A much-needed Reality Check…
“One and the Same Rite”?
How Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum Aims to Destroy the Traditional Latin Mass
[Originally published Oct. 12, 2007; last revised April 11, 2017]
image: flickr.com (Papist) / CC BY-NC 2.0
After about a year of rumors, on July 7, 2007, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (“Pope Benedict XVI”) finally released an “Apostolic Letter motu proprio,” entitled Summorum Pontificum, on the use of the Roman Missal of 1962, the liturgical rite that is referred to by many as the “Traditional Latin Mass.” This document grants a fairly wide permission to priests in the Novus Ordo Church to use the 1962 Missal (of John XXIII) instead of the 1970 Missal (of Paul VI) for their celebration of Mass, though it does not do away with all conditions and restrictions, as we will see below.
Many dear and well-intentioned souls who seek to be good traditional Catholics had long been waiting for such a “universal indult” — or blanket permission — to “free” the Traditional Mass so that priests would no longer have to get special authorization from their local bishops first to be allowed to offer Mass according to the Missal of 1962, as many Novus Ordo bishops are vehemently opposed to this.
So, isn’t this a good thing? Shouldn’t we rejoice that Tradition is finally returning? Isn’t the “Pope” clearly showing that he is interested in “restoring Tradition”?
Such were the sentiments then, and such they still largely are today, seven years on. But what many sincere but misled souls have hailed a major victory for Traditionalists, is in reality nothing but a most clever attempt at dealing a death blow to the true Traditional Mass and the Traditional Catholic resistance to the Vatican II Church, as we shall demonstrate in this essay. In fact, in May of 2005, only a few weeks after his election, Novus Ordo Watch predicted that Benedict XVI would reinstate the 1962 Mass into the ordinary life of the Novus Ordo Church. It is part and parcel of the Modernist Revolution’s modus operandi to placate Traditionalists, as it will help to keep people attached to the Vatican II Church and its false shepherds.
Before we begin our analysis of Benedict’s motu proprio and the accompanying letter he released, let us first understand something very important: The rite of Mass Benedict XVI just re-authorized on a large scale is the 1962 Mass of “Pope John XXIII” (Cardinal Angelo Roncalli) — it is not the Traditional Mass properly so-called. The missal issued by John XXIII was not used until Vatican II was already in session, and it was soon replaced with the official Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, though the so-called “hybrid Missal” was already in use from 1965.
Some of the changes introduced by John XXIII, not found in the Missal before 1962, include the following:
- Name of St. Joseph added to the Canon of the Mass
- Second Confiteor and absolution (before Holy Communion) abolished
- Various changes in feasts and rankings
A PDF copy of the 1962 Missal can be downloaded here.
In order to see what Benedict XVI has done allowing wider use of the 1962 Mass by means of his motu proprio — which I prefer to call the motu inapproprio, if you permit the pun — we must ask about the “what”, the “how”, and the “why.”
When we answer these questions, it will become apparent that Benedict XVI’s liberalization of the 1962 Missal will only weaken the traditionalist resistance in his church, a consequence no doubt very much intended. Greater access to the 1962 Mass will keep many traditionalists who would otherwise leave, attached to the Vatican II Church and perhaps add some of those outside back to the Modernist flock, now led by “Pope” Francis.
This is tragic for many reasons, not the least of which is that almost all of the priests who offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal are not validly ordained, as their ordinations took place in the doubtful ordination rite of Paul VI, or occurred in the traditional rite but were administered by bishops who were themselves invalidly consecrated. (See links at the end of this article for more information.)
So, what is Benedict XVI decreeing in Summorum Pontificum? 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 1970 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 pre-Vatican II form (baptism, penance, confirmation, holy matrimony, and “anointing of the sick,” i.e. extreme unction).
To summarize: This is to be done by allowing any priest of the Novus Ordo church in good standing to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal without the 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”), on which days the liturgy cannot be offered privately but must be public (any such public celebration, however, is subject to the approval of the local ordinary). In Novus Ordo parishes where there is a “stable group” that is “attached” to the 1962 Missal, the pastor is “urged” or “encouraged” to allow such Masses even for the public, 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, which, however, are beyond the scope of this analysis.
Here comes the most interesting part: Why is Fr. Ratzinger doing this? In conjunction with the motu proprio, Benedict XVI issued a letter addressed to all the Novus Ordo bishops in the world, in which he explains his decision to allow wider use of the 1962 Missal. (It will be useful to read this letter first in order to better understand the critical commentary that follows.) The full text of this document can be found here:
In this letter, Benedict candidly makes clear that it is his intention to pander to 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 [Ecclesia Dei of John Paul II]. 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 enable 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 [notice the casual reference to just “Paul”, as opposed to Saint Paul –N.O.W.] 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 published by Novus Ordo Watch in 2005 quite 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.”
(Novus Ordo Watch, “What to Expect of ‘Pope’ Benedict XVI”, May 20, 2005)
Benedict’s intent is to make Traditionalists an “offer they can’t refuse.” Unfortunately, now that seven years have passed, it is clear that many have fallen for it: Praise for Summorum Pontificum is heard from numerous quarters even though the document itself and the accompanying explanatory letter are very dangerous and wholly unacceptable, as we shall see now.
“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 primary and normative); the 1962 Mass, which still externally resembles the pre-1962 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 as found in a standard daily missal for use by the laity):
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, supposedly expresses the same faith (lex credendi) equally (!) 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 good example would be the prayers right after the consecration, the most sacred moment in the Catholic Mass when God Himself becomes incarnate on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine. 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.
What a gorgeous, eloquent, sublime, and dignified petition to the Almighty Father! It is breathtaking in its beauty, its doctrinal richness, and its Catholic identity.
By contrast, 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 bland travesty of a prayer (in “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.
To add insult to injury, when introducing the Novus Ordo Missae, Paul VI impiously claimed that he was finally unlocking for the faithful “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” (see Paul VI, “Apostolic Constitution” Missale Romanum, 1969). Just how wonderfully the “spirits and souls of Christians” have been “nourished” by the liturgical “enrichment” of the New Mass, we have witnessed over the last 45 years, and it hasn’t been pretty.
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 2,000 years became locked up in the darkness of the libraries, with the intent that they would never be found again but disappear forever and be wiped from people’s memory. 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 holy Providence, 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 (for a more detailed analysis of the two prayers, please see our post, “The Novus Ordo Good Friday Prayer”):
Traditional Missal (as last revised by Pope Pius XII in 1955):
Let us pray also for the faithless Jews [“faithless” removed from 1962 Missal –N.O.W.]: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us pray. Let us kneel.
Almighty and eternal God, who dost not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. 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.
Obviously, the 1962 Missal’s prayer for the Jews clearly aims at their conversion to the True Religion (the greatest act of charity towards one’s fellow-man), 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 Modernist 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 — but many Novus Ordos, including “Pope” Francis, hold to this heresy anyway).
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, according to the Vatican II Modernists, so one can arrive at Redemption either “partially” or “completely”? And what, pray tell, might “partial” Redemption look like?
In any case, the prayer affirms that today’s Jews are God’s Chosen People, which is a complete falsehood. The true “Chosen People” today are the members of the true Catholic Church: “We ought to remember that Catholics are, far more than the Jews were, the chosen people of God…” (Fr. Richard Clarke, “The Ministry of Jesus: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord”, in Beautiful Pearls of Catholic Truth, p. 542). Holy Scripture, likewise, is very clear: “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” (Gal 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. (More on this here.)
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.” (Jn 8:39-40). The point being, once more, that the mere fleshly link to Abraham is of no avail since the promulgation of the New Covenant. So much, then, for the “same faith” that the “two forms” of the “one Roman rite” supposedly express — the claim is simply a lie.
Ambiguity and contradictions in the Modernist liturgical texts should come as no surprise, however. Modernism thrives on ambiguity, since the whole modus operandi of Modernism is to give new meaning to old words and to provide plausible deniability should anyone catch on to their sly poisoning of souls. Through ambiguity, the traditional understanding of terms is gradually eroded, and once a few generations pass, to the words are then attached new ideas. Thus a new, counterfeit religion is born. It is no doubt for this reason that the true councils of the Catholic Church have always insisted upon precision in doctrinal formulations.
In his 1794 decree Auctorem Fidei, Pope Pius VI vigorously condemned this tactic of ambiguity, which he rightly exposed as being the means of innovators who seek to deceitfully change the Faith and introduce false, novel ideas among Catholics. As though he was anticipating the Modernist Second Vatican Council with its deliberate ambiguities, he affirmed that a synod’s “principal glory consists above all in teaching the truth with clarity and excluding all danger of error”. Ambiguity is the enemy of truth and of the Faith, and it is the weapon of choice of the Modernist because it is so destructive and accomplishes the intended end so faithfully.
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 click here.
Of course, the differences between the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” forms of the “one Roman rite” are not just textual but also visual. Here is a visual comparison of the average Novus Ordo Mass with the Traditional Mass in the United States:
The “Ordinary” Form of the “One Roman Rite”…
image: pixabay.com (Susan Wolf) / public domain
image: “Catholic Church (England and Wales) Mass with the International Lutheran – Roman Catholic Commission“
via photopin / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
…versus The “Extraordinary” Form of the “One Roman Rite”
image: Wikimedia Commons (Joachim Specht) / public domain
image: unknown origin / fair use
The contrast between the two is striking and shows that we are obviously not dealing with “one and the same rite” of Mass.
Benedict XVI’s attempt to fuse the 1962 Missal (which, again, is not really the Traditional Mass to begin with) with the Novus Ordo Missal is his 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 insists explicitly (see Summorum Pontificum, Art. 1).
But once one concedes the Traditional Mass to be nothing other than an “extraordinary form” of the Novus Ordo Missal (after all, the extraordinary is based on, and presupposes, the ordinary), it follows that one then recognizes the Novus Ordo “Mass” as an authentic and normative Roman Catholic rite of Mass. Is this really something the Traditionalists in the Novus Ordo Church consider cause for celebration?
In addition, consider that what is extraordinary can easily 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 — a frightening reality of which the suppression of the True Mass is merely a symptom). Yet many in the New Church have been acting like Summorum Pontificum is some sort of definitive, irreversible decision to “free the Latin Mass” once and for all — it is no such thing.
The burden of proof is on Benedict XVI, of course, to demonstrate how two rites as different as the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Novus Ordo Missal could be considered “one and the same rite.” Benedict does not attempt such a demonstration in his motu inapproprio or even in his accompanying letter; he simply declares it to be so. But of course, what is asserted without evidence can simply be dismissed — and we have shown clearly, even using just a few examples, that Benedict’s claim is false.
There are two handy little booklets, easy to read and understand, that demonstrate the essential differences between the Traditional Mass and the New Mass, providing countless more examples:
- The Problems with the New Mass by Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy
- The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass by Fr. Anthony Cekada (see also here)
Of course, the truth is that the New Mass and the Traditional Mass are very different. This is obvious even just from pondering the fact that the Modernists have so long suppressed the Traditional Mass and 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 Latin Mass.
As we have seen, the only reason Benedict XVI even enacted his motu proprio is that so many people have refused to go along with the New Mass — precisely, again, because it is essentially different from the Traditional Mass, 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 he does so only as part of a concession to keep Traditionalists in his Novus Ordo Church, or to lure back in those who have left it. He says so himself!
The claim that the 1970 and the 1962 Missals are one and the same rite, though different “forms” or “expressions” 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 strange new religion. (The fact that the new Modernist religion has been propelled onwards mostly through the New Mass is evident from the fact that most Catholics only or primarily come into contact with their Faith at liturgical functions — almost no one reads the Vatican’s official documents).
If the changes in the missals had only been a matter of confused but genuine concern regarding 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, the Modernists 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.
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 second, 1970 edition. The “Holy Father” Paul VI in all seriousness defined the Mass as follows:
The Lord’s Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ’s promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt. 18:20).
(“General Instruction of the Roman Missal”, Missale Romanum: Ordo Missae Editio Typica [Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1969], n. 7)
Such a heretical definition could have come straight out of Martin 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, taught to every child: “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 Alfredo Ottaviani chastised Paul VI for his heretical definition, charging:
The definition of the Mass is thus reduced to a “supper,” a term which the General Instruction constantly repeats.
The Instruction further characterizes this “supper” as an assembly, presided over by a priest and held as a memorial of the Lord to recall what He did on Holy Thursday. None of this in the very least implies:
- The Real Presence
- The reality of the Sacrifice
- The sacramental function of the priest who consecrates
- The intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independent of the presence of the “asembly.”
In a word, the Instruction’s definition implies none of the dogmatic values which are essential to the Mass and which, taken together, provide its true definition. Here, deliberately omitting these dogmatic values by “going beyond them” amounts, at least in practice, to denying them.
(Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani, Antonio Bacci, et al., Short Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae, Sept. 25, 1969)
No doubt, Paul VI’s new definition, just like the New Mass itself, is “one and the same” with the traditional definition! This shows how gullible they believe people to be. It is an insult to Catholics’ intelligence.
Another really curious claim Benedict XVI makes in his Letter accompanying his Summorum Pontificum is that the 1962 Mass was never forbidded by law:
As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.
Nonsense. 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.
(Paul VI, “Apostolic Constitution” Missale Romanum , par. 1-2)
Here Paul VI is indicating that what he is about to institute is not — at least so goes his claim — a new, 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 (which would then allow one to claim that the old rite had never been repealed or replaced). Nor does Paul VI here offer to introduce an “ordinary” form of Mass, which has its complement in the “extraordinary” form of the St. Pius V Missal — that’s a distinction that Benedict XVI simply 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 and that there can be only one Roman rite of Mass at a time.
Moreover, consider Ratzinger’s contention about the traditional rite never having been abrogated 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 laughable. 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 sedevacantists use the pre-Pius XII Holy Week rites anyway, see here.)
Paul VI continues:
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 order that the prescriptions of this Constitution go into effect November 30th of this year, the first Sunday of Advent.
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.
(Paul VI, “Apostolic Constitution” Missale Romanum , par. 4-5,11,14-15; underlining added.)
The above excerpts show beyond doubt that Paul VI made the New Mass a revision of the Missal of St. Pius V, which was effectively replaced thereby. Again, he was not claiming to create a new, separate rite, or an “ordinary form” of the prior, “extraordinary” rite. These ideas were made up by Benedict XVI to make his new legislation palatable to Traditionalists in his church.
Furthermore, the above quotes show that Paul VI actually suppressed the St. Pius V rite, stating that the Novus Ordo Missae would need to be used beginning November 30, 1969, “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 clear and definitive and typical papal legislative verbiage. Nothing “optional” here.
The fact that all priests of the Roman rite were required to use the Novus Ordo Missae exclusively was also stressed in subsequent documents issued by the Vatican. As some episcopal conferences, however, were not able to translate all the new liturgical texts into the vernacular in time for the November 30, 1969 deadline, the “Holy See” offered a grace period through November 28, 1971.
For detailed information and a response to objections regarding the imposition of the New “Mass,” with numerous quotes from official Vatican documents, please see:
Besides the clear legislation, we also have very clear practice to go on. Those priests who dragged their feet in implementing the changes or tried to refuse outright to use the New Missal were severely reprimanded and disciplined. A number of them endured veritable “persecution” by their bishops.
In 1976, Paul VI wrote a letter to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who refused to say the New Mass, and told him: “We have sanctioned this reform [of the Missal] by our authority, requiring that it be adopted by all Catholics. …We have not judged it good to permit any further delays or exceptions to this adoption…” (source). Apparently both Abp. Lefebvre and Paul VI were unaware that the 1962 Mass had “never been abrogated,” as Benedict XVI now wants us to believe.
Still, a few exceptions were made for elderly priests for whom the burden of learning a new rite of Mass would have been too great, but this concession was granted only on an individual basis. They were authorized to continue using an older Missal, but they had to petition the Vatican for a special personal indult to be allowed to do so.
The 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia explains what an indult is:
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…. Hence we speak of the Lenten indult, an indult of secularization granted to a religious, an indult to absent oneself from the recitation of the Divine Office in choir, an indult permitting the celebration of Mass at sea, the indult of a private oratory, a privileged altar, and so on.
(Catholic Encyclopedia , s.v. “Indult, Pontifical”; underlining added.)
In fact, the 1962 Mass was known as the “Indult Mass” between 1984 and 2007 for the very reason that this special permission was required to be allowed to offer it. (The 1984 document Quattuor Abhinc Annos was the first Vatican concession of an indult for groups of people “attached” to the old Missal, though it had severe restrictions; the second, wider indult came in John Paul II’s 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei.)
But if the 1962 Missal was never abrogated, as Benedict XVI now so nonchalantly claims is a “fact,” then why was it necessary first to obtain a papal indult before one was allowed to use it?
Some might object that in his letter Benedict merely says the 1962 Missal was always permitted “in principle.” But what does he mean by this qualification? Is he suggesting that it was permitted in theory but not necessarily in practice? Of what value and significance is a theoretical authorization that does not have practical effects? Is a merely “theoretical” permission not a completely meaningless concept, anyway?
When we thus examine the legislative history of the Novus Ordo Missae, we find that Benedict’s idea that the traditional Missal was never in fact suppressed, is simply not true. It is an assertion he fabricated to make it easier to introduce his universal indult.
“OH NO, ALL THOSE ABUSES!”
Next in his letter to his bishops, 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 epitome of liturgical abuse. Ratzinger “laments” that:
…[I]n 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 am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And 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? 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 even more abuses — such as altar girls, lay “Eucharistic ministers”, numerous different “Eucharistic Prayers” and other “options” to choose from when saying the New Mass, introducing “Children’s Liturgies”, etc. The list is endless.
Crocodile tears from Rome about the “abuses” in the New Mass are nothing new, in fact. 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 how chronic Rome’s bewailing of the liturgical wilderness engendered by the Novus Ordo Missal of 1970 has been:
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, Letter Dominicae Cenae, n. 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, Instruction 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…. [N.O.W. remarks: And it is for the Pope to root out disobedient bishops.]
—John Paul II, “Apostolic Letter” Vicesimus Quintus Annus, n. 13 (1988)
The Bishop’s place in the Church’s sanctifying mission leads him to have special concern for the observance of liturgical law in his diocese… Unfortunately, excesses in one direction or another have led to a certain polarization within communities. …The spiritual vitality of your communities depends greatly on the dignified and worthy celebration of the liturgy. In all of this you need the support and help of your priests and all the faithful, but the greatest responsibility lies with you who have received the fullness of the sacrament of the priesthood.
—John Paul II, Address to Episcopal Conference of Australia, n. 3 (1993)
To look back over what has been done in the field of liturgical renewal in the years since the Council is, first, to see many reasons for giving heartfelt thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity for the marvelous awareness which has developed among the faithful of their role and responsibility in this priestly work of Christ and his Church. It is also to realize that not all changes have always and everywhere been accompanied by the necessary explanation and catechesis; as a result, in some cases there has been a misunderstanding of the very nature of the liturgy, leading to abuses, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandal.
—John Paul II, Address to Episcopal Conference of the United States, n. 1 (1998)
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. [N.O.W. remarks: No ambiguity here, huh?]
—John Paul II, “Encyclical” Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 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.
And all this coming from a man who himself offered some of the most absurd and exotic high-profile “Eucharistic liturgies” in the life of the Vatican II Church, including Hindu dancers and bare-breasted women, for example. Please pardon anyone who is not exactly convinced by this “bewailing” of abuses in the Novus Ordo.
So, you get the picture: By lamenting liturgical abuses in his 2007 letter to his bishops, Benedict XVI is simply continuing a trend begun long before him. 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” Schonborn 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 selected 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, something that gives it shape, something that makes it take on some kind of identity. Besides, it lends itself perfectly to being “abused” — precisely because, as Ratzinger himself has said, it is a “banal, on-the-spot product” with a sheer endless supply of different “options” to choose from, each resulting in a different liturgical “experience.” All this was ultimately brought on by 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 and malicious in their destruction of Catholicism: Even when the bad fruits are really apparent, they still refuse to uproot the cause of the evil. 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 back to the Traditional Mass and condemned the Novus Ordo 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, n. 11). What did he do to stop this rending of the unity of the Church and deriding of the piety of the faithful? Nothing, of course. Instead, he then allowed altar girls and so made it worse.
The simple truth is that the “outlandish innovations,” for the most part, first came from the Vatican itself, courtesy of the “Great Renewal” of John XXIII and his successors of unhappy memory.
Further in his letter to the world’s bishops, Benedict XVI states that he is granting this special indult for greater use of the 1962 Missal 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, approved by true Catholic Popes, 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” (Benedict’s words) to us that we refuse to worship at the New Mass and only assist at the Tridentine Mass. But Benedict, in typically Modernist fashion, reduces everything to subjectivity, feeling, and personal experience. Pope St. Pius X warned us against precisely this in his landmark encyclical against Modernism 107 years ago: “…[E]verything in their system is explained by inner impulses or needs” (Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 21).
Who, then, has been swayed by Ratzinger’s gesture? Only the False Traditionalists, those who do not really care where a Traditional Mass is said, or who offers it, what Missal is used, etc. — in other words, those who are merely focused on the externals. They have jubilantly accepted his offer because to them, what matters primarily is not the Faith but external celebration. As long as the Latin is eloquent, the vestments are beautiful, the candles are long enough, and the incense smells right, they “feel” at home and willingly give themselves to the illusion that they are being traditional Catholics. But any genuine Catholic rejects such pharisaical Modernist charades, which 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 and Divine Revelation that tell us what is right and wrong, however, not emotion. Ratzinger can keep his nostalgia nonsense; true Catholics do not fall for it.
So, now that seven years have passed since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, how can we expect this “extraordinary form” of the “one Roman rite” to impact the future further? 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 especially on the diocesan level.
Just picture hordes of Modernist “priests” attempting to use the 1962 Mass in their Novus Ordo churches and on Novus Ordo
altars tables. 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 (here comes Hegel again), 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.
Let us pray that more and more people will finally see through this farce. We must always remember that the real issue is 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 desire 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 called himself “Pope John XXIII.” (For more information, see The Syllogism of Sedevacantism, as well as Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope [PDF] and Smoke Signals 1958.)
But the True Catholic Church cannot do as the Novus Ordo Church has done, as 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.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 66)
That’s not exactly an accurate description of the Modernist Vatican II Church, is it?
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!
[Note on the revised version of this article (Apr. 11, 2017): In earlier versions of this article, we had erroneously stated that this motu proprio does not permit the 1962 liturgical books to be used for the celebration of the Easter Triduum. It turns out that this only refers to a private celebration, not to a public one, as pointed out by the indult blog Rorate Caeli. We apologize for the mistake. We do emphasize, however, that such a public celebration of the Easter Triduum in accordance with the 1962 books is only permitted by Summorum Pontificum, as for any other traditional Masses that are offered publicly, with the consent of the local Modernist bishop.]