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Why the Traditional Latin Mass?

Our Lady of the Rosary Library



First Sunday of Lent


In 1969, Pope Paul VI issued a New Order of the Mass, the Novus Ordo
Missae. Up to that time, what is commonly referred to as the “Tridentine”
or “Latin” Mass, was used by the Church. On the face of things, it may seem
to be a simple matter for the Pope to change the Mass. It has been done
before. Is there a difference, then, between the modifications made by Paul
VI and the liturgical changes of the past? There is a radical difference,
and one that has had disastrous consequences for the universal Church.


The “Tridentine” or Roman Rite Mass, while it has developed organically
over the 2,000 year history of the Church, is essentially the Mass that was
given to the Apostles and the Church by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Although various rites emerged, they all maintained the same spirit
imparted to the liturgy by Our Lord and were only adapted to various
cultures without any deviation in doctrine. The Roman Rite, up to Vatican
II, underwent only minor changes, such that the famous English liturgist
Fr. Adrian Fortescue was able to state that “no one has ventured to touch
it except in unimportant details.”

Pope St. Pius V, to protect the Roman Rite from innovations and eliminate
any variations, codified the Traditional Latin Mass in the Apostolic
Constitution Quo Primum in 1570. The Mass that he was confirming was not
some new creation like the Novus Ordo Missae, but a Mass that matched in
every respect the Faith of the Apostles. Nor was it the Mass of some
particular area of the Church like the Eastern rites, but the universal
rite of the Church, the rite of the Roman See. His bull says in part:

“We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all
other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even
cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or
pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to
read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down
by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other
rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have
customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to
introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained
in this Missal.

“Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic
authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or
reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to
be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of
incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be
used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other
secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to
celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare
and ordain . . . that this present document cannot be revoked or modified,
but remain always valid and retain its full force . . . [The complete
Apostolic Constitution “Quo Primum” of Pope St. Pius V (July 14, 1570) is
available in print from Angelus Press or online].

What, then, was done at Vatican II? Were some changes made merely in
“unimportant details”? Was the proper honor and respect given to the Rite
essentially bestowed by Christ on His Church and confirmed by incomparable
proofs in the form of thousands of saints and countless miracles? On
September 25, 1969, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect-Emeritus of the
Sacred Congregation for the Faith, sent Pope Paul VI a theological Study of
the New Order of the Mass (“Short Critical Study of the New Order of
Mass.”). The Study contained a cover letter signed by Cardinals Ottaviani
and Antonio Bacci which says, in part:
Most Holy Father,

Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the
Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam
Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection,
we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your
Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a
group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly
in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or
taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, 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 formulated in
Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively
fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy
directed against the integrity of the Mystery . . . (“The Ottaviani
Intervention — Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass” is available

Vatican I in 1870 defined the Pope to be, not an absolute monarch, but the
guarantor of obedience to the revealed word. The legitimacy of his power
was bound up above all with his transmitting the Faith. This fidelity to
the deposit of the Faith and to its transmission concerns in a quite
special way the liturgy. No authority can ‘fabricate’ a liturgy. The Pope
himself is only the humble servant of its homogenous development, its
integrity, and the permanence of its identity.” The Pope, as the guardian
of the Deposit of Faith, has a duty to preserve the liturgy intact and pass
it on essentially unmodified to the next generation. The very authors of
Vatican II, on the other hand, openly acknowledged their desire not to pass
on Tradition, but to make it.

St. Vincent of Lerins in the 5th century gave as a standard for the
orthodoxy of doctrine that which has been believed everywhere (ubique),
always (semper), and by all (omnia). But, as Cardinal Ratzinger points out,
the Council Fathers of Vatican II rejected this hallowed definition:

“Vatican II’s refusal of the proposal to adopt the text of Lerins, familiar
to, and, as it were, sanctified by two Church Councils, shows once more how
Trent and Vatican I were left behind, how their texts were continually
reinterpreted… Vatican II had a new idea of how historical identity and
continuity were to be brought about.” This new idea was nothing other than
to create a pseudo-tradition from the “common consciousness” of the Council
Fathers. This is pure Modernism and totally contrary to the Deposit of


The Church has always set forth the firm and clear principle that: “The way
we worship is the way we believe.” The doctrinal truths of the Faith are
embodied in the worship we offer to God. In other words, it is the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass that teaches us our theology and not the reverse. The
True Mass comprises the Apostolic Tradition of faith and morals in its very
essence. Every doctrine essential to the Faith is taught therein. Pope Leo
XIII points out in Apostolicae Curae that the Church’s enemies have always
understood this principle as “They knew only too well the intimate bond
that unites faith with worship, the law of belief with the law of prayer,

and so, under the pretext of restoring the order of the liturgy to its
primitive form, they corrupted it in many respects to adapt it to the
errors of the Innovators.” It is no wonder, then, that Luther coined the
slogan: “Take away the Mass, destroy the Church.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori (Bishop, Doctor of the Church and Patron of
Theologians) explains that “The devil has always attempted, by means of the
heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the
Anti-Christ, who, before anything else, will try to abolish and will
actually abolish the Holy Sacrament of the altar, as a punishment for the
sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel: ‘And strength was
given him against the continual sacrifice’ (Dan. 8:12).”

The question then becomes: Does the New Mass teach the Catholic Faith? No,
say both Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci: “It is clear that the Novus Ordo no
longer intends to present the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent.”
Pope St. Leo the Great (Father and Doctor of the Church) instructs us:
“Teach nothing new, but implant in the hearts of everyone those things
which the fathers of venerable memory taught with a uniform preaching …
Whence, we preach nothing except what we have received from our
forefathers. In all things, therefore, both in the rule of faith in the
observance of discipline, let the pattern of antiquity be observed.” How
well founded, then, were the concerns expressed by Pope Pius XII shortly
before the introduction of the New Mass:


“I am worried by the Blessed
Virgin’s messages to Lucy at Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the
dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide
that would be represented by the alteration of the Faith in Her liturgy.”
When you place the prayers and ceremonies of the traditional Latin Mass
side by side with those of the New Mass, you can easily see to what degree
the Church’s traditional doctrine has been “edited out.” And the “editing”
always seems to have been done on those parts of the Mass expressing some
Catholic doctrine which Protestants find “offensive.” Here are some

Common Penitential Rite: The traditional Mass begins with the priest
reciting personal prayers of reparation to God called “The Prayers at the
Foot of the Altar.” The New Mass begins instead with a “Penitential Rite”
which the priest and people recite together. Who were the first to
introduce a common penitential rite? The 16th century Protestants, who
wanted to promote their teaching that the priest is no different from the

The Offertory: The Offertory prayers of the traditional Mass clearly
express a number of Catholic teachings, as that the Mass is offered to God
to satisfy for sin and that the saints are to be honored. The Protestants
rejected these teachings and so abolished the Offertory prayers. “That
abomination called the Offertory,” said Luther, “and from this point almost
everything stinks of oblation!” In the New Mass as well, the Offertory is
gone — it has been replaced with a ceremony called “The Preparation of the
Gifts.” The prayers “offensive” to Protestants have also been removed. In
their place is the prayer “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,”
based on a Jewish grace before meals.

The “Eucharistic Prayer”: The traditional Mass has only one “Eucharistic
Prayer,” the ancient Roman Canon. The Canon was always a favorite target of
Lutheran and other Protestant attacks. Instead of just one Canon, the New
Mass now has a number of “Eucharistic Prayers,” only one of which we will
mention here. Eucharistic Prayer No. 1 is an “edited” version of the Roman
Canon. The lists of Catholic saints, so despised by Protestants, are now
optional, and hence rarely used. The translators did some further
“editing.” Among other things, the idea that Christ the Victim is offered
at Mass (a notion Luther condemned) has disappeared. All the Eucharistic
Prayers now incorporate some typical Protestant practice. They are recited
in a loud voice instead of silently, and they have an


Narrative,” instead of a Consecration. (According to Protestant beliefs,
their ministers do not consecrate the Eucharist like Catholic priests do;
they just narrate the story of the Last Supper.) Even Christ’s own words
in the Consecration were altered: “. . . Which shall be shed for you and
for many, unto the remission of sins” was changed to “. . . It will be shed
for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven.” (Rome acknowledged
this “mistranslation” recently.) The various signs of respect toward Our
Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament (genuflections, signs of the cross,
bells, incense, etc.) have been reduced, made optional, or eliminated.
Communion in the Hand: The 16th century Protestant Martin Bucer condemned
the Church’s practice of placing the Host on the tongue of the communicant
as something introduced out of “a double superstition: first, the false
honor they wish to show to this sacrament, and secondly, the wicked
arrogance of priests claiming greater holiness than that of the people of
Christ, by virtue of the oil of consecration.


” The practice in Protestant
churches of “communion in the hand” is thus based upon their rejection of
Christ’s Real Presence and the priesthood. At the New Mass, just as at a
Protestant service, there is Communion in the hand. But the men who created
the New Mass went even further, for a layman may not only receive Communion
in the hand — he is also permitted to distribute it, even on a moment’s
notice. Let us recall St. Thomas Aquinas’ (1225-1274)* words on this
subject: “The body of Christ must not be touched by anyone, other than a
consecrated priest. No other person has the right to touch it, except in
case of extreme necessity” (III, 82 a.3). (*St. Thomas Aquinas was given
the title “Angelic Doctor”. His canonization decree states, “His doctrine
was none other than miraculous. He has enlightened the Church more than all
other Doctors”)

Veneration of the Saints: The prayers of the traditional Mass frequently
invoke the saints by name and beg their intercession. The Church’s
veneration of the saints in her worship was another practice which
Protestants dismissed as “superstition.” The New Order of the Mass dropped
most invocations of the saints by name, or made them optional. In the new
Missal, moreover, the weekday prayers for saints’ feast days (most of which
are also optional) have been rewritten for the benefit of Protestants —
allusions to miracles, the defense of the Catholic Faith, or to the
Catholic Church as the one, true Church have disappeared.

False Translations: Lastly, there is the matter of the false official
English translations of the New Mass. A whole book could be written on the
errors and distortions they contain. Here we will mention briefly only the
official translations of the prayers for the 34 “Sundays in Ordinary Time.”
The following are some of the ideas which the English translation
suppresses: God’s wrath, our unworthiness, error, sins which “burden our
consciences,” God’s majesty, obedience to His commandments, supplication,
humility, eternity, heaven — many more could be listed. Perhaps the most
serious omission is the word “grace.” It appears 11 times in the Latin
original. It does not appear even once in the official English

Clearly, then, the “new liturgy reflects a new ecclesiology, whereas the
old reflects another ecclesiology” (Cardinal Benelli) and one quite foreign
to the Catholic Church. This ultimately means as Fr. Gelineau, S.J., one of
the “experts” who co-authored the New Mass, pointed out, that “The New Mass
is a different liturgy. This needs to be said without ambiguity. The Roman
Rite, as we knew it, no longer exists. It has been destroyed.” The
Catechism of the Council of Trent tells us that “a Catholic sins against
the Faith by participating in non-Catholic worship.” The New Mass is not
Catholic worship, even if it has retained the name “Catholic,” as did the
Anglican liturgy until recently.


“By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or
figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and
the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth
evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit” (Matt.
7:15-17). Given the foregoing, it should be plain that the New Mass was
conceived for an evil purpose and constructed by evil means. It only
follows that such a tree would have disastrous effects on the Church. Let
us look at its fruits as reported in Index of Leading Catholic Indicators:
The Church Since Vatican II by Kenneth Jones.

Priests. While the number of priests in the United States more than doubled
to 58,000, between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to
45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 priests left, and more than half
of these priests will be over 70.

Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in the United States.
In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were
without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of
all U.S. parishes.

Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from
49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600
seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.
Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002, that had
fallen to 75,000 and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In
1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline
of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.

Religious Orders. For religious orders in America, the end is in sight. In
1965, 3,559 young men were studying to become Jesuit priests. In 2000, the
figure was 389. With the Christian Brothers, the situation is even more
dire. Their number has shrunk by two-thirds, with the number of seminarians
falling 99 percent. In 1965, there were 912 seminarians in the Christian
Brothers. In 2000, there were only seven. The number of young men studying
to become Franciscan and Redemptorist priests fell from 3,379 in 1965 to 84
in 2000.

Catholic schools. Almost half of all Catholic high schools in the United
States have closed since 1965. The student population has fallen from
700,000 to 386,000. Parochial schools suffered an even greater decline.
Some 4,000 have disappeared, and the number of pupils attending has fallen
below 2 million — from 4.5 million.

Catholic Marriage. Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one-third
since 1965, while the annual number of annulments has soared from 338 in
1968 to 50,000 in 2002.

Attendance at Mass. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four
Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of
Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend.

Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept church teaching on
contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion
and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may
divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good
Catholic without going to mass on Sundays. By one New York Times poll, 70
percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is
merely a “symbolic reminder” of Jesus.

Who could possibly claim that there is not a terrible crisis of faith in
the Catholic Church!? It is no wonder that Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed: “I
am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today
depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy.” It is clear how the
New Mass could create such a disaster. Liturgy dictates belief. A
protestantized liturgy yields heretical belief, loss of the Faith, and
devaluation of the priesthood. Satan has been able to accomplish more
effective damage to the entire body of the Church in the past 45 years
through the destruction of the Mass than ever before.


The New Mass is condemned by its own nature and by its fruits. The crisis
in the Church will continue to worsen until we return to orthodoxy and
discipline. What is a Catholic to do in such troublesome times? He must
follow the advice of St. Vincent of Lerins: “What then shall the Catholic
do if some portion of the Church detaches itself from communion of the
universal Faith? If some new contagion attempts to poison, no longer a
small part of the Church, but the whole Church at once, then his great
concern will be to attach himself to antiquity (Tradition) which can no
longer be led astray by any lying novelty.”

St. Athanasius, one of the four great Doctors of the Eastern Church, earned
the title of “Father of Orthodoxy” for his strong and uncompromising
defense of our Catholic Faith against the Arian Heresy which affected most
of the hierarchy, including the pope. Athanasius was banned from his
diocese at least five times, spending a total of seventeen years in exile.
He sent the following letter to his flock which is a powerful lesson for
our times: “What saddens you is the fact that others have occupied the
churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside.


It is
a fact that they have the premises — but you have the Apostolic Faith.
They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You
remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let
us consider: what is more important? The place or the Faith? The true
Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle? The one
who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith?”

Please pray that our dear Savior will grant to our holy Father the Pope and
the bishops of the Church the grace to abolish the protestanized New Mass
and return to the exclusive use of the Traditional Latin Mass. The
disastrous results and the loss of faith due to Vatican II and the New Mass
are obvious. We should avoid the New Mass at all cost and attend only the
Traditional Latin Mass. For help locating the Traditional Latin Mass in
your area send a reply to this email.

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Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
“Pray and work for souls”


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