Liturgical Time Bombs
in Vatican II: Excerpts
The Destruction of Catholic Faith 
Through Changes in Catholic Worship 
by Michael Davies

Published on the Web with Permission of the Author.

An Unsuspected Blueprint for Revolution

  The late Monsignor Klaus Gamber was described by Cardinal Ratzinger as "the one scholar who, among the army of pseudo-liturgists, truly represents the liturgical thinking of the center of the Church." [Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy (Harrison, NY: Foundation for Catholic Reform, 1993), p. xiii (Testimonial by Msgr. Nyssen).] As regards the attitude the Council Fathers would have taken to the changes that have been foisted upon us in the name of Vatican II, Monsignor Gamber informs us in his book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy that: "One statement we can make with certainty is that the new Ordo of the Mass that has now emerged would not have been endorsed by the majority of the Council Fathers." [Ibid., p. 61.]

Why then did these bishops endorse the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy? Professor Louis Salleron has been cited as stating that the CSL appeared to be the crowning achievement of the work of liturgical renewal which had been in progress for a hundred years. Why could this have appeared to be the case when, in fact, the CSL was a blueprint for revolution? The 1,922 bishops who cast their placet ("Yes") votes for the Constitution on December 7, 1962 would certainly have been reassured by stipulations it contained which gave the impression that there was no possibility of any radical liturgical reform. Article 4 of the CSL certainly gives the impression that there is no danger of any drastic change in any of the existing rites of Mass, among which the Roman Rite was clearly paramount: "This most sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal authority and dignity: that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way." (Emphasis added.) But these reassuring words are qualified by the additional directive of the Council that "where necessary the rites be carefully and thoroughly revised in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances of modern times." No explanation is given as to how it is possible both to preserve and foster these rites and, at the same time, to revise them to meet certain unspecified circumstances and unspecified needs of modern times. Nor is it explained how such a revision could be carried out in the light of sound tradition when it had been the sound and invariable tradition of the Roman Rite never to undertake any drastic revision of its rites, a tradition of well over 1,000 years' standing, which had been breached only during the Protestant Reformation, when every heretical sect devised new rites to correspond with its heretical teachings.

    Article 23 of the CSL requires that, in order to maintain "sound tradition," a careful investigation is to be made before revising any part of the liturgy. "This investigation should be theological, historical and pastoral." If this were not reassuring enough, Article 23 also mandates that: "There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."

      It is an instructive exercise to go, step by step, through the changes which have been made in the Mass, beginning with the abolition of the Judica me and ending with the abolition of the Last Gospel, or even the Prayers for the Conversion of Russia, and to consider carefully why the good of the Church genuinely and certainly required that each particular change must be made. Has the good of the Church really been enhanced because the faithful have been forbidden to kneel at the Incarnatus est during the Creed? Did the good of the Church genuinely, certainly, require that the doctrinally rich Offertory prayers should be abolished? To illustrate this doctrinal richness, just one of these prayers, the Suscipe, sancte Pater, will be examined within the context of a commentary by Father Pius Parsch, one of the best known figures of the liturgical movement." [NOTE 3]

         Having recited the Offertory verse, the priest unveils the chalice, takes the paten with the host of unleavened bread upon it, and, raising it up to about the level of his eyes, offers it to God with the prayer Suscipe, sancte Pater: "Receive, O Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, this spotless host which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for mine own countless sins, offenses and negligences, and for all here present; as also for all faithful Christians, living or dead, that it may avail for my own and for their salvation unto life everlasting. Amen."

         This prayer-----the richest in content of any of this part of the Mass-----contains a whole world of dogmatic truth. Who is it that offers the sacrifice? It is the priest as representative of Christ: "which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer." To whom? To the Father, all-holy, God Almighty, "the living and true God." What does he offer? "This spotless Victim." He offers the bread, but the expression hostia immaculata shows that the thoughts of the priest in this prayer do not rest there. This bread which he holds in his hands is as yet neither hostia (victim) nor, properly speaking, immaculata. Yet already he has its destiny in mind. It is to become the Eucharist, the Hostia immaculata in very truth, a consummation already anticipated in thought. And for whom is it offered? In atonement for the "innumerable sins, offenses and negligences" of the priest himself. These terms are, of course, synonymous. The liturgy frequently uses such accumulative expressions to deepen the impression upon our minds. It is offered too for "all those present" (circumstantes-----standing around the altar of sacrifice), and beyond them, for all Christians "living or dead." All will benefit by the sacrifice which has as its final purpose "that it may avail for my own and for their salvation unto life everlasting." The final purpose of the Mass is, therefore, the same as that of the Sacrifice of the Cross: the salvation of all mankind. This prayer, so rich in doctrine, could serve as the basis for an entire treatise on the Mass. [Pius Parsch, The Liturgy of the Mass (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1961), pp. 184-5.]

    How can it possibly be argued that the good of the Church genuinely and certainly required the abolition of this sublime prayer? Has any Catholic anywhere in the world become more fervent in his faith as a result of its absence? Those in the Church obsessed by false ecumenism would certainly have argued that this prayer, and other prayers removed from the Mass by the sixteenth-century Protestant heretics, must be removed from the Mass to avoid offense to our Protestant brethren. Luther referred to "all that abomination called the offertory. And from this point almost everything stinks of oblation. Therefore casting aside all that savors of oblation with the entire canon, let us keep those things which are pure and holy." [Cited in F. A. Gasquet, Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer  (London: John Hodges, 1890), p. 221. Chapter XIII of this book contains a very detailed examination of Luther's liturgical reforms.] The entire Canon was indeed cast aside by Bugnini and his Consilium-----but it was restored, to their regret, on the insistence of Pope Paul VI. [M. Davies, Pope Paul's New Mass (Dickinson, TX: Angelus Press, 1980), p. 329; Bugnini, p. 152, Note 30.]

     It would be most enlightening to be told the exact process by which, for example, the new Offertory prayers (based on a Jewish form of grace before meals) grew from "forms already existing." The Consilium presumably interpreted this phrase as meaning already existing in the liturgy of any religion. [Emphasis added by Web Master.]

     There is a most bitter irony in another admonition contained in Article 23: "As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions are to be carefully avoided." Today it is hard to recognize that some adjacent parishes even belong to the same religion, so great is the contrast between their respective modes of celebrating Mass.

     Clauses such as Article 4 and Article 23 would certainly have reassured the bishops that there would be no radical changes in the liturgy of the Mass, but there were other clauses which did indeed open the way to radical or even revolutionary change. Archbishop Lefebvre was in no doubt as to the nature of these clauses. He stated: "There were time bombs in the Council." [Lefebvre, p. 135.] These "time bombs" were ambiguous passages inserted in the official documents by the liberal periti or experts-----passages which would be interpreted in an untraditional, progressivist sense after the Council closed. The answer to Cardinal Ottaviani's question as to whether the Council Fathers were planning a revolution (see page 1) is that the majority of the Fathers, the 3,000 bishops, [2,860 Council Fathers attended all or part of the four sessions-----a combined total of 281 days. (Wiltgen, p. 287.)] most certainly were not, but that some of the influential periti, the experts who accompanied the bishops to Rome, definitely had this intention.

The Council of the Periti

   It is not exaggerating in any way to claim that the liberal periti hijacked Pope John's Council, a fact I have documented in great detail in my book on Vatican II. [Davies, Pope John's Council, Chapter 5.] Douglas Woodruff, one of England's outstanding Catholic scholars, was editor of The Tablet during the Council. In one of his reports he remarked: "For in a sense this Council has been the Council of the periti, silent in the aula but so effective in the commissions and at bishops' ears." [The Tablet, November 27, 1965, p. 1318.] This is an exceptionally perceptive comment, and it would be hard to improve on "the Council of the periti" as a one-phrase description of Vatican II. Bishop Lucey of Cork and Ross (Ireland) stated that the periti were more powerful than most bishops, even though they had no vote, "because they had the ear of a Cardinal or the head of a national group of bishops, and they were influential in the drafting of Council documents. The expert . . . is the person with power." [[Catholic Standard (Dublin), October 17, 1973.]

   The "time bombs" referred to by Archbishop Lefebvre were, as has been explained, the ambiguous passages inserted in the official documents by the liberal periti which could weaken the presentation of traditional Catholic teaching: by abandoning the traditional terminology, by omissions, or by ambiguous phraseology which could be compatible with a non-Catholic interpretation. Cardinal Heenan testifies: "A determined group could wear down opposition and produce a formula patient of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation." [The Tablet, May 18, 1968.] Archbishop Lefebvre went to the extent of describing the Council documents as "a mass of ambiguities, vagueness and sentimentality, things which now clearly admit all interpretations and have left all doors open." [Lefebvre, pp. 109-110.]  In his book A Crown of Thorns, Cardinal Heenan wrote:

The subject most fully debated was liturgical reform. It might be more accurate to say that the bishops were under the impression that the liturgy had been fully discussed. In retrospect it is clear that they were given the opportunity of discussing only general principles. Subsequent changes were more radical than those intended by Pope John and the bishops who passed the decree on the liturgy. His sermon at the end of the first session shows that Pope John did not suspect what was being planned by the liturgical experts. (Emphasis added). [John Heenan, A Crown of Thorns (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974), p.367.]
3. It is sad to note that at the same time he was writing such an orthodox and even inspiring exposition of the Mass (in the 1950's), Father Parsch was taking part in unauthorized liturgical experiments. (See Bonneterre, pp. 28-29.)


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