by Fr. Paul Leonard, B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div. 


       On July 11, 1988, Pope John Paul, speaking of those 

Catholics who feel attached to the traditional Latin Mass stated 

in his Motu Proprio: "...I wish to manifest my will to 

facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary 


this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those 

engaged in the pastoral ministry of the Church." In this 

statement, the Holy Father has made it clear that Catholics do 

indeed have a right to their traditional rite of Mass, and he 

makes it equally clear that the bishops and pastors must respect 

this right. 


     Cardinal Silvio Oddi further clarified the matter when he 

stated: "It needs to be said that the Mass of St. Pius V has in 

fact never been officially abrogated. Paul VI's motu proprio 

instituting the new mass contained no form of words explicitly 

forbidding the Tridentine rite."1 Bishop Forester, quoted by Fr. 

Brian Houghton, also explained the matter when he wrote : "The 

New Ordo merely a licit exception, a derogation, to the 

previous laws which are still in force."2 What this means is that 


THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Legally the traditional rite remains 

in force as it was mandated by Pope St. Pius V, while the Novus 

Ordo is merely an exception to the rule. 


     Nevertheless, a great number of bishops and other 

ecclesiastics who occupy positions of authority have attempted to 

unlawfully suppress the traditional Roman Rite of Mass. The 

intolerance and injustice which a large segment of the hierarchy 

has demonstrated towards the rightful aspirations of 

traditionally minded Catholics has prompted Cardinal Joseph 

Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of 

the Faith, to call for "an examination of conscience,": "We 

should allow ourselves to ask fundamental questions, about the 

defects in the pastoral life of the Church...", Cardinal 

Ratzinger said.3 


     Certainly there may be many who will ask: "What about 

Vatican II? Didn't the Council decree that there should be a new 

rite of Mass?" The answer to this question is a very emphatic 

NO. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the liturgy of the 

Roman Rite be revised. It did not decree a radical reform or an 

entirely new rite. The Liturgy Constitution, SACROSANCTUM 

CONCILIUM, reads: 


     The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a 

     way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its 

     several parts, as well as the connection between them, 

     may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and 

     active participation by the faithful may be more easily 

     achieved. For this purpose the rites are to be 

     simplified, due care being taken to preserve their 

     substance; elements which, with the passage of time, 

     came to be duplicated, or were added with but little 

     advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements 

     which have suffered injury through accidents of history 

     are now to be restored according to the pristine norm 

     of the holy Fathers, to the extent that they may seem 

     useful or necessary. 4 


     There are some key passages in this text, and elsewhere in 

this conciliar document that must be examined in order to 

determine if the creation of a New Order of Mass and the 

suppression of the traditional rite corresponds to the express 

wishes of the Second Vatican Council, or if it is rather a 

rejection of both that Council and the perpetual teaching and 

tradition of the Church: 


     1)   The rite of the Mass is to be revised...     

               The revision of the ancient Roman Rite is 

          prescribed, there is no mention of a liturgical reform 

          that will sweep away the old rite and replace it with a 

          new one. 

     2)   ...the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several 

          parts...more clearly manifested... 

               The sacred mystery of the altar must be manifested 

          more clearly, it must not be obscured in ambiguities. 

     3)   ...restored according to the pristine norm of the holy 


               Restoration means that the ancient structure and 

          form are to be preserved, and not be replaced with 

          novel inventions. 


     In addition to these there are other passages of this 

document which express the mind of the Council in those matters 

concerning the revision of the liturgy: 


          Finally, in faithful obedience to 

          tradition, the sacred Council declares that 

          Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully 

          recognized rites to be of equal right and 

          dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in 

          the future and to foster them in every way. 

          The Council also desires that, where 

          necessary, the rites be revised carefully in 

          the light of sound tradition, and that they 

          be given new vigor to meet the present-day 

          circumstances and needs. 5 


          In order that sound tradition be 

          retained...there must be no innovations 

          unless the good of the Church genuinely and 

          certainly requires them, and care must be 

          taken that any new forms adopted should in 

          some way grow organically from forms already 

          existing. 6 



          In this restoration both text and rites 

          should be ordered so as to express more clearly 

          the holy things they signify. 7 


Here are the key passages: 


1) faithful obedience to tradition... 

2)   ...all lawfully recognized preserve them in the 

     future and to foster them in every way... 

3)   ...the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound 


4)   ...In order that sound tradition be retained...there must 

     be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely 

     and  certainly requires them... 

5)   ...any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically 

     from forms already existing... 

6)   ...In this restoration both text and rites should be ordered 

     so as to express more clearly the holy things they signify. 


     It is absolutely clear according to the text of SACROSANCTUM 

CONCILIUM, that the traditional rite of Mass of the Roman Church 

is to be preserved and restored, and it must clearly express the 

dogmatic truths that it had previously expressed. The Council 

very clearly did not call for the institution of an entirely new 

rite of Mass, but, not unlike the Council of Trent , it intended 

to revise and preserve the ancient Roman Rite. 


     In 1570 Pope St. Pius V revised and codified the Roman Rite 

of the Mass in the bull QUO PRIMUM. It is important to bear in 

mind that Pope St. Pius V did not institute the Tridentine Mass, 

but he merely restored and codified the immemorial Roman Rite of 

the Mass.  The Council of Trent had no intention to institute a 

new liturgy. "The Council of Trent (1545-1563)," Davies observes, 

"did indeed appoint a commission to examine the Roman Missal, and 

to revise and restore it 'according to the custom and rite of the 

Holy Fathers.' The new Missal was eventually promulgated by Pope 

St. Pius V in 1570 with the Bull QUO PRIMUM." 


     In the Bull QUO PRIMUM, Pius V did not institute a new rite 

of the Mass. Davies demonstrates this by citing eminent 



          ...Father David Knowles, who was Britain's most 

          distinguished Catholic scholar until his death in 1974, 

          pointed out" that: 


          The Missal of 1570 was indeed the result of 

          instructions given at Trent, but it was, in 

          fact, as regards the Ordinary, Canon, Proper 

          of the time and much else a replica of the 

          Roman Missal of 1474, which in its turn 

          repeated in all essentials the practice of 

          the Roman Church of the epoch of Innocent 

          III, which itself derived from the Usage of 

          Gregory the Great and his successors in the 

          seventh century.In short, the Missal of 1570 

          was, in all essentials, the usage of the 

          mainstream of medieval European liturgy which 

          included England and all its rites.8 


     Although the rite continued to develop after the time of St. 

Gregory, Father Fortescue explains that: 


          All later modifications were fitted into the 

          old arrangement, and the most important parts 

          were not touched. From, roughly, the time of 

          St. Gregory we have the text of the Mass, in 

          order and arrangement, as a sacred tradition 

          that no one has ventured to touch except in 

          unimportant details.9 


Fortescue continues: 


          So our Mass goes back without essential 

          change, to the age when it first developed 

          out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still 

          redolent of that liturgy, of the days when 

          Caesar ruled the world ...The final result of 

          our enquiry is that, in spite of unresolved 

          problems, in spite of later changes, there is 

          not in Christendom another rite so venerable 

          as ours. 10 


     Father Louis Bouyer: 


          The Roman Canon, as it is today, [written before 

          Vatican II] goes back to Gregory the Great. There is 

          not, in the East or in the West, a Eucharistic Prayer 

          remaining in use to this day, that can boast of such 

          antiquity. In the eyes not only of  the Orthodox, but 

          of Anglicans and even those Protestants  who have 

          still to some extent, a feeling for tradition. To 

          jettison it would be a rejection of any claim on the 

          part of the Roman Church to represent the true 

          Catholic Church." 


Similarly, Kevin Starr in the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER (15 April 

1978) explains: 


          It took the Latin Church 500 years to 

          evolve a worship service equal to this 

          awesome compelling leap to the Godhead 

          through the Risen Eucharistic Christ. For a 

          Thousand years Catholics prayed this way at 

          Mass. In the 16th century Council of Trent, 

          this 1000 year old Mass was standardized, 

          codified, made the norm of the universal 

          Church. Another 400 years went by - 400 years 

          of dignified compelling worship... 


     In his recent work, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE, Davies makes the 

important observation that: 


          At no time in the history of the Roman 

          Rite was there ever any question of a pope 

          setting up a commission to compose new 

          prayers and ceremonies. The ceremonies 

          evolved almost imperceptibly, and in every 

          case, codification, that is the incorporation 

          of these prayers into the liturgical books, 

          followed upon their development...particular 

          prayers and ceremonies were found in the 

          Missal because they were being used in the 

          Mass, and not vice versa. Professor Owen 

          Chadwick, one of Britain's greatest 

          historians, remarks: "Liturgies are not 

          made, they grow in the devotion of the 

          centuries." 11 


     Precisely what St. Pius V did to the ancient Mass rite of 

the Roman Church is succinctly summed up by Davies: 


     The Bull QUO PRIMUM of St. Pius V: 


1) does not promulgate a new rite but consolidates and 

   codifies the immemorial Roman Rite; 


2) It extends its use throughout the Latin Church, except, 


3) for rites having a continuous usage of over two hundred 



4) and grants an indult to all priests to freely and               

   lawfully use this Missal in perpetuity; 


5) The Bull specifies minutely the persons, times and the 

   places to which its provisions apply; 


6) The obligation is confirmed by express sanctions. 


     Since that time, no Pope has ever himself formally decreed 

the abrogation or obrogation of QUO PRIMUM, and certainly no Pope 

has ever presumed to abolish the traditional Roman Rite of the 

Mass.  From this it should already be clear that any priest of 

the Roman Rite is entitled to celebrate the traditional Mass 

anywhere, at any time, in accordance with liturgical laws...(and) 

the laity are just as much entitled to assist at the traditional 

Mass as priests of the Roman Rite are to celebrate it. 


     The traditional Roman Rite of Mass is the universal and 

perpetual custom of the Church, rooted in Apostolic Tradition. It 

cannot ever be lawfully suppressed. The proposition that the 

established customary ceremonies and rites of the Roman Church 

can be suppressed and replaced by the innovations and inventions 

of bureaucrats is contrary to the doctrine of the Faith. The 

Roman Rite, as we have seen, is the most ancient rite of Mass; 

and, as Jungmann points out, it grew out of the apostolic 

traditions. Concerning the Canon of that rite, the Council of 

Trent declared,  " it is made up from the words of Our Lord from 

apostolic traditions, and from devout instructions of the holy 

pontiffs."  12 


     Very clearly, the ancient Roman Rite of the Mass is not 

something that a Pope instituted or decreed into existence. It 

is the sacred patrimony of the Roman Church, and it cannot be 

lawfully suppressed. St. Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church, 

wrote in his Summa Doctrinae Christianae: "It behooves us 

unanimously and inviolably to observe the ecclesiastical 

traditions, whether codified or simply retained by the customary 

practice of the Church." We see the same teaching set forth by 

St. Peter Damien, also a Doctor of the Church: "It is unlawful to 

alter the established customs of the Church...Remove not the 

ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set." This doctrine is 

the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, and therefore it 

must be believed with divine and Catholic Faith, since it is set 

forth is the Profession of Faith of Pius IV: 


     I most steadfastly admit and embrace Apostolic and 

     Ecclesiastical Traditions and all other observances and 

     institutions of the said Church...I also receive and 

     admit the received and approved ceremonies of the 

     Catholic Church used in the solemn administration of 

     the sacraments.  13 


     When Pope Paul VI approved the Missal for the New Rite of 

Mass, he did not abolish the Traditional Rite. Pope Paul's 

Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum is a very curious 

document. Being an Apostolic Constitution, one would expect it to 

solemnly decree legislation for the purpose of regulating the 

discipline of the universal Church. However, Missale Romanum does 

nothing of that nature.14 It does not establish any norms for the 

use of the new Missal in the churches of the Latin Rite. In 

Missale Romanum, Pope Paul VI did nothing but approve the text 

of the new Missal. In doing so he also decreed the addition of 

three new Eucharistic Prayers into the Missal and establish the 

formulae of consecration to be published in the new Missal. 

Hence, when Pope Paul VI declared: "We wish that these our 

decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in 

the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the 

apostolic constitutions and ordinances issues by our 

Predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving 

particular mention and derogation", he made no ruling over the 

discipline that governs the worship of the Church. Nothing at all 

is prescribed concerning where when, and by  whom this new 

liturgical book must, or even may be used. 


     The use of the new Missal is simply not mandated. It is 

nowhere mandated that this Missal is henceforth to be used in the 

Churches of the Latin Rite by the clergy of that rite. The only 

thing that Missale Romanum mandates is the inclusion of prayers 

and formulae into the book! It derogates the laws that had 

previously proscribed the publication of any new missal, but it 

does not derogate the previous legislation which forbids the use 

of any new missal. 


     Bishop Forester, in Fr. Brian Houghton's book, MITRE AND 

CROOK observes: 


          This has been the most puzzling history of all. 

          May I remind you, Fathers, that we already have two 

          documents of the highest conceivable authority: the 

          Bull QUO PRIMUM and the Constitution SACROSANCTUM 

          CONCILIUM, which are, moreover, in line with each 

          other. What happens next? 


          On April 3rd, 1969, a Papal Constitution entitled 

          Missale Romanum was promulgated purporting to be the 

          law governing the New Order of Mass, as yet 

          unpublished. In this original version it is not a law 

          at all but an explanatory introduction to a permission. 

          Even the word 'Constitutio' is nowhere to be found in 

          the text, merely in the title: 


          1) There is no abrogation of previous legislation and 

          no clause ordering the use of the new rite. 


          2) There is no sentence to show that it is 

          obligatory, let alone exclusive. 


          3) There is no dating clause to show when it should 

          come into effect. 


          This of course did not prevent the powers that be from 

          saying that it was a binding law. to do so they had 

          recourse to a mistranslation. What is so curious is 

          that the mistranslation was common to all languages. I 

          have read it myself in English, French and Italian I am 

          told that it is the same in German and Spanish. How can 

          this possibly come about? How can all these expert 

          translators make the identical mistranslation? Your 

          guess is as good as mine. 


          Here is the sentence, the fourth before the end of 

          the original version, the fifth in the Acta: 


          Ad extremum, ex iis quae hactenus de novo 

          Missale Romano exposuimus quiddam nunc cogere 

          et efficere placet... 


          I have underlined the mistranslated words. "Cogere 

          et efficere" is a well known Ciceronian phrase to be 

          found in most dictionaries. Even if the translators 

          could not be bothered to look it up, it is perfectly 

          clear that "quiddam cogere" breaks down into "agere 

          quiddam con" = to work something together, which is in 

          the context "to sum up." Equally, "quiddam efficere" 

          breaks down into "facere quiddam ex" = to make 

          something out, which is in the context "to draw a 



          And what did all the translators make of it? "In 

          conclusion, We now wish to give the force of law to all 

          We have declared..."; and in French, "Pour terminer, 

          Nous voulons donner force de loi a tout ce que Nous 

          avons expose..."; and in Italian etc. It is strange, my 

          dear Fathers, but such is the truth: "to sum up and 

          draw a conclusion" becomes "to give the force of law." 


          And what did I do about it? Absolutely nothing for 

          the simple reason that I did not bother to read the 

          Latin until two or three years later. Do not judge me 

          too severely. Have you read it? 

          But that is not the end. Worse is to come. The 

          Acta for June, 1969, were published as usual about two 

          months later. When it appeared, a brand new clause had 

          been inserted into the original document as the 

          penultimate paragraph. It reads: Quae Constitutione hac 

          Nostra praescripsimus vigere incipient a XXX proximi 

          mensis Novembris hoc anno, id est a Dominica I 

          Adventus. That is, "What we have ordered by this Our 

          constitution will begin to take effect as from 

          November of this year (1969), that is the first Sunday 

          of Advent." You will notice: 


          1) that for the first and only time the word 

          "Constitutio" appears in the text. 


          2) For the first time, too, a word signifying "to 

          order" is introduced - "praescripsimus." 


          3) For the first time a date is given on which the 

          order is to become effective. This is a permission 

          turned into a law. 


          Actually, there are a couple of snags even about 

          this insertion. The word "praescripsimus" = We have 

          ordered - is not the proper term in Latin, but I shall 

          not bother you with refinements. More important, it is 

          in the wrong tense. Up to this point the legislator has 

          prescribed nothing at all. It is precisely in this 

          clause that he claims to do so. The verb, therefore 

          should be in the present tense: "praescribimus" = "what 

          We are ordering by this our Constitution": not in the 

          past perfect, "what we have prescribed." The only 

          explanation I can think of for this howler is 

          recognition by its author that he is tampering with a 

          pre-existing text. Moreover, the logical conclusion 

          from the use of the wrong tense can scarcely be what 

          its author intended: since nothing was prescribed, 

          nothing is prescribed; and the legislator, to boot, is 

          still prescribing nothing. What a mess! I wonder how 

          long a civil government would last which thus tampered 

          with its own laws? 


          There is a last remark I wish to make about this 

          strange document. It winds up with the usual clause de 

          style: "We wish , moreover, that these decisions and 

          ordinances of ours should be stable and effective now 

          and in the future, notwithstanding - in so far as may 

          be necessary - Constitutions and apostolic regulations 

          published by Our predecessors and all other ordinances, 

          even those requiring special mention and derogation." 


          At long last - indeed it is the last word - there is a 

          "technical" term in the constitution, so we know 

          exactly where we stand: "derogation". The New Ordo is 

          therefore only a permission after all. It is merely a 

          licit exception, a derogation, to the previous laws 

          which are still in force. They have not been 

          abrogated...It is nonsense to claim that the bull Quo 

          Primum has been abrogated. 


     After the publication of Missale Romanum there appeared 

other documents emanating from the Sacred Congregation for Divine 

Worship, all of which seem to implicitly assume as their point 

of departure the legally unfounded notion that the New Missal has 

replaced the Missal promulgated by Pope St. Pius V. Ordo Missae 

specifies the rubrics for the new rite. Ordo Lectionum Missae 

presents the new Lectionary for the new rite. There is an 

Instruction on October 20 1969. None of these documents bears the 

signature of the Pope. They are curial documents. 


     All of the curial legislation that would attempt to nullify 

QUO PRIMUM is deficient, because no office, congregation, or 

commission can validly overrule the solemn decrees of a Supreme 

Pontiff.  Only the Pope possesses the plenitude of power which 

the Lord conferred upon Peter and his successors when He said: "I 

will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And 

whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in 

heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be 

loosed also in Heaven."15 While it is true that the Pope's 

subordinates exercise papal authority when it is delegated to 

them, that delegated authority only exist within defined limits. 

Only the Pope can exercise the full plenitude of power of the 

keys, because Christ conferred that singular prerogative upon his 

vicar alone. The Pope, therefore, cannot validly confer that upon 

anyone, and hence, it is impossible for the officials of the 

Roman Curia to exercise the supreme power of the keys to loose 

what  a previous pope has solemnly declared to be binding in 

perpetuity. This is a power that Christ singularly bestowed upon 

the Roman Pontiff, and therefore cannot be validly delegated to a 

subordinate. This is precisely the juridical deficiency of the 

above mentioned post conciliar curial documents, since there is 

absolutely nothing of a legal nature in the Conciliar decrees 

which presumes or intends to abrogate QUO PRIMUM or to abolish 

the traditional Roman Rite. 


     After the publication of Missale Romanum, someone in the 

Vatican noticed that Pope Paul's promulgation was only an 

approval for the text of the new book, and therefore someone 

decided that the Missal for the New Mass needed to be promulgated 

in such a manner that would authorize the use of the new Missal. 

This is precisely what the bureaucrats did when on March 26, 

1970, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, by order of 

Paul VI "promulgated" the new Missal. It acknowledges the fact 

that Missale Romanum approved texts for the Missal (approbatis 

textibus ad Missale Romanum pertinentibus per Constitutionem 

Apostolicam Missale Romanum). The document allows the immediate 

use of the Latin edition as soon as it is published and concedes 

to the bishops' conferences the authority to establish when the 

vernacular editions may be used. This decree in no way attempted 

to abrogate the old rite, nor did it mandate the use of the new 

rite, but it merely permitted the use of the new Missal. 16 


     Similarly the Sacred Congregation's Instruction of Sept. 5, 

1970 does not presume to impose any obligation that would require 

the use of the New Rite of Mass. It contains no nonobstat, and 

when asked, Paul VI did not refer to this document as imposing 

any obligation to use the New Missal. 


     Just what was the origin of the alleged obligation to use 

the new Missal?  Michael Davies explains that "...Pope Paul VI 

himself stated in his Consistory Allocution of 24 May 1976 that 

'the adoption of the (new) Ordo Missae is certainly not left up 

the free choice of priests or faithful.' This indicates that he 

himself believed the New Mass to be mandatory - but, 

astonishingly, as his authority for this opinion, he cited the 

1971 Instruction and not his own Apostolic Constitution." That 

document was in fact, not even an Instruction but merely a 

Notification. It is impossible for a mere notification made by a 

Roman Congregation to overrule the solemn decree of a Supreme 

Pontiff, and it is absolutely incredible that a Pope could 

believe that curial bureaucrats can establish the liturgical 

discipline of the Roman Church, and that they could do it by 

means of a mere notification! Unfortunately, that is what Pope 

Paul believed, but that was only his personal opinion which he 

never expressed in any formal and legally binding decree. 


     Some have had recourse to the law governing immemorial 

customs in order to adhere to the traditional rite without being 

persecuted by various ecclesiastical authorities. The Sacred 

Congregation for Divine Worship, however, has demonstrated that 

it has no respect for Canon Law when the law interferes with 

their agenda. According to both the old and the new codes of 

Canon Law, an immemorial custom cannot be abrogated except by 

explicit mention in the new legislation, and no post conciliar 

legislation has ever presumed to abrogate the immemorial custom 

of the venerable Roman Rite. That unfortunately did not prevent 

the Sacred Congregation from issuing a ruling on 28 October 1974 

which denied that the Tridentine Mass could be celebrated under 

"any pretext of custom, even immemorial custom." Unabashedly and 

in dictatorial strongman fashion, the bureaucrats of the Roman 

Curia seem to be saying: "To Hell with the Law, you must obey us 

even if we are outside the Law." 


     Davies summed up well the legal quandary of the Curia when 

he wrote: 


          The problem faced by the Vatican as a 

          result of the widespread support for the 

          Tridentine Mass was that it had condoned its 

          almost universal suppression without giving 

          formal and binding legal sanction to this 

          suppression; and, furthermore, this illegal 

          suppression has been given support in 

          documents emanating from the Sacred 

          Congregation for Divine Worship. 17 


     All of the new legislation enacted by Paul VI only derogates 

the previous legislation which would have prohibited the new 

rite,18 but nowhere does any of Paul VI's legislation ever 

presume to abrogate, obrogate 19 or in any manner abolish the 

provisions of QUO PRIMUM which explicitly "give and grant in 

perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any Church 

whatsoever this Missal (the Tridentine Missal) may be followed 

absolutely, without any scruple of conscience, or fear of 

incurring any penalty, judgement or censure, and may be freely 

and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, 

chaplains and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever 

order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate 

Mass otherwise than enjoined by us." Hence, any prelate, be he 

bishop or cardinal or whatever, who attempts to forbid the 

celebration of the Traditional Mass is entirely outside the law. 

In fact, if any ordinary presumes to forbid the traditional Latin 

Mass, he thereby refuses submission to formally enacted papal 

legislation which remains in force, and therefore that bishop 

falls into schism.20 


     The indult granted by Pope John Paul II in 1984 in no way 

abolishes the traditional Mass. First of all, the document does 

not mandate the use of the new Missal nor suppress the old rite. 

It is only a permission: The indult permits the use of the old 

Missal under certain circumstances, but there is no law that 

prohibits its use when those conditions are not present. 


     It is very important to bear in mind that a priest is bound 

in conscience under pain of mortal sin to obey the solemn 

decrees whereby the Pope governs the liturgical discipline of the 

universal Church. Pope Paul VI only approved the text of the new 

Missal, and therefore, in accordance with Canon 18 of the new 

Code of Canon Law (Canon 19 in the old Code), the derogations 

mentioned in the nonobstat clause of Missale Romanum refer only 

to previous legislation that proscribed the publication of any 

new Missal, but it did not derogate or in any way nullify the 

solemnly decreed papal legislation that prohibits the use of a 

new rite of Mass. That legislation, which forbids the use of any 

new rite  remains in force to this day.  


     The traditional Roman Rite of Mass grew out of the worship 

of the entire Church, and was then legally codified after the 

development had already reached its term. The Tridentine Mass 

was truly and fully a profession of the faith of the Catholic 

Church. As Jungmann observes, "The entire teaching of the Church 

is contained in the liturgy".(Handing on the Faith) 


     The New Mass, on the other hand, did not spring forth from 

the living worship of the Catholic Church, but was drawn up by a 

commission of bureaucrats. It is not an explicit profession of 

faith as was the old rite, but rather it clearly reflects the 

mind-set of that relatively small group of bureaucrats and 

experts. The New Mass has, as Davies points out, "in many points 

every possibility of satisfying the most modernistic of 

Protestants." This was also the opinion of Cardinals Ottaviani 

and Bacci, who presented to Pope Paul VI the Critical Study on 

the New Order of Mass which states: "...the Novus Ordo Missae-- 

considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing 

evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted-- 

represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from 

the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in 

Session XXII of the Council of Trent..." 


     The bureaucrats have mesmerized a considerable portion of 

the bishops, many of whom believe that the New Mass is the fruit 

of the liturgical reform decreed by the Council. We have seen, as 

Davies points out, "the Liturgy Constitution ordering that all 

rights shall be preserved and fostered...authorizing a revision 

of the Roman Rite (but)...the New Mass is not an act of 

obedience to a decision of Vatican II, it is a calculated 

rejection of the Liturgy Constitution of that Council." 21 


     SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM stated that "the liturgy is made up  

of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements 

subject to change."22 The Council, however, did not make any 

declaration regarding what changes would be licit. Nevertheless, 

there is a body of Catholic teaching regarding what may lawfully 

be done to the liturgy which, unfortunately seems to have been 

largely forgotten by the vast majority of Catholics, laity and 

hierarchy alike. 


     Changes in the liturgy, throughout the history of the 

Church, have been the result of a gradual development that took 

place during the course of the centuries. This is what Canon 

Smith explained in THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, where he 

says "...throughout the history of the development of the 

sacramental liturgy, the tendency has been towards growth- 

additions and accretions, the effort to obtain a fuller more 

perfect symbolism."23 "This", Davies points out, "was a key point 

in the Catholic Bishops' vindication of APOSTOLICAE CURAE": 


          That in earlier times local Churches were 

          permitted to add new prayers and ceremonies 

          is acknowledged...But that they were also 

          permitted to subtract prayers and ceremonies 

          in previous use, and even to remodel the 

          existing rites in a most drastic manner, is a 

          proposition for which we know of no 

          historical foundation, and which appears to 

          us as absolutely incredible. 24 


     Pope Leo XIII explained in his Constitution Orientalium 

Dignitas, that the Church "allows and makes provision for some 

innovations in exterior forms, mostly when they are in conformity 

with the ancient past." So, Pope Leo explained, that some 

innovations can be made, but these are mostly changes that 

restore the rite. Pope Pius XI summed up well what has always 

been the mind of the Church down through the ages when he, in 

Divini Cultus stated: 


     No wonder then, that the Roman Pontiffs have been so 

     solicitous to safeguard and protect the liturgy. They 

     have used the same care in making laws for the 

     regulation of the liturgy, in preserving it from 

     adulteration, as they have in giving accurate 

     expression to the dogmas of the faith. 


     It is not sufficient that a liturgy merely be free from any 

explicit error in  order to be licit. The liturgy is not only an 

expression of worship, but it is also a profession of faith, and 

as such it must give clear expression to the doctrine of the 

faith. Pope Pius XII, in his Encyclical Mediator Dei (1947), 



     In the liturgy we make explicit profession of our 

     Catholic faith;...the whole liturgy contains the 

     Catholic faith, inasmuch as it is a public profession 

     of the faith of the Church...This is the origin of the 

     well known and time-honored principle: 'the norm of 

     prayer establishes the norm of belief'. 


     Pius XI also issued statements of a similar nature: "It (the 

Mass) is the most important organ of the Ordinary and Universal 

Magisterium of the Church"25 ; and in his Encyclical "Quas 

Primas" 1925, the same Pontiff explained that "people are 

instructed in the truths of the faith and brought to appreciate 

the inner joys of religion far more effectively by the 

...celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any pronouncement, 

however weighty, made by the teaching of the Church." Three years 

later the same Pope elaborated this point more fully in the 

Apostolic Constitution Divini Cultus (1928): 


     There exists, therefore, a close relationship between 

     dogma and the sacred liturgy, as also between the 

     Christian cult and the sanctification of the people. 

     This is why Pope Celestine I thought that the rule of 

     faith is expressed in the ancient liturgical 

     formulations; he said that 'the norm of prayer 

     establishes the norm of belief'. 


     It may be objected that the New Rite of Mass is only a 

revision of the immemorial Roman Rite. This is quite simply not 

true. The author of the New Mass was Annibale Bugnini and the 

bureaucrats who worked under him. Concerning the New Rite, 

Bugnini himself said: "It is not simply a question of restoring a 

valuable masterpiece but in some cases it will be necessary to 

provide new structures for entire will be a truly new 



     Likewise Joseph Gelineau S.J. :  "Let them compare it with 

the Mass we now have. Not only the words, the melodies and some 

of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a 

different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be  said without 

ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no  longer exists. It has 

been destroyed. Some walls of the former edifice have fallen 

while others have changed their appearance, to the extent that it 

appears today either as a ruin or the partial substructure of a 

different building" 


     For those who are not familiar with the name of Joseph 

Gelineau, Michael Davies provides the following information: 


          Father Gelineau was present at the Council as a    

     liturgical expert. He performed the same function after  

          the Council for the CONSILIUM, the commission set up to 

          implement the Constitution." 


     It is a matter beyond any reasonable dispute that the Novus 

Ordo Missae is a new rite of Mass, as different from the Roman 

Rite as the Roman Rite is different from the Byzantine Rite. The 

authors of the New Rite have explicitly stated this. What further 

need have we of proof when they themselves admit so much, and are 

therefore judged by the words of their own mouths? 


     In a well known quotation, Paul VI lamented the fact that 

the Church seemed to be undergoing its own self demolition. He 

was not alone in giving expression to this belief. Valerian 

Cardinal Gracias made the same observation when he said that "The 

Church is being threatened by a real disintegration which is 

taking place within..." The Modernist Apostasy has been greatly 

aided in the nurturing of this process by the replacement of the 

traditional liturgy by the New Mass. The Council of Trent, as the 

Critical Study on the New Mass presented to Paul VI by Cardinals 

Ottaviani and Bacci explains, "by fixing definitively the 

"canons" of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against 

any heresy which might attack the integrity of the mystery." In 

the post-conciliar Church, that barrier has been torn down, and 

with it has been demolished the most powerful bulwark of defense 

against the Modernist Heresy, the most deadly enemy our Faith 

has ever faced.  27 28 


     This article has been written in response to Cardinal 

Ratzinger's call for an examination of conscience. I would 

therefore like to conclude this essay with a portion of a page 

from Davies which presents Cardinal Ratzinger's own observation 

about the present state of the Church: 


     How could it be that a Council which was intended 

     to inaugurate an era of renewal was, in fact, followed 

     by a period of what Cardinal Gracias described only 

     too accurately as "a real disintegration"? That this is 

     indeed the case was observed by the outstanding French 

     theologian and liturgist, Father Louis Bouyer, who was 

     an expert adviser at the Council. "Unless we are 

     blind," he remarked, "we must even state bluntly that 

     what we see looks less like the hoped-for regeneration 

     of Catholicism than its accelerated decomposition."29 

     There are, of course, many in the Church today who 

     prefer not to face up to the reality of what is taking 

     place by closing their eyes. Many bishops, alas, are 

     numbered among them. In 1985, an Extraordinary Synod 

     took place in Rome...In many cases...the bishops 

     claimed that the hoped for renewal had indeed taken 

     place, and that the Church was flourishing as never 

     before; and they said this despite the fact that every 

     available piece of statistically verifiable evidence 

     pointed to the opposite conclusion. There was 

     considerable animosity manifested by European bishops 

     toward Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the 

     Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had 

     admitted frankly that "it is incontrovertible that this 

     period has definitely been unfavourable for the 

     Catholic Church." 30 








1- Silvio Cardinal Oddi, Camerlengo of the Sacred College, made 

this statement to Michael de Jaeghere in an interview published 

in the first week of August 1988 in Valeurs Actuelles. 


2- This quotation appeared in Fr. Byron Houghton's book, MITRE 

AND CROOK, and is reproduced at length below. 


3- Address of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops of Chile, July 

13, 1988; Santiago, Chile. Published in Italian in the July 30 

- Aug. 5 edition of Il Sabato, and in English by The Wanderer, 

Sept. 8, 1988. 




5- ibid., par. 4. 


6- ibid., par. 23. 


7- ibid., par. 21. 


8- cf. Davies, THE TRIDENTINE MASS, p. 21; The Tablet, 24 July, 

1971, p.724. 


9- Fr. Adrian Fortescue, THE MASS, London, 1917, p. 173. 


10- ibid., p.213. 


11- Davies, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE; Long Prairie, 1987, p. 14. 


12- D 942. 


13- A MANUAL OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas 

Scannell, Kegan Paul:London, 1909. 


14- It must be recalled that it pertains to the very essence of 

the law that it: 


     1) Must be preceptive in its wording if it is going to 

        make something obligatory. 

     2) It must specify who are the subjects of the law, and it 

        must specify where and when the law will be in force. 


     3) The law must be publicly promulgated in the manner 

        specified by law, by the competent authority. 


     It is manifestly evident from the above considerations that 

Pope Paul's Missale Romanum did not make the new Mass obligatory. 


15- Mt. 16:19. 


16- This raises the important legal question regarding the  

validity of the authorization for the use of the new Missal.  

Pope Paul VI only approved the text for the new Missal, but he 

himself never formally authorized its use, nor did he derogate 

those provisions of QUO PRIMUM which explicitly proscribe the 

use of any missal other than the Tridentine Missal. Now only  

the Pope himself is juridically competent to validly enact such 

legislation whose validity requires the exercise of the full  

plenitude of the power of the keys, and consequently the use of 

the new Missal of Paul VI remains legally irregular to this day. 



1982, p.35. 


18- From a strict legal viewpoint which Canon Law requires in 

such matters (can. 18), it can be seen that Pope Paul VI only 

derogated those provisions which prohibited the publication of 

any new missal; but since Missale Romanum nowhere authorizes  

the use of the new Missal, none of its nonobstat provisions has 

derogated the decrees which prohibit the use of any missal  

other than the Tridentine Missal. 


19- Legislation that abrogates explicitly abolishes previous  

legislation, whereas legislation that obrogates replaces what 

was there before it. Legislation that derogates leaves the  

previous legislation in force while nullifying some of its  

provisions. No Pope has abolished QUO PRIMUM, and therefore it 

is not abrogated; no Pope has formally mandated the use of the 

new Missal by a legislative decree, therefore QUO PRIMUM is not  



20- cf. Can. 751.  N.B.It is the teaching of both Suarez and  

Cardinal Torquemada that by the attempt to suppress the  

traditional liturgy of the Church, one falls into schism. 


     Cardinal Juan de Torquemada O.P., 1388-1468; Commentarii in 

Decretum Gratiani (1519), and Summa de Ecclesia (1489): 


          In this way, the Pope could, without doubt, fall into 

          Schism...Especially is this true with regard to the   

          divine liturgy, as for example, if he did not wish  

          personally to follow the universal customs and rites of 

          the Church....  Thus it is that Innocent states (De  

          Consuetudine) that, it is necessary to obey a Pope in  

          all things as long as he does not himself go against  

          the universal customs of the Church, but should he go  

          against the universal customs of the Church, he need  

          not be followed...." 


     Francisco Suarez S.J., 1548-1617, called by Pope Paul V 

"Doctor Eximius et Pius" (Excellent and Pius Doctor), usually 

considered the greatest theologian of the Society of Jesus: 


          A Pope "falls into Schism if he departs himself from  

          the body of the Church by refusing to be in communion  

          with her.... The Pope can become a schismatic in this 

          manner if he does not wish to be in proper communion  

          with the body of the Church, a situation which 

          would arise if he tried to excommunicate the entire  

          Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if  

          he wished to change all the ecclesiastical ceremonies,  

          founded as they are on Apostolic Tradition." 


21- Davies, POPE PAUL'S NEW MASS, p.351:  "The new Eucharistic 

Prayers, those introduced in 1968, and all those which have  

followed since, were not required for the good of the Church  

and certainly did not grow organically from forms already  

existing within the Catholic Church. They thus constitute an  

act of disobedience to the Council and corroborate Father  

Bouyer's claim that there is formal opposition between the    

liturgy we have and what the Council worked out."  (Louis  

Bouyer, THE DECOMPOSITION OF CATHOLICISM, London, 1970, p.99.) 





p. 1056. 



pp. 42-43. 


25- Rev.Greg. 1937, p. 79. 


26- La Documentation Catholique, no. 1493, 7 May 1967. 


27- Cf. POPE PAUL'S NEW MASS, p.78., Demain la Liturgie,  

Paris, 1977, p.10 


28- Our Lady of La Salette revealed to Melanie that Rome would 

lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist, but 

first, according to Sacred Scripture, an obstacle must be 

removed from out of the way:  "And now you know what 

withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time." (2 Thess.  

2:6).  The traditional Roman Rite was a barrier against all 

heresy, but is no longer an obstacle to the modernist and other 

heretics who have taken liberties with the new Mass. The  

promoters of the Modernist Apostasy have thus far been able to 

act in contempt of the Pope's authority, and this seems to  

usher in what may eventually be the fulfillment of the  

following verse:  "For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; 

only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of 

the way" (2 Thess. 2:7). 


29- Father Cornelio Fabro, one of the most respected scholars in 

the Catholic world has stated in his Problematica della  

Teologia Contemporanea that the present crisis of the Church is 

mord serious than any crisis in all the past history of the  



30- Louis Bouyer, op. cit., p.1. 


31- Davies, THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE, p.22.  Ratzinger: 

L'Osservatore Romano (English Edition), 24 Dec. 1984.