What Vatican 2 Actually Said: Don’t Change the Liturgy
It bothers me when I attend a Novus Ordo Mass and a priest does things…different.
I’m not talking about minor things here. I mean additions, subtractions or changes words around that he shouldn’t be changing. When I offer up a complaint, I am responded with “he’s a priest, he’s allowed to do that.”
Interestingly enough, the Second Vatican Council has a response to that:
22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
23. That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.
As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided.
The Second Vatican Council, while many times may be unclear, is clear that only the Magisterium of the Church can determine when a part of the Liturgy may be changed.
This means that not the deacon, not the priest, not the Bishop, not even the Pope, can change something based on his personal preference. This right alone is left strictly for the Church to determine.
The Church is the safeguard of the liturgy. The next time you attend a Mass where the priest changes things to his liking, call him out. If he uses the Second Vatican Council in his defense, use this in yours.