Polluting the Internet With Falsehoods

A website that appears to be dedicated to continually lowering the “low-water” mark for the Catholic press has truly outdone itself by publishing a clumsy farce of the Ottaviani Intervention, re-imagined as a piece from 1570 objecting to the “reform” of Pius V: “Contents of secret liturgical document revealed!

Every claim made in the farce is itelf farcical: a series of talking points from the 60s, as easy to explode as a balloon with a pin. As Gregory DiPippo always says (and I gratefully acknowledge his assistance in preparing this article), the anti-traditionalists do us a service by demonstrating that they know practically nothing about that of which they speak—and care even less to find out. We saw the same with Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy, who repeat the shallow talking points of Francis, Roche, Cupich, and Cantalamessa, who in turn regurgitate Jungmann, Vagaggini, Bugnini, McManus, et al. Truly, nothing new under the sun, at least in this particular subculture.

This cack-handed attempt at satire pretends to be a critique of the 1570 Missal, written contemporaneously, as an “unprecedented break with tradition.” Here are some of the points made by the would-be Ottaviani of the sixteenth century:

“Firstly, there is the extraordinary novelty of taking from the bishops their time-hallowed right of regulating the liturgy. What precedent can there be for the Roman See exercising such powers?”

Of course, the author has no idea that Quo Primum did what it did because, as Fr Hunwicke has pointed out any number of times, the printing press gave Their Excellencies unprecedented latitude to mess with the liturgy by inserting novelties into printed editions of their various sees’ liturgical books. In other words, the centralizing move of Pius V was a way of preventing the bishops from filling the liturgy with novelties. It was a decisive step against novelty and a decisive blow for the Roman tradition.

Quo Primum deprives the liturgy of its wonderful diversity and variety of expression.”

Of course, the author has no idea that Quod a Nobis and Quo Primum explicitly do not abolish (“nequaquam tollimus”) those liturgical Uses which had a pedigree of 200 years, and also, that there was no enforcement mechanism; so, no, it did not “deprive the liturgy of its wonderful diversity and variety of expression.”

“The reformers claim to be acting according to the guidelines of the Council of Trent, though one wonders if the Fathers of that assembly would recognize the revision as their work.”

Of course, the author has no idea that Trent issued no guidelines at all, but simply said that the correction and publication of new editions of the liturgical books was a matter to be left entirely to the discretion of the Holy See.

“Likewise the abrogation of all but four of the sequences.”

This sentence alone serves to establish that the author has taken no trouble to learn even the most rudimentary facts about the Pius V reform (see “What Really Happened to the Sequences?”) The missal of the Roman curia, being rather conservative, had never featured the proliferation of Sequences that found their way into other Uses. It had, prior to Pius V, exactly the four that Pius V’s missal retained. One might regret that, as a result of the prestigious Roman Church’s traditional missal being taken up in so many places, local Sequences were lost as collateral damage, but in no sense did Pius V “abolish” them.

Because he that is faithless in the lesser things is also faithless in the greater, he repeats the standard calumny against ALL of the Churches of the East, by saying that “(t)he peculiarity of offering the ‘unspotted host,’ which is still bread, is of course done in anticipation of what it will become…”

This is NOT a peculiarity; it is a universality. For example, the three Cherubic hymns of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, sung during the Great Entrance, refer to the transport of the bread and wine from the table of the proskomidion as the “coming of the King.” Would these WPI reformist vandals dare say that they must all be abolished, because they anticipate the consecration, and “confuse the faithful”? Would they insist that the Byzantine preparation of the gifts prior to the public start of the liturgy, a ceremony that treats them as a sacrificial victim, be abolished? They probably would!

As Matthew Hazell has rightly noted, when the real vandals of the Consilium went rifling through historical rites and records to find some prayers for the Offertory rite that did NOT anticipate the consecration, they were unable to find any. Eventually they had to concede that anticipation (or, to use the technical term, “prolepsis”) is a universal feature of the Offertory. The stupidity of the change which they did make, adding Jewish blessing prayers that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian tradition, was realized by the time the Ambrosian Rite was reformed some years later, and although its offertory is much reduced, it has nevertheless retained real offertory prayers. Likewise the Anglican Use, in which the traditional Roman Offertory prayers are included ad libitum.

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