Rorate Caeli

Old News, Old Commission, Old Mass

In today's edition of Le Figaro, Sophie de Ravinel tells us that her paper has had access to the minutes of a 1982 meeting of curial cardinals that dealt with the abrogation, or not, of the Traditional Mass.

The Commission, led by then Cardinal Ratzinger, concluded, inter alia, that the "Roman Missal, in the form which was used up to 1969, should be allowed by the Holy See to be used, in the whole Church, for Masses celebrated in the Latin language."

Beyond that conclusion, the Commission recommended a series of steps aimed at curbing liturgical abuses, and a possible reunification of the the Old and New rites, which Mrs. de Ravinel connects to the so called "Reform of the Reform".


  1. Definetely that alledged position in the 1980s was superceeded by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1998, whe he explicitly defended the right of purity of the Tridentine Rite.

  2. Is by "1969" meant the '65 and '67 interim reforms or the 1962 missal.

  3. This commission is supposed to be distinct from the one that took place in 1986?

  4. DCS,

    Yes, I am assuming it's a completely different Commission. The number of members and dates differ from the famed (infamous?)1986 commission.

  5. I think the final paragraph of the Figaro article is worth giving in translation:

    "Asked last week about this possible 'reform of the reform', Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, considered it 'normal, understandable and possible that, almost forty years after 1969, one would wish to take stock and to modify things, so that they endure.'"

  6. Apparently, Ratzinger was trying to reintroduce the Tridentine Rite (1982) long before Lefebvre carried out his illicit bishop consecrations (1988), leading to his and the SSPX's "irregular status."

    How can Bp. Williamson now argue that this continued effort on Ratzinger's part today --as Pope, in the form of the upcoming motu proprio --is an attempt to deceive/destroy tradition and/or the SSPX?

  7. Is there any way of determining whether the minutes of the 1982 commission will be published or can be obtained?

    Carl H. Horst
    Chula Vista, CA

  8. Kopp, cardinal Ratzinger did not run the department in charge of dealing with liturgical issues. That is the realm of the Congregation of the Sacraments. So it was there were all those crazy things of the Novus Ordo and its intolerance towards the Tridentine Rite were cooking, made with the acquiescense and later approval of JPII. Cardinal Ratzinger had just an opinion, and it is clear that JPII sided with opposite views from Cardinal Ratzinger. By the way, the II Vatican Council reaffirmed the value of every catholic rite, and this was not respected by the Curia, nor by Pope Paul VI. JPII had a more correct approach to this matter, although he refused to fix the problem alltogheter. AMDG.

  9. humboldt said...
    "So it was there where all those crazy things of the Novus Ordo and its intolerance towards the Tridentine Rite were cooking, made with the acquiescense and later approval of JPII. Cardinal Ratzinger had just an opinion, and it is clear that JPII sided with opposite views from Cardinal Ratzinger."

    Thank you for this analysis. It clarifies the issue quite well.

  10. In another blog post on the '82 meeting, it is claimed that

    "The final stage is reported to have been ***a synthesis of the two missals,*** doing away with some exaggerated innovations that have developed since Vatican II, while preserving the Council's liturgical restoration."

    I certainly hope that BXVI no longer is attempting a synthesis of the Tridentine and N.O. rites.

  11. I certainly do not understand how a hybrid could be made of the two rituals. Their fundamental principles are oppossed. They cannot be reconciled. A so called "hybrid" is just more Novus Ordo, not Tridentine. AMDG.

  12. This is really interesting. I wonder how this document came into the journalist's possession. Like Mr. Horst, I wish a fully copy would be published. Presumably, someone who had a copy felt that this was an approprite time for its contents to be known...

    According to the article, it was a meeting convened privately by Cardinal Ratzinger to discuss the issues, and was therefore not an official Commission set up by the Pope, like the one in 1986. Presumably, this also explains why no-one has ever heard of it until now: it had no official status, but was rather a private initiative to prepare the way for something else.

    Perhaps the 1984 indult and the 1986 Commission were to some extent influenced by this. Presumably by the time this meeting occurred in 1982, the negatives responses to the Holy See's questionnaire to the hierarchy sent in 1980 were already known in Rome, so this may have been an attempt by the well-disposed Cardinals to plan to move things forward somehow.

    One wonders who the other four Cardinals and the bishop were. I'd presume Oddi, Stickler and Mayer and maybe Gantin. Any other guesses, especially as to the solitary bishop?


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!