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There was also some shortening of the prayers at the foot of the altar and the omission of the Last Gospel. He would notice differences and hear less Latin, but the Mass would still be recognizable. As for the Mass being celebrated “facing the people,” that seems to have proceeded on a track of its own.There is nothing in the rubrics or Ritus Servandus (Order of Celebration) of the 1965 Mass requiring the Eucharistic Prayer to be said facing the people.Even today, the rubrics presume that the priest is facing the altar and therefore must turn to face the people at certain points.

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Hence we do well to distinguish our concerns about the current form of the Mass.

It is a poor stance to oppose an entire Ecumenical Council.

Our concerns with the liturgy should stay in that arena, and we should work to correct abuses and encourage a reconsideration of the more modest reforms, even as we enjoy the privilege of celebrating the Mass using the Missal of 1962. The most significant is a wider (but not exclusive) use of the vernacular.

So let’s look at the 1965 Missal, the one that was actually published in the wake of the council and had its reforms in mind. Also significant is that the “Liturgy of the Word” was to be conducted facing the people and could be a task shared with qualified ministers. I don’t think a person from the year 1900, or even 1700, walking into Mass in 1966 would have been all that shocked.

It seems to have happened quickly throughout the country, but not in every parish or diocese all at once.

I do not recall a big rebellion over it, and frankly a lot of people thought it was “neat” at first.

As most of you know, I am not a fan of the Eucharistic Prayer being said facing the people.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a cautionary article aimed at my traditionally-minded brethren saying, among other things, that we ought to be careful in identifying the Ordinary Form of the Mass (1970 Missal and beyond) as the “Mass of Vatican II.” I will not reproduce that whole article here. The Mass was already undergoing significant changes, beginning in the 1940s and picking up speed through the 1950s.

More changes were planned by the Vatican before the Second Vatican Council was called. The Second Vatican Council considered many issues, of which the liturgy was only one.


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