Rorate Caeli

The bittersweet Instruction
Rorate's suggestion
Application of Paragraph 19 of the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae

Yes! Now they'll find them!


  1. rodrigo10:20 PM

    Why are people objecting to paragraph 19? If you deny the validity or legitimacy of the Novus Ordo as promulgated, you're either denying

    a) that Paul VI was a true Roman Pontiff;


    b) that the Catholic Church's claims about her inability to promulgate noxious rites are true.

    Neither position is compatible with being a Catholic in communion with Rome.

  2. Rodrigo, you are absolutely right about validity.

    The inclusion of legitimacy is highly problematic - because it is such an open-ended concept. And it is a concept: it is not used as an adjective or an adverb in the Latin text (as it is usually the case) but as an awkward noun - which goes to show that it was certainly put there by a lawyer. Lawyers love to create problems that did not previously exist: nothing, absolutely nothing, in Summorum Pontificum indicates that this juridical innovation was at all necessary, and it provides a scapegoat for unwilling bishops. Yes, in a strict sense it can mean all that you say - but what if legitimacy is interpreted as something...more? And what if being "against the legitimacy" means solely being extremely critical of the history, creation, and promulgation of a certain thing?

    And, as commentator J. Brown correctly viewed in the appropriate thread, this paragraph "is simply nonsensical": "How does one know if one's affiliation is with such a group, and how does one obtain pastoral care if he cannot ask for the Mass?" Precisely. Which is why the "Spanish Inquisition" is the only manner to deal with such a "menace".


  3. "How does one know if one's affiliation is with such a group,..?



  4. rodrigo10:49 PM

    The inclusion of legitimacy is highly problematic - because it is such an open-ended concept.

    Not in this context. The question is simply whether the Novus Ordo was lawfully promulgated by Paul VI. Rome understood it to be, nearly every Catholic canon lawyer known to man understood it to be, even those who became sedevacantists understood that if Paul was pope, it must have been.

    Is it really likely that the only true understanding of papal promulgations now resides in the Society - and not the whole Society, but only those willing to affirm without qualification the rhetoric of Archbishop Lefebvre in 1976? I dare say there are some traditionalists who believe that, but I suspect they're not the ones who were planning on making use of Summorum Pontificum any time soon.

  5. Exactly, M.A.

    Let me be clearer on J.Brown's point, and on the whole ridiculousness of Paragraph 19.

    Let us suppose M. Pierre Montaignard is a petitioner of a coetus; he petitions a parish priest or his territorial bishop.

    He would not need to petition an Ecclesia-Dei-Institute priest... So it is obvious that, except in most unusual circumstances of elderly priests, the priest or the bishop whom he petitions is a priest or bishop ordained according to the New Roman Rite (the forma ordinaria). And, of course, since he IS petitioning, he naturally is addressing priests and bishop in (formal) full communion with the Apostolic See.

    Therefore, M. Montaignard's petition ipso facto shows that he accepts both the validity and the legitimacy of the New Roman Rite - of ordinations, and what else could be more significant?

    So, either this paragraph is just plainly ridiculous, or the bishop/priest, whose very existence as petitioned party proves that petitioner accepts the legitimacy of the New Roman Rite, will have to base himself on an inquiry that will make Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition look dignified.


  6. "I dare say there are some traditionalists who believe that, but I suspect they're not the ones who were planning on making use of Summorum Pontificum any time soon."

    So this is indeed a useless piece of legislation, then. Good that you agree with above point...


  7. I would simply add, Rodrigo, that by saying that the novus ordo is a noxious mess one is not denying the authority of Pope Paul VI - only his wisdom in promulgating it. His promulgation of a flawed, ugly rite has nothing to do with papal infallibility, but everything to do with papal prudence.

    As to validity, it is absolutely possible for a bad priest to deliberately celebrate an invalid mass, whether Tridentine or novus ordo. If he tampers in any way with the form, matter and intention of the sacrament it is, by definition, invalid. Church history is replete with examples of this problem.

    The novus ordo and all its pomps and works was, is and always will be a disaster for the Church, and the popes who crerated it and supported it have made a terrible mistake in unleashing this upon the Catholic world. The results of these papal actions are there for all to see. You don't need me to point them out to you.

  8. rodrigo11:02 PM


    That would be a claim about the invalidity of a particular celebration, not the rite. The Church is protected from error in the promulgation of rites, as you'll be able to convince yourself if you consult any pre-conciliar manual dealing with the infallibility of universal disciplinary laws. Thus, the Novus Ordo cannot per se be claimed to be invalid, or even an "incentive to impiety" (to use the language of Trent). What it can be claimed to be is grossly inferior to the rite it replaced, aesthetically distasteful, easily abused, etc. etc.

  9. "What it can be claimed to be is grossly inferior to the rite it replaced, aesthetically distasteful, easily abused."

    Careful, Rodrigo... The paragraph does not say "legitimately promulgated" - it says "legitimacy". Before you know, your local bishop's "Spanish Inquisition" could be knocking at your door with soft cushions and comfy chairs!


  10. Anonymous11:08 PM

    If this clarification should have any title, it should probably be something like, "Too Little, Too Late". Nevertheless, through the good grace of God, it will be of some aide to the Church...but I'm not sure quite yet how...

  11. Already the German hierarchy are assuring us the Instruction will have "no great effect upon church practice":

  12. Anonymous11:40 PM

    Where is the corollary to Para 19 in Anglicanorum Coetibus? Perhaps something like, "No persons requesting an Ordinariate, or to be incorporated therein, should have any admiration for the British monarchy."

    No one expects the "Extraordinary Form" Inquisition! J Brown

  13. So THAT's where Trandem's profile pic comes from! Mystery solved. Carry on.

  14. Anonymous12:12 AM

    Pardon my honesty, but most who frequent this wonderful blog question the "legitimacy" of the N.O. All of the FSSP priests I have known have very vocally questioned the "legitimacy" of the N.O.

    And as an attorney--the word "legitimacy" is so nebulous, so vague , so open to interpretation that one would have to be a neocon to believe that this paragraph would not cause great problems in the future for those who simply seek out what they are rightly entitled to from a bishop who is not inclined to grant what has never been abrogated.


  15. I know of three FSSP priests that question the legitemecy of the Novus Ordo Mass.
    One is one of the original FSSP founders.

  16. Anonymous12:19 AM


    I know more than 3!


  17. Jack O'Malley1:38 AM

    Pro multis convertitur e sermone Latino for all.

    Mysterium Fidei amovetur a Consecratione, a Verbis Domini. Quidnam significat?

    Egomet ipse, secundum caput XIX in merda profunda invenior. Valida? Legitima? Missa est deleta!

    In the Saxon tongue that reads, ... oh well, who cares? Hannibal ad portas fuit. Intravit et stupravit Nuptam Christi.

    Ignore everything until Ratzinger publicly and frequently celebrates the True Mass.

    P.K.T.P. (previous thread) -- you are right. It is our Mass. However, it is clearly not the Pope's Mass. Tant pis pour nous.

  18. Anonymous2:51 AM

    Does paragraph also apply to current liberal and rebel catholic bishops? As the case of the bishop William Morris showed, liberal and rebel catholic cleric are tolerated in the Church. Morris did not accept the pope's magisterium.

  19. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Contra Genevieve

    I also am an attorney and "legitimacy" is not a vague term. In law "legitimacy" is not that hard of a concept. Simply stated- was the law promulgated by the competent authority, and in a valid manner? Here a Pope, of happy memory, promulgated a liturgical law, and he had the competency to do so (prudence aside- that is a different issue)- so we have the law giver giving in a competent manner a law of the liturgy. If you deny the acts of Paul VI, then you ipso facto deny the legitimacy of the law promulgated by Pius V (one of the truly great Popes!). As before Pius V, the liturgy was organically developed-and not enforced by law. Only due to the many aberrations of liturgy that developed as a result of an accommodations the Protestant revolt by the Catholic clergy, did Pius V feel the need to codify the liturgy, so to speak- as an attempt to drive out the heresy in many forms of the liturgy then floating about the Catholic lands. .As an aside- do all of those posting cutting comments on this blog deny the validity of the Dominican, Mozarabic, Syro- Malabar , etc. Rites? I like many here am not pleased with the N.O.- certainly as practiced- but the polemics posted here (by many- not all) certainly leave one wondering if they will ever be happy with any Pope!
    Thank the Good Lord for Benedict XVI- may he see the restoration of Catholic identity through to the end!

  20. Anonymous8:03 AM

    If one accepts the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass as prescribed in the Latin Typical Edition issued by Rome, is that sufficient? In English and other vernaculars the current form of consecration for the wine is at odds with what the Catechism of the Council of Trent says is to be used. It is very specific. It even spells out exactly why the form "for all" is not to be used. A change is in the works to bring it back in line. Catholics were taught in my day that if either the matter or the form were changed from what was the accepted form (I believe as taught by the Council of Florence) the sacrament was invalid. Where does the requirement for us to accept the vernacular Novus Ordo trumping the previous Councils reside?

    A.M. LaPietra

  21. Connie Summers1:35 PM

    What a sad sad bunch so many of you are...(except rodrigo that is, the voice of reason). So-called "traditional" Catholics claim "reason" not emotion as the their "rule" yet clearly there are many traditional Catholics who are emotional and extremely reactionary, always angry and ever the "victim." My, my.

    Let us all try to "live" the Faith instead of "reacting" to this or that which disagrees with you. If one must react than react in prayer.

    Pax et bonum

  22. Anonymous2:20 PM

    N.C. et al.,

    Sorry for being late to the game on this but, while I have no trouble with "validity", "legitimacy" does indeed cause me great trouble. I think there are two issues:

    [1] Does the Church have the authority to abrogate a venerable rite of long-standing?

    The answer is clearly no. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about this and Pope Benedict XVI has the line in SP and UE about "what was once sacred remains sacred".

    Now, of course, SP maintains the Church did no such thing. But, I was there for the forty odd years, however, when it sure seemed like She did until Pope Benedict XVI came up with this interesting bit of hairsplitting. So, I believe this was done illegitimately.

    [2] Can the Church concoct a rite de novo and impose it on the faithful?

    The answer to this is far from clear yet this is exactly what She did. While I eagerly await the interesting bit of hairsplitting that explains this, I will maintain that the Novus Ordo is of questionable legitimacy.

    Since [1] and [2] are both necessary and were in fact what happened we reach a conundrum: [1] was illegitimate and [2] was of questionable legitimacy at best.

    I suppose as of yesterday I am unable to assist at Masses offered under the provisions of SP.

    Ben C.

  23. John McFarland11:30 PM


    A Catholic not in communion with Rome is no Catholic.

    A Catholic is communion with Rome is one who is baptized, accepts every jot and tittle of the faith, and accepts the authority of the hierarchy, and in particular of the Holy Father.

    As for your try at a dilemma, the inability of the Church to promulgate noxious rites is a theological opinion. It would be rash to contradict it -- except that the Catholic Church has in fact promulgated a noxious rite. Since facts trump principles, so much the worst for the theological opinion.

    The claim that Pope Paul VI was not the Pope is held by sedevacantists, who like you believe that the Pope cannot promulgate a noxious rite. For that reason, in the SV view, Paul VI had to have ceased to be Pope before he promulgated the new Mass, or never been the Pope.

  24. John McFarland1:05 AM

    Whatever "legitimacy" means, I don't see why their lights, the conciliar authorities should not forbid access to churches for the TLM to those who have what they consider an erroneous understanding of the New Mass, and even require members of a coetus seeking to hold the TLM to affirm (or even swear) to such an understanding.

    It might be unusual for a coetus that denied the validity and/or legitimacy of the NOM to want to use an NO church, but it certainly would be possible. They might consider it better than nothing, or they might want to evangelize the NO parishioners.

    I also would contend that if you couldn't sign, then you shouldn't be there, whether or not you're required to sign.

  25. rodrigo3:07 AM

    John McFarland,

    As for your try at a dilemma, the inability of the Church to promulgate noxious rites is a theological opinion.

    A theological opinion with some weight, I would suggest...

    "If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

    "The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced ‘in every article that which pertains to faith and to essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline,’ it adds, ‘in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new Covenant to endure, but more so, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition and materialism’; in so far as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, - false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous." (Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei)

    "Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors." (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis)

    Those who deny this teaching should stop calling themselves traditionalists. There's nothing traditional about their position.

  26. Rodrigo, the whole conundrum is generated precisely by the fact that the New Liturgy is, in a very real and frightening sense, the heir to the absurd antiliturgical views of the Synod of Pistoia, condemned by Auctorem Fidei, which you quote. So, at the very least, a perplexed position regarding, not the validity (which no Catholic questions), but the appropriateness (to use a word that arguably cannot be covered by the newly-minted concept of "liturgical legitimacy") of the New Missal (an expression thankfully present - ! - in the Instruction) and the New Liturgy is quite understandable.

    We should be more charitable regarding those who are rightfully perplexed and scandalized. It is not as if the practical application of the New Liturgy has ever ceased to scandalize us daily.


  27. Fr. Paul McDonald1:51 PM

    The 1984 indult required that one recognize the legitimacy and the "rectitudo doctrinalis" of the Latin missal of Paul VI. I presume refers to a valid and licit promulgation of the law.
    "Rectitudo doctrinalis" would have to mean that the Latin text does not veer away from rectitude, that is, does not *affirm* anything contrary to the Faith. As Michael Davies was wont to point out, that is in fact the case.
    Conditions for benefiting from the law can hardly have become stricter, can they?


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