Information 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.

Modernist 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.)

Catholic 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. 

Cardinal 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.:

Question:         "Did Pope Paul VI actually forbid the Old Mass?"

Cardinal 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.

The answer 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, page 14)

Liberal 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; pages 18-19).

The position 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. 

Conclusion:  "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 in 1871)

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