Expert Answer Forum

promulgation of New Mass QUESTION from Tracy Hummel January 21, 2000
Why do some traditionalists say the promulgation of the New Mass in 1969 had some irregularities which make its legitimacy doubtful? Also, is it possible, at least in theory, for the Mass of the Roman Rite to be bad or dangerous or potentially harmful to souls when celebrated faithfully according to the rubrics or is it absolutely protected because of the Church's indefectibility? Is the New Roman Mass equivalent to a universal law and thus infallible? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on January 21, 2000
Dear Tracy, Thank you for an interesting question. So-called Traditionalists call into question the validity of everything from the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, the Mass, the Papacy, and the excommunications of Father Leonard Feeney and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Those who call into question these things do so because they are dissenters trying to prove their point and it makes for a good smoke-screen. The Pope’s authority to regulate the liturgy comes from his supreme authority over the Church in general. The so-called Traditionalists hoot and howl about the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Pope’s authority to make such drastic changes. Yet while they wail about the Second Vatican Council they completely ignore the decrees of the FIRST Vatican Council, which to my knowledge none of them call into question. In the documents of this Council we find the following decree; Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff 2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world. The document goes on to say; 9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: LET HIM BE ANATHEMA. That’s pretty strong and clear language. The liturgy is a discipline. It is what we do as opposed to what we believe although the two are closely tied together. The Pope has full authority to regulate how we worship and Popes throughout history have made many changes to the Mass. Pope Paul VI made clear what his intention had been in issuing his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum and regardless of the form in which it was issued, the Pope quite clearly and authoritatively said; The new Ordo was promulgated to take the place of the old, after mature deliberation, following upon the requests of the Second Vatican Council. In no different way did our holy predecessor Pius V make obligatory the Missal reformed under his authority, following the Council of Trent. We are obliged to obey the disciplinary directives of the Church. Following the liturgical law faithfully cannot be bad or dangerous or potentially harmful to souls. The New Roman Mass is not equivalent to a universal law and infallible. If this were the case it would make all the Eastern Rite liturgies invalid. The liturgical laws are disciplinary and specific and binding to each Rite. I hope this answers your question. In Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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