“The Spirit of Vatican II:” A Crock of Bulloney

Re-claiming the Sacred Music

by Fr. Jay Finelli:

I received the following eMail today:

Dear Fr. Jay Finelli,

In the spirit of the new evangelization we are celebrating our 44th year in guitar music ministry. It has been a long journey from those original “guitar masses”. Today’s worshippers demand a musical sophistication that is liturgical, relevant, contemporary. Please enjoy this sample of our work (link removed) and if you have a need for music ministry in your parish please contact us.

I have no doubt that the person who sent me the eMail is very sincere. However, let’s take a look at this.

“In the spirit of the new evangelization” And what is that? Haven’t we had enough with the “Spirit of Vatican II”. It just time to give up the ghost! Let’s leave aside all this nonsense of the “spirit” of this and that and get to the essence and the root of something.

A Crock of Bulloney

First, the “spirit of Vatican II” is a crock of bulloney (Yes, I purposely misspelled baloney. You get my drift). If people would only read what the documents are and stop making them up as they go along. The REAL Vatican II had noting to do with eliminating Latin, the priest facing the people, the introduction of “folk Masses” and every kind of music, except for that desired by the Most Holy Council.

Guitar Mass

Yes, this is a real Mass.

And the “New Evangelization” is not a re-making of the Catholic Church and Her worship. It is a living who we are and what we have been given with zeal and fidelity. So in reality, it is not a “new” evangelization. It is a continuation of the same evangelization that began with our Lord and His Apostles 2000 years ago. The only difference is in how we present these sacred truths and institutions. There is much more that we could say about that, but let’s move on.

Let’s take a look at the “un-spirit” of Vatican II, or should I say, the real thing. Yes, let us see what Sacrosanctum Concilium really has to say about music in the Sacred Liturgy.

“In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 120.)

Acoustic, electric guitars should never be part of the Sacred Liturgy.

The fathers of Vatican II clearly wanted the “pipe organ” to be the ordinary instrument used in the Roman Rite of the Latin Church. Ordinary means that this is the instrument used above all others, and all other musical instruments are to be used in support of the pipe organ, not the other way around. I can foresee the use of a classical guitar to augment the pipe organ on special Feast Days, or when the organ is not functioning properly, but it may not replace the “ordinary” instrument of the Liturgy. Acoustic, electric guitars should never be part of the Sacred Liturgy.

“But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.” SC 120)

Guitars, drums, tambourines, electronic keyboards and a number of other musical instruments and I would dear say, the piano, smack of the secular. These are instruments that take the mind to a rock concert or your local watering hole. The pipe organ would surely not be heard in a pub or rock concert.

The same goes for the style of music admitted to the Liturgy.

To the extent that the new sacred music is to serve the liturgical celebrations of the various churches, it can and must draw from earlier forms — especially from Gregorian chant — a higher inspiration, a uniquely sacred quality, a genuine sense of what is religious. (St. John Paul II, 1980)

So, does this mean that we are to admit contemporary “praise and worship music”? I think that would be a gross misunderstanding of the Council. The fathers of the Council were not thinking in terms of allowing a style of music that one might heard in a secular venue. they recognized that the music of the Church IS Gregorian chant. However, there are other legitimate forms of sacred music. There is a caveat. They did not leave this up to the imagination or whim and fancies of the musician. They went on to write:

“other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action.” (SC 116)

Pope Paul VI saw the dam that broke in the Church music situation. In 1974, he tried to plug the hole and set the Church back on course when he wrote to all the Bishops of the world. He sent all the Bishops a book called Jubilate Deo. This document contains all of the basic chants that should be familiar to every practicing Catholic.

Over 50 years after the the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium and it is still probably one of the most debated documents of the Church. It’s time for every musician and every Catholic to slowly and prayerfully read the source to see what the Father’s of the Second Vatican Council really said and what they did not so as to stop making it up as we go along.

– See more at: http://www.ipadre.net/2014/07/in-the-spirit-of-the-new-evangelization/#sthash.mE3WRIga.dpuf

P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

20 comments to “The Spirit of Vatican II:” A Crock of Bulloney

  • Russell

    I think the most troubling aspect of the letter he quoted is the beginning of the third sentence: “Today’s worshippers demand…” Just let that phrase sink in.

  • Gloria

    Friends! I wonder sometimes are we living in the last days? Yoga, the happy jump up music all these things are signs of what is to come. Faint not GOD is in control.

  • Charlotte

    The Holy Roman Catholic Church was infiltrated about a century ago by unbelievers – I will not specify. Today, very few Cardinals, Bishops, or priests are really Believers, as one can see by their blasphemous words, actions, and false “masses.” The approaching-anarchy globally can be directly traced to a shameful worldwide loss of the True Faith.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in formally Catholic countries, and Christian countries like America, where the True Holy Church is struggling to exist among the heresies, blasphemies, and paganism of modernism,progressivism, communism, socialism, atheism, secular humanism, false ecumenism, and globalism. Pray, Pray, Pray.

  • Taliesin319

    A great deal of the problems today at Mass stem from the fact that Profane Music, Rock Music, and New Age Music have become common in Roman Catholic Churches. No mass will ever take the place of the Latin Rite. Gregorian Chant is virtually unknown to the Congregations while prior to Vatican II it was commonly sung by all in the responses at High Mass. As one Prelate told me, the Mass is no longer about ” bells and smells ” Never do we see Incense used at even High Masses during Easter and Christmas. Any young priest interested in the Latin Rite goes on the fast track to the boondocks until it can be seen that he has come to his senses. The Hierarchy in at least two Churches in a Diocese of New York have Masses given in a church administered by the Jesuits, where one can be treated to the ” Wiccan Ministry ” as they invite us all to stand, face the four directions and give homage to Gaia and her sister goddess, Meteora, ( Weather ) and receive their protection from global warming. The same group perform a dance dressed in a sheer fabric extending from neck to well above the knee for the benefit of God knows who. This within the Sanctuary of a Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, an Archbishop then and a Cardinal Prince of the Church now, has no problem with that and praises the Jesuits, to the very skies, in whose church all these profanities occur. This was filmed and can be Googled. Vatican II is infamous for creating documents so ambiguously worded they could please the Devil himself. This resulted in the production of various” Cookie Masses ” wherein the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord is said with the cookie taking the place of the Sacred Wafer. Duly Authorized Roman Catholic Priests perform these blasphemies. These too, can be seen along with Masses celebrated by women in full view of Priests and Bishop, those occured in California. A Taco Mass was offered but God Bless the Hispanic Congregation that walked out of that Church and evidently attended services thereafter in the adjacent town. These things are in practice because of a Hierarchy, where at least one third of the Bishops are pro same-sex marriage, and condone by silence and tacit permission of other irregularities not permitted in Orthodox Roman Catholicism. These have been allowed to flourish. Our Churches used to be places of devotion and reverence. In some places Mass sounds like a meeting of the Elks club. This sort of thing has caused attendance at
    Mass to fall disasterously and a near total loss of Orthodox Catechesis have made lost tribes of the last 3 generations of what were once ardent Catholics.

  • Deb

    The sad truth is that the majority of Catholics today do not know what the Church was like pre-Vatican II. They only know what it has been turned into because of the free for all that occurred in the misinterpreation of Vatican II by dissident Bishops, priests and nuns. We have to change the hearts of people and before you can even work on the music, you have to work on getting them to believe Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that the Mass is a sacrifice, not a social gathering. I do agree though, dump the guitars and drums. I thank God they are not the mainstream where I live, but just a pocket of stangeness here and there. One comment on Amazing Grace. You may shun it because it was not written by a Catholic, but I can attest that I was a miserable wretch and blind to God until I was 51 years old and that now I can see. Sometimes, the mind is so set on everything negative, that one cannot see anything positive in anyone or anything else. I don’t think that is seeing through the eyes of God.

  • Teresa

    A few Sundays ago, as I was going to Communion, one of the Choir Members sang a Solo Baptist Spiritual. I was actually gritting my teeth going up to Communion. He was LOUD and PIERCING. It was one of those that you would expect the Congregation to ‘clap along’ with. I guess these are things that are ‘little punishments’ that we must put up with for the time being. I so appreciated Pope Emeritus Benedict trying to steer us back to the REAL Vat ll. I only hope Pope Francis continues on in the same vein. We have suffered from the effects of the ‘Spirit’ of Vat ll for long enough!!

  • Coleen

    People who live in relatively large metro areas and usually find a liturgy that is to their liking, be
    mariachis, Gregorian chant,Latin, or whatever. I personally don’t like looking at the Priest’s back, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should do it my way. Keep in mind, the Church is a means to an end not an end it itself.

  • Br. Christopher B.P.P.

    I complained to the Passionist Fathers about the music on their online Mass. I told them it would be nice to hear some traditional Catholic hymns.
    They wrote back telling me there is no such thing as Catholic hymns. Really? That’s incorrect. I played the organ in church and had a choir.

  • Patrick D

    Holy Trinity Gainesville VA St John Evangulas Warrenton VA Beautiful Musick Beautiful Mass

  • Jon C.

    Assuming the music in question isn’t blasphemous or contrary to Church Teaching, why not let people worship as they please and this also goes for people who prefer Gregorian Chant (BTW I like Gregorian Chant). Further, Amazing Grace, to the best of my knowledge, contains no “unCatholic” material so who gives a rip who wrote it? I went to Kindergarten at a public school as was taught “Away in Manger”. I transferred to a Catholic school for first grade was chastised by a nun for suggesting it at Christmas time because it was a Protestant hymn. Again, why would any intelligent Christian care who wrote a hymn so long as its content is in line with the HRCH?

    • codephined

      Amazing Grace: “…that saved a wretch like me.”
      This is a reflection of the Lutheran Protestant theology that we are “dunghills covered with snow.” The Holy Spirit does not reside in dung. We are not wretches. We are temples for the Holy Spirit.

      If our worship resembles the false “worship” of the various Protestant sects, then what’s the point in being Catholic? What’s the point in retaining the traditions which have been handed down to us (1 Cor 11:23, 1 Cor 15:3)?

      To be Catholic is an all-or-nothing proposition. We take it or we leave it.

  • tg

    I have never heard Gregorian chant in any Mass in my 60 years. Our parish has the guitars too. I just tune it out. It’s ashame to have to learn to turn out the horrible hymns and music at most parishes. This past Friday, we had Eucharistic Adoration. The rosary was prayed. Everything was perfect till the last hymn. It was Amazing Grace. (Of course, it was the “guitar” choir that participated.) I just can’t stand Amazing Grace at Mass. I like the song but it is Protestant and should not be in a Catholic hymn book. The guy that leads this choir is a convert so I bet he just likes this song. Thanks Father but most parishes will never hear about this. If you complain about the hymns or music, you are told that they are volunteers and then are considered a troublemaker. Speaking of choirs, my sister said the choir at her church plays a hymn (can’t remember name) that reminds her of a cartoon of the little pigs. Can you image thinking of a cartoon at Mass?

  • Well said! Tweeting your article asap.

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