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:
- 1900-1910: the ancient rite, although swollen with Double rank feasts.
- 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.
- 1955-1964: the liturgy of Pius XII. Deranged Holy Week, novel kalendar system, reduction in many prayers, and experimentation in the liturgy to come.
- 1965-1969: the liturgy of Vatican II. The Pian (XII) rite without Prime and with varying degrees of vernacular.
- 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