Traditional Mass

Catholic Doctrine vs Modern Masses

Unchanged Mass of All Time: left, Bologna Missal Initial, 14th century; right, Traditional Mass in St Theresa’s Home, Singapore. More than 10,000 km and 6 centuries apart, yet one identical rite.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is much more than a simple rite to which we are attached, as many unbelievers reproach us. Holy Mass is our life because Jesus Christ is our life!

Fr Davide Pagliarani, Superior General

Catholic Doctrine quotes

“If anyone says that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that the act of offering is nothing else than Christ being given to us to eat … that the sacrifice of the Mass is only one of praise and thanksgiving, or that it is a mere commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the Cross, but not one of propitiation; or that it is of profit to him alone who receives; or that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema.” Council of Trent Dz 948, 950

“[T]hose who introduce novel liturgical practices … deserve severe reproof … We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice. … [O]ne would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form. … and consider it more fitting that priests should “concelebrate” with the people present than that they should offer the sacrifice privately when the people are absent. It is superfluous to explain how captious errors of this sort completely contradict the truths stated above. . . . The people … in no sense represent the divine Redeemer and are not mediator between themselves and God. … [To] perform a visible liturgical rite … is the privilege only of the minister who has been divinely appointed to this office. … [I]t is in no wise required that the people ratify what the sacred minister has done” Pius XII Mediator Dei Nov 1947

“The proposition … “by recalling it (the liturgy) to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice“; as if the present order of the liturgy, received and approved by the Church, had emanated in some part from the forgetfulness of the principles by which it should be regulated,–rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it … The proposition … that there is something lacking to the essence of the sacrifice in that sacrifice which is performed either with no one present, or with those present who partake of the victim neither sacramentally nor spiritually, and as if those Masses should be condemned as illicit, in which, with the priest alone communicating, no one is present who communicates either sacramentally or spiritually,–false, erroneous, suspected of heresy and savoring of it.” Pius VI Auctorem Fidei Aug 1794 Dz 1528, 1533

“The dispensing of Christ’s Body belongs to the priest … as the consecration of Christ’s Body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people’s gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated. … Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it” St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, Q. 82, Art. 13

“To separate the Altar and the tabernacle is to separate two things that of their nature belong together.” Pope Pius XII Assisi Allocution (1956)

Modern Masses

“The Lord’s Supper or Mass is a sacred synaxis or assembly of the people of God which gathers together under the presidency of the priest to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.” Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 1969, Art. 7

“Christians gather because … [Jesus] is among us when we gather. … When Christians celebrate their meal with Jesus, they go to the altar. The priest gives them a little piece of bread. They eat the bread.” German Episcopal Conference Imprimatur Catechism Wie wir Menschen Leben ein Religionsbuch: Band 2 Herder 1973 p. 77-78

“the old rite of Mass lay exclusively in the action of the celebrant; the renewed Order of Mass puts the common action of the People of God at the forefront” German Episcopal Conference Press Office 19/10/1984

“With the New Liturgy, non-Catholic communities will be able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the same prayers as the Catholic Church.” Max Thurian, Protestant Minister who participated in the 2nd Vatican Council

When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside offer liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law. CIC 1983 Canon 230 §3

“If the contrary usage, namely, of placing Holy Communion in the hand, has already developed in any place, in order to help the episcopal conference fulfill their pastoral office in today’s often difficult situation, the Apostolic See entrusts to the conferences the duty and function of judging particular circumstances” Memoriale Domini (1969)

“(It is preferable that) the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved not be on an altar on which Mass is celebrated” Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani 2002, Art. 315


The priest acts for the people only because he represents Christ offering Himself in their stead as their Mediator
rather than as a facilitator of a communal event

As mediator between God and man, it was standard for the priest to stand between the altar and the people until Martin Luther reversed the placement: only in the 1960s did this reversal spread to the Catholic Church. The altar rail, which serves to distinguish the roles of the priest and the people, was removed in most churches. Priest’s genuflections were reduced from 16 to 3, 54 Signs of the Cross were removed, mentions of ‘Mary’ were reduced from 17 to 3, mention of the word ‘Saints’ were reduced from 14 to 3, mandatory names of Saints were cut down from 62 to 9.

Phrases like: “we primarily communicate non-verbally” and “we’re never not communicating something” are very relevant to the celebration of Mass. Every gesture — for example, the speed of movement around the altar; where the priest is standing or sitting, when, and why; how the sacred vessels are treated; whether the priest’s gaze is directed out to the people or modestly downcast — confesses what the celebrant, and the people, believe they are doing.

Why is it that the liturgical reformers seemed so tone-deaf or clueless about the most obvious things in life? Did they not realize that changing the bodily language, the gestures, postures, orientation, custody of the eyes, would effect a sea change in mentality and spirituality?

Or . . . was it that they understood perfectly well, and therefore abolished, piece by piece, one non-verbal language, substituting for it another with a contrary message?

Professor Peter Kwasniewski