EXTRACT FROM A LETTER TO A PHILIPPINE MAYOR
REGARDING THE LATIN MASS
Regarding the other topic of our discussion: the Latin Mass. There really wasnít time to discuss all of the ins and outs of that since it is not quite the simple matter one would expect. For one thing, there are two different Latin Masses out there, and they are different from each other. They are:
One would think that should not be any trouble, however there is another piece of information of relevance here which we never had the time to get to in our brief discussion. The Latin Tridentine Mass has become quite a bit of a controversial "hot potato" in ecclesiastical circles. I know that you are extremely astute politically, but all the same I am sure that you could use a glimpse of the "lay of the land." Allow me to give you a thumbnail sketch of its history and of how this strange state of affairs has come to be.
From time immemorial, the Latin Tridentine Mass had always been the Mass of Rome, of Saint Peter himself, and the primary Mass of the Church. It is true that there were certain variations among the Masses as instituted by the various 12 Apostles in their travels to Macedonia, Alexandria, India, Persia, etc., some of which variations still survive as the "Eastern Catholic Rites," but these are exceptions and in any case do not apply to the Philippines. For thousands of years, no one ever dreamed of tampering with any of its prayers or rubrics since they, like the Bible, came down to us from the Apostles themselves, as much a reliable source of the doctrines of our Faith as Sacred Scripture and all the rest of Sacred Tradition.
In the sixteenth century, European Protestants began tampering with the Liturgy after severing their relation with Rome, so as to teach Protestant beliefs to the populace. In response, the Church, in the Council of Trent, made a point of confirming infallibly for all time each and every detail of the Faith and Sacraments (including the Mass) as had always been taught and used by the Church. Under the pressure of the Protestants, some Catholic priests were also beginning to alter the manner in which they offered up the Mass so as to be less "offensive" to the surrounding Protestant culture. The "reform" of the Mass in those days was simply an insistence on the part of Rome that those priests cease to compromise their Mass in any way with the Protestants. Since the printing press had just been invented, a single unified Mass (identical to what the Church had always done, apart from minor local variations which had cropped up) was published and made available for all to use. Pope Saint Pius V promulgated this newly published Mass, together with a decree to the effect that this is to be forever the Mass of the Church, and that no priest could ever be prohibited from performing it.
Things went well enough for the next several centuries until Vatican II made the declaration that the Mass was to be "reformed" according to the then fashionable principle of "aggiornamento." Over the next five years, gradual changes were made to vernacularize the Mass, and to delete certain portions of it (such as the reading from the Gospel of John at the end of the Mass). The 1967 Latin Missal was the last published which had any real continuity with the Mass of all ages. One cannot point to Vatican II for the authority to do anything that was done to the Liturgy after that point.
In 1969, a "Novus Ordo Missae" was published. This "New Order of the Mass" was authored by an anonymous group of "experts" headed up by the confirmed Freemason, Annibale Bugnini, and with the participation of six Protestant "observers." When originally published, it was primarily the young leftist radical priests who favored it. (Most of these priests subsequently left the Church, or at least the priesthood so as to marry.) Most of the older, more experienced and spiritually mature priests pretty much all simply continued to use their older Missals. However in 1971, the order came down (verbally) that only the new was to be used, and many dioceses began to impose it. In 1974, the verbal order was finally put in writing. By then only a very few dioceses still permitted the Latin Tridentine Mass, and that by exercising any of a variety of exceptions under the law.
Even so, there were hundreds of priests worldwide (and tens of thousands of their parishioners), most of whom were unaware of who most of the others were, but who all have continued using the Latin Tridentine Mass exclusively. Over time, these holy priests, whose only "crime" was continuing in the Faith and the Sacraments to which they were ordained to teach and provide, were put out from their dioceses, their parish churches, and rudely spoken of as being mere "wildcat" priests, or were even spoken of as being "defrocked." None of this fooled any of these priests, nor their regular parishioners.
One would think that these priests, and what very few bishops, often of far-off, remote dioceses, who supported them, would be ignored by those who control trillions of dollars worth of lands and properties, along with nearly a quarter of the earthís population. Yet even so, the degree of public hostility and vituperation which the modernist members of the hierarchy have heaped upon these few priests has far outstripped their size and scope. "Catholics" were being instructed to get warm and fuzzy and "ecumenical" with Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, and so forth, but to hate (in the most bigoted and prejudiced sense of the word) those few holy priests and their parishioners. During that time, any request for a Latin Tridentine Mass would have been refused by any priest or bishop who wanted to keep his faculties, no matter how sincere, devout, or good and traditionally-minded they were.
In 1984, John Paul II finally announced that Latin Tridentine Masses were to be allowed again, albeit under extremely grudging and limited circumstances. It was not a rule that it must be performed but only an permission, granted to bishops, and which the bishops, if they so chose, could in turn grant to any priest in their diocese. Only about a couple dozen or so bishops around the world availed themselves of this permission, and far fewer than that on any ongoing regular weekly (or better) basis. A handful or so of the holy priests mentioned above made peace with some of those bishops and continued saying the Latin Tridentine Mass, now again with the recognition of their local bishop. Many others were in dioceses where the local bishop refused to avail himself of this permission, and so continued their pastoral activities without that recognition. A few others, for a variety of more complex reasons, decided not to try to obtain that recognition even though it might have been available.
In 1988, John Paul II enlarged upon and extended that permission, and even set up the first of now about half a dozen orders of priests as a "Society of Pontifical Right," namely the Fraternity of Saint Peter, who are specifically trained for and ordained to saying only the Latin Tridentine Mass. Over the last eleven years since that happened, the Latin Tridentine Mass has made a rather considerable comeback, at least in certain places. The Philippines, oddly enough, is not one of them. Currently, only one Latin Tridentine Mass takes place in the Philippines with the conventional approvals, and that is in Manila. I am not certain whether it is still on a once-per-month basis, or if it has since been upgraded to once-per-week. There are however about a dozen or so priests in the Philippines who say the Latin Tridentine Mass, and all (with the exception of the one in Manila) without the formal recognition and approval of their local bishop, even though Papal injunctions, both ancient and modern, have made it abundantly clear that such permission cannot be lawfully withheld.
As a result, the majority (in the Philippines, a vast majority) of all Latin Tridentine Masses said are said without the usual recognition and local approvals, and by priests (and one retired bishop, Salvador Lazo) whom the remaining members of the hierarchy including Cardinal Jaime Sin himself have been taught to hate with all bigotry and prejudice, and taught well. I have seen certain public statements where the Cardinal himself admits to such bigotry and prejudice, and attempts to convey such attitudes upon his hapless listeners.
When you approach the bishop to request a Latin Tridentine Mass (and ask for it on a regular (weekly plus holy days of obligation) basis, please; anything less will only achieve a temporary good), I can virtually assure you that in his mind he will wonder what connection you might have to those hated faithful priests. If you are knowledgeable about these things (as for example, the difference between the Latin Novus Ordo Missae and the Latin Tridentine Mass) then you will be regarded as suspicious to them. They will wonder if you have been getting your information from those hated faithful priests (point of fact: Yes, from me, their spokesman. But donít admit that to them) If you are ignorant (or act ignorant) they will take advantage of that and give you a Latin Novus Ordo Mass and claim to have met your request.
To help you in this dilemma, I am sending you a gift subscription of The Latin Mass magazine, one which has diocesan approval and also conveys the useful information, so that you donít have to say that you got it from me. If they ask how you came across The Latin Mass magazine, tell them that an American member of the Legion of Mary sent you a gift subscription (all of which is true). Another tack you can take which will help to quell their suspicion is to emphasize your interest in reviving and sustaining the history and heritage of [the city you are mayor of], including the Mass (which you have just learned from The Latin Mass magazine has Papal approval) which had been said in St. James for centuries. As a secular ruler (and devout Catholic) asking for these things, you will have far more weight than even a large number of ordinary lay people who would prefer and dutifully attend such a Mass. It just might be convincing, and it may happen.
This is more than just a favor to me or my wife, or even a rich piece of [your cityís] (or Philippine) heritage; this is a tremendous source of Godís graces in the community, and perhaps far beyond. Such graces from God on the community will lower the crime rate, enhance the harvest, make people feel safe enough that they donít have to lock their doors, and place you in a very good odor with the true and sincere Catholics of the city (and that without angering anybody else). In addition, the rewards in Heaven for your soul would be beyond our imagining. I have enclosed a list of 77 Graces (See On-Line) which flow from the Mass. These Graces do not flow from the Novus Ordo (whether in the vernacular or in Latin) since that is in fact an irreverent parody of the Mass concocted by known and admitted enemies of the Church.
Enough of that! I have already seen that you are a very good and capable leader and my wife and I truly hope and pray for the continued success of your political career. This world needs more like you and fewer of the other kind. My wife says "Hi" and asks that you remember her sister, hoping you can help extend her employment.
With our deepest friendship and support,
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