Saturday, 1 March 2014

Numquam abrogatam?

Paul VI; there's another one too...

"In conclusion, we wish to give the force of law to all that we have set forth concerning the new Roman Missal. In promulgating the official edition of the Roman Missal, Our predecessor, St. Pius V, presented it as an instrument of liturgical unity and as a witness to the purity of the worship the Church. While leaving room in the new Missal, according to the order of the Second Vatican Council, "for legitimate variations and adaptations," we hope nevertheless that the Missal will be received by the faithful as an instrument which bears witness to and which affirms the common unity of all. Thus, in the great diversity of languages, one unique prayer will rise as an acceptable offering to our Father in heaven, through our High-Priest Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

"We order that the prescriptions of this Constitution go into effect November 30th of this year, the first Sunday of Advent.

"We wish that these Our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by Our predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation."
(The abrogatory clause of the Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum (1969), which promulgated the New Missal).
In Summorum Pontificum we read:
"As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."
Is this the imposter who kidnapped the real pope and replaced the cardinals with Freemasons and liberals? The real Paul VI, now 117 years old, must be living in the Amazon rainforest awaiting a change of days!
On the contrary, the liturgical books of 1962 underwent increasing derogation during the 1960's and were finally, as you can read above, juridically abrogated by the highest authority in the Roman communion. They were never permitted in principle. Conspiracy theories about being deprived of particular forms of liturgy by unsympathetic diocesan bishops just seem like hot air to me and very characteristic of your average traditionalist. The restoration of liturgical authority to the bishops by Paul VI was a good thing and a boon for the Roman church. If only we could see a return to those days, but it might come soon enough. I have said before that I have high hopes for pope Francis, but perhaps liturgy is not his first priority?


  1. I have no interest in Roman legalism, but from the point of view of Roman canon law, you have only considered the piece of Papal legislation. There is the aspect of custom and auctoritas.

    The standard work to consider is Count Neri Capponi's Juridical Considerations. This represents a minority viewpoint as described by Fr Anselm J. Gribbin, Immemorial Custom and the Missale Romanum of 1962 (usus antiquor).

    There is the committee of Cardinals of the 1980's that included Ratzinger and Stickler among others. Summorum Pontificium is a sloppy piece of work, but it papered over the cracks in a pastoral objective. What else could he do short of torching the barracks?

    Indeed, the bane of the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries has been its legalism and will be its undoing.

    A choice has to be made between Welcome to the brave new Orwellian Church or carrying on without worrying. At one time, legalism was a great way of screwing money out of people for dispensations. Nowadays, as in many situations, everything is forbidden and everything is tolerated. The Italians call it La Combinazione!

    1. But the established principles of custom cannot apply to the 1962MR as it was only in use in its entirety for just over two years, its ritus was entirely re-written and it cannot be protected by virtue of immemorial or centennial custom. Caponi et al are vague and refer to the 'old' rite etc and write as though the Roman rite was unchanging; their essential argument is certainly valid but cannot apply to such a novelty as 1962MR. The whole argument was that Paul VI's Missale Romanum did not contain an abrogatory clause that would affect immemorial custom but that cannot apply to 1962MR - it is even younger than you and I dear Fr! No supporter of SP has come up with a coherent argument of why Ratzinger's assertion that particular, short-lived, edition of the MR was 'never juridically abrogated'. They all start talking of the 'vetus ordo', centuries of use etc ad nauseam but the damned thing was only in use between 1962 and Lent 1965 at best.

    2. I am no more “for” the 1962 or 1965 than you are. I’m not trying to catch anyone out or be unpleasant. Far from it. I’m just trying to discern some cogent argumentation. I would like to ask you whether you consider the principle of custom to have applied to the Roman liturgy since the Editio Princeps of 1474. Can it be argued that Pius V put law above custom when he promulgated the 1568 breviary, 1570 missal, etc? Was there essentially any difference from this point of view between the 1962 version and (for example) that of Clement VIII, Urban VIII, etc. Perhaps if we want to use the Roman rite, as opposed to a local use, should we not be pressing for the Editio Princeps of 1474?

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  3. Fr. Anthony, I thought I had re-iterated my support for the argument of custom above? The point is 1962 was so novel, so transient, custom can have no bearing on it.

    Give me 1474 any day!