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•The 'Tridentine' Mass has a more vertical focus - a focus more on God than on fellow parishioners.

•The 'Tridentine' Mass is clearly a sacrifice (as opposed to a meal, as many 'moderns' want the faithful to view the Mass)

•The 'Tridentine' Mass emphasizes self-denial, awareness of sin.         

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, the priest typically faces eastward, symbolically towards Christ (not towards the parishioners)

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there is increased reverence at the altar and extreme reverence for the Holy Eucharist.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there are ample references to atoning for sin, hell, judgment, and the intercession of saints.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, a fixed liturgy - containing the traditional prayers - is used throughout the Church, which is not subject to personal preference or manipulation.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there are reverent silent periods where the priest leads prayers on our behalf

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there is more genuflecting and kneeling.

•The 'Tridentine' Mass uses a different, fuller calendar.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there are fewer rote responses by the parishioners.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, the unchanged, traditional prayers of consecration are used.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, Holy Communion is given only by priests - to kneeling communicants on the tongue (excepting, of course, those physically unable to kneel)

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there are no 'altar girls', no lay readers (typically), and no 'Eucharistic ministers'.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there is a longer silent period after Communion for prayer & thanksgiving.     

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, pipe organs and Gregorian chant are employed rather than guitars and drums.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, the priest is not sitting off to the side while laity 'take charge'.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, there is no hand-holding or "kiss of peace" among the laity.

•In the 'Tridentine' Mass, the stable rubrics help assure that liturgical abuses do not occur.

•And, of course, the Latin language is used for the majority of the 'Tridentine' Mass (you may follow along with a Latin/English missal).

Latin Mass attendees state that the above contribute to a more holy and reverent atmosphere with fewer distractions. The last Pope to use the Latin Rite was His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Motu proprio on Tridentine Mass



On the 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, declaring that upon "the request of the faithful", celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (commonly known as the Tridentine Mass), was to be more easily permitted. Stable groups who previously had to petition their bishop to have a Tridentine Mass may now merely request permission from their local priest. While Summorum Pontificum directs that pastors should provide the Tridentine Mass upon the requests of the faithful, it also allows for any qualified priest to offer private celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, to which the faithful may be admitted if they wish. For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.

In an accompanying letter, the Pope outlined his position concerning questions about the new guidelines. As there were fears that the move would entail a reversal of the Second Vatican Council, Benedict emphasised that the Tridentine Mass would not detract from the Council, and that the Mass of Paul VI would still be the norm and priests were not permitted to refuse to say the Mass in that form. He pointed out that use of Tridentine Mass "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted." The letter also decried "deformations of the liturgy ... because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal" as the Second Vatican Council was wrongly seen "as authorising or even requiring creativity", mentioning his own experience.


The Pope considered that allowing the Tridentine Mass to those who request it was a means to prevent or heal schism, stating that, on occasions in history, "not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity" and that this "imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew."

Your Movement has Legitimacy in the Church

Address by H.E. Cardinal Alfons Stickler on June 20, 1992 at the Annual General Meeting Of the Latin Mass Society.


I have accepted, with great pleasure, the invitation of your Chairman and Secretary to come to your Meeting.  Now after reaching my 80's I am free from my ordinary work in the Curia so I can more easily accept such invitations and I do it with great pleasure when I can be helpful to so many of the faithful who today have many difficulties.  I will communicate with you some ideas which I have found in many countries. I have been to Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland.  I have been last February also in the United States for the opening of the Institute of Dietrich von Hildebrand, with a great High Mass in St.  Agnes Church. I was told that the church was never so full since Fulton Sheen preached his Lenten sermons there.  From everywhere people were coming so I could realise that in the United States also, the movement and the consideration for the old Mass are very effective. The first idea I will communicate with you is that you can be sure that your movement has full legitimacy in the Church.  Some have said that we are not legitimate.  This is not true because, if you remember article 4 of the Liturgical Constitution, the Council Fathers explicitly said all the venerable rites have to be preserved.  Some people say this is valid for all the other rites, with the exception of the Roman Latin rite.  This is not so.  Because article 4 says: all the rites legitimately recognised.  This was not only established for the rites existing at that time, during the Council, but also for the rites that should be approved afterwards.  Now the Old Latin rite was really recognised after the changing of the former Latin Roman rite because, as you know, exception was given immediately for old priests and, in England, you had fortunately your great Cardinal Heenan, who obtained the Indult for England and Wales in 1971.  Then, we had the Motu Proprio, the Indult of the Pope, and later on Ecclesia Dei which was clearly confirmed by the Pope; for example, when he spoke to the Abbot of Le Barroux in 1990, who had asked explicitly for this rite.  Consequently, a new authority was given to the old Rite on the base of the liturgical Constitution of the Council itself.  This recognition is coming from the Holy See, from the Pope, under the conditions given at the moment of the new approbation, which institutes a real legitimation of the Old Rite (and is available now). So, if you fulfil the conditions for the continuation of the Old Rite, it is legitimate for you.  This is the external legitimacy of your movement. Legitimacy from Tradition Now we have another legitimacy which is coming from the internal sensibility for this rite.  You know that worship and worshipping in every region is attached closely to tradition.  No worship is easily changed in any religion.  All are attached closely to tradition.  This is true in a special manner also for our Rite, our Roman Latin Rite. Its changing after the Council was said to be a question of natural development; but, for every Rite, thinking should be only organical, adopted slowly in order to give no impression of changing, of cutting tradition.  Unfortunately many people had this impression after the so- called "reform" established by the Commission, which was instituted by Pope Paul VI after the Council.  Many things were changed which really cut the hearts of many of the Faithful - I would say sometimes the best of the Faithful.  This is also a reason to continue the tradition in the external forms of the Rite we professed before.  This is the proof of the old saying "Lex orandi - Lex credendi".  Unfortunately too many things have confused the common faithful in our Church.  This is one of the reasons why they no longer have the security of an unchanging rite.  "Lex orandi - Lex credendi."  If the Law of worshipping is changed so profoundly, our faith has lost the help we had in our worship. No Polemics Now the next idea I want to express is that we have to avoid, always in  our life and in our discussions, in our general behaviour in our  association, every kind of polemics, because there is always a danger  of hurting others.  If there are polemics, they will say "Ah, you are a  sect with no more reasoning".  So we have to profess our attachment to  the Old Rite calmly, reasoning with them but without polemics. We have to explain also to ourselves the reasons for following the Old  Latin Rite and we have many reasons for it.  The first I have mentioned  already; it is the absolute tradition of Liturgy in every religion to  have  no change with the past because we have to preserve that rite as the  expression of our Faith.  You know that the Oriental Church saved the  common truth, that is the Catholic Truth, by preserving the rite.  They  preserved all the Sacraments because they were attached so strongly to  the rite which they would never changed.  The other heretics -  Protestants and so on - have changed the Faith because they have  changed the Rite. The Catholic Church a Communio The Vatican Council says explicitly that we have "a communio" in the Catholic Church, the Pope with the Bishops and with the priests in all parts of the world.  We are particular churches but we are all in one Catholic Church.  If we have the same faith, even with the different rites, but not in all our fundamental teaching, then we have not the complete Communion.  For example, the Oriental Church is a Church not in complete communion because there is not preserved the dogma and truth in the Primacy of the Pope.  They have not the whole truth, but most of it they have preserved.  All the other churches are not called "churches" in the full sense but religious communities. This means that they have not the complete substance of our Faith.  So the Catholic Church in the case of the Rites, who did not absolutely preserve the truths of the Catholic and Latin Rites has not with them this unity.  This is very important in order to confirm our sensibilities for the Old Rite which is really that of the "Lex Credendi" expressed by the "Lex Orandi".              📷     

"It is not surprising, therefore, that every heretical offshoot from the Catholic Church featured a liturgical revolution"

It is not surprising, therefore, that every heretical offshoot from the Catholic Church featured a liturgical revolution, as is most clearly recognized in the case of the Protestants and the Anglicans; while the reforms effected by the popes, and particularly stimulated by the Council of Trent and carried out by Pope Pius V, through those of Pius X, Pius XII and John XXIII, were no revolutions, but merely insignificant corrections, alignments and enrichments. Nothing new should be introduced, the Council expressly says of the reform desired by the fathers, which the genuine good of the Church does not demand. There are several clear examples of what the post-Conciliar reform actually produced, above all in its core, the radically new Ordo Missae. The new introduction to the Mass grants a significant place to many variants and, through further concessions to the imagination of the celebrants with their communities, is leading to a practically unlimited multiplicity. Next comes the Lectionary, to which we will return in another connection. Thereupon follows the Offertory which, in its contents and text, represents a revolution. There is to be no preceding sacrificial act, but only a preparation of the gifts with evidently humanized content, which impresses one as contrived from beginning to end. In Italy it was called the sacrifice of the coltivatori diretti, that is, of the few people who still personally cultivate their small parcels of land, for the most part beyond and after their principal occupation. On account of the great technical means at the disposal of agriculture, which today can be maintained only via industry, very little human labor is necessary for the production of bread. From the plowing to the harvester from which the sacks of grain come, few human hands are needed. The substitution of the offering of the gifts for the coming Sacrifice is rather an unfortunate, outdated kind of symbolism that can scarcely replace the many genuine symbolic elements that were suppressed. A tabula rasa was also made of the gestures highly recommended by the Council of Trent and required by the Second Vatican Council, as well as of many Signs of the Cross, altar kisses and genuflections.  

The essential center, the sacrificial action itself, suffered a perceptible shift toward Communion, in that the entire Sacrifice of the Mass was changed into a Eucharistic meal, whereby in the consciousness of believers the integrating component of Communion replaced the essential component of the transforming act of sacrifice. Cardinal Ratzinger has expressly determined also, with reference to the most modern dogmatic and exegetical investigations, that it is theologically false to compare the meal with the Eucharist-which practically always occurs in the new liturgy. With that, the groundwork is laid for another essential change: in place of the sacrifice offered by an anointed priest as alter Christus comes the communal meal of the convened faithful under the presiding priest. The intervention of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci persuaded the Pope to overturn the definition [in the original General Instruction that accompanied the new Missal-Translator's note] that confirmed this change in the Sacrifice of the Mass; it was "pulped down" by order of Paul VI. The correction of the definition resulted, however, in no change to the Ordo Missae itself.  

This change of the heart of the Sacrifice of the Mass received confirmation and activation in the celebration versus populum, a practice which had previously been forbidden and which was a reversal of the entire tradition of celebration towards the East, in which the priest was not the counterpart of the people but rather one who acted in persona Christi, under the symbol of the rising sun in the East.  

It is germane to point out a quite serious change in the consecration formula of the wine into the Blood of Christ: the words mysterium fidei were removed, and inserted as a later joint acclamation with the people-quite a blow for "actuosa participatio." What does historical research, which had been prescribed by the Council before every change, now say exclusively? That the words go back to the beginning of the traditions of the Roman Church that are known to us, which had been handed on by St. Peter. St. Basil, who through his studies in Athens was certainly familiar with the Western tradition, says regarding the forms of all the sacraments that they had not been written down in the well-known holy writings of the apostles and their successors and pupils because of the discipline of secrecy that then prevailed, on the ground of which the most holy mysteries of the Church should not be betrayed to pagans. He says expressly, as do all Christian witnesses, who reveal the same conviction, that in addition to the written teachings handed down to us we also have ones that in mysteria tradita sunt and that date from the tradition of the apostles; he says both have the same value and no one may contradict either. As an example he expressly cites the words through which the Eucharistic bread and the Chalice of Salvation are confected: which of the saints has handed them down to us in writing?  

All subsequent periods of history expressly attest to this historical inheritance in the Eucharistic consecration formula: the Gelasian sacramentary-the oldest Mass book of the Roman Church-has in the Vatican codex in the original text, not as a later addition, the words "mysterium fidei."  

People have always wondered about the origin of these words. In 1202, the emeritus Archbishop John of Lyons posed to Pope Innocent III, whose liturgical knowledge was well known, the question of whether one must believe that the words of the Canon of the Mass, which do not come from the gospels, were passed down by Christ and the apostles to their successors. The Pope answered in a long letter in December of that year that these words, which are not from the gospels, are to be believed as if the apostles received them from Christ and their successors received them in turn. The fact that this decretal, included in the collection of decretal letters of Innocent III, which were combined by Raymond von Penafort by order of Pope Gregory IX, was not excluded as were other outdated ones but rather was passed on, proves that prolonged value was given to this statement of the great Pope.  

St. Thomas speaks clearly about our subject in the Summa Theologiae III, q. 78, art. 3, which deals with the words of the consecration of the wine. Explaining the necessary arcane discipline of the ancient Church, he says that the words "mysterium fidei" come from divine tradition, which was given to the Church by the apostles, making particular reference to 1 Cor. 10[11]:23 and 1 Tim. 3:9. A commentator refers to DD Gousset in the 1939 Marietti edition: "sarebbe un grandissimo errore sostituire un'altra forma eucharistica a quella del Missale Romano…die sopprimere ad esempio la parola aeterni e quella mysterium fidei che abbiamo dalla tradizione." The Council of Florence also, in the bull of union with the Jacobites, expressly adds the consecration formula of Holy Mass, which the Roman Church has always used on the foundation of the teaching and authority of the apostles Peter and Paul.  

One wonders about the supremely cavalier way in which the colleagues of Cardinal Lercaro and Fr. Bugnini disregarded the obligation of undertaking a detailed historical and theological investigation in the case of so fundamental a change. If such a thing took place in this case, how might they have discharged this fundamental obligation before making other changes?  

The Eucharist is not only the unique mystery of our faith; it is also an everlasting one, of which we should always remain conscious. Our everyday Eucharistic life requires a medium that fully embraces this mystery-above all in the modern age, in which the autonomy and self-glorification of modern man resist every concept that goes beyond human knowledge, that reminds him of his limitations. Every theological concept becomes a problem for him, and the liturgy especially as a support of the Faith turns into a permanent object of demystification, that is, of humanizing to the point of making it absolutely understandable. For this reason, the banishing of mysterium fidei from the Eucharistic formula becomes a powerful symbol of demythologization, a symbol of the humanizing of the center of divine worship, of holy Mass.  

With that, we come to the various false interpretations--and equally false implementations--of a central demand of the reformers: a fervent, active participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass. The main purpose of their participation is what the Council expressly says: the worship of the majesty of God. The heart and soul of the participant must therefore first and foremost be raised to God. (This does not exclude the possibility that participation also becomes activated within the community.) Above all, this actuosa participatio was demanded as a result of the frequently lamented apathy of Mass-goers of the pre-Conciliar period. If it extends itself into an endless talking and doing, which allows all to become active in a kind of hustle and bustle which are intrinsic to every external human assembly, even the most holy moment of the individual's encounter with the Eucharistic God-Man becomes the most talkative and distracted. The contemplative mysticism of the encounter with God and His worship, to say nothing of the reverence which must always accompany it, instantly dies: the human element kills the divine, and fills heart and soul with emptiness and disappointment. Here a further important point must be mentioned, a decree of the Council not only misunderstood but also completely denied: the language of worship. I am very well acquainted with the argument. As an expert on the commission for the seminaries, I was entrusted with the question of the Latin language. It proved to be brief and concise and after lengthy discussion was brought to a form which complied with the wishes of all members and was ready for presentation in the Council hall. Then, in an unexpected solemnity, Pope John XXIII signed the Apostolic Letter Veterum Sapientia on the altar of St. Peter. According to the opinion of the commission, that made superfluous the Council's declaration on Latin in the Church. (In the document not only the relationship of the Latin language to the liturgy, but also all its other functions in the life of the Church, were pronounced upon.)  

As the subject of the language of worship was discussed in the Council hall over the course of several days, I followed the process with great attention, as well as later the various wordings of the Liturgy Constitution until the final vote. I still remember very well how after several radical proposals a Sicilian bishop rose and implored the fathers to allow caution and reason to reign on this point, because otherwise there would be the danger that the entire Mass might be held in the language of the people-whereupon the entire hall burst into uproarious laughter.  

'I could therefore never understand how Archbishop Bugnini could write, regarding the radical and complete transition from the prescribed Latin to the exclusively vulgar language of worship, that the Council had practically said that the vernacular in the entire Mass was a pastoral necessity (op. cit., pp. 108-121; I am quoting from the original Italian edition).   To the contrary, I can attest to the fact that regarding the wording of the Council Constitution on this question, in the general part (art. 36) as well as in the special regulations for the Sacrifice of the Mass (art. 54) the Council fathers maintained a practically unanimous agreement--above all in the final vote: 2152 votes in favor and only four against."  

I could therefore never understand how Archbishop Bugnini could write, regarding the radical and complete transition from the prescribed Latin to the exclusively vulgar language of worship, that the Council had practically said that the vernacular in the entire Mass was a pastoral necessity (op. cit., pp. 108-121; I am quoting from the original Italian edition).  

To the contrary, I can attest to the fact that regarding the wording of the Council Constitution on this question, in the general part (art. 36) as well as in the special regulations for the Sacrifice of the Mass (art. 54) the Council fathers maintained a practically unanimous agreement--above all in the final vote: 2152 votes in favor and only four against. In my research for the Council decree about the Latin language, I became aware of the concurring opinion of the entire tradition: up to Pope John XXIII, a clearly unfriendly attitude had been taken toward all preceding efforts to the contrary. Consider in particular the cases of the statement of the Council of Trent, sanctioned by anathema, against Luther and Protestantism; of Pius VI against Bishop Ricci and the Synod of Pistoia; and of Pius XI, who deemed the Church's language of worship as "non vulgaris." Yet this tradition is not at all a question only of ritual, although that is the aspect always emphasized; rather, it is important because the Latin language acts as a reverent curtain against profanation (instead of the iconostasis of the Easterners, behind which the anaphora takes place) and because of the danger that through the vulgar language the whole action of the liturgy might be profaned, which in fact often happens today. The precision of the Latin language, moreover, uniquely does justice to the didactic and dogmatically precise contents of the liturgy, protecting the truth from obfuscation and adulteration. Finally, the universality of Latin both represents and fosters the unity of the whole Church. 

Because of its practical importance, I would like especially to go into both of the last-mentioned, with examples. A good friend has the Deutsche Tagespost sent to me regularly. I always read the next-to-last page, on which the editorial staff, very laudably, gives readers the opportunity in letters to the editor to express opposing views. A continuing series of such letters dealt in detail with the "pro multis" of the Latin text of the formula of consecration and with its translation as "for all." Again and again philology was engaged, which often becomes the ruler instead of being merely the handmaid of theology. Monsignor Johannes Wagner says in his Liturgiereformerinnerungen (1993) that the Italians first introduced this translation, although he himself would have been for the literal translation of "many." Unfortunately, I have never found an appeal to an argument of the first order that is at once theologically decisive and extremely important pastorally; it is contained in the Roman Tridentine Catechism. Here the theological distinction is clearly emphasized: The "pro omnibus" indicates the force that the Redemption has "for all." If one takes into consideration, however, the actual fruit that is allocated to men from it, the Blood of Christ is effective not for all, but rather only for "many," namely for those who draw benefits from it. It is therefore correct that here not for "all" is said, since in this passage only the fruits of the suffering of Christ are spoken of, which come only to the chosen. Here application can be found for what the Apostle said in Heb. 9:28, that Christ sacrificed Himself once to take away the sins of "many," and for Christ's own distinction: "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given me, because they are thine." In all these words of consecration many secrets are contained that shepherds should recognize through study and with the help of God.  

It is not difficult to see here extraordinarily important pastoral truths contained in these dogmatic contents of the Latin language of worship, which unconsciously (or even consciously) are covered up in an inaccurate translation.  

A second, even larger source of pastoral misfortune-again, against the explicit will of the Council-results from giving up the Latin language of worship. Latin plays the role of a universal language that unifies the Church's public worship without offending any vernacular tongue. It holds particular importance today, at a time when the developing concept of the Church highlights the entire People of God of the one Mystical Body of Christ, underlined elsewhere in the reform. By introducing the exclusive use of the vernacular, the reform makes out of the unity of the Church a variety of little churches, separated and isolated. Where is the pastoral possibility for Catholics across the whole world to find their Mass, to overcome racial differences through a common language of worship, or even, in an increasingly small world, simply to be able to pray together, as the Council explicitly calls for? Where is the pastoral practicability now for every priest to exercise the highest priestly act-Holy Mass-everywhere, above all in a world that is short of priests?  

In the Conciliar Constitution the introduction of a three-year Lectionary is nowhere spoken of. Through it the reform commission made itself guilty of a crime against nature. A simple calendar year would have been sufficient for all wishes of change. The Consilium could have stuck to a yearly cycle, enriching the readings with as many and as varied a choice of collection as one would want without breaking up the natural yearly course. Instead, the old order of readings was destroyed and a new one introduced, with a great burden and expense of books, in which as many texts as possible could be accommodated, not only from the world of the Church but also-as was widely practiced-from the profane world. Apart from the pastoral difficulties for parishioners' understanding of texts demanding special exegesis, it turned out also as an opportunity-which was seized-to manipulate the retained texts in order to introduce new truths in place of the old. Pastorally unpopular passages-often of fundamental theological and moral significance-were simply eliminated. A classic example is the text from 1 Cor. 11:27-29: here, in the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, the serious concluding exhortation about the grave consequences of unworthy reception has been consistently left out, even on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The pastoral necessity of that text in the face of today's mass reception without confession and without reverence is obvious.  

That blunders could be made in the new readings, above all in the choice of their introductory and concluding words, is exemplified by Klaus Gamber's note on the end of the reading on the first Sunday in Lent of the Reading Cycle for Year A, which speaks of the consequences of Original Sin: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Whereupon the people, performing their duty of lively and active participation, must answer: "Thanks be to God."  

Furthermore, why was the alteration of the sequence of the sacred feasts necessary? If any caution were needed it was here, in pastoral concern and awareness regarding the people's attachment to their local Church feasts, whose temporal disarrangement had to have a very negative influence on popular piety. For these considerations the implementers of the reform appear to have had no great sympathy at all, despite articles 9, 12, 13 and 37 of the Liturgy Constitution.  

A brief word must still be said about the realization of the Council regulations regarding liturgical music. Our reformers certainly did not share the great praise for the Gregorian chant that was being regarded more and more highly by secular observers and enthusiasts. The radical abolition (above all through the creation of new choral parts of the Mass) of the Introit, Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion (and this especially as a prayer of the community), in favor of others of considerably greater length was a silent death sentence for the wonderful variable Gregorian melodies, with the exception only of the simple melodies for the fixed parts of the Mass, namely the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus/Benedictus and Agnus Dei-and that only for few Masses. The instructions of the Council for the protection and fostering of this ancient Roman liturgical singing met a practically deadly epidemic.  

The widely beloved Church instrument of the pipe organ experienced a similar fate through the abundant substitution of instruments, whose enumeration and characterization I can leave to your rich personal experience, with the sole remark that they have prepared the way in not a few cases for the entry of diabolical elements into Church music.  

The latitude allowed for innovation represents a last, important subject of this account of the practical elements of the reform. This latitude is present in the original Latin Roman Order of Mass. Among the various national orders, the German Order of Mass stands out through many further concessions of this kind. It practically eliminates the strict, absolute ban of §3, art. 22 of the Conciliar Constitution-namely that no one, not even a priest, may on his own authority add, leave out or alter anything. The violations in the entire course of the Mass that are escalating more and more against this ban of the Council are becoming the cause of resounding disorder, which the old Latin Ordo, with its much-lamented rigidity, so successfully prevented. The new guarantor of order thus contributes to disorder, and one may not, therefore, wonder when again and again he discovers that in every parish a different Ordo seems to be in force.  

With that we have arrived at the public, if also limited, negative statements about the reform of the Mass. Archbishop Bugnini himself discusses them with commendable honesty on pages 108-121 of his memoirs of the reform, without being able to contradict them. In his memoir and in Msgr. Wagner's, the insecurity of the Consilium is obvious over the reform they so hastily carried out. There also appears little sensibility towards the prior "theological, historical, pastoral" research ordained by the Council as necessary to any alteration. For example, the expert capacities of Msgr. Gamber, the German historian of the liturgy, were completely ignored. The incomprehensible rush with which the reform was hammered into shape and made obligatory actually caused influential bishops who were anything but attached to tradition to reconsider. A monsignor who had accompanied Cardinal Döpfner as secretary to Salzburg for the passing of a resolution of the German-speaking bishops for the activation of the new Order of Mass in their countries told me that the Cardinal was very reticent on the return journey to Munich. He then briefly expressed his fear that a delicate pastoral matter had been dealt with too hastily.  

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to emphasize that I have never cast in doubt the dogmatic or juridical validity of the Novus Ordo Missae-although in the case of the juridical question serious doubts have come to me in view of my intensive work with the medieval canonists. They are of the unanimous opinion that the popes may change anything with the exception of what the Holy Scriptures prescribe or what concerns previously enacted doctrinal decisions of the highest level, and the status ecclesiae. There is no perfect clarity with regard to this concept. This attachment to tradition in the case of fundamental things which have conclusively influenced the Church in the course of time certainly belongs to this fixed, unchanging status, over which even the Pope has no right of disposal. The meaning of the liturgy for the entire concept of the Church and its development, which was also especially emphasized by Vatican II as unchangeable in nature, leads us to believe that it in fact should belong to the status ecclesiae.  

It must nevertheless be said that these regrettable misuses, which above all are consequences of the discrepancy between the Conciliar Constitution and the Novus Ordo, do not occur when the new liturgy is reverently celebrated-as is always the case, for example, when the Holy Father offers Mass. It cannot, however, escape experts of the old liturgy what a great distinction exists between the corpus traditionum, which was alive in the old Mass, and the contrived Novus Ordo-to the decided disadvantage of the latter. Shepherds, scholars, and lay faithful have noticed it, of course; and the multitude of opposing voices increased with time. Thus the reigning Holy Father himself, in his Apostolic Letter Dominicae Cenae of February 24, 1980, regarding the mystery and worship of the Eucharist, pointed out that questions concerning the liturgy, above all of the Eucharist, should never be the occasion for dividing Catholics and seeing the unity of the Church sundered; it is, he said, indeed the "sacrament of piety, the symbol of unity, and the bond of charity."  

In his Apostolic Letter on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the approval of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on December 4, 1963, which was published on December 4, 1988, after praising the renewal in the line of tradition, the Pope deals with the concrete application of the reform: he points to the difficulties and the positive results, but also in detail to incorrect applications. He also says expressly that it is the duty of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to protect the great principles of the Catholic liturgy, as illustrated and developed in the Liturgy Constitution, and to be mindful of the responsibilities of the bishops' conferences and the bishops.  

Cardinal Ratzinger, the protector of the Faith (and of the worship connected with it) closest to the Pope, has repeatedly commented on the post-Conciliar liturgical reform, and with a singular profundity and clarity has subjected its theological and pastoral problems to constructive criticism. I remind you only of the book The Feast of Faith (1981), of the prologue to the French translation of the short, basic book by Klaus Gamber, and finally of the references in his recent books, Salt of the Earth and his autobiography, La mia vita, both published in 1997.  

Among the German-speaking bishops the one responsible for the liturgy in the Austrian bishops' conference pointed out in 1995 that the Council had intended no revolution but a reform of the liturgy faithful to tradition. Instead, he said, a worship of spontaneity and improvisation bears a share of the blame for the declining number of people at Mass. Lastly, the Primate of Belgium, Cardinal Daneels, who certainly cannot be called a stick-in-the-mud, has subjected the entire reform to devastating criticism: there has been a 180-degree turn, he says, with the transition from an obedience to rubrics to their free manipulation, through which one himself makes use of the liturgy in order to rearrange the service and worship of God into a creative people's assembly, into a real "happening," into a discourse in which the individual wants to play a role instead of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in whose house he is a guest. Man's desire to understand the service, Daneels says, should lead not to a subjective human creativity, but to a penetration of the mysteries of God. One would not have to explain the liturgy, but live it as a window to the invisible.  

When we climb lower rungs of the ladder of the people of God, we find even among the members of the Consilium a colleague indicated as critical by Archbishop Bugnini: P.L. Boujer, who has not been silent in the meantime.  

In Italy the hard-hitting criticism The Torn Tunic (1967), by the high-profile lay writer Tito Casini, with a prologue by Cardinal Bacci, made a sensation. Slowly more and more growing lay groups, to which many intellectuals of high standing belonged, organized themselves into national movements, above all in Europe and North America, and were connected in Europe and beyond in the international organization Una Voce; the problems of the reform were also discussed in journals, among which the German Una Voce Korrespondenz stands out. In a characteristic summary, the Canadian Precious Blood Banner of October 1995 says that it is becoming clearer and clearer that the radicalism of the post-Conciliar reformers did not consist of renewing the Catholic liturgy from its roots, but in tearing it from its traditional soil. It did not rework the Roman rite, which it was asked to do by the Liturgy Constitution of Vatican II, but uprooted it. Shortly before his death, the well-known Prior of Taize, Max Thurian, a Catholic convert who was previously a Calvinist, expounded his view of the reform in a long article entitled "The Liturgy as Contemplation of the Mystery" in L'Osservatore Romano (May 27-28, 1996, p. 9). After an understandable expression of praise for the Council and for the Liturgy Commission, which were supposed to bring forth the most admirable fruits, he says expressly that the entire contemporary celebration often takes place as a dialogue in which there is no place for prayer, contemplation and silence. The constant opposing of the celebrants and the faithful isolates the community within itself. A healthy celebration, on the other hand, which gives the altar a privileged position, conveys the duty of the celebrant, that is, to orient all toward the Lord and the worship of His presence, which is represented in the symbols and realized in the Sacrament. This conveys to the liturgy that contemplative breath without which it becomes an awkward religious discussion, an empty communal activity and a kind of prattle.  

Thurian makes a number of personal proposals for authority in the event of a revision of the "Principles and norms for the use of the Missale Romanum" (one sees that he nourishes the hope that it could be possible), which clearly demonstrate dissatisfaction with the present principles. Under the title of "The Priest in the Service of the Liturgy," he gives a series of distinguished criticisms of the present situation, which share practically all the severe reproaches of our account, and which merit individual examination….  

I would like briefly to add, as an ecumenical reference, two experiences with the Eastern Churches. During a visit at the end of the Council…representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople said in personal conversations that they did not understand why the Roman Church insisted on changing the liturgy; one should not do such a thing. The Eastern Church, they said, owed its retention of the Faith to its faithfulness to liturgical tradition and to the liturgy's healthy development. I also heard somewhat similar things from members of the Patriarchate of Moscow, who looked after the Vatican Historical Commission during the International Historical Congress in Moscow in 1970.  

Two more significant reports from the world of the ordinary and the uneducated, which best express the genuine sensus fidei of the children of God: Two young boy scouts of ten and twelve from the Siena area, who assist at the so-called Tridentine Mass every Saturday, based on the privilege granted by the Archbishop of Siena, answered my provocative question as to which Mass they liked better, that since they attended the old Mass they no longer enjoyed the new.  

"He arrived at the conclusion that today we stand before the ruins of a 2,000-year tradition, and that it is to be feared that as a result of the countless reforms the tradition is now in such a vandalized mess that it may be difficult to revive it."  

A simple, elderly farmer, who comes from a poor area of Molise, told me spontaneously that he always goes only to the six o'clock Tridentine Mass because he considers the change to the liturgy to be a change of the Faith that he wanted to retain. Msgr. Klaus Gamber, an outstanding expert I have already mentioned, has published strictly academic accounts, above all his summary The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background,* that were more or less silenced by the official specialist literature, but are being rediscovered now for their penetrating clarity and insight. He arrived at the conclusion that today we stand before the ruins of a 2,000-year tradition, and that it is to be feared that as a result of the countless reforms the tradition is now in such a vandalized mess that it may be difficult to revive it. One hardly dares any longer to pose the question whether after this dismantling a reconstruction of the old order may come.  

Still, one should not give up hope. Concerning the dismantling, we see how it is reflected in the orders given by the Council. They say: no innovation may be introduced unless the real and certain benefit of the Church demands it, and then only after a precise theological, historical and pastoral investigation. Moreover, any change must be made in such a way that the new forms always arise organically from those already existing. Whether this happened, my recollections can give you only a limited picture. They should show, however, whether the essential theological and ecclesiological requirements were fulfilled in the reform, namely whether the liturgy, above all its heart, Holy Mass, ordered the human to the divine and subordinated the former to the latter, the visible to the invisible, the active to the contemplative, the present to the eternity to come; or whether the reform has, on the contrary, frequently subordinated the divine to the human, the invisible mystery to what is visible, the contemplative to active participation, the eternity to come to the mundane human present. But precisely the ever-clearer recognition of the re

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