My friend Charles and I part company on the value we place on the Rorate Caeli site. I’ll end commentary on the source with that, but offer his five questions here:
1. Since the promulgation of the Pauline Missal (c.1970) have the goals of greater participation and greater understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice been demonstrably met?
Participation, yes. I’m not sure what “greater understanding” would look like. I think pre-conciliar Catholics were fine with identifying what happens at Mass in terms of traditional language. I think the needle has moved a bit from a narrow interpretation of Calvary and a wider view of the Paschal Mystery. But I’m not sure most Catholics then or now could describe that. Many, maybe most of the Catholics with whom I’ve interacted in the past thirty years of ministry might be able to articulate it, but not in a theological way. I don’t think some traditional-leaning Catholics have picked up on the nuance here, though they would be able to parrot the 50’s language in such a way that Father Smith would understand and accept.
2. Have the translations of scripture and other texts into the vernaculars demonstrably raised the critical thinking skills and personal piety of the Faithful?
I don’t know that critical thinking skills were a priority of the Council bishops or the reformers. I think Scripture texts are well-integrated into the prayer lives of many Catholics. I suspect that now, as then, Catholics have little practice in applying the Word to their daily lives. Lectio divina, for example, was a practice limited to the monastery before Vatican II. The same cannot be said today. “Personal piety” may be a careless term here. Has the accessibility of the Bible at liturgy improved the prayer life of Catholics? Undeniably yes. Does room to grow remain? Certainly.
3. In addition to perceived benefits of the use of vernaculars in ritual and devotions, have there also been both subtle and obvious dangers, divisions and contentions in multi-cultural demographic regions?
This was an issue also floated in Liturgiae Authenticam. I’m not sure that Catholic contentiousness can be pinned on Mass in the vernacular. The blogosphere is certainly more to blame. I think we’re looking at a phenomenon of human nature and parochialism. But at least we have fewer stories of rival Eucharistic processions brawling in the streets.
4. Have foreign concerns to the sacred rites such as nationalism, patriotism and secularism resulted from vernacular and polyglot usage in the liturgy? What are some consistent experiential experiences of such detriments?
See above. These existed before the council. In a country like the US, the melting pot of suburbia has blended ethnic Catholicism into a fair shade of brown.
5. Does an appreciation of great diversity among vernacular usage at liturgy result in a sort of “Babel-like” confusion, or has it achieved the coherence and unity the rituals seek to convey?
I suspect that where we lack uniformity, we have the opportunity to appreciate Catholic unity in expressions of diversity.