The Spirit of Vatican 2 Strikes Back


Well that didn’t take long.

Like an imprudent Imperial officer questioning Darth Vader’s confidence in the Force, Cardinal Robert Sarah dared to address a central tenet of the erroneous Spirit of Vatican 2, and for his “lack of faith” in a post-conciliar liturgical innovation, he has been promptly given the Vader treatment…and in the Year of Mercy no less!

What was the great offense committed by this humble and soft spoken prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments?  What was said to actually prompt a clarification from the Vatican?…yes, you read that correctly…an actual, honest to goodness, clarification from Rome!

Cardinal Sarah had the audacity, the absolute temerity, to suggest that his brother bishops consider returning to ad orientem Masses beginning this Advent.  At their discretion.  Only following proper catechesis.  And in continuity with the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church, east and west, for 1,900 years.

It wasn’t as if the Cardinal advocated giving holy communion to those living in adulterous relationships, where a valid sacramental marriage ended in divorce (no annulment) and yet a second, civil, marriage has been entered into. 

It’s not like Cardinal Sarah authored an intentionally ambiguous exhortation which has resulted in entire bishops conferences offering conflicting interpretations of a magisterial document…when charity and justice would seem to demand an immediate clarification from Holy Mother Church. 

No, all Cardinal Sarah did was suggest that all of us, priest and faithful together, turn toward the Lord, ad orientem, in those appropriate moments of the liturgy.

So, in the spirit of another Catholic blogger, here are ten things to know and share about Cardinal Sarah having his liturgical legs cut out from underneath him:

1. He gave his address a week ago at Sacra Liturgia UK.

2. The Catholic internet blew up over his suggestion for masses to be offered ad orientem beginning the First Sunday of Advent.

3. Aging hippies, Jesuits, and modernists (often one and the same) and readers of sites such as Pray Tell flipped out at the very thought that the Mass isn’t about them after all.

4. Cardinal Sarah met with Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, who proceeded to pull a Brutus to Sarah’s Caesar. Nichols promptly had a letter out to his priests advising them that they would most certainly not be turning eastward this Advent, as he apparently believes that worship of God cannot be sustained unless priest and faithful stare at each other unceasingly at Mass.

5. Cardinal Sarah returned to Rome on Saturday and, reportedly, was summoned to meet with the pope. One can only guess how this went. We can hope it was an opportunity for accompaniment…as opposed to some kind of sensitivity training…mandated (no doubt) for those still clinging to that whole “reform of the reform” business Benedict was so fond of.

6. By Monday, July 11, two more Jesuits had their crack at Sarah. First, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, papal adviser and editor of the influential Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, tweeted a series of excerpts from the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal), apparently seeking to discredit Cardinal Sarah. It didn’t. Then, outgoing Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. also misinterpreted the GIRM in a communique released on Monday, arguing incorrectly (like Cardinal Nichols) that a recommendation for a free standing altar in #299 means that versus populum is the liturgical norm for the Ordinary Form. This tired and erroneous reading has been refuted before.

7. By Monday afternoon America Magazine, Rocco Palma, and their readers were celebrating the public “schooling” given to a celebrated voice for orthodoxy.

I don’t really have an 8, 9, or 10. Besides, why does a “ten things to know and share” list actually need to have ten things? That just strikes me as rigid legalism.

What happens next? Who knows. Will Cardinal Sarah end up on a metaphorical Malta; banished to the Trad gulag for failure to embrace liturgical rupture over continuity? We pray that is not the case.

What has been made very clear (again) for anyone still in denial about it is this: the Spirit of Vatican 2 is alive and well. The reform of the reform, so much a part of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, is simply as optional as the Ordinary Form of the Mass is itself option filled.

Go back and read the top 5 Quotes from Cardinal Sarah’s address. There is nothing in his talk that is earth shattering, revolutionary, or inconsistent with the tradition of the Roman Rite. That he and his suggestion caused such a reaction only speaks to how severe the rupture truly is.

Lord have mercy.

Posted on July 11, 2016, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Actually, the proper diagnosis is that rigor mortis is taking hold in the N.O.Church.

    Modified definion:

    Rigor mortis (Latin: rigor “stiffness”, mortis “of death”) is one of the recognizable signs of death:

    1) caused by chemical changes in the muscles after death, causing the limbs of the corpse to stiffen.
    2) In liturgical practices, is caused by a stiffening of rubrics for practices holding “nostalgic appeal for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!”

    Rigor mortis can occur as soon as thirty minutes after death or 6 months after the General Instructions of 1969/1970 to the Mass of Paul VI issued.

  2. Fr. Tom Pomeroy

    ad orientem is a valid OPTION for the Mass, and has always been a valid option. The VATICAN has made that clear in a 2000 with an explanation of Girm 299. All Cardinal Sarah suggested is to USE a legitimate option which already existed. This would be the same as Cardinal Sarah suggesting the use the first option of the penitential rite. I notice that the Vatican has not done similar things with Cardinal Marx and some of his statements.

  3. “The Spirit of Vatican 2”? Wouldn’t that be the Holy Spirit (hippies and Modernists not withstanding)?

  4. I was amused at how quickly the Vatican 2 Spiritualists trotted out the letters of the GIRM law to support their position.

  5. menelik eba lola hakish


    May the Immaculate Mother console, encourage & strengthen Cardinal Robert Sarah.
    May Jesus come to the aid of His Church !!!

    May Jesus save the Church from the bergoglian scourge

    St Michael the Archangel, may you defend us in battle . . . !!!

  6. menelik eba lolahakish

    O JESUS !!!

    DOES mr cardinal nikols vincent reegard himself as a”sub pope” ??? What demons make him so arrogant and proud as to contradict his “brother” Cardinal on so crucial an issue in Which nikols lacks both thecompetence and the zeal ???


  7. Stephanie Breaux

    Thank you for your article. Prayers with confidence for Cardinal Sarah and the Pope

  8. GIRM No. 299 repeats what is found in ‘Inter Oecumenici’, “On the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy”, 26 September 1964; No. 91. However, already we see in this instruction the mischief that Msgr. Annibale Bugnini was up to—because the Council itself made NO mention of the altar. It also is important to note what precedes this, i.e. No. 90 “In building new churches or restoring and adapting old ones…” Thus, the freestanding altar is only “preferable” in new construction. Yet there NEVER was a decree ordering that all existing church structures must undergo any changes whatsoever.

  9. And the Chastisement continues… I hope and pray that many Bishops will still follow Cardinal Sarah’s Request this Advent.

    LiturgyGuy, bravo on this article. Great Satire.


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