Some thoughts on the rite of ecumenical Mass
No servant can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
St. Luke XVI, 13.
Something which was shrouded in mystery until a few months ago is beginning to take shape, the creation of a Rite of Mass to be used for interdenominational celebrations. Strictly speaking, such celebrations are forbidden because Moral Theology absolutely bans communicatio in sacris with heretics.
Unfortunately, we all know that these celebrations are not limited to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. For many years - decades, even - they have become the norm in a lot of countries where Catholics are only a minority or have very little influence. Such is the case in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and so on.
In March, Marco Tosatti expressed some serious concerns (here) about certain rumours he had heard about a panel of Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans. They had been sworn to secrecy, but someone recently revealed that there were several notorious heretics among them, including Andrea Grillo (the theologian and lecturer at the Pontifical University of S. Anselm who has denied the doctrine of Transubstantiation several times), and the Benedictine Father Anselm Grün, whom I wrote about a few days ago on this blog (here).
Tosatti quoted an article from the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (here) by Luisella Scrosati, who had clearly foreseen what was about to happen.
Eveyone knew that moves were afoot by subversives to overturn Liturgiam Autenticam, the fifth instruction for proper application of the Liturgy Constitution of Vatican II. […] To dissolve once and for all a Catholic liturgy, greater freedom must be given to Bishops’ Conferences and remove (or “smooth over,” to use Curia jargon) any unwanted recognitio as part of the policy of giving greater autonomy.
In a previous article (here), Scrosati said:
A secret meeting was held a few days ago just outside Rome. As well as Roche, also present were the Deputy Secretary Father Silvano Maggiani, Andrea Grillo the lecturer at S. Anselm’s, and Bishops Piero Marini and Domenico Sorrentino. These are some of the most important names in the modern liturgical current.
After keeping the Prefect of Sacred Worship, Cardinal Sarah, in the dark about these secret meetings, the Motu Proprio Magnum Principium was published on 9 September, and it is simply the legal expression of what this band of revolutionaries had been plotting for some time with the clear approval of PF.
His Eminence, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, made an intervention on 1 October (here) to specify the interpretation criteria in the Motu Proprio, and on 22 October Bergoglio disavowed the Prefect publicly, ordering the newspaper to publish a letter he had written (here) to contradict the interpretation given by Cardinal Sarah: it is clear that the document had been prepared with much help from the advocates of the Motu Proprio itself.
I need not remind you that this cowardly attack belongs to a whole series of institutional attacks, such as the sacking of Cardinal Burke from his position as Prefect of the Apostolic Signature and all that interference in the resignation of the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta following the disciplinary measures against the Grand Hospitaller.
It is easy to see how devolution has been encouraged when the outcome is the advantage of a particular faction, but the authoritarian rule of the Great Despot is never softened or changed if its purpose is to impose silence upon those who do not want it.
In the meantime, let me point out that in June Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo of the Congregation for the Clergy published a “working paper” which showed that Francis absolutely wanted to impose Eucharistic concelebration in the colleges and seminaries of Rome, saying that it “must always be preferred to individual celebration.” This underhand document, which has absolutely no legal power but which clearly shows Bergoglio’s moral suasion, brings to utter fruition all the rules which were brought in after Vatican II and suppresses an incalculable number of Holy Masses. It takes away from Our Lord all the glory they gave Him, and cancels all the benefits they provided for the living and the dead.
Let us not forget that the Novus Ordo Missae, in open denial of pure Catholic teaching, had already banned the celebration of more than one Mass at the same time in a church. This encourages the twisted idea many have of Mass as a community event, and means that one single Holy Sacrifice offered by many concelebrants is worth more than many separate Masses each said by one celebrant.
Incidentally, this shows that the spirit being applied by the reigning pontiff may well be worse than we have ever seen, but let us not forget that it all started with Vatican II. Those who have certain difficulties with the reigning pontiff must never forget that all these premises had already been built up by his predecessors, none excluded.
Let us now go back and look at this ecumenical Mass. It is clear that the Mass properly so-called no longer exists: its very name is the object of deepest hatred by all Protestants, who prefer to call it the “Last Supper” (a term which is even used in one of those Eucharistic prayers which were placed alongside the Roman Canon after Vatican II), and the very term Mass is so evocative of the much-despised Council of Trent, which is so unpopular among the liturgical revolutionaries that they much prefer to call it a Eucharistic Celebration or Eucharist, not to mention the term used by the Lutherans.
Leaving aside what it is to be called, any such rite must satisfy the needs and aspirations of all the various communities who profess such widely differing and irreconcilable beliefs that it must therefore gloss over all minor and major discrepancies. It is therefore evidently clear that the consequences of doing this are never going to sadden a Protestant, but what must the ordinary Catholic on the Clapham omnibus feel about a complete novelty which openly denies the sacrificing priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary? Nobody worries about the Orthodox: they are part of a Church and, even if they are heretics and schismatics, nobody can deny that they have Apostolic Succession and valid Sacraments. To be fair, it is reasonable to wonder why the Lutherans have so steadfastly refused to come towards us and abjured their heretical convictions, but it is evident that the ideals behind all this ecumenical dialogue are not intended to convert the heretics, but rather to direct Catholics towards heresy. There is absolutely no intention of making dialogue, but rather the usual monologue. Everything we considered Truth until the 1960s - which was all suppressed in the new liturgy - is now openly denied by Bergoglio and his sidekiscks.
Changing the August Sacrifice of the Mass into something vapid and watery is not even something new. Everything done by the heretics in changing the Rite of Mass into something for popular consumption has been slavishly followed out by those very experts who, as Benedict XVI himself admitted, was invented over lunch and wine in the Trastevere district of Rome incomplete antithesis to the venerable Roman Rite of S. Peter and the Holy Apostles, with all its knowledgeable winks to our separated brethren. I personally fail to understand how we can call them “brethren”, since they openly deny the common maternity of Holy Mother Church and therefore the common paternity of the Holy Ghost.
Surely these ecumenical celebrations are being prepared as a series of in vitro experiments by a panel of so-called experts - can surely serve no other purpose than trickery and cheating the faithful out of their rightful heritage and gifts? They can be nothing other than equivocal by their very nature, because Catholics and heretics will never be able to understand and share each other’s doctrines.
Thus we arrive at the paradox whereby the adage Lex orandi, lex credendi can only be applied if there is a deliberate legal ambiguity and the Truths about our Faith are swept under the carpet so that anyone and everyone can pretend to go along with them.
Everyone knows that the essence of Holy Mass is the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary. The part immediately before the Sacrifice is preparatory to it, and the part after it is its conclusion. According to Catholic teaching the Holy Sacrifice begins with the Offertory, and it ends when the Priest consumes the Sacred Species (Communion); Communion by the faithful is not an absolutely essential part of Mass. When the changes came in we saw a Liturgy of the Word and a eucharistic liturgy which were often presented as two co-essential parts of the same thing if we are to understand Article 7 of the General Introduction to the Roman Missal (in its amended 1970 version):
[...] In the celebration of mass, in which the sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated, Christ is really present in the very liturgical assembly gathered in his name, in the person of the minister, in his word, and indeed substantially and continuously under the Eucharistic species.
The expression really present, which is applied indiscriminately to the liturgical assembly, the Word of God, and to the Eucharistic species, gives rise to much perplexity to interpretations of the term Real Presence, which is only properly applicable to the Blessed Sacrament. Here too, as we can very easily see, the foundations had already been laid during Vatican II.
The rite of Communion for the faithful in the new Mass was considered as almost indispensable, so much so that the Missal of Paul VI specified a Mass cum populo and one sine populo, as though the Angels and the Holy Souls of Purgatory no longer came to worship before the Blessed Sacrament that every single Mass throughout the world.
We know full well that Protestants deny the sacrificial nature of the Mass, just as they deny its purpose of adoration, atonement, thanksgiving, and petition. Since we now deny the Four Ends of Mass to help ecumenism, we are basically saying that the whole rite is invalid because the intentions have disappeared. Since the intention of a Celebrant doing what the Church requires has now disappeared, and indeed since the intention will soon be precisely the opposite of this, we no longer have any implicit desire to say Mass.
It is clear that the main point of disagreement between us and the Protestants - the very sacrificial nature of Holy Mass - means we can longer have something which is at the same time Mass for Catholics and non-Mass for non-Catholics. The solution thought up by this work group turns out to be something of a placebo: Catholics will be absolutely required to think of it as a Mass, and Lutherans as a non-Mass. At the end, we will be happy. Let me put it another way: all of us will have to become heretics, because what Luther defined as a monstrum never was and never can be the Mass. In the final analysis this placebo effect will only work for those dreamers of the New Church who, with all their quibbles and Jesuit-style casuistries, will finally bring to fruition what began forty years ago with the Novus Ordo Missae. I am sure you will remember that the doctrinal darkening of Pope Paul’s New Mass was so evident even then that Cardinals Bacci and Ottaviani understood it immediately. These two Cardinals were immediately denounced by the writers of a thousand silly pamphlets, all in favour of the frightful horror wrought by His Holiness Paul VI of venerable memory, who was forced to write a special prescription for the millions of ordinary Catholics who had been poisoned by his favourite delicacy. Simple common sense ought to have required him to look at the immediate results of his innovation, and to understand that the innovators needed to be stopped, but we know only too well what actually happened.
We now understand that the only way to have this ecumenical monstrosity accepted by our separated brethren was to cancel any notion of the old Words of Consecration or change them so as to brush away all Catholic understanding of a sacramental formula. Something which the modernists contemptuously call a magic formula, just as the first protestants did in the early days.
Their best bet was to say that Our Lord’s words were merely a historical narrative, with absolutely no outward sign of their sacramental value. Even without fishing up Nestorian Anaphora of Addai and Mari, I think it was enough for them to abolish genuflecting after the Elevation. And the Elevation itself, if they could. This is what seems to be happening now at Santa Marta, where Francis seems to be physically incapable of bending his knee for anything other than washing the fleet of Mohammedans or jailbirds.
I feel I must specify that this new ecumenical rite - which can be traced back to the Lutheran Last Supper - is only an improvement on something we have already seen in the Novus Ordo Missae, which even felt it necessary to change the punctuation used in the despised old Missal so that the Words of Consecration can no longer be distinguished from the narration of the Last Supper.
Indeed, after Qui pridie in the Tridentine Missal there is a distinct separation between the recounting the historical events and the moment in which the Celebrant, bowing over the Host and then the Chalice, pronounces slowly and devotedly those sacramental words we all know. He immediately genuflects, then he elevates the Sacred Species, genuflects again, and continues through the Canon with the words Unde et memores. Let me simply remind everyone that he does not tell us what happened at the Last Supper, but rather repeats in his words and gestures that which our Lord did.
The changes after the Council make no distinction between the historical recounting and the Words of Consecration, and the genuflection before the Elevation has been suppressed. It is almost as though the Real Presence only occurs when the Host is shown to the faithful. Exactly as happens with the Lutherans.
Nor is that all. In the Missal of S. Pius V, the exclamation Mysterium fidei is included in the Words of Consecration for the Chalice, whereas in the Vatican II version - just as in the Protestant version - it is moved to after narration of the Last Supper, and the faithful reply with their acclamation We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again, slavishly following something thought up by a group of heretics five hundred years ago.
It is easy to see that, with Paul VI’s New Mass, we already have a situation where any Protestant on earth could happily celebrate the Last Supper using the very same Missal to be found in any Catholic church, and only very slight - almost imperceptible - changes will need to be made for the new, ecumenical rite to be ready. The faithful will hardly notice them, used as they are to the changes made at almost every Mass. It is not just me making such a claim: many Protestant pastors have said the same thing since the New Mass was first published, when they admitted quite frankly that since then (nota bene: SINCE then, but not before) they could use the new Missal to celebrate their rite.
If there were any substantial differences in the Words of Consecration, it is highly likely that absolute freedom will be given to change them as the “need” arises, without any explanations or marginal notes.
This new rite will spread very rapidly, without the need to ordain new priests or close parishes. Such a perspective curdles the blood, and it shows how cunning the members of the new hierarchy have become in this new church, with no regard for the clergy or the faithful.
Protestant ministers will be called in to preside at the new Last Supper and Catholic priests will no longer be needed, or Sunday Mass obligations will be able to be fulfilled by going to the nearest Protestant church, as is currently the case with Orthodox churches or with chapels of the Society of S. Pius X.
Let me take the opportunity to point out here that, for all the mercy supposedly shown by Papa Bergoglio and other members of the current hierarchy towards the Society, this will undoubtedly turn into a double-edged sword: If we allow the faithful to go to Mass and to receive the Sacraments in a community which is still considered schismatic to all effects and purposes (however valid such a consideration may be, canonically speaking) how long will it take before we grant the same rights to go to other schismatic communities in certain pastoral circumstances, especially when we consider that PF himself makes no secret that he considers many Protestant sects to be valid churches. In the same way, all those forthcoming doctrinal agreements (with absolutely no conditions) which have been put on the back burner for the moment are proof that important doctrinal differences can be smoothed over to encourage unity, and what has been done with the SSPX will be unconditionally applied to all heretics and schismatics.
My comments are applicable not only to the Society of S. Pius X (who, it must be said to have been remarkably lukewarm about the offers made by members of the jackbooted hierarchy), but also and especially to the various supporters of Summorum Pontificum, who will easily fall into the trap laid for them by Apostolic authority, leaving the path open for the conservatives. If he has the power to show tolerance towards traditionalists, he must surely do the same for those going in the opposite direction. It seems increasingly likely that he will order Summorum Pontificum to be abolished, as has already been hinted at by many people.
It is surely no accident that the critics of the current occupant of a certain hotel within the Vatican include members of conservative institutions such as the Society of S. Peter and the Good Shepherd Institute, the Canons of Christ the King, and the Monks at Fontgombauld, all of whom are keeping a low profile and say very little about the initiatives taken in Rome because they know that if they were to speak out their days would be numbered.
It is also true that the perplexities expressed by Andrea Grillo concerning the ἅπαξ in the Motu Proprio and the spirit of Vatican II are perfectly reasonable because he sees any posthumous justification of the Catholic liturgy as unreasonable in the light of the undying heterogony which exists between these two different forms of celebration: one is all vertical towards a transcendent God, and the other is horizontal and laid flat before a false sense of community.
It is also clear that any acceptance of Summorum Pontificum is a sort of blackmail, especially now: it allows complete liberty to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, but only insofar as the same liberty is granted to the ordinary form, its bastard offspring. Anyone who hopes to see suppression of the latter form would only see the indult granted to the former taken away.
Practically speaking, the trap laid by the Motu Proprio is perfectly in line with trying to make two complete opposites live in harmony together, so typical of the Hegelian mentality which came to the fore at Vatican II: something good can only be accepted as the lesser of two evils if the same rights are given to the opposite side.
If we are to be consistent, we Catholics should come out in force against such a grave error, and should be ready to go and live in the catacombs rather than try to justify any idea which says that good and evil can live together. Let us not forget that when Julian the Apostate restored pagan worship, he gave the same rights to our holy Catholic Religion, only to persecute us because we refused to see their false idols as gods. Had they been more tolerant, they would have disappeared into the Pantheon in Rome, as it increasingly seems likely we are going to do. There are now so few real Catholics with any real support from the hierarchy that they have become museum pieces rather than soldiers fighting for Our Lord Jesus Christ, King.
The ordinary faithful will see married priests, who may be men or women alongside deaconesses (if the farce currently underway reaches its conclusion), and sooner or later it will not even matter if they are Catholic or Protestant. We are used to seeing popes, cardinals, and bishops celebrating alongside Anglicans, Lutherans, and hundreds of other sects, and this did not start in 2013.
In line with current trends in the new church I do not think this is mere speculation.