Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book Review: St. Lawrence Press Ordo Recitandi & Interview

I am grateful to the St. Lawrence Press for the opportunity to review their Ordo Recitandi Officii Divini Sacrique Peragendi for 2015, as well as for the time spent by the compiler, Rubricarius, to answer questions about the history of the Ordo, provide us with some invaluable history told from experience, and his thoughts on the future of the traditional Roman liturgy. I have never looked at an Ordo other than a quick glance at the FSSPX one while at the Oxford Oratory (more accurate than the LMS), so I cannot compare the St. Lawrence Press version's quality to other ordines, but I think the thoughtful layout and the efficient presentation will speak for themselves. This booklet, which continues the praxis of the early traditionalists in following the 1939 typical edition of the Missal, should be helpful for all gradations of use: laymen, solitary priests, and for public prayer settings. Even non-users might find the Ordo an interesting study in the traditional liturgy's kalendar and commemoration system, although this booklet does deserve to be put to practice.

Part I: Reviewing the Ordo

The first page contains immediately useful information on the dates of the variable feasts of the year and the four sets of ember days. Atop the third page is the proclamation of the variable feasts sung after the Gospel every year on the feast of the Epiphany, which would be helpful to someone working without a form. 

The Ordo, which is entirely in Latin—no Classical word flourishes, mercifully—publishes exhaustive, straight forward, and concise details on such things as external solemnities, titular feasts and the dedication of churches, private and public votive Masses—normal and Requiem, and the guidelines for the Forty Hours devotion, which, despite being eleven paragraphs long, is quite simple and more thorough than what one finds in Fortescue. 

Yes, there can be an external solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The rubrics on the left continue the extensive directions for the Forty Hours.

The rules around Masses for the Dead vary in strictness depending on whether or not the Mass is a sung Mass or not. This Ordo forgets not the finer details of the commemoration system, too, such as the use of the orations for the dead on the first feria of the month at Mass.

When I first heard that the Last Gospel is replaced with another text on some days, I was a bit confused when told that this only occurs when the displaced text is "strictly proper." The Ordo contains a very good explanation that any priest should be able to remember and understand when consulting the Ordo listing for a feast or Sunday which displaces another day.

Guidelines for orations, the Ordinary of Mass, and prefaces in private votive Masses, which differs in many respects from 1962.

In order to be succinct, the Ordo does not give long explanations like the LMS and FSSPX ordines, but instead employs an abbreviation system. At first all these potential entries look intimidating, but the layout of the pages containing the liturgical orders of the days makes everything more intelligible.

For example, the R next to the octave day of St. Stephen indicates that the Mass and Office of the day are observed in red vestments and with a red altar frontal. The A midway through the entry directs a change to white (albus) for V seq (Vespers of the following day). 

I believe most ordines begin at Advent. The St. Lawrence Press Ordo begins with January 2015 and, considerately, runs to the 10th of January, 2016. 

This page is a nice example both of the clarity of the Ordo and the depth of the old Roman rite. The page is for March. The 23rd is a Lenten Monday which, noted by the X to the right, permits a votive Requiem Mass (as do all ferial Mondays of Lent). At Vespers the color changes to white for the feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel, a greater-double feast. At Mattins, the lessons and responsories in the first nocturne are proper to the feast. The ninth lesson is that of the displaced feria. The feria is commemorated with its Benedictus antiphon and collect at Lauds, as well as with a commemoration and proper Last Gospel at Mass (it is strictly proper). A private Mass may be celebrated of the feria with a commemoration of St. Gabriel and a proper Last Gospel, the prayer super populum per the Lenten feria, and the Benedicamus Domino dismissal, all done in violet for the Mass alone. Vespers is of the following feast of the Annunciation, a double of the first class, with the Incarnation doxology used in the hymns that night and during the hours on the 25th. 

Certain days, such as those of the Triduum, contain long descriptions of unique rites and ceremonies proper to the day. Any church master of ceremonies would already be expected to know this information, but I suspect it would be a very helpful reminder to the sacristan, who might read it over to remember everything he needs to prepare the altar, the vestments, and any other articles necessary for the day. A thoughtful sacristan might even read ahead and ask the priest if he anticipated celebrating a votive Mass or a ferial Lenten day on a feast and then write an emendation in the generous margins. 
This is an excellent Ordo for use and study by both clerics and laymen. I would recommend getting a copy yourself and putting it to some good use. To order the St. Lawrence Press Ordo for 2015, click here. They take PayPal.

Part II: Interview with the Compiler

Herein follows an interview with Rubricarius, the compiler of the Ordo and friend of this blog. He gives us some history about the Ordo as well as some very unique views of the future of the old rite and about Summorum Pontificum which should get the comment box rolling.

Q. Thank you, Rubricarius, for sending me your Ordo 2015 for review. I have long been an avid reader of the St Lawrence Press blog and appreciate its efforts to educate the public on the Roman liturgy as it existed prior to Pius XII and the general process of change. Could you perhaps tell us more about the specifics of your Ordo, such as the year it follows and how that came about?

A. Thank you, Rad Trad for your interest.  The Ordo began back in the early 1970s as the idea of Fr. Peter J. Morgan (the first priest ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre for the Fraternity back in 1971).  Fr. Morgan soon gathered a sizable group of interested clergy and somehow managed to create Mass centres almost out of thin air. He felt it was time to resurrect a traditional Ordo.  What must be born in mind is that the Ordo reflected the liturgical praxis of what the St. Pius Association (the precursor to the $$PX) and other traditional clergy were using at the time.  Fr. Morgan asked Mr. John Tyson, the compilator emeritus, to produce an Ordo for 1973. John is a truly exceptional and talented man and could basically think an Ordo in his head for any given year.  John’s rather difficult-to-read script – it looks very like classical Armenian - was patiently deciphered and typed up on foolscap by the late Miss Penelope Renold and published in three sections by the ‘St. Pius V Information Centre’.  The first volume. ‘Pars Prima’ was clearly somewhat rushed with the cover in Miss Renold’s handwriting.  ‘Pars Secunda’ and ‘Pars Semestris’ followed with typed covers. The two following years saw again a simple foolscap size production but integrated into a single volume.  The current format has its origins in the 1976 edition.

The ‘pre-Pius XII’ rubrics were what clergy and their supporters used at that time.  What is now called the ‘EF’ had, obviously, been used for the couple of years of its existence a decade earlier – but not by everyone I would add - but no one who was supporting the cause of ‘Old Rite’ used it in the UK in the 1970s and it did not make an appearance until a decade later.

Q. Who were the principle people behind the Ordo when it began publication under the St Pius V Information Center? What sort of structure runs the administration of the St Lawrence Press Ordo today?

A. We have covered this, in part, with the first question.  The driving force was Fr. Morgan who channeled the considerable talents and knowledge of John Tyson.  Miss Renold did the typing and, I would conjecture, the posting to interested parties.  The Ordo was published by the St. Pius V Association up to and including Ordo 1978.  Ordo 1979 was published by the $$PX and they continued to publish it up to Ordo 1983.  All this time Mr. Tyson was continuing to exercise his considerable talents.  Since 2002 the Ordo has been published by The Saint Lawrence Press Ltd.  This is a legal entity of a company limited by shares in English Law. It has three directors, including myself, and a company secretary.

Q. How did the St Lawrence Press survive the liturgical about-face of 1983, when the Society of St Pius X reversed its 1977 decision to allow celebrants of the old rite to continue their established custom and imposed the 1962 liturgy on all priests in the Fraternity? Why was the pre-Pius XII rite worth saving, from the perspective of those who continued the St Lawrence Press at the time?

A. If I may answer these questions together Rad Trad?  As I mentioned earlier it was actually the $$XP itself that was publishing the Ordo from 1979 onwards with a considerable number of its clergy using it.  When the trustees of the St. Pius V Association had handed over its assets to the $$PX one of the conditions was that the pre-Pius XII liturgy was to continue to be used.  I understand that one of the original trustees deeply regrets now not having taken legal action when the $$PX reneged on the terms.  Who knows what might have been...   Anyway, as to the ukase to enforce the use of the 1962 books this was a consequence of discussions Lefebvre was having with Rome in the early 1980s.  I have letters from both Michael Davies and Bishop Donald Sanborn – from opposite ends of the Traddieland spectrum - confirming this to be the case.  In his letter Michael Davies states that the indult Quattuor abhinc annos was a direct consequence of these discussions. (We can see the parallels with Summorum Pontificum and Fellay’s overtures to Rome although back in the early 1980s at least Lefebvre was not claiming to be told what to do by putative visions of the BVM).  Lefebvre’s ukase caused great upset, particularly in the NE district of the USA.  Here in England Lefebvre announced this when he came to bless the newly acquired church of SS Joseph and Padarn in London.  A friend of mine, Dr. Thomas Glover, witnessed the argument that took place in the sacristy after Mass between Lefebvre and the then district superior, Edward Black.  Fr. Black put up a spirited defense of the existing practice with both he and Lefebvre getting angrier with each exchange.  The argument took place in French, a language which Dr. Glover is not fluent in.  Dr. Glover tried to interject in Italian and observed that Fr. Black was winning the argument but then, suddenly, just shrugged his shoulders and capitulated.  I am sure you are familiar with Fr. Cekada’s account of what happened in your country and I am sure Fr. Cekada is quite correct in maintaining that if Lefebvre had stayed for the meatloaf the problem would have been resolved. 

Anyway, Fr. Black realised that he could no longer produce the Ordo so he asked two dear friends of mine, now my fellow directors, to produce the Ordo.  This decision was made immediately after Lefebvre left London that fateful day.  So, from 1984 the Ordo was produced by the Saint Lawrence Press – not Ltd – which was what we call in England a trading partnership.  Ordo 1984 caused quite as stir as its cover had the Arms of John Paul II on the cover.

This did cause some upset with customers so 1985 had an absolutely plain cover.

The artist Gavin Stamp was a university friend of Mr. Warwick and drew the cover image for Ordo 1986.  Yours truly came across the $$PX in 1988 and became instantly fascinated by the Ordo.  Despite what had happened five years earlier the majority of clergy were still using ‘pre-Pius XII’ then.  I recall a whole year of Sunday’s without a hint of 1962 – happy days.  The current UK district superior even celebrated the major services of the Triduum at Highclere in 1991 at 10:00am and a Pentecost Vigil at the unearthly hour of 4:30am – or something like that.

As to why it was worth saving I think that is because it was the best thing available at the time and within living memory of so many involved.  A great many people identified this as ‘Old Rite’ as it was what they had experienced before the changes.  What I did notice was that many people I met who were supporting the $$PX had been servers or singers at Fr. Clement Russell’s church at Sudbury which you posted about recently.  I was much influenced by the late, and much lamented, Mgr. Gilbey.  Mgr. Gilbey never used 1962 and saw it as just an intermediate stage in the changes. 

Q. How did the 1983 decision and the 1984 indult influence celebrations of the pre-Vatican liturgy among traditionalists? What sorts of groups, other than sedevacantists, continued the old rite?

A. A very interesting question.  Again, what I think needs to be emphasized is that in the early days 1962 was not being used. Indeed, a very good friend of mine was close friends with an elderly priest from the NW of England twenty years ago.  The elderly priest told my friend that he and a group of other parish priests just quietly refused to adopt the new Holy Week.  “We thought Pius had flipped” he told my friend and that ‘normal’ service would be resumed after Pius’ death.  The Old Rite though never entirely died out in England.  Another friend told me that one could go into the Brompton Oratory in the late 1970s and early 1980s and find half a dozen or so private Masses that all followed the Ordo except one, where the 1956 changes were observed.  Not one of those good men used 1962 though.  Very few sedevacantists used the ‘pre-Pius XII rubrics.  The strict sedevacantists, such as CMRI, follow the 1956 changes but not those of 1962.  A wide range of the spectrum of Traddieland have used, and continue to use, the Ordo and I think it would be difficult to categorise them into any particular group – which is interesting in itself.

Q. Please explain, how you became involved with the Ordo?

A. When I first discovered the ‘old rite’ in 1987 I found it all very confusing as celebrations I attended did not match the ‘Saint Andrew’s Daily Missal’ I had.  When I first met Mgr. Gilbey his Masses matched it perfectly so that set me thinking.  I first attended $$PX Masses in 1988 and soon discovered the Ordo.  I found it fascinating as at the same time I was being instructed by a friend, now sadly departed, to learn the Breviary.  I knew John Tyson of course and remember asking him about (I V) in the Ordo.  I said to him ‘John, I think I have worked out commemorations except the hymn element.  What do you do if the hymn does not have five verses?’  John gave one of his famous chuckles and said ‘You fool, you Tom fool, it is not one to five but of first Vespers.’  Anyway I soon became involved with proof reading the Ordo.  It was all relatively primitive in those days. Although we have moved on from typing the thing it was being produced in WordPerfect which was not a WYSIWYG software programme.  The symbols for holy days and days of devotion were drawn in by hand before the pages went off to the printers.  Then came along Word2 and Word6 and subsequent editions by Mr.Gates and it became much easier.  Eventually, and I do not recall exactly when, sometime in the mid-1990s yours truly was producing the scripts and then took over completely with the Saint Lawrence Press Ltd.

Q. Who are some past or present customers of the St Lawrence Press that our readers today would recognize?

A. Customer details are covered by legislation such as the Data Protection Act, notwithstanding basic morality, and so cannot be revealed without the person’s express consent.  However, a wide range of people from all continents form the current customer base with the majority of customers coming from the United States and from France.  Of the main Traddie groups there has been an interesting change in the customer base.  From the early days when a large number of $$PX clergy took the Ordo the $$PX is now a minority customer.  A decade or so ago there were many orders from members of the Institute of Christ the King but, sadly, they now seem more interested in what they wear than liturgy.  Of the current major groups in Traddieland member of the FSSP take the most Ordines but the majority of sales are to individual diocesan clergy and laity.  A small number of Curial prelates take the Ordo – the fascinating thing is that none of them have any connection with PCED or CDW!

Q. Personally, I find the Roman rite from 1911-1955 far more complicated in rubrics and kalendar than what preceded or succeeded it. How do you deal with the challenges of the Divino Afflatu system?

A. It certainly made the rubrics of the Roman rite far more complicated than they were.  Indeed, if I were into conspiracy theories – which I am not - I think one could be forgiven for thinking it was a deliberate ploy to make life so complicated that any reform would be received with open arms.  My view is that in reality the reform was rushed through and its ramifications only began to be understood in the years that followed.  Clarifications and differing interpretations were appearing in Ephemerides Liturgicae throughout the 1920s and 1930s.  Looking at extant Ordines of the period it is interesting – to compilers of Ordines at least – to see the lack of consistency in interpretation.  A good example was a few years ago when the feasts of St. George, St. Mark and SS Philip and James had to be transferred out of the Paschal Octave.  I consulted four Ordines from 1943, two in my collection and two in the British Library.  None had exactly the same solution: three were similar but one was way off.  After carefully considering the rubrics I decided none were actually correct.  To those of us with an interest in such matters it was an amusing study but life should not be that complex.  As to ‘dealing’ with the system I am afraid that exposure to the ‘Pius X’ rubrics was part of my formative period so I can think the system in my sleep.  Indeed, when I first looked at pre-1911 praxis I found it very hard and it required a lot of effort to understand it, but I did persevere.  It is far superior in my view but we are limited by the lack of availability of books at the moment to promote a serious restoration. 

Q. Have you noticed any change in your clientele or in business to the St Lawrence Press since Summorum Pontificum in 2007? If so, why?

A. There was an initial flurry of interest and indeed I recall one cleric asking if we would now adopt the 1962 rubrics.  Needless to say the answer was strongly in the negative.  What is noticeable is that those with a more serious interest in liturgy see through 1962 quite quickly and look to move to something more traditional.  There is a steadily increasing number of customers – which is much needed because many of the original customers have now passed over to Eternity.  I think that, ultimately, Summorum Pontificum will be seen as something that had a damaging effect on the liturgy but the influence of which faded over time.  Indeed, I expect that Summorum Pontificum will be negated by legislation from Rome but not within Josef Ratzinger’s  lifetime. 

Q. In what direction do you see the future of the old rite headed? 

A. After the period of specious interest following Summorum Pontificum, and I think we really have seen the A to Z of specious interest, I see a period of contraction and confusion – as we see today – that will be followed by an implosion.  I take the view that there will be a more real discovery of liturgical orthopraxis and patrimony but that will take time, a couple of decades at least.  I also believe we will see structural change too – rather like what you have alluded to in some of your posts mentioning the Minster system for instance.  I believe that reform – in a good sense – will be from grass roots upwards, not from the top down. 

Q. In what sort of research does the St Lawrence Press engage?

A. My own research interests are the reform of the Roman rite 1903 – 1963; the reform of the Roman typical editions of the liturgical books from 1568 to 1634, the celebration of Holy Week, liturgical theology in general and the psychology of religion.

Q. Given that the early traditionalists and the St. Lawrence Press stopped at 1939, what would you say in the liturgical legacy of the pope elected that year, Pius XII? 

A. I don’t think the proto-traditionalists thought it terms of 1939 per se but of ‘pre-Pius XII’  As we know men like Evelyn Waugh were totally disparaging about the Pacelli pontificate.  Sadly, what we have seen over the last quarter of a century or so is the development of what a blogger friend of mine termed cognitive dissonance.  There is a steadfast refusal to acknowledge the well document facts of the damage done to the Roman liturgy by Pius XII.  In my own view he as much a showman and narcissist as John Paul II.  The inversion of the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi was an unmitigated disaster and a charter for the modernists.

Q. Some insist that the Pauline liturgical changes assimilated new doctrines and that, by contrast, the Pacellian novelties and reductions are tame, unworthy of attention in the quest to restore the Roman liturgy.  Your thoughts?

A. Well, we have seen the development of a fallacious revisionism whereby any reform before the Second Vatican Council is magically ignored and excised from memory. I recall many years ago that when I came across photographs of Mass versus populum from the 1940s and 1950s my fellow ‘Traddies’ far from being interested hated me for showing them.  There is the creation of a false construct by these people, they loathe Paul VI but adore old Pacelli.  There are the old canards about a) the differences between 1962 and earlier edition being ‘minor’ and b) the radical nature of Paul VI’s 1970 changes.  With respect to the first point if the changes are so minor, so trivial, not to be of any significance or not to be notice then why not just use pre-1962 anyway?  Of course, the reality is very different and the whole point is that the 1962 brigade want to feel superior to everyone else and use legalism as a weapon against everyone else.  As the second point that argument is wildly over made.  What was Mass like the day before Paul VI’s Missal became law?  People, very conveniently forget, that the 1962MR had not been used for almost a decade but the 1967 rite with the new Anaphorae, with various lectionaries and, of course, the vernacular and the fashion of versus populum.

We appreciate your time, Rubricarius, and thank you again for the opportunity to review you Ordo for the impending liturgical year. I speak for my readers in wishing you and the St Lawrence Press the best in your efforts to preserve the old rite and commending our prayers for that same intention.


  1. Outstanding Ordo.

    Outstanding Interview.

    Thank You, The Rad Trad.

  2. Excellent! If I made add, I was a one-time MC (for two years) for the current SSPX UK District Superior; I know from first hand experience that he prayed the pre-Pius XII Breviary, and this was in the late 1990's-15 years after the "Edict". Unfortunately, this did not carry over to his Mass praxis (evidently,1991 was not to be repeated), and he even told me to remove the extra large host from being consecrated on Maundy Thursday...sigh.

  3. I have held probably the only 1973 Ordo in existence. I find it consoling that it was produced and in use the year that Tolkien died.

    1. To my knowledge, ordines traditionally commence from January and follow the civil kalendar.

  4. I must say I was expecting more comments than this!

  5. What sorts of comments?

    I've been a subscriber to the St. Lawrence Press Ordo for many a year, and it's invaluable.

  6. How about this comment, Patricius: There's nothing so wonderful than having a bunch of folks (usually single white men or quirky married white men) buying old breviaries from eBay so they can use the St. Lawrence Press Ordo in secret (so that only their Father who sees them in secret knows what they're doing) and feel like the traditionalist priests they always thought they wanted to be but knew they never could be since they could never publicly do anything pre-1962. ;-)

    1. I think he meant comments reacting to Rubricarius' interview answers, which provide interesting historical information as well as some very unique personal views.

      I know a decent number of priests who do some or all pre-1962 stuff, but only one is in an Ecclesia Dei community. The rest, diocesan or independent, fly under the radar because they don't have ordinaries who care about that sort of thing.

    2. I too know a number of priests who use pre-62 things. I myself have been a participant in the sanctuary of such things. I was making a joke. Note the winkie.

    3. "There's nothing so wonderful than having a bunch of folks (usually single white men or quirky married white men) buying old breviaries"

      Damn right! Signed, QuirkyMarried Man who was a Single White Male Liturgy Need in a previous life.

    4. I remember a few independent Trad priests back in the day (most are deceased now) who used pre-1955 Holy Week. One was kicked from the SSPX (for being Feeneyite), another was James Wathen, and another was Frederick Schell.

  7. I was struck, as I am sure others were, by R's assessment that Summorum Pontificum had had a damaging effect on the liturgy. The only times I have heard such assertions from traditional quarters have been from a few SSPXers I know - their reasoning being not that it was slowing down realization of the damage done earlier 20th century reforms, but that freeing the (1962) missal like this would slow the inevitable collapse of the Conciliar Church, and divert new recruits that the Society might otherwise gain; the liturgy would be damaged to the extent that opposition to the Pauline reforms would be somehow reduced.

    I'd be curious to hear R expand on that observation, if he's hanging around.

  8. I know if I had to choose any 20th century system, at least as far as the Office goes, I'd take 1948 (= the last typical edition before the craziness started). If the choice were between 1961 and 1971, I'd take the latter without hesitation. The 1961 is objectively deficient in the excessive chopping of Matins...a chopping that has rendered some Offices incomplete (the problem of having a Father ask a question in Lesson III that never gets answered because two lessons were chopped is very real).

    The 1950s-1960s "reforms" were mostly concerned with cutting things. This cutting reached its nadir in 1967, when permission was granted to chop even more of the 1961 typical edition ad libitum. When you factor in the disaster of what happened to May's easy to stay as far as the mid-1950s and 1960s as possible.

  9. Rubricarius is (to employ an overused, often enough misused, phrase) a scholar and a gentleman. He was personally very helpful to me when I was learning the finer points of the breviary some years ago now. His point of view is insightful and thought-provoking, and of course his knowledge of the traditional liturgy is all but unique in our times. Here's to Rubricarius and his fine Ordo: vivant in aeternum!
    Fr. Capreolus

  10. Despite my not-so-serious comments above, I do think the Ordo and the work of Rubricarius et al. provides a beneficial service to the Latin Church. Perhaps if word spread and more people, especially mainline traditionalists, followed the older (authentically traditional) books, then perhaps bit by bit Rome might take the hint. To borrow Fr. Z's "brick by brick," perhaps if we could restore some octaves and commemorations - even if it's hybridization at first - we could do some good.

  11. Rad Trad,

    Thank you very much indeed for such a glowing review. I am quite flattered to be honest. The problem, as I see it, is how to preserve the traditional style of Ordines whilst making them user friendly to the contemporary reader. I would point out that traditional Ordines were rather prolix.

    A couple of points: As Patricius points out Roman Ordines always began on January 1st. Google eBooks has a sixteenth century one that proves that point. As to 'hanging around' I am not too sure what that is supposed to mean. WRT Summorum the problem, as I see it, is that it just adds to the falsehood of the constructed narrative. The right to use the 1962 MR was clearly juridically abrogated whilst Quo primum and, more importantly, immemorial custom was not. SP has resulted in the arguments that several generations of supporters of the old rite made being cast aside. 1962 now becomes 'old rite' - which the early fighters never would have considered to be the case - and the very good arguments about custom have been dropped in favour of legal positivism. In short it becomes part of the problem, not a solution. As to collapse, and collapse I think there certainly will be, my own view is that I believe that will be across the board and the idea that the NO will just disappear leaving a triumphant 1962 Tradistan a pipe dream.

    1. Hello Rubricarious,

      Thanks for the clarification - and for an illuminating interview. And the Ordo.

      The right to use the 1962 MR was clearly juridically abrogated whilst Quo primum and, more importantly, immemorial custom was not.

      The fact that this one statement could crash The Rad Trad's site if it reached enough critical mass of readers in the tradosphere is one of the things I like about this blog. I can't agree with it - the least we can say is that it couldn't too clear if a conciliar pope felt the need to convene a commission of cardinals to actually try to answer the question (with results we all know about) - but it's a provocative lead-in to more important questions. For starters: What is tradition? How is it protected?

      Likewise, the flaws in Summorum Pontificum and its premises are not so important save to the extent that they in turn force some exploration and resolution of those questions. It's not just that it establishes a polite and terribly awkward juridical fiction or that it refuses to look at the liturgical tradition and its problems behind 1962, but that, as I think you rightly point out, it still works from a premise of striking papal power over the liturgy, even as the discomfort of its author with this power (so vivid in his later personal writings) seeps through the edges of the document and its explanatory letter.

      Even so, I still think it unfair to say that SP is a net harm. For all the enthusiasms of some earlier traditionalists for older editios and rites, they were all just as utterly abrogated, or at least obrograted, in the minds of the episcopates and their progressive allies, as 1962 was. For them, 1969 was (and is) Year Zero for the liturgy, and anything before it just as fatally atavistic; any attempt to celebrate with a 1939 Ordo or be caught praying one's office with a pre-Divino Afflatu Breviary and Psalter would leave one every bit as much an ecclesiastical unperson as being caught red-handed with a 1962 book, and every priest and seminarian knew it. I think that however damaged the books of 1962 are, they are still recognizably the Roman Rite (the Breviary being admittedly a close call), and SP at least opened a doorway to the tradition that simply was not open to the overwhelming majority of Roman Rite priests before 2007; and I see evidence that it in turn is starting to spur more curiosity about the tradition before 1962. Without SP it's just very hard to see how that happens, or when.

      But I do agree that our current era is a merely transitional one, and it doesn't lead to a perfect future of 1962 über alles, and I don't seek or hope for some new papal imposition so much as a clear and formal papal recognition that no pope or bishop has the authority to forbid or significantly change the tradition he is entrusted with. By which time, one hopes, there is a large and vibrant enough devotion within the Church to that tradition to take proper advantage of it.

  12. Hello Athelstane,

    Why should that statement crash any site?

    What did that commission of cardinals actually say? Looking at Una Voce’s website it appears to be all very generic stuff using the vague and undefined term ‘traditional’ Mass etc. As far as I am aware no one in ‘Tradistan’ has written any reasonable defence of Summorum Pontificum. Articles such as, for instance, Anselm Gribbin’s ‘Immemorial Custom and the Missale Romanum of 1962 (usus antiquior)’, Usus Antiquior, Vol.3 No. 1, January 2012 jump into Quo primum and immemorial custom relating to MR 1962 within a few paragraphs. Contrast this with the masterly piece by Chad Glendinning ‘Was the 1962 Missale Romanum Abrogated, Worship, Vol. 85, 1, January 2011, pp. 15 -37 which carefully analyses the legal status of the rite of Mass in use for little more than two years in the Roman Church and the effects of the changes of 1964/5, 1967 and 1969/70 upon it. Tradistan has always been very good at constructing the idea of a unchanging, monolithic, ‘old’ rite that was untouched until the ‘wicked’ Council came along. I do believe there is a very strong argument to be made about immemorial custom but that cannot be made about the 1962 books as they were in use for such a short space of time.T

    I do not doubt for a moment that Quo primum was derogated and that contrary to the way Tradistan has, generally, interpreted it no one ever thought it prohibited change. But I would have to make the distinction between the continuation of praxis by virtue of custom and the ‘legal fiction’ – as you appellate it – in SP.

    Well, indeed what is tradition? One of the old definitions of immemorial custom springs to mind with the idea of a man knowing a praxis that his grandfather would have known. A common sense definition of tradition would be something similar I would suggest. However, a modern Roman, and Ultramontanist, definition of tradition is whatever a reigning pope says it is.

    Athelstane, I am a melancholic by disposition and so to me a glass is always half-empty, never half-full. Perhaps I am being harsh but I would suggest that what good comes from SP will be not what the builders intended but something quite different – to mix an idea from the end of Brideshead.

    I would certainly readily agreed with you that, to use a term Dr. Glover used some years ago ‘the street outside is as cold after a Nabuchodonosor Rex as it is after a renewal of baptismal promises’. I also hope your assessment is correct which I think, if I am understanding your point correctly is what I am saying in the paragraph above.

  13. Dear Rubricarius. It is literally wonderful to learn of men like you and what it is you are devoted to.

    May God Bless and keep you and may you continue to tell the truth as it is/was.

    ABS know almost no thing compared to you (well, compared to everyone in here) and he specialised in losing "the 1962 rite was legally abrogated" and so it is much appreciated to see it stated here so frankly.