Wednesday, 19 October 2011


It seems that Lotho of that awful, awful 'blog Rorate Caeli is praising the work of Pius X, the pope of the Liturgy, and his bull Divino Afflatu, now in its centenary year. My contribution, ''vile'' and bethought of ''bitterness'' apparently, was sadly removed. Please forgive this old traditionalist if he is less than enthusiastic about the legacy of a man who wrought more damage in the Roman Church at the stroke of a pen than anyone up to that time. Pius X is no saint, though he was canonized by Pius XII as the wheels of his great engine to drive out Tradition were turning in the offices of the Lateran. And what are the implications of that? It was not in idle fancy that the order of psalmody of the Hours, an order probably known to Our Lord Himself in the Temple, was overturned. Maybe others who know of this unfortunate reform attribute sentiments and intentions other than pure malice and the intoxication of power to Sarto, but knowing something of the history of Liturgy, and the dealings of the popes therewith, one cannot help but wonder whether that bloated Office has served any good end in the West for a very long time. A very long time indeed.

Never mind. God alone sees all ends, so I'll just surrender judgement of those men in scarlet and white, dwelling on the city with seven hills, etc, to Him. The link to Rorate Caeli has now been removed from my blogroll. I'm surprised it took this long.

The photo (which hitherto I have never seen) is of Pius X, dead or dying on his deathbed, clutching a crucifix. I would say ''blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,'' but I can't; I just can't.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "I would say ''blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,'' but I can't; I just can't."

    And that, dear Patricius, is rather the problem.

  3. Pope Pius X was most certainly a Saint in this life, and - in my humble opinion - desrving of being recognised as such after death. Sainthood does not mean, Patricii, that the person raised to the honour of the altars was infallible, or free from having made mistakes. Pope Pius X not only in his personal life, but also in his high office, was virtous to a heroic degree, in my humble opinion, (again). As Pope he did many good and beneficial things, such as fostering a restoration of Gregorian Chant, as pointed out by Tom L. Yes, as you correctly write, he was the first Pope ever to tamper with a part of the Sacred Liturgy (the ordering of the Psalms of the Divine Office) in such a drastic, anti-traditional way. And this set a very bad precedent for his successors upon the Throne of Saint Peter. But ... this one huge mistake, which, agreed, brought unforeseeable harm to the Church, because of the violence done to the Opus Dei of the Roman Rite, but even moreso because of the precedent set, which enabled Pius XII to introduce a new Psalter and butcher Holy Week, John XXIII to re-issue those butchered Holy Week Rites in his Missale Romanum of 1962, and Paul VI to scrap the whole Roman Rite and substitute it with a calvinist-rationalistic-modernistic anti-liturgy created ex nihilo - nonetheless, even that one huge mistake is not enough to unmake a Saint (whose intention, though extremely faulty, was, neverthelss, thorgoughly decent, that is, to lighten the burden of the secular clergy; which however he could and should have done much more simply and in accord with Tradition by releasing the secular clergy from the duty to recite the WHOLE Divine Office, allowing them to recite as much or as little of it as they could - which is what the Eastern Orthodox do - , and putting the obligation of celebrating the Divine Office once again upon the parish rather than upon the priest, as it used to be.)

  4. "Pope Pius X not only in his personal life, but also in his high office, was virtous to a heroic degree, in my humble opinion, (again)."

    Nope, not just your personal opinion, but the authoritative declaration of the Church. Our friend Patricius here has left the Church and does not feel bound by Her, thus he can hold to his own opinions about St. Pius X.

  5. "God alone sees all ends, so I'll just surrender judgement of those men in scarlet and white, dwelling on the city with seven hills, etc, to Him."

    How very, very good of you, Patricius. What the Lord render unto THEE [for] all THY benefits toward him?

  6. Before Pius X's reform of the ordering of the Psalter in the Divine Office, there were two other attempts to deform the Divine Office, one by Urbanus VIII, the rennaisance humanist pope, who decided to rewrite the hymns of the Divine Office in a more classical pagan style, sparing only a very few. The Catholic Encyclopaedia writes: ''That this once so flourishing art of hymnody should have declined and finally died out cannot be wondered at, if it be considered that in all human undertakings the period of growth is followed by one of decay unless a new spirit pours fresh life into the old forms. This was not the case with hymnody, and external factors hastened its decline. Owing to the exile of the popes at Avignon and divers other religious and political entanglements of the age, and not the least to the Schism, abuses sprang up which lay like a frost on the hymnody of the people, rooted as it was in deep religious sentiment. The freedom to compose their own Liturgies which each diocese and convent enjoyed at that time, degenerated into total lack of control. Hymns and sequences of more than doubtful worth, composed by men who were anything but poets, were introduced. Hymnody grew exuberantly and ran to weed. This was the favourable moment for Humanism to oppose hymnody successfully. The Humanists abominated the rhythmical poetry of the Middle Ages from an exaggerated enthusiasm for ancient classical forms and metres. Hymnody then received its death blow as, on the revision of the Breviary under Pope Urban VIII, the medieval rhythmical hymns were forced into more classical forms by means of so-called corrections. The hymnody of the Middle Ages with its great wealth is now only an historical monument which bears witness to the artistic skill, the joyful singing, and the deep religious life of our forefathers. For a long time it was neglected, but in the last century it has come to be understood and appreciated more thoroughly.'' The second attempt upon the life of the Divine Office was by Cardinal Quiñones, who is best known for his reform of the Roman Breviary undertaken by the order of Clement VII. This drastic, anti-traditional revision of the Breviary was thankfully abolished by the Council of Trent, which ordered that the use of the traditional Divine Office of the Roman Rite be universally restored amongst the secular clergy of the Roman Rite.

  7. "God alone sees all ends, so I'll just surrender judgement of those men in scarlet and white, dwelling on the city with seven hills, etc, to Him."

    Whoops, missed this the first time 'round. So judgement is yours, to surrender to God out of your own magnanimity? One would take from your phrasing that He is subordinate to you.

  8. Intellectual pride is a hideous creature. I am chronically ill with the disease. This pride only reveals itself as foolishness and ignorance in due time.

    The breviary or Office is a means of sanctification. The rosary, chotki, or even an endless repetition of the Jesus Prayer are also means of sanctification. Even the best educated are often better suited for the most simple of devotions.

    An obsession over the minutiae of the Office is akin to NLM threads which fawn over antependia or solemn Mass floor shows. This obsession is also similar to the progressive Catholic vain attempts to re-create a primitive church fantasy from fragments of pre-Constantinian church orders. What the Church needs now, from both the traditional and liberal persuasions, is a re-emergence of pietism. Listen to the silence beyond vain intellectual chatter or the mind's-eye opera of liturgy queens.

    The comment thread for Jeffery Tucker's praise of Christ Church (NYC)'s "smells and bells" ad campaign better explains my frustration with the substitution of theatrics for introspection. My given name is 'Jordan'. I was not baptized 'sortacatholic', unfortunately.

  9. If you see no problem with the Novus Ordo and the liturgical situation these past 40 years or so, nor with how it has impacted souls, then you would probably have no problem with Pius X being a saint.

    However, if you do have a problem with all that, then the evidence lays a good part of the responsibility at the feet of Pius X, and his successors. Is the problem so slight that that he should be exonerated?

  10. I would not term the fragmenting and re-ordering of the Roman Psalterium etc. 'minutiae'.

    The sad reality is that 'reform' in the modern Roman Church invariably equates to both shortening and dumbing-down of services. The 1911-13 reform saw a shortening of the ferial Office of between a third to a half (counting the number of psalms verses). Later changes, such as those Albertus describes above, resulted in the cutting of huge chunks of Patristic writings - though to be fair Liturgiam Horarum has a increase of readings over what immediately preceded it. Likewise I would suggest the popularity of EP2 in the modern rite is less to do with its theology but its brevity.

    This is in marked contrast to those chapters of Cathedral and Collegiate churches who petitioned the SRC over the centuries to retain their pre-1568 praxis of celebrating the Officium Parvum on double feasts and Sundays.

    Modern clergy would faint and need to be revived with considerable quantities of gin at the prospect of singing one yet alone two Offices a day. What time would that leave for the golf club, the blog, clergy meetings or dining out?

  11. I am, for the sake of economy, posting this comment in an identical form to both “‘Pope of the Liturgy’…” and, the earlier, “Lotho…”—both of which appear on this blogspot.

    The Anti-Christ Pius X was no saint. As usual, various papist contributors to this forum have tried to suggest that, somehow, it was “the authoritative declaration of the Church” that established his “sanctity”. In fact, the Church made no such statement: She would be quite unable to do so, since, as an heretic, Sarto did not belong to the Church.

    Several contributors have already commented on the unspeakable mutilation of Christian liturgy carried out by this man. I should like to quote from the work of that illustrious Roman Catholic liturgist Anton Baumstark. In the 1958 English Edition of his work “Comparative Liturgy”, we may read the following paragraph:

    “Between the variable Canticle for each day of the week and the Benedictus, the Monastic Lauds, and formerly also the Roman Lauds, inserted the last three Psalms of the Psalter, termed in the Byzantine rite the ‘Praises’ (αίνοι), which in the West gave the name of laudes to the whole Office. Down to the year 1911 there was nothing in the Christian Liturgy of such absolute universality as this practice in the Morning Office, and no doubt its universality was inherited from the worship of the Synagogue. In the middle of the second century A.D. Rabbi Joseph Bar-Chalafta, when speaking of the use of the last six Psalms, declares that this practice is no longer considered as of obligation every day. The fact is that this recitation of the last three Psalms came originally from the Morning Prayer of the Sabbath, a place which they certainly occupied already in Our Lord’s time and to which the Synagogue was to add later the three preceding ones. Hence to the reformers of the Psalterium Romanum belongs the distinction of having brought to an end the universal observance of a liturgical practice which was followed, one can say, by the Divine Redeemer Himself during His life on earth.”

    Anti-Christ Sarto was also the precursor of the tactics of Stalinism. He actively promoted the public denunciation—even by children of their own parents—of “modernists”, in spite of the fact that he was himself guilty of the most despicable “modernism”.

    Ultimately, if Sarto died in a state that he genuinely believed himself to be the Vicar of Christ, then he is, undoubtedly, now in Hell.