about the Mass:
It is interesting
to see that nearly twenty seven years after the promulgation of
the New Mass by Pope Paul VI in 1970, the Latin and Tridentine Mass
is still a grievous problem for many. In 1995, we can find three
different positions about this Tridentine Mass.
position: Theoretically and practically, the
New Mass must be accepted as 'general law' in the Catholic Church.
The Tridentine Mass may be said purely as a privilege, but this
requires a special permission which is given only exceptionally
by some bishops. This position is the position of the Vatican.
It is the position of Bishop G.B. RE substitute, answering in the
name of Pope John Paul II on January 17, 1994, to a letter of Dr.
Eric de Saventhem, ex-president of Una Voce: "The
renewed Rite since the Council (Vat.II) has become
the general law, whereas the use of the earlier Rite (Traditional
Mass) depends now on special privileges which are considered as
exceptions to the general rule." (Fideliter, July
- August 1995, No. 106, page 62.)
position: The New Mass has only one right, the
right to be destroyed for ever, because it is a Protestant Mass,
not a Catholic Mass. Theoretically and practically, only the Tridentine
Mass can be accepted and celebrated. The Tridentine Mass is not
forbidden and a bishop can not forbid any priest from celebrating
a Tridentine Mass.
Alfons Stickler, retired prefect of the Vatican Archives and Library,
held this position about this absence of prohibition in a recent
interview in May 1995 in the U.S.A.:
"Did Pope Paul VI actually forbid the Old Mass?"
Stickler: Pope John Paul asked a commission of nine cardinals
in 1986 two questions. Firstly, did Pope Paul VI or any other competent
authority legally forbid the widespread celebration of the Tridentine
Mass in the present day? No. He asked Benelli explicitly, "Did
Paul VI forbid the Old Mas?" He never answered - never yes,
never no. Why? He couldn't say, "Yes, he forbade it."
He couldn't forbid a Mass which was from the beginning valid and
was the Mass of thousands of saints and faithful. The difficulty
for him was he couldn't forbid it, but at the same time he wanted
the new Mass to be said, to be accepted. And so he could only say,
"I want that the new Mass should be said." This was the
answer all the princes gave to the question asked. They said: the
Holy Father wished that all follow the new Mass.
given by eight (of the) cardinals in '86 was that, no, the Mass
of St. Pius V has never been suppressed. I can say this: I was
one of the cardinals. Only one was against. All the others were
for the free permission: that everyone could choose the old Mass.
That answer the Pope accepted, I think; but again, when some bishop's
conferences became aware of the danger of this permission; they
came to the Pope and said: "This absolutely should not be allowed
because it will be the occasion, even the cause, of controversy
among the faithful." And informed of this argument, I think,
the Pope abstained from signing this permission. Yet, as for the
commission - I can report from my own experience - the answer of
the great majority was positive.
There was another
question, very interesting: "Can any bishop forbid any priest
in good standing from celebrating a Tridentine Mass again? The nine
cardinal unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid
a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass. We have no
official prohibition and I think the Pope would never establish
an official prohibition." (The Latin Mass, Summer 1995,
position: Theoretically, the Tridentine Mass is
the best. But practically, sometimes, we have to accept the New
Mass. This New Mass can be said with dignity, incense and in Latin.
Moreover, if we want to get permission from a bishop to say the
Tridentine Mass, we have to fulfil the first condition of the indult
of Pope John Paul II published on October 3, 1984: "That it
should be quite clear that those priests (who want to say the Tridentine
Mass) and those faithful have nothing to do with those who place
in question the legitimacy and the doctrinal soundness of
the Roman Missal (that is to say the New Mass) promulgated by Pope
Paul VI in 1970." (Fideliter No. 42; Nov-Dec. 1984;
of Monsignor Gilles Wach, founder of the Institute of Christ the
King, Sovereign Priest, is this: though celebrating, usually, the
Tridentine Mass, he has now concelebrated, with Pope John Paul II,
the new Mass. Despite founding his Institute on some traditional
appearances, the constitutions of the Institute are full of quotations
from the Second Vatican Council.
This is also
the position of Dom Gerard, Abbot of the Abbey St. Magdalen, Le
Barroux, France: In 1970, he started a traditional Benedictine
Monastery in the South of France; Archbishop M. Lefebvre helped
him and ordained his priests; he accepted the possibility of bishop
consecrations by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1987, but a few months later,
he refused them. After having received the Abbot Blessing in 1989
from Cardinal Mayer, he participated at the consecration of the
holy oils by the Bishop of Avignon during a conciliar ceremony.
Organizing a petition in favour of the free use of the Tridentine
Mass, he got 75,000 signatures.; but presenting the result of this
same petition to Pope John Paul II in Rome on April 27, 1995, he
concelebrated with him during a New Mass. Therefore he is not any
more a real defender of tradition in the Catholic Church, but only
a conservative in the Conciliar Church.
"That which weighs down your country and prohibits it from
meriting the blessings of God is the mixing of principles. I repeat
it and I am not afraid to point this out; that which I fear, on
your behalf, is not the poor wretches of the Commune, the very demons
from Hell though they may be, but what mostly concerns me is Catholic
Liberalism, by which I mean to say the benighted attempts to systematize
and harmonize the irreconcilables, the Church and the Revolution.
I have already had occasion to condemn this, and I would do so forty
times yet more, if need be. Yes, I have insisted upon this because
of the great love I bear you. This listing to the sides will end
in shipwreck of religion for you. One must love one's erring brethren,
but for that there is no need to amnesty error itself, nor to put
down through misplaced compassion for error, the strict and just
rights of truth." (Pius IX, allocution to French pilgrims