Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A go-between year...

I am still waiting for a Traditionalist to furnish me with actual empirical proof that the claim of Summorum Pontificum, that the liturgical books of 1962 were never juridically abrogated and therefore in principle were always permitted, holds water in the face of vast evidence to the contrary. Therefore I venture to investigate somewhat of the history of '62, the question of abrogation, and why Traditionalists view the '62 books as in some way more traditionally acceptable than the Novus Ordo of Paul VI. This is by no means an exhaustive account, and such a telling of the in-organic development of Liturgy immediately prior to the Council and afterward would be long as years of torment. Suffice to say that on account of my own inexperience and want of knowledge I shall let others fill the gaps where it is needed. Comments are welcome, as ever.

Traditionalists often view the year 1962, with its deplorable liturgy, as some sort of go-between year, not quite the Old Rite, but almost - in a similar way to how the Arians of old viewed the person of Christ as a go-between god; not quite deity, but almost. Such a view can only distort Liturgy, or is at least a distortion of liturgical perception, rendering custom, tradition, ceremony and proper superfluous to concern, and somehow ''less important'' compared with other things, such as the use of Latin, or the cut of the vestments. Indeed, I would question the Trad judgement of what is measurable in liturgical abuse and what isn't precisely because of 1962. For example, how is the reduction of Mattins on the Lord's Day from three nocturns (or vigils) consisting of a total of eighteen Psalms in the Old Rite (pre-1911) to what we now have in the 1961 Breviary and Liturgia Horarum (although neither Mattins in the 1961 Breviary nor the ''office of readings'' can claim any resemblance to the traditional Night Office as sung in the Cathedrals and Monasteries for 1500 years), in reality the only two legitimate office books for secular clergy and laity in the Roman Church, ''acceptable'' (probably only because the pre-1911 Office has passed out of living memory and doesn't touch upon the Mass in any noticeable way to ordinary Catholics, in the same way that pre-Tridentine praxis has passed out of living memory), whereas such things as the use of vernacular tongues or the revival of permanent deacons are seen as aberrations?

I think it boils down to the fact that Trad perception of Liturgy is entirely Eucharistic-centred, and that just because the rubrics of an average 1962 Mass look like the Old Rite (superficially, mind you), other changes (to the Ordinary, to the Psalter, to Holy Week etc) are perceived as secondary. Who decides this? What Traditionalist in the deeps of time set as a precedent that vast mutilation of the Office pales into insignificance compared with, say, the new Eucharistic prayers? To Traditionalists like Fr Zed, 1962 is some sort of ''focal point,'' upon which one can build up an edifice of tradition - you know the ''brick by brick'' nonsense - a means of making people long accustomed to the Novus Ordo familiar with ''the more ancient use.'' One wonders whether ancientry, to Traditionalists, is reckoned to be in terms of fidelity to received orthopraxis or to the encyclical letter Mediator Dei - which is effectively the very opposite of Tradition - the idea that the past must be judged by the standard of things present; compare the so-called ''development of doctrine,'' for example. I mean if I translated Colours of Day into Latin, and had it as an Offertory motet in a Mass according to the ''Extraordinary Form'' (1962), would Traditionalists consider this more traditional than having the Acolytes in tunicles on great feasts? To come back to the brick-by-brick nonsense, I had this exact same experience several years ago when I first converted to the Traditionalist cause. In the days before Summorum Pontificum I relied heavily upon material on the Fisheaters website, the SSPX and even some Sedevacantist sites (I was one...for about a week). They all pretty much said the same thing - the evils of Vatican II, a Protestantized liturgy, new Popes aren't like the heroes of old (e.g.: Pius X and Pius XII!) etc. And so my perception of Tradition was moulded by Traditionalists who didn't care much for Liturgy; preferring instead a return to the social kingship of Christ, and the days when elderly peasant women told their beads as their parish priest mumbled from a Missal - in hindsight a dislocated and imperfect vision. Then I acquired a working knowledge of Liturgy by making frequent visits to the Heythrop Theology Library, where I spent hours perusing old missals and breviaries, and gradually I came to realise what a load of rubbish it was. I couldn't then, nor can I now, understand why traditionalist groups make recourse to the liturgical books of 1962. If on a day like the feast of the Circumcision the differences between the Old Rite and '62 are comparatively trivial, then why not simply do the Old Rite? Similarly on days like Palm Sunday, why on earth, if you claim the seal of Christ, would you put on post-'56 rubbish? How can you accustom people to Tradition if what you provide them with is little older than (and in many cases is inferior to anyway!) the stuff you're trying to extricate them from?

It is a fact that the liturgical books of 1962 were only transient, a half-way stage in a well-planned, very thorough and intelligent reform of the Roman Rite; and just a convenient way of incorporating the changes of Cum Nostra (1955), Maxima Redemptionis (1955) and Rubricarum Instructum (1960). The Trad idea that the later changes of Paul VI came as a sudden lightning stroke from the Curia in 1969 upon an unsuspecting Church (which is what I genuinely believed until a few years ago!) is a fond fancy (to be polite) - far be it from me to accuse them of historical revisionism and downright falsehood though! Long before the Missal of 1962 preparations for some of the worst of the later reforms were underway at a series of liturgical conferences held at Maria-Laach (1951), Mont Sainte Odile (1952), Lugano (1953) Mont César (1954) and Assisi (1956). According to Worship, at Maria-Laach discussion about the recent revision of the rite of Holy Saturday (comparatively trivial to what came after) took place in relation to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; Jungman drafted a ''penitential rite'' for pastoral expediency, and such things as the silent Canon, prayers at the foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel, considered inferior because they were no older than the Carolingian reform, had to be abolished. At Mont Saint Odile, similarly, ''Liturgy and contemporary man'' was on the agenda, among later reforms such as the simplification of the rubrics in the Anaphora, a sung Doxology at a High Mass and an audible Doxology at a Low Mass, the Confiteor and absolution before Holy Communion were asked to be abolished, and even a new formula for the distribution of Holy Communion - Corpus Christi - was proposed! At Lugano in 1953 ''active participation'' was on the agenda, and such things as vernacular readings in the Mass were proposed; the scholars praised Pius XII and his reform of Holy Saturday, asking that the rest of Holy Week be subject to similar reform, and (to me) most interesting of all, Cardinal Ottaviani, the hero of Tradworld and advocate for traditional Liturgy, was present at the conference and celebrated Mass facing the people(!), and Archbishop Montini (later Paul VI) attended in persona papae. Bugnini, the scapegoat of people like Michael Davies, praised not the Second Vatican Council, but the Assisi Liturgical Conference in 1956 as paving the way for his later conquest of the Roman Rite. And Traditionalists would have us look to 1962 as a foundation stone to build up Tradition again? Surely this idea is fraught with peril, for the reasons I have just given? The liturgical books of 1962 are a pathetic and shallow hodgepodge of half-remembered traditions and mutilated texts; the Old Rite having been brought down and shattered by a team of reprobate scholars and pieced together according to their aliturgical ideas. As Rubricarius has said, the so-called ''Mass of Ages'' is little more than the Mass of the Age.

But according to ''the'' motu proprio, and contemporary Traditionalists, you can line them all up in fact, the liturgical books of 1962 were never juridically abrogated - how strange that no evidence is given to support this claim. Yet Paul VI issued his own motu proprio in January of 1964, which established the Consilium, and partly reformed the 1962 books. In the Autumn of the same year the S.R.C issued the decree Inter Œcumenici, which among other things abolished all choir ceremonies, the solita oscula, Psalm 42 and the Preparatory Prayers, prescribed that the Subdeacon no longer held the paten aloft during Mass, parts of the Canon were to be sung or said audibly, vernacular tongues were authorised for parts of the Liturgy, the Scriptures were now to be read facing the congregation, etc - my gosh how this is reminiscent of those conferences from the early 1950s! This new order of Mass came into effect in the Spring of 1965. Ecclesiae Semper regulated the customs of Sacramental concelebration and Communion under both kinds. In 1967 the S.R.C issued another decree, Tres Abhinc Annos, which ordered that in the Mass only one Prayer was to be said, abolished most genuflexions and Signs of the Cross, the use of the Maniple became optional etc. In 1968 three new Eucharistic Prayers were authorized, EPII (the worst in my opinion) being based on pseudo-Hippolytus. And finally in 1969 Paul VI promulgated the New Mass with the bull Missale Romanum, the abrogatory clause reading:

''The effective date for what we have prescribed in this Constitution shall be the First Sunday of Advent of this year, 30 November. We decree that these laws and prescriptions be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and amendment.''

Even if you still cling to the numquam abrogatam delusion, you can at least see that the texts and rubrics of the 1962 books at least underwent significant derogation between 1964 and 1969. But the question of abrogation, so important for canonical and pastoral reasons, still remains. Upon what does Summorum Pontificum base its claim that the '62 books were never juridically abrogated, and therefore in principle always permitted? I have studied this matter earnestly, and having perused all this liturgical legislation from the 1960s I have found no paragraph, no footnote, no citation, nothing which indicates that 1962 was allowed as an option, an ''extraordinary form'' of the ecclesial lex orandi. Indeed, numquam abrogatam makes no sense whatever in relation to the term ''abrogation'' as understood in Canon Law - it is a strange innovation with no warrant in the liturgical history of the Church. When Paul VI and John Paul II issued indults for permission to use previous rites (the 1971 Indult was for the rite of Mass as it was in 1967 by the way) they were precisely that - indults - extraordinary departures from the law for pastoral concern. Summorum Pontificum seems to say that two mutually contradictory and inferior liturgies amount to a single Roman Rite, within two usages. I fail to see how this corresponds to what was, at the time of the promulgation of the 1970 Missal, a given - namely that the New Rite replaced the ''more ancient use'' definitively. Indeed it was a given until John Paul II made his own Indult for use of the 1962 Missal in 1984, Quattuor Abhinc Annos, which served merely to play into the hands of the Lefebvrists - who only until recently (that is, the early 1980s) had anything to do with the '62 books (in most cases - the man himself celebrated Mass according to the 1967 rite). By 1984, of course, Traditionalism had changed.

A study of how Catholic Traditionalism has changed since the 1960s would be too exhaustive for this post, although since it seems relevant to all that I have said it is advantageous that I devote some time to it. In the 1960s, the proto-Traditionalists of the Church, men like Evelyn Waugh (who significantly did not experience the Novus Ordo of Paul VI, having died in 1966 - what he objected to was the 1962 books, and subsequent editions of them) devoted their time to the defence of Tradition in clear defiance of vast ecclesial reform. If you look at Waugh's A Bitter Trial he complains about such things as the reformed rites of Holy Week (the Pacelli versions), the dialogue Mass (in the sense of a kind of imposed, forceful ''participation'' which detracts somewhat from one's spiritual union with the Ministers at the Altar), how the Church in Rome was destroying all that he held dear. One interesting letter to The Tablet from 1963 reads:

''Will you promote an appeal to the Holy See for the establishment of a Uniate Latin Church which shall observe all the rites as they existed in the reign of Pius IX?'' (Evelyn Waugh, A Bitter Trial, p.34).

Pius IX? He was a 19th century pope! Nothing here about the glories of '62, how the 1962 Missal enshrines all that is integral to the Mass etc, which is the rubbish spouted by modern Traditionalists. No, quite the opposite. Waugh saw through the obvious defects of the '62 books, which left him unedified and cold (being a temptation against faith, he said), and by no means viewed 1962 as a go-between year, upon which the Church could reconstruct the Tradition she so deliberately pulled down. I find it hard to see the distinction between how the Pope brought the entire Roman Church into demonstrable heterodox aliturgical innovation, and how this was somehow distinct from his office as teacher of all Christians - I wonder if Waugh thought this? Waugh was a founding member of The Latin Mass Society (curiously no obvious mention of this is made on the new LMS website, which seems to pass over the pre-Conciliar changes in the ''About Us'' section), which until recently promoted, almost in defiance of the Church, what could be described as the ''pre-Pius XII rite.'' Indeed the mainstream Traditionalist position had nothing to do with 1962 until the mid-1980s, when the movement splintered (thanks to Marcel Lefebvre). Old Traditionalists, such as Waugh, argued for the Old Rite from immemorial custom, and appealed to Pius V's Quo Primum to support this. Personally I find this hard to understand - how can you seriously appeal to ''custom'' by recourse to a Papal bull which practically abolished local custom? But it seems a far worthier argument for Tradition than the argument propounded by modern Traditionalists (that is, roughly between 1984 and 2007 - considerably less so since 2007), that the liturgical books of 1962 could be reckoned as an immemorial custom, unjustly derogated by monstrous Conciliar reform. The only reason these ''traditionalists'', most notably the Lefebvrists and Sedevacantists, appealed to the '62 books was because they were promulgated before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965); and the underlying agendas behind this are doctrinal, disciplinary and pastoral reservations about the said Council. But, especially since 2006-2007, there has arisen a more repugnant kind of ''traditionalist,'' for whom I have neither time nor patience. Some post-Summorum Pontificum Trads appeal to neither Tradition nor immemorial custom in their promotion of the ''extraordinary form.'' These people simply argue that the Church permits the 1962 books alongside the 1970-2002 books; and that both can complement each other liturgically in a wonderful relativistic fudge. These ''traditionalists'' have re-invented themselves. No longer is Catholic Traditionalism a movement in long defiance of the Church, fighting a long defeat and promoting august Tradition in the face of modernism and a Protestant liturgy. No, Catholic Traditionalists are the most obedient servants of the Holy See (and always were) fighting a war against liberals who subvert ecclesial doctrine. No longer is Tradition a venerable entity of itself worthy of defence, but the reigning Pope regulates it. The liturgical books of 1962, to them, are just another legitimate rite approved by the Church, as venerable as (and equal to) the Sarum Use, for example. In my opinion, such ''traditionalists'' are not really traditional in any meaningful sense at all; just Ultramontane types conveniently subject to a Pope who thinks the same as them.

Summorum Pontificum, by making its claim that the '62 books were never abrogated, merely plays into the hands of the Lefebvrists with their anti-Conciliar agenda. I think it is dangerous, its ecumenical dimensions are fraught with problems, and it will only cause more damage to the Sacred Liturgy. All it does is creates a false liturgical, canonical and pastoral dichotomy. Perhaps some Traditionalists agree that Summorum Pontificum is not as great as the euphoria made it out to be four years ago, but that because of the rife legal positivism in the Church it was a necessity in order to clarify the ''traditional'' position. If so, does this not exemplify an already existing underlying problem in Church law? And if not then why did Benedict XVI not simply abolish Quattuor Abhinc Annos and the Ecclesia Dei commission and instead promote something traditional by his own example? What did he do then? Did Benedict XVI abrogate all the liturgical legislation from the 1960s? If so, and the 1962 books are legitimate, then why did he not abrogate the Novus Ordo of Paul VI? If not then what is the positive use of all that legislation? Which legislation is constant in the Roman Church, and which can simply be swept under the carpet by the next Pope when it becomes inconvenient? There are very serious unanswered canonical issues with Summorum Pontificum, which Traditionalists (stuck in a series of hopeless contradictions and chasing the Rabbit deeper and deeper into Wonderland) are yet to own up to. Of course, when Tradition is finally driven into new catacombs, and liturgical people such as myself are forgotten as we ourselves slowly forget, I wonder what state the Church will be in then? Will Liturgy even exist, or will devotionalism finally take over by Papal decree? Pius XII canonized Pius X, and Benedict XVI has made Pius XII ''venerable.'' It just seems to me that the Roman Church, over the centuries, has consistently consigned Tradition to oblivion, by the very act of making saints out of the men who do so (and thereby placing their actions above reproach); so much so that the words of Treebeard are called to mind: Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.

Please do not litter my comment box with silly statements about ''preferring'' a legitimate rite approved by the Church. There is no such preference; you might as well say that you prefer falsehood to the God's honest truth. There is merely Liturgy and made up pseudo-liturgy which departs from ancient norms in a very serious way, and '62 is no different to the New Rite in this respect. It is my sincere belief that traditionalist organisations such as the Latin Mass Society betray the liturgical principles of their founding members and that were such men as Evelyn Waugh alive today they would be horrified at Summorum Pontificum, precisely because it undermines everything they defended.


  1. (pt I - your system objects to posts longer than 4096 characters)

    Interesting article. I disagree with some of it, but still. If I might make a few comments on bits which jumped out at me...

    First, your reference to Missal-mumbling, prayer beads and (unnecessarily, in my view) peasantry: Is this not the mode of worship in much of the Orthodox world? And is it, of necessity, a bad thing?

    On changes not having been introduced suddenly: In Rome, perhaps, they were laid out simply and effectively. Those Catholics I know of the right age, however, describe things in their parishes changing very, very rapidly.

    You say that if the post-Conciliar liturgy is flawed, these flaws were present in the Church prior to the Council. I agree wholeheartedly, but disagree with the premise, not counting myself as a "traditionalist".

    On the liturgy versus populum, I believe this is actually permissable under the 1570 Missale Romanum, is it not? Certainly, St Peter's is on a West-East axis, and so ad orientem and versus populum are, in fact, the same thing. I believe St Paul Without The Walls is similarly aligned.

    [Aside: On the subject of reform, I would be interested if you have read Vagaggini (sp?) on the Roman Canon, and his identification of flaws within it, and if so, would be intrigued as to your thoughts.]

    I think the problem with Traditionalism is that the conception of Tradition espoused by Traditionalists is, to be quite honest, not demonstrably true.

    What was "organic" in the creation of the Dominican Rite during the Middle Ages? This is to take one example dating from prior to Trent, about which I am aware you have reservations.

    On the Limits of the Roman Pontiff, I would say he cannot contradict observable and indisputable fact, nor can he preach something fundamentally at odds with the faith and morals of the Church.

    When it comes to whether the Old Rite (by which I use the term loosely to mean anything prior to 1970, for the sake of brevity even if it is inaccurate) was abrogated, I would ask a question. You say that there is no evidence that the 1962 Rite was not abrogated. What evidence is there, beyond simple falling out of use, is there that it was?

    The permanent diaconate also fell out of use. Was it then de facto abrogated?

  2. (pt II)

    Further, I am mindful that it was mentioned here that Bugnini sought formal abrogation of the older form of the Mass (I forget whether 1967, 1962, or pre-1962). I am also aware of the story of the priest who, speaking to Paul VI and complaining of the new (1970) Missal, received the response from the Pontiff that he had never abrogated the old one. If the two architects of the 1970 Missal, then, did not think they had abrogated the old one, it raises questions as to whether that actually was the intention, the effect notwithstanding.

    [Aside the Second: You mention "only one Prayer" - could you clarify this, please,?]

    Also not quite on topic, but I think Summorum Pontificum, combined with the 1970 Missale Romanum do something quite revolutionary which is often overlooked, in the creation of a liturgical plurality: it actually moves Western liturgical praxis closer to Eastern (at least,in the sense of the aforementioned plurality).

    I'm glad you mentioned Evelyn Waugh. That little problem has been niggling at me for a while. I couldn't work out how the quote could possibly be correct.

    On the "dialogue Mass" - was this not introduced originally in around 1910?

    You refer to Pius V and Trent "practically abolish[ing]" local custom - but this local custom (or nexus thereof) that was stopped was in fact of recent manufacture, not fixed, and (at least according to the most excellent Fr Hunwicke) riddled with abuses of the sort found in the use of the post-1970 Roman Rite in the Church today. It is precisely those genuinely ancient local customs, of estimable antiquity, and so on, such as the Ambrosian liturgy, which were preserved.

    [Aside 3: The area of the Sarum, York, and Durham Uses being in partibus infidelium at this point might just explain why they weren't treated similarly, I don't know. I would view their suppression as an accident of history, though.]

    I should also point out on the Sarum Use being "preferable", that it is not a formal Rite in itself, or even formalised, as I believe I said on your last blog.

    Finally, you say you could translate Colours of Day as an Offertory Hymn. Would you do so anyway? I for one would be amused to see the fruits of that exercise.

    Finally, as a general point: I think the answer to a lot of questions about Traditionalism lie in its origins: it was, essentially, a reaction.

    As I said, the essay was an interesting read, if not one I entirely agreed with.

  3. Pachomius, the whole point of this post was that the liturgical books of 1962, which are NOT the ''Old Rite'' by any stretch of the imagination, were juridically abrogated. Therefore what Summorum Pontificum says, that they were never abrogated, is demonstrably false.

  4. Against my better judgment, a few comments...

    Firstly - I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that Pius VI's words there could be construed as stating that the juridical power of the Church is now promoting this new Missal and not past missals. If that is the case, it does not mention an abrogation, but simply signifies that the Old rites(s?) are still permissible, but will not be "aided" by the juridical and temporal powers of the Church (offering proper translations, promotion of their usage, etc.). Ultimately, that would make this a second Quo Primum, where the Novus Ordo is in place of the Tridentine and without any specific abrogation of any rite (as Quo Primum did with its 200 year stipulation).

    If the above is sound (which I will happily listen to any reasons as to why not though that may devolve into semantic issues - an important matter that far too many want to handwave away) where is the documentation which officially abrogates any liturgical books prior to Pius VI?

    The books fell out of use, in my thinking, because we pretty much had an episcopacy that just did what Rome did and a priesthood that lived out their obedience to these bishops.

    Secondly - I am confused about your comments regarding what I take to be that which is commonly called the Liturgical Movement. Were you in favor of the direction this movement was going, or simply pointing out that the leadup to the Novus Ordo existed before 1962?

    Much of the research that came out of the movement was focused on the ressourcement currents spearheaded by De Lubac and Danielou and is the source of much of our scholarship concerning the rites of the ancient and medieval world. Admittedly, when this research got into the hands of pastors, it was read through the lens of the relativistic spirit of age and gave us the atrocities that trads think epitomize the Novus Ordo.

    Thirdly - What do you see as Benedict's gameplan? Would you have rather he wielded that papal power rad-trads believe he possesses (and both you and he so detest) to enforce the Old Rite?

    Give me a moment to rant about my theological hero. A number of individuals are beginning to point out that Benedict himself is not following that strict rule of not mixing 1962 with the NO in his own Liturgy. The man detests the legal view of things and wants to find the true tradition without causing huge scandal in the Church. He's made multiple comments that his office is limited by tradition (even Pastor Aeternus, when read in context, limits the power of papal infallibility, though most people think that final paragraph proclaiming the matter is exclusive of the previous paragraphs). He basically wrote Dei Verbum which makes clear that the tradition of the Church is on par with (and, in some forms, even prior and superior to) scripture. His Wednesday Catechesis are working to bring the living tradition (the great men and women of our past) back into the center where rubrics, laws, and an un-spiritual reading of scripture have taken its place. He's working to find a way to get Catholics to be Catholics in substance rather only in name. Thus he will not enforce a certain form of the Mass but is promoting a proper ground-up renewal - one steeped in knowledge and experience of the tradition - rather than simply mandating a Mass formed by "those who know what's right."

    Finally - Given everything you say here, what do you say we do about all this? I think we understand who we have to detest by this point in time and why. You apparently don't like Benedict's approach to returning to a proper liturgical life. What then is your approach?

  5. Tomas, interestingly you point out Quo Primum's 200 year stipulation. But is that not a stinking red herring? I mean if the liturgical books of 1962 can claim 200 years actual use then I'm a Dwarf...

  6. Patricius, I'm sorry but I don't think you argued that in that post. I will read Tomas later, no time right now, sorry.

  7. A very good post Patricius.

    The 'Traddies' used to argue that the Old Rite had never been abrogated as it was protected by immemorial and centennial custom, e.g. Capponi, DuLac, Glover etc.

    This is a valid and interesting argument that the 'modernists' never answered. When the 1984 indult came along the opposition to Rome's changes that had been characteristic of Traddies in the 1960s and 1970s mutated to sycophancy. With this came the equating of 1962 as 'old rite' which Traddies in the previous decades would never have made.

    As to abrogation the simple question has to be asked as to whether the 1962 rite could be used after the changes mandated by Inter Oecumenici. The answer is negative. At that stage the 1962MR was derogated. Likewise after the changes of Tres abhinc annos neither the 1962 rite nor the 1965 rite were an option. The 1962 rite was further derogated.

    When the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum was promulgated the standard abrogatory clause ended anything other than was protected by immemorial or centennial custom. To abrogate either of those 'specific mention' has to be made - a good example being that found in Divino afflatu. However, 1962, by clear definition, could neither claim the protection of immemorial or centennial custom, it was abrogated. The Old Rite certainly was not. If Traddies maintain Missale Romanum is non-abrogatory (for non-immemorial or non-centennial custom e.g. the 1962MR) a comparison of other legislation in the RCC would show it as worthless.

  8. Could someone come up with an objective, non-arbitrary definition of what the "Old Rite" is? Also, reasons for the definition?

  9. Patricius,

    You have much antagonism for the 1962 Roman Liturgy. Do you reject the Pius X Psalter with the same fervor?

  10. Salve Patricii!

    May be helpful to recall the pre-Sum. Pont regime was based on 4 Adhinc annos which placed the power to allow the 1962 Books was in the hands of the Bishops:

    "On the basis of their replies it appeared that the problem of priests and faithful holding to the so-called "Tridentine" rite was almost completely solved.

    Since, however, the same problem continues, the Supreme Pontiff, in a desire to meet the wishes of these groups, grants to diocesan bishops the possibility of using an indult whereby priests and faithful, who shall be expressly indicated in the letter of request to be presented to their own bishop, may be able to celebrate Mass by using the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition, but under the following conditions:

    "b) Such celebration must be made only for the benefit of those groups that request it; in churches and oratories indicated by the bishop (not, however, in parish churches, unless the bishop permits it in extraordinary cases); and on the days and under the conditions fixed by the bishop either habitually or in individual cases.

    c) These celebrations must be according to the 1962 Missal and in Latin."


    The Indult was to make legitimate the actions of those who resisted the Novus Ordo and continued to use the Old Books (often pre-62). There had been indults to individual elderly priests given by Paul VI to continue using the Old Rite but this was the first time the needs and desires of the laity were considered.

    Sum. Pont. removes the power of the local Bishop and allows the laity to ask for Mass using the 1962 books. The Pope's "numquam abrogatum" is a recognition of the fact that the Old Rite was never completely and properly abolished - it clung on and was never extinguished.

    Some four years ago opposed the idea of a Universal Indult because they preferred to rely on Quo Primum.

    The real problem with Sum. Pont. in my view is how to understand how the 1962 and 1970 Books can described as Uses. Has there ever been a Liturgy which was a Rite and then became two Uses?

  11. Patricius, another thing about Pope Benedict's use of "numquam abrogatum"---it is pretty clear from his writings that Benedict does not believe that the Supreme Pontiff even has the authority to abrogate the traditional Roman rite. So whatever Paul VI's intention, he did not have the rightful authority to eliminate it.

    1962 is a bit of of an arbitrary place to set the standard, but what is the alternative? 1965? 1967? 1960? 1954? 1910? All equally arbitrary. Might as well set it at 1570.

    In these still-early years of the restoration, you have to start somewhere. When there are thousands of parishes accustomed to the traditional Roman rite, perhaps that will be the time to move things back if a consensus forms on *where* to go back to.

    In the meantime, let's grit our teeth and work for the Good even if the Perfect isn't yet attainable.

  12. James C, I thought I argued against that in this post?

    ''How can you accustom people to Tradition if what you provide them with is little older than (and in many cases is inferior to anyway!) the stuff you're trying to extricate them from?''

    I'm sorry but the liturgical books of 1962 are a delusion, and have no intrinsic value at all whether in terms of Liturgy or even aesthetics - they will be regarded by posterity as an abberation.

  13. Then, Patricius, tell me what YOU would do, as

    1) a diocesan priest

    2) as a bishop

    3) as the Supreme Pontiff.

    As a pastor, what would your solution be?

  14. I know very little about canon law, but could someone please answer the following question: if the traditional Mass (however one defines that term) was not abrogated, then why were its proponents subjected to such intense persecution while Rome did nothing to defend them from celebrating what we are now supposed to believe was always a legal rite? And if it was never abrogated why was there a need for an indult?

  15. James C, as a parish priest I would act liturgically. I would wisely introduce the Old Rite (in as many of its forms as I possibly could) into mainstream parish life. I certainly wouldn't hide behind the Papacy to justify any of it.

    As a diocesan bishop I would again act liturgically. I would set an example in my own celebrations of the Sacred Liturgy in the cathedral and encourage the promotion of the Old Rite in the diocese and encourage the training of parish choirs. I would also visit my parishes to make sure that things are being done properly.

    As the Pope I would do nothing. The Papacy has nothing to do with Liturgy.

  16. Tawser, you speak very shrewdly. Until 1984 it was a given that the '62 books were abrogated, which is precisely why there was an Indult for permission to use them.

  17. Tawser,

    It is the hermeneutic of 'Continuity in Contradiction' - what is black becomes white, and what is white becomes black.

    Alas, some of us are too sinful to understand it - or not taken in by a pack of lies.

  18. Okay, Patricius.

    So, when you do that as a pastor of a parish, what do you do when the bishop suspends you for it (and he will!)? What is your next step?

    As a bishop, what will you do if many priests in your diocese rebel en masse to your new dictates (and they will!)?

    It's very easy to order and pontificate from our armchairs. But actual tradition-minded pastors (both priests, bishops, and our Pope who is certainly in sympathy with a lot of your positions) have to take into account current realities while working for restoration.

  19. Patricius and Rubricarius, I agree with both of you entirely but I am a little surprised that no one has even attempted to leap to the defense of SP. The silence since I submitted my last post is deafening and very revealing. The only thing I can hear is a house of cards collapsing.

  20. Pachomius,

    "First, your reference to Missal-mumbling, prayer beads and (unnecessarily, in my view) peasantry: Is this not the mode of worship in much of the Orthodox world? And is it, of necessity, a bad thing?"

    The Orthodox have retained the traditions of Saturday Vespers or Vigil, and matins before Sunday liturgy.

    The languages that the Orthodox use may not be the *modern* vernacular of their respective languages, but after a little practice understanding the liturgy is not difficult.

    And anyways, the Rosary and the Jesus Prayer are very different sorts of prayer.