Fair Warning, Trial Balloon, or Fake News?
Una Voce Blog: Francis may impose Novus Ordo Calendar and Lectionary on Indult Mass in 2018
This past Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, the blog of the Una Voce Federation in Malta posted a piece of news that has some semi-traditionalists in the New Church panicking. There is a well-founded rumor that “Pope” Francis is preparing to impose the Novus Ordo Lectionary and liturgical calendar on the Traditional Latin Mass offered in communion with — and at the limited permission of — the Vatican II hierarchy (the so-called “Indult Mass”):
Reliable sources close to the Holy See have indicated that sometime in the second half of 2018, the Novus Ordo Lectionary and Calendar are to be imposed upon the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass.
The new Roman Missal will become available on the First Sunday of Advent 2018 but the Vatican will allow a two-year period to phase it in. These changes are expected to be much more drastic than what was envisaged in Universae Ecclesiae that states:
25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently. (emphasis ours)
The Vatican approved societies and institutes, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter and the Institute of Christ the King, will likely apply for exemptions, but all requests are expected to be turned down. The only exception seems to be the SSPX, which might be granted a temporary exemption, to ensure that an agreement is reached between the SSPX and Rome. However, if the exemption granted will be of a temporary nature, more SSPX priests are expected to join the so-called Resistance (formerly known as SSPX-SO) under Bishop Richard Williamson and more will go independent. This would make the traditional Catholic movement more fragmented than ever before.
(“Breaking News: Massive liturgical changes expected in 2018!”, Pro Tridentina (Malta), Oct. 8, 2017; italics and bold print given.)
Yes, this is but a rumor, but it is a well-founded one. What lends serious credibility to it is the fact that this report does not simply appear on “Joe’s Blog” on the blog of Una Voce in Malta, citing “reliable sources close to the Holy See.”
Una Voce is a Vatican-recognized international organization that promotes the use of the Indult Mass, now also called the “Mass in the Extraordinary Form”, i.e. the 1962 (John XXIII) version of the Traditional Latin Mass. Formerly, the president of Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce was the famous Michael Davies (1936-2004), whose poor scholarship and half-baked theology was masked by the prolificacy of his writings, his pleasant style, and the overall traditionalist appeal of the positions he defended.
Meanwhile, Mr. John Zuhlsdorf — “Father Z” — has chimed in to quell people’s concerns: “Piffle. Even, bull piffle! No. Won’t happen. In addition, I checked with my various peeps. No. Won’t happen. Can’t happen”, he asserts dogmatically, before informing his readers that he has turned the comment moderation queue ON. Precisely why anyone should think that Mr. Z’s mere say-s0 and “checking with various peeps [people]” should trump Una Voce‘s “reliable sources close to the Holy See” is anyone’s guess — especially in light of what has transpired in the Vatican in the last four-and-a-half years, which a mere five years ago the likes of Zuhlsdorf & Co. would have assured us all could “never” happen!
Regardless of how credible one thinks the story about the imposition of the Novus Ordo Lectionary and calendar is in itself, Zuhlsdorf’s dogmatic proclamation that it cannot and will not happen seems out of place because he cannot possibly know that. At best, he could say that he sees no reason to believe the rumor, that it would seem unlikely that the “Pope” would do such a thing, that he can find no confirmation of it, etc. But to insist, as he does, that it absolutely will not happen seems to serve only one purpose: to quash immediately the panic ensuing among his followers. He did the same thing back in July of this year, when rumors began to float that Francis was preparing to rescind Summorum Pontificum altogether.
It is profitable to recall here that this “Father Z” doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to such predictions, pontifications, and analyses. Remember that it was Mr. Zuhlsdorf who tried to persuade his readers for well over a year that Francis was not a liberal, that “all is well” with him, and that “we have dodged a bullet” with Amoris Laetitia; and it was the same “Fr. Z” who recommended the immoral movies Deliverance and The Lives of Others to his hapless readers.
Looking at the rumor concerning the imposition of the Novus Ordo Lectionary and calendar in itself, it is per se credible. Francis, who just recently declared the Novus Ordo liturgical changes “irreversible”, is known to have a disdain for the 1962 Missal (“Extraordinary Form”), and it is evident that the 1962 Missal and the 1969 Novus Ordo Missal cannot co-exist indefinitely, especially not with the divergent calendars. The two Missals represent entirely different theologies — traditional Catholic theology and the New Theology of the Conciliar Church, respectively — and that is why it is impossible that they should both exist alongside one another without constant tension and controversy.
As far as incorporating some Novus Ordo elements into the 1962 Missal, such as the liturgical calendar or the Scripture readings found in the Lectionary, that is somehting not only permitted but recommended by Benedict XVI himself, in the letter he sent to his “bishops” accompanying the release of his “Apostolic Letter” Summorum Pontificum on July 7, 2007. Here is what the “Great Restorer of Tradition” advised:
…the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite [i.e. the Novus Ordo and the 1962 Missal] can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior [i.e. the old rite], will study the practical possibilities in this regard.
In our commentary on the release of Summorum Pontificum in 2007, we made the following predictions and observations:
Just picture hordes of Modernist “priests” attempting to use the 1962 Mass in their Novus Ordo churches and on Novus Ordo
altarstables. 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 invalid “hosts” from the Novus Ordo tabernacle?
In his accompanying letter, Benedict XVI already dropped a hint that this is pretty much what might eventually take place. 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. What would happen? Would people protest — and thus perhaps forfeit their beloved 1962 Mass completely because of an irritated pastor?
No doubt, there will be a whole lot of “enriching” going on, but the “mutual” part will probably be a one-way street for the most part: 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 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 … and the result will probably be a New Mass with a bit of Latin and a little more incense, or some sort of a hybrid missal like the one that was already in use in 1965.
(“‘One and the Same Rite’? How Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum Aims to Destroy the Traditional Latin Mass”, Novus Ordo Watch, Oct. 12, 2007; rev. Apr. 11, 2017)
Although Benedict XVI abdicated before he could get to that point, Francis will no doubt be happy to allow the 1969 Missal to “enrich” the 1962 Missal. Benedict prepared the way — Francis will simply make the practical applications.
Contrary to the common misconception, Benedict XVI has never been a friend of traditionalists. In the 1980s, he denounced them as proponents of “a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity”, adding that “[w]e cannot resist them too firmly” (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987], pp. 389-90). Ratzinger’s attitude towards traditionalists hasn’t changed, only, perhaps, his mode of resisting them has.
Remember, too, that it was Benedict XVI who in Summorum Pontificum made the disingenuous claim that the traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated. When Ratzinger published these words, the indultarians and semi-traditionalists in the Novus Ordo Church ate them up. They broke out into frenzied applause and mindlessly repeated their “Pope’s” assertion. The problem? It was a lie. It was an absolute and utter lie. Of course the “Old Mass” had been abrogated, that is, superseded and forbidden when the “New Mass” came out. That is precisely why a special indult (from the Latin for concession or permission) was needed! (We prove this with authoritative documentation in our TRADCAST 030.)
Benedict’s cheerleaders also conveniently ignored the fact that their “Pope” had just monstrously declared the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo “Mass” to be “one and the same rite.” Apparently, it didn’t matter. He had ostensibly given them what they wanted.
Now that there is the concrete possibility of all this being taken away again, the semi-trads are beginning to worry. But what we are seeing here is simply false principles coming home to roost: If you’re assisting at the Indult Mass, which is Mass offered only on the basis of gracious Modernist permission (and it’s usually invalid to boot because offered by invalidly-ordained priests, but that’s beside the point now), then it stands to reason that at one point that gracious permission could simply be revoked, since the authority that can permit is the same authority that can also forbid. At least that’s how it works in the Catholic Church:
…[T]he Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification. Bishops, for their part, have the right and duty carefully to watch over the exact observance of the prescriptions of the sacred canons respecting divine worship. Private individuals, therefore, even though they be clerics, may not be left to decide for themselves in these holy and venerable matters, involving as they do the religious life of Christian society along with the exercise of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and worship of God; concerned as they are with the honor due to the Blessed Trinity, the Word Incarnate and His august mother and the other saints, and with the salvation of souls as well. For the same reason no private person has any authority to regulate external practices of this kind, which are intimately bound up with Church discipline and with the order, unity and concord of the Mystical Body and frequently even with the integrity of Catholic faith itself.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 58)
Thus, the big story here is not whether Francis will actually impose the Novus Ordo calendar and Lectionary on the indult missal. The big story is what even the rumor of such a move demonstrates about the Novus Ordo Sect and its semi-traditionalist adherents.
A lot of these certainly pious and good-willed people have made the Indult Mass the center around which they have built their own little traditional Catholic world inside the Vatican II Church. They rightly detest the “New Mass” of Paul VI and they want as little as possible to do with Vatican II and the Novus Ordo hierarchy. To mess around with the integrity of their Indult Mass would plunge them into a frightful state in which they would be forced to deal with the stark reality that the church with which they profess communion is a Modernist monstrosity that attacks Catholicism from all sides.
What this shows is precisely what we’ve been decrying for years on this web site: that the Indult Mass is but a facade used to mask a much graver and more fundamental problem. It is the pacifier the false Vatican II Church uses to keep those quiet who would otherwise raise hell or perhaps walk out altogether. The fact is that with all their “Latin Mass communities”, their conferences and books, their newspapers, their web sites and blogs, the semi-traditionalists ultimately pose no serious threat to the program of Vatican II apostasy.
Why not? Because all their “resistance” is flawed at its root: They recognize the Modernists they are opposing as valid and legitimate Roman Catholic authorities, and that is all these enemies of Christ need in order to be able to continue their work of apostasy. As long as the Vatican II hierarchy is acknowledged to be legitimate, the wrecking of Catholicism will never stop, because the apostasy being perpetrated is based on and fueled by people’s recognition of these charlatans as the legitimate Catholic hierarchy. Only if you take that away from them — that is, only once people begin to shout from the rooftops that the Vatican II “Popes” are not Popes, that their “bishops” are not Catholic bishops, etc. — will the whole farce begin to collapse.
John Lane hit the nail on the head when he pointed out:
The entire force of the Conciliar revolt comes from the fact that it has apparently been imposed by the authority of the [Catholic] Church. How many bishops, priests, religious, and laymen, would have swallowed the lies of the heretics if they had not believed themselves bound to do so by the voice of Christ’s Vicar on earth? Questioning the authority of these men renders their revolution of doubtful authenticity.
(John Lane, “Concerning an SSPX Dossier on Sedevacantism”, p. 65)
Francis and his gang do not care how many people “resist” them, as long as people acknowledge them as the legitimate Catholic authorities, because it is this collective acknowledgment that gives them all their power. This is why, although the semi-traditionalists have certainly grown in number since the 1970s, the apostasy has been able to continue at full throttle. No “Catholic Identity Conference”, no “Roman Life Forum”, no press conference by a “Bishop” Athanasius Schneider or silly “corrections” of a “Cardinal” Burke will change any of that. Because it cannot.
It doesn’t matter how many people think Francis is a heretic if they also think he’s the Pope; because as long as people think he is the Pope, he will be the one with the keys to all the buildings in Vatican City, he will be the one to issue Faith-denying documents and harmful disciplinary laws, he will be the one calling the shots on all matters “Catholic”. And this is why, although lots of ink has been spilled and lots of words have been spoken, the semi-trad “resistance” has gone nowhere.
It is cases like this — the scenario of a butchering of the 1962 Missal — that once again puts the semi-traditionalists to the test. Do they just “want their Mass” so they can happily do their own thing on the side, or do they actually believe in the Catholic Church and the Papacy?
Too many people think of the whole problem only in terms of the sacraments. As long as they have “their Mass”, they don’t really care about the rest, because in actual fact they have long disconnected themselves from the religion that ostensibly supplies them with the very Mass they desire. “It is the Mass that matters” has been a popular slogan of the Lefebvrists, and it is false. No, it is not only, and not even essentially, the Mass that matters. It is the Faith that matters; it is the Church that matters; it is the religion that matters. The Holy Mass is only the liturgical expression of the true religion. To want the Mass without the Faith is but to ask for an empty and meaningless shell. For this reason, the Novus Ordo Sect is content to let people have the Mass if they insist, so long as this will keep them acknowledging the false shepherds as true ones.
Alas, all this is the consequence of unhappily adhering to false principles, principles that are at odds with Catholicism. If you only want the Mass and therefore are willing to obtain it through the gracious concession of an apostate pseudo-pope, don’t be surprised if at one point the pseudo-pope decides to be gracious no longer.
But for actual traditional Catholics, this problem does not exist, for the Church, as the Bride of Christ, cannot give us universal liturgical rites that are impious, heretical, harmful, or sacrilegious. This is one way, incidentally, that we can know that the Novus Ordo Missae, which is filled with sacrilege and error and has led to worldwide apostasy, did not come from a true Pope.
The Catholic teaching is clear — and immensely consoling:
If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety: let him be anathema.
(Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 7; Denz. 954)
…as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, — [this is] false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.
Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or branded as contrary to certain principles of the natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the Church and her ministers are embraced.
(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 9)
The Church is infallible in her general discipline. By the term general discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics, or the administration of the sacraments. . . . If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible.
(Rev. Jean Herrmann, Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae, Vol. 1 [4th ed., Rome, 1908], p. 258; quoted here.)
This is what Catholics believe. The true Church is good and holy, the very Bride of our Blessed Lord. She cannot offer a liturgy that is an affront to God or a danger to souls.
The famous 19th-century priest Fr. Frederick Faber has expressed beautifully what a Catholic’s attitude to the Church must be:
But we may forget, and sometimes do forget, that it is not only not enough to love the Church, but that it is not possible to love the Church rightly, unless we also fear and reverence it. Our forgetfulness of this arises from our not having laid sufficiently deeply in our minds the conviction of the divine character of the Church… The very amount of human grandeur which there is round the Church causes us to forget occasionally that it is not a human institution.
Hence comes that wrong kind of criticism which is forgetful or regardless of the divine character of the Church. Hence comes our setting up our own minds and our own views as criteria of truth, as standards for the Church’s conduct. Hence comes sitting in judgment on the government and policy of Popes. Hence comes that unfilial and unsage carefulness to separate in all matters of the Church and Papacy what we consider to be divine from what we claim to be human. Hence comes the disrespectful fretfulness to distinguish between what we must concede to the Church and what we need not concede to the Church. Hence comes that irritable anxiety to see that the supernatural is kept well subordinated to the natural, as if we really believed we ought just now to strain every nerve lest a too credulous world should be falling a victim to excessive priestcraft and ultramontanism [“papolatry”? —N.O.W.].
…Only let us once really master the truth that the Church is a divine institution, and then we shall see that such criticism is not simply a baseness and a disloyalty, but an impertinence and a sin.
(Rev. Frederick W. Faber, Devotion to the Church [London: Richardson & Son, 1861], pp. 23-24; italics in original; paragraph breaks added.)
Thus it is clear that a Catholic never has to “fear” a liturgical change coming from the true Holy See. The very fact that many are now concerned that the “Pope” might make serious modifications to the 1962 Missal, shows that they indeed do not believe in the Catholic Church as a divine institution — and indeed, how could they, identifying the Church with the apostate Vatican II Sect! — but only as a human institution that can destroy their Faith and lead them to hell.
And no, you are not allowed to resist teaching or disciplione that comes from the Apostolic See:
Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7)
To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation.
(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua)
Let no one take from you the glory of that rectitude in doctrine and fidelity in obedience due to the Vicar of Christ; among your ranks let there be no room for that “free examination” more fitting to the heterodox mentality than to the pride of the Christian, and according to which no one hesitates to summon before the tribunal of his own judgment even those things which have their origin in the Apostolic See.
(Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Sept. 10, 1957; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, n. 1483, p. 760.)
All who mean to be traditional Catholics must heed these papal teachings. It is simply impossible to hold the Catholic religion only in part, as though you could accept the traditional teaching on everything except submission to the Pope: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected” (Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24). But rejecting some parts of Catholicism is something you are forced to do, one way or another, if you accept the Vatican II antipopes, which is yet another proof that it is impossible for them to be true Popes.
So, whether Francis will actually make these rumored changes to the Indult Mass or not, the fact that this will be a deal-breaker for many self-styled traditionalists reveals that they have not understood, or do not even know about, Catholic teaching on the Sacred Liturgy, on the Church, and on the Papacy. It is because their ideas about what true Catholicism is, come from the literature of the SSPX, the FSSP, the Novus Ordo Church, and similar unsound sources, not, however, from the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Magisterium.
Let us pray for these souls, many of them very pious and of noble intentions, that they will come to realize that their love for the true Mass is a love for the true Faith, which can only be had in the true Church and not in an apostate establishment whose head blasphemes our Lord, teaches heresy, and hobnobs with the enemies of Christ.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Joachim Specht)
License: public domain