Thursday, December 29, 2005


by Fr. Paul Leonard, B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div.

[The author of this article proposes to demonstrate that the
traditional Latin Mass remains to this day the official liturgy
of the Roman Church. It is also demonstrated that the institution
of the new rite was illegal and contrary to Catholic dogmatic
teaching and the Second Vatican Council.]

On July 11, 1988, Pope John Paul, speaking of those
Catholics who feel attached to the traditional Latin Mass stated
in his Motu Proprio: "...I wish to manifest my will to
facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary
this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those
engaged in the pastoral ministry of the Church." In this
statement, the Holy Father has made it clear that Catholics do
indeed have a right to their traditional rite of Mass, and he
makes it equally clear that the bishops and pastors must respect
this right.

Cardinal Silvio Oddi further clarified the matter when he
stated: "It needs to be said that the Mass of St. Pius V has in
fact never been officially abrogated. Paul VI's motu proprio
instituting the new mass contained no form of words explicitly
forbidding the Tridentine rite."1 Bishop Forester, quoted by Fr.
Brian Houghton, also explained the matter when he wrote : "The
New Ordo merely a licit exception, a derogation, to the
previous laws which are still in force."2 What this means is that
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Legally the traditional rite remains
in force as it was mandated by Pope St. Pius V, while the Novus
Ordo is merely an exception to the rule.

Nevertheless, a great number of bishops and other
ecclesiastics who occupy positions of authority have attempted to
unlawfully suppress the traditional Roman Rite of Mass. The
intolerance and injustice which a large segment of the hierarchy
has demonstrated towards the rightful aspirations of
traditionally minded Catholics has prompted Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith, to call for "an examination of conscience,": "We
should allow ourselves to ask fundamental questions, about the
defects in the pastoral life of the Church...", Cardinal
Ratzinger said.3

Certainly there may be many who will ask: "What about
Vatican II? Didn't the Council decree that there should be a new
rite of Mass?" The answer to this question is a very emphatic
NO. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the liturgy of the
Roman Rite be revised. It did not decree a radical reform or an
entirely new rite. The Liturgy Constitution, SACROSANCTUM

The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a
way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its
several parts, as well as the connection between them,
may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and
active participation by the faithful may be more easily
achieved. For this purpose the rites are to be
simplified, due care being taken to preserve their
substance; elements which, with the passage of time,
came to be duplicated, or were added with but little
advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements
which have suffered injury through accidents of history
are now to be restored according to the pristine norm
of the holy Fathers, to the extent that they may seem
useful or necessary. 4

There are some key passages in this text, and elsewhere in
this conciliar document that must be examined in order to
determine if the creation of a New Order of Mass and the
suppression of the traditional rite corresponds to the express
wishes of the Second Vatican Council, or if it is rather a
rejection of both that Council and the perpetual teaching and
tradition of the Church:

1) The rite of the Mass is to be revised...
The revision of the ancient Roman Rite is
prescribed, there is no mention of a liturgical reform
that will sweep away the old rite and replace it with a
new one.
2) ...the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several
parts...more clearly manifested...
The sacred mystery of the altar must be manifested
more clearly, it must not be obscured in ambiguities.
3) ...restored according to the pristine norm of the holy
Restoration means that the ancient structure and
form are to be preserved, and not be replaced with
novel inventions.

In addition to these there are other passages of this
document which express the mind of the Council in those matters
concerning the revision of the liturgy:

Finally, in faithful obedience to
tradition, the sacred Council declares that
Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully
recognized rites to be of equal right and
dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in
the future and to foster them in every way.
The Council also desires that, where
necessary, the rites be revised carefully in
the light of sound tradition, and that they
be given new vigor to meet the present-day
circumstances and needs. 5
In order that sound tradition be
retained...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. 6

In this restoration both text and rites
should be ordered so as to express more clearly
the holy things they signify. 7

Here are the key passages:

1) faithful obedience to tradition...
2) ...all lawfully recognized preserve them in the
future and to foster them in every way...
3) ...the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound
4) ...In order that sound tradition be retained...there must
be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely
and certainly requires them...
5) ...any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically
from forms already existing...
6) ...In this restoration both text and rites should be ordered
so as to express more clearly the holy things they signify.

It is absolutely clear according to the text of SACROSANCTUM
CONCILIUM, that the traditional rite of Mass of the Roman Church
is to be preserved and restored, and it must clearly express the
dogmatic truths that it had previously expressed. The Council
very clearly did not call for the institution of an entirely new
rite of Mass, but, not unlike the Council of Trent , it intended
to revise and preserve the ancient Roman Rite.

In 1570 Pope St. Pius V revised and codified the Roman Rite
of the Mass in the bull QUO PRIMUM. It is important to bear in
mind that Pope St. Pius V did not institute the Tridentine Mass,
but he merely restored and codified the immemorial Roman Rite of
the Mass. The Council of Trent had no intention to institute a
new liturgy. "The Council of Trent (1545-1563)," Davies observes,
"did indeed appoint a commission to examine the Roman Missal, and
to revise and restore it 'according to the custom and rite of the
Holy Fathers.' The new Missal was eventually promulgated by Pope
St. Pius V in 1570 with the Bull QUO PRIMUM."

In the Bull QUO PRIMUM, Pius V did not institute a new rite
of the Mass. Davies demonstrates this by citing eminent

...Father David Knowles, who was Britain's most
distinguished Catholic scholar until his death in 1974,
pointed out" that:

The Missal of 1570 was indeed the result of
instructions given at Trent, but it was, in
fact, as regards the Ordinary, Canon, Proper
of the time and much else a replica of the
Roman Missal of 1474, which in its turn
repeated in all essentials the practice of
the Roman Church of the epoch of Innocent
III, which itself derived from the Usage of
Gregory the Great and his successors in the
seventh century.In short, the Missal of 1570
was, in all essentials, the usage of the
mainstream of medieval European liturgy which
included England and all its rites.8

Although the rite continued to develop after the time of St.
Gregory, Father Fortescue explains that:

All later modifications were fitted into the
old arrangement, and the most important parts
were not touched. From, roughly, the time of
St. Gregory we have the text of the Mass, in
order and arrangement, as a sacred tradition
that no one has ventured to touch except in
unimportant details.9

Fortescue continues:

So our Mass goes back without essential
change, to the age when it first developed
out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still
redolent of that liturgy, of the days when
Caesar ruled the world ...The final result of
our enquiry is that, in spite of unresolved
problems, in spite of later changes, there is
not in Christendom another rite so venerable
as ours. 10

Father Louis Bouyer:

The Roman Canon, as it is today, [written before
Vatican II] goes back to Gregory the Great. There is
not, in the East or in the West, a Eucharistic Prayer
remaining in use to this day, that can boast of such
antiquity. In the eyes not only of the Orthodox, but
of Anglicans and even those Protestants who have
still to some extent, a feeling for tradition. To
jettison it would be a rejection of any claim on the
part of the Roman Church to represent the true
Catholic Church."

Similarly, Kevin Starr in the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER (15 April
1978) explains:

It took the Latin Church 500 years to
evolve a worship service equal to this
awesome compelling leap to the Godhead
through the Risen Eucharistic Christ. For a
Thousand years Catholics prayed this way at
Mass. In the 16th century Council of Trent,
this 1000 year old Mass was standardized,
codified, made the norm of the universal
Church. Another 400 years went by - 400 years
of dignified compelling worship...

In his recent work, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE, Davies makes the
important observation that:

At no time in the history of the Roman
Rite was there ever any question of a pope
setting up a commission to compose new
prayers and ceremonies. The ceremonies
evolved almost imperceptibly, and in every
case, codification, that is the incorporation
of these prayers into the liturgical books,
followed upon their development...particular
prayers and ceremonies were found in the
Missal because they were being used in the
Mass, and not vice versa. Professor Owen
Chadwick, one of Britain's greatest
historians, remarks: "Liturgies are not
made, they grow in the devotion of the
centuries." 11

Precisely what St. Pius V did to the ancient Mass rite of
the Roman Church is succinctly summed up by Davies:

The Bull QUO PRIMUM of St. Pius V:

1) does not promulgate a new rite but consolidates and
codifies the immemorial Roman Rite;

2) It extends its use throughout the Latin Church, except,

3) for rites having a continuous usage of over two hundred

4) and grants an indult to all priests to freely and
lawfully use this Missal in perpetuity;

5) The Bull specifies minutely the persons, times and the
places to which its provisions apply;

6) The obligation is confirmed by express sanctions.

Since that time, no Pope has ever himself formally decreed
the abrogation or obrogation of QUO PRIMUM, and certainly no Pope
has ever presumed to abolish the traditional Roman Rite of the
Mass. From this it should already be clear that any priest of
the Roman Rite is entitled to celebrate the traditional Mass
anywhere, at any time, in accordance with liturgical laws...(and)
the laity are just as much entitled to assist at the traditional
Mass as priests of the Roman Rite are to celebrate it.

The traditional Roman Rite of Mass is the universal and
perpetual custom of the Church, rooted in Apostolic Tradition. It
cannot ever be lawfully suppressed. The proposition that the
established customary ceremonies and rites of the Roman Church
can be suppressed and replaced by the innovations and inventions
of bureaucrats is contrary to the doctrine of the Faith. The
Roman Rite, as we have seen, is the most ancient rite of Mass;
and, as Jungmann points out, it grew out of the apostolic
traditions. Concerning the Canon of that rite, the Council of
Trent declared, " it is made up from the words of Our Lord from
apostolic traditions, and from devout instructions of the holy
pontiffs." 12

Very clearly, the ancient Roman Rite of the Mass is not
something that a Pope instituted or decreed into existence. It
is the sacred patrimony of the Roman Church, and it cannot be
lawfully suppressed. St. Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church,
wrote in his Summa Doctrinae Christianae: "It behooves us
unanimously and inviolably to observe the ecclesiastical
traditions, whether codified or simply retained by the customary
practice of the Church." We see the same teaching set forth by
St. Peter Damien, also a Doctor of the Church: "It is unlawful to
alter the established customs of the Church...Remove not the
ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set." This doctrine is
the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, and therefore it
must be believed with divine and Catholic Faith, since it is set
forth is the Profession of Faith of Pius IV:

I most steadfastly admit and embrace Apostolic and
Ecclesiastical Traditions and all other observances and
institutions of the said Church...I also receive and
admit the received and approved ceremonies of the
Catholic Church used in the solemn administration of
the sacraments. 13

When Pope Paul VI approved the Missal for the New Rite of
Mass, he did not abolish the Traditional Rite. Pope Paul's
Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum is a very curious
document. Being an Apostolic Constitution, one would expect it to
solemnly decree legislation for the purpose of regulating the
discipline of the universal Church. However, Missale Romanum does
nothing of that nature.14 It does not establish any norms for the
use of the new Missal in the churches of the Latin Rite. In
Missale Romanum, Pope Paul VI did nothing but approve the text
of the new Missal. In doing so he also decreed the addition of
three new Eucharistic Prayers into the Missal and establish the
formulae of consecration to be published in the new Missal.
Hence, when Pope Paul VI declared: "We wish that these our
decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in
the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the
apostolic constitutions and ordinances issues by our
Predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving
particular mention and derogation", he made no ruling over the
discipline that governs the worship of the Church. Nothing at all
is prescribed concerning where when, and by whom this new
liturgical book must, or even may be used.

The use of the new Missal is simply not mandated. It is
nowhere mandated that this Missal is henceforth to be used in the
Churches of the Latin Rite by the clergy of that rite. The only
thing that Missale Romanum mandates is the inclusion of prayers
and formulae into the book! It derogates the laws that had
previously proscribed the publication of any new missal, but it
does not derogate the previous legislation which forbids the use
of any new missal.

Bishop Forester, in Fr. Brian Houghton's book, MITRE AND
CROOK observes:

This has been the most puzzling history of all.
May I remind you, Fathers, that we already have two
documents of the highest conceivable authority: the
Bull QUO PRIMUM and the Constitution SACROSANCTUM
CONCILIUM, which are, moreover, in line with each
other. What happens next?

On April 3rd, 1969, a Papal Constitution entitled
Missale Romanum was promulgated purporting to be the
law governing the New Order of Mass, as yet
unpublished. In this original version it is not a law
at all but an explanatory introduction to a permission.
Even the word 'Constitutio' is nowhere to be found in
the text, merely in the title:

1) There is no abrogation of previous legislation and
no clause ordering the use of the new rite.

2) There is no sentence to show that it is
obligatory, let alone exclusive.

3) There is no dating clause to show when it should
come into effect.

This of course did not prevent the powers that be from
saying that it was a binding law. to do so they had
recourse to a mistranslation. What is so curious is
that the mistranslation was common to all languages. I
have read it myself in English, French and Italian I am
told that it is the same in German and Spanish. How can
this possibly come about? How can all these expert
translators make the identical mistranslation? Your
guess is as good as mine.

Here is the sentence, the fourth before the end of
the original version, the fifth in the Acta:

Ad extremum, ex iis quae hactenus de novo
Missale Romano exposuimus quiddam nunc cogere
et efficere placet...

I have underlined the mistranslated words. "Cogere
et efficere" is a well known Ciceronian phrase to be
found in most dictionaries. Even if the translators
could not be bothered to look it up, it is perfectly
clear that "quiddam cogere" breaks down into "agere
quiddam con" = to work something together, which is in
the context "to sum up." Equally, "quiddam efficere"
breaks down into "facere quiddam ex" = to make
something out, which is in the context "to draw a

And what did all the translators make of it? "In
conclusion, We now wish to give the force of law to all
We have declared..."; and in French, "Pour terminer,
Nous voulons donner force de loi a tout ce que Nous
avons expose..."; and in Italian etc. It is strange, my
dear Fathers, but such is the truth: "to sum up and
draw a conclusion" becomes "to give the force of law."

And what did I do about it? Absolutely nothing for
the simple reason that I did not bother to read the
Latin until two or three years later. Do not judge me
too severely. Have you read it?
But that is not the end. Worse is to come. The
Acta for June, 1969, were published as usual about two
months later. When it appeared, a brand new clause had
been inserted into the original document as the
penultimate paragraph. It reads: Quae Constitutione hac
Nostra praescripsimus vigere incipient a XXX proximi
mensis Novembris hoc anno, id est a Dominica I
Adventus. That is, "What we have ordered by this Our
constitution will begin to take effect as from
November of this year (1969), that is the first Sunday
of Advent." You will notice:

1) that for the first and only time the word
"Constitutio" appears in the text.

2) For the first time, too, a word signifying "to
order" is introduced - "praescripsimus."

3) For the first time a date is given on which the
order is to become effective. This is a permission
turned into a law.

Actually, there are a couple of snags even about
this insertion. The word "praescripsimus" = We have
ordered - is not the proper term in Latin, but I shall
not bother you with refinements. More important, it is
in the wrong tense. Up to this point the legislator has
prescribed nothing at all. It is precisely in this
clause that he claims to do so. The verb, therefore
should be in the present tense: "praescribimus" = "what
We are ordering by this our Constitution": not in the
past perfect, "what we have prescribed." The only
explanation I can think of for this howler is
recognition by its author that he is tampering with a
pre-existing text. Moreover, the logical conclusion
from the use of the wrong tense can scarcely be what
its author intended: since nothing was prescribed,
nothing is prescribed; and the legislator, to boot, is
still prescribing nothing. What a mess! I wonder how
long a civil government would last which thus tampered
with its own laws?

There is a last remark I wish to make about this
strange document. It winds up with the usual clause de
style: "We wish , moreover, that these decisions and
ordinances of ours should be stable and effective now
and in the future, notwithstanding - in so far as may
be necessary - Constitutions and apostolic regulations
published by Our predecessors and all other ordinances,
even those requiring special mention and derogation."

At long last - indeed it is the last word - there is a
"technical" term in the constitution, so we know
exactly where we stand: "derogation". The New Ordo is
therefore only a permission after all. It is merely a
licit exception, a derogation, to the previous laws
which are still in force. They have not been
abrogated...It is nonsense to claim that the bull Quo
Primum has been abrogated.

After the publication of Missale Romanum there appeared
other documents emanating from the Sacred Congregation for Divine
Worship, all of which seem to implicitly assume as their point
of departure the legally unfounded notion that the New Missal has
replaced the Missal promulgated by Pope St. Pius V. Ordo Missae
specifies the rubrics for the new rite. Ordo Lectionum Missae
presents the new Lectionary for the new rite. There is an
Instruction on October 20 1969. None of these documents bears the
signature of the Pope. They are curial documents.

All of the curial legislation that would attempt to nullify
QUO PRIMUM is deficient, because no office, congregation, or
commission can validly overrule the solemn decrees of a Supreme
Pontiff. Only the Pope possesses the plenitude of power which
the Lord conferred upon Peter and his successors when He said: "I
will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And
whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be
loosed also in Heaven."15 While it is true that the Pope's
subordinates exercise papal authority when it is delegated to
them, that delegated authority only exist within defined limits.
Only the Pope can exercise the full plenitude of power of the
keys, because Christ conferred that singular prerogative upon his
vicar alone. The Pope, therefore, cannot validly confer that upon
anyone, and hence, it is impossible for the officials of the
Roman Curia to exercise the supreme power of the keys to loose
what a previous pope has solemnly declared to be binding in
perpetuity. This is a power that Christ singularly bestowed upon
the Roman Pontiff, and therefore cannot be validly delegated to a
subordinate. This is precisely the juridical deficiency of the
above mentioned post conciliar curial documents, since there is
absolutely nothing of a legal nature in the Conciliar decrees
which presumes or intends to abrogate QUO PRIMUM or to abolish
the traditional Roman Rite.

After the publication of Missale Romanum, someone in the
Vatican noticed that Pope Paul's promulgation was only an
approval for the text of the new book, and therefore someone
decided that the Missal for the New Mass needed to be promulgated
in such a manner that would authorize the use of the new Missal.
This is precisely what the bureaucrats did when on March 26,
1970, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, by order of
Paul VI "promulgated" the new Missal. It acknowledges the fact
that Missale Romanum approved texts for the Missal (approbatis
textibus ad Missale Romanum pertinentibus per Constitutionem
Apostolicam Missale Romanum). The document allows the immediate
use of the Latin edition as soon as it is published and concedes
to the bishops' conferences the authority to establish when the
vernacular editions may be used. This decree in no way attempted
to abrogate the old rite, nor did it mandate the use of the new
rite, but it merely permitted the use of the new Missal. 16

Similarly the Sacred Congregation's Instruction of Sept. 5,
1970 does not presume to impose any obligation that would require
the use of the New Rite of Mass. It contains no nonobstat, and
when asked, Paul VI did not refer to this document as imposing
any obligation to use the New Missal.

Just what was the origin of the alleged obligation to use
the new Missal? Michael Davies explains that "...Pope Paul VI
himself stated in his Consistory Allocution of 24 May 1976 that
'the adoption of the (new) Ordo Missae is certainly not left up
the free choice of priests or faithful.' This indicates that he
himself believed the New Mass to be mandatory - but,
astonishingly, as his authority for this opinion, he cited the
1971 Instruction and not his own Apostolic Constitution." That
document was in fact, not even an Instruction but merely a
Notification. It is impossible for a mere notification made by a
Roman Congregation to overrule the solemn decree of a Supreme
Pontiff, and it is absolutely incredible that a Pope could
believe that curial bureaucrats can establish the liturgical
discipline of the Roman Church, and that they could do it by
means of a mere notification! Unfortunately, that is what Pope
Paul believed, but that was only his personal opinion which he
never expressed in any formal and legally binding decree.

Some have had recourse to the law governing immemorial
customs in order to adhere to the traditional rite without being
persecuted by various ecclesiastical authorities. The Sacred
Congregation for Divine Worship, however, has demonstrated that
it has no respect for Canon Law when the law interferes with
their agenda. According to both the old and the new codes of
Canon Law, an immemorial custom cannot be abrogated except by
explicit mention in the new legislation, and no post conciliar
legislation has ever presumed to abrogate the immemorial custom
of the venerable Roman Rite. That unfortunately did not prevent
the Sacred Congregation from issuing a ruling on 28 October 1974
which denied that the Tridentine Mass could be celebrated under
"any pretext of custom, even immemorial custom." Unabashedly and
in dictatorial strongman fashion, the bureaucrats of the Roman
Curia seem to be saying: "To Hell with the Law, you must obey us
even if we are outside the Law."

Davies summed up well the legal quandary of the Curia when
he wrote:

The problem faced by the Vatican as a
result of the widespread support for the
Tridentine Mass was that it had condoned its
almost universal suppression without giving
formal and binding legal sanction to this
suppression; and, furthermore, this illegal
suppression has been given support in
documents emanating from the Sacred
Congregation for Divine Worship. 17

All of the new legislation enacted by Paul VI only derogates
the previous legislation which would have prohibited the new
rite,18 but nowhere does any of Paul VI's legislation ever
presume to abrogate, obrogate 19 or in any manner abolish the
provisions of QUO PRIMUM which explicitly "give and grant in
perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any Church
whatsoever this Missal (the Tridentine Missal) may be followed
absolutely, without any scruple of conscience, or fear of
incurring any penalty, judgement or censure, and may be freely
and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons,
chaplains and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever
order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate
Mass otherwise than enjoined by us." Hence, any prelate, be he
bishop or cardinal or whatever, who attempts to forbid the
celebration of the Traditional Mass is entirely outside the law.
In fact, if any ordinary presumes to forbid the traditional Latin
Mass, he thereby refuses submission to formally enacted papal
legislation which remains in force, and therefore that bishop
falls into schism.20

The indult granted by Pope John Paul II in 1984 in no way
abolishes the traditional Mass. First of all, the document does
not mandate the use of the new Missal nor suppress the old rite.
It is only a permission: The indult permits the use of the old
Missal under certain circumstances, but there is no law that
prohibits its use when those conditions are not present.

It is very important to bear in mind that a priest is bound
in conscience under pain of mortal sin to obey the solemn
decrees whereby the Pope governs the liturgical discipline of the
universal Church. Pope Paul VI only approved the text of the new
Missal, and therefore, in accordance with Canon 18 of the new
Code of Canon Law (Canon 19 in the old Code), the derogations
mentioned in the nonobstat clause of Missale Romanum refer only
to previous legislation that proscribed the publication of any
new Missal, but it did not derogate or in any way nullify the
solemnly decreed papal legislation that prohibits the use of a
new rite of Mass. That legislation, which forbids the use of any
new rite remains in force to this day.

The traditional Roman Rite of Mass grew out of the worship
of the entire Church, and was then legally codified after the
development had already reached its term. The Tridentine Mass
was truly and fully a profession of the faith of the Catholic
Church. As Jungmann observes, "The entire teaching of the Church
is contained in the liturgy".(Handing on the Faith)

The New Mass, on the other hand, did not spring forth from
the living worship of the Catholic Church, but was drawn up by a
commission of bureaucrats. It is not an explicit profession of
faith as was the old rite, but rather it clearly reflects the
mind-set of that relatively small group of bureaucrats and
experts. The New Mass has, as Davies points out, "in many points
every possibility of satisfying the most modernistic of
Protestants." This was also the opinion of Cardinals Ottaviani
and Bacci, who presented to Pope Paul VI the Critical Study on
the New Order of Mass which states: "...the Novus Ordo Missae--
considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing
evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted--
represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from
the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in
Session XXII of the Council of Trent..."

The bureaucrats have mesmerized a considerable portion of
the bishops, many of whom believe that the New Mass is the fruit
of the liturgical reform decreed by the Council. We have seen, as
Davies points out, "the Liturgy Constitution ordering that all
rights shall be preserved and fostered...authorizing a revision
of the Roman Rite (but)...the New Mass is not an act of
obedience to a decision of Vatican II, it is a calculated
rejection of the Liturgy Constitution of that Council." 21

SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM stated that "the liturgy is made up
of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements
subject to change."22 The Council, however, did not make any
declaration regarding what changes would be licit. Nevertheless,
there is a body of Catholic teaching regarding what may lawfully
be done to the liturgy which, unfortunately seems to have been
largely forgotten by the vast majority of Catholics, laity and
hierarchy alike.

Changes in the liturgy, throughout the history of the
Church, have been the result of a gradual development that took
place during the course of the centuries. This is what Canon
Smith explained in THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, where he
says "...throughout the history of the development of the
sacramental liturgy, the tendency has been towards growth-
additions and accretions, the effort to obtain a fuller more
perfect symbolism."23 "This", Davies points out, "was a key point
in the Catholic Bishops' vindication of APOSTOLICAE CURAE":

That in earlier times local Churches were
permitted to add new prayers and ceremonies
is acknowledged...But that they were also
permitted to subtract prayers and ceremonies
in previous use, and even to remodel the
existing rites in a most drastic manner, is a
proposition for which we know of no
historical foundation, and which appears to
us as absolutely incredible. 24

Pope Leo XIII explained in his Constitution Orientalium
Dignitas, that the Church "allows and makes provision for some
innovations in exterior forms, mostly when they are in conformity
with the ancient past." So, Pope Leo explained, that some
innovations can be made, but these are mostly changes that
restore the rite. Pope Pius XI summed up well what has always
been the mind of the Church down through the ages when he, in
Divini Cultus stated:

No wonder then, that the Roman Pontiffs have been so
solicitous to safeguard and protect the liturgy. They
have used the same care in making laws for the
regulation of the liturgy, in preserving it from
adulteration, as they have in giving accurate
expression to the dogmas of the faith.

It is not sufficient that a liturgy merely be free from any
explicit error in order to be licit. The liturgy is not only an
expression of worship, but it is also a profession of faith, and
as such it must give clear expression to the doctrine of the
faith. Pope Pius XII, in his Encyclical Mediator Dei (1947),

In the liturgy we make explicit profession of our
Catholic faith;...the whole liturgy contains the
Catholic faith, inasmuch as it is a public profession
of the faith of the Church...This is the origin of the
well known and time-honored principle: 'the norm of
prayer establishes the norm of belief'.

Pius XI also issued statements of a similar nature: "It (the
Mass) is the most important organ of the Ordinary and Universal
Magisterium of the Church"25 ; and in his Encyclical "Quas
Primas" 1925, the same Pontiff explained that "people are
instructed in the truths of the faith and brought to appreciate
the inner joys of religion far more effectively by the
...celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any pronouncement,
however weighty, made by the teaching of the Church." Three years
later the same Pope elaborated this point more fully in the
Apostolic Constitution Divini Cultus (1928):

There exists, therefore, a close relationship between
dogma and the sacred liturgy, as also between the
Christian cult and the sanctification of the people.
This is why Pope Celestine I thought that the rule of
faith is expressed in the ancient liturgical
formulations; he said that 'the norm of prayer
establishes the norm of belief'.

It may be objected that the New Rite of Mass is only a
revision of the immemorial Roman Rite. This is quite simply not
true. The author of the New Mass was Annibale Bugnini and the
bureaucrats who worked under him. Concerning the New Rite,
Bugnini himself said: "It is not simply a question of restoring a
valuable masterpiece but in some cases it will be necessary to
provide new structures for entire will be a truly new

Likewise Joseph Gelineau S.J. : "Let them compare it with
the Mass we now have. Not only the words, the melodies and some
of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a
different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without
ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has
been destroyed. Some walls of the former edifice have fallen
while others have changed their appearance, to the extent that it
appears today either as a ruin or the partial substructure of a
different building"

For those who are not familiar with the name of Joseph
Gelineau, Michael Davies provides the following information:

Father Gelineau was present at the Council as a
liturgical expert. He performed the same function after
the Council for the CONSILIUM, the commission set up to
implement the Constitution."

It is a matter beyond any reasonable dispute that the Novus
Ordo Missae is a new rite of Mass, as different from the Roman
Rite as the Roman Rite is different from the Byzantine Rite. The
authors of the New Rite have explicitly stated this. What further
need have we of proof when they themselves admit so much, and are
therefore judged by the words of their own mouths?

In a well known quotation, Paul VI lamented the fact that
the Church seemed to be undergoing its own self demolition. He
was not alone in giving expression to this belief. Valerian
Cardinal Gracias made the same observation when he said that "The
Church is being threatened by a real disintegration which is
taking place within..." The Modernist Apostasy has been greatly
aided in the nurturing of this process by the replacement of the
traditional liturgy by the New Mass. The Council of Trent, as the
Critical Study on the New Mass presented to Paul VI by Cardinals
Ottaviani and Bacci explains, "by fixing definitively the
"canons" of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against
any heresy which might attack the integrity of the mystery." In
the post-conciliar Church, that barrier has been torn down, and
with it has been demolished the most powerful bulwark of defense
against the Modernist Heresy, the most deadly enemy our Faith
has ever faced. 27 28

This article has been written in response to Cardinal
Ratzinger's call for an examination of conscience. I would
therefore like to conclude this essay with a portion of a page
from Davies which presents Cardinal Ratzinger's own observation
about the present state of the Church:

How could it be that a Council which was intended
to inaugurate an era of renewal was, in fact, followed
by a period of what Cardinal Gracias described only
too accurately as "a real disintegration"? That this is
indeed the case was observed by the outstanding French
theologian and liturgist, Father Louis Bouyer, who was
an expert adviser at the Council. "Unless we are
blind," he remarked, "we must even state bluntly that
what we see looks less like the hoped-for regeneration
of Catholicism than its accelerated decomposition."29
There are, of course, many in the Church today who
prefer not to face up to the reality of what is taking
place by closing their eyes. Many bishops, alas, are
numbered among them. In 1985, an Extraordinary Synod
took place in Rome...In many cases...the bishops
claimed that the hoped for renewal had indeed taken
place, and that the Church was flourishing as never
before; and they said this despite the fact that every
available piece of statistically verifiable evidence
pointed to the opposite conclusion. There was
considerable animosity manifested by European bishops
toward Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had
admitted frankly that "it is incontrovertible that this
period has definitely been unfavourable for the
Catholic Church." 30



1- Silvio Cardinal Oddi, Camerlengo of the Sacred College, made
this statement to Michael de Jaeghere in an interview published
in the first week of August 1988 in Valeurs Actuelles.

2- This quotation appeared in Fr. Byron Houghton's book, MITRE
AND CROOK, and is reproduced at length below.

3- Address of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops of Chile, July
13, 1988; Santiago, Chile. Published in Italian in the July 30
- Aug. 5 edition of Il Sabato, and in English by The Wanderer,
Sept. 8, 1988.


5- ibid., par. 4.

6- ibid., par. 23.

7- ibid., par. 21.

8- cf. Davies, THE TRIDENTINE MASS, p. 21; The Tablet, 24 July,
1971, p.724.

9- Fr. Adrian Fortescue, THE MASS, London, 1917, p. 173.

10- ibid., p.213.

11- Davies, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE; Long Prairie, 1987, p. 14.

12- D 942.

13- A MANUAL OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas
Scannell, Kegan Paul:London, 1909.

14- It must be recalled that it pertains to the very essence of
the law that it:

1) Must be preceptive in its wording if it is going to
make something obligatory.
2) It must specify who are the subjects of the law, and it
must specify where and when the law will be in force.

3) The law must be publicly promulgated in the manner
specified by law, by the competent authority.

It is manifestly evident from the above considerations that
Pope Paul's Missale Romanum did not make the new Mass obligatory.

15- Mt. 16:19.

16- This raises the important legal question regarding the
validity of the authorization for the use of the new Missal.
Pope Paul VI only approved the text for the new Missal, but he
himself never formally authorized its use, nor did he derogate
those provisions of QUO PRIMUM which explicitly proscribe the
use of any missal other than the Tridentine Missal. Now only
the Pope himself is juridically competent to validly enact such
legislation whose validity requires the exercise of the full
plenitude of the power of the keys, and consequently the use of
the new Missal of Paul VI remains legally irregular to this day.

1982, p.35.

18- From a strict legal viewpoint which Canon Law requires in
such matters (can. 18), it can be seen that Pope Paul VI only
derogated those provisions which prohibited the publication of
any new missal; but since Missale Romanum nowhere authorizes
the use of the new Missal, none of its nonobstat provisions has
derogated the decrees which prohibit the use of any missal
other than the Tridentine Missal.

19- Legislation that abrogates explicitly abolishes previous
legislation, whereas legislation that obrogates replaces what
was there before it. Legislation that derogates leaves the
previous legislation in force while nullifying some of its
provisions. No Pope has abolished QUO PRIMUM, and therefore it
is not abrogated; no Pope has formally mandated the use of the
new Missal by a legislative decree, therefore QUO PRIMUM is not

20- cf. Can. 751. N.B.It is the teaching of both Suarez and
Cardinal Torquemada that by the attempt to suppress the
traditional liturgy of the Church, one falls into schism.

Cardinal Juan de Torquemada O.P., 1388-1468; Commentarii in
Decretum Gratiani (1519), and Summa de Ecclesia (1489):

In this way, the Pope could, without doubt, fall into
Schism...Especially is this true with regard to the
divine liturgy, as for example, if he did not wish
personally to follow the universal customs and rites of
the Church.... Thus it is that Innocent states (De
Consuetudine) that, it is necessary to obey a Pope in
all things as long as he does not himself go against
the universal customs of the Church, but should he go
against the universal customs of the Church, he need
not be followed...."

Francisco Suarez S.J., 1548-1617, called by Pope Paul V
"Doctor Eximius et Pius" (Excellent and Pius Doctor), usually
considered the greatest theologian of the Society of Jesus:

A Pope "falls into Schism if he departs himself from
the body of the Church by refusing to be in communion
with her.... The Pope can become a schismatic in this
manner if he does not wish to be in proper communion
with the body of the Church, a situation which
would arise if he tried to excommunicate the entire
Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if
he wished to change all the ecclesiastical ceremonies,
founded as they are on Apostolic Tradition."

21- Davies, POPE PAUL'S NEW MASS, p.351: "The new Eucharistic
Prayers, those introduced in 1968, and all those which have
followed since, were not required for the good of the Church
and certainly did not grow organically from forms already
existing within the Catholic Church. They thus constitute an
act of disobedience to the Council and corroborate Father
Bouyer's claim that there is formal opposition between the
liturgy we have and what the Council worked out." (Louis
Bouyer, THE DECOMPOSITION OF CATHOLICISM, London, 1970, p.99.)


p. 1056.

pp. 42-43.

25- Rev.Greg. 1937, p. 79.

26- La Documentation Catholique, no. 1493, 7 May 1967.

27- Cf. POPE PAUL'S NEW MASS, p.78., Demain la Liturgie,
Paris, 1977, p.10

28- Our Lady of La Salette revealed to Melanie that Rome would
lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist, but
first, according to Sacred Scripture, an obstacle must be
removed from out of the way: "And now you know what
withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time." (2 Thess.
2:6). The traditional Roman Rite was a barrier against all
heresy, but is no longer an obstacle to the modernist and other
heretics who have taken liberties with the new Mass. The
promoters of the Modernist Apostasy have thus far been able to
act in contempt of the Pope's authority, and this seems to
usher in what may eventually be the fulfillment of the
following verse: "For the mystery of iniquity already worketh;
only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of
the way" (2 Thess. 2:7).

29- Father Cornelio Fabro, one of the most respected scholars in
the Catholic world has stated in his Problematica della
Teologia Contemporanea that the present crisis of the Church is
mord serious than any crisis in all the past history of the

30- Louis Bouyer, op. cit., p.1.

31- Davies, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE, p.22. Ratzinger:
L'Osservatore Romano (English Edition), 24 Dec. 1984.

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