Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Introibo Ad Altare Dei

by Peter A. Kwasniewski

Description

The purpose of this series of articles is to outline certain fundamental aspects of the Church's liturgical Magisterium. This third and last article addresses the resurgence of the Classical or Ancient Roman Rite — familiarly known as the Tridentine rite — and what Holy Mother Church permits and recommends in its regard.

Larger Work

The Catholic Faith

Pages

28 - 35

Publisher & Date

Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, May/June 2000

Vision Book Cover Prints

Aspects Of The Liturgical Magisterium, Part 3

If an isolated hermit were to study what the Church teaches about the permissibility of priests saying, and the faithful attending, Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (the "Tridentine Mass" or Classical Roman Rite), and if he were informed of how great is the desire among Catholics of almost every nation to worship God in this way, he would surely be surprised, not to say alarmed, to find out how much bitter controversy and ill-will surrounds this topic in the Catholic world. Simply by reading the relevant documents, he would have discovered that our Holy Father, speaking on behalf of the entire People of God, has taken steps to make possible the return of the traditional rite of Mass to parish and religious communities everywhere, and that he desires this rite to be widely and generously made available to the faithful. The authoritative documents are few and exceptionally clear, leaving no room for ambiguity in the minds of those who wish to know and abide by the will of the Holy Father. Our hermit would be left with only one question: Why are so many bishops, priests, and laymen not heeding the voice of their Supreme Pastor?

The Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei

In setting forth the Church's discipline in this area, the most important document is the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of John Paul II, issued motu proprio on 2 July 1988.1 Its opening indicates that the letter is a response to Archbishop Lefebvre's illicit consecration of four bishops for the Society of St. Pius X. In spite of lengthy negotiations, the agreement eventually reached between Lefebvre and the Holy See, Cardinal Ratzinger mediating, collapsed with the Archbishop's last-minute withdrawal and act of explicit disobedience, necessitating the excommunication of Lefebvre, the new bishops, and all clerical members of the Society as well as their lay collaborators.2 The history which culminated in this act of schism has been thoroughly documented elsewhere, and its details do not immediately concern us here. Nevertheless, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, among other high officials, does not view the history of the Society and its cascade into schism as an isolated incident of no concern to the rest of the Church. In a speech to the Bishops of Chile, he says that it provides an occasion to face up to some unpleasant realities about the Church's crisis of identity: "we ought to see this matter primarily as the occasion for an examination of conscience. We should allow ourselves to ask fundamental questions about the defects in the pastoral life of the Church which are exposed by these events. Thus we will be able to offer a place within the Church to those who are seeking and demanding it, and succeed in destroying all reason for schism."3

What should most seize our attention when reading John Paul's Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei is the remarkable concluding portion (§5-§7), which has had, and will continue to have, tremendous and long-lasting consequences for the life of the Church. "Faced with the situation that has arisen, I deem it my duty to inform all the Catholic faithful of some aspects which this sad event has highlighted," writes the Holy Father (§5). First, all Catholics should take this tragedy as

a motive for sincere reflection concerning their own fidelity to the Church's Tradition, authentically interpreted by the ecclesiastical Magisterium, ordinary and extraordinary, especially in the Ecumenical Councils from Nicaea to Vatican II. From this reflection all should draw a renewed and efficacious conviction of the necessity of strengthening still more their fidelity by rejecting erroneous interpretations and arbitrary and unauthorized application of doctrine, liturgy, and discipline. (§5a)

The bishops must accordingly "exercise . . . a clear-sighted vigilance full of charity and firmness, so that this fidelity may be everywhere safeguarded." "However," the Pope goes on to say, "it is necessary that all Pastors and other faithful have a new awareness not only of the lawfulness but also the richness for the Church of a diversity of charisms, traditions of spirituality, and apostolate, which also constitutes the beauty of unity in variety; of that blended 'harmony' which the earthly Church raises up to Heaven under the impulse of the Holy Spirit." Secondly, the Pope reminds "theologians and other experts in ecclesiastical sciences" that they should respond appropriately to the false views spread by the Society of St. Pius X as well as by all who distort the teaching of the Council into a break with Tradition (§5b).4 Thirdly, he makes an appeal "both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal" to all of Lefebvre's followers: remain united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church. Formal adherence to the Society incurs the penalty of excommunication (§5c). At the conclusion of this section, the Pope states his will in regard to traditionalist Catholics. One might expect a condemnation or a plea for changed behavior, but that is exactly not what one finds:

To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition, I wish to manifest my will — to which I ask that the wills of the bishops and of all who exercise pastoral ministry in the Church be joined — to facilitate their ecclesial communion by the measures necessary to guarantee respect for their desires.5

The next section opens: "Taking account of the importance and complexity of the problems referred to in this document, by virtue of my Apostolic Authority I decree the following." The first and second points concern the institution of a Commission — now called the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei — to work with bishops, curial offices, and Catholics attached to Lefebvre's movement, in order to receive these Catholics back into union with the Church while granting them permission to keep the same "spiritual and liturgical traditions" they enjoyed within the movement (§6a, b). The most important passage of the document now follows (§6c):

moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See, for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.6

It is to be noted that the Holy Father does not place conditions on who these faithful might be, or in what circumstances their desires might deserve respect. While he had spoken earlier of the faithful attached to Lefebvre's movement, now his language is universal, all-encompassing. Respect is to be shown everywhere to Catholics attached to the preconciliar Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous permission to use the Missale Romanum of 1962.

A brief digression is necessary. The "directives already issued" to which the Pope refers are those of Quattuor abhinc annos, promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship in 1984, wherein conditions were established for the granting of indults to make available the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962. Although it was not the first time that the Holy See extended such indults (for example, at the time of the promulgation of the Ordo Missae of 1970 Paul VI gave permission to a large segment of priests in the United Kingdom to retain the usage of the Classical Roman Rite), Quattuor abhinc annos represented the first general broadening of this privilege. Nevertheless, the conditions given in Quattuor abhinc annos were restrictive, and the Holy Father, in light of the events of 1988, deemed it opportune to loosen the strictures. By declaring that the privilege is to be offered more widely and generously — "omnibus ubique" — Ecclesia Dei supercedes Quattuor abhinc annos so far as the extent and audience of the privilege are concerned. Therefore, Quattuor abhinc annos can no longer be taken in isolation, as though it were the only word spoken by the Holy See on the matter of the Classical Roman Rite.

The Pope concludes his letter: "As this year specially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin is now drawing to a close, I wish to exhort all to join in the unceasing prayer which the Vicar of Christ, through the intercession of the Mother of the Church, addresses to the Father in the very words of the Son: 'That they all may be one!'" (§7).

How Is Ecclesia Dei To Be Interpreted And Applied?

Although the letter and spirit of Ecclesia Dei is not difficult to grasp, there are many reasons to be grateful for the authoritative commentary on its correct interpretation and implementation that Augustin Cardinal Mayer, first Prefect of the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei, has provided for us in a letter issued in 1991 to the Bishops of the United States.7 The importance of this commentary cannot be stressed enough, and merits full quotation.

Your Excellency:

I write to you as a brother in the episcopal college charged by the Holy Father to carry out the provisions of his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of 2 July 1988. My objective in addressing myself to you now is precisely to encourage you in the exercise of your pastoral mission to those who legitimately request the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal. Perhaps a review of developments, which led to the issuance of Ecclesia Dei would be helpful in this regard.

1. On 3 October 1984, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issued Quattuor abhinc annos in which the Holy Father granted to diocesan bishops "the possibility of using an indult whereby priests and faithful . . . may be able to celebrate Mass by using the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition." The following conditions were stipulated:

a) that those requesting permission do not "call into question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Pius VI in 1970";

b) that such celebrations take place only for groups requesting them, not in parish churches (except with the bishop's permission in extraordinary cases) and under conditions laid down by the bishop;

c) that "these celebrations must be according to the 1962 Missal and in Latin";

d) that there "be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals"; and

e) that each bishop had to inform the Congregation "of the concessions granted by him, and, at the end of a year from the granting of this indult, he must report on the result of the application."

2. A special Commissio Cardinalitia ad hoc ipsum instituta charged with reviewing the use made of the indult met in December of 1986. At that time the Cardinals unanimously agreed that the conditions laid down in Quattuor abhinc annos were too restrictive and should be relaxed.

3. As you well know, in response to the illicit ordination of bishops at Econe on 30 June 1988 and wishing to uphold the principles, which had been established in the previous and unfortunately unfruitful dialogue with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Holy Father issued Ecclesia Dei, motu proprio, on 2 July 1988.

While insisting that the root of the schismatic act of Archbishop Lefebvre lies in an "incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition" which fails to "take sufficiently into account the living character of Tradition" (§4), he also maintained with equal firmness that "it is necessary that all the pastors and the other faithful have a new awareness, not only of the lawfulness but also of the richness for the Church of a diversity of charisms, traditions of spirituality, and apostolate" (§5a). Consequently, addressing himself "to all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition," and not just to the former adherents of Archbishop Lefebvre, he expressed his will "to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations" (§5c). In order to provide for these legitimate desires of the faithful he established this Pontifical Commission and indicated his mind with regard to its primary task, stating: " . . . respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for use of the Roman Missal according to the 1962 typical edition" (§6c).

Consequently, Your Excellency, we wish to encourage you to facilitate the proper and reverent celebration of the liturgical rites according to the Roman Missal of 1962 wherever there is a genuine desire for this on the part of the priests and faithful. This should not be construed as a promotion of that Missal in prejudice to the one promulgated eight years later, but simply a pastoral provision to meet the "rightful aspirations" of those who wish to worship according to the Latin liturgical tradition as celebrated for centuries. In the light of the Holy Father's motu proprio, then, we offer the following guidelines and suggestions:

1. There is no reason now why the so-called "Tridentine" Mass cannot be celebrated in a parish church where this would be a genuine pastoral service to the faithful asking for it. Care should be taken, of course, for a harmonious integration into the already existing parish liturgical schedule.

2. The regularity and frequency of the celebration of this liturgy, whether to be celebrated on Sundays, Holy days, and/or weekdays, will depend on the needs of the faithful. Our recommendation is that, in places where the faithful have made a request for the regular celebration for the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, a weekly Sunday and Holyday Mass be scheduled in a central location and at a convenient time on a trial basis for a period of several months. Afterwards, further evaluation and adjustment should be made.

3. Of course the celebrants of the "Tridentine" Mass should not fail, in their preaching and contacts with the faithful attending such Masses, to emphasize their own adherence to the legislation of the universal Church and their acknowledgment of the doctrinal and juridical value of the liturgy as revised after the Second Vatican Council. Under such conditions, it would seem unnecessary, even unduly painful, to impose further restrictions upon those who wish to attend such celebrations.

4. Although the Holy Father has given this Pontifical Commission the faculty to grant the use of the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal to all those who request it, while the Commission informs the appropriate Ordinary thereof, we would much prefer that such faculties be granted by the Ordinary himself for the sake of strengthening the bond of ecclesial communion between those priests and faithful and their local Pastors.

5. Following upon the "wide and generous application" of the principles laid down in Quattuor abhinc annos and the directives of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium nn. 51, 54), the new Lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of "providing a richer fare for the faithful at the table of God's Word" in Masses celebrated according to the 1962 Missal. However, we believe that this usage should not be imposed on congregations who decidedly wish to maintain the former liturgical tradition in its integrity according to the provision of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. Such an imposition might also be less likely to invite back to full communion with the Church at this time those who have lapsed into schismatic worship.

6. Since a number of older and retired priests who have a deep appreciation of the previous Latin liturgical tradition have approached their individual Ordinaries as well as this Pontifical Commission to obtain the celebret for the use of the 1962 Missal, it would seem particularly suitable to utilize the services of such priests where possible for the celebration of this Mass. It may well be discovered that even retired priests who have not requested this faculty would nonetheless be willing to provide this special form of pastoral care for those who request it.

Finally, Your Excellency, it is my sincere desire that this fraternal letter will be for us who are members of the episcopal college an incentive to exercise that manus episcopale described so beautifully in Lumen Gentium n. 23: "Individual bishops, insofar as they are set over particular Churches, exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them, not over other Churches, nor the Church universal. But insofar as they are members of the episcopal college and legitimate successors of the apostles, by Christ's arrangement and decree, each is bound to have such care and solicitude for the whole Church which, though it not be exercised by an act of jurisdiction, does for all that redound in an eminent degree to the advantage of the universal Church. For all the bishops have the obligation of fostering and safeguarding the unity of faith and of upholding the discipline which is common to the whole Church."

I am pleased to avail myself of this opportunity to extend my best wishes to you in your shepherding of the flock entrusted to your care and to assure you of my willing collaboration that, in all circumstances, God may be glorified in the worship of His Holy Church.

— Augustin Cardinal Mayer Prefect, Ecclesia Dei Commission

Two other letters of the same Pontifical Commission are useful for understanding the pastoral mind of the Church in regard to the Classical Roman Rite; both respond to common misinterpretations of the purpose of Ecclesia Dei. There are those who believe that only laity or priests who were exposed to the Classical Roman Rite in their (pre-conciliar) youth are intended as beneficiaries of the Church's new pastoral provisions. In accordance with this belief, it is held that the request for it by anyone else, e.g., young persons or newly ordained priests, constitutes an "illegitimate desire." Msgr. Camille Peri, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission, responded to these objections in a letter dated 5 September 1995:

1. The motu proprio Ecclesia Dei recognized that in itself the desire to celebrate and participate in the traditional liturgy of the Catholic Church as embodied in the liturgical books in force in 1962 represents a legitimate desire on the part of the faithful.

2. The motu proprio does not speak of any restrictions, including age limits, on those who aspire to worship according to the liturgical books of 1962. Neither does it state that only those who had previous experience of the Latin liturgical tradition could have such an aspiration.

The persistence of these false interpretations — particularly the view that the concessions of Ecclesia Dei are intended to stay in force for a short time only, presumably until the older generation of Catholics pass on to their eternal reward — necessitated a further clarification, this time from Cardinal Mayer himself, in a letter dated 31 January 1997.

In recent times it has been affirmed that the allowances given for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass have been granted with the provision that only those who were familiar with the preceding forms of the Roman Liturgy would be allowed to benefit from those concessions.

During my time as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, such limitation was never mentioned by the authorities involved. In this regard it should be mentioned that the Commission has used the faculty of erecting religious institutes, which would benefit from the use of the Roman Missal of 1962 and the other liturgical books in force at that time. Evidently it was understood that young recruits would be admitted to such communities and would benefit from all the concessions made to them. Hence one cannot speak of an age limit.

In confirmation of Cardinal Mayer's last point, one should take note of the remarkable number and diversity of already-established or newly founded religious orders and monasteries authorized to celebrate the liturgical rites exclusively or predominantly in the traditional forms — among them Abbaye Sainte Madeleine and Abbaye Fontgambault, the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, the Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer, Servi Jesu et Mariae, Opus Mariae Mediatricis, Oblates of Mary Queen of Apostles, the Institute of Divine Mercy, and the Society of St. John. Many of these groups are receiving a tremendous influx of vocations. Moreover, those who attend a parish or chapel where the traditional Mass is celebrated can see just how many young people, including families with small children, are in attendance. Often as much as, and sometimes more than, half of the congregation are Catholics who grew up after the new liturgical rites were already in place.

John Paul II has made at least two other public statements touching on the Classical Roman Rite. The first is a discourse from 28 September 1990 to the monks of Sainte-Madeleine at Le Barroux, followers of Lefebvre who were received back into the Church according to the provisions of Ecclesia Dei.

It is with joy that I meet you today, sons of Saint Benedict . . . The Holy See has granted your monastery the faculty of utilizing liturgical books in use in 1962 in order to respond to the aspirations of those "who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition" (Ecclesia Dei §6c), thus confirming the dispositions of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium which recalls that "even in the liturgy the Church does not wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not involve the faith or the good of the whole community. Rather she respects and fosters the qualities and talents of the various races and nations." . . . I express my wish that the opus Dei and particularly the Eucharist celebrated in this way in your monastery will effectively contribute to the fulfillment of the monastic ideal which will surely be nourished by the silence that enhances contemplation and the zealous search for God above all things, in order that your young and fervent community will be able to bear witness to invisible realities in the contemporary world . . . To help you in your monastic life in the heart of the Church, our Mother, I gladly bless you.

The second is a more substantive address which John Paul gave on 26 October 1998 to a large gathering of pilgrims who went to Rome to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ecclesia Dei and of the founding of the Fraternity of St. Peter. During this discourse, the Pope stated:

To guard the treasure which Jesus confided to her and facing the future resolutely, the Church has the duty to reflect continuously on her link with the Tradition which has come to us from the Lord, through the Apostles, such as it has been established down through history. In line with the spirit of conversion of the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente (14, 32, 34, 50), I encourage all Catholics to make gestures of unity and to renew their adherence to the Church, in order that legitimate diversity and different sensibilities, worthy of respect, do not separate them from each other, but encourage them, rather, to preach the Gospel together. Stimulated thus by the Spirit who makes all charismata come together in unity, all will be able to glorify the Lord and salvation will be proclaimed to all the nations.

I desire that all the members of the Church remain the heirs of the faith received from the Apostles, worthily and faithfully celebrated in the Holy Mysteries, with fervor and beauty, in order to receive grace in an increasing manner (Council of Trent, sess. VII, 3 March 1547, Decree on the Sacraments) and to live with the Divine Trinity in an intimate and profound relationship. While confirming the good based on the liturgical reform wished by the Second Vatican Council and initiated by Pope Paul VI, the Church grants also a sign of understanding to those persons "attached to certain previous liturgical and disciplinary forms" (Ecclesia Dei §5c) . . . It falls primarily to the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, to exercise with firmness and charity the shepherding of the flock so that the Catholic faith may be guarded everywhere and worthily celebrated (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Quinque iam anni; CIC 386). Indeed, according to the formula of St. Ignatius of Antioch: "Ubi episcopus, ibi Ecclesia" (Letter to Smyrniots, VIII, 2). I invite the Bishops also, fraternally, to understand and to have a renewed pastoral attention for the faithful attached to the Old Rite and, on the threshold of the third millennium, to help all Catholics to live the celebration of the Holy Mysteries with a devotion, which may be true nourishment for their spiritual life and a source of peace. Entrusting you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, perfect model of the follower of Christ and Mother of the Church, dear Brothers and Sisters, I grant the Apostolic Benediction to you as well as to all those dear to you.

The Implications Of Ecclesia Dei

It would be helpful, in conclusion, to draw out some pastoral and ecclesial implications of the official documents we have just reviewed.

According to the teaching of Lumen gentium, it is the duty of the faithful always and everywhere to give "loyal submission of will and intellect" to the Magisterium of the Church expressed in the teachings of the Pope and the bishops in union with him; all the faithful, including the Bishops, are to give "sincere assent to decisions made by him [the Pope], conformably with his manifest mind and intention."8 Moreover, "if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion."9 It is to be assumed, moreover, that even if a Catholic does not feel personal enthusiasm for the express wishes of the Pope, he will at least observe and abide by them from the worthy motive of humble obedience to the supreme pastor of the Church. Bishops and priests, as ministers sacramentally ordained for the service of the faithful, have an even greater obligation and cause to conform themselves to the mind of the universal shepherd who looks out for the common good of the entire people of God. All of this is well summarized by Leo XIII:

Consequently, just as in the exercise of their episcopal authority, the bishops ought to be united with the Apostolic See, so should the members of the clergy and the laity live in close union with their bishops. Among the prelates, indeed, one or other there may be affording scope to criticize either in regard to personal conduct or in reference to opinions by him entertained about points of doctrine; but no private person may arrogate to himself the office of judge which Christ Our Lord has bestowed on that one alone whom He placed in charge of His lambs and of His sheep.10

Given what has been established by the official documentation, it is evident that no bishop, much less any priest, should ever attempt to impede the request for, or refuse to permit the celebration of, the ancient Roman rite whenever it is desired by a priest in good standing or piously requested by faithful who are attached to it.11 To do so would be to set oneself in opposition to the supreme legislator and ruler of the Church and his manifest will,12 and this, in principle, is no different from the mentality that led to the tragic break of the Society of St. Pius X with the Catholic Church in 1988. The fact that the Holy Father asks, rather than commands, bishops and all who exercise pastoral ministry to honor the aspirations of the traditionalist faithful13 certainly does not mean that his request may fall entirely unheeded, that it may be ignored for supposedly "prudential" reasons. A Catholic motivated by the conciliar spirit of pastoral zeal and humble service in the Church will never disobey the solemnly voiced will of the Holy Father or deny to the faithful what the Church herself wishes freely to give to them, especially in matters as momentous as those concerning divine worship. Cardinal Ratzinger has spoken strongly to this effect: "I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It's impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent."14

All who exercise a pastoral ministry in the Church (cf. Ecclesia Dei §5c), especially bishops, should remember that it can never be legitimate to place obstacles in the way of Catholic laity who seek to worship God by means of the traditional Roman Rite. An attempt at forbiddance or prevention would only call into question a bishop's or priest's charity towards every member of Christ's flock, his zeal to implement the full mind of the Council as interpreted by the Pope, and his commitment to justice for the laity. He would, in short, cease to function as a true shepherd. Indeed, consider this question, often raised explicitly by Cardinal Ratzinger: how could the authorization of the Classical Roman Rite for a particular congregation — the permission to celebrate or attend the Mass that was the very life of the Church for centuries — do harm or be wrong in any way? In the sight of God, such Masses are of infinite worth and holiness, gaining graces far more powerful than any human being has the strength to oppose. Those who withhold permission from or put up obstacles to the celebration of a duly requested Tridentine Mass show that they court human respect more than they love the heritage and wishes of Holy Mother Church.

It would be fitting to end with the hopeful words addressed by Cardinal Ratzinger to pilgrims gathered in Rome for the tenth anniversary of Ecclesia Dei:

If the unity of faith and the oneness of the mystery appear clearly within the two forms of celebration, that can only be a reason for everybody to rejoice and to thank the good Lord. Inasmuch as we all believe, live, and act with these intentions, we shall also be able to persuade the Bishops that the presence of the old liturgy does not disturb or break the unity of their diocese, but is rather a gift destined to build-up the Body of Christ, of which we are all the servants. So, my dear friends, I would like to encourage you not to lose patience, to maintain your confidence, and to draw from the liturgy the strength needed to bear witness to the Lord in our own day.15

Peter A. Kwasniewski is Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy; Instructor in Music History and Theory at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, WY.

End Notes

1 For the Pope to issue a document motu proprio — "by a proper (i.e., personal) motion" of the Universal Shepherd of the Church — signifies the great importance he attaches to the matter.

2 A "lay collaborator" does not mean any layman who attends a Mass offered by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, but one who knowingly and actively supports their schismatic ministry. Many excellent canon lawyers have argued that merely to attend such a Mass does not constitute participation in schism ("formal adherence to schism"), for the simple reason that Catholics are permitted in certain circumstances to attend and receive sacraments from Eastern Orthodox priests, who are technically in schism from the Roman See. Nevertheless, it would be false to assume that Catholic laity are free to attend any valid but illicit Mass, since licitness of the Mass depends on the proper subordination of a priest to his local Ordinary, and lay Catholics no less than priests are obliged to submit to their territorial Ordinary in his proper sphere of authority over the regulation of sacramental rites.

3 Address to the Bishops of Chile, 13 July 1988.

4 In this connection Cardinal Ratzinger observes: "There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super-dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest . . . The one way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is: one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith" (Address to the Bishops of Chile).

5 The Latin original reads: "His omnibus fidelibus catholicis, qui se vinctos sentiunt quibusdam antecedentibus formis liturgicis et disciplinaribus traditionis Latinae, significare optamus etiam voluntatem Nostram — quacum petimus ut consocientur voluntates Episcoporum eorumque omnium, qui in Ecclesia ministerium exercent pastorale — facilem iis reddendi communionem ecclesialem rationibus necessariis ad tuendam observantiam eorum appetitionum." The L'Osservatore Romano English translation — which Cardinal Mayer quotes in his important letter to the Bishops of the United States and which English-speaking traditionalists widely distribute — gives for the last phrase: "guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations." It remains a mystery why the authorized translator thought fit to add the word 'rightful'; for even without this word, it is obvious from the tenor of the Pope's words that the appetitionum of the faithful qui se vinctos sentiunt . . . antecendentibus formis liturgicis is rightful, otherwise it could not be honored by concessions.

6 [Note in original: Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship, Letter Quattuor abhinc annos, 3 October 1984: AAS 76 (1984), pp. 1088-1089.] The Latin text reads: "insuper, ubique observandus est erit animus eorum qui sentiunt traditioni Latinae liturgicae divinctos, idque per amplam ac liberalem applicationem normarum iamdiu ab Apostolica Sede editarum, quod attinet ad usum Missalis Romani iuxta editionem typicam anni 1962."

7 This text is Letter 500/90 from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, signed by Augustin Cardinal Mayer and delivered to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which disseminated it to all the bishops in the United States by a memorandum dated 19 April 1991 from the Office of the NCCB General Secretary.

8 The relevant passage (n. 25) reads: " . . . loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff — even when he does not speak ex cathedra — in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated."

9 Pius XII, Humani generis n. 20.

10 Sapientiae Christianae 37.

11 See Ecclesia Dei §5c and §6c, discussed above.

12 Ecclesia Dei §5c: "significare optamus etiam voluntatem Nostram."

13 Ibid.: "petimus ut consocientur voluntates Episcoporum," etc.

14 Salt of the Earth, trans. Adrian Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997), 176-77. "That which previously was considered most holy — the form in which the liturgy was handed down — suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men call into question ancient rules or even of the great truths of the Faith — for instance, the corporeal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. — nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation" (Speech to Bishops of Chile).

15 "Ten Years of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei," a lecture given at the Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome on Saturday, 24 October 1998.

© Ignatius Press


Adora Patrem In Spiritu Et Veritate (part one)

Cantate Domino Canticum Novum (part two)

This item 4444 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org