Wait a minute. The 1962 missal was a legal revision of the 1955 missal, which was a legal revision of multiple others, going back to Quo Primum in the 1500s. So, the 1962 missal is a legal "child" of Quo Primum, according to the legal documents (all of which I've read).
Do you disagree? If so, why?
The second half of this open letter should answer your questions. Why do you suppose the Vatican asked ABL to agree to always do the 1962 missal? Or, why are all the indult communities regulated by it and their priest ordained to do that
missal? Also, if you have a 1962 missal published by the SSPX, it's not the actual 1962 missal. It's a hybrid of the pre Bugnini and the Bugnini. I have a birthday celebration to attend. Please read the footnotes.http://www.saintspeterandpaulrcm.com/OPEN%20LETTERS/Culture%20Wars%20reply%20for%20web%20posting%209-10.htmWhy the SSPX Cannot
Effectively Defend Catholic Tradition Open Letter to E. Michael Jones, editor of Culture Wars Magazine in Reply to his article entitled, “Traditionalism at the End of its Tether.” (http://www.culturewars.com/2010/Tether.htm)
Note: This letter is in reply to the feature article published in Culture Wars Magazine
in the September 2010 issue. That published article is broader and more detailed than the web page edited version that is provided in this posting. An edited version of this reply letter was published in the November 2010 issue of Culture Wars Magazine
Traditionalism is not “at the end of its tether.” Maybe the SSPX is but not traditional Catholicism. The appellation, “traditional” has only become necessary in the modern age to distinguish Catholics from liberal Catholic modernists and the conservative Catholic dupes who profess Church membership. If the SSPX is at the end of its tether it is because they have failed to effectively articulate the current doctrinal and liturgical defense of traditional Catholicism with sufficient understanding and clarity. It may prove a tragedy that at this critical historical period they are taken by you and others as the spokesman for Catholic tradition.
If I did not know better I might get the impression from your article that you have never heard of the condemned heresy of Modernism. The word “modern” and its cognates appears 17 times in your edited web page version yet not once in your article is it identified as a heresy. Not even when you quote Cardinal Ottaviani’s maxim, “Always the same,” and dismiss it as a “theological version of Groundhog Day
” is the heresy of modernism mentioned. Truth does not change and maybe if you reflect upon that fact you could, like the character in Groundhog Day
, enter upon the work of developing the virtue of fortitude which more often than not requires the patient standing of our ground.
It is, as you say in your concluding remarks to Bishop Richard Williamson that “There is no third way” between what he identifies as “the two extremes of either Truth or Authority.” But to see the problem as a negotiation between “Truth or Authority” is to misstate the problem. Every Catholic is firstly subject to Truth, including those Catholics in Authority. The response to Truth is assent of the intellect and the will. The response to Authority is obedience. Obedience is owed to Authority by the virtue of Justice but Obedience is not the first subsidiary virtue of Justice. That distinction belongs to the virtue of Religion. It is the virtue of Religion that determines whether an act of Obedience is a virtue or a sin. Any good book on moral theology will list the acts of the virtue of Religion and there is not an act of the virtue of Religion that has not been trampled upon since the close of Vatican II by liberal Catholics who have brought along their conservative Catholic confederates by the leash of Authority.
Reflecting upon the virtue of Religion what stands out is that they are for the most part physical acts that are quantifiable. The Catholic religion is an incarnational religion. The Faith is not something that is only held in the internal forum but must necessarily be expressed by acts of the virtue of Religion. This obligation to express our religion in the public forum by acts of the virtue of Religion is a duty imposed by God and therefore the acts of the virtue of Religion embodied in the Immemorial Ecclesiastical Traditions that are perfectly consonant with our Faith are necessary attributes of that Faith and are possessed as a right by every Catholic. That is why St. Pius X, in his condemnation of Modernists in Pascendi Dominid Gregis
, defended our ecclesiastical traditions by saying:They (the Modernists) exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of Tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind.... or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: “We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by every one of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church”
Ecclesiastical Tradition is founded upon Divine Tradition and human nature, both of which are immutable, and that is why there are elements of Ecclesiastical Tradition that are immutable so that in the Tridentine profession of faith, we dogmatically declare as an article of Divine and Catholic Faith that we “most steadfastly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observances and constitutions of the same Church.”
The SSPX does not understand this. They follow the 1962 transitional Bugnini Indult extra-ordinary form of the Novus Ordo because they regard the liturgy as purely a matter of Church discipline that is the proper subject matter for “liturgical committees” stuffed with “liturgical experts.”[ii] They have entered into the argument as “liturgical experts”, not with the intent of defending tradition, but to make their own liturgical opinions prevail. They have made themselves the judge of what liturgical changes are doctrinally sound and what are not. They cannot object to the Novus Ordo or the Reform of the Reform in principle. If they had simply adhered to the immemorial Roman rite of the Mass as their right they could have confronted Authority with Truth on the liturgical question just as the Catholics of Milan did when Rome attempted to suppress the Ambrosian Rite.[iii]
If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches, whomsoever, to other new ones, let him be anathema.
Council of Trent, Session VII, On the Sacraments, Canon 13
On the question of dogma, the SSPX, like the Modernists, err regarding the nature of dogma, which they treat as the proper subject for theological exposition to gain new interpretative insights unfettered by the restrictive literal meaning of the words. St. Pius X in Pascendi condemns the heresy of Modernism and the Modernist’s rejection of dogma. The word dogma and its cognates appear 36 times in the encyclical. In Pascendi St. Pius X says that dogmas are not "symbols" of the Truth but "absolutely contain the Truth." Again in Pascendi, St. Pius X says:
On the subject of revelation and dogma in particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing new - we find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence the sense, too, of the sacred dogmas is that which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth.
St. Pius X, Pascendi
In Lamentabili Pope St. Pius X condemns the proposition that, "The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself." Again in the same document St. Pius X condemns the error that holds that, "The dogmas of the faith are to be held only according to a practical sense, that is, as preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing."
This last condemnation is important to understand. There are linguistic clues to the nature of dogma that help make the comments of St. Pius X more intelligible. All dogma is expressed in the form of categorical universal propositions that are in the order of truth-falsehood. They remain either true or false regardless of time, person, place or circumstances. Once a doctrine is dogmatically defined it becomes a formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith. A heretic is a baptized Catholic who refuses to believe an article of Divine and Catholic Faith.
Commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts, etc. are in the order of authority-obedience. All commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts etc. are hierarchical, they do not bind in cases of necessity or impossibility such as invincible ignorance, they have no power against a conscience that is both true and certain, and they must be in accord with natural law and Divine positive law. None of these restrictions apply to dogma.
Time and again and again and again Catholics apply the restrictions that govern commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts, etc. to limit the universality of dogmatic truths. They treat dogmas as “preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing.” The following two quotations by Pope John Paul II are examples of this corruption of language and truth.
Normally, it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour.
John Paul II, The Seeds of the Word in the Religions of the World, September 9, 1998
For those, however, who have not received the Gospel proclamation, as I wrote in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, salvation is accessible in mysterious ways, inasmuch as divine grace is granted to them by virtue of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, without external membership in the Church, but nonetheless always in relation to her (cf. RM 10). It is a mysterious relationship. It is mysterious for those who receive the grace, because they do not know the Church and sometimes even outwardly reject her.
John Paul II, General Audience, May 31, 1995
Modernists are really linguistic deconstructionalists. They begin by transferring dogmatic truths from the order of truth-falsehood to the order of authority-obedience and then use authority as a weapon against truth. They end up denying the intentionality of language and then the meaning begins to change with the wind.
This novel doctrine of ‘salvation by implicity’ was formulated in the 1949 Letter sent from Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani in the Holy Office to Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston (Protocol No. 122/49) condemning Fr. Leonard Feeney’s defense of the traditional teaching on the necessity of the Church membership for salvation.[iv]
This 1949 Letter, first published in 1952, has come to be the doctrinal foundation for new Ecumenical Ecclesiology that has entirely replaced St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition that the Catholic Church “is the society of Christian believers united in the profession of the one Christian faith and the participation in the one sacramental system under the government of the Roman Pontiff.” It is this Ecumenical Ecclesiology that is the underpinning for the destruction of nearly every Ecclesiastical Tradition in the Latin rite since Vatican II, the most important of which is the traditional Roman rite of the Mass.
This Letter of the Holy Office is heretical. But before addressing that question, it should be remembered that this Letter was never entered formally in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and therefore it has no greater authority than a private letter from one bishop to another. The Letter was included in the 1962 edition of Denzinger’s, not by virtue of the authority of the document, but rather by the modernist agenda of the editor, Rev. Karl Rahner. This Denzinger entry was then referenced in a footnote in the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium.
The 1949 Letter was written to address Fr. Feeney’s defense of the dogma that there is “no salvation outside of the Catholic Church.” Fr. Feeney did not formulate his theological teaching on ‘baptism of desire’ until several years after this Letter was written. So it is an error to say as some have said that the 1949 Letter “condemns Fr. Feeney’s teaching on Baptism.”
The 1949 Letter says that people can gain salvation by an “implicit” membership in the Catholic Church. The material cause of this “membership” and salvation is the “good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.” This is a form of Pelagianism. The 1949 Letter denies the defined dogmas of the Catholic Church that an explicit Faith is necessary for salvation, that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, and that being subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation. No quote from Scripture, father, doctor, saint, council, magisterial document or accepted tradition affirms this belief of ‘salvation by implicity’. Since supernatural Faith is believing “what God has revealed on the authority of God,” there is no explanation provided how there can be “supernatural faith” if someone does not know if God has revealed anything or what, if anything, God has revealed. The people who think this Letter is orthodox should be asked to try their hand at writing a Credo of implicit Catholic Faith.
The 1949 Letter further undermines all dogma by its modernist affirmation that, “dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.” The truth of the matter is that the dogmatic formulation is the “sense in which the Church herself understands” divinely revealed truth. It is the Church giving “explanation (to) those things that are contained in the deposit of faith” It is the dogma itself that is infallible and dogma is not subject to theological refinement but itself is the formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith. To say, “dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it,” is to claim for the theologian an authority that belongs to the dogma itself. When this modernist proposition is accepted, there is no dogmatic declaration that can be taken as a definitive expression of our faith for it will always be open to theological refinement.
On September 1, 1910, one-hundred years ago this month, St. Pius X published his Motu Proprio, Sacrocrum Antistitum, containing the Oath Against Modernism which was made both by the author and the recipient of the 1949 Letter. In that oath they swore to almighty God, that they would “wholly reject the heretical notion of the evolution of dogmas, which pass from one sense to another alien to that the Church held from the start” and that they “likewise condemn every error whereby is substituted for divine deposit, entrusted by Christ to His spouse and by her to be faithfully guarded, a philosophic system or a creation of the human conscience, gradually refined by the striving of men and finally to be perfected hereafter by indefinite progress.”
The 1949 Letter as published also contained a critical mistranslation of a passage from the encyclical, Mystici Corporis, by saying that non-Catholics "are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," The words “related to” are a mistranslation of the Latin which should read “ordained toward.” Also the Latin original is in the subjunctive mood expressing a wish or desire, and not a condition of fact. It is properly translated as “may be ordained towards” and not, as was done, in the indicative mood as “related to.” It is evident that this mistranslation entirely changes the meaning of what Pius XII said.
Archbishop Lefebvre accepted the 1949 Letter as an orthodox expression of Catholic faith as evidenced by his own writings. The society he founded does so as well.
The doctrine of the Church also recognizes implicit baptism of desire. This consists in doing the will of God. God knows all men and He knows that amongst Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists and in the whole of humanity there are men of good will. They receive the grace of baptism without knowing it, but in an effective way. In this way they become part of the Church.
The error consists in thinking that they are saved by their religion. They are saved in their religion but not by it. There is no Buddhist church in heaven, no Protestant church. This is perhaps hard to accept, but it is the truth. I did not found the Church, but rather Our Lord the Son of God. As priests we must state the truth.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Open Letter to Confused Catholics
And the Church has always taught that you have people who will be in heaven, who are in the state of grace, who have been saved without knowing the Catholic Church. We know this. And yet, how is it possible if you cannot be saved outside the Church? It is absolutely true that they will be saved through the Catholic Church because they will be united to Christ, to the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. It will, however, remain invisible, because this visible link is impossible for them. Consider a Hindu in Tibet who has no knowledge of the Catholic Church. He lives according to his conscience and to the laws which God has put into his heart. He can be in the state of grace, and if he dies in this state of grace, he will go to heaven.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, The Angelus, A Talk Heard Round the World, April, 2006
The 1949 Letter is the theological foundation for modern ecumenism, and ecumenism is the theological foundation for the Novus Ordo and the justification for the overturning of nearly every single Ecclesiastical Tradition in the Roman rite since Vatican II. It is, and should be, a problem for every traditional Catholic that quotations of Archbishop Lefebvre and statements made by Pope John Paul II, the Great Ecumenist, on this question of salvation are in such close agreement because they are in principle agreeing with modern Ecumenical Ecclesiology that presupposes that there are many invisible “Catholics” among the heretics, schismatics, infidels, and pagans of the world and that the Church of Christ in fact “subsists” in the Catholic Church and is not, in this world, co-extensive with its visibly baptized members who profess the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.
The SSPX’s disagreement with the Vatican on Ecumenism can only be with the means employed and not the ends, a disagreement of degree and not one of kind. Since ecumenism is the overarching theological justification for the transmutation of every Ecclesiastical Tradition since Vatican II, and since the SSPX regards Ecclesiastical Traditions as purely disciplinary matters, and not as necessary integral elements of our Faith, they can only argue questions of policy and not principle. With ‘salvation by implicity’, there can be no meaningful argument against Ecumenism or Religious Liberty. The accusation of schism becomes meaningless. Pope John Paul II’s prayer meeting at Assisi makes perfect theological sense. After all, if the Holy Ghost dwells within the souls of many pagans, infidels, heretics, Jews, Muslims, even atheists and agnostics who are in the state of grace and secret members of the Mystical Body of Christ, why should we refuse to pray with them?
Pope Benedict XVI, in December of 2005 addressing the Roman Curia on his “hermeneutics of reform,” emphasized that there is a need for “distinguishing between the substance and the expression of the faith.” That is, he holds that there is a disjunction between Catholic truth and dogmatic formulations. The SSPX expresses a similar opinion with regard to the dogmatic declarations on necessity of the sacraments in general and the sacrament of baptism in particular for salvation, as well as the dogmatic declarations on the necessity for salvation of being a member of the Catholic Church, of professing the Catholic Faith explicitly, and of being subject to the Roman Pontiff. The SSPX argues against a strict literal reading of these dogmatic formulations. Here they are in agreement with the modern Church that dogmatic formulations are open to theological refinement not necessarily in agreement with the literal meaning of the words.
The SSPX discussions with the Vatican on doctrinal and liturgical questions can go nowhere because the SSPX has taken liturgical and doctrinal positions that in principle are indistinguishable from the Modernists. Their liturgical position, grounded in the Bugnini 1962 transitional extra-ordinary form of the Novus Ordo Missal, will make it impossible to resist the Reform of the Reform. The doctrinal position that holds that dogma is not a definitive expression of our Faith, a formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith, but rather a human expression open to endless theological refinement, will undermine any possible opposition to Ecumenical Ecclesiology.
The common end of all Modernist activity is the destruction of dogma. The SSPX in their negotiations with Rome cannot defend the Catholic Faith against Modernist errors because the only defense is the immutable universal truth of defined Catholic dogma. In accepting the 1949 Letter as normative, they have stripped themselves of the only weapon against a corrupted authority. They cannot effectively complain about the prayer meeting at Assisi because they have accepted its theological justification.
Hilaire Belloc said, ‘Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe.’ It sums up the core principle of our cultural heritage. There is no real defense of our culture without defending the Faith. Belloc’s contempt for G. G. Coulton was because he was a medievalist who did not understand, and in fact hated, the first principle of medievalism. Like Coulton you are publishing a magazine entitled “Culture Wars” and you cannot defend the faith, the very heart of our culture, because you do not see its necessary relationship to the Ecclesiastical Traditions that make the faith known and communicable and thus, the heresy of Modernism is invisible to you. You cannot see the problem beyond a question of “schism.” The analogy between the situation of the SSPX and the priest sex scandal is inappropriate and only demonstrates a belief that the Church’s relation to the culture is more as a victim of its corruption than its mother and guardian. Leo XIII said in Inscrutabili Dei Consilio, “Religious error is the main root of all social and political evils.” The Vatican II, a pastoral council that has proven itself to be a pastoral failure, binds no Catholic conscience on questions of faith.
D. M. Drew
Ss. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Mission
Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, an alleged Mason, directed the liturgical reform from 1948 until 1976. The 1962 Missal, issued at the mid-point of his liturgical tenure, existed only about 2½ years. It was regarded by Bugnini, who took credit for its authorship, as only a transitional Missal toward his ultimate goal of the Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum said that the relationship of the 1962 Missal to the Novus Ordo is one of organic development, that “They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.”
This is true statement for Bugnini said in his book, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1976, that the first principles of liturgical reform adopted by his commission, first principles that were novel, artificial ideological constructs, guided his work and remained absolutely consistent throughout his entire tenure. The first principles guiding the formation of the 1962 Missal are the same principles that would give us the Novus Ordo. When Bugnini was asked if the 1962 Missal represented the end of his liturgical innovations he said, “Not by any stretch of the imagination. Every good builder begins by removing the gross accretions, the evident distortions; then with more delicacy and attention he sets out to revise particulars. The latter remains to be achieved for the Liturgy so that the fullness, dignity and harmony may shine forth once again” (The Organic Development of the Liturgy by Fr. Alcuin Reid). Thus such feasts as the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, the Finding of the True Cross, St. John before the Latin Gate, and many, many other liturgical changes, considered “gross accretions and evident distortions” by those who would eventually give the Church the liturgical “fullness, dignity and harmony” of the Novus Ordo, were done away with in the 1962 Missal.
It is a fact that the 1962 Missal has never been afforded the standing of Immemorial Tradition by Rome. Every papal document touching upon this Missal treats it entirely as a subject of Church discipline governed entirely by human positive law first under the norms of Ecclesia Dei as an Indult and now under the restrictive legal stipulations of Summorum Pontificum as a grant of privilege by positive law. At no time in the history of the Church has an immemorial liturgical tradition been reduced to the status of an Indult, which is the permission to do something that is not permitted by the positive law of the Church. This constitutes presumptive proof that Rome does not regard the 1962 Missal as the Immemorial Roman Rite.
The 1962 Bugnini transitional Missal was adopted by the SSPX in 1983 as their liturgical standard.
[ii] It perhaps one of the greatest errors of the last century that Catholics have regarded the Liturgy as entirely a matter of Church discipline and forgotten its essential relationship with Catholic dogma. This error is refuted by the following quotations:
"However, the term disciplina in no way applies to the liturgical rite of the Mass, particularly in light of the fact that the popes have repeatedly observed that the rite is founded on apostolic tradition (several popes are then quoted in the footnote). For this reason alone, the rite cannot fall into the category of 'discipline and rule of the Church.' To this we can add that there is not a single document, including the Codex Iuris Canonici, in which there is a specific statement that the pope, in his function as the supreme pastor of the Church, has the authority to abolish the traditional rite. In fact, nowhere is it mentioned that the pope has the authority to change even a single local liturgical tradition. The fact that there is no mention of such authority strengthens our case considerably.
"There are clearly defined limits to the plena et suprema potestas (full and highest powers) of the pope. For example, there is no question that, even in matters of dogma, he still has to follow the tradition of the universal Church-that is, as St. Vincent of Lerins says, what has been believed (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab ominibus). In fact, there are several authors who state quite explicitly that it is clearly outside the pope's scope of authority to abolish the traditional rite."
Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy
"Liturgy and faith are interdependent. That is why a new rite was created, a rite that in many ways reflects the bias of the new (modernist) theology”.
Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy
Further evidence that the immemorial Roman Rite, our “received and approved” rite, is not a matter of simple discipline:
The Tridentine Profession of Faith of Pope Pius IV, Iniunctum Nobis, prescribes adherence to the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church used in the solemn administration of the sacraments.” The “received and approved rites” are the rites established by custom, and hence the Council of Trent refers to them as the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments (Sess. VII, can XIII). Adherence to the customary rites received and approved by the Church is an infallible defined doctrine: The Council of Florence defined that “priests…. must confect the body of the Lord, each one according to the custom of his Church” (Decretum pro Graecis), and therefore the Council of Trent solemnly condemned as heresy the proposition that “ the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be changed into other new rites by any ecclesiastical pastor whosoever.”
Fr. Paul Kramer, The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy
Pope Pius XII said regarding the error of liturgists:
“They wander entirely away from the true and full notion and understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, who consider it only as an external part of divine worship, and presented to the senses; or as a kind of apparatus of ceremonial properties; and they no less err who think of it as a mere compendium of laws and precepts, by which the ecclesiastical Hierarchy bids the sacred rites to be arranged and ordered."
Pope Piux XII, Mediator Dei
“‘Lex orandi, lex credendi’ -- the law for prayer is the law for faith”, and, “In the sacred liturgy we profess the Catholic faith explicitly and openly”….. “The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness to the faith of the Church.”
Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei
Pope Benedict XVI, said in his book, Spirit of the Liturgy:
The Liturgy cannot be compared to a piece of equipment, something made, but rather to a plant, something organic that grows and whose laws of growth determine the possibilities of further development. In the West there has been, of course, another factor involved. This was the Papal authority, the Pope took ever more clearly the responsibility upon himself for the liturgical legislation, and so doing foresaw in a juridical authority for the forth setting of the liturgical development. The stronger the papal primacy was exercised, the more the question arose, just what the limits of this authority were, which of course, no-one had ever before thought about. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression has been made that the Pope, as far as the Liturgy goes, can actually do everything he wishes to do, certainly when he was acting with the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. Finally, the idea that the Liturgy is a predetermined ''given'', the fact that nobody can simply do what he wishes with her, disappeared out of the public conscience of the Western [Church]. In fact, the First Vatican Council did not in any way define that the Pope was an absolute monarch! Au contraire, the first Vatican Council sketched his role as that of a guarantee for the obedience to the Revealed Word. The papal authority is limited by the Holy Tradition of the Faith, and that regards also the Liturgy. The Liturgy is no ''creation'' of the authorities. Even the Pope can be nothing other than a humble servant of the Liturgy's legitimate development and of her everlasting integrity and identity.
Pope Benedict XVI, Spirit of the Liturgy
[iii] When Pope Nicholas II ordered the suppression of the Ambrosian Rite, he was opposed by the Catholics of Milan who refused his order. This order was subsequently overturned by Pope Alexander II who declared it to have been “unjust.” Further, human law, even the highest form of human law imposed by the pope, has all the limitations of every human law. That is, it must be a promulgation of reason, by the proper authority, promoting the common good, and not in any way opposed to Divine or natural law. As St. Thomas has said, an ‘unjust law is not a law.’ St. Thomas lists three principal conditions which must be met for any human law to be valid: 1) It must be consistent with the virtue of Religion; that is, it must not contain anything contrary to Divine law, 2) It must be consistent with discipline; that is, it must conform to the Natural law; and 3) It must promote human welfare; that is, it must promote the good of society (Fr. Dominic Prummer, Moral Theology). These criteria, required for the validity of any human law, make the suppression of immemorial tradition all but impossible to legitimately effect. The pope has no authority to bind an unjust law and therefore the Catholics of Milan were completely within their rights to refuse the order of Pope Nicholas II. And we are, like them, within our rights to refuse any of liturgical innovations that overturn immemorial custom.