Part I

Rama P Coomaraswamy, M.D.






This correspondence which took place some 20 years ago represents a debate between myself and Mother Theresa. She and I had a long and intimate relationship dating back to the fifties when we met in India, where I had the privilege of working with her in Calcutta. Subsequent to that, I had cared for her and her nuns as a physician and surgeon in New York City, and indeed had operated upon her. She had accepted my 8 year old daughter who was dying of leukemia into her order and frequently visited at my home. In addition, my wife, an attorney, acted as her lawyer in the United States for many years.


Mother Theresa had taken me to task for not following the pope and for insisting on attending the traditional rites of the Church. Her initial letter in which she stated I was Aturning my back on Jesus@ led to this correspondence. In point of fact, she admitted that she was ill prepared to debate the issues with me, and said she would get someone in Rome to explain things to me in a proper manner. It was our understanding that the results would be published. If I was wrong and shown to be wrong, this could only lead to great good as the issues discussed were creating problems for many Catholics throughout the world. If I was correct, however, then again, the publishing of such a debate could only serve to defend the truth. At the end of this debate Mother Theresa said that she did not want the material published, and indeed said that if I went ahead and published it, our friendship would be at an end. I have respected her request as long as she was alive. However, now that she had gone on to better things, that restriction no longer holds.


At the time of the debate, I did not know the name of the individual involved. She later told me that it was Cardinal Knox.[1] Of course, I do not think the Cardinal himself engaged in the discussion. In all probability he appointed one of his theologians to do so. Again I do not know the name of this individual, but Cardinal Knox was then head of the Holy Office (or its current new name of ACongregation for the Faith.@ It matters not, for obviously this theologian speaks for the Cardinal and the Cardinal for Mother Theresa and the Church - or more properly, for the ANew Church.@


Nothing in the original correspondence or the original introduction is changed. I would probably make different points, or at least state them in a different mannerif I were to engage in such a debate today some twenty years later. But as I review the text, I can see little that needs changing. I would like to make it clear that this is in no way an attack on Mother Theresa for whom I have a great deal of respect and love. It is above all part of my own search to be and remain Catholic. It remains then, a sort of historical document for those who are interested in the subject matter. It also provides one of the few serious attempts of the new Church to justify itself in the face of the criticisms so often leveled against it by so-called Atraditional Catholics.@


Rama P Coomaraswamy, M.D.+








In offering the following correspondence to the public, my intention is to provide the reader with a summary of the issues that divide those who adhere to the traditional Church ‑ the "Church of All Times," from what has been called by its own adherents the "New" or "post‑Conciliar@Church. Both sides of course argue that there can only truly, be One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and hence both sides claim that their Church manifests these essential characteristics. Only certain logical possibilities can exist. Either the New Church is in no essential way different from the traditional Church, and the entire debate is a "storm in a teapot," or they are significantly different, and one of them must be declared to be Schism&tic or Heretical. This correspondence addresses itself to this point and concludes that the difference is clearly significant. It further professes to prove that since the traditional Church has not changed and can claim and prove its unity with the Catholic Church in matters of doctrine and liturgy going back to Apostolic times, it is the new and post‑Conciliar Church that must be proclaimed to be in Schism.


A debate must never be construed as a personal attack. I have known Mother Theresa for over 25 years ‑ going back to a time when we had no theological differences. I have the greatest respect for both her and her work. I have had the privilege of working under her direction in Calcutta shortly after she opened her first house for the "dead and dying" next to Kalighat temple. To this day I support her work among the poor both in India and in the Bronx. But to respect her is not necessarily to agree with her theology. Mother Theresa accepts (with considerable regret, I suspect) the new rites of the New Church, and would be willing to lay down her life for all that Vatican II teaches. She considers obedience to the present Pontiff of paramount importance to her faith. When she found that I refused to attend the nw rites and was insisting that my family not abandon the Church as it always was and is, she wrote in great love and sincerity to persuade me not to ‑ as she saw it ‑ "to turn my back on Christ." It was this letter that initiated this correspondence.


There are those who will find in my side of the correspondence what has been called, an "excess of Post‑reformation zeal." I would ask the reader to forgive this and to recognize that it is impossible to argue from conviction without an element of enthusiasm. I would also ask him to understand that my dislike of Protestant theology in no way intends a slur on individual Protestants. In a certain sense, I am not trying to show within this correspondence that Protestant theology is wrong (though such is clearly my conviction), as to show that the New and post‑Conciliar Church is Protestant. I am writing for Catholics, both those who wish to preserve their Tradition, and those who have been gently led down the primrose path of modernism by the New Church. In such a situation it is in no way incumbent for me to demonstrate the errors of Protestant theology and indeed that has been done from the Catholic viewpoint by countless polemicists. It is only necessary for me to show that the New Church is barely distinguishable from the Reformation cults that left the traditional Church in the 16th century. This I believe I have amply done.


Just as Mother Theresa has quite appropriately put her part of the correspondence in the hands of a theologian that she has faith in, so also I have asked theologians to review my statements for exactitude. While expressing my indebtedness and gratitude for help and suggestions, I must also assume responsibility for what I have said. Should anyone show me where I have departed from the teaching of the traditional Catholic Church, I shall be most grateful, for in all that I have written, I do not seek to think for myself (that is a "process@ that I sadly leave to the "new@ theologians but to think correctly, Theology is not a matter of personal taste, but of truth. To think correctly in doctrinal matters is to think as the Church has always thought. This is, with the help of God, my intention.


Now one can deny but that the Catholic Church is in Acrisis" today. I am convinced that the basis for this crisis is that the "official" church has abandoned both her traditional rites and her orthodox teaching. I fervently pray that this correspondence may in some small way contribute to the understanding and resolution of this crisis.




††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Easter l978







††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Calcutta, 24, 1.77



My Dear Ram,


>Don=t hurt Jesus He loves you= is what I wrote to Archbishop Lefebvre and I write the same to you.

I do not understand how you who know, love and serve Jesus could do this to Jesus. I do not understand why Archbishop Lefebvre is creating this difficulty in the Church. If Pius the V could make the change in his time - why canít Paul VI do the same in his time. Both hold same powers - both have done it by the same authority given to them by Christ. We owe our Holy Father complete obedience - Nothing in the Holy Mass has been changed that makes the Bread into the Body of Christ - that makes it a Sacrifice. A few external movements and words added are cut off do not touch the Mass or change it. Who is Arch. Lefebvre to question the authority of Paul VI. History repeats itself. The same question was put to Jesus himself and you know the answer.


Ram, you know my love for you and yours - Do not allow pride to destroy your love for Jesus - For you have been created for greater things to love and to be loved. Holy Father cannot make a mistake & if you turn your back to him - You are for sure turning it to Jesus and without Jesus you cannot live. Ram do not allow anything nor any one to separate you from the love of Christ. Don=t hurt Jesus. He loves you.


Sometimes the bone from where you removed that extra part is painful otherwise all is well. We got 105 Postulants on the 6th Jan and you can imagine the Mother House full of life - I have on the 11th Jan made a new foundation in Manila. One more in New Guinea. So pray much for us all as I do for you and yours.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† God bless you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† M. Theresa M.C.





††††††††††† Dr. Ram Coomaraswamy.


(Original letter in her own handwriting in my possession.)





Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., F.A.C.S.



Passion Sunday,†††† 1977



Dear Mother Theresa:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


Pax Christi! I have received your letter and recognize the spirit of love ‑ both for Christ and for myself ‑ that it contains. I am most grateful for its intent.≠


I am sure that you are fully aware of the greet personalrespect that I have for you. Since I disagree with ,you, I must tell you why, andit behooves you (or anyone else you should appoint in your placed ) in charity†† to explain wherein I am in error.


Let me state from the start that I shall not be satistled by yo u or someone else merely telling me I must obey; that I have no business raising the issu es that I raise, or that I am, disrupting the "unity@ ofthe Church. The reasons for this willbecome clear from the content of this letter, butcan well summed up by these words from St. .Thomas Aquinas:


†††††††††††††††† When there is proximate danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned, even††††††††† publicly, by their subjects.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Summa Theol. II-II 33, 4,2


Let me add that these issues have been raised by and others to appropriate ecclesiastical authorities. No satisfactory answers have been given It matters not how many share my views of the issues. It is sufficient that a single soul should ask.. Charity demands that his questions should be answered and where in error, he should be corrected It is for him to accept or refuse the correction. The failure of those in authority to provide answers when the faith is being destroyed by the changes they have introduced and to only scream from the top of their lungs that we must "obey@ is singularly lacking in charity, and what St. Paul taught about this virtue



I freely admit to having Ahurt@' Jesus many times and acknowledge that dsespite His graces, I shall doubtless do so many times again - may He save me from myself! Nevertheless, in where I stand vis-a-vis the so-called Apost‑conciliar" Church, I am fairly convinced I cause Him no pain. I also admit that I am subject to pride despite the fact that I constantly try to stamp it out from my soul - but in where I stand on the Novus Ordo there is I hope no pride, unless it be that pride of being a Catholic and holding to the Truth (and the Traditions that incorporate it) at all costs - ma y God so help me.


Let me assure you that I have spent some five years of study and meditation and prayer on the issues in question. If my answer is somewhat long, you must forgive me. This is because the subject matter is important, and since I have no intention of expressing personal opinions - I have no faith in them - I must quote sources that I hope will be acceptable to both of us.


1) You state in your letter that AWe owe our Holy Father complete obedience... Holy Father cannot make a mistake.@ Holy Father cannot make a mistake." I quote your words directly I hope you will forgive my presumption if I tell you this is simply NOT true. You are in doctrinal error to hold this view. It has never been the teaching of the Catholic Church. I shall give you several quotes to prove my point:


AIf either the Pope or the Queen (of England) demanded of me an >absolute obedience,= he or she would be transgressing the laws of human nature and human society. I give an absolute obedience to neither.@


†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cardinal Newman,A Letter Addressed to His Grace, the Duke of Norfolk(This was the last book he personally wrote and published and certainly is the fruit of his mature thought.)[2]



AA Pope is not inspired; he has not an inherent gift of divine knowledge. When he speaks ex cathedra, he may say little or much, but he is simply protected from saying what is untrue. I know you will find flatterers and partisans such as those whom St. Francis de Sales calls >the Pope=s lackeys,= who say much more than this, but they may enjoytheir own opinions, they cannot bind the faith of Catholics.@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cardinal Newman, letter quoted by B. Ward in her biography.


AThe Pope=s teaching ex cathedra is an independent organ of infallibility... infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the Pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching... The scope of this infallibility is to preserve the deposit of faith revealed to man by Christ and his Apostles.@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908



Indeed, it is even conceivable for a Pope to personally fall into heresy. This has always been recognized by the Church as a possibility. Pope Honorius I was condemned by an Ecumenical Council as a heretic.[3]



AWherefore, under no circumstances can he (the Pope) be deposed by the Church, but can only be declared to have fallen from his Pontificate, if for the sake of example he should chance (which God forbid!) To fall into public heresy, and should therefore, ipso facto, cease to be Pope, yea, even to be a Christian believer.@


††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Cornelius Lapide, S.J. - prior to Vatican II this individual was recognized as one of the greatest authorities on Scripture and doctrine.


A similar exceptional situation might arise were a pope to become a public heretic, i.e. were he publicly and officially to teach some doctrine clearly opposed to what has been defined as de fide catholica. In this case... the Pope would ipso facto cease to be Pope.@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908


2) The Pope is subject to God=s law, and must use his authority according to God=s purpose. As Cardinal Hergenrother states (Cath. Encyclopedia, 1908): the Pope Ais circumscribed by the consciousness of the necessity of making a righteous and beneficent use of the duties attached to his privileges... He is also circumscribed by the spirit and practice of the Church, by the respect due to General Councils, and to the ancient statutes and customs.@ St. Bernard in his Five Books on Consideration (written to a former monk of his, Pope Eugene) says:


AYou have been entrusted with stewardship over the world, not given possession of it... leave possession and rule to Him; you take care of it. This is your portion: beyond it do not stretch your hand; You should not think that you are excluded from those about whom God complains, (when He says in Hos.. 8:4) >they have reigned, but not by me princes have arisen, but I do not recognize them=@


I recognize the importance of Peter being given the Keys. Remember however that the high priest of the Jews also was given the Keys. To quote Isaiah 22:22, AAnd I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open.@ The high priest Caphias had the authority in Jerusalem but he was Aperfidious@ in the use of his authority. And may I add, the chief priest Apersuaded the people!@


Let me repeat, the Pope is subject to God=s law and must use his authority according to God=s purpose. This is clearly taught in a de fide statement of Vatican I


AThe Holy Spirit is not promised to the successors of Peter so that, through His revelation, they may bring new doctrines to light, but that, with His help, they may keep inviolate and faithfully expound the revelation handed down through the Apostles, the deposit of faith...@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Denzinger 1836



Further, it follows that the Pope cannot break the solemn oaths that he has taken any more than I can break my marriage vows. He may not because he is Pope violate his oath against modernism. Now this oath was repeated every time he went up the steps of the ecclesiastical ladder. The nature of this oath will become clearer in what follows.


In summary then, the Pope, like all of us, must also obey! Should he disobey and promote modernist heresy, we have no obligation to follow him in his disobedience.

3) We must of courseobey the Pope under certain circumstances; when he uses his authority legitimately, we must obey. When he speaks. ex cathedra, what he says becomes part of the solemn magisterium and we must submit. To go against such is to go against Truth. And here also the Pope must submit. He cannot go against infallible truth or use his office to harm the Church. He cannot declare that the Immaculate Conception is not a fact. We must obey the Pope when he speaks in a manner consistent with the solemn magisterium (what would be called the ordinary magisterium), and we must, according to St. Bernard, even obey him when we are in doubt about an issue. However, if the pope is in heresy; if the Pope goes against the teachings of the Church- then, if he asks us to go along with him, we must not only not obey himbut must even disobey him.


4) What then are the circumstances under which we are free to disobey the Pope? Let us turn to Cardinal Newman=s book for several quote4s on this issue taken from authorities in the Church we both accept - his book A Letter Addressed to His Grace te Duke of Norfolk:


Cardinal Turrecremata (of Inquisition fame): AAlthough it clearly follows from the circumstances that the Pope can err at times, and command thing which must not be done, that we are not to be simply obedient to him in all things, that does not show that he must not be obeyed by all when his commands are good. To know in what cases he is to be obeyed and in what not... it is said in the Acts of the Apostles, >One ought to obey God rather than man;= therefore, were the Pope to command anything against Holy Scripture, or the articles of faith, or the truth of the Sacraments, or the commands of the natural or divine law, he ought not to be obeyed, but in such commands, to be passed over (despiciendus).@ Sum. De Eccl., pp. 47-8


Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J. (Saint): Ain order to resist and defend oneself no authority is required... Therefore, as it is lawful to resist the Pope, if he assaulted a man=s person, so it is law3ful to resist him if he assaulted souls, or troubled the state, and much more so if he strove to destroy the Church. It is lawful, I say, to resist him, by not doing what he commands and hindering the execution of his will.@ de Rom. Pont., ii., 29



Other theologians have held similar positions and I give a sampling:



St. Thomas Aquinas: AWhen there is a proximate danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned even publicly by their subjects.@ Again, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, concerning the episode in which St. Paul resisted St. Peter to his face, St. Thomas writes: AThe rebuke was just and useful, and its motive was not light: it was a question of a danger to the preservation of the evangelical truth... The manner in which the rebuke was given was appropriate, for it was public and manifest...@ Elsewhere St. Thomas speaks of an Aindiscreet obedience which obeys even in matters unlawful... Now sometimes things commanded by a superior are against God, therefore, superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.@


Francisco de Vitoria: AIf the Pope, by his orders and his acts, destroys the Church, one can resist him and impede the execution of his commands.@Obras, pp. 486-7


Suarez: AIf the Pope lays down an order contrary to right customs, one does not have to obey him; if he tries to do something manifestly opposed to justice and to the common good, it would be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, he could be repelled by force, with the moderation characteristic of a just defense.@De Fide, disp X sect. VI. No. 16


St. Catherine of Siena: in referring to the Pope said: AAlas, Holy Father, there are times when those who obey are heading for perdition...@ Biography.


Thus we see it is possible for a Pope, not only to personally fall into error, but also to command things which must be disobeyed. It is also possible for him to become schismatic by separating himself from the Church and even by tampering in certain ways with the liturgy.



Suarez says: AOne also falls into Schism if one separates oneself from the body of the Church by refusing to be in communion with Her by participating in the sacraments... The Pope can become schismatic in this manner if he does not wish to be in proper communion (The Church of all Times), a situation which would arise if he tried to excommunicate the entire Church, of if, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, IF HE WISHED TO CHANGE ALL THE ECCLESIASTICAL CEREMONIES, FOUNDED AS THEY ARE ON APOSTOLIC TRADITION.@ with the body of the Church


The theologian Jean de Torquemada, known to be a champion of papal parogatives, elaborates on the issue of a Pope becoming schismatic:



ABy disobedience the Pope can separate himself from Christ despite the fact that he is head of the Church, for above all, the unity of the Church is dependent on its relationship with Christ. The Pope can separate himself from Christ by either disobeying the laws of Christ or by commanding something that is against the divine and natural law. By so doing the Pope separates himself from the body of the Church because this body is itself linked to Christ by obedience. In this way the Pope could without doubt, fall into Schism.


AThe Pope can also separate himself from the Church and her priests if he so wishes to do and without any specific reason (i.e., by the exercising of his free will). He also does this if he refuses to do what the Universal Church (The Church of All Times) does, based as these things are, on the Tradition of the Ap9ostles; or again, if he does not observe those precepts which the Holy and Ecumenical Councils or the Holy See have determined to be of universal application (i.e., the solemn Magisterium). Especially is this true with regard to the divine liturgy, as for example, if he did not wish personally to follow the universal customs and rites of the Church. Such would be the case if he did not wish to celebrate Mass with the sacred vestments, or with candles, of if he refused to make the sign of the cross in the same manner as other priests do. The same holds true for other aspects of the liturgy in a very general fashion, and for anything that might go against the perpetual customs of the Church as incorporated in the Canons AQuae ad perpetuum,@ AViolatores,@ ASunt quidem.,@ and AContra Statua.@ By separating himself from the observance of the Universal customs of the Church, and by doing so with obstinacy, the Pope is able to fall into schism. Such a conclusion is only just because the premises on which it is based are beyond doubt. For, just as the Pope can become a heretic, so he is also able to refuse to follow the established customs of the Church, and to do so with the sin of obstinacy. Thus it is that Innocent states (ADe Consuetudine@) that it is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not himself go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed...@



5) Up to this point I have only tried to present the correct Catholic teaching on the issue of obedience. I have made no judgement (except perhaps by allusion) against what the Pope has done. Like St. Paul said in reference to the perfidious Jews, AI do not accuse you, I do not judge. Moses accuses you...@ Here Moses is of course, that very teaching Magisterium that we all owe obedience to. In any event, I hope I have convinced you that we owe no absolute obedience (your word was complete) to the Pope in the sense you speak of. Moreover, the Pope can not only be in error, he can also be in schism, and even in heresy. If we were to follow the Pope into heresy, we would on the day of judgment reap our appropriate and just Areward.@ Such blind obedience is not the will of Christ, for to obey without Truth is slavery. Christ taught us that it is the truth that makes us free. Hence it follows that to obey what is false can never be a Christian teaching. You must understand dear mother that it is TRUTH, and NOT INDISCRETE OBEDIENCE that obviates heresy, schism and apostasy.



6) Let us now turn to the issue of the Novus Ordo Missae, or the new Aservice@ which is passed off on us as the Amass.@ Bear with me in patience if you think I go too far. Allow me to make my points. I shall submit to correction if it is forthcoming.


You state in your letter Aif Pius the V could make the change in his time - why can=t Paul VI do the same in his time?@ Again I quote you directly, and admit that you use the words of the present Pope in essence, for he has several times said just this.


Now here the premise is totally false. There is absolutely nothing in common with the actions of Pius V and Paul VI on the issue of the Mass. Pius V did not make up a new mass. What this saint did was to codify the Mass of All Times. Proof of this is openly available. The Canon (rule) of the Mass is of Apostolic origin. It was only written down after the Church came out of the catacombs and Charlemagne became the Christian Emperor. He ordered it written in letters of gold by men of mature age lest any error creep in. It is possible that Pope Gregory might have rearranged (not changed) some of the prayers in the Canon, but this is not proven. From that time to the present when John XXIII added the name of St. Joseph, no one in the known history of the Church had the audacity to change the Canon. Pius V certainly did not change it. Certain corruptions that had crept into the other parts of the Mass of All Times were after careful study corrected. After this, Saint Pius V fixed the Mass of all times in perpetuity. For instance, the G0odpel readings fixed by him were those of St. Pope Damasus in the Fourth Century. The Apostles could not have done this as the Scriptures were written some time after the Crucifixion. The Introit and Graduals of the Mass date from the 6th Century. Since Pius V there have been four rather minor changes in the Mass - not one of the affecting the Canon, to say nothing of the Asubstance@ of the Sacrament. If for instance Pope Urban VIII arranged for a simplification of some of the Rubrics, this is not to change the Mass of All Times.


I think it is quite excusable for you to think that Paul VI did what Pius V had done. It is however not excusable for the present Pontiff to claim this. He should know better. Let us then examine just what Paul VI did.


The Novus Ordo Missae (or the new Amass@) was written with the aid of six non-Catholics, and this under the direction of Archbishop Bugnini, a man whose writings were once placed on the Index, a man who was condemned by Pope John XXIII as a heretic and a man who in recent days has been labeled a Freemason., May I ask if you have ever written to him as you did to Archbishop Lefebvre? Let me tell you who the 6 non-Catholics are: Dr. George; Canon Jasper; Dr, Shephard; Dr. Konneth; Dr. Smith and Brother Thurian. Not one of these men had the Catholic faith! These men are Anglicans, Lutherans, Protestants, and members of the anti-Catholic World Council of Churches. These are the men the present Pope thanked personally and publicly for Aimparting greater theological value to the liturgical texts so that the lex orandi (liturgical prayer) conformed better to the lex credendi (theological belief).@ This statement of the Pope is indeed extraordinary. In view of the opinion expressed by the Council of Trent on the canon - Aso pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in the highest degree savor of a certain holiness and piety;..composed out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the Apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy pontiffs.@ And to think that we now have to thank six Protestants for improving on it!


I wonder if you have ever read the Ottaviani Intervention. A copy is appended. This document has never been given a serious answer, only ignored. When it was sent out by the Latin Mass Society in England to the priests of that country, they were instructed by the hierarchy to throw it away without reading it. Jungmann in his book on the new Amass@ (a standard seminary text), doesn=t even mention it. Now Cardinal Ottaviani was the head of a commission of 187 theologians that examined the new Amass.@ You may remember that he was prefect-emeritus of the Sacred Congregation of the Faith. The majority of theologians in this Episcopal Synod who had been called to Rome and requested to pass a judgement on this Amass@ rejected it (or had very serious reservations about it). Now, I am not suggesting that the mass should be put to a vote! However, it was and it was REJECTED. Despite this, it was still forced down our throats. Now let me quote from Cardinal Ottaviani=s letter to the present Pope - a letter he wrote as head of this Episcopal Synod:


The New Mass Aas a whole, and in its details [make] a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent,@ and that it was Aa grave break with tradition.@


Now surely you must agree that Pius V never got together a group of heretics, and set over them a man whose writings had been placed on the Index, and told them to help write a New Mass adopted to the present times.@ And this same saint never gave such a mass to an Episcopal synod of 187 theologians and asked them to vote on the new mass. Nor did he proceed to ignore their findings and to promulgate a new mass and to force the whole Church to accept it, and this in contradiction to a rite that was in existence for hundreds of years and which he didn=t abrogate. Yes, in contradiction to a rite - the Mass of All Times - that was fixed by an Apostolic Constitution in perpetuity,[4] and which solemn declaration was confirmed by 36 popes that followed after him. him - each and everyone. I refer to the Quo Primum. Let me quote parts of this document to you:



AWe specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator and all other persons of whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank of pre-eminence, and we order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics. They must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal... Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may freely be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever order of by whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remains always valid a retains its full force... Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this letter or heedlessly to venture to go contrary to this notice of our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition.Would anyone however presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.@ (Emphasis is mine)[5]



Now Canon 50 of the Code of Canon Law clearly states that a new law cannot be introduced without specifically abrogating any law that is of Aimmemorial custom@ - that is to say, any law that has been in use for over 100 years, and clearly this venerable Canon has not been taken off the books. Apart from the fact that the Quo Primum probably cannot be revoked (the Pope cannot revoke the statement on the Immaculate Conception either.), the very fact that it has not been revoked makes the compulsion with which the Novus Ordo Missae has been introduced clearly illegal. And should anyone attempt to revoke the Quo Primum, he would subject himself to the Awrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.@ Now then, let me ask you just who is in disobedience?


Note further that the priestly oaths repeated each time a cleric advances along the eclesiastical ladder requires the following affirmations on the part of the individual concerned. This is of course no longer so, but was certainly so on the part of Paul VI and those he is most closely associated with. Among other things, he swears that: [6]


AI will resolutely accept and embrace the traditions of the Apostles and all other traditions of the Church and all its observances and regulations...@


AI accept and adhere to the rites of the solemn administration of the aforementioned Sacraments (all seven) according as they have been accepted and approved by the Catholic Church...@


AMoreover, I maintain and profess, without doubting, all the other teachings handed down, defined, and declared in the sacred Canons of the Ecumenical Councils, especially by the most Holy Council of Trent and by the [First] Ecumenical Council...@



You might of course argue that the Pope has not proscribed the Mass of All Times - and indeed, I agree he has not. However, his Bishops have in effect done so and he has gone along without protest. A similar situation occurred with the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae itself which gave no date for implementation and stated Aquiddam nunc cogere et efficere placet,@ usually incorrectly translated as Awe wish to give the force of law etc...@ (Should be Awe wish to lay stress on one particular thought...@). Now the insertion of a date and the mistranslation (which occurs in every language used) would canonically invalidate the document, for a dubious law is no law at all. Yet, in so far as the Pope has not protested the forgeries of his documents, one must assume that he approves of what has been done. There is no way to get the Pope off the hook. He is both free and fully responsible for what is going on,. And as to what is going on, let us judge the tree by its fruit.


7) Let me add a still further point. Innovation has always been condemned by the Church and her saints. Plato (who Justin Martyr called a Agreat Christian@ and who Meister Echart called Athat great priest@) says that the innovator is Athe worst kind of pest@ in any society. More to the point, it was Christ who said AMy doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me@ (John 7:15); St Vincent of Lerins says, Athe more a man is under the influence of religion, the more prompt is he to oppose innovation@; Turtullian states: AI do not accept what you introduce on you own authority@; Cassian states AI am not inventing this teaching, but simply passing on what I have learned from others@; St. Peter Damian (a Doctor of the Church) states Ait is unlawful to alter the established customs of the Church... remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set@; Pope Sylvester said ALet there be no innovations.@ The Second Council of Nicea condemned those Awho dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, and to invent novelties (innovations) of some kind.@ Now this has been the attitude of the Church throughout its history and I cannot find one statement of a saint, or one Scriptural quotation that is in favor of innovation. You may remember that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was almost condemned because it was thought to be an Ainnovation.@ Now, what does Paul VI say? Let me quote him from his Novus Ordo Missae: AThe chief innovation (in the new mass) affects the Eucharistic prayer (i.e. the Canon of All Times).@ Not only does he proclaim himself to be an Ainnovator,@ but he chooses to innovate with the sacred canon of the Mass!


8) I find your statement that Anothing in the Holy Mass has been changed... a few external movements and words added or cut off do not touch the Mass or change it<A ( I leave out for now the issue of the consecration) nothing short of extraordinary. I ask you to put the old and Traditional Mass - the Mass of All Times, next to the Novus Ordo Missae and show me one prayer that has not been changed. You will find a few, I grant - those that the Protestants never objected to. The Allelulias are still there. but look at the prayers. Just a word here and there to bring the prayers into line with Protestant theology. The new canon is taken almost word for word in its present form (I refer to Anaphora II) from that of >Cranmer who wrote with the full intent of destroying the faith in England. And in almost every instance it is a Asacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,@ which phrase was introduced to distort the Catholic concept of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder if you in your love of Christ can see no harm in these changes. They offend me greatly and hurt Christ in my eyes. Where are all those phrase we grew up to love - the Aoblation,@ the Aspotless host@ and Avictim@? All removed from the Novus Ordo. One can even say the new Amass@ absolutely correctly and avoid the use of even the word Asacrifice,@ if one selects the proper Anaphora.


Are you aware that Lutherans, Protestants, Anglicans and even members of the World Council of Church find nothing they object to theologically in the Novus Ordo? These groups actually say the novus Ordo in their houses of worship. Since these groups described the Traditional Mass, the Mass of All Times, as an Aabomination@ and since they use and praise the new Aservice,@ surely they must see a difference, even if you do not. Something must have been changed besides a few words and movements. Are you aware that many of the changes are precisely those that Luther demanded. He dropped the Mysterium fidei, the Pro Multis, and added Aquod pro vobis tradetur.@ Other changes are those that Cranmer made and against which the English Catholics protested. Are you aware of how many thousands of canonized and uncanonized saints were martyred during the Reformation precisely because they refused to accept just these changes? And when these arrived in heaven did St. Peter tell them that they died in vain because Luther and Cranmer Aonly added or cut off a few words@ and Aonly changed a few external gestures?@


9) As to whether the Amemorial of Our Lord=s Supper@ (as the service is called in the Novus Ordo) consecrates or not, we must also differ. Let us take up this issue in steps. The words of consecration were changed by the Pope even in the Latin, and are changed further in the vernacular translations. For almost two thousand years we were taught that these words were the very words that Christ spoke. Moreover, they were fixed for all time in the canons of the Council of Florence 100 years before the Council of Trent convened.


And apart from this, in light of the Protestant attack on the doctrine of Transubstantiation, there is strong theological objection to the dropping of the words Mysterium Fidei, even though some of the Eastern Liturgies do not use them. But far more serious than this is the explicit changing of the meaning of the words of Christ as occurs when Amany@ is translated in (all the vernaculars) as Aall.@[7] (And Paul VI says Atutti@ when he says his service in Italian.) This is something that changes the meaning of Christ=s words, and is according to moral law, a Mortal sin (even the Pope cannot make a Mortal sin a virtue!) It is against the consensus Patri, that is to say, against the opinions of the fathers of the Church.Not one has so interpreted the words of Christ. It is specifically against the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (still the official theologian of the Church) and the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori (hardly an Aignoramus@). It is also against the Catechism of the Council of Trent which as you know was written by men who later were canonized as saints. Further than this, it is theologically incorrect, for while Christ=s sacrifice is capable of saving all, it does in fact not save all, but only many. This not my personal opinion, but the teaching of the Church.


There is a further point. St. Thomas (and others) agree that consecration may occur if the words are said outside the Canon. They are however virtually unanimous in stating that to say the words outside the Canon is a sacrilege. They men the Canon of All Times and not one of those ersatz canons made up by the new theologians.


And yet a further point. When the priest consecrates, it is in fact Christ who consecrates. By changing the Epiclesis to a Narratio Institutionis the priest (and all the faithful) are free to see the entire sacrifice as just that- a Anarrative of the institution.@ This being so, and it is so, even in the Latin - the priest by no means always consecrates. Let me quote yo the opinion of the Ottaviani Intervention on this issue:


AThe words of Consecration, as they appear in the context of the >Novus Ordo,= may be valid (in Latin) according to the intention of the ministering priest. But they may not be, for they are so no longer ex vi verborum (by the force of the words used), or more precisely, in virtue of the modus significandi (way of signifying) which they have had till now in the (old) Mass. Will priests who, in the near future, have not had the traditional training and who rely on the >Novus Ordo= in order to Ado what the Church does,@ make a valid consecration? One may be permitted to doubt it.@


And so, mother, I leave you with a situation where the consecration, even in the Latin form is questionable, and much mor so in the vernacular. As if to raise still further doubt, the Apresident@ in his so called AAcclamation@ states that AChrist has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again@ Then when Christ is supposedly on the Altar.


And finally, how does Paul

VI define the new Amass@ in the Novus Ordo? In words that are remarkably similar to those used by the heresiarch Cranmer. Let me quote his paragraph 7:


AThe Lord=s Supper is the assembly or gathering together of the People of God, with a priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason the promise of Christ is particularly true of a local congregation of the Church: >Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.=@[8]


Now, is this any way to define a Mass? The word Transubstantiation only occurs in a footnote reference in the entire Novus Ordo. I grant that there are allusions made in the document to what is really meant to happen. But they are allusions. The Pope should have read his own Mysterium Fidei (his encyclical) before promulgating this dubious document. Is Christ only present at Mass because two or three are gathered together in his Name? Then he is equally present when two or three Protestants gather for evening prayers.


10) I have said nothing about the issue of the Second Vatican Council. There are in it statements that no well-informed Catholic can accept in good conscience. It for instance accepts the concept of the Adevelopment of doctrine@ (not used in Newman=s sense of the word), and has totally reversed the Church=s teaching on several issues that were clearly condemned in the Syllabus of Errors.[9] Now either doctrine is true and doesn=t develop, or it develops and it isn=t true. The idea that doctrine itself can Adevelop@ and Achange@ is truly monstrosum venosum, mortiferum, stuoltissima, crudellissimaque insania. Let me show you why. Here is a de fide quote from Vatican I:


AThe meaning of the sacred dogmas must always be retained which Holy Mother Church has once taught, nor may it ever be departed from under the guise, or in the name of, deeper insight... If anyone shall say that, because of scientific progress, it may be possible at some time to interpret the Church=s dogmas in a different sense from that which the Church understood and understands, let him be anathema!@


In the face of such a clear statement let us listen to Archbishop Bernadine, the Apresident@ of the American College of Bishops:[10] When he was asked how it was possible for Father Allen Dulles, S.J. to publicly deny the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception and stay on teaching in a Catholic University, he answered that it was his Abelief that it was legitimate for the theologians to speculate about the removal of doctrines that have already been defined, and to ask the magisterium to remove such doctrines from the content of the faith.@ And, may I ask if you have written to Archbishop Bernadine and Father Dulles as you did to Archbishop Lefebvre and myself - or is the only sin the sin of orthodoxy?


11) I could give many quotes from Vatican II that I am sure you would not want to defend as an expression of Catholic faith. The entire document is a masterpiece of ambiguity which allows anyone to draw any conclusion he wishes. Its approval of communicatio in sacres or common worship with out Aseparated brethren@ is against Canon Law, and against the First Commandment of God, and against the specific instructions of St. Paul: ABear not the yoke with unbelievers.@ In the decree on Ecumenism we are told that there should be meetings where Aeach can treat the other on an equal footing,@ and the Pope has Awished that the day would soon come when the unity of all Christians could be celebrated and sealed with a concelebrrated Eucharist.@ No, I ask you, are those who speak with the words of Augustine, Cassian and St. Thomas Aquinas to treat on an equal footing with the Ascientific humanist,@ the rationalist, the economic determinist and the village atheist? Are you aware that the present Pope has knowingly given communion to Lutherans, and that he has given his sacradotal ring to the Anglican primate and asked this heretical layman in pries=s garb (with whom he had just concelebrated Amass@) to bless the Catholic faithful! I do not wish to go into the issue of Vatican II in detail here. I accept in Vatican II what is orthodox - I reject what is not. I reject such statements as AFaith is a sacrament@ or AThe Church is a sacrament@ because to accept them is anathema to the Council of Trent. Remember Paul VI corrected these documents personally, and they became de jure only after he made them so. They are his responsibility.


Now mother, I am sure you will ask, AWho am I to make judgments on the Second Vatican Council? Let me answer that, as with the new Amass,@ so also with Vatican II. Let Moses be our judge. Let me give you two statements on this dubious, and I believe schismatic Council. They are both from men of Aobedience@ and hence ken whose opinions should be acceptable to yhou. If they are true statements, I think my point is made.


AIt is possible to draw up an impressive list of theses which Rome has taught in the past and up until yesterday as being the only valid ones, but which the Council fathers have thrown out.@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cardinal Suenens, May 15, 1969


The second is a statement of Cardinal Willebrands, Paul VI=s legate to the World Lutheran Assembly at Evian, July 16, 1970.


AHas not the Second Vatican Council itself welcomed certain demands which, among others, were expressed by Luther, and through which many aspects of the Christian faith are better expressed today than formerly? Luther gave his age a quite extraordinary lead in theology and the Christian life.@


Now mother, if what these men say is true, the Council stands condemned without further discussion. If these men are speaking out of two sides of their mouth - if they do not mean what they say, then let us remember that it is Aa pale faith that always speaks with forked tongue.@


12) You ask AWho is Archbishop Lefebvre to question the authority of the Pope?@ I answer, he is an archbishop, the former head of the Holy Ghost Fathers, a Doctor of Theology and a theologian of some note, and a very saintly person.While I have come to my conclusions after some 5 years of prayer and study, and while I in no way was influenced by anything he said, I find myself in surprising agreement with him. Let me quote the Abbe Gueranger, a favorite spiritual writer of St. Theresa of Lisieux (and where is she in the New church?)@


@When the pastor becomes a wolf, it is the flock in the first place that has the duty to defend itself.@


You ask further, AWhy is Lefebvre creating all this difficulty?@ I think the reason should be quite clear from what has already been said. However, I must tell you, this question is quite invalid. You should rather ask Awhy does Montinicreate all these difficulties?@ After all, how else would you have a Catholic Bishop act? Would you give us Cardinal Suenens or Archbishop Bugnini as exemplars? Do you recommend Haldar Camera who the Pope (as reported in the Paris newspaper ALa Monde@) has publicly greeted by placing his arms around him and saying AHow are you my communist Bishop?@ and who told the Pope without being contradicted AGeribaldi was sent by God.@ Or perhaps you approve of Mgr. Pezeril, the auxiliary bishop of Paris, who was publicly inducted into the Freemasons in Paris in 1971. All these men are in obedience. But let me again say, it is TRUTH and NOT MERE OBEDIENCE to men that precludes heresy, schism and apostasy.


13) I expect that by now you will be convinced of my pride and recalcitrance. You will feel great sorrow that I think the way I do. I doubt however if you will be able to answer my statements and I doubt that you will find anyone who is willing to do so for you. Now, I give you this challenge. (I feel we have known each other well enough over the past 25 years for me to use this word without offence, for it is not my intent to argue for the sake of arguing, but only to know ande love the truth.) Show me one point on which Archbishop Lefebre is wrong. If he is a Aprodigal son,@ you must show me where he has left his Father=s house, where he has squandered his patrimony, the traditions of the Church, and where he has eaten of the swill of false doctrine only fit for pigs. (The allegory is taken from St. Ambrose.) All that you can answer is that he is in disobedience to the Pope. And where is he in disobedience? He refuses to say the Aservice@ written by Protestants and Reformers. He refuses to go against the document Quo Primum which is still in force and has not, and indeed, it seems, cannot be revoked. He refuses to let his seminarians be taught by heretics. He refuses to se an ersatz Chrism and improper words for Confirmation. He refuses to accept the false modern Scriptural translations. He refuses to use the new catechisms. But you say, he is in disobedience to the Pope. All I can say is Vive la disobedience, for it is precisely the position that we a loyal Roman Catholics must take. To do otherwise is to practice Aindiscrete obedience,@ the end of which would be the destruction of our souls. Ours then is, of course, not disobedience to the Church of All Times, nor to the Christ that founded that Church, and not even to legitimate Papal authority.


Now I give you another challenge: tell me where Archbishop Lefebvre has changed on any point of thinking from what he held 25 years ago when he was considered a bastion of orthodoxy. Show me where he has altered his beliefs - those he inherited from his predecessors. As St. Ambrose says, Athe wise man experiences no changing states of mind.@ You will answer perhaps that we must adapt to the times. I really don=t think you will say that. In the Novus Ordo Paul VI says that the Missal should be accommodated to contemporary mentality! (One finds it amusing that at the same time it advocates a return to primitive practice!). Now, the good archbishop refuses to allow that the Truth can accommodate itself to anything. Here again, I stand with him. I don=t want a Truth that accommodates itself to me and to modern times. I want to accommodate myself to the Truth. Remember, it says in scripture, AMy thoughts are not your thoughts, nor My ways, your ways, saith the Lord.@ Now, are we to believe (as Vatican II implies) that modern man has progressed to that point where God would no say Ayour ways are good and I would have my Church, the guardian of the Truth - My Bride - the Church of All Times - accommodate itself to your ways of thinking?@ I rather doubt this and I suggest that what he would say is exactly what he did say in Psalm 44 (Matins):


Populus errans corde sunt, Et non noverunt vias meas. Ideo uravi in ira mea: Non introibunt in requiem meum - The people are of an erring heart, And do not know my ways. I shall judge them in my anger, And they shall not enter into my rest.


And I give you a further challenge. Show me a person who really likes the new Amass.@ Not one who tolerates it. Not one who goes to it because of a mistaken understanding of the nature of Aobedience,@ but one who really likes it and thinks it is an expression of his Catholic faith. If I talk to that person, I can show you that either he is a heretic, or he is simply ignorant of his faith. One just cannot defend the new Amass@ on the basis of either doctrine or Canon law. One can only defend it on the basis of a non-Catholic version of Aabsolute@ obedience which we do not owe to any creature. We are all in disobedience and rebellion against the Catholic religion if after knowing these facts, we do not go to the True Mass - the Mass of All Times, and instead substitute a rather tasteless mediocre version of a Protestant service for it.[11]


A final challenge: I am willing to debate the issues raised in this letter along with those raised by the appended Ottaviani Intervention (they go hand in hand) with anyone, not to show that I am right, but to find out the truth, if indeed it be other than the position I have embraced. You are free to give both your letter (which I attach a copy of) and my answer to any theologian that you wish. If you, or he, can show me any statement in this letter that is erroneous in doctrine, or in fact, any errors of a substantive nature, I shall truly be most grateful. Because I am not a theologian, I would want to have two people of my choice to help me in such a debate. I think such a debate would do a great deal of good. The truth has nothing to hide and the Church, after all, is the guardian of the Truth. If I am shown to be wrong, I shall immediately submit - so help me God. Such a person however cannot stand on the contention that I owe any >absolute= (your word again is >complete=) obedience to the Pope in the sense you suggest, a sense which is not Catholic, since this is a heretical and abominable proposition. I am of course willing to debate the issue of Aobedience@ in and of itself. Nor will I accept the argument that is based on the assertion that my refusal to accept the changes (they are after all, just that - changes) is divisive to the Aunity@ of the Church.


AThe Church is founded on a doctrine - the gospel of Truth; it is a means to an end. Perish the Church Catholic itself (though, blessed by the promise, this cannot be,) yet let it perish rather than the Truth should fail. Purity of faith is more precious to the Christian than unity itself. If Rome has erred grievously in doctrine, then it is a duty to separate even from Rome.@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cardinal Newman How to Accomplish it


Further, it must be said that if the Aunity@ our Aleaders@ in Rome speak of is one in which we accept the teachings of the Protestants, the Lutheans, the Communists and even the Freemasons on an Aequal footing,@ then it is a Aunity@ I eschew. As St. Thomas Aquinas says:


ATo arouse a discord whereby an evil concord (i.e., concord of an evil will) is destroyed, is praiseworthy. In this way Paul was to be commended for sewing discord among those who concorded together in evil, because Our Lord also said of Himself (Matthew 10:345) >I came not to send peace, but the sword.=@

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Summa Theol. II-II, 37, I,2


No mother, rather would I be numbered among those St. Paul refers to as a ARemnant... according to the election of grace@ (Romans, 11:5)


Nor will I accept the statement that my position causes suffering to the Pontiff. This is a pure sentiment without any basis in reality. The Pope cannot suffer in an infinite manner. He is not Christ. He can suffer no more and no less than I can. If my act (and that of those who hold to orthodoxy (=Truth) as I do) cause him pain, I am sorry. However I owe no charity to error. Moreover, I might add that his acts cause millions (not a single individual) to suffer greatly. His refusal to speak out against Communism and heresy has caused unmeasurable amounts of suffering and anguish. And may I say, I also have suffered because of his action, for unquestionably valid sacraments are no longer readily available to me, and because I daily see the Church that I love being destroyed from within.


Remember mother, both you and I - and also the Pope - have the same obligation to live by the Truth. If any of us fail to do so, much the worse for us.


AEvery assertion contrary to the truth of revealed faith is altogether false, for the reason that it contradicts, however slightly, the truth.@

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bull Apostolici reqaiminis, Fifth Lateran Council


ATo refuse to believe in any one of the points of doctrine is equivalent to rejecting them all.@

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae.


14) On the other hand, dear mother, should I be right in what I say, you must also adhere to the Truth. I know that in your heart you have never departed from the faith of our ancestors. I know your love for me will transcend any errors that I may adhere to and that you know I shall - with God=s grace - change if and when I am shown to be wrong. Indeed, mother, you owe me the charity to correct any of my errors. Now my love for you also allows me to assume the same purity of motives in you. Should you be convinced - and your failure to find arguments to the contrary should convince you - that I am right, then you must also act in accord with the Truth because Ahe who remains silent is judged to consent.@ And should that happen, you must with me thank God that Athe gates of Hell do not prevail@ precisely because there are men like Archbishop Lefebvre who speak the truth.



15) Let me stress that this false concept of >absolute= or >complete= obediance is responsible to a great extent for the abominations that we find ourselves surrounded with. If the Constitution on the Liturgy stated that Asound tradition be retained@ it also said Ain some places and circumstances an even more radical (sic!) adaption of the Liturgy is needed@ and granted Acompetent territorial ecclesiastical authority@ (the local Ordinary in practice) permission to set the Anorms.@ Every time I have protested a sacrilege in the Apost-conciliar@.Church, it has been asserted that all involved are Ain obedience.@ As for the teaching of false doctrine from the pulpit - remember that this is also done Ain obedience.@ The doctrine of any diocese is determined by what the Bishop permits. He is free to remove the faculties of those who preach falsely, and indeed, it is his responsibility to do so. In the rite of ordination of a Bishop the following words are said: AI have made thee a watchman in the house of Israel@ (Ezech. 3:17), and the very nmext line of Scripture says Aif thou declare not to the wicked his iniquity, I will require his blood at thy hand.@ The idea that it is not necessary to denounce a heretic was condemned as Ascandalous@ by Pope Alexander VII (Denzinger 1105). Every notorious public heretic that is not silenced by Paul VI lends scandal to the faithful, not only because it leaves these heretics Ain obedience,= but also because it demonstrates his failure to (as St. Paul says, Aplay the man.@ Let me give you some examples. Cardinal Suenens is a leader of the Pentecostal movement. He has pblicly said that if the Pope were to tell him to leave the movement in obedience, he would do so immediately. Has the Pope asked him? No he has not - indeed, he has distributed Communion at Pentacostal masses said in Rome. Cardinal Suenens is in obedience and doubly so. Indeed, one must question whether or not we are not all obliged to join the Pentecostal movement. And Hans Kung, who is an Apostate of no uncertain degree; he is still teaching in a Catholic University with the Poppe=s approval. He is also in obedience and has even kissed the Pope=s foot to prove it. And what about Bernard Haring? This heresiarch spews forth a smoky blend of Teilhardian philosophy and Lutheran doctrines. Truly his words are as a cancer and his ideas a source of Avisible darkness.@ But this man is not only in obedience; his teachings have a very personal stamp of approval from Mo ntini himself. When Paul VI became Pope, he asked Bernard Haring to give the Vatican retreat - to become for a time the spiritual director of himself and of those around him. Now, I ask you mother, would you really let this man loose in your convents? I certainly hope not. And what about Archbishbop Bugnini, formerly on the Index and fired by John XXIII for teaching heresy at the Lateran University in Rome. This man was certainly given the present Pontiff=s approval, for he was placed in charge of Arevising@ the Mass. He also is clearly in obedience. And what of Karl Rahner who under a Nihil Obstat teaches us in his Theological Dictionary that Agrace itself is historical and that history itself with all that it involves - for instance - the unity of mankind - is grace.@ This heretic in obedience teaches us in this standard new seminary text that salvation is to be defined in these terms:


AIt does not primarily signify an >objective= achievement, but rather a >subjective existential healing and fulfillment of life.@


Now mother, I can go on ad infinitum,. These people are all in obedience and all speak out their falsehoods with the Pope=s approval. I wonder if you have written to any of them as you did to Archbishop Lefebvre and myself.[12] No mother, this kind of Aobedience@ is not what the saints speak of. This kind of obedience is an iniquitous obedience, an obedience in apostasy. This makes of obedience an adulterous Aidolatry.@ I did not give up this world (though I still live in it, as it were in exile) to run with such a pack of wolves. It is not safe, as St. Bernard said, Ato sleep near serpents.@ But these wolves and serpents are Ain obedience.@ In so far as yo lend your approval to them and to this kind of obedience, I must hold that you do a mis-service to the Truth, that you lend respectability to error and give scandal to the faithful. Remember mother that neither of us owe any charity to error and that as Pope Felix said:


ANot to oppose error, is to approve of it, and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.@


16) Please understand mother that in all I do and write, I have chosen truth above a false obedience. I am not arguing my right to participate in the Mass of All Times on the bases of any Apersonal conscience.@ This is a Protestant idea, and to do so would be to argue that those who wish to use the Novus Ordo Missae (or for that matter, black masses) also have a right to do so on the same basis. It is a Vatican II teaching that Aman is to be guided (in religious matters) by his own judgment.@ This is not my position. I do not hold that we have a right to follow our own conscience in this issue, but rather that we have an obligation in conscience to reject the new Amass@ and the errors that stem from Vatican II. What the new Church is doing is restricting our freedom to follow the obligation that a truly well formed conscience imposes upon us. And whence does this obligation derive? It derives plain and simply from our being Catholic.


17) Remember mother, you are in an extraordinary position in this world.. This is part of the Cross that Jesus has laid upon your shoulders. The reason that many go along with all these changes is because they see people like yourself doing so. When you do not speak out, they feel it must be right. I must admit that your attitude was one reason that I did not long ago take the stand that I now do. You are one of the few people who, should they speak out, and should they demand of the Pope what is just and true, might just obtain it for the rest of us. The Pope has refused to listen to petitions on this issue with millions of signatures. He would perhaps listen to you. You know the distress of the faithful. Please tell the Pope that the faithful want the Mass of All Times. (Is that a sin?) Tell him we want him to speak out the truth, to condemn the heretics and to kick the Masons out of the Church, even if they be Cardinals. We will stand with him as a remnant. We will even die for him. Please however, do not ask me to go the the new Amass.@ Please do not ask me to accept Ain complete obedience@ all that goes on. I simply do not have the right to do this. I do not wish to follow anyone in heresy and am unwilling to abice in falsehood. I am, as you say in your letter, Amade for better things.@


18) Finally mother, if in the period of three (3) months, you cannot find anyone who will for the love of God and in his charity, correct my errors and show me where I and Cardinal Ottaviani depart from the teachings of the Church of All Times, I shall hold that our correspondence may be published. If on the other hand, you do find someone who does show me wrong, I shall also beg leave to publish his corrections, since it will do inestimable good to souls - many who like myself are torn apart on these same issues. This seems to me just, for either I must publicly admit my errors and help others to be corrected, or I must add to the ever increasing evidence that the new >post-conciliar= Church is lacking in the charity of Christ; that it is in fact itself in schism, and that it is attempting to destroy the Church of All Times just as it is trying to destroy the Mass of All Times.


In the interim, I leave the entire matter in the hands of the Blessed Virgin. May she who hates all error be the protector and guide of both of us. May she who is our mediatrix spiritually nurse both of us as she did both St. Bernard and St. Dominick.


I remain then, most sincerely yours, in the Sacred Names of Jesus and Mary.



††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† With great love and respect



††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D.


Enclosed: (in duplicate)

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††Your letter to me

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† My answer to you

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The Ottaviani Intervention



P.S. With regard to your knee, I am not surprised that it still gives you some difficulty. This was a not unusual problem in the Church and comes from kneeling in prayer. Today we see the lesion you had mostly on surf-borders. May I ask as your surgeon (and you owe me obedience in this realm) that you use a small cushion under your knees when you pray. I know that to do so will be a humiliation for you and I allow you to make it as inconspicuous as possible (though it must be soft enough to serve as a padding). I hope that it will also serve as a reminder for you to pray for me that I may abide and persevere in the Truth.


I would appreciate your acknowledging your receipt of this letter personally so that I may be assured that it has reached your hands.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† R.C.




The Ottaviani Intervention is available through the Internet. The translation sent was that published in Triumph, December 1969. Currently a better translation is available by Father Anthony Cekada and published by TAN.







†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††3/5/77

My dear Rama:


Thank you for your letter -


I got a friend of mine to answer your questions - for as you know - I would not have been able to do so - clearly and so correctly. -


I am praying to our Lady for you that she may be with you when you go through the answer.


I hope all is well with the family.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† God bless you


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††M. Teresa, MC









The writer takes exception to the phrase Acomplete loyalty@. The original reference is not meant to be a theological judgement on the situations when one may or may not be obliged before God to obey the directives of the Holy Father, but refers rather to that spirit of trust and confidence and obedience which any true friendship presupposes. Such loyalty would preclude believing without proof, accusations against the person to whom loyalty is owed. The first five pages of the letter dated Passion Sunday, 1977, are therefore not applicable; the same should be said of later references to the issue of Aabsolute obedience.@


The writer claims the right to be shown where he is in error; this right, however, presumes that he has done all that is reasonably possible himself. It is not reasonable to present as fact unproven accusations, and then charge someone else with the duty of disproving them.


There are a great many unproven accusations (and untrue ones) in the letter, as well as other gross inaccuracies. Thus for example:


-Page 6,(this is section 6 of my letter[14]) the so-called AMass for all times@. There is no such thing as a complete ritual which can be styled by that name. There was always in the Church a variety of rites enshrining the one true >mass for all times= if such anything can be named. viz. the celebration which renews through the power of the priest the sacrifice of Calvary. There was always in the Western Church until the norms of Pius V (and even he allowed some exceptions in Lyons and Milan, for example) a variety of rites. There has always been and continues to be such a variety in the Eastern Church. No-one until now has seriously challenged the validity of these various rites. In fact some councils have specifically recognized the validity of the Eastern rites - like the Council of Florence.


- page 6, it is not true that St. Pius V so fixed the rite of the Mass as to remove from his successors the power or authority to make changes. Such a law would have been an act exceeding his own powers as pope. Nor does the term Ain perpetuity@ mean in legal terms what it seems to: the law was to continue as law even after the death of the lawgiver, but like all laws that are no expressions of infallible teaching, are revoked by a contrary law coming from a competent authority.


- page 6 and page 7 (twice) it is not true that the renewed Order of Mass was written by six non-Catholics.


-page 6, page 7, it is not true that the writings of Archbishop Bugnini (even before he was archbishop) were placed on the index, or that he was condemned by Pope John XXIII.


- as for the statement that he was Alabeled@ a freemason, surely that accusation, since it is untrue, reflects rather on those who make it than on the man accused.


-page 8:(still part of section 6 of my letter) Canon 36 refers to a >law= which gros up through custom, as defined in the same Code of Canon Law. This has no reference to a law which gets its binding value from its enactment by the lawgiver.

-page 8: the oath referred to specifically mentions all the Aobservances and regulations@ of the Church... including the new rites. The traditions are those theological traditions which the Church hands on as coming to us revealed by God to be accepted with faith. The other teachings of the Councils must also be accepted in a spirit of obedience. This obligation would apply equally to the teachings of the second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, since it is the same Holy spirit working in the Church through the Magisterium (Cfr. Pope John=s address at the start of the Council.)


- page 8: the Holy See has indeed forbidden that the Mass according to the rite set down by St. Pius V be celebrated except in limited circumstances.


- page 9: (this is section 7 of my letter) if innovation is always to be condemned, then the Mass in Latin, an innovation which crept in, in the West, from about the third century, is also perhaps to be condemned? And what of the changes introduced by Saint Pius V in proscribing some rites which from time immemorial had been used in the celebration of Mass in the western Church?


-Page 9: in fact the >innovation= of the reneed texts is a return to the earlier discipline existing for centuries prior to the reform of Trent.


-page 9:(Section 8 of my letter)the Second Eucharistic Prayer is based essentially on the early 3rd Century Eucharistic Prayer attributed to Hippolytus.


-page 9: the central concept of thanksgiving was introduced by Jesus himself at the last supper; the word Aeucharist@ is simply the Greek word for thanksgiving, and has been used by the Church in describing the Mass for centuries.


-page 9: the consecratory prayers in each Eucharistic Prayer clearly refers to the sacrifice of Christ - Agiven up@ for you... the new alliance or testament.


-page 9: the writer denies the statement he quotes, but what he states immediately afterwards illustrates its truth, namely that the changes have been in the externals, words and actions, which do not touch the essence of the Mass. One can be Aoffended@ at what may be judge lack of poetry or beauty in the new English, but this should not obscure the profounder meaning of the realities beneath the words and actions.


-page 10:(Section 9 of my letter) it is simply not true as it stands that Lutherans and others find nothing they object to theologically in the new order. (Som Anglicans I know found nothing to object to in the former rite, which the writer nonetheless, presumably, swould defend, and on this score would rightly defend.)


- page 10:there is no record in scripture or tradition of Our Lord saying Amysterium fidei@. It is omitted in many of the rites of the Eastern Church. In the renewed rite, this phrase is proclaijmed to the people immediately after the consecratory prayers. One of the general norms of rhe reform wished by the Council was that there be a return to the earlier traditions and to scripture. (If Luther wanted this, should we automatically refuse it?)

- page 10, regarding Afor all@ and Afor many@. It is a doctrine condemned by the Church to say that Our Lord died only for some and not for all men; cfr. Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, 1952, nos, 160, 3`8, 480, 794,5 (Council of Trent on Justification), as also several scripture statements declaring same.


- page 10, regarding the >narrative=, The Consecratory prayers have been narrative in fact in the rite of St. Pius V. In the present four Eucharistic Prayers, incorporated in the renewed rite, in each case the epiclesis is not narrative but invocatory.


-page 11: the Adefinition@ referred to (which as a definition should contain all the essential elements) is simply a description. Early christians spoke of the Afracrti panis@ in the same way.


-page 11: (Section 10 in my letter)regarding the Second Vatican Council.: If the presence of the Holy spirit made earlier councils valid, then the Secon Vatican Council must be accepted as the fruit of the same Spirit. There has been no council in the history of the Churchj except perhaps the first >council= of Jerusalem, so representative of the magisterium. To reject the authoritative teaching of this council makes mockery of accepting the authoritative teaching of any other. Church teaching can change and develope in matters which are not Aof faith@, i.e. taught infallibly. The quotation from the First Vatican Council is precisely about dogmas, i.e. truths taught infallibly. The ASyllabus of Errors@ was not in itself an infallible statement (though, like any document, it may contain or repeat statements which for other reasons are infallible teaching) efr. Denzingher, 1699, footnote.


Page 12: (Section 11 in my letter)The approval of the Council of certain changes in our relationship with separated brethren automatically revoked any contrary provisions in Canon Law. Canon Law itself has often been changed down the centuries. As we have it, it was promulgated only in 1917. (cfr. Introduction to the Code).


-page 12: regarding theses thrown out. These are not matters of faith and the Church can and does, now as before, change them.


-=Page 12: The Church at the Council of Trent condemned certain teachings of Luther, quite clearly and explicitly. It did not condemn all; that Luther taught, else it would for example be condemning that God created the world that t Jesus was truly God.



-Page 143: Clearly, to reject the teaching of the Second Vatican Council is to set oneself against the Holy Spirit (cfr. Denzinger, op. cit. nos. 768,769 condemning propositions from Luther who was refusing the authority of the Councils.)


Page 13: Various statements here are made without any proof. Abuses in any case (p16) are against the express teachings of the magisterium They should be fought against. It would be true that those who have in this way offended against obedience must bear some responsibility for the stand taken by Archbishp Lefebvre.


-Page 13:(Section 13, my letter) bottom, repeats some of the false assertions given earlier, again without proof. Quo Primum, for example, like every disciplinary norm, ceases to oblige when the competent authority makes a contrary law.


-Page 14: top: there is one clear matter on which, I presume, Archbishop Lefebvre has indeed changed. He would have stoutly defended the authority of an ecumenical council. Now he rejects the authority of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Concerning the teaching of the Church regarding the authority of ecumenical councils: Denzinger, op. cit. nos. 768, 769, 1723,.... also Canons 222, 227 ff.


-Page 14 (cont.): The implication that the Church cannot change in any way is false. It would be a condemnation of St. Pius V, too, who introduced such vast changes into the Liturgy of the Western church.


-Page 15: it is not true, as the writer implies, that the unity we must seek means accepting the teachings of Protestants and others. The Second Vatican Counc9il in the document on Ecumenism and on the Eastern Churches is quite clear on this point, as are the subsequent documents of the magisterium: the basis of our work for unity is the prayer of Jesus for unity among his followers, and the will of God as revealed through Jesus and his church.


-Page 15: (Section 15 of my letter) it is not true that the Pope has not spoken against heresy and communism. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well of Sicher, but was sti9ll against adultery.


-Page 16: it is not true that the charismatic movement is heretical (though of course some groups in it may be, like some who call themselves catholic, too.)


-Page 16: It is not true that Hans Kueng teaches tithe the Pope=s approval. (Actually, it seems that it is not even a Catholic university, inasmuch as the contracts of teaching staff are with a civil authority over which the church authorities have no control.) It is enough to even occasionally read the Osservatore Romano (there is an English version) to see what the magisterium of the Church says regarding many and varied false teachings about today, and the errors of various theologians.


-Page 16: It is not true that Fr. Haring was spiritual director to the Pope:


-Page 16:L It is not true that Archbisop Bugnini was fired for teaching heresy.


-Page 18: it is not true that there are Cardinals who are masons They have been accused of being such, by people who reject the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.





No signature was given. The author of this response enclosed for my information the following article entitled The Tridentine Mass Today by Father Humphry M. O=Leary




BY H.M. O=Leary[15]



In his address on May 24th, 1976, to a Consistory for the creation of twenty New Cardinals (L=Osservatore Romano, June 3rd., 1976) Pope Paul VI took the unusual step of censuring by name a prelate, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. He spoke of him and his followers as adopting an attitude whose logical consequences was Aplacing of themselves outside obedience and communion with the Successor of Peter and therefore outside the Church.@[16]


The attitude in question, Pope Paul explained, was that of systematically refusing, under the pretext of a greater fidelity to the Church and the magisterium, to accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the reforms that stem from it. ADiscredit is cast upon the authority of the Church in the name of a Tradition, to which respect is professed only materially and verbally. The faithful are drawn away from the bonds of obedience to the See of Peter and to their rightful Bishops, today=s authority is rejected in the name of yesterday=s... It is even affirmed that the Second Vatican Council is not binding: that the faith would also be in danger because of the reforms and post-conciliar directives: AWhat traditions?@ asked Pope Paul, AIs it for this group, of for the Pope, the College of Bishops, the Ecumenical Council, to decide which among the innumerable traditions must be considered as the norm of faith?@


Pope Paul noted that this disaffection with the directions the Church has taken since Vatican II expresses itself in refusing obedience to liturgical reform. Expressing sympathetic understanding of sentimental attachment to habitual forms of worship, and recognizing the spiritual sustenance these provided in the past, he was nevertheless most definite that the adoption of the new rite of Mass is not left to the free choice of priests or faithful. Except for aged and infirm priests who, with the authorization of the Ordinary, celebrate Mass in the old form without a congregation, the new rite of Mass is promulgated to take the place of the old. Any initiative, he said, which tries to obstruct these and other liturgical disciplinary and pastoral reforms which have matured as implementation of the Council decrees cannot claim the prerogative of rendering a service to the Church; in fact it causes the Church serious damage.


With this forthright statement of the Pope=s, the matter should end. His words make it amply clear that it is not legal in the Latin Church today ever to celebrate publicly according to the rites in use prior to Vatican II.

But as Pope Paul noted, there are many faithful who have let themselves be carried away by the proponents of the so-called Tridentine Mass. The latter have been showering large areas of the Church with printed material asserting that the old rite should still be followed. Despite what Pope Paul calls Athe inconsistency and often falsity of the doctrinal positions@ on which their behavior is based, the have succeeded in planting in many minds seeds of doubt as to the legitimacy of the recent liturgical reforms.


In this study I will not attempt to tackle the whole question of recent liturgical reform and of the need to push ahead with such reform and indeed with the renewal of the whole prayer life of the Church. But there does seem to be a need to consider the various considerations raised by exponents of the Tridentine rite. A string of arguments supporting celebration in this rite have been widely circulated among Australian Catholics. It is true that the Pope has spoken. But there remains a need to show his words to be the authoritative summary of a coherent and consistent policy extending back now over more than ten years.


Thus this paper sets out to show in detail why it is legally inadmissible to celebrate publicly today according to the Tridentine rite.


In its Liturgical Constitution of December 4th, 1963, the Second Vatican Council called for the revision of the rite of the Mass, enjoining that the rites were to be simplified, while due care was taken to preserve their substance(n. 50). In fulfilment of this directive from the Council certain interim changes in the rite of Mass were at once prescribed while work went ahead in the preparation of the new Missal, Lectionary, etc.


On April 3rd 1969, Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, promulgated the basic text of the new Mass. The Holy Father made it plain that, following in the footsteps of St. Pius V he wished this to be the liturgical rite in general use among Latin Christians. AIn promulgating the first edition of the Roman Missal@, wrote Pope Paul, ASaint Pius V presented it to the people of Christ as an instrument of liturgical unity and as a witne3ss to purity of worship in the Church. Even if there is room in the new Missal, according to the decree of the Second Vatican Council, >for legitimate variations and adaptations,= we hope similarly that it will be received by the faithful as a help and witness to the common unity of all. Thus, in the great diversity of languages, one single prayer will rise as an acceptable offering@. In so legislating, Pope Paul VI followed faithfully in the footsteps of Pope St. Pius V, who had declared in the Bull Quo Primum of 1570 in which he brought into use the Tridentine missal, Ajust as it is utterly proper in the Church of God to have one way of singing the psalms, so it is utterly proper to have one rite of celebrating Mass.


In the instruction of October 20th, 1969 already approved by the Holy Father on October 18th, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship prescribed how the new Roman Missal was to be step by step introduced. The instruction made it plain that the new Missal was to be the norm for all Latin Christians. As regards continued celebration according to earlier rites, it prescribed in n,. 19 AElderly priests who celebrate Mass without a congregation, and who perhaps experience especial difficulty adjusting themselves to the use of the new Order of the Mass without a congregation, and who perhaps experience especial difficulty adjusting themselves to the use of the new Order of the Mass, the new texts of the Roman Missal and the new lectionary, may, with the consent of their Ordinary, continue to use the rites and texts which are at present in use,@ and in n. 20. ASpecial cases however such as priests who are sick or who have other difficulties, should be submitted to this Sacred Congregation@. An example of the response made to special cases is that in England and Wales the bishops have been authorized to give permission to particular groups on special occasions to use the old rite as reformed in 1967.


That the permission to use rites earlier than those of the Missal of 1969 is quite limited is shown in a note issued by the same Congregation for Divine Worship over the signature of Cardinal Knox on October 28th, 1974. The relevant part of the text runs as follows: AWith regard to the regulations issued by this sacred congregation in favor of priests who on account of advanced years or infirm health find it difficult to use the new order of the Roman Missal or the Latin lectionary: it is clear that the Ordinary may grant permission to use, in whole or in part, the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, with the changes introduced by the decrees of 1965 and 1967. But this permission can only be granted for Masses celebrated without a congregation. Ordinaries may not grant it for Masses celebrated with a congregation.


In the Roman rite therefore the p9olicy of one basic rite introduced by St. Pius V has been continued and confirmed by his successor Paul vi. Furthermore, the policy of St. Pius V of returning to the original purity of the Roman rite has been taken a step further by his successor, who has seen to the carrying out of the directive of the Vatican Council that Aelements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded@ )Liturgy, n.50).


The question may be asked whether the Missal of St. Pius V remains an alternative form of celebration subsequent to the coming into use of the Missal of Paul VI. It has been claimed by exponents of the Tridentine Rite that in no explicit legislative act has the present H0ly Father revoked the standing of the sixteenth century missal


The canon law relevant to the issue is that of canon 22, which reads as follows:


The more recent law made by the competent authority abolishes a former law, if the new law explicitly says so, or if it is directly contrary to the old law, or if it takes up and makes provision for the entire subject matter of the former law.


There are two distinct grounds drawn from Canon 22 on which the missal of 1570 can be shown to have been withdrawn from legitimate use. The first is that the words of the Apostolic Constitution introducing the new missal, Missale Romanum, clearly indicate that the earlier missal has been entirely replaced by that of 1969. Repeated instructions and directives of the Congregation for Divine Worship have confirmed that this is the sense of the law. The second is the provision of the canon that even without such an explicit revocation, a law is repealed if in a new law the competent legislator makes provision for the entire subject matter of the former law. The Holy See has indeed produced a missal, lectionary, etc. that cover the entire field of the sixteenth century missal. Even if no explicit revocation has been made, this alone would be enough to repeal the liturgical legislation of Quo Primum, and hence withdraw from use the Tridentine liturgical prescriptions.


There the matter ought to rest. The missal of 1969 has now replaced the missal of 1570 completely. Mass may be celebrated according to previous rites only privately by elderly priests, or in cases where a special indult has been granted,. as in England and Wales.


But although the situation is not canonically in any doubt, we may examine some of the particular arguments raised in support of the contention that the Missal of 1570 is still a legitimate form of public celebration in the Australian Church.


First however an important distinction needs to be made between celebration according to the rite of St. Pius V and celebration in Latin. There has been no prohibition of the celebration of Latin Masses. On the contrary, the directive has been repeatedly given by the Holy See that the Latin Mass remain a live reality and that the faithful who so desire should have the opportunity to assist at Mass celebrated in Latin. Thus the wish expressed by President George Pompidou of France that his funeral Mass be celebrated in Latin was perfectly proper and was in accord with current liturgical law.


It may be pointed out that the prescription of the Holy See that the faithful be given the opportunity, if they so wi9sh, or participati9ng in a Latin Mass has been poorly observed in Australia. In the mid-1960's for instance, it was required in one typical archdiocese that one parish Masseach Sunday be celebrated in Latin. This requirement soon ceased to be observed, in part because the Latin Mass was only poorly attended or at least not popular with many parishioners. Had arrangements for Latin masses been made on a regional rather than parochial basis we might well still be seeing numerous flourishing and officially sponsored Latin Masses in the metropolis. But parish clergy were reluctant to encourage attendance at Masses outside their parishes. It would seem that the power of the parish system prevented the provision of Latin Masses on a regional basis, and so led, despite the explicit directions of the Holy See to the virtual disappearance of the Latin Mass from the patterns of Sunday observance in our country. The result has been that those wishing perfectly legitimately to assist at the celebration of a Latin Mass are now able to do so only at a Tridentine Mass, celebrated without ecclesiastical approval and accompanied with overtones of disaffection or disunity.


Let us return to the consideration of the legal status of the Tridentine Mass. It has been argued by proponents of this Mass that the formulas at the end of the Apostolic Constitution of Paul VI Missale Romanum, do not constitute the authoritative promulgation of a new rite. At leas three grounds have been brought forward.


1) The English translation which indicates that a law is being enacted is commonly admitted to be a mistranslation of the Latin text.

2) The text does not clearly indicate that the Missal of 1969 is to replace that of 1560, especially since the Holy Father used the word Avolumus@ (Awe wish@), instead of such words as Aibemus@ (Awe command@), Amandamus@ (Awe order@), Aimperamus@ (Awe direct@). from which it is argued that he is offering a counsel rather than engaging in a strictly legislative act.

3)The use of the word Aderogation@ indicates that only a partial repeal f the preceding law is contemplated.


The concluding section of Missale Romanum in question runs as follows:


AIn conclusion, we wish to give force and effect to what we have set forth concerning the new Roman Missal. In promulgating the first edition of the Roman Missal, Saint Pius V presented it to the people of Christ as an instrument of liturgical unity and as a witness to purity of worship in the Church. Even if there is room in the new Missal, according to the decree of the Second Vatican Council, >for legitimate variations and adaptations= we hope similarly that it will be received by the faithful as a help and witness to the common unity of all. Thus, in the great diversity of languages, one single prayer will rise as an acceptable offering to our Father in heaven, through our High Priest Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.@

AWhat we have prescribed in this constitution shall begin to be in force from the First Sunday of Advent this year, November 30.@

AWe decree that these laws and prescriptions be firm and effective now and in the ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation.. Given at Rome, at Saint Peter=s on Holy Thursday, April 3, 1965, the sixth year of our pontificate. PAUL VI.@



Let us first consider the question of mistranslation. The section of Missale Romanum just quoted begins with the words, AAd extremum ex iis quae hactenus de novo Missali Romano exposuimus quiddam nunc cogere et efficere placet.@ The writer of this article is not aware of any accepted view that the English translation in common currency is incorrect. It is hard to find fault with the translation provided in the English version of the missal approved for Australia, AIn conclusion, we wish to give force and effect to what we have set forth concerning the new Roman Missal.@ This appears as a much more accurate rendering of the Latin than the version put forward by one proponent of celebration according to the missal of 1570, namely AConcerning all that we have just set forth concerning the new Roman Missal, we are pleased to end by drawing a conclusion@.


What is the legislative force of the Constitution? Since canon 18, taken along with canon 20,[17] provides that any doubtful law be clarified by examining parallel legislation, the force, the force of the text of Missale Romanum and of such words in it as Avolumus@ can be determined by comparing Missale Romanum with the apostolic constitutions that brought into force the new rites for ordination, for the celebration of the liturgy of the hours and for confirmation, namely Pontificalis Romani Recognitio of Jun 18th, 1968, Laudis Canticum on November 1st. 1970, and Divinae Consortium Naturae of August 15th, 1971.


Each of the three Apostolic Constitutions parallel to Missale Romanum clearly and explicitly states that the new rite they introduce completely replaces the old. While using a more diffuse formula than the other Constitutions, a formula which gives reasons as well as promulgating a law, Missale Romanum also calls for the complete setting aside of the old rite and its replacement by the new. After talking of the rite to be henceforth employed, the Constitution employs a formula of official promulgation that is identical in all its principal phrases with those of the other three constitutions. The comparison of the text of the four parallel constitutions, all of which use a@volumus@ as their key word, makes it clear that there is no question in the Missale Romanum of a mere wish of the holy Father but rather of an imperative act that had genuine legislative force.


This was pointed out in a private rescript of the Congregation for Divine Worship, dated October 29th. 1974 and directed to a Tridentine Mass supporter in Australia. AIn each case (in the three parallel documents) the Constitution discontinues the use of a former rite or liturgy or Liturgical Book and orders a restored one to be used. The paragraph concerned (in the Missale Romanum) is therefore to be regarded as the established form of expression of the holy Father=s will in these matters.@


What of the contention that since the Holy Father uses the word Aderogation@ rather than the word Aabrogation@, he is intending to depart only partially from the existing law? Those wishing to promote this opinion have appealed to the testimony of dictionaries to sustain their view that the only meaning to be given to Aderogation@ is Apartial abrogation@, or Apartial repeal of a law@. Latin words appearing in canonical documents have to be understood according to their canonical usage, which is not always the same as the meaning found in dictionaries of classical Latin. Some canonical authors accept that Aabrogation@ means total repeal of the law, and Aderogation@ partial repeal only., But others do not. For instance Vermeersch-Creusen, in their Epitome Juris Canonici, vol. 1. n.129 point out that while Aabrogation@ consistently means total repeal of the law, Aderogation@ is used in the Code of Canon Law now for partial repeal of the law, now for total repeal. Thus in canon 22, quoted earlier in this study, Aderogat@ is used in the sense of Atotalrepeal@ and indeed is a synonym for the word Aabrogate@ employed in the same canon. It is clear that in view of the several meanings Aderogation@ can bear in canonical legislation that it peripheral use in the Apostolic Constitution of Paul VI is insufficient to prove that there has been only partial repeal of the Bull of St. Pius V.


A number of other grounds have been advanced to bolster up the claim that public celebration of the Tridentine Rite is still legitimate.


It has been asserted that pope Paul had no power to rescind the legislative act of his predecessor, Pope St. Pius V. The principle has been invoked Apor in parem ptestatum non habet@, Aan equal does not have power over and equal@. It can be pointed out that this principle does not appear anywhere in the Code of Canon Law nor is to be found among the eighty-eight Rules of Law of Pope Boniface VIII. Granting it sufficient standing to be worthy of consideration, it can hardly be invoked to maintain that Paul VI has no power to modify the legislative acts of his predecessors in the Papacy. It would be a clear violation of the principle if one were to assert that a legislative act performed by Pope St. Pius in 1570 took from his successors the power to legislate in the matter of the rite of Mass.


In aa variation of this argument, it has been asserted that where Pope Paul VI has power validly to change the liturgical presciptions of Pope St. Pius V, he cannot do so licitly. It seems difficult to maintain that when an General Council expressly calls on the Holy Father to reform liturgical books, and the Holy Father does so along the lines called for the Fathers of the Council, that he can be said to be acting illicitly. It is one of the legitimate claims to fame of the missal of 1570 that it was as Arestored by decree of the holy Council of Trent@. If the text of the missal 1570 may legitimately be called ATridentine@ and Aconciliar@, the text of the missal of 1960 obviously has the same right to be called Aconciliar@.


An appeal has been made to the use in the Bull Quo Primum of the word Aperpetua@ (Aperpetual@), and other terms with much the same meaning. St. Pius V declare, for instance, AWe provide and ordain by this constitution of ours that has perpetual force that nothing shall ever be added to, taken from or changed in this our Missal.


As Vermeersch-Creisem [pomt pit om vp;. I of their Epitome Iuris Camnonici, n. 91. AEvery law is perpetual in the sense that it does not cease when its author dies@, As G. Michaels points out in his Normae Generules Iuris Canonici, vol. I., p. 176 sqq. There are two types of perpetuity. Positive perpetuity is synonymous with the complete irrevocability, and negative perpetuity means that the law is made without any fixed time of ending, even though it can be revoked. Though on rare occasions a law may be made for a limited span of time, a law is of its nature perpetual. In this way a law is opposed to temporary regulation. Of its nature, a document of Positive law such as the Bull of St. Pius V is perpetual in that it continues in force after the death of the one who issued it. But such legislation is not perpetual in the sense that competent authority, in this case the successor of St. Pius V in the chair of Peter, is not able to modify or repeal it. In other words, the Bull, like all laws, enjoys negative perpetuity but not positive perpetuity.


Further, it can be said that even if it had been the mind of St. Pius V to make his decisions regarding the particulars of the eucharistic rite everlasting, he would not have had the power to do so nor to prevent his decision being reviewed in the light of changed circumstances by his successor.


There has indeed been for more than half a century universal acceptance in the Church of the power of the Holy See to change St. Pius V=s liturgical prescri9ptions regarding the Missal and Breviary. In his Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu of November 1st, Pope St. Pius X made significant changes in the then current liturgical prescr9ipt9ions, notably restoring the Sunday Masses to their former preeminence. St. Pius X was quite clear as to his competence to make changes in the li5turgical prescriptions of St. Pius V. As the saintly pontiff expressed in Divinus Afflatu, AIt will be clear to everybody that by what we have here decreed we have taken the first step to the emendation of the Roman breviary and missal. In actual fact, Pope St. Pius V did not himself in the few remaining years of his pontificate proceed further in this work, which was left for later popes and Councils to pursue. It is worth nothing that the Apostolic Constitution of St. Pius X, which makes changes in the liturgical prescriptions of St. Pius V and contains this clear assertion that the Pope is competent to make further changes, is itself printed at the beginning of all missals used today in the illegal celebrations of Mass according to the pre-Vatican II rite.


The claim has been made that since the pre-Vatican II rite was in use for over one hundred years, it constitutes a centenary custom, and therefore according to the terms of canon 30 is not revoked by a contrary law unless explicit mention is made of the revocation of such custom. This contention is without foundation. The fact that a law is observed more than one hundred years does not thereby convert it from a law into a custom. A custom is a legally binding norm which is introduced by the practice of the Christian body with the consent, explicit or legal of the legislator, without any legal enactment being made. The Missal of St. Pius V was introduced not by custom but by law, and however protracted the use of the Missal may have been, it has never become a custom in the legal sense. The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Knox, in the Note on the obligation to use the Roman Missal published by the Congregation on October 28th, 19743, stated expressly that any claim on behalf of an immemorial custom is ruled out.


Appeal has been made to the words of St. Pius V in Quo Primum by which he said that any priest may in any church and in perpetuity use the missal of 1570. The circumstances of this determination must be considered. The Pope was addressing a Latin Church in which a large variety of Missals and rites of celebration had always been in use. He foresaw that many priests could be put under pressure to use one these existing rites rather than the uniform rite for the Western Church now prescribed for the first time. The Pope therefore made it plain that no one in lesser authority had the right to compel a priest to use one of these rites instead of what was now the prescribed Roman Rite.


There is a further canonical consideration to be put forward regarding this determination of Pope St,. Pius V. If it were to be granted that it does constitute an actual privilege, it must be remembered that this is a privilege granted not by rescript but by law. As G. Michaels, Normae Generales Iuris Canonici, vol.2, p602 points out, in virtue of canons 20, 60, and 71, a general law revokes all those privileges that are contained in preceding laws. The requirement that a law revoking a privilege must explicitly state that it is doing so (Canon 60, paragraph 2, with Canon 70) applies only to privileges granted through rescript. As already noted the entire law promulgated by Quo Primum has been repealed. Included in that repeal is the revocation of any privilege that might have at that time been granted by law to celebrate according to the Missal of 1570.


It should be noted that the rescinding clauses regarding previous legislation used in 1969 in Missale Romanum are extremely sweeping ones. AWe decree that these laws and prescription be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic Constitutions and Ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescription, even those deserving particular mention and derogation.


The proposition has been advanced that a priest may not use the new rite of Mass because at ordination he swore the anti-modernistic oath and that to celebrate this new rite would be to violate that sacred obligation. The basis for this argument is an assertion that thecurrent Mass rite is heretical in its wording. Some have gone so far as to attack as heretical the words of consecration employed today in the English Mass, and have called therefore for the retention of the Mass in Latin. Regarding this assertion one may only say that since the magisterium of the Church agrees, with virtually no dissenting voices, that the reform of the Eucharistic rites carried out at the behest of the Vatican Council is quite orthodox, a priest may celebrate in these rites without fear that he is tainting himself with Modernism


The words about which questions are raised in the English Mass are AThis is the cup of my blood...it will be shed for you and for all men@. It is true that the Latin has Afor many@ (Apro multis@), whereas we say Afor all men@. Such words are clearly orthodox. St. Paul wrote to Timothy. AChrist Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all@ (1 Tim. 2:6). The Catechism of the Council of Trent, often appealed to an issue by proponents of the Tridentine Mass, says in its commentary on the form of consecration AWe must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all@. But the translation is not merely orthodox, it is accurate. The words of consecration were originally said by Our Lord in Aramaic. There is every reason to believe that the Aramaic words Afor many@ had here connotation s of both the elect actually saved (Athe many@) and the whole human race for whom Christ died (Aall men@). Western languages like Latin and English, less rich in overtones of meaning than Semitic tongues, must opt for one or other of the two meanings that the Aramaic was able to convey in one phrase. (For further discussion, see Max Zerwick, Notitiae, April 1970, pp. 138-40


It would be possible to go on mentioning and refuting arguments raised in favor of the legality of celebration according to the Tridentine rite. But the arguments are so flimsy and far-fetched as to be self-defeating. The Church has made her decision clear and only specious consideration can be raised against it.


There is an obvious irony in the present policy adopted by the Holy See and the various national hierarchies that prohibits continued celebration in the rite in use for the last four centuries right up to the Second Vatican Council. At first sight it is strange that a rite in use for so long in the Latin Church and employed in the years following their ordination by most priest as at present alive should at this stage be firmly proscribed by ecclesiastical authority.


It can be conjectured that were there merely a matter of celebration in an earlier rite, there would be little exception taken by the authorities to celebration in the Tridentine rite, provided the progress of liturgical renewal was not seriously impeded.


The real problem obviously is not liturgical or canonical Celebration in the rite of 1570 has become associated with certain attitudes and positions within the Church, of which it has become the symbol. These attitudes include not simply dissatisfaction with the disappearance of cherished forms of devotion, but also distaste for the ecumenical development of recent years, and rejection of shifts in doctrinal understandings which are taken to involve denial of the established teachings of the Church. Those who feel this way see the Church as failing to adhere to the deposit of faith, and they believe they detect in many major Church leaders evident signs of heresy and apostasy. They feel called to assert themselves as guardians of the True Faith. They find a great deal of what disturbs them expressing itself in the revised order of celebration of the Eucharist. This becomes the battleground of their cause.


That there are reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with the fashion in which liturgical and devotional change has taken place in Australia cannot be challenged. New forms of worship have at times been introduces with so little understanding or preparation that the resulting celebration has been raw and even unseemly. Slight care has been taken to provide for the continuations of earlier forms of devotion to meet the needs of those who have lovingly and prayerfully employed them over the years. But there is a vast difference between dissatisfaction with the way in which needed liturgical changes have been introduced, and alienation from the Renewal the Spirit is effecting in the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council It is this alienation and not liturgical scruples, that puts the heat into the issue of the Tridentine Mass.


Thus a canonist approaches only with hesitation the question of current legal status of various rites of eucharistic celebration. He can examine the present legal; situation and discuss the canonical issues that are raised. But the real issues are not legal. They lie rather in the disquiet of many over the direction the Church is taking, and with failure to win minds and he4arts to the cause of renewal. It is the alienation of many conservatively minded folk that must be considered, rather the niceties of interpretation of law.


It was on this level that Pope Paul concluded his words addressed to Archbishop Lefebvre, when he spoke to the Consistory last May.


It is with profound sadness but with paternal hope that we once more turn to this confrere of ours, to his collaborators and to those who have let themselves be carried away by them. Oh, certainly, we believe that many of these faithful - at least in the beginning - were in good faith: we also understand the sentimental attachment to habitual forms of worship or of discipline that for a long time had been for them a spiritual support and in which they had found spiritual sustenance. But we are confident that they will reflect with serenity, without closed minds, and they will admit that they can find today the support and sustenance that they are seeking in the renewed forms that the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and we ourselves have decreed as being necessary for the good of the Church, her progress in the modern world, and her unity. We therefore exhort yet once again all these brethren ans sons and daughters of our: we beseech them to become aware of the profound wounds that thy otherwise cause to the church, and we invite them again to reflection on Christ=s serious warnings about the unity of the Church (cf, Jn. 17:21 fl.) And on the obedience that is due to the lawful Pastor placed by him over the universal flock, as a sign of the obedience due to the Father and to the Son (cf. Lk. 10:16). We await them with an open heart, with arms ready to embrace them: may they know how to discover the humility and edification, to the joy of the whole people of God, the way to unity and of love.[18]



[1] Head of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and for Divine Worship. Father Keane, a traditional priest (+) informed me that when Cardinal Knox was dying, he requested the traditional rites of Extreme Unction.

[2] (New footnote) Today, I would be hesitant to quote Cardinal Newman as a Church authority because he was very much tainted by Modernism, and was in fact the most quoted theologian at Vatican II. The issue of ex cathedra teachings is discussed in some detail in my article on the Magisterium available on my web page - Coomaraswamy-catholic-writings.com.

[3] (New footnote) Here again, I would not use this example as many such as St. Bellarmine disagree with the historical evidence for this.

[4] An Apostolic Constitution is defined as Aan irreformable statement of what the Church=s belief.@ (Louis Bouyer, The Liturgy Revived), and Athe binding force of pontifical constitutions is... beyond question (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908)

[5] Addendum, not in original document: Many argue that the traditional Mass has not been abrogated by Paul VI et al. Father Anthony Cekada (St. Gertrude=s, Cincinnati Ohio) has reviewed this issue showing that in fact it clearly has been.(Did Paul VI Aillegally@ promulgate the New Mass, an Trans et Alia Aextra@. In a relatively recent discussion with Mother Theresa, I told her that from my point of view my wife (who followed her closely and at the time had a problem with rejecting the commands of the supposedly reigning pontiffs) was in disobedience to me as head of the family. She agreed with me, but said she would ask JP-II to give her permission to go to the traditional Mass. I assured her he would refuse. She said to me, AO no Ram, he is such a good and kind person, that I am sure he will agree.@ Shortly afterwards when she was again visiting with us, I asked her if she had asked him. AYes@ she said. His response was Aabsolutely not.@

[6] (New footnote) This is from the Oath against Modernism.

[7] (New footnote) This is not completely true, as for example in the Polish translation.

[8] (New footnote) This is from the General Instruction that accompanies the promulgation of the Novus Ordo and provides the rubrics for saying it properly. A priest or president is bound therefore to accept this as the definition of what he is doing. While some alterations were made in the General Instructions, it was clearly specified that there were no doctrinal errors in this instruction as originally presented.

[9] The Catholic Encyclopedia states AAll Catholics... are bound to accept the Syllabus. They must exteriorly neither in word nor in writing oppose its contents; they must also assent to it interiorly.@ Those theologians who would deny the validity of this statement prove the point at issue.

[10](New footnote) Later raised to the Cardinalate.

[11] (New footnote) At this point in time, people have become so used to the new Amass@ that they are uncomfortable with the traditional Mass - at the time this was written such was not the case.

[12] (New footnote) It should be clear that the author is in no way officially associated with the Society of Pius X founded by Archbishop Lefebvre.

[13] (New footnote) As explained in the introduction, it was only some years later that Mother Teresa told me that she had gone to Cardinal Knox for this response. At the time I did not know who the individual was or represented.

[14] Because of the change in pagination from the original, I have indicated the pertinent section.

[15] C. SS. R., D.C.I., M.A.., M.A.Ps.S.. Professor of Canon Law in the Yarta Theological Union, Melborne, Australia.

[16] (New footnote of author - not of Fr. O=Leary) It should be clear that John Paul II fully adheres to the principles in this paper. He has repeatedly stated his intention to carry out the reforms introduced by Paul VI

[17] (New footnote) At the time of Father O=Leary=s response the Canon Law of 1917 was still in force, hence his references are to this Code.

[18] (New footnote) This is an important essay and those Catholics who wish to adhere to Traditional Mass forms while at the same time loudly proclaiming their loyalty to the post-coinciliar Pontiffs would do well to study it. Father Cekada (op.cit.) Has come to the same conclusions with regard to the fact that the Tridentine Mass is banned. It should be noted in passing that our adherence to new rites is enjoined on us in the name of obedience. It is forgotten that obedience is a moral virtue, while faith hope and charity are theological virtues and hence of a higher order.