Saturday, March 1, 2014

URGENT: Papal Bull on 1962/5 Missal and Reform of Roman Liturgy

The chatter over the collapse of the Reform of the Reform movement in the wake of Benedict XVI's resignation last year has revived interest in the 1965 Missal, which is the 1962 Missal with a few minor modifications. In my opinion there has been enough liturgical reform in the 20th century. Indeed, in the 20th century there were no fewer than five distinct liturgical periods:
  1. 1900-1910: the ancient rite, although swollen with Double rank feasts.
  2. 1911-1954: the liturgy of St. Pius X. A new breviary, loosely based on the old Roman Office and the neo-Gallican psalters. New, but balanced, kalendar system.
  3. 1955-1964: the liturgy of Pius XII. Deranged Holy Week, novel kalendar system, reduction in many prayers, and experimentation in the liturgy to come.
  4. 1965-1969: the liturgy of Vatican II. The Pian (XII) rite without Prime and with varying degrees of vernacular.
  5. 1970-present: the liturgy of Paul VI.
On my knees I cried out to the Lord, "Lord, heed the voice of my supplication!" And then I was struck by a radiant light and a voice said to me, "Write down these words, for the Lord in His goodness has given you sight to see the great treasure He will pour forth for future generations. Not as prophets of old will you see these things, but with clarity of day!" And I saw the following letter, called Traditio Ecclesiae Romanae:

To all Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in peace and communion with the Apostolic See; to all God fearing men of good will:

The tradition of the Roman Church, given to us and codified by our venerable and God pleasing predecessors, places the worship of God Almighty at the heart of the faith. From age to age the Roman Church has obeyed the constant mandate of the psalmist Laudate Dominum.

For this reason the decadence of our venerable tradition in recent generations prompts us to undertake reform and restoration of the Roman liturgy in accordance with the prudence and example set by our predecessors Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V, and Benedict XIV. Lest anyone accuse us of using our power of binding and loosing to fabricate liturgy, we propose to restore it to its proper place and put its continual care under the watchful eyes of local ordinaries, per ancient custom.

Forthwith, the following precepts concerning the Roman liturgy are to be observed:

·         The Roman Canon, as it existed December 7, 1962, is restored as the only Anaphora of the Roman Church and all of Latin Christendom, save for the established customs of Toledo and Milan. Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III, and IV, as published in the Missal of Paul VI, are hereby abrogated.
·         The offertory rites, as they existed in the Roman Mass prior to 1967, are hereby restored and the offertory published by Paul VI in 1969 is hereby abrogated.
·         The lectionary of 1970 is hereby abrogated, as is the responsorial psalm and the second reading in Masses celebrated according to the rite of Paul VI.
·         Mass must be celebrated facing liturgical East, unless the architecture of the parish prohibits such an undertaking. In such parishes the pastors and local ordinaries must begin construction of oriented altars.
·         A major hour of the Divine Office must be celebrated in every parish once per week, preferably Vespers on Sundays and the eves of major feasts.
·         Typical editions of the Roman Missal, Divine Office, and ritual books published between 1939 and 1969 are hereby abrogated and their use is forbidden in perpetuity.
·         The vulgar hymns of Urban VIII are abrogated in perpetuity.
·         Use of the liturgical books published by St. Pius V and revised by Clement VIII are made available for full immediate use. Priests may add additional feasts and propers at the discretion of the local ordinary.
·         Use of the liturgical books pre-dating 1939 in vernacular is permitted to all priests over the age of 60 and to priests with no formation in the Latin language. Still, celebrants using these ancient rites must observe the rubrics and rules properly. Translations are to be undertaken by local episcopal conferences and scrutinized by the Holy Office.
·         Spoken Mass is hereby outlawed on Sundays and feast days.
·         Priests with formation in the Latin language must celebrated the offertory and Canon of Mass in Latin.
·         The Pontifical and Ritual books published by Paul VI are hereby abrogated.
·         Scriptural pericopes may be read in vernacular in Masses according to the books predating 1939 when celebrated without deacon and subdeacon.
·         Communion in the hand and the service of women as servers in liturgical celebrations are hereby abrogated.
·         Communion under both kinds is permitted at solemn Masses celebrated according to uses predating 1939 should the congregation number under 400. The deacon is to be minister of the chalice.
·         Priests over the age of 70 may celebrate the offertory and Canon of Mass as it existed in 1967.
·         The Congregation for Divine Worship is hereby abolished.
·         Nuncios and Apostolic delegates engaged in episcopal selection are to favor candidates from the monastic tradition.
·         The legislation of our predecessors Divino Afflatu, Mediator Dei, Cum hac nostra, Christus Dominus, Maxima Redemptionis, Rubricarum Instructum, Inter Oecumenici, Abhinc tres annos, and Summorum Pontificum are hereby abrogated. The instructions of Sacrosanctum Concilium mandating alterations to the Roman liturgy we judge to have been pastorally and liturgically imprudent.
·         Permission to celebrate according to liturgical books predating 1939 is given freely and without restriction.
·         Celebrations according to local liturgical rites and customs are encouraged.
·         Celebration of Holy Week as published by Pius XII in 1955 incurs excommunication latae sententiae specially reserved to the Apostolic See.

We mandate that pastors and ordinaries observe the restoration of the Roman liturgy as mandated in this decree, which is to remain in force in perpetuity. Let those who practice the liturgy in a manner not in accordance with our decree—particularly adherents to the liturgies of 1962 and 1965, know that they incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Sixtus VI, Bishop of Rome

Given at St. Peter’s on June 29th, 2044th year of Our Lord, the first of our pontificate


  1. Thanks for putting my mind to rest: Now I know who for whom to cast my vote at the conclave once I'm made a Cardinal. One less worry.

  2. Celebration of Holy Week as published by Pius XII in 1955 incurs excommunication latae sententiae especially reserved to the Apostolic See.

    Mr. Rad Trad... absolutely... I know no English word to describe my impression... but it is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL

    Kyrie eleison

    PS: I hope to post some comments in the next days regarding your "proposals".

  3. adherents to the liturgies of 1962 and 1965, know that they incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

    L O L

    Kyrie eleison

  4. Hahaha - this is great!

    Although i think some of the points, like order of using the Roman Canon and the ancient Offertory, are redundant because, mandate for use of the old liturgical books already mandates such a thing :)

    But, yeah. This should happen. :D

  5. What of the Sarum, Bragan, and various religious (Franciscan, Benedictine, Servite, etc.) uses and rescensions?

    1. His Soon-to-be Holiness addressed that matter in the second to last point of his encyclical:

      "Celebrations according to local liturgical rites and customs are encouraged"

  6. Which Sixtus is your namesake?

  7. Spoken Mass on Sundays on major Feast Days is a necessity in monasteries and cathedral churches, because the multitude of priests cannot all celebrate Solemn Masses, which therefore have to be exempted. There is a reason Low Mass was introduced.

    1. I would suggest they return to the older practice of singing low Mass (was done in France until the late 1700s). His [future] Holiness seems to be against minimalism on Sundays and feasts, not against monks living a full liturgical life.

  8. I don't know if it is already too late, but I would like to post some questions regarding your Bull.

    1) Does His Holiness provide any kind of foresight concerned to the return of an "organic development" similar to that existing in the Middle Ages, i. e. the progressive introduction of some variations (not in the modernist direction) in the texts and ceremonies?

    2) In his permission to celebrate the old Mass entirely in vernacular (for priests over 70), does His Holiness mean that they can recite the Canon aloud and in vernacular too?

    3) I think sung low Masses in Sundays and feasts must be celebrated before or after the Missa maior, but never at the same time - due to possible confussiones among chantors of both Masses. Am I wrong?

    4) The Cluny Missal (1493, also ed. 1733) has a variation in the Roman Canon: in the Communicantes, it is said:

    ... Ioánnis & Pauli, Cosmae & Damiáni : necnon & illórum, quorum hódie solénnitas in conspectu glóriae tuae celebratur triumphus. Et ómnium Sanctórum tuorum ...

    Does His Holiness think this variation must be banned, or it may survive like Ambrosian and Mozarabic anaphoras?

    5) Will His Holiness allow some attempt to the restoration/introduction of a ritus concelebrandi Missam, following the use present in ordination Masses and some traditional uses (I am thinking in some Lyonese rites) in the most important feasts (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost) and in Pontifical rites?

    Finally, I am curious about something:
    6) Which will be His Holiness' politics regarding Mitred Abbots and their celebration using the Pontifical in the highest feasts? Will His Holiness restore this privilege to the Chruches who were deprived of it in XIX century? (I am thinking in a Collegiate Church in my own city)

    I have written too much, probably. But I would like to know your position/opinion in these matters. And thank you for this post.

    Kyrie eleison.

    PS: I have tried to spread the word:

    1. 1- His Holiness asks for more bishops from the monastic tradition and public celebrations of the Divine Office for this precise reason! The Liturgy is a received treasure, requiring both fidelity to tradition and ownership by those who use it.

      2-His Holiness allows priests to recite the vernacular Canon with fewer gestures as it existed in 1967 as a means of accommodation. He does not approve of the Canon said aloud (but does think it could be *sung* on certain occasions).

      3-Low Masses, sung or not, should be done in addition to the main Mass of the day, whatever that is. This past year the feast of St Gabriel, the Wednesday Rogation day, and the Vigil of the Ascension fell on one day. The solemn Mass should be that of St Gabriel with either a low Mass or solemn Mass for the Vigil and the Rogation.

      4-Given its antiquity, the Cluniac variation could stand (should there ever be monks in Cluny again).

      5-His Holiness would hope to limit concelebration to pontifical ceremonies, as was the practice of the ancient Church, but in principle welcomes it as a sign of Church authority. He would certainly concelebrate on the feasts of St Peter's Chair, on Ss Peter & Paul, on Pentecost, at the Papal Coronation and on other days which demand signs of this unity. He would prefer a sung Canon in such circumstances, but would permit the local ordinaries to decide whether there should be concelebrate, how to do it, and when.

      6-If it was once the tradition, then mitred abbots should be permitted to pontificate. In le Barroux and monasteries descended from Fontgombault they already do. Similarly he would not oppose a restoration of Canons being able to celebrate pontifical Mass from the faldstool within their dioceses.

      Thank you for spreading the word! I see it got to Facebook and people are already wondering what I think of Pius XII. Here it is:

  9. Thak you for your answers.

    About the second point, I don't want to abuse of His Holiness' patience, but he distinguis priests over '70 (allowed to celebrate 1967 Canon) and over '60 and latinless (allowed to celebrate 1939 Canon -in vernacular?). Does His Holiness provide that the latter would pray the Canon in Latin and the rest of the Mass in vernacular, or also the Canon in vernacular? (Don't worry, I know this is a secondary point, but with some importance in the transition from NO to TLM)

    About the third point, I meant the private Masses celebrated by the monks apart from the Missa maior. When there are two possible High Masses the same day, I think the ancient monastic custom of two High Masses would be the best option (in Cluny, for example, the Mass of the lesser-rank feast was celebrated after Prime at the Altare matutinale; the main Mass after Terce at the Main Altar).

    I am not a partisan of "piononist" centralization on Papacy, but perhaps in the near future allowing the ordinaries to "control" the Liturgy - at least before those from monastic tradition and lovers of Tradition raises to their Sees - could result in a widespread opposition to these Papal dispositions, and to a de facto survival of Nouus Ordo. What will His Holiness provide about it?

    De nada. I have also send your post to the Spanish blog infoCaótica, so I hope they republish it some day, and Spanish-American traddies may reflect -or be scandalized!

    Kyrie eleison

    1. The logic over the first point was that priests near retirement should recite the same Offertory and Canon as the rest of the Church but should not be compelled to learn Latin or the many gestures and ceremonies that existed until 1965/7 (1965 gestures were simplified, 1967 vernacular). Those over 60 could use vernacular but, as they have over a decade of active ministry left, should learn the ceremonies and gestures.

      I agree about the monastic practice, which was also used in collegiate churches and cathedrals until Pius X. Tomorrow, for instance, a Mass of St Thomas Aquinas would be celebrated after Terce and the Mass of the Lenten feria after None, followed by Vespers.

      I think the solution that balances the Papacy with local bishops is the resurrection of a significant role for patriarchs, primates, and archbishops. New York and Los Angeles in my country should have primatial sees, or perhaps one of them should be Patriarch of North America. They could guide the local bishops and the pope could keep his eye on a handful of Latin patriarchs (non-Latin patriarchs of course have a different relationship to Rome). A loyal patriarch or primate could monitor organic growth, local liturgical matters, and local political/theological matters much better than the various Roman congregations.

      ¡Buena Cuaresma, mi amigo!

  10. Every sentence is quite beautiful and I would be very happy if those reforms to be implemented. But, what version of the Roman Missal predating 1939 is to be used? And how about the Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary? And are there any good features in the 1955 Holy Week that can be mixed with the Pre-1955 Holy Week?

    Can there be any more bulls from His (future) Holiness that may supply more force to these decrees.
    Will the indult of wearing Blue vestments given to Spain and its former colonies be likely extended not only to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, but to the other Marian Feasts as well?

    Should be also allowed, for the (future) Holy Father to restore chant books proper to the ancient churches of the Philippines ? ( The Filipino chant books are more likely an adaptation of Mozarabic Chant and Gregorian Chant, if I am not mistaken) Will you also ban hymns that are liturgically incorrect in nature, if ever rebellious priests can get it sung on the liturgies?

  11. Great post, great blog. What evidence do you have that priests in France sang low mass until as recently as the 1700s? (Your comment to Prostasis of March 4, above.)

    1. See pg. viii:,+Low+Mass+was+sung+in+monotone&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gmAiU_mrGeXf2AXDx4GIAQ&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Originally%2C%20Low%20Mass%20was%20sung%20in%20monotone&f=false

      It was common knowledge until the mid 20th century. In England the Puritans killed off monotoned "low" liturgies while in Rome an odd kind of devotionalism did it. Low Mass was originally called "private" Mass, meaning "privation" and "deprivation" of a deacon and subdeacon, not that the Mass was quiet and hidden. Later writers like O'Connell identify "private Mass" as an unessential Mass in a place that is required to have Mass on a certain day (ex. on a weekday in a regular parish no kind of Mass is necessary, but one could celebrate a solemn Mass for the sake of doing so). Low Mass was not formally identified as something read rather than sung until John XXIII published his new rubrics and Missal in 1962.

      That help?

    2. Thanks for the reference. I'll have to try and locate the book you cite in a library. There is no ebook available where I am (Europe).

      I graduated as a Medievalist (some years ago, in another millennium and definitely before the advent of such enlightened fora as this!) and I had a hunch that in the Cluniac monasteries private masses were sung, but I couldn't find any real evidence to prove it. There are plenty of references to monks 'singing' or intoning the psalter, to the extent that we can safely say that the idea of simply reading it would have been unknown. Silent reading itself also did not exist and monastic Lectio Divina involved a form of vocalisation. If you think of it, monasteries might have been quite cacophonous places... Monks intoning the psalter as penance, monks singing private masses, hundreds of monks quietly reading their lectio - all at the once!

      The St. Gall plan has many altars, so the practice of private masses for monastic priests was well established by the time of Charlemagne. From the context I mention above it is impossible that they were simply read as today, but I always wondered whether the monastic priests saying a private mass intoned the texts, or actually chanted the propers and ordinary. (Everything would have been memorised so that's not at all inconceivable). I remember looking but I couldn't find any later references that elucidated the question. That's why I asked about your claim that in the 18th century priest intoned (presumably recto tono?) their low masses. I'll check the reference when I get a chance (I'm not a medievalist anymore - but it may help satisfy my curiosity about when intoning became reading aloud!)

      As for the restoration, I think the singing low mass part is adiaphora, I am sure your inspiration was truly heavenly!

  12. Oops... I should have written 'comment to Protasius'.