Rorate Caeli

A 1999 letter by Cardinal Ratzinger on the reform of the liturgy

Last week, Fr. Matias Auge CMF, a veteran professor of liturgy in Rome, former consultant to the Congregation for Divine Worship and disciple of the reformers of the 1960's, published an exchange of letters that he had with then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the topic of the reform of the sacred liturgy.

Upon Rorate's request, Natasja Hoven, who works with the Swedish Catholic website Katolsk Observator, made the following translation of these very important letters.

(Commentary to follow shortly.)

Letter from Fr. Matias Auge to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger:


Rome, 16 November 1998


Most Reverend Eminence,

I beg you to excuse me for venturing to write this letter. I do it in humble simplicity and also with great sincerity. I am a professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’ Anselmo and at the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical Lateran as well as Consultant of the Congregation for Divine Worship. I have read the conference that you gave some time ago on the occasion of the ”Ten Years After the Motu Proprio ’Ecclesia Dei’” ("Dix ans du Motu Proprio ‘Ecclesia Dei’”). I must confess that its content left me deeply perplexed. In particular I was struck by the response you gave to the objections made by those who do not approve of "the attachment to the old liturgy”. It is on this that I would like to pause a little in this letter to you.

The accusation of disobedience to Vatican II is fended off by saying that the Council did not itself reform the liturgical books but only ordered that they may be revised. This is true enough, and the affirmation cannot be contradicted. However, I want to draw your attention to the fact that not even the Council of Trent reformed the liturgical books, as they only occupied themselves with the very general principles. To execute the reform as such, the Council asked the Pope to do it, and Pius V and his successors implemented it in a most loyal way.


Therefore, I cannot understand how the principles of the Second Vatican Council concerning the reform of the Mass, presented in Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 47-58 (thus not only in nos. 34-36 as cited by Your Eminence), may be in harmony with the re-instatement of the so-called Tridentine Mass. If on the other hand we consider the affirmation of Cardinal Newman mentioned by you, namely that the Church has never abolished or prohibited ”orthodox liturgical forms”, then I ask myself if, for instance, the admirable changes introduced by Pius X in the Roman Psalter (Breviary – CAP) and by Pius XII in the (ceremonies for) Holy Week have abolished the old Tridentine orders or not. The above mentioned principle could make some people think – for example, in Spain – that it is permitted to celebrate the old Spanish rite – the Visigothic, (which is) orthodox, and return it to its place after Vatican II. To say that the Tridentine Rite is something different from the rite of Vatican II does not seem accurate to me: I would say that it is contrary to the notion of what is meant here by rite. Therefore the Tridentine Rite and the present one are one and the same rite: the Roman Rite, in two different phases of its history.

The second objection was that the return to the old liturgy is likely to break the unity of the Church. This objection is met by you in distinguishing between the theological and the practical side of the problem. I can share many of the considerations made by you in this respect, except some that are not historically sustainable, as for instance the claim that until the Council of Trent there existed Mozarabic Rites (of Toledo and other places), which were then suppressed by the same. The Mozarabic Rite was in fact suppressed already by Gregory VII, with the exclusion of Toledo, where it still remains in force. The Ambrosian Rite, on the other hand, has never been suppressed. Thus I cannot understand why it has been forgotten what Paul VI says in the Apostolic Constitution of April 3,1969, with which he promulgated the new Missal, namely: “We are confident that this Missal will be received by the faithful as a means of testifying to and confirming the unity of all, and that through it, in a great variety of languages, to our heavenly Father will rise one sole and identical prayer.” Paul VI desired that the new Missal should be an expression of unity for the Church. He then adds in conclusion: “What we have here established and ordained, we wish to remain valid and effective now and in the future, despite what may be contrary to it in the Constitutions and the Apostolic Decrees of our predecessors, as well as other provisions also worthy of mention and exception.”

I know the subtle distinctions made by some persons who are legal specialists or considered as such. I believe, however, that these are mere “subtleties” not meriting much attention. One could cite several documents that clearly show the intention of Paul VI in this respect. I can only remember the letter of October 11, 1975, which Cardinal J. Villot wrote to Monsignor Coffy, president of the French Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments (Secretariat of State, no. 287608), in which he said, inter alia: ”By the Constitution Missale Romanum, the Pope prescribes, as you know, that the new Missal should replace the old one, notwithstanding the Apostolic Constitutions and Ordinances of his predecessors, which consequently includes all the dispositions made in the Constitution Quo primum and which would have permitted the preservation of the old Missal [...] In short, as mentioned in the Constitution Missale Romanum, it is to the new Roman Missal and nowhere else that the Catholics of the Roman rite should look for the signs and the instrument of the mutual unity of all ... .”

Your Eminence, please let me say, that being a professor of liturgy, I find myself in the position of teaching facts that seem to me different from those expressed by you in above mentioned conference. And I believe that I have to continue on this road of obedience to the Pontifical Magisterium. I also lament the excesses with which some people after the Council have celebrated and still celebrate the reformed liturgy. But I cannot understand why some eminent Cardinals, not only yourself, think it opportune to call into question a reform approved, after all, by Pope Paul VI and to open the doors more and more to the use of the old Missal of Pius V. With humility, but also with apostolic frankness, I feel the need to state my opposition to such an outlook. I prefer to say openly that which many liturgists and non-liturgists, feeling themselves to be obedient sons of the Church, say to each other in the corridors of Roman universities.

Your most devoted [servant] in Christ,

Matias Augé, CMF


Response of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Matias Auge


February 18 1999

Reverend Father
P. Prof. Matias Augé, CMF
Istituto “Claretianum”
L.go Lorenzo Mossa, 4
00165 Rome



Reverend Father,

I have attentively read your letter of November 16, in which you express some criticism in respect to the conference I held on October 24, 1998, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei.”

I understand that you do not share my opinions on the liturgical reform, the way it has been implemented, and the crisis deriving from some of the tendencies hidden in it, such as desacralization.

However, it seems to me that your criticism does not take into consideration two points:

The first one being that the Pope John Paul II, with the indult of 1984, under certain conditions, granted the use of the liturgy preceding the Pauline reform; thereafter the same Pope in 1988 published the motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei”, manifesting his wish to please the faithful who are attached to certain forms of the earlier Latin liturgy; and furthermore he asks the bishops ”by a wide and generous application” to allow the use of the liturgical books of 1962.

The second one is that a considerable number of the Catholic faithful, especially those of French, English, and German nationality and language remain strongly attached to the old liturgy, and the Pope does not intend to repeat what happened in 1970 when the new liturgy was imposed in an extremely abrupt way, with a transition time of only six months, whereas the prestigious Liturgical Institute in Trier had rightly proposed a transition time of ten years (if I am not mistaken) for such an undertaking, one that touches in a vital way the heart of the Faith.

Thus, these two points, namely the authority of the Supreme Pontiff and his pastoral and respectful concern for the traditionalist faithful, that must be taken into consideration.

I, therefore, take the liberty to add some answers to your criticism of my speech.


1. Regarding the Council of Trent, I have never said that it should have reformed the liturgical books; on the contrary, I have always emphasized that the post-Tridentine reform, situating itself in the continuity of liturgical history, did not wish to abolish the other Latin orthodox liturgies (which existed for more than 200 years); neither did it wish to impose liturgical uniformity.

When I said that even the faithful who use the indult of 1984 must follow the decrees of the Council, I wanted to show that the fundamental decisions of Vatican II are the meeting point of all liturgical trends and are therefore also the bridge for reconciliation in the area of liturgy. The audience present actually understood my words as an invitation to an opening to the Council, to the liturgical reform. I believe that those who defend the necessity and the value of the reform should be completely in agreement with this way of bringing Traditionalists closer to the Council.


2. The citation from Cardinal Newman means that the authority of the Church has never in its history abolished with a legal mandate an orthodox liturgy. However, it is true that a liturgy that vanishes belongs to historical times, not the present.


3. I do not wish to enter into all the details of your letter, even if I would have no difficulties meeting your various criticisms against my arguments. However, I wish to comment on that what concerns the unity of the Roman rite. This unity is not threatened by small communities using the indult, who are often treated as lepers, as people doing something indecent, even immoral. No, the unity of the Roman rite is threatened by the wild creativity, often encouraged by liturgists (in Germany, for instance, there is propaganda for the project Missale 2000, which presumes that the Missal of Paul VI has already been superseded). I repeat that which was said in my speech: the difference between the Missal of 1962 and the Mass faithfully celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI is much smaller than the difference between the various, so-called ”creative” applications of the Missal of Paul VI. In this situation, the presence of the earlier Missal may become a bulwark against the numerous alterations of the liturgy and thus act as a support of the authentic reform. To oppose the Indult of 1984 (1988) in the name of the unity of the Roman rite, is – in my experience – an attitude far removed from reality. Besides, I am sorry that you did not perceive in my speech the invitation to the ”traditionalists” to be open to the Council and to reconcile themselves to it in the hope of overcoming one day the split between the two Missals.

However, I thank you for your courage in addressing this subject, which has given me the occasion – in an open and frank way – to discuss a reality which is dear to both our hearts.

With sentiments of gratitude for the work you perform in the education of future priests, I salute you,


Yours in Christ

+ Joseph Card. Ratzinger


48 comments:

Peter said...

Wow. Smackdown. "I would have no difficulties meeting your various criticisms against my arguments"! Then a nice defence of the communities who use the old books.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Ratzinger as Pope should be more brave and complete what he started. He has not do it so. And by the way the Germans got their way with JP's 2000 missal.

bedwere said...

Father Auge` was a disciple of Mons. Bugnini, by the way.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous to post letters from then Card. Ratzinger regarding the Mass, when as Pope he has done nothing to correct abuses or restore Catholic tradition....by edict or mandate.

Simple personal preference or example means nothing. The "Benedictine altar arrangements", will disapepar in a heartbeat once the Pope is gone unless he mandates a return to the traditional "ad orientam" altars and Catholic traditions such as kneeling for Communion and on the tongue, ending altar girls and also excessive lay ministers and con-celebrations. Concelebrations with 1,000 priests is ridiculous, and verges of blasphemy the way it is currently done. Disrespectful to say the least.

All fine and good as Cardinal Ratzinger. As Pope Benedict XVI, all I have to say is 'wHERE'S THE bEEF?"

Anonymous said...

Anon at 16.19:

What would actually happen if the Pope did as you desired and legislated on these issues?

And, as a corollary to that, what would be the effect of the almost universal disobediance and rejection of these 'rules' on this pontificate and the project to heal breaches with Tradition in the future?

I ask out of genuine interest; perhaps 'provocation' would be a genuinely more helpful course of action? Or perhaps it could retard restorationist efforts.

At any rate, the essential problem is that juridical authority was fragmented in a once only manner somewhere in the 60's and it ain't coming back.

When, God forbid too soon, this pontificate ends, undoubtedly there will be painful reversals; you'd better prepare yourself. But, slowly, a new generation of bishops and priests- by and large- will continue on the trajectory set by this holy Pope.

Creation is harder than destruction, and these things will not happen to our timetables, much as we would wish them to!

Giles.

Joe B said...

I think the beef is coming now that the 19 million SSPX Rosaries have been presented to the Holy Father. Either he will do the consecration or he will die, and I think he will certainly do it both out of a loving father's heart (whether he believes it to have been done properly before or not) and out of response to the urging he is certain to receive from Our Lady. I don't think he will scandalize Our Lady, nor do I think she will scandalize those who have turned to and supported her in such an overwhelming manner in her call for the consecration of Russia. Then must follow the promised conversion in some sort of spectacular fashion, which will throw open the doors of traditionalists through SSPX's thrice successful invocation of Our Lady's intervention. And even if all of this should fall through, Our Lady will at least reward her SSPX faithful in some excellent manner, which portends well for SSPX.

By this time next year I expect SSPX and traditionalists to have church doors thrown wide open to them.

Anonymous said...

No one cared when souls were destroyed and hearts broken by the changes in the sixties shoved down our throats by Holy Mother Church.

So, forgive me if I have no sympathy for the very people responsible for the mess in the Church if their little self-esteem is bruised and toes are stepped on by an abrupt change back to sanity.

********************************
Also, it is obvious that no one really wanted to stop all of the abuses the faithful have had to endure that past fifty years. Had the liturgical innovators and liberals been treated with the same severity as Archbishop Lefebvre and other traditionals, we wouldn't have many of the problems we do today.

The popes, cardinals and bishops can give all the speeches and write all of the letters they want.

It is not what they say and/or write, it is what they DO (or don't do) that counts.

Delphina

Melchior Cano said...

"This is ridiculous to post letters from then Card. Ratzinger regarding the Mass, when as Pope he has done nothing to correct abuses or restore Catholic tradition....by edict or mandate."

Look, I completely agree that this Holy Father is not (according to all indications) going to be the Pope who restores Tradition completely. I think those who believed that any Pope would be able to take on that Herculean effort in one pontificate were merely fooling themselves; to say nothing of the fact that the Holy Father, sadly, remains very much committed to the "reforms" of the Second Vatican Council, and the destructive path it laid out.

That being said, to claim that the Pope who issued Summorum Pontificum and lifted the "excommunications" against the Society of St. Pius X "has done nothing to correct abuses or restore Catholic tradition....by edict or mandate." beggars belief. Do you honestly think this, or are you merely speaking in hyperbole. If the former, on what grounds? If that latter, with what motivation?

Gideon Ertner said...

"when as Pope he has done nothing to correct abuses or restore Catholic tradition....by edict or mandate."

Wow - I knew that there was widespread ignorance of Summorum Pontificum amongst the laity, but I had no idea this was also the case in Traditionalist circles...

pclaudel said...

There was a time when Delphina's comments would have earned her chastisement as a rudely impatient woman. For those whose capacity for patience inclines them to regard Job as an antsy adolescent, that time ended about fifteen years ago. For me and many others, it ended in 1988 at the absolute latest.

That is to say, failure to second her stated view here and now virtually amounts to willful, even sinful, self-deception.

Augustina said...

The Pope has headed in a right direction with his Summorum Pontificum, and only giving Communion on the tongue while kneeling. But let's hope he continues to move forward (quickly) with restoring the sacred in the Mass, which he himself can begin by only offering the traditional Latin Mass. It was robbed from the people and pastors, priests, and bishop are still refusing the request of the faithful to have this Holy Mass in their Churches, sloooowly there are some popping up, but more heat and I do mean HEAT needs to hit the fan to wake up these liberal disobedient priests that reform and obey or hit the road! We may never see it though.
The sad thing is that after 40-50 yrs the people are by whatever way they took, bought into this blasphemous novus ordo (invent your own thing) mass. The Pope must be suffering terribly much as the world continues to disintegrate. When he was in England last week I noticed the girls assisting, and why the Pope doesn't Speak Up at times such as then I don't understand. To heck with hurting peoples feelings or changing what was already planned, he as Pope can say NO! Enough is Enough! How else will this message be made known and action taken? Pray for him.

Anonymous said...

To Giles :
"When, God forbid too soon, this pontificate ends, undoubtedly there will be painful reversals; you'd better prepare yourself. But, slowly, a new generation of bishops and priests- by and large- will continue on the trajectory set by this holy Pope.

Creation is harder than destruction, and these things will not happen to our timetables, much as we would wish them to!"

You would be 100% right IF ...
- there is " a new generation of bishops".
But guess what ? There is no such "new generation". A recent study proved that in 5 years, pope Benedict XVI appointed 45% of the French bishops and this is, with 2 or 3 exceptions, the same old, same old generation of bishops, the heirs of the 70's mixed up with the Lustigerian happy clappy guys.
Just google a "pure" new bishop named Bp Nourrichard of Evreux : it's more a 1960's horror story. Who is the brand new Bp of Brugge in Belgium ? A die-hard liberal, the spiritual son of cardinal Danneels, a 2010 appointee. "new generation" ? You are kidding right ?

In short what "creation" in the past five years ? Where is the slightest move toward a "reform" of the revolution Fr Augé was advocating ?
2005-2010 = statu quo basically, apart some interesting details like the new papal masses which, so far, are totally ignored by the European local Churches.
The Jesuits have elected a new Arrupe, a dreadful modernist, and the Dominicans a new Radcliffe. Where is your "new generation" ?
Where is the "new generation" of cardinals appointed after 2005 ? Is Abp Ravasi the "new generation" in the Roman Curia ?
The moderate cardinal Ouellet has been chosen instead of the openly Ratzingerian Pell : a "new generation" really ? New generation at the secretariate of State ? oh yes a "new" Osservatore Romano alright, far more liberal than under John-Paul II and cardinal Sodano.

Dear Giles, you may put away your pink glasses and look at the painful reality.Alas.
The strong words of cardinal Ratzinger, the excellent analysis of the Cardinal have not passed his election as pope. I don't know why but it's a fact for all to see.

Alsaticus

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Two very significant documents indeed!

Augé is absolutely right, though, on the point that the Mass of Paul VI was supposed to supplant the old Mass and henceforth be THE sole "Mass of the Roman Rite."

As I demonstrated in "Did Paul VI 'Illegally' promulgate the New Mass?" the Apostolic Constitution promulgating the New Mass, three general decrees of the CDW, and one "Notification" made this absolutely clear.

The assertion made in SP that the old rite was never really abolished cannot be sustained in the face of all these documents. SP's claim to the contrary, in my opinion, was nothing more than pandering to the gullible trads who had swallowed a fantasy argument for sticking to the old Mass that had no real basis in church law.

Fr. Augé, by the way, was responsible for removing the "negative theology from the orations in the 1970 Missal. (See Work of Human Hands, pp.222ff.) He is still active and operates his own blog:

http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=19&catname=8

Anonymous said...

Smackdown?

"When I said that even the faithful who use the indult of 1984 must follow the decrees of the Council, I wanted to show that the fundamental decisions of Vatican II are the meeting point of all liturgical trends and are therefore also the bridge for reconciliation in the area of liturgy. The audience present actually understood my words as an invitation to an opening to the Council, to the liturgical reform. I believe that those who defend the necessity and the value of the reform should be completely in agreement with this way of bringing Traditionalists closer to the Council."

Sounds like a trap to me. The Traditionalists are to be brought along. They are just a few decades behind the rest of the NO church.

ATW

Fratellino said...

"...the difference between the Missal of 1962 and the Mass faithfully celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI is much smaller than the difference between the various, so-called ”creative” applications of the Missal of Paul VI."

That is true to a point if, and only if, the mass is said in Latin, ad orientem, with chant and the trappings of true Romanita old or new. Gestures not specifically altered, such as the double genuflexions after the consecrations, can be retained to good symbolic value.

Much of this can even tolerate the presence of the vernacular. However, despite the comfort of liturtical continuity, the minute that the English phrase "for all" replaces "pro multis," the mass has endured a fundamental theological mutation which opens the door to UN-orthodoxy, and the useful hermeneutic of liturgical continuity comes to an end.

I support the Holy Father loyally and unreservedly, but think he is very optimist that Vatican II can ultimately be a source of unity on any level. It is fraught with reletivism, and I believe it to be a cancer in the church. The orthodox liturgies of antiquity, even though in abeyance, will outlive it.

All that is wanted for them to become things of the present and not of the past is for living, praying beings to embody them. There is not a phantasm or ghost walking the earth who can re-create previous liturgical forms: only living, praying beings. The moment that happens, they are as alive as they have ever been. The church is not a theme-park diorama: the prayers that are offered in it, in whatever form, are real ones. The only issue arrises in regard to orthodoxy of form. The form of Vatican II falls far short, and I believe will ultimately fail.

Pablo said...

Dear Miss Delphina,

"...No one cared when souls were destroyed and hearts broken by the changes in the sixties shoved down our throats by Holy Mother Church...."

Well said.

It just tweaks me that a woman says that which us men should say and do.

Holy Mother Church has never harmed her children.

Remember this:

All the Strength of Satan's Reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics.

The Prophet Zachary asked the Divine Redeemer: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands?
"With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did
nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries".

God be with you.

pablo

*

Anonymous said...

I think not so small a number of Priests would love to fully support the Holy Father and all his liturgical reforms, including the expansion of use of the 1962 Missal in regular parish settings both urban and rural. That being said I am sure that a number of them are waiting for a stronger hand and some mandates that will outlive this Pontificate and thus ensure their "safety" in the life of the Church. There are many, many a stories of disobedient, malicious Bishops who would no sooner banish a fine Priest who attempts to follow fully the Holy Father's example. And on the part of lay people many are simply afraid and pained by the possible rollback, or suppression of the few reforms that have been successful. The Holy Father does not have an easy spot, but I would imagine no Pope does. More focus on the liturgy and perhaps an encylical all about the Hermeneutic of Continuity and its' importance would be a lasting treasure to the Church. Too many are still afraid of what is to come after this Pontificate. Shame on all clergy who instill this fear in the hearts of the people and the heart of the Church. That is the true sickness inflicting the Church.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't believe Benedict is afraid nobody will obey him if he were to purify the church's liturgy. The issue is that his heart is not into it, he does not believe that the status quo should be changed. As long as he has the opportunity to continue to dispute endlessly he will be happy. Don't you get it?

Almost said...

While this letter proves that the Pope wants a better Novus Ordo it also proves that he envisioned some kind of significant change to the Traditional Latin Mass. In short he is not on the Trads side completely but rather had in mind some kind of Mass that would be like the TLM but had adopted NO concepts.

This is not good enough, imo, but what we have here is a Pope that could swing things back in the right direction for future Popes – changing the direction of the Church which Paul VI and JPII let walk down the wrong liturgical path and back towards a right one.

Basically future Popes would slowly walk the Church towards this right liturgical path using Summorum Pontificum as the foundation that redirected the Church. This would cumulate with the TLM fully or mostly restored. The Holy Father then is a sort of anti-John XXIII.

BJR said...

When the clarification document on Summorum Pontificum appears hopefully Benedict XVI will explain why the 1962 MR was never 'juridically abrogated'.

On the basis of these letters it seems the same logic must apply to the old Roman psalter and the changes of Pius XII.

poeta said...

I am substantially in agreement with Almost.

Benedict XVI is a Pope who may steer us back onto the right road, but for whatever reason he won't lift the fallen trees out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Alsaticus,

I by no means was asserting that the 'new generation' was of a unilaterally sympathetic quality. I too find it very difficult to understand how Evreux and Bruges, amongst other sees, could have fallen to enemies of the aims of the HF's pontificate. Surely and certainly not because the Pope shares those men's dissent from current Church discipline or perennial doctrine.

I can only assume that the Pope, having a fuller contextual and circumstantial knowledge of particular situations does what he can. Surely, the truth is that those minded towards the restoration are, at a certain instituional level, so vastly outnumbered by the heavily invested beneficiaries of the status quo that his freedom to manoeuvre is severely limited?

I agree with you, especially about the Pell non-appointment; but that was, we assume, a casualty of the possibility of an entirely unfounded allegation being connected with the current wave of abuse scandals in the Church? Should he have simply pressed on? Could they both have weathered attacks from the press and from within the curia?

Given the limited time available to him, a calculation must have been made that an institutional counter revolution simply is not possible and likely counter productive?

So the approach is one of authoritative suggestion and helpful legislation (SP). Like you, I devoutly hope for more legislation that clears up various ambiguites, on ad orientem/versus pop for example.

Giles

Henry said...

"Look, I completely agree that this Holy Father is not (according to all indications) going to be the Pope who restores Tradition completely."

While my heart may agree with Dephina, my mind knows that neither Pope Benedict nor any future pope is going restore the traditional Latin Mass (of 1962 or earlier) as the uniformly normative Mass of the Latin rite. We all had best get used to this.

What we can hope and pray for is that Pope Benedict's successors will continue to promote his "hermeneutic of continuity" with the goal of reconnecting both liturgy and faith with tradition.

How could it be more obvious Pope Benedict's goal is not restoration of the Tridentine Mass, but it's use as a model of the reform of the reform? This being the case, we should forget about his ever celebrating publicly a papal TLM. This simply will never occur -- not now, not in a decade, not in a century. We all had best get used to this.

So the most we can reasonably hope and pray for is that the inevitable single Mass of the Roman rite that is Pope Benedict's evident goal will be a lot closer to the Mass of 1962 than the Mass of 1970 as it has most often been seen in ordinary parish settings.

BTW, I say all this as someone who has devoted as much "time, talent, and treasure" to the restoration of the TLM as anyone I know or know about. But also as one who does not wear blinders.

Anonymous said...

Not to the reverend fr., here, but I believe he has misquoted Missale Romanum. In contrast to the nomative "all things to the contrary not withstanding," Missale Romanum's latin actually reads "all things to the contrary not withstanding, insofar as necessary," interestingly. This wording is easily seen to not only take all measures necessary to effect Pope Paul VI's purpose, but also is ineffective to nullify anything which is not actually in contraposition to it- excluding anything which may work along side it.

We often speak of rites, but where is it written that no church may have more than one? I do not believe such a thing is possible to say as it has not been handed down as such in our partimony.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Anonymous 14:14 said:

"Not to the reverend fr., here, but I believe he has misquoted Missale Romanum. In contrast to the nomative "all things to the contrary not withstanding," Missale Romanum's latin actually reads "all things to the contrary not withstanding, insofar as necessary," interestingly. This wording is easily seen to not only take all measures necessary to effect Pope Paul VI's purpose, but also is ineffective to nullify anything which is not actually in contraposition to it- excluding anything which may work along side it."

-------------

This brings something else to mind: I have seen at least one study by a modern canonist expressing complete puzzlement as to how Benedict XVI could have implied in SP that the old rite was not, in fact, suppressed by the Pauline legislation.

Has any canonist or Roman office mounted a well-documented defense or elucidation of SP on this point?

The few comments I've read on this issue seemed like special pleading.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Henry,

St.Paul directed us to run the race all the way to the end. We finally have discussions ongoing with Rome as to what we are actually required to believe that emanated from Vatican II. The Holy Father has been presented a 19 million spiritual bouquet of rosaries from Traditionalists to consumate the Consecration of Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart. Pope Benedict XVI admits the Traditional Mass was never abrogated. The suspensions of SSPX bishops have been lifted. After more than forty years of resistance to the N.O. I am more confident now than at any time I started that our efforts have not been in vain.

A.M. LaPietra

Anonymous said...

Also a supporter of the Holy Father in his efforts to restore true unity between the disastrous Nervous Order experiment and the Mass of the Ages by making the latter more freely available as a reference point for creative quasi-heretical liturgists.

But one sees the fundamental flaw in his approach unfortunately.

He seeks to give inspirational options that tend towards the Ancient Mass to the spiritual descendants of the creative liturgical revolutionaries.

The problem is that they still have a revolutionary spirit. It is this revolutionary spirit, sinful in its manifestation of disobedience to Sacred Tradition, that frankly must be converted.

Now a conversion can happen gradually of course, but perhaps the words of the Lord that the Children of God are not as astute as the wolves and snakes applies here. The revolutionaries had no patience as Card Ratzinger himself points out in this letter, going even against the advice of their own to take 10 years to hammer and sickle us into their image, and instead foisted it upon the world in 6 months. That is Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot and Josef Stalin's approach, and it is next to impossible to beat that ideology with the gentle caress of a tender shepherd.

One sees this even with SP. 3 years after the fact most of the world's bishops, although there are many notable exceptions as elucidated by Rorate, resist for SP goes counter to the revolution.

My prayer for the beloved Pontiff is a stronger leadership. While giving some breathing room and allowance for a gentle return to less crazy liturgical times has some merit, there needs to be more forceful leadership, putting strict structure to the "reform of the reform. Many of the abuses he himself acknowledges in his letter should be legislated out harshly and immediately.

Then in a much less contaminated environment the victims who go to NO masses for lack of knowing any better will then truly be able to benefit from seeing the Ancient Mass and cultivating a devotion to it.

Brian said...

Fr. Cekada wrote:
I have seen at least one study by a modern canonist expressing complete puzzlement as to how Benedict XVI could have implied in SP that the old rite was not, in fact, suppressed by the Pauline legislation.

Fr. Augustine Thompson addressed the precise meaning of the term "abrogate" at the WDTPRS blog on August 3. http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/08/canon-law-conference/

I would be interested in hearing what you think about Fr. Thompson's comment.

According to Fr. Thompson:

"The term 'abrogate' means to “abolish or replace completely” in contast to 'derogate' which means to 'abolish or change in part.' As, from the promulgation of the new Missale Romanum in 1969, it has always been possible, with permission, to use the 1962 Missal, the new rite did not 'abolish or replace completely' the older liturgy. If it did, no permission to use it could have been given."

"This is unlike the new Code of Canon Law, which, in 1983, abrogated the entire 1917 Code and other canonical legislation up to 1983. This means that no pre-1983 law that is not included in the new code has any force of law whatsoever. It does not mean, however that older law can not be evidenced to help explain current law, but it has no legal force of its own."

"That this is obviously not the case for the old Missal, which continued to be used (with permission) after 1969, it should be obvious that the old Missal was not abrogated."

"One further point. That permission is necessary to use a liturgical rite has nothing to do with whether it is “abrogated” or not. For example, even before 1969, some priests were forbidden to use the old Roman Rite: e.g. Byzantine Rite priests and, in the Latin Rite itself, Dominican priests. Although it was possible to give them permission: e.g. by granting biritual faculties to the Byzantine’s or by a special petition to the sacred congregation for Dominicans. And the ability to use the rite would be taken away from Roman priests too, by suspending their faculties."

"Even if permission were given to no one to use a rite that would not “abrogate” it. It would only be abrogated if the ability to give permission were itself abolished."

Anonymous said...

Brian,

That doesn't seem to square with what happened.

The legislation Sacram liturgiam and Inter oecumenici certainly derogated the 1962MR i.e. it could be used but was changed in part by this legislation.

Likewise Tres abhinc annos further derogated the 1962MR.

After Inter oecumenic no one could legally use the 1962MR and ignore the changes, likewise in 1967.

Fr. Thompson in not correct with his statement. No one was given permission to use the 1962MR before 1984 with Quattuor abhinc annos. The 'Heenan Indult' in 1971 specified the use of the 1967 rite as did the permission ordinaries could give for elderly priests for Masses sine populo.

If Missale Romanum derogated the 1962MR why, by the logic Fr. Thompson uses, did no one use parts of the 1962MR with the 1970 rite?

Jordanes said...

No one was given permission to use the 1962MR before 1984 with Quattuor abhinc annos.

I doubt that very much. Around the time Summorum Pontificum was promulgated, it was reported that every single time an individual priest was disciplined by his bishop for his attachment to the 1962MR and appealed his case to Rome, Rome always sided with the priest against the bishop. I'm pretty sure that includes cases before 1984 -- and the fact that the Holy See consistently sided with the priest in such cases is further indication that the 1962MR was never abrogated.

Anybody here remember what I'm talking about? The documentation I'm thinking of should still be available online.

Brian said...

Fr. Cekada,
You wrote that, No one was given permission to use the 1962MR before 1984 with Quattuor abhinc annos.

Fr. Augustine's point was that if the 1962 had been abrogated, no permission to use it could have been given.

Here again is what Fr. Augustine stated:

"it has always been possible, with permission, to use the 1962 Missal, the new rite did not 'abolish or replace completely' the older liturgy. If it did, no permission to use it could have been given."

Now, as you point out, permission to use the 1962MR was indeed granted in 1984. Thus, according to Fr. Augustine, the 1962MR was not abrogated.

You state that The 'Heenan Indult' in 1971 specified the use of the 1967 rite. Presumably, you thereby implicitly argue that there was a period of time during which no permission was granted to use the 1962MR and that, therefore, Fr. Augustine is mistaken.

Fr. Augustine, however, states:

"Even if permission were given to no one to use a rite that would not “abrogate” it. It would only be abrogated if the ability to give permission were itself abolished."

Permission was given in 1984, therefore, according to Fr. Augustine, the 1962MR was never abrogated.

Anonymous said...

When the 1962 MR was used before 2007 with Vatican approval, how did the Vatican square it with Quo Primum (and other papal bulls) contained within in it?

Antonio M. LaPietra

Gideon Ertner said...

People who argue about the legality of the 1962 MR are missing the point, in my view. Regardless of whether it was abrogated, derogated or whatever or not, the fact is that it has remained a living part of the liturgical life of the Church, even if only in rather marginal circles.

There is more to the liturgy than a canonical stamp of liceity. Everyone agrees that the Rite/Use of Sarum was never juridically abrogated; however no Catholic priest has used it since the end of the 16th century. Thus, while it might be licit to celebrate it today, doing so would be rather odd and inappropriate.

John McFarland said...

For those with eyes to see, there are two basic points that are obvious in Cardinal Ratzinger's letter:

1. The indult is an act of kindness for those attached to the old Mass, and is particularly desirable in light of the abruptness with which the Novus Ordo was adopted.

2. The indult is the first step on the road to drawing traditionalists into a single Novus Ordo rite.

This is exactly the same position that the Holy Father holds today, except that the indult has been replaced by the 2007 MP.

This process of novusordofication may take ten years, or a hundred years, or it may never happen. But this is what the Holy Father thinks should happen, and is doing his part to make happen. It will involve a greater or lesser reform of the reform, or at least so the Holy Father hopes; but the reform will be the starting point.

The continuation of the old Mass is thus intended as transitional. The old Mass will probably never be suppressed; but it will never be given any more room to operate than is considered expedient in achieving the ultimate reunification, and with any sort of luck (from the Vatican perspective) it will eventually wither away.

What the Holy Father nowadays is telling the more rebellious of his fellow liberal ecclesiastics and intellectuals is that you draw more traditionalist flies with honey than with vinegar. If they do not agree, there is not much that can be done about it in the collegial Church of Vatican II. There is no longer discipline in the Church, just moral suasion.

The Holy Father does not intend the open-ended continuation of the old Mass. To the extent that it does continue, that will represent a failure of his policy. From his perspective, the old Mass must decrease, and the new (and hopefully improved) Mass increase.

As long as Rome remains the Rome of Vatican II, that will be the game plan, unless a different-minded future pontiff decides the suppress the old Mass altogether.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Thanks, Brian, for the reference to Fr. Thompson.

I really don't think his argument can be reconciled with the Pauline legislation.

First, Missale Romanum (the apostolic constitution or bull promulgating the New Mass) concludes with the following:

"“Notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions and Ordinances of Our Predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those worthy of special mention and amendment.”

This is the standard clause used to expressly revoke prior legislation. In fact, it employs some of the same language that Pius V did in Quo Primum:

"“Notwithstanding preceding Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances… and whatever laws and customs there be to the contrary.”

If it worked for Pius V, it worked for Paul VI.

Second, subsequent legislation interpreting and applying Missale Romanum (October 1969, March 1970, June 1971, October 1974) specifies that "only the revised form of the Mass" will be allowed, and that "Mass, whether in Latin or the vernacular, may be celebrated lawfully only according to the rite of the Roman Missal promulgated 3 April 1969 by authority of Pope Paul VI."

The plain sense of this legislation clearly fits into the definition for abrogation that Fr. Thompson gives: "to replace completely.” The New Mass is now to "replace completely" the old Mass.

Third, one of the supplementary sources for understanding what a law means is "custom" — how it's usually put into practice.

As one who lived through the post-Vatican II era, I can assure you that the new rite was treated as the replacement for the old rite. It was obligatory, and the old rite was forbidden, period. Priests who didn't go along were either forced into retirement or suspended.

Fourth, the non-abrogation argument originated with clergy in the immediate post-Vatican II era who believed the New Mass was evil, did not want to celebrate it, but nevertheless wanted to find a way around the accusation that they were defying the pope.

Hence, a whole pseudo-canonical mythology about a "canonized" Mass, a "perpetual" Quo Primum, obrogation/abrogation/derogation, Paul VI only "wishing" the Novus Ordo, decrees invalidated by legal technicalities, etc., etc. had to be created in order to justify resisting laws promulgated the Roman Pontiff.

My reading of SP is that it tipped its hat in this direction precisely in order to win over those trads who had embraced these urban legends.

I know this reading is cynical, but in light of all the Pauline legislation, it is impossible to see how SP's statement that the old Missal was "never juridically abrogated, and consequently, in principle, was always permitted" could stand the red face test.

Brian said...

Fr. Cekada,
Thank you for taking the time to provide that interesting response.

I do not know the mind of Fr. Augustine, though I find his point interesting.

It seems to me, that from the perspective of Fr. Augustine's argument, SP's statement that:

The old Missal was "never juridically abrogated, and consequently, in principle, was always permitted"

would mean:

The old Missal was "never juridically abrogated, and consequently, though in fact forbidden, in principle, was always permitted"

Whether this is what Pope Benedict XVI meant, I cannot say.

Your argument provides an interesting challenge to Fr. Augustine's position.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Brian said:

"Your argument provides an interesting challenge to Fr. Augustine's position."

---------

I'll see if I can dig out the commentary by the canonist (either American or British — I forget) who expressed puzzlement over SP's statement, and get it posted somewhere.

My 2000 article on the promulgation of the Novus Ordo is at:

http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=19&catname=8

The curial documents I referred to above are quoted in the middle of the article.

There's some sede stuff at the beginning and the end of the article, by the way, so more sensitive readers are warned to exercise custodia oculorum…

Anonymous said...

Speaking from experience (as an altar boy) in the 1960's, even before the N. O. was officially promulgated, but at at time when most of the cosmetic damage had been done to the traditional Mass, my serving partner and I asked our pastor if he could "say Mass the old way." His response is indelibly burned in my memory: "I'm sorry, boys, I'm not allowed."

Well, if dear old Fr. Banaszak wasn't allowed to say the corrupted version of the traditional Mass in a more dignified manner, I think most other priests who did not like the changes (including the NOM which was imposed in 1969) assumed that they had to follow the new way - under pain of mortal sin.

While my experience proves nothing (that the traditional Mass was or was never abrogated), I think it is insightful to the mentality of the average parish priest: The changes and the NOM were binding and meant to abrogate the traditional way of saying Mass. I'll bet if you ask any old N. O. priest today he will concur with my assessment.

So, if we are to believe that Benedict XVI's current notion that the traditional Mass was never suppressed, why did he wait so long to make his position known? The answer is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Benedict XVI is rapidly loosing the opportunity to set things right for the Catholic Church in this early part of the 21st century.

Picard said...

Brian et al.,

Fr. Cekada is really right.

It was the clear intention of the law-giver (legislator) - Paul VI. - not to create a new rite and put it besides the (older) second Roman Rite but to reform this one Roman Rite and that you are not allowed to use the older form from a given point of time on.

That is so clearly expressed by the supreme legislator that one can only wonder that there is the myth of not doing so.

Read all the official texts from Paul VI and the Roman Congreations and you will find it absolute clearly.

[To be continued]

Picard said...

[continuation]

Or read the famous German Canonist Prof. Georg May

-- he´s a well known traditionalist [but no sedisvacantist etc. and also not SSPX or else - he was Prof. at the University of Mainz/diocese Mainz] and he also states that it was undoublty the inteniton of the supreme legislator to replace and substitute the old form by the new form and so the old was automatically ab- or de-rogated -- and more, Paul VI and Rome did clearly and expressis verbis express this intention of replacing and forbidding (of) the old form of the Roman Rite.

You can read all this in the work of Rev. Prof. May: Die Neue und die Alte Messe. Ed. UNA VOCE (Deutschland)

And as he states - as well as Fr. Matias Auge puts it - that´s the normal way: a younger form/law substitutes the older.

You can not say: Oh, I use the form and rubrics of the Roman Rite as they were, say, in the year 1246, or 1124 or... Or I pray my brevier in the form of 1757...or... no, you are NOT allowed to do so.

The argument: what was saint stays saint ... and therefore is always allowed is not valid!!

Fr. Matias Auge has a real point here when he states:
Therefore the Tridentine Rite and the present one are one and the same rite: the Roman Rite, in two different phases of its history.

Yes, that was the intention of the law-giver -- and so the older is ab- or derogated. You must follow the new legislation, you can not use the older one (according to the intention of the legislator!)!!

Picard said...

And if you read the letters carefully Msgr. Ratzinger does not really answer and argue the point Fr. Matias Auge stressed on.

Fr. Matias Auge rightly states that there are only two forms of the history of the Roman Rite - and therefore the older is not any longer in place.

Card. Ratzinger does not really answer this point!!

And re Fr. Augustine (resp. Your defending of him, Brian):

The argument is not valid the way: it was allowed 1984 so it can not have been abrogated -- but v.v., so the other way round:

It was abrogated/derogated, so it is perhaps problematic that it was allowed again in 1984 (and later).

But I only use the words "perhaps" and "problematic" - because it is always possible for the supreme legislator to ab- or derogate some law and then later on to give an indult to use it again.

Remember, an indult is an exception from (of?- how do you say in English?) the law.

So the proof also works this other way round: if it proofs something (the 1984-indult) then it proofs that the old form was really ab-/derogated!!! (Otherwise you would not have needed an indult!!)

Only SP says something else - something that is contrary not only to the clear intention of Paul VI but also contrary to that of his succesor Joh. Paul II and the indult-giving (of 1984 and 1988)!!

Brian said...

Picard,
It seems to me that you may be making Fr. Augustine's point for him.

At issue here is the precise meaning of the word "abrogate."

According to Summorum Pontificum The old Missal was "never juridically abrogated, and consequently, in principle, was always permitted"

The question is: Did the Holy Father speak accurately in this statement?

According to Fr. Cekada the whole issue with abrogation was more or less fabricated by traditionalist priests in protest to the Novus Order. According to Fr. Cekada:

the non-abrogation argument originated with clergy in the immediate post-Vatican II era who believed the New Mass was evil, did not want to celebrate it, but nevertheless wanted to find a way around the accusation that they were defying the pope.

Hence, a whole pseudo-canonical mythology about a "canonized" Mass, a "perpetual" Quo Primum, obrogation/abrogation/derogation, Paul VI only "wishing" the Novus Ordo, decrees invalidated by legal technicalities, etc., etc. had to be created in order to justify resisting laws promulgated the Roman Pontiff.

My reading of SP is that it tipped its hat in this direction precisely in order to win over those trads who had embraced these urban legends.


It does seem that many traditionalist take the above-cited passage from SP as evidence that they were right all along, and that no priest had ever been forbidden from saying the ancient Mass. If Fr. Augustine's reading is correct, these traditionalists would be misinterpreting Summorum Pontificum.

Fr. Cekada suggests "cynically" that the Pope merely threw these traditionalist a bone. Perhaps that is true. I am not qualified to say.

According to Fr. Augustine's position, the Holy Father spoke accurately in SP, but did not mean what many traditionalists take him to mean.

Again, at issue here is the precise meaning of the word "abrogate." Where you repeatedly collapse the terms "abrogated/derogated," Fr. Augustine makes an explicit point of distinguishing the terms.

Fr. Augustine wrote: The term "abrogate" means to “abolish or replace completely” in contast to "derogate" which means to "abolish or change in part."

In his post on October 2, at 14:49, Fr. Cekada argues that based on the language used in Missale Romanum; legislation interpreting Missale Romanum; and the implimentation of Missale Romanum, "The plain sense of this legislation clearly fits into the definition for abrogation that Fr. Thompson gives: 'to replace completely.'”

Now, I do not know with certainty how Fr. Augustine would respond and, unless he happens upon these posts and chooses to respond, we will not know. I might speculate, however, that one response that he might give is found in your post.

As you state:

it was undoublty the inteniton of the supreme legislator to replace and substitute the old form by the new form and so the old was automatically ab- or de-rogated

There is no question that the legislator derogated the older form. But it might be argued that the newer form being, according to SP, a new form of the same rite, only partially replaced the older form. The argument might state that partial changes were made to the form of the Latin rite; and now the Latin rite has a new form and the old form was, for a time, derogated. Already in 1970, the old form was allowed with with relatively minor, partial changes. Then in 1984, the older form was allowed as per the 1962MR. The changes to the Latin rite, being partial changes, the older form was never abrogated, but was derogated.

I do not know, but this may, perhaps, be a response to Fr. Cekada's argument.

Picard said...

I do not think that the def. of abrogation vs. derogation of You, Brian, resp. Fr. Augustine is accurate.

Well, perhaps as in many legal terminology it is not totaly clear and there are different deff. (So perhaps Fr. Augustine´s is one of the possible deff.)

I am used to anther one, not differentiating between totaly or only partial abolishon, but as follows:


"abrogation" is the direct and explicit abolishon of an older law.

"derogation" or "obrogation" means a more indirect and/or implicit abolishon.

This is the way my ("prae-counciliar") German commentary of the CIC uses and defines this terms.

But if some person more educated in legal stuff can correct me please do so!

Picard said...

To specify my comment before (to state it more precisely):

So according to my using of the terms there is no difference in effect between ab-, de- and obrogation (so in all cases totaly/absolute abolishon). It is only the differnce of the modus.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

The traditionalists argued that Quo primum had never been abrogated and e.g. Fr. Raymond duLac presented a case that the 'old rite' was not abrogated by Paul VI's Missale Romanum because that did not abolish anything of immemorial or centennial custom (as that would require specific mention - c.f. Pius X's wording at the end of Divino afflatu).

A simple question: what was legally allowed in 1968 before the 'NOM' appeared - it certainly was not what was allowed between 1 January 1961 and Advent 1964/Lent 1965 indeed as another 'Anonymous' 2nd October 19:51 examples from his experience.

I have yet to see an argument from traditionalists arguing that the 1962MR had not been abrogated before the appearance of the 1984 indult. When the 'Heenan Indult' appeared the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society in England and Wales wrote a disparaging letter to 'The Tablet' basically saying the LMS was not interested in the permission for the 1967 rite as they were using the 'Tridentine' rite by virtue of immemorial custom. How things change!

Brian said...

Picard,
You wrote

I do not think that the def. of abrogation vs. derogation of You, Brian, resp. Fr. Augustine is accurate . . . But if some person more educated in legal stuff can correct me please do so!

As I trust is quite obvious, I am not that person.

Fr. Augustine's original post on this topic can be found at:
http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/08/canon-law-conference/

He is one of the world's leading experts on Dominican Liturgy.
His blog can be found at:
http://dominican-liturgy.blogspot.com/

I have probably speculated enough on this topic.

Picard said...

Brian et al.:

I´ve looked it up and as I said before there is no clear and unanimous, unambigious usage & meaning of the terms "ab-", "de-" and "obrogation".

One German handbook (Koeniger, Katholisches Kirchenrecht) defined the terms the way I put it, so:

"abrogation" for direct/explicit abolition (irrespectiv of beeing a total or only partial abolition), "de-" and "obrogation" (synonymously) for indirekt/implicit abolition.

But I consulted an other famous German manual, the "Eichmann-Mörsdorf".

It states, that "abrogation" means the totaly abolition, "derogation" the only partial abolition [So Fr. Augistine is also right!] and "obrogation" the indirekt/implicit one - but it states also that some times the terms "ab-" and "derogation" are used synonymously and that the there is no clear and fix definition...!

But all this does not matter, is irrelevant -

becaues even if you use "derogation" as only partial abolition and say that the old Missal was "only" derogated - that does not change anything in effect.

Perhaps there is some misconception, as if "partial abolition" would mean that such an abolished law (or entity) would only be "parial forbidden" and so "partial allowed".

But that is not true, it´s a missaprehension.

Partial means that not the whole stuff/matter and/or text of the old law was canceled, but only a part, so the old law (or entity) was changed, reformed, not totaly abolished.

But that does not change the fact that the old law is totaly replaced then, has no force anylonger.

On the contrary, it makes the argument that the old law is now out of force nad not binding any longer, STRONGER.
If something is only partial abolished, so only changed, modified, reformed (so not replaced by a totaly new law but changed into the new law) then you have only one entity -- so no two totally differnt laws (entities) but only one law that was modified.

But then of course only the younger is in force, the older form is totaly absorbed in the newer, younger one, totaly emerged into it. So the old one does not exist anymore - in the intention of the legislator.

So with the Missale.

The intention of the legislator was not to create a totaly new Rite and replace the old other Rite with/by it (then, much easier, the old could be still in force) -- but to REFORM the old Roman Missal into the new form.

According to the supreme legislator the old form should not exist any longer, it is only a historical form of the past.

Now there should only be the renewed - reformed - form.