What has been the result of the [Second Vatican] Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? ... Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?Ouch. That's a rather scathing condemnation of the "spirit of Vatican II". Make no mistake, the Holy Father says that such a fundamental misunderstanding of the Counci is oriented towards a rupture between the Church as it existed before the Council and the Church as it exists after the Council, and that is not at all on the Holy Father's list of things to accomplish during the reign which God has blessed him (and us) with!
Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.
On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.
The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.
These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.
In a word: it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim.
The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood.
In a nutshell, he says that this mistaken hermeneutic assumes that the documents of the Council (e.g. Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) don't contain the full intent of the Council Fathers, but rather are a compromise that reconfirms "many old things that are now pointless" simply to avoid mutiny and "reach unanimity"; this bad hermeneutic claims that the true interpretation ("spirit") of the Council is one which reaches far beyond the text, giving its adherents ample wiggle-room "for every whim".
So the two questions I have, since Sacrosanctum Concilium is a "Roman" document (see this previous post for details), are these:
Why was this document "realized" far beyond its actual contents in a very liberal way (in a rather short span of time), whereas documents like Redemptionis Sacramentum are not "realized" after so many years, and even publicly ignored?
And can those who feel strongly-drawn to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite be blamed, since they are just slow in their "realizing" of the liturgical reforms envisioned (and not envisioned) by the Second Vatican Council?
Allow me to explain further. The priest I am currently in correspondence with does not "suffer the belief that the words of the Sacramentary have to be reproduced exactly" and sees nothing wrong with omitting various elements of the Mass and inserting things of his own, despite the fact that Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 22 §3 says very clearly: "Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." Is SC, n. 22 §3 simply one of those "Roman laws" that is "a goal to be achieved (and not always realized)"? Perhaps, interpreting the document in the "spirit of Vatican II", one recognizes that SC, n. 22 §3 was simply a necessary evil, a compromise for the sake of getting the document past the vote: it's not actually what the Council Fathers meant, and they certainly didn't expect priests to be held to the "official" liturgy or any of its "approved" translations.
What would happen if I get pulled over for running a red light and tell the police officer I do not "suffer the belief that the traffic signal has to be obeyed exactly"? The officer would probably tell me that it's not a matter of belief, it's a matter of fact. (Oh, that's English Law, not Roman Law. Apparently, in the Roman system, laws are there as an ideal, and no one actively enforces them; those who do try to call attention to them (like myself) are ridiculed or belittled or simply ignored.)
This frustrates me; it vexes me; it is a near occasion to sin for me, since it saps me of charity. I'm going to pray a Rosary in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament at the chapel this evening, with two intentions: reparations for liturgical abuse, and petition for an increase of charity.