There's been alot on the NLM blog recently about Piero Marini's new book dealing with Vatican II. One of the most recent reviews I found interesting was by Fr. George Rutler, who is a well known and respected orthodox priest near NYC I believe. Here is part of his review:
Marini is not a slave to the principle of noncontradiction. The Consilium was "to reflect the hopes and needs of local churches throughout the world," but two sentences later Holy Mother Church becomes something of a nanny: "In order to renew the liturgy, it was not enough to issue new directives; it was also necessary to change the attitudes of both the clergy and the lay faithful to enable them to grasp the purpose of the reform." In case the people thought something was being done to them instead of for them, various means of social communication would be required "in preparing the faithful to welcome the reform.
"The result was implemented on March 7, 1965, with the instruction Inter Oecumenici. Busy hands then set to work in their laboratory to introduce the "broad innovations" that the author says were desired by the council. Some of these matched propositions of the 1786 Synod of Pistoia that Pius VI condemned for its Jansenism. These included vernacularism, elimination of side altars, didactic ceremonial, and astringency of symbols. The versus populum posture of the celebrant was taken for granted in the romantic archeologism that Pius XII warned against in Mediator Dei. Translation of the lectionary gradually expanded to a practical neglect of Latin. Regrettably, the author seems to take an unedifying satisfaction in how the Congregation for Rites was "marginalized" and "now had to submit to the authority of the Consilium and accept its reform unconditionally."[...]
The editors of Marini's A Challenging Reform explain that their aim is to "keep alive" the "vision" of the Consilium, but their diction is a voice in a bunker, embittered by the failure of people to be grateful. If an organism is truly healthy, it does not need a life-support system. [...]For all its proponents' goodness of intention, this kind of thing confuses universality with internationalism, treats the awesome as picturesque, suburbanizes the City of God , and patronizes nations and races. [...]
Perhaps greater contact with pastoral reality would have anticipated the chaos that comes when ardent but misbegotten theories are imposed on the people of God who do not regularly read Notitiae. The blithe obliviousness of many experts to damage all around them is, nonetheless, breathtaking. At times in various lands it is like watching a venerable procession of Alcuin, Ivo of Chartres, Gueranger, Fortescue, and Jungmann and finding, at the end Inspector Clouseau.Those entrusted with so great a project as the Second Vatican Council would have done better had they not felt obliged to act with such haste. One problem in the frantic rush for deadlines was the inconvenience of the Italian postal system. There will never be another ecumenical council without email."
The part that really struck me and that I would like to know more about is the connection he mentions between reforms that were suggested after Vatican II and those that were suggested in the 1700s, many of which were the same, and back then were condemned for their Jansenism! if such is true, how and WHY did we end up approving such reforms in the 20th century?! It is not like principles of Jansenism are now ok. This really disturbed me and sometimes I feel like the more I learn about the liturgical reforms there were the implementation of Vatican Council II, the less I want to learn about it because I do not want to become overly depressed and pessimistic about the state of liturgy in the church or reject the new mass, despite my knowledge of how many "problems" it has.
It is hard for me as a young faithful Catholic at times to be part of the movement of restoration because just thinking about it can be tiring, but I know it must have been so much worse for all those orthodox faithful Catholics who lived through the 70s and 80s.
"Deal graciously, O Lord, with Sion in thy goodness, that the walls of Jerusalem may be rebuilt. Then wilt thou again accept true sacrifice, oblations, and burnt-offerings; then shall they offer bullocks upon thy altar." - Ps. 50