Rorate Caeli

Freedom for the Traditional Latin Mass

The rumors regarding this have been steadily growing all week. Since Sunday, we have increasingly heard that something was imminent. Yesterday, ACIPrensa published in Spanish that the Holy Father would grant freedom to the Traditional Latin Mass. And today, our dear friends at the extremely trustworthy Archivum have published that His Holiness actually signed yesterday the papal act granting (or recognizing) this freedom (Archivum reminds its readers that this has always been one of the negotiating conditions for the Society of Saint Pius X).

We had been shy to report this (which is why we suggested the "grain of salt") because some extremely important details, regarding the exact nature of the act itself and of the amplitude given (or recognized) to priests, are still missing. When we have the details (and when we can confirm the date of signing), we will post them as soon as possible.

P.S. We are still somewhat doubtful -- not because we do not trust these sources, but because this optimism seems familiar to us and may lead to disappointment. We really need to see this published... Let us pray, let us pray!

How liberals see the Truth: backwards

John Allen's "Word from Rome":

The pope has also shown caution about moving forward with swift reconciliation with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, the grouped founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, in part because of concerns among bishops about the group's attitude toward the teaching of the Vatican on religious freedom, ecumenism, and inter-religious dialogue. Those concerns were most recently voiced during the meeting of the cardinals last week.
The pope has shown "caution" about a "swift" reconciliation? Was it really the Pope? Do you believe Pope Ratzinger had not already heard for two decades all these "concerns"? Is any of this truly new to him?

The Pope has acted as a clear strategist, as he had set out to act. Period. Since we despise misinformation here at Rorate Cæli, we must warn our readers that much of what they read should be read with a pinch of skepticism.

Universal "indult" for the Traditional Missal?

We translate below the relevant portions of the ACIPrensa [Catholic News Agency - Alejandro Bermúdez] report. It should be read with a (huge) grain of salt...

VATICAN - March 30, 2006 (ACI) - The Missal of Saint Pius V, which the Catholic Church used up to 1962 and which was replaced by the "Novus Ordo" (New Order) liturgy approved as a consequence of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, could be approved for universal use, according to sources close to the Vatican.

The decision, regarding which Pope Benedict XVI consulted with the cardinals and with the heads of the Vatican dicasteries, could be announced after the April 7 meeting of the Pontiff with the "capidicasterio" [Heads of dicasteries].
The universal approval would mean that the old rite Mass may be freely celebrated throughout the world by the priests who wish to do so.

The measure is not directly related to the problem of the Lefebvrist schism, for, as a theologian, the Pontiff always expressed his wish to recover this liturgy.

The anguish of a Traditional priest

Q. Many Catholics believe that many self-styled traditional Catholic laymen and priestly fraternities do not pay proper reverence, respect, and obedience to the Pope. Your Fraternity was founded by a sitting Pope, and has a specific unavoidable attachment to St. Peter in your actual name. How do you react to those who accuse traditional Catholics of lacking respect for the Pope?

Fr. Gabet: We had all the benefits of Pope John Paul II and his 25 years. I was in Rome at his 25th anniversary, and was blessed to be able to offer the Traditional Latin Mass on top of the altar of where Pope St. Pius X is entombed in St. Peter's Basilica. It was really such an honor.

Our tour guide really didn't have the permission. The night before, he mentioned that [it was going to be at St. Pius' tomb], and I asked him, "Do they know it is going to be the Latin Mass?" Because I had heard that with a certain cardinal who had been the prefect there — he just would not allow it at all [in St. Peter's]. And so, the tour guide turned to me and said, "What's the difference?" I tossed and turned all night.

[I'm thinking,] we are going to go into St. Peter's Basilica. They are going to kick us out. And I can't say I've been kicked out of better places. But we went in there after beseeching the Blessed Mother all night and praying before with the group I was with — it was the Fraternity of St. Peter's 15th anniversary.

We went in there and the priest came up to us and he looked at my missal, and he said, "This is not Paul VI. This is not Paul VI." And this is my brand new missal, with gilded edges and everything! My mom and dad had just bought it for me because my birthday was around that same time.

So this priest takes my missal and walks off with it. So I thought, "Not only am I going to be kicked out of St. Peter's but I've lost my 1962 missal!" Sergio was our Roman guide there, and I said, "Sergio, what is going on?"

And Sergio looked at me and said, " doesn't look good, Father. He said he says he has to get you a special altar."

"Oh! Okay!" [I thought]. Then, they took me down the nave, and I thought we were going to be down in the crypt. So I was looking and when we passed by those doors with the columns on either side, and we passed by the main altar there, and the baldachin, and by the two side doors, I began thinking, "Is there another door to the crypt? Where are we going?" And we just kept on heading to the front door.

And my thoughts again were, "I'm going to get kicked out." But right before we got the door, he turned right, and went right over to the altar where Pope St. Pius X is lying in state.

It was just unbelievable! My heart just stopped! It was great!

It all ended well, but is it not a pity to read about poor Father Gabet's anguish, his fear that he would not be able to say Holy Mass, the Mass of Rome itself, next to the tomb of Saint Peter? It is as if Traditional Catholics were "lepers" (not my word...). More of Brian Mershon's interview with influential Traditional priests here.

Quando uberior vitiorum copia?

"When were vices more rampant?", asked Juvenal 1900 years ago, as the faith of the Nazarenes struggled to survive under persecution in a world gone mad. Juvenal lamented the fall of the strong, harsh, Latin spirit of old, mollified by wealth and moral decay such as had never been seen before.

This year, the coincidences between the calendar and the Proper of Time were very interesting: the week which led to Laetare Sunday was filled with joyous Christmas spirit, from Saint Joseph to Lady Day. The last, most solemn part of Lent, Passiontide, begins next Sunday. The first week of Passiontide will coincide with that Traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, the First Thursday and First Friday, a wonderful opportunity to prepare one's spirit to the following week, the holiest of weeks -- and to meditate on our own disgraceful responsibility for the vices of our age, when the Christian Latin spirit which created and strengthened the West for so long has deteriorated beyond recognition.

The Holy Father today reminded European politicians of the unwaivering principles which must guide public life:

Among these the following emerge clearly today:

- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

Is it possible, however, that the words of Mother Church will be heard when she has become a den of discordant bureaucracies? The Church of Rome is a moral beacon, but will a Church living her own passion be heard by a continent in "silent apostasy" (Ecclesia in Europa, 9)? First, some problems have to be fixed, problems which are inside the Church, problems mentioned by His Holiness in those very stern words the then-Cardinal pronounced on March 25, 2005, Good Friday:

We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart.

The spirit of the Third Reich resurrects in the Netherlands

Dr. Eduard Verhagen, butcher of Groningen: where is his Nuremberg?

With the death of its favorite culprit, the (former?) Communist Slobodan Milosevic, the ex post facto court for Yugoslavia in The Hague once again displays the irrelevance of the United Nations -- which is, nonetheless VERY relevant in its attempts to impose abortion and other "rights" on unwilling countries. One should not fall for this false Manichaeism - are there innocent and guilty sides in the Balkanic Wars of the 1990s? Then, which one of them has destroyed most churches and has accomplished to eradicate Christianity in Kosovo since 1999?

Were there crimes against humanity committed in the Balkans? Probably, by all sides, but is the UN, the main abortion-promoter in the world, in any position of moral superiority to judge that? For Heaven's sake, there are handicapped babies being euthanized at the present time in the Netherlands, a few dozens of miles away from this useless Court!

Where is the United Nations' court which is ready to judge Dr. Eduard Verhagen, the main author of the Groningen Protocols, ready to "terminate" the life of any baby and child not "fit to live"? Where is the new Nuremberg Court to judge the government of Christian(!!!)-Democrat Prime-Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, ready to make the Groningen Protocols for the euthanasia of children normative throughout the Netherlands? Thank God that there is at least one reasonable politician left in Europe, Carlo Giovanardi, Italian minister for Parliamentary affairs, warning the putrefied continent that the Dutch baby euthanasia protocol is the resurrection of the Nazi spirit and thought.

Journalists are not canon lawyers - Fellay speaks once again

When we presented Andrea Tornielli's article in Il Giornale, in which he mentioned a project for a "prelature", we immediately remarked:

We do not know exactly who was Tornielli's source, but we believe that the canonical structure of the "Prelature" (or, in this case, the "Personal prelature") is not exactly what the decision-makers have in mind.
After receiving a couple of e-mail messages regarding this, we wish to add a few obscure comments. Sometimes, we cannot be too clear -- and Father Gabet's warning in his interview to Brian Mershon holds true: "Those who really know, don't say anything; and those who say, don't really know". Andrea Tornielli is not a canon lawyer, so he used the word which was forwarded to him.

In the second report, published by La Stampa the same day, the picture of the possible plans of Cardinals Castrillón and Herranz was much clearer and consistent. We knew then as we know now and as we mentioned a long time ago that a personal prelature was not, to our knowledge, seriously considered in the Sacred Halls.

Now, though the Pope is not a dictator and the Code of Canon Law (CIC) binds him, unless he first changes it (or establishes a particular canonical structure for a concrete end), it is obvious that he can enact specific measures which make use of familiar names without the restrictions those names entail -- there are several advantages, as many legislators know, of using familiar names with modified concepts... (sometimes, it is the best way of getting measures through...).


The FSSPX/SSPX official news agency, DICI, has released today an interview with Bishop Fellay, in French. The bishop insists that there must first be a period of experimentation and doctrinal discussion (he declares that, at this time, a "doctrinal discussion is not possible", along the lines of the Matt-Vennari February statement) and that a "canonical solution" will come only at the end (if it comes at all -- "only on the Greek calends?", the interviewer asks, and Fellay does not deny).

In a sense, it is the same argument presented to Cardinal Castrillón almost two years ago, in the very revealing letter bishop Fellay sent him. We believe most answers to those who are curious about what may happen to the SSPX are contained in this 2004 letter. [DICI's official translation of this interview will probably be released in the next few days.]

P.S. I will also be away for the next few days. Have a nice week.

Lætare, Ierusalem

conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum lætitia, quia in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ. Ps. Lætatus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus.

[Gospel for the Sunday: St. John, vi, 1-15] v. 15: "Jesus therefore, when He knew that they would come to take Him by force and make Him king, fled again into the mountain, Himself alone."

Wonderful! How great is the tyranny of gluttony, how great the fickleness of men's minds! No longer do they vindicate the Law, no longer do they care for the violation of the Sabbath, no longer are they zealous for God; all such considerations are thrown aside, when their bellies have been filled; He was a prophet in their eyes, and they were about to choose Him for a king. But Christ fleeth. "Wherefore?" To teach us to despise worldly dignities, and to show us that He needed nothing on earth. For He who chose all things mean, both mother and house and city and nurture and attire would not afterwards be made illustrious by things on earth. The things which He had from heaven were glorious and great, angels, a star, His Father loudly speaking, the Spirit testifying, and Prophets proclaiming Him from afar; those on earth were all mean, that thus His power might the more appear.

He came also to teach us to despise the things of the world, and not be amazed or astonished by the splendors of this life, but to laugh them all to scorn, and to desire those which are to come. For he who admires things which are here, will not admire those in the heavens. Wherefore also He saith to Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world" (c. xviii, 36), that He may not afterwards appear to have employed mere human terror or dominion for the purpose of persuasion. Why then saith the Prophet, "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass"(Zach, ix, 9)? He spoke of that Kingdom which is in the heavens, but not of this on earth; and on this account Christ saith, "I receive not honor from men." (v. 41).

Learn we then, beloved, to despise and not to desire the honor which is from meal for we have been honored with the greatest of honors, compared with which that other is verily insult, ridicule, and mockery. And as the riches of this world compared with the riches of that are poverty, as this life apart from that is deadness, (for "let the dead bury their dead"-St.Matthew, viii, 28) so this honor compared with that is shame and ridicule.

Saint John Chrysostom omnibus caritas

The concluding words of the Supreme Pontiff's homily today, which should be deeply meditated and taken to heart by all who love and seek to restore the faith and traditions of our Holy Church:

'Everything in this world will pass away. In eternity only Love will remain. For this reason, my Brothers, taking the opportunity offered by this favourable time of Lent, let us commit ourselves to ensure that everything in our personal lives, and in the ecclesial activity in which we are engaged, is inspired by charity and leads to charity. In this respect too, we are enlightened by the mystery that we are celebrating today. Indeed, the first thing that Mary did after receiving the Angel’s message was to go "in haste" to the house of her cousin Elizabeth in order to be of service to her (cf. Lk 1:39). The Virgin’s initiative was one of genuine charity, it was humble and courageous, motivated by faith in God’s word and the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit. Those who love forget about themselves and place themselves at the service of their neighbour. Here we have the image and model of the Church! Every ecclesial community, like the Mother of Christ, is called to accept with total generosity the mystery of God who comes to dwell within her and guides her steps in the ways of love. This is the path along which I chose to launch my pontificate, inviting everyone, with my first Encyclical, to build up the Church in charity as a "community of love" (cf. Deus Caritas Est, Part II). In pursuing this objective, venerable Brother Cardinals, your spiritual closeness and active assistance is a great support and comfort to me. For this I thank you, and at the same time I invite all of you, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful, to join together in invoking the Holy Spirit, praying that the College of Cardinals may be ever more ardent in pastoral charity, so as to help the whole Church to radiate Christ’s love in the world, to the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen!'

Indeed, let us pray for them.

The Liturgical Stake

I was invited in Naples, Florida, this past week by a group of Una Voce, in order to give some lectures. I spoke about the Liturgy. Here is the first lecture I gave, about the history of liturgical deviations.

God bless you and give us the strenght and the courage to persevere in our battle for the restoration of a true Catholic Liturgy in the Church!

Father Laurent Demets, FSSP

Introduction – Historical overview

The liturgical question is at the core of the current crisis in the Church. The XX century was the century of the liturgical movement. Paradoxically, it was also the century that brought a great many errors and abuses in liturgical matters. But let us not limit this liturgical problem to the only XX century. The History of the Church shows us that this is not the first liturgical crisis we have struggled through. The Church and the faithful didn’t wait for the XX century to take an interest in liturgy. As a matter of fact, the entire History of the Church, back to the very beginning is marked by liturgical questions. And this is perfectly understandable since liturgy is the expression of the faith of the Church and it involves men, who, by our very nature are imperfect.

With the help of Dom Gueranger, I am going to give you a quick overview of the liturgical errors of the past. I will preface by telling you that I am going to speak only about the Roman liturgy, even though the study and the history of other liturgies is very interested. Unfortunately we don’t have time to consider them. In addition to our time limits, I am not the best one to speak on the topic of the liturgies of other rites, since they are not my 'specialty' like the Roman Rite is.

· Early Church to Middle Ages

In the earliest years of the Church, heretics attacked the liturgy, in order to change the Faith. Paul of Samosata, Arius and then the Donatists changed the liturgy of the Church in order to teach their own doctrine. They composed their own hymns and even their own psalms in order to corrupt the Faith by their false prayers as Dom Gueranger says.
Then we have a period of few centuries during which the Liturgy further develops. It is not my purpose to speak about that today, but let us say that the Roman liturgy and the Gallican liturgy merged together into one with a pre-eminence of the Roman liturgy. The unification of the Empire under the reign of Charlemagne helped a lot. The Roman liturgy finally became predominant throughout all Europe.
The XIV and XV centuries knew a certain adulteration, especially in the area of chant. Novelties in the way of singing appeared and Pope John XXII had to intervene with his bull “Docta Sanctorum” in 1322.

· Renaissance

Then came the Humanist period, which provoked some unfortunate attempts at reform. The idea was that the ecclesiastical Latin was too rudimentary. The pontifical court was then full of poets and writers for whom the goal was to reform the Latin and they started to compose again all the hymns for the liturgical year. Pope Leo X himself ordered the composition of a new hymnal. The hymnal of Ferreri – Bishop Zacharie Ferreri was the artisan of this hymnal – was finally approved by a Brief of Pope Clement VII in 1525. According to this Brief, every cleric could choose the prayers he wanted for the Divine Office. Ten years later a new breviary was also approved. It is known as the Breviary of Quignonez, from the name of its composer Francois Cardinal Quignonez. Cardinal Quignonez had the reputation of being a man of great piety and a sincere love for the liturgy. The intention was good: it was to renew the devotion of the clerics. Nevertheless the effects were disastrous, since they were made at the expense of Tradition.
If we take stock of this reform made under the authority of these three Popes – Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III – we can only say that is was a disaster – the word is from Dom Gueranger for whom Romanita cannot be suspected. It must be acknowledged that the University of Paris has censored this Breviary promulgated by the highest authority of the Church.
The commentary of Dom Gueranger is pretty interesting. The character of the influence The Holy See exercised on the publication of this Breviary of Quignonez contradicts all that we can see in all the centuries before or after. (That was written in the XIX century!) Rome seems to desire that we use this form of Office but on other hand seems to timid to make it law. We feel as though we are in a state of transition that will last until a Pontiff – Saint Pius V – chosen by God to succeed Leo, Gelasius or Gregory comes and reforms in a saintly way the Divine worship as the Church speaks.
This reform was about the Breviary and didn’t concern the Holy Mass. But the Divine office is still a part of the Liturgy of the Church and what happened in the XVI century can help us deal with the actual liturgical wreck. Dom Gueranger gives us some considerations we can apply, mutatis mutandis, to the actual situation.
- In order first to last, the reform of the liturgy must be done by pious persons and not by erudite persons.
- In a reform of the liturgy, we must beware of novelties.
- Shortening the liturgy is not reforming it!

· The Reformation

The Protestant heresy had much impact on the Liturgy. The idea of Luther was to free man from the servitude of thought regarding the teaching power of the Church and from the servitude of the body regarding the liturgical power.
Dom Gueranger gives the principles of what he calls the “ anti-liturgical heresy.”
- Hatred of the Tradition in the expressions of the Divine worship.
- Replacing the ecclesiastical style words with readings from the Bible. The purpose is to delete what is born from Tradition and to promote the Protestant doctrine with a judicious choice of texts from the Bible. All heresies have their origin in Scriptures, but not on Scripture as a whole, only on carefully chosen passages which support their particular ideas. By the way, the meaning of the word “heresy” in Greek is “choice”.
- The fabrication and introduction into the liturgy of different words in order to spread their doctrine.
- Removing all the words that express the mysteries of the Faith. For examples, they prefer to speak about a table rather than an altar, or about the Lord’s Supper rather than the sacrifice.
- The use of the vernacular for the liturgy. Dom Gueranger says about that: The hatred of the Latin language is in the heart of all the enemies of Rome. They consider it as the good of the Catholics in the whole world, the arsenal of orthodoxy against the subtleties of the sectarian spirit.
- The hatred of the papacy, which is the foundation stone of the entire edifice that is the Church.
- The destruction of priesthood.

· The answer of the Church - a true Catholic Reform: The Council of Trent – Saint Pius V

At the 25th Session of the Council of Trent, it had been decided to entrust the Pope with the reform of the Liturgy. Pius IV began a reform of the breviary but he died and his successor, Pius V continued. The breviary of Quignonez was abolished and replaced by the Roman Breviary.
Then the Roman Missal was restored in 1570. All the dioceses had to embrace this missal except those who had a missal more than 200 years old. Almost all the dioceses of Europe accepted the Missal and the Breviary of Saint Pius V except Milan in Italy and Lyon in France, which had their own antique liturgies.
Then the occidental Church knew many decades of liturgical unity. The reform continued with the publication of the Martyrology, the Pontificale and the Rituale.

· The liturgical deviation in France ( XVII – XVIII )

It sometimes happens that the eldest daughter of the Church is also rebellious daughter. Two important trends would have a great impact on the Church in France until the XX century, these are Jansenism and Gallicanism. These trends had consequences in liturgical matter.
In 1660 Joseph de Voisin, Doctor of the University of Sorbonne published a translation in French of the Roman Missal. The Assembly of the clergy of France immediately condemned this translation. Pope Alexander VII approved this condemnation. In his Brief, He condemned those who have the impudence to translate the Roman Missal, written in the Latin language, into the French language. For the Pope this is a deterioration of the most sacred rites, which debases the majesty that the Latin language gives to them. It is a mark of the hatred of mystery. Finally the Pope prohibited the printing and the reading of the Missal in French under a sentence of excommunication.
That seems to be excessive, especially today since we have now many translations of the Missal in vernacular languages. In the XIX century, when Dom Gueranger wrote his book, there were already many translations available. And Dom Gueranger explains that it is now possible but a translation has to be accompanied by some commentary approved by the Church. Giving the translated text to the faithful without any explanations of the mysteries of the Faith would open the door to numerous and faulty personal explanations.

Then the liturgical attacks came. First was the Rituale of Alet in 1667 whose Jansenist influence was great. The Breviary of Vienne in 1678 and the Breviary of Harlay in 1680 brought more novelties. This Breviary marked the reversal of the work of Charlemagne and the Popes. This Breviary, for the use of the diocese of Paris, created a new Office which had nothing to do with the Roman Breviary. After the Breviary, Harlay, who was archbishop of Paris, published his own missal. The principle was to use only texts from the Bible that was the idea Luther had. Nevertheless, the Missal of the diocese of Paris, in spite of unfortunate changes, was still the Roman Missal.
The Abbey of Cluny went further by exchanging its old breviary for a new one. Once again the idea was to use only the words from the Scriptures. Yet some new compositions by writers of this century appeared anyway, contradicting the purpose the innovators of this breviary had claimed to be their reasoning for the changes. They even changed the liturgical calendar. The admitted goal was to diminish the cult of the Saints, especially the cult of Our Lady.
You will not be surprised to learn that among the members of the committees for the redaction of the breviary of Paris and the breviary of Cluny, were some notorious Jansenists. They attacked the true Faith through the Liturgy.

The attacks were more virulent in the XVIII century. The recitation of the Canon of the Mass in a loud voice appeared as a trend. As Dom Gueranger points out, this was: the seeds of a revolution. Indeed, if we read the Canon in a loud voice, people would ask to read it in the vernacular language. And then, people could become judges in the teaching of the Faith, which is exactly what we see today in so many places. And once again, that had already been the strategy of Luther and Calvin.
The Council of Trent had already condemned this audacity during the 22nd session. Listen to the 9th canon: CANON IX.--If anyone says, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only; let him be anathema.
But this didn’t prevent the abuses of the innovators. Thus a new Missal was printed for the diocese of Meaux – the diocese of the famous Bossuet, just few years earlier! Regardless of the integrity of the Liturgy, they introduced novelties in the rubric of the Missal, such some responses preceded by the a big letter R in red to indicate that the congregation has to make the responses just after the words of the consecration and the words of the communion. Thanks be to God, the Bishop of Meaux, who was the successor of Bossuet, did not approve this missal and prohibited it under the sentence of suspension.
But in spite of the orthodoxy of many good bishops and priests – as Father Le Brun, for example, who wrote a very good book about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the novelties increased throughout the entire country.
The Missal of Troye was published in 1736. Its rubrics dictates that the Canon has not to be said “ submissa voce ” – in a low voice – but “ submissiora voce ” – in a lower voice! The Troyen Missal also dictates that a priest who says a solemn Mass does not have to say the prayers and readings sung by the choir or said by other ministers. The altar crucifix and the candles are no longer mandatory. The second Confiteor before the communion was removed. Many texts born from Tradition throughout the centuries were replaced by texts from the Scriptures. A good Bishop, Jean-Joseph Languet de Gergy, archbishop of Sens denounced this Missal for being full of Calvinist conceptions.
The rabid trend of secularization and naturalization of the Liturgy did not abate. The symbolism and mysticism of the rites was attacked. In the name of reason – this was the “Century of Lights” – when it seemed necessary to find an explanation for all, even for the mysteries of the Faith. In accordance with this, they claimed that people needed to understand all the ceremonies of the Liturgy. Hence a simplification of the rites.

The parish of Asnières, a town near Paris, embodied perfectly the goals of the innovators. The pastor at Asnières was Father Jacques Jubé, a zealous Jansenist. Now, let me describe how the liturgy of this parish was – and I remind you this liturgy I am about to describe was a liturgy in the XVIII century.
There was only one altar in the church, called “Sunday altar” because Mass took place only on Sunday and feast days. When there was no Mass, this altar was totally stripped, as every altar has to be on Good Friday. For Mass, they just put one altar cloth and nothing else: no crucifix, no candle. The only crucifix in the sanctuary was the crucifix of procession that preceded the priest as he ascended the altar. After the beginning prayers of the Mass, he went to sit on a seat on the epistle side from where he started the Gloria and the Credo without reciting them in full, nor were the pieces sung by the choir. During the offertory, there was a procession and bread and wine were offered to the priest. Dom Gueranger says this custom was not reprehensible in itself since it was usual in France in many dioceses at this time, and came from an old tradition. The problem was that in the church of Father Jubé, they added fruits and vegetables which they placed on the altar along with the bread and wine to be consecrated. Then the chalice was brought to the altar without a veil. The priest and the deacon said the prayers of the offering of the chalice in a loud voice to signify that they offered it in the name of the congregation. The Canon was in a loud voice also. And there were no specific prayers before communion.
Are you not familiar with this liturgy? I would say, yes, except for one thing. It was still all in Latin. But as you see, our innovators of today have not come up with anything new. They have simply copied the liturgy of the Jansenists from the XVIII century.
We now look at the Missal of Vintimille, published by the Archbishop of Paris, Charles-Gaspard de Ventimille in 1738. In addition to all previous changes made to the Roman Missal, there was now a complete modification of the parts of the Proper in this new Missal of Ventimille. The intention of Archbishop Vintimille was to arouse piety, to make the chant easier to sing and to renew the Faith, Hope and Charity of the people. But as Dom Gueranger continuous to point out, this was also the goal of Popes Saint Gregory and Saint Pius V and there was no need to change what the Church had established. In order to infuse a new richness in the Liturgy, the doctors of the Sorbonne composed new Prefaces, instead of using the traditional Prefaces available in the old Sacramentaries. At the height of these innovations one of the authors was expulsed from the University of Sorbonne as a heretic. Once again, the consequences were disastrous. By the second half of the XVIII century, three quarters of the French dioceses have abandoned the Roman Liturgy. The French Revolution with its Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which created a schismatic Church, would soon foment further confusion.

· The Synod of Pistoia (Italy 1786)

Scipion de Ricci, Bishop of Pistoia, wanted to introduce to Italy the ideas of his friends from France. With the approbation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he convoked a “Diocesan Council” as he called it. Here are some of the reforms they tried to impose:
- They wanted to rid the churches of much of their precious and exquisite decorations.
- Reforming religious orders. They shouldn’t have churches open to the congregations. Their Divine Office would be diminished and they would be permitted to have only one or two Masses a day in their churches. The other priests would have to concelebrate.
- Suppressing processions in honor of Our Lady or the Saints.
- Removing pictures of the Sacred heart and any other pictures that express a “false dogma”
- Only one altar in every churches, which should be without relics or flowers
- Use of the vernacular language in a loud voice
- There would be exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament only once a year for the feast of Corpus Christi. A blessing with the ciborium could be given every Sunday.
- They advised against the Station of the Cross

Fortunately, this Synod was condemned by Pope Pius VI with his famous Bull Auctorem Fidei in 1794.

· First efforts of restoration in the XIX

The coming of Pope Pius VII to France for the coronation of Napoleon proved that the love for the true liturgy was not dead in France. The Pope remained four months in the country and everywhere he went, the churches were full and thousands of faithful tried to receive communion from his hand. The spectacle of these crowds singing the Credo in unison with the Pope was a sign of the beginning of the restoration of the Roman Liturgy in France.

This restoration would be done time after time in the dioceses of the country. The restoration of the Benedictine Order by Dom Gueranger in Solesmes would have an important role.

* *

Let us now draw some conclusions from this historical overview. First I would say that the Novus Ordo is not, as its name says, new at all. It is rather the outcome – or should I say the triumph? – of the assault by what Dom Gueranger calls “anti liturgical sect.” It appears that Bugnini is not an innovator, but rather a copier of the Jansenists of the XVIII century. But there is a major difference, and herein lies the problem.
In the past all the so-called reforms were made against the will of the Pope, or at least without his approbation. We can wonder about the silence of the Vatican regarding the liturgical experimentation in France in the XVII and XVIII centuries. But a silence from the highest authority doesn’t necessarily mean approbation. In fact, Rome had already spoken at Trent and then through the pen of Pius V. Rome spoke again through Pius VI who condemned the liturgical abuses proposed by the Synod of Pistoia.
But today, the Missal of Bugnini has been requested, approved and promulgated by the Pope, so that we don’t call it the Missal of Bugnini, but the Missal of Paul VI. The Vatican itself has tried to make everybody believe that this Missal is now the only missal for the Roman Church and that the Missal of Saint Pius V has been abolished. Yet, this is a lie.
Thanks be to God, after 30 years of resistance, the Vatican has had to acknowledge that this old and venerable Missal is still in effect, and further, that every priest of the Roman Rite may freely celebrate Mass according to this Missal of Saint Pius V without any specific permission. But this right has yet to be recognized everywhere. The Tridentine Mass still has many enemies everywhere within the Church.
In fact there is a precedent in History with the Hymnal of Ferreri and the Breviary of Quignonez promulgated with the approbation of the Pope. And for this particular precedent I say, thanks be to God, because this precedent shows us that even with the authority of the Pope, a liturgical reform can be wrong. A good reform, indeed, is not a creation of something new, but a restoration of the Tradition when it happens to have been damaged in some way. And that is what distinguishes the true reformer Popes from the others. On one hand, we find some Popes as Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Gregory VII, Saint Pius V and Saint Pius X. On the other hand, we have Leo X, Clement VII, Paul III and Paul VI.
My intention is not to set these Popes in opposition or necessarily to say that some Popes are better than others, although it is a fact that the great reformers of the Liturgy have been canonized. Maybe it is a strong indication that a good reform can be done only holy persons rather than erudite persons as we have already said. But what is true – and this will be my conclusion for today – is that a good reform brings unity and harmony. We judge the tree by its fruits.

A man worthy of remembrance

15 years ago, Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre died in Martigny, Switzerland, on the anniversary of the most blessed Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and of the Incarnation of God. Regardless of one's opinion of some events of his life, or of some of his decisions, or of some of his stronger words, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that without him the struggle for the preservation of much of what we cherish would probably have been lost. That 15 years after his death "the question of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" is still discussed in the highest halls of the Church shows that the global movement for the advancement of the Traditional Roman Rite is inseparably linked to this passionate man, whose name still causes passionate discussions.

Incarnation Week - Et habitavit in nobis
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Final Day - Et habitavit in nobis ("And dwelt among us"). Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit: Ave gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus. (St. Luke, i, 28: "And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.") Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiæ et veritatis. (St. John, i, 14: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.")

He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father's Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled.

He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own.

Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt.
Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Collect of the feast: Deus, qui de beatæ Mariæ Virginis utero [the 14th-century Missal fragment ends here] Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti: præsta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur. Per eumdem Dominum... ("O God, who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through the same Lord...")

Incarnation Week - Et Verbum caro factum est

Fifth day - Et Verbum caro factum est. ("And the Word was made flesh") Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis: quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. (St. Luke, i, 36-37: "And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.") In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. ... Et Verbum caro factum est... (St. John, i, 1; 14: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word was made flesh...") man's sin and the cause of our condemnation sprung from a woman, so the cure of sin and the source of our salvation should also be found in a woman. And that women may not despair of attaining the inheritance of the blessed, because that so dire an evil arose from woman, it is proper that from woman also so great a blessing should arise, that their hopes may be revived. Take also this view. If it was a virgin which brought all evil upon the race, it is much more appropriate that a virgin should be the occasion of all good. And this also. If woman, whom God made from man alone, was made of a virgin , it is peculiarly fitting for that man also, who shall spring from a woman, to be born of a woman without man. Of the pictures which can be superadded to this, showing that the God-man ought to be born of a virgin, we will say nothing. These are sufficient.

Saint Anselm, Cur Deus Homo

The Traditionalist canonical package - Important

La Stampa also offers a few interesting notes on yesterday's meeting. We will translate the pertinent passage as soon as possible.

The essential information is that the pope's resoluteness prevailed over the small opposition of a few cardinals, historical opponents of the FSSPX. The result of the discussion was that, in general terms, the Pope was given "carte blanche" to pursue what he deems necessary to integrate the Traditionalists who are in irregular communion . The outline of a possible structure was introduced as part of a "canonical package" to be presented.

Source and translation of the relevant passage (5:30 PM GMT):

On the Lefebvrists, meanwhile, Benedict XVI has obtained a free way [via libera, the go-ahead] from the porporati [the Cardinals], even if some resistance from some cardinals, historical opponents of the Fraternity Saint Pius X, was noticed. Cardinal Kasper noticed the fact: "There are different approaches," he said. But the will of the Pontiff, who last August received Bishop Fellay and Father Schmidberger, has prevailed over the hesitations, even though the success of what is to come is not certain.

The "package" for the reintegration of the Lefebvrists is substantially ready, result of the work of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (Clergy) and of Cardinal Julian Herranz (Legislative Texts). A kind of worldwide super-diocese would be established, guided by a bishop named by the Pope, who would then delegate portions of his jurisdiction to vicars. Other than that, which would render Lefebvrists [Translator's note: actually, all Traditionalists] independent from the local bishops, the creation of a seminary, for the formation of future priests, is expected, keeping the future spiritual identity of the organization.

A secret two day meeting in Rome, in mid-November, between the leader of the "Fraternity Saint Pius X" and Cardinal Castrillon, had clarified some aspects; and bishop Fellay, and his right hand [man], Franz Schmidberger, seemed willing to [give] a definitive step, even if that would have cost the loss of some extreme fringe.

However, in that meeting, it had been agreed that the Fraternity would write the Pope a letter asking that, in view of the new situation which was being established, the excommunications issued when Marcel Lefebvre had illicitly ordained four bishops be eliminated. And the letter has not yet arrived. There was then a second point, observed yesterday by cardinal Kasper: "Each one of us wants the reconciliation, even if there are always signs of different experiences. The problem is knowing if the situation has already matured. If they are willing to recognize the Council, there is the possibility of a resolution". Cardinal Castrillon was even more optimistic: "The Church welcomes them with open arms. We are in the way, we need God's help, everything depends on the Lord, it is he who is in charge and who guides everything. In every family, there are many voices and many points of view." And the Lefebvrists would be, in the inside of the Church, one of those voices.

We would add that a few details are not precise, but the general tone is very similar to the information we had been receiving. Some other details regarding the November meeting had already been confirmed by Bishop Fellay in his most recent conferences.

Pre-consistory discussion on "the question of Abp. Lefebvre"

By Andrea Tornielli, in Il Giornale:

Cardinal Dario Castrillón, who introduced the first theme, describing the state of the negotiations with the followers of Lefebvre -- the Traditionalists who criticize the Council and its reforms -- spoke of the possibility of making them re-enter into full communion with Rome through the concession of a structure of "prelature", dependent on the Pope.

The debate was lively: French cardinals Lustiger and Ricard and the Swiss Cottier discarded the idea of a prelature, preferring less compromising formulas which make reference to the associations of laypeople. Cardinal Bertone, former number two [Secretary] of the former Holy Office, recalled the past debates with the Lefebvrist Fraternity and emphasized the need to define well the doctrinal bases of an agreement.

All said that the re-pacification is promising, many reminded that the acceptance, by the Lefebvrists, of the Second Vatican Council is needed. Cardinal Francis Arinze then introduced the problem of the extension of the indult which would allow the Traditionalists in communion with Rome an easier use of the 1962 Missal. "The Church awaits for the Lefebvrists with open arms," declared at the end cardinal Castrillón, clearly satisfied.

A few thoughts come to mind.

(a) We do not know exactly who was Tornielli's source, but we believe that the canonical structure of the "Prelature" (or, in this case, the "Personal prelature") is not exactly what the decision-makers have in mind.

(b) Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos' last sentence has been repeated with some differences elsewhere -- in any case, it seems highly unlikely that he would use the word "Lefebvrist".

(c) Cardinal Lustiger's (and Cardinal Ricard's, despite some who thought otherwise) position was absolutely predictable. It would have been surprising if he had acted differently...

Incarnation Week - Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum

Fourth Day - Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum ("Be it done unto me according to Thy word.") Dixit autem Maria:... fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et discessit ab illa angelus. (St. Luke i, 38: "And Mary said: ... be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.")

The adorable Heart of Jesus Christ began to beat with a love at once human and divine after the Virgin Mary generously pronounced Her "Fiat"
Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas

...just as Christ, because He redeemed us, is our Lord and king by a special title, so the Blessed Virgin also (is our queen), on account of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in, our salvation.

From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of "recapitulation," in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ "in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race"; and if, in truth, "it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall," then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.
Pius XII, Ad Cæli Reginam

"The Question of Abp. Lefebvre and of the liturgical reform willed by the Second Vatican Council"

As we first mentioned here, more than one month ago, March 23 has been a very important day for Catholics attached to the Traditional form of the Roman Rite. At the time, we knew there would be a meeting on March 23, but not exactly that it would include all members of the College of Cardinals (the consistory predicted by most analysts would only be announced a few days later).
The report in the Bollettino, which at first had been very brief, but has now been updated, says it all. After being addressed by the Dean of the College (see order of the meeting here), the Holy Father introduced three key subjects to be presented to the College:

- (1)"the condition of the emeritus bishops", "introduced by Cardinal Re";
- (2)"the Question of Abp. Lefebvre and of the liturgical reform willed by the Second Vatican Council" and "the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre", "introduced by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos";
- (3)"the questions related to the dialogue between the Church and Islam."

"20 cardinals intervened [in the discussions] after"
the first two topics, discussed in the morning meeting. An afternoon meeting, which is taking place right now, will include introductions by Cardinal Arinze (probably on the Islamic issues) and Cardinal Sodano.

Update (10 PM GMT): First comments from the morning discussion on "the question of Archbishop Lefebvre" (from La Tribune):

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians indicated that the essential [discussion] of the morning had been dedicated to the question of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, schismatic branch founded by Abp Lefebvre.

"The meeting was very fraternal and calm," he commented. "The pope wished to hear what others had to say. There were different opinions. It would have been strange if that had not been the case."


"The Holy Father spoke, but specially left the Cardinals speak what they wished," remarked American cardinal Edward Egan, defining the meeting as "useful".

La Croix: "A doctrinal abyss separates Rome and the SSPX"

The French [Liberal ] Catholic daily La Croix published a very interesting article yesterday on the prospects of reconciliation between the Holy See and Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX). The article is filled with editorialized commentary, so we have chosen (for this and for copyright reasons) to reproduce the actual words pronounced by the Superior-General of the Fraternity, Archbishop Ricard, an unnamed cardinal (of Paris?... the paper does not say), and the rector of the Ecône Seminary.

1. An unnamed cardinal:
"We cannot at all go to the extreme of accepting two different rites in the Latin Church."

"The agreement should not be done irrespective of the cost. And one of the great principles affirmed by Vatican II -- religious liberty, ecumenism - would not be put aside."

2. Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, President of the French Episcopal Conference, member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and who will be created cardinal tomorrow:

"Even if we can denounce a certain number of abuses or erroneous interpretations of the Council, the Conciliar text deserves to be respected and safeguarded."

"We cannot refuse the Conciliar contribution." [The pope] "has clearly defined the limits not to be trespassed in the speech on the interpretation of Vatican II pronounced on December 22 in the presence of the Roman Curia."

3. Bishop Bernard Fellay:
"The ball is on Rome's court from now on."

Fellay recognizes that the meeting with the Pope did not substantially alter the terms of negotiation: the bases [for negotiation] are still those of the agreement proposed in 2001 which the Fraternity had at last rejected:
"We are under the impression that Rome accepts the idea of passing to the intermediate phases which we proposed."

Regarding the Papal speech of December 22:
"The philosophical vision of Benedict XVI, according to which Truth is indissociable of the historical elements in which it is inscribed, with the consequence that the Church should constantly readapt its discourse and its principles to the circumstances, is too modern." [Bishop Fellay declares to prefer] "a more classic philosophy according to which our intelligence can understand the essence of things and can abstract historical elements."

Regarding the possibility that the Society should be able to express its views on the Council and on the new Mass with freedom:
"A certain number of elements which allow us to say that this life of Tradition is possible is currently lacking"

4. The rector of the Ecône seminary, Father de Jorna, notes, regading the classic philosophy upheld by the SSPX:
"We are Thomists in the sense that the Church herself is." [The Summa is the basis of its teaching of theology] "with the aid of commentateurs used up to Vatican II, such as Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange."
5. The last paragraph of the article is the following:

The Fraternity Saint Pius X can take the risk of rejecting the Roman propositions? "If we do nothing today, it will be too late later and the situation of division will remain," warns a cardinal. "And especially Rome could be more sever," adds Father Aulagnier, who warns the Fraternity against the risk of the "Petite Église", from the name of the schism of the bishops who had refused the Concordat of 1801. Rejecting this warning, persuaded that if Rome does not return step back from the doctrine of Vatican II, the crisis of the Church will only worsen, bishop Fellay wishes to believe that he can refuse the extended hand of Benedict XVI. "There will be others," he affirms.

The pre-consistory meeting of March 23: what to expect

Pope Benedict XVI will create 15 cardinals on Friday, eve of the Annunciation, and tomorrow will host a meeting with all 178 cardinals (or 193, if the quasi-cardinals, whose presence is not clear, attend). The meeting will probably have the following format: after being addressed by the dean of the College of Cardinals (Sodano), the Holy Father will make a welcoming speech and then the floor will be open to all sorts of questions, comments, speeches, or suggestions -- and the Pope will listen, though he will probably order the possible debates.

Will the Traditionalist issue be discussed? La Croix reports that it may be, as we had already anticipated here, but probably any serious issue brought up by any of the cardinals could be discussed. The main issue seems to be the reform of the Roman Curia. More concrete gestures are to be expected from the meeting with the heads of the dicasteries next April 7 (and managing a discussion among a couple dozen people is easier than a little parliament of almost 200).

Incarnation Week - Ecce ancilla Domini

Third Day - Ecce ancilla Domini ("Behold the handmaid of the Lord"): Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis: quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. Dixit autem Maria: Ecce ancilla Domini (St. Luke, i, 36-38: "And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord").

In the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is in an agony; in the judgment-hall, where He is scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death, not there do we find Mary. But she knew beforehand all these agonies; she knew and saw them.

When she professed herself the handmaid of the Lord for the mother's office, and when, at the foot of the altar, she offered up her whole self with her Child Jesus -- then and thereafter she took her part in the laborious expiation made by her Son for the sins of the world. It is certain, therefore, that she suffered in the very depths of her soul with His most bitter sufferings and with His torments. Moreover, it was before the eyes of Mary that was to be finished the Divine Sacrifice for which she had borne and brought up the Victim.

As we contemplate Him in the last and most piteous of those Mysteries [of the Rosary], there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, who, in a miracle of charity, so that she might receive us as her sons, offered generously to Divine Justice her own Son, and died in her heart with Him, stabbed with the sword of sorrow.

Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper Expectatione

"Patriarch of the West" - The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity explains

You can find the explanation here, in Italian. In this case, we will wait for the official translation by the Vatican Information Service, to be released in a few hours. The main point is that the term was "obsolete" and did not properly reflect the structure of the Latin Church or the current meaning of "West".

Update - Vatican report:

VATICAN CITY, MAR 22, 2006 (VIS) - In the wake of media comments concerning one of the Pope's titles - that of "Patriarch of the West" - which did not appear among the list of papal titles at the beginning of this year's edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" (pontifical yearbook), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has issued a communique clarifying the reasons for the omission.
"From a historical perspective," the communique reads, "the ancient Patriarchates of the East, defined by the Councils of Constantinople (381) and of Chalcedon (451), covered a fairly clearly demarcated territory. At the same time, the territory of the see of the Bishop of Rome remained somewhat vague. In the East, under the ecclesiastical imperial system of Justinian (527-565), alongside the four Eastern Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), the Pope was included as the Patriarch of the West. Rome, on the other hand, favored the idea of the three Petrine episcopal sees: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. Without using the title 'Patriarch of the West,' the Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870), the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and the Council of Florence (1439), listed the Pope as the first of the then five Patriarchs.
"The title 'Patriarch of the West' was adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore. Thereafter it appeared only occasionally and did not have a clear meaning. It flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the context of a general increase in the Pope's titles, and appeared for the first time in the 'Annuario Pontificio' in 1863."
The term 'West' currently refers to a cultural context not limited only to Western Europe but including North America, Australia and New Zealand, thus differentiating itself from other cultural contexts, says the communique. "If we wished to give the term 'West' a meaning applicable to ecclesiastical juridical language, it could be understood only in reference to the Latin Church." In this way, the title "Patriarch of the West," would describe the Bishop of Rome's special relationship with the Latin Church, and his special jurisdiction over her.
"The title 'Patriarch of the West,' never very clear, over history has become obsolete and practically unusable. It seems pointless, then, to insist on maintaining it. Even more so now that the Catholic Church, with Vatican Council II, has found, in the form of episcopal conferences and their international meetings, the canonical structure best suited to the needs of the Latin Church today."
The communique concludes: "Abandoning the title of 'Patriarch of the West' clearly does not alter in any way the recognition of the ancient patriarchal Churches, so solemnly declared by Vatican Council II. ... The renouncement of this title aims to express a historical and theological reality, and at the same time, ... could prove useful to ecumenical dialogue."

Incarnation Week - Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto

Second Day - Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto ("And she conceived of the Holy Ghost"): Christi autem generatio sic erat: cum esset desponsata mater ejus Maria Joseph, antequam convenirent inventa est in utero habens de Spiritu Sancto. (St. Matthew, i, 18: "Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost."). Et respondens angelus dixit ei : Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. (St. Luke, i, 35: "And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.") be born of a woman indeed was our lot, but "to be born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of man," but of the Holy Ghost, was to proclaim beforehand the birth surpassing us, the birth to come, which He was about freely to give us of the Spirit. And everything else too was like this. Thus His baptism also was of the same kind, for it partook of the old, and it partook also of the new. To be baptized by the prophet marked the old, but the coming down of the Spirit shadowed out the new. And like as though any one were to place himself in the space between any two persons that were standing apart, and stretching forth both his hands were to lay hold on either side, and tie them together; even so hath He done, joining the old covenant with the new, God's nature with man's, the things that are His with ours.
Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, behold, the heat [of the sun]! Heat sustains and nourishes all living things, and the lack of it results in weakness and death. Death is the extinction of natural heat in the heart, due to a lack of moistness and the coming of its contrary. The cause of leaves falling is the removal of the heat that feeds them. In winter-time, when cold dominates the outside of trees and plants, the heat flees from its contrary and hides in the roots. When it increases there, it draws to itself moisture from the upper branches and extremities, so that this increase in heat is moderated and the lower parts do not burn. When their sustenance is withdrawn, the leaves are bound to fall from the upper parts. The grace of the Holy Spirit is ‘heat’, and if it withdraws from the human heart the moisture of compunction fails, and the unhappy soul falls into the depths of sin. When the cold of wickedness approaches, the heat of the Holy Spirit flees from its contrary, and so the soul is despoiled of all its goods. The entry of vice brings about the departure of virtue. So the book of Wisdom says:

"The Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful,and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding; and he shall not abide when iniquity cometh in." [Wisdom, i, 5]

That is to say, he is snatched away, together with all his goods, because of the entry of wickedness. But when heat returns, the earth conceives and germinates plants, and brings forth fruit. Just so, when the Holy Spirit came, the blessed earth conceived and gave birth to the blessed fruit, removing every curse. Yes, The Holy Spirit will come upon you. Blessed Mary was ‘as the shining sun’ at the angel’s Annunciation.
Saint Anthony of Padua, Sermon on the Annunciation

Marini speaks - Outside the Liturgical Reform, there is no Church

Earlier today, we remembered the Holy Father's plea to his flock: "Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

Now, we publish the translation of a most enlightening interview of Archbishop Piero Marini, Papal master of ceremonies, to the Italian website Affari Italiani. The occasion for the interview was the presentation of Marini's new book "Liturgy and Beauty" in the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan (the famous "Cattolica"). This interview should be read for what it is: a warning, by certain areas of the Curia.

Archbishop Marini, after the Council, the liturgical reform cost a schism, that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. What do you make of it?

"After every Council, there has always been a period of tension. There is always someone who does not agree or who does not approve that which has been done. Well, the fact is that we do not have policemen to order the faithful to accept that which the Second Vatican Council has decided (laughter).*"

And then?

"And then we must, first of all, understand that the liturgy is a sign of unity** and that, as Pope Paul VI said: 'The Church is not that of the past or of the future, but of the present, for which we must accept the Church living today. That is not a question of liberalizing the Missal or something else, it is just a question of accepting the Church of today, period. To be clear, I refer to the history of the Tridentine rite".


"The Tridentine rite or that of Saint Pius V, which in reality is the Missale Romanum aggiornato according to the last dispositions of 1962 by the work of John XXIII, was left in place under certain conditions to avoid a traumatic passage from the old rite to the new for the older faithful. Afterwards, pope Wojtyla allowed that, in certain churches, the rite of Saint Pius V could be celebrated. But to walk beyond this is to walk beyond the Church, and that cannot be done. If the liturgy is a sign of unity for the Church, I cannot establish groups of faithful who at a certain day and at a certain time pray in one way, then another group who in another time pray otherwise. And then we come to the Lefebvrists"

Yes, we come to them. What do you think of them?

"It must be clear once and for all: they must accept what the Second Vatican Council has decided, otherwise no reconciliation will be possible. And then, what do these people want? The majority of the faithful has adapted itself; without the new rite, which was not a child of the Curia but a work of international inspiration, the celebrations and foreign trips of pope Wojtyla would have been impossible to make. Now, because they cannot adapt, what is the difference? I wish to tell you a story"


"Some years ago, they came to greet me and I received them. One of them spoke and said: 'Your Excelency, the new rite is a heresy.' 'Why?,' I asked: 'because -- that Lefebvrist told me -- 'in the old rite the celebrant kneeled, worship the Host, lifted himself, showed it to the faithful and then kneeled again to worship it.' 'Ah -- said I -- and now?' 'And now this is a heresy because the celebrant only kneels after the ostension, in reality asking first for the consentment of the community before proceeding to the consecration.'"

And then what did you do?

"What did I do? Well, we simply wished to abolish a duplicate and he talks to me about heresy? 'Here, this is my phone number,' I told him, 'when you have a need, call me'."

In your words, while you presented the book, I felt a certain nostalgia for the past. What for?

"Yes, at times I feel so nostalgic. Because at the time in which the liturgical reform was effected I was only 23, for which I saw the last three months of the Council, but this is part of my feelings. However, in a historical point of view, we had at the time a distant objective, the complete reform of the liturgy, which we wished to accomplish. We have worked through the perspective of the renewal and of the return to the Church of the Holy Fathers, eliminating every crust of time from the Roman liturgy. However, the enthusiasm has had some degenerations..."

Of what kind?

"I think that in Belgium and in the Netherlands, on the wave of experimentalism, more than 300 eucharistic prayers were created, then it slowly returned to normality. But I fear this, the return of neoritualism, that is, of the priest who celebrates Mass thinking: 'Well, I have said my Mass following the rite by the book, I am done.' And that is not good, the celebration is not only a passive respect for the liturgical rules, there is always some space for the celebrant."

Antonino D'Anna

*[Translator's note: the Council never decided a new Roman Rite. That was a post-Conciliar decision.]

**[Translator's note: which must come as a huge surprise to Eastern Catholics. The Second Vatican Council -- the actual text, not its "Spirit"-- has this to say: "The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining together into various groups which are held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or Rites. ... the variety within the Church in no way harms its unity; rather it manifests it, for it is the mind of the Catholic Church that each individual Church or Rite should retain its traditions whole and entire", Orientalium Ecclesiarum. What is most curious is this, though: while the unity of liturgy has never been considered a sign of Catholicity, it is pathetic to argue that there is any unity whatsoever in the new Rite. This stale discussion, which shows that the last aggiornamento some went through was in the 1960s, tries to ignore the fact that there are not two similar new Masses, and there is no possible standard, which the Archbishop himself confesses by parading the "space for the celebrant" -- from one parish to another, the liturgical difference is greater than that between the Traditional form of the Roman Rite and any Eastern Rite.]

News from Rome? Ne timeas

The archangel discloses the news. The Blessed Virgin trusts the Lord, but does not understand how it all may happen. In the superb scupture by Donatello (at the Cavalcanti Chapel, in the Church of the Holy Cross, Florence), this exact moment is portrayed: the Lady assumes a position of trusting frightfulness.

Ne timeas, says Gabriel: fear not.

And that is the news we can forward to you now. When, how, what will happen? Fear not: it will probably happen sooner rather than later -- but we do not wish to be accused of reckless gossip.

Remember the words of the First Vatican Council: " divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium. ... like a standard lifted up for the nations, [the Church] both invites to herself those who have not yet believed, and likewise assures her sons and daughters that the faith they profess rests on the firmest of foundations." (Dei Filius, 3)

And never forget the Holy Father's moving plea: "Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

Incarnation Week - Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ

This is a very special week: starting with Saint Joseph (whose day was yesterday, with liturgical celebration transferred to this Monday) and ending with one of the most special days of the year, the Annunciation of Our Lady, anniversary of the most important event in History: the Incarnation of God. And this year, the Saturday (which ordinarily is already Our Lady's day, though not during the Sabbatical ferias of Lent) of Lady Day will be followed by the happiest Sunday in Lent, Lætare Sunday.

This very joyful week, filled with Christmas joy (appropriate for a blog called Rorate Cæli), in the midst of the most solemn season of the year, will also be very agitated in the Eternal City, culminating with the Friday consistory. During this special "Incarnation" week, it is appropriate to meditate on the greatest mysteries of our salvation story - using as our guide that most beautiful Catholic devotion, the Angelus.

First Day - Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ ("The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary"): In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilææ, cui nomen Nazareth, ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David : et nomen virginis Maria. (St Luke, i, 26-27: "And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary").

Saint Thomas gathers the comments of the Fathers:

Saint Basil (on Isaias): Heavenly spirits do not come to us on their own will, it is God who sends them when our utility demands it; because their occupation is to contemplate the light of Divine Wisdom ("The angel Gabriel was sent...")

Saint Gregory the Great (Homily 34 on the Gospels): It is not any angel, but the archangel Gabriel who is sent to the Virgin Mary. It did not belong, in fact, than to the greatest of angels to come announce the greatest of events. Holy Scripture gives him a special and significant name, he is called Gabriel, which means "strength of God". It was reserved to the strength of God, then, to announce the birth of God of Hosts, of the Strong in Battle who would triumph over the powers of the air. [...]

Saint Bede, the Venerable: God begins most admirably the work of our reparation by sending an angel to a virgin to be consecrated by a Divine birth, because the devil had also begun the work of our fall by sending a serpent to the woman to seduce her through the spirit of pride. [...]

Saint Jerome (sermon on the Assumption): It is proper that an angel is sent to a Virgin; because virginity has always been closely linked to the angels. Verily, to live in the flesh while disobeying the inspirations of the flesh is not the life of the earth, it is the life of heaven.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea (The Gospel according to Saint Luke)

Roman Rite, A.D. 2006

In the Second Vatican Council Memorial Church, Vienna (a very appropriate name). More pictures at Catholic Church Conservation.

Thankfully, not everything is lost in Austria. Just look at this "Sound of Music" Tyrolese Mass in Virgen: now, that is a successful example of inculturation!