Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus (dec5ssc.htm)

Monday
December 5, 2005
vol 16, no. 309

The 1962 Missal


    Confusion surrounds the 1962 Missal but upon further research we can see that it is free of the liberal claws of the wolves who raided the liturgy for it was Pope Pius XII who initiated the revision for the sake of tradition with John XXIII merely fulfilling what Pius began. It was after its release and the Council when things went truly haywire.

by
Father James F. Wathen

    "The reader should know that popes periodically have found reason to issue new Missals; Pope St. Pius X did so in 1910. The obvious reason is that, as time goes by, saints are canonized and feast days are assigned to them. In addition, the popes are free to establish new feasts for whatever reason. Pope Pius XII established the feasts the Queenship of Mary (May 31) and St. Joseph the Workman (May 1). All editions of the Missale since 1570 have been essentially the same as the Missale Romanum issued that year, but all of them have been different in that they followed different Calendars. The Missale's Calendar indicates not only what Mass is to said on all the days of the year, but "ranks" the feasts, the highest being a Mass of the First Class with a Privileged Octave."


    Now and then I get a question about the 1962 Roman Missal. My response is that there is nothing wrong with this Missal, in fact, it is an excellent Missal, and there is no reason why a priest should not use it.

    Pope John XXIII did three good things, one was the publication of the encyclical, Veterum sapientia, the second was the reformed Breviary, the third was the 1962 Missale Romanum.

    The Encyclical was a eloquent defense and encomium of Latin as the proper language of the Roman Rite, which alone could serve adequately for the Church's prayers to God. This letter was issued in the year 1961. At the time, there was some discussion about it among priests and and in Catholic publications. We may easily conclude that it was not written by Pope John, but some member of the Roman Curia, one of the conservative cardinals perhaps, who was alarmed at the increasingly loud clamor in favor of the vernacular, particularly in the Mass and the other Sacramental rites. Pope John put his name to the letter, but did nothing to implement it; he probably knew that it was a "dead letter" (no pun intended), as he knew what schemes were "in the works." As a consequence, the Encyclical was all but forgotten. During the 1960s, the vernacular began to be introduced and with time won the day completely. Nothing was done in defense of Latin. Every word in Veterum sapientia has proved to have been well-chosen and prophetic. When the Church is reformed, Latin will be restored.

    Before he died, Pope Pius XII ordered that both the Missale Romanum and the Roman Breviary should be revised. (The Breviary, also called "the Divine Office," is the official prayer book of the Roman Rite, from which every priest was obliged to recite certain prayers every day.) Pius did this in 1955. The new Breviary was published early in the reign of Pope John XXIII, 1960, the Missal in 1962. It was natural that these two tasks be done as one project, in order that both follow the same liturgical calendar; the "Office of the day" is meant to be an extension of the Liturgy of the day. This means that if the Mass is in honor of the Nativity of our Lady, the Office of the day should be the same.

    Curiously, some Traditionalist priests disturb lay people about the 1962 Missal, for who knows what purpose? Their favorite argument is that the Missal was fathered by Masons in the Vatican, possibly Msgr. Annibale Bugnini. Whether this is true or not--and there is no evidence in the Missal itself that it is--there is no reason why a priest should not use this Missal, if he chooses to. We have one such Missal here at St. Paul's Chapel, and I say Mass here in the same way that I do elsewhere using older Missals.

    The reader should know that popes periodically have found reason to issue new Missals; Pope St. Pius X did so in 1910. The obvious reason is that, as time goes by, saints are canonized and feast days are assigned to them. In addition, the popes are free to establish new feasts for whatever reason. Pope Pius XII established the feasts the Queenship of Mary (May 31) and St. Joseph the Workman (May 1). All editions of the Missale since 1570 have been essentially the same as the Missale Romanum issued that year, but all of them have been different in that they followed different Calendars. The Missale's Calendar indicates not only what Mass is to said on all the days of the year, but "ranks" the feasts, the highest being a Mass of the First Class with a Privileged Octave.

    In introducing the New Breviary, Pope John indicated that the main goal of the revision was a simplification, which meant eliminating certain unnecessary prayers and dropping certain feasts. There is nothing in the 1960 Breviary with which anyone should have any complaint. For the same reason, because the 1962 Missal was part of the same project, the changes to be found in it are altogether unobjectionable, even well-advised.

    Those who revised the Missal must have been reading the same liturgical essays we were reading in the seminary in the 1950s. Not all liturgists were revolutionaries. There were those who called attention to certain things that ought to be changed, because, not surprisingly, through the years since the last edition of the Missal (1925), and before, certain changes had been introduced which were out of keeping with the spirit and tradition of the Roman Rite. Both the Breviary of 1960 and the Missale of 1962 conform closely to this tradition. Most certainly, there is nothing in either of these works which suggests subversion or Liberalism.

    The reason I speak approvingly of the 1962 Missal is that its Calendar is a decided improvement on that of the Missale issued before it, that of Pope Benedict XV. Some of the reasons the Calendar is better are that:

    1. The ranking of the feasts is simpler. Before, there were feasts described as Simple, Semiduplex, Duplex, etc. Now there were only six grades of feasts: Simple, Double, Second Class, First Class, First Class feast with a Non-privileged Octave, Christmas, and First Class feast with a Privileged Octave, Easter and Pentecost. If there is no special Mass on a certain day, it is called a "Ferial Day."

    2. Now all Sundays are Second Class feasts; if another Second Class feast falls on Sunday, the Sunday Liturgy takes precedence. The purpose of this change is to make sure that the Sunday is given its due prominence. The Sunday Mass is part of the Christological cycle in the Liturgical year, as distinct from the Sanctoral cycle, and it is right that the Sunday Liturgy center on Christ our Savior. Other days in the Christological cycle are all the days of Lent and the Ember Days.

    3. All the octaves except the three feasts mentioned above were dropped. There were too many octaves, so that the Masses of certain feasts were repeated pointlessly. At times there were two octaves running concurrently (the Octave of St. Stephen during the Christmas Octave).

    4. The older Missals called for at least two additional Orations (and Secret Prayers and Postcommunion Prayers). Sometimes there was a fourth. During the Second World War, Pope Pius XII commanded that the Prayer for Peace and the Prayer to Our Lady be added at all Masses. Their inclusion caused that sometimes there were as many as four Orations. The 1962 Missal rescinded this accretion, and prescribed that there never be more that two additional Orations. There is no reason not to accept this rescission, as it is contrary to the spirit of the Liturgy to multiply prayers in this manner. The Roman Liturgy avoids anything verbose, sentimental, florid, repetitious, or superfluous; these are reasons why our Liturgy is so substantial, commanding, and admirable.

    5. Some of the feasts of Saints were dropped completely. There was no harm in this. Some people were greatly alarmed by this, as if the Church was thereby pronouncing that the individuals who, as they amusingly put it, "got the axe," were not in Heaven. It helps to remember that the Saints and Angels are members of the Church, members of the Church Triumphant. The Church is greater than they and the Church in no way diminishes their glory by reducing the rank of their feast days. (You can be sure none of the Saints lose sleep or needed counseling when this happens.)The Saints don't sleep, Dummy! Oh! You’re right. I wasn't thinkin'.)

    6. The introduction of the name of St. Joseph in the Canon was not new with this Missal. In the first session of the Council, Liberal bishops (probably coached by their more Liberal periti (advisors) began to make a great to-do about the fact that the name of St. Joseph was not in the Canon of the Mass. Their arguments were patently untheological, and patently shallow. They suggested that it was shameful that, after all these centuries, St. Joseph was still missing, as if this was an unpardonable oversight and disparagement toward the Foster Father of Christ, and the Spouse of our Lady--as if to say that our forefathers in the Faith deserved reprimand for such an omission. The reason why St. Joseph's name had never been included thus is obvious: Our Liturgy has its roots in the Church of the city and diocese of Rome. The names included in the Canon were the key personages in the devotion of the first Christians of the Eternal City: The Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, the Apostles, the first popes after St. Peter, Linus, Cletus, Clement, and Sixtus, and the great martyr heroes and heroines, who gave their lives for the Faith in Rome. The early Christians did not include the name of St. Joseph in the Mass because he did not take part in the public ministry of Christ and in the great redemptive acts of the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, as Mary and the Apostles did, nor in the establishing of the Church in Rome. Through the centuries, the Church gave St. Joseph special recognition and named him the Protector of the Universal Church, but there is still no reason to name him in the Canon.

        At the Council, the debate went for many days, when, toward the end of the First Session, Pope John, by his own authority included the name in the Canon. We know now that all the indignant protesting was not inspired by a genuine devotion to St. Joseph, because since the Council, less and less attention has been given to St. Joseph and all the other saints. The whole purpose of the demonstration was to "break the seal" of the sacred Canon of the Mass, to violate that which by its very name was meant to remain sacrosanct, untouchable, and inviolable. We priests who remember those days in 1961 cannot read the Communicantes at Mass without recalling that the adding of the name of St. Joseph was nothing but an irreverent and hypocritical tactic. We have had time to see that those who trashed the ancient Liturgy care nothing for the honor of St. Joseph, his most chaste Spouse, the Mother of our Savior, nor for our Savior Himself. Regardless, there is no point of argument now. No harm is done by omitting St. Joseph's name, or including it. The Church will settle this matter in a saner day.

    7. The 1962 Missal contains the "Restored Order of Holy Week," which was introduced by Pope Pius XII in 1956. It is markedly different from the 1962 Missal and was a harbinger of what might have been expected in a future liturgical reform. It is acceptable, but faulty, because it contains signs of Modernist/Liberal influence; it is meant to condition the faithful for things to come. The 1962 Missal was discarded with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969; the Restored Order of Holy Week is still very much with us.

        A glaring example of the Modernist mindset in the Holy Week Ritual is to be found in the Great Prayers of Good Friday. One of these Prayers, the eighth, is "For the Conversion of the Jews." In older Missals, the Prayer refers to the Jews as "perfidious" ("Oremus et pro Judaeis perfidis"). In the "Restored Order of Holy Week," the word perfidis is omitted.

        Moreover, the eighth Prayer is exceptional in the following respect: The other eight Prayers are for various intentions--the Church as a whole, the Catholic faithful, catechumens, those in false religions (who are referred to as heretics and schismatics), etc. Between the Invocation, that is, the invitation to pray for the following intention and why, and the Prayer itself, the priest (or deacon) invites the people: Oremus. Flectamus genua. (Let us pray. Let us genuflect.) The subdeacon, or the choir, or the people, respond: Levate. (Rise). In the old Liturgy, at the eighth Prayer, these words and this genuflection were conspicuously omitted. A prayer was offered for the conversion of the Jews, but this point of difference called attention to the experience that the Church has had with the Jews through the centuries, particularly to the tens of thousands of Jews who, during various epochs and in multiple places, entered the Church not to save their souls, but either for their personal, earthly gain, or for the sake of subverting it, or seizing control of it. The New Holy Week Liturgy prescribes that the Oremus, Flectamus genua, etc. be included, that the exception be removed. In such a seemingly inconsequential alteration, the revisers of the Liturgy gave vent to their opinion that, in effect, the centuries-old exception was improper, unchristian, and reprehensible, thus suggesting that the Church had been wrong in this rubric. It is due to this kind of thinking that while the clergy, led by the Pope, grovel in penitence and apology at the manner in which the Church found it necessary to deal with the impenitent "offspring of the Pharisees" through the centuries, the Church defaces and disfigures and deforms itself, and the Talmudic onslaught on all things Catholic, Christian, and supernatural proceeds in a rush. It is no exaggeration to say that the Church has been most orthodox and fruitful, when it has manifested true understanding of the Jews as Christ's and its own worst human enemies.

___________________________________________

    Thanks to everyone who continues to pray for me. Don't stop. My illness is nothing to write home about, but it has been a demanding experience. Thanks also to everyone who writes with encouragement and hope, who supports me with gifts of money. I think this is true charity. In the Name and by the power of Him Who "comes quickly" (Apocalypse 22:20). to take us to Himself, I send my priestly blessing.

In Christ,

Father James Wathen


For those who want to help Father or write him, you can do so at:

      Father James F. Wathen
      P.O. Box 15152
      Evansville, IN 47716


    For past articles of Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus, see 2005ssc.htm Archives

    Monday
    December 5, 2005
    vol 16, no. 309
    Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus