After he had created in six days the universe and all it contains,
God rested on the seventh day.1
Thus it was by this “divine repose” that the duty
for man to reserve for God a part of his weekly time was foreshadowed,
a duty which is one of the elements of religion due and owed to
the Creator by the created. This natural duty was not specified
except by the Mosaic Law2
which had fixed its observance on the last day of the week, the
Sabbath and which had established its forms. However, the duty
to sanctify the Sabbath was imposed on the Jewish people solely.
Then, under the New Law a change took place; in memory of the
Resurrection of Christ and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost on
the Apostles, events which both happened on a Sunday, this duty
became the Sunday precept as we know it today, characterized by
the duty of attending Mass.
But in our
days we witness multiplicity of Masses, each differing one from
the other, old or Tridentine, new or Conciliar, in traditional
language or in the vernacular, for the young, for the handicapped
to see a little more clearly on the subject of our Sunday duties
today, let us first (I) look at what the precept of Sunday Mass
consists of, so as to examine subsequently the particular cases
which are, (II) the attendance at the New Mass called the “Mass
of Pope Paul VI” and (III) at the Mass called the “Indult.”
I. The Sunday Precept in General
beginning of the Christian era, it was the norm to sanctify feast
days by the attendance at Mass. Why was this? To show by a public
worship that we acknowledge the sovereignty of God over all things
and, in consequence, our total dependence on Him. Such a duty
was, however, at first, of a customary nature. It did not become
obligatory until the year 506 A.D. through a provision of the
Council of Agde.3This
decree of a particular council was later transformed by custom
into a universal law.
the duty of attending Sunday Mass by a conscious participation4
in the whole of the Sacrifice, it being understood that this same
Mass is celebrated in the Catholic Rite. This precept binds ‘sub
gravi’ (i.e. under pain of mortal sin) all those who have
reached the age of reason, i.e. seven years of age.5
But one can
be excused from attending Mass in the case of impossibility resulting
from e.g. illness, distance (estimated at about one hour’s
journey), from the fear of grave inconvenience (e.g. a mother
looking after he children), etc.
II. The Case of Attending the New Mass, called the “Conciliar
Mass” or “Mass of Paul VI.”
the directives and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, a
new Ordo Missae was promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution
Missale Romanum on April 3, 1969. Composed with the help of Protestant
ministers, it had as its aim “to do everything to facilitate
our separated brethren (i.e. the Protestants and the Orthodox)
on the way to union, by avoiding every stumbling block and displeasing
so as to be acceptable to everyone, by this very deed all specifically
Catholic marks disappeared. But very quickly the faithful, the
clergy and some bishops resisted this reform by denouncing it
as dangerous for the Faith. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci did
not hesitate to write on this occasion, that “the Novus
Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking
departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was promulgated
in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.”7
do we note in this reform of the Missal? The Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass, the non-bloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary has
become a meal around a table, serving as a memorial, more or less
a simple narrative of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. The worship
of the real Eucharistic Presence has been diminished and is no
longer outwardly acknowledged. This lack of outward acknowledgement
is manifested by the suppression of genuflections, by the abandonment
of the precious lining of sacred vessels, by the placing of Communion
in the hand while standing, etc. Finally, the priest, sole minister
and acting in persona Christi, has become president and brother
of the people of God, barely distinct from them in the distribution
of the Eucharist and the in the readings. This series of facts
demonstrates the Protestantization of this New Mass, a Mass which
can be used by the Protestants themselves because “theologically
this is possible.”8
about attending these new Masses? First of all, they constitute
a danger to the faith of the faithful: “one can… without
any exaggeration say that most of these Masses are sacrilegious
and that they impoverish all faith by diminishing it. The taking
away of the sacredness is such that this Mass risks its supernatural
character, its ‘mystery of faith,’ to become no more
than an act of natural religion.”9
This truth is confirmed by the evidence of numerous priests who
have said this New Mass, as well as by the attitude of the faithful
in general who attend it, even occasionally, in whom one notices
unfortunately a lack of spirit of prayer and of recollection.
The danger is likewise increased through the sermons heard, by
the bad example seen and by the becoming accustomed to the sacrileges
committed. The first consequence then is that attendance at such
a Mass could become a sinful act for the Catholics warned of the
In the second
place, attendance at the New Mass signifies in some way one’s
approval, particularly if one receives Communion. It is a point
of Catholic doctrine, recognized moreover by other religions,
that he who receives the offering made during a religious ceremony,
recognizes in some implicit way, by his participation, this same
religious cult. It is because of this that St. Paul declared on
the subject of food offered to idols, to take care not to become
an occasion of scandal for those who surround us. “Because
if someone sees you, you who have knowledge, seated at a table
in the idol’s temple” (today we would say at the table
of the Conciliar supper), “shall not his conscience, being
weak, bring him” to attend and to receive Communion at the
New Mass? “And through thy knowledge shall you sin thus
against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin
against Christ.” That is why the attendance and Communion
at the New Mass leads others to do the same. This thus becomes
an occasion of the loss of faith to our neighbor. It would be
better to stop forever from frequenting this New Mass.10
In the same
way, St. Thomas Aquinas adds, that he “who receives the
Sacrament from a doubtful minister (suspended, demoted, nowadays
we may add dubious etc.) sins for his part and does not receive
the effect of the sacrament, unless excused through ignorance.”11“But
whoever communicates with another who is in sin, becomes a sharer
in his sin. Hence we read in St. John that ‘He that says
unto him: God speed you, communicates with his wicked words.’12
Consequently, it is not lawful to receive Communion from them,
or to assist at their Mass.”13
Thus “by refusing to hear Masses of such priests, or to
receive Communion form them, we are not shunning God’s sacraments;
on the contrary, by doing so we are giving them honor.”14
consequences can we draw from this? “These new Masses, not
only cannot be the object of the obligation of the Sunday precept
but one should apply, in their regard, the rules of moral theology
and of Canon Law, which are those of supernatural prudence with
regard to the participation or attendance at an act, perilous
to our faith or eventually sacrilegious.”15
This teaching demands on the part of the faithful an effort, sometimes
very meritorious, of traveling long distances to come regularly
or at least periodically to the Tridentine Mass. This also demands
total abstention from attending the New Mass; a passive attendance
is tolerated for a serious reason “to render honor or for
a polite obligation” (as for example for the marriage or
funeral of a relative or friend), “as long as there is no
peril of perversion or of scandal.”16
In any case,
no authority can oblige us to put our faith in danger. The children
who attend so-called ‘Catholic schools’ are particularly
exposed by the fact of their lack of foundation and of discernment.
It would be better to stay at home on Sunday, to say the family
rosary, to read in your missal the Mass of the day or to read
a spiritual book (e.g. catechism, Lives of the Saints, etc.) rather
than to expose oneself to the disquiet and to the imperceptible
but certain alteration of our Catholic faith, a treasure so rare
in our days.
III. The Case of Attending the Traditional Mass said under the
efforts of the official hierarchy since 1969, a few bishops, many
priests and a great number of faithful have remained attached
to the two thousand year old traditional rite of Mass. Time passed
by, the problem remained. In order to resolve it, Pope John Paul
II gave to the diocesan bishops the faculty of making use of an
“Indult” so as to allow priests to say and the faithful
to attend the Mass contained in the Roman Missal edited in 1962
(the missal used, by the way, by the Society of St. Pius X). That
was the “Indult” promulgated by the Congregation for
the Divine Worship on October 2, 198417,
an “Indult” we shall see hereafter, made unacceptable
through the intention of its legislators and by the condition
of its application. The consecration of bishops by Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre of June 30, 1988 occurring, Pope John Paul II
made use of this “Indult” with regard to traditional
about attending a Tridentine Mass celebrated under the “Indult”?
It constitutes a danger first of all for the faith of the faithful,
a danger which comes from the priests themselves who are celebrating
it. Because to obtain this “Indult” from the official
hierarchy these priests must fulfill the following conditions:
“that it should be very clear that these priests…
have nothing to do with those who place in doubt… the doctrinal
soundness of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI, in
1970 and that their position should be without any ambiguity and
Thus it is necessary that these priests prove publicly by their
behavior, their words and writings, shorn of ambiguities, that
they admit ‘the doctrinal soundness’ of the New Mass.
No question in any way whatsoever of criticizing the Protestant
and definitely non-Catholic look of Pope Paul VI’s New Mass.
Mayer, former president of Ecclesia Dei place in charge of reintegrating
traditional Catholics into the Conciliar Church, added the following
condition: these same priests “can obtain” this “Indult”
on the condition that they be in normal juridical standing with
their bishops or religious superiors.”19
One remembers that dozens of priests have been unjustly put out
of their churches or their religious houses for the simple fact
of continuing to say without change the Tridentine Mass, except
for a good number who were favored by certain circumstances (age,
distance etc.). May we ask these “Indult”-favored
priests at what cost or compromise with the integral Catholic
faith have they kept or obtained “normal legal relations”
with the hierarchy? Compromise which, for example, could appear
in the fact of giving hosts doubtfully consecrated during a previous
Conciliar Mass or even through the manner of celebrating the traditional
Mass full of hesitations and mistakes, sometimes even causing
a danger too for the faith that comes from the attendance of the
faithful who attend exclusively these “Indult” Masses,
because they also have to fulfill the conditions of not placing
in doubt the “doctrinal soundness” of the New Mass20
. They are the type of faithful who unfortunately are too often
characterized by their concern to reconcile, in thought and in
action, the truth with heresy, tradition with the conciliar spirit.
from the very nature of the “Indult”: an “Indult”
is “a concession… from the authority which dispenses
its subjects from the obligation of keeping a law.”21“The
‘Indult’ is an exception. It can always be withdrawn.
It confirms the general rule,”22
which is the New Mass, the conciliar liturgy. Because, to use
a special permission, is this not to recognize and legitimize
ipso facto the general law, that is to say the legal suppression
of the two thousand year old traditional rite?
Thus to obtain
the “Indult” of 1984, one must fulfill the following
conditions: “that it should be quite clear that those priests
and those faithful have nothing to do with those who place in
question the legitimacy… of the Roman Missal promulgated
by Pope Paul VI in 1970.”23
Furthermore “this concession… should be utilized without
prejudice to the observance of the liturgical reform” (of
Pope Paul VI) “in the life of the ecclesiastical communities”24
of the conciliar church.
no question of them pressing for the universal celebration of
the Traditional Mass. They must be made to recognize that this
Tridentine Mass was validly, legally and legitimately abrogated
or forbidden. No question either of recalling the worth, forever
relevant, of the words of Pope St. Pius V: “By virtue of
Our Apostolic authority We give and grant in perpetuity, that
for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this
Missal (that is to say the Tridentine Mass), may be followed absolutely,
without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty,
judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used.”25
point to tackle is this: to attend the “Indult” Mass
at least to approve implicitly and to encourage the work of the
destruction of Catholic Tradition undertaken by the official hierarchy.
To prove this assertion, let us look first of all at the intentions
of some of the people responsible for it, and then we will look
at some precise facts.
In the first
place the intention of Pope John Paul II himself, using this “Indult”
to favor the winning over of traditional Catholics to conciliar
Rome: “The Holy See has … granted… the faculty
of using the liturgical books in use in 1962… It is very
evident that, far from seeking to put a brake on the application
of the reform (of the New Mass) undertaken after the Council (by
Pope Paul VI), this concession is destined to facilitate the ecclesiastical
communion (that is to say their reinstatement in the Conciliar
Church) of people who feel themselves attached to these liturgical
of the intentions and hopes of Cardinal Mayer, former president
of the Ecclesia Dei Commission? “There are grounds,”
he said, “do hope that, with the concerted efforts on the
part of all concerned, a substantial number of priests and seminarians
will find the strength to renounce a “state of mind”
which until now was full of prejudices, of accusations and of
disinformation… We have good reason to believe that the
charity with which the priests coming from Archbishop Lefebvre
and returning into the Church, will be received and will contribute
greatly to the fulfillment of this hope that, following them,
numerous faithful whom they had served up till then, would also
return into the ecclesiastical communion (with the Conciliar Church)
through their mediation. Sometimes a temporary solution may be
necessary, such as allowing them the possibility of celebrating
the holy Mass”27
of Pope Pius V.
In the hands
of the official hierarchy, the Tridentine Mass serves therefore
as a temporary means and bait to attract the traditional priests
and people and to destroy at the same time the work of Catholic
restoration, started by Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro
Mayer, and their priests. Means and bait to attract traditional
Catholics now considered as schismatics because they are no longer
considered as “being in communion” with the present
day Rome, of liberal and modernist tendency. It is to be further
noted that the Ecclesia Dei Commission could be generous for a
time in concessions granted to priests – a question of making
them bite the bait. But, if through their “mediation”
more or less conscious, their faithful do not return into the
conciliar fold, it is to be anticipated that they will be judged
as useless instruments and will find themselves either under obligation
to fulfill other conditions to keep that permission, or even to
simply see the aforesaid permission withdrawn.
Let us now
move on to some illustrating facts: having received the permission
to celebrate the Tridentine Rite, the Fraternity of St. Peter
now see themselves threatened to accept giving communion in the
hand and saying the Mass of 196528,
“All of the documents of the Vatican Council” having
been already accepted by one of their superiors.29
Hundreds of priests, seminarians and faithful have been lured
with the Tridentine Rite and now are made to forcibly return to
the ranks and the spirit of the Council. This work of destruction
continues by the approval of “Indult” Masses close
to our important Mass centers: London, Paris, Dublin, etc. This
is good method of emptying our Mass centers or at least of preventing
them from developing.
is why, what can look like a concession is in reality merely a
maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of
Conciliar bishops and modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger
threatening our people. If we have struggled for twenty years
to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order, now, to put
ourselves into the hands of those professing these errors.”30
To attempt to resort the traditional Mass without considering
the historical context of the crisis of the Faith is to become
a blind instrument in the hands of the conciliar hierarchy.
conclusion can we draw from all this? That the precept of attending
Sunday Mass is obligatory for all Catholics who have reached the
age of reason (seven years old), but some may be excused particularly
those who are near Masses “of Pope Paul VI” only or
to traditional Masses said under the “Indult.” Why?
Firstly, because of the danger for the faith coming either from
the priests who celebrate or from the faithful who attend them;
secondly, because legitimization is given to the new liturgy and
finally because an approval more or less implicit of the work
of destruction of the One, Holy, Catholic and Roman Tradition
112A Killiney Road
2. Ex. XX, 8; Lev. XXIII, 3;
Deut. V, 15; Ex. XXX, 14.
3. Grat.Dist. I De Cons. c.
4. Can. 1247 (CIC 1917).
5. Can. 12 (CIC 1917).
6. Fr. A. Bugnini: Osservatore
Romano (March 19, 1965) in Documentation Catholique,
April 4, 1965, N. 1445, pg. 603.
7. The Ottaviani Intervention,
in the Maryfaithful Supplement, July-August, 1976.
8. Declaration of Protestant
minister, Max Thurian: La Croix, May 30, 1969, pg. 10.
9. “Position of Archbishop
Lefebvre on the New Mass and the Pope” (November 8, 1979),
Cor Unum, n. 4, Nov. 1979, pp.3-9.
10. This is strongly inspired
by 1 Cor. VIII.
11.Summa Theologica III, q.
64, a. 9.
12. 2 John 1, 11
13. Summa Theologica III,
q. 82, a. 9.
15. “Position of Archbishop
Lefebvre on the new Mass etc.,” loc. cited.
16. Can. 1258, 2 (CIC 1917).
17. “Indult” of
the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship of October 3, 1984 in
42, Nov.-Dec., 1984, pp. 18-19.
19. 30 Days, n. 6, June, 1989,
the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship of October 3, 1984,
21. F. Ribertu, P. Palazzini,
Dizionario di Teologia Morale, Ed. Studium, Roma, 1955, art.
22. Interview with Archbishop
M. Lefebvre, Fideliter, n. 70, July-August 1989, pp. 13-14.
23. “Indult” of
the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship of October 3, 1984,
the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship of October 3, 1984,
25. Bull Quo Primum Tempore
of Pope St. Pius V, July 14, 1570.
26. Audience of September
28, 1990 to the Benedictine Monks of Le Barroux, Osservatore
Romano (French Edition), October 2, 1990, n. 40.
27. Letter of Cardinal Mayer
to Mgr. May, L’Homme Nouveau, March 19, 1989.
28. Controverses, n. 42; January,
1992, pg. 3.
29. Controverses, n. 37; October,
1991, pg. 4.
30.Interview with Archbishop
M. Lefebvre, loc. cit.