The day the (liturgical) music died, Vatican 2 in open session, 1963

When the aged and semi-blind Cardinal Ottaviani too the podium and had to take it on the chin.

During the first session of the Second Vatican Council, in the debate on the Liturgy Constitution, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani asked: “Are these Fathers planning a revolution?” The Cardinal was old and partly blind. He spoke from the heart without a text about a subject which moved him deeply, and continued:

Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation.

So concerned was he at the revolutionary potential of the Constitution, and having no prepared text, the elderly Cardinal exceeded the ten-minute time limit for speeches. At a signal from Cardinal Alfrink, who was presiding at the session, a technician switched off the microphone, and Cardinal Ottaviani stumbled back to his seat in humiliation.

The Council Fathers [assembled bishops] clapped with glee, and the journalists to whose dictatorship Father Louis Bouyer claimed the Council had surrendered itself, were even more gleeful when they wrote their reports that night and when they wrote their books at the end of the session. When we laugh, we do not think, and, had they not been laughing, at least some of the bishops might have wondered whether, perhaps, Cardinal Ottaviani had a point.

He did indeed!

Such was the “progressive” atmosphere. It’s a designation dripping with irony, in that in the matter of liturgical “reform,” a key argument was to regress to the liturgical simplicity of the early church.

via The Liturgical Movement

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