Most of us who were born before, or during the Second World War - A period of Satanic Evil, unparalled in Human history - have lived through Vatican II and 'all that' - Have witnessed the painfull changes for priest and laity alike - and recall a Church in England that claimed and exercised authority to prevent the distribution of 'Catholic' papers, if only because they were reporting the truth, as they saw it, of Council deliberations.
Before our 'Nova Ordo' is, yet again, revised - it was only temporary they tell us - here is an opportunity to read an article by a man of courage and faith - who explains for me why the 'Tridentine' movement is, to put it charitably, ( my own view as a private individual ) no longer Catholic in Spirit, by virtue of dissent, a papal indult notwithstanding.
Jim Crawley, Sep 1995.
Key objections to changes to the Mass seem to fall in the following areas:
Of concern to the traditionalists is the use of the vernacular.
Their objection stems from the fact that the Council of Trent decided against the use of the vernacular.
Let's examine the exact wording of Trent's position to see if we can determine what, exactly, their thoughts were.
The twenty-second session of Trent dealt with the Sacrifice of the Mass.
In the discussion on the vernacular Trent says, 'Though the Mass contains much instruction for the faithful, it has, nevertheless, not been deemed advisable by the Fathers that it should be celebrated everywhere in the vernacular tongue.'
Note that this does not prohibit the celebration in the vernacular in some places.
Nor does it preclude the use of the vernacular in the future.
What the Fathers were saying here is that, given the conditions in Europe following the Protestant Reformation, the shift to the vernacular was 'not' advisable.
When Pius V proclaimed the final structure of the Mass (which had been prepared by experts since the Council had directed that they do so) it was 'to be used in perpetuity.'
That is, the Mass was the normative Mass to be used in all places at all times.
Why? To avoid the impression of scandal.
In fact, the Fathers went so far as to list a number of things that had been occurring and declare that they were to no longer occur. In fact, the local Ordinaries (Bishops) were charged to 'prohibit and abolish all those things which either covetousness, which is a serving of idols, or irreverence, which can scarcely be separated from ungodliness, or superstition, a false imitation of true piety, have introduced.'
Yet, why did Trent 'reform' the Mass?
Because there were those things that had crept into the Mass that no longer reflected the fact that the Mass was 'the true and only Sacrifice.'
So, then, Trent attempted to clarify and correct errors that had crept in, some in direct response to the Protestant Reformation, and others over the course of time.
Finally, there was a desire to be able to celebrate the Mass in a consistent fashion all over the world.
At that time, it must be remembered, the Mass was offered in different styles and ways depending on where one was.
So, then, what did Vatican II say of the vernacular?
In Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) we find the following, 'since the use of the vernacular' may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it'.
The Council Fathers provided a way that the use of the vernacular could be increased.
This required a petition to the Holy See.
So successful was the inclusion of the vernacular that by 1971 the use of the vernacular in public Masses was left entirely to the judgment of the Episcopal Conferences (National Conferences of Bishops).
So, then, what was the purpose of the reforms of Vatican II?
According to Eucharisticum Mysterium (Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery) the purpose was 'to encourage the full and active participation of the faithful in the celebration of this mystery.'
Clearly, this is in line with the reasons for the reforms of Trent.
The next area of concern to the 'traditionalists' is 'changing the words of institution'.
If we look at the Tridentine Mass we find that the words of consecration are as follows:
We are told that we cannot tamper with these words because they are the 'form' of the Sacrament.
Yet, one asks, where did these words come from?
If we look at Scripture we find that the words of institution are listed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians.
Let us look at the words we find in these various books:
As you can see, the words in Scripture are different from those found in the Tridentine Rite.
How, then, can they say that the Pauline Rite (Mass of Paul VI) 'changes' the words of institution?
However, their big objection is not so much the change of all the words, as the specific change of 'for many' (pro multis) to 'for all'.
How is this change justified?
In the Greek, the word that is used is polus (polus) which means 'many, much, large'.
How then is the change justified?
To answer that we need to look at what Jesus was about to undergo.
Did Jesus die on the cross only for the elect, or did he die for all?
According to Trent, Jesus died 'for our sins, and not only for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world'.
In fact, Trent cites II Corinthians 5:15 which says that Jesus died for all.
Trent further acknowledges that not all will receive the benefits of his death.
Yet, if Jesus died for all, then his Blood was shed for all.
Thus, the Tridentine formula, 'pro multis effundetur' reflects the results but not the intent.
The Vatican II formulation ('for all') reflects the intent as opposed to the results. That is, Jesus died for all, but not all accept the benefits of his death.
We now come to the crux of the matter.
What are the essential words, the form of the Sacrament of the Eucharist?
St. Justin Martyr says the words that effect the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus are 'This is my Body' and 'This is my Blood'.
St. John Chrysostom refers to the bread ('This is my Body') but does not refer to the consecration of the wine.
St. Ambrose of Milan follows the lead of St. Justin Martyr.
Other Fathers of the Church considered the epiclesis as the form (St. Irenaeus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem) while still others refer to the Prayer of blessing or what we would call the Eucharistic Prayer.
In the anaphora, an early Eucharistic Prayer from The Apostolic Tradition, we find the first recorded Eucharistic Prayer.
The words of institution used there are 'This is my Body' and 'This is my Blood which is poured out for you'.
Now, assuming that the Eucharist was validly confected by these earlier Masses, we must reduce the 'form' to the words that are found in common.
Thus, the 'form' of the Eucharist must be 'This is my Body' and 'This is my Blood'.
As long as these words are said, assuming proper intention and that the one saying them is a validly ordained Priest, the confection of the Eucharist takes place.
Actually, this is the weakest of the arguments put forth by the 'traditionalists'.
Again, the objection rests on the use of the terms that were used in promulgating the Roman Missal with the normative Tridentine Mass.
That is, the Tridentine Mass was to be used in 'perpetuity' and that no changes were to be made by anyone, even a Cardinal!
Thus, it would appear on the surface that the Mass could never be changed.
Yet, we know that there were changes to the Mass over the years.
For example, in 1955 there were two changes: a simplification of the rubrics (March 23, 1955) and a new Liturgy for Holy Week (1955).
In fact, changes occurred right up until the Second Vatican Council (as late as 1962)!
Further, Trent left intact the ability of the Pope or later Councils to make changes.
So, then, did Vatican II have authority to change the Mass?
In a word, yes!
How is this possible?
The Church has two basic components to her teaching: dogma / doctrine and practice.
The ideas expressed in the dogmas and doctrines cannot change (although the wording may change to express the same idea in words that the modern person can understand).
Thus, the development of the word 'transubstantiation' to describe the change that occurs in the confection of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist did not change, but the word was used to describe in a clearer fashion what the consecration actually effected.
So, too, is the case with practice. Since the Church is called to minister to people in various cultures with differing circumstances, it is necessary that the Gospel be enculturated.
That is, that the people find relevance in their lives for the Gospel message.
Worship must follow the same basic form. That is, the people must find worship to be relevant or they will not participate.
Within the Tridentine Mass, there are parts called 'changeable' and parts called 'unchangeable'.
This was because the Fathers at the Council of Trent understood the future need for such change.
Thus, we have a practice which contains a Sacrament that is dogmatically defined.
The practice is the actual format of the Mass while the Eucharist itself may not be changed.
We have already seen that the basic words of institution that comprise the form of the Eucharist are retained.
In fact, we have shown that even the Fathers of the Church had trouble with defining the form, and yet we have retained the sense of the form as clearly as possible.
The matter is still unleavened bread and natural wine.
On this area there seems to be no concern.
Since practice is not covered under the rule of infallibility, it is possible to change practice.
It is on these grounds that Vatican II instituted a reform similar to that of Trent.
Instead of stabilizing the Mass to ensure that all would celebrate the same in an era of assault on the Church, the changes of Vatican II were designed to bring greater participation of the faithful.
To that end the excessive use of ritual was simplified, the use of the vernacular was authorized, and the removal of 'accretions' was permitted.
Of course, one objection of the traditionalists is that the new Mass was prepared by various experts (paratii) and not by the Fathers of the Council.
This is actually the same as what happened at Trent.
The Tridentine Mass was prepared by various experts and then the Pope promulgated the resulting Roman Missal.
This is a difficult idea to grasp, in part because it is, by nature, a vague charge.
That is, the very changes the traditionalists object to are not, in and of themselves, 'Protestant' but the culmination seems to be.
These changes include:
Let us look, then, at each of these ideas to see why it happened.
This is, of course, a misnomer.
The Tabernacle was not removed so much as it was re-moved.
That is, it was moved again.
What we are talking about is not so much the Tabernacle itself, but the reservation of the Holy Eucharist.
Trent says that the Eucharist is to be reserved 'in a sacred place' without actually specifying where that place was.
In fact, throughout the ages the place of reservation has moved depending on circumstances.
So, then, what were the directives of Vatican II with regard to the Tabernacle? 'Where reservation of the Blessed Sacrament is permitted according to the provisions of the law, it may be reserved permanently or regularly only on one Altar or in one place in the Church'.
But where should this 'one place' be?
Again, from the same source, 'The place in a Church or Oratory where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Tabernacle should be truly prominent.
It ought to be suitable for private Prayer so that the faithful may easily and fruitfully, by private devotion also, continue to honour our Lord in this Sacrament.
It is therefore recommended that, as far as possible, the Tabernacle be placed in a Chapel distinct from the middle or central part of the Church, above all in those Churches where marriages and funerals take place frequently, and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures.'
Clearly, then, the impetus for this directive is to allow greater private devotion of the reserved Blessed Sacrament.
Yet, liturgically, there is another reason for this repositioning.
In the Liturgy (Mass) we recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in four ascending realities.
First, Jesus is present in the assembly gathered to worship ,
next Jesus is present in the person of the Priest,
Jesus is present in the Word of God proclaimed to the assembly, and finally
Jesus is present in the Eucharist.
Each of these presents a clearer 'representation' of Jesus present.
Thus, to begin Mass with the Eucharist already present removes the growing awareness of Jesus present among us.
Actually, this is not a directive of Vatican II.
The posture during Mass is and always has been at the discretion of the Church.
Trent did regulate posture in an effort to establish for the first time a commonality.
Although standing throughout the entire Liturgy was an ancient historical precedent, no such directives have come from Vatican II.
Indeed, the American Bishops have directed that kneeling should be continued during those portions of the Mass where it is appropriate, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer.
The Council of Trent did not address this issue.
In fact, it was already a foregone conclusion that the Priest faced in the same direction as the people since that was the way in which the Churches were constructed.
This reform actually came out of the development of the revised Liturgy itself.
Again, this goes back to the early history of the Church.
At various times the physical layout of the place where Mass was said required the Priest to face the people while at other times he was forced to face away from the people.
There was no specific directive one way or the other for many hundreds of years.
In fact, Vatican II allows for both free-standing Altars and Altars mounted to the wall.
This means that there are no specific directives requiring the Priest to face either direction.
It should be noted, in fairness, that the normal position for the Altar should be freestanding so that the Priest can celebrate facing the people.
Actually, married Deacons are not new in the Church.
We know that Peter, our first Pope, was married (his mother-in-law is mentioned in Scripture!).
The directives for selecting Deacons mentioned in Scripture say that 'their wives are to be women worthy of respect'; so, clearly, in the early Church there was some expectation that they would be married.
Origen says that a Deacon cannot be married twice.
So, certainly, the idea of a married Deacon is not new.
Nor, in fact, is the idea of married clergy in general.
In the various Eastern Rites, clergy are permitted to be married.
They are asked, however, to refrain from marriage if they will be serving in the United States.
In both Latin and Eastern Rites Bishops must be celibate.
We have combined these two topics because they are related.
Again we are dealing with 'practice' which falls within the perview of any given Pope or Council.
Many of the vestments had lost their meaning.
For example, the maniple was originally used as a napkin.
Clearly it had become ceremonial and had no real purpose.
Since everything in the Liturgy should be directed at raising our hearts and minds to God, this was seen as unnecessary and discarded.
With modern manufacturing albs were made that covered better than the early albs, and the use of an amice to hide the street clothing was unnecessary.
It, too, was made unnecessary, although it may still be worn.
Cinctures became optional as other means of keeping the alb secured were introduced.
Still other changes took place with the chasuble.
This garment, originally the equivalent of a 'poncho' and the traditional outer wear of the Romans slowly took on a symbolic meaning.
It became larger and lighter in weight, no longer being covered with jewels, gold or silver thread, and other semi-precious materials.
It returned to being a piece of clothing instead of being ornamental.
Stoles became more decorative, and some were worn outside the chasuble.
The stole, of course, is the symbol of Priestly power and its usage has varied over the years.
Originally worn only by the Pope, it was extended to the seven Deacons of Rome.
Later, Bishops and Priests started wearing it also.
Originally, the Bishop wore it straight down the front as a sign of the fullness of the Priesthood;
the Priest wore it crossed in front indicating limitations to the Priesthood;
the Deacon wore it across one shoulder to indicate a role of service.
Eventually, the Priest and Bishop both wore the stole hanging straight down, for both share in the Priesthood.
The Deacon continues to wear it across one shoulder.
The Rites were simplified to allow them to speak more clearly to the central mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus which is the theme of every Mass.
Rather than have the Priest and the community separately admit their sins, the Prayer (confiteor) was combined.
Similar consolidation also took place as the Prayers at the foot of the Altar were simplified. This simplification allowed a third reading from Scripture to be added.
The directive that there must be a homily on Sunday and major feasts was repeated (Trent had laid down the norms for this, but frequently the homily was omitted).
In the early Church, the celebration of the Eucharist took place in the context of a Meal.
Thus, there was no Eucharistic fast.
Over the years, this has been as short as one hour and as long as 24 hours.
The Tridentine fast which required the abstinence from food starting at midnight reduced the number of persons receiving Communion at later Masses, especially those offered near noon.
As a consequence, the faithful were not 'fully participating' in the life of the Church.
Since Trent the Church has tried to get more people to go to Communion.
This change was in line with that goal.
This is a case where the directives to 'eliminate redundancy' took place.
Since this was always the same Gospel reading, the experts charged with the revision of the Liturgy determined that it would be better to add an additional reading from Scripture at the normal time, and to eliminate this particular reading.
The goal was to increase the exposure to the Scriptures while reducing any 'additions' that seemed misplaced or excessive.
The answer is 'both'!
The Mass was commonly referred to as the 'Holy Sacrifice of the Mass' which was and is an accurate description.
Yet, the Mass is more than that.
Let us examine the structure of the Tridentine Mass to establish a basic understanding.
The Mass is divided into two basic parts: Mass of the Catechumens and Mass of the Faithful.
The 'Mass of the Catechumens' was the 'instructional' portion of the Mass.
It starts with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, continues with the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy).
These two parts form the 'contrition' portion of the Mass.
We then raise our voices in Praise with the Gloria.
In praying for ourselves and the Church we come to the Collect.
This is followed by the Word of God in the form of the Epistle or Lesson, the Gospel and the Sermon.
Finally, we say the Creed which expresses our faith.
At this point, the catechumens would be dismissed.
The 'Mass of the Faithful' now begins.
Our gifts of bread and wine are offered to God in the Offertory.
We then enter into the Roman canon with the preface and consecration.
Finally, we partake of the Eucharist.
This final part is called the 'Sacrificial Banquet' in Tridentine terms.
The Mass concludes with the final Prayers and the Last Gospel.
In the Mass of Paul VI we find a similar two part structure:
the Liturgy of the Word and
the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Let us see how if they differ, or if they are similar in structure.
The 'Liturgy of the Word' actually begins with the entrance procession, however, we will focus on those elements that are significant in terms of our comparison.
There is an opening Prayer that replaces the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.
This is followed by the Penitential Rite which may be an exact duplicate of the Kyrie.
We then raise our voices in Praise of God with the Gloria.
Following that we have an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a New Testament Reading, the Gospel Acclamation, the Gospel and the homily.
This section concludes with the Creed and Prayers of the Faithful (restored from earlier liturgies, not found in Trent).
So, this section seems fairly similar.
The 'Liturgy of the Eucharist' begins with the presentation of the gifts (restored from earlier liturgies), a Prayer over the gifts, the preface and the consecration.
We then partake of the Eucharist.
Mass concludes with the final Prayer, a blessing and a dismissal.
There is no Final Gospel.
The structure of the Mass is very similar, with simplifications and language changes used to make the Mass more accessible to the average person.
Both celebrations show aspects that relate to Meal and to Sacrifice.
We are to participate in the 'paschal Meal' by consuming the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Tridentine Mass we hear the term 'Bread of Heaven', we admit that we are not worthy to receive the Body of Jesus but we do so because we know that we will be healed through His ministry to us.
We are partaking in the Sacrificial Meal made possible by the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass.
These terms apply perfectly to the Mass of Paul VI.
Jesus is still made present through the re-presentation of his death on Calvary.
We still offer the same Jesus who died once for all.
So, yes, the Mass is both a Sacrifice and a Meal.
Another charge is that the stone Altar of Sacrifice has been replaced by a wooden Communion Table.
There is nothing in the canons and decrees of Trent that addresses the substance of the Altar at all.
The custom in most Churches was to make the Altar of stone.
Further, the tradition of long standing was that a Relic be placed in the 'main stone' of the Altar.
Vatican II has this to say about the Altar: 'The Table of a fixed Altar should be made of natural stone; this accords with age-long practice of the Church and its own symbolic meaning. Nevertheless the Bishops' Conference may authorize the use of some other generally accepted and solid material susceptible of good workmanship.
The structure supporting the Table may be of any material so long as it is solid and durable'.
And what of Relics?
Again, Vatican II says: 'The custom of putting Relics of Saints under an Altar to be dedicated is to be retained.
But it is important to verify the authenticity of such Relics'.
Thus, the Altar is both the Altar of Sacrifice and Table around which the Paschal Banquet is served.
Trent itself made no provision for Communion under both species.
In fact, it deferred the decision to the Pope.
Trent did affirm that under either species one received the fullness of Jesus.
Further, Trent decided that lay persons and clerics who are not concelebrating are not obliged to receive from the cup.
Nevertheless, Scripture tells us that we are to 'take, eat' and 'drink from it, all of you'.
Thus, to make the sign and symbol more complete, Vatican II addresses the issue of the cup, and permitted all to receive from it under limited circumstances.
Trent did say that changes to that rule could be made at a later time.
Yet, what does Trent teach?
The official teaching of Trent is, 'If anyone says that each and all the faithful of Christ are by a precept of God or by the necessity of salvation bound to receive both species of the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, let him be anathema'.
This is an interesting charge.
Yes, there were Protestants at Vatican II as official observers only.
However, at Trent the Protestants were to have a voice!
In a Decree from Trent at the 13th Session we see that the decision regarding Communion under both species is delayed until the Protestants from Germany can come and be heard.
In fact, there is a 'safe-conduct' pass that is granted to Protestants included in the documentation for Trent.
In that 'safe-conduct' it says the Protestants 'shall enjoy full liberty to confer,
make proposals and discuss those things that are to be discussed in the Council;
to come freely and safely to the Council,
to remain and sojourn there and to propose therein,
in writing as well as orally,
as many articles as may seem good to them,
to deliberate with the Fathers or with those who may have been chosen by the Council and without any abuse and contumely dispute with them;
they may also depart when they please'.
We should point out that due to circumstances they never arrived.
A major source of scandal for the traditionalist is the use of lay persons in the distribution of Communion and the women serving in the sanctuary.
Since the purpose of the Liturgy is to allow the faithful to worship God, to raise their hearts and minds in Praise to the Heavenly Father, it is necessary that nothing should intrude upon the sensibilities of those who are worshipping.
Among the greatest concerns facing the liturgical reformers was the amount of time spent in the distribution of Communion.
In the Tridentine Mass there was a long formula used at the distribution of Communion that was recited for each recipient.
Since there was a single Priest at most Masses, this necessitated an unduly long delay during which Communion was distributed.
In some places this was mitigated by using additional Priests to assist with Communion.
However, in some places, this was not possible either due to lack of Priests, or other commitments.
To that end, the use of lay Eucharistic ministers was permitted.
The Church recognizes the great honour that is granted to those who distribute Communion.
Pope John Paul II says, 'To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained, one which indicates and active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist.
It is obvious that the Church can grant this faculty to those who are neither Priests nor Deacons, as is the case with Acolytes in the exercise of their ministry, especially if they are destined for ordination, or with other lay people who are chosen for this to meet a just need, but always after an adequate preparation'.
The 'just need' that the Pope refers to are cases where there insufficient 'ordinary' ministers of the Eucharist (Bishop, Priest, Deacon or Acolyte), or where their age or health precludes them from distributing Holy Communion, or where the time taken to administer the eucharist will 'unduly delay' the celebration of the Mass.
Perhaps nothing has scandalized the 'traditionalist' more than the practice of receiving Communion in the hand.
The basic reason for this is the 400 year tradition of receiving Communion on the tongue.
Although the reception of Communion in the hand was not directly addressed by the Second Vatican Council, its usage surely grew out of the reforms directed by that Council.
The question that was being asked related to the historical usage.
Was Communion in the hand ever permitted?
The answer is yes.
But, the Church is quick to point out, 'the Church's prescriptions and the evidence of the Fathers make it abundantly clear that the greatest reverence was shown the Blessed Sacrament, and that people acted with greatest prudence'.
Eventually, only clerics were allowed to carry the Blessed Sacrament from place to place, or to administer it.
However, with the reforms of Vatican II, a small number of Episcopal Conferences and some individual Bishops wished to restore the practice of giving Communion in the hand.
To that end, the Pope asked all the Bishops of the Latin Rite if this change should be permitted.
After all, he reasoned, 'A change in a matter of such moment, based on most ancient and venerable tradition, does not merely affect discipline.
It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion:
the danger of a loss of reverence for the august Sacrament of the Altar,
of adulteration of the true doctrine'.
The Bishops responded in the majority that they did not want such a change at this time.
Therefore, the Holy Father did not issue a general mandate permitting this throughout the world.
There were, however, some Episcopal Conferences already using this method of distributing Communion.
To them the Pope wrote with directions that they were to properly inform the laity to ensure that there would be no loss of respect for the sacred species, either by loss of respect or the development of false opinions regarding the Blessed Sacrament.
The Pope also permitted those Conferences requesting the restoration to petition the Holy See.
These petitions were, in general, granted provided the appropriate instructions took place.
We have examined the various areas of concern over the Mass and its changes as a result of Vatican II.
In the process, we have cited many of the relevant documents, both those of Trent and of Vatican II.
There are, however, many more that should be consulted for a complete understanding of the changes relevant to the Mass.
For any Catholic who is interested, the various documents of Vatican II are available in different volumes and collections.
They are readily available as inexpensive paperback books.
I recommend those with Austin Flannery, O.P., as the editor.
There are four volumes in this collection:
Volume I: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, (1992 Edition)
Volume II: More Post Conciliar Documents, (1992 Edition)
Volume III: Major Papal Documents (John XXIII to John Paul II)
Volume IV: Major Documents from Papal Commissions
The documents of Trent are available in a single volume:
The Canons and Documents of the Council of Trent published by Tan Books.
On the Validity of the Mass of Paul VI - The End