Where has the real understanding about God gone?
The Baltimore Catechism was very clear to the dictates we as Catholics were to follow. It was memorization of specifics we lived with for many years until Vatican II. It isn’t that the early teaching was too ancient for us to adhere with but sometimes confusion would enter our beliefs and many just left their faith.
Pope John 23rd certainly came to the rescue and as we heard he cleansed the church by opening the windows and allowed inadequate mandates to escape bringing new freedoms into our church. There were certain articles that existed with severe change and many who couldn’t seem to adjust with these new suggestive rules. One, I remember, was the reintroduction of the Permanent Diaconate. Vatican I presented this for a vote but it failed. This time it made the role of acceptance, but not overwhelming. However, as I experienced, older priests had a difficult time living with a change that was out of sync with their many years of ordination. Different dioceses had their own understanding for instance of wearing Roman collars. The Pittsburgh diocese allowed it, in 1974. When I spent some time in the Phoenix diocese their bishop said he would suspend any deacon who used a Roman collar. I had no problem delivering homilies without getting scrutinized before preaching. Some dioceses the bishop had to see the deacon’s homily before he could preach.
During the Holy Mass when distributing Holy Communion many had a hard time standing and receiving the host in the hands. I remember the task of moving across the communion rail back and forth before the requirements to kneel were changed.
Reasons for many of the changes appeared to bring a closer adherence to understanding God’s closeness with his flock, and understanding the words during the consecration during the Eucharistic prayer. Latin still is the official language of the church, but trying to follow what the priest is saying without a primer to interpret the Latin words becomes a real obstacle to respond when the proper time for response approaches.
I understand Latin has a special place during Mass, but before Vatican II all the congregation could do was sit and stare as the priest celebrated Mass. Now, unless you happen to attend a Mass that promotes parts in Latin, you are required to at least share with using English or whatever nationality you happen to be attending.
UNderstanding God’s expectations for all of us is to be able to converse with others as we evangelize in a language they can understand. That becomes a realistic need and the only way we can reach out to those we intend to catechize.
Ralph B. Hathaway