Excerpts from A DEFENCE OF THE PAULINE MASS by John N. Lupia, Ph. D.
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“Here we have a papal decree that at first glance seems to be unalterable in any way. In order to understand this decree we must examine the meaning of the term, and how Pope Pius V himself understood the text, how subsequent popes dealt with the issue, and if indeed there was any precedent for the changes in the Pauline Rite Mass. Also Was the Tridentine decree only a reaffirmation of 1500 years of an unchanged Mass, from at least the time of Pope Gregory, as is often alleged? Unfortunately, it seems that 20th century people, read 20th century language in understanding 16th century Church documents.
“A careful reading of the text shows that Pope St. Pius V never intended by Quo Primum that further revision of the Roman Missal could never be made, or that no other form of the Roman Mass, could henceforth never be said (as alleged by those against the New Mass). In fact even in Quo Primum he provided for the celebration of other forms of the Mass: rites which had been followed for more than 200 years were specifically exempted from the provisions of Quo Primum and from the use of the St. Pius V Roman Missal (Whitehead, pp. 54-55).
“None of the popes who followed St. Pius V felt bound to not make alterations of the Roman rite. These alterations were done long before the New Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI. As Father Joseph Jungmann, who has done the most thorough study ofthe Roman rite explains “Some real changes since the sixteenth century in the rubrics and in the text of the Missal of Pius V have resulted in certain instances from papal orders, such as Pope Urban VII Pope Clement XII, Pope Leo XIII, and Pope Pius X.” (Father Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, Its Origins and Development, 1950, revised by Charles K. Riepe, Christian Classics, 1974, p. 105).
“An interesting parallel is in 1568 the Apostolic Constitution Quod a Vobix. Here the Pope established the new Roman Breviary with forceful language fully as strong as used in Quo Primum. The so-called Traditionalist view, if to be consistent, (just as they highlight there be absolutely no change to the Missal) would have to argue that there could be no change to the Roman Breviary. If that was the case, why did St. Pope Pius X, not hesitate to revise the Roman Breviary in 1911 by means of his own Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu? Just as Pope Pius X made a revision, so did Pope Paul VI revise the Roman Missal by means of his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum. There were no so-called traditionalists around complaining that Pope St. Pius did not have such authority. The reason is that the Popes did have the authority to revise the Roman Breviary, as well as the Missal.
Quod a Vobis says this about the Breviary, just as Quo Primum says about the Roman Missal:
"’Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this letter or heedlessly to venture to go contrary to this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult declaration, will decree and prohibition. Should anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles
Peter and Paul.’”
“This was a conventional legal formula in papal documents of the day, not something binding on future popes. As Whitehead notes: “Certainly Pope St. Pius X considered it so when he revised the Roman Breviary in 1911 in spite of the identical caveat contained in St. Pius V’s Quod a Vobis. He specifically says that he is ordering a “new arrangement” of the Roman Breviary “issued by St. Pius V and revised by Clement VIII, Urban VIII and Leo XIII,”… When Pope Pius X revised the Roman breviary, he even concluded his Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu with an ecclesiastical caveat against anyone daring to change his decision which was the established legal form to be attached to papal decree in his time. This was stated even while he was revising this ‘in perpetuity’ document of the 16th century!! Thus popes using such language do not stop future popes from making changes; it is remarkably similar to the caveat in Quo Primum.” (Whitehead, p. 57). Prior to Vatican II, other changes were made to the Missal by Pope Pius XII and John XXIII as well. “
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Read the full article at A DEFENCE OF THE PAULINE MASS by John N. Lupia, Ph. D.