Faith/Spirituality Forum: Vatican I versus Vatican II
Vatican I versus Vatican II QUESTION from Mary on November 15, 2002 Bro. Ignatius,
Thank you for responding to my earlier inquiry regarding divorce.
I have another question for you dealing with the recognition, or lack thereof, of Catholic Churches that do not subscribe to changes mandated by the Vatican II Council. In my Archdiocese we have two parishes that reject Vatican II. Their masses are said in Latin. They do not allow women to attend the priest as Altar Servers, nor to they allow women to receive communion if they are not dressed appropriately. I.E. long skirts or dresses, head coverings etc. These churches refer to themselves as the Traditional Roman Catholic Church. My archdiocese does not recognize either parish. However, I would like to know the Vatican's position on Catholic churches that reject Vatican II.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on November 21, 2002 Dear Mary:
Thanks for your question.
Priests and laity who refuse to acknowlege Vatican II are either in formal schism or are proximate to schism (schismatic attitude).
Schism is refusal to submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and suffers the penalty of automatic excommunication (if it is formal schism).
If your bishop does not recognize these parishes that you are speaking of that would mean that they are indeed in schism and are offering the Sacraments illegally.
The Sacraments offered by a schismatic priest is still valid, but they are illicit (illegal).
Such priests and their followers are risking their souls for their sin of rebellion and schism.
I do need to comment on the specific examples you gave NON of which were mandated by Vatican II. You mentioned:
1) Their masses are said in Latin.
Vatican II DID NOT mandate saying Mass in the vernacular. In fact, it is just the opposite. Latin is STILL the official language of the Mass and the Vatican II Fathers did not intend for Latin to go into disuse. Rather, the Vatican II Father allowed for the use of the vernacular when pastorally appropriate. Unfortunately this opened a door that lead to Latin becoming rarely used, but this is not what Vatican II wanted.
2) They do not allow women to attend the priest as Altar Servers
Vatican II never allowed women to be altar servers. That came years later, only a few years ago around 1996 I think, that women were allowed to be altar servers.
The reason this was allowed was NOT because the Pope approved of it. The reason was a legal technicality in Canon Law. This technicality allowed for women altar servers whether anyone like it or not. BUT, it does not mandate this. Any bishop or priest has the freedom to not use women or girls as altar servers.
The canon law allows it, but does not require it.
3) nor to they allow women to receive communion if they are not dressed appropriately.
Vatican II did not give permission for men or women to dress any way they pleased. The Church has always taught appropriate dress and modesty. This is an issue of respect toward the God of the Universe who comes into the room when the Eucharist is consecrated. If we are to dress up to go to a White House dinner, or dinner with the Queen of England, or a dinner with the Pope, how much moreso should be dress as appropriate when attending dinner (Lord's Supper) with the God of the Universe.
HOWEVER, a priest CANNOT refuse communion to a man or woman who is present at Mass and comes up to receive MERELY because he thinks they are not properly dressed, unless they are dressed in a way that is publically scandalous -- such as being naked, dressed in ways like a stripper in a G-string, etc.
Head coverings are no longer required, but many parishes encourage it.
At St. Michael House we also will not allow men or women attend our liturgies improperly dressed and we require women to wear head coverings and we are in full accord with Vatican II and Pope John Paul II and actually take a special oath to that effect.
In other words, the reason for your Bishop to disapprove these parishes is merely about the items of your examples. If it far more serious and indepth than that.
Nevertheless, the fact that your bishop has disapproved these parishes tells me that the pariest involved are schismatic and are performing their liturgies illicitly.
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