Rorate Caeli

40 years of Missale Romanum and the new Roman Rite - II
The new Ordo created a new liturgical rite

Does the Pope have the authority to change a liturgical rite founded on apostolic tradition and developed over many centuries? ... [I]n the past, the Church hierarchy did not exercise a strong influence on the development of liturgical forms. It simply sanctioned the rite that grew out of local custom, and even the Church practice of officially sanctioning a rite emerged relatively late, only after printed liturgical books became popular.

In the West, this practice began after the Council of Trent; and it is defined in Article 22 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium]. Referring to Canon 1257 of the Codex Iuris Canonici [1917], it says, "The supervision of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, which resides in the Apostolic See and, in accord with the law, with the diocesan bishop (...Therefore, no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority)."

The Council did not elaborate on what the term "supervision of the sacred liturgy" (Sacra Liturgiae moderatio) means. If we consider past practices and customs, however, the term cannot mean the type of sweeping revisions of the Mass ritual and the alteration of liturgical texts that we are now experiencing. Rather, we must understand the real meaning in a larger context: Above all, the Council Fathers were intent on preventing every priest from "devising" the liturgical rite "on his own authority"—which, of course, is exactly what is happening today.

Nor can the liturgical reformers derive their authority from Article 25 of the Liturgy Constitution, which says, "The liturgical books are to be revised (recognoscantur) as soon as possible." ... 

[T]he type of revision of the liturgy of the Mass envisioned by the Council was the Ordo Missae published in 1965. At the very beginning, the decree [of 1965] points out that the revision (nova recensio) of the Order of the Mass is being issued because of the mutationes made to the Council's Instructions on the Proper Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [Inter oecumenici].

As recently as May 28,1966, in an official letter written on behalf of the Pope and addressed to the Abbot of Beuron, who had sent to the Pope a copy of the new (post-Council) edition of the Schott-Missal, then Cardinal Secretary of State Cicognani stated, "The singular characteristic and primary importance of this new edition is that it reflects completely the intent of the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy." The letter made no mention of the fact that a comprehensive revision of this very Missal was already under way.

Only four years had passed since the publication of the new Missal when Pope Paul VI surprised the Catholic world with a new Ordo Missae, dated April 6, 1969 [and promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution "Missale Romanum"]. The revision made in 1965 did not touch the traditional liturgical rite. In accordance with the mandate of Article 50 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, it had been primarily concerned with removing some later additions to the Order of the Mass. 

The publication of the Ordo Missae of 1969, however, created a new liturgical rite. In other words, the traditional liturgical rite had not simply been revised as the Council had intended. Rather, it had been completely abolished, and a couple of years later, the traditional liturgical rite was, in fact, forbidden.

All this leads to the question: Does such a radical reform follow the tradition of the Church? Given the evidence we have presented, one cannot invoke the Council's decisions to support such an argument. As we have already shown, the assertion, which continues to be made, that the inclusion of some parts of the traditional Missal into the new one means a continuation of the Roman rite, is baseless.

The argument could be made that the pope's authority to introduce a new liturgical rite, that is, to do so without a decision by a council, can be derived from the "full and highest power" (plena et suprema potestas) he has in the Church, as cited by the First Vatican Council, i.e., power over matters quae ad disciplinam et regimen ecclesiae per totum orbem diffusae pertinent ("that pertain to the discipline and rule of the Church spread out over all the world").

However, the term disciplina in no way applies to the liturgical rite of the Mass, particularly in light of the fact that the popes have repeatedly observed that the rite is founded on apostolic tradition. For this reason alone, the rite cannot fall into the category of "discipline and rule of the Church." To this we can add that there is not a single document, including the Codex Iuris Canonici, in which there is a specific statement that the pope, in his function as the supreme pastor of the Church, has the authority to abolish the traditional liturgical rite. In fact, nowhere is it mentioned that the pope has the authority to change even a single local liturgical tradition. The fact that there is no mention of such authority strengthens our case considerably.

There are clearly defined limits to the plena et suprema potestas (full and highest powers) of the pope. For example, there is no question that, even in matters of dogma, he still has to follow the tradition of the universal Church—that is, as Vincent of Lerins says, what has been believed (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus). ... 

As we examine the issue of unlimited papal authority and how it relates to the authority to change the established liturgical rite, ... this argument just may be the already established fact that, until Pope Paul VI, there has not been a single pope who introduced the type of fundamental changes in liturgical forms which we are now witnessing. ...

Not only is the Ordo Missae of 1969 a change of the liturgical rite, but that change also involved a rearrangement of the liturgical year, including changes in the assignment of feast days for the saints. To add or drop one or the other of these feast days, as had been done before, certainly does not constitute a change of the rite, per se. But the countless innovations introduced as part of liturgical reform have left hardly any of the traditional liturgical forms intact.

Since there is no document that specifically assigns to the Apostolic See the authority to change, let alone to abolish the traditional liturgical rite; and since, furthermore, it can be shown that not a single predecessor of Pope Paul VI has ever introduced major changes to the Roman liturgy, the assertion that the Holy See has the authority to change the liturgical rite would appear to be debatable, to say the least.
Klaus Gamber
The Reform of the Roman Liturgy
(Die Reform der römischen Liturgie: Vorgeschichte und Problematik) 
(Regensburg, 1981)


  1. Anonymous2:38 AM

    "Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: 'The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man' [1 Cor 2:15]."
    Unam Sanctam-Boniface VIII-1302

  2. Dear Rorate: Thank you for another profound and instructional entry on the Roman rite of the Mass, which is the Latin rite!!!

    The problem in this declaration by Paul VI and Vatican II for a "novus ordo missae" or reform of the liturgy is that it is replete with erudite and pharasaical argumentation about liturgical truth in the Church but, in the end, is fraught with quasi-heretical arugmentation and erroneous teaching which contradicts the perennial magisterium of Tradition.

    At the core of the New Mass is the fact that it is a defective prayer to God; in fact a completely inefficacious prayer if one examines Our Blessed Lord's teachings on what is a true prayer to God and what is not.

    We all remember Our Divine Teacher's parable on the two men who went up to the Temple to pray: the pharisee and the publican. The pharisee was consumed with the fact he was a just man or a self-righteous man because he was not an adulterer or dishonest man and a thief like the publican-tax collector in the Temple praying nearby.

    However, the so-called evil publican was praying so humbly in the back of the Temple and would not even lift his head and kept on saying: "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!"

    Our Divine Teacher taught at the end of this parable that only one man went home from the Temple that day justified before Almighty God, and that was the publican.

    So must be all of our prayers if we wish them to be efficacious before God: humble, repentant, and sorrowful and contrite for our sins, for we are all unworthy before God, because as St. Paul says, 'we are all sinners.'

    Thus the Tridentine Mass of the centuries stands out as the perfectly efficacious prayer before Almighty God because it clings with all its fervor in all of its prayers and rubrics to this holy ideal of the spirit of the publican's prayer: deep sorrow for sin and begging for God's mercy.

    On the other hand the "Novus Ordo Missae" has virtually lost this spirit of humble prayer because it has jettisoned the sense of sin and unworthiness that the humble publican demonstrated. The multiple versions of the Canon cloud this notion of a true sacrificial prayer entirely and even have the audacity of the pharisee to change the words of institution of the most holy sacrament. Most deplorable of all is Communion in the Hand, a true abomination of pharisaical egotism, giving the notion through this rubrical novelty that the Bread of Life is no different than common bread or common food because it can be consumed with one's hands too. And this is reinforced by the pharisaical impudence of each communicant acting as they are just as worthy to 'touch the Sacred Species' as the priest, the 'alter Christus' and sacrificer par excellence.

    Sin is downplayed in the "Novus Ordo"; one's worthiness is emphasized; the notion of sacrifice for sin is forgotten; and the notion of meal with table instead of altar is sacrilegious.

    Finally, Pius V declared at the Council of Trent that whoever
    alters or changes the Mass of the Ages, the Tridentine Mass, at anytime from his pontificate onward, let him be anathema. And what did Paul VI boldly do, but alter the perfect prayer of the Catholic Church that organically developed from the Upper Room and Christ's first and perfect sacrifice of the Mass.

    Since Vatican II, consider all the evils that have besieged the Church and the world after Paul VI's liturgical revolution of the "Novus Ordo Missae": divorce, contraception, sodomy, anti-clericalism, sacrilege of the Eucharist, loss of vocations to the priesthood and sisterhood to name just a few of the plagues upon the Church. We have literally become 'anathema'.

    Why do we have two Masses, two lectionaries, two priesthoods, two sets of rubrics, two ways of receiving the Most Holy Eucharist, two sets of vestments, two kinds of ordination, and two kinds of house of worship: one a church with an altar and holy images and the other a gathering space or community with a table and no icons.

    Let us pray for the suppression of the "Novus Ordo Missae" and all of its pharisacial prayers, rubrics, and teachings, for it has divided the Church like no heresy or attack from the world or the devil has ever been able to do.

    Thankfully, we have a great and holy pope, Pope Benedict XVI, who is leading the restoration of the liturgy in the spirit of Our Lord's prayer for unity 'that all may be one, Father.'

    www.http//the orthodox roman

    j hughes dunphy

  3. Johannes3:00 AM

    Die Reform der römischen Liturgie. This is one of the books that is not challenged, argued against or alleged untrue - but, quite rather, is simply ignored or passed off in a few trimmed paragraphs that seem to serve only to show the author has in fact read it and still disagrees (a de Lubacian argument). As well though, it is a book without consequences. Monsignor Klaus Gamber's words are true - and no one acts as though it is so. If the Holy See is not able to alter the Roman Liturgy, or any authentic local liturgy of historical provenance (as opposed to explicitly modern), then why do we celebrate the Novus Ordo? Which was the abolishment of every rite heretofore - hereafter: all made up. With this emphasis that is standard among the theologians of the continent since Msgr. Guardini placed on the Liturgy as the centrepiece of the Church - how is it tolerated than an invalid rite is now the ordinary for all the local churches (but do remember those whose Eastern rites were very publically permitted as serving equally with the Novus Ordo to stress historico-cultural differences, nationalisms and individuality) under the Roman Canons?

    Forty years.

  4. It seems to me that Pastor Aeternus gives the Pope the authority to make the changes you object to:

    From Chapter 3:
    8. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful [52], and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment [53]. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon [54]. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.

    9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

  5. Anonymous3:24 AM

    It really was a train wreck wasn't it...

  6. "The publication of the Ordo Missae of 1969, however, created a new liturgical rite."

    Precisely so whatever the current pontiff attempts to explain away by using extraordinary and ordinary as a linguistic justification, we have two rites not two forms of the same rite. They are poles apart liturgically and one, as the current pope has stated is "fabricated". They do not even look the same while a Lutheran can go the NO service that is reductionist on sacrifice but he cannot attend The Holy Mass in Latin. Children notice immediately how totally different they are.

    The NO is essentially a modernist vehicle for neo-catholicism based on liberal principles. It is defective in many respects and is mostly responsible for the utter chaos and indiscipline demonstrated now throughout the post-conciliar church. It sits easily with collegiality, liberalist ecumenism, pantheitistic interreligious centrism and anarchistic religious liberty. It fosters, among other vices, systemic irreverence, disobedience to liturgical norm and doctrinal equivocation. That was its intention: destroying "bastions" in The Church.

  7. Johannes3:35 AM

    Arnobius - no. It is not so. Re-read Msgr Gamber's words - particularly his critique of the argument made from the plena et suprema potestas of Vatican I. The Liturgy, like the Faith itself, is received from the ages. Tradition defines and dictates what is Liturgy. As you could not cite Pastor Aeternus to defend a Bishop of Rome who was denying that Christ is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity (may the same Indivisible Trinity never let it be so) - you cannot cite Pastor Aeternus to defend a Bishop of Rome who alters, leave alone abolishes, the Liturgy we have received via apostolic and ancient succession as our holy inheritance. The Novus Ordo is a pope interfering in what has historically been agreed to be a matter of tradition - and moreover yet, without any historical precedent (i.e, a pope has never done so before), imposing explicit novelties upon us in place of that tradition.

  8. Anonymous4:23 AM

    I respect him as a Pope of the Catholic Church but that is as far as it goes. The hurt he generated by promulgating that Missal and allowing for the virtual ban and dissappearance of the previous Missal cause hurt to so many that it is incomprehensible..Not just at the time, but even now it reverberates. No one can justify this hurt goes in accordance with the wishes of the Vat II Council. Hurt, scarred, and an obliterated faith was surely not "for the good of the people" For whatever good was brought into the NO, I am sure it did not outweigh the offense to those who left with their families and those who dared not enter into the state of confusion. How many millions hurt and how many thousands got onboard the new ship. Did Pope Paul see this beforehand, I doubt it, but he should have heeded previous Popes warnings about tampering. And the brutal imposition left out the Latin and Gregorian Chant that was supposed to accompany this "new fabrication" in order to give it a semblance of familiarity. Where was that enforcement and imposition? Scrap the NO, return the UA in its' 1962 form and freeze it for a few generations as a testament to its' survival and allow a vernacular (if u must) version of the 62 Missal and allow the organic growth to start again also incorporating correctly the Vat II directives. Two expressions of one rite both born from the same axis. Then in a century or so decide what worked in the growing renewed form and chuck what did not, and unfreeze the 1962 Missal so that it will catch up to the correctly revised form and we will have one correctly interpreted form within the Latin Rite. Any bidders on the project, please step forward and add to it..

  9. Since, as LeonG wrote, "the current pontiff attempts to explain away[,] by using 'extraordinary' and 'ordinary' as a linguistic justification, [the fact that] we have two rites[,] not two forms of the same rite," how can one reasonably conclude anything except that Benedict XVI is not the apologist for Tradition and the defender of the True Faith that a clear majority of the commenters on this site describe him over and over again as being?

    Also, since New Catholic has quoted Monsignor Gamber at length sans critical comment, it is reasonable to conclude that he (New Catholic) agrees with Gamber's analysis. Then, it seems to me, it is most unreasonable for the moderators of this site to refrain from hanging the same albatross of perfidy worn by Paul VI around the neck of the current pontiff, too. Or is it their contention that this former peritus and associate of literally every celebrated Modernist theologian in the Church during the era of the council was not indeed, with them, a witting and willing participant in the destruction of the Church? Or if the former Josef Ratzinger has repented his former errors, why then does he persist in substituting Hegelian dualism for patristic and scholastic modes of thought and formulation?

  10. HallnOates5:13 AM

    Matthew 24:15:

    When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.

  11. Anonymous5:53 AM

    St. Pius X's reform of the Breviary would have been invalid if this article's conclusions were true. For it was a radical departure from Breviary of St. Pius V.

    Also, how are the reforms of 1965 valid if the NO is not? For the 1965 reforms introduced many things not found on Apostolic Tradition (e.g. vernacular languages).

    The article also makes a grave error when it says liturgical rites are not "disciplines" (I believe it is assuming that liturgical rites are immemorial customs). All liturgies are disciplines, not customs.

    From Catholic Encyclopedia on 'Ecclesiastical Discipline':

    "The rules to be observed in this worship, especially public worship, constitute liturgical discipline. This cannot be said to depend absolutely upon the Church, as it derives the essential part of the Holy Sacrifice and the sacraments from Jesus Christ; however, for the greater part, liturgical discipline has been regulated by the Church and includes the rites of the Holy Sacrifice, the administration of the sacraments and of the sacramentals, and other ceremonies."

    Thus, since Liturgy is discipline, the Pope has full authority to change it (for better or worse).

    Its one thing to debate the problems/merits of the NO (I'd be happy to agree with Rorate on these issues). However, the argument that the NO is invalidly promulgated is based on fabricated theology and law (For who exactly decides when a rite has ventured so far away from "apostolic tradition" that its promulgation is invalid?).

  12. Anonymous6:52 AM

    How true Klaus Gamber is. This clariication is exactly what needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
    Paul VI was a ditherer and he lacked strength. I read he was sent to Milan because Pope Pius XII mistrusted his Modernist tendencies. How right he was! We have had mediocre and even bad Popes. Paul VI was one of these. He was an abusive father to us and the fierce attachment we have to him as pope is contradicted by the abuse he inflicted and lack of certainty he radiated.

  13. Johannes7:19 AM


    Saint Pius X's reforms were valid as in accordance with the Canons of the Council of Trent and as entirely respecting the variis suis formis of the Roman Liturgy and even drawing upon that variety for justification of his principal novelty: the attempt to omit repetition in the Psalter, which can be seen in other traditional local Latin liturgies of which Saint Pius V was aware. It should next be noted that vernacular can be validly used in the Liturgy - it is those who declare "vernacular alone" and "no Latin" that the Council of Trent declares anathema. Lastly,

    i) Saint Pius X's revision was not so very different from Saint Pius V's breviary as the anonymous poster should like you to imagine.

    ii) So far as I know, none of the differences were novel - they had precedent in earlier forms of the Roman Rite historically throughout Europe.

    iii) He did not abolish Saint Pius V's breviary and then issue something utterly different (in content) while alleging it to be the same (in name).

    As to the second half of the post - liturgies are liturgies, not customs or disciplines. There are disciplines and customs that pertain to liturgies. There is, as the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, Liturgical discipline. It does not follow, nor is it said, that liturgies are therefore disciplines. Liturgical discipline concerns the regulation of the rites - not their form. Further, these regulations as well are not open to the caprices of innovative Bishops without serious warrant (or if you just make up a new rite I spose...). It is perhaps possible for a regulation to be altered in the way in which a priest ministers the saving Sacrament of Baptism (as an illustrative example: water passing over the head as against total immersion) - however, it is not possible to change the liturgical form of the Sacrament. You cannot baptize someone except in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Recently in Australia some men did change the form for a novel formula and were repudiated and the baptisms declared invalid (Responsa ad Proposita Dubia de validitate baptismatis die I mensis Februarii anno MMVIII). I suppose my opponent believes if the pope had "promulgated" the formula condemned it would be valid? Let us hope not. And if it is not so for the baptismal formula - how is it so for the entire form of the Roman Liturgy?

    Liturgy is the historical prayer of the Church inherited from our fathers through the ages. The question then: "For who exactly decides when a rite has ventured so far away from "apostolic tradition" that its promulgation is invalid?" - makes profoundly little sense. Who ever would be promulgating rites? Revising a rite - yes. Addendum (i.e, new prayers, chants and ectera)? Perhaps. Promulgating? It is not possible. If you are promulgating a new rite you have already expressly broken with apostolic tradition; there would be no question. That is why it is called the Novus Ordo. Ordo. Order - not Rite.

  14. Philip Jenkins7:37 AM

    "All this leads to the question: Does such a radical reform follow the tradition of the Church?"

    The situation immediately prior to the conciliar reform was different to any at any other time in the history of the Church and therefore called for a different approach.

    After the Council of Trent the Roman Rite had come to dominate the Western Church, eclipsing all other Western rites and uses which had developed alongside it in the preceding centuries. And it had become a rite frozen in time, unable to develop organically as all rites had hitherto. The Holy See had ensured, thanks to paranoia about Protestantism, that developments of any kind would not take place and it had guarded this rite like a museum piece, giving to itself sole power to change anything in it whatsoever and limiting that power to the calendar alone.

    The 20th century saw finally a loosening of grip. Pius X dramatically reformed the calendar, restoring the temporal cycle and curtailing the now extremely bloated sanctoral cycle. His successors saw fit to follow his example, and changes continued to be made until the Council.

    Finally after the Council the opportunity for a more dramatic reform became possible as a spirit of change entered the Church. The rite had not developed for 400 years, so 400 years needed to be made up for, hence the comparatively radical nature of this reform.

  15. Johannes10:46 AM

    Philip Jenkins has been very good to us to draw up a most full but still brief picture of what Nouvelle Théologie wants to teach us on the Liturgy. Perhaps reading some books that are not published by Ignatius Press? No. I am sorry - I am just absurdly tired of reading this perfectly vague talk of "organic development" and ect. We do not believe in a biological Liturgy - the Ancient Church does not. It is found nowhere until our age. Everyone is exactingly inexact when writing about it. No one knows anything of it except that it justifies the Novus Ordo. There are many books showing how Saint Pius V basically brought together all the extant Latin liturgies then in use, how profoundly similar they were and how the Editio Typica Anno Domini MCMLXII completed Saint Pius V's work. There are none that show in anything like detail or with anything like precision how the Liturgy developed as an organism (or even at all in such a way as to illustrate, in any meaningful sense, how they insist it has) prior to the Novus Ordo.

    But it was an instructive post. That is a summa of what is believed by most intelligent Catholics, and especially the clergy, in these days.

  16. Johannes11:17 AM

    And it would be well to note that Philip Jenkins has, more than less, shown what I meant when I originally wrote, "This is one of the books that is not challenged, argued against or alleged untrue - but, quite rather, is simply ignored or passed off in a few trimmed paragraphs that seem to serve only to show the author has in fact read it and still disagrees."

  17. In my opinion it is an academic question whether the pope has the authority to make such radical revisions to the Mass so as to constitute a new rite. The fact is it was done although Paul VI never expressly abrogated the old Mass and Pope Benedict XVI said as much in his letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum. However, the new mass has never been proposed as a substitution for the old mass but merely a pastoral option. At the same time Cardinal Ottaviani said it was a radical departure from the theology of the mass as dictated by Trent. And the debate rages on.

    So, the current pope had to distinguish between a new rite and a different form of the old rite and that the old form had never been officially abrogated. I say officially because to many of us it seemed that it was, in fact, abrogated - not by decree but by practice. In any event the current pope appears intent on bringing both forms to some sort of hybrid formulation but one can question whether it can be done in actuality. As I look at the two forms myself, it seems very unlikely that they can be merged. One is God-centered and the language and actions say so and the other is man-centered and the language and actions say so.

    Will the SSPX ever accept a hybrid formulation or will such an attempt further drive them apart? An interesting question to be sure but my gut feeling is they will not accept such a thing. There is a saying that "words have meaning" and that coupled with the different actions make it a very difficult proposition to reconcile. Poor Pope Benedict XVI - he inherited a very difficult task indeed.

  18. "how profoundly similar they were and how the Editio Typica Anno Domini MCMLXII completed Saint Pius V's work..."

    Ehem, Holy Week of 1956?

  19. Martin1:29 PM

    Traditionalists should respectfully resist a hybrid of the new mass with the old rite. For 40 years, we have lived through a liturgical nightmare, thanks to Paul VI. It's already bad enough that the 1962 Missal has the "cut n' paste" job of Bugnini in the Holy Week. We are not about to give up what we fought for only to end up at square one again.

    The reform of the deform crowd at the New Liturgical movement are beating a dead donkey. The new mass is beyond reform because of the spirit that imbibes it. You cannot combine what is essentially another rite by itself with one that is already long-standing. How anyone buys that website arguments is beyond me.

    An increase in the celebration of the pre-56 Holy Week rites and a constructive re-evaluation of the pre-conciliar changes, will help the Pontiff make the decisions he needs in the areas of liturgy.

  20. pjsandstrom1:46 PM

    Does not anyone know of and refer to the 'radical' revisions of the Roman Rite worked by Alcuin at the time of Charlemagne for Charlemagne's Empire? It was at least as 'radical' as that of Pope Paul VI. I am surprised that Klaus Gamber does not take account of this much earlier 'thorough reform' of the Roman Rite which was imposed on this Empire.

  21. Anonymous1:51 PM

    We must pray daily for the complete revocation of the Novus Ordo. It may be a valid Mass, but it is a weak one which produces mixed fruit... unlike the Mass of the Ages. Please join me in praying the 1962 (or earlier) version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Baronius Press publishes a good one) for the complete return of the Traditional Mass and the abolition of the Novus Ordo. The Blessed Virgin will win this victory for us if we invoke her powerful intercession.

  22. Baron Korf3:09 PM

    A bunch of whining and hyperbole in these comments.

    I find it so amusing that when Rome says that the SSPX is not in schism despite every outward appearance, people are all for it. But when they speak of the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Mass, many of these same folk will apply the 'duck' argument that would put the SSPX in schism.

  23. Anonymous3:23 PM

    "the assertion that the Holy See has the authority to change the liturgical rite would appear to be debatable, to say the least."

    Actually, it is not debatable at all. If the Pope cannot change the liturgy, then who can - the people?
    Do we really want a Call to Action or a Kirche von Unten approach to liturgical development?

  24. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Baron Korf,

    What are you talking about?

  25. This debate--about whether a new rite was created--was unequivocally settled by Benedict XVI when he issued Summorum Pontificum: one Roman Rite, two forms. Period. Roma locuta est. To keep debating it is very, let us say, "protestant."

  26. Novus Ordo FTW!3:39 PM


    If you take a look to St.Justin's account of the celebration of the Eucharist you will immediately notice that it is much closer to the novus ordo than any other rite/form/whatever.

    The apostolic roots of the liturgy are contained in this account. Except for the elements which come to us through the scriptures, the rest are disciplinary and therefore, subject to the authority of the supreme pontiff.

    Besides, just reading a few quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia shows that there were many important changes to the roman rite during the centuries:

    "Between this original Roman Rite (which we can study only in the Apost. Const.) and the Mass as it emerges in the first sacramentaries (sixth to seventh century) there is a great change."

    "This brings us back to the most difficult question: Why and when was the Roman Liturgy changed from what we see in Justin Martyr to that of Gregory I? The change is radical, especially as regards the most important element of the Mass, the Canon."

    So there you have it. Now cut the nonsense svp...

  27. This is one of the most historically blind, theologically ridiculous pieces I have ever read. The Pope doesn't have authority to change the liturgy when the changes are too major? Who decides if they are too major? You? You've decided the NO is a bigger break with tradition than the reforms of Gregory the Great so the must be invalid. The NO does not change the matter or the form of the liturgy.

    The Mass has been reformed many times during the history of the church, and not just by the Pope. Bishops and Patriarchs have traditionally done so. Ever hear of St. John Chrysostom? What about the dispensing of large portions of the liturgy during persecutions? Those Gulag Masses must surely be invalid, since no one has the authority to allow a major change to the liturgy. The whole premise of this article is theologically and historically bankrupt.

    The argument that the liturgy cannot be a discipline because it's apostolic tradition is mind boggling. Was the writer completely unaware that there are different apostolic liturgical traditions in different places? Treating the Mass as if it were doctrine rather than discipline does not make any sense at all. Obviously you cannot change the core of the mass, the matter and form, but to say the portions of the Mass that vary from Rite to Rite, and even age to age are unchangeable by the Church is absurd.

    Unfortunately, this article is a thinly veiled attempt by an individual to overrule and ignore the authority of the Church, which, quite frankly, smacks of schism.

  28. REally! this article is absent of any rational value and does indeed border on schism. There are valid arguments about the value of the renewed rite but to claim that it was always regarded as "optional" is truly absurd.

  29. Anonymous5:08 PM

    Didn't Cardinal Ratzinger write the preface to this book?

  30. Yes, last anonymous, our liege lord Pope Benedict, the sixteenth of that name, indeed wrote the preface to the French edition of this book when he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


  31. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Well then, New Catholic, that takes care of all of the above folks who are using the arguments that I've heard countless times on Catholic Answers.

    Anon 5:53 wrote "the article makes a grave error. . ." Do you mean to say, Anon, that our Holy Father wrote the preface to a book containing grave errors? For shame!

    God bless you, New Catholic, for your patience with us.

  32. I am so fed up with the abuse of the word "Protestant" to mean anything that is non-authoritarian that I could spit. But reading the comboxes for the last couple of postings at least helped me finally understanding the much vaunted difference between traditional and "neo-con" Catholics. Imagine your house is on fire. And that the firemen are standing in front of your burning house, either twiddling their thumbs, or even pouring gas on the flames. The traditionalist is the one screaming at the firemen to DO SOMETHING to save the building. The neo-con is the one screaming at the traditionalist: "HOW DARE YOU TELL THEM HOW TO DO THEIR JOBS! HOW ARROGANT! WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR LICENSE! THE NERVE!" Meanwhile your house is ashes. What I find so risible and so incomprehensible about the neo-cons is that they are PROUD of their complacent passivity in the face of the church's demolition! They confuse obedience and spinelessness, and call their cowardice a virtue! As if it were a form of civic virtue to pretend that the emperor was not naked! And they are every bit as responsible for the crisis in the church as the progressives, if not more. They have the church that they deserve, but so unfortunately do the rest of us.

  33. Whether a pope has the right or not to change an entire rite of Mass is beside the question now - the NO service damns itself by its fruits that are objectively observable and quantifiable following the last 40 years of liturgical exile from Roman Catholic tradition in this regard.

    The effects include systemic irreverence; infinitesimal spontaneous mostly un-Catholic creativity; politicised manipulation by feminists, sodomites and libertinarian clerics episcopally supported or not; catastrophic doctrinal subversion of the faithful - lex supplicandi...lex credendi; a devastating decline in regular church attendance; the closure of an enormous number of chapels, churches, seminaries and convents; systematic radical disobedience to liturgical norm; near total liturgical disorder with innumerable permutations in praxis; minimalist and brutalist ecclesiastical architecture, interior design with matching music; parochial subdivision along ethno-lingusitic lines with emerging imperialism of the English language as the new liturgical lingua franca.

    While Fr Adrian Fortesque would most likely take issue, the dubious claims of the seriously depleted NO rank and file about the proximity of the current protestant liturgy to that of earlier times is irrelevant in any case in the light of the evidence demonstrating indisputably that the new liturgy has spawned countless abominations and has provoked a desolation admonishing the prophecies of Daniel. The consequences of which are being experienced during this era as the church slides further into absolute chaos and disunity while the forces of darkness amass to deal it another blow of the secularising hammer.

    Pope St Pius V gave us a unified Rite of Holy Mass with all the necessary infallible guarantees to protect the faith and to propagate it without error. Ignoring this has consequence too - the wrath of Almighty God.

  34. "This debate--about whether a new rite was created--was unequivocally settled by Benedict XVI when he issued Summorum Pontificum: one Roman Rite, two forms. Period. Roma locuta est."

    In this case, we must condemn Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for daring to speak of the Classical Roman Rite as the "Gregorian Rite"
    -- and this after Summorum Pontificum.

    "Roma locuta est" is not an excuse to give dogmatic value to everything that comes from Rome.

    It is my understanding that Summorum Pontificum merely addresses the question of the JURIDICAL standing of the "Forma Extraordinaria", not its historico-liturgical nature vis-a-vis the Pauline Rite.

  35. Anonymous2:45 AM

    Well, the Church was going to be ransacked by barbarians, and so it was. The N.O. is not at all the best, but still a blessing. Why? Because what if it hadn't been introduced and we had gradually defaced the Missale of Trent? Could we put Humpty Dumpty together again? Not without tremendous difficulty.

    But look, Pope Paul locked away the good dishes and put out paper plates for the barbarians. Now they (the barbarians) are old and passing on and the beautiful old dishes were kept safe, and here they are again, brought out by Pope Benedict,unbroken and undamaged through the forty years. What would have happened had they not been put away? Deo Gratias.

  36. Anonymous5:32 AM

    Thank you Carlos Antonio Palad.

    As well - I should like to clarify an ambiguous part of my beginning sentence of my third post. " entirely respecting the variis suis formis of the Roman Liturgy." By this I mean that he did not make up his own Latin language liturgy by himself, ignoring the historical Latin liturgies (the various forms of the Roman Liturgy - variis suis formis), and institute that in place of all the others as "the" Roman Liturgy. The form, the content, is entirely from the ancient forms of the Roman Liturgy.

    Secondly, in the same post, in the final paragraph, I should have written "Addenda" - though this may be the wrong word; as in English it is associated with appendixes. I employ it as the actual Latin: (in plural - singular would be, as it is incorrectly now, Addendum or Addendus) to be added or joined.

    The latest posts do not demand much of a response. No one has denied that there are historically different liturgies. These are the variis suis formis of the historical Roman Liturgy which I have mentioned more times than I have been alleged to have denied them - the various forms of Latin Liturgy in use throughout Europe prior to (and less so, but I believe still after) the Council of Trent. The Rite of Saint Pius V (this includes it's valid revisions) was a gathering together of all these forms into a regular standard Liturgy: the Roman Rite typica, which did not destroy the now non-typical local liturgies from which it is entirely derived. I have not denied the existence of non-Latin liturgies either; though I think the person who is unsettled by the differences between the liturgy of Pope Saint Gregorius the Great and the description of Saint Justin has a very poor hold on the meanings of the words "East" and "West". We are discussing our Liturgy and if it is so that the Bishop of Rome has a right to abolish and supplant it as pleases him and his age. The difference between the Roman Rite of Saint Pius V - the typical of the Roman Liturgy - and the standing Eastern rites, or even the very much more interesting question of the differences between Latin language liturgies and Eastern rites broadly, is not at issue now.

    Someone else has brought up wartime changes. Exceptions are not standard. If some changes become necessary: it is so. But these changes always have to do with the regulations and duration of the Rite - not the form. Form - I mean whatever is used in such exceptional circumstances as these must derive from the historical, the ancient Liturgy (if it is to be liturgy, shortened or rearranged, at all) and must still use the only valid formulas of the Sacraments. Finally - Saint John Chrysostom. I remember a sermon of a priest Cosmas against the heresy called Bogomilism. He says, "Why do you heretics inveigh against the sacred orders that are given us by the holy apostles and holy fathers, the liturgy, and the rest of the services which are carried on by good Christians? You say that the apostles established neither the liturgy, nor the holy sacrament, but it was John Chrysostom who instituted them." - he continues very much to my profound surprise to ask: ". . .Did not the Apostle Peter establish the liturgy which the Romans preserve till the present day?"

    I wonder what they should answer him who believe a pope can make up the Roman Liturgy whenever he wishes. Is our Liturgy given to us by the holy Apostle Peter and the holy fathers? Is it an inheritance received from the ages? Or is it how you spend your Sunday mornings?


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