What was wrong with the Mass of St. Pius V?

Why did the Mass need to be changed in the 1960’s? What motivated Servant of God Paul VI to change the Liturgy?


While I’m not an advocate of Wikipedia for serious research (i.e., college thesis), this article should be a start especially if you investigate the footnotes.

God bless.

That’s a great question! :thumbsup:

Academically speaking, it might be the language because the Lord Jesus Christ did not use latin on the Last Supper but the vernacular of that time, Aramaic. :cool:

Liberally speaking, the Traditional Missal is not fit for a modern age and modern man… is that really true? :shrug:

Personally speaking I don’t see anything wrong with the Traditional Missal. :slight_smile:


Instaurare Omnia In Christo

Well, let’s see…

The people, in general, were not participating in the Mass, but were praying independently and merely Witnessing the mass, or even merely being present but completely isolated intellectually from it. (I remember in my childhood, a priest asked someone to stop praying the rosary during the readings and the homily, as it was disrupting others ability to hear the teachings.)

The primary reason for this disconnect was, according to the V II post-conciliar documents, presumed to be the lack of comprehension of both what participation is and what the prayers mean.

Further, there was a desire to open the Mass to include more teachings of/from the Old Testament, something exceedingly lacking in the prior liturgy. (Note that in this aspect, that change was Roman Rite driven and aimed; the Ruthenians and other Byzantines still have no old testament reading during the Divine Liturgy.)

Further, the changes made in V II brought about resolution to all but a handful of the complaints of Martin Luther. (In short, the abuses he noted in his 95 theses are now almost all addressed and corrected. Still have the celibate cleric as the Roman norm, but hey, there ARE now some married Roman Rite Priests.)

V II also addressed a number of liturgical changes, some of which are returns to far older forms of the Roman Rite, discovered to be authentic despite centuries of being ignored and/or suppressed. The simplification of the liturgy is one of these… clean out the accumulated innovations, and return towards the second and third century’s liturgies. Including alternate canons.

So a mixture of return to the ancient in favor of the old, and embracing certain “new” elements as having probative value (and replacing certain pretty much lost parts of non-Mass liturgies, then still strong in many Eastern Rites).

As to the East… well, the reforms called for by the V II process are STILL going on. The Quorbono is being revised by the Patriarch of the Maronites. Metropolitan Basil of the Ruthenians just implemented a new edition of the DL of St. John. (at first glance, some improved wordings in there.)

During the Reformation the slightest change in the Mass could be interpreted as either heresy or laxness. If the priest said “how is everybody?” in English before Mass he’d be accused of being secretly a Protestant, if he added a Hail Mary at the end he’d be accused of Romish superstition. So, I suspect but I haven’t actually determined this, the motive was to protect the priest by taking away all freedom. No one could accuse him without also accusing the Pope.

This policy had the unintended side-effect of preventing all organic development of the liturgy. So when change came, it was sudden. But the Mass could not have been frozen forever at the Council of Trent, nor did that Council intend to do such a thing.

malcolm…you seem to be very knowledgeable in the history of the church. if you would, would you please study the “praestantia scripturae sacrae” issued moto propio by pope pius x and how, it may have impacted on those promulgating the new rules in-as-much as it was incorporated into the code of canon law of 1917 which was recognized in full force and effect until abrogated by the code of canon law promulgated in 1983.
this writer has a real hard time with this and would appreciate a difinitive response. thank you. have a good year. (alih):thumbsup:

As we all know now an MP is a “personal word”. The Pope is speaking in own capacity, not as spokesperson for the consensus of the Church.

The “higher criticism” which he critices had become very fashionable by the turn of the century. People were saying all sorts of sceptical things about Biblical texts. The Pope saw clearly that there were huge spiritual dangers in this.

As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. A very sceptical attitude can be just as distorting as Biblical literalism, and leads to nonsense such as the “Jesus Myth” theory. However it is not wrong to look at evidence with a critical eye. There is nothing new in this approach - Origen had exactly that attitude.

Anyway, the Pope did what leaders who don’t know what to do always settle on, which was to set up a committee. It ummed and ahed and said nothing very useful except that the Bible is worth reading and maybe these sceptical critics are going too far, Oh and there was such a person as Jesus.

So the Pope demanded an oath, one clause is this
"Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time."

Unfortunately people were trying to interpret the oath in a sophisticated manner to mean that they could still be modernists, so the MP “praestantia scripturae sacrae” shores things up, by saying that “No I am serious about this”.
The oath itself was a rather silly idea and was abolished in 1967, not because the Church now thinks that Jesus might have been mythical, but because demanding that people swear to that belief sends off all the wrong signals.

“Praestantia scripturae sacrae” seems to me bascially pastoral. A previous encyclical was being ignored and the Pope isn’t happy. It shows that not everything sticks, didn’t in 1907 and doesn’t now.

There isn’t anything wrong with it- but don’t think that every parish before 1970 was like St. John Cantius in Chicago is today either.

Archbishop Lefebrve, founder of the SSPX, wrote this in his open letter:

“I wrote: “We may say without hesitation, that certain liturgical reforms have been needed, and it is to be hoped that the Council will continue in this direction.” I recognized that a renewal was indispensable to bring an end to a certain sclerosis due to a gap which had developed between prayer, confined to places of worship, and the world of action-schools, the professions and public life.”

There is some confusion in your narrative. The Pontifical Biblical Commission was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1902, not by Pope St. Pius X. [FONT=Verdana]And Praestantia Scripturae was not a response to disobediance of the oath against modernism ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana]Sacrorum Antistitum). It was written three years before the oath.[/FONT]

the Pope did what leaders who don’t know what to do always settle on, which was to set up a committee.

So the Pope demanded an oath…The oath itself was a rather silly idea…

I know it is sometimes difficult to read something and accurately judge the tone, but these comments above struck me as flippant and even disrespectful of a Pope and Saint. And the Pontifical Biblical Commission comes in for more flippancy:

It ummed and ahed and said nothing very useful except that the Bible is worth reading and maybe these sceptical critics are going too far, Oh and there was such a person as Jesus.

So much for a body whose authoritative rulings relating to doctrine were made a part of the teaching Magisterium (see [FONT=Verdana]Praestantia Scripturae[/FONT]) until it was restructured in 1971, when it lost that authority and became simply a body of scholars. It is argued here that its rulings up to that time are still in effect.

As to the “silly idea” of the oath against modernism, it was mandated*“To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.”*
As the oath was completely orthodox, it seems fitting that the above named persons be especially in accord with it.

I know. The problem is that the Latin names and ponderous titles like “Pontifical Biblical Commission” also create a rather false sense of what is going on, which I try to counteract by flippancy. St Pius X was very much a human, I am not sure that he appreciated the strength of higher criticism, though he saw its weaknesses accurately enough.

Secure institutions don’t demand that their officials swear oaths, except purely ritual ones sanctified by long tradition. You can’t keep out uncomfortable ideas with those methods either. What you can do is shore up your defences agaisnt infiltration. However normally Churches or political parties are only vulnerable to that sort of thing when they have lost credibility. If you are not sure what you stand for, you can be turned into a pro-gay rights organisation, or a protest group on South Africa, or whatever agenda ambitious people may have. If you are making progress then the infiltrarators cannot get anywhere - there are lots of left-wing moles in the British National Party, for example, but they are on a roll and the infiltration can only achieve a few local successes, they cannot change the organisation into something else. The Labour Party in the 1980s, however, fell to unilateralists. No one believed in centre-left state socialism any more.

I think that Pope Benedict has a much better response to infiltration than Pius X. We are coming out of a period of confusion and indirection and beginning to say boldly that multiculturalism has failed and liberalism has failed. There is no need to try to institute a purge of bad Catholics, or an oath against condoms. When liberals see the direction the Church is going, most will either leave or join in wholeheartedly. A few will remain members and snipe, but no one will pay them very much attention.

i am a bit confused, in the “praestantia scripturae” and i quote "we do by our apostolic authority repeat and confirm both that decree of the supreme sacred congregation and those encyclical letter of ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against their contradictors, and this we declare and decree that should anybody, whichmay god forbid, …defend anyone ofthe propositions, opinions or teachings condemned inthe documents he falls ipso facto, under the censure…of the apostolic sedis, which is the first among the excommunicationslatae sententiae, simply reserved to the roman pontiff. this excommunication is to be understood as salvis poenis, which may be incurred by those who have violatedin any way the said documents, as propagators
and defenders of heresies, when their propositions, opinions and teachings …especially when they advocate the errors of the modernists that is, the synthesis of all heresies."
now i think that previous tenets by calvin, knox, luther and others were condemned by the church only to be resurrected and incorporated into the liturgy. if this was church law up to the promulgation of the 1983 code of canon law (book 1, canon 6)
what affect if any would this have had on those who worked on or fostered in any way previously condemned tenets? to this writer, this looks like “big stuff.” have a good year. (alih) :thumbsup:

While the majority of the Council Fathers wanted the Mass to remain in Latin with only the Gospel and Epistle and a few readings to be in the vernacular, it is clear that the reformers did not. The reformers, Cardinal Lecaro, Archibishop Felici, Annibale Bugnini, Bishop Dushak and a host of Progressive Theologian wanted the Mass to be one that protestants would feel more at ease with
. If you read the dialogue from the floor of the Vatican II council you can see how this was expressed: Bishop William Dushak gave the following statement: “ “My idea is to introduce an ecumenical Mass, stripped wherever possible of historical accretions, one that is based on the essence of the Holy Sacrifice, one that is deeply rooted in Holy Scripture. By this I mean that it should contain all the essential elements of the Last Supper, using language and gestures that are understandable…It would be a kind of celebration of the Mass which all members of a community…can readily understand without involved explanations…the entire Mass, including the Canon, should be said aloud in the vernacular and facing the people….** this ecumenical Mass… is to be written by liturgical scholars of all faiths in order to provide a basis of common worship by all Christians**” Rhine flows into the Tiber] *
“Cardinal Ottaviani addressed the Council to protest against the drastic changes which were being suggested in the Mass. “ Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation. {Rhine flows into the Tiber}
The reformers were in fact so conniving that they first did this:
Father Marsili said, “ Everyone on the Liturigical Commission was aware, he said, that three separate versions of the document {The Constitution on the Liturgy} had been prepared for the Pope. The one which eventually reached him had been
* so thoroughly altered by Archbishop Felici **that in part it even contradicted the Constitution as promulgated.” page 139 of The Rhine Flows into the Tiber]
They also did this:
“On January3, 1966, Pope Paul created 5 Post-Counciliar Commissions suggested to him by the European and world alliances, because they feared that progressive measures adopted by the Council might be blocked by conservative forces near the Pope once the Council Fathers had all returned home”. On the Liturgical Commission was Cardinal Lercaro as President and its Secretary was Father Annibale Bugnini who had acted in the same capacity on the preparatory commission on the liturgy.
All of this desire to make the Mass more Protestant reared its head with the introduction of removal of the tabernacle, priest facing the people, communion in the hand, lay ministers, canon in the vernacular, pop music and all the other changes, none of which were approved of in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

I have attended Annunciation Church in Homer Glen, IL which is Byzantine Catholic. I have noticed a slight hint of Vat II in the Liturgy, but thankfully the liberals haven’t invaded. Personally, I think the DL of St. John is a meld between the Tridentine and NO. I know many will disagree with this assesment, but I believe that the DL of St. John will have a greater impact on the Church in the coming years, as the Eastern Catholic Churches retain their Liturgies.

Please stay on topic. This thread is not about the Oath but about the Mass of St. Pius V. Thank you.

The why’s and wherefore’s, ad hominems and political wrangling are probably a little too complex to state succinctly why this change was made. It was probably an agglomerate of a lot of different opinions, conniving, circumstances, and fortune.

But, that’s what the Holy Spirit is for … to guide our leaders.

I’ll say this. I would never have joined this Church if I could not understand what was being said in Mass. Why would I? My great gandfather, Pa, was an Assembly of God pastor, a bright shining example of what Christ can do in a man, as was Pa’s wife, his son, and his daughter in law … I grew up in that Church being able to hear the Word and understand what I was being taught. Why would I ever volunteer to make my way back to the Church that Christ built if all I heard was gibberish when I walked in the door?

Would “But we’ve done it this way for centuries” have been convincing? Is being old synonymous with being good?

Should we not, instead, let the Holy Spirit continue to teach us? The Holy Spirit was left to guide us. The very act of learning carries an implication of change. As such, I feel it is only natural that we will make necessary changes as we are taught over the centuries, and as the world and the Church change around us. I feel that calcification in our practices is more likely a sign of hard headedness than piety, but what do I know?

Some things should never change. Some things should. How do we tell those two things apart? Who decides? Our Church leaders do, and we pray that it is the Holy Spirit guiding them in their choices.

Were it up to me, I would take it one step further and adopt the Protestant practice of “Sunday School” as well where the congregation is split into age groups and the Word is discussed and studied every week, where the questions that cannot be asked in service can be answered, where the members of the congregation can easily spend more time with one another and become more real to one another rather than just another face sitting in the pew.

But didn’t the same Holy Spirit guide the Council of Trent, which forbade the entire liturgy to be in the vernacular, for the canon to be said in a low tone, and even create a new rite for that matter? Nowhere did those documents have an expiration date.

Those documents protected by the Holy Spirit actually worked for 400 years before they decide to undermine them. Couldn’t someone then just as easily conclude that sometime in the 60’s they decided to defy the Holy Spirit instead of seeking His protection?

The banning of the vernacular was very clearly a pastoral decision. The Church has never held that Mass must be said in the original (probably Hebrew) and non-Latin rites have been recognised. Public prayer in the vernacular had become associated with an “each man his own Pope” type theology. However that isn’t the only possible motive for Mass int he vernacular.
“Pastoral” doesn’t mean “not important” or “can be ignored”. It does tend to mean “not intended for all peoples and at all times”.

I’ll say this. I would never have joined this Church if I could not understand what was being said in Mass. Why would I? My great gandfather, Pa, was an Assembly of God pastor, a bright shining example of what Christ can do in a man, as was Pa’s wife, his son, and his daughter in law … I grew up in that Church being able to hear the Word and understand what I was being taught. Why would I ever volunteer to make my way back to the Church that Christ built if all I heard was gibberish when I walked in the door?

I’d like to address this, respectfully.

First: What on earth makes you think that those who attend a Latin Mass** do not understand what is being said?** As one who grew up at “the change”, let me tell you, we also had missals which gave the Latin on one side, the English (or other language) on the other. Latin has many cognates–words which are so similar to the “english” that they are easily understood --Spiritu is Spirit, for example.

What of young children attending Mass --who hardly understand a majority of the words? Should they not attend, or do you not think that with a continued exposure to the words they become familiar with them?

Gibberish, indeed. I suppose you never attend a Spanish Mass. Why would you bother? You don’t ‘understand the words.’

A Latin Mass is understood whether you speak English, Spanish, or Swahili. Wherever you go, unchanging.

You won’t hear ‘exactly the same’ English (or Spanish etc.) words even if you go to two different churches in the same town, let alone the same state or even country. You WILL in a Latin Mass.

It is unbelievable to me that so many people appear so obstinate in wanting to have ‘the language I understand’, in a society which, linguistically speaking, is for the majority the poorest it has ever been. The people of the Middle Ages, those poor serfs living short, miserable lives often never leaving the town they were born knew ‘more’ languages, or fragments thereof, than hundreds of thousands of people today who live rich, long, luxurious lives with the opportunity of literacy and learning that was not even seen by royalty and nobility back then.

I find it extremely disheartening to hear so many people say that they want to understand the language when what they really seem to mean is that they don’t want to have to learn anything new.

Because quite frankly, very few of us really ‘listen’ to the English at Mass. Really. Very few really listen to the gospel. Or the homily.

Those who DO listen will be just as capable of understanding the Latin in a Mass as they do the English.

It is unbelievable to me that so many people appear so obstinate in wanting to have ‘the language I understand’, in a society which, linguistically speaking, is for the majority the poorest it has ever been.

Philosophically speaking, there is a difference between “understanding” something and “remembering” it. If it doesn’t create an impression upon you, three years down the line it doesn’t make a difference whether you understood it or not in the first place.

Poetry is one tool that helps you remember. And Latin is one of those languages where poetic sounds are easily expressed. English to some extent too but doesn’t “secundum magnam misericordiam tuam” sound much more poetic and given more thought than “according to your great mercy”?

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