Archbishop Lefebvre and the Filial Correction

The recent Filial Correction is a welcome step  towards calling the attention of all the faithful to the tragic destruction being attempted by Pope Francis in his  reformation of the Church. What Luther achieved outside the Church, Francis attempts to achieve within: a church which is hollowed out, emptied of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Virgin Mother, His sacraments, His teachings; a church of man to eclipse the true Church of Christ the King.

Even more encouraging than the Filial Correction itself is the reaction to it.  The partisans of error who have attempted to defend Pope Francis have demonstrated for all the world to see that there is in fact, absolutely no Catholic defense of this Pope’s destructive actions. Logic, reality, and the Faith itself must be discarded if one is to accept Pope Francis’s “irreversible changes”.

Another encouraging aspect of this is the excellent reporting being done by several Catholic blogs, many of whom were less than supportive of the Society of St. Pius X until rather recently. To see them defend Bishop Fellay and the Society has been most gratifying. Perhaps in time they will grasp the fact that it is the Society,  the work of Archbishop Lefebvre, which laid the groundwork for the defenders of the Faith today.

It is important that we understand that the driving force behind the Filial Correction is the grace of God, beseeched by thousands of faithful Catholics who offered their prayers and sacrifices daily, participating the the Society’s Crusade of Rosaries and Reparation.

Note well: It is grace.  Our Lady has promised us that nothing we ask through her Rosary will be denied.  For over a year, throughout the world, the faithful remnant of Catholics knelt and prayed the Rosary. They reinforced their Rosaries with sacrifices and penances, obeying St. Michael, the  Angel of Fatima to

 “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.”

The generosity of Our Lady of the Rosary is unfailing! When the Rosary and Reparation Crusade began, many were losing heart as it seemed that this Pope of destruction would soon  triumph over the weak and scattered forces trying to defend the Faith. However, we have seen that Our Lady of the Rosary does answer prayers.  Do not fail to note the role of the faithful recitation of the rosary, the continuous daily offering of our simple, mundane duties of state in all this.  Our Lady hears her children, We know this is true, as has been shown from Lepanto to Vienna and down even to these times today.

When Archbishop Lefebvre stood against the partisans of error who had gained control of the Vatican, he did not do so as a rebel, although he was often smeared with that label. He did so as a devoted servant of Christ the King. His honest explanations of his reasons, his criticism offered with the utmost respect for the role of the papacy, is actually the groundwork for the defense of the faith being undertaken today by those who signed the Filial Correction. We offer several quotes from the saintly Archbishop.

In June, 1987, after acknowledging that he had been waiting for a sign that he should take the initiative in providing for the continuation of his work of preserving the Faith, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Sacred Priesthood,  Archbishop Lefebvre explained that the Vatican’s reply to his objections on religious liberty is the sign which convinced him of the need to take action.

“We adhere, with all our heart, with all our soul to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary for the preservation of that faith, to Eternal Rome, teacher of wisdom and truth.
On the other hand we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of the neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendency that clearly manifested itself in the Second Vatican Council and after the Council in all the reforms that resulted from it.”

“It is one thing to commit a grave and scandalous action; it is quite another to state false and erroneous principles which work out in practice in utterly disastrous conclusions!”

“… It is providential that by a particular set of circumstances we wrote the book that appeared just a few days ago, entitled: “They Uncrowned Him.”  Who? Who did the uncrowning and who was uncrowned? Who was uncrowned? Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who uncrowned him? The authorities in Rome today. . . . From end to end of the Liturgical year we chant:

“King of Kings, Lord of Lords,” Our Lord Jesus Christ. But now instead of extolling the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, here they are instituting a pantheon of all religions. . . . (It) is being constructed by the church authorities of Rome! What an immense scandal for souls, for Catholics who already question the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Rome is in darkness, in the darkness of error. There is no denying it. Impossible to deny it. How can we as Catholics, and all the more as priests, bear to look on the spectacle placed before our eyes in Assisi, in St. Peter’s Church given over for the practice of their pagan worship to the Buddhists who put their idol on the tabernacle of Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and performed their pagan ceremony in front of this tabernacle, empty no doubt, but capped with a Buddha, their idol. Is it conceivable? In a Catholic Church, a church of Our Lord Jesus Christ? These are facts which speak by themselves. We cannot conceive of an error more grave.

How is it possible? Let us leave the good Lord to answer. He guides all things, He is the master of events, Our Lord Jesus Christ, He knows what will come of this triumph of error over Rome and over the highest authorities, from the Pope to the cardinals and bishops of the entire world following these ideas; for indeed the bishops of the whole world are following the false ideas of the Council with their ecumenism and liberalism. God alone knows where it is all going to end.

For our part, however, if we wish to remain Catholic and to continue the Church, we have the grave and imprescriptible duty binding us firstly to increase the number of priests, priests believing in Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Kingship, in His kingship over society, according to the Church’s doctrine. That is why I am happy that the book on liberalism has appeared today, my dear friends, so that you may nourish your minds on it and grasp in depth what our combat is all about. It is not a human combat! We are at grips with Satan! It is a combat requiring all the supernatural strength we need to fight against the adversary who means to destroy and uproot the Church, who means to destroy everything Our Lord Jesus Christ did. He meant to destroy Our Lord from the moment He was born, and now he means to continue destroying His Mystical Body, to destroy the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to destroy all His institutions whatsoever. . .

So we must be aware of this dramatic and apocalyptic combat through which we are living, . . .

Are we going to quit the Church presently undergoing her Passion, and not come to her aid? And what will become of souls if nobody dares any longer proclaim the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ? And what will become of souls if we no longer provide them with the true grace they need? All this is cryingly obvious, and so let us be convinced of it.

And that is the reason why it is likely that I shall give myself some successors to be able to continue the work of our Society. Because Rome is in darkness, because Rome at present can no longer hear the voice of truth – Rome no longer hears the voice of truth. Then what are we to do? What answer has there been to our appeals? For 20 years now I have been going to Rome. I have been writing, I have been speaking, I have been sending documents to say to them: – “Follow Tradition, come back to Tradition, otherwise the Church will be ruined. You, the appointed successors of those who built the Church, you must continue to build and not to demolish!” They are deaf, stone deaf to our appeals.

Of the liberals infesting the Vatican then (and now!): They are shutting themselves up in their errors, they are shutting themselves up in darkness, and they are quite simply going to lead souls into apostasy, the ruination of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the ruination of the Catholic and Christian Faith.

We are living in a quite unique age, we must realize that. The situation is not normal, least of all in Rome.. . .  the situation in Rome, a perfectly incredible situation, unparalleled in all history! Never has there been anything like it!

Never! – The Pope making himself, . , into a sort of guardian of the Pantheon of all religions, making himself the Pontiff of Liberalism! Tell me, tell me, pray – has such a situation ever existed in the Church? What are we to do, faced with such a reality? Weep, no doubt. Oh. weep, we do! Our heart is grieved, our heart is crushed by this situation! We would give our life, we would shed our blood to turn it around – but there it is.

When Archbishop Lefebvre determined that it would be necessary to consecrate bishops in order to preserve his work – the work of saving the faith,  he knew that he would be condemned and even today his opponents do not cease condemning him even though every action of Pope Francis and his partisans . proves the authenticity of the Archbishops position.  He responded to the attacks:

. . . Faced with this darkness in Rome, faced with the Roman authorities’ pertinacity in error, faced with this refusal to return to Truth or Tradition on the part of those who occupy the seats of authority in Rome, faced with all these things, it seems to us that the good Lord is asking for the Church to continue. This is why it is likely that before I give account of my life to the good Lord, I shall have to consecrate some bishops.

My dear friends, my dear brethren, let us pray. Let us pray with all our hearts, let us pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary! We shall go to Fatima on August 22nd to ask Our Lady of Fatima to help us. They would not reveal her Third Secret, they buried the message of the Virgin Mary. No doubt this message was meant to prevent what is happening today. Had her message been made known, most likely we would not be where we are today, the situation in Rome, would not be what it is today.

The Pope refused to make public the Virgin Mary’s message: well, the punishments foretold by Mary are coming: the apostasy announced in Scripture is on its way; the coming of the Anti-Christ draws near, as is perfectly obvious. So, faced with this quite exceptional situation, we too must take exceptional means.

There you have it, my dear brethren, my dear friends, during this Mass we shall pray, especially to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, guardians of the Church: may they enlighten us! May they help us! May they obtain for us the Gift of Strength and the Gift of Wisdom to continue their work, to carry on the work of Peter and Paul and all their successors. Let us ask for this from the Blessed Virgin Mary above all, and let us consecrate our persons, our families, our cities to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

From the above quotes, it is undeniable that Our Lady of the Rosary was the guiding light for Archbishop Lefebvre and his work; true devotion to her Immaculate Heart was inherent in all his actions.  Insofar as the current defenders of the faith base their defense on the Message of Fatima, and consecrate their efforts to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, they will not fail. Let us take up our Rosaries and support them, placing all our trust in the most Blessed Mother of God. She will not fail us. We are her children after all.

Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Cardinal Ottaviani’s Intervention

Today marks the 48th anniversary of Cardinal Ottaviani’s heroic attempt to save the beautiful Mass of all time, the Mass of so many saints and martyrs.

This  year, with only the barest nod to the Centenary of Fatima, Pope Francis  has continued to deconstruct the Church irreversibly – as he himself has often said, thus forging the Bergoglian Reformation, which may well come to a head with the Vatican’s proposed celebration of the 500th anniversary of  Martin Luther’s  Revolution.  Recently, he declared with magisterial authority that the liturgical “reforms” were “irreversible”. LINK.

Cardinal Ottaviani, Defender of the Faith

Therefore, we provide Cardinal Ottaviani’s Intervention for your reflection and prayers. Brace yourselves for this Pope of Desolation’s “October Surprise” to complete the dissolution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Cardinal Bacci contributed to the letter and the document was the product of a group of theologians, including most notably, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. At the time, it may have seemed like their efforts were doomed, but within that little resistance the entire edifice of tradition was contained as a mighty oak in a lowly acorn. In tribute to the efforts of Cardinal Ottaviani and the brave prelates who fought to preserve the traditional liturgy and dogma of the faith, it is fitting to revisit what is referred to as The Ottaviani Intervention.

~ ~ ~

 

Letter from Cardinal Ottaviani to His Holiness Pope Paul VI

Rome
September 25, 1969

Most Holy Father,

Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequdam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted, which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations. which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law. Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the Church, lamented by You our common Father. not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic World.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci
Feast of St. Pius X

 

A Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae
by a group of Roman Theologians

I
In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was requested to pass a judgment on the experimental celebration of a so-called “normative Mass,” devised by the Consilium for implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a “refusal” on the proposed “normative Mass” on the part of the Synod. Progressively-inclined papers made no mention of this.

In the Novus Ordo Missae lately promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, we once again find this “normative Mass,” identical in substance, nor does it appear that in the intervening period, the Episcopal Conferences, at least as such, were ever asked to give their views about it.

In the Apostolic Constitution, it is stated that the ancient Missal promulgated by St. Pius V, July 13, 1570, but going back in great part to St. Gregory the Great and to still remoter antiquity,[3] was for four centuries the norm for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice for priests of the Latin rite, and that, taken to every part of the world, “it has moreover been an abundant source of spiritual nourishment to may holy people in their devotion to God.”

Yet, the present reform, putting it definitely out of use, was claimed to be necessary since “from that time the study of the Sacred Liturgy has become more widespread and intensive amongst Christians.”

This assertion seems to us to embody a serious equivocation. For the desire of the people was expressed, if at all, when—thanks to St. Pius X—they began to discover the true and everlasting treasures of the liturgy. The people never on any account asked for the liturgy to be changed or mutilated so as to understand it better. They asked for a better understanding of a changeless liturgy, and one which they would never have wanted changed.

The Roman Missal of St. Pius V was religiously venerated and most dear to Catholics, both priests and laity. One fails to see how its use, together with suitable catechesis, should have hindered a fuller participation in, and greater knowledge of, the Sacred Liturgy, nor why, when its many outstanding virtues are recognized, this should not have been considered worthy to continue to foster the liturgical piety of Christians.

Since the “normative Mass,” now reintroduced and imposed as the Novus Ordo Missae, was in substance rejected by the Synod of Bishops, was never submitted to the collegial judgment of the Episcopal Conference, nor have the people—least of all in mission lands—ever asked for any reform of Holy Mass whatsoever, one fails to comprehend the motives behind the new legislation which overthrows a tradition unchanged in the Church since the fourth and fifth centuries, as the Apostolic Constitution itself acknowledges. As no popular demand exists to support this reform, it appears devoid of any logical grounds to justify it and make it acceptable to the Catholic people.

The Vatican Council did indeed express a desire (para. 50, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium) for the various parts of the Mass to be reordered “so that the distinctive character of each single part and its relationship to the other part may appear more clearly.” We shall now see how the Ordo recently promulgated corresponds with this original intention.

An attentive examination of the Novus Ordo reveals changes of such magnitude as to justify in themselves the judgment already made with regard to the “normative Mass.” Both have in many points every possibility of satisfying the most modernistic of Protestants.

II
Let us begin with the definition of the Mass given in n. 7 of the Institutio Generalis at the beginning of the second chapter of the Novus Ordo: De structura Missae:

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.[4] Thus the promise of Christ, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” is eminently true of the local community in the Church (Mt. 18, 20).

The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of a “supper,” and this term is found constantly repeated (nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This “supper” is further characterized 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 the sacrifice, or the Sacramental function of the consecrating priest, or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the people’s presence.[5] 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.[6]

In the second part of this paragraph 7 it is asserted, aggravating the already serious equivocation, that there holds good, “eminenter,” for this assembly Christ’s promise that “Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo; ibi sum in medio eorum” (Mt. 18, 20). This promise, which refers only to the spiritual presence of Christ with His grace, is thus put on the same qualitative plane, save for the greater intensity, as the substantial and physical reality of the Sacramental Eucharistic Presence.

In no. 8 a subdivision of the Mass into “liturgy of the word” and Eucharistic liturgy immediately follows, with the affirmation that in the Mass is made ready “the table of God’s word” as of “the Body of Christ,” so that the faithful “may be built up and refreshed”—an altogether improper assimilation of the two parts of the liturgy, as though between two points of equal symbolic value. More will be said about this point later.

The Mass is designated by a great many different expressions, all acceptable relatively, all unacceptable if employed, as they are, separately and in an absolute sense. We cite a few:

the Action of Christ and of the People of God;
the Lord’s Supper or Mass;
the Paschal Banquet;
the Common participation in the Lord’s Table;
the memorial of the Lord;
the Eucharistic Prayer;
the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy;
etc.
As is only too evident, the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the supper and the memorial instead of upon the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The formula “the Memorial of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord” is, besides, inexact, the Mass being the memorial or the Sacrifice alone, in itself redemptive whilst the Resurrection is the consequent fruit of it.[7]

We shall later see how, in the same consecratory formula, and throughout the Novus Ordo such equivocations are renewed and reiterated.

III
We come now to the ends of the Mass.

I. Ultimate end. This is that of the Sacrifice of praise to the Most Holy Trinity according to the explicit declaration of Christ in the primary purpose of His very Incarnation: “Coming into the world he saith: sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not but a body thou has fitted me” (Ps. 34, 7-9 in Heb. 10, 5).

This end has disappeared from the Offertory, with the disappearance of the prayer Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas; from the end of the Mass with the omission of the Placet tibi Sancta Trinitas; and from the Preface, which on Sunday will no longer be that of the Most Holy Trinity, as this Preface will be reserved only to the Feast of the Trinity, and so in future will be heard but once a year.

2. Ordinary end. This is the propitiatory Sacrifice. It too has been deviated from; for instead of putting the stress on the remission of sins of the living and the dead it lays emphasis on the nourishment and sanctification of the present (no. 54). Christ certainly instituted the Sacrament of the Last Supper putting Himself in the state of Victim in order that we might be united to Him in this state but this self-immolation precedes the eating of the Victim, and has an antecedent and full redemptive value (the application of the bloody immolation). This is borne out by the fact that the faithful present are not bound to communicate, sacramentally.[8]

3. Immanent end. Whatever the nature of the Sacrifice, it is absolutely necessary that it be pleasing and acceptable to God. After the Fall no sacrifice can claim to be acceptable in its own right other than the Sacrifice of Christ. The Novus Ordo changes the nature of the offering, turning it into a sort or exchange of gifts between man and God: man brings the bread, and God turns it into the “bread of life”; man brings the wine, and God turns it into a “spiritual drink.”

Thou art blessed Lord, God of the Universe, because from Thy generosity we have received the bread [or “wine”] which we offer Thee the fruit of the earth [or “vine”] and of man’s labor. May it become for us the bread of life [or “spiritual drink.”].[9]

There is no need to comment on the utter indeterminateness of the formulae “panis vitae” and “potus spiritualis,” which might mean anything. The same capital equivocation is repeated here, as in the definition of the Mass: there, Christ is present only spiritually among His own: here, bread and wine are only “spiritually” (not substantially) changed.[10]

In the preparation of the offering, a similar equivocation results from the suppression of two great prayers. The “Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti et mirabilius reformasti” was a reference to man’s former condition of innocence and to his present one of being ransomed by the Blood of Christ: a recapitulation of the whole economy of the Sacrifice, from Adam to the present moment. The final propitiatory offering of the chalice, that it might ascend “cum odore suavitatis,” into the presence of the divine majesty, Whose clemency was implored, admirably reaffirmed this plan. By suppressing the continual reference to God in the Eucharistic prayers, there is no longer any clear distinction between divine and human sacrifice.

Having removed the keystone, the reformers have had to put up scaffolding; suppressing real ends, they have had to substitute fictitious ends of their own: leading to gestures intended to stress the union of priest and faithful, and of the faithful among themselves; offerings for the poor and for the Church superimposed upon the offerings of the Host to be immolated. There is a danger that the uniqueness of this offering will become blurred, so that participation in the immolation of the Victim comes to resemble a philanthropical meeting, or a charity banquet.

IV
We now pass on to the essence of the Sacrifice.

The mystery of the Cross is no longer explicitly expressed. It is only there obscurely, veiled, imperceptible for the people.[11] And for these reasons:

1. The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called prex eucharistica [12] is: “that the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in offering sacrifice” (no. 54, the end).

Which sacrifice is referred to? Who is the offerer? No answer is given to either of these questions. The initial definition of the prex eucharistica is as follows: “The center and culminating point of the whole celebration now has a beginning, namely the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and of sanctification” (no. 54, pr.). The effects thus replace the causes, of which not one single word is said. The explicit mention of the object of the offering, which was found in the Suscipe, has not been replaced by anything. The change in formulation reveals the change in doctrine.

2. The reason for this non-explicitness concerning the Sacrifice is quite simply that the Real Presence has been removed from the central position which it occupied so resplendently in the former Eucharistic liturgy. There is but a single reference to the Real Presence (a quotation—in a footnote—from the Council of Trent), and again the context is that of “nourishment” (no. 241, note 63).

The Real and permanent Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the transubstantiated Species is never alluded to. The very word transubstantiation is totally ignored.

The suppression of the invocation to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity (Veni Sanctificator) that He may descend upon the oblations, as once before into the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin to accomplish the miracle of the divine Presence, is yet one more instance of the systematic and tacit negation of the Real Presence.

Note, too, the eliminations:

of the genuflections (no more than three remain to the priest, and one, with certain exceptions, to the people, at the Consecration);
of the purification of the priest’s fingers in the chalice; of the preservation from all profane contact of the priest’s fingers after the Consecration;
of the purification of the vessels, which need not be immediate, nor made on the corporal;
of the pall protecting the chalice;
of the internal gilding of sacred vessels;
of the consecration of movable altars;
of the sacred stone and relics in the movable altar or upon the mensa—when celebration does not occur in sacred precincts (this distinction leads straight to “eucharistic suppers” in private houses);
of the three altar cloths, reduced to one only;
of thanksgiving kneeling (replaced by a thanksgiving, seated, on the part of priest and people, a logical enough complement to Communion standing);
of all the ancient prescriptions in the case of the consecrated Host falling, which are now reduced to a single, casual direction: “reverenter accipiatur” (no. 239);

all these things only serve to emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.

3. The function assigned to the altar (no. 262). The altar is almost always called mensa.[13] “The altar or table of the Lord, which is the center of the whole Eucharistic liturgy” (no. 49, cf. 262). It is laid down that the altar must be detached from the walls so that it is possible to walk round it and celebration may be facing the people (no. 262); also that the altar must be the center of the assembly of the faithful so that their attention is drawn spontaneously toward it (ibid). But a comparison of nos. 262 and 276 would seem to suggest that the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on this altar is excluded. This will mark an irreparable dichotomy between the presence, in the celebrant, of the eternal High Priest and that same Presence brought about sacramentally. Before, they were one and the same presence.[14]

Now it is recommended that the Blessed Sacrament be kept in a place apart for the private devotion of the people (almost as though it were a question of devotion to a relic of some kind) so that, on going into a church, attention will no longer be focused upon the tabernacle but upon a stripped bare table. Once again the contrast is made between private piety and liturgical piety: altar is set up against altar.

In the insistent recommendation to distribute in Communion the Species consecrated during the same Mass, indeed to consecrate a loaf[15] for the priest to distribute to at least some of the faithful, we find reasserted a disparaging attitude toward the tabernacle, as toward every form of Eucharistic piety outside of the Mass. This constitutes yet another violent blow to faith in the Real Presence as long as the consecrated Species remain.[16]

4. The formulae of consecration. The ancient formula of consecration was properly a sacramental, not a narrative one. This was shown above all by three things:

a. The Scriptural text not taken up word for word: the Pauline insertion “mysterium fidei” was an immediate confession of the priest’s faith in the mystery realized by the Church through the hierarchical priesthood.

b. The punctuation and typographical lettering: the full stop and new paragraph marking the passage from the narrative mode to the sacramental and affirmative one, the sacramental words in larger characters at the center of the page and often in a different color, clearly detached from the historical context. All combined to give the formula a proper and autonomous value.

c. The anamnesis (“Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis”), which in Greek is “eis tén emèu anàmnesin” (directed to my memory). This referred to Christ operating and not to the mere memory of Him, or of the event: an invitation to recall what He did (“haec… in mei memoriam facietis”) in the way He did it, not only His Person, or the Supper. The Pauline formula (“Hoc facite in meam commemorationem”) which will now take the place of the old—proclaimed as it will be daily in vernacular languages—will irremediably cause the hearers to concentrate on the memory of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, whilst it is really the beginning. The concluding idea of commemoration will certainly once again take the place of the idea of sacramental action.”[17]

The narrative mode is now emphasized by the formula “narratio institutionis” (no. 55d) and repeated by the definition of the anamnesis, in which it is said that “The Church recalls the memory of Christ Himself” (no. 556).

In short: the theory put forward by the epiclesis, the modification of the words of Consecration and of the anamnesis, have the effect of modifying the modus significandi of the words of Consecration. The consecratory formulae are here pronounced by the priest as the constituents of a historical narrative and no longer enunciated as expressing the categorical and affirmative judgment uttered by Him in whose Person the priest acts: “Hoc est Corpus Meum” (not, “Hoc est Corpus Christi”).[18]

Furthermore the acclamation assigned to the people immediately after the Consecration: (“we announce Thy death, O Lord, until Thou comest”) introduces yet again, under cover of eschatology, the same ambiguity concerning the Real Presence. Without interval or distinction, the expectation of Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time is proclaimed just as the moment when He is substantially present on the altar, almost as though the former, and not the latter, were the true Coming.

This is brought out even more strongly in the formula of optional acclamation no. 2 (Appendix): “As often as we eat of this bread and drink of this chalice we announce Thy death, O Lord, until Thou comest,” where the juxtaposition of the different realities of immolation and eating, of the Real Presence and of Christ’s Second Coming, reaches the height of ambiguity.[19]

V
We now come to the realization of the Sacrifice, the four elements of which were:

Christ,
the priest,
the Church,
the faithful present.
In the Novus Ordo, the position attributed to the faithful is autonomous (absoluta), hence totally false from the opening definition—“Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi”—to the priest’s salutation to the people which is meant to convey to the assembled community the “presence” of the Lord (no. 28). “Qua salutatione et populi responsione manifestatur ecclesiae congregatae mysterium.”

A true presence, certainly, of Christ but only spiritual, and a mystery of the Church, but solely as assembly manifesting and soliciting such a presence.

This interpretation is constantly underlined: by the obsessive references to the communal character of the Mass (nos. 74-152); by the unheard of distinction between “missa cum populo” and “missa sine populo” (nos. 203-231); by the definition of the “oratio universalis seu fidelium” (DO. 45), where once more we find stressed the “sacerdotal office” of the people (“populus sui sacerdotii munus excercens”) presented in an equivocal way because its subordination to that of the priest is not mentioned, and all the more since the priest, as consecrated mediator, makes himself the interpreter of all the intentions of the people in the Te igitur and the two Memento.

In Prex Eucharistica III (Vere sanctus, p. 123) the following words are addressed to the Lord: “from age to age you gather a people to Thyself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of Thy name,”  in order that making it appear that the people, rather than the priest[20] are the indispensable element in the celebration; and since not even here is it made clear who the offerer is, the people themselves appear to be invested with autonomous priestly powers. From this step it would not be surprising if, before long, the people were authorized to join the priest in pronouncing the consecrating formulae (which actually seems here and there to have already occurred).

The priest’s position is minimized, changed and falsified. Firstly in relation to the people for whom he is, for the most part, a mere president, or brother, instead of the consecrated minister celebrating in persona Christi. Secondly in relation to the Church, as a “quidam de populo.” In the definition of the epiclesis (no. 55), the invocations are attributed anonymously to the Church: the part of the priest has vanished.

In the Confiteor which has now become collective, he is no longer judge, witness and intercessor with God; so it is logical that he is no longer empowered to give the absolution, which has been suppressed. He is integrated with the fratres. Even the server addresses him as much in the Confiteor of the “Missa sine populo.”

Already, prior to this latest reform, the significant distinction between the Communion of the priest—the moment in which the Eternal High Priest and the one acting in His Person were brought together in closest union—and the Communion of the faithful had been suppressed.

Not a word do we now find as to the priest’s power to sacrifice, or about his act of consecration, the bringing about through him of the Eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.

The disappearance, or optional use, of many sacred vestments (in certain cases the alb and stole are sufficient—n. 298) obliterates even more the original conformity with Christ: the priest is no more clothed with all His virtues, becoming merely a “graduate” whom one or two signs may distinguish from the mass of people:[21] “a little more a man than the rest” to quote the involuntarily humorous definition by a Dominican preacher.[22] Again, as with the “table” and the altar, there is separated what God has united: the sole Priesthood of the Word of God.

Finally, there is the Church’s position in relation to Christ. In one case, namely the “missa sine populo” is the Mass acknowledged to be “Actio Christi et Ecclesiae” (no. 4, cf. Presb. Ord. no. 13), whereas in the case of the “missa cum populo” this is not referred to except for the purpose of “remembering Christ” and sanctifying those present. The words used are: “In offering the sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Ghost to God the Father, the priest associates the people with himself.” (no. 60), instead of words which would associate the people with Christ Who offers Himself “per Spiritum Sanctum Deo Patri…”

In this context the following are to be noted:

The very serious omission of the phrase “Per Christum Dominum Nostrum,” the guarantee of being heard given to the Church in every age (John 14, 13-14; 15; 16; 23; 24;);

The all-pervading “paschalism,” almost as though there were no other, quite different and equally important aspects of the communication of grace;

The very strange and dubious eschatologism whereby the communication of supernatural grace, a reality which is permanent and eternal, is brought down to the dimensions of time: we hear of a people on the march, a pilgrim Church—no longer militant against the Potestas tenebrarum — looking toward a future which having lost its link with eternity is conceived in purely temporal terms.

The Church—One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic—is diminished as such in the formula that, in the Prex Eucharistica IV, has taken the place of the prayer of the Roman Canon “on behalf of all orthodox believers of the Catholic and apostolic faith.” Now they are no more nor less than: “all who seek you with a sincere heart.”

Again, in the Memento of the dead, these have no longer passed on “with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace,” but only “who have died in the peace of Thy Christ,” and to them are added, with further obvious detriment to the concept of visible unity, the host of all the dead “whose faith is known to Thee alone.”

Furthermore, in none of the three new Eucharistic Prayers is there any reference, as has already been said, to the state of suffering of those who have died, in none the possibility of a particular Memento: all of this, again, must undermine faith in the propitiatory and redemptive nature of the Sacrifice.[23]

Desacralizing omissions everywhere debase the mystery of the Church. She is not presented above all as a sacred hierarchy: angels and saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor: they have disappeared, as witnesses and judges, in the person of St. Michael, from the first.[24] The various hierarchies of angels have also disappeared (and this is without precedent) from the new Preface of Prex II. In the Communicantes the reminder of the pontiffs and holy martyrs on whom the Church of Rome is founded and who were, without doubt, the transmitters of the apostolic traditions, destined to be completed in what became, with St. Gregory, the Roman Mass, has been suppressed. In the Libera nos the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the Saints are no longer mentioned: her and their intercession is thus no longer asked, even in time of peril.

The unity of the Church is gravely compromised by the wholly intolerable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new Eucharistic Prayers, of the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church of Rome, and the names of the other Apostles, foundation and mark of the one and universal Church, the only remaining mention being in the Communicantes of the Roman Canon.

A clear attack upon the dogma of the Communion of Saints is the omission, when the priest is celebrating without a server, of all the salutations, and the final blessing, not to speak of the Ite missa est[25] now not even said in Masses celebrated with a server.

The double Confiteor showed how the priest—in his capacity of Christ’s Minister, bowing downplay and acknowledging himself unworthy of his sublime mission, of the “tremendum mysterium” about to be accomplished by him and of even (in the Aufer a nobis) entering into the Holy of Holies—invoked the intercession (in the Oramus te, Domine) of the merits of the martyrs whose relics were sealed in the altar. Both these prayers have been suppressed; what has been said previously in respect of the double Confiteor and the double Communion is equally relevant here.

The outward setting of the Sacrifice, evidence of its sacred character, has been profaned. See, for example, what is laid down for celebration outside sacred precincts, in which the altar may be replaced by a simple mensa without consecrated stone or relic, and with a single cloth (nos. 260, 265). Here too all that has been previously said with regard to the Real Presence applies, the disassociation of the convivium and of the sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence Itself.

The process of desacralization is completed thanks to the new procedures for the offering: the reference to ordinary not unleavened bread; altar servers (and lay people at Communion sub utraque specie) being allowed to handle sacred vessels (no. 244d); the distracting atmosphere created by the ceaseless coming and going of priest, deacon, subdeacon, psalmist, commentator (the priest becomes a commentator himself from his constantly being required to “explain” what he is about to accomplish)—of readers (men and women), of servers or laymen welcoming people at the door and escorting them to their places whilst other carry and sort offerings. And in the midst of all this prescribed activity, the “mulier idonea”[26] (anti-scriptural and anti-Pauline) who for the first time in the tradition of the Church will be authorized to read the lesson and also perform other “ministeria quae extra presbyterium peraguntur” (no. 70). Finally, there is the concelebration mania, which will end by destroying Eucharistic piety in the priest, by overshadowing the central figure of Christ, sole Priest and Victim, in a collective presence of concelebrants.[27]

VI
We have limited ourselves to a summary evaluation of the new Ordo where it deviates most seriously from the theology of the Catholic Mass and our observations touch only those deviations that are typical. A complete evaluation of all the pitfalls, the dangers, the spiritually and psychologically destructive elements contained in the document—whether in text, rubrics or instructions—would be a vast undertaking.

No more than a passing glance has been taken at the three new Canons, since these have already come in for repeated and authoritative criticism, both as to form and substance. The second of them[28] gave immediate scandal to the faithful on account of its brevity. Of Canon II it has been well said, amongst other things, that it could be recited with perfect tranquility of conscience by a priest who no longer believes either in transubstantiation or in the sacrificial character of the Mass—hence even by a Protestant minister.

The new missal was introduced in Rome as “a text of ample pastoral matter” and “more pastoral than juridical” which the Episcopal Conferences would be able to utilize according to the varying circumstances and genius of different peoples. In this same Apostolic Constitution we read: “we have introduced into the new missal legitimate variations and adaptations.” Besides, Section I of the new Congregation for Divine Worship will be responsible “for the publication and constant revision of the liturgical books.” The last official bulletin of the Liturgical Institutes of Germany, Switzerland and Austria[29] says:

The Latin texts will now have to be translated into the languages of the various peoples: the “Roman” style will have to be adopted to the individuality of the local Churches: that which was conceived beyond time must he transposed into the changing context of concrete situations in the constant flux of the Universal Church and of its myriad congregations.
The Apostolic Constitution itself gives the coup de grace to the Church’s universal language (contrary to the express will of Vatican Council II) with the bland affirmation that “in such a variety of tongues one [?] and the same prayer of all… may ascend more fragrant than any incense.”

The demise of Latin may therefore be taken for granted; that of Gregorian chant—which even the Council recognized as “liturgiae romanae proprium” (Sacros. Conc., no. 116), ordering that “principem locum obtineat” (ibid.)—will logically follow, with the freedom of choice, amongst other things, of the texts of Introit and Gradual.

From the outset therefore the new rite is launched as pluralistic and experimental, bound to time and place. Unity of worship, thus swept away for good and all, what will now become of the unity of faith that went with it, and which, we were always told, was to be defended without compromise?

It is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever. With the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, the loyal Catholic is thus faced with a most tragic alternative.

VII
The Apostolic Constitution makes explicit reference to a wealth of piety and teaching in the Novus Ordo borrowed from the Eastern Churches. The result—utterly remote from and even opposed to the inspiration of the oriental Liturgies—can only repel the faithful of the Eastern Rites. What, in truth, do these ecumenical options amount to? Basically to the multiplicity of anaphora (but nothing approaching their beauty and complexity), to the presence of the deacons, to Communion sub utraque specie. Against this the Ordo would appear to have been deliberately shorn of everything which in the Liturgy of Rome came close to those of the East.[30] Moreover, in abandoning its unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, the Ordo lost what was spiritually precious of its own. Its place has been taken by elements which bring it closer only to certain other reformed liturgies (not even to those closest to Catholicism) and which debase it at the same time. The East will be ever more alienated, as it already has been by the preceding liturgical reforms.

By way of compensation the new Liturgy will be the delight of the various groups who, hovering on the verge of apostasy, are wreaking havoc in the Church of God, poisoning her organism and undermining her unity of doctrine, worship, morals and discipline in a spiritual crisis without precedent.

VIII
St. Pius V had the Roman Missal drawn up (as the present Apostolic Constitution itself recalls) so that it might he an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the injunctions of the Council of Trent it was to exclude all danger, in liturgical worship of errors against the Faith, then threatened by the Protestant Reformation. The gravity of the situation fully justified, and even rendered prophetic, the saintly pontiff’s solemn warning given at the end of the bull promulgating his missal: “Should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of God Almighty and of his Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Quo Primum, July 13, 1570).[31]

When the Novus Ordo was presented at the Vatican Press Office, it was asserted with great audacity that the reasons which prompted the Tridentine decrees are no longer valid. Not only do they still apply, but there also exist, as we do not hesitate to affirm, very much more serious ones today. It was precisely in order to ward off the dangers which in every century threaten the purity of the deposit of faith (“depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates.”—I Tim. 6:20) that the Church has had to erect under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost the defenses of her dogmatic definitions and doctrinal pronouncements. These were immediately reflected in her worship, which became the most complete monument of her faith. To try and bring the Church’s worship back at all cost to the ancient practice by refashioning, artificially and with that “unhealthy archeologism” so roundly condemned by Pius XII,[32] what in earlier times had the grace of original spontaneity means—as we see today only too clearly—to dismantle all the theological ramparts erected for the protection of the Rite and to take away all the beauty by which it was enriched over the centuries.

And all this at one of the most critical moments—if not the most critical moment—of the Church’s history! Today, division and schism are officially acknowledged to exist not only outside of but within the Church.[33] Her unity is not only threatened but already tragically compromised.[34] Errors against the Faith are not merely insinuated but positively imposed by means of liturgical abuses and aberrations which have been equally acknowledged.[35] To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was both the sign and the pledge of unity of worship[36] (and to replace it with another which cannot but be a sign of division by virtue of the countless liberties implicitly authorized, and which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic religion) is, we feel in conscience bound to proclaim, an incalculable error.

Footnotes

1 Available from Angelus Press.

2 A presentation given in Kansas City, Missouri, on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Society of St. Pius X and reprinted from the January 1996 issue of The Angelus.

3 The Prayers of our Canon are found in the treatise De Sacramentis (4th-5th centuries)… Our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the epoch in which it developed for the first time from the most ancient common liturgy. It still preserves the fragrance of that primitive liturgy, in times when Caesar governed the world and hoped to extinguish the Christian faith: times when our forefathers would gather together before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as to their God… (cf. Pl. Jr., Ep. 96)… There is not, in all Christendom, a rite so venerable as that of the Roman Missal. (Dr. Adrian Fortescue; The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy)

The Roman Canon, such as it is today, goes back to St. Gregory the Great. Neither in the East nor West is there any Eucharistic prayer remaining in use today that can boast such antiquity. For the Roman Church to throw it overboard would be tantamount, in the eyes not only of the Orthodox, but also Anglicans and even Protestants having still to some extent a sense of tradition, to a denial of all claim any more to be the true Catholic Church. (Rev. Louis Bouyer).

4 For such a definition, the Novus Ordo refers one in a note to two texts of Vatican II. But rereading these texts one finds nothing to justify the definition.

The first text referred to (Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, no. 51 runs as follows:

…through the ministry of the Bishop, God consecrates priests so that they can share by a special title in the priesthood of Christ. Thus, in performing sacred functions they can act as ministers of Him who in the liturgy continually exercises His priestly office on behalf by the action of His Spirit… And especially by the celebration of Mass, men offer sacramentally the sacrifice of Christ. (Documents of Vatican II, Ed. Walter M. Abbot, S.J.)
The second text runs thus, and is from the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 33: “…in the liturgy God speaks to His people and Christ is still proclaiming His Gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and by prayer.”

“Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest presiding over the assembly in the person of Christ are said in the name of the entire holy people as well as of all present.” (Ibid.—our emphasis)

One is at a loss to explain how, from such texts as these, the above definition could have been drawn.

We note, too, the radical alteration, in this definition of the Mass, of that laid down by Vatican II (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 1254): “The Eucharist is therefore the very heart of the Christian Community.” The centrum having been spirited away, in the Novus Ordo the congregatio itself has usurped its place.

5 The Council of Trent reaffirms the Real Presence in the following words:

Principio docet Sancta Synodus et aperte et simpliciter profitetur in almo Sanctae Eucharistiae sacramento post panis et vini, consacrationem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum verum Deum atque hominem vere, realiter ac substantialiter (can. I) sub specie illarum rerum sensibilium contineri. (DB, no. 874)
In session XXII, which interests us directly (De sanctissimo Missae Sacrificio), the approved doctrine (Dz [Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma], nos. 937a-956) is clearly synthesized in nine canons:

1. The Mass is a true and visible Sacrifice—not a symbolic representation—“quo cruentum illud semel in cruce peragendum repraesentaretur atque illius salutaris virtus in remissionem eorum, quae a nobis quotidie committuntur peccatorum applicaretur.” (Dz, no. 938)

2. Jesus Christ Our Lord:

sacerdotem secundum ordinem Melchisedech ac in aeternum (Ps. 109, 4) constitutum declarans, corpus et sanguinem suum sub specibus panis et vini Deo Patri obtulit ac sub earundem rerum symbolis Apostolis (quos tunc Novi Testamenti sacerdotes constituebat), ut sumerent tradidit, et eisdem eorumque in sacredotio successoribus, ut offernt, praecaepit per haec verba: “Hoc facite in meam commemorationem” (Lk. 22, 19; I Cor. 11, 24) ut semper catholica Ecclesia intellexit et docuit. (Dz, ibid.).

The celebrant, the offerer, the sacrificer is the priest consecrated for this, not the people of God, the assembly. “Si quis dixerit, illis verbis: ‘Hoc facite’ etc. Christum non istituisse Apostolos sacerdotes, aut non ordinasse, ut ipsi alique sacerdotes offerent corpus et sanguinem suum: anathema sit.” (Can. 2, Dz, 949)

3. The Sacrifice of the Mass is a true propitiatory Sacrifice and not a “bare commemoration of the sacrifice accomplished on the Cross.”

Si quis dixerit: Missae sacrificium tantum esse laudis et gratiarum actiones aut nudam commemoratinem sacrificii in cruce peracti, non autem prpitiatorum; vel soli prodesse sumenti, neque pro vivis et defunctis, pro peccatis, poenis, satisfactionibus et aliis necessitatibus offeri debere, anathema sit. (Can. 3: Dz, 95)
Can. 6 will also be recalled: “Si quis dixerit Canon Missae errores continere ideoque abrongandum esse, anathema sit.” (Dz, 953); and Can. 8: “Si quis dixerit Missae, in quibus solus sacerdos sacramentaliter communicat, illicitas esse, ideoque abrogandas, anathema sit.” (Dz, 955)

6 It is superfluous to assert that, if a single defined dogma were denied, all dogma would ipso facto fall, insofar as the very principle of infallibility of the supreme hierarchical Magisterium, whether papal or conciliar, would thereby be destroyed.

7 The Ascension should be added if one wished to recall the Unde et memores which furthermore does not associate but clearly and finely distinguishes: “…tam beatae Passioni, nec non ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in caelum gloriosae Ascensionis.”

8 This shift of emphasis is met with also in the surprising elimination, in the new Canons, of the Memento of the dead and of any mention of the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory, to whom the propitiatory Sacrifice was applied.

9 Cf. Mysterium Fidei in which Paul VI condemns the errors of symbolism together with the new theories of “transignification” and “transfinalization”:

…Nor is it right to be so preoccupied with considering the nature of the sacramental sign that the impression is repeated that the symbolism—and no one denies its existence in the most Holy Eucharist—expresses and exhausts the whole meaning of Christ’s presence in this sacrament. Nor is it right to treat of the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning the marvelous change of the whole of the bread’s substance into Christ’s body, and the whole of the wine’s substance into His blood, of which the Council of Trent speaks, and thereby make these changes consist of nothing but a ‘transignification’ or a ‘transfinalization,’ to use these terms. (Catholic Truth Society translation of Mysterium Fidei, art. II)

10 The introduction of new formulae, or expressions, which, though occurring in texts of the Fathers and Councils, and of the Church’s magisterium, are used in a univocal sense, not subordinated to the substance of doctrine with which they form an inseparable whole (e.g., “spiritualis alimonia,” “cibus spiritualis,” “potus spiritualis,” etc.) is amply denounced and condemned in Mysterium Fidei. Paul VI states that: “When the integrity of faith has been preserved, a suitable manner of expression has to be preserved as well. Otherwise our use of careless language may, though it is to be hoped that it will not, give rise to false opinions on belief in very deep matters,” and quotes St. Augustine:

There is a claim on us to speak according to a fixed rule so that unchecked words do not give rise also to an impious view of the matters which we express. (He continues) This rule of speech has been introduced by the Church in the long work of centuries with the protection of the Holy Spirit. She has confirmed it with the authority of the Councils. It has become more than once the token and standard of orthodox faith. It must be observed religiously. No one may presume to alter it at will, or on the pretext of new knowledge… it is equally intolerable that anyone on his own initiative should want to modify the formulae with which the Council of Trent has proposed the eucharistic doctrine of belief. (Idem, art. 23).

11 Contradicting what is prescribed by Vatican II. (Sacros. Conc., no. 48)

12 “Eucharistic Prayer”—Ed.

13 The altar’s primary function is recognized once (no. 259): “the altar on which the sacrifice of the Cross is renewed under the sacramental signs.” This single reference does not seem to remove to any extent the equivocations of the other repeated designation.

14 “To separate the tabernacle from the altar is tantamount to separating two things which of their very nature must remain together.” (Pius XII, Allocution to the International Liturgy Congress. Assisi-Rome, Sept. 18-23, 1956) Cf. also Mediator Dei, I, 5, note 28.

15 Rarely in the Novus Ordo is the word “hostia” used, a traditional one in liturgical books with its precise significance of “victim.” This needless to say is part of the reformers’ plan to emphasize only the aspects “supper,” “food.”

16 In accordance with the customary habit of the reformers of substituting and exchanging one thing for another, the Real Presence is made equivalent to the Presence in the word (no. 7, 54). But this latter presence is really of quite another nature, having no reality except in usu: whilst the former is, in a stable manner, objective and independent of the communication that is made of it in the Sacrament. The formulae “God speaks to His people… By His word Christ is present in the midst of the faithful” (no. 33, cf. Sacros. Conc. no. 33 and 7), are typically Protestant ones, which strictly speaking, have no meaning, as the presence of God in the word is mediated, bound to an act of the spirit, to the spiritual condition of the individual and limited in time. This error has the most serious consequences; the affirmation (or insinuation) that the Real Presence is bound to the usus, and ends together with it.

17 The sacramental action of the institution is emphasized as having come about in Our Lord’s giving the Apostles His Body and Blood “to eat” under the species of bread and wine, not in the act of consecration and in the mystical separation therein accomplished of the Body from the Blood, essence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (Cf. the whole of chapter I, part II, “The cult of the Eucharist” in Mediator Dei)

18 The words of Consecration as inserted in the context or the Novus Ordo can be valid by virtue of the minister’s intention. They could also not be valid because they are no longer so ex vi verborum, or, more precisely, by virtue of the modus signifcandi they had in the Mass up to the present time.

Will priests of the near future who have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus Ordo with the intention of “doing what the Church does” consecrate validly? One may be allowed to doubt it.

19 Let it not be said, according to the well-known Protestant critical procedure, that these phrases belong to the same scriptural context. The Church has always avoided their juxtaposition and superimposition precisely in order to avoid any confusion of the different realities here expressed.

20 As against the Lutherans who affirmed that all Christians are priests and hence offerers of the Supper, see A. Tanquerey: Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae, vol. III, Desclee, 1930: “Each and every priest is strictly speaking, a secondary minister of the sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself is the principal minister. The faithful offer through the intermediary of the priest but not in the strict sense.” (Cf. Conc. Trid. XXII, Can. 2)

21 We note in passing an incredible innovation which is sure to have the most serious psychological effects: the Good Friday liturgy in red vestments instead of black (no. 308b)—the commemoration, that is of any martyr, instead of the mourning of the whole Church for her Founder. (Cf. Mediator Dei, I, 5, note 28)

22 Fr. Roquet, O.P., to the Dominicans of Bethany, at Plesschenet.

23 In some translations of the Roman Canon, the “locus refrigerii lucis et pacis” was rendered as a simple state (“blessedness, light, peace”). What is to be said then of the disappearance of every explicit reference to the Church Suffering?

24 In all this welter of curtailment a single enrichment only: the mention of omission in the accusation of sins at the Confiteor.

25 At the press conference introducing the Ordo, Fr. Lecuyer, in what appears to be, objectively speaking, a profession of purely rationalistic faith, spoke of converting the salutationes in the “Missa sine populo” into “Dominus tecum,” “Ora, frater,” etc., “so that there should be nothing which does not correspond with the truth.”

26 Meaning in Latin: “suitable woman”—Ed.

27 We note in this connection that it seems lawful for priests obliged to celebrate alone either before or after concelebration to communicate again sub utraque specie during concelebration.

28 It has been presented as “The Canon of Hippolytus” but in fact nothing remains of this but a few remembered words.

29 Gottesdiesnt, no. 9, May 14, 1969.

30 One has only to think of the Byzantine liturgy, for example, with its reiterated and lengthy penitential prayers; the solemn rites of vesting of the celebrant and deacon: the preparation of the offerings at the proscomidia, a complete rite in itself: the continual presence in the prayers, even those of the offerings, of the Blessed Virgin, the Saints and Choirs of Angels (who are actually invoked, at the entrance with the Gospel, as “invisibly celebrating,” the choir identifying itself with them in the Cherubicon): the iconostasis which divides the sanctuary from the rest of the church, the clergy from the people; the hidden Consecration, symbolizing the divine mystery to which the entire liturgy alludes; the celebrant’s position versus ad Deum, never versus ad populum; Communion given always and only by the celebrant; the continual marks of profound adoration shown to the Sacred Species; the essentially contemplative attitude of the people. The fact that these liturgies, even in their less solemn forms, last for over an hour, and are constantly defined as “tremendous and unutterable… celestial, life-giving mysteries…” need no elaborating. It is finally worth noting how in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and in that of St. Basil, the concept of “supper” or “banquet” appears clearly subordinate to that of sacrifice, as it did in the Roman Mass.

31 In Session XXIII (decree on the Most Holy Eucharist), the Council of Trent manifested its intention:

ut stirpitus convelleret zizania execrabilium errorum et schismalum, quae inimicus homo… in doctrina fidei usu et cultu Sacrosanctae Eucharistiae superseminavit (Mt. 13, 25 et seq.) quam alioqui Salvator noster in Ecclesia sua tamquam symbolum reliquit eius unitatis et caritatis, qua Christianos omnes inter se coniunctos et copulatos, esse voluit. (Dz, 873)

32 To go back in mind and heart to the sources of the sacred liturgy is wise and praiseworthy. The study of liturgical origins enables us to understand better the significance of festivals and the meanings of liturgical formulas and ceremonies. But the desire to restore everything indiscriminately to its ancient condition is neither wise nor praiseworthy. It would be wrong. for example, to want the altar restored to its ancient form of table, to want black eliminated from liturgical colors, and pictures and statues excluded from our churches, to require crucifixes that do not represent the bitter suffering of the Divine Redeemer… This attitude is to attempt to revive the “archeologism” [i.e., the error of “antiquarianism”—Ed.] to which the pseudo-synod of Pistoia gave rise; it seeks also to reintroduce the many pernicious errors which to that synod and resulted from it and which the Church in her capacity of watchful guardian of the “deposit of faith” entrusted to her by her Divine Founder, has rightly condemned. (Mediator Dei, CTS trans., arts. 66 and 68)

33 “A practically schismatic ferment divides, subdivides, splits the Church…” (Paul VI, Homily, Holy Thursday 1969)

34 “There are also amongst us those ‘schismata,’ those ‘scissurae’ which St. Paul in I Corinthians sadly denounces.” (Cf. Paul VI, ibid.)

35 It is well-known how Vatican II is today being “contested” by the very men who gloried in being its leaders, those who—whilst the Pope in closing the Council declared that it had changed nothing—came away determined to “explode” the content in the process of actual application. Alas that the Holy See, with a haste that is really unexplainable, should appear to have given approval and even encouragement, through the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Litugia, to an ever increasing infidelity to the Council, from such apparently formal aspects as Latin, Gregorian, the suppression of venerable rites and ritual, to the substantial ones now sanctioned by the Novus Ordo, To the disastrous consequences, which we have endeavored to set out, must be added those which, with psychologically even greater effect, will make themselves felt in the fields of discipline and of the Church’s teaching authority, by undermining, with the standing of the Holy See, the docility due to its rulings.

36…Do not let us deceive ourselves with the suggestion that the Church, which has become great and majestic for the glory of God, as a magnificent temple of His, must be brought back to its original and smallest proportions, as though they were the only true ones, the only good ones… (Paul VI, Ecclesiam suam)

Recently, Father Bouyer revealed that Eucharistic Prayer II which was attributed to antiquity as the “Prayer of Hippolytus” was actually a fabrication hastily composed late at night in a Roman restaurant. For Source, see Rorate Caeli, “Original Sins, Eucharistic Prayer II, composed in a  few hours in a Roman Trattoria“. What a diabolical deception!

Now, more than ever, Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

Archbishop Lefebvre on the Message of Fatima

 

We close the month of August, month of the Immaculate Heart  of Mary with a short sermon the good Archbishop  gave 30 years ago at Fatima. to a large crowd of pilgrims and priests on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  There is so much to think on in these words!

Sermon by Archbishop Lefebvre in Fatima, August 22, 1987
Let us ask the Blessed Virgin then to unravel this mystery for us; it is a martyrdom for all who live in this era…

Let us give thanks to God and to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for having gathered us today, on this feast of her Immaculate Heart, to sing her praises and to try for a few moments, for a few days, to live out our faith. For if the Virgin Mary wished to come to this land of Portugal, to Fatima, if She wished to appear to these few children to give them a message for the world, it is surely because She desired that our souls be lifted up toward heaven.

Let us try, then, my dear brothers and sisters, to place ourselves in the setting in which these little shepherds found themselves, like the persons who came to accompany them on the 13th of each month of that year 1917, until the month of October, when that extraordinary miracle took place, right here. Right here because, they say, this miracle was seen within a 40-kilometer [25-mile] radius of Fatima, and consequently, if we had been present on that day, October 13, 1917, we would have seen that extraordinary phenomenon of the spinning sun, shooting out lights of all colors, drenching the entire region with its magnificent colors. And it did this for thrice ten minutes! Finally, we would have seen the sun descending as it were from heaven to draw near to the faithful who were present, to manifest the truth of the apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to these children of Fatima.

So That Our Souls May be Saved
Once again, why this apparition of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary? It was so that our souls may be saved, it was so that our souls may go to join her one day in heaven. In a few extraordinary pictures, She manifested to these children of Fatima the whole reality of our faith. Indeed, the children admired Her and admired Her in such a way that they were as if in ecstasy, rapt, carried away, not knowing how to express the beauty of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. However much anyone might have tried to provide them with comparisons, no comparison could be made in the sight of the beauty of the Virgin Mary whom they had seen.

And then the Virgin Mary was not the only one who was manifested. She wished to manifest something of heaven to them: Saint Joseph carrying Our Lord in his arms and blessing the world. She wished to appear also under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Sorrows, and generally She appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary. This was because She wished to inculcate in the children the necessity of praying the Rosary, the necessity of suffering with Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows. Thus She wished to manifest her interior sentiments so as to communicate them to these children, so that these children in turn might communicate these sentiments to all those who will have the opportunity to hear their message. Then the Archangel Michael appeared to them.

Our Lady spoke to them also about the souls in purgatory, when Lucia questioned her to find out where such-and-such a soul was, where a particular dead person was—“Was she in heaven? In purgatory?”—She sometimes told them: “No, that lady is not yet in heaven, she is in purgatory.” She wished also to show them the reality of hell. It is therefore right here, in this vicinity, that the Most Blessed Virgin wished to show what hell was to these horrified children, so as to encourage them to do penance, so as to encourage them to pray to save souls, thus showing that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is altogether directed toward the glory of Her Divine Son and toward the salvation of souls. To save souls is to cause them to go to heaven. Therefore it is our entire catechism in a way that these children saw in an image, and this happened through the grace of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

Prayer and Penance
Let us try then to put ourselves into this setting today too, because what happened in 1917 is still true today, and perhaps even more than at that time, because the situation in the world is even worse now than it was in 1917. The faith is disappearing, atheism is advancing everywhere, and the Most Blessed Virgin Herself announced it. For although She wished to show us a vision of heaven, She also wished to speak about the earth. She told these children essentially:

It is necessary to pray, it is necessary to do penance so as to stop the devastating effects of this terrible error, Communism, which will dominate the world if people do not do penance and if they do not pray and if they do not carry out my will.”

Her will was to broadcast the secrets that she had given to Lucia.
Alas, we are in fact obliged to note that since these secrets have not been broadcast, the error of Communism is spreading everywhere! Let us strive, then, my dear brothers and sisters, to put ourselves into this setting, in these dispositions so as to share the convictions of these children, so as to unite ourselves to the Heart of Mary, so that our hearts may burn with the desires that were in the Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and that still are there today, desires for the reign of her Son.

What else can She wish but to see Her Divine Son reign over the whole earth, over souls, over families, and over societies, as He reigns in heaven? This is why She comes down to earth, to beg us, every one of us: “It is necessary for Jesus to reign over you.” She wishes it, She desires it, and She gives us the means.

The first means is prayer. “It is necessary to pray.” The Blessed Virgin unceasingly repeated this to Lucia, because Lucia asked her the question each time: “O Lady, what do you want of me? What do you want me to do?” A fine question! There can be no better dispositions. Is this our disposition also? Mary! What do you want us to do? Then Mary said:

“It is necessary to pray, take your rosary, recite the rosary every day to sanctify yourselves and to save souls, to save the souls of sinners.”

She repeated this every time She came. She also encouraged Holy Communion, receiving the Holy Eucharist, since She even enabled the angel to come and give Communion to these children. Can Mary wish anything else but to give us Her Son, to give us Jesus in our hearts?

That We Might Keep the Faith and Grace in our Souls
Next: why these secrets? The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in Her love for us, in Her gracious condescension toward us, wished to warn us. She wished to announce future events to us, so as to enable us to keep our faith, to keep grace in our souls. This is why She gave us Her secrets. The Most Blessed Virgin asked Lucia to broadcast the third secret as of 1960—and that this secret be broadcast by the Pope—and not without reason: it was because she knew that after 1960 the Church would have to go through the crisis of these very serious events in its history. She wished to warn us, and She wished to warn the authorities of the Church so as to avoid these misfortunes, so as to avoid the loss of faith and the perdition of souls. Thus we are warned, we know that after 1960 some serious events in Church history would cause a crisis, and particularly with regard to those who lead the Church. Unfortunately, this is probably why the leaders of Holy Church did not wish to broadcast the secret. They thought that it was not opportune to make it public. A great mystery, my dear brothers and sisters, a great mystery!

So you see, then, if the Most Blessed Virgin Mary wishes us to have in our souls dispositions of the love for God, dispositions of prayer, a readiness to unite ourselves to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, a willingness to sacrifice ourselves for the sinners of this world, well, then, let us ask for this grace today.

The Mystery of the Situation of Rome Today
Here you are, gathered around the Virgin Mary in Fatima, having in your hearts the dispositions of these little children who welcomed the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and saw Her: ask, let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to unravel this mystery, that She may come to our aid. The great mystery of Rome, the great mystery of the situation in the papacy today.

They often tell us: do not rend the Church, do not divide the Church, do not cause a schism; yet, my dear brothers and sisters, tell me: where is the unity of the Church? What causes the unity of the Church? Open all the theology books, open all the books by the saints, open all the books by the doctors and theologians: what causes the unity of the Church is the unity of faith. When someone no longer has the Catholic Faith, he separates himself from the Church. There you have it! And every person invested with authority in the Church since Our Lord founded it, every person who has some authority in the Church and particularly all the clergy, and particularly the bishops, and especially the Pope, all of them are at the service of this unity, they are at the service of this faith: “Go teach the Gospel,” not some other Gospel and not just any Gospel: “Go teach the Gospel.” Be at the service of this message that I have given you, but you must not change the message.

Well, then, we keep and cherish the whole faith; not for anything in the world would we want to remove one iota, the least bit of our faith; we want to keep it intact, absolutely intact. And it is because we want to keep this unity of faith that those who are losing it persecute us. This is the true current situation in which we find ourselves, a mysterious situation, probably announced by Our Lady of Fatima in Her third secret, saying that those who want to remain Catholics will be persecuted by those who, while having authority in the Church, stray from the faith; and since they stray from the Faith, they would like to drag us along with them. Because we disobey them by our unwillingness to lose the faith with them, they persecute us. But Our Lord said it, He predicted that there would be bad shepherds and said that we must not follow the bad shepherds; we must follow the good shepherds. This is the mystery that we are living through today.

Let us ask the Blessed Virgin then to unravel this mystery for us; it is a martyrdom for you, for us, for all who live in this era, a true moral martyrdom, perhaps worse than the martyrdom of blood, to see that those who ought to preach and defend the Catholic faith for the unity of the Church are abandoning this Catholic faith and seeking to get along with the world, with modern principles, with the principles of this society that is guided more by Satan than by the Good Lord.

Ask for the Grace of Fidelity
Let us make the resolution, here at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and let us ask her for the grace to keep the faith, to remain Catholics until the end of our days, to have this grace of final perseverance in the Catholic faith. Why did all the martyrs shed their blood? In order to keep the faith. If we must be martyrs, if we must be not martyrs by blood but martyrs in our souls, in our hearts, in our minds, well, then, we will be martyrs, and we will be the heirs of those who shed their blood so as not to deny their faith.

This is what we must promise the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and try to make everyone around us understand so that they might not lose the Faith… lest, in losing their faith, they lose their souls. These, my dear brothers and sisters, are the resolutions that we must make today: to pray, to sacrifice ourselves, to make the sacrifice of our life, to offer our life for the redemption of the world, for the salvation of souls, for the salvation of our souls, the salvation of the souls of our families, of the members of our family.

And Ask That the Church may Regain Her Splendor
And finally ask for the renewal of the Holy Catholic Church: that the Church might regain her splendor, that the Church might regain her unity in the faith, that the Church might regain her thousands and thousands of religious vocations as before, that once again novitiates might be filled, that seminaries might be filled so as to keep the Catholic Faith, so as to live the Catholic Faith! This is what we are striving to do, my dear brothers and sisters, together with those whom you see present here, these young priests, these young seminarians. As soon as people want to keep the faith, as soon as people want to keep the Sacrifice of the Mass and the true Eucharist, as soon as people are devoted body and soul to the Church, there are vocations, because we are in the truth. Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to bless our seminaries, to bless our young priests so that they might be apostles; to bless our religious, the Sisters of the Society, all the sisters who devote themselves to Tradition, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Benedictines…all these nuns who want to keep the Catholic faith and want to spread it.

And may the Virgin Mary deign to bless us so that we might continue courageously, despite the trials, to serve the kingdom of Her Divine Son. Adveniat regnum tuum, may Thy kingdom come, yes, O Lord Jesus, may Thy reign extend over persons, over families and over societies, so that this reign may continue in eternity!

† .  † .  †

The above sermon is from the August 18, 2017 edition of  FSSPX News.

Please, Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

A Matter of Timing

The timing here is certainly remarkable. I just received an email from Angelus to request a Novena for Archbishop Lefebvre beginning today to end on the day he was born into eternal life, March 25, 1991.

'Tradidi enim vobis, in primis quod et accepi" 1 Cor. 15, 3.
‘Tradidi enim vobis, in primis quod et accepi”
1 Cor. 15, 3.

Note this: March 25 this year will be the 25th anniversary of Archbishop Lefebvre’s death, and also, it is Good Friday, the day Our Lord died for our sins, and also, the Annunciation therefore the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And so we will mark, on March 25,

  1. The beginning (Incarnation) and end of Our Lord’s Life on that same day, plus,
  2. The Annunciation, that is, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s obedient submission to God’s will to be the Mother of the Savior, and also
  3. The date on which our saintly Archbishop entered glory.

Surely we must give all this some prayerful thought!

And now the Novena to be said daily through March 25:

Continue reading “A Matter of Timing”

Tradidi quod et accepi

“Today, by consecrating these bishops, I am convinced that I am keeping alive Tradition, that is to say, the Catholic Church.”

'Tradidi enim vobis, in primis quod et accepi"  1 Cor. 15, 3.
‘Tradidi enim vobis, in primis quod et accepi”
1 Cor. 15, 3.

In one word, the life of Tradition is a life of contemplation of the Eternal Truth and love of the Eternal Good–not a constant change! (Abp. Marcel Lefebvre)

Twenty-seven years ago today, on June 30, 1988 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St. Pius X, and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, bishop emeritus of Campos, Brazil, consecrated four bishops at the seminary of Econe, Switzerland, in the presence of 10,000 faithful and hundreds of priests and religious.

In the July, 1988 issue of The Angelus, Rev.  Father Francois Laisney, then District Superior of the Society in the United States wrote about the historical Episcopal Consecrations. The following are some excerpts. I believe the entire article is available online at The Angelus Archives.

Christ has given to His Church the complete Deposit of Faith. Each individual may deepen his knowledge of this Deposit, but the Church had it all since its beginning. The Church may defend it more and more explicitly against the negators and the heresies, but neither adds to it, nor loses any parcel of this Eternal Truth.

The Church possesses, from the beginning, the Perfect Example of Virtue: the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All the saints have imitated Him; we have to follow in their footsteps. The way to heaven is not to be invented; there is one, and only one; it is Our Lord Jesus Christ: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me!”

Therefore there can be no change in the Church’s morals, which are all summed up in these words of Our Lord: “Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). The Divine Perfection is eternal and immutable. In heaven the saints “rest” in God, thus without changes, sharing Divine Eternity. On the contrary, in hell, the damned will be tormented by unrest: the unceasing succession and changes of torments, one worse than the other. Folly of those who love change for the sake of change! They might have an eternity of changes… in hell!

If there is some change in the Church as such, it is her wonderful capability of putting into practice her eternal principles to meet the needs of each era. This is particularly manifested in the many religious orders which have sprung up throughout the whole history of the Church. All of them follow the same Model: Jesus Christ, and the same principles of Faith and morals, but adapt them to their particular circumstances. In this regard, one can see Tradition living in the work of Archbishop Lefebvre and all the other traditional foundations. They have all come to the Eternal Principles to receive Eternal Life from them.

In one word, the life of Tradition is a life of contemplation of the Eternal Truth and love of the Eternal Good–not a constant change!

Injustices of the Condemnation
Those who condemn us, try to accuse us of not being faithful to the “living” Tradition. I hope the above reflections show that the true faithful to the Living Tradition are those who keep it and live it, without adulterating it with the spirit of the world. This is the very meaning of the word “faithful,” i.e., the one who keeps the Faith! Not the one who changes it! Liberal principles, which the Popes have repeatedly condemned, shall never be able to become a part of the Catholic Faith. In a time when so many have tried to marry the Church and the Revolution, it is urgent to keep Tradition, and to provide for its continuation. Therefore, according to the very principles of Canon Law, in cases of real emergency, there can be no sanction. Any sanction is unjust, since its motive is to destroy the Tradition of the Church, to refuse it the means to continue.

If any one still had doubts, the Good Lord in His divine providence, arranged some enlightening coincidences. On the very same day, June 30th, Rome was publishing a directory for “Celebrations Without Priests.” When Archbishop Lefebvre was providing for the continuation of the Catholic Priesthood, Rome was providing for the absence of priests! What will be these celebrations? They will be much like Protestant services.

Another coincidence, in the widely diffused USA Today, of July 1, the article announcing the Roman sanction against Archbishop Lefebvre was just above an article concerning Archbishop Hunthausen[5], entitled “Masses for Homosexuals”; the Archbishop of Seattle was resuming this abominable practice! If one had doubts about Archbishop Lefebvre’s rights, he had just to read a little further to get the answer: there is no justice in this current situation!

And Our Attitude Now?
“Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.” These words of St. Paul are for each one of us. When evil seems to reign, we must not be discouraged and fall into bitterness. Our Lord, at the height of the hatred of the Jews and compromises of Pilate, did not curse, but rather prayed for His enemies: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” This must be our attitude: pray for the Church, pray for the Pope, pray for the bishops, that they may come back, as the Apostles who had abandoned Our Lord on Good Friday came back to the Faith on Easter Sunday. But do not follow them in their abandon; stay at the foot of the Cross with the few faithful to Christ, to the Sacrifice of Calvary, to the Sacrifice of the Mass.

This is a time for heroism–heroic faith and heroic charity. “Do not render evil for evil, nor cursing for cursing, but, on the contrary, blessing” (I Pet. 111:9). “Love your enemies, do good to your enemies, do good to those who hate you: and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you” (Mt. 5:44).

Indeed, Tradition is not only the handing down through the centuries of the Deposit of Faith, but also the example of the holiness of Our Lord, the examples of the saints. May the Blessed Virgin Mary help all of us to be faithful to the whole of Tradition: to the Truth and holiness of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are what we have always been—Catholics carrying on. That is all.
We are what we have always been—Catholics carrying on. That is all.

The four new bishops, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (born 1945, France), Richard Williamson (born 1940, England), Alfonso de Galarreta (born 1957, Spain), and Bernard Fellay (born 1958, Switzerland), were chosen by Archbishop Lefebvre among the members of the Society of St. Pius X because “they seemed to us the most apt, whilst being in circumstances and in functions which permit them more easily to fulfill their episcopal ministry, to confirm your children, and to be able to confer ordinations in our various seminaries,” as he explained in the sermon of the ceremony of consecrations.

Neither schismatic nor excommunicated
In the same sermon, Archbishop Lefebvre emphasized the extraordinary circumstances justifying his grave decision:

It is not for me to know when Tradition will regain its rights in Rome, but I think it is my duty to provide the means of doing that which I shall call “Operation Survival,” operation survival for Tradition. Today, this day, is “Operation Survival.

If I had made this deal with Rome, by continuing with the agreements we had signed, and by putting them into practice, it would have been “Operation Suicide.” There is no choice, we must survive. That is why today, by consecrating these bishops, I am convinced that I am keeping alive Tradition, that is to say, the Catholic Church.”

One year after the consecrations, in an interview published in the July-August 1989 issue of the SSPX’s magazine in France, Fideliter, the archbishop maintained that

We should have no hesitation or scruples with regard to these episcopal consecrations. We are neither schismatic nor excommunicated, and we are not against the pope. We are not against the Catholic Church. We are not creating a parallel Church. All that is absurd. We are what we have always been—Catholics carrying on. That is all.”

The role of our bishops
Their ministerial function being limited to the administration of the sacraments of holy orders and confirmation, our bishops neither received nor claimed any episcopal jurisdiction over priests or faithful.

In his 1989 interview by Fideliter, Archbishop Lefebvre stated that:

The four bishops are there to give ordinations and confirmations, to replace me and to do what I did for several years. For the rest, it is clearly the district superiors who are given a territory which is theirs and who, as far as they can, go to the help of the souls calling for them. For these souls have the right to have the sacraments and the Truth, the right to be saved. And, so we go to help them, and it is the request of these souls which grants us the right, as foreseen by Canon Law, to minister to them.”

In his letter to the four candidates, August 29, 1987, Archbishop Lefebvre had already explained that

The main purpose of my passing on the episcopacy is that the grace of priestly orders be continued, for the true Sacrifice of the Mass to be continued, and that the grace of the sacrament of confirmation be bestowed upon children and upon the faithful who will ask you for it.”

Archbishop Lefebvre insisted on their attachment to the Holy See and on their service to his priestly Society:

I beseech you to remain attached to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of all Churches, keeping in its entirety the Catholic Faith as expressed in the various creeds of the Faith, in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with what you were taught in your seminary. Remain faithful in the handing down of this Faith so that the Kingdom of Our Lord may come.

Finally, I beseech you to remain attached to the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, to remain profoundly united amongst yourselves, in submission to the Society’s Superior General, in the Catholic Faith of all time, remembering the words of St. Paul to the Galatians (1:8-9): ‘But even if we or an angel from heaven were to teach you a different gospel from the one we have taught you, let him be anathema.’

The Roman reaction to the consecrations
On July 1, 1988, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, signed a decree of excommunication announcing that Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, and the four new bishops had performed a schismatic act and excommunicated themselves latae sententiae (automatically) in accordance with the provisions of canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law:

“A bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.”

The following day, July 2, 1988, Pope John Paul II issued the apostolic letter motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei adflicta, confirming the excommunications and the existence of a schism.

The Society of St. Pius X has always contested the juridical validity of the censure. Besides other considerations, the excommunication was not incurred because a person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (canon 1323 §4), and even if there is no state of necessity, when one inculpably thought the opposite he would not incur the penalty (canon 1323 §7); and if one culpably thought there was such a state of necessity, he would still incur no automatic penalties (canon 1324 §3).

Accusation of schism
As for the accusation of schism, Archbishop Lefebvre always recognized the pope’s authority. Consecrating a bishop without pontifical mandate would be a schismatic act if one pretended to confer not just the fullness of the priesthood but also jurisdiction, a governing power over a particular flock. Only the pope, who has universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, can appoint a pastor to a flock and empower him to govern it. But Archbishop Lefebvre never presumed to confer anything but the full priestly powers of holy orders.

Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, in La Repubblica, October 7, 1988, stated that the consecrations performed by Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer did not constitute an act of schism (“The mere fact of consecrating a bishop is not in itself a schismatic act”).

The Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Catholic Institute of Paris, Fr. Patrick Valdrini, confirmed that “it is not the consecration of a bishop that creates a schism; what consummates the schism is to confer upon that bishop an apostolic mission” (Valeurs Actuelles, July 4, 1988).

And Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has declared, on at least five separate occasions in public interviews (30 Giorni n. 9, 2005), that the Society of St. Pius X is not in a situation of formal schism. He has also affirmed that “the bishops, priests, and faithful of the Society of St. Pius X are not schismatics.” (Die Tagespost, February 8, 2007)

Finally, on January 21, 2009, a decree of the Congregation for Bishops, signed by its Prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, based on the faculties expressly granted by Pope Benedict XVI, declared the decree of July 1, 1988, to be deprived of any juridical effect. (Source)

The above posting is simply to honor the very brave act of Archbishop Lefebvre 27 years ago today. It is not my intention to defend Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions, because they do not need defending. We who have the Latin Mass today, owe this brave and saintly man such a huge debt of gratitude, for his actions, by saving tradition, saved the Church, saved the faith. 

Remember, pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

Yes, Children, the SSPX Is Catholic

Despite the incorrect, but nevertheless prevailing conviction that the SSPX is in schism, from time to time, news items crop up that stir a little interest in the question. Is the SSPX in schism? Will it be “regularized”?

The blogosphere is abuzz with the non-news that the SSPX is Catholic. This is because in Argentina, Pope Bergoglio’s own country, Cardinal  Poli has decreed it so. See  Rorate Caeli for the full article. The Rorate post explains that Mario Aurelio Poli, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires has formally recognised the Society of St. Pius X in Argentina, a fact which was then officially confirmed by the Argentine government.

Back in May, 2014, a similar incident prompted Rorate to conclude that the Cardinal’s intervention to assist the SSPX may  indicate both the SSPX’s resolve not to be an independent Church, not to be seen as outside the Catholic Church; and, evidently, Rome’s recognition that the SSPX is essentially CatholicThe whole article can be accessed at Rorate, see here

The latest news from the Society itself is a statement that, “Cardinal Poli’s document has no canonical authority, for he cannot substitute himself for the Roman authority that alone can settle the Society’s canonical status. It is simply a procedure that allows the State of Argentina to make an administrative decision until “a definitive juridical framework is granted (to the Society) in the universal Church. .., it is nothing more than a strictly administrative procedure in the restricted context of the Republic of Argentina.” Source: dici.org.

In a way, the discussion over whether the SSPX is Catholic or schismatic is ludicrous because it is difficult to see how someone who adheres to every single dogma of the faith and maintains the practice of the faith in the same way as it has always and everywhere been understood and observed for two millenia, can yet be accused of schism by the very people who reject so many of those same tenets of the faith.

How sad to see faithful Catholics assume the stance of arm-chair canonists and start parsing canon law to declare whether the sacraments of the SSPX are valid.

Here are a few facts. Note, these are all readily available facts, not my opinions:

  • In Hawaii, Bishop Ferrario excommunicated some followers of the Society of St. Pius X in May, 1991. The attempted excommunication was overturned by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 28 June, 1993. For details, see here.
  • In May, 1994, the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Edward Cassidy replied to an inquiry about the status of the Society of St. Pius X: “”The Directory on Ecumenism is not concerned with the Society of St. Pius X. The situation of the members of this Society is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. The Bishops are validly, but not lawfully, consecrated.”
  • Monsignor Camille Perl, Secretary of Ecclesia Dei Commission, in a letter of January, 2003, “”You may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.”
  • When he was head of the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei Commission, Dario Castrillon Cardinal Hoyos, in an interview in Die Tagepost, 8 February, 2007 stated: “The Bishops, priests and faithful of the Society (of St. Pius X) are not schismatics … The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated. They are not heretics.”

There are many more similar citations. So why is there so much disagreement?  Why is it that when this wonderfully vibrant and renewed Church of Vatican II (forgive the sarcasm!) finds it necessary to close down yet another Church, they refuse to allow the SSPX to purchase it and keep it in the service for which it was intended? Why does the post-conciliar church  insist on selling the “surplus” churches to protestant (that is, heretical) sects or to developers of secular enterprises such as apartments, art galleries or even beer halls? Some have even become mosques. Why not sell to the SSPX??

Why do various Vatican prelates continue to disparage the SSPX and label them as schismatic? Pope Francis told his friend Tony Palmer, who was a protestant minister that he did not need to become Catholic, and even had him given a Catholic Requiem Mass and burial. So what’s so objectionable about the SSPX?

For the Vatican, it can only be a matter of money and power. Or, if you will, power and money. When faith is gone, there is naught else. The persons who are presiding over the demise of the Church do not give a fig for dogma. They are not therefore, concerned about any actual schism, which would mean heresy. If the dogma of the faith were the important thing, why would Pope Francis kneel to receive a “blessing” from a heretical minister of some protestant sect?

The Post-Vatican Church possesses one marketable item, the brand name “Catholic”. If the Society only identified itself as the “Lefebvrian Traditional Church” or some such, Rome would probably want to dialog them to death and pander shamelessly to them, as they do with the Jews and Muslims. But for the Society to claim that it is truly Catholic, well that will not do. It damages the brand, doesn’t it?

Regarding the money component, Rome was shortsighted and overconfident in the Springtime effect they were anticipating. Rome’s attempt to nip Archbishop Lefebvre’s budding traditional movement backfired. Far from stopping the Archbishop’s new movement, the attempted excommunications freed Archbishop Lefebvre to seek and receive funding, quite generous funding from supporters. Many, many supporters. Just in the United States, the Society has grown far beyond expectations. The resultant foundations are completely beyond the reach of the Vatican. Understandably, neither the Vatican nor the Society would want to discuss the financial aspects of their negotiations. But clearly, official reunion with Rome will entail control of not only dogma and practice, but also finances.

This has been borne out in many parishes in the country, when the Bishop’s efforts to sell off church properties were contested by groups of parishioners who wanted to retain the churches. Often, the parishioners demonstrated that they had significantly contributed to the maintenance of the disputed properties. But nevertheless, the Bishop always wins, because the Church owns the property no matter how much parishioners donate.

Should the SSPX allow the Vatican to assume control over their foundations, their properties? Think about the Franciscans of the Immaculate before you answer. Money. Power.

The Society of St. Pius X has one purpose and that is to sustain the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by raising up priests to offer it faithfully. They haven’t showed much interest in politics and their interest in social welfare seems to have been limited to nurturing healthy, faithful Catholic families, that is, in growing the Faith. The Society’s constant need for money appears due solely to the ever-growing demand for their services, which requires continuous fundraising for their building needs. Even as the Vatican II Church diminishes, the Society is growing exponentially.

And so the interests of the Society of St. Pius X and those of the post- conciliar Church are not congruent; on one side, power and money; on the other, maintaining the traditional dogma and practice of the Faith and perpetuating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Any resolution with Rome would need to respect the valid interests of the Society. It seems unlikely that the Society would risk what they have in their current “irregular” state for whatever Rome could give them, since as Rome admits, they are Catholics, after all.

Do you remember when it was commonplace for someone, when asked if something was true, to say emphatically, “Is the Pope Catholic?” You don’t hear that much any more. Perhaps more correctly, we could say, “Is the SSPX Catholic!” It would be more certain, for sure!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

St. Joseph, protect us, protect our priests!

Remember, pray the Rosary and confound Satan!

Thou art all fair, O Mary

Each year, about this time, it is good to review this beautiful talk by a very holy man. Here is Archbishop Lefebvre’s sermon on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1972:

My dear friends, my dear brethren,

As the whole liturgy of today shows us, God, in His wisdom, had long ago prepared for us the most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was not just at the moment of her birth on earth that God decreed to exempt her from all sin, and to make her the Immaculate Conception but already in eternity, which preceded the creation of the world.

The epistle today recalls this fact, applying to the Most Holy Virgin the words of the eternal Wisdom; already the Holy Virgin was in the mind of God: “Iam concepta eram—I was already conceived”—yes, conceived in the mind of God, and thus already in the divine plan God was thinking of the Virgin Mary. Already He wished to fill her with all His graces, and to give her this extraordinary privilege of the Immaculate Conception, exempting her from all sin: “Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te—Thou art all fair, O Mary, and there is no stain of original sin in thee.”

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

So already in eternity, before the creation of the world, God was thinking of this admirable creature, the first of His creatures after our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All during the course of history which preceded the birth of the Blessed Virgin, during the whole history of humanity, God was thinking of the Blessed Virgin. We see it during the entire history of the Old Testament—already, immediately after the sin of Adam and Eve, God said to Adam and Eve, “I will place an enmity between thee and the woman: She shall crush thy head.” So already the Virgin Mary had been foreseen by the Spirit of God and her preparation, the preparation for her Immaculate Conception, was becoming more and more precise the whole time.

The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary can also be found in the holy women of the Old Testament. Think of the account of Sarah, the wife of Tobias, on whose behalf an angel bound up the demon and cast him far into the desert. She is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “before whom the devil must flee, and whom the devil fears.” The Virgin Mary was not under the empire of Satan for an instant, a single instant.

The story of Judith also illustrates the role of the most Holy Virgin Mary. She delivered the people of Israel from the hands of Holofernes. In cutting off the head of Holofernes Judith saved Israel, and in like manner the Blessed Virgin, by cutting off the head of the devil in a certain sense, saved the people of God.

Thus during the whole course of history God wished that we be reminded of the most Holy Virgin; the Blessed Virgin Mary was always present to God and in the plan of God and thus from her birth the Blessed Virgin Mary was exempt from all sin. At the moment of her birth she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and yet again even more so—if such be possible—at the moment when the Angel Gabriel came to announce that she would be the Mother of the Savior. Behold what the Angel said to the Blessed Virgin: “Thou art full of grace, overflowing with grace, and the Holy Ghost shall descend upon thee and overshadow thee.”

How could the Holy Ghost be present with the devil in the soul of the most Holy Virgin? There could be no stain in the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary; already God had decided that. And from the beginning of the Blessed Virgin’s existence, we see that, in fact, the Blessed Virgin is wholly filled with the Holy Ghost. She is shown to us as a contemplative, and living in the presence of God, speaking little, reflecting on all the words which Our Lord said. At times she deemed it right to discreetly intervene, as at the marriage feast of Cana, and this was to teach us her whole gospel: “Do whatever He shall tell you.” This is the gospel of our Holy Virgin Mary.

Again, she was present at Calvary as the Mother of the Eternal Priest, at the offering of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for she also was crucified with Our Lord. If St. Paul could say, “Confixus sure cruci—I am nailed to the Cross with Christ,” how much more could the Blessed Virgin Mary say it!

Again, she was also present at the moment of Pentecost, when the Apostles received the Holy Ghost—she who was already filled with the Holy Ghost, she did not need to receive Him again but through her mediation, the Apostles received Him.

Finally the Blessed Virgin Mary went up to heaven, not only in her soul but also in her body, and thus was this extraordinary life of hers completed; a life unique in the history of humanity, but foreseen by God from all eternity.

The influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary has not ceased. Even now in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary continues to be the Mother of the Mystical Body of Our Lord, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of our souls. She shows it, she proves it, she proves it in every one of us, but she also proves it in her apparitions. Is it not admirable to think that after the Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as a revealed truth, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate from her Conception—already four years later on March 21, 1858, the Blessed Virgin herself said to little Bernadette, the little shepherdess, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Remember that Bernadette was incapable of understanding, she could not understand what these words meant, and she left the grotto on her way to her pastor’s house repeating these words which she did not understand, to make sure she would not forget them. The history of the life of Bernadette tells us that it was at that moment that the parish priest of Lourdes, Fr. Pomian, was truly convinced by the apparitions at Lourdes. He realized that the poor little shepherdess was incapable of inventing this herself, and that the dogma had been proclaimed four years before by the Sovereign Pontiff. Thus it was confirmed by the Blessed Virgin herself that she was the Immaculate Conception.

What lesson, then, must we draw from this history of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception? For all of us who have been baptized, we who in a certain sense have received more than others because of the offices we may occupy in Holy Church—all of us: If the Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate in her Conception it is because she was to be the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, because she had to carry within herself Our Lord, the Son of God, because she was charged with giving Him to the world, because she was to live in proximity with Him, to be His Mother.

We Christians, who receive Holy Communion, do we not receive the same Jesus Christ, the same Body, which was conceived by the Blessed Virgin Mary? We receive Him in us, in our bodies, in our souls. If it was decreed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to be immaculate in her conception, so that she might receive the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His soul, His divinity, must we not also be pure? Not that we can be immaculate in our conception, but may our souls be immaculate, by our prayers, by our dispositions, by our efforts, by the grace of God… to win this privilege that the Blessed Virgin had by the gift of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we by our prayers and by the grace of God obtain the grace of having immaculate souls to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We must! We must live without sin, we must struggle against anything that might tarnish our souls, so that it can be said of our souls: “Tota pulchra est, et macula non est in te—Thou art all fair, and there is no stain in thee.” Let there be no stain in our souls so that we may worthily receive Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And if that is true for Christians, true for the faithful, true for every person, every soul receiving Our Lord Jesus Christ, how much more, dear brethren, is it true of you—you who are destined in a singular way to consecrate yourselves to God, to offer yourselves to God, and particularly those who offer themselves to God in the priesthood, who, in this world, call down Our Lord Jesus Christ upon the altar and, like the Blessed Virgin, touch Him with their hands, and give Him to others; how much more must your souls be immaculate!

With what joy, therefore, do we receive today the oblations of those who desire to offer their lives, offer their souls, for the service of God, the service of the altar. Let us ask in a special way of the Blessed Virgin to transmit, in a certain degree, this privilege she had, the graces which are necessary to keep our souls immaculate.

She is the creature that was created, designed by God to destroy sin. Thus there is no creature more free of sin than the Blessed Virgin Mary. She has crushed the head of the serpent. Therefore with the Blessed Virgin there is no compromise, no compromise with sin, no compromise with error; she is completely true, completely holy. She cannot bear error, or sin, or vice. Let us then ask the Blessed Virgin that we ourselves have this horror of sin, this horror of vice—but love for sinners, because it was for sinners that she was created, to save sinners. May we have this immense desire, this flame which must consume us, the desire to save souls from sin, to snatch them from the clutches of the devil, the clutches of the world, and the scandals of it.

Therefore let us all ask today that our Society be a sign, a sign of truth, a sign of holiness, a sign of flight from sin, and all the scandals of the world, and a sign of the presence of the Virgin Mary. We will truly be children of the Church, children of Mary, on this condition. But if, unhappily, we also become like the people who are drawn by the world and who want compromises with things of the world, with error—then we will no longer be worthy children of Mary, worthy children of Our Lord.

That is what we ask, for all those who are present at this Holy Mass, for all those who are present here, and particularly for those who, in a moment, will pronounce their oblation and their engagements in the Society.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Cardinal Ottaviani’s Intervention

Cardinal Ottaviani, Defender of the Faith, pray for our Pope and hierarchy.
Cardinal Ottaviani, Defender of the Faith, pray for our Pope and hierarchy.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Cardinal Ottaviani’s heroic attempt to save the beautiful Mass of all time, the Mass of so many saints and martyrs.

Cardinal Bacci contributed to the letter and the document was the product of a group of theologians, including most notably, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. At the time, it may have seemed like their efforts were doomed, but within that little resistance the entire edifice of tradition was contained as a mighty oak in a lowly acorn. In tribute to the efforts of Cardinal Ottaviani and the brave prelates who fought to preserve the traditional liturgy and dogma of the faith, it is fitting to revisit what is referred to as The Ottaviani Intervention.

Letter from Cardinal Ottaviani to His Holiness Pope Paul VI

Rome
September 25, 1969

Most Holy Father,

Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequdam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted, which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations. which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law. Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the Church, lamented by You our common Father. not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic World.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci
Feast of St. Pius X

 

A Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae
by a group of Roman Theologians

I
In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was requested to pass a judgment on the experimental celebration of a so-called “normative Mass,” devised by the Consilium for implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a “refusal” on the proposed “normative Mass” on the part of the Synod. Progressively-inclined papers made no mention of this.

In the Novus Ordo Missae lately promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, we once again find this “normative Mass,” identical in substance, nor does it appear that in the intervening period, the Episcopal Conferences, at least as such, were ever asked to give their views about it.

In the Apostolic Constitution, it is stated that the ancient Missal promulgated by St. Pius V, July 13, 1570, but going back in great part to St. Gregory the Great and to still remoter antiquity,[3] was for four centuries the norm for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice for priests of the Latin rite, and that, taken to every part of the world, “it has moreover been an abundant source of spiritual nourishment to may holy people in their devotion to God.”

Yet, the present reform, putting it definitely out of use, was claimed to be necessary since “from that time the study of the Sacred Liturgy has become more widespread and intensive amongst Christians.”

This assertion seems to us to embody a serious equivocation. For the desire of the people was expressed, if at all, when—thanks to St. Pius X—they began to discover the true and everlasting treasures of the liturgy. The people never on any account asked for the liturgy to be changed or mutilated so as to understand it better. They asked for a better understanding of a changeless liturgy, and one which they would never have wanted changed.

The Roman Missal of St. Pius V was religiously venerated and most dear to Catholics, both priests and laity. One fails to see how its use, together with suitable catechesis, should have hindered a fuller participation in, and greater knowledge of, the Sacred Liturgy, nor why, when its many outstanding virtues are recognized, this should not have been considered worthy to continue to foster the liturgical piety of Christians.

Since the “normative Mass,” now reintroduced and imposed as the Novus Ordo Missae, was in substance rejected by the Synod of Bishops, was never submitted to the collegial judgment of the Episcopal Conference, nor have the people—least of all in mission lands—ever asked for any reform of Holy Mass whatsoever, one fails to comprehend the motives behind the new legislation which overthrows a tradition unchanged in the Church since the fourth and fifth centuries, as the Apostolic Constitution itself acknowledges. As no poplar demand exists to support this reform, it appears devoid of any logical grounds to justify it and make it acceptable to the Catholic people.

The Vatican Council did indeed express a desire (para. 50, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium) for the various parts of the Mass to be reordered “so that the distinctive character of each single part and its relationship to the other part may appear more clearly.” We shall now see how the Ordo recently promulgated corresponds with this original intention.

An attentive examination of the Novus Ordo reveals changes of such magnitude as to justify in themselves the judgment already made with regard to the “normative Mass.” Both have in many points every possibility of satisfying the most modernistic of Protestants.

II
Let us begin with the definition of the Mass given in n. 7 of the Institutio Generalis at the beginning of the second chapter of the Novus Ordo: De structura Missae:

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.[4] Thus the promise of Christ, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” is eminently true of the local community in the Church (Mt. 18, 20).
The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of a “supper,” and this term is found constantly repeated (nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This “supper” is further characterized 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 the sacrifice, or the Sacramental function of the consecrating priest, or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the people’s presence.[5] 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.[6]

In the second part of this paragraph 7 it is asserted, aggravating the already serious equivocation, that there holds good, “eminenter,” for this assembly Christ’s promise that “Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo; ibi sum in medio eorum” (Mt. 18, 20). This promise, which refers only to the spiritual presence of Christ with His grace, is thus put on the same qualitative plane, save for the greater intensity, as the substantial and physical reality of the Sacramental Eucharistic Presence.

In no. 8 a subdivision of the Mass into “liturgy of the word” and Eucharistic liturgy immediately follows, with the affirmation that in the Mass is made ready “the table of God’s word” as of “the Body of Christ,” so that the faithful “may be built up and refreshed”—an altogether improper assimilation of the two parts of the liturgy, as though between two points of equal symbolic value. More will be said about this point later.

The Mass is designated by a great many different expressions, all acceptable relatively, all unacceptable if employed, as they are, separately and in an absolute sense. We cite a few:

the Action of Christ and of the People of God;
the Lord’s Supper or Mass;
the Paschal Banquet;
the Common participation in the Lord’s Table;
the memorial of the Lord;
the Eucharistic Prayer;
the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy;
etc.
As is only too evident, the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the supper and the memorial instead of upon the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The formula “the Memorial of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord” is, besides, inexact, the Mass being the memorial or the Sacrifice alone, in itself redemptive whilst the Resurrection is the consequent fruit of it.[7]

We shall later see how, in the same consecratory formula, and throughout the Novus Ordo such equivocations are renewed and reiterated.

III
We come now to the ends of the Mass.

I. Ultimate end. This is that of the Sacrifice of praise to the Most Holy Trinity according to the explicit declaration of Christ in the primary purpose of His very Incarnation: “Coming into the world he saith: sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not but a body thou has fitted me” (Ps. 34, 7-9 in Heb. 10, 5).

This end has disappeared from the Offertory, with the disappearance of the prayer Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas; from the end of the Mass with the omission of the Placet tibi Sancta Trinitas; and from the Preface, which on Sunday will no longer be that of the Most Holy Trinity, as this Preface will be reserved only to the Feast of the Trinity, and so in future will be heard but once a year.

2. Ordinary end. This is the propitiatory Sacrifice. It too has been deviated from; for instead of putting the stress on the remission of sins of the living and the dead it lays emphasis on the nourishment and sanctification of the present (no. 54). Christ certainly instituted the Sacrament of the Last Supper putting Himself in the state of Victim in order that we might be united to Him in this state but this self-immolation precedes the eating of the Victim, and has an antecedent and full redemptive value (the application of the bloody immolation). This is borne out by the fact that the faithful present are not bound to communicate, sacramentally.[8]

3. Immanent end. Whatever the nature of the Sacrifice, it is absolutely necessary that it be pleasing and acceptable to God. After the Fall no sacrifice can claim to be acceptable in its own right other than the Sacrifice of Christ. The Novus Ordo changes the nature of the offering, turning it into a sort or exchange of gifts between man and God: man brings the bread, and God turns it into the “bread of life”; man brings the wine, and God turns it into a “spiritual drink.”

Thou art blessed Lord, God of the Universe, because from Thy generosity we have received the bread [or “wine”] which we offer Thee the fruit of the earth [or “vine”] and of man’s labor. May it become for us the bread of life [or “spiritual drink.”].[9]
There is no need to comment on the utter indeterminateness of the formulae “panis vitae” and “potus spiritualis,” which might mean anything. The same capital equivocation is repeated here, as in the definition of the Mass: there, Christ is present only spiritually among His own: here, bread and wine are only “spiritually” (not substantially) changed.[10]

In the preparation of the offering, a similar equivocation results from the suppression of two great prayers. The “Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti et mirabilius reformasti” was a reference to man’s former condition of innocence and to his present one of being ransomed by the Blood of Christ: a recapitulation of the whole economy of the Sacrifice, from Adam to the present moment. The final propitiatory offering of the chalice, that it might ascend “cum odore suavitatis,” into the presence of the divine majesty, Whose clemency was implored, admirably reaffirmed this plan. By suppressing the continual reference to God in the Eucharistic prayers, there is no longer any clear distinction between divine and human sacrifice.

Having removed the keystone, the reformers have had to put up scaffolding; suppressing real ends, they have had to substitute fictitious ends of their own: leading to gestures intended to stress the union of priest and faithful, and of the faithful among themselves; offerings for the poor and for the Church superimposed upon the offerings of the Host to be immolated. There is a danger that the uniqueness of this offering will become blurred, so that participation in the immolation of the Victim comes to resemble a philanthropical meeting, or a charity banquet.

IV
We now pass on to the essence of the Sacrifice.

The mystery of the Cross is no longer explicitly expressed. It is only there obscurely, veiled, imperceptible for the people.[11] And for these reasons:

1. The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called prex eucharistica[12] is: “that the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in offering sacrifice” (no. 54, the end).

Which sacrifice is referred to? Who is the offerer? No answer is given to either of these questions. The initial definition of the prex eucharistica is as follows: “The center and culminating point of the whole celebration now has a beginning, namely the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and of sanctification” (no. 54, pr.). The effects thus replace the causes, of which not one single word is said. The explicit mention of the object of the offering, which was found in the Suscipe, has not been replaced by anything. The change in formulation reveals the change in doctrine.

2. The reason for this non-explicitness concerning the Sacrifice is quite simply that the Real Presence has been removed from the central position which it occupied so resplendently in the former Eucharistic liturgy. There is but a single reference to the Real Presence (a quotation—in a footnote—from the Council of Trent), and again the context is that of “nourishment” (no. 241, note 63).

The Real and permanent Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the transubstantiated Species is never alluded to. The very word transubstantiation is totally ignored.

The suppression of the invocation to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity (Veni Sanctificator) that He may descend upon the oblations, as once before into the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin to accomplish the miracle of the divine Presence, is yet one more instance of the systematic and tacit negation of the Real Presence.

Note, too, the eliminations:

of the genuflections (no more than three remain to the priest, and one, with certain exceptions, to the people, at the Consecration);
of the purification of the priest’s fingers in the chalice; of the preservation from all profane contact of the priest’s fingers after the Consecration;
of the purification of the vessels, which need not be immediate, nor made on the corporal;
of the pall protecting the chalice;
of the internal gilding of sacred vessels;
of the consecration of movable altars;
of the sacred stone and relics in the movable altar or upon the mensa—when celebration does not occur in sacred precincts (this distinction leads straight to “eucharistic suppers” in private houses);
of the three altar cloths, reduced to one only;
of thanksgiving kneeling (replaced by a thanksgiving, seated, on the part of priest and people, a logical enough complement to Communion standing);
of all the ancient prescriptions in the case of the consecrated Host falling, which are now reduced to a single, casual direction: “reverenter accipiatur” (no. 239);
all these things only serve to emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.
3. The function assigned to the altar (no. 262). The altar is almost always called mensa.[13] “The altar or table of the Lord, which is the center of the whole Eucharistic liturgy” (no. 49, cf. 262). It is laid down that the altar must be detached from the walls so that it is possible to walk round it and celebration may be facing the people (no. 262); also that the altar must be the center of the assembly of the faithful so that their attention is drawn spontaneously toward it (ibid). But a comparison of nos. 262 and 276 would seem to suggest that the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on this altar is excluded. This will mark an irreparable dichotomy between the presence, in the celebrant, of the eternal High Priest and that same Presence brought about sacramentally. Before, they were one and the same presence.[14]

Now it is recommended that the Blessed Sacrament be kept in a place apart for the private devotion of the people (almost as though it were a question of devotion to a relic of some kind) so that, on going into a church, attention will no longer be focused upon the tabernacle but upon a stripped bare table. Once again the contrast is made between private piety and liturgical piety: altar is set up against altar.

In the insistent recommendation to distribute in Communion the Species consecrated during the same Mass, indeed to consecrate a loaf[15] for the priest to distribute to at least some of the faithful, we find reasserted a disparaging attitude toward the tabernacle, as toward every form of Eucharistic piety outside of the Mass. This constitutes yet another violent blow to faith in the Real Presence as long as the consecrated Species remain.[16]

4. The formulae of consecration. The ancient formula of consecration was properly a sacramental, not a narrative one. This was shown above all by three things:

a. The Scriptural text not taken up word for word: the Pauline insertion “mysterium fidei” was an immediate confession of the priest’s faith in the mystery realized by the Church through the hierarchical priesthood.

b. The punctuation and typographical lettering: the full stop and new paragraph marking the passage from the narrative mode to the sacramental and affirmative one, the sacramental words in larger characters at the center of the page and often in a different color, clearly detached from the historical context. All combined to give the formula a proper and autonomous value.

c. The anamnesis (“Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis”), which in Greek is “eis tén emèu anàmnesin” (directed to my memory). This referred to Christ operating and not to the mere memory of Him, or of the event: an invitation to recall what He did (“haec… in mei memoriam facietis”) in the way He did it, not only His Person, or the Supper. The Pauline formula (“Hoc facite in meam commemorationem”) which will now take the place of the old—proclaimed as it will be daily in vernacular languages—will irremediably cause the hearers to concentrate on the memory of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, whilst it is really the beginning. The concluding idea of commemoration will certainly once again take the place of the idea of sacramental action.”[17]

The narrative mode is now emphasized by the formula “narratio institutionis” (no. 55d) and repeated by the definition of the anamnesis, in which it is said that “The Church recalls the memory of Christ Himself” (no. 556).

In short: the theory put forward by the epiclesis, the modification of the words of Consecration and of the anamnesis, have the effect of modifying the modus significandi of the words of Consecration. The consecratory formulae are here pronounced by the priest as the constituents of a historical narrative and no longer enunciated as expressing the categorical and affirmative judgment uttered by Him in whose Person the priest acts: “Hoc est Corpus Meum” (not, “Hoc est Corpus Christi”).[18]

Furthermore the acclamation assigned to the people immediately after the Consecration: (“we announce Thy death, O Lord, until Thou comest”) introduces yet again, under cover of eschatology, the same ambiguity concerning the Real Presence. Without interval or distinction, the expectation of Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time is proclaimed just as the moment when He is substantially present on the altar, almost as though the former, and not the latter, were the true Coming.

This is brought out even more strongly in the formula of optional acclamation no. 2 (Appendix): “As often as we eat of this bread and drink of this chalice we announce Thy death, O Lord, until Thou comest,” where the juxtaposition of the different realities of immolation and eating, of the Real Presence and of Christ’s Second Coming, reaches the height of ambiguity.[19]

V
We now come to the realization of the Sacrifice, the four elements of which were:

Christ,
the priest,
the Church,
the faithful present.
In the Novus Ordo, the position attributed to the faithful is autonomous (absoluta), hence totally false from the opening definition—“Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi”—to the priest’s salutation to the people which is meant to convey to the assembled community the “presence” of the Lord (no. 28). “Qua salutatione et populi responsione manifestatur ecclesiae congregatae mysterium.”

A true presence, certainly, of Christ but only spiritual, and a mystery of the Church, but solely as assembly manifesting and soliciting such a presence.

This interpretation is constantly underlined: by the obsessive references to the communal character of the Mass (nos. 74-152); by the unheard of distinction between “missa cum populo” and “missa sine populo” (nos. 203-231); by the definition of the “oratio universalis seu fidelium” (DO. 45), where once more we find stressed the “sacerdotal office” of the people (“populus sui sacerdotii munus excercens”) presented in an equivocal way because its subordination to that of the priest is not mentioned, and all the more since the priest, as consecrated mediator, makes himself the interpreter of all the intentions of the people in the Te igitur and the two Memento.

In Prex Eucharistica III (Vere sanctus, p. 123) the following words are addressed to the Lord: “from age to age you gather a people to Thyself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of Thy name,”  in order that making it appear that the people, rather than the priest[20] are the indispensable element in the celebration; and since not even here is it made clear who the offerer is, the people themselves appear to be invested with autonomous priestly powers. From this step it would not be surprising if, before long, the people were authorized to join the priest in pronouncing the consecrating formulae (which actually seems here and there to have already occurred).

The priest’s position is minimized, changed and falsified. Firstly in relation to the people for whom he is, for the most part, a mere president, or brother, instead of the consecrated minister celebrating in persona Christi. Secondly in relation to the Church, as a “quidam de populo.” In the definition of the epiclesis (no. 55), the invocations are attributed anonymously to the Church: the part of the priest has vanished.

In the Confiteor which has now become collective, he is no longer judge, witness and intercessor with God; so it is logical that he is no longer empowered to give the absolution, which has been suppressed. He is integrated with the fratres. Even the server addresses him as much in the Confiteor of the “Missa sine populo.”

Already, prior to this latest reform, the significant distinction between the Communion of the priest—the moment in which the Eternal High Priest and the one acting in His Person were brought together in closest union—and the Communion of the faithful had been suppressed.

Not a word do we now find as to the priest’s power to sacrifice, or about his act of consecration, the bringing about through him of the Eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.

The disappearance, or optional use, of many sacred vestments (in certain cases the alb and stole are sufficient—n. 298) obliterates even more the original conformity with Christ: the priest is no more clothed with all His virtues, becoming merely a “graduate” whom one or two signs may distinguish from the mass of people:[21] “a little more a man than the rest” to quote the involuntarily humorous definition by a Dominican preacher.[22] Again, as with the “table” and the altar, there is separated what God has united: the sole Priesthood of the Word of God.

Finally, there is the Church’s position in relation to Christ. In one case, namely the “missa sine populo” is the Mass acknowledged to be “Actio Christi et Ecclesiae” (no. 4, cf. Presb. Ord. no. 13), whereas in the case of the “missa cum populo” this is not referred to except for the purpose of “remembering Christ” and sanctifying those present. The words used are: “In offering the sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Ghost to God the Father, the priest associates the people with himself.” (no. 60), instead of words which would associate the people with Christ Who offers Himself “per Spiritum Sanctum Deo Patri…”

In this context the following are to be noted:

the very serious omission of the phrase “Per Christum Dominum Nostrum,” the guarantee of being heard given to the Church in every age (John 14, 13-14; 15; 16; 23; 24;);
the all-pervading “paschalism,” almost as though there were no other, quite different and equally important aspects of the communication of grace;
the very strange and dubious eschatologism whereby the communication of supernatural grace, a reality which is permanent and eternal, is brought down to the dimensions of time: we hear of a people on the march, a pilgrim Church—no longer militant against the Potestas tenebrarum — looking toward a future which having lost its link with eternity is conceived in purely temporal terms.
The Church—One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic—is diminished as such in the formula that, in the Prex Eucharistica IV, has taken the place of the prayer of the Roman Canon “on behalf of all orthodox believers of the Catholic and apostolic faith.” Now they are no more nor less than: “all who seek you with a sincere heart.”

Again, in the Memento of the dead, these have no longer passed on “with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace,” but only “who have died in the peace of Thy Christ,” and to them are added, with further obvious detriment to the concept of visible unity, the host of all the dead “whose faith is known to Thee alone.”

Furthermore, in none of the three new Eucharistic Prayers is there any reference, as has already been said, to the state of suffering of those who have died, in none the possibility of a particular Memento: all of this, again, must undermine faith in the propitiatory and redemptive nature of the Sacrifice.[23]

Desacralizing omissions everywhere debase the mystery of the Church. She is not presented above all as a sacred hierarchy: angels and saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor: they have disappeared, as witnesses and judges, in the person of St. Michael, from the first.[24] The various hierarchies of angels have also disappeared (and this is without precedent) from the new Preface of Prex II. In the Communicantes the reminder of the pontiffs and holy martyrs on whom the Church of Rome is founded and who were, without doubt, the transmitters of the apostolic traditions, destined to be completed in what became, with St. Gregory, the Roman Mass, has been suppressed. In the Libera nos the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the Saints are no longer mentioned: her and their intercession is thus no longer asked, even in time of peril.

The unity of the Church is gravely compromised by the wholly intolerable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new Eucharistic Prayers, of the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church of Rome, and the names of the other Apostles, foundation and mark of the one and universal Church, the only remaining mention being in the Communicantes of the Roman Canon.

A clear attack upon the dogma of the Communion of Saints is the omission, when the priest is celebrating without a server, of all the salutations, and the final blessing, not to speak of the Ite missa est[25] now not even said in Masses celebrated with a server.

The double Confiteor showed how the priest—in his capacity of Christ’s Minister, bowing downplay and acknowledging himself unworthy of his sublime mission, of the “tremendum mysterium” about to be accomplished by him and of even (in the Aufer a nobis) entering into the Holy of Holies—invoked the intercession (in the Oramus te, Domine) of the merits of the martyrs whose relics were sealed in the altar. Both these prayers have been suppressed; what has been said previously in respect of the double Confiteor and the double Communion is equally relevant here.

The outward setting of the Sacrifice, evidence of its sacred character, has been profaned. See, for example, what is laid down for celebration outside sacred precincts, in which the altar may be replaced by a simple mensa without consecrated stone or relic, and with a single cloth (nos. 260, 265). Here too all that has been previously said with regard to the Real Presence applies, the disassociation of the convivium and of the sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence Itself.

The process of desacralization is completed thanks to the new procedures for the offering: the reference to ordinary not unleavened bread; altar servers (and lay people at Communion sub utraque specie) being allowed to handle sacred vessels (no. 244d); the distracting atmosphere created by the ceaseless coming and going of priest, deacon, subdeacon, psalmist, commentator (the priest becomes a commentator himself from his constantly being required to “explain” what he is about to accomplish)—of readers (men and women), of servers or laymen welcoming people at the door and escorting them to their places whilst other carry and sort offerings. And in the midst of all this prescribed activity, the “mulier idonea”[26] (anti-scriptural and anti-Pauline) who for the first time in the tradition of the Church will be authorized to read the lesson and also perform other “ministeria quae extra presbyterium peraguntur” (no. 70). Finally, there is the concelebration mania, which will end by destroying Eucharistic piety in the priest, by overshadowing the central figure of Christ, sole Priest and Victim, in a collective presence of concelebrants.[27]

VI
We have limited ourselves to a summary evaluation of the new Ordo where it deviates most seriously from the theology of the Catholic Mass and our observations touch only those deviations that are typical. A complete evaluation of all the pitfalls, the dangers, the spiritually and psychologically destructive elements contained in the document—whether in text, rubrics or instructions—would be a vast undertaking.

No more than a passing glance has been taken at the three new Canons, since these have already come in for repeated and authoritative criticism, both as to form and substance. The second of them[28] gave immediate scandal to the faithful on account of its brevity. Of Canon II it has been well said, amongst other things, that it could be recited with perfect tranquility of conscience by a priest who no longer believes either in transubstantiation or in the sacrificial character of the Mass—hence even by a Protestant minister.

The new missal was introduced in Rome as “a text of ample pastoral matter” and “more pastoral than juridical” which the Episcopal Conferences would be able to utilize according to the varying circumstances and genius of different peoples. In this same Apostolic Constitution we read: “we have introduced into the new missal legitimate variations and adaptations.” Besides, Section I of the new Congregation for Divine Worship will be responsible “for the publication and constant revision of the liturgical books.” The last official bulletin of the Liturgical Institutes of Germany, Switzerland and Austria[29] says:

The Latin texts will now have to be translated into the languages of the various peoples: the “Roman” style will have to be adopted to the individuality of the local Churches: that which was conceived beyond time must he transposed into the changing context of concrete situations in the constant flux of the Universal Church and of its myriad congregations.
The Apostolic Constitution itself gives the coup de grace to the Church’s universal language (contrary to the express will of Vatican Council II) with the bland affirmation that “in such a variety of tongues one [?] and the same prayer of all… may ascend more fragrant than any incense.”

The demise of Latin may therefore be taken for granted; that of Gregorian chant—which even the Council recognized as “liturgiae romanae proprium” (Sacros. Conc., no. 116), ordering that “principem locum obtineat” (ibid.)—will logically follow, with the freedom of choice, amongst other things, of the texts of Introit and Gradual.

From the outset therefore the new rite is launched as pluralistic and experimental, bound to time and place. Unity of worship, thus swept away for good and all, what will now become of the unity of faith that went with it, and which, we were always told, was to be defended without compromise?

It is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever. With the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, the loyal Catholic is thus faced with a most tragic alternative.

VII
The Apostolic Constitution makes explicit reference to a wealth of piety and teaching in the Novus Ordo borrowed from the Eastern Churches. The result—utterly remote from and even opposed to the inspiration of the oriental Liturgies—can only repel the faithful of the Eastern Rites. What, in truth, do these ecumenical options amount to? Basically to the multiplicity of anaphora (but nothing approaching their beauty and complexity), to the presence of the deacons, to Communion sub utraque specie. Against this the Ordo would appear to have been deliberately shorn of everything which in the Liturgy of Rome came close to those of the East.[30] Moreover, in abandoning its unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, the Ordo lost what was spiritually precious of its own. Its place has been taken by elements which bring it closer only to certain other reformed liturgies (not even to those closest to Catholicism) and which debase it at the same time. The East will be ever more alienated, as it already has been by the preceding liturgical reforms.

By way of compensation the new Liturgy will be the delight of the various groups who, hovering on the verge of apostasy, are wreaking havoc in the Church of God, poisoning her organism and undermining her unity of doctrine, worship, morals and discipline in a spiritual crisis without precedent.

VIII
St. Pius V had the Roman Missal drawn up (as the present Apostolic Constitution itself recalls) so that it might he an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the injunctions of the Council of Trent it was to exclude all danger, in liturgical worship of errors against the Faith, then threatened by the Protestant Reformation. The gravity of the situation fully justified, and even rendered prophetic, the saintly pontiff’s solemn warning given at the end of the bull promulgating his missal: “Should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of God Almighty and of his Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Quo Primum, July 13, 1570).[31]

When the Novus Ordo was presented at the Vatican Press Office, it was asserted with great audacity that the reasons which prompted the Tridentine decrees are no longer valid. Not only do they still apply, but there also exist, as we do not hesitate to affirm, very much more serious ones today. It was precisely in order to ward off the dangers which in every century threaten the purity of the deposit of faith (“depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates.”—I Tim. 6:20) that the Church has had to erect under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost the defenses of her dogmatic definitions and doctrinal pronouncements. These were immediately reflected in her worship, which became the most complete monument of her faith. To try and bring the Church’s worship back at all cost to the ancient practice by refashioning, artificially and with that “unhealthy archeologism” so roundly condemned by Pius XII,[32] what in earlier times had the grace of original spontaneity means—as we see today only too clearly—to dismantle all the theological ramparts erected for the protection of the Rite and to take away all the beauty by which it was enriched over the centuries.

And all this at one of the most critical moments—if not the most critical moment—of the Church’s history! Today, division and schism are officially acknowledged to exist not only outside of but within the Church.[33] Her unity is not only threatened but already tragically compromised.[34] Errors against the Faith are not merely insinuated but positively imposed by means of liturgical abuses and aberrations which have been equally acknowledged.[35] To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was both the sign and the pledge of unity of worship[36] (and to replace it with another which cannot but be a sign of division by virtue of the countless liberties implicitly authorized, and which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic religion) is, we feel in conscience bound to proclaim, an incalculable error.

Footnotes

1 Available from Angelus Press.

2 A presentation given in Kansas City, Missouri, on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Society of St. Pius X and reprinted from the January 1996 issue of The Angelus.

3

The Prayers of our Canon are found in the treatise De Sacramentis (4th-5th centuries)… Our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the epoch in which it developed for the first time from the most ancient common liturgy. It still preserves the fragrance of that primitive liturgy, in times when Caesar governed the world and hoped to extinguish the Christian faith: times when our forefathers would gather together before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as to their God… (cf. Pl. Jr., Ep. 96)… There is not, in all Christendom, a rite so venerable as that of the Roman Missal. (Dr. Adrian Fortescue; The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy)

The Roman Canon, such as it is today, goes back to St. Gregory the Great. Neither in the East nor West is there any Eucharistic prayer remaining in use today that can boast such antiquity. For the Roman Church to throw it overboard would be tantamount, in the eyes not only of the Orthodox, but also Anglicans and even Protestants having still to some extent a sense of tradition, to a denial of all claim any more to be the true Catholic Church. (Rev. Louis Bouyer).
4 For such a definition, the Novus Ordo refers one in a note to two texts of Vatican II. But rereading these texts one finds nothing to justify the definition.

The first text referred to (Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, no. 51 runs as follows:

…through the ministry of the Bishop, God consecrates priests so that they can share by a special title in the priesthood of Christ. Thus, in performing sacred functions they can act as ministers of Him who in the liturgy continually exercises His priestly office on behalf by the action of His Spirit… And especially by the celebration of Mass, men offer sacramentally the sacrifice of Christ. (Documents of Vatican II, Ed. Walter M. Abbot, S.J.)
The second text runs thus, and is from the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 33: “…in the liturgy God speaks to His people and Christ is still proclaiming His Gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and by prayer.”

“Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest presiding over the assembly in the person of Christ are said in the name of the entire holy people as well as of all present.” (Ibid.—our emphasis)

One is at a loss to explain how, from such texts as these, the above definition could have been drawn.

We note, too, the radical alteration, in this definition of the Mass, of that laid down by Vatican II (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 1254): “The Eucharist is therefore the very heart of the Christian Community.” The centrum having been spirited away, in the Novus Ordo the congregatio itself has usurped its place.

5 The Council of Trent reaffirms the Real Presence in the following words:

Principio docet Sancta Synodus et aperte et simpliciter profitetur in almo Sanctae Eucharistiae sacramento post panis et vini, consacrationem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum verum Deum atque hominem vere, realiter ac substantialiter (can. I) sub specie illarum rerum sensibilium contineri. (DB, no. 874)
In session XXII, which interests us directly (De sanctissimo Missae Sacrificio), the approved doctrine (Dz [Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma], nos. 937a-956) is clearly synthesized in nine canons:

1. The Mass is a true and visible Sacrifice—not a symbolic representation—“quo cruentum illud semel in cruce peragendum repraesentaretur atque illius salutaris virtus in remissionem eorum, quae a nobis quotidie committuntur peccatorum applicaretur.” (Dz, no. 938)

2. Jesus Christ Our Lord:

sacerdotem secundum ordinem Melchisedech ac in aeternum (Ps. 109, 4) constitutum declarans, corpus et sanguinem suum sub specibus panis et vini Deo Patri obtulit ac sub earundem rerum symbolis Apostolis (quos tunc Novi Testamenti sacerdotes constituebat), ut sumerent tradidit, et eisdem eorumque in sacredotio successoribus, ut offernt, praecaepit per haec verba: “Hoc facite in meam commemorationem” (Lk. 22, 19; I Cor. 11, 24) ut semper catholica Ecclesia intellexit et docuit. (Dz, ibid.).
The celebrant, the offerer, the sacrificer is the priest consecrated for this, not the people of God, the assembly. “Si quis dixerit, illis verbis: ‘Hoc facite’ etc. Christum non istituisse Apostolos sacerdotes, aut non ordinasse, ut ipsi alique sacerdotes offerent corpus et sanguinem suum: anathema sit.” (Can. 2, Dz, 949)

3. The Sacrifice of the Mass is a true propitiatory Sacrifice and not a “bare commemoration of the sacrifice accomplished on the Cross.”

Si quis dixerit: Missae sacrificium tantum esse laudis et gratiarum actiones aut nudam commemoratinem sacrificii in cruce peracti, non autem prpitiatorum; vel soli prodesse sumenti, neque pro vivis et defunctis, pro peccatis, poenis, satisfactionibus et aliis necessitatibus offeri debere, anathema sit. (Can. 3: Dz, 95)
Can. 6 will also be recalled: “Si quis dixerit Canon Missae errores continere ideoque abrongandum esse, anathema sit.” (Dz, 953); and Can. 8: “Si quis dixerit Missae, in quibus solus sacerdos sacramentaliter communicat, illicitas esse, ideoque abrogandas, anathema sit.” (Dz, 955)

6 It is superfluous to assert that, if a single defined dogma were denied, all dogma would ipso facto fall, insofar as the very principle of infallibility of the supreme hierarchical Magisterium, whether papal or conciliar, would thereby be destroyed.

7 The Ascension should be added if one wished to recall the Unde et memores which furthermore does not associate but clearly and finely distinguishes: “…tam beatae Passioni, nec non ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in caelum gloriosae Ascensionis.”

8 This shift of emphasis is met with also in the surprising elimination, in the new Canons, of the Memento of the dead and of any mention of the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory, to whom the propitiatory Sacrifice was applied.

9 Cf. Mysterium Fidei in which Paul VI condemns the errors of symbolism together with the new theories of “transignification” and “transfinalization”:

…Nor is it right to be so preoccupied with considering the nature of the sacramental sign that the impression is repeated that the symbolism—and no one denies its existence in the most Holy Eucharist—expresses and exhausts the whole meaning of Christ’s presence in this sacrament. Nor is it right to treat of the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning the marvelous change of the whole of the bread’s substance into Christ’s body, and the whole of the wine’s substance into His blood, of which the Council of Trent speaks, and thereby make these changes consist of nothing but a ‘transignification’ or a ‘transfinalization,’ to use these terms. (Catholic Truth Society translation of Mysterium Fidei, art. II)
10 The introduction of new formulae, or expressions, which, though occurring in texts of the Fathers and Councils, and of the Church’s magisterium, are used in a univocal sense, not subordinated to the substance of doctrine with which they form an inseparable whole (e.g., “spiritualis alimonia,” “cibus spiritualis,” “potus spiritualis,” etc.) is amply denounced and condemned in Mysterium Fidei. Paul VI states that: “When the integrity of faith has been preserved, a suitable manner of expression has to be preserved as well. Otherwise our use of careless language may, though it is to be hoped that it will not, give rise to false opinions on belief in very deep matters,” and quotes St. Augustine:

There is a claim on us to speak according to a fixed rule so that unchecked words do not give rise also to an impious view of the matters which we express. (He continues) This rule of speech has been introduced by the Church in the long work of centuries with the protection of the Holy Spirit. She has confirmed it with the authority of the Councils. It has become more than once the token and standard of orthodox faith. It must be observed religiously. No one may presume to alter it at will, or on the pretext of new knowledge… it is equally intolerable that anyone on his own initiative should want to modify the formulae with which the Council of Trent has proposed the eucharistic doctrine of belief. (Idem, art. 23).
11 Contradicting what is prescribed by Vatican II. (Sacros. Conc., no. 48)

12 “Eucharistic Prayer”—Ed.

13 The altar’s primary function is recognized once (no. 259): “the altar on which the sacrifice of the Cross is renewed under the sacramental signs.” This single reference does not seem to remove to any extent the equivocations of the other repeated designation.

14 “To separate the tabernacle from the altar is tantamount to separating two things which of their very nature must remain together.” (Pius XII, Allocution to the International Liturgy Congress. Assisi-Rome, Sept. 18-23, 1956) Cf. also Mediator Dei, I, 5, note 28.

15 Rarely in the Novus Ordo is the word “hostia” used, a traditional one in liturgical books with its precise significance of “victim.” This needless to say is part of the reformers’ plan to emphasize only the aspects “supper,” “food.”

16 In accordance with the customary habit of the reformers of substituting and exchanging one thing for another, the Real Presence is made equivalent to the Presence in the word (no. 7, 54). But this latter presence is really of quite another nature, having no reality except in usu: whilst the former is, in a stable manner, objective and independent of the communication that is made of it in the Sacrament. The formulae “God speaks to His people… By His word Christ is present in the midst of the faithful” (no. 33, cf. Sacros. Conc. no. 33 and 7), are typically Protestant ones, which strictly speaking, have no meaning, as the presence of God in the word is mediated, bound to an act of the spirit, to the spiritual condition of the individual and limited in time. This error has the most serious consequences; the affirmation (or insinuation) that the Real Presence is bound to the usus, and ends together with it.

17 The sacramental action of the institution is emphasized as having come about in Our Lord’s giving the Apostles His Body and Blood “to eat” under the species of bread and wine, not in the act of consecration and in the mystical separation therein accomplished of the Body from the Blood, essence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (Cf. the whole of chapter I, part II, “The cult of the Eucharist” in Mediator Dei)

18 The words of Consecration as inserted in the context or the Novus Ordo can be valid by virtue of the minister’s intention. They could also not be valid because they are no longer so ex vi verborum, or, more precisely, by virtue of the modus signifcandi they had in the Mass up to the present time.

Will priests of the near future who have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus Ordo with the intention of “doing what the Church does” consecrate validly? One may be allowed to doubt it.

19 Let it not be said, according to the well-known Protestant critical procedure, that these phrases belong to the same scriptural context. The Church has always avoided their juxtaposition and superimposition precisely in order to avoid any confusion of the different realities here expressed.

20 As against the Lutherans who affirmed that all Christians are priests and hence offerers of the Supper, see A. Tanquerey: Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae, vol. III, Desclee, 1930: “Each and every priest is strictly speaking, a secondary minister of the sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself is the principal minister. The faithful offer through the intermediary of the priest but not in the strict sense.” (Cf. Conc. Trid. XXII, Can. 2)

21 We note in passing an incredible innovation which is sure to have the most serious psychological effects: the Good Friday liturgy in red vestments instead of black (no. 308b)—the commemoration, that is of any martyr, instead of the mourning of the whole Church for her Founder. (Cf. Mediator Dei, I, 5, note 28)

22 Fr. Roquet, O.P., to the Dominicans of Bethany, at Plesschenet.

23 In some translations of the Roman Canon, the “locus refrigerii lucis et pacis” was rendered as a simple state (“blessedness, light, peace”). What is to be said then of the disappearance of every explicit reference to the Church Suffering?

24 In all this welter of curtailment a single enrichment only: the mention of omission in the accusation of sins at the Confiteor.

24 At the press conference introducing the Ordo, Fr. Lecuyer, in what appears to be, objectively speaking, a profession of purely rationalistic faith, spoke of converting the salutationes in the “Missa sine populo” into “Dominus tecum,” “Ora, frater,” etc., “so that there should be nothing which does not correspond with the truth.”

26 Meaning in Latin: “suitable woman”—Ed.

27 We note in this connection that it seems lawful for priests obliged to celebrate alone either before or after concelebration to communicate again sub utraque specie during concelebration.

28 It has been presented as “The Canon of Hippolytus” but in fact nothing remains of this but a few remembered words.

29 Gottesdiesnt, no. 9, May 14, 1969.

30 One has only to think of the Byzantine liturgy, for example, with its reiterated and lengthy penitential prayers; the solemn rites of vesting of the celebrant and deacon: the preparation of the offerings at the proscomidia, a complete rite in itself: the continual presence in the prayers, even those of the offerings, of the Blessed Virgin, the Saints and Choirs of Angels (who are actually invoked, at the entrance with the Gospel, as “invisibly celebrating,” the choir identifying itself with them in the Cherubicon): the iconostasis which divides the sanctuary from the rest of the church, the clergy from the people; the hidden Consecration, symbolizing the divine mystery to which the entire liturgy alludes; the celebrant’s position versus ad Deum, never versus ad populum; Communion given always and only by the celebrant; the continual marks of profound adoration shown to the Sacred Species; the essentially contemplative attitude of the people. The fact that these liturgies, even in their less solemn forms, last for over an hour, and are constantly defined as “tremendous and unutterable… celestial, life-giving mysteries…” need no elaborating. It is finally worth noting how in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and in that of St. Basil, the concept of “supper” or “banquet” appears clearly subordinate to that of sacrifice, as it did in the Roman Mass.

31 In Session XXIII (decree on the Most Holy Eucharist), the Council of Trent manifested its intention:

ut stirpitus convelleret zizania execrabilium errorum et schismalum, quae inimicus homo… in doctrina fidei usu et cultu Sacrosanctae Eucharistiae superseminavit (Mt. 13, 25 et seq.) quam alioqui Salvator noster in Ecclesia sua tamquam symbolum reliquit eius unitatis et caritatis, qua Christianos omnes inter se coniunctos et copulatos, esse voluit. (Dz, 873)
32

To go back in mind and heart to the sources of the sacred liturgy is wise and praiseworthy. The study of liturgical origins enables us to understand better the significance of festivals and the meanings of liturgical formulas and ceremonies. But the desire to restore everything indiscriminately to its ancient condition is neither wise nor praiseworthy. It would be wrong. for example, to want the altar restored to its ancient form of table, to want black eliminated from liturgical colors, and pictures and statues excluded from our churches, to require crucifixes that do not represent the bitter suffering of the Divine Redeemer… This attitude is to attempt to revive the “archeologism” [i.e., the error of “antiquarianism”—Ed.] to which the pseudo-synod of Pistoia gave rise; it seeks also to reintroduce the many pernicious errors which to that synod and resulted from it and which the Church in her capacity of watchful guardian of the “deposit of faith” entrusted to her by her Divine Founder, has rightly condemned. (Mediator Dei, CTS trans., arts. 66 and 68)
33 “A practically schismatic ferment divides, subdivides, splits the Church…” (Paul VI, Homily, Holy Thursday 1969)

34 “There are also amongst us those ‘schismata,’ those ‘scissurae’ which St. Paul in I Corinthians sadly denounces.” (Cf. Paul VI, ibid.)

35 It is well-known how Vatican II is today being “contested” by the very men who gloried in being its leaders, those who—whilst the Pope in closing the Council declared that it had changed nothing—came away determined to “explode” the content in the process of actual application. Alas that the Holy See, with a haste that is really unexplainable, should appear to have given approval and even encouragement, through the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Litugia, to an ever increasing infidelity to the Council, from such apparently formal aspects as Latin, Gregorian, the suppression of venerable rites and ritual, to the substantial ones now sanctioned by the Novus Ordo, To the disastrous consequences, which we have endeavored to set out, must be added those which, with psychologically even greater effect, will make themselves felt in the fields of discipline and of the Church’s teaching authority, by undermining, with the standing of the Holy See, the docility due to its rulings.

36

…Do not let us deceive ourselves with the suggestion that the Church, which has become great and majestic for the glory of God, as a magnificent temple of His, must be brought back to its original and smallest proportions, as though they were the only true ones, the only good ones… (Paul VI, Ecclesiam suam)

I hope to make a subsequent post with an update. Recently, Father Bouyer revealed that Eucharistic Prayer II which was attributed to antiquity as the “Prayer of Hippolytus” was actually a fabrication hastily composed late at night in a Roman restaurant. What a diabolical deception!

In the last few remaining days until the Synod on the Family, we need to increase our prayers, especially the Rosary, and our daily penances.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph over satan and cast him from our Church!