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Reflections: Latin Mass/Cath.Trad. (Trad. Mass)

The Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Return to Ltn. Mass/Trad. Rflctns. | Latin Mass/Trad.Sctn.

Reflections: 

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section:

The Traditional Latin Mass

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Against Mass in the Vernacular

Canon of Traditional Mass is Errorless

Eastward Direction For Worship

History / Unchangeableness of the Ancient Mass

It is Becoming That There Be Only One Appropriate Rite For Mass

Law of Prayer / Law of Faith

Participation in Mass

Pope's Authority Over Liturgy is Bound to the Tradition of the Faith

Praise / Benefits of the Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Quo Primum

Silent Canon / Silence

The Traditional Liturgical Year

The Traditional Mass / The New Mass

The 'Tridentine' Mass in Recent Years

Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass / Misc.

Also See: The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Sacraments Section) | Holy Eucharist / Mass Reflections (Sacraments Section)

Category
Quotation

Against Mass in the Vernacular

Also See: Latin Language (Topic Page)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius VI in "Auctorem Fidei": "The proposition asserting that 'it would be against apostolic practice and the plans of God, unless easier ways were prepared for the people to unite their voice with that of the whole Church'; if understood to signify introducing of the use of popular language into the liturgical prayers, [is condemned as] false, rash, disturbing to the order prescribed for the celebration of the mysteries, easily productive of many evils." (Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, This error was condemned by Pope Pius VI in the Constitution "Auctorem Fidei", Aug. 28, 1794 A.D.)

"If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned, or that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, or that water should not be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice because it is contrary to the institution of Christ: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in the vulgar tongue." (Council of Trent)

"The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days - which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation - to other dates; those, finally, who delete from the prayer books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

Also See: Some Reasons For Saying Mass in Latin (Q & A) | The Latin Language (Reflections) | Latin Language | Benefits of the Latin Language | Latin Language Facts & Pronunciation Tips | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Canon of Traditional Mass is Errorless

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"If any one saith, that the canon of the mass contains errors, and is therefore to be abrogated; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"And since it is fitting that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and this sacrifice is of all things the most holy, the Catholic Church, that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, instituted the sacred canon many centuries ago, so free from all error, that it contains nothing in it which does not especially diffuse a certain sanctity and piety and raise up to God the minds of those who offer it. For this consists both of the words of God, and of the traditions of the apostles, and also of pious instructions of the holy Pontiffs." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

Also See: Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Eastward Direction For Worship

"...a common turning to the east [the traditional position, wherein the priest and the people face eastward, and not each other]...remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI)

"The adoption of the eastward direction for worship by Christians also represented a reaction against the Jewish practice of turning towards Jerusalem to pray. The East symbolized the heavenly Jerusalem in contrast with the earthly Jerusalem of the Jews. The Christians of antiquity found a rich and seemingly inexhaustible symbolism in the eastward direction. Christians worshipped not the sun king but the King of the sun, because the sun itself was created by Christ... Our Lord had faced the West while offering the Sacrifice of His Life upon the Cross, and so by facing eastwards during the Mass we are actually facing Him, because the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present during the Mass... St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the eastward direction symbolized both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Paradise had been situated in the East, and so by worshipping in this direction we symbolize our desire to regain Paradise, the heavenly Paradise represented by the East. There are also traditions that just as the birth of the Messiah was heralded by a star in the East...His Second Coming will be like lighting coming from the same direction (Mt. 24:27)... There is also a tradition that the Second Coming will take place during the celebration of Mass. With their eyes fixed on the East, priest and people will be prepared to receive Our Lord in an attitude of adoration." (Davies)

Also See: Why the Priest Faces East in the 'Tridentine' Mass (Q & A) | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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History / Unchange-

ableness of the Ancient Mass

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"Father Fortescue considers that the reign of St. Gregory the Great marks an epoch in the history of the Mass, having left the liturgy in its essentials just as we have it today. There is, moreover a constant tradition that St. Gregory was the last pope to touch the essential part of the Mass, namely the Canon. Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) claimed that: 'No Pope has added to or changed the Canon since St. Gregory.' Whether this is totally accurate is not a matter of great importance: even if some very minor additions did creep in afterwards, perhaps a few 'amens,' the important point to note is that a tradition of more than a millennium certainly existed in the Roman Church that the Canon could not be changed." (Davies)

"There have been revisions since the reform of St. Pius V, but until the changes which followed Vatican II these were never of any significance. In some cases what are now cited as 'reforms' were mainly concerned with restoring the Missal to the form codified by St. Pius V when, largely due to the carelessness of printers, deviations had begun to appear. This is particularly true of the 'reforms' of Popes Clement VIII and Urban VIII. The 'reforms' of these two Popes have been used as a precedent for the reform of Pope Paul VI - but it is only necessary to glance through the Briefs of these Popes...to see how utterly nonsensical such a comparison is... It is thus unscholarly - dishonest even - to attempt to refute traditionalist criticisms of the New Mass by citing changes made in the Missal by the popes just named. What traditionalists are complaining about is the fact that, among the options provided in the new rite, a form of Mass can be selected from which almost every prayer excluded by [the Protestant reformer] Cranmer has also been excluded. In other words, traditionalists object to Catholic Eucharistic teaching, which lies at the heart of the Faith, being compromised in the interests of spurious ecumenism." (Davies)

"The survival of the Tridentine Mass until the post-Vatican II reform was, even from a cultural standpoint, something of a miracle." (Davies)

"The sound and invariable practice of the Church in the West was breached for the first time by the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers. They broke with the tradition of the Church by the very fact of initiating a drastic reform of liturgical rites, and this would still have been the case even had their reformed liturgies been orthodox. The nature of their heresy was made clear not so much by what their rites contained as by what they omitted from the traditional books." (Davies)

Also See: The Traditional Latin Mass: A Brief History | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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It is Becoming That There Be Only One Appropriate Rite For Mass

"[I]t is most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass" (Pope St. Pius V, "Quo Primum", 1570 A.D.)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Law of Prayer / Law of Faith

"A pope in the fifth century, in the course of a famous controversy, pronounced the following words which have been regarded ever since as an axiom of theology: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi (let the law of prayer fix the law of faith) - in other words, the liturgy of the Church is a sure guide to her teaching. Above all else, the Church prizes the integrity of the faith of which she is the guardian: she could not therefore allow her official prayer and worship to contradict her doctrine." (Dom Cabrol, as quoted by Davies)

Also See: Religious Ceremonies (Q & A)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Participation in Mass

Also See: Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Topic Page)

"The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior... But the chief element of divine worship must be interior." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"True participation in the Mass, as Pope Pius XII explains in Mediator Dei, consists of the faithful uniting themselves with the priest at the altar in offering the divine Victim [Christ] and offering themselves with Him. This participation can be perfected by receiving Holy Communion." (Davies)

"The sursum corda - the lifting up of our hearts - is the first requirement for real participation in the Mass. Nothing could better obstruct the confrontation of man with God than the notion that we 'go unto the altar of God' as we would to a pleasant, relaxing social gathering. This is why the Latin Mass with Gregorian chant, which raises us up to a sacred atmosphere, is vastly superior to a vernacular Mass with popular songs, which leaves us in a profane, merely natural atmosphere." (Von Hildebrand)

Also See: Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Pope's Authority Over Liturgy is Bound to the Tradition of the Faith

"The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI)

Also See: Tradition / Traditions | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Praise / Benefits of the Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"The Missal of St. Pius V is a great treasure for the Church." {Cardinal Hoyos}

"[The Mass is] the most beautiful thing in the Church" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"The beauty, the worth, the perfection of the Roman liturgy of the Mass [is] universally acknowledged and admired" (Davies)

"[T]his rite of Mass gives the most perfect possible liturgical expression to the Eucharistic teaching of the Catholic Church" (Davies)

"[The Tridentine Mass is] penetrated more than anything else by the spirit of true reverence, and it draws those who live it directly into this spirit." (Von Hildebrand)

"Even the bitterest adversaries of the Church do not deny it: unprejudiced aesthetic judges of good taste admit that even from their own standpoint the ['Tridentine'] Mass is to be classed as one of the greatest masterpieces ever composed." (Oswald)

"It would not be an exaggeration to describe this Missal as the most sublime product of Western civilization, more perfect in its balance, rich in its imagery, inspiring, consoling, instructive than even the most beautiful cathedral in Europe." (Davies)

"[T]he Tridentine Mass is something which must be experienced, and only then will it become clear why, in an article written fifteen years after the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Tridentine Mass can be termed with perfect accuracy: 'the Mass that will not die.'" (Davies)

"[Every worshipper at the 'Tridentine' Mass] feels himself to be at the point which links those who before him, since the very earliest days of Christianity, [Catholics] have offered prayer and [the holy Sacrifice of the Mass] with those who in time to come will be offering the same prayer and the same sacrifice [of the Mass], long after the last fragments of his mortal remains have crumbled into dust." (Baumstark)

"It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with celestial charming, so that our very senses seem to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste and touch beyond what earth can give." (Faber)

"Beauty, like truth and goodness, is a reflection of the divine essence. The closer we come towards God, the closer we come to pure beauty, pure truth, and pure goodness. The Tridentine Mass [is] theocentric, it [is] focused not upon man but upon God. By consciously disassociating himself from his everyday life the ordinary worshipper sense[s] at least some intimations of immorality, however rudimentary." (Davies)

"And since it is fitting that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and this sacrifice is of all things the most holy, the Catholic Church, that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, instituted the sacred canon many centuries ago, so free from all error, that it contains nothing in it which does not especially diffuse a certain sanctity and piety and raise up to God the minds of those who offer it. For this consists both of the words of God, and of the traditions of the apostles, and also of pious instructions of the holy Pontiffs." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

"If there is anything divine among man's possessions which might excite the envy of the citizens of heaven (could they ever be swayed by such a passion), this is undoubtedly the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by means of which men, having before their eyes, and taking into their hand [referring here to priests] the very Creator of heaven and earth, experience, while still on earth, a certain anticipation of heaven. How keenly, then, must mortals strive to preserve and protect this inestimable privilege with all due worship and reverence, and be ever on their guard lest their negligence offend the angels who vie with them in eager adoration." (Pope Urban VIII)

"Nicholas Wiseman was appointed as the first English cardinal and the first Archbishop of Westminster following the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales by Blessed Pius IX in 1850. This great pastor and scholar wrote, concerning the ['Tridentine'] Mass that he celebrated each day of his priestly life: If we examine each prayer separately, it is perfect: perfect in construction, perfect in thought, and perfect in expression. If we consider the manner in which they are brought together, we are struck with the brevity of each, with the sudden but beautiful transitions, and the almost stanza-like effect, with which they succeed one another, forming a lyrical composition of surpassing beauty. If we take the entire service as a whole, it is constructed with the most admirable symmetry, proportioned in its parts with perfect judgment and so exquisitely arranged, as to excite and preserve an unbroken interest in the sacred action. No doubt, to give full force and value to this sacred rite, its entire ceremonial is to be considered. The assistants, with their noble vestments, the chant, the incense, the more varied ceremonies which belong to a solemn Mass, are all calculated to increase veneration and admiration. But still, the essential beauties remain, whether the holy rite be performed under the golden vault of St. Peter's, or in a wretched wigwam, erected in haste by some poor savages for their missionary" (Davies) 

Also See: Why the Latin Mass? | The Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo (New) Mass | 'Traditionalist Testimonies' | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A | Praise / Benefits of the Holy Eucharist & Mass (Sacraments Reflections)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Quo Primum

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

Note: Quo Primum refers to the decree of Pope St. Pius V which promulgated the 'Tridentine' Mass. To view Quo Primum, click here

"The Missal promulgated by St. Pius V [in Quo Primum] is not simply a personal decree of the Sovereign Pontiff, but an act of the Council of Trent... This was the first time during the one thousand five hundred and seventy years of the Church's history that a council or pope had used legislation to specify and impose a complete rite of Mass." (Davies)

"It seems reasonable to conclude that the Council [of Trent] Fathers intended the reformed Missal to be invested with the same permanence as their doctrinal teaching, because the Missal would give liturgical expression to what they had defined in their dogmatic decrees. St. Pius V made this clear in Quo Primum when he stated that: 'Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority We give and grant in perpetuity for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal 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." (Davies)

"St. Pius V manifested his profound respect for tradition not simply [by] insuring that his revised Missal contained no novelties, but by refraining from any attempt to impose it where the use of another Missal was already the established custom." (Davies)

"Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women - even of military orders - and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever. This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding. All other of the churches referred to above, however, are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be discontinued entirely and absolutely; whereas, by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure. 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 and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription - except, however, if more than two hundred years' standing... Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Should any person venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul." (Pope St. Pius V, "Quo Primum", 1570 A.D.) 

Also See: The Traditional Latin Mass: A Brief History | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Silent Canon / Silence

"But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!" (Hab. 2:20)

"Silence in the presence of the Lord GOD!" (Zeph. 1:7)

"Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! for he stirs forth from his holy dwelling." (Zech. 2:17)

"As in all the churches of the holy ones, women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. But if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church." (St. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 14:33-35)

"A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control." (St. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Tim. 2:11-15)

"It is in silence that we are most likely to meet God." (Davies)

"The silent saying of the Canon...points to the unfathomable and unspeakable depth of the mystery of the altar, and protects it against contempt and desecration." (Gihr)

"Let all mortal flesh be silent, standing there...in fear and trembling; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God is about to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful." (St. James)

"The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in silence and hope." (Pope Innocent IV, "Quae Honorem Conditoris Omnium", 1247 A.D.)

"[T]he priest secretly pronounces some of the words as a token that regarding Christ's Passion the disciples acknowledged Him only in secret." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Nothing so becomes a church as silence and good order. Noise belongs to theatres, and baths, and public processions, and market-places: but where doctrines, and such doctrines, are the subject of teaching, there should be stillness, and quiet, and calm reflection, and a haven of much repose." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned, or that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, or that water should not be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice because it is contrary to the institution of Christ: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"They shall also banish from churches all those kinds of music, in which, whether by the organ, or in the singing, there is mixed up any thing lascivious or impure; as also all secular actions; vain and therefore profane conversations, all walking about, noise, and clamour, that so the house of God may be seen to be, and may be called, truly a house of prayer." (Council of Trent, Twenty-second Session) 

"Holiness befits the house of the Lord; it is fitting that he whose abode has been established in peace should be worshipped in peace and with due reverence. Churches, then, should be entered humbly and devoutly; behavior inside should be calm, pleasing to God, bringing peace to the beholders, a source not only of instruction but of mental refreshment... The consultations of universities and of any associations whatever must cease to be held in churches, so also must public speeches and parliaments. Idle and, even more, foul and profane talk must stop; chatter in all its forms must cease. Everything, in short, that may disturb divine worship or offend the eyes of the divine majesty should be absolutely foreign to churches, lest where pardon should be asked for our sins, occasion is given for sin, or sin is found to be committed." (Second Council of Lyons)

"The holy silence is quite suited to indicate and to recall the concealment and depth, the incomprehensibleness and ineffableness of the wonderful mysteries that are enacted on the altar. Silent prayer is related to religious silence, and therefore, expresses the humility, reverence, admiration, and awe wherewith the Church administers and adores the Mystery of the Altar. 'The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him' (Hab. 2:20). The sight of the priest at the altar, communing amid profound stillness with God alone, is, therefore, also an excellent means afforded to arouse and promote in those who are present the proper dispositions, with which they should admire, adore, and offer among with the priest so grand a sublime a Sacrifice... 'How terrible is this hour!' While the tremendous Sacrifice [of the Mass] is being accomplished on the altar, all present should be immersed in silent contemplation and in devout meditation of the divine mysteries." (Gihr)

"The Canon of the Mass guides us silently to the heart of the mystery. In silence we go to meet Silence. We wait 'until He comes.' Our eyes, we know, will not see Him, our hands will not touch Him. God is a Spirit: He remains such even in the Sacred Humanity which gives Him to us. God is a Secret audible only when self is silent. The very formulae have a silent character. Their sublimity is their modesty. They possess the lowliness of the bread and wine, and their glory is self-effacement... Their unity is internal. None obtrudes itself, none forces itself on our attention, none disturbs the silence. Since the mystery of faith is present, they do not attempt to utter it... the liturgy is most careful not to divert into sensible emotion an attention which should be wholly given to the spiritual disappropriation which the Mystery demands. No word, no rite can take the place of this initiation into the Cross by the Cross. Silence alone can confront the soul with the crucified Love of her God." (Fr. Maurice Zundel, as quoted by Davies)

"For one to attempt to speak of God in terms more precise than He Himself has used - to undertake such a thing is to embark upon the boundless, to dare the incomprehensible. He fixed the names of His nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever is sought over and above this is beyond the meaning of words, beyond the limits or perception, beyond the embrace of understanding. It cannot be expressed, exhausts the meaning of the words, its impenetrable light obscures our mental perception: - whatever is without limit exceeds the capacity of our understanding... He is infinite because He Himself is not contained in something else, and all else is within Him. He is always beyond location, because He is not contained; always before the ages, because time comes from Him... He transcends the realm of understanding. Outside of Him there is nothing, and it is eternally His characteristic that He shall always exist... God is invisible, unutterable, and infinite. In His presence, let a word about to be spoken remain silent; let a mind attempting to investigate, admit its weariness; let an understanding which attempts to comprehend admit its own limitation...it does not escape me that all language is powerless to give expression to the attributes which are His... But speech will surrender to the reality of His nature, and words do not express the thing as it is... Therefore, our confession of God fails because of the limitations of language; and whatever aptness there is in our words, we cannot give expression to God as He is, nor to how great He is. Perfect knowledge is this: to know God in such a way that you know you must not be ignorant of Him, while yet you cannot describe Him. We must believe in Him, we must apprehend Him, we must worship Him; and it is these acts which must stand in place of our describing Him." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

Also See: Silence in Church (Church Talk Reflections) | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A | Against Applause / Noise in Church (Church Talk Reflections) | Reverence (Church Talk Reflections) | Beauty & Decorum in the House of God (Church Talk Reflections) | Silence in Church -Women (Holy Scripture) (Flier / Resources) | "Our Responsibilities in God's House" (Flier / Resources) | Silence in Church? (Flier / Resources)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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The Traditional Liturgical Year

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"Would that we might worthily describe the sacred wonders of this mystical calendar, of which all others are but images and humble auxiliaries! Happy indeed should we deem ourselves, if we could make the faithful understand the grand glory which is given to the blessed Trinity, to our Savior, to Mary, to the angels, and to the saints, by this annual commemoration of the wondrous works of our God! If, every year, the Church renews her youth as that of the eagle, she does so because, by means of the cycle of the liturgy, she is visited by her divine Spouse, who supplies all her wants. Each year she again sees Him as an Infant in the manger, fasting in the desert, offering Himself on the cross, rising from the grave, founding His Church, instituting the Sacraments, ascending to the right hand of His Father, and sending the Holy Ghost upon men. The graces of all these divine mysteries are renewed in her; so that, being made fruitful in every good thing, the mystic garden yields to the Spouse, in every season, under the influence of the Spirit He breathes into her, the sweet perfume of aromatic spices. Each year the Spirit of God retakes possession of His well-beloved and gives her light and love; each year she derives an increase of life from the material influence which the blessed Virgin exercises over her, on the feasts of her joys, her dolours, and her glories; and lastly, the brilliant constellation formed by the successive appearance of the nine choirs of the angels, and of the saints in their varied orders of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins, sheds on her, each year, powerful help and abundant consolation... Let the Catholic...be on guard against that coldness of faith and that want of love, which have well-night turned into an object of indifference that admirable cycle of the Church, which heretofore was, and always ought to be, the joy of the people, the source of light to the learned, and the book of the humblest of the faithful." (Dom Gueranger)

"The year thus planned for us by the Church herself produces a drama the sublimest that has ever been offered to the admiration of man. God intervening for the salvation and sanctification of men; the reconciliation of justice with mercy; the humiliations, the sufferings, and the glories of the God-Man; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and His workings in the action of the Church - all are there portrayed in the most telling and impressive way. Each mystery has its time and place by means of the sublime succession of the respective anniversaries. A divine fact happened [two thousand] years ago; its anniversary is kept in the liturgy, and its impression is thus reiterated every year in the minds of the faithful, with a freshness, as though God were then doing for the first time what He did so many ages past. Human ingenuity could never have devised a system of such power as this. And those writers who are bold and frivolous enough to assert that Christianity has no longer an influence in the world, and is now but the ruin of an ancient thing - what would they say at seeing these undying realities, this vigor, this endlessness of the liturgical year? For what is the liturgy, but an untiring affirmation of the works of God? A solemn acknowledgement of those divine facts, which, though done but once, are imperishable in man's remembrance, and are every year renewed by the commemoration he makes of them? Have we not our writings of the apostolic age, our acts of the martyrs, our decrees of the ancient Councils, our writings of the fathers, our monuments, taking us to the very origin of Christianity, and testifying to the most explicit tradition regarding our feasts?" (Dom Gueranger)

"But though the liturgy so deeply impresses us by annually bringing before us the dramatic solemnization of those mysteries which have been accomplished for the salvation of man and for his union with his God, it is nevertheless wonderful how the succession of year after year diminishes not one atom of the greatness and vehemence of those impressions, and each new beginning of the cycle of mystic seasons seems to be our first year. Advent is every impregnated with the spirit of a sweet and mysterious expectation. Christmas ever charms us with the incomparable joy of the birth of the divine Child. We enter, with the well-known feeling, into the gloom of Septuagesima. Lent comes, and we prostrate ourselves before God's justice, and our heart is filled with such a salutary fear and compunction, which seem so much keener than they were the year before. The Passion of our Redeemer, followed in every minutest detail, does it not seem as though we never knew it till this year? The pageant of Easter makes us so glad, that our former Easters appear to have been only half kept. The triumphant Ascension discloses to us, upon the whole economy of the Incarnation, secrets which we never knew before this year. When the Holy Ghost comes down at Pentecost, is it not the case that we so thrill with the renewal of the great Presence that our emotions of last Whit Sunday seem too tame for this? However habituated we get to the ineffable gift which Jesus made us on the eve of His Passion, the bright dear feast of Corpus Christi brings a strange increase of love to our heart; and the blessed Sacrament seems more our own than ever. The feasts of our blessed Lady come round, each time revealing with something more of her greatness; and the saints - with whom we fancied we had become so thoroughly aquatinted - each year as they visit us seem so much grander, we understand them better, we feel more sensibly the link there is between them and ourselves." (Dom Gueranger)

"This renovative power of the liturgical year, to which we wish to draw the attention of our readers, is a mystery of the Holy Ghost, who unceasingly animates the work which He has inspired the Church to establish among men; that thus they might sanctify that time which has been given to them for the worship of their Creator. The renovation works also a twofold growth in the mind of man: the increase of knowledge of the truths of faith, and the development of the supernatural life. There is not a single point of Christian doctrine which, in the course of the liturgical year, is not brought forward, nay, is not inculcated with that authority and unction wherewith our holy mother the Church has so deeply impregnated her words and her eloquent rites. The faith of the believer is thus enlightened more and more each year" (Dom Gueranger)

"[P]eople are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The Church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life." (Pope Pius XI, "Quas Primas", 1925 A.D.)

"That we may thoroughly understand the meaning and influence of the season of the liturgical year upon which we have now entered [the Time after Pentecost], it is requisite for us to graph the entire sequence of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and company; we have witnessed her services, and we have shared in them. The celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which produced in our souls the reality signified by the rites of the liturgy. At Christmas, Christ was born within us; at Passiontide He passed on and into us His sufferings and atonements; at Easter He communicated to us His glorious, His untrammeled life; in His Ascension He drew us after Him, and this even to heaven's summit; in a word, as the apostle expresses all this working, 'Christ was formed in us' (Gal. iv. 19). But in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that so He might increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched. This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; He gave Himself to us; He wishes to take up His abode within us, and to take our life of regeneration entirely into His own hands. The liturgy of this Time after Pentecost signifies and expresses this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ's and under the direction of His Spirit." (Liturgical Year)

Also See: The Liturgical Calendar (Q & A) | The Traditional Liturgical Calendar | Search Feast Days (Traditional Calendar) | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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The Traditional Mass / The New Mass

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page) | Novus Ordo Mass (Topic Page)

"[T]he crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI) 

"The liturgical reform is a major conquest of the Catholic Church" (Archbishop Bugnini, "chief architect of the liturgical revolution") 

"[T]he new liturgy will delight all those groups hovering on the verge of apostasy who, during a spiritual crisis without precedent, now wreak havoc in the Church by poisoning Her organism and by undermining Her unity in doctrine, worship, morals and discipline." (Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci)

"[The common denominator in the changes] is the aim of bringing Catholic worship into conformity with that of the Protestant sects...the present liturgical revolution, while not identical with [the Protestant 'Reformer'] Cranmer's, has more than sufficient parallels to outrage any Catholic who loves the Faith." (Davies)

"It is now widely recognized that it is impossible to point to any document signed by Pope Paul that ever made the use of the new Missal obligatory. It is also certain that Pope Paul said late in his reign that its use was obligatory, but he at no time indicated what decree was alleged to have made it so" (Parsons) 

"We are losing the language of the Christian centuries, we are in the process of becoming, as it were, profane intruders within the sanctuary of sacred letters, and we thereby lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual reality which is Gregorian chant. We do indeed have reason for regret, and to feel as it were, that we have lost our way." (Pope Paul VI, 1969 A.D.)

"What was intended by Vatican Council II as a means of making the liturgy more easily understood by the average Christian, has turned out to be something more like an orgy of stripping it of all sense of reverence, bringing it down to the level of commonness where the very people for whom the changes were made now only yawn out of sheer boredom with the banality of the result." (Archbishop Dwyer) 

"To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries stood as a sign and pledge of unity in worship, and to replace it with another liturgy which, due to the countless liberties it implicitly authorizes, cannot but be a sign of division - a liturgy which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith - is, we feel bound in conscience to proclaim, an incalculable error." (Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci)

"We have limited ourselves above to a short study of the Novus Ordo where it deviates most seriously from the theology of the Catholic Mass. Our observations touch upon deviations which are typical. To prepare a complete study of all the pitfalls, dangers and psychologically and spiritually destructive elements the new rite contains, whether in texts, rubrics or instructions, would be a vast undertaking." (Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci)

"[T]he Novus Ordo Missae - considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluation, which appear to be implied or taken for granted - represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by fixing definitively the 'canons' of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery." (Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci)

"Prior to Vatican II the prime concern of the Church was the worship and dignity of God. Since the Council the Church has turned in upon itself; it has become preoccupied with an obsessive and unhealthy introspection. It cares little for God, little for the unevangelized mass of mankind... The symbol of this introspection is the turning round of the altars. Prior to Vatican II priest and people celebrated Mass as a united body, facing out towards the East, symbol of Christ the Sun of Justice, symbol of the Resurrection and the Second Coming... Today the worshipping community has turned in upon itself" (Davies)

"Opposition to the New Mass is not based to any great extent upon suffering caused by cultural deprivation... I am sure that most traditionalists would prefer to assist at a Low Mass in an accurately translated vernacular text of the Mass of St. Pius V rather than a sung Latin version of the New Mass, however dignified and beautiful. Let it be made clear once and for all, opposition to the New Mass is based on theological and not cultural considerations, although, clearly, responsible Catholics will also make every effort to fulfill the express command in the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy to preserve the Church's treasury of sacred music and the use of Latin in the liturgy." (Davies)

"That which previously was considered the Most Holy [the traditional Latin Mass] suddenly appears to be the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council. On the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules or even of the great truths of the Faith, for instance the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc., nobody complains or only does so with the greatest of moderation... All this leads a great number of people to ask themselves if the Church today is really the same as that of yesterday of if they have changed it for something else without telling people." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, 1988 A.D.)

"The innovations in the Novus Ordo Missae, and on the other hand the things of eternal value relegated to an inferior or different place (if indeed they are still to be found at all), could well turn into a certainly the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by Christians can be altered or silenced without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. Recent reforms have amply shown that fresh changes in the liturgy could not but lead to utter bewilderment on the part of the faithful, who are already giving signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which numberless instances come to our notice daily." (Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci)

"In emphasizing the meal rather than the unbloody re-enactment of the sacrifice of Calvary, rather than His becoming really present in the Mass, community with other faithful is made the main thing. The main theme of the holy Mass - the re-enactment of the sacrifice of Calvary, by which God is unspeakably glorified - is thrust into the background. One forgets that the glorification of God is the center of the holy Mass, and that each individual, together with all the other faithful, has the privilege of participating in this glorification which the priest as a representative of Christ carries out. The earlier practice of the priest facing the altar was a deep expression of this: the faithful looked with the priest toward the altar, and they were drawn by him into the mystery of the sacrifice. This was a deep Christ-centered gesture; the priest, who represents Christ, was shown to be that mediator at Mass whom we follow - and he was himself completely directed to God." (Von Hildebrand)

"In 1969 a new rite of Mass was promulgated in which, to paraphrase the bishops of the province of Westminster, prayers and ceremonies in previous use were subtracted, and the existing rite was remodeled in the most drastic manner. It was proclaimed triumphantly that this reform, better termed a revolution, would initiate a second Pentecost within the Church, but from the very beginning it initiated an unprecedented collapse in Mass attendance and Catholic life in general throughout the Western world. Msgr. Gamber sums up the true fruits of this revolution as follows: The liturgical reform, welcomed with so much idealism and hope by many priests and lay people alike, has turned out to be a liturgical destruction of startling proportions - a debacle worsening with each passing year. Instead of the hoped - for renewal of the Church and of Catholic life, we are now witnessing a dismantling of the traditional values and piety on which our faith rests. Instead of the fruitful renewal of the liturgy, what we see is a destruction of the forms of the Mass which had developed organically during the course of many centuries. Cardinal John Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, England, warned in 1972: 'One does not need to be a prophet to realize that without a dramatic reversal of the present trend there will be no future for the Church in English-speaking countries.' The trend to which the Cardinal referred was not confined to English-speaking countries. Cardinal Daneels of Brussels, in an interview given in England in May 2000, warned that the Church in Europe is facing extinction. That this is also the case in the United States is made clear in an article by Dr. James Lothian, a professor of economics, published in the Homiletic & Pastoral Review in October 2000. Dr. Lothian notes that the official view from the Vatican on down is that what it terms the 'liturgical renewal' that was promised 'has taken place and that the Church is all the better for it.' The statistics that he cites prove that the opposite is true. Particularly significant is that he proves that during the period following Vatican II, when the catastrophic decline in Mass attendance got under way, there was no such decline within Protestant denominations. 'Church' attendance for Protestants, in contrast, has followed a much different path. For most of the period it was without any discernible trend, either up or down. In recent years it has actually risen. The notion that the Catholic fall off was simply one part of a larger societal trend, therefore, receives absolutely no support in these data.'" (Davies)

"One is coming more and more to believe that the important thing at Mass is knowledge, and that for true participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass the understanding of every word is more essential then recollection, than going into one's personal depths, than the reverent immersion of oneself in the mystery of the unbloody Sacrifice on the Cross. For true participate at Holy Mass, it is important for the faithful that the priest as an individual person become completely absorbed in his role of representing Christ, that everything else disappear except the incredible mystery of the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross. The dialogue of the priest in the holy Mass, the Dominus vobiscum, Orate fratres, and the dialogue before the Preface, are all one dialogue which is built into the sacred happening of the Mass; it is precisely a sacred dialogue and not an imparting of information about the kind of Preface and Canon being used. Today it is becoming more and more common for the priest to interrupt the service to speak to the faithful, to instruct them about the progress of the Mass. This should take place beforehand, in catechetical classes, or at most in the sermon, but never in the course of the sacred action, where the priest represents Christ, and the faithful are completely caught up in participating in the sacred event." (Von Hildebrand)

"[T]he Mass is not a seminar, a Bible-study group, a social get-together. In its essence it is an action, an action of Christ, actio Christi, at which it is our supreme privilege to be present with feelings of reverence, awe, and holy fear." (Davies)

"By refusing to accept any rite of Mass other than that found in the Roman Missal of 1962, traditional Catholics are in no way a cause of disunity in the Church but, motivated by a profound sensus catholicus, they are serving it with the utmost fidelity to the faith handed down from their fathers, the faith that they are determined to hand down to their children." (Davies)

"It is above all the theological content of the Roman Missal which must evoke our veneration and allegiance." (Davies)

"[T]here must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing." (Second Vatican Council)

"The sursum corda - the lifting up of our hearts - is the first requirement for real participation in the Mass. Nothing could better obstruct the confrontation of man with God than the notion that we 'go unto the altar of God' as we would to a pleasant, relaxing social gathering. This is why the (traditional) Latin Mass with Gregorian chant, which raises us up to a sacred atmosphere, is vastly superior to a vernacular Mass with popular songs, which leaves us in a profane, merely natural atmosphere. The basic error of most of the innovations is to imagine that the new liturgy brings the holy sacrifice of the Mass nearer to the faithful, that shorn of its old rituals the Mass now enters into the substance of our lives. For the question is whether we better meet Christ in the Mass by soaring up to Him, or by dragging Him down into our own pedestrian, workaday world. The innovators would replace holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity. The new liturgy actually threatens to frustrate the confrontation with Christ, for it discourages reverence in the face of mystery, precludes awe, and all but extinguishes a sense of sacredness." (Von Hildebrand)

"A Catholic should regard his liturgy with pietas. He should revere, and therefore fear to abandon the prayers and postures and music that have been approved by so many saints throughout the Christian era and delivered to us as a precious heritage. To go no further: the illusion that we can replace the Gregorian chant, with its inspired hymns and rhythms, by equally fine, if not better, music betrays a ridiculous self-assurance and lack of self-knowledge." (Von Hildebrand)

"The [Protestant] reformers, while rarely able to agree on what they believed were united in their hatred for and rejection of the Mass... Accordingly, all the reformers devised new Communion Services intended to express, or at least to be compatible with, their new religions. Initially, these tended to be interim measures, ambiguous rites, which could pave the way for more radical revision which could be introduced when the time was ripe. In some cases, even the title 'Mass' was retained. These services were characterized not so much by the new prayers making heretical doctrine explicit as by the elimination of sacrificial language, particularly the Offertory and the Canon." (Davies)

Also See: The Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo (New) Mass | Status of the Latin Mass | Why the Latin Mass? | How to Find a Latin 'Tridentine' Mass | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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The 'Tridentine' Mass in Recent Years

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"[I]n faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way." (Second Vatican Council)

"The Second Vatican Council, in its Liturgy Constitution, commanded that all lawfully acknowledged rites within the Church should be preserved and fostered in every way. The wishes of the Council Fathers were ignored" (Davies)

"To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition, I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations. In this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those engaged in the pastoral ministry in the church... Taking account of the importance and complexity of the problems referred to in this document, by virtue of my apostolic authority I decree the following:... Moreover, respect must everywhere by shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962." (Pope John Paul II, 1988 A.D.)

"In October 1984 Pope John Paul II gave all the bishops of the Roman Rite the authority to allow the Tridentine Mass once more. This was an answer to the prayers of countless thousands of Catholics from the day that the New Mass has first been imposed upon them. The Holy Father had to take this step in the face of considerable opposition from within the Vatican and among bishops and liturgists throughout the world... Although at first sight the restrictions imposed by the Indult seem very daunting, this does not alter the fact that it is a tremendous step forward... [T]he Tridentine Mass has never been prohibited according to the strict letter of Canon Law, and that every priest has a right to celebrate it derived from immemorial custom. But it would have been fruitless to attempt to convince most bishops of this, whereas, with the Indult, they cannot deny that they are entitled to permit the celebration of the Tridentine Mass once more." (Davies)

Also See: Latin Mass Updates: 7/07 & Later | Status of the Latin Mass | Why the Latin Mass? | How to Find a Latin 'Tridentine' Mass | The Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo (New) Mass | Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass / Misc.

Also See: Traditional Latin Mass (Topic Page)

"[T]he Missal [is] a living link with the earliest and formative roots of Christian civilization in Europe" (Davies)

"[I]t is right and fitting that British Catholics should feel a particular attachment to the form of Mass which their martyr-priests celebrated and for which so many of them died." (Davies)

"What we may call the 'archaisms' of the Missal are the expression of the faith of our fathers which it is our duty to watch over and hand on to posterity." (Dom Cabrol, as quoted by Davies)

"But, assuredly, all of the duties which man has to fulfill, that without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"In the life to come, our mind will see the true God himself, and our outer worship will need no symbols but will consist in praise of God from heart and mind. At present, however, God's truth can only express itself to us in symbols we can sense." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It was the consideration of all the reverence shown to the Blessed Sacrament coupled with the magnificent and solemn grandeur of the ceremonies of Holy Mass, that drew from Frederick the Great that noble and magnanimous saying: 'The Calvinists treat Almighty God as a servant; the Lutherans as an equal; the Catholics as a God." (Davies)

"Three characteristics of which Our predecessor [Pope St.] Pius X spoke should adorn all liturgical services: sacredness, which abhors any profane influence; nobility, which true and genuine arts should serve and foster; and universality, which while safeguarding local and legitimate custom, reveals the Catholic unity of the Church." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The Sacrifice (of the Mass) is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august Sacrifice, and to excite the faithful when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine thing which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[N]ot only should we cherish exceedingly the Sacraments with which holy Mother Church sustains our life, the solemn ceremonies which she celebrates for our solace and our joy, the sacred chant and the liturgical rites by which she lifts our minds up to heaven, but also the sacramentals and all those exercises of piety by which she consoles the hearts of the faithful and sweetly imbues them with the Spirit of Christ." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"This was the only form of Mass which countless millions of Catholics throughout the nations and the centuries had known, and from which, together with a catalogue of saints too long even to begin listing, they drew the spiritual nourishment that gave meaning and purpose, consolation and inspiration to their existence. This was the form of Mass which the martyr-priests of England and Wales celebrated at the cost of their lives" (Davies)

"The breaking of the host denotes three things: first, the rending of Christ's body, which took place in the Passion; secondly, the distinction of His mystical body according to its various states; and thirdly, the distribution of the graces which flow from Christ's Passion, as Dionysius observes (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia iii). Hence this breaking does not imply severance in Christ." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Every Catholic must feel a personal love for those sacred rites when they come to him with all the authority of the centuries. Any rude handling of such forms may cause deep pain to those who know and use them. For they come to them from God through Christ and through the Church. But they would not have such an attraction were they not also sanctified by the piety of so many generations who have prayed in the same words and found in them steadiness in joy and consolation in sorrow." (Cardinal Gasquet, 1870 A.D.)

"And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice [of the Mass]." (Council of Trent)

"The washing of the hands is done in the celebration of Mass out of reverence for this sacrament; and this for two reasons: first, because we are not wont to handle precious objects except the hands be washed; hence it seems indecent for anyone to approach so great a sacrament with hands that are, even literally, unclean. Secondly, on account of its signification, because, as Dionysius says (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia iii), the washing of the extremities of the limbs denotes cleansing from even the smallest sins, according to John 13:10: 'He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Five times does the priest turn round towards the people [in the traditional Mass], to denote that our Lord manifested Himself five times on the day of His Resurrection, as stated above in the treatise on Christ's Resurrection (Q55,A3,OBJ 3). But the priest greets the people seven times, namely, five times, by turning round to the people, and twice without turning round, namely, when he says, 'The Lord be with you' before the Preface, and again when he says, 'May the peace of the Lord be ever with you': and this is to denote the sevenfold grace of the Holy Ghost. But a bishop, when he celebrates on festival days, in his first greeting says, 'Peace be to you,' which was our Lord's greeting after Resurrection, Whose person the bishop chiefly represents." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"We use incense, not as commanded by a ceremonial precept of the Law, but as prescribed by the Church; accordingly we do not use it in the same fashion as it was ordered under the Old Law. It has reference to two things: first, to the reverence due to this sacrament, i.e. in order by its good odor, to remove any disagreeable smell that may be about the place; secondly, it serves to show the effect of grace, wherewith Christ was filled as with a good odor, according to Genesis 27:27: 'Behold, the odor of my son is like the odor of a ripe field'; and from Christ it spreads to the faithful by the work of His ministers, according to 2 Corinthians 2:14: 'He manifesteth the odor of his knowledge by us in every place'; and therefore when the altar which represents Christ, has been incensed on every side, then all are incensed in their proper order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The actions performed by the priest in Mass are not ridiculous gestures, since they are done so as to represent something else. The priest in extending his arms signifies the outstretching of Christ's arms upon the cross. He also lifts up his hands as he prays, to point out that his prayer is directed to God for the people, according to Lamentations 3:41: 'Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens': and Exodus 17:11: 'And when Moses lifted up his hands Israel overcame.' That at times he joins his hands, and bows down, praying earnestly and humbly, denotes the humility and obedience of Christ, out of which He suffered. He closes his fingers, i.e. the thumb and first finger, after the consecration, because, with them, he had touched the consecrated body of Christ; so that if any particle cling to the fingers, it may not be scattered: and this belongs to the reverence for this sacrament." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"While we stand before the altar, then, it is our duty so to transform our hearts, that every trace of sin may be completely blotted out, while whatever promotes supernatural life through Christ may be zealously fostered and strengthened even to the extent that, in union with the immaculate Victim [Christ], we become a victim acceptable to the eternal Father. The prescriptions in fact of the sacred liturgy aim, by every means at their disposal, at helping the Church to bring about this most holy purpose in the most suitable manner possible. This is the object not only of readings, homilies and other sermons given by priests, as also the whole cycle of mysteries which are proposed for our commemoration in the course of the year, but it is also the purpose of vestments, of sacred rites and their external splendor. All these things aim at enhancing the majesty of this great [Eucharistic] Sacrifice, and raising the minds of the faithful by means of these visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of the sublime truths contained in this [Eucharistic] Sacrifice.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Nothing is greater or holier than the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, in which the body and blood of Christ are offered to God for the salvation of all. Holy Mother the Church has always been careful and diligent in order that the Mass be celebrated by priests with clean and pure hearts. It should be celebrated with the proper splendor of sacred ceremonies and rites so that the greatness of this mystery will shine forth all the more even from external appearances. This will also arouse the faithful to the contemplation of divine things hidden in such an admirable and venerable sacrifice. And with like solicitude and devotion, the same most holy Mother has never ceased to urge, exhort, and influence her faithful sons to frequently attend this divine sacrifice [of the Mass] with due piety, veneration and devotion. She teaches that they must at all cost be present at it on all holy days of obligation, with their minds and eyes religiously intent on that from which the divine mercy and an abundance of all good things might be acquired." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

"These public prayers, called at first 'the work of God' and later 'the divine office' or the daily 'debt' which man owes to God, used to be offered both day and night in the presence of a great concourse of the faithful. From the earliest times the simple chants which graced the sacred prayers and the liturgy gave a wonderful impulse to the piety of the people. History tells us how in the ancient basilicas, where bishop, clergy and people alternately sang the divine praises, the liturgical chant played no small part in converting many barbarians to Christianity and civilization. It was in the churches that heretics came to understand more fully the meaning of the communion of saints; thus the Emperor Valens, an Arian, being present at Mass celebrated by St. Basil, was overcome by an extraordinary seizure and fainted. At Milan, St. Ambrose was accused by heretics of attracting the crowds by means of liturgical chants. It was due to these that St. Augustine made up his mind to become a Christian. It was in the churches, finally, where practically the whole city formed a great joint choir, that the workers, builders, artists, sculptors and writers gained from the liturgy that deep knowledge of theology which is now so apparent in the monuments of the Middle Ages." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Cultus", 1928 A.D.)

"The word amen, with which the Lord's Prayer concludes, contains, as it were, the germs of many of these thoughts and reflections... Indeed, so frequent was this Hebrew word in the mouth of the Savior, that it pleased the Holy Ghost to have it retained the Church of God. Its meaning may be said to be: Know that thy prayers are heard. It has the force of a response, as if God answers the suppliant, and graciously dismisses him, after having favorably heard his prayers. This interpretation has been approved by the constant usage of the Church of God. In the Sacrifice of the Mass [speaking then of the Traditional Latin Mass], when the Lord's Prayer is said she does not assign the word amen to the server who answers: But deliver us from evil. She reserves it as appropriate to the priest himself, who, as mediator between God an man, answers Amen, thus imitating that God has heard the prayers of His people. This practice, however, is not common to all the prayers, but is peculiar to the Lord's Prayer. To the other prayers the server answers Amen, because in every other this word only expresses assent and desire. In the Lord's Prayer it is an answer, intimating that God has heard the petition of His suppliant." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of the words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and blood, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which none of the Evangelists is read to have expressed... In the Canon of the Mass that expression, 'mysterium fidei,' is found interposed among His words... Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as from the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed... From the expression, moreover, concerning which your brotherhood raised the question, namely 'mysterium fidei,' certain people have thought to draw a protection against error, saying that in the sacrament of the altar the truth of the body and blood of Christ does not exist, but only the image and species and figure, inasmuch as Scripture sometimes mentions that what is received at the altar is sacrament and mystery and example. But such run into a snare of error, by reason of the fact that they neither properly understand the authority of Scripture, nor do they reverently receive the sacraments of God, equally 'ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God' [Matt. 22:29]... Yet 'mysterium fidei' is mentioned, since something is believed there other than what is perceived; and something is perceived other than is believed. For the species of bread and wine is perceived there, and the truth of the body and blood of Christ is believed and the power of unity and of love... We must, however, distinguish accurately between three things which are different in this sacrament, namely, the visible form, the truth of the body, and the spiritual power... Therefore, we believe that the form of words, as is found in the Canon, the Apostles received from Christ, and their successors from them..." (Pope Innocent III, "Cum Marthae Circa", 1202 A.D.) 

"The priest, in celebrating the Mass, makes use of the sign of the cross to signify Christ's Passion which was ended upon the cross. Now, Christ's Passion was accomplished in certain stages. First of all there was Christ's betrayal, which was the work of God, of Judas, and of the Jews; and this is signified by the triple sign of the cross at the words, 'These gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices.' Secondly, there was the selling of Christ. Now he was sold to the Priests, to the Scribes, and to the Pharisees: and to signify this the threefold sign of the cross is repeated, at the words, 'blessed, enrolled, ratified.' Or again, to signify the price for which He was sold, viz. thirty pence. And a double cross is added at the words - 'that it may become [for] us the Body and the Blood,' etc., to signify the person of Judas the seller, and of Christ Who was sold. Thirdly, there was the foreshadowing of the Passion at the Last Supper. To denote this, in the third place, two crosses are made, one in consecrating the Body, the other in consecrating the Blood; each time while saying, 'He blessed.' Fourthly, there was Christ's Passion itself. And so in order to represent [Christ's] five wounds, in the fourth place, there is a fivefold signing of the cross at the words, 'a pure Victim, a holy Victim, a spotless Victim, the holy bread of eternal life, and the cup of everlasting salvation.' Fifthly, the outstretching of Christ's body, and the shedding of the blood, and the fruits of the Passion, are signified by the triple signing of the cross at the words, 'as many as shall receive the body and blood, may be filled with every blessing,' etc. Sixthly, Christ's threefold prayer upon the cross is represented; one for His persecutors when He said, 'Father, forgive them'; the second for deliverance from death, when He cried, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' the third referring to His entrance into glory, when He said, 'Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit'; and in order to denote these there is a triple signing with the cross made at the words, 'Thou dost sanctify, quicken, bless.' Seventhly, the three hours during which He hung upon the cross, that is, from the sixth to the ninth hour, are represented; in signification of which we make once more a triple sign of the cross at the words, 'Through Him, and with Him, and in Him.' Eighthly, the separation of His soul from the body is signified by the two subsequent crosses made over the chalice. Ninthly, the resurrection on the third day is represented by the three crosses made at the words - 'May the peace of the Lord be ever with you.' In short, we may say that the consecration of this sacrament, and the acceptance of this sacrifice, and its fruits, proceed from the virtue of the cross of Christ, and therefore wherever mention is made of these, the priest makes use of the sign of the cross." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Latin Mass Facts | Latin Mass Information | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A | Status of the Latin Mass | Why the Latin Mass? | How to Find a Latin 'Tridentine' Mass | The Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo (New) Mass | The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Sacraments Section) | Holy Eucharist / Mass Reflections (Sacraments Section)

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