MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28

The Germs of G.I.R.M.

Part Seventy-seven: The Desperation of G.I.R.M. Warfare

    "Paragraphs 15 and 397 are mutually contradictory. How can there be an unbroken tradition when GIRM itself admits that the traditional has been broken, especially by omitting 'allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church.' Who says that those forms of outward penance belong to another age in the history of the Church? The arrogance with which GIRM dismisses the Council of Trent is so characteristic of modern man's contempt for the past, so typical of the self-possessed confidence of revolutionaries. And to invoke Pope Saint Pius X, who would have anathematized the authors of GIRM, to justify this break with tradition borders on the blasphemous, despoiling the memory of the great saint who opposed the very modernism reflected in the new Mass and in the new religion enshrined by Vatican II and its afermath."

Paragraph 393 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Bearing in mind the important place which singing has in celebration, as a necessary and integral part of the Liturgy, it is the place of the Conference of Bishops to approve appropriate melodies, especially for the texts of the Order of Mass, for the people's responses and acclamations, and for the special rites that occur in the course of the liturgical year. Likewise they may judge which musical forms, melodies and musical instruments may be admitted into divine worship, in that they are ruly apt for sacred use or can be rendered apt."

Comment and Analysis: In other words, the national episcopal conferences can approve almost any musical melody and/or instrument as being "apt" for sacred use. In a world of liturgical and theological positivism, it is easy to say that something is apt for sacred use because the assertion has been made that it is.

Paragraph 394 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Each diocese should have its own calendar and proper of Masses. For its part, the Conference of Bishops should draw up a proper calendar for the nation, or together with other Conferences, a calendar for a wider territory, to be approved by the Apostolic See. In carrying this out, the Lord's Day or Sunday is to be greatly preserved and safeguarded, as the primordial festive day, and hence other celebrations, unless they are truly of the greatest importance, should not take precedence over it. Care should likewise be taken lest the liturgical year restored by the decrees of the Second Vatican Council be obscured by secondary elements. In drawing up the calendar of a nation, there should be indicated the Rogation Days and annual Ember Days, and the forms and texts for their celebration, and other particular arrangements should be kept in view. It is appropriate that in publishing the Missal, the celebrations which are proper to the whole nation or territory, be inserted into the general calendar at the correct place, while on the other hand those which are proper to a region or diocese be included in a special appendix."

Comment and Analysis: It has been the case from time immemorial that the bishops of a nation or a region can establish feasts particular to their people. What is pernicious about this particular paragraph, however, is that there is again the insistence that the liturgical year has been "restored" by the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. This is, of course, positivism and the use of language to cloud a revolutionary reality. The calendar of the church has been destroyed, supplanted by a radical novelty, the likes of which the Church has never before seen. Indeed, Pope Pius XII warned in Mediator Dei that the dates of feasts should not be changed precisely because they reflect the tradition of the Church. But what's that to people convinced of their own superiority?

Paragraph 395 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Finally, should the participation of the faithful and their spiritual good call for variants and points of deeper adaptation in order that the sacred celebration respond to the genius and customs of the different peoples, the Conferences of Bishops may propose to the Apostolic See, in accordance with art. 40 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, with a view to introducing them with the Apostolic See's consent, especially in favor of peoples to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed in more recent times. The special norms determined by the instruction, Inculturation and the Roman Liturgy, shall be attentively observed. As to the way of proceeding in this matter, the following shall be respected" In the first place, a detailed prior project should be forwarded to the Apostolic See, so that after the necessary authorization has been given, the precise points of adaptations may be worked out. Once these proposals have been duly approved by the Holy See, experiments should be carried out at specific times and places. If appropriate, once the period of experimentation is concluded, the Conference of Bishops shall decide upon carrying forward the adaptation and shall make a mature proposal to the Apostolic See for its decision."

Comment and Analysis: There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can be used as a laboratory of experimentation. The purpose of this experimentation, which is absolutely, unqualifiedly without any precedence in the nearly 2,000 year history of the Church, is to adapt the barbaric practices of pagan peoples directly into the Catholic Mass so as to satisfy what are alleged to be the desires of indigenous peoples to "feel" as though the liturgy reflects the "genius" of their history. This is why, you see, it is important to incorporate tribal practices of the barbaric peoples of Africa, of the Aztecs and Mayans and Incas of Latin America, of the bush people of Australia and New Zealand, and of the various Indian tribes of North America, to say nothing of the experiments involving "rock" Masses" and "folk" Masses and the practices of the New Age movement.

   Thus, we have the phenomena of the Vicar of Christ accepting the gifts to be used in a Papal extravaganza Mass in Africa from half-naked women, of New Zealand tribesmen dressing down to do tribal dances in the Basilica of Saint Peter (as I commented at the time a few years ago, did these natives board the plane from New Zealand in their tribal attire?), of scandalous music being played at World Youth Day celebrations, of feathered Aztec dancers entertaining the congregation at the canonization of Saint Juan Diego in Mexico City. How can any right thinking Catholic stand by and believe that this is anything other than sacrilegious? Would any canonized saint in the history of the Church shut his mouth at these horrible spectacles?

   Paragraph 395, therefore, authorizes a national episcopal conference to propose a scheme of adaptation to the Holy See. If the Holy See approves the schema, then there is a period of experimentation. If the experimentation is deemed to be successful in the view of the conference of bishops in question, then the project is presented to the Holy See for final approval. And, naturally, there is going to be great pressure placed on the Holy See to approve the experiment or otherwise run the risk of being considered insensitive to the needs inspired by the genius of the peoples. This paragraph represents the authorization of the un-Christian and the bizarre as constituent elements of a Catholic Mass.

   The Mass is not supposed to be a plaything. How can anyone assert the new Mass represents a "rite" when experiments to adapt that "rite" can be conducted provisionally to obtain the "feedback" of the people? This is not a rite. This is an exercise in revolutionary egalitarianism.

Paragraph 396 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Before, however, proceeding to new adaptations, especially of a profounder kind, great care should be taken to ensure that proper instruction of clergy and faithful is promoted in a wise and orderly fashion, that options already foreseen be taken advantage of, and that the pastoral norms that concern the spirit of celebration be fully implemented."

Comment and Analysis: Exhaust the seemingly inexhaustible panoply of options, and then you can engage in adaptations of a "profounder kind." So profound, obviously, that they bear no resemblance to anything in the history of the Church.

Paragraph 397 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Furthermore, the principle shall be respected that each particular Church must be in accord with the Church universal not only as to the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but even as to the usages admitted by apostolic and unbroken tradition, which are to maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but even with the purpose of handing on the faith in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi). The Roman Rite constitutes a noble and estimable part of the liturgical treasure and patrimony of the Catholic Church, and its riches are of benefit to the universal Church., so that were these riches lost, this would be gravely damaging to her. The Roman Rite has in the course of the centuries not only conserved the liturgical uses that had their origin in the city of Rome, but has also in deep, organic and harmonious way incorporated itself certain others, which were derived from the customs and genius of different people and of various particular Churches of both West and East, thus acquiring a certain 'supra-regional' character. In our own times the identity and unitary expression of this Rite is found in the typical editions of the liturgical books promulgated by the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, and in the liturgical books which correspond to them that have been approved by the Conference of Bishops for their territories and accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See."

Comment and Analysis: Talk about ecclesiastical positivism and revisionist history. Let me give you the meaning of this paragraph: "Do not be deceived by anything you read, such as Klaus Gamber's The Reform of the Roman Liturgy or Michael Davies' works on the Mass or the works of Father Adrian Fortesque or Pope Pius XII's Mediator Dei. Do not be deceived by attending a Traditional Latin Mass. The Roman Rite is now what it always has been: the continuation of an unbroken tradition that dates back to apostolic times with only a few changes made here and there to reflect contemporary needs." This is not only false, obviously, it is even contradicted by Paragraph 15 of GIRM!

   Here, once again, is Paragraph 15:

    "Thus the Church remains faithful in its responsibility as teacher of truth to guard 'things old,' that is, the deposit of tradition; at the same time it fulfills another duty, that of examining and prudently bringing forth 'things new' (see Matthew 13:52). Accordingly, a part of the new Roman Missal directs the prayer of the Church expressly to the needs of our times. This is above all true of the ritual Masses and the Masses for various needs and occasions, which happily combine the traditional and the contemporary. Thus many expressions, drawn from the Church's most ancient tradition and familiar through the many editions of the Roman Missal, have remained unchanged. Other expressions, however, have been adapted to today's needs and circumstances and still others-for example, the prayers for the Church, the laity, the sanctification of human work, the community of all peoples, certain needs proper to our era-are completely new compositions, drawing on the thoughts and even the very language of the recent conciliar documents. The same awareness of the present state of the world influence the use of texts from very ancient tradition. It seemed that this cherished treasure would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline... Thus there have been changes of some expressions bearing on the evaluation and use of the good things of the earth and of allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church. In short, the liturgical norms of the Council of Trent have been completed and improved in many respects by those of the Second Vatican Council. This Council has brought to realization the efforts of the last four hundred years to move the faithful closer to the sacred liturgy, especially the efforts of recent times and above all the zeal for the liturgy promoted by Saint Pius X and his successors." (emphases added)

   Paragraphs 15 and 397 are mutually contradictory. How can there be an unbroken tradition when GIRM itself admits that the traditional has been broken, especially by omitting "allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church." Who says that those forms of outward penance belong to another age in the history of the Church? The arrogance with which GIRM dismisses the Council of Trent is so characteristic of modern man's contempt for the past, so typical of the self-possessed confidence of revolutionaries. And to invoke Pope Saint Pius X, who would have anathematized the authors of GIRM, to justify this break with tradition borders on the blasphemous, despoiling the memory of the great saint who opposed the very modernism reflected in the new Mass and in the new religion enshrined by Vatican II and its afermath.

   The claim that the new Mass is a continuation of an unbroken tradition is proved false even by the words of Pope Paul VI himself. As recorded in the great book by Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods, The Great Facade: "Thus in his General Audience of November 26, 1969, Pope Paul noted with evident satisfaction that the new rite would draw the faithful 'out of their customary personal devotions or their usual torpor.' This cruel and unwarranted insult to the piety of many centuries of Catholic faithful-their usual torpor?-is a classic example of the contempt in which the postconciliar establishment holds the preconciliar Church, and we here see that even a Pope is not immune."

   Paragraph 397 of GIRM is a lie.

Paragraph 398 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The norm established by the Second Vatican Council, that innovations should not be made in the liturgical reform unless a real and certain need of the Church demands it and with all proper care that new forms in some way grow organically from already existing forms, must be applied also to the implementation of any inculturation of the Roman Rite. Moreover, inculturation requires a necessary amount of time, lest in a hasty and incautious manner the authentic liturgical tradition suffer contamination. Lastly, efforts at inculturation are not in any way aimed at creating new families of Rites, but at responding to the needs of a given culture in such a manner that adaptations introduced in the Missal or coordinated with other liturgical books are not at variance with the distinctive character of the Roman Rite."

Comment and Analysis: If Paragraph 397 is a lie, then this paragraph is laughable. Simply saying that inculturation doesn't create new "families of Rites" does not make it so. Of course the adaptations result, in a de facto manner, new families of Rites. And there is no need to worry about contaminating the "authentic liturgical tradition" of the Roman Rite. It was contaminated by the Novus Ordo itself, which has done so much harm to the life of the Church and the sanctification of souls.

Paragraph 399 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows: "Thus the Roman Missal, although in a diversity of languages and in a certain variety of customs, must in the future be maintained as a means to the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite, and as its outstanding sign."

Comment and Analysis: In other words, we say the new Mass is a sign of the unity of the Roman Rite. Thus, it is. If anyone questions this, he is disloyal and schismatic.


   Much commentary has been offered in the body of this analysis. There is little need to repeat here what has been discussed at length. However, a few words of conclusion are necessary.

   To criticize the Novus Ordo as an unprecedented exercise in the history of the Church is not to condemn the believing Catholic priests and lay people, who, for one reason or another, either see no problem with the new Mass or who believe that the problems that do exist are going to be resolved eventually. They are wrong. However, they do not realize that they are wrong. Those of us who have been blessed to come to an understanding of the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass have received a great mercy from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. We do the cause of tradition no good at all by browbeating and excoriating those who go to Mass in their local diocesan parish. We must explain to them what has happened, and how it is that the treasury of the past has been taken from us by wolves in shepherds' clothing.

   Indeed, one of the contributions I hope that this analysis (to be published as a book) makes is to provide people with reading material to see with the unprejudiced eyes of the soul that the new Mass is harmful to the Faith and based upon false premises that cast aside the living liturgical tradition of the Latin rite of the Catholic Church. Some people will have the grace to see this. Others will not. The work we are about in the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass is going to take time. Barring a miracle, such as the establishment of an Apostolic Administration (discussed in an appendix to this book), we are going to face one obstacle after another from the ecclesiastical authorities who are so dedicated to the perpetuation of a revolutionary agenda. That is why we must be totally consecrated to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, entrusting to her the restoration of the Mass in which the Blessed Trinity is given greater honor and glory and in which human souls are more efficaciously sanctified.

   That having been noted, however, once people do find out how harmful the new Mass is, they must do something concrete to protect their immortal souls from the slothful influences found therein. It is an exercise in self-delusion to believe that one is going to safeguard the faith in one's diocesan parish by trying to prevent the further degeneration that has its roots in the new Mass itself. Once a person realizes that God is better worshipped and that his own soul is better sanctified in the Mass of tradition, then he must seek it out. This is not possible in every place in the country or the world. I realize that. However, one must seek out the diocesan indult Masses or Masses offered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter or the Institute of Christ the King or the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem (an order recently erected by Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse, Wisconsin).

   However, if protecting one's soul means going to a chapel run by the Society of Pope Saint Pius X or by an independent priest (who is validly ordained and recognizes that the See of Peter is not vacant), then it is imperative to do so. A sensible person would not keep going to a hospital where patients check in but never check out alive. A sensible Catholic cannot keep exposing himself to liturgical exercises that debilitate, if not kill the spirit of, his soul over the course of time. We cannot subject ourselves to profanation and sacrilege without becoming inured to that profanation and sacrilege.

   It is also vital for priests to be courageous in this regard. They should be petitioning the Holy See for an Apostolic Administration. And it might be necessary for them to tell their local bishop that they can no longer say the new Mass, that they cannot endure altar girls and Communion in the hand and Communion under both kinds and the proliferation of lay people in the sanctuary and Mass facing the people. They could go independent for a time, thereby giving the faithful a refuge from the refuse they are forced to endure in the home parishes (and forcing the Holy See to deal with the issue of an Apostolic Administration). Obviously, it is important for priests to work together with others of like mind from throughout the country and the world. But the more that priests who are committed to our living liturgical tradition exercise courage, the more that the faithful will be inspired to follow them. The sheep need a shepherd. At present, though, there are few shepherds willing to stand out to lead the sheep back into the sheepfold of tradition.

   In time, the Church herself is going to have to face the errors of the last forty years. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre may one day some centuries from now be canonized for his stalwart defense of the living liturgical tradition of the Roman Rite and his refusal to participate in the theological positivism of Vatican II and its aftermath. We are not going to live to see these things, barring, again, a major miracle, which we must pray for, invoking the intercession in particular of Pope Saint Pius V and Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

   The General Instruction to the Roman Missal makes warfare upon the true tradition of the Church and hence of the Faith itself. To recognize this is not to be a negativist. No, it is merely to recognize the reality of our situation, and to motivate us to redouble our efforts, centered as they must be in Eucharistic piety and total consecration to the Mother of God, to restore all things in Christ, starting with the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

   For the only way to bring about the Social Kingship of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is to restore the sense of His kingly dignity in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May His Blessed Mother help us to be ever vigilant, no matter the odds in human terms, to plant the seeds that might, please Him, to bring this about.

   Vivat Christus Rex!

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives

MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28
The Germs of G.I.R.M.

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