Professor of liturgy Matias Augé posted on his blog the response of Enzo G. Castellari regarding whether the 1962 missal was abrogated. A friend of Pray Tell offers it to our readers in translation. – Ed.
I do not intend to reopen the debate about whether the 1962 Missal was abrogated or not; it is amply dealt with in this blog. I offer the readers these responses made by Enzo G. Castellari to the posting of Don Alfredo M. Morselli, “The Errors of Prof. Andrea Grillo,” in Messainlatino.it (5/16/2011).
“We order that the prescriptions of this Constitution go into effect November 30th of this year, the first Sunday of Advent.
“We wish that these Our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by Our predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation.”
Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, Holy Thursday, April 3 1969, the sixth year of Our pontificate.
PAUL VI, POPE [Official Vatican Translation]
Obviously this does not refer to abrogating a “missal,” since that would be an idiotic thing to say. It would be like claiming to abrogate a historic personage from the past! The missal is not abrogated; the legality of the missal is abrogated. What is abrogated is the juridic norm that imposes a missal as being now in force, that is obligatory and to be used in the entire Church. What is abrogated is the Bull Quo Primum, which ratifies the obligatory nature of the Tridentine rite, making it, with “motu proprial” language, the “ordinary rite,” although it would be more correct to call it “the rite currently in force.” Saint Pius V himself did not abrogate the preceding missals but imposed the obligatory nature of using his missal, rendering the use of other texts (with some derogations) illicit, not invalid.
Paul VI does not abrogate the Tridentine rite, but abrogates the validity of its missal. Only a scoundrel could affirm that a Mass can be abrogated. One abrogates a law, not a sacrament. And [in this instance] the law that is abrogated by a subsequent law is the law that imposes the Tridentine missal as obligatory. Paul VI imposes his missal as obligatory and explicitly decrees that the constitutions of his predecessors (among which is Quo Primum) lose their effectiveness.
It is a little silly to claim that it is not explicitly mentioned, given the fact that the entire constitution Missale Romanum quotes the Bull and the rite of Saint Pius V, saying that the new missal replaces it. But its conclusion is as clear as can be: that everything is abrogated.
At best, one could say that the new missal is a bad one then explain the theological reasons for its not being a good one and in light of this having ascertained a state of crisis and of necessity, interpret the law according to epikeia and prudently choose to celebrate with the Tridentine rite, well aware, however, that the letter of a norm (that of Paul VI) is being violated, to fulfill in spirit the higher principle of divine worship. If this is not said, one is in grave error.
The quibble of the numquam abrogatum [“never abrogated – ed.] is only an excuse. What will you all do on the day that Benedict – or whoever acts in his name – abrogates everything to make the hybrid missal and quotes explicitly all the documents? Will you become modernists, given that all your traditional scrupulous attention to detail in your research rests on a shaky criticism that keeps your foot stuck in two shoes?
Let us say this clearly: Lefebvre, the Una Voce association and others in the 1970s fought to affirm that the old rite had not been abrogated. BUT this is to be understood in the context of those years! It was the “softer” solution, to justify the very existence of that Catholic anomaly that was the traditionalist world, without falling openly in schism (because refusing to obey a law of the Pope is a matter of schism).
Traditionalism is a rebellion against Paul VI, against his theology, his Mass, his seminary reforms, against the new direction of the Church that he set in motion. But Paul VI was the Pope and so one either fell into “Sede Vacante-ism” or became a schismatic, or else one sought a prudent and stopgap solution in order to do things like they were done before, without FORMALLY disobeying. The question of the numquam abrogatum seemed, at the time, the best thing to do in order to have it both ways, that is, hierarchical obedience to the Pope in order to remain Catholics and obedience to the tradition in order to remain Catholics!
It was not yet the most obvious strategy to affirm that disobedience was a way of obeying, because diplomatic means and accommodations were tried first. At that time Una Voce held more prudent positions and Lefevbre, to a certain point, abandoned his initial (but highly justifiable and understandable) position to speak openly of EPIKEIA. His episcopal consecrations were, in fact, carried out according to this principle (which is itself established by Canon Law).
Today, however, to speak again of a rite never being juridically abrogated is only nonsense, a “paraculata” [a self-serving action] as they say in Rome. Which explains why the Pope [Benedict] avails himself of the strategy of pretending not to have restored anything — and thus of not being a reactionary – and the traditionalists, fearful of being “schismatics” for love of the lace they use, pretend obedience to the Pope and to the law.
I repeat: I want to see you all tomorrow when the rite will be abrogated “in the proper way” to carry out the reform of the reform. What will you say then?