issue of the Angelus English-Language edition of
SISINONO is the first installment of
the second half of a double study regarding the “state of
necessity” invoked by Archbishop Lefebvre to justify his
consecration of four bishops on June 30, 1988. In our issues
of SISINONO of July
of 1999, we discussed the theological
aspects. With this issue and the ones to follow, we will
discuss the canonical aspects. These remarks
are for those who admit the existence of an extraordinary
crisis in the Catholic Church but do not know how to justify
the extraordinary action of Archbishop Lefebvre on June
30, 1988 when, lacking permission from Pope John Paul II,
he transmitted the power of episcopal orders to members
of the Fraternity founded by him.
STUDY – PART 1
Dogma Is Defended By Maintaining the Mass of All Time
Lefebvre and the So-Called "Lefebvrists"
years ago, 83-year-old Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, sensing
that he was approaching the hour of his death, consecrated
four bishops without waiting for the pontifical mandate
(promised in exhausting negotiations, but always postponed
or subjected to destabilizing conditions) in order to provide
for the survival of the Society of Saint Pius X. The Society
had been founded by him in November 1970 at the request
of a group of French seminarians who asked his assistance
to maintain sound Catholic doctrine, to preserve the Catholic
seminaries imbued with that faith, and to celebrate the
Holy Mass of the so-called Tridentine rite. As a consequence
of these episcopal consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre, already
considered "rebellious" for refusing to do away
with the Society as the local Ordinary [H.E. Bishop Mamie]
had arbitrarily ordered him to do and suspended a divinis
for having ordained priests, was excommunicated ipso
facto and doubly accused of being disobedient to the
Pope and schismatic.
this excommunication, the Holy See sent Archbishop Lefebvre
and the Society founded by him [with Rome's canonical approval
and blessing - Ed.] into exile. The so-called "Lefebvrists,"
a label applied to clerics and laity, were made unpopular.
We say "so-called" Lefebvrists because a "Lefebvrism"
does not exist and never existed. A "doctrine"
of Archbishop Lefebvre, in fact, does not exist. His enemies
have tried to write him off as "schismatic" or
even "heretical," but as anyone knows who has
studied the facts, these accusations are false.
Lefebvre is not the head of a sect. He never wished to establish
one. He is not to be considered the head of "traditionalists"
in general. His religious thought, which is known from his
sermons and various exegetic and homiletic writings, is
absolutely orthodox and permeated with zeal for Catholic
Truth. He has been marginalized and persecuted because he
wished to remain loyal in faith and work to the constant
teaching of the Church, without respect of persons. The
so-called "Lefebvrists" are nothing but Catholics
faithful to what the Church has taught for almost 20 centuries
up to the Second Vatican Council. Strictly speaking, therefore,
it is not correct to call them "traditionalists."
It is better said that they are faithful to Catholic Tradition.
The Tradition in Catholicism is precisely fidelity to the
dogma consecrated by the Magisterium of the Church.
A Corrupt Liturgical Rite
who wishes to be faithful to dogma must be obedient to the
principle of salvation proclaimed by our risen Lord, "Be
you faithful until death and I will give you the crown of
life" (Apoc. 2:10). The novelties which have emerged
from Vatican II are disturbing and cannot be accepted.
is a council of the Church held with the express purpose
of opening the Church up to the world [i.e., aggiornamento],
an intention unlike any other in the history of the Church.
It declared itself only a pastoral council and not a dogmatic
one, hence a trustee of a spurious magisterium. It is responsible
for disseminating grave ambiguities in doctrine. It gave
a new "ecumenical" definition of the Catholic
Church, promoted a "collegiality" of a democratic
or semi-conciliarist sort, and advertised freedom of conscience
of the liberal-Jacobean variety. The "spirit"
of this council conceived the Novus Ordo Missae,
that is, the "Mass of Paul VI," with its idea
of a table in order to be theologically agreeable to the
protestant heretics of which six participated in its very
formulation. There is a question whether this Mass is theologically
dubious and necessarily an ambiguous rite since it was supposed
to please the heretics.
is true that corrections were made to the scandalous first
edition of the New Mass (1969). These were instigated by
the indignant and documented criticisms of theologians and
scholars headed by Cardinals Bacci and Ottaviani. But one
notes the presence of all the same protestant heretical
concepts in the definitive text of 1970.
first of these protestant concepts is to equate the ordained
priesthood with the faithful by speaking of the faithful's
participation in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice in
a new manner. There is ground for a new mentality believing
the Mass is a "concelebration" of priest and people.
This idea was condemned with great clarity by Pope Pius
XII in Mediator Dei.1As
a consequence of this, the priest is no longer considered
the exclusive minister of the Holy Eucharist, a Catholic
teaching defined by the Magisterium. The minister becomes,
on the contrary, the "people of God," which "has
to send the prayers of the whole human family up to God,"
as if it exercised a sort of priestly mediation in behalf
of all humanity which is understood to include, therefore,
non-believers, non- Catholics, and atheists.2
a consequence of Vatican II, the Holy Mass - the "sacerdotal"
prayer of the "people of God" - has acquired an
ecumenical significance and, therefore,
the stamp of heterodoxy. The "people of God" is
identified with humanity, a realization of the unity of
the human race, of which unity the Holy Mass becomes a signal
new rite expresses a depreciation of the ministry of the
priest and an erroneous concept of the common priesthood
of the faithful because the expiatory sacrifice celebrated
by the presider is conceived as celebrated by the people,
which "alone...enjoys a true priestly power, while
the priest acts merely through the office entrusted to him
by the community," a thesis condemned by Pius XII in
Mediator Dei (Dz.2300). This new definition of the
Sacrifice of the Mass appears in the clearest fashion in
the notorious Article 7 of the Instruction of the Novus
Ordo Missae 1970, in which it is dared to be
Missa seu Cena dominica populus Dei in unum convocatur,
sacerdote praeside personamque Christi gerente, ad memoriale
Domini seu sacrificium eucharisticum celebrandum - ln
the Mass or the Lord's Supper the People of God are called
together in one place where the priest presides over them
and acts in the person of Christ. They assemble to celebrate
the Memorial of the Lord, which is the sacrifice of the
three things: 1) the celebrant, even
if representing the person of Christ, is only the president
of the Assembly, as if he were a Protestant minister; 2)
it is the assembly that is gathered together in order to
"celebrate" the memorial of the Lord; and 3)
the memorial of the Lord is called a "eucharistic
sacrifice," but not a propitiatory one. This
distinction would not have pleased the protestants. The
text ineffectively expresses the idea of expiatory sacrifice
required by the Faith. [It should be mentioned that the
1970 version of the Instruction of the Novus Ordo Missae
was a revision under pressure from more traditional bishops
of the 1969 version which is theologically worse than the
1970! (See Pope Paul's New Mass, "Revisions
to the Instructio Generalis," by Michael Davies.
Price: $19.95) - Ed.]
An Ambiguous "Real
would think the rest of Article 7 (1970) would recall the
dogma of transubstantiation. On the contrary, it is never
mentioned. Instead, we find it replaced by an ambiguous
"Real Presence," acceptable to protestants who
reject transubstantiation. The 1970 text continues:
the promise of Christ: "Wherever two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
of them" (Mt. 18:20) applies in a special way to
this gathering of the local church.
in the celebration of the Mass whereby the Sacrifice of
the Mass is perpetuated, Christ is really present in the
very community which is gathered in His name, in the person
of His minister and also substantially and continuously
under the eucharistic species.4
definition speaks as if the "Real Presence" is
no longer reserved to the unique presence that results from
transubstantiation, but is extended to the presence (non-sacramental)
of Christ in the "assembly," in the "person
of the minister," and in His Word. This same presence,
which is "in a substantial and permanent manner"
under the Eucharistic species, depends, according to the
text, not on transubstantiation, about which it does not
speak, but on the assembly being gathered together "in
the name" of Christ.
all this recall the consubstantiation of the Lutheran heretics,
who deny, as has been noted, that Holy Mass really renews
the expiatory sacrifice of our Lord on Calvary?5
The lack of reference to transubstantiation helps us understand
why all the traditional signs of faith [e.g., interior
gold-plating of the sacred vessels, kneeling for Holy Communion,
etc. - Ed.] have been taken away.6
New Type of "Faith"
for the Creed, mention of the Holy Trinity has disappeared
from the invocations and prayers of Holy Mass. Liberal protestants
do not like it; Jews and Muslims detest it. The Holy Trinity
has been replaced by an anonymous "God of the universe."
It is true that the celebrant may bring up such a subject
matter in his homily, but it is so vast it is frequently
Archbishop Lefebvre insisted, the new rite is a "corruption"
of the Catholic Mass. How can a rite which pleases heretics
and non-Christians be suitable for Catholics? It represents
for the priests that celebrate it the faith which was taught
to them in seminaries drenched with liberalism and modernism.
This is a new type of faith. It is ecumenical, and, even
if preserving vestiges of the old Catholic faith, is syncretistic
and poisoned with heresy. It is the cult of Humanity and
dialogue with error placed side by side with the adoration
owed to the Holy Trinity, while not yet taking its place.
liturgical rite is a grave danger to the souls of those
who assist at it. The new Mass has been one of the most
bitter fruits of Vatican II. And all official Catholicism
that somehow has survived the ambiguity and repeated infidelity
shows signs of a seriously diseased body. Once Catholic
societies and nations are suffering declines in birthrate,
rebellion, vice and corruption, false religions, a variety
of sects, and invasion without reprieve by Muslims.
Merit of Archbishop Lefebvre
thought it put Archbishop Lefebvre out in the cold with
its arbitrary excommunication of him, the Vatican might
have thought it succeeded dissolving the bastion of fidelity
to dogma represented by the Society of Saint Pius X. But
this is not the case. Despite material difficulties of
every kind, the Society today numbers about 400 priests,
has 180 seminarians in training, 120 sisters, 65 oblates,
and 55 brothers. It maintains five international seminaries.
It is alive and kicking, for which it thanks the Lord. A
few years ago, Cardinal Ratzinger admitted his astonishment
regarding the extension and apostolate of the Society.
faithful to dogma relish being able to assist at the Mass
of All Times in the churches and chapels of the Society
of Saint Pius X to the great and inestimable benefit of
their souls. They are not constrained to recognize - against
their conscience - "the legitimacy and the doctrinal
correctness" of the missal promulgated by Pope Paul
VI,7 as happens
on the contrary to whomever frequents the Tridentine Mass
conceded by the Indult of Pope John Paul II, in which Indult,
for the record, this condition is found formulated. It is
a matter of a recognition, which, even if implicit, is dangerous
for the salvation of souls, given that the "doctrinal
correctness" of the Mass of Paul VI is, as has been
do not know if the lack of doctrinal correctness is such
as to have to consider the new rite invalid a priori.
We don't have the authority to make a definitive judgment
in the matter. We know, however, that if we hold to the
salvation of our soul, we must avoid the new rite at all
costs, with its hyper-politicized priests and the secularized
ambience that engulfs it. We are aware of owing the inestimable
benefit of being able to attend the truly Catholic Mass
to the persevering defense of the Faith undertaken in their
times by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de
Castro Mayer, the only two Bishops who forthrightly defended
it, and by the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X founded
by Archbishop Lefebvre. We await with unchangeable faith
in the work of God for the day when the Holy See, having
returned to the sound doctrine of all time, will wipe away
the unjust condemnations.
the meantime, we thank our Lord also for saving us from
the seductions laid by Rome to lead back into the "flock"
those of us who persist in preferring the true Catholic
Mass to that of Pope Paul VI. We make reference to the Motu
proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, issued by Pope John
Paul II on the occasion of the invalidly applied excommunication
of Archbishop Lefebvre. It is the tenth anniversary of that
document, the anniversary that some have made the object
of triumphant declarations in light of the success of the
so-called " Ecclesia Dei Latin Mass communities,"
established according to the directives and the promises
contained in the papal motu proprio. It is true that over
the last ten years since Ecclesia Dei Adflicta was
released, some 15 priests and 30 seminarians have left the
Society of Saint Pius X. But it has held its ground for
ten years, please God, even though the competition of the
"Ecclesia Dei” communities has invariably
moved in nearby.
Joseph Ratzinger poses with the monks of the traditionalist
Abbaye Ste. Madeleine in Le Barroux France, after
offering the Tridentine Mass
there on September 24, Accompanying the Cardinal
was Msgr. Camille Perl
(3rd from right), Secretary of the Pope's Ecclesia
Text below picture: Le Barroux, France- The second
most important man in the Vatican didn't spell out
the purpose of his visit to the abbaye Ste. Madeleine
here on September 22, 23 and 24, but he didn't have
to. Everyone -from the traditional Benedictine monks
who inhabit this extrordianry Roamanesque monestery,
to the hudnreds of visitors who filled every corner
of its church for the Pontifical Tridentine Mass
offered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - heard the
message loud and clear. As one monk explained to
a visitor: "This is Rome's way of saying that
they approve of us: that they haven't abandoned
traditionalists." Not that the Cardinal was
mute during his visit, but whatever words of encouragement
he gave to the monks (whose priest-members say the
traditional Mass exclusively) were said behind closed
doors. His homilies -both to the Benedictine nuns
of the nearby Abbayne Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation
du Barroux, were he said a Tridentine Mass on Saturday:
and to the monks and their visitors on Sunday -offered
the kind of doctrinal richness one would expect
from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith, but nothing in the way of newsmaking
quotes. Neither were any provisions made for interviews
with the press: indeed,....
The Illusion of “Ecclesia Dei”
Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta
do we say this motu proprio has given life to an
illusion? Consider the facts. Issued on July 2, 1988, as
if for a comment on the excommunication applied against
Archbishop Lefebvre, the document warned all those who until
that moment "had been tied in some way to the movement
created by Archbishop Lefebvre" to recognize their
duty to not support the named "movement."8
At the same time they held out their hand. How?
paragraph five of the document, the Pope manifested his
will, to which he asked all the Bishops and those invested
with the pastoral ministry of the Church to associate themselves,
that "ecclesial communion" for the sake of the
faithful who are "bound to former liturgical and disciplinary
forms in the Latin tradition," by establishing measures
that would guarantee their "just aspirations.”9
Therefore, the Pope established the beginnings of a commission
[i.e., the Ecclesia Dei Commission - Ed.]
preside over by an appointed cardinal and composed of members
of the Curia charged with collaborating with the competent
organs and interested parties on all sides in order to facilitate
"full ecclesial communion" of priests, seminarians,
religious communities and individuals up till now affiliated
with the Society of Saint Pius X, who desired to remain
united to the Successor of Peter "preserving their
spiritual and liturgical tradition, in light of the Protocol
signed on May 5, 1988 by Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop
[For the text of this Protocol of Accord and the archive
of all the documents exchanged between Rome and Archbishop
Lefebvre in the time leading up to and immediately following
his consecration of the four bishops, see Archbishop
Lefebvre and the Vatican available from Angelus Press.
Price: $12.45 - Ed.]
famous Protocol of Accord, though not taking effect at the
time, constituted the juridical base for organizing those
structures which have since been called "Ecclesia
Dei communities." These are generally societies
of apostolic life composed initially of refugees from the
Society of Saint Pius X to whom the privilege of celebrating
the aforesaid Mass of St. Pius V and of maintaining "the
previous liturgical and disciplinary forms" is granted.
Among the first and more notable of these communities are
the Benedictine Abbey of St. Madeleine of Le Barroux, France,
and the Fraternity of St. Peter.
various aspects the autonomy accorded to these institutions,
however, is rather limited11.
An important point must be recalled here. In the Protocol
of Accord of May 5, 1988, the Holy See acknowledged
practical and psychological reasons, the consecration
of a member of the Society as a bishop appears useful.
This is why, in the framework of the doctrinal and canonical
solution of reconciliation, we suggest to the Holy Father
that he name a bishop chosen from within the Society,
presented by Archbishop Lefebvre…(Protocol of Accord,
means that Rome had in principle accepted the consecration
of a bishop faithful to Tradition. Upon reflection, Archbishop
Lefebvre doubted Rome's sincerity. In any case, having maintained
the Protocol of Accord as the basis for the recognition
of the "Ecclesia Dei communities," the
official promise of a future bishop was understood. By now,
such a consecration for these communities is long overdue.
But, up to now there has not been even a hint. In other
words, the promise has not been kept.12
An Indult Gravely Conditioned and Without a Reason for Being
turn now to the text of the motu proprio. In concluding
his instruction, the Pope affirmed that there was a need
to respect the "spiritual desire" of the faithful
"who feel attached to the Latin liturgy, by applying
in a broad and generous way the directives adopted some
time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal
according to the typical edition of 1962."13
To what was the Pope referring? -Answer: To his indult Quattuor
Abhinc Annos, issued on March 10, 1984 and already cited
by us, which established, for priests and faithful who had
applied to their bishop for it, the possibility of receiving
the privilege of celebrating and assisting at the so-called
Tridentine Mass. Naturally, the granting of the privilege
was subject to some conditions among which were that the
petitioners would accept "the legitimacy and the doctrinal
correctness of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970 by the
Roman Pontiff, Paul VI" and that such a celebration
would take place "only for the use of whoever asked
for it" and in the places of worship and under the
conditions established by the local ordinary. Parish churches
were excluded from concession of the privilege, save extraordinary
The exercise of the privilege was subjected to notable limitations
and the bishops showed themselves quite deaf to the requests
of the faithful for it.15
The faithful bound in conscience to Tradition continued
to assist in great number at the Masses celebrated by the
priests of the Society of Saint Pius X.
1986, the Pope established a commission of eight cardinals
of the Curia with the task of examining the situation and
of preparing norms which would establish a new regulatory
form for the Indult, valid for the whole Church. These norms,
however, were never promulgated.16
the most important work of this commission [which included
Alfonse Cardinal Stickler - Ed.] concerned the question
of the suppression or non-suppression on the part of Pope
Paul VI of the so-called Tridentine Mass. According to these
cardinals Pope Paul VI never formally suppressed this Mass
on which account "no bishop has the right to prohibit
a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass."17
it wasn't its express purpose to do so, the conclusion of
this commission, which holds up under canonical scrutiny,
deprives the Indult of any significant necessity. If the
Tridentine Mass has never been formally suppressed and continues
therefore to exist as a perfectly valid liturgy of Holy
Church, celebrating it and assisting at it is a right,
not a privilege, and the Indult of Pope John
Paul II, which concedes the privilege for it is canonically
The Passive Resistance of Bishops and the Interpretation
of the Holy See
it may be, the invitation extended to the bishops by the
Pope to be "generous" in conceding the permission
to celebrate the Tridentine Mass has not been welcomed.
The evidence is extremely clear. The bishops turn a deaf
ear. At the same time, the demand for that Mass seems to
increase, perhaps because the faithful are fed up with the
"liturgical anarchy" which, thanks to the Mass
of Pope Paul VI, reigns in almost all the parishes universally,
though degree and intensity may vary, especially in France.18
attitude of the bishops, however, contradicts that of the
Holy See only in appearance. This is the point. The Holy
See has made promises, for example, the appointment of a
"traditional" bishop, which it has not kept. It
established the aforementioned commission of cardinals but
its norms, valid for the whole Church and which contain
a new regulatory form, have never been promulgated. We give
here the first three of the six norms cited in the commission's
In the offices of the Roman Rite, there ought
to be accorded to the Latin language the honor due to
it. The bishops must try to have at least one Mass in
the Latin language in every important locality of their
diocese on Sundays and Holy Days. Nevertheless, the readings
of the Mass will be able to be done in the vernacular.
All priests are able to say, at any time, their
private Masses in Latin.
every Mass said in Latin - be the faithful present or
not - the celebrant has the right of freely choosing between
the Missal of Pope Paul VI (1970) and that of Pope John
No.3 makes it possible to celebrate the Mass named from
Pope St. Pius V, overstepping the limits of the Indult!
It is obvious why a norm of this kind has never been promulgated.
It would have demonstrated plainly the failure of the liturgical
reform by officially putting the "spirit of the Council"
October 13, 1993, the then President of Una Voce, Dr. Eric
de Saventhem, asked the Pope to command the authorization
of the Mass and the Sacraments according to the ancient
rite to be freely accessible throughout the whole Church
and thereby bypass the passive resistance of the bishops.
He was answered January 17, 1994 by the deputy in charge
of general affairs for the Secretary of State, Msgr. Giovanni
Battista Re, who wrote that the Ecclesia Dei Commission
had conceded the use of the Roman Missal...
certain conditions. The diverse dispositions taken after
1984 aim at facilitating the ecclesial life of a certain
number of faithful, without however rendering perpetual
the previous liturgical forms [i.e., the Tridentine
rite and the traditional Sacraments - Ed.]. The
general law is that of using the rite revised after the
Council, on account of which the use of the previous rite
must be understood as being in the order of a privilege
which has an exceptional character.
is the writing on the wall. The purpose of the Ecclesia
Dei Commission was only that of "facilitating ecclesial
life" for the faithful attracted to the Tradition,
but it was not allowed to "render (the ancient rite)
perpetual." This phrase means that the ancient rite
was being temporarily tolerated so as not to offend the
sensibilities of certain faithful, but it was not to be
considered a rite destined to remain. The conclusion of
the letter was extremely clear in its intention. After having
paid formal homage to the "safeguarding of the values
which constitute a precious patrimony for the liturgical
tradition of the Church," Msgr. Giovanni Battista Re
continued by declaring with forceful clarity that...
first duty of all the faithful is that of welcoming and
probing the wealth of the meanings which are found in
the liturgy in force, and of doing it in the spirit of
faith and obedience to the Magisterium, by avoiding all
opposition harmful to ecclesial communion.20
letter concludes by reminding Dr. de Saventhem that the
Holy Father hopes Una Voce [whose current international
president is Mr. Michael Davies - Ed.] will contribute
to this end.
the way, Dr. de Saventhem replied to Msgr. Re with two follow-up
letters which remained however without an answer. In the
first of these letters he wrote:
at which the faithful assist is nothing other than the
innumerable different forms of eucharistic embellishments
which have multiplied in the Church for 25 years, appealing
to the legitimacy more or less well-grounded of the different
editions of the Roman Missal of Paul VI and to the multiple
options provided there……In the majority of parishes these
celebrations have been simply imposed. That's why the
faithful, discouraged, had no other way of avoiding them
except the silent exodus…. Finally, it is shown by the
polls of the last 25 years that a progressive erosion
of the faith, even among those who still frequent churches,
must be taken into account. Since lex credendi
follows lex orandi [i.e., the law of belief
follows on the law of prayer - Ed.], is there no
need to conclude, then, that the Faith is no longer nourished
by the reformed liturgy or even that this latter has accelerated
the loss of faith?21
from the July 1999 statement issued by the Vatican
which changes the direction and character of the Fraternity
of St. Peter. Not included is an accompanying letter
to the Fraternity’s superior general effectively suspending
his control over the traditionalist order and cancelling
the extraordinary chapter, a meeting of leading Fraternity
priests elected according to Vatican norms to discuss
the order’s constitution.
the answer to Question 1, which
asked whether traditionalist priests may “freely use
the Missal promulgated by the Supreme Pontiff Paul
Missal in force is that promulgated after the Second
Vatican Council. Moreover, the above mentioned priest
[of the FSSP or similar groups] must celebrate with
the post-conciliar Missal if by chance a celebration
takes place in a community which uses the modern Roman
rite…in order that there be no confusion or inconvenience
to the faithful…”
the answer to Question 2, which asked,
“Can superiors of whatever rank [in traditionalist
communities] prohibit priests from using the post-conciliar
The use of the Roman Missal of 1962 consists of an
indult” and “cannot be imposed on communities which
celebrate the Eucharist according to the renewed Missal.”
the answer to Question 3, which asked,
“Can a priest belonging to a community which enjoys
this indult concelebrate a Mass according to the new
order of the Roman rite without any impediment?”:
Moreover, he cannot and must not be prohibited from
con-celebration by his superior.”
Latin Mass, Fall 1999)
A "Parenthesis of Tolerance"
text of Msgr. Re should be taken as an authentic interpretation
of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. The commission
born of this document has not in the least intended to genuinely
restore the ancient rite or to even put it on a level of
parity with the new rite. It was only a case of being a
"pastoral gesture" of Pope John Paul II when faced
with the sensibilities of certain faithful "anchored
to the past." It is a "parenthesis of tolerance"22
which does not aim at "rendering perpetual" the
ancient rite within the official liturgy of the Church.
On the contrary, the clear mandate from Rome is that all
the faithful fulfill their duty to follow uncritically the
new rite since this is and remains the will of the Pope.
importance of this letter, of this official interpretation
of the motu proprio, is confirmed by the fact that
the bishops often cite it in refusing to concede the Mass
by means of the Indult.23
The overwhelming mentality of the present hierarchy is that
the Indult to celebrate the Tridentine Mass is nothing other
than a parenthesis destined to be closed one day. On account
of this we say Ecclesia Dei itself is an illusory
carrot which many have bitten, hoping that the present Pontiff
would effectively command the full restoration of the ancient
rite of Holy Mass with equal dignity in respect to the new.
the day of a rude awakening is drawing nigh. The recent
demands sent to the "Ecclesia Dei communities"
by the Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission,
Msgr. Camille Perl, demonstrate this. In a document he issued
in the summer of 1998 (perhaps in anticipation of celebrations
commemorating the Commission's tenth anniversary), Msgr.
Perl mandated that: l) in the Tridentine
Masses celebrated by reason of the Indult, the celebrant
from now on be seated during the reading of the Epistle;
2) that the Prologue of St. John's
Gospel read at the end of Mass [i.e., the Last Gospel
- Ed.] be abolished; and 3) that
the so-called "universal prayer" begin to be recited
during the Mass.24
judge this an attempt to mutilate the Tridentine Rite and
to contaminate it with the new rite of Pope Paul VI. For
what reason would the priest have to sit while the Epistle
is read? Where else is this type of thing generally seen?
It is the priest-presider of the protestant Novus Ordo
Mass who remains seated while laity of various sort read
the passages of the Old and New Testament inserted into
the so-called "Liturgy of the Word." To demand
the celebrant to sit during readings that he has traditionally
stood to read himself is to make necessary the presence
of someone else other than the celebrant to do the reading.
A nun? A layperson? You see the groundwork being laid.
is the cutting out of the Last Gospel wanted? What's the
problem? It is very clear. On five counts, the Last Gospel
is radically un-ecumenical and not politically correct because:
1) it reaffirms the divine nature of
Christ; 2) it recalls that the world
and those of "its household," namely the Jews,
"received Him not"; 3) it reminds
us that the world is inimical to Christ and must be converted;
4) it is a bitter yet pitiful reminder to
the Jews of their sin against the Holy Ghost; and 5)
it proclaims Christians superior to the sons of Abraham
because, thanks to faith in Christ, they have become the
chosen "sons of God."
so-called "universal prayer," finally, is a prayer
worded according to various formulas, in accordance with
which the "ecumenical" spirit is introduced explicitly
into the Mass, as the "conciliar Church" born
from Vatican II understands it.25
letter of Msgr. Perl shows that the Holy See has decided
to pick up the pace. The "restoration" is done
for. Unless they appease the authorities by further compromises,
hard times are around the corner for the" Ecclesia
Dei communities." Their superiors will perhaps
attempt to resist and defend the Mass of All Time from the
excisions and the corruptions. But will they succeed? For
how long? They will leam that, in retrospect, they should
not have let themselves be seduced in 1988. They should
have taken exception to the manifest invalidity of the condemnation
of Archbishop Lefebvre. This has been officially proposed
by the American priest, Rev. Fr. Gerald Murray, in his "thesis
for a licentiate" in Canon Law, argued and approved
with the highest mark (July 1995) at the Pontifical Gregorian
University. We will discuss this thesis in the next installment
of this canonical study of the 1988 episcopal consecrations
of Archbishop Lefebvre. Our work hopes to make a contribution
to the truth by doing our part, God willing, in dispelling
the cloud of lies and false interpretations which surround
the person and work of Archbishop Lefebvre.
(edited by Rev. Fr. Kenneth Novak)
article begins the canonical aspect of the double
study of the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations. The SISINONO
issues of July
1999, dealt with the theological aspect. The next
installment of the canonical study will appear in January
Cf A.A.S. 1947, p.553, cited in Arnaldo Xavier da Silveire,
La nouvelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu'en penser? translated
from the Portuguese of C. Salagnac, Chireen-Nontreuil, 1975,
p.103. This work, which develops a fundamental analysis
of the Novus Ordo Missae 1969 & 1970, contains
in an improved translation three studies having appeared
in 1970 & 1971. The analysis of the Novus Ordo
of 1970 is on pp.100-124. We have abundantly availed ourselves
of this essay. We have likewise availed ourselves of Romano
Amerio's Iota Unum. Studio sulle variazioni della Chiesa
cattolica nel secolo XX Milano-Napoli 1986 2nd ed.,
Chapters XXXVII;XXXVIII, pp.496-548. [Available in its English
translation from Angelus Press. Price: $24.95 - Ed.]
La nouvelle Messe de Paul VI, cit., pp. 103 - 105. The
text of the Novus Ordo in question is in Article
5 of the Prologo of the same.
On the idea of the unity of the human race as an end of
the Catholic Church coming from Vatican II, see P. Pasqualucci
Un 'intrusione laica nel Vaticano II: il concetto di
unita del genere umano in Italian edition
of SISINONO, 1998 (XXIV) n.11.
Quare de huiusmodi sanctae Ecclesiae coadunatione locali
eminenter valet promissio Christi: "Ubi sunt duo vel
tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum"
(Mt. 18:20). In Missae enim celebratione, in qua
sacriflcium Crucis perpetuatur, Christus realiter praesens
adest in ipso coetu in suo nomine congregato, in persona
ministri, in verbo suo, et quidem substantialiter et continenter
sub speciebus eucharisticis. - The 1969 and 1970 Latin
texts of Article 7 are reported in Pope Paul's New Mass,
La nouvelle Messe de Paul VI, loc. cit., and ch. V:
Le nouvel ordinaire de la Messe et la repas protestant.
For a detailed list, see Breve esame critico del Novus
Ordo Missae, pp.20-21.
The Indult Quattuor abhinc annos of March 10, 1984
(text in the appendix to Enquete sur la Messe traditionelle,
1988 - 1998 in the article, "Dixieme anniversaire
du Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei," special issue of
La Nef, 1988, edited by Christopher Geffroy and Philip
We cite the text published in Enquete, cit.,
Op. cit., p. 74
Official Bulletin of the French District of the Society
of Saint Pius X, n. 29 of 29 Sept. 1988 for some details
of the accord between Dom Gerard and Rome on the occasion
of the recognition of the Abbey of Le Barroux.
The fact was noted by M. deJaeghere in his intervention
reported by Enquete, cit. on p.279.
Text can be found in the Appendix to Enquete, cit.,
Text cited in Enquete, p.375.
Introductory essay to Enquete, cit., "
Ecclesia Dei? Rappel historique," pp.12- 55,
A summary of these "norms" given in the Appendix
to Enquete, cit. p.39.
The source of information is Alfonse Cardinal Stickler,
in La Nef (1995) 53, pp.8-11 (see note n. 54 on p.53
of Enquete). The review reprints an interview of
the Cardinal by The Latin Mass (1995).
Enquete, cit., p.264; pp.103,261,274.
Enquete, cit. p.391.
Enquete, cit., p.385.
The text is in the Appendix of Enquete, cit.,
The expression is from Fr. Claude Barth, Enquete,
The testimony is from Fr. Jean-Paul Argouarch, Superior
of the Institute of Pontifical Rite "Santa Croce"
of Riaumont [France], one of the" Ecclesia Dei
communities," cited in Enquete, pp.90-91.
From the Bulletin Inter Multiplices Una Vox (June
Examine, for example, the Festive Missal for the Faithful,
Year A-B-B, the official text of C.E.I. edited by
G. Boffa, with an introduction by Msgr. Mariano Magrassi,
Coletti ed., Roma 1984, p.869.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)