May 1983 Print

The Ottaviani Intervention Part I


Michael Davies

IN APRIL 1969 the New Order of Mass was promulgated. It was presented as a response to the mandate for liturgical reform given by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4 December 1963. But the Council Fathers had not mandated a New Order of Mass, Novus Ordo Missae, only a moderate revision of the existing order. "There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them," they commanded, "and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing" (Article 23). "In faithful obedience to tradition," they decreed, "this most sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawful acknowledged rites to be of equal dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in future and to foster them in every way" (Article 4).

It seemed to many of the faithful that the Novus Ordo Missae (which will be referred to as the NOM) by no means conformed to the wishes of the Council Fathers. From January 1964, Catholics had been subjected to a bewildering series of changes in the way the traditional rite of Mass had been celebrated. (This rite is now generally known as the "Tridentine Mass," though in all essentials it dates back to the epoch of St. Gregory the Great.) First one prayer and then another had been put into English, until the entire Mass was eventually celebrated in the vernacular—a vernacular described by the late Archbishop R. J. Dwyer of Portland, Oregon as "inept, puerile, and semi-literate." There were frequent changes in the rubrics, fewer genuflections, fewer signs of the cross, innovations such as the Prayer of the Faithful (Bidding Prayers), or the Offertory Procession. Altars were frequently, almost invariably, replaced by tables, and the tabernacle often thrust out of the way into an obscure corner. Almost without realizing it, parishioners found that they were standing to receive Communion, and, in some cases, they were urged to receive the Host in the hand; the Vatican first condemned and then tolerated this abuse. By the time the NOM was promulgated many Catholics were liturgically "punch-drunk." Some who had complained about the earlier changes had given up protesting long before 1969. Others stopped assisting at Mass altogether, or, like the great theologian, Cardinal Journet, accepted the NOM as an act of heroic obedience; but the majority went along each Sunday without showing overt enthusiasm or hostility towards the changes, their attitude was, rather, one of apathy or indifference. A small number, who thought of themselves as progressive thinkers, an intellectual elite, welcomed every new gimmick with delight. Most of the clergy behaved like civil servants working for a government department. It was not for them to express an opinion, let alone make a protest, just to implement whatever they were ordered to implement by any ecclesiastical superior.

Catholics who expressed concern at the form the NOM had taken tended to be ridiculed by those in authority; they were also condemned for disobedience. Bishops rarely criticized, let alone took action against, the many who dissented from solemn Church teaching on matters of faith or morals, but a person who questioned a purely disciplinary change in the rite of Mass was considered disloyal. Priests who repudiated Humanae vitae could, did, and still do, remain in important positions as official teachers of the Church in seminaries and Catholic universities. Priests who felt unable in conscience to repudiate the rite of Mass they had been ordained to celebrate were hounded from their parishes.

Two Cardinals Intervene

Then, in September, 1969, a dramatic development occurred which changed the situation entirely. On 29 September 1969 a critique of the New Mass was presented to Pope Paul VI. The critique was the work of a group of Roman theologians, French and Italian. But more significant than the critique was a covering letter signed by two cardinals, and it was even more significant that one of them was Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office, the official guardian, under the Pope, of Catholic orthodoxy. The other cardinal, Antonio Cardinal Bacci, was one of the most outstanding scholars in the Sacred College, possibly the greatest authority on Latin in the Curia. These were not ignorant laymen commenting on matter far beyond their competence, and they were certainly not disloyal. The Church has had no more loyal servant than Cardinal Ottaviani during this century. There was great consternation within the liturgical bureaucracy, the credibility of its reform had been endangered, somehow or other this initiative had to be discredited—quickly, and at all costs.

I have, of course, been referring to what has come to be known in English-speaking countries as the "Ottaviani Intervention,"—a translation from the official Italian title "Breve Esame Critico del Novus Ordo Missae." The Study claimed that the NOM "at many points would please the most Modernist of Protestants." This judgment has been confirmed by Protestants who have declared that the NOM is acceptable to them.1 The Critical Study concluded:

It is clear that the Novus Ordo no longer intends to present the faith as taught by the Council of Trent. Yet the Catholic conscience is bound to that faith in eternity. Hence the true Catholic, by the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, is faced with the tragic necessity of a choice.

The dilemma presented to a true Catholic by the New Mass is whether, if it can be proved objectively that the rite itself compromises the faith of Trent, he should either celebrate it or attend it. The two Cardinals certainly accepted that the Critical Study had proved its point. They stated in their letter that having examined the NOM carefully they felt it to be their duty before God to put certain considerations before the Pope. The first of these reads as follows:

The accompanying critical study is the work of a group of theologians, liturgists, and pastors of souls. Brief though it is, it sufficiently demonstrates that the Novus Ordo Missae—considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted—represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by fixing definitively the "canons" of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery.


The General Instruction

The Study not only criticized the NOM, but also the General Instruction (Institutio Generalis) which had been published with it. This Instruction will be referred to as the IG. It contained regulations for the celebration of the NOM, and a doctrinal explanation of the Mass. Certain passages in this explanation were scarcely recognizable as Catholic doctrine, were open to an ambiguous interpretation, and, in one case—No. 48—involved grave error.2 But the article which caused the greatest offense was No. 7:

The Lord's Supper or Mass is the sacred assembly or meeting of the People of God, met together with a priest presiding, to celebrate the Memorial of the Lord. For this reason the promise of Christ is particularly true of a local congregation of the Church: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst" (Mt. 18:20).


Background to the Intervention

This definition could have been written by Thomas Cranmer to describe the Protestant Communion Service which he devised to replace the Catholic Mass during the reign of King Edward VI.

Before describing the impact made by the Study, the reaction of the Vatican, and the attempt to discredit it, some more information on its background will be provided. Those who had organized the compilation of the Study, including Msgr. Renato Pozzi, a prelate of the Roman Rota, had expected at least a dozen cardinals to endorse it by signing a covering letter which would have been handed to Pope Paul VI with the Study. It had been intended to present the Study to the Pope without publishing it first in order to avoid any impression of using public opinion as a weapon to influence the Sovereign Pontiff. It was hoped that the force of the arguments contained in the Study, together with its endorsement by a dozen or more cardinals, might induce the Pope to withdraw the NOM for the good of the Church. The problem was to get someone to be the first to sign. Cardinal Larraona, for example, promised that he would sign if Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci would sign first. This was an important step forward as Cardinal Larraona was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Cardinal Ottaviani spent several days examining the Critical Study and the covering letter before he would sign it. He had a long conversation with Msgr. Pozzi, pen and paper in hand, and commented on various points. "It is rather strong to claim that the New Mass is contrary to Trent, but displeasing as it is (per quanta displace), it is true (e vero)." The Cardinal eventually signed the letter on 13 September (although it is dated 3 September, the feast of St. Pius). And then on 14 September disaster struck. One of the organizers had given a copy of the Study to the priest-editor of a French traditionalist journal. This priest published the Study without permission, and the position of the organizers was completely undermined. There was little possibility of the Pope responding positively to a document which had been made public before he had been informed of its existence. However, the organizers decided to go ahead, even though they feared that as a result of the publicity given to the Study some of the Cardinals who had agreed to sign would change their minds. These fears were well founded. Only one of them, Cardinal Bacci, had the courage to add his signature to that of Cardinal Ottaviani. He did so on 28 September, and, on 29 September, the Study and the covering letter were presented to the Pope.

The fact that it had already been published in French meant that there was no possibility of restricting its circulation. It was soon published in several languages, and made a considerable impact—both in reassuring Catholics who found the NOM unacceptable that their objections were well founded, and in pointing out its deficiencies to others who had accepted it uncritically. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales sent a copy to every parish priest in these countries. It was widely published in the U.S.A. as "The Ottaviani Intervention" thanks, mainly to Triumph magazine.

There is a long established principle within Catholic tradition summarized as lex orandi, lex credendi, which means that the manner in which the Church prays corresponds with the doctrine she believes. The prayers and ceremonies of the Tridentine Mass show clearly that it is a solemn sacrifice, God the Son, made present as a victim on the altar, offers Himself to the Father through the ministry of a priest. The Study alleged that the sacrificial nature of the Mass has been considerably muted in the NOM, that the manner in which the Church now prayed, lex orandi, could give Protestants the impression that Catholics now shared their heretical concept of a Lord's Supper which was no more than a commemorative meal, thus compromising the lex credendi.

Pope Paul VI responded with a forceful address delivered on 19 November 1969.3 He resorted to the "appeal to authority" technique. The Pope said that the NOM conformed to authentic tradition, and therefore it did. He claimed that it responded to the "express wishes" of Vatican II, and therefore it did. He assured the faithful that the reform would bring great pastoral benefits, and therefore it would. It was hard to criticize the New Mass after this address without the appearance of deliberate disloyalty to Pope Paul VI.


Indefectibility and the New Mass

The Pope made an important point in his address which was undoubtedly true, and which did not conflict in any way with the Study or the covering letter—this was that the substance of the traditional Mass had not been changed in any way. The substance of a sacrament is the essential core which is necessary for validity, and this essential core is certainly present in the official Latin version of the NOM, the version criticized in the Study. Some conservative defenders of the NOM insist that while there are defects in the various vernacular translations, the official Latin version approved by the Pope is totally acceptable. When this argument is put forward it must be pointed out that it was the Latin version which was censured so severely in the Study, and by the two cardinals. However, as has just been stated, there is no doubt concerning the validity of the Latin text, and, it must be remembered that it can be celebrated with the Roman Canon. The changes made in the Latin form of consecration in the NOM version of this canon do not affect its validity. Where the Roman Canon is used the NOM would certainly be unacceptable to Protestants, but, of course, it is very rarely used today. When passing an overall judgment on the NOM, the fact that it is a rite including the Roman Canon must not be overlooked. In assessing any liturgical rite it is necessary to take account of what theologians term "signification ex adjunctis" which means any particular part must be considered in the light of the whole. It would thus be untenable to claim that the sacrificial nature of the Mass is not expressed anywhere in the NOM, when the specifically sacrificial Roman Canon forms an integral part of the entire rite. What can be said is that, for example, where Canon II (the "minicanon") is used, the Mass can be celebrated in such a manner that Protestants find it acceptable. The two cardinals were thus justified in referring to the removal of the "insurmountable barrier against any heresy" which the Tridentine Mass has provided.

Unfortunately, attention has been diverted from the many defects which justify faithful Catholics in objecting to the NOM through claims made by a small number of traditionalists that it is invalid per se, i.e., in itself, and could not be celebrated validly even by the Pope himself using the Latin version. Such a claim displays deplorable theological ignorance, and has played into the hands of proponents of the NOM. It shifts the argument from whether the NOM has removed an insurmountable barrier to heresy, an argument which they would certainly lose, to whether the NOM is valid, one which they cannot fail to win. A short digression on this subject might be helpful.

The Catholic Church is indefectible. Our Lord entrusted His Church with continuing until the end of time the task confided to Him by His Father: "As the Father sent me I also send you" (Jn: 20, 21). These words are not a mere statement or a promise, they actually constitute the Apostles as Christ's successors, and He promised: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Matt: 28, 20). To understand the nature of the mission entrusted to the Apostles we must call to mind the nature of Our Lord's own mission, which was a threefold one of ruling, teaching, and sanctifying. He thus constituted His Apostles as rulers, teachers, and dispensers of His divine mysteries (sacraments). Until Our Lord comes again, His Church will remain indefectible, unable to fail in her divine constitution, she will always be a visible, hierarchical body founded on Peter, she will always teach the truth confided to her by Christ, and always sanctify her members with the seven sacraments which He instituted. If the human weakness of her members, including popes and bishops, could cause her to fail in any of these respects, then she would not be divinely constituted. Where the sacraments are concerned, it is perfectly possible that a pope might be imprudent enough to authorize sacramental rites which expressed the reality they contained far less adequately than the rites which they replaced, but it would be quite impossible for a pope to approve an invalid sacramental rite. It is thus not even necessary to examine the official version of any sacramental rite approved by a pope to form an opinion as to its validity, the fact that a pope approved it provides the necessary guarantee that it is valid. However, this guarantee of indefectibility does not apply automatically to vernacular translations. I have consulted six reputable theologians on this point, all agree that the Latin versions of the new sacramental rites must per se be valid; all agree that there is a possibility of invalidity in vernacular translations of these rites. The vernacular versions will be valid insofar as they reproduce faithfully the sense of the official Latin text.


Amendments to the General Instruction

The second response to the Ottaviani Intervention is so important that it would be impossible to put too much emphasis on it. The May 1970 issue of Notitiae, the official journal of the Committee which had concocted the NOM (the notorious Consilium), published thirty-two pages of amendments to the General Instruction. Some were minor, some of considerable doctrinal importance. But, most significant of all, a Foreword was added to the IG stating that the NOM was intended to enshrine the teaching of Trent. Every important aspect of Catholic Eucharistic teaching is embodied in this Foreword, which must be accepted as the official interpretation of the prayers of the New Mass. "This is wonderful," proponents of the NOM declared: "what is there to complain about now?" The answer is that this Foreword and the amendments made to the IG present the most serious indictment of the NOM that could be imagined. It seems almost impossible to believe that within a year of approving the publication of a detailed explanation of his New Mass, Pope Paul VI found it necessary to approve thirty pages of corrections to this explanation! And even more astonishing, within a year of publishing his New Mass, Pope Paul VI found it necessary to authorize the publication of a foreword to be included in the new Missal defending the orthodoxy of the new rite. These events are totally unprecedented in the history of the Church and prove how well founded were the criticisms of the IG and NOM included in the Ottaviani Intervention. But while the worst deficiencies of the IG were corrected those of the NOM were not. One prayer, the Quod ore, was restored to the Communion rite, but that was all. Apart from this, the NOM remained as it was; the insurmountable barrier to heresy had not been replaced. It was evidently hoped that correcting the IG and adding the Foreword would placate critics of the NOM. This hope was not fulfilled.


A Contemptible Response

A third purpose of the Study was a contemptible attempt to undermine the endorsement it had received from Cardinal Ottaviani. It was alleged that:

1.- Cardinal Ottaviani had never given permission for his covering letter to be published;

2.- The Cardinal had declared that his anxieties concerning the NOM had been put to rest in view of the clarifications made by the Pope (on November 19th).

These allegations were based upon a letter which it was claimed that Cardinal Ottaviani had sent to a French priest, Dom Lafond, on 17 February 1970. The background to this letter is as follows. A defense of the NOM entitled Note Doctrinale sur le nouvel Ordo Missae was published as a supplement to the journal Defense du Foyer, No. III, of February 1970. The author, or principal author, was Dom Gerard Lafond, founder of and chaplain to a new order of chivalry named the Chevaliers de Notre Dame (Knights of Our Lady), which was still awaiting full Vatican recognition. Among the claims made in the Note Doctrinale were the following: that Cardinal Ottaviani had seen and approved the texts of the NOM (p. 36); that Cardinal Ottaviani was actually the author of certain passages and that others had been adopted at his request; that it was precisely the passages composed by Cardinal Ottaviani which had been attacked in the Critical Study; that Cardinal Ottaviani had not approved the Critical Study; and that it was probable that its contents had been withheld from him.

It is here recommended that the reader examine the complete text of Cardinal Ottaviani's letter to the Pope which is included as an Addendum to this article. It will become apparent immediately that the charges made by the Cardinal against the New Mass are of the gravest possible nature and that, together with Cardinal Bacci, he had decided to forward the Critical Study to the Pope "after lengthy reflection and prayer." Yet Dom Lafond claims that, in fact, the Cardinal had not even read the Study and that the texts which it attacked had not only all been approved by him but had, in part been composed by him or included at his suggestion. Not one word of proof is adduced anywhere in the Note Doctrinale to substantiate these incredible and defamatory allegations, which, if true, meant that the Cardinal had become senile and that nothing he said or wrote could be taken seriously.


Truth Prevails

If there is one lesson which history teaches us it is that truth is indeed great and has a habit of prevailing. In this instance it has prevailed through the instrumentality of Jean Madiran, the editor of Itinéraires. It is probable that only a few readers will have heard of Itinéraires or its editor, and so a little supplementary information is necessary to insure that the testimony of Jean Madiran is evaluated at its true worth. Itineraries is a French traditionalist journal which appears monthly, it can be up to 350 pages long, and costs twenty dollars an issue. It is certainly the most scholarly traditionalist journal appearing anywhere in the world; there is nothing comparable in English-speaking countries at least. Jean Madiran, like the paper he edits, is a man with no equivalent in English-speaking countries. His writing is on such a level in its theological, polemical, and literary aspects that there is no one in the English-speaking world to whom we can compare him. He has engaged in countless controversies with progressive priests, the French hierarchy, and the Vatican itself. To the best of my knowledge he has never been shown to be in error where a question of fact is concerned. He is a man whose integrity would not be questioned even by his worst enemies. Itinéraires itself deals with such topics as theology, the liturgy, philosophy, and politics in such depth and at such an intellectual level that English-speaking Catholics would be quite astonished. The very fact that a journal such as this exists should be a source of pride and encouragement to traditionalists everywhere.

Jean Madiran provided a most detailed analysis of the whole affair in a supplement to Itinéraires, No. 142, of April 1970, a document of considerable historical importance from which he has generously given me permission to quote. With regard to the allegations in the Note Doctrinale, which have just been cited, Jean Madiran writes:

Such accusations are more than simply slanderous; in themselves they are truly raving, for they enlarge on the extravagant to a quite extraordinary degree.

One can see in this (composition) the inordinate frenzy typical of the Mafia when it has lost its head; the unbelievable vulgarity of a nobody which it displays when it finds itself unseated. At all costs, and by no matter what means, it was imperative to diminish the repercussion and the significance of Cardinal Ottaviani's step. Moreover, Dom Lafond does not claim to reveal this astounding "news" from his own sources. At one point he says: "We are in a position to state that," and elsewhere he says that it is "probable"(!) Pierre Lemaire, on page 4 of his edition of the Note, informs us obscurely that "it appears from several indications" that Cardinal Ottaviani "has seen and approved the text published" (in the NOM). I would like to believe that both men have been manipulated and doped.4 Nevertheless, the minimum use of their critical faculties would have saved them from swallowing such fantastic tales so easily. The tales are odious, too, and they also bear the responsibility for their public diffusion, a responsibility which their shadowy "informers" have cheerfully left on their shoulders, and which will remain theirs, the wretches.

However, outrageous as the allegations made in Note Doctrinale most certainly are, they pale into insignificance in the light of the letter which Cardinal Ottaviani is supposed to have written to Dom Lafond. The letter was published by Monsieur Pierre Lemaire in Defense du Foyer, No. 112, of March 1970. In this letter the Cardinal is purported to state that he has read the Note Doctrinale, which includes scandalous calumnies concerning himself; that he not only approves of it, but congratulates Dom Lafond on the dignity of its expression; that he did not authorize the publication of his letter to the Pope and that all his anxieties have been set to rest by two papal allocutions.

On page 4 of the Note Doctrinale Monsieur Lemaire had appended a list of eminent ecclesiastics who had given it their approval. Among them is included the name of Msgr. Gilberto Agustoni, secretary to Cardinal Ottaviani. At this time Cardinal Ottaviani was almost totally blind and had to rely on the advice of his secretary with regard to the documents he signed. Jean Madiran had no hesitation in claiming that Msgr. Agustoni had tricked the Cardinal into signing the letter and accused him of a public felony—challenging Msgr. Agustoni to contest this charge in the ecclesiastical courts if he disputed it. Msgr. Agustoni did not accept the challenge and soon afterwards relinquished his position as Cardinal Ottaviani's secretary. Here is the text of Madiran's public accusation against Mgr. Agustoni:

And so the Note which casts such accusation against Cardinal Ottaviani was approved by Msgr. Gilberto Agustoni who, himself, was not struck by physical blindness, and who can read in person the texts to which he gives his approval.

I hereby declare that by doing that in his express capacity as the secretary of Cardinal Ottaviani, he has committed a public felony.

If the disloyal secretary is displeased with this designation, he has only to summon me to answer before the ecclesiastical courts. He will find me there opposite him.

The authors of the despicable deed went even further. On a second occasion—the approval of these insane accusations against Cardinal Ottaviani—they made the Cardinal sign it himself: and this time it was not merely an approval, but congratulations, if you please, praising the "dignity of the expression," which represents the acme of cynical derision.

Naturally, I was not in the room, nor in the wings, the day the treacherous secretary made Cardinal Ottaviani sign this letter to Dom Lafond. I am unaware if he told him, as he guided the blind man's hand towards the place of signature, that the matter concerned an almsgiving or some word of encouragement to the Little Sisters of the Poor. But Pierre Lemaire, who is innocent to the very end, has published the "facsimile" of this letter and its signature. Compare the signature at the foot of the letter to Dom Lafond with other signatures of Cardinal Ottaviani, even recently, and with that at the foot of the letter to Paul VI in 1969. You will perceive the difference.

And what of the allegation that Cardinal Ottaviani had never authorized publication of his letter to Pope Paul VI? Here is Madiran's reply;

Secondly, the letter to Dom Lafond asserts that Cardinal Ottaviani did not authorize anyone to publish his letter to Paul VI. It is an untruth. In October 1969, Cardinal Ottaviani personally gave this authorization to our eminent collaborator and friend, l'abbé Raymond Dulac. This authorization especially concerned the review Itinéraires, but not it alone.

A misunderstanding perhaps? Not at all. More than a month after the letter to Dom Lafond, I received a personal assurance from Cardinal Ottaviani himself that the authorization was authentic, real, not revoked, and that there was no misunderstanding about it, nor about the use which we have made of it.

This is my testimony. If Cardinal Ottaviani's secretary contests it, he can ask for my explanation before the ecclesiastical courts. I will be in attendance. I warn him that I will challenge all the written evidence of the Cardinal which may be produced, and that I will ask for his physical appearance and oral deposition before the court.

I am perfectly aware of the intrinsic and perhaps even the historic gravity of my implications above, I re-read them, I persist, and I sign before God and men. (Emphasis as in original.)

Before leaving this subject, it would be useful to stress the fact that no one has denied that Cardinal Ottaviani signed the covering letter to the Pope, or that Cardinal Bacci signed it—and no one has dared to claim that Cardinal Bacci retracted. Even if it could be proved that Cardinal Ottaviani had retracted, this would not detract from the significance of the fact that he had signed it in the first place, nor would it detract from the merits of the arguments in the study itself.


Part II—The CUF Connection
Next month!

Letter from Cardinal Ottaviani
to His Holiness Pope Paul VI

Rome, September 25th, 1969

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.

2   The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seen to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.

3    We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the Church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.



The document which Cardinal Ottaviani submitted to the Holy Father, which has been submitted also to the Bishops of Italy, is printed in the following pages. It is the work of a group of theologians and liturgists in Rome, of different nationalities and differing tendencies.

Because the document was submitted as evidence in support of points made in the Cardinal's letter, the Italian original has been faithfully translated, which explains why it is not entirely suited to the English language. It does however raise so many questions of such profound importance, some of considerable complexity, that it would be wrong to depart from the Italian text.

The evidence is cumulative and does not stand or fall on any single part. A brief summary is however provided to direct the attention of the reader to what may be of particular interest to him.


1. Ample and irrefutable documentation proving this is available in Chapter XII of Pope Paul's New Mass, available from The Angelus Press.

2. A detailed analysis of the IG is available in Chapter XIII of Pope Paul's New Mass.

3. The full text of this address is available in Pope Paul's New Mass.

4. I.e., as an explanation for their conduct.