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.