Appendix III: The Right of Any
Priest of the
Rite to Offer
Mass According to the 1962 Missal
In a letter Protocol No. 500/90 of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, signed by its first President, Augustin Cardinal Mayer, sent to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (USA) on March 20, 1991, it was explained that: "A special 'Commissio Cardinalitia ad hoc ipsum instituta' [Commission of Cardinals instituted for this specific purpose] charged with reviewing the use made of the 1984 indult [Quattuor abhinc annos] met in December of 1986. At that time the Cardinals unanimously agreed that the conditions laid down in Quattuor abhinc annos were too restrictive and should be relaxed." This special Commission of Cardinals laid down a series of norms regarding the use of the Missal, the fourth of which states that when celebrating in Latin, every priest is free to choose between the Missal of Paul VI (1970) 1 and that of John XXIII (1962), and in either case the rubrics and calendar of the chosen Missal must be used. (The 1962 Missal is, in every essential respect, the Missal of 1570-----the Traditional Latin Missal of the Roman Rite, the "Tridentine" Missal issued by Pope St. Pius V.)
Cardinal Alfons Stickler was a member of this Commission of nine Cardinals, and during a lecture given in the New York area in May 1995 he stated that the nine Cardinals had confirmed unanimously that no bishop may prohibit a priest from using the Missal of 1962 when celebrating Mass in Latin. (See The Latin Mass magazine, Summer 1995, p. 14.) In the faculties granted to the Ecclesia Dei Commission on October 18, 1998, the Commission of Cardinals is cited directly. The Ecclesia Dei Commission is given ". . . the faculty of granting to all who seek it the use of the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition, and according to the norms proposed in December, 1986 by the Commission of Cardinals constituted for this very purpose, the diocesan bishop having been informed." It is thus clear that any priest of the Roman Rite has the right to have recourse to the 1962 Traditional Latin Missal.
On May 24, 2003 there took place one of the most important events in the rise of the Roman Rite since its virtual but illicit prohibition in 1970. Dario Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, celebrated a Pontifical Mass, for a congregation of thousands, according to the Missal of St. Pius V, in the Basilica of St. Mary Major-----where the tomb of St. Pius V is located, a point stressed by the Cardinal in his homily: "Today a providential coincidence enables us to render worship to God according to the Roman Missal of St. Pius V, whose mortal remains are interred in this Basilica."
The Cardinal assured the congregation that the Rite of St. Pius V-----the Traditional Latin Mass-----cannot be considered to be extinct (to have been abrogated): "Non si può considerare che il rito detto di San Pio V sia estinto." He cited Article 4 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which stated: "This most sacred Council declares that holy 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 . . . " To their great delight, he assured the vast congregation: "The ancient Roman Rite conserves in the Church its right of citizenship at the heart of the pluriformity of Catholic Rites, both Latin and Eastern (L'antico rito romano conserva dunque nella Chiesa il suo diritto di cittadinanza in seno alia multiformita dei riti cattolici sia Latini che orientali) ."
These statements appear to be a clear admission, at the very highest level, of the conclusion of the 1986 Commission of Cardinals that when celebrating in Latin, every priest of the Roman Rite has the right to choose between the Missals of 1962 and 1970.
This is also the opinion of Cardinal Medina Estevez, who retired as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in 2003. In an interview published in the Spring 2003 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine (page 9), the Cardinal stated:
The Pope urges the bishops to be generous and open to those [traditionalist] Catholics who should not be marginalized or treated as "second class" members of the Catholic community. I personally believe that ample guarantees should be given to Catholic traditionalists whose only desire is to follow an approved and legitimate rite. At a time in history when "pluralism" enjoys a right of "citizenship," why not recognize the same right to those who wish to celebrate the liturgy the way it was done for over four centuries?
I studied carefully the question of the abrogation of the rite of St. Pius V after Vatican Council II. . . . On the basis of my research, I cannot conclude that the rite of St. Pius V 2 was ever abrogated. Some think it was. Others take a different view. And so, as the Latin goes, in dubiis, libertas [where there is doubt, there is freedom].
1. The New Rite of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on April 6, 1969 and came into effect on November 30, 1969, but this was not yet a complete Missal; the calendar and all the Propers of the 1962 Missal were still in use. The complete Missal of Pope Paul VI was promulgated on March 26, 1970, but its introduction was postponed until November 20,1971. The Missal of Paul VI is referred to as the 1970 Missal.
2. It must be stressed that the Traditional Latin Mass is far more than four centuries old and that Pope St. Pius V did not promulgate a new rite of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) in 1570. The essence of the reform of St. Pius V was, like that of Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604), respect for tradition.
In a letter to The Tablet
on July 24, 1971, Father David Knowles, who was Britain's most
Catholic scholar until his death in 1974, pointed out: "The Missal of
was indeed the result of instructions given at Trent, but it was, in
as regards the Ordinary, Canon, Proper of the time and much else, a
of the Roman Missal of 1474, which in its turn repeated in all
the practice of the Roman Church of the epoch of Innocent III
which itself derived from the usage of Gregory the Great and his
in the seventh century."
Moreover, there is proof beyond doubt that the core
our traditional Canon, from the Quam oblationem (the prayer
the Consecration), including the sacrificial prayer after the
was in existence by the end of the 4th
century. See my booklet A Short History of the Roman Mass.