The ICEL translation of the New Mass-----to which the small minority of Catholics who still assist at Mass in the Western World are subjected each Sunday-----constitutes an abuse of the most outrageous nature, with its 400 mistranslations into English, including the mistranslation of pro multis as "for all" during the sacred words of Consecration. 39 Clowns, dancing girls, balloons and banjos . . . the list of abuses is endless, and what can the faithful concerned with reverence and adherence to the liturgical law of the Church do about them? The answer is that, as is the case with heterodox catechetical instruction or immoral sex education, they can do nothing. They can appeal to their priests, their bishops, the Apostolic Delegate and the Pope himself, and the final result will always be the same, the abuse will either be tolerated or legalized. We are living in what Canon Law describes as a state of emergency. But if we are to be realistic, we in the West have hardly begun to realize what an abuse is. If you wish to see real abuses, go to India as I have done, and you will witness what appear to be, and probably are, pagan ceremonies replacing the Mass. The broken-hearted faithful compiled meticulous documentation of the paganization of Indian Catholicism under the guise of inculturation, and even at the cost of great financial sacrifice took it to Rome and handed it in to the Congregation for Divine Worship to ensure that it was received safely. And the response of the Congregation to these fervently devout Catholics-----who did no more than beg the Congregation to uphold its own guidelines-----was a contemptuous silence.
Not only does the Congregation's editorial, which has just been cited [cf. pp. 30-31], accept the fact that abuses have become institutionalized and are accepted as the rule by the present generation, which has known nothing else, but it included another admission, the importance of which it would be impossible to exaggerate: It acknowledges that "the credibility of the liturgical reform is being put in jeopardy" [La credibilita della riforma liturgica venga posta in pericolo]. I would differ from the assessment of the Congregation and insist that the credibility of the liturgical reform has long passed the situation of being in danger. Any credibility that it ever possessed has long been totally and irrecoverably lost.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre once observed that, in the midst of the present crisis, the future of Catholicism lies in its past. This is certainly the case where the future of the Roman liturgy is concerned. The imposition of an artificially concocted, ecumenically tainted rite of Mass in place of the Mass of all ages must be considered as an historical aberration which can only be corrected by restoring that liturgy which developed and endured for more than nineteen centuries as the liturgy that will form the basis of the Church's worship also in the twenty-first century.
Is this an illusion or just wishful thinking? Far from it! It now seems likely that at the turn of the century, in France at least, the majority of the faithful who still assist at Mass on Sunday will be assisting at a Tridentine Mass. Where the Eldest Daughter of the Church leads, may not other countries follow? It would be less than honest to pass over the fact that the majority of French Catholics who assist at the Traditional Mass on Sundays do so in chapels of the Society of St. Pius X and that this will be even more the case in the future if the number of priests ordained from its seminaries increases. Despite the "excommunications" of 1988, the Society is flourishing more now than ever before and as of 1994 has six thriving seminaries. The judgment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in declaring null and void the Honolulu "excommunication" of six Catholics for "schismatic activities" which included supporting "the Pius X schismatic movement" and procuring the services of an "excommunicated Lefebvre bishop" to perform Confirmations 40 has proved what those with a modicum of theological or canonical literacy have always known, that in the present state of ecclesiastical anarchy, the faithful can by no means be termed schismatic if they resort to the Society of St. Pius X chapels, because they know of no other means of obtaining access to the Traditional Mass, to which they have a right-----or, for that matter, no other means of taking part in any other form of reverent Catholic worship. During a state of emergency in the Church-----and there can be no doubt that such a state prevails throughout most of the Western World today-----Catholics are entitled to act outside the normal structures of the Church when they are convinced that this is necessary in order for them to keep their faith, and such action cannot in the furthest stretch of imagination be considered schismatic, providing that they recognize the authority of the Pope and do not intend to separate themselves from the Church. This applies not only to the Society of St. Pius X, but to the many so-called "independent priests" of exemplary orthodoxy. Yet at the same time we must pray earnestly that it will be made possible for the Society and these independent priests to work within the official structures of the Church at the earliest possibility. In this regard, a great deal will depend upon the next pontificate.