labouring under because its churches were still jam-packed full. What a shame the African Cardinals at Pope Frank's Synods hadn't studied the McQuaid approach: they could have adopted a policy that, every time some 'liberal' Father started shooting his silly mouth off, they just bellowed "Boo! Boo! Yer  churches are empty! Failures! Deutschland Deutschland unter alles! Boo! Boo! Pathetic losers!" I bet McQuaid was not popular among his compatres. Would you have wanted to meet him in a narrow alley on a dark night?

Cardinal Godfrey may not have impressed Evelyn Waugh, but he also was very good value. He made a pointed speech about the importance of Latin. At the end of it, he told the Fathers about a recent English newspaper report (Torygraph, do you think?) concerning the proceedings in the House of Laity of the Church of England, which had been debating widening the use of Latin in Anglican Liturgy (might this have been at the time when Archbishop Fisher was pushing through the revision of the C of E's Canon Law?). One of the speakers in that debate had concluded, apparently, by saying "The Cardinals in Rome won't be able to stop laughing when they hear about this!"

A nice contribution by Archbishop Lebebvre. Nothing like a fully frontal attack on the whole idea of liturgical reform; what worried him more was that the doctrinal principles underlying reform were not spelled out.

That man was no fool.

It's a depressing thought that never again, as far as one can see, will there be an Ecumenical Council in which the proceedings will all (except for the speech of Maximos IV) be openly accessible to people who haven't got degrees in Modern Languages.


A Scottish Cat said...

How are you able to read it, Father? The link from NLM took me to a very poor scan with miniscule print...

Andreas Meszaros said...

What a wonderful resource indeed.
From the 1st Session, page 318, a comment from Em.us Franciscus Card. Spellman, Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis:

"... proponitur ut linguae vernaculae tribuatur congruus locus in Missis cum populo celebrandis. Hoc autem intelligendum est de lectionibus, de oratione communi et nonnullis cantibus, non de ritibus ad ipsam Missam pertinentibus."

... it is proposed that a wider usage be granted to vernacular languages in the celebration of Masses with public participation. This however is to be understood as pertaining to the readings, the common prayers and some singing, not to the proper rituals of the Mass itself.)

Anonymous said...

Father I had a book that published the speeches interventions at Vatican 2. I lent it to a priest who providentially (he thought, I am sure) lost it both ways. Could you give me an address and title to where I might find copies of yours. Could you comfort me and say they are good translations of the original speakers.
Mike Hurcum @ 3hearts.telus.net

√Čamonn said...

The Primate of Ireland to whom you referred was called (and always signed himself) John Charles McQuaid. He was apparently rather happy when he was referred to in various Council documents by his primatial title!

Stephen said...

Speaking of languages, at what point, if any, in the first millennium do you think that linguistic gaps contributed to the weakening of relations among the Churches west and east? Or even Chalcedonian vs. Non-Chalcedonian? My hunch is not nonexistent at any point.

That said, could one then reasonably view Vatican II (and a few other earlier ones for that matter) as more a local council of the Latin Rite than anything ecumenical, as evidenced by the ability of the participants to communicate with each other in one language, i.e. Latin?

Matthew Hazell said...

A Scottish Cat: if you scroll down on the page at archive.org, on the right hand side there is a box called "Download Options" - click "PDF" to download the file. If you happen to be on a slow or metered internet connection, bear in mind that the files are between 30-50 MB each. Alternatively, on the right hand side of the book preview, there is an icon that looks like four diagonally outward arrows - click that to go to a fullscreen view of the volume.

Fr Hunwicke: I am glad you are finding the Acta Synodalia useful and entertaining! I'm the person at NLM responsible for scanning them in and uploading them. The Acta are certainly a valuable resource, with plenty to keep busy those who are interested in what was actually said at Vatican II.

GOR said...

No doubt John Charles felt he spoke for the entire Irish episcopate, regardless of the incumbent in Armagh. While he was Primate of Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh’s title was - and still is - Primate of ALL Ireland.

This probably didn’t cut any ice with John Charles, who knew that the most influential voice in the Irish hierarchy of his time was not in dispute. Additionally his 30+ years in office saw him outlive two incumbents in Armagh and almost a third.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Rather like Heenan, who very naughtily described himself as Primas Angliae.

Mary Kay said...

It's always a pleasure to read your blogs, Fr. Hunwicke!

Mary K Jones