Get Ready for the Tridentine Mass

Richard Salbato 3-31-07

Inside information I have from friends in the Vatican states that - Pope Benedict will finally issue a Papal Motu Proprio (on his own initiative) to make the 1960 Tridentine Mass an “extraordinary universal rite” and leave the Novus Ordo a “ordinary universal rite.”  In fact, Catholic publishers are already preparing new editions of the Latin Missal.

A Papal Motu Proprio enables Benedict to ignore opposition from cardinals and bishops throughout the world.  This opposition has been intense. In fact, most of the French bishops sent an open letter to the Holy Father expressing their fear that this action would harm unity among the faithful.  Pope Benedict surprised the French bishops by calling each of them by phone.  We don’t know what Benedict said to them but considering that France has gone from 80% Mass attendance to 6% Mass attendance in 50 years, it’s hard to figure what the bishops could say. They might try to argue that he is abrogating Vatican II but he would answer that he is implicating what was said in Vatican II -  Sacrosanctum Consilium: 

"In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way."

Benedict knows that it didn’t work out that way.  After Vatican II he wrote in his memoirs, "I was stunned by the ban on the ancient missal."  Everyone who knew Ratzinger before he became Pope expected that he would do something because of his writings about turning the priest around, Latin Music, and the abuses in the Novus Ordo.  The fact that he was elected during a bishop’s conference on the Eucharist in Rome made us believe that a universal Tridentine Mass would be the result. 

However, when Sacramentum Caritatis came out last month we were very disappointed.   It’s a good document but there’s nothing new in it for anyone who understands the Sacrament.  For those who do not understand the importance of the Sacrament of Sacraments I have posted the document and highlighted what is important.

What Pope Benedict XVI will add and command on his own initiative is that any priest in the Latin Rite Church can offer the Tridentine Mass with or without his bishop’s approval.  The catch here is “if” and that is if at least 30 people express a desire for the old Mass. This is a problem that I did not expect but we will see what the actual words will be when it comes out.  I know most of the wording of the Papal Motu Proprio and this puts the power in the hands of the people and neither the priest nor the bishop can deny the Tridentine Mass to the people who want it.

Ecclesia Dei (The Indult)

In 1988 Pope John Paul II threw the conservatives a lifeline, granting permission for priests to say the traditional Latin rite of the Mass. In a document entitled Ecclesia Dei (The Church of God), the pope declared, "Respect must everywhere by shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962."

But there was a hitch: priests who wished to say the old Mass, and Catholics who wished to attend it, had to apply to their local bishop for permission. In response to such requests, few bishops could be described as "generous."  In fact, in most cases only one Tridentine Mass is offered only once a week in an entire diocese and this is not advertised anywhere.  No promotion is done at all.  Most people, who know that something is wrong with “worship and reverence”, have never even attended a Tridentine Mass and don’t know the difference.  The failure of this Indult prompted Pope John Paul II to try and clean up the abuse of the Novus Ordo and so he wrote Redemptionis Sacramentum.

Redemptionis Sacramentum

In Redemptionis Sacramentum the Holy Father spelled out the many abuses of the Novus Ordo and commanded that they stop but no one paid any attention to him.  A good example of this is item 93: 

The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.” Also item 158:  “Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking - when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.  This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.”

These are only two of many commandments made in this document but judge for yourself, are these two things being obeyed – has anything changed.  In my parish the pews are half empty but we always have at least three extraordinary ministers (almost always women) passing out communion.  I calculate that this saves about 6 minutes of time. Most recently Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree that the English translation of the Sacramentary from the Latin has errors, example “for many” instead of “for all” but I notice that my priest has not changed the words, and maybe his bishop has not even told him of the decree. 

What Is Wrong with the Novus Ordo?

Paul VI's Mass was no simple vernacular translation of the traditional text; this was a major edit-and-rewrite job that recast the role of the priest, the people, and even God's place in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church. It was, in short, a revolution.  Once the new Mass was put in place, the progressives went on a rampage the likes of which the Church had not seen since the Reformation.  Things that were never part of the Novus Ordo just happened:

1. The laity distributed Communion to congregations, 2. People were instructed to stand, not kneel, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, 3. People were urged to take the Sacred Host, the consecrated bread, in their hands rather than receive it on their tongue, 4. Altars were smashed, communion rails ripped out, statues hauled away to the dumpster or banished to obscure corners of the church, and elaborately decorated interiors whitewashed.

The documents of Vatican II did not call for any of these innovations, but when confronted, the progressives claimed that their actions were in keeping with "the spirit of Vatican II."  This non-existent “spirit” created open war on doctrine, discipline, religious authority, religious vows, church music, education, sexuality, marriage, and life itself.

The Catholic Church sank into chaos - in the United States 75 percent of Catholics went to Mass every Sunday; today the
number has dropped to 25 percent and as I said in France down to six percent. Today 53 percent of American Catholics believe that one can have an abortion and still be a good Catholic. And 70 percent of American Catholics in the 18-44 age  group say they do not believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, that it is only a symbol of Jesus. Religious vocations of priests in America went from 1,575 per year to 450 and from 600 seminaries to 200. In 1965 there 180,000 nuns in the United States and now there are 75,000 sisters.

Today there are three types of Catholics: 

1. Conservatives/Traditionalists, like me, who see Vatican II in light of the Church's doctrine and traditions (God centered and absolute truths). 

2. Liberal/Progressives see Vatican II as an end to all tradition and a democratic, faithless church (man centered and only the conscience as truth). 

3. Ultra-Traditionalists see Vatican II as a complete break from tradition and heresy.

All three groups ground their theology in the Mass because all three know that how we pray is how we believe. The first group, which I am in, work hard to get the most reverence and devotion out of the Novus Ordo Mass that we can and fight to save traditions, like altar rails, worship and reverence. At the same time we fight for a return of the Tridentine.  The Ultra-Traditionalists simply look for every way they can to bad mouth the Church and the Popes.

This is not hard for U-Ts to do because it is true that the Novus Ordo was designed by Archbishop Bugnini with help from Father Gelineau and Father Braga. Archbishop Bugnini was a Mason and most likely a communist.  Bugnini supported the heresies of Edward Schillebeeckx, Jacques Pohier, Hans Küng and the concept of CHRIST AMONGST US by Anthony Wilham, a book poured into the seminaries that denies Transubstantiation and promotes the Christ in us instead of the Christ in the Eucharist.  What Bugnini wanted was a Church where the altar would be placed in the center of the people and have the priest and people together consecrate the sacrament. He expected in time to eliminate the priest altogether.

Bugnini did not succeed in his designs and the final Mass was not a heresy and remained a real Mass, but everyone has to admit that it lacks the beauty, reverence and worship of God that the old Mass had.  The liberal/progressives were not happy with Vatican II and the new mass, so in the “spirit” of Vatican II, they started doing things that were never allowed – the altar rails, the turning the priest around, the altar girls, the removal of art and music, etc. 

The Ultra-Traditionalists cannot find any real heresy in Vatican II or the Latin version of the Novus Ordo but they do have a great argument that the fruits of these things have not been good. 

What will happen to the Traditionalists?

Will traditionalists like Saint Pius X Society and Pope bashers like Gerry Matatics, Brother Michael Diamond, Father Gruner and more be satisfied by this new order of the Holy Father to make the Tridentine universal even over the will of bishops?  No! When they accepted that a Holy Father and a Council were in heresy, they left the Church and a return of the Mass will not correct that.  Calling the last four popes heretics will take a lot of forgiveness from God before He will consider them Catholic again.  I do believe that in time many will leave the ultra-traditionalists and re-enter the Church but I do not think SSXP will reconcile because they will keep demanding things that the Church cannot accept and never will. 

What will happen to the Liberals?

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, Anthony Padovano, the current president of CORPUS,stated,

“American Catholics will not allow this papacy to prevail. Some will openly resist; others clandestinely subvert; most will simply not comply.”

Call to Action, Women’s Ordination Conference, Catholics for a Free Choice, CORPUS (the National Association for a Married Priesthood), Dignity, Future Church, New Ways Ministry and more are those who have no intention of obedience to Rome and we will have to fight them.  They have no intention of cleaning up the Novus Ordo and will fight against any group, priest or bishop who promotes the Tridentine. But if we do our job they will leave the Church and that will be a great thing. Let me repeat myself, drive them out of the Church and the Church will be better off for it.

What Should We (Catholics) Do?

We (Catholics) are those who are old enough to remember the Tridentine Mass and long for it, but never left the Church.  We are those who never knew the Tridentine Mass but know something is wrong with our worship and reverence of God, but never left the Church. We are those who never compromised the faith like cafeteria catholics with a small “C”.  We are those who know that our Church is first and foremost a Eucharistic Church.  We know the Church was founded to create the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the source of its grace and power.  We know that the Eucharist is actio Dei, an act of God. We know that as we pray, so we believe – lex orandi, lex credendi.  As Saint Augustine put it: "no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it."

Now that you know who we are, know that we are going to be coming around each and every parish throughout the world getting 30 signatures to show our desire for a more loving and adoring Mass.  This new Encyclical will give us power and even our bishop will not be able to deny us the right to have a better Mass.  We are going to work for a return of the altar rails, and real altars.  We are going to get real music back to the Mass and the singers off the Altar.  As is said in Sacramentum Caritatis, we are going to get Our Lord’s tabernacle back where it belongs. 

Know this and know it well – in time, and we know it will take at least 10 years, when there is a real and fair comparison, the people will chose the better Mass, the Tridentine.  Little by little more people will come to the Tridentine and less and less will go to the Novus Ordo.  Children will see how we love, worship and adore Our Lord, and will come back to the faith with real faith in the true presence.  Little by little the Novus Ordo will become a better Mass in an attempt to compete but in time it will simply disappear.  The Novus Ordo is a true Mass and it is the Body of Christ crucified, but it is not the best we can do to worship and adore Our Lord.  The Novus Ordo is social oriented making it hard to pray, whereas the Tridentine is pray oriented and socializing is not done at all inside the Church.

In my next Newsletter I will promote some new religious orders and seminaries whose primary focus is on reverence and devotion to the Eucharist and its importance to our very existence and salvation.  This will not include those who have left the Church but those who remained in to fight the good fight. It will not include those who will use the Tridentine to promote themselves instead of the Church like the Legionaries of Christ and others who use conservatism to promote cults.  It will not include other sects that use the Tridentine Mass to draw people in to pedophilia. Before writing this next Newsletter I will be asking my trusted friends for suggestions to this list of orders and seminaries.

Public Emails - Tridentine Mass

This Newsletter will prompt a great deal of pro and con emails and I will post all of them, so know in advance that I will not keep them private but will post them.  In fact, I will not give up this mission until every parish in the world has a Tridentine Mass - daily.  I believe the Novus Ordo experiment has failed. 


Rick Salbato

 April 1, 2007