I have often used, and commented about it on this blog, Matthew Hazell's highly important Index Lectionum, which reveals the way Holy Scripture was censored in the post-Conciliar 'reforms'. It is a pleasure to commend his latest scholarly work, The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms (ISBN: 978-1-7307-9522-0). It deals with how the euchology ... collects, secrets, postcommunions ... fared during this same period.
To be precise, this book homes in on one particular moment of the 'reform' process, schema 186 of September 1966 ... I will call it '1966'. This important and revealing document is hitherto unpublished. What I find fascinating is the glimpse this gives us of a particular moment in the development of the mindset of the 'reformers'.
1966 is much more conservative than what eventually emerged as the Missal of S Paul VI. Simplifying a little, one could liken 1966 to a garment which has become rather frayed over the years and needs to be repaired. So the authors suggest how it can be repaired, smartened up, and made good for use for another few hundred years. The Missal of S Paul, on the other hand, seems in comparison more like the product of a decision that the garment is totally unfit for use and needs to be dumped, so as to make way for a completely new product.
I offer just one insight into the mindset of the 'reformers': since we are near the start of Advent, let us consider their treatment of the Sunday collects for Advent. Three of these had been addressed to God the Son. The 'reformers' stated that it was now universally agreed that Prayer should be addressed to God the Father through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. What about the collects of Advent? This is what they say: "On account of their antiquity and more venerable character, we have not changed them". Read that again! "We have not changed them"!
See! They still have some sense of respect for the prayers of the ancient formulae! They are not willing to bowdlerise without explicit permission from above!
But in S Paul VI, those Advent collects disappear from the Sundays of Advent. They are removed to weekdays, where some of them (but not all) are reformulated so that they are addressed to the Father.
My own view is that it is precisely the unexpectedly direct appeal to the Lord Jesus Who is coming to judge ("Come Lord ... do not delay ... stir up thy power ...") which gives these old prayers their impassioned sense of direct urgency. Their loss, at the Sunday synaxis, represented a real impoverishment of the spirituality placed before God's people by their Liturgy. They woz robbed!
[Incidentally, the same prejudice against prayers addressed to the Son led the Anglican revisers of the Alternative Service Book (1980) to reconstruct S Thomas's Corpus Christ collect; not even S Paul VI had dared to do this!]
A study of the documents recording the process of the revision of the hymns of the Breviary would reveal exactly the same process by which the Coetus concerned only gradually liberated themselves from respect for Tradition. These studies give the lie to the claim that 'the Council' had mandated the Pauline 'Reform' as that catastrophe eventually emerged. The persons actually engaged on that 'reform' in the mid-1960s were manifestly completely unaware that 'the Council' had mandated anything so radical. This whole narrative reveals the growth of an attitude of bland, insolent, mendacity.
The Missal of S Paul VI is not what the Council Fathers thought they were voting for. That is why even the most soundly traditionalist Fathers, such as Archbishop Lefebvre, voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium.
We cannot expect young and able scholars to produce important work like this book unless we buy and study what they produce!