After He had created in six days
the universe and all it contains, God rested on the seventh day.
Thus, it was by this "divine repose" that the duty for man to
reserve for God a part of his weekly time was foreshadowed; a duty which is one
of the elements of religion due and owed to the Creator by the creature.
Meanwhile, this natural duty was not specified except by the Mosaic law,
which had fixed its observance on the last day of the week, the Sabbath and
which had established its forms. However, the duty to sanctify the Sabbath was
imposed only on the Jewish people. Then, under the New Law a change took place;
in memory of the Resurrection of Christ and of the descent of the Holy Ghost on
the Apostles, events which both happened on a Sunday, this duty became the
Sunday precept as we know it today, characterized in particular by the duty of
attendance at Mass.
But in our days we witness a
multiplicity of Masses, all different one from the other, old or Tridentine, new
or Conciliar, in traditional liturgical language or in the vernacular, for the
young, for the handicapped, etc., etc.
In order to see a little more
clearly on the subject of our Sunday duties today, let us first look at what the
precept of Sunday Mass consists of, so as to examine subsequently the particular
cases which are the attendance at the New Mass called that of "Pope Paul
VI" and at the Mass called "with Indult."
The Sunday precept in general
From the beginning of the
Christian era, it was the norm to sanctify feast days by the attendance at Mass.
Why was this? To show by a public worship that we acknowledge the sovereignty of
God over all things and, in consequence, our total dependence on Him. Such a
duty was, however, at first, of a customary character. It did not become
obligatory until, the year 506 A.D. through a provision of the Council of Agde.
This decree of a particular council was later transformed by custom into a
universal law. One satisfies the duty of attending Sunday Mass by a conscious
participation in the whole of the Sacrifice, it being understood
that this same Mass is celebrated in the Catholic Rite. This precept binds "subgravi"
(i.e. under pain of mortal sin) all those who have reached the age of
reason, i.e., seven years old. But one can be excused from
attending Mass in the case of impossibility
distance (estimated at
about one hour's journey),
from the fear of grave
inconvenience (e.g., the shame of a pregnant girl out of wedlock),
grave danger (e.g.,
traveling under dangerous conditions such as icy roads),
or from charity
towards one's neighbors (e.g. a mother looking after her children),
The case of attending the New Mass
called the "Conciliar Mass" or "of Paul VI"
Following the directives and
the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, a new Ordo Missae was
promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum on April 3,
1969. Composed with the help of Protestant ministers, it had as its aim "to
do everything to facilitate our separated brethren (i.e., the
Protestants and the Orthodox) on the way to union, by avoiding every
stumbling block and displeasing thing." Composed so as to
be acceptable to everyone, by this same deed all specifically Catholic marks
disappeared. But very quickly the faithful, the clergy and some bishops resisted
this reform by denouncing it as dangerous for the Faith. Cardinals Ottaviani and
Bacci did not hesitate to write on this occasion, that "the Novus Ordo
represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the
Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the
Council of Trent."
Now what do we note in this
reform of the Missal? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the non-bloody renewal of
the Sacrifice on Calvary has become a meal around a table, serving as a
memorial, more nor less a simple narrative of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday.
The worship of the real Eucharistic Presence has been diminished and is no
longer signified, by the suppression of genuflections, by the precious lining of
the sacred vessels, by the placing aside of the tabernacle, by the placing of
communion in the hand while standing, etc. Finally, the priest, sole minister
and acting in persona Christi, has become president and brother of the
people of God, barely distinct from them in the distribution of the Eucharist
and in the readings. A series of facts which demonstrate the Protestantization
of this New Mass, a Mass which can be used by the Protestants themselves because
"theologically this is possible."
Now, what about attending
these new Masses? First of all, they constitute a danger to the faith of the
one can... without any
exaggeration say that most of these Masses are sacrilegious and that they
impoverish all Faith by diminishing it. The taking away of the sacredness is
such that this Mass risks losing its supernatural character, "its mystery of
faith" to become no more than an act of natural religion.
This truth is confirmed by the evidence
of numerous priests who have said this New Mass as well as by the attitude of
the faithful in general who attend it, Even occasionally, in whom one notices
unfortunately a lack of the spirit of prayer and recollection. The danger is
likewise increased through the sermons heard, by the bad example seen and by
becoming accustomed to the sacrileges committed.
The first consequence then is
that attendance at such a Mass could become a sinful act for the Catholics
warned of the danger.
In the second place, attendance
at the New Mass signifies in some way one's approval, particularly if one
receives Communion. It is a point of Catholic doctrine, recognized moreover by
other religions, that he who receives the offering made during a religious
ceremony recognizes in some implicit way, by his participation, this same
religious cult. It is because of this that Saint Paul declared on the subject of
food offered to idols, to take care not to become an occasion of scandal for
those who surround us.
"Because if someone
sees you, you who have knowledge, seated at a table in the idol's temple"
(today we would say at the table of the Conciliar supper), "shall not
his conscience, being weak, bring him" to attend and to receive
communion at the New Mass.
And through thy knowledge shall the weak
brother perish for whom Christ hath died? Now when you sin thus against the
brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
is why the attendance and communion at the New Mass leads others to do the same;
this thus becomes an occasion of loss of faith for our neighbor, it would be
better to stop forever from frequenting this New Mass.
In the same way, St. Thomas
Aquinas adds, that he
who receives the Sacrament from a doubtful minister
(suspended, demoted, we may nowadays add dubious as to his intentions) sins
for his part and does not receive the effect of the sacrament, unless excused
But whoever communicates with
another who is in sin, becomes a sharer in his sin. Hence we read in II John
that 'He says unto him, God speed you, communicates with his wicked words.
Consequently, it is not lawful to receive
communion from them, or to assist at their Mass. Thus
refusing to hear the Masses of such priests, or to receive communion from them,
we are not shunning God's sacraments; on the contrary, by so doing we are giving
What practical consequence can we
draw from this?
These new Masses, not only
cannot be the object of the obligation of the Sunday precept but one should
apply, in their regard, the rules of moral theology and of Canon Law, which are
those of supernatural prudence with regard to the participation or attendance,
as an act perilous to our Faith or eventual sacrilege.
This teaching demands on
the part of the faithful an effort, sometimes very meritorious, of traveling
long distances to come regularly or at least periodically to the Tridentine
Mass. This also demands total abstention from attending at the New Mass; a
passive attendance is tolerated for a serious reason "to render honor or
for a polite obligation" (as for example for the marriage or funeral of
a relative or friend), "as long as there is no peril of perversion and
In any case, no authority can
oblige us to put our faith in danger. The children who attend so-called
"Catholic" schools are particularly exposed by the fact of their lack
of foundation and of discernment. It would be better to stay at home on Sunday,
to say the family rosary, to read in your missal the Mass of the day or to read
a spiritual book (Catechism, Lives of the Saints, etc.) rather than to expose
oneself to the disquiet and to the imperceptible but certain alteration of our
Catholic Faith, a treasure so rare in our days.
The case of attending the traditional
Mass said under the "Indult"
Despite all the efforts of
the official hierarchy since 1969, a few bishops, many priests, and a great
number of the faithful have remained attached to the two-thousand-year old
traditional rite of Mass. Time passed but the problem remained. In order to
resolve it, Pope John Paul II gave to the diocesan bishops the faculty of making
use of an indult so as to allow priests to say and faithful to attend the Mass
contained in the Roman Missal edited in 1962; the missal moreover used by the
Society of St. Pius X. That was the indult promulgated by the Congregation for
the Divine Worship on October 3, 1984,15 an indult we shall see
hereafter, made unacceptable through the intention of its legislators and by the
conditions of its application. The consecrations of June 30, 1988, occurring,
Pope John Paul II made use of this with regards to the traditionalists.
Now, what about attending a
Tridentine Mass celebrated under the indult?
First of all, it constitutes
a danger for the faith of the faithful, a danger which comes from the priests
themselves who are celebrating it. Because to obtain this indult from the
official hierarchy, these priests must fulfill the following conditions:
That it should be very clear
that these priests have nothing to do with those who place in doubt... the
doctrinal soundness of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI, in 1970 and
that their position should be without any ambiguity and publicly known.
Thus is it
necessary that these priests prove publicly by their behavior, their words and
writings, shorn of ambiguities, that they admit "the doctrinal
soundness" of the New Mass. No question in any way whatsoever of
criticizing the Protestant and definitely non-Catholic look of Pope Paul VI's
Cardinal Mayer, former
president of Ecclesia Dei placed in charge of re-integrating the
Traditionalists in the Conciliar Church, added the following condition: these
same priests "can obtain" this indult "on the condition that
they be in normal juridical standing with their bishops or religious superiors." 16 One remembers that dozens of priests have
been unjustly put out of their churches or their religious houses for the simple
fact of continuing to say without change the Tridentine Mass, except for a good
number of those who were favored by certain circumstances (age, distance etc.).
May we ask these indult favored priests at what cost or compromise with the
integral Catholic Faith have they kept or obtained "normal legal
relations" with the hierarchy? Compromise which, for example, could
appear in the fact of giving hosts doubtfully consecrated during a previous
conciliar Mass or even through the manner of celebrating the traditional Mass
full of hesitations and mistakes, sometimes even cause of scandal.
There is a danger too for the
Faith, that comes from the proximity of the faithful who attend exclusively
these indult Masses, because they also have to fulfill the conditions of not
placing in doubt the "doctrinal soundness" of the New Mass.15
Characteristically, these type of faithful, unfortunately too often, are
concerned with reconciling in thought and in action the truth with heresy,
Tradition with the conciliar spirit.
Secondly from the very nature
of the indult: an indult is "a concession from the authority which
dispenses its subjects from the obligation of keeping a law." 17
"The indult is an exception. It can always be withdrawn. It confirms the
general rule" 18 which is the New Mass, the conciliar
liturgy. Because, to use a special permission, is this not to recognize and
legitimize ipso facto the general law, that is to say the legal
suppression of the two thousand year-old traditional rite?
Indeed, to obtain the indult
of 1984, one must fulfill the following conditions:
that it should be quite clear
that those priests and those faithful have nothing to do with those who place in
question the legitimacy of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in
Furthermore "this concession...
should be utilized without prejudice to the observance of the liturgical reform
(of Pope Paul VI) in the life of ecclesiastical communities"
of the Conciliar Church.
Therefore no question of them
advertising for the universal usage of the Traditional Mass. They must be made
to recognize that this Tridentine Mass was validly, legally and legitimately
abrogated or forbidden. No question either or calling the worth, always actual,
of the words of the Pope St. Pius V:
by virtue of Our Apostolic
authority We give and grant in perpetuity, that for the singing or the reading
of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal (that is to say, the Tridentine
Mass), may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of
incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully
used. [cf. this article for more on this topic:
The legitimacy of Quo Primum today]
The third point to tackle is
this: to attend the "indult" Mass is at least to approve implicitly
and to encourage the work of the destruction of Catholic Tradition undertaken by
the official hierarchy. To prove this assertion, let us look first of all at the
intentions of some of those responsible, to see some precise facts.
In the first place the
intention of Pope John Paul II himself, using this indult to favor the winning
over of "traditional Catholics" to conciliar Rome:
See has granted... the faculty of using the liturgical books in use in 1962...
It is very evident that, far from seeking to put a brake on the application of
the reform (of the New Mass) undertaken after the Council (by Pope
Paul VI), this concession is destined to facilitate the ecclesial communion
(that is to say their reinstatement in the Conciliar Church) of people who feel
themselves attached to these liturgical forms.
What now of the intentions
and hopes of Cardinal Mayer, former president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission?
There are grounds to hope that, with the
concerted efforts on the part of all concerned a substantial number of priests
and seminarians will find the strength to renounce a 'state of mind' which until
now was full of prejudices, of accusations and of disinformation... We have good
reason to believe that the charity with which the priests coming from Archbishop
Lefebvre and returning into the Church will be received, will contribute greatly
to the fulfillment of this hope that, following them, numerous faithful whom
they had served up till then, would also return into the ecclesial communion (with the Conciliar Church)
through their mediation. Sometimes a temporary solution may be necessary, such
as allowing them the possibility of celebrating the Holy Mass (of Pope St. Pius V).
In the hands of the official
hierarchy, the Tridentine Mass serves therefore as a temporary means and bait to
attract the traditional priests and people and to destroy at the same time the
work of Catholic restoration, started by Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro
Mayer and their priests. Means and bait to attract the traditional Catholics now
considered as schismatics because they are no longer considered as "being
in communion" with the present-day Rome, of liberal and modernist tendency.
It is to be further noted that the Commission Ecclesia Dei could be
generous for a time in the concessions granted to priests - a question of making
them bite at the bait. But if through their "mediation" more or
less conscious, their faithful do not return into the conciliar fold, it is to
be anticipated that they will be judged as useless instruments and will find
themselves either in the obligation to fulfill other conditions to keep that
permission, or even to simply see the aforesaid permission withdrawn.
Let us now move on to some
illustrating facts: having received the permission to celebrate the Tridentine
Rite, the Fraternity of St. Peter now see themselves threatened to accept
giving communion in the hand and saying the Mass of 1965, 22
having already accepted by one of their superiors, "all the documents of
the Vatican II Council." Hundreds of priests, seminarians
and faithful have been lured with the Tridentine Rite and now are made to
forcibly return to the ranks and the spirit of the Council. This work of
destruction continues by the approval of Indult Masses close to our important
Mass centers... A good method to empty these last ones or at least to prevent
them from developing.
That is why, what can look like a concession is
in reality merely a maneuver to separate from us the largest number of faithful
possible. This is the perspective in which they seem to be always giving a
little more and even going very far. We must absolutely convince our faithful
that it is no more than a maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the
hands of Conciliar bishops and modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger
threatening our people. If we have struggled for twenty years to avoid the
Conciliar errors, it was not in order, now, to put ourselves in the hands of
those professing these errors.
To attempt to restore the
traditional Mass without considering the historical context of the crisis of the
Faith is to become a blind instrument in the hands of the conciliar hierarchy.
What final conclusion can we draw from all this?
That the precept of attending
Sunday Mass is obligatory for all Catholics who have reached the age of reason
(seven years old) but that some may be excused particularly those who are only
near Masses "of Pope Paul VI" or to traditional Masses said
under the "Indult." Why? Firstly, because of the danger for the faith
coming either from the priests who celebrate or from the faithful who attend
them; secondly, legitimization is given to the new liturgy and finally an
approval more or less implicit of the work of destruction of the One, Holy,
Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Tradition.