I have been reading the book “The Reform of the Roman Liturgy” by Monsignor Klaus Gamber, a book that is lavishly praised by Cardinal Ratzinger in the preface. Monsignor Gamber poses an argument that the pope has no authority to change a liturgical rite, an argument I have not seen before outside of rabid traditionalist circles. I won’t bog down this post with all the proofs he uses to support his claim, but look at these paragraphs:
Beginning with the Council of Trent, the supreme authority of the Holy See also extends to the revision of liturgical texts, that is, the review of newly printed editions, and to making such minor changes as introducing the Propers of the Mass for new feast days. That is what Pope St. Pius V did when, following the task assigned to him by the Council of Trent, he reviewed the Curiae Missale, which had already been used in Rome and in many parts of the Western Church. In 1570 he published it as the Missale Romanum. We can definitely say that the missal published by this pope was not a “new” Missal…
Not only is the Ordo Missae of 1969 a change of the liturgical rite, but that change also involved the rearrangement of the liturgical year, including changes in the assignment of feast days for the saints. To add of drop one or the other of these feast days, as had been done before, certainly does not constitute a change of rite, per se. But the countless innovations introduced as part of liturgical reform have left hardly any of the traditional liturgical forms intact.
Since there is no document that specifically assigns to the Apostolic See the authority to change, let alone abolish the traditional liturgical rite; and since, furthermore, it can be shown that not a single predecessor to Pope Paul VI has ever introduced major changes to the Roman liturgy, the assertion that the Holy See has the authority to change the liturgical rite would appear to be debatable, to say the least.
Just to clarify, Monsignor Gamber never questions the validity of the Novus Ordo. What say ye?