The Road into the Black Hole of the Liturgical "New Order"

These are the main steps that gradually led to the full-blown implementation of the invalid "New Mass" of 1969:

1945 - "New" Latin ("Pius XII") Psalter introduced
1951 - Time of Easter Vigil changed
1954 - Vulgar tongues introduced into Sacraments
1956 - Traditional rubrics of Mass, Divine Office, and Holy Week changed
1960 - Traditional rubrics of Mass and Divine Office changed again
1962 - Sacred Apostolic Roman Canon of Mass changed
1964 - Vulgar tongues introduced into Mass
1967 - Dogmatic form of Mass Consecration changed
1968 - New Order of Ordination for Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons introduced
1969 - New Order Service (formerly "Mass") introduced

Steps to the New Mass

A brief Dossier on Liturgical Changes Before Vatican II

The Liturgical Revolution

By Rev. Francesco Ricossa

Its roots run deep in heresy.

The Liturgy, considered as a whole, is the collection of symbols, chants and acts by means of which the Church expresses and manifests its religion towards God. In the Old Testament, God Himself, so to speak, is the liturgists; He specifies the most minute details of the worship which the faithful had to render to Him. The importance attached to a form of worship which was but the shadow of that sublime worship in the New Testament which Christ the High Priest wanted His Church to continue until the end of the world. In the Liturgy of the Catholic Church, everything is important, everything is sublime, down to the tiniest details, a truth that moved St. Teresa of Avila to say; "I would give my life for the smallest ceremony of Holy Church." The reader, therefore, should not be surprised at the importance we will attach to the rubrics of the Liturgy, and the close attention we will pay to the reforms which preceded the Second Vatican Council. In any case, the Church's enemies were all too well aware of the importance of the Liturgy--heretics corrupted the Liturgy in order to attack the Faith itself. Such was the case with the ancient Christological heresies, then with Lutheranism and Anglicanism in the 16th century, then with the Illuminist and Jansenist reforms in the 18th century, and finally with Vatican II, beginning with its Constitution on the Liturgy and culminating to the Novus Ordo Missae. The liturgical reform desired by Vatican II and realized in the post-Conciliar period is nothing short of a revolution: The way was opened by the Council to change radically the face of the traditional liturgical assemblies, admitted Mgr. Annibale Bugnini, one of the leading architects of this reform. He added that it constituted a real break with the past." No revolution has ever come about spontaneously. It always results from prolonged attacks, slow concessions, and a gradual giving way. The purpose of this article is to show the reader how the liturgical revolution came about, with special reference to the pre-Conciliar changes in 1955 and 1960. Msgr. Klaus Gamber, a German liturgist, pointed out that the liturgical debacle pre-dates Vatican II. If, he said, "a radical break with tradition has been completed in our days with the introduction of the Novus Ordo and the new liturgical books, it is our duty to ask ourselves where its roots are. It should be obvious to anyone with common sense that these roots are not to be looked for exclusively in the Second Vatican Council. The Constitution on the Liturgy of December 4, 1963 represents the temporary conclusion of an evolution whose multiple and not all homogenous causes go back into the distant past."


According to Mgr. Gambler, "The flowering of church life in the baroque era (the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent) was stricken, towards the end of the eighteenth century, with the blight of Illuminism. People were dissatisfied with the traditional Liturgy, because they felt that it did not correspond enough with the concrete problems of the times. Rationalist Illuminism found the ground already prepared by the Jansenist heresy, which, like Protestantism, opposed the traditional Roman Liturgy.

Emperor Joseph II, the Gallican bishops of France, and of Tuscany in Italy, meeting together for the Synod of Pistoia, carried out reforms and liturgical experiments which resemble to an amazing extent the present reforms; they are just as strongly orientated towards Man and social problems... "We can say, therefore, that the deepest roots of the present liturgical desolation are grounded in Illuminism." The aversion for tradition, the frenzy for novelty and reforms, the gradual replacement of Latin by the vernacular, and of ecclesiastical and patristic texts by Scripture alone, the diminution of the cult of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, the suppression of liturgical symbolism and mystery, and finally the shortening of the Liturgy, judged to be excessively and uselessly long and repetitive--we find all these elements of the Jansenist liturgical reforms in the present reforms, and see them reflected especially in the reforms of John XXIII. In the most serious cases the Church condemned the innovators; thus, Clement IX condemned the Ritual of the Diocese of Alet in 1668, Clement XI condemned the Oratorian Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719) in 1713, Pius VI condemned the Synod of Pistoia and Bishop Scipio de Ricci in his bull 'Autorem F'idei' in 1794.

The Liturgical Movement

A reaction to the Illuminist plague says Mgr. Gamber, is represented by the restoration of the nineteenth century. There arose at this time the great French Benedictine abbey of Solesmes, and the German Congregation of Beuron." Dom Prosper Gueranger (1805-1875), Abbot of Solesmes, restored the old Latin liturgy in France. His work led to a movement later called the liturgical Movement which sought to defend the traditional liturgy of the Church, and to make it loved. This movement greatly benefited the Church up to and throughout the reign of St. Pius X, who restored Gregorian Chant to its position of honor and created an admirable balance between the Temporal Cycle (feasts of Our Lord, Sundays, and ferias) and the Sanctoral Cycle (feasts of the saints).

The Movement's Deviations

After St. Pius X, little by little, the so-called 'Liturgical Movement' strayed from its original path, and came full circle to embrace the theories which it had been founded to combat. All the ideas of the anti-liturgical heresy--as Dom Gueranger called the liturgical theories of the 18th century--were now taken up again in the 1920s and 30s by liturgists like Dom Lamber Beauduin (1873-1960) in Belgium and France, and by Dom Pius Parsch and Romano Guardini in Austria and Germany. The "reformers" of the 1930s and 1940s introduced the "Dialogue Mass" because of their excessive emphasis on the active participation of the faithful in the liturgical functions. In some cases-- in scout camps, and other youth and student organizations--the innovations succeeded in introducing Mass in the vernacular, the celebration of Mass on a table facing the people, and even concelebration. Among the young priests who took a delight in liturgical experiments in Rome in 1933 was the chaplain of the Catholic youth movement, a certain Father Giovanni Batista Montini. In Belgium, Dom Beauduin gave the Liturgical Movement an ecumenical purpose, theorizing that the Anglican Church could be united to the Catholic Church but not absorbed. He also founded a 'Monastery for Union' with the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which resulted in many of his monks "converting" to the eastern schism. Rome intervened: the Encyclical against the Ecumenical Movement, Mortalium Animos (1928) resulted in Dom Beauduin being discreetly recalled — a temporary diversion. The great protector of Beauduin was Cardinal Mercier, founder of "Catholic" ecumenism, and described by the anti-Modernists of the time as the "friend of all the betrayers of the Church." In the 1940s, the liturgical saboteurs had already obtained the support of a large part of the hierarchy, especially in France (through the CPL-Centre de Pastorale Liturgique) and in Germany. On January 18, 1943, the most serious attack against the Liturgical Movement was launched by an eloquent and outspoken member of the German hierarchy, the Archbishop of Freiburg, Conrad Grober. In a long letter addressed to his fellow bishops, Grober gathered together seventeen points expressing his criticisms of the Liturgical Movement. He criticized the theology of the charismatics, the Schoenstatt movement, but above the Liturgical Movement, involving implicitly also Theodor Cardinal Innitzer of Vienna. Few people know that Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ, who then lived in Vienna, wrote a response to Grober. We shall meet Karl Rahner again as the German hierarchy's conciliar peritus at the Second Vatican Council, together with Hans Kung and Schillebeeckx. The dispute ended up in Rome. In 1947 Pius XII's Encyclical on the liturgy, Mediator Dei, ratified the condemnation of the deviating Liturgical Movement. Pius XII "strongly espoused Catholic doctrine, but the sense of this encyclical was distorted in the commentaries made on it by the innovators; and Pius XII, even though he remembered the principles, did not have the courage to take effective measures against those responsible; he should have suppressed the French CPL and prohibited a good number of publications. But these measures would have resulted in an open conflict with the French hierarchy." Having seen the weakness of Rome, the reformers saw that they could move forward from experiments they now passed to official Roman reforms.

The Reforms of Pius XII

Pius XII underestimated the seriousness of the liturgical problem: "It produces in us a strange impression," he wrote to Bishop Grober, "if, almost from outside the world and time, the liturgical question has been presented as the problem of the moment." The reformers thus hoped to bring their Trojan Horse into the Church, through the almost unguarded gate of the Liturgy, profiting from the scant attention of Pope Pius XII paid to the matter, and helped by persons very close to the Pontiff, such as his own confessor Agostino Bea, future cardinal and 'super-ecumenist.' The following testimony of Annibale Bugnini is enlightening: "The Commission (for the reform of the Liturgy instituted in 1948) enjoyed the full confidence of the Pope, who was kept informed by Mgr. Montini, and even more so, weekly, by Fr. Bea, the confessor of Pius XII. Thanks to this intermediary, we could arrive at remarkable results, even during the periods when the Pope's illness prevented anyone else getting near him." Fr. Bea was involved with Pius XIIís first liturgical reform, the new liturgical translation of the Psalms, which replaced that of St. Jerome's Vulgate, so disliked by the protestants since it was the official translation of the Holy Scripture in the Church and declared to authentic by the Council of Trent. The use of the New Psalter was optional and enjoyed little success. After this reform (Motu proprio, 'In cotidianis precibus,' of March 24, 1945), came others which would last longer and be more serious. May 18, 1948: establishment of a Pontifical commission for the Reform of the Liturgy, with Annibale Bugnini as its secretary. January 6, 1953: the Apostolic Constitution 'Christus Dominus' on the reform of the Eucharist fast. March 23, 1955: the decree 'Cum hac nostra aetate,' not published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and not printed in the liturgical books, on the reform of the rubrics of the Missal and Breviary. November 19, 1955: the decree 'Maxima Redemptionis' new rite of Holy Week, already introduced experimentally for Holy Saturday in 1951.

The 1955 Rite of Holy Week anticipates the New Mass.

The following section will discuss the reform of Holy Week. Meanwhile, what of the rubrical reforms made in 1956 by Pius XII? They were an important stage in the liturgical reforms, as we will see when we examine the reforms of John XXIII. For now it is enough to say that the reforms tended to shorten the Divine Office and diminish the cult of the saints. All the feasts of semidouble and simple ranks became simple commemorations; in Lent and Passiontide one could choose between the office of a saint and that of the feria; the number of vigils was diminished and octaves were reduced to three. The Pater, Ave and credo recited at the beginning of each liturgical hour were suppressed; even the final antiphon to Our Lady was taken away, except at Compline. The Creed of St. Athanasius was suppressed except for once a year. In his book, Father Bonneterre admits that the reforms at the end of the pontificate of Pius XII are "the first stages of the self-destruction of the Roman Liturgy," Nevertheless, he defends them because of the "holiness" of the pope who promulgated them. "Pius XII," he writes, "undertook these reforms with complete purity of intention, reforms which were rendered necessary by the need of souls. He did not realize--he could not realize--that he was shaking discipline and the liturgy in one of the most crucial periods of the Churchís history; above all, he did not realize that he was putting into practice the program of the straying liturgical movement." Jean Crete comments on this; "Fr. Bonneterre recognizes that this decree signaled the beginning of the subversion of the liturgy, and yet seeks to excuse Pius XII on the grounds that at the time no one, except those who were party to the subversion, was able to realize what was going on. I can, on the contrary, give a categorical testimony on this point. I realized very well that this decree was just the beginning of a total subversion of the liturgy, and I was not the only one. All the true liturgists, all the priests who were attached to tradition, were dismayed." The Sacred Congregation of Rites was not favorable toward this decree, the work of a special commission. When, five weeks later, Pius XII announced the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (which caused the ancient feast of Ss. Philip and James to be transferred, and which replaced to Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Church), there was open opposition to it. For more than a year the Sacred Congregation of Rites refused to compose the office and Mass for the new feast. Many interventions of the pope were necessary before the Congregation of Rites agreed, against their will, to publish the office in 1956--an office so badly composed that one might suspect it had been deliberately sabotaged. And it was only in 1960 that the melodies of the Mass and office were composed--melodies based on models of the worst taste. "We relate this little-known episode to give an idea of the violence of the reaction to the first liturgical reforms of Pius XII.".

The New Holy Week Rite

"The liturgical renewal has clearly demonstrated that the formulae of the Roman Missal have to be revised and enriched. The renewal was begun by the same Pius XII with the restoration of the Easter Vigil and the Order of Holy Week, which constituted the first stage of the adaption of the Roman Missal to the needs of our times." These are the very words of Paul VI when he promulgated the New Mass on April 3, 1969. This clearly demonstrates how the pre-Conciliar and post-Conciliar changes are related. Likewise, Msgr. Gamber wrote that ìthe first Pontiff to bring a real and proper change to the traditional missal was Pius XII, with the introduction of the new liturgy of Holy Week. To move the ceremony of Holy Saturday to the night before Easter would have been possible without any great modification. But then along came John XXIII with the new ordering of the rubrics. "Even on these occasions, however, the Cannon the Mass remained intact. (Almost, John XXIII introduced the name of St. Joseph into the Canon during the council, violating the tradition that only the names of martyrs be mentioned in the Canon.) It was not even slightly altered. But after these precedents, it is true, the doors were opened to a radically new ordering of the Roman Liturgy." The decree, Maxima Redemptionis, which introduced the new rite in 1955, speaks exclusively of changing the times of the ceremonies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, to make it easier for the faithful to assist at the sacred rites, now transferred after centuries to the evenings those days. But no passage in the decree makes the slightest mention of the drastic changes in the texts and ceremonies themselves. In fact, the new rite of Holy Week was a nothing but a trial balloon for post-Concilliar reform which would follow. The modernist Dominican Fr. Chenu testifies to this: "Fr. Duployé followed all this with passionate lucidity. I remember that he said to me one day, much later on, 'if we succeed in restoring the Easter Vigil to its original value, the liturgical movement will have won; I give myself ten years to achieve this.' Ten years later it was a fait accompli." In fact, the new rite of Holy Week, is an alien body introduced into the heart of the Traditional Missal. It is based on principles which occur in Paul VI's1965 reforms.

Here are some examples:

—Paul VI suppressed the Last Gospel in 1965; in 1955 it was suppressed for the Masses of Holy Week.

—Paul VI suppressed the psalm 'Judica me' for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar; the same had been anticipated by the 1955 Holy Week.

—Paul VI (following the example of Luther) wanted Mass celebrated facing the people; the 1955 Holy Week initiated this practice by introducing it wherever possible (especially on Palm Sunday).

—Paul VI wanted the role of the priest to be diminished, replaced at every turn by ministers; in 1955 already, the celebrant no longer read the Lessons, Epistles, or Gospels (Passion) which were sung by the ministers--even though they form part of the Mass. The priest sat down, forgotten, in a corner.

—In his New Mass, Paul VI suppresses from the Mass all the elements of the 'Gallican' liturgy (dating from before Charlemagne), following the wicked doctrine of 'archaeologism' condemned by Pius XII. Thus, the offertory disappeared (to the great joy of Protestants), to be replaced by a Jewish grace before meals. Following the same principle, the New Rite of Holy Week had suppressed all the prayers in the ceremony of Blessing the palms (except one), the Epistle, Offatory and Preface which came first, and the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday.

—Paul VI, challenging the anathemas of the Council of Trent, suppressed the sacred order of the subdiaconate; the new rite of Holy Week suppressed many of the subdeacon's functions. The deacon replaced the subdeacon for some of the prayers (the Levate on Good Friday) the choir and celebrant replaced him for others (at the Adoration of the Cross).

The New Holy Week introduced other innovations:

—The Prayer for the Conversion of Heretics became the 'Prayer for Church Unity.'

—The genuflection at the Prayer for the Jews, (a practice the Church spurned for centuries in horror at the crime they committed on the first Good Friday).

—The new rite suppressed much medieval symbolism (the opening of the door of the church at the Gloria laus for example).

—The new rite introduced the vernacular in some places (renewal of baptismal promises).

—The Pater Noster was recited by all present (Good Friday).

—The prayers for the emperor were replaced by a prayer for those governing the republic, all with a very modern flavor.

—In the Breviary, the very moving psalm Miserere, repeated at all the hours of the Office, was suppressed.

—For Holy Saturday, the Exultet was changed and much of the symbolism of its words suppressed.

—Also on Holy Saturday, eight of the twelve prophecies were suppressed.

—Sections of the Passion were suppressed, even the Last Supper disappeared, in which our Lord, already betrayed, celebrated for the first time in history the Sacrifice of the Mass.

—On Good Friday, communion was now distributed, contrary to the tradition of the Church, and condemned by St. Pius X when people had wanted to initiate this practice.

All the rubrics of the 1955 Holy Week rite, then, insisted continually on the 'participation' of the faithful, and they scorned as abuses many of the popular devotions (so dear to the faithful) connected with Holy Week. This brief examination of the reform of Holy Week should allow the reader to realize how the 'experts'who would come up with the New Mass fourteen years later and used and taken advantage of the 1955 Holy Week rites to test their revolutionary experiments before applying them to the whole liturgy.


(Draft translation of Chapter 6 of Le Mouvement Liturgique, 1980 by Father Didier Bonneterre)

—The reforms of Pius XII-John XXIII and Dom Beauduin

—The liturgical reforms of Pope John XXIII

—The growing anxiety of the faithful over all the changes

We are now obliged to analyze the first liturgical reforms of John XXIII and Pius XII in order to attempt to understand the intentions of their authors and judge the merits of their initiatives, without pretending to pass a definitive judgment on such a delicate question, which has not been the object of much study until now. We shall conclude by showing that, whatever one may think of these reforms, it is undeniable that they were already the cause of scute anxiety among Catholics, a foreshadowing of the anguish of our times.


With the Motu Proprio 'In Cotidianis Precibus' of March 24, 1945, Pius XII authorized the use of a new translation of the psalms for the recitation of the hours of the Divine Office. This new Latin translation, made by the Pontifical Biblical Institute met with very little success, a fact which does credit to the good taste and religious sense of the Catholic clergy. This version, very elaborate and based upon the Hebrew text, is a work completely devoid of poetry, full of words which are difficult to pronounce and totally unsuited to the Gregorian melodies. It will always remain as a proof of the lack of liturgical sense shown by Cardinal Bea and his fellow-Jesuits who worked on the translation. We will examine in greater detail an even more significant even the foundation of a 'Pontifical Commission for the Reform of the Liturgy' on May 18, 1948. Before looking at the achievements of this Commission, however, we shall pause to consider the reasons for which it was founded and the circumstances which surrounded it. First of all, a reform of the liturgy, within given limits, is something perfectly legitimate. It is not, therefore, the actual fact of the setting up of the Commission for reform that we call into question, but rather its timing. A comparison is in order; in a period beset by earthquakes and tremors, no architect would ever consider rebuilding a fortress which is in need of repair, but which is nevertheless solid and able to withstand the tremors. He would be afraid of weakening the foundations of the old building because of the precarious circumstances. We can apply this to the matter at hand; to undertake a liturgical reform in a period when the liturgy was being attacked on all sides by its worst enemies is to cooperate in the ruin of the liturgy be weakening its stability, already badly shaken. You do not change course in a storm. The captain has to be properly informed by his officers. We have said so before and we shall say it again: Pope Pius XII was not aware of the storm then tossing the Barque of Peter. He did not know that the Liturgical Movement was in the hands of the worst adversaries of the Church. How could he have suspected such a cruel reality when the greatest princes of the Church were themselves putting the sheep's clothing on the backs of these wolves? How was it possible to realize this situation then and there, without benefit of hindsight? It was impossible. It is easy to judge in the 1980ís, when the modernists have had their masks off for a long time and revealed their behind-the-scenes activities--but in 1948, who could have known that under the purple robes of this or that cardinal, under this black or white habit, there lurked a disciple of the modernist Loisy?

Dom Beauduin had given the command in 1945; requests were to be submitted to the Vatican by bishops and by devoted members of Action Catholique. He had also written; "The Church does not fear to modify its discipline for the good of her children." This is the reason why at that time bishops were multiplying their requests to Rome for liturgical reforms and a relaxation of sacramental discipline--a shortening of the Eucharistic fast, evening Masses, the reform of Holy Week, the introduction of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments. Pastoral needs were often real, and Pius XII felt obliged to accept these requests.

Pius XII, therefore, with the best of intentions, undertook the reforms called for by the needs of souls without realizing-how could he?—that he was shaking the foundations of liturgy and sacramental discipline at one of the most critical periods in history, moreover, without realizing that he was putting into practice the program of the perverse Liturgical Movement. The requests submitted by Mgr. Harscouet or by Cardinal Bertram were being drawn up by Dom Beauduin and Father Guardini-and Pius XII could not have even been suspicious. Such was the terrible drama which the Church was living during this part of the reign of the Angelic Pastor. It will always be necessary, therefore, to understand these first reforms from Rome on two planes; on one hand they are an expression of the will of a saintly pope--which we could regard as a guarantee that they are perfectly orthodox; on the other hand, they are a stage in the realization of a plot hatched to destroy the Church. Let us take a look at the facts. First of all, there is the reform of the Eucharistic Fast. Since the end of the war, the bishops continually petitioned the Hole See to extend the indults granted because of the conflict. In the Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus (January 6, 1953), Pope Pius XII reduced the time of fasting to observe before Mass or Holy Communion, celebrated or received, respectively to three hours for solid foods, and one hour for non-alcoholic drinks. In the Motu Proprio 'Sacram Communion' of March 19, 1957, the same Pontiff granted permission to celebrate Mass during the afternoon. Let us quote a passage from this document. Our reader will see distinctly that twofold influence that animated the reforms, of which we have spoken: on one hand, there was pressure from the bishops (directed by various branches of the CPL); on the other, there were the perfectly legitimate pastoral concerns of the Angelic Pastor; "The bishops have made know to Us," he wrote, "their profound gratitude for these concessions, which have produced abundant fruit, and many have asked us with insistence to authorize them to permit, each day, that Mass be celebrated during the hours of the afternoon, in view of the great profit this would bring to the faithful...Given the considerable changes made in the organization of work and public services and in the whole of social life, we have deemed it right to welcome the pressing demands of the bishops." Pius XII concludes his Motu Proprio with an appeal for zeal: "But We strongly exhort priests and faithful alike, who are able to do so, to observe before Mass on holy Communion the ancient and venerable form of Eucharistic fast." For the Pope, therefore, it was a question of granting concessions to the demands of health and modern-day living, while for the neo-liturgists, these reforms constituted the first step toward the destruction of sacramental discipline in the Church. From three hours, it became one hour, only to become Paul VI's 'quarter of an hour.' We shall find exactly the same elements in the Reform of Holy Week. From the years 1945-1946, the French CPL and similar organizations throughout the world increased the number of conferences, publications , and other attempts to increase the participation of the faithful in the ceremonies of Holy Week. Endless ceremonies, they said, celebrated at unseemly times, before an absurdly low turnout of faithful-this could not go on. "For these reason," wrote Cardinal C. Cicognani, "liturgical experts, priests charged with the ministry of souls, and especially the most Reverend Bishops, during these latter years have not ceased to address their petitions to the Holy See precisely to return the liturgical ceremonies of the Sacred Triduum to the evening, as in ancient times, for the purpose of allowing all the faithful to be able to assist more easily at the ceremonies." Here again, we should note that it was essentially for pastoral motives that Pius XII acted-so that the faithful could assist in greater numbers at the most important liturgical ceremonies of the year. With this aim in mind, he authorized certain dioceses, beginning in 1951, to celebrate the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening. In 1953, he confided the task of restoring all the Holy Week services to the Commission for Liturgical Reform. The work was completed and approved by all the cardinals on July 19, 1955. It was promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the decree 'Maxima Redemptionis' on November 16th the same year. In two years the members of the Commission had accomplished a considerable amount of work, but they had also, most certainly, gone further than the Pope had intended. Pius XII wanted the restoration of the traditional timetable of Holy Week with the aim of making it easier for the people to assist at the services. Nowhere do we find him expressing the slightest wish to change the actual rites of the Holy Week services. That this is true is proved by the lack of explanation in 'Maxima Redemptionis' for the changes in the ceremonies. The decree itself only justifies the modification of the times of celebration. The 'experts' of the Commission profited from the work in progress to introduce their own archaeological discoveries and their own notions of the liturgy. The 'experts' used this reform as a trial balloon to observe what success their ceremonies would meet with. They would go on to extend them to the entire liturgy. It was in this way that the modifications in the ceremonies of the Mass of the 'Restored Holy Week Rite' were extended to the whole liturgy by the reform promulgated by John XXII in 1960. Let us not get ahead of the story, but content ourselves with enumerating the basic changes made in these ceremonies. First of all, there is the extreme simplification of the benediction of the palms, under the pretext of expurgating from the Missal all non-Roman elements. The idea for such a project of 'purification' went back a long way. The Anglican liturgist, Edmund Bishop had written in 1899; "It is true that the Roman Missal itself is not entirely bereft of fragments similar to the most marked 'Galican' compositions. A notable example is that of the third formula for the blessing of the palms, which begins in the manner of a simple collect, and then loses itself in an instruction of the mystical sense of the ceremony; "the palm branches therefore signify the triumph of Christ"and so forth. This is an explanation which would be perfectly appropriate in a discourse to the crowds, but which is surely not suited to a prayer addressed to God, a feeling shared by the whole world today." Let us also take note of the fact that the four readings of the Passion sung during Holy Week no longer contained either the anointing at Bethany or--what is more serious--the Last Supper. Let us also note the suppression of the Last Gospel on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and at the Mass of the Easter Vigil. There is also the suppression of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar at the Easter Vigil. The celebrant no longer reads what is sung by the deacon and subdeacon. The deacon alone sings 'Flectamus Genua' and responds 'Levate.' There is also the change of the ceremony for blessing the Paschal Candle and the drastic reduction in the number of lessons and responses. One last blow brought about the disappearance of the baptismal ceremony during the Vigil of Pentecost. The positive aspect of the reform was again of a pastoral nature, as was the introduction of the washing of the feet during the evening Mass on Holy Saturday and the renewal of baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil. Let us conclude by saying that this brought a few pastoral advantages--but that these were at the price of a more than questionable remodeling of the ancient and venerable ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Liturgy. Pius XII thought the advantages more considerable than the inconveniences--and we shall not contest his judgment here--but the reader should recall that all this time the perverse Liturgical Movement was scoring points. Let us quote the 'progressivist' theologian Father Chenu: "Father Duployé was following all this with an impassioned clear-sightedness. I remember, much later, he said to me; "If we succeed in restoring its original value, the Liturgical Movement will have triumphed; I give myself ten years to do that." Ten years later it was done."

The Rubrics of the Missal and Breviary were not spared. As in previous cases, "a few local Ordinaries addressed some pressing demands to the Holy See" and, continued Cardinal Cicognani, "the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius XII, by reason of his solicitude and his pastoral concern, has handed over the examination of this question to a special Commission of experts, to whom has been confided the task of studying the possibility of a general liturgical reorganization." These studies led to the promulgation of the decree 'Cum hac nostra aetate'(March 23, 1955)by the Sacred Congregation of Rites. This reform tended towards a simplification of the rubrics, with the aim of making the recitation of the Breviary easier for priests. Pope Pius XII wanted the Breviary lightened, and on this occasion once again, the 'experts' directed the reform in the direction desired by the Liturgical Movement.

As early as 1915, Dom Cabrol claimed that the reform of St. Pius X did not go far enough, that the calendar for the feasts of the saints was still too privileged. Forty years later, Rome eagerly agreed with him by reducing all feasts to simplex and semiduplex rank to the rank of a commemoration, and by allowing the possibility of saying the ferial office in Lent and Passiontide rather than the office of the saint of the day. The number of vigils was considerably diminished, and the number of octaves reduced to the minimum: only Christmas, Easter and Pentecost were spared. The Breviary was stripped of all its Our Fathers, Hail Martys and Creeds; the final antiphon to Our Lady was kept only after Compline; the rules concerning Preces and Commemorations were simplified; the Creed of St. Athanasius, (especially important these days)was reserved for Trinity Sunday only.

To conclude this all-too-rapid study of the liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII, it is good to remind ourselves that they were perfectly orthodox--guaranteed by the orthodoxy of the man who promulgated them. Nevertheless, we must recognize at the same time that, for the reasons we have already explained, they form the first stages of the 'self-destruction' of the Roman liturgy.


News of the death of the Angelic Pastor was greeted by almost delirious joy in the circles of the Liturgical Movement. The reforms of Pius XII had indeed given some satisfaction to the leaders of the Movement, but the implacable orthodoxy the Pope had maintained was not calculated to please them. They needed new and more daring reforms-they needed a Pope who understood the 'problems' of ecumenism, who was one hundred percent in support of the Movement. The disappearance of Pius XII from the scene finally permitted some hope.

Let us hear the words of Father Bouyer and the old Dom Beauduin: "I was at Chevetogne, the new Amay, after being invited to preach the retreat to the monks," writes Father Bouyer, "The death of Pius XII was announced too soon. Putting our faith in Italian radio, and with a zeal which might seem untimely, I think we sang a panykhid (Eastern rite requiem) for the repose of his soul a good twelve hours before he died. That evening, in the cell to which the old Dom Lambert Beauduin had returned to end his days, we had one of those conversations interspersed with silences, in which weariness interruptred but never dulled the train of his thoughts. "If they elect Roncalli," he told us, "all will be saved. HE WILL BE ABLE TO CALL A COUNCIL TO CONSECRATE ECUMENISM" Silence fell again, and then the old slyness returned in a flash of his eyes; "I am confident," he said, "we have a chance; the cardinals for the most part, do not know what they have to do. They are capable of voting for him." Father Bouyer concluded: "He was to live long enough to greet in John XXIII the beginning of the realization of his most invincible hopes."

Our readers will recall that Mgr. Roncalli and Dom Beauduin had been friends since 1924. One episode from this friendship will enable us to understand better the foundations of the hopes cherished by Dom Beauduin. Let us listen again to Father Bouyer: "When Mgr. Roncalli was let loose in Paris as Papal Nuncio, he (Dom Beauduin)went to pay him a visit, not without wondering whether Giuseppe, with his ring on his finger and his purple robe on his back, would still recognize his humilated friend. He did not remain in doubt for long. No sooner had his card gone in, than he heard the well-known voice coming from the antichamber: "Lamberto!...Victory!" Another instant and he was experiencing one of those warm embraces that were to become so famous. And before he knew what was happening, h heard the Nuncio saying: "Well now! Sit down there and tell me about all your adventures". Given a friendly push he took a step backwards and found himself installed in a chair of particuarly majestic dimensions. His listen took a chair opposite him, and laughing fit to burst, he (Dom Beauduin) began to recite the story of his troubles with Rome... realizing gradually that he was doing so from the splendor of the papal throne which is the compulsory decoration of the dwelling of all papal legates...He never imagined at the time that this farcical situation, would, aftern the event, take on symbolic meaning."

Dom Beaudin knew John XXIII well. He had known since 1958 that Roncalli would consecrate ecumenism, and that he would call a council--one which would be the synthesis of the Liturgical Movement. But the time of the council had not yet arrived, and the new Pope was anxious to complete the work of liturgical reform begun under his predecessor, and the extend its conclusions to the whole liturgy.

There was the Motu Proprio 'Rubricarum Instructum' (July 25, 1960). We cite an extract from it: "It 1956, while the preparatory studies for the general reform of the liturgy continued. Our Predecessor wished to hear the advice of the bishops on the subject of a future liturgical reform of the Roman Breviary. After having attentively examined, therefore, the replies of the bishops, he decided that the general and systematic reform of the rubrics of the Breviary and the Missal should be carried out, and he confided this task to the special Commission of experts, who had already been asked to make a study of the general reform of the liturgy. Finally, we Ourself, having decided, following Divine inspiration, to call an Ecumenical Council, have given thought on more than one occasion, as to what it was appropriate to do with regards to the initiative of Our Predecessor. And after examining the question properly, We have arrived at the conclusion, that the Fathers of the coming Council will be presented with the basic principles concerning liturgical reform, and that there should no longer be any distinction made between the reform of the rubrics of the Breviary and those of the Roman Missal.'

This liturgical reform came into force on January 1, 1961. It is really nothing but the extension to the whole liturgy of the rubrics 'tested': in 1955 and 1956 by the 'experts' of the Commission fir Reform, and deserves as such the same judgement as that passed on the reforms of Pius XII. The Breviary, however, is the principal victim of this too hasty reform, and John XXIII well knew it. He wrote rather naively: "And so, in a paternal spirit, We exhort all those bound to the recital of the Divine Office, to act so that what is suppressed in the Divine Office by these abbreviations will be made up for by a recitation full of greater diligence and devotion. And, as sometimes, the readings from the Holy Fathers is also a little reduced, We exhort insistently all ecclesiastics to have readily available, as a text for reading and meditation, the volumes of the Fathers, so full of wisdom and piety."

This 1960 reform was in a way the synthesis of all the pre-Concillar reforms. Despite the unhappy disappearances and conspicuous blunders, the Catholic liturgy remained substantially unchanged. The great mistake of John XXIII was to be when he charged the Council with remodelling the fundamental principles of the liturgy. From that moment on, the reforms were to be totally animated by a new concept of the liturgy. This concept was, of course, welling up already in the pre-Concillar reforms, but it had been held back, dominated by the watchful orthodoxy of Pius XII.


All these pre-Concillar reforms seem nothing to us in comparison with what was to come later. Much more significant reforms were on their way to shake the liturgy from top to bottom. That is true, of course-but one must not forget that these first reforms were already the cause of considerable worry among the faithful. Testifying to this anxiety is a little book written by Father Roguet, They are Changing Our Religion. this book expresses the anxieties of Catholics between ;1958 and 1960 in the face of the changes that had come into the liturgy. The faithful felt that behind the details in the ceremonies, there was the desire of the reformers-and not of the Pope-to change the religious behavior of Catholics, if not their very faith.

Father Roguet hid nothing: "Thus, the gestures that we make-those cultural practices which appear to be the most insignificant-these signify and nourish our faith. It is therefore not irrelevant that we go to Mass, that we receive Communion none way rather than another. These practices enter into our faith, and at the same time, they form it. Changes in the times of Mass and services, in the rules concerning Communion, or the disposition of the altar can therefore have profound consequences. That is what is felt so strongly by those who complain that our Religion is being changed."

We shall content ourselves with simply giving the titles of the chapters for they express eloquently enough the astonishment and protests of the faithful: "We cannot Pray Any More!"; "The Altar Is Turned Round"; "O My Soul, Adore and Keep Quiet!"; "They Want to Make Us Sing!"; "Prayer of the Body"; "A Real Novelty; Evening Masses"; "The Changes Made in the Eucharistic Fast"; "Midnight Mass at Easter"; "The Most Beautiful Day in One ís Life"; "A Return to the Bible"; "Towards a Liturgy in French?," "Rejuvenation of the Churches."

In conclusion to this paragraph, it will suffice to quote Father Roguet again. This passage marks the conclusion to his work. It contains the entire program of the new liturgists: to take us back to a primitive Church, conceived in the most Protestant manner, by denying fifteen centuries of the Church ís life. The last sentence foreshadows already the excommunication in practice of those Catholics attached to Tradition: "They are changing our religion." writes the author. "Not at all. It is merely a question of freeing our religion from routines which, although ancient, are nevertheless, not so venerable. It is a question of returning to the sparkling freshness of the Gospel. This is the true meaning of childhood: If we do not know how to return to it, we shall not enter into the Kingdom of God."

And so, in 1960, the Liturgical Movement had already won numerous battles-but it had not yet won the war. Its leaders, protected by men in high places, had profited from the pastoral solicitude of the Pope in order to shake the ancient stability of the Catholic liturgy, and to insinuate into the ceremonies their own new concept of an Ecumenical Council which was to study, among other things, the principles of liturgical reform. This council was to be, in the words of Cardinal Suenens, a "French Revolution for the Church."

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