Does Quo Primum state that the Mass cannot be changed away from the Triditine?

Right here is the Papal Encyclical, Quo Primum.

“…We order and enjoin that **nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, **nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.”

Well, Vatican II certainly omitted and added things to the Missal of the Mass.

Does that mean that we have broken a Law of Pope Pius V and the only ones who are keeping it’s grounds are the Sedevancantist?

Can someone please help me understand what the difference is, and how Vatican II, though a council, can change the Mass?

Is a Papal Encyclical infallible?

Not the meaning of the document.

Got to run – but do a search on the main Catholic answers site.


Oh thank you very much!

It says nothing about superseding it, as Pope John XXIII did before Vatican II.

If you’re referring to the adding of St. Joseph to the Canon, you’d be correct.

That’s it! :smiley:

Not in matters of discipline.

Make no mistake, the Pope can bind people *now *to do things a certain way. What the Pope cannot do is bind his successors to do discipline in only this way.

The Church can (and has) said that “This is my Body” and “This is my blood” is required, and so we have it (and there is even an Eastern Eucharistic prayer that doesn’t have this explicitly) because this is doctrine. The Church cannot and has not said “Latin is the only language that can be used until the end of time” (that’s also impossible to declare, considering that Latin was not used by the early Church. It was probably Greek or Aramaic. The Last Supper was probably Aramaic or maybe Hebrew (depending on how high-liturgical it was); it definitely was not Latin) because that is discipline. Pope’s or councils (bishops in union with the Pope) can change discipline.

Let me see if I have this right. Quo Primum is not binding because it is about a disciplinary matter. It is not about morals and I suppose that since it is about the manner in which to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass makes it not matter of faith, right? What about all that stuff in there about it staying in effect and not being revoked in perpetuity? Just asking because I have wondered about this too.

The form of the Mass comes under disciplinary law. It is not doctrinal.
As long as the words of consecration are not changed and the priest receives Communion anything else in the Mass can be changed.
In matters of disciplinary law no Pope can bind a future Pope.

Depends on how you look at it. There is the principle of Stare Decisis Et Non Quieta Movere, which doesn’t say a law or discipline or theory can’t be changed, but implies there will be instability (within an organization) if a certain amount of respect isn’t given one’s precedents. (I hope I phrased that properly.)

But that said, the whole issue may be a moot point because the Canonized portion of Quo Primum has been held intact and the Roman Canon, or EP1, the heart of Quo Primum, has not been abrogated or even superceded, albeit it is not more widely used in the OF as intended. Just saying.

An argument can be made then that De Defectibus is not binding either than, no?

Yikes, I’ve thought about that!

No . . . Quo Primum in binding only until another pope or council changes it. It is not a dogmatic decree, nor a matter of divinely revealed moral law.

Popes can overrule other popes and entire councils as well. Popes are bound only by Divinely revealed moral law, which is revealed in scripture and in nature and by revealed dogma.

Liturgical rites are not dogmas. The sacrament is a dogma, not the rite. For example, Pope John Paul approved an anaphora from the East that does not have the words of consecration as valid and licit, because it dates back to one of the apostles. who did not use the words of consecration as did the other apostles.

The point is that even among the apostles, there were differences in liturgical laws. There are essentials that must be preserved and there are other things that can be changed by the authority of the pope.

Remember, it was not Vatican II that revised the missal. That’s a very common misconception. Vatican II simply called for a revision of the missal. The actual revision was done by a committee and the final edition was reviewed and sealed by Pope Paul VI. Pope Paul VI has as much authority over the mass as Pope Pius V.

Bl. John XXIII had already revised it in 1962. It was not the exact version of the Tridentine Form that St. Pius V was discussing in his day.

The the Law-Giver is Christ who writes the law of the Church into the heart of Peter. Therefore, Peter cannot be bound by any Church or civil law. No church government or civil government can contradict him, overrule him, judge him or sentence him, regardless of what they may accuse him, even if it be true. The pope is above all law, including laws made by his predecessors and by councils.

The only law to which he answers is law directly revealed by God and the only truth to which he is bound is revealed truth (dogma).

This argument about Quo Primum is a misunderstanding of the authority of the pope. People often look at the wording of the document, but fail to look at the subject. The subject is not morality or dogma. It’s liturgy, which falls under rites and disciplines.

The very fact that the Tridentine mass was not imposed on the universal Church tells us that it is not a dogma. Dogmas are held by all 23 Catholic Churches. Rites and liturgical disciplines are not held in common.

Even though Quo Primum was written for the Latin Church, there were groups that were exempt from it: Franciscans, Benedictines, Carmelites, Carthusians, Dominicans, Jesuits, Diocese of Milan, the Mozarabic Catholics in Spain, and any Catholic who attends mass at any of those churches. Therein lays the proof that it was not a dogmatic decree.

Everyone is bound by a dogma. For example, whether you’re Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic or Maronite Catholic, you must believe the Immaculate Conception. You must accept that this or that person is a saint once the pope declares him to be so. Those are binding on all Catholics, no exceptions. This was not the case with Quo Primum, even though the wording makes it sound as if it were. The fact is that the pope, who was a Dominican, exempted his own religious order from Quo Primum and from then on, other orders and other dioceses around the Roman Catholic Church and he bound none of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

It was only binding until another pope or council came along and changed it and only binding on those who were not exempt from it, including the pope’s own order. Most people don’t know that the Dominicans protested vehemently against Quo Primum and Pope St. Pius V, being an obedient son of St. Dominic himself, bowed to the wishes of the Dominicans and did not impose it on them.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

Right. Although there are some parts of the Mass that are part of doctrine still (you still have to use wheaten bread and wine for example, that’s unchangeable because that’s doctrine).

Call it flourish. There is nothing in Divine Revelation that has told us we must celebrate this form of the Mass for all time, so it’s not binding (the Church can bind *and *loose in these matters remember. The power of binding does not exist apart from the power of loosing). It would be elevating a rule of men to be dogma.

De Defectibus was primarily addressed to the Latin Rite, so I don’t know what that would have to do with an Easter Rite Church. Again, this is a Papal Bull; anything that is doctrine is binding but anything that is not doctrine (ie. discipline) can be changed or abrogated by future Popes.

I went and skimmed through it, and there’s some things that definitely still apply (Matter, Bread, and Wine, par. 2-19) since they are just re-hashing of doctrine (for example: 11. If the wine has become mere vinegar, or is completely bad, or if it has been made from sour or unripe grapes, or if so much water has been mixed with it that the wine is adulterated, there is no Sacrament. That’s from sacramental theology). Par. 20 has been further developed in theology and could considered to have been superseded (with respect to *validity *of the sacrament, not licitity).

There are some other paragraphs that do not apply because they are discipline (par. 31 w.r.t time of celebration for example is no longer binding. You can have Masses on Sunday evening without need for a dispensation or anything).

Par. 32-33 are still what we do, and 35-45 contain good advice for rare situations (although 39-41 are likely redundant due to changing circumstances). 46 would likely apply to the OF with the understanding that the rubrics are proper to the OF. I can’t say I understand what par. 34 is saying.

Not exactly . It’s binding on those to whom it applies. Later popes can change who it applies to. It’s not infallible and infallible statement must define itself as infallible (using those words or other words requiring all the faithful to definitively hold this belief for all time) . It’s not unchangeable - because it defines a discipline (you must celebrate the mass using these words) not a fundamental belief (i.e. Jesus Is God. You must be an ordained to priest to lead the celebration of the mass, to confect the Eucharist) or moral fact( i.e. murder is evil).

The key is simple. All papal and conciliar decrees are binding on the target population for the duration. By the duration, is meant that they are binding until another pope or council changes them.

We can’t simply say that because it’s not dogma or morals we can pick and choose whether or not we comply. As long as it’s in effect, we must comply.

A perfectly good example is Summorum Pontificum. Until such time as either the EF or the OF is abrogated, all Latin Catholics are bound to accept that both are forms of ONE Latin Rite, not two rites. All Catholics must accept that both are equally holy and equally efficacious. All Catholics must accept the rules that the document specified regarding the celebration of the two forms.

Tomorrow, Pope Benedict can decide to change all that. If he does, then we are no longer bound to it. Or he may change part of it. For example, at the present moment, priests who belong to religious orders can only celebrate the EF for the public and for their religious communities of the law of their order and their superior allow it. Diocesan priests can celebrate the EF at any time as long as they coordinate with the pastor to ensure that it does not cause an unnecessary inconvenience to the parish.

The Holy Father can decide to overrule all religious superiors and the particular laws of each religious community and grant the same permission to regular priests as secular priests now have. The religious superiors would be bound to accept that.

Do you see how binding and unbinding works? That’s what anruari is trying to say.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

The texts of the Mass may not be doctrinal (I’m not saying that they’re not) but they certainly fall under Lex Credendi; this isn’t a simple removal of Friday meat abstinence. Now that would be discipline (or rather, lack of it).

The texts were not changed that dramatically, as I understand. Some phraseology changed and supporting clauses added or removed, but the core text and structure is unchanged according to my observation.

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