"The Roman Liturgy Page" - a critique

The documentation presented below is directed at the contents of "The Roman Liturgy" page, not at the author himself. I quote the page itself, so as to not misrepresent it, as it stood in April/May 1997.

1. The Fruits of the Council

The Roman Liturgy Page states: Let's examine some factual fruits of the Council:

Statistics in England and Wales:
		Baptisms       Marriages      Conversions	  Mass

	1962	134,017		45,432		13,280		2,092,667 
	1994	 76,338		18,359		 6,250		1,190,307 
(Diocesan figures submitted to the National Statistics Centre, quoted in Christian Order, January, 1997).

Together with a annual drop of about 55,000 in Mass attendence per year, at present. Moreover, those Catholics who do still attend Mass have little of the faith in them. For instance, 70% of American Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation, and have thus lost the faith.

Moreover, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - i.e. the Pope's right hand man) has said in his recent autobiograpy: All I can say is that a claim of "great fruits" in relation to Vatican II is completely without foundation.

2. The New Mass and what the Council decreed

The Roman Liturgy page states: To counter this charge of "historical revisionism", let us review what Vatican II actually said on the liturgy, and what authoritative figures themselves think (who, I assume, are not "on the net"!)

The Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, official document of the Second Vatican Council:

"In faithful obedience to tradition, this most sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledges rites to be of equal authority and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and foster them in every way." [article 4] (how is introducing a fabricated liturgy, supressing the previous one, preserving and fostering the traditional rite of Mass in the Latin Church?)

"In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify." [article 21] (how does drawing up a new rite of Mass along the lines of Cranmer and Luther express the holy things more clearly?)

"There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing." [article 23] (has the new rite of Mass truly grown "organically" from the traditional Mass that preceeded it, or does it "grow organically" from the reforms of the 16th century?)

"The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites" [article 36] (need I say that Latin has all but vanished from the Latin Church?)

"Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the mass which pertain to them" [article 54] (- how can the faithful be encouraged to say or sing the Latin that pertains to them if there is no Latin to say or sing?)

"The treasury of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care" [article 114] (the treasury of sacred music of the Church has all but been dumped for banal and secular music)

"The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as proper to the Roman liturgy; therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services" [article 116] (how often do you hear Gregorian Chant in your parish church?)

So, is the New Mass unconstitutional?

Authoritive quotations relating to the Mass and what the Council acutally decreed:

- Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, "The Ottaviani Intervention"

- Archbishop R.J. Dwyer of Portland, Oregon,
The Clarion Parish Bulletin (Glenview, Ill.), 26 July 1970.

- Pope Paul's New Mass by Michael Davies (available from The Angelus Press), page 607, quoting Archbishop R.J. Dwyer of Portland, Oregon, from The Tidings, 9 July, 1971.

- from Pope John's Council by Michael Davies, page 224,
quoting Archbishop R.J. Dwyer in the Twin Circle, 26 October, 1973.

- Cardinal Heenan of England and Wales, The Crown of Thorns (London, 1974), p.æ367.

- from Pope John's Council by Michael Davies, page 224, quoting a prelate of the Council.
With views which obviously go against the grain like that,
no wonder Davies decides not to print his name!

- from Pope John's Council by Michael Davies, page 224, quoting Fr. Louis Bouyer in The Decomposition of Catholicism, page 99 (London 1970).

- Liturgical Shipwreck 25 Years of the New Mass, by Michael Davies, TAN.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith,
in L'Osservatore Romano (English edition), 24 December, 1984.

- F. Gerard Calvet, O.S.B., Abbot, Monastery of St. Madeleine, Le Barroux, France, quoting Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Doctrine of Faith (Gerald Calvet, O.S.B. wrote the first preface of the English edition)

- Cardinal Ratzinger's Preface to the book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Mgr. Klaus Gamber (quoted below).

Mgr. Gamber, who Cardinal Ratzinger describes as: says:

3. The Traditional Mass and St. Gregory the Great

The Roman Liturgy page states: Now, I have not come across anyone who says that the complete order of Mass is the same as used by St. Gregory. However, it is clear from liturgical history that the Canon of the Mass (now called the "Eucharistic Prayer") used before Vatican II certainly is that of St. Gregory the Great. If this is what is disputed, I provide the following quotations:

Pope Paul VI says in Missale Romanum: from the pen of Pope Paul VI himself!

Liturgical scholars, through history, agree with this observation. Father Louis Bouyer, who was one of the leaders of the pre-Vatican II liturgical movement, stated:

- quoted in "A Short History of the Roman Mass" by Michael Davies, TAN.

Father David Knowles, considered by Michael Davies as Britain's most distinguished Catholic scholar until his death in 1974, has stated:

- quoted in "A Short History of the Roman Mass" by Michael Davies, TAN.

Father Fortescue, the great liturgist of the century, has written:

- "The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy", 1912, page 172

and he continues: I hope I have given enough evidence to counter the page's accusation: "without adducing the slightest bit of evidence"!

4. Four Orders of Mass

The Roman Liturgy page states: Let us examine two of these orders of Mass, one from 700 AD (the time of St. Gregory the Great), and 1951 AD. In particular, I will present the Canon of the Mass of the two orders. It is well known that the Canon of the Mass as modified by St. Gregory the Great and up until 1962 was - in all its essentials - identical (see above). This is proven by a quote by Pope Paul VI above, and also by other liturgical authorities through the centuries. Compare the following versions:

The Canon of Mass at the time of 700 AD according to the Roman Liturgy page:

The Canon, as presented, for the Roman liturgy as of 1951:

A huge difference! From the first Canon, we have lots of rubrical instructions and four lines of Latin - two of which are the same. In the second Canon, there are no rubrics at all and no less than 125 lines of Latin text. Is this a serious comparison? A "more accurate picture of Roman liturgical history" - I don't think so!

5. The motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei"

The Roman Liturgy page states: However, Ecclesia Dei informs us that: Here, the Holy Father is referring to those "all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition", e.g. someone like myself, not followers of Mgr. Lefebvre.

This interpretation seems to backed up by Cardinal Mayer in a letter to all the Bishops of the United States: Moreover, Cardinal Stickler said at the Latin Mass Society's AGM, 20th June, 1992:

6. Pope Paul VI

The Roman Liturgy page states: For a start, there is only one canonised Pope this century, and that is St. Pope Pius X, not Pope Paul VI. Secondly, Pope Paul VI reigned over the Church in which, in his own words, turned from "self criticism to self- destruction" and that the "smoke of Satan had entered the Church". He reigned over the Church which went from a remarkable unity in faith and worship to disintegration and vulgarisation of worship.

Also, Cardinal Heenan has said of Pope Paul VI: The great Hamish Fraser, a convert from communism and editor of "Approaches" for 19 years until his death in 1984, said in the issue of Pope Paul's death (Sept. 1978, no. 62): Hard words indeed, but all too true when we see the facts of the destruction of the faith in the Church.

Back to Lex orandi, lex credendi page

Last modified 8th July, 1997, by David Joyce.