Rorate Caeli

"Got a revolution, got to revolution!"
40 years of Missale Romanum and the new Roman Rite - I

The Church in 1969 was in the middle of the most serious crisis in its modern history, as the debacle following the Council and, particularly, the publication of Humanae Vitae, unfolded. Time reported on the grave situation in the Church:

For Pope Paul VI, the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week were more sorrowful than usual. On two successive days, in his most anguished public statements to date on the crisis in the Roman Catholic world, the Pope issued extraordinarily direct attacks on defecting clergy and dissent within the church.

Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday of Holy Week, the Pope identified the present-day sufferings of the church with the agony of Christ. "The Lord tests us," he declared. "The church suffers from the abandonment by so many Catholics of the fidelity that centuries-old tradition merits." Even "favored sons" engage in destructive criticism, and by their defections, "certain ecclesiastics and religious crucify the church." At Holy Thursday services next day, he spoke of the "practically schismatic ferment that divides and subdivides the church. How can the living and true church be authentic," he asked, "if the company that forms it is so often and gravely corroded by contestation or forgetfulness of its hierarchical structure?"

From his point of view, the Pope had good reason for the outbursts. Although the Vatican has by now be come accustomed to the public defection of priests, it was shocked by the recent resignations of two young, promising bishops. In Chile, the Most Rev. Gabriel Larrain Valdivieso, 44, auxiliary to the Cardinal-Archbishop of Santiago, left the priesthood for secular humanitarian work. In Peru, Bishop Mario Cornejo Radavero, 41, auxiliary to the Cardinal-Archbishop of Lima, reportedly brought his cardinal to tears by resigning to marry. Priestly defections have even touched the Vatican itself, where an honored member of the papal house hold, Monsignor Giovanni Musante (TIME, Mar. 21), had also left to marry.

Paul has frequently denounced excesses of reform within the church, but last week marked the first time that he has publicly referred to schism—a word that has almost never been mentioned by pontiffs since Clement VII hurled the accusation at Henry VIII more than four centuries ago. To many Vatican observers, the Holy Week statements suggest that the Pope has taken as much as he can from the dissenters and is ready to deliver an ultimatum to those who persist in ecclesiastical rebellion.
Hilarious! Actually, Pope Montini gave a great gift to the rebellious wing of the Church: on Holy Thursday, 40 years ago, he imposed (or at least attempted to impose) upon the whole Latin Church a completely New Mass, a liturgy much to the liking of the rebels. His own Roman Mass, promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution "Missale Romanum" - the second major step, after Pontificalis Romani,  in the fabrication of a new Roman Rite.