The faithful had never asked for a Council. Most of them were perfectly content with the Church as she was, and even John XXIII had acknowledged that the Church that had elected him was 'vibrant with vitality.' It was one thing for the modernists to capture the Council; it was quite another for them to induce the faithful to change their ways of thinking.
After all, how many Catholics had ever read the Canons of the Council of Trent? (What need was there to do so as long as the clergy could be trusted?) And how many would wade through the tedious and ambiguous statements of Vatican II? Change would occur far too slowly for the impatient innovators. If the liberals were going to introduce what Paul VI called 'the new economy of the gospel' into the every-day life of the Catholic, it was absolutely necessary to attack and change the Liturgy.
Such was only logical. What is extraordinary is the degree to which such an attack had been anticipated. As long ago as 1840 the Abbe Gueranger, noting that 'Satan also has his traditions', prophetically described the Novus Ordo Missae in his Liturgical Institutions (1). In 1896 Pope Leo XIII stated that the Modernists and Reformers (they had other designations then) 'knew only too well the intimate bond which unites faith and worship, the lex credendi and the lex orandi, and so, under the pretext of restoring the order of the liturgy to its primitive form, they corrupted it in many respects to bring it into accord with the errors of the innovators'(Apostolicae curae). We shall see how prescient these men were.
In this chapter we shall discuss the character, meaning and history of the Catholic Mass; the predictions about its possible loss; the effects of the Conciliar 'Constitution on the Liturgy,' and how the innovators brought about the changes that resulted in the Novus Ordo Missae. In the next we will consider the new mass in depth.
The Catholic Mass
Before proceeding, the reader should be aware of the crucial position that the Traditional Mass has always had in the Church. According to St. John Chrysostome, when the Mass is said: 'A fountain is opened which sends forth spiritual rivers - a fountain round which the angels take their stand, looking into the beauty of its streams, since they more clearly see into the power and sanctity of the things that lie to open view, and their inaccessible splendors.'
St. Alphonse de Liguori described it as 'the most beautiful and best thing in the Church.' And why? Because, 'At the Mass, Jesus Christ giveth Himself to us by means of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, which is the end and the purpose of all the other Sacraments.' (3) St. Leonard of Port Maurice called the Mass 'the sole sacrifice which we have in our holy religion... a sacrifice, holy, perfect, in every point complete, by which each one of the faithful nobly honors God.' (4) Father Muller says, 'the holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of those works greater than which the omnipotence of God cannot produce... It is an utter impossibility for any human or angelic understanding to conceive an adequate idea of the Mass. All we can say is that its dignity and sanctity are infinite'. The Cure of Ars tells us 'all the good works together are not of equal value with the Sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of man, and the Holy Mass is the work of God.'
'The celebration of the Mass', says Father Nicholas Gihr, 'is the most worthy and most perfect divine service, for it procures to the Most High a worship and a veneration which millions of words would be incapable of rendering Him... It is a unique Sacrifice [and] infinitely excels in value and dignity, in power and efficacy, all the many prayers of the Church and the faithful... As often as this memorial sacrifice is celebrated the work of redemption is performed... It is the soul and the heart of the liturgy of the Church; it is the mystical chalice which presents to our lips the sweet fruit of the passion of the God-Man - that is grace.' (5)
Pope Urban VIII said of it: 'If there is anything divine among the possessions of men, which the citizens of Heaven might covet (were covetousness possible for them), it would certainly be the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, whose blessing is such that in it man possesses a certain anticipation of Heaven while still on earth, even having before their eyes and taking into their hands the very Maker of both Heaven and earth. Now greatly must mortals strive that the most awesome privilege by guarded with due cult and reverence, and take care lest their negligence offend the eyes of the angels, who watch with envious adoration.'
Such statements reflect the constant belief of the Church.
CHAPTER XI, part 2
THE LITURGICAL REVOLUTION
The Catholic Mass is a true Sacrifice
The Catholic Church always speaks of the Mass as a Sacrifice. The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) teaches that 'Christ hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness.' St. Cyprian tells us that 'the right to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice constitutes the most beautiful adornment and garland of honor of the Catholic priesthood, and for this reason the deprivation of this privilege was regarded as the most severe and most painful of punishments.' St. Ambrose tells us that 'angels are present... when we are celebrating the Sacrifice, for you may not doubt that angels are present, when Christ is there, when Christ is being sacrificed...' The Liturgy of St. James the Apostle states: 'Let all mortal flesh be silent, standing there [at the time of the Consecration] in fear and trembling; let all things of earth vanish from our thoughts; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God is about to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful.'
Now a sacrifice cannot occur without the immolation of a victim. As St. Thomas Aquinas says, 'it is proper to this sacrament that Christ should be immolated in its celebration'(Summa, III, 83, 1). In the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass, the primary sacrificing priest and the sacrificial gift are identical. Only the nature and the mode of the offering are different. Each and every valid Mass recapitulates - makes present once again - that same Sacrifice which occurred at Calvary. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, that of the Mass is unbloody. It nevertheless is one and the same Sacrifice. As the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches: 'the bloody and unbloody victim are not two, but one victim only, whose Sacrifice is daily renewed in the Eucharist... The priest is also one and the same, Christ the Lord; for the ministers who offer Sacrifice, consecrate the holy mysteries, not in their own person, but in that of Christ, as the words of consecration itself make clear; for the priest does not say: 'This is the Body of Christ', but 'This is my body', and thus, acting in the person of Christ the Lord, he changes the substance of the bread and wine into the substance of His Body and Blood.' Such is binding on the Catholic conscience, for as the Canons of this Council state: 'If anyone saith that in the Mass [each and every Mass] a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God... let him be anathema!'
Protestants and Anglicans reject this dogma. They deny that there is any immolative action and hence any Real Presence. Where Catholics give veneration to the Sacred Species, Protestants admit of only bread and wine and so accuse us of idolatry. They admit that the Sacrifice of the Cross was a true sacrifice, but insist that it occurred once and for all, and that all that happens in the daily Mass is a retelling of what occurred some two thousand years ago. In their eyes the rite is a mere 'memorial' of this historical event. As Luther said, 'The Mass is not a sacrifice... call it benediction, Eucharist, the Lord's table, the Lord's Supper, Memory of the Lord or whatever you like, just so long as you do not dirty it with the name of a sacrifice or action.' As for the Anglicans, Article Thirty One of their 'creed' states that the Mass as understood by the Council of Trent is a 'blasphemous fable and a dangerous deceit.'
Because of the infinite magnitude of this immolative Sacrifice, Catholic doctrine holds the Mass is also and at the same time, a sacrifice of praise, of thanksgiving, or propitiation and of impetration (petition).
The Mass is a sacrifice of Praise and Adoration because 'the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice contains an infinitely perfect adoration of God, for it is the Sacrifice which Christ Himself offers to His heavenly Father. Nor is it possible for man to create a rite that is a greater Sacrifice of praise and Adoration, for it is Christ Himself and the Holy Ghost, acting through the Apostles, who is the author of the Mass.' At the same time and in the same way the Mass is a sacrifice of thanksgiving. 'In as much as in the Holy Mass we adore, praise and magnify God through and with Christ, we fulfill in a perfect manner that first duty, which as creatures we owe to the Creator -the duty of gratitude.'
Protestants are perfectly willing to grant that the Catholic Mass can be called a 'sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving'. But this is where they stop. To claim that the Mass is more than this is to them a blasphemy. The Church however insists that the true Mass is much more. Among other things, it is a 'propitiatory sacrifice'; it 'propitiates' (appeases) God's anger and justice. As Father Gihr says, 'on the Cross Christ merited for us all forgiveness of sin, the grace of sanctification and eternal beatitude... Whosoever separates himself from this Sacrifice; whosoever, through disobedience and unbelief, despises and rejects it, for him 'there is left no [other] sacrifice for sins, but a certain dreadful expectation of judgement and the rage of fire'(Heb. 10:26).' Further, as an act of propitiation, the Mass 'calms and appeases the righteous anger of God, disarms His justice, and induces the Lord to regard sinful man with favor and mercy... As a propitiatory sacrifice the Mass has, therefore, the power and, in consequence of the ordinance of Christ, has for object directly and infallibly - that is, in the strictest sense ex opere operato, to cancel temporal punishment.'
Moreover, this canceling of temporal punishment can be applied to both 'the living and the dead.' As St. Augustine says, 'it must not be doubted that the departed receive help by the prayers of the Church and the life-giving Sacrifice.' For the living, this fruit is only 'medially' granted, for by virtue of the sacrifice, the Eucharist obtains this grace for sinners only 'if it finds them disposed'(St. Thomas, Sent., IV. 12, q.2, a.2); for the dead it infallibly remits, but not necessarily entirely, but in accord with the good pleasure of Providence. The Council of Trent holds it to be de fide that 'the Holy Mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice... for the living and the dead,' and the Catechism of the Council of Trent states the Mass is 'truly a propitiatory sacrifice, whereby we are reconciled to God and regain His favor.' Protestant theology specifically denies both the 'propitiatory' nature of the Mass as well as the doctrine of Purgatory.
Finally the Mass is described as a sacrifice of petition or impetration, for as the same Council states, the Mass is offered not only for sins, punishments, and satisfactions, but also for 'other remedies.' Man, in offering Mass, can anticipate that his requests - providing they are in conformity with God's will - receive an appropriate response. And in view of all that has been said above, how could it be otherwise?
'O my God, Eternal and Omnipotent Father, I offer Thee in union with Thine Only-begotten son Our Lord Jesus Christ, His very own Passion and Death on the Cross in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: in profound ADORATION of Thy Divine Majesty; in joyful THANKSGIVING for all Thy graces and blessings; in humble REPARATION for my innumerable sins and those of the whole world; and in ardent SUPPLICATION for Thy mercy and grace, as well as for the temporal needs of myself, my loved ones, and my neighbor. O God, be merciful to me a sinner!'
The Reformers knew that if they took the time-honored Mass from the faithful, they would have to face a violent reaction. They therefore initially only 'reformed' it by removing from it any reference to a Sacrifice other than that of 'praise and thanksgiving.' They left the outer shell intact after removing its essential character. This is why the Council of Trent insisted that: 'if anyone saith that the Sacrifice of the Mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving... let him be anathema!'
Not only is the Mass the most sacred and central act of worship in the Church, it is also, in line with the oft repeated phrase 'legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi - let prayer fix the law of faith' - an infallible source of truth and doctrine. As Pius XI said, it is 'the most important organ of the ordinary magisterium of the Church.' Having been in greater part established by Christ and the Apostles, 'it is a theological locus of the first importance in knowing the living Tradition of the Church.'
Clearly no human or group of ordinary people could have created a service that fulfills all the above criteria. And hence it is not surprising that the essential ceremonies of the traditional Mass date back to the Apostles. As Father Gihr says: 'Christ's example was the norm for the Apostles at the celebration of the Sacrifice. They did, first, only that which Christ had done before. According to His directions and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they observed other things besides, namely, according to circumstances, they added various prayers and observances, in order to celebrate the Holy Mysteries as worthily and as edifyingly as possible. Those constituent portions of the sacrificial rite which are found in all the ancient liturgies, have incontestably their origin from Apostolic times and tradition: the essential and fundamental features of the sacrificial rite, introduced and enlarged upon by the Apostles, were preserved with fidelity and reverence in the mystical blessings, the use of lights, incense, vestments and many things of that nature that she [the Church] employs by Apostolic prescription and tradition...'
This then is the Mass of All Times, the Mass 'codified by Pius V' and protected by the Apostolic Bull Quo Primum, that Mass that Paul VI changed because, among other things, it contained 'undesirable features' and 'failed to adequately express the holy things it signified.'
CHAPTER XI, part 3
THE LITURGICAL REVOLUTION
The 'history' of the Traditional Mass
While certain prayers were at times added to the traditional Mass, it is well recognized that its central core or 'Canon' (meaning 'rule') remained fixed and unchanged from the earliest days. According to Sir William Palmer, a non-Catholic historian: 'There seems nothing unreasonable in thinking that the Roman Liturgy, as used in the time of Gregory the Great [540-604] may have existed from a period of the most remote antiquity, and perhaps there are nearly as good reasons for referring its original composition to the Apostolic age...' (15)
Contrary to Modernist principles, the Christian Revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle. The Canon of the Mass essentially consists of those parts instituted by Christ, and of certain prayers added by the Apostles under divine inspiration. The resulting Canon was considered so sacred that mediaeval theologians referred to it as the 'Holy of Holies,' comparable to the inner sanctum of the Temple of Jerusalem. Intense historical research has discovered only two additions to this Canon after the fourth century. Pope St. Leo (440-461) added the phrase 'a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim' (Sanctum Sacrificium immaculatem hostiam) to the prayer 'Be pleased to look upon these offerings' (Supra quae propitio); and Pope St. Gregory (540-604) added the phrase 'order our days in Your peace and cause us to be saved from everlasting doom and to be numbered among Your chosen ones' (Diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione non eripi et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerrari), to the prayer 'This then is our beautiful offering...' (Hanc igitur). Apart from these minor additions (not deletions), the Canon in use today by the traditional Church is the same as that used by PopeSt. Damasus in the years 366-384. Historical evidence prior to Pope St. Damasus is sparse. After all, before the reign of Constantine (who died in 337) the Church was under constant persecution. Furthermore, the words of the Canon were so sacrosanct that they were part of the Arcana - that is to say, they were kept secret lest they be profaned. Thus it is that Chapter IV, Session XII of the Council of Trent states: 'For it [the Canon] is composed out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the Apostles, and the pious institutions of the holy pontiffs.'
Any claim to 'return to primitive practice' other than by use of this Canon is patently false. As Father Louis Bouyer, an ex-Lutheran who helped compose the new mass, wrote prior to the Council: 'The Roman Canon, as it is today, goes back to Gregory the Great. There is not, in the East or the West, a Eucharistic prayer remaining in use to this day, that can boast of such antiquity. In the eyes not only of the Orthodox, but of Anglicans and even those Protestants who have still to some extent a feeling for tradition, TO JETTISON IT WOULD BE A REJECTION OF ANY CLAIM ON THE PART OF THE ROMAN CHURCH TO REPRESENT THE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH.'
The Additions to the Mass outside of the Canon proper are also of ancient origin. Consider, for example, the reading of Scripture. The first Gospel was written some eight years after the Crucifixion, and the Apocalypse many decades later. We know that it was the custom to read from Scripture and other sacred writings (such as the Shepherd of Hermes) before the Canon, because St. Procopius (martyred in the year 303) had the function of translating these readings into the vernacular. The 'Canon' of Scripture was established in 317, and the Scriptural readings used in the traditional Mass were fixed by St. Damasus in the fourth century. (He established a one year cycle which the post-Conciliar Church, following the example of the Lutherans, has changed to a three year cycle.) In the fifth century Pope St. Celestine I introduced the Introit and the Gradual, chants taken from the Psalms appropriate to the season and the feast. In the sixth century Pope St. Gregory added the Biblical phrase Kryie Eleison (Lord have mercy on me). In the seventh century Pope St. Sergius introduced the Angus Dei. The practice of the priest stating at the time of Communion 'Corpus domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat... (May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve...) is said to date from the time of the Albigensian heretics who denied the 'Real Presence,' though St. Hippolytus (A.D. 220) informs us it was customary in his day to say 'This is the body (blood) of Christ.' And throughout history the various religious orders have added special prayers such as those commemorating their own saints. Over the centuries then, various additions were made to the ceremonies surrounding the Canon. But the Canon itself remained sacrosanct.
Finally, at the time of the Reformation when the authority of tradition was being attacked, and when innovations and novelties of all sorts were being introduced, it became necessary to codify and 'fix' for all times the most Holy Mass so as to protect it from any possible corruption. This was achieved by the study of original documents over the course of several pontificates. The Roman Missal and Breviary were eventually published by Saint Pope Pius V in accord with the wish expressed by the Fathers of the Council of Trent. (This is why the traditional Mass is sometimes called 'the Mass of Pius V' - a misnomer taken advantage of by the new Church to promulgate the calumny that Paul VI's drastic changes did nothing other than was done by his predecessor Pope Saint Pius V ) (19).
The publication of the Roman Missal was accompanied by the proclamation of the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum (20). From henceforth this Missal was to be used throughout the Roman Church by all her members, though exceptions were made in favor of certain religious orders (like the Dominicans) who had said essentially the same Mass with slightly different ceremonies for at least 200 years prior to that time. Thus, even today, should one have the privilege of hearing a traditional Dominican Mass, (21) one would recognize certain minor variations, but would easily be able to follow it with the standard Roman Missal. Quo Primum is to be found in the front of every Missal published between 1570 and 1968. It has been repeatedly re-confirmed by every Pontiff from Pius V to John XXIII, some 42 in all. Let us consider some of the statements in this Constitution (the entire document being given in the Appendices): 'We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons of whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank of preeminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics. They must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal... Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that for the chanting or reading of this Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious of whatever order or by whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whatsoever is to be forced or coerced to alter this Misal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remains always valid and retains its full force... Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this letter, or heedlessly to venture to go contrary to this notice of Our Permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone however presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.'
This is the Mass that Father Faber said 'was the most beautiful thing this side of heaven'. Yet this is the Mass that the post-Conciliar Church has abandoned, destroyed and forbidden to the faithful (22).
CHAPTER XI, part 4
THE LITURGICAL REVOLUTION