Some might argue that it is only a rumor that Francis told the Italian bishops he intends to “reform” Summorum Pontificum (SP). True enough, but Rorate Caeli broke the story, and they have a reputation for accuracy that’s matched by a reputation for not trafficking in sensationalism. So, I would say that when Rorate Caeli reports that Pope Francis told the Italian Bishops he plans to “restrict the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass”, we would be wise to consider ourselves forewarned.
Is there an actual document? No, not yet. But the highly respected Vatican journalist, Diane Montagna, tweeted this:
Below: English translation of full @messainlatino article @RorateCaeli cited, on #PopeFrancis allegedly telling Italian Bishops he plans to restrict the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.— Diane Montagna (@dianemontagna) May 26, 2021
Posted with kind permission of MIL (emphasis in original): https://t.co/3yJOzZwSw4 https://t.co/mExbZdFYFn pic.twitter.com/qkPttHaW0h
Is it even within his power to change or abolish SP? I fear that it is, since one pope really cannot bind the hands of his successors. It would be a disaster for the entire Church, of course, though I hardly think that would bother Francis. At the moment, the only bright spot in a world full of abuse victims and shuttered churches is the dramatic growth and expansion of the traditional Catholic communities. Obviously, the Pope of the Great Reset will have to do something about that.
On the other hand, Francis cannot change the FACT that the Latin Mass was never abrogated, and that no priest actually needs permission to offer the Mass of all time. Pope Benedict settled that once and for all. It is a matter of historical fact, and even Francis can’t abolish that.
Regardless of whether or not Francis can pull this off, he has signaled his desire to do so and he has proven himself a formidable adversary of all things Traditional Catholic.
Therefore, I would like to use this latest stunt as Exhibit A for why we here at The Remnant have long been opposed the idea of the Society of St. Pius X—the largest traditional Catholic priestly fraternity in the world—becoming regularized under the pontificate of Francis. I honestly believe his intention is to gather the traditional Catholic communities together so that he can cancel them all.
Why? Because Francis is a modernist with a globalist agenda, and standing in the way of that agenda is the Traditional Latin Mass which not unlike St. Augustine’s famous Lion of Truth, has a way of defending itself once it has been set free. Where the venerable Roman Rite of Mass is concerned Benedict freed the lion, and the question now becomes: For how long does Francis intend to let that “lion” roam about the world seeking the ruin of Modernism?
My position has long been that thanks to the historic stand taken by Lefebvre, all the TLM fraternities—approved and unapproved—have done a remarkably good job preserving the traditions and liturgical patrimony of the entire Church despite the Vatican's best efforts to use indults and chicanery to ultimately suppress the same. And while I am not an advocate of regularization under Francis, I urgently call on all traditional priests to put partisan differences aside and, in one voice, send the Vatican a message: We will not back down this time! If it’s war Francis wants, it’s war Francis gets.
Final point: I would like to say something about Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in light of these unsettling rumors: If it can be said that the Archbishop did the right thing back in 1988 to resist Pope John Paul, the Council, and the New Mass to their faces, why would he not do the same under Francis and the Pachamama Church of Accompaniment?
I remember Archbishop Lefebvre. I was confirmed by him, in fact. And though my father knew him well, the same cannot be said of me since I was only a young man in 1988. So, I could be wrong on this. I therefore leave it up to the reader to decide: What do you think Archbishop Lefebvre would do were he alive today -- resist or regularize?
To help the reader form an educated opinion, I want to post the words of Archbishop Lefebvre (as they appeared in The Remnant back in 1973) warning against the New Mass, the new priesthood, the “synodal Church” (which Francis is feverishly working on right now), ecumenism, the New Evangelization and the dumpster fires of hell engulfing the human element of the Church under Francis.
The Second Vatican Council’s drafts should be carefully studied if we are to expose the doors that have been opened to Modernism. -Archbishop Lefebvre
Considering how the crisis has worsened since the days of Pope Paul VI when these words were spoken, here’s the question: Would Archbishop Lefebvre regularize his Society under Francis who has taken the crisis to a place few could have imagined possible back in 1973, or would he formalize and double down his resistance for the good the whole Church and the preservation of the Faith?
Again, you decide. The following comes directly from The Remnant’s online archive. This address rather dramatically bears out that already by the early 1970s, just a few short years after the close of Vatican II, the handwriting was scrawled all over the wall. And men such as the great Archbishop Lefebvre saw it, called it, and denounced it in real time in the pages of The Remnant—thus making something of a laughingstock of the Internet heroes today for whom it took cardinals raping kids and being protected by popes to make them finally wake up.
These same Johnny-come-latelies think nothing of solemnly denouncing as 'schismatic' Archbishop Lefebvre for saying fifty years ago what they finally got up the courage to say just a couple of years ago.
But that’s life. And I’m happy to let The Remnant archive provide more proof of the courage and incredible sensus catholicus of these extraordinary men—including my own father, Walter L. Matt, Michael Davies and, yes, Archbishop Lefebvre—who more than a half century ago demonstrated how soldiers of Jesus Christ are to stand and fight for Him even when they are persecuted for doing so.
Here, then, is Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre from The Remnant’s Vol. 6, No. 6 March 15, 1973. Translated from Forts dans la Foi, no. 26, exclusively for The Remnant, by V.S.M. Fraser.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre Speaks
My dear Friends: I have been asked to speak to you of the priesthood, but it seems to me that I cannot explain the position we are now in without going back to the Second Vatican Council.
I revert to it because I believe it to be essential that the Council’s drafts should be carefully studied if we are to expose the doors that have been opened to Modernism, and I shall emphasize the fact that within the Council there was a marked unwillingness to define exactly the subjects under discussion. It was this shying away from definitions, this refusal to examine philosophically and theologically the matters under discussion which resulted in our being able only to describe them—not define them.
Not only have they not been defined but, as often as not, in the course of the debates, the traditional definitions were falsified.
It is for this reason, I believe, that we are now faced with a complete system which we cannot readily accept, but which is extremely difficult to stand against since the traditional and true definitions are no longer admitted.
Take, for example, the subject of Marriage. The traditional definition of Marriage was always based on the first end of Marriage, which was procreation, and the second end, which was conjugal love. Well, the members of the Council wished to change that definition and state that there was no longer a primary end, but that the two ends—procreation and conjugal love—were one and the same. It was Cardinal Suenens who launched this attack on the end itself of marriage, and I still remember Cardinal Brown, master General of the Dominicans, rising to warn: “Caveatis! Caveatis! Beware! Beware!” He declared vehemently: “If we accept this definition we are going against the whole tradition of the church.” And he quoted several texts.
There was a reluctance to describe the Church as a necessary means of salvation; hence, into the texts of the Council, there crept unnoticed the idea that the Church was no longer a necessary means, but a useful— merely useful— means.
So great was the feeling aroused in the Assembly that Cardinal Suenens was asked by the Holy Father himself, I think, to modify to some extent the terms he had used and even to change them.
That is only one example. But you see that everything now said on the subject of Marriage is linked to the false notion put forth by Cardinal Suenens, that conjugal love—now called simply and far more crudely ‘sexuality’— means all acts become licit—contraception, or the practices within marriage aimed at preventing the begetting of children, finally abortion, and so forth.
Collegiality and Ecumenism
Hence, one bad definition and we are plunged into utter confusion. Or absence of definition. We have often asked for a definition of ‘collegiality’. No one has ever been able to define collegiality.
We have often asked for a definition of ‘ecumenism’. Out of the mouths of the Chairmen and Secretaries of the Commissions, we have been told: “But this is not a dogmatic Council; we are not making philosophical definitions. We are a pastoral Council, intended to serve the man in the street, it follows that it is useless to frame here definitions which would not be understood.”
What we were always taught, that souls in Original Sin and all the personal sins deriving from it might be in danger of not being able to save themselves and hence we must do all in our power to evangelize them— today that is no longer true.
Yet it is indeed absurd that we should meet but fail adequately to define the terms under discussion.
The Church Herself
Thus, too, the definition of the Church has been falsified. The very definition of the Church! There was a reluctance to describe the Church as a necessary means of salvation; hence, into the texts of the Council, there crept unnoticed the idea that the Church was no longer a necessary means, but a useful— merely useful— means.
Accordingly, Catholics should infiltrate the body of humanity which, as a whole, is on the road to salvation; Catholics should do their part by uniting with them (all of mankind) in charity. That is all. It means destroying the whole missionary spirit of the church at its roots.
Beware of Proselytizing
Quite literally, the entire design of the missions has been undermined as a result of this concept. Today we are seeing many missionaries who have returned from the field refusing to go back. The idea is drummed into them at all the sessions, all the meetings everywhere.
Delegates from France have assured them: “Beware especially of proselytizing. You should realize that all the religions you may encounter have considerable value and that missionaries should therefore stick to the development of these countries, with its resulting progress—social progress.”
No longer true evangelization and sanctification. Those missionaries who went overseas to evangelize and save souls with the thought: “There will be some souls saved because of my mission,” now reflect: “What we were always taught, that souls in Original Sin and all the personal sins deriving from it might be in danger of not being able to save themselves and hence we must do all in our power to evangelize them— today that is no longer true.”
There is no allusion to Original Sin, no allusion to Baptism, no allusion to the sacraments. This is indeed a wholly novel conception of the Church.
If I had with me the first draft of Council’s famous text which deals with the Church in the world, “Gaudium et spes”, I would read it to you, so that you might be alerted to the content of other schemas on the same subject.
The first draft is inadmissible. It is there explicitly stated that all humanity is bound for its final end—happiness.
There is no allusion to Original Sin, no allusion to Baptism, no allusion to the sacraments. This is indeed a wholly novel conception of the Church.
Once again, the Church is merely a useful instrument; the faithful are constantly rebuked, since Catholics must not think themselves any better than others, nor believe that they alone know all truth; in sum, Catholics should make themselves useful to humanity, but must not believe that they alone are possessed of the way to salvation.
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That is the spirit in which “Gaudium et Spes” was written. It begins with a lengthy description of the changes which have taken place in humanity. That is a postulate constantly reiterated today to justify the changes proposed to us: the world evolves, all things evolve, times change, humanity changes, humanity progresses, its progress is continual.
For them, the consequences follow naturally. No longer can we conceive of religion as in the past. We cannot envisage the relations of the Catholic religion with other faiths as they were conceived in the past. Hence, it follows that all our conceptions should differ wholly from that of our religion. I assure you that a re-editing of these drafts would be very useful for bringing out the erroneous thinking of their compilers.
There is another subject which should also have been defined with great precision. Episcopal Assemblies [Bishops Conferences]. What is an Episcopal Assembly? What does it represent? What are its powers? What is the purpose of an Episcopal Assembly?
Actually, no one has yet been able to define the Episcopal Assembly. The Pope himself has said that the scope and powers of Episcopal Assemblies would prove to be best defined in action, and the effects as seen in practice.
It is evangelization, not sanctification, which holds the field now. Hence there follows a wrong definition of the priest, and, once the true definition is no longer given, all the consequences must be suffered.
On this theory, they embarked hastily on practical action, though lacking any definition or knowing where they were going. It was a matter of enormous gravity. It is obvious that the more numerous these Episcopal Assemblies become and the greater their rights, the more the bishops themselves cease to matter. Hence the episcopate, which is the true mainstay of Our Lord’s church, disappears with these Episcopal Assemblies.
That is what is happening at this moment. The failure to define is still going on. In May of last year, I went to see a Cardinal and explained to him what I was doing. I described the seminary with its spiritual life directed especially towards the deepening of the theology of the Mass and liturgical prayer. He said: “But Monsignor, that is the exact opposite of what our young priests want today. The priest is no longer defined in terms of sanctification or with regard to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but to evangelization.”
“What evangelization?” I replied. “If it is not fundamentally and essentially related to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, what meaning can be found in it? The political gospel? The social gospel? The humanist gospel? What are the grounds of this evangelization?”
That is how things now stand. It is evangelization, not sanctification, which holds the field now. Hence there follows a wrong definition of the priest, and, once the true definition is no longer given, all the consequences must be suffered.
It is the same with all the Sacraments. Take all the Sacraments one after the other and they are no longer defined as in the past.
Baptism is no longer redemption from Original Sin, but only the sacrament which unites one to God. There is no mention of the remission of Original Sin.
Of Marriage we have already spoken.
The Mass is now defined as the Lord’s Supper—a gathering, and no longer the true Sacrifice of the Mass. We see all too clearly the resulting consequences.
Extreme Unction is no longer the Sacrament of the disable and of the sick; it is now the sacrament of the old. It is no longer the sacrament of preparation of that last moment which washes away our sins before death and thus prepares us for our final union with God.
I believe that, if the dioceses, seminaries, and charities have been stricken today with barrenness, it is because the recent deviations have drawn down the curse of God upon her.
And the Sacrament of Penance? Following the new decree, I sincerely believe that the very definition of the Sacrament of penance is affected, for there can be no exception to the rule. The contrary of the definition and the very essence of the Sacrament of Penance, which is a judgment, a judicial act, is expressed. One cannot judge without investigation of a case. Judgement can be given only following individual pleading if sins are to be forgiven or left unablsolved.
This new stance, as I see it, will end by destroying the very essence of the Sacrament of Penance and there can be no question but that, from now on, it will spread rapidly.
Confessors will find it much simpler to say to people waiting at the confessional: “Listen, I haven’t time to hear your confession. You realize that we are now permitted to give a general absolution. We give you general absolution.”
In theory, one may still confess sins if grave sins have been committed. But psychologically, how absurd! Who will go to Confession if it becomes obvious to others that he is in mortal sin?
Moreover, those who have already received Holy Communion and absolution will say to themselves: “Since I’ve already been to Communion, why should I make my Confession?”
The matter is very serious indeed. It may prove to be the beginning of the end of the Sacrament of Penance.
I sincerely believe that it is the Council which is at the bottom of all this, since a considerable number of bishops, especially those chosen as members of Commissions, were men raised in existentialist philosophy but were lacking in training in that of St. Thomas and hence were ignorant of the meaning of definition. For them, there is no such thing as essence—one no longer defines, one expresses, one describes—but definition is a thing of the past.
This lack of philosophy was manifest throughout the Council and it is, I believe, responsible for its being a conglomeration of ambiguities, inexactitudes, vaguely expressed feelings, terms susceptible to any interpretation and opening wide all doors.
The New Mass
But we must return to the Mass, the primary concern of all priests. As the Council of Trent so well expressed it, the Mass is the heart of the Church.
An attack on the Mass is an attack on the Church, and, by that very fact, an attack on the priest. It is the priest who, in the final instance, is most greatly affected by all these reforms, for he is at the very heart of the Church, charged with the duty of propagating the faith and holiness. By reason of his sacerdotal character, he is the minister responsible.
It was the Council of Trent which declared that Our Lord was present in the smallest particles of the Holy Eucharist. What, then, is the lack of reverence in those who may have fragments of the Host in their hands and then go back to their seats without purifying those hands?
The Church is essentially sacerdotal. Thus, where anything touching the Church is concerned, it is the priest who suffers the consequences. It is for this reason that today the priest is in the most dramatic, the most tragic situation imaginable. Seminaries have ceased to exist since the definition of the priest and the true conception of the priesthood have been abandoned.
I confess that I am incapable—honestly incapable—of founding a seminary with the new Mass as a basis.
Crisis in the Priesthood
Since it is by the Sacrifice that the priest is precisely defined, the priest cannot be defined save by reference to the Sacrifice, nor the Sacrifice defined without reference to the priest. The concepts are indissolubly linked together by their very essence. Hence, if the Sacrifice no longer exists, there is no priest.
Moreover, there is no longer a Sacrifice without a Victim, and there is no longer a Victim if there is no longer the Real Presence and Transubstantiation. Where there is no Victim, no Sacrifice, what is there to hold the priest or the seminarist?
On what are his fervor and piety grounded? What is it that gives meaning to his being in the seminary? It is the Sacrifice of the Mass!
I believe it was true of all of us: our happiness, our joy throughout our life in the seminary was the thought of receiving the tonsure, minor orders, of approaching the altar, of becoming a sub-deacon, a deacon, and at last a priest. To be able, at last, to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass! As seminarians, that was our whole life.
Now doubt is cast on the Real Presence in the Sacrifice of the Mass. It is a ‘supper’, a ‘meal’, a presence. The Savior is present in the same way as we. But that is not our Lords’ Real Presence in the Eucharist, which is the Presence of the Victim, that same Victim who suffered on the Cross. Therein lies the very reason for the existence of seminarians, of vocations. To be able to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, the true Sacrifice of the Mass, makes it worth all the travail of becoming a priest.
We should be wrong to let ourselves be swept into the current which leads only to the utter and complete ruin of the Holy Sacrifice.
It is not worthwhile to become a priest merely to bring together a gathering, where the laity can almost concelebrate, where all is open to the laity. In this new conception of the Mass, nothing remains. It is a Protestant conception and leads to Protestantism. It is for this reason that I cannot conceive the possibility of creating a seminary with the new Mass.
It can neither win the love and loyalty of seminarians nor inspire vocations. There, as I see it, lies the fundamental reason for the present lack of seminaries; there is no longer a Sacrifice of the Mass. Without that Sacrifice, there is no priest, for the priest cannot be defined apart from the sacrifice. There are no other motives. Until the true Sacrifice of the Mass is restored in all its divine reality, there will be no more seminaries and no more candidates of the priesthood.
You will answer me: “But there are other rites.” Certainly, there are other rites— Coptic, Maronite, Slavonic—take your choice. But in each and every one of these Catholic rites, one finds the concept of the Sacrifice, of the Real Presence, and of the nature of priesthood. The Pope could indeed have changed certain rites, laying even greater stress perhaps on the three or four fundamental concepts of the Mass. Agreed. A change for the better, yet stronger and more comprehensive statement of these fundamental truths could be accepted.
But a watering down or a suppression of them—never!
Vol. 6, No. 7 April 1, 1973 A Bishop Speaks
(Walter L. Matt’s Note: This is the continuation of the remarks made before a conference of Catholic priests last August 7th by His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The text of these remarks is being published in this and the preceding issues of The Remnant with the Archbishop’s express permission and also his personal blessing upon the editor and readers of the Remnant. In a letter received from the Archbishop’s secretary at the Seminaire St. Pie X in Valais, Switzerland, we are advised (under date March 15) not only to the above effect, but also that “His Excellency wishes you every success in your Action 73 campaign.” “Archbishop Lefebvre,” the letter continues, “is well acquainted with The Remnant, and, like myself, holds it in esteem.” Needless to say, we are profoundly grateful for Archbishop Lefebvre’s personal interest and trust in our humble efforts, and wholeheartedly appreciate his special blessing upon ourselves and our readers. —Ed., The Remnant).
It has recently been well said, and I wholly agree, that concelebrating is contrary to the very end of the Mass. The priest himself has been individually consecrated for the offering of the sacrifice of the Mass, his Sacrifice, the Sacrifice for which he, as an individual consecrated for the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass, his Sacrifice, the Sacrifice for which he, as an individual, not an assembly, a person, who had been consecrated. There was no all-embracing, Mass consecration of all the priests. Everyone was truly and individually anointed and each received the stamp which is not given to a group. It is a Sacrament. Individually received; hence the priest is ordained to offer the holy Sacrament of the Mass as an individual.
That is why we must stand by our pre-conciliar position and not fear to uphold a tradition two thousand years old.
Indubitably, concelebrating has not the value of the sum of Masses individually celebrated. That is an impossibility. There is but one Transubstantiation, hence there is but one Sacrifice of the Mass. Why multiply Sacrifices of the Mass if one Transubstantiation imports all Sacrifices of the Mass?
If the practice had a point, it would imply that there had been one Mass only in the world, since Our Lord’s own. The multiplication of Masses is useless if concelebrating by ten priests is the equivalent of ten separate Masses. It is untrue, utterly untrue. Why must we say three Masses at Christmas and on All Saints’ Day? It would be a senseless practice.
Truly, the Church needs this multiplication of Sacrifices of the Mass, both in pursuance of the Sacrifice on the Cross and for all the other ends of Mass—worship, thanksgiving, propitiation, and prayer for grace. All the novelties show an inherent lack of theology and a lack of definition of terms.
From that point of view, I am grateful to the Abbe Deen for his little treatise on “Priestly Celibacy”, showing that celibacy was practiced from the earliest times. For it is untrue to say that celibacy was imposed some centuries later than the beginning of the Christian era. I think there is also a weakness in theological logic. Celibacy is not asked of the priest solely for the purpose of facilitating his apostolate and making him more accessible to the faithful. That was an added reason, but not the real reason.
I think the priest should be likened to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Why is the Blessed Virgin Mary virgin? It is by reason of her divine motherhood because she is the Mother of Our Lord. So closely has she thus been united to the Word of God, to God Himself, that it is natural that she should be a virgin. Fundamentally, the priest also reenacts what the Virgin Mary was chosen to do. The Virgin Mary, by her “Fiat”, brought Our Lord to earth in her womb. Through the word he speaks, the priest brings Our Lord down to earth in the Holy Eucharist. The priest is so closely united with Him and has such power over Him, that it is meet that he should be a virgin!
Where there are exceptions, it is because the Church suffers them. In the Near East, for instance, if one is well aware of them and discusses them with Orthodox priests, they always remain exceptions. Married priests cannot be given high office in a diocese. Bishops may not marry. Such exceptions are merely tolerated.
It is, however, fitting—almost essential—that, in some ways and to some extent, the priest should be a virgin. For it is he who speaks the words of Consecration. Therein lies the function, the great mystery, of the priest—at once his greatness and his humility. Before the Sovereign Priest, the Supreme Pontiff, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the priest is nothing. It is Christ who is the Priest, He who is the Victim, He who offers Himself again. The priest, of course, is only His minister.
As such, he must humble himself before Our Lord, but therein lies his whole greatness, the greatness of the priesthood. He should always meditate upon it. We can never plumb the depths of the great Mystery of the Mass!
In it the Mystery of the faith has its life. It is that, not the Mystery of Jesus, which we face at the end of the world. The coming of Our Lord should not be presented to us (“He will come again”) when the great mystery of our Faith has just been re-enacted. Why should it be? The words “Mystery of the Faith” were introduced for the very purpose of emphasizing the Mystery of the Word taking flesh at the words of Consecration.
I have been asked to suggest themes for your meditation, or rather your sanctification. There is one in particular—our likeness to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary is not a priest, but she is the mother of a priest—as near the priest as possible.
There could be no greater likeness our union between the Mother of Jesus and the priest, since both bring Our Lord Jesus Christ down to earth, both give Our Lord Jesus Christ to the world; it is for that they are virgin. That, I believe, is a theme of meditation which can help us in all our difficulties and struggles.
Communion in the Hand
Our Sacrifice of the Mass must essentially be a true Sacrifice if we are to preserve our sacerdotal holiness. Insofar as our Sacrifice of the mass is diminished in any way, we lose the source of our priestly holiness.
The present problem of the Mass is a very grave problem for Holy Church. I believe that, if the dioceses, seminaries, and charities have been stricken today with barrenness, it is because the recent deviations have drawn down the curse of God upon her. All attempts to recover what is being lost, to reorganize, reconstruct, and rebuild—all these have grown sterile, lacking the true source of holiness, which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Profaned as it now is, it no longer gives grace, no longer passes on grace. How many priests do we now see who still say Mass unless they can concelebrate, or when there is no congregation? Alone, they no longer say Mass. This happens all too frequently, even among our religious communities.
Consider, also, the many forms of sacrilege to which the present contempt for the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament lead. It was the Council of Trent which declared that Our Lord was present in the smallest particles of the Holy Eucharist. What, then, is the lack of reverence in those who may have fragments of the Host in their hands and then go back to their seats without purifying those hands?
When a Communion plate is used, a few fragments always remain even if there are not many communicants. As a result, these fragments remain in the hands of the faithful and such lack of reverence for the Presence of Our Lord amounts to sacrilege. St. Thomas cites reception of the Eucharist in the hand of the laity as an example of sacrilege.
Admittedly, it is now authorized (not yet in the United States—Remnant Ed.), but so vital was the importance of the Church’s ruling forbidding it that the faith of many of the faithful, especially children, has certainly been shaken. How can children truly preserve their faith in the Real Presence? How can they continue to respect a priest who has ceased to respect himself? How can they have a true conception of the Sacrifice of the Mass when even the crucifix (in all too many instances) is no longer on the altars? All its meaning has been destroyed.
The New Breviary
Now I am drawing to a close. I should be loath to overtax your patience. I believe that over and above the desire to preserve our Holy Mass intact, we should wish to keep our Breviary. Its definition too has been changed. In the preface to these famous “Prayers of the Present”, it is stated that from now on these prayers are to be modified so that, on occasion, the laity may recite the breviary with the priest. That is to falsify the very meaning of the breviary. The breviary is the priest’s prayer. Only the priest is obliged, under pain of mortal sin, to recite the hours of the breviary.
The laity are not. The priest is God’s religious; he is a man of prayer, also a breviary is put into his hands that he may pray all day long, make acts of thanksgiving and give praise to God, thereby in some fashion continuing his Mass.
Suddenly, it is now proclaimed: “No, no, no! All that has changed! The priest’s prayers are prayers designed so that, from time to time, he may recite them with the laity.”
To the extent to which the Council goes back to Tradition, we must conform, since that belongs to the ordinary Magisterium, but, where the measure is new and not in conformity with Tradition, there is a greater liberty of choice…
This is a total illusion. Come! People have no time for reciting these prayers with parish priests. Such statements could only be made by those who have ever known the ministry in practice.
Of course, one may sometimes say evening prayers with the laity. But for them to recite all these prayers, all these incomprehensible psalms! If you are anxious to say evening prayers with the faithful, you would do well to choose very simple prayers, such as they understand. Otherwise let it be Latin, real Latin, beautiful Latin, sung as in compline. People join in song, in melody, and their souls are uplifted.
We must keep our Breviary! I assure you that it is vital. The closer we come to giving up our Breviary, the farther we are from the sources of sanctifying grace. Today they have gone back to the old Psalter, modified only by the revisions made by the Abbaye de Saint-Jerome. It was at the wish of Pope John XXIII. He disliked the new Psalter. He said so openly to the Central Commission before the Council. To all of us who were there, he said: “Oh, I’m not in favor of the new Psalter”.
He loved the old Psalter. Now it seems that, in the new Breviary, the old Psalter, as modified by the study undertaken by the monks of Saint Jerome, has been adopted. That shows that it is still possible today to go back to the sound decisions of the past.
Destruction of Liturgy
I have heard rumors that the congregation for Sacred Liturgy is drafting yet another new decree on the Holy Mass. The priest will be free to do as he pleases, save for the words of consecration, which have nevertheless been changed already! Thus, the change will be complete. The new decree will do no more than give a few new directions for creating new Canons. Everyone is free to make his own Canon (so-called), adapted to his particular congregation.
You see, what they want to achieve!
We should be wrong to let ourselves be swept into the current which leads only to the utter and complete ruin of the Holy Sacrifice. I do not know what the bishops will think of that. Will they be satisfied with this new reform, if it ever sees the light of day? We are coming to the end of any conception of the Liturgy.
We must not let ourselves be dragged into the current of Modernism, which might endanger our own Faith and turn us, unwittingly, into Protestants.
A liturgy without rules ceases to be a liturgy. That is why we must stand by our pre-conciliar position and not fear to uphold a tradition two thousand years old. It cannot be disobedience.
By what criterion should we decide whether the ordinary Magisterium is, or is not, infallible? By faithfulness to Tradition…to the extent to which the Council goes back to Tradition, we must conform, since that belongs to the ordinary Magisterium, but, where the measure is new and not in conformity with Tradition, there is a greater liberty of choice…We must not let ourselves be dragged into the current of Modernism, which might endanger our own Faith and turn us, unwittingly, into Protestants.
That is a very serious matter, but it is what is happening to our poor faithful people, who, without realizing, are drawn into a new Protestantism, a “neomodernism”, as the Holy Father himself has called it. This is happening in the case of many priests also. Let us then thank God for the grace of seeing clearly in the midst of all this trouble in the Church. And may we stay united, as we have today, united in a prayer, united in effort, and united in our undertakings.
God is there! That is why we must never lose courage. God still watches over His Church. It is for us so to act that She may endure in safety through her present grievous trials! ■