As a young man, I was a convert to the Catholic Church in the years before Vatican II, and I rejoiced in the Latin liturgy and the overwhelming majesty of the Church's traditions - not least, devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God, and the Communion of Saints.
In the announcements and changes made as the Vatican II decrees were implemented, no direct mention was made (to my knowledge) of what an eminent theologian has described to me as "the new Mariology" prescribed by a majority of "liberal" bishops, based entirely on the Gospel accounts, and quietly introduced into the Church's current teaching.
I have done my best to research this, and the only rational conclusion is that the intention was to water-down revered Church traditions in order to placate non-Catholics. If that was the intention, it has been a miserable failure. But it has backfired by weakening the Catholic Church.
We see the results in the disaffection of modern youth, slack self-discipline among baptised Catholics, falling Church attendances, lack of religious vocations, and even lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, as described by Bishop Arthur Serratelli in the September AD2000.
The world desperately needs Holy Mary, acknowledged and honoured by Catholics (and Popes, including Blessed John Paul of recent memory, and our beloved Benedict) as Queen of Heaven and Earth, and Mother of the Church. Devotion to her should be instilled in young people in the earliest stages of catechesis, and fostered through their developing years as a potent counter to drug addiction and immorality. As you can imagine, children easily identify with Mary as our Mother, and through her, are led to love her Divine Son and the Holy Trinity,
Many intelligent young people find the modern Church bland and unattractive. They search for satisfying religion, and often turn to intriguing and disciplined faiths like Buddhism and Islam, or - even worse - to bizarre sects with appealing rituals, including blatant devil worship. Sidelining Mary, and devotion to our rich heritage of saints, has created a vacuum in which evil is flourishing.
At Fatima, Mary gave clear warning of the dangers facing the world, and offered a wonderful antidote - the Rosary. "Pray the Rosary, pray together, every day!" was her appeal - yet less than 50 year later, the Catholic bishops of the world sat in solemn conclave to - in effect - undermine devotion to this wonderful prayer.
Today, how many parishes in Australia feature the Rosary as a major devotion? In my own parish of more than a thousand Catholics, a tiny group of devotees pray the Rosary formally, twice a week, and it is rare to have more than four or five people taking part.
Vatican II did produce some healthy changes, but I believe that the bishops went overboard in well-meant attempts to "modernise" the Church and pander to anti-Catholic prejudices. We can only hope that Holy Mary will forgive them - and re-assert the Queenship we need so badly!