"One and the Same Rite"
How Benedict XVI Tries to Destroy the Traditional Mass

Special Commentary by Gregorius
published with permission

Above left: "Cardinal" Ratzinger demonstrates the "ordinary form of the Roman Rite," as he distributes communion in hand to a Protestant. (Source: Ratzinger gives communion to Roger Schutz at John Paul II's funeral)
Above right:  "Cardinal" Ratzinger demonstrates the "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite" with a rare celebration of a traditional Mass in Weimar, Germany, in April 1999.  (Source: The Pontifical Mass of Cardinal Ratzinger)


After about a year of rumors, on July 7, 2007, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (“Pope Benedict XVI”) finally released an “Apostolic Exhortation motu proprio,” entitled Summorum Pontificum, on the use of the Roman Missal of 1962, called by many the “Traditional Latin Mass.” Many dear and well-intentioned souls had long been waiting for this “universal indult” to “free” the Traditional Mass.

In May of 2005, only a few weeks after his election, the web site “Novus Ordo Watch” predicted that Benedict XVI would reinstate the 1962 Mass into the ordinary life of the Novus Ordo Church (see here: What many sincere but misled souls have hailed a major victory for Catholic Traditionalists, is, in the opinion of this writer, nothing but a most clever attempt at dealing a death blow to the true Traditional Mass and the Traditional Catholic resistance.

Before we begin to consider an analysis of Benedict’s motu proprio and the accompanying letter, let us first understand something very important: The rite of Mass Benedict XVI just re-authorized is the 1962 Mass of “Pope John XXIII” (Cardinal Angelo Roncalli) - it is not the Traditional Mass properly so-called. To see the differences between the Traditional Roman Catholic Mass and the 1962 “Roncalli Missal,” see this link: John XXIII Mass Changes

To see what Benedict XVI is doing with his motu proprio allowing wider use of the 1962 Mass, let us ask some simple questions:




When we answer these questions, it will become apparent that Benedict XVI’s liberalization of the 1962 Missal will result in a virtual destruction of the Traditional Catholic movement, by sowing confusion and tearing it apart. This, no doubt, is a consequence very much intended. In fact, it is an extremely “smart” move on his part--the “smartest” (though in an evil way) move he could make to bring Catholic Traditionalists into the New Church.

The “What”

So, what is Benedict XVI decreeing in this new motu proprio? He is decreeing that, effective September 14, 2007, the 1962 Missal become what he calls the “extraordinary form” of the “one Roman rite,” of which the “ordinary form”--you guessed it--is the Novus Ordo “Mass.” Benedict claims that there exists no rupture between the two rites, that both of them are authentic rules of prayer (lex orandi) and therefore properly express the law of belief (lex credendi). With certain restrictions here and there, the 1962 Missal may be used rather liberally in the New Church. The same goes for administering other sacraments in their traditional form (baptism, penance, confirmation, holy matrimony, and “anointing of the sick,” i.e. extreme unction).

The “How”

To summarize: This is to be done by allowing any priest of the Novus Ordo church in good standing to say Mass according to the 1962 Missal without permission of the local bishop, if the Mass is said privately, that is, without people in attendance. This may be done on any day except Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (the “Easter Triduum”), during which use of the Novus Ordo Missal is mandatory. In Novus Ordo parishes where there is a “stable” group “attached” to the 1962 Missal, the pastor is "urged" or "encouraged" to allow such Masses, taking care that these people remain part of the parish and under the local bishop. This is basically the “meat” of the motu proprio, though there is more to it and more legal technicalities are established.

The “Why”

Here comes the most interesting part. Why is Fr. Ratzinger doing this? To accompany the motu proprio, Benedict XVI issued a letter addressed to all the bishops in the world, explaining his decision to allow wider use of the 1962 Missal. The full text of this letter can be found here:

In this letter, Benedict makes clear that it is his intention to pander to Catholic Traditionalists who have left “full communion” with his Novus Ordo church, as well as those who are still ”in full communion” but might be inclined to leave:

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

This fulfills the prediction posted by Novus Ordo Watch in 2005 more or less precisely:

(2) As time goes on, Benedixt XVI will bend over backwards to appear conservative, even traditional; he will do everything in his power to reconcile with and fully regularize the Society of St. Pius X and similar traditionalist groups. He will allow all Novus Ordo priests to say the traditional Mass and perhaps even command that the traditional Mass be said on a regular basis in every Novus Ordo parish. (This reintroduction of the traditional Mass in regular parish life will be absolutely essential.) He will lure good-willed but confused and battle-weary traditionalists by letting them voice their concerns concerning Vatican II and the New Mass and fully accept their reservations concerning these. He may even reform the New Mass into a more conservative liturgy. He will say that it is time to come to the aid and comfort of the one faction in the Church still marginalized and neglected for so long, namely, the traditionalists. He will pretend to have an open mind and heart for them and do everything in his power to regularize their status, with the ultimate goal of having all traditionalists be part of the New Church, under the tacit banner, however, of "unity in diversity."

The whole point is to make to Catholic Traditionalists an “offer they can’t refuse.” The question is: How many will fall for this? I say “fall” because what Benedict is doing here is attempt to destroy the Traditional Mass and the Catholic Traditionalist bastions. This will become clear in the following commentary.

"Same rite," but very different

Benedict XVI’s accompanying letter is perhaps more interesting than the entire motu proprio. He begins by claiming that there is only one Roman rite of Mass, though it can be celebrated in two different forms, one ordinary, the other extraordinary. You can guess which is which. The “banal on-the-spot product” (as then-”Cardinal” Ratzinger called it in the 1990s) is the “ordinary” form (and therefore normative); the 1962 Mass, which still externally resembles the Traditional Mass pretty closely, is the “extraordinary” form.

Consider what this means in practice. For example, at the washing of the hands, the “extraordinary form” of the “one Roman rite” has the priest pray Psalm 25:6-12, as follows (in Latin, of course, but here is the English translation):

I will wash my hands among the innocent; and will compass thy altar, O Lord:
That I may hear the voice of thy praise: and tell of all thy wondrous works.
I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth.
Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with bloody men:
In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts.
But as for me, I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot hath stood in the direct way: in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.

But the “ordinary form” of the “one Roman rite,” which, we are told, equally expresses the same faith (lex credendi) because it expresses the same law of prayer (lex orandi), has the priest pray something based on merely one line of Psalm 50: "Lord, wash away my iniquities, cleanse me from my sins." That’s it.

Another great example would be the prayers right after the consecration, the holiest moment in the Catholic Mass. The “extraordinary form” of the “one Roman rite” directs the priest to pray:

Wherefore, O Lord, we, Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, His resurrection from the grave, and His glorious ascension into heaven, offer up to Thy most excellent majesty of Thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a victim which is pure, a victim which is stainless, the holy bread of life everlasting, and the chalice of eternal salvation. Vouchsafe to look upon them with a gracious and tranquil countenance, and to accept them, even as Thou wast pleased to accept the offerings of Thy just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of Abraham, our patriarch, and that which Melchisedech, Thy high priest, offered up to Thee, a holy sacrifice, a victim without blemish. We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God, to command that these our offerings be borne by the hands of Thy holy angel to Thine altar on high in the presence of Thy divine Majesty; that as many of us as shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son by partaking thereof from this altar may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace: Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The “new and improved” rite of Paul VI, which is now the “ordinary form” of the “one Roman rite,” has replaced the foregoing with this one prayer (in the “Eucharistic Prayer No. 2”, the most commonly used form):

In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.

No doubt, this was Paul VI’s way of finally providing the faithful with “the riches, both doctrinal and spiritual” that would otherwise still “be hidden in the darkness of the libraries” so they might instead “be brought into the light to illumine and nourish the spirits and souls of Christians,” as he impiously claimed in his "apostolic constitution" promulgating the New Mass (Paul VI, “Apostolic Constitution” Missale Romanum, 1969). How wonderfully the “spirits and souls of Christians” have been “nourished” by the liturgical “enrichment” of the New Mass, we have seen over the last 40 years. Of course, what really happened when Paul VI introduced the New Mass was the exact opposite: The beautiful and doctrinally-rich prayers of the Traditional Mass that had illumined and nourished Catholics for nearly 2000 years became locked up in the darkness of the libraries, with the intent that they would never be found again but go down the memory hole. Too bad for Paul VI and his henchmen that the Catholic Church and her True Mass cannot be destroyed; it is only because of a remnant of True Catholics--and God’s grace, of course--that the true Holy Mass is still alive today and that these prayers have not been completely forgotten.

Perhaps the most striking example of just how much these “two forms” of the “one Roman rite” express the “same faith” can be found in the prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the Good Friday liturgy:

Traditional Missal:

Let us pray also for the perfidious [removed in 1962 Missal] Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and everlasting God, you who do not turn away the Jews also from your mercy: hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that, the light of your truth which is Christ being known, they might come out of their darkness. Through our Lord the same Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

1970 Novus Ordo missal:

Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of His Name and in faithfulness to His covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago You gave Your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to Your Church as we pray that the people You first made Your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord Amen.

Obviously, the two prayers contradict each other and reveal that Fr. Ratzinger’s assertion that the two “forms” of the “one Roman rite” express the same Faith is false; they teach a different faith, which is precisely why the Traditional Mass had to be done away with after Vatican II, and why the Novus Ordo church is so opposed to the real Traditional Mass. Is it any wonder that even now with the new Motu Proprio, the 1962 Missal may not be used on Good Friday? Obviously, the 1962 Missal’s prayer for the Jews clearly aims at their conversion (the greatest act of charity), whereas the Novus Ordo prayer is an exercise in typical modernist double talk; it is so ambiguous that it’s not entirely clear what is actually being prayed for. On the one hand, the prayer clearly affirms that the Jews have a valid covenant with God and a genealogical link to Abraham. This would indicate that the prayer affirms that today’s Jews are a part of the Abrahamic covenant and that it is valid before God (a heresy, obviously, since the only valid covenant with God is the New Covenant of Our Lord Jesus Christ). On the other hand, however, the prayer suggests that this covenant does not lead to the “fullness” of redemption--whatever that may mean. Apparently, just as one can be in “partial” vs. “full” communion with the Catholic Church, so one can arrive at Redemption either “partially” or “completely”? And what, pray tell, might “partial” Redemption look like? The prayer then affirms that today’s Jews are God’s Chosen People--a complete falsehood. The true “Chosen People” today are the members of the true Catholic Church: “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29). So there we have it. Today’s Jews’ carnal, genealogical link to Abraham profits them nothing. It is in Christ Jesus that we become the true Chosen People and spiritual sons of Abraham, and it is for this reason that Catholics desire all Jews to convert and become members of the Church--so that they too might have the door of salvation opened to them.

But this is really nothing new. Our Lord Himself spoke to the Pharisees, and they insisted they were the children of Abraham: “They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not” (St. John 8:39-40). The point being, once more, that the mere fleshly link to Abraham is of no avail with the promulgation of the New Covenant. So much, then, for the “same faith” that the “two forms” of the “one Roman rite” express.

The ambiguity and contradictions in the modern liturgical texts should come as no surprise. Modernism thrives on ambiguity, since the whole modus operandi of modernism is to give new meaning to old words and ideas. Through ambiguity, the traditional understanding of terms is gradually eroded, and once a few generations pass, the words and ideas have taken on new meanings, and a new religion is born. It is no doubt for this reason that the true councils of the Catholic Church have always upheld precision in doctrinal formulations, as Pope Pius VI once emphasized in Auctorem Fidei, saying that a synod's "principal glory consists above all in teaching the truth with clarity and excluding all danger of error" (see more here). Ambiguity is the enemy of truth and of the Faith.

The examples we have looked at here demonstrate sufficiently that Benedict XVI’s claim that the “two forms” of the “one Roman rite” express the same Faith is false. For a complete side-by-side comparison between the prayers of the Novus Ordo Mass and the 1962 Missal, please see here:

Of course, the differences between the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” forms of the “one Roman rite” are not just textual but also visual. So here is a visual comparison of the average Novus Ordo Mass and the average Traditional Mass in the U.S.A.:

The “Ordinary” Form of the “One Roman Rite”:

The “Extraordinary” Form of the “One Roman Rite”:

Say it with me now: “One and the same rite! One and the same rite! One and the same rite!” Very good. You’ve got to keep going, though: “It’s the same Faith! Nothing has changed! It’s all OK! Benedict XVI is our friend!” Don’t worry -- soon you will believe it. :-)

But seriously, this isn’t funny. Fr. Ratzinger’s attempt to fuse the 1962 Missal (which, again, mostly appears to be the Traditional Mass) with the Novus Ordo Missal is the main blow against the Traditional Mass. Whoever wishes to be a part of Ratzinger’s church will therefore necessarily have to consent to the absurd idea that the New Mass and the Traditional Mass are, at the core, the very same thing, and that simply the “form” or expression is different. This means that either Mass (or “mass”) is essentially equal in its lex orandi and lex credendi, as Ratzinger points out specifically. It further follows that once one recognizes the Traditional Mass to be nothing other than an “extraordinary form” of the Novus Ordo mass (let’s face it--the extraordinary is based on, and presupposes, the ordinary), it follows that one then recognizes the Novus Ordo mass as the Roman Catholic rite of Mass. In addition, what is extraordinary can be revoked at any time. With as little as just another motu proprio, the 1962 Missal can just as much be suppressed as it can be allowed. Whoever goes along with this “new indult” is, fundamentally, still at the mercy of the modernists (which should be an indication that the real problem is not the suppression of the Traditional Mass but the fact that Rome is occupied by modernist heretics).

The burden of proof is on Benedict XVI, of course, to demonstrate how in the world two rites as different as the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Novus Ordo Missal can be “one and the same rite.” Benedict does not attempt such a demonstration in his motu proprio or his accompanying letter; he simply declares it to be so. By contrast, two little handy and easy-to-read booklets demonstrating the essential differences between the Traditional Mass and the New Mass are the following:

The Problems with the New Mass by Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy (available here)

The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass by Fr. Anthony Cekada (available here)

Of course, the truth is that the New Mass and the Traditional Mass are essentially different. This is obvious even just from pondering the fact that the modernists have so long suppressed the Traditional Mass, have always hated it, and why in so many Novus Ordo parishes, you will find every liturgical and doctrinal aberration, yet the only thing that is actually outlawed is the True Mass (and certainly why, even in this new motu proprio, Benedict forbids the 1962 Missal to be used during the Easter Triduum, the climax of the liturgical year that is very rich in doctrinal content). In fact, the only reason Benedict XVI even wrote this motu proprio is that so many people have refused to go along with the New Mass--precisely, again, because it is essentially different, that is, it is a different thing. Modernists and Traditionalists alike know how different the two rites are; but Benedict XVI pretends they are the same, and that only as part of a concession to get Traditionalists (back) into his new church.

The claim that the Novus Ordo mass and the 1962 Mass are one and the same rite, though different “forms” thereof (whatever that may actually mean) is so absurd and ridiculous as not to deserve further comment. If both were the same and if both genuinely expressed the True Faith, then there would have never been any need to change from Old to New to begin with, and the modernists would never have accepted the New Mass in the first place, nor would this new liturgy have given rise and aid to this new religion (that the new religion has been propelled onwards mostly through the new liturgy is evident from the fact that most Catholics only or primarily come in touch with their Faith at liturgical functions). If it were only a matter of confused but genuine concern regarding the people being able to understand the language, they would merely have changed the Latin into the vernacular, and the rest would have remained the same. Instead, of course, they came up with an entirely new liturgical rite, precisely because the Traditional Mass, or even the 1962 Mass, does not express or teach the New Religion of Vatican II -- hence the need for a New Mass, one acceptable to Jews, Protestants, and modernists.

Consider Paul VI's new definition of the Holy Mass issued in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in 1969. It was so bad that the Vatican changed it for the 1970 edition. The "Holy Father" Paul VI in all seriousness defined the Mass as follows: "The Lord's Supper or Mass is a sacred meeting or assembly of the People of God, met together under the presidency of the priest, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord." Such a heretical definition could have come straight out of Luther's catechism, but no -- it came from the "Pope" himself! Contrast this with the true and traditional definition of the Holy Mass, such as this one found in a simple family catechism: "The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine" (Most Rev. Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 268). Cardinal Ottaviani chastised Paul VI for his heretical definition, charging:

The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of the "supper", and this term is found constantly repeated (nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This supper is further characterised as an assembly presided over by the priest and held as a memorial of the Lord, recalling what He did on the first Maundy Thursday. None of this in the very least implies either the Real Presence, or the reality of sacrifice, or the Sacramental function of the consecrating priest, or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the people's presence. It does not, in a word, imply any of the essential dogmatic values of the Mass which together provide its true definition. Here, the deliberate omission of these dogmatic values amounts to their having been superseded and therefore, at least in practice, to their denial.

No doubt, Paul VI's new definition, just like the New Mass itself, is "one and the same" with the traditional definition! How stupid do they think people are?

"Never Abrogated"

The next really curious claim Fr. Ratzinger makes in his letter accompanying his Summorum Pontificum is that the 1962 Mass “was never juridically abrogated.” But even a cursory reading of Paul VI’s “Apostolic Constitution” instituting the New Mass in 1969, Missale Romanum, shows that it was very much abrogated, that is, repealed. For example, consider the following excerpts:

The Roman Missal, promulgated in 1570 by Our predecessor, St. Pius V, by decree of the Council of Trent, has been received by all as one of the numerous and admirable fruits which the holy Council has spread throughout the entire Church of Christ. ...[T]he formulas of the Roman Missal ought to be revised and enriched. The beginning of this renewal was the work of Our predecessor, this same Pius XII, in the restoration of the Paschal Vigil and of the Holy Week Rite, which formed the first stage of updating the Roman Missal for the present-day mentality.

Here Paul VI is indicating that what he is about to institute is not--so goes his claim--a separate rite of Mass, but rather an “updating” or “revision” of the Roman Missal of St. Pius V. There is no indication that he is creating a new rite, which is simply to be used alongside the old one. Nor does Paul VI here offer to make the St. Pius V Missal the “extaordinary” vs. “ordinary form”--that’s a distinction that Benedict XVI just made up in order to “synthesize”, in somewhat Hegelian fashion, the two contradictory ideas that the New Mass replaced the Missal of St. Pius V, as well as the idea that there can be only one Roman rite of Mass. Besides, consider Ratzinger’s claim about a lack of abrogation in light of what Paul VI says concerning Pope Pius XII’s reforms. Are we to understand that, likewise, Pius XII also never abrogated the previous Holy Week rites? The idea is ridiculous. It is clear that when Pius XII made the changes to the Holy Week rites, the rites in use before then were considered superseded. (For an opinion on why some Catholic Traditionalists use the pre-Pius XII Holy Week rites anyway, see here.)

One ought not to think, however, that this revision of the Roman Missal has been improvident.

Let us show now, in broad lines, the new composition of the Roman Missal.

In this revision of the Roman Missal, in addition to the three changes mentioned above, namely, the Eucharistic Prayer, the Rite for the Mass and the Biblical Reading, other parts also have been reviewed and considerably modified: the Proper of Seasons, the Proper of Saints, the Common of Saints, ritual Masses and votive Masses.

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 issued by Our predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation.

This is Paul VI speaking. More comment is hardly necessary. Paul VI made the New Mass a revision of the Missal of St. Pius V, which he thereby explicitly and implicitly abrogated. For further reading on this subject, I recommmend Fr. Cekada’s article on the promulgation of the New Mass, located here.

Besides, consider the whole idea of the “indult.” The 1962 Mass was known as the “indult Mass” between 1984 (when the first official “indult” was issued by “Pope” John Paul II) and 2007 for the very reason that an indult--that is, a
concession or permission--was necessary to be allowed to say it. The 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Indults are general faculties, granted by the Holy See to bishops and others, of doing something not permitted by the common law.....It is to be noted moreover that the word indult, employed in a less restricted sense, is synonymous with privilege, grace, favor, concession, etc.” (s.v. "Indult, Pontifical"). If the 1962 Missal was never abrogated, which Benedict XVI now so non-chalantly claims is a “fact,” then why was it necessary first to obtain a “papal” indult before one was allowed to use it? Ah, but Benedict qualified his remarks. He says the 1962 Missal was always permitted “in principle.” Does he mean that it was permitted in theory but not necessarily in practice? Are we trying to split hairs here, or insult the intelligence of the faithful - or both?

Benedict XVI has really put himself in a tight spot here. He is forced to say at the same time that the Missal of St. Pius V was never abrogated, yet also that the New Mass is not a new liturgical rite, but part of the “same” or “one Roman rite.”

Oh no, all those Abuses!”

Next, Fr. Ratzinger sheds some crocodile tears regarding the “abuses” that have oh-so-unfortunately crept into the New Mass, as though the New Mass itself weren’t the abuse par excellence. Ratzinger “laments” that: many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.  ...I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

These are “crocodile tears” because they are clearly insincere. How often has Modernist Rome “bemoaned” how badly the New Mass is said in many places? (This is somewhat reminiscent of President Bush “deploring” abortion.) Yet, they have never done anything about it, other than issue pages upon pages of paperwork, and making things worse by issuing laws that introduce more “abuses” - such as altar girls, lay “Euchristic ministers”, gazillions of different “Eucharistic Prayers” and other “options” to choose from when saying the New Mass, introducing "Children's Liturgies," etc.

Crocodile tears from Rome about the “abuses” in the New Mass are nothing new. Documents complaining about how bad things are with the Novus Ordo Mass in practice are issued every so often. Let me quote a few passages to demonstrate Rome’s constant but insincere bewailing of the liturgical wilderness engendered by the Novus Ordo Missal:

I would like to ask forgiveness--in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate--for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people.
--John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, par. 12 (1980)

But these encouraging and positive aspects cannot suppress concern at the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world: the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing Communion while the priests refrain from doing so); an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred (abandonment of liturgical vestments, the Eucharist celebrated outside church without real need, lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, etc.); misunderstanding of the ecclesial character of the Liturgy (the use of private texts, the proliferation of unapproved Eucharistic Prayers, the manipulation of the liturgical texts for social and political ends). In these cases we are face to face with a real falsification of the Catholic Liturgy....

None of these things can bring good results. The consequences are--and cannot fail to be--the impairing of the unity of Faith and worship in the Church, doctrinal uncertainty, scandal and bewilderment among the People of God, and the near inevitability of violent reactions.
--John Paul II, Inaestimabile Donum, Foreword (1980)

On occasion there have been noted illicit omissions or additions, rites invented outside the framework of established norms; postures or songs which are not conducive to faith or to a sense of the sacred; abuses in the practice of general absolution; confusion between the ministerial priesthood, linked with Ordination, and the common priesthood of the faithful, which has its foundation in Baptism. It cannot be tolerated that certain priests should take upon themselves the right to compose Eucharistic Prayers or to substitute profane readings for texts from Sacred Scripture. Initiatives of this sort, far from being linked with the liturgical reform as such, or with the books which have issued from it, are in direct contradiction to it, disfigure it and deprive the Christian people of the genuine treasures of the Liturgy of the Church. It is for the bishops to root out such abuses... [Gregorius remarks: And it is for the “Pope” to root out disobedient bishops...]
--John Paul II, Vicesimus Quintus Annus, par. 13 (1988)

Unfortunately, alongside these lights, there are also shadows. In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this? The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation. [Gregorius remarks: No ambiguity here, huh?]
--John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, par. 10 (2003)

In this regard it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments as well as the tradition and the authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease.
--John Paul II, Redemptionis Sacramentum, par. 4 (2004)


Get the picture? Benedict XVI is simply continuing the trend. Don’t believe for a minute that there is real concern here regarding how the worship of God is conducted in the Novus Ordo Church. If there were, “Cardinal” Schoenborn of Vienna, Austria, would have been removed from his position after he presided over this “liturgical” nightmare. What would you think of a president who claimed to be pro-life and complained about abortion every now and then, but then turned around and appointed pro-abortion judges all over the place and perhaps even appointed an abortionist as his surgeon general? Would you say such a man’s tears shed about the evil of abortion are sincere? Of course not. And Benedict’s "sadness" at the Novus Ordo “abuses” is just as pretended. He wonders why many Novus Ordo priests have understood the New Missal “as authorizing or even requiring creativity” -- perhaps it is because the new liturgy itself is so banal and dumbed down, it cries out for something substantial. Besides, it lends itself perfectly to being “abused”--precisely because, as Ratzinger himself said, it is a “banal, on-the-spot product” with gazillions of different “options” to choose from; courtesy of Paul VI and Vatican II, who did not want to leave the “liturgical richness” of the New Mass hidden any longer in the dark libraries of the Vatican.

This, incidentally, is one way by which we know that the modernists in Rome are deliberate in their destruction of Catholicism: Even when the bad fruits are really apparent, they still refuse to change the direction that caused those bad fruits. Even if Paul VI had “innocently” meant to truly enrich the Catholic liturgy so that more abundant fruit could be drawn from it, by the end of his “pontificate” about ten years later, he would have reverted again to the Traditional Mass and condemned the Novus Ordo “mass” as a complete disaster, because by then the awful fruits were entirely apparent. This didn’t happen, of course, and the reason is obvious: Paul VI meant for the New Mass to destroy the Faith. Similarly, in 1988, John Paul II “lamented” the fact that some “have promoted outlandish innovations, departing from the norms issued by the authority of the Apostolic See or the bishops, thus disrupting the unity of the Church and the piety of the faithful and even on occasion contradicting matters of faith” (“Apostolic Letter” Vicesimus Quintus Annus - par. IV a). What did he do to stop this renting of the unity of the Church and deriding of the piety of the faithful? Nothing, of course. Wait - let me take that back. He did do something: He allowed altar girls. The simple truth is that the “outlandish innovations,” for the most part, first came from Rome (courtesy of the “Great Renewal” of John XXIII).

Liturgical "Nostalgia"

In granting his “gracious permission” to allow the 1962 Missal to be used more widely throughout his church now, Benedict XVI mentions that he is doing so because so many people, both young and old, have an “attraction” to this liturgical “experience.” He completely ignores the fact that the real Traditionalists do not insist on the Traditional Mass for reasons of nostalgia, experience, or feeling, but for reasons of the Catholic Faith. The Traditional Mass expresses perfectly and very beautifully the True Creed that has since been falsified by Vatican II (hence the need for a New Mass, and hence the great opposition of so many modernists to the Traditional Mass or even the 1962 Mass, as we already mentioned). It is because the Traditional Mass renders a fitting, uncompromising, and unadulterated worship to the Most Holy Trinity that Traditionalists will only assist at this Mass. It has nothing to do with nostalgia or Latin per se. It’s not because of some “encounter with the mystery of the most holy Eucharist” that we feel is “particularly suited” to us that we refuse to worship at the New Mass and only assist and the Tridentine Mass. But Benedict, in typically modernist fashion, reduces everything to subjective feeling. Pope St. Pius X warned us against precisely this in his landmark encyclical against modernism 100 years ago: “...everything in their system is explained by inner impulses or needs” (Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, par. 21, 1907).

Of course, those pseudo-Traditionalists who do not really care where a Traditional Mass is said, or who says it, what Missal is used, etc. -- in other words, those pseudo-Traditionalists who are merely focused on the externals -- those people will be swayed by Ratzinger’s gesture. They will accept his offer because to them, what matters is not the Faith but external celebration. As long as the Latin is good, the vestments are beautiful, the candles are long enough, and the incense smells right, they “feel” at home and they believe themselves to be Catholic. But any genuine Catholic Traditionalist rejects such pharisaical charades as unacceptable and non-Catholic. They only exist to lure battle-weary Traditionalists into the New Church; they are the Forbidden Fruit that seems beautiful to behold and sweet to the taste. It is reason that tells us what is right or wrong, though, not emotion. Ratzinger can keep his nostalgia nonsense; true Traditionalists do not fall for it.

Going Forward

So then, how can we expect this “extraordinary form” of the “one Roman rite” to impact the future? One thing is for certain: It will be very interesting to watch what happens, not just with the SSPX and the indult communities like the FSSP and the Institute of Christ the King, but also on the diocesan level. The prediction of this author is that, all in all, it will turn out to be a complete disaster. Just picture hordes of modernist “priests” attempting to use the 1962 Mass in their Novus Ordo churches. Will they use Eucharistic ministers? Altar girls? Lay lectors to “proclaim” the readings in English? Communion in the hand? Will they use the Novus Ordo lectionary for the epistles and Gospel? Will they add the Novus Ordo “second reading” to the 1962 rite? Will they use “hosts” from the Novus Ordo tabernacle?  (duh!)

Don’t believe it? Well, in his accompanying letter, Benedict XVI already dropped a hint that this is pretty much what could take place. After all, he says that “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching” and lists some examples: “new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal.” Translation: “Start experimenting, folks!” Just consider communion in the hand as an optional “enrichment” for those who feel “drawn” towards this “liturgical practice” (imagine, it might remind some folks of their childhood--more nostalgia!). You know those modernists. They never run out of ideas for “enriching” the liturgy!

There will be a whole lot of “enriching” going on, no doubt; but the “mutual” part will be pretty much a one-way street: The 1962 form will start to take on some typically Novus Ordo characteristics, while the Novus Ordo form will pretty much remain the sorry collection of modernist-liberal-Protestant-Masonic hippie prayers that it is now. Yes, I think it is no stretch to predict that what will come out of this “co-existence” of the “two forms” of “one and the same rite” will, at the end of the day, result in a total butchering of the 1962 Missal, so that, eventually, Benedict XVI can stop the nonsense of “two forms” of “one rite” and simply synthesize them together (here comes Hegel again), and the result will probably be a New Mass with a bit of Latin and a little more incense. By then, the Traditional Catholic Mass will be but a distant memory -- or I should say “would be” because true Catholic Traditionalists, who see through the farce, will retain the True Mass, God willing, and remind Fr. Ratzinger that not everyone is falling for the Roman shenanigans of the past 50 years.

All of this ought to draw us back to the real issue: The Faith. It’s about the Faith, not simply about the Holy Mass. It’s about the Faith that so many martyrs died a cruel death for; that, above all, Our Lord Himself died for in order to redeem us. It is about the Love that He has shown us in loving us to the end and giving us all we could possibly ask of God to give. It is this Faith that has been trampled upon and almost been snuffed out entirely, not simply by a few clerics gone wild, but deliberately and systematically by the very Vatican organization itself since the “election” of Cardinal Angelo Roncalli in 1958, who claimed to be “Pope John XXIII.” (For more information, see Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope.)

But the True Church cannot do as the Novus Ordo Church has done. Pope Pius XII reminds us: “Certainly the loving Mother [the Church] is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors" (Mystici Corporis, par. 66, 1943).

Let us, then, not be fooled by the false schismatic church in Rome, the “church of darkness” (Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich) that only seeks to destroy the Faith we have been taught since the time of Christ and the Apostles.

Pope St. Pius V, pray for us!