Skip to comments.The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy
Posted on 02/19/2005 8:32:36 AM PST by ultima ratio
The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy
by Father Paul Kramer
Editors Note: This is an edited transcript of a speech given at the Fatima Peace Conference in October, 2001. Father Kramer was trained at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum) under whom he describes as the last group of traditional Dominicans, which had lasted until the 1970s. It contains sobering points on the nature of the New Mass and the Catholics obligation, enshrined in the Tridentine Profession of Faith, to adhere to the received and approved rites, that is, the Traditional Mass.
The title The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy, is not my own. It comes from a discourse of Pope Pius XII, who saw the imminent possibility of a crisis in faith and spoke of the Church doubting as Peter once doubted, recalling St. Peters denial of Our Lord on the night of His Passion.
Pope Pius XII on the "Suicide of altering the faith in her liturgy"
Msgr. Eugene Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, made the astonishing prophecy on the future upheavel in the Church:
"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.
"A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?'" - Roche, Pie XII Devant L'Historie, p. 52-53
One method of the heretics for attacking the Church is to infiltrate the Catholic hierarchy and then change the liturgy to mute its explicit profession of faith, making the liturgy appear to uphold heretical doctrine. Pope Pius XII warned of this danger, the suicide of altering the faith in the liturgy.
Many priests and faithful see no problem with the new Rite of Mass. They consider themselves upholders of Catholic tradition and are outspokenly anti-Modernist. But the subtleties of the devil are so great that they are tricked into consenting to the Modernist position without realizing it. It is like the treatment given to frogs: you put them into hot water and they will jump out of the water immediately, but if you put them into cold water and slowly heat it, they dont notice the increase of heat until its too late. Theyve been cooked.
I have seen this in the example of many Catholic bishops. Twenty-five, thirty years ago they were the staunchest arch-conservatives. But little by little they compromised, and toward the end of their mission as heads of their dioceses, they still considered themselves staunchly arch-conservative, upholding the apostolic traditions of the Church; but these men did not realize that hardly anyone else thought of them that way anymore. They were living in an illusion.
Im not going to mention names now; some of these bishops have been judged by Jesus Christ. Theres no need for me to make a judgment on them now.
The error, all too often, is to think of apostolic tradition in terms of dogma and to regard faith and morals and everything else as simply disciplinary matters that may be changed, according to the will of the legislator, whether he be bishop, whether he be Pope.
When St. Paul speaks of tradition he is not speaking merely of dogma. In 2 Thessalonians St. Paul says, Hold fast to the traditions that you have received from us, whether by word or by letter. There we have both the oral tradition and the written tradition. But he is not only referring to teaching. He himself makes this clear with one of the most famous expressions coming out of the New Testament. St. Paul says, I have handed over that which I received. He then explains what it is that he has received. What he describes is the Holy Mass. That the Lord, before He suffered, took bread saying, This is My Body which is given up for you. This is the chalice of My Blood, etc. So when St. Paul says hold fast to the traditions and I have handed over that which I have received, he refers specifically to the liturgy of the Holy Mass.
There is so little understanding concerning the doctrine about liturgy in the Church that it has become almost entirely obscured. In the Summa of St. Thomas you find next to nothing about liturgy. The reason for this is quite obvious if you know the history of doctrinal development. When a point becomes controversial, that is when the theologians do a great deal of writing and speaking on that topic. But if a doctrine is not questioned, not much is said about it.
The Christological controversies of the early ages and the development of the doctrine of transubstantiation in what manner is there the Real Presence of Jesus Christ under the species of bread and wine provoked a great deal of writing.
The one thing that was the least questioned was the doctrine of liturgy, because it was so well and universally understood. The liturgy was a sacred patrimony handed down from generation to generation in the Church.
The process of handing down is what we call tradition. Tradition, having been established, becomes custom. The liturgy grows gradually, as does a human being, in a natural organic way until it reaches its adulthood. It reaches the full term of its development and that is where the development ends. Then the form of the liturgy remains fixed and undergoes, from there on, very little change. In the life of tradition, there are always minor accretions and minor changes and, after a period of time, the liturgy needs to be trimmed again. And thats when we have revision of the liturgy undertaken by the Roman pontiffs.
After centuries of development, the Roman Rite was top-heavy and needed to be trimmed and codified. This is what Pope St. Pius V did.
A major misconception in the post-Conciliar Church is that Pope Paul VI did what Pope St. Pius V did. In fact, were going to see that he did something quite the opposite.
The first question we have to answer, however, is what the change in liturgy has to do with the Message of Fatima. And the answer, of course, is that it has everything to do with the Message of Fatima. Bishop Cosme do Amaral, the former Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, at the Technical University of Vienna, in 1984, spoke about the Third Secret as dealing with apostasy, the loss of faith, on entire continents.
What does the change in liturgy have to do with the loss of faith? We will see it has everything to do with the loss of faith. Father Alonso spoke of the Third Secret as dealing with the deficiencies of the upper hierarchy of the Church and its contents as tending to vindicate those in the Church who are called Traditionalists.
The Rule of Tradition on Liturgy
One of the main points of Traditional Catholics is to underline the importance of the Roman Rite of the Mass as opposed to the Rite of Paul VI, because of the deficiencies in the Rite of Pope Paul VI. As soon as you mention deficiencies in the Rite of Pope Paul VI, the so-called conservatives become very alarmed. They will say But the Rite of Paul VI was promulgated for the whole Church and has the protection of infallibility. How can you dare to say that there is some defect in the new Rite of Mass when the Holy Ghost gives protection to the Pope in promulgating the rites for the whole Church?
What these people fail to understand is that they have not read the documentation very astutely for the so-called promulgation of the Missal of Pope Paul VI, which is called the Roman Missal fraudulently because the Rite of Mass contained therein is not the Roman Rite of Mass. It is not the Roman liturgy. It is what the great architect of the new Rite of Mass, Monsignor Annibale Bugnini, called a new creation. His right-hand man, Joseph Gelineau, S.J., said of the new rite, We have to speak frankly. The Roman Rite no longer exists. It has been destroyed. He should know. He was one of the principal destroyers.
Here is something truly amazing to consider: Canon 846 of the New Code of Canon Law, the 1983 Code promulgated by Pope John Paul II, says that the ministers are to administer the sacraments according to their own Rite. This law simply reflects what is the doctrine of the Catholic faith. And there is infallible, magisterial Catholic teaching regarding the regulation of the Sacred Liturgy. This has been obscured and forgotten.
First of all, let us consider what the Code of Canon Law means by their own Rite. For the Byzantine Catholics, who use the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, because they are of the Byzantine Rite, their own liturgy is the Byzantine Liturgy.
This is why the Council of Florence decreed, under Pope Eugenius IV, that those who are of the Eastern Rite are to confect the Holy Eucharist according to the custom of their Church, just as those who are of the Roman Rite must confect the Holy Eucharist according to the custom of the Roman Church.
Now this was not an arbitrary pronouncement. It is rooted in the doctrine that the law of custom governs the liturgy. What is so sacred about custom? Why does custom govern the liturgy? Because custom is established by tradition, and the law of tradition is set forth in Sacred Scripture. St. Paul did not make any innovations in the liturgy that he received. I handed over that which I have received.
So the Sacred Scripture establishes the rule of tradition; tradition establishes custom; and therefore the Council of Florence in making its solemn definition applied the principle that custom governs the liturgy when defining that those who are of the Greek Church must use leavened bread and those who are of the Roman Church must use unleavened bread.
Canon 27 of the New Code of Canon Law explains that custom is the best interpreter of the laws. So when we look at liturgical law in the spirit of canonical tradition, that is to say, authentically understand the law as it was meant to be understood, then it must be understood according to that tradition that has established the ecclesiastical and liturgical customs. This is how important custom is in determining the sense, the meaning, of law.
Among the ancient Fathers we have St. John Chrysostom, who says it in one line: Is it tradition? Ask no more.
Among the medieval Doctors we find not too many pronouncements, but what we find is unanimously taught by such as St. Peter Damien and others who insist that you must not change the landmarks. What has been handed down is not to be altered. So much so that even if the Pope should make a change in the universal customs of the Church, he should not be followed. A book dealing specifically with custom, a theological treatise written by the great Pope Innocent III, says if the Pope makes changes in the universal customs of the Church, he is not to be followed.
Now we have so many bishops who insist that priests and faithful adhere to this new Rite of Pope Paul VI because, they claim, that it was decreed by the Pope and therefore, in humble obedience, we must accept it; that were not loyal Catholics if we insist on adhering to the old Rite. But here we have the teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church who insist on adherence to the traditional liturgy in the Church. Here we have one of the greatest Popes explaining that if the Pope should dare to make such changes, he is not to be followed.
And then it goes even further. Cardinal Torquemada was named by Pope Eugenius IV to be the official theologian of the Council of Florence, which upheld the principle that custom governs the liturgy. Cardinal Torquemada explains in quoting Pope Innocent III in that book I just mentioned, that if the Pope should attempt to change the customs of the Church, especially the liturgical Rites, if he were to attempt to change the Churchs liturgical ceremonies, he would commit an act of schism.
A century later, the great Suarez, who was named by Pope Paul V as the most pious and excellent Doctor, explained that if the Pope were to attempt to change the liturgy, he would fall in schism. This is the pontifically approved teaching of the two greatest theologians of their respective centuries. It was acknowledged that what they were teaching indeed is an expression of the mind of the successors of Peter in their Magisterium.
Now this leads us to that day in 1969, November 19. Pope Paul VI, in his Wednesday audience, makes the announcement that there is going to be a change in the liturgy in the Latin Church. Mass is going to be celebrated differently than it has been celebrated before. And he notes how strange this is because of the Mass being considered as the traditional and untouchable expression of our religious cult and our faith.
Evidently Pope Paul VI did not consider that point very deeply. In what manner?, he should have asked. In what manner is the Mass considered to be the traditional and untouchable expression of our religious cult? The answer to that question is that it is the infallible teaching of the Catholic faith that we must embrace and adhere to the traditional Rites of our respective ritual Churches.
One time I spoke with a priest about this question and before I could even get the argument out of my mouth, he said this cant be a matter of faith because the Tridentine Mass, the Roman Rite, didnt even exist at the time of the death of the last apostle. So how can the Tridentine Mass be a matter of divine law? And thats when I said, Ill answer your question. The law of God is expressed in the infallible professions of faith. The Tridentine Profession of Faith binds all Catholics to adhere to the traditional liturgy, the received and approved Rites. Why are they called received and approved? Because they are approved in-so-far as they have been hallowed by tradition, the authoritative handing down of the Rites. They are the very patrimony that we have received down through the ages from apostolic tradition, from the Fathers. We have received our sacred liturgy through the vehicle of tradition. It is not an authentic liturgy if it has not been received through the vehicle of tradition. And that is because the law of God, as it is defined by the Church and explained by St. Paul, is that the liturgy is to be handed over by the vehicle of tradition.
Pope Paul VI, not understanding that this is a matter of divine and Catholic Faith solemnly professed in the Tridentine Profession of Faith, announced that this liturgy was going to be changed. There would be great changes in the liturgy. And how can this be, since the Mass, as Montini himself admitted, is considered to be the untouchable, traditional expression of our religious cult and our faith?
When we speak of the loss of faith we are told about by Our Lady of Fatima in the Third Secret, we can see this point had already been obscured. Since the Protestant Reformation there has been such an emphasis on doctrinal clarity in the refutations of the false doctrines of the Protestants that the Churchs teaching regarding liturgy has been neglected. And being neglected, it was forgotten. And so when the changes were made, they were put into practice by those who, in positions of high authority, had neglected the Churchs teaching in making these changes. And this is why the Third Secret deals with the negligence of the pastors in the upper hierarchy of the Church.
The Promulgation of the New Mass?
Before I get to Vatican IIs Sacrosanctum Concilium, I must point out that if we read very astutely the decree Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI, well see that Pope Paul VI never decreed, he never promulgated, the new Rite of Mass to replace the old Rite. In fact, he never properly promulgated the Mass at all.
In one of my conversations with the late Bishop Salvador Lazo I pointed out, Your Excellency, you must be very astute when you read these documents because they are very tricky. They seem to insinuate and imply one thing, without actually stating it. They have the appearance of decreeing something into law, but if you look very carefully, nothing at all is decreed. Bishop Lazo answered me, but Rome, the Vatican, the heads of the Roman Curia, the dicasteries, theyre our Spiritual Fathers. Our relationship to them is that of filial piety to our Spiritual Fathers. So we did not expect that we needed to read their documents so astutely. And he became very angry because he said they took advantage of our filial piety and they tricked us.
At the end of the sessions of Vatican II, some of the bishops asked the Council Secretary Carinal Pericle Felici for what theologians call the "theological note" of the Council. Cardinal Felici replied, "We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions of the past; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations."
In the Vatican II, so- called, Roman Missal, which does not have the Roman Rite in it but the Rite of Pope Paul VI, you will see at the end of the document that Pope Paul VI very solemnly says what we have decreed will go into force on the following November 30 of next year. Now people read that, as they did more than thirty years ago, What we have decreed is going to have the force of law next November. That means this missal is going to be the law of the Church. This is the missal that we have to use starting next November. That was the impression they wanted to create. But they would not take the responsibility of actually legislating that.
Then you re-read the entire document. Read the whole thing again. What was decreed? What actually did that document decree? What did he so solemnly declare was going to have the force of law in the following November? There are precisely two decrees in that apostolic constitution, Missale Romanum, of Pope Paul VI. He decrees that three new Eucharistic prayers are to be printed in this book. He decrees what are to be the words of consecration that are to appear in all four Eucharistic prayers. That is the only thing that he decrees in that entire document, the so-called Roman Missal. Read it carefully. You will see that there is nothing else decreed in the entire document. A new Rite of Mass is not promulgated in that decree.
Look at Pope Pius Vs Quo Primum Tempore; now that is promulgation. Henceforth, in perpetuity, this missal is to be used by all priests in all churches of the Roman Rite, in all religious houses, and except for those Rites that are more than 200 years old, all other missals are henceforth to be utterly discarded. Now this is what we call legislation. Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI merely presents a book and makes decrees on some new prayers to be printed in the book; there is nothing of a disciplinary nature in it. The new missal is not prescribed to be used, or even permitted to be used, by anyone. There is no authorization whatsoever for the use of that new missal by Pope Paul VI.
Who are subject to the use of this new missal? Not a single word. Who may use this missal? Where may it be used? Not a single word. Thats why we have the very curious arrangement. In the title of the document it says promulgation. We read the text of the document and we see that nothing has been promulgated. Just imagine if the solemn definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven were missing the one key passage where Pope Pius XII says we define, we state, we declare that it is a dogma, a revealed dogma of the Catholic faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the end of Her life was assumed, body and soul, into Heaven. What would be the dogmatic value, the dogmatic force of that document? It would be absolutely worthless. It would not be a definition if it did not have that line. No matter what the title of the document, no matter how many pages of solemn language is in that document, if that one sentence where the actual definition is made does not appear in that document, then the document is null and void. As a definition, its nothing. Its worthless.
Now it pertains to the very nature of a law that a law must be prescriptive in its words. In other words, the law must command, it must impose an obligation on those who are subject to the law. It must be clear who are subject to the law. It must be clear exactly what is being commanded. If these things are not found in a precept, or in a law, then it is simply not a law, because that which constitutes the very essence, the very substance of law, is missing. A law that does not command the subject to do or not to do something is like a definition that does not define. Lex dubia lex nulla. A doubtful law is no law. Lex dubia non obligat, the dubious law does not bind, because a law must clearly give a precept impose a legal obligation on those who are specified as the subjects.
Missale Romanum plainly fails to do this. It is not a law regarding the discipline of the Church. It does not command or authorize anyone to use the missal of Pope Paul VI. And this is why we find a second promulgation. Missale Romanum calls itself a promulgation. Turn the page after you reach the end of the document and you find a promulgation by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship signed by Cardinal Gut, promulgating the new missal after it was just purportedly promulgated by Pope Paul VI in Missale Romanum. Very strange indeed.
It is impossible for a Cardinal Prefect of a Roman congregation, even with authorization from the Pope, to overrule and abrogate the solemn decrees of a Roman Pontiff in an apostolic constitution. Thats clear even from the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It is the embodiment of an ancient legal principle that has been in the Churchs canonical tradition for centuries and centuries: inferior non potest tollere legem superioris.
But the promulgation of Cardinal Gut did not even attempt to suppress the missal of Pope Pius V. It went so far only as to permit the use of the new missal, stating that the bishops are the ones who will be given the authority to say when the new missal may be used. Thats as far as the promulgation of the new missal ever went. It is only a permision. It is to be implemented by the bishops. It is an error, therefore, for anyone to say that the missal of Pope Paul VI was promulgated for the universal Church of the Latin Rite. It simply was not. It was only given that appearance. But the key phrases that would constitute a law, a true promulgation as a law for the universal discipline of the Church, is nowhere to be found in the apostolic constitution Missale Romanum.
Therefore, priests trained by Opus Dei present a baseless argument when they say Well, Father, how can there be defects? How can there be anything wrong with the new Mass since it was promulgated for the Universal Church? Thats an error of fact. It was never promulgated for the whole Church. It is only permitted by way of exception.
Is the new Mass defective? Indeed it is. The Second Vatican Council decreed how the revision of the liturgy must be carried out. I quote the exact words of Sacrosanctum Concilium. It must be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition. The basic principle of tradition in the development of liturgy is a gradual organic growth, like the child who grows up to be an adult. If we cut off the head and transplant the head of someone else on a human being, that would not be a natural organic development. Yet there were wholesale amputations done on the venerable customary liturgy of the Roman Church.
The Council decreed that due care must be taken to preserve the substance of the liturgical Rites. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23. Then the reform was carried out and implemented and the head of the concilium (which was the body constituted by Pope Paul VI to revise the liturgy), Monsignor Bugnini, declares that it is truly a new creation; and his right-hand man, Father Gelineau, says the Roman Rite has been destroyed. It no longer exists.
Id like to know what happened to the due care to preserve the substance of the Rites!
An Ecumenical Liturgy
Another of that gang of liturgical vandals was Father Carlo Braga. The Council decreed that the liturgy must be restored according to the pristine norms of the Holy Fathers. According to the liturgical reformers who created the new Rite, they made their changes with what Father Braga called an ecumenical dimension and now ponder these words, a new foundation of Eucharistic theology. No longer the theology of the Council of Trent, the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas. But a new foundation of Eucharistic theology.
And as we go through them one by one, we see that the changes made in the liturgy reflect exactly those changes undertaken by the Protestant Reformers in the 16th Century. Does it not seem to be more than coincidence that all the changes made in the liturgy were precisely those made by the Protestant Reformers? And whatever was found to be offensive to the Protestants, whatever was most dear to traditional Catholic Eucharistic doctrine and the doctrine of the Holy Mass, was either toned down or removed altogether from the liturgy, so that one of the Protestant observers at Vatican II, who helped and gave advice in making the new liturgy, said that Evangelical Protestants with all tranquility may use this new Rite of Mass. The new foundation of Eucharistic theology is clearly Protestant.
But when we speak of restoration of the liturgy according to the pristine norms of the Holy Fathers, what this means is expressed in the words of Pope Leo XIII, where he explains in Orientalum Dignitas, that the Church allows and makes provision for some innovations in exterior forms, mostly when they are in conformity with the ancient past, which is to say, mostly when those changes are in the nature of a restoration. This is exactly what Pope St. Pius V did. He restored the liturgy according to the norms of the ancient Fathers. This was the expressed will of the Council of Trent according to the custom and the norm of the ancient Fathers. Sacrosanctum Concilium used that almost identical expression according to the pristine norms of the Holy Fathers.
This makes it very clear that it is unlawful to make radical changes in the liturgy that reflect a Protestantized doctrine of the Mass and the sacraments in general, and the Holy Eucharist in particular.
The need to preserve the substance of the liturgical Rites is a matter of faith. As I pointed out, it is in the Tridentine Profession of Faith that Catholics are enjoined to hold onto, to embrace, to receive and admit those Rites which are the received and approved Rites of the Sacred Liturgy used in the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the sacraments.
Sometimes those who would defend the new liturgy will point to some theologian like Tanqueray, or others, who said that the Rites may be changed by no one except the Pope. I must ask the question: Could the Popes have been wrong in their solemn profession for 600 years? The very first act made by a Pope starting with Pope St. Agatho was to make a solemn profession and oath upon his coronation as Roman Pontiff in which he solemnly swore and solemnly professed that he did not have the power and he would not change the discipline and the Rite of the Church. He invokes the wrath of God upon himself if he should dare to change it or allow it to be changed.
Now this does not mean that absolutely nothing can ever be changed in the liturgy? As I pointed out, according to the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, changes that are mainly of a nature of a restoration, can be made. Minor accretions are permitted. And it pertains to the authority of the Pope to restore the liturgy, to preserve the liturgy, as was taught by Pope Pius XI. It is the duty of the Popes to preserve the liturgy and to protect it from adulteration.
For 600 years, that solemn Oath of Profession was made by one Pope after another from the days of St. Agatho until Pope Boniface VIII. It has been explained by various Popes that the Pope has the power to modify the discipline of the Church, to modify it according to the present needs of the Church. But to make modifications is one thing. To make drastic alterations, to abolish it altogether and replace it with something else, is something that the Popes have solemnly professed for 600 years that they do not possess the power to do.
Pope Boniface VIII did not make that oath of coronation because of the political situation at the time. There was the tension between the Pope and King Philip the Fair, of France, who in fact eventually attacked the Popes forces, besieged Pope Boniface VIII, and actually subjected him to physical violence. Pope Boniface VIII did not want to give any appearance of needing the consent or the approval of any secular ruler, so he did not sign the oath of coronation and send it to the reigning monarchs of his day. He judged it to be imprudent. It was not because he disagreed with the oath, that the oath stopped being used, but because the political situation of that historical period necessitated a change of policy.
Nevertheless, this is a doctrine of the Church, and that oath of coronation is a document of the Churchs tradition that the Popes indeed do not have the power to abolish that which is the received and approved Rite and replace it with another. It is defined by the Church, therefore it is the law of God. The customary received Rites must be adhered to. That is the profession of faith. That is why the Council of Trent, Session 7, Canon 13, declared the proposition, If anyone says that the received and approved Rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments can be changed into other new Rites by any Church pastor whosoever, let him be anathema.
It is very clear that this anathema declares that it is a heresy to say that any pastor of the Catholic Church, whosoever has the power to revise the sacred liturgy, the traditional Rites, changing the customary Rites into new Rites.
When the Synod of Pistoia in 1786, proposed the simplification of the liturgy, the use of the vernacular throughout, and the reciting of the Canon of the Mass in a loud voice, Pope Pius VI condemned these propositions. Those reforms proposed at the Synod of Pistoia are precisely the same things that were proposed at the Second Vatican Council.
Now at this point those who, out of a misguided loyalty to the Council, begin to suspect Traditional Catholics of being not entirely orthodox will say But how can you dare question the Second Vatican Council? It is the Pope together with all the bishops issuing these decrees. How can you possibly dissent from that? Youre not being loyal to the Churchs authority. The answer is quite simple. Ive used the expression of Cardinal Ratzinger who spoke of those who turn the Second Vatican Council into a super dogma.
As a matter of fact, the official policy of the Second Vatican Council was quite clearly stated by Archbishop Pericle Felici, who at the time was the General Secretary of the Second Vatican Council. In his capacity as General Secretary, he told the Council Fathers when they asked about the theological weight to use the more precise term the theological note of the Council. He said something that must never be forgotten. We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations. Very clearly, very precisely, the policy position of the Second Vatican Council regarding itself was that those propositions and doctrines which are of a novel character are not being imposed, under any obligation, on the faithful. It is the Council itself which leaves the faithful the right to have reservations, which is to say they dont have to give assent to everything the Council is saying, only to that which has been previously defined. And that is what we must adhere to.
And so we have the right to question some of the reforms of the liturgy that were even called for at the Second Vatican Council. What is most plain to those who still have a Catholic understanding of the Churchs liturgy is that the liturgy may not be ambiguous. It may not suggest heresy. If we look at article 7 of the General Instruction for the New Missal, it defines what is the Holy Mass according to the creators of the New Rite.
Now the liberals will point out That definition was taken out. It was removed. But thats like closing the barn door after the horse has already escaped, because they reformed the liturgy according to this heretical Protestant definition of Mass. And if you look carefully at the various parts of the new Rite of Mass, it suggests the heresy of the Protestants. Im not going to go into that point by point, because theres plenty of literature on that for those who would like to read it.
But what needs to be pointed out is that on two points the new liturgy fails. First, it is not the received customary Rite which the Catholic Faith requires of us. Canon 846 prescribes adherence to those Rites which are our own Rites, which is to say our customary Rites. As Roman Catholics our own Rites are the Roman Rites, not some new concoctions that some bureaucrats in Rome have created and have attempted to impose on us. As Roman Catholics, the Roman Rite belongs to us just as for the Byzantine Catholics, the Byzantine Rite belongs to them. Those cannot be changed because the profession of faith enjoins us to hold on to our traditional, liturgical Rites.
Secondly, the ambiguities and Protestant suggestiveness of the new Rite are well documented, (they were even pointed out by Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bacci during the reign of Pope Paul VI). They show that the new Rite fails to be what Pope Pius XII declared that the liturgy must be: an explicit profession of Catholic Faith. It is the ambiguities, the distortions, the suggestions of heresy in the new Rite of Mass that has brought about what Sister Lucy refers to in connection with the Third Secret of Fatima: the diabolical disorientation in the post- Conciliar Church.
Pope Pius XI declared that the Mass is the most important organ of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church. When liturgy is restored to a clear and unequivocal profession of Catholic Faith, then the faithful will cease living in the clouds of confusion that have been brought about by the failure of their pastors and by negligence of the upper hierarchy to plainly and unequivocally uphold the Catholic Faith. But by spreading confusion, by ambiguities and equivocation, they have brought about what is expressed in the Third Secret of Fatima revealed by no less than the former Bishop of Fatima apostasy, the loss of Faith on entire continents.
Bump to TT.
One need look no further than the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) to see this in action. The very first assault, begin in the '60s, was on the church's 1928 Book of Common Prayer. "The language is ancient and not understood," they said. (Well, yes, Cranmer's exquisite English is not modern American English -- but a lot of Americans didn't seem to have a problem with the King James Bible either.)
So we got trial liturgy after trial liturgy, "Green Books" and "Zebra Books" and so on (named for their covers), all rendered in clunky modern American, and all burying the old 1928 BCP deeper in history.
Many years later these culminated in the new 1979 BCP, all in modern English, with a sop thrown to the traditionalists in "Rite I", which vaguely resembled the Holy Communion service of the 1928 BCP. Not that the 1928 BCP was to be outlawed, mind you -- those who preferred it were told they would be able to continue using it.
For only a while, it turned out.
In the meantime there had been subtler changes going on while the revisers had the hood up. There were those who saw this and pointed it out, but they were relatively few and ignored.
For yours truly, the awakening to this latter reality came with the "consecration" of a divorced (his choice), openly practicing gay man to the bishopric in ECUSA. (Which I had left two decades earlier.) When comparing the services for consecrating bishops, I was stunned to find that although (as expected) he could not have (honestly) been consecrated in the 1928 service, he could be in the 1979!
I am not familiar with the Catholic liturgy --I only know of the debates-- but I would look inspect anything "modern" with a very careful eye.
The Catholic Church is well on its way down that same slippery slope.
Your description of the parrallels between the two situations is good.
In ECUSA, I am aware - as you hinted - that firstly those who wished to continue to use the 1928 BCP were allowed to.......for a while. At least until the day came when a more liberal rector would come along and strong-arm the parish in the 1979 BCP, truning the altar around, etc. It's all the same game!
As to those conmgreagtaions who preferred to use Rite 1 in the 1979 BCP......this was a sham. Rite 1 was NOT intended to be a permanent option. Enough liberal clergy (like our good buddy Melnyck....remember him) have clued folks into this. It was done on purpose to lull more conservative congreagtions into using hte 1979 BCP and discarding the 1928 BCP. Many of these congregations got Rectos (read "change agents")who would maneuver the congregation into position to be persuaded to switch to Rite II......if not under their administration, then under a like minded sucessor.
But most Anglicans - as Romans - were and are good, kind, and devout souls, who trusted their clergy. And were duped - very sadly!
I am very sorry to learn this.
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