30 October 2022

Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre - Vol. II - Archbishop Lefebvre Concerning the Mass

The Ordo Missae Promulgated by Pope Paul VI

The new concept of the world, and of the relations of the Church with that world, was bound to affect the means by which the Church expresses and lives her faith: Liturgy, therefore, the school of faith, will itself be transformed by that Liberal ecumenical spirit which sees Protestants as separated brethren and no longer as heretics imbued with principles radically contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

The effort is no longer to convert but to unite. Hence the attempt to synthesize Catholic Liturgy and Protestant worship.

The presence of six Protestant pastors on the Commission for Liturgical Reform speaks volumes.

The Pope himself (Allocution 13 January 1965) spoke of "liturgical renovation" as "of a new religious pedagogy" which will take "its place as the central motor of the great movement inscribed in the constitutional principles of the Church," principles renovated in the Council.

Mgr. Dwyer, a member of the Liturgy Consilium and Archbishop of Birmingham, recognized the importance of that reform (press conference, 23 October 1967):

It is the Liturgy which forms the character, the mentality, of men faced with problems...The liturgical reform is, in a deep sense, the key to aggiomamento. Make no mistake, the Revolution begins there...

There is insistence on the community spirit and the active participation of the faithful-and one cannot help thinking of the spirit which animated Luther and his disciples (see Cristiani's book, From Lutheranism to Protestantism). (See the Institutions Liturgiques of Dam Gueranger, extracts edited by Diffusion de la Pensée Française, especially chapters 14 and 23.) Dom Guéranger's disclosure of all the efforts of the heretics against the Roman Liturgy throws a strange light on the conciliar (and post-conciliar) liturgical reform.

Moreover, if one studies all the details, particularly of the new reform of the Mass, one is stupefied to rediscover the reforms advocated by Luther, the Jansenists, and the Council of Pistoia.

How can this reform of the Mass be reconciled with the canons of the Council of Trent and the condemnations in Pius VI's Bull Auctorem fidei?

We are not judging intentions; but the facts (and the consequences of those facts, which, moreover, are like the consequences of the introduction of those reforms in past centuries) compel us to recognize with Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci (Brief Critical Examination, delivered to the Holy Father, 3 September 1969) "that the New Ordo departs in striking fashion, as a whole and in detail, from the Catholic Theology of the Holy Mass, defined for ever by the Council of Trent."

Moreover, the “Normative Mass" presented by Fr. Bugnini in 1967 to the Synod of Bishops in Rome was strongly opposed by the, bishops. At the conference he gave to Superiors General in October 1967, at which I was present, we were astounded at the way the liturgical past of the Church was treated. I was, myself, shocked at the answers given to objectors, and I could not believe that the speaker was the person to whom the Church was entrusting her liturgical reform. Cardinal Cicognani and Gut told me of their immense sorrow at this incomprehensible reform. Another Cardinal, still living, said to me that Article 7 in the first version of the Instruction was heretical.

The explanations, on the word of Mgr. Bugnini himself, have made no change in the doctrine previously expressed. In any case, the New Mass has not been modified: it remains a Catholic-Protestant synthesis. That has been publicly recognized by the Protestants.

If the Congregation for the Faith were to ask me, I could make a radical and detailed study, with references, of the similarities between the New Mass and Protestant worship, and of the similarities between the terms used, accordingly, for the divine realities of the Mass and Protestant terms.

In conclusion, it is certain, in the opinion of those, even, who use the New Rite, that the New Mass represents a very perceptible depreciation of the sacred mystery: for example, the expression of the Catholic faith in the divine realities of this mystery is weakened-expression in words, gestures, acts, in all that puts the mark of the sublime on this reality which is the heart of the Church.

More than that: there are numerous suppressions and new attitudes which end by breeding doubt in the minds of the faithful and leading them, without their being aware of it, to adopt a Protestant mentality.

Liberal Ecumenism produces its effects little by little and diminishes the faith of Catholics. Many, especially the young, leave the Church.

How could the Holy See embark on such a reform without taking account of the acts of the Magisterium, but instead going the way of the Protestants, the Jansenists, and the Council of Pistoia?

That is why we are clinging to the Roman Mass of all time, which, according to the infallible judgment of Saint Pius V, can be neither abolished nor censured. We wish to keep the Catholic faith by keeping the Catholic Mass-and not an ecumenical Mass which, even though valid and not heretical, inclines to heresy.

It is that which makes me say I cannot see how clerics can be trained on the new Mass; priest and sacrifice have a quasi-transcendental relation: if sacrifice is made doubtful, then priesthood is made doubtful.


Confirmation of the Protestantizing of the Church though the Liturgy

(Extracts from Ce qui'il taut d'amour à l'homme by Julien Green of the Académie Française, Plon, Paris, 1978. J. Green was converted from Anglicanism in 1916.)

The first time I heard Mass in French, I could scarcely believe it was a Catholic Mass and I never again felt at home on it. Only the Consecration reassured me, but it was word for word like the Anglican consecration (p, 135).

One day when I was in the country with my sister Anne we watched a televised Mass…I recognized it, and so did Anne, as a rather crude imitation of the Anglican service to which we had been accustomed in our childhood. The old Protestant who sleeps in me under my Catholic faith woke up suddenly as the screen presented this plain and stupid imposture, and when the strange ceremony had come to an end I just said to my sister: "Why did we become Catholics?”

All at once I understood how cleverly the Church was being drawn from one way of believing to another. The faith was not tampered with – it was more subtle than that. It could have been objected to me that sacrifice is mentioned at least three times in the new Mass, but I could have answered that there is a great difference between just mentioning a truth and throwing light on it. We already knew that the Mass is the memorial of the Super. That is the Eucharist is also the crucifixion of Christ, without which there is no salvation, is said to us no longer. So, the reality of the propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass is iprocess of discreet obliteration from the consciousness of Catholics, lay people and priests…

Old priests who have it, so to say, in their blood are not likely to forget it, and so they say Mass in conformity with the intention of the Church. But what about young priests? What do they still believe? And who dare say what their Mass is worth? (p. 143).

Papal encyclicals will make no change in the fact that the modern rationalist world rejects miracle. Acceptance of the Mass can be brought about only if the miraculous element is suppressed. Cut down to Protestant dimensions it will have some chance of surviving in the Christianity of today, but it will no longer be the Moss (page 144).

The Church, already agitated, was further disturbed with cross-currents when Mgr. Lefebvre took his stand against the Mass of Paul VI and the Council. The history of his interminable controversy with the Vatican is too well known to need recounting here. Millions of Catholics felt themselves involved, myself included. The question I put to conciliar priests was simple: “What is the objection to the Old Mass?" The answer was: "It is out-of-date.” Yet at the same time we were told that the New Mass drew on older sources and was therefore closer to the first Masses said in the Church. It would need specialists to see clearly into the obscurity of these problems. There were heated discussions about the disappearance of the sacrifice of the Cross. That Cross, in the New Mass, was nothing but a phantasm: we were in the Cenacle on Maundy Thursday evening. But we were at the same time at the Supper and on Calvary in the abandoned Mass of Saint Pius V. The difference between the two is enormous, and it allowed the Anglican Church to glimpse the possibility of the union it had ardently desired since before the 1914 war. The new Church responded warmly. Sacrifice was mentioned at least three times in the New Mass -mentioned, but nothing more. Whereas the Eucharist was fully explained to the faithful. We had evidently been landed with what the theologians call an obscuration of an essential part of the Mass. To protest was considered an act of rebellion. The French bishops gave us to understand that the Mass of Saint Pius V was henceforward forbidden – which was a formal lie. And the rent was made.

I was very disturbed, for at the age of sixteen I had sworn fidelity to the Mass of the Council of Trent, and today I was ordered to have no part in it. Whatever one may think of certain attitudes of Mgr. Lefebvre, we are in debt to that French prelate for having bravely aroused the conscience of part of the Catholic world by compelling it to ask itself about its faith. Do we believe or do we not believe in the reality of the sacrifice of the Mass? To what degree are we Roman Catholics, or do we tend to have a faith which is ready to make concessions to Protestantism? I acknowledge the authority of the Pope, and the idea of leaving the Church would fill me with horror; but I remain faithful to my profession of faith in 1916, and I will not abandon it at all. To say that preference for the Mass of Saint Pius V is an act of rebellion is indefensible (p. 150-151).

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