Monday, July 7, 2014

Summorum Pontificum & the Rite of Econe

Today much of the Tradosphere celebrates the issuance of then-Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, which largely deregulated use of the 1962 Roman rite. What is really used is not 1962, I do not think anyone uses 1962 by the book, but what I call the "Rite of Econe," the result of tinkering during the formative years of the FSSPX.

Early on, outside of France, most everyone in the traditionalist movement used pre-Pius XII. Even in France St. Nicolas du Chardonnet used pre-Pacelli until 1984 when the priest in charge of that church died. For some reason 1962 caught on in France. Why? Perhaps during the 1960s priests became gradually more agitated and stopped accepting changes at a certain point. Rather than turning back the clock they refused to go forward. This was the case of Fr. Quintin Montgomery-Wright, who then Sarum-ized the Roman liturgy and recovered the Norman liturgical heritage of northern France. It may also have appealed because of its very sparse and simple Divine Office.*

A man who was a postulant with the FSSPX in Econe "back in the day" once told me that they did 1965—essentially 1962 with the popular parts in vernacular and options for lay people to do readings—with some modifications, among them the Ordinary of Mass in Latin and the Confiteor prior to Communion. At some point they switched to 1962 outright at Econe, meaning all Latin, no lay readers, and recovering the hour of prime. They continued to make alterations—such as the epistle in French, bows to the Cross, and no genuflection for the Jews on Good Friday—until arriving at their current praxis. Do any readers, particularly older ones, know additional details about this development? After all the rite of Econe is the Extraordinary Form.

* = for example yesterday would have been Sunday and the Octave day of Ss. Peter & Paul, warranting nine readings at Mattins (including three from the superseded octave day being read as one long ninth lesson), commemorations at Lauds, Mass, and Vespers. This Wednesday would see Vespers of St. Elizabeth of Portugal followed by Vespers of the Dead, as the Officium Defunctorum is prayed on the first free day of the month in addition to the Office of the season/sanctoral cycle. Lent and Advent are especially involved in the old Office, with the Officium Defunctorum and Requiem Masses in additional to the Lent and Advent liturgy on Mondays. In 1962 Sundays usually have three lessons as opposed to the traditional nine. The difference could be up to 30 minutes of time in private recitation during violet seasons.


  1. They did all sorts of dirty stuff with their liturgy. If you want a clear image, find some of Cekada's articles where he describes that mixed bag.

  2. Ah yes. The FSSP crowd ("look how obedient we are unlike that naughty SSPX") may deny it, but their liturgy is entirely from them.

    I am reminded of the time I considered answering the people who were wondering why I was going Byzantine with, "Because I want a traditional liturgy."

  3. The FSSP crowd ("look how obedient we are unlike that naughty SSPX") may deny it, but their liturgy is entirely from them.

    Since the FSSP originated directly out of the SSPX, why should that surprise?

    In fact, I do find variations, usually to accommodate local traditions, in various FSSP communities. Usually the second Confiteor (suppressed, alas, in the 1962 missal) is said, though not always.

    Whatever these relatively minor (and really, they are minor) variations, PCED has allowed them to go forward (and they know enough about it), so I don't see why it should raise hackles. Like the Rad Trad, I should like to take the clock back to the pre-Pius X liturgies (even with the excessive doubles); but I see no reason to be perfectionist about it for the time being. I think such avenues will open up one day, but we are not there yet. And even had Econe chosen an earlier editio typica, there's no reason to believe that Rome would have acceded to that in any of the motu proprios expanding the right to say an "unreformed rite." 1962 was the final book before the Conciliar reforms began, and it's highly unlikely that Rome would have entertained anything before it.

  4. Despite I cannot help His Traddiness with my experience (I'm only 22), I would like to point out that the fact that Ecône/1962 Rite has become the standard "traditional" Roman liturgy, comes mainly from an ultramontanist forma mentis. For most SSPX (and ED) priests and laymen, everything Pacelli did was good, but everything Montini did, just for being Montini, is bad. For those people, Pius XII pontificate was the last "golden age" in Church history, so let's stay there forever...

    Anyway, since most of these parishes vanish the Office under private devotions, and usually use the Liturgy as a banner for their right-wing political statements - at least that is the situation in Spain -, I don't think the current status of the "Divine Liturgy of Pius XII" will lead us to a better situation in the future... I hope I am wrong!

    Kyrie eleison

    1. For most SSPX (and ED) priests and laymen, everything Pacelli did was good, but everything Montini did, just for being Montini, is bad. For those people, Pius XII pontificate was the last "golden age" in Church history, so let's stay there forever...

      A priest friend of mine once called such folks "1958 Men." It was the last landmark on their nautical charts that they could point to before their world turned upside down. This is not an unreasonable reaction.

      But we're reaching a point now where 1958 is no longer in living memory for most of the people you'll find in the pews at traditional parishes and communities, SSPX or otherwise. For that matter, neither is 1968. And that helps change not just the stakes, but the lens being used to view the liturgy, past and present.

      The Rad Trad asked a few months back (Feb. 12) whether Summorum was a net sum positive for the Catholic Church, and mused that it seems not to have met Pope Benedict's likely objectives. Setting aside the concern that the Pope Emeritus may well have had broader concerns in mind in issuing it (and narrower ones, such as simple justice for many traditionalists treated so badly for so many years), an act like this can have broader, unexpected results that may render it a great good just the same.

      And there's evidence developing that this is the case. The objectives suggested (a moral boost for a narrow band of ROTR theologians invested in salvaging a fatally flawed liturgical project, reconciling the SSPX) were rather narrow and short-term in any case. Look instead at what has happened: the growth of regular TLM's in North America from 200 to over 500 in just seven years, with 75 of them offering daily Mass; more modest (but very tangible) growth in parts of Europe. Continued growth of Ecclesia Dei societies and groups. Most importantly, the open attraction that most young priests and seminarians now evince for traditional liturgy, especially in the Anglophone world. Eventually, these young men will be running the Church, and the consequences of *that* may be something even Benedict never dreamed of.

      And what this means is that we are finally building a critical mass (forgive the pun) in the church that has a true habitus of traditional liturgical formation, a necessary prerequisite for genuine liturgical reform (or organic development). There's unprecedented interest in the nature of the Pacellian reforms, and even earlier ones. Until 2007 we were fighting for table scraps; damaged as the 1962 missal was, it was still recognizably the Roman Rite, and unless you were fortunate enough to have a (sound) Eastern Rite parish in your vicinity, you took what you could get. Well: Now we're moving out of that box. And I wouldn't be completely shocked to see, say, an indult in the next ten years to celebrate the pre-1955 Holy Week, for example.

    2. Indeed. I have heard many defend 1962 as "it's the best we got" and I'd agree to a point; that liturgical year should be the means of restoration and not the ends in itself. You take the 1962 missal, and then work in older stuff into it.

      I would propose that Vatican II and the years that followed were a necessary cleansing, like when one with a violent flu must vomit uncontrollably to purge what has poisoned them. The body is long sick before the symptoms emerge and the immune system does what it must to survive. Before the council, you knelt through your Low Mass done in twenty minutes in abysmal Latin and then went about your day. Nowadays, the church is crumbling in many places but many more people actually talk and think about the liturgy.

      Meanwhile the Greek and Oriental Catholic churches (except for the Maronite uniates) took the opportunity to finally cleanse/restore their liturgies of the latinizations that had crept in, much to the ire of some traddies who thought that "Vatican II was affecting the Eastern churches as well".

      Perhaps the absolute power and authority of the Roman church had to be broken, so it could rediscover its heart (it hasn't yet, but it must eventually)...

    3. Well, it is true that if you just have a NO parish and a 1962ist parish near you, it is logical that you attend the latter. But when you have a little bit of liturgical taste, formation, and spiritual "hunger", you cannot stay in 1962 as if IT was Tradition.

      Lors of Bollocks: you (and also The Rad Trad so often) have talked about Low Mass culture, and its pernicious consequences. I can actually understand people embracing vernacular and versus populum when they had been previously attending Mass without living it, because they stayed all the time reading their books... the main problem is that this custom is still infecting Traddieland, so the way to a true liturgical restoration seems to me very very hard in the near future.

      Perhaps the absolute power and authority of the Roman church had to be broken, so it could rediscover its heart

      Alongside liturgical restoration, this is the main problem we must deal with; but it is also the most difficult to understand and assume for most traddies (who often belove Pius IX Papacy).

      Kyrie eleison

  5. There is not as much liturgical uniformity among the SSPX clergy as one may be lead to believe; at least, such was the case during my time with them in the '90s. I don't know if 35 marks me as old for this discussion, but I proffer a decade spanning my formative years of experience with the society I'll list a few examples of variations, but I'll say first that I don't necessarily agree that the "EF" is the progeny of the SSPX. The FSSP appears to be at least devoted to a strict, by the book, usage of 1962, and their Ordo Recitandi seems to go out of its way to emphasize this fact. Whether or not they follow it strictly is another question, but the FSSP is more ultramontane about 1962 than the SSPX ever has been. The FSSP has now become a creature unto itself, and most of their priests ordained in the last 15 years have no connection or experience with the SSPX. Some examples of SSPX free-for-all, mostly coming from the priests ordained before, during, and immediately after the 1983 standardization, in no particular order:

    Second large host consecrated on Maundy Thursday for Good Friday.

    Some priests do and some don't genuflect at the prayer for the Jews. The prayer is always the 1956 version with the word "perfidis" even though the SSPX's own Ordo says the omit it and it's often crossed out in the OHS or Missal being used (as witnessed by me as an MC).

    Weekday Masses which reflect the 1962 kalendar but with the seasonal orations added if the 1954 rubrics had mandated such. The same priest(s) would become strict 1962ists on Sundays.

    Proper Last Gospels.

    Epistle & Gospel read in the vernacular during Low Masses (by a priest from the pulpit) simultaneous to their being read in Latin in a low voice by the celebrant.

    The Missa Cantata-Pontifical Mass hybrid - Bishop with maitre and crozier (used only in processing and recessing, crozier while preaching, and both to give Final Blessing), but without other pontificalia, celebrates Sung Mass sitting at the sedile. Other variations include the Solemn Mass-Pontifical hybrid wherein the bishop says Mass just as a priest would for Solemn Mass but wears some pontificalia.

    The second Confiteor is universal in the SSPX.

    "Pacem" chapter at Prime on Feriae and likewise the proper short lessons during the same; this seemed to die out after the early 90's.

    Universal use of the proper doxologies/melodies for the "Te lucis" at Compline, but not at Prime and Sext which are prayed daily in common because the Office is merely recited for those as opposed to being sung at Compline.

    Commemorations of second class feasts at High Masses on Sundays which run counter to the 1962 rule of omitting all commemorations, save the privileged ones, because a High Mass is considered to be, ipso facto, "First Class".

    Some of the pre-Pacellian tidbits listed above may have disappeared among the younger clergy which had no experience of the old days and will do whatever has been taught in the seminary.

    1. John, have you noticed if one of these priests have ever celebrated the traditional Holy Week? That would be truly interesting news!

      Kyrie eleison

    2. I doubt it. I grew up going to Independent/Feenyite/SSPX churches and the only one that did the real Holy Week was Fr. James Wathen. The SSPX, without exception, did the 1962 Holy Week.

      Now, if somewhere in Africa or Europe an SSPX priest does the old Holy Week then I stand corrected. It was never the practice in the US of A.

    Section II., part B. - info on SSPX liturgical practices

  7. The Cult of Lefebvre is not about Tradition; it was about actualising the will of Mons Lefebvre and it is now about promoting his putative sanctity.

    See VII below for the "Rite of Econe"

  8. 1962 came about as a 'magic date' due to Lefebvre's conversations with Rome in the early 1980s. From the diametrically opposed sources of Bp. Donald Sanborn and Michael Davies I was told that 1962 was put forward as a compromise all sides would be happy with. Michael Davies told me, in a letter, that the conversations had resulted in the 1984 indult Quattuor abhinc annos specifying 1962 whilst previous permissions such as the 'Heenan/Agatha Christie' indult and the faculties given to Ordinaries had allowed limited celebration of the 1967 rite of Mass.

    Bp. Sanborn had, as Fr. Sanborn, been Rector of the Rigdefield Seminary. Lefebvre ordered the use of the 1962 books as part of these conversations and told Fr. Sanborn 'Rome will never less us get away with that [the use of the pre-1956 rite].' This resulted in the farcical situation one set of books being used for Mass and another for the Office until the bust-up in 1983. In England when Lefebvre visited the newly purchased church of SS Joseph and Padarn in north-London he had a similar, furious, argument with the then UK District Superior, Fr. Edward Black, about imposing 1962. This was witnessed by a good friend of mine, Dr. Thomas Glover JCD. Apparently, Fr. Black was tenacious and actually was on the point of winning the argument but at the last minute shrugged his shoulders and gave up. This was a massive tragedy and ultimately the kiss of death for the $$PX.

    From the beginning there had been a wide diversity of praxis within the $$PX. At Econe 1967, or something very close, was used for the High Mass. Private Masses exhibited a range from the 1967 rite to pre-1956. In England the first priest ordained for the $$PX by Lefebvre, the amiable Fr. Peter Morgan, celebrated pre-Pius XII rites in their entirety and attracted over twenty retired clergy to assist him within a short space of time. At its first General Chapter in 1976 the $$PX agreed that 1962 be used except in NE USA, UK, Germany and, I think, Australia.

    The tragedy of the damage done by the $$PX is of course that 1962, when it was actually officially used for a short couple of years, was never intended as anything but a temporary and interim rite, until the full reform was accomplished. It is certainly not the Tridentine liturgy. Meanwhile in more sensible circles like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem the traditional Triduum was celebrated until the mid-1990s a decade after Lefebvre's stupidity and the deplorable actions of his sect/cult.

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