"Vatican II destroyed the Church. We used to have high Mass attendance, schools overflowing with children, lots of priests and nuns, but now look at us!
Catechesis is destroyed! No one goes to Mass! The Catholic schools are falling apart! There aren't any vocations! This is the "fruits" of Vatican II!"I grew up in the 1970's. I personally experienced the crap that passed for catechesis during those years. So, for years I found this a very compelling argument. I couldn't figure out why so many priests and bishops shuddered when faced with the thought of returning to the older form of Mass.
The first time I attended a traditional Mass, I hated it.
Absolutely hated it.
The second time, I read through the English prayers and found the prayers very beautiful. A few years later, for reasons beyond the scope of this article, I found myself attending a traditional Mass every weekend.
Now, I have been very happy about the beautiful music and the opportunity to receive Jesus at the communion rail. While the EF prayers of consecration are more beautiful, I have continued to dislike what passes for a cycle of readings in the EF form. The Novus Ordo cycle Liturgy of the Word is simply superior to the EF version - anyone who follows the four senses of Scripture will find this ancient method of reading Scripture a lot more accessible in the OF than in the EF. Similarly, the EF liturgical year is just terminally screwed up when compared to the beautifully rational OF liturgical year.
I say all of this because the comparison of the two forms and the constant whining of various "experts" blinded me to a specific truth: Vatican II and the OF was created by the traditional Latin Mass and the nuns and priests of the Catholic schools.
If we are going to blame poor post-conciliar catechesis on the Second Vatican Council, then we have to blame the existence of the Second Vatican Council on the pre-Vatican II Missal and the pre-Vatican II catechesis (school system).
Everyone who participated in VC II was formed by the EF and pre-conciliar Catholic schools. Everyone who implemented VC II reforms was formed was formed by the EF and pre-conciliar Catholic schools.
If we hate the current situation because it was created by VC II, then we must also hate the EF and the parochial school system, because that is what brought us to call VC II.
Now, if the Second Vatican Council had been foisted upon us by outsiders and enemies of the Church, then we wouldn't have to accept that line of argument. This is why so many traditionalists are fixated on the existence of Freemasons or Jews or Protestants or whoever "infiltrating" Vatican II.
VC II *HAD* to have been a betrayal by enemies, because anyone formed by the ancient Missal would never have done such a thing. It's the same line the Germans used when they lost WW I. They couldn't bear to blame it on themselves, so they decided the Jews/Socialists/Communists/Democracies stabbed them in the back.
Unfortunately, that's the one line of argument a Catholic cannot use. It is a point of Catholic doctrine that it doesn't matter who matters to "infiltrate" a council or a papal throne. God will get His work done regardless. He draws a straight line, regardless of how crooked the sinner.
So, the argument works as well for us as it did for the Germans. The Catholics who espouse it become increasingly paranoid. So, the council was infiltrated. If the council wasn't infiltrated, then we have a fall-back position - it wasn't a true council. Yet the Pope ratified it, which would make it a true council. Then, obviously, he can't have been the true Pope. If he isn't the true Pope, then the chair of Peter is empty and it has been empty since Paul VI or John XXIII or Pius XII or Pius XI or no, wait, Pius X. But the new Mass changed the way sacraments are administered, so the sacraments are no longer valid, so there are no more valid priests. Which means there are no valid bishops. Which means there are no valid cardinals. That means we are waiting for the true Pope to re-emerge, except he can't because the rules of election must be followed by cardinals which we ain't got any more - all the valid ones are dead.. So the Church failed. But it can't. But it has to have. But it can't so God will save it in a miraculous fashion which was never revealed during the fullness of public revelation, so we must pay constant attention to private revelation. This visionary, that visionary, the one over here. Our Lady of the Recent Moment said...
You can't start down that road.
That way lies madness.
We have to accept the facts. We did this to ourselves. The bishops and priests who wanted to reform what is now the Extraordinary Form of the Mass wanted to do so for a very good reason: the EF sucked wind. It stank. It was at least sub-optimal. In fact, it was so substantially flawed that it required reform.
And the proof is clearly present. If the liturgy is really the best thing the Church has to offer, then the men and women formed by the pre-conciliar Missal demonstrated how lousy their formation was when most of them accepted any of a number of post-conciliar heresies. They swallowed heresies almost immediately and nearly universally, heresies the council never taught but those formed by the pre-conciliar liturgy thought the council taught.
That's why the bishops don't want to return to the pre-conciliar liturgy.
They know it won't work because it already proved that it didn't work.
I haven't quite figured out why these same bishops continue to insist on parochial schools that also didn't work. Perhaps they insist on them because they know so little about how the schools operate. Or maybe they're just a different version of traditionalist - bitterly clinging to their schools because they don't know what else to do, blaming the manifest failures of the parochial schools on "the Catholic ghetto" or the Catholic lay adult.
It's a sad problem, but rather ironic.
The bishops see the EF liturgy as irredeemable, but they cling to Catholic schools, which job of educating children is pre-eminently the job of the parents. The traditionalists see Catholic schools as irredeemable (thus they homeschool), but they cling to the EF liturgy when liturgy is pre-eminently the responsibility of the ordained man.
The fault lies not in the council, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.