Rorate Caeli

The opinion of the most radical Council Father:
Complete Coexistence of Traditional Mass and a New Mass

Among those Council Fathers who publicly expressed their opinion on Sacred Liturgy during the debates (First and Second Sessions) on the schema De Sacra Liturgia which led to Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), none was more radical than German-born bishop Wilhelm Josef Duschak, S.V.D., Vicar Apostolic of Calapan, in the Philippines.

He was the only bishop ever to propose, in the official Council discussions, an actual reform of the Canon of the Mass, a matter which was considered unthinkable for most Council Fathers -- even though it would be effected "ad experimentum" in many countries as soon as the Council ended, and, permanently, with the creation of the new Ordinary of the Mass, in 1969. Duschak was, thus, in the avant-garde of the most radical liturgical reformers -- the only bishop to voice openly what other bishops and especially many periti said and wrote in the Conciliar underworld:

Bishop Duschak* from Mindoro was the first to suggest that Latin be completely eliminated from the Mass and that priests would face the people at all times; other bishops had encouraged a greater use of vernacular languages while still retaining some Latin. Duschak proposed a Missa Orbis or Mass of the World. Interviewed later, Duschak said: “I haven’t too much hope that my idea will be accepted any time soon. But, as a good Filipino, I say—paciencia!”

But even such a radical liturgical reformer as bishop Duschak displayed a demeanor towards the Traditional Latin Mass which would shame the most recalcitrant among his episcopal colleagues of our own age. As Father Ralph Wiltgen, S.V.D., the liberal-minded press coordinator for the Divine Word Missionaries' Conciliar News Service, recalled in his famous "The Rhine flows into the Tiber", regarding the memories of that first session of the Council (1962):

Bishop Duschak emphasized that he was not proposing the abolition of the existing form of the Latin Mass. He was merely proposing that an additional form or structure of the Mass be introduced.

*Note 1: The original PDF file was located here (, visited on Oct. 26, 2006), but has since been removed. A copy is to be found at the Internet Wayback Archive. The same reference is also found in several works covering the liturgical reforms.

Note 2: Interestingly, Duschak also answered reporters on the demand for a new form of the Mass among the native peoples of his Vicariate:
Asked whether his proposal originated with the people whom he served, he answered, "No, I think they would oppose it, just as many bishops oppose it. But if it could be put into practice, I think they would accept it."
And so they did: the liturgical revolution, as almost all revolutions, emanated from the "Enlightened Élite" to the ignorant people...

[Repost. First posted on Oct. 21, 2006.]