With the publication
of Missale Romanum almost thirty-two years ago (April
3, 1969), the very venerable, ancient, and sacred Mass of
the Roman Rite was displaced by the Novus Ordo Missae
of Pope Paul VI. On the Feast of Corpus Christi of that
same year, Pope Paul VI was presented with the Brief
Critical Examination of the Novus Ordo Missae with a
cover letter by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci which affirmed
the principle: “The subjects for whose benefit a law is
made have always had the right, nay the duty, to ask the
legislator to abrogate the law, should it prove to be harmful"
(The Ottaviani Intervention, p.28).
The two cardinals
did not mince words why the Novus Ordo created a
duty to request its cancellation. The new rite of the Mass,
"represents, both as a whole and in its details, a
striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass
as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council
Such "a striking
departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass" had
already been noticed and condemned in the liturgical movement
which preceded the Second Vatican Council. In Mediator
Dei (1947) Pope Pius XII had written,
we observe with
considerable anxiety ...that...certain enthusiasts, over
eager in their search for novelty, are straying beyond
the path of sound doctrine and prudence. Not seldom, in
fact, they interlard their plans and hopes for a revival
of the sacred Liturgy with principles which compromise
this holiest of causes in theory or practice, and sometimes
even taint it with errors touching Catholic faith and
ascetical doctrine (§8).
With this encyclical
Pope Pius XII sought to "distance from the Church"
"false opinions. . . altogether contrary to sacred
and traditional doctrine," "errors touching Catholic
faith and ascetical doctrine," "exaggerations
and over-statements which are not in agreement with the
true teaching of the Church" (§94). A glance through
Mediator Dei reveals that these condemned aberrations
are the very soul of the liturgical "reform" of
Pope Paul VI, and of all the various developments which
flow from it, whether formally sanctioned or otherwise in
conformity with the "Spirit of the Council."
"Formal and Violent Rupture"
In Mediator Dei,
Pope Pius XII reiterated a fundamental principle of
liturgy, "Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi
- let the rule for prayer determine the rule of belief”
(§48). "The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic
faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness
to the faith of the Church" (§47). Consequently, the
ceremonies with which the Church surrounds the Sacrifice
of Christ conserve the faith and distinguish between true
and false Christians, and from heretics.
But within only 18
years Pope Paul VI's so-called liturgical "reform"
provides the liturgy with a new fundamental principle. "The
prayer of the Church should not generate discomfort to anyone,"
and therefore the Church must "discard any stone that
risks becoming a stumbling block or displease our separated
brethren." So writes Fr. Annibal Bugnini, guiding member
to the Consilium in charge of preparing the Novus
Ordo Missae and all other liturgical revisions, in the
L'Osservatore Romano of March 19th, 1965.1
Thus the rule of prayer will now be based on an "ecumenical"
principle, which will inform the new beliefs of the post-Conciliar
ecumenical Church. No longer will the liturgy evidence the
public faith of the Church, but rather evidence the ecumenical
sensitivities of certain churchmen.
All the essential
features of the Novus Ordo are contained in that
statement and constitute a "formal and violent rupture
with all the rules which guided Catholic liturgy up to Vatican
Needless to say, the new rites will not "preserve the
faith," nor "distinguish true from false Christians."
Founded on this ecumenical
intention, the new liturgy was scrupulously preserved inviolate,
with the assistance of six Protestant observers, from any
"discomfort" or stones which might be a "stumbling
block" to the "separated brethren." That
"entire abomination, the so-called Offertory"
(Luther), was eliminated in its entirety. Guido Ceronetti
described the result of this "major amputation passed
off as a reform" to be, inevitably, a liturgy no longer
Catholic, but Protestant (La Stampa, July 18, 1990).
The new liturgy is "a Mass cut down to Protestant dimensions"
according to J. Green, himself a convert from Protestantism
( Ce qu'il faut d'amour à l'homme).
This satisfied the
liturgical "reformers," whose goal was "to
facilitate spiritual and psychological union."3
"The liturgical reform has made major advances in the
ecumenical field, and approaches the liturgical forms of
the Lutheran church" reported L'Osservatore Romano
of Oct. 13, 1967. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci note
the obverse side of this coin, that the new rite "represents,
both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure
from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass..." (quoted
In truth, the central
problem posed by the Novus Ordo to the Catholic conscience
is not one of nostalgic attachment to the historic rite,
it is a problem of belief. "It is clear that the Novus
Ordo does not intend to present the faith of Trent.
To this faith, the Catholic is in conscience bound unto
eternity. With the launching of the Novus Ordo a
true Catholic is forced into a tragic choice" (Brief
Critical Examination). The faith of Trent is none other
than the "ancient faith founded on the holy Gospel,
on the traditions of the apostles, and on the doctrines
of the holy Fathers" (Denzinger, The Sources of
Catholic Dogma, 947), and this alone justifies
refusing to accept a Novus Ordo Missae which "does
not intend to present the faith of Trent" and which
"approaches liturgical forms of the Lutheran church."
the King Parish, Kansas City, MO, was far ahead
of its time
when construction of a new church began in 1952.
A freestanding altar was the center of attention
when Archbishop O’Hara celebrated the first Mass
after the church was dedicated on May 9, 1954
(A History of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph,
Shadow on the Liturgical "Reform" of Pope Paul
In Mediator Dei,
Pope Pius XII writes:
For there are today
...those who, approximating to errors long since condemned
[by the Council of Trent], teach that in the New Testament
by the word "priesthood" is meant only that priesthood
which applies to all who have been baptized ....Hence they
assert that the people are possessed of a true priestly
power, while the priest only acts in virtue of an office
committed to him by the community. Wherefore they look on
the Eucharistic Sacrifice as a "concelebration,"
in the literal meaning of that term, and consider it more
fitting that priests should "concelebrate" with
the people present than that they should offer the Sacrifice
privately when the people are absent (§83)...Some in fact
disapprove altogether of those Masses which are offered
privately and without a congregation ,...moreover, there
are some who assert that different priests cannot offer
Mass at different altars at the same time, because by doing
so, they separate the community of the faithful and imperil
its unity; while some go so far as to hold that the people
must confirm and ratify the Sacrifice if it is to have its
proper force and value (§95).
such errors associated with Luther, Pope Pius XII repeats
the Catholic faith, the faith of Trent. "The visible,
external priesthood of Jesus Christ is not handed down indiscriminately
to all members of the Church in general, but is conferred
on designated men, through what may be called the spiritual
generation of Holy Orders" (§41), "one of the
seven Sacraments" (§42). "Hence he [the priest]
goes to the altar as the minister of Christ, inferior to
Christ but superior to the people" (§84). When "speaking
of the people offering with the priest," the Church
means only that the people “unite their hearts in praise,
impetration, expiation and thanksgiving, with the prayers
and intention of the priest, even of the High Priest Himself..."
attacks on private Masses, Pope Pius XII repeats the faith
of Trent, namely that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
necessarily and of
its very nature, has always and everywhere the character
of a public and social act, in as much as he who offers
it, acts in the name of Christ ...and he offers it to God
for the Holy Catholic Church, and for the living and the
dead. This is undoubtedly so, whether the faithful are present
...or are not present, since it is in no wise required that
the people ratify what the sacred Minister has done (§96).
Clearly the Novus
Ordo Missae - with its "people of God assembled
...to celebrate the sacred Eucharist," and with the
priest reduced to the role of "president of the assembly,"
(and hence facing the people, §27); with the consecration
altered into a simple "narration" or "presidential
prayer" (§ 10), and hence said "clearly and out
loud" (§ 10-12); and with a people no longer adoring
in silence, but ratifying out loud the "mystery of
the faith"; with its marked favor for "concelebrated
services" which may or may not build community, but
certainly reduce the number of private masses - this all
certainly "represents ...a striking departure from
the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass" (Brief Critical
Examination), and a major slide into Protestant theory.
11 year-old-altar boy reading a missal in the sanctuary
of St. Thomas Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Los
(The New York Times, June 1, 1994).
Supper of Brotherly Union”
Closely linked with
the aberration of the "priest president" and the
heresy of the "celebrating people" is the error
"holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful
to receive Holy Communion as well as the priest," to
which end, writes Pope Pius XII, the innovators "put
forward the captious argument that here there is question
not of a Sacrifice merely, but of a Sacrifice and a supper
of brotherly union, and consider the general Communion of
all present as the culminating point of the entire celebration"
(§ 114). This too, warns Pope Pius XII, is another false
doctrine which the Council of Trent, "supported by
the doctrine which the uninterrupted tradition of the Church
has preserved," thus condemns: "If anyone shall
say that Masses in which the priest only receives Communion,
are unlawful, and therefore should be abolished, let him
be anathema" (§ 113). Receiving Holy Communion, in
fact, "is obligatory for the priest who says the Mass,
it is only something earnestly recommended for the faithful"
(§ 115). Neither is Mediator Dei deficient in condemning
another asserted "necessity," namely that the
people receive hosts consecrated during the very same Mass.
This proposal has the same heretical roots as the previous,
and Pius writes that, "they really and truly take part
in the Sacrifice should they receive a Host which has been
duly consecrated at a previous Mass" (§ 118).
Even these two asserted
"necessities" condemned by Pope Pius XII on the
strength of the "faith of Trent" find a home in
the liturgical "reform" of Pope Paul VI. The second,
regarding hosts consecrated at the same Mass, finds mention
in Article 55 of the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, and
was satirized by the Italian author Tito Casini, with the
ironic contrast "Fresh Christ" versus "Stale
From the heresy of
the "priest president" and the "celebrating
people" is also born the "false opinion"
concerning the active participation of the faithful at the
Mass. Pope Pius XII praises those seeking to promote greater
liturgical participation with chant, dialogue response,
and by providing the people with missals. But he cautions
that these ways of participating in the Sacrifice "are
by no means necessary to constitute it a public act or to
give it a social character" (§ 106). Furthermore, and
very wisely, he notes that "so varied and diverse are
men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all
to be moved and be attracted to the same extent by community
prayers, hymns, and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs
and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always
constant in the same individual" (§ 108). Thus it is
possible to fruitfully participate in "some other method
which proves easier for certain people, for instance, they
can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or
perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which,
though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially
in harmony with them" (§ 108).
Here, too, the liturgical
"reform" of Pope Paul VI, in which activism by
the faithful is above all an external reality rather than
an inner devotion, banishes other forms of participation,
especially the Rosary, and is clearly contrary to Mediator
Dei. It should also be said that in contrast with the
pastoral wisdom of Pope Pius XII, the "pastoralism"
of Pope Paul VI's liturgical "reform," which regiments
the faithful with no regard for personal needs, is revealed
for what it really is, a convenient and superficial pretext.
Pope Pius XII's condemnations
extend also to "new theories touching a so-called ‘objective'
piety," which "tend to belittle, or pass over
in silence, what they call ‘subjective' or ‘personal' piety"
(§28): "...they feel that all other religious exercises
not directly connected with the Sacred Liturgy and performed
outside public worship, should be omitted" (§29). On
the contrary "the work of Redemption ...requires a
serious interior effort on our part if we are to achieve
eternal salvation" (§31). "In the spiritual life
...there can be no opposition between the action of God
[the ‘objective' element, ...and the tireless collaboration
of man [the ‘subjective' element], who must not render vain
the gift of God" (§ 36); furthermore, these exercises
of devotion and pious practices "are not only highly
praiseworthy, but absolutely indispensable" (§32) because
"[they] enable them [the faithful] to participate in
the august Sacrifice of the altar with better dispositions.
They now receive the Sacraments with more abundant fruit"
(§35) which is the point of "active participation"
in the liturgy.
Among the many exercises
of devotion, Pope Pius XII highlights and recommends meditation,
examination of conscience, ritual prayers, visits to the
Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, spiritual exercises and "other
practices of piety which although not strictly belonging
to the Sacred Liturgy are, nevertheless, of special import
and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be
an addition to the liturgical cult" (§ 182). Among
these Pope Pius XII notes "are the prayers usually
said during the month of May in honor of the Blessed Virgin
Mother of God, or during the month of June to the most Sacred
Heart of Jesus; also novenas and triduums, Stations of the
Cross and other similar practices" (§ 182). These excite
Christians to frequent the Sacraments and the Sacrifice
of the Mass, and "hence he would do something very
wrong and dangerous, who would dare to take on himself to
reform these exercises of piety and reduce them completely
to the methods and norms of liturgical rites" (§ 184).
Also on this point
the liturgical "reform" of Pope Paul VI signals
the triumph of "new theories" condemned by Pope
Pius XII, with the discouragement of "other practices
of piety ...not strictly belonging to Sacred Liturgy"
and as such merits the anticipated rebuke as "very
wrong and dangerous."
Pope Pius XII had
already noted an insidious attack on Eucharistic adoration
if separated from the Sacrifice of the Mass, such as visits
to the tabernacle, Benediction of the Holy Sacrament, solemn
civic processions, Forty Hours, etc.; which practices
have all been discontinued, discouraged, if not eliminated
with the liturgical "reform" of Pope Paul VI.
But Pope Pius XII also noticed a menace to Marian devotion
and to the salutary practice of sacramental Confession.
These threats generated his cry of alarm to the Bishops:
Do not allow - as
some do, who are deceived under the pretext of restoring
the liturgy or who idly claim that only liturgical rites
are of any real value and dignity - that churches be closed
during the hours not appointed for public functions,...where
the adoration of the august Sacrament and visits
to Our Lord in the tabernacles are neglected: where confession
is discouraged: and devotion to the Virgin Mother of God,
a sign of "predestination" according to
the opinion of holy men, is so neglected...Such conduct
most harmful to Christian piety is like poisonous fruit,
growing on infected branches of a healthy tree, which
must be cut off so that the life-giving sap of the tree
may bring forth only the best fruit (§ 176).
of the Tenth Street School in Oakmont, PA, was the
setting for an ecumenical pryer service Jan. 21,
celebrating the annual Week of Prayer for Christian
Unity. Auxiliary Bishop David Zubik spoke at the
event, which is sponsored by the Oakmont/Verona
Ministerial Association and attended by members
of various area denominations (Pittsburgh Catholic,
Jan 26, 2001).
with a hole in it belongs to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Christ Glorified and Slighting the Suffering Christ
In Mediator Dei,
Pope Pius XII condemned "the temerity and daring
of those who introduce novel liturgical practices"
such as "those who make use of the vernacular in the
celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice," (§59)
[1) Latin is a beautiful sign of unity,
2) as well as an effective antidote for any
corruption of doctrinal truth (§60) - Ed.], "those
who would transfer certain feast days ...to other dates"
(§59). Also, one "would be straying from the straight
path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive
tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for
the liturgical vestments, were he to forbid the use of sacred
images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix
so designed that the Divine Redeemer's Body shows no trace
of His cruel sufferings." (§62). There is no need for
explicit demonstration that these deplorable theories have
all been put into place with the liturgical "reform"
of Pope Paul VI.
Pope Pius XII returns
at length on this last point: the slighting of the Passion
of Christ and exaltation of the Resurrection. They "dare
to assert" he writes,
should be paid not to the historic Christ but to a "pneumatic"
or glorified Christ. They do not hesitate to assert that
a change has taken place in the piety of the faithful
by dethroning, as it were, Christ from His position; since
they say that the glorified Christ ...has been overshadowed
and in His place has been substituted that Christ who
lived on earth. For this reason, some have gone so far
as to want to remove from the Churches images of the Divine
Redeemer suffering on the cross (§ 162).
And here the rebuke:
"But these false statements are completely opposed
to the solid doctrine handed down by tradition....In the
sacred Liturgy, the whole Christ is proposed to us in all
the circumstances of His life..." (§ 163).
Since His bitter
sufferings constitute the principle mystery of our Redemption
it is only fitting that the Catholic faith should give
them the greatest prominence. This mystery is the very
center of divine worship, since the Mass represents and
renews it every day, and since all Sacraments are most
closely united with the Cross (§ 164).
Freeing of Liturgy from Authority: “Creativity” and “Liturgical
From the fundamental
principle "the law for prayer determines the law of
belief" noted by Pope Pius XII, follows the logical
consequence of the Holy See’s exclusive authority in liturgical
matters. Since "the purity of the faith and of morals
must be the normative character of this matter," "private
individuals, therefore, even though they be clerics, may
not be left to decide for themselves in these holy and venerable
matters, involving as they do the religious life of Christian
society along with the exercise of the priesthood of Jesus
Christ and worship of God" (§58).
"Only the Supreme
Pontiff” has the right to legislate on liturgical matters.
The bishops have the duty to ensure that liturgical law
is strictly obeyed.
The Church has
further used her right of control over liturgical observance
to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse
from dangerous and imprudent individuals and particular
churches. Thus it came about - during the 16th century,
when usages and customs of this sort had become increasingly
prevalent and exaggerated, and when private initiative
in matters liturgical threatened to compromise the integrity
of the faith and devotion, to the great advantage of heretics
and the further spread of their errors - that in the year
1588, Our Predecessor Sixtus V of immortal memory established
the Sacred Congregation of Rites, charged with the defense
of the legitimate rites of the Church and with the prohibition
of any spurious innovation (§57).
Thus in his conclusion,
Pope Pius XII urges the bishops to be vigilant: "Let
everything be done with due order and dignity, and let no
one, not even a priest, make use of the sacred edifices
according to his whim to try out experiments" (§ 109).
Here too, there is
no need to cite chapter and verse to prove that the "reform"
of Pope Paul VI is firmly set on the deviant path condemned
by Pope Pius XII, with the result that in the name of "creativity"
the liturgy has been abandoned to arbitrary experiments,
not only diocese by diocese, but liturgy by liturgy, and
that not only by the clergy but also by the laity!
Thus what Pope Paul
VI did not directly accomplish with his "reform,"
was achieved indirectly in the name of "creativity,"
with "private initiatives" threatening "to
compromise the integrity of the faith and devotion, to the
great advantage of heretics and the further spread of their
errors," notably a Protestant mindset of "religion
without authority," even in liturgical matters.
Liturgical Movement: Forerunner of Pope Paul VI’s Liturgical
Mediator Dei anticipates
and condemns the "liturgical reform" with such
clarity because these "false theories," "exaggerations
and betrayals of the truth," "errors touching
on the Catholic faith and ascetical doctrine," had
long been snaking through the liturgical movement, and Pope
Pius XII wished to protect the Church from them.
Already in 1943,
Msgr. Conrad Gröber, the Archbishop of Freiburg, had raised
the alarm in a memorandum to the German episcopate.5
The liturgical movement, he writes, creates a wedge within
the clergy, and slides towards Protestant errors; despises
scholasticism and finds congenial company with false modern
philosophies; criticizes, under a pretext of return to origins,
every bequest from centuries past, as though every doctrinal
and liturgical development, which had occurred under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, was merely an arbitrary deformation
and falsification; contains concealed Protestant influences,
notably Karl Barth [the idol of the new theologians]; is
open to the sects "in order to rebuild church unity";
thinks of the Church, in the Protestant way, as an invisible
organization rather than as a visible hierarchy; favors
a false "mysticism" (charismaticism); highlights
the "priesthood of the faithful" and slights the
ministerial priesthood of the clergy; considers liturgy
a universal panacea; unfetters liturgical celebrations from
every authority and obligation, which rules are trashed
as so many "rubricisms"; agitates for the Mass
in the vernacular; and is a fount of heresies.
The threats denounced
by the Archbishop of Freiburg are a sad reality today. In
fact, during the last Council two movements clashed: the
liturgical movement and the Marian movement. The latter
was poised to advance a uniquely Catholic development against
the Protestant world, and was in line with the counter-reformation
of Trent; the former, the liturgical movement, was in alliance
with all the "aggiornamento" groups intent
on terminating the counter-reformation and intent on opening
towards the "separated brethren.6
After the Council, a disciple of Karl Rahner confessed that
the liturgical movement in Germany was just one of many
movements created to break the so-called "Roman system."7
reform" which took place thus represents the triumph
of such madness within the liturgical movement, so infiltrated
with Protestantism, and which had already been condemned
first by Msgr. Gröber and then by Pope Pius XII in Mediator
of Disobedience to the Roman Magisterium
Pope Pius XII closes
his encyclical by ordering the promoters of the liturgical
movement "to imitate in their thoughts and actions
the Christian doctrine which is in harmony with the precepts
of the Immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ, the Mother of
In fact, the liturgical
"reform" of Pope Paul VI, and all subsequent actions,
is the daughter of disobedience to the Church and the Pontifical
Roman Magisterium. We cannot say, as Pope Paul VI said,
that the "Pope of today" has the same authority
as the "Popes of yesterday." The contradiction
is not between Pacelli and Montini; the contradiction is
between the "Faith of yesterday" and the "Faith
of today," and neither should differ from the "Faith
of all time." The popes have equal authority in matters
pertaining to discipline, the effectiveness of which may
change with different historic circumstances, although even
here, this authority should not be exercised arbitrarily.
But as regards the Faith, and all that which touches the
Faith, of which liturgy touches more than all else, the
popes have equal authority to defend and explain the "deposit
of the Faith"; but none has the authority, whether
directly or indirectly, to undermine the Faith. "We
have no authority to challenge Truth, only to defend Truth."
also Bugnini's book, La riforma liturgica.
A. X. Da Silveira, La Novelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu’en
La riforma liturgica.
Casini, La tunica straciata.
The major part of the text in Ami du Clergé (1950),
p.258ff. See also Una Voce of Paris 25/69.
E. Fouilloux, "Mouvements theologico-spirituels et
Concile " in A la veille deVatican II, (Louvain,
1992), pp.188-198; also SiSiNoNo, Italian
edition, (Sept. 30, 1998) p.5.
H. Vorgrimler, Karl Rahner verstehen [Understanding
Karl Rahner], p.74ff, cited in SiSiNoNo, Italian
edition, (April 15, 1998) p.3.
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)