Rorate Caeli

50 years of Sacrosanctum Concilium and what the Council wrought
"The Destruction of the Roman Rite"

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution on the Divine Liturgy of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (Sacrosanctum Concilium), we post today the epilogue of the revised book on the Roman Rite by Don Pietro Leone Monselice, the pseudonym of a priest who celebrates the Traditional Mass exclusively in a diocese somewhere in Italy. If he were a priest defending the ordination of women, he would have no need to fear retaliations, but alas he is a priest who defends the obvious and clear superiority of the Traditional Roman Rite, and if he is punished it is not he who is going to suffer, but those faithful he currently serves who could be deprived of regular Masses. That sad and small aberration is just an example of the bizarre new world (wittingly or unwittingly) founded by the Fathers of Vatican II when they (wittingly or unwittingly) called upon Paul VI to "reform" the Roman Rite.



         Effects and Causes of the Destruction of the Roman Rite

In order better to understand the destruction of the ancient liturgy, we shall conclude this essay with a brief look at its effects and causes.  First we shall expound its effects and then its causes. We shall proceed in this order because the former are more evident than the latter, and, once established, will help us to identify the latter.  We shall first look at its effects on the New Rite and then on the Church Herself.

A.    Effects on the Novus Ordo Missae

Cardinal Ratzinger himself, in his preface to Mgr. Gamber’s ‘Reform of the Roman Liturgy’, called the new rite a ‘fabrication’[1], and in the next sentence a ‘falsification’[2]. Mgr. Gamber called it a ‘tumor'[3]. Relying principally on the material that we have presented in this essay, we proceed to identify five main defects of the New Rite[4].

1. The Faith is Misrepresented

We have shown how the Mass is represented as a meal; how the Person and Divinity of Jesus Christ is obscured; how sin, Judgment, Hell, the Devil, the imitation of Christ, and the ascetic life are minimalized. Faith is no longer presented as the ultimate Truth[5], and the life of Faith as a spiritual battle with the powers of darkness, as a question of eternal life and eternal death.
Rather, Faith is presented as a collection of edifying stories, and the life of Faith as a commitment to some undefined, future goal. Nebulous terms such as “the people of God”, “community”[6], and “solidarity” replace those of the Church and Charity, and even the Person of God the Father and that of Jesus Christ Himself become transformed into abstract and vague concepts.

2. The Cult of God is Compromised

The Mass no longer manifests the deepest Truths of the Faith: the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, His Death on the Cross of Calvary; it no longer answers to the deepest needs of the human heart: the desire to be loved by God with a perfect love, to receive God Himself into the soul, to love God with all one’s being, to offer oneself up entirely to Him.
 Genuflections, kneeling, and silence are discouraged; recollection is made almost impossible by the constant noise and the interaction between celebrant and congregation, all of which expresses no more than the celebration of the community by itself.

3. The Faithful are Alienated

With Faith and the Mass emptied of their content (subjectively speaking), there is no incentive to attend Mass, except for the devout. For the others, attendance becomes simply a matter of convention, of custom, or of purely cultural interest. A similar situation exists in relation to sacramental marriage and baptism. The falling-off of attendance at the Mass according to the new rite represents an intermediary stage on its path to extinction[7].

4. Graces are Reduced

Graces are reduced because there are fewer Masses, because the prayers in these Masses are fewer, and because the devotion in these prayers is less.
There are fewer Masses on account of the multitude of concelebrations, where, since Our Lord Jesus Christ is the primary celebrant of the Mass, there will only ever be one Mass celebrated, however many concelebrants there are[8].
Moreover, since many prayers have been eliminated from the Old Rite, there will be many fewer graces also for this reason: less will be received by he who asks for less. As examples we take the suppression of prayers preparing for a devout Holy Communion, all the prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the popes, the martyrs, and the holy apostles Peter and Paul, as noted above. As a particularly egregious example we take that of the suppression of the prayer to the Archangel Michael at the end of the Low Mass. How many millions of daily prayers by priests and faithful to curb the action of Satan have thereby been silenced? How can any-one with Faith not understand the growth of evil in the world in this light[9]?
Finally, the dispositions of the celebrant and of those who attend the Mass determine the amount of graces received for the Church, for those for whom the Mass is offered, and for those present. The New Rite is less conducive to devotion, so that the quantity of these graces will be less.

5. God is Dishonoured

The gravest consequence of the New Rite is, however, the dishonour of God. This is the gravest consequence as the glory of God is the primary finality of all things, and as the glory given to God by the Holy Mass is the greatest glory that there is.
In this essay we have analyzed the New Rite in terms of its Protestantism and its anthropocentrism. Its Protestantism consisted essentially in its denial of the sacrificial nature of the Holy Mass; its anthropocentrism related to its disrespect for the Divinity of the Lord.
To express these two factors in the briefest possible synthesis, we may say the New Rite dishonours Our Lord Jesus Christ: both in His Humanity, in which His sacrifice is that which is the most sublime, and in His Divinity.
We noted that the ultimate meaning of every thing is determined by its relationship to God. We conclude that the ultimate significance of the New Rite is this: that it dishonours God, in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The iconostasis of silence has been dismantled. The Lord is called forth in a vulgar tongue, in words composed by His enemies[10]. His Presence is ignored, His Person is demeaned. He is handled clumsily: if He falls, it does not matter[11]. He is placed on unblessed tables, segregated from His friends[12]. His garments have been reduced[13]. He, The King of Kings in the state of Immolation, is placed in vulgar, primitive vessels. As the people stand or sit, and think that they are listening to a mere tale, He is crucified and dies before their eyes. He is raised above their heads: “Behold the Lamb of God!”: they stand and stare. He is delivered over to them: He, Almighty God, their Creator, and their Highest Good. He is placed in their unclean hands. They receive Him into their darkened hearts, they brush Him off their hands, they trample over Him unwittingly, they take Him home. He is consigned to their caprice and their malice[14].  

Pilate therefore went forth again and saith to them: Behold I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. Jesus therefore came forth bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And he saith to them: Behold the Man[15].

B.     Effects of the Destruction of the Roman Rite on the Church

We have seen how the new rite is protestantizing and anthropocentric, and how it misrepresents the Faith. As such it is informed by a spirit of ambiguity that favours non-Catholic doctrine. This spirit is none other than the spirit of Modernism in that form in which it has insinuated itself into the Church of to-day from the time of the Second Vatican Council onwards. This spirit informs not only the liturgy, but also many of the teachings of the hierarchy, especially in the area of catechism, and many of their actions, especially ‘Ecumenism’. It constitutes the spirit of the world disguised as a new Catholicism, which started by destroying that great edifice which is the Old Roman Rite, and went on to destroy an entire world.
Where is the knowledge of the Faith in the laity, or even in the clergy? Where is the sense of the liturgical year? Where the spirit of adoration of God, the sense of the Sacred or of mystery, the spirit of sanctification, sacrifice, self-sacrifice, not to speak of  martyrdom? Where is the sense of Divine Justice[16], of hierarchy, of discipline, and of order? Where are self-possession, modesty, purity, respect, or even good manners? Where are the families with numerous children? Where the innocent eyes of children? Where are the ‘fioretti’, or acts of mortification of little children? Where are the flowers offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the month of May? Where are the young people of the black and white college photographs of byegone generations looking down with serene and steady gaze on their families? Where is the Catholic identity? Where is the sensus catholicus: the very sense of what it is to be a Catholic?[17]
If we were to ask whether it is the Modernism of the liturgy, of doctrine, or of action that has played the greatest role in destroying the whole Catholic world, or Orbis Catholicus, then we must reply that it is the liturgy, for what one prays determines what one believes (according to the principle: lex orandi, lex credendi[18]), and what one believes determines what one does. In a word, the water has been contaminated at its very source.
The Holy Mass constitutes the heart of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity: Faith in the Blessed Trinity, in the Incarnation, the Sacrifice of Calvary for the redemption of mankind, in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and in Holy Communion – indeed it even renders these very mysteries present; it is offered in the Hope of eternal life, and it bestows Holy Communion on the faithful as a pledge of that Hope; it makes present the sacrificial love of God for man, and makes possible the sacrificial love of man for God.
When these sacred mysteries are expressed with power and clarity, they strengthen the Faith[19], Hope, and Charity of all present, even to the point of martyrdom; when they are expressed with ambiguity that favours heresy, then they impede the growth of these virtues, shake them, or even destroy them[20].
This is especially true of the priest, who is the most intimately involved in the sacred mysteries: he is the one who renders them present. If the liturgy that he celebrates every day falls short of the Truth, so will his beliefs, his teaching[21], and his actions[22]. But this is also true for the Catholic laity, even if to a lesser degree, because it is the Mass, it is what they experience and learn at the Mass (be it every day, every Sunday, or only occasionally), that determines their Catholicity. 
So much for the Church visible; but what of the Church invisible? How many souls have been lost or have not attained that degree of glory in Heaven which God has prepared for them from all eternity, as a result of the Modernism of the new rite, of its alienation of the faithful, and its reduction of sanctifying Grace?
In a word, the new rite has blocked and thwarted the very purposes of the Church, which are the sanctification of man and the glory of God.
The Holy Mass is the means by which Our Lord Jesus Christ, fount of all Truth and holiness, enters this world: the means by which the Word, the Splendour of the Father, descends from His royal throne, and, passing through an infinity of space and time[23], pierces the fabric of this finite, transient world. But His light has been dimmed at its very source, and now shines less brightly on our aching, fallen humanity.

C.    The Causes of the Destruction

      We have presented the destruction of the Roman Rite in terms of Protestantism, of anthropocentrism, and, in the ultimate analysis, of subjectivism. Subjectivism, in its turn, derives from the perfections and free-will of the creature, which makes it possible for him to adore himself in the place of God.
      We have alluded to the possibility that the Freemasons were instrumental in the Liturgical Reform.
       So much then for the human level, but what of the spiritual level? We have asserted that the ultimate meaning of the New Rite, and therefore also of the destruction of the Old, is that it dishonours Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our question is then: Who might have wished to dishonour Him in this way?
       If we glance for a moment at the history of the Universe, there is one being who has been concerned to dishonour Him, and that from the very beginning of time: a being who refused to adore Him when, according to the Fathers of the Church, he was presented with an image of Him prior to the Incarnation, before the creation of man; a being who assailed Him in the hour of His Passion and Death; a being intent to destroy all those made in His image and likeness, especially the members of His Mystical Body, the Church.
     As for his dishonour of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the liturgy in particular, we refer to the ‘tenth  characteristic of the diabolical spirit’ in that classical work of demonology, ‘The Discernment of  Spirits’ by Father Scaramelli S.J. (1687-1752): “The tenth characteristic is the alienation from Jesus Christ and His imitation. As a proof of this, it is enough to recall the great aversion towards the Person of the Redeemer, on the part of the false contemplatives and heretics in whom the diabolical spirit triumphs: the former forbidding meditation on Him and cancelling His memory from the mind; the latter impeding His worship and veneration.”
     If the Devil’s main target is Our Lord Jesus Christ in Person, his second target, as we have just observed, is His Mystical Body, the Church. We have meditated on the damage done to Holy Mother Church in the previous section.
     The hypothesis that the liturgical reform on the spiritual level represents an attack of the Devil on our Lord Jesus Christ is corroborated by the following factors:
i)                    the prophesies about the creation of the New Rite which we have quoted at the end of the Part I of this essay: that of the apostate Canon Roca being certainly of diabolical inspiration, and that of Cd. Billot linking the creation of a new liturgy with the Devil;
ii)                  the suppression of the readings about the devil and the prayer to Saint Michael at the end of Low Mass;
iii)                the universal nature of the destruction, relating, as it does, to the entire world;
iv)                the systematic nature of the destruction, which followed a programme on all fronts, concerning every aspect of the Rite even down to its smallest details; a programme implemented gradually but relentlessly by a series of persons over a considerable period of time, with the precision, the concerted efforts, and the full rigours of a military campaign;
v)                  the ruthless violence of the destruction, its cold and implacable logic, and its hatred and scorn for all that is sacred, as we have already noted above in regard to the destruction of the altars and the altar-rails;
vi)                the fact that taken together this act of destruction represents an act of hybris and sacrilege without parallel in Church History;
vii)              the audacity of the Evil Spirit, if indeed he was the driving force behind these events, in taking possession, as it were, of the principal actors in this drama unbeknownst to them, including the highest authority on earth: to destroy the Roman Rite, to create a New, and to impose it incontestably on all mankind.
    However this may be, the ultimate cause of this, as of all things, is God Himself.  He has permitted the destruction of the liturgy for His Own unfathomable purpose, which we might suppose to be that of chastising the Church for evils of the most extreme gravity. Are these the evils, we might ask, that according to the revelations of Fatima, were to be chastised in the world with a punishment that was visible, physical, and of limited duration  by the wars of last century?  evils, which continuing, are now being chastised within the Church  with  a  punishment that is invisible, spiritual, and eternal?
One thing is certain however:  God does not permit evil unless for a higher good, such as the glorification of His Justice and the purification  of His elect.
And yet it is not the part of a Catholic to be disheartened or to make laments, so rather than dwelling on the unhappy legacy of the past, let us conclude this study by thanking God that by the wisdom and courage of his Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, the Old Rite is at last returning after 40 years of wilderness[24], and pray that this rite which (alongside its parallel rites) provided the foundation for Catholic Christendom in every land on every continent in the world, and which, when removed, made it fall, may, by its return, restore that great and holy civilization to its former splendour, for the salvation of innumerable souls and to the glory of the Most Blessed and Undivided Trinity.


[1] quoted in the Introduction of the book.
[2] Verfaelschung
[3] in the French version of the book one reads (p.95) : Où sont les éveques qui auront le courage de faire disparaitre cette tumeur ...qui est la théologie moderniste implantée dans le tissu de la célébration des saints mystères? Where are the bishops courageous enough to remove this cancerous tumour, which is the the modernist theology implanted in the tissue of the celebration of the sacred mysteries?”.
[4] In view of these defects, it is clearly impossible for us to ascribe an equal worth to the two rites, that is in an unqualified sense. We may ascribe an equal worth to them in fact only inasmuch as both render present the Sacrifice of Mount Calvary (with the caveat expessed in the Brief Critique).
[5] We refer in this connection to the removal of ‘the true Faith’ for which St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen died (in verae fidei propagatione); of the conquest of heresies in the feast of St. Irenaeus (veritate doctrinae expugnaret haereses); of the prayer for the return to the unity of the Church and for the salvation of those who are in error in the feasts of St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Peter Canisius; and the suppression of the prayers for the conversion of heretics and schismatics in the solemn orations of Good Friday: the oldest prayers of the Roman rite, which go back to the times of the first persecutions (WHH p.29).
[6] with its spatial and temporal limitations
[7] The new rite has not sufficient vitality to endure (cf. the Devastated Vineyard ch.8 p.73). Indeed even to hold the attention of the faithful for a short time it requires ‘animators’, who have recourse to elements proper to other forms of public action such as the television show or dance, to fill the void. The old rite, by contrast, has this vitality: it has lasted two millenia, and, despite all the efforts of its enemies to destroy it, is (at the time of writing) inexorably returning. In this connection we quote ‘la Révolution liturgique’ by Jean Vaquié (Diffusion de la Pensée Francaise, Paris 1971, p.45):  « Les antiques architectes de la messe traditionnelle l’ont construite pour durer. Elle est concue dans un esprit de stabilité et de vérité. La nouvelle messe, au contraire, est concue dans un esprit d’apostasie et de tolérance. Elle est transformable. Elle capte le vent et se laisse entrainer par lui. Il est évident que l’orage éclatant dans le ciel de l’Eglise, la messe de Paul VI sera entrainée contre les récifs. La logique de son pluralisme le brisera. Au contraire, la vieille messe traditionnelle résistera encore une fois aux assauts, parce qu’elle est faite pour cela: The ancient archtitects of the traditional Mass constructed it to last. It is conceived in the spirit of stability and truth. The new Mass, by contrast, is conceived in the spirit of apostasy and tolerance. It is changeable. It sails with the wind and lets itself be drawn along by it. It is obvious that when the storm breaks out in the sky of the Church, the Mass of Paul VI will be blown against the reefs. The logic of its pluralism will smash it. By contrast, the old traditional Mass will resist once again against the attacks, because it is made for that.”
[8] cf.L’Eucharistie, salut du monde II ch.3.II.1, Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie OCD, Editions du Cèdre DMM.
[9] we recall Pope Leo XIII’s vision of devils plotting evil against the Church which led him to compose the prayer and to append it to the low Mass.
[10] cf. book, Part I 2 (iii) on the words of consecration modified after the example of the Reformers.
[11] cf. book, Part I 3 on the indications about the Host falling.
[12],  Part I 3 on the elimination of the relics.
[13] cf. book, Part 1 8 on the removal of the frontals and altar-cloths, and Part I 4 on the reduction of the vestments.
[14]   cf. book, Part I 3 (note)
[15] Jn.19.4-5.
[16] In tandem with the diminution of the sense of Divine Justice and of sacrifice we note the tendency within the Church towards pacifism and towards the abolition of capital punishment, and, as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI regrets in his book Luce nel Mondo, the reluctance to punish criminal offences within the clergy in recent decades.
[17] clearly there are pockets in which these elements survive, but we are addressing the phenomenon in universal terms.
[18] We have quoted the words of Father Nocent that the new lectionary would change Catholic theology and spirituality; Fr. Braga claimed that the New Rite would alter “doctrinal reality”, would introduce “a new formulation of Eucharistic theology” (Il propium de sanctis, p.419), and would have a transforming effect on catechesis (Il nuovo, p.274) WHH p.396.                                                          
[19] Mgr. Gamber remarks: ‘The Roman rite is at the present time the rock amongst the breakers of faithlessness. The innovators are well aware of this: it explains their blind hatred for the ‘Tridentine Mass’. Its preservation is no matter of aesthetics but of the life of the Church: Der Ritus romanus ist gegenwaertig der Fels in der Brandung des Unglaubens. Das wissen die Neuerer sehr gut. Darum auch der blinde Hasz gegen die ‘Tridentinische Messe’. Ihre Erhaltung ist keine Frage der Aesthetik, sondern des Lebens der Kirche.’(Una Voce Korrespondenz 5, 1976, p.301) In this connection we also mention the remark of Pope Paul VI in Paul VI Secret (op.cit.): ‘Cette messe dite de St. Pie V, comme on la voit à Econe, devient le symbole de la condamnation du Concile: This Mass, called the Mass of St. Pius V, as it is viewed at Econe, is becoming the symbol of the condamnation of the Council.’
[20] One of the reasons for which the Church considers it dangerous for the faithful to assist at non-Catholic liturgies, and therefore discourages them from so doing, is that it can lead to the loss of Faith. The new rite, Catholic in one sense but Protestant in another, represents this danger to an eminent degree. In regard to the destruction of the Faith we quote the memorable words of Cd. Journet: ‘The liturgy and the catechism (of to-day) are the two jaws of the pincers with which they are tearing the Faith from the hearts of our children: La liturgie et la catechèse (d’aujourd’hui) sont les deux machoirs de la tenaille avec laquelle on arrache la foi du coeur de nos enfants.’ Lucien Méroz l’Obéissance dans l’Eglise (Claude Martingay, Genève). Fr. Bruckberger O.P. director of the film Les Carmelites de Compiègne goes further and writes (in La Révélation de Jésus Christ) ‘That which we are witnessing on the pretext of liturgical renewal is the organized apostasy from the Catholic Faith: Ce à quoi nous assistons sous prétexte de renouvellement liturgique c’est l’apostasie organisée de la foi catholique’.In this connection we refer to a passage in Les Institutions Liturgiques of Dom Prosper Guéranger (Paris 1878, pp. 388-407, esp. 398) where the author explains that all heretics have always begun their work of destruction by attacking the liturgy: ‘Every sectarian who wants to introduce a new doctrine finds himself necessarily in the presence of the liturgy which is Tradition in the highest degree of her power … Indeed, how has Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism been established and maintained in the masses? To obtain this effect all that was necessary was to substitute new books and new formulae for the old, and all was consummated.’
[21] this is of a particular relevance for bishops and those reponsible for the composition of official Church documents.
[22] in particular we note that if the central action of a priest, which, as he Council of Trent dogmatically declares, is the celebration of the Holy Mass, is emasculated, then so is the priest. (The same applies, to a lesser degree, to doctrine.) The consequences, which are of a moral nature, have been apparent in recent years .
[23] see Iota Unum s.266
[24] certainly a grievous castigation of the Church by God for unspeakable evils. We refer to “the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away: a tempore cum oblatum fuerit juge sacrificium”(Daniel 12,11) as interpreted by Cd. Billot, (La Parousie, op.cit. p.47 German version): “Gemeint ist also das Opfer unserer Altaere, die hl.Meszfeier, die in diesen Tagen ueberall geaechtet, ueberall untersagt sein und die – abgesehen von jenen hl. Meszopfern, die in den Katakomben, im Dunkeln und Verborgenen gefeiert werden – ueberall unterbrochen sein wird: What is being referred to is the sacrifice of our altars, the celebration of the Mass, which in these days will everywhere be despised and forbidden, and that, with the exception of those Masses that will be celebrated in the catacombs, in the dark and in secret, will everywhere be interrupted.”