"Charity rejoiceth not in evil." This article
from the July 31 issue of "The Remnant shows more how far we are
from the end of the crisis than the folly of those who sat on the fence
rather than trust the Archbishop's farsightedness.
are rumblings in the wind again. The accusations that this or that approved
traditional institute or priestly fraternity will-`eventually be , forced
to offer the new Mass have beers floating around ever since 1988. Indeed,
some claim that a few priests are already bi-ritual, especially in their
centres in Europe. Representatives of the Fraternity of St. Peter and
the Institute of Christ the King, among others, have long insisted that
the provisions in their constitutions, calling for the exclusive use of
the 1962 Missal, make such accusations not only utterly false, but quite
impossible as well.
However, as of July
3, 1999, a new development has arisen that does not bode at all well for
the future of the traditional Orders, at least in regard to their status
of being exclusively pre-Conciliar in their liturgical life. We are referring
to Protocol Number 1421 of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which came
out this month and which was signed by Cardinal Medina Estevez.
Last Spring, when
it was learned that the Traditional monastery at Le Barroux had made concessions
with the Benedictine Federation concerning the celebration (and concelebration)
of Mass in their monastery. The Remnant was told by priests of the Fraternity
of St. Peter that the precedent had been set, and that pressure would
now be applied to all the traditional Orders to follow the "New Mass-friendly
lead" of Le Barroux.
It is now being alleged
that a small number of liberal-minded priests of the Fraternity of St.
Peter have gone over the head of their Superior, Father Bisig, directly
to Rome, in order to solidify their right to offer the New Mass whenever
they desire. Allegedly, as a result of this most unfortunate move, the
Vatican's Sacred Congregation of Rites has acted in a way that, it seems,
seriously undermines the ability of the Superiors of the traditional Orders
to prohibit use of the New Mass by their priests. While it is certainly
true that all priests, as far as Rome is concerned, have the right to
offer the New Mass, this Protocol effectively arms every priest from every
traditional Order to say whatever Mass he likes, regardless of what his
Order's constitutions (or Superior, for that matter) might say to the
contrary. This Protocol makes it impossible, it would seem, for the traditional
Orders to claim to be exclusively "Tridentine" in their liturgical
Regardless of what
(or who) triggered this development, it does appear that Protocol 1411
is apt to become a divisive force within the approved traditional Orders.
"Bi-rituality" will surely become the demon of discontent within
the walls of traditional priestly enclaves. Priests within the Fraternity
of St. Peter have expressed their concern to be that this Protocol binds
and gags all of the approved Orders, especially in their ability to oppose
the ongoing Modernization of the Catholic Church. As one good Fraternity
priest put it, "When this happens, it'll be 1988 all over again!"
We at The Remnant
are making no judgment, especially since we are praying that there may
be still time for, the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ
the King to reverse what seems to be a colossal setback to their apostolate
and to the movement for the restoration of the Traditional Mass in general:
Before quoting (in its entirety) "Responsa Officialis," Prot.
1411 from the Congregatio de Cultu Divino: et Disciplina Sacramentorum,
we would like to stress that this report should not be constructed as
an attack on the approved Orders, especially since our sources suggest
that this action was the result of a few troublesome priests, who acted
without the knowledge or consent of their superiors. If our information
is wrong, or if our concerns over the ramifications of this Protocol are
unfounded, we happily invite representatives from any of the approved
Orders to issue a statement of clarifications, which we will certainly
print in The Remnant.
If no such clarification
is forthcoming, then, once again, it does seem that the late Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre knew full well what it was that he was doing in 1988.
Depending upon how Protocol 1411, is interpreted it may be that his fraternity
SSPX-is likely to become the only non-sedevacantist priestly fraternity
in the world to be able to say: "We offer the Traditional Mass and
Sacraments ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY!"
In the meantime,
we reproduce Protocol 1411 for our readers to consider, and we pray that
the dire ramifications of this development which we have envisioned turn
out to be utterly unfounded and absolutely ridiculous.
CONGREGATION OF RITES
After the Liturgical
Restoration mandated by the Second Vatican Council, a certain group
of the Catholic faithful appeared, strongly attached to the preceding
forms of the Roman Liturgical tradition. This groupthat is,
those who are in communion with the Catholic Churchmanifested
the desire of using the Roman Missal (so called) of Saint Pius V.
The Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by his paternal desire
to meet the liturgical and religious sensitivities of these groups,
conceded to them the use of the Roman Missal of 1962 with the authorisation
of the bishop of the place. This same Supreme Pontiff also asked
of the bishops that they would freely and generously receive those
faithful attached profoundly to the preconciliar rite and at the
same time manifesting a sincere assent to the magisterium of the
Church and obedience to her legitimate pastors. The desire of the
Roman Pontiff was made known by the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei
adflicta (2 Jul. 1988. AAS 80/1988 pp. 1495-98).
A series of
questions arrived at this dicastery concerning the possibilities
and impediments connected to the use of the 1962 missal canceled
by indult by the legitimate authority. After proper consultation
and with the approval of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation
of legislative texts, and the Pontifical Commission Ecctesia
Dei, we communicate the response to the questions asked, as
Can a priest
who is a member of an institute which enjoys the faculty of celebrating
the rite in force before the liturgical restoration of Vatican II
freely use the Roman Missal promulgated by the Supreme Pontiff Paul
VI when he celebrates the Eucharistic Sacrifice for the good of
a community in which the Mass is celebrated according to this missaleven
and "ad mentem" (according to the following reason)"Mens".
Since the use of
the preconciiiar missal is conceded by indult, it does not remove
the common liturgical right to the Roman Rite, according to which
the missal in force is that promulgated after the Second Vatican
Council. Moreover, the above-mentioned priest must celebrate with
the postconciliar missal if, by chance, a celebration takes place
in a community which uses the modern Roman Rite. This in order that
there be no wonderment (confusion) or inconvenience for the faithful
adn also that he might be a help to his brother priests who ask
this service of pastoral charity. In communities accustomed to the
modern missal the use of the preceding missal gives rise to several
difficulties for example: the differences in the liturgical calendar,
the discrepancies between the biblical texts for the liturgy of
the word, the variety in liturgical gesturesin the mode of
receiving Holy Communionthe variety in the duties of the ministers,
of whatever rank of institutes enjoying the indult to use the Roman
Missal of 1962 for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice,
prohibit priests of these same institutes from using the post conciliar
Roman Missal when such priests celebrate for the good of any community
(even if only occasionally) in which the modern Roman Missal is
No. The use
of the Roman Missal of 1962 consists of an indult for the use of
the faithful who are joined by the special bond to the preconciliar
Roman Rite. Its use cannot be imposed on communities which celebrate
the Holy Eucharist according to the missal renewed by order of the
Second Vatican Council, in virtue of whom the superiors of such
institutes have no authority.
Can a priest,
a member of an institute which enjoys this indult, concelebrate
Mass according to the modern order of the Roman Rite without any
because the indult does not take away from priests the liturgical
Rite common to all (clergy) of the Roman Rite or celebrating according
to the current Roman Missal in force. Moreover, he cannot and MUST
NOT be prohibited from concelebration by his superior or by the
ordinary of the place. Indeed, it is praiseworthy that the above-mentioned
priests would concelebrate especially at the Mass of Holy Thursday
with the diocesan bishop presiding. Although "each priest has
the faculty of celebrating an individual Mass, not however at the
same time in the same church nor on Holy Thursday" (cf. Vat.
II Sacrosanctum Corrcilium #57, pars 2. 2). The sign of communion
inherent in concelebration is so particular that it must not be
omitted in the Chrism Mass unless for grave reasons (Saerosarrctum
Concilium #57. 1. la).
From the seat
of the Congregation. 3 July, 1999.
A. Card. Medina Estévez