Debate about the liturgical reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council are, unfortunately, all too often the source of division in the life of the contemporary Catholic Church, so that what ought to be a source of unity and strength has devolved into the complete antithesis. In his book, True Reform, Massimo Faggioli argues strongly that this debate has a wider significance beyond the liturgical form used by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, extending to an understanding of the Church itself as well as the other documents developed and promulgated by the Council, which should all be viewed the Council’s first and most consequential document, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. A failure to identify the significance of the Council’s first document can lead to a misunderstanding of both the Council as a whole and the liturgical reforms that followed from it.
Faggioli offers a thorough reflection on the relationship between the liturgical constitution and the whole achievement of Vatican II and argues that the interconnections between the two must emerge if we want to understand the impact of the council on global Catholicism. Faggioli goes on to argue, quite cogently, that to reject the liturgical reforms that come from Vatican II is tantamount to rejecting the entire event of Vatican II.
“Sacrosanctum Concilium rebuilt the vital connection between theology, liturgy, and the life of the Church: whoever wants to reverse the liturgical reform of Vatican II must also be ready to break a connection that has already become part of the sensus fidelium.” (p 168)
For anyone who claims to be a faithful member of the post-Vatican II Church, this book makes for almost compulsory reading in order to fully appreciate the true significance of the Council’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and the impact of its reforms on the life of the Catholic Church into the twenty-first century.