[Yesterday] mark[ed] the 50th anniversary of the first “Mass in Italian” to be ever celebrated, an event deemed important enough to be celebrated by the current Pope with a special commemorative Mass at the same church in Rome (Parrocchia di Ognissanti, Via Appia Nuova, 244) where it took place. The original Mass was celebrated by Paul VI on March 7, 1965 which happened to be that year’s First Sunday of Lent. The repeatedly vandalized plaque now marking the event (see source) goes so far as to say that it was this event that inaugurated the liturgical reform decreed by Vatican II. (The text of the plaque says, “On March 7, 1965, His Holiness Paul VI, inaugurating the liturgical reform decreed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, deigned to celebrate in this temple the first mass in Italian language, amidst the emotion and joy of an entire people, forever faithful and grateful.”) …
Nevertheless it is not true, as is sometimes implied in blogs oriented to the “Reform of the Reform”, that the 1965 Missal only allowed a modest use of the vernacular. The permission for the use of the vernacular in Inter oecumenici is sweeping and includes all the parts said or sung by the congregation:
57. For Masses, whether sung or recited, celebrated with a congregation, the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority on approval, that is, confirmation, of its decisions by the Holy See, may introduce the vernacular into:
a. the proclaiming of the lessons, epistle, and gospel; the universal prayer or prayer of the faithful;
b. as befits the circumstances of the place, the chants of the Ordinary of the Mass, namely, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, Agnus Dei, as well as the introit, offertory, and communion antiphons and the chants between the readings;
c. acclamations, greeting, and dialogue formularies, the Ecce Agnus Dei, Domine, non sum dignus, Corpus Christi at the communion of the faithful, and the Lord’s Prayer with its introduction and embolism.Granted, this same document (# 59) also stipulates that:
Pastors shall carefully see to it that the Christian faithful, especially members of lay religious institutes, also know how to recite or sing together in Latin, mainly with simple melodies, the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass proper to them.
This Sunday marks a memorable date in the spiritual history of the Church, because the spoken language officially enters the liturgical worship, as you have already seen this morning. The Church has considered this measure right and proper – the Council has suggested and deliberated it – and this in order to render its prayer intelligible and make it understood. The welfare of the people demands this care, so as to make possible the active participation of the faithful in the public worship of the Church. It is a sacrifice that the Church has made of her own language, Latin; a sacred, sober, beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant. She has sacrificed the traditions of centuries and above all she sacrifices the unity of language among the various peoples, in homage to this greater universality, in order to reach all.And this [also] for you, faithful, so that you may know better [how to] join yourselves to the Church’s prayer, so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy, the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.And now let us also pray to the Madonna, we will pray to her still in Latin for now, so she can grant us this desire of an active and authentic spiritual life, and that she may grant us this reawakened sense of community, of fraternity, of the collectivity that prays together, of the people of God, so that we will certainly have assured to us the advantages of this great liturgical reform.
The now new way of praying, of celebrating Holy Mass is extraordinary. The new form of the liturgy is inaugurated today in all the parishes and churches in the world, for all masses followed by the people. It is a great event, which will have to be recalled as the beginning of a thriving spiritual life, as a new effort in corresponding at the great dialogue between God and man.
Pope Paul VI also gave communion to the faithful who were standing:
This was no accident; during the General Audience of March 17, 1965 Paul VI issued a scathing attack against the critics of the liturgical reform, and he explicitly includes among his targets those who criticize communion while standing. His remarks go beyond the critics of the liturgical reform and engages in a number of stereotypes of the faithful who attended Mass in the pre-Conciliar era, stereotypes startlingly similar to what liturgical progressivists have not ceased to repeat ever since.
Intentionally celebrating the Mass facing the people, displacing the altar from the sanctuary (and in fact doing away with a tangible “sanctuary” in the traditional sense), covering up or removing the high altar, the use of a “table-altar”, communion no longer received while kneeling … we are often assured by “conservative” writers that these had nothing to do either with Paul VI or Vatican II, and in fact became widespread only years later, and against the express will of both. However, the records of this Mass and of Masses publicly celebrated by Paul VI in the years immediately after 1965 show that he was at the vanguard of these changes. This is ironic given the tendency in some Reform of the Reform circles to point to the “1965 Missal” as the way to resacralization and the return to tradition for the wider Church — a Missal whose very birth was attended by many of the innovations now deplored by these same circles.
Equally of note is that these innovations, which many in the Reform of the Reform camp assert have nothing to do with Vatican II because these are not mentioned in the actual text of Sacrosanctum Concilium, were already taking place in Rome itself, with the Pope’s own endorsement and in his presence, long before the Council ended on December 8, 1965. Source
Please make sure you click on the source to read the above article in full. Could this Pope Paul VI who endorsed wholesale liturgical abuse in his new Mass from the get-go, be the same Pope Paul VI portrayed as hand-wringing and full of regret at the devastation wrought post-Vatican II, wondering from whence came “the smoke of Satan” that had “entered the Temple of God”? Read the Rorate Caeli article and then share your thoughts…