Being Catholic Pre Vatican II
When Vatican II ended, I was in my mid teens. I remember very well, my Catholic schooling, the Latin Masses, women wearing head coverings inside the church, the hymns, the Parish missions, devotions such as Eucharistic Processions. We usually wore hats. It wasn’t until the late 60’s/early 70’s that “mantillas” or “veils” became popular. It wasn’t until after this, that women started to not wear head coverings. We were encouraged, when passing a church, to pop in and “visit” Jesus in the tabernacle. If we didn’t have a head covering, we all had clean cotton handkerchiefs (usually white), so we simply put it on our head. Women were not allowed in the sanctuary. Usually nuns did the cleaning.
The hymns at a “Low” Mass were in English. In fact, the only Latin hymn we knew was “O Sanctissima”. “High Masses”, in the ordinary parish only occurred on special occasions – maybe once a year. When we went to Mass, we had a Missal. The children had children’s missals. As soon as we could read, we would follow the Mass with our missals. Children had children’s missals with simple language and pictures of the priest on every page, to help us follow. We would “pray the Mass” with the priest – not out loud, but silently with a meditative concentration. There was a “sacred Silence” and an air of sacredness – no distractions. No-one would dream of speaking in Church (let alone have a gossip session – which is a common occurrence now).
Each year we would have a Parish Mission, run by the Redemptorists. We would attend each evening for a whole week. The workers would make a special effort to go also, even though they had to get up early for work (or school for us children).
We knew Protestants hated us, and children would have rhymes with which they teased Catholics. In my late teens, I noticed that when applying for a job, many ads said “Catholics need not apply”. The world hating us was just part of being Catholic. It didn’t worry us. We were proud to be Catholic.
There was also a Catholic Radio station, which was quite competitive against the other radio stations. I remember the famous “Dr Rumble” (a priest evangelist) would have a show on Sunday nights. His famous answers to people’s questions (often protestants) can still be found on the ‘net.
Religion lessons in Primary school came from the “Green Catechism” (Q and A style) and the Junior Bible History. The latter was basically a children’s bible. These lessons also included lots of stories of the saints and their heroic feats – children love stories!!! During the last year of primary school, we also had a book called ‘Pray the Mass” which described the prayers, and actions of the Mass and what they meant. We were told to go to Confession once a month, and so each Saturday afternoon you could see the long lines for Confession. It was a good education in the basic doctrine and teachings of the Church.
Changes after Vatican II and their impact
I don’t remember any particular announcements about the changes. We just took them in our stride. We trusted our priests, the Vatican and the Pope. There were new rules – priests had to keep to the topic of the Readings / Gospel in the homily. This meant that saints were not mentioned, and that moral issues, confession, purgatory, hell were no longer mentioned. This was the time when contraception was becoming freely available, but there were never any homilies about this issue. Nothing was ever said. If you asked a priest, you were usually told that it was a matter of conscience. (But we didn’t know that a conscience had to be properly formed). Although, there was a light in this darkness – “Natural Family Planning” – but many, if not most, took the easy way out, not having been told anything to the contrary.
Things didn’t change all at once. It all happened very slowly. The ordinary Catholic thought not much of it – after all, “the Pope said so”. What we were told was simply that the Vatican Council had determined that the Mass could be in the vernacular language. That seemed reasonable to most people. It was still the same Mass. If we could have seen the church 50 years later, there would have been a revolt. The first thing that I remember, was the Our Father was said in English and by the people (not just the priest), and the sitting and kneeling was altered. It all took years. In fact, the changes never stopped.
Eventually, most tabernacles were removed from the centre of the front of the Church; the beautiful high altars were removed and replaced with a plain flat “table”. When this happened, the “president’s chair was placed in the middle – right where the tabernacle used to be. The congregation no longer was inspired by the Tabernacle and the Sacred Presence within it, but the priest, who was now the centre of attention.
The Offertory Procession, Prayers of the Faithful and the Sign of peace and “the Mystery of Faith” were introduced. Much later, genuflections were being replaced by simple “bows”. I always had an aversion to the Sign of Peace, because, having been brought up with the sense of sacredness, we had to turn to each other, and to the people behind us. It was after the consecration. Jesus, our King was present and we were ignoring Him and turning away from Him and greeting everyone else.
Proclaiming the ‘Mystery of Faith” always puzzled me. I knew (because it was drummed into us as children) that the Mystery of Faith was that “Jesus was present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Sacred host.” If that was true, how could “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” be a mystery. That’s history, it’s fact -not a mystery. “We proclaim your death Lord Jesus until you come again” – how can that be a mystery? I didn’t realize, till afterwards, that the words “Mystery of faith” were taken out of the words which the priest says at the Consecration of the Blood”. They were now in the wrong place!
Other things started to change – Communion in the hand and no longer kneeling, and Mass facing the people. When receiving Our Lord, we no longer received the beautiful blessing of the priest’s prayer – he just simply said “The body of Christ” and we answered “Amen”. I always wondered why he said this – “didn’t everyone know that it was the Body of Christ”? Why do we have to say” Amen”?
In my final year of High School (1968), we were at the very forefront of the “folk Mass” with guitars and trendy new hymns. By the late 1980’s “liturgical dancing “was common and a ‘way of including the young’. My own daughters were involved in this and one of them was the leader and choreographer – (thankfully always under the direction of the priest).
Women Eucharistic Ministers became the norm. Priests were no longer in control of their parish – they were dictated to the members of the Parish Council. I myself became a Eucharistic minister because I was asked to do so. I can’t believe I was so trusting and naive! We had a music ministry – with guitars, drums, etc – especially for the “Youth Masses”
By the mid 1990’s, I became aware of Fr Gobbi and other prophecies. As I started to read more, I became alarmed at what I was seeing at Mass. I read much about Communion in the hand and Eucharistic ministers -especially women. I remembered how we were always taught that only consecrated hands could touch the Sacred Species or even the chalices, ciboriums, etc. I could not believe that I fell for it. I knew all that. We were taught in Primary School. We were taught well. We knew it all!! I had forgotten and was just swept along with all the changes. Then I discovered prophecies – Garabandal first, then La Salette.
A priest in our parish allowed children (it was a children’s liturgy) to come up beside him on the altar and a child on either side of him was chosen to hold up the Chalice and Ciborium at the Consecration! I couldn’t believe it – I had to get out of there. At one time, this same priest didn’t wear his chasuble – but I think he was corrected, and didn’t do it again. (This was about 20 years ago! Today, this would not surprise us.)
My brother was an Acolyte in a neighbouring parish. He was 10 years older than me and was an altar server in the Latin Mass when he was young. He too started to become alarmed. He would often see fragments of the Sacred Host scattered on the altar and on the floor. They would simply be swept up, or vacuumed – Jesus in the rubbish! It traumatised him. Needless to say, we both resigned from our “Eucharistic Minister’s” role.
Despite all this, I thought we had a good parish with many devout people, and loved my parish to which I had belonged for 30 years. We had all day Adoration every day (For more than 20 years now… it still occurs). It was difficult to just walk away, but I couldn’t stay. We began to realize what we were missing and pining for. We had to find it again!
My daughter’s (Donna Liane) journey: (When Donna read this post – we always bounce our thoughts and ideas off each other- she suggested that I add her thoughts as well):
“I’m younger. I was practicing devoutly like you, Mum, but at a N.O. Mass. Then I met a holy, old Italian man at (L..) Parish. He wrote Vandals in the Church. I read about all the abuses, including Communion in the hand and Eucharistic ministers too. I spoke to my priest who told me not to worry so much but I resigned from the Ministry. I went to the Maronite Mass too. As soon as I could, I followed you to go to the Latin. It was so Holy! I couldn’t believe they took it from us! I knew nothing from my 70-80s schooling. I learnt fast!”
Each week we would go to a different Mass. We ended up at the Maronite Church which had an English version for their youth. One day, we somehow (in God’s amazing way), became involved in the Pilgrims of St Michael, who were visiting our country from Canada. While we were showing them around, somehow we were led to a new Latin Mass apostolate in our area – Masses were held in a converted room.
The first time I went, I felt I was home. So did my husband. I have learnt a lot since. You do, when attending a Traditional Mass. I have been blessed to return to the Latin Mass of my youth – for over 15 years now. I still attend Novus Ordo Masses when I have no other choice, but I choose what I think are conservative parishes with conservative priests.
This brings me to the point: Masonry in the Church.
I didn’t know any of this stuff. I came across a booklet in the mid 1990’s about the Masonic Plan for the destruction of the Church. This opened my eyes. It was so obvious. Everything began to fall into place, but it was still another 5 or so years before we would act on our intuition.
At the time, I was worried about my children – in their mid twenties – but they took to the Latin Mass right away. They loved it. The sad part is that younger people who did not live through pre Vatican II have no idea what they have missed – not just the Mass, but how much MORE “catholic” we were then.
The other day I came across this information about freemasons again on the net. I had seen it about 20 years ago and was shocked at what I read, and the things that had already been implemented. I could relate to Communion in the hand, the homilies without saints, the hymns without the names of Jesus – hymns which sounded more like songs; nuns who no longer wore their habits, priests whom you have to struggle to identify as a priest when in public. When you read the 33 point plan – you can see the points they achieved, the ones they sort of did, but not totally according to their plans, and the ones that are being implemented under the ‘antipope’ (their words) and the ones that will be implemented under the one world religion, which have yet to be implemented.
Next post: “A church in Change: Part 2: