Appendix A:
(The Pauline Liturgy: A True Restoration)
by I. Shawn McElhinney

[Prefatory Note: This essay was originally written in conjunction with the treatise in May of 2000 and revised slightly for inclusion with this project. The author's views are still substantially the same but not in all parameters; therefore the reader is advised to read the revised treatise - scheduled for a January 2003 release - for a more precise understanding of the author's current position on the liturgical subject - ISM 1/25/03]

This essay is addressed specifically to those who are not "traditionalists", "integrists", "pseudo-traditionalists", "pan-traditionalists" or whatever label you wish to put on those who are obstinate in their scorn of the Magisterium, a refusal to obey her, and in essence who are either crypto-schismatic heretics or explicitly heretical in their philosophies. No, I address this article to those who are my brethren who are what I call "Tridentine" Catholics who are seeking the restoration or promotion of the Tridentine Mass to the Catholic Church as a whole. All too often even those who admit to the validity of the Pauline Mass still have misconceptions about the deliberations of the Council, its motives, or even what its intentions were and any addressing of the critical issues that face us today on the liturgical front. This means taking into account ALL aspects of the liturgy including those that represent legitimate reforms of the Tridentine Rite: a concept that seems to be anathema to many in the Church who favour the older Roman Rite.

For the record, I support a wide application of the older Roman Rite for those who desire it; however I draw the line at the idea that we should restore the Tridentine Mass in its fullness to the Church as the principal rite. This essay is not addressed to those who question the validity of the Pauline Mass (aka the Rite of Pope Paul VI). The focus of this work is on the historical aspects of the liturgy. The goal is to demonstrate that the Pauline Mass is not a "fabrication" from the standpoint of the elements it contains. It instead represents a legitimate restoration and reform of the liturgy however badly this has worked out in practice at times. Many reasons can be postulated and indeed the authors of TCR and other publications have made a number of very legitimate criticisms of the Pauline Mass and even parts of Vatican II - as these have been misinterpreted in the post-Council period - all conducted within the household of faith. Nevertheless, there are some important areas that need to be addressed and a few common presumptions shared by those who favour the old Roman Rite which are factually inaccurate. I will try to address them here in brief.

What must be recognized by all regardless of their positions on the liturgy is that the history of Catholicism on the whole is one of diversity in worship. As the renowned theologian Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (in light of the later 1984 Indult) had noted in "The Ratzinger Report" (in an interview with Vittorio Messori):
"Prior to Trent a multiplicity of rites and liturgies had been allowed within the Church. The Fathers of the Council of Trent took the liturgy of the city of Rome and prescribed it on the whole Church; they only retained those Western liturgies which had existed for more than two hundred years. This is what happened, for instance, with the Ambrosian rite of the Dioceses of Milan. If it would foster devotion in many believers and encourage respect for the piety of particular Catholic groups, I would personally support a return to the ancient situation, i.e., to a certain liturgical pluralism. Provided, of course, that the legitimate character of the reformed rites was emphatically affirmed, and there was a clear delineation of the extent and nature of such an exception permitting the celebration of the pre-conciliar liturgy…Catholicity does not mean uniformityit is strange that the post-conciliar pluralism has created uniformity in one aspect at least: it will not tolerate a high standard of expression…" [1]
"Liturgy for the Catholic is his common homeland, the source of his identity. And another reason why it must be a ‘given’ and a ‘constant’ is that, by means of the ritual, it manifests the holiness of God. The revolt against what has been described as the ‘old rubricist rigidity’, which was accused of stifling ‘creativity’ has made the liturgy into a do-it-yourself patchwork and trivialized it, adapting it to our mediocrity…[2]
The Council rightly reminded us that liturgy also means ‘actio’ something done and it demanded that the faithful be guaranteed an ‘actuosa participatio’, an active participation…But the way it has been applied following the Council has exhibited a fatal narrowing of perspective. The impression arose that there was only ‘active participation’ when there was discernible exterior activity ?speaking, singing, preaching, reading, shaking hands. It was forgotten that the Council also included silence under ‘actuosa participatio’, for silence facilitates a really deep personal participation, allowing us to listen inwardly to the Lord’s word. Many liturgies now lack all trace of this silence." [3]
The situation in the Church at the present time is certainly not ideal and there are problems that need to be addressed. But the problems go much deeper than the mere superficialities of reverting wholesale back to the Tridentine Ritual which would be just as disastrous for the Church as the wholesale discrediting of the Tridentine Ritual was after the promulgation of the Revised Missal. History should not repeat itself here because it would be even more disasterous a second time around then it was the first time. It is hardly outside the bounds of orthodoxy to point out that the handling of the Tridentine Rite after the Revised Missal was promulgated on the part of many bishops in the Church was disgraceful. More then anything else - except the liberal "interpretations" of the Council’s intentions, this was a very damaging process undertaken. The rationale was hardly one that was historically justifiable. (As I hope to point out a bit later on in this article.) However, before getting to that, an all-important maxim of the Faith needs to be reinforced.

To seek to restore what is perceived as the "good" of the Tridentine Ritual by ripping down and demeaning the Revised Missal in any way violates the ancient maxim of one cannot do evil in the hope that something good comes out of it. There is a difference between legitimate criticisms and borderline-heretical speculations. While self-styled "traditionalists" unquestionably fail to make this distinction in the discussion of these issues, they are not the only ones that do this. I fear also that many who are loyal to the Church who nevertheless base their critiques on a flawed view of Church history particularly as it applies to the liturgy. (Even those who make criticisms that are fully within the bounds of orthodoxy.) As the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) from the Second Vatican Council noted, the purpose of the reform was to achieve the following aims:


21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become less suitable. In this restoration both texts and rites should be drawn up so as to express more clearly the holy things which they signify. The Christian people, as far as is possible, should be able to understand them with ease and take part in them fully, actively, and as a community. [4]

The problem with the defenses of many "Tridentine" Catholics of the legitimacy of the Pauline Rite is that they fall into many of the same traps as the "traditionalists" whom they wish to be separated from. They too make comments defending the Tridentine Ritual most commonly along the lines of "the Traditional Latin Mass" (Tridentine Rite codified by Pope Pius V in 1570) is "the Mass of the past 2,000 years" or "the Mass of All Time". These are comments that betray a profound lack of understanding of the dynamics of the ancient liturgical traditions of the Church. To give a few ideas of how different the ancient Masses looked in distinctions from the Tridentine Mass consider the following examples for starters:

Initially Mass was celebrated in a more intimate house setting and before Mass there was an "agape" or love feast. The "agape" was dropped in the early to mid second century and there was a move from primarily worship in homes to church buildings starting in the fourth century. There was no "High Altar" used in celebrating Mass but instead a smaller table-form was the altar of Mass in the earliest time periods. Yet to even "Tridentine" Catholics the absence of a "High Altar" is anathema (much as it is with the self-styled "traditionalists").

There are also arguments about changes of the Mass forms along the lines of replacing certain liturgical sections are ones that boomerang back at the "traditionalist" and "Tridentine" Catholic alike for one very good reason: such modifications are not at all uncommon throughout history. Where is the Te Igitur, Secret, Gloria, or Nicene Creed in the pre-Nicene Masses??? They are not to be found. The Tridentine Rite did not exist in the substantial form as we have it now before the eleventh or twelfth centuries. However, the Canon of the Tridentine Rite received the majority of its current structure in the fourth to sixth centuries when the Canon was recast in its form or to quote Fr. Adrian Fortescue on the matter:

This brings us back to the most difficult question: Why and when was the Roman Liturgy changed from what we see in Justin Martyr to that of Gregory I? The change is radical, especially as regards the most important element of the Mass, the Canon
We have then as the conclusion of this paragraph that at Rome the Eucharistic prayer was fundamentally changed and recast at some uncertain period between the fourth and the sixth and seventh centuries. During the same time the prayers of the faithful before the Offertory disappeared, THE KISS OF PEACE WAS TRANSFERRED TO AFTER THE CONSECRATION, and the Epiklesis was omitted or mutilated into our "Supplices" prayer. Of the various theories suggested to account for this it seems there is so much in favour of Drews's theory that for the present it must be considered the right one. We must then admit that between the years 400 and 500 a great transformation was made in the Roman Canon" (Euch. u. Busssakr., 86). [5]
Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) is generally considered to have been the last to touch the Canon as it existed up until Vatican II. However, prior to him the Canon was (in the words of Fr. Fortescue) "greatly transformed." This is not fundamentally different from what Pope Paul VI approved of with the Pauline Mass canons. One of these canons is a subpar translation of the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1). Another is based heavily on the old Spanish Mozarbic Anaphoras (Eucharistic Prayer #3). Also, numerous additions were made in the first centuries of the second millennium including adding the "filioque" to the Creed and making the Creed a fixture of all Masses (eleventh century), the introduction of community Low Masses for the first time (twelfth century), and other modifications through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. (Such as the Offertory prayers, institution of the Last Gospel and the Tridentine Lavabo respectively.) All of this culminated in the Old Roman Missal of 1474) that was substantially identical to the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. The "Tridentine" Catholics believe that the Church was justified in making previous liturgical modifications but seemingly no longer is in practice (if not in theory). Now admittedly the Pauline Rite was the largest modification of the Mass liturgy in centuries but a similar modification was done of the liturgies in the two centuries preceding Pope Gregory’s time (the 400’s and 500’s). The "Michael Davies" of that time period (sixth/seventh century) would have written a series of books on "The Gelastian Upheaval", "Pope Gregory's Mass", etc. denouncing the "overemphasis on sacrifice which contradicted the more balanced ‘traditional’ outlook of the Mass since the earliest of times" much as the self-styled ‘traditionalists’ (and even some "Tridentine" Catholics) have claimed that "the Pauline Mass underemphasizes the importance of the Sacrifice of the Mass." Does the Pauline Rite "underemphasize" the sacrificial metaphor or does it merely seem this way because those making the claim are not sufficiently informed on liturgical history and are overlooking that the Pauline Rite places an added emphasis on another equally ancient aspect of the Mass that got neglected in the Middle Ages??? The latter is the position I hold and I have adequate historical basis for adhering to this point of view.

A few things need to be looked at here to put these topics in proper context starting with the Tridentine Mass itself. What is it that creates the reverence towards the Tridentine Rite in actuality??? Is it solely because it is so much more ancient and hallowed??? Or is it in part of a sense of familiarity in a sea of seeming tumult since the close of the Council??? The canon reforms preceding Pope Gregory the Great were similarly substantial in the same realm as that of Pope Paul VI so if Vatican II was wrong to reform the liturgy in a substantial manner then logically so was Pope St. Gregory the Great and his predecessors (all the way back to Innocent I) in changing the canon substantially from what it was in Justin Martyr’s time (second century). We know though that the Sovereign Pontiff has the right to reform the liturgy as he sees fit because this was noted in no small detail by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei:

48. For this reason, whenever there was question of defining a truth revealed by God, the Sovereign Pontiff and the Councils in their recourse to the "theological sources," as they are called, have not seldom drawn many an argument from this sacred science of the liturgy. For an example in point, Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, so argued when he proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Similarly during the discussion of a doubtful or controversial truth, the Church and the Holy Fathers have not failed to look to the age-old and age-honored sacred rites for enlightenment. Hence the well-known and venerable maxim, "Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi"--let the rule for prayer determine the rule of belief. The sacred liturgy, consequently, does not decide or determine independently and of itself what is of Catholic faith. More properly, since the liturgy is also a profession of eternal truths, and subject, as such, to the supreme teaching authority of the Church, it can supply proofs and testimony, quite clearly, of no little value, towards the determination of a particular point of Christian doctrine...
49. From time immemorial the ecclesiastical hierarchy has exercised this right in matters liturgical. It has organized and regulated divine worship, enriching it constantly with new splendor and beauty, to the glory of God and the spiritual profit of Christians. What is more, it has not been slow--keeping the substance of the Mass and sacraments carefully intact--to modify what it deemed not altogether fitting, and to add what appeared more likely to increase the honor paid to Jesus Christ and the august Trinity, and to instruct and stimulate the Christian people to greater advantage...
58. ...[T]he Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification. Bishops, for their part, have the right and duty carefully to watch over the exact observance of the prescriptions of the sacred canons respecting divine worship…
59. The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august eucharistic sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days--which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation--to other dates; those, finally, who delete from the prayer-books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.
60. The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth. In spite of this, the use of the mother tongue in connection with several of the rites may be of much advantage to the people. But the Apostolic See alone is empowered to grant this permission. It is forbidden, therefore, to take any action whatever of this nature without having requested and obtained such consent, since the sacred liturgy, as We have said, is entirely subject to the discretion and approval of the Holy See... [6]
Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium set out with the goal of undertaking (according to its own words) "a general restoration of the liturgy "; therefore any attempt to determine the intentions of the Council must be to examine the Pauline Mass and seek to find the rationale of the Council Fathers. We must look at the Pauline Rite in the manner of a restoration and not as a "fabrication" or else we are doing an injustice to the Council and bearing false witness as to its intentions.

The following are passages from a book titled "The Mass Of The Western Rites" written by the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol and it was written decades before the Second Vatican Council. Here are a few interesting passages with my commentary interspersed:

This, then, is the line we shall follow in this new study of the Mass; and, while conforming with chronology, it seems to us at the same time to be the most logical. We shall first examine the Mass in the first three centuries, during which a certain liturgical unity reigned, and while the different Christian provinces of the West had not each created its own special liturgy. We shall then explain (Ch. II) how and why, from the fourth to the seventh century, those liturgical characteristics which distinguish the various Latin families became definite. According to these principles we shall attempt to establish the classification of these liturgical families and their genealogy. [7]
In other words, there were differences between the earlier liturgical forms and the ones from the fourth to seventh centuries.
The Mass as it is today, presents itself under a somewhat complicated form to the non-Catholic, and even to a large number of the faithful. The ceremonies, readings, chants, and formulas follow each other without much apparent method or logic. It is a rather composite mosaic, and it must be confessed that it does seem rather incoherent. Rites, indeed, have been added to rites; others have been rather unfortunately suppressed, and where this is the case, gaps, or what have been styled "gaping holes," appear. [8]
Is it not possible that one of the aims of the reform of the liturgy at Vatican II was to apply a bit more "method" or "logic" to the liturgy so that it was more "coherent"???
At the same time Sacrifice and Sacrament, the One Christian Sacrifice and, if one may say so, the most Divine of the Sacraments, it sums up and sanctifies all the elements which have made of sacrifice the center of the greater part of all religions; first, by the idea that man owes to God homage for the gifts he has received from Him and that he recognizes His dominion over all creation; then, by the idea that he must expiate his faults in order to render God favorable to him; lastly, by a certain desire to unite himself to God by participation in that sacrifice. Thus the Mass raises the idea of sacrifice to its highest expression, whilst purifying it from all the false notions which had obscured it in pagan religions. [9]
Another example in an endless stream of the Church taking an ancient pagan custom and purifying it for use to serve the Lord.
At the beginning of the third century we have a text the very high value of which has long since been recognized, and which an English scholar has attributed to St. Hippolytus. This text is that of the Eucharistic anaphora, or of the Canon recited at Rome at the beginning of the third century. To this also we shall return later on. Nor must we forget the African writers of the third century, notably Tertullian and St. Cyprian whose testimony we shall study in Chapter III. [10]
The Canon of Hippolytus is the basis of the current "Eucharistic Prayer #2" of the Pauline Rite of Mass.
4. THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER.--In the texts we have quoted from the three synoptic Gospels Our Lord pronounces no prayer for the institution of the Eucharist: none, at least, is given us. Neither does St. Paul make any allusion to such a prayer. There are not wanting those who have wished to supplement this silence; and it has been said that such terms as "hymno dicto" (St. Matt. xxvi. 30) after the institution (see St. Mark xiv. 26) presuppose a prayer. It has been also said that, the institution of the Eucharist having taken place after the Paschal meal, Our Lord of necessity recited the prayers in use on that day, as well as the psalms called "Alleluiatic." Bickell's whole thesis rests on this hypothesis; he endeavors to discover traces of the Jewish Pasch in the ancient liturgies, especially in the "Apostolic Constitutions;" and other scholars have followed him along this road. Quite recently Pere Thibaut has undertaken the same task again, in a most interesting thesis. [11]
From the earliest of times the Mass was suffused with heavy Hebrew themes.
To give an idea of the Mass at this epoch we may perhaps mention a text which was drawn up in the fourth century, though most of its leading features are more ancient, and to which certain liturgiologists have given a rather exaggerated importance, as they consider that it represents the Apostolic anaphora better than any other. Yet it has not the same value as the anaphora of Hippolytus, though it uses his text. The liturgical design of the Mass is as follows: readings from the Old and New Testament, preaching; then, prayer for the catechumens, penitents, and those in other categories; the "oratio fidelium," the Kiss of Peace, the ablution of the hands, the Offertory, Preface, "Sanctus," the prayer of institution, the "Anamnesis," "Epiclesis", Memento, Communion, thanksgiving, and dismissal. [12]
This is almost the exact same basic structure of both the Tridentine and Pauline Rites of Mass. There is a difference in the order of the rubrics but the essentials of both rites is evident from these third century documents based on forms much more ancient then even the early third century Canon of Hippolytus. Although notice the mention of reading BOTH the Old Testament and the New Testament at Mass only applies to the Pauline Rite. The other parts in bold are only in the Pauline restored liturgy which (in these examples) shows to be much more "traditional" then its older Tridentine counterpart
Book VIII of the "Apostolic Constitutions" is especially interesting on account of the influence it exercised in the East, and even in the West, and at Rome. This is a fresh argument in favor of that liturgical unity in the first centuries, Hippolytus, Serapion, the "Apostolic Constitutions," and even Clement of Rome and the "Didache" all exploit a theme which presents numerous analogies.We find one custom, which is that of the celebrated church of Antioch, retraced in the "Apostolic Constitutions." In another church which rivals that of Antioch in antiquity and fame--that of Alexandria--we have the Canon of Balizeh, which appears to go back to a period less remote, and which shows a different custom. But here, as with the different Eucharistic prayers which we have given, we have a text with a universal tendency, in spite of certain regional characteristics. [13]
Different Eucharistic Prayers??? Let us see, there are 4 different Eucharistic Prayers in the Revised Missal but only one in the Tridentine Mass. Again the Pauline Rite is better supported in another ancient detail then its older counterpart.
We must now gather a few conclusions from all these texts. The first is this: From the very beginning of the Church there existed an essential rite, distinct from that of the synagogue; a rite which, from the first moment, seems to take the lead amongst all others, of which in a manner it is the center. It consists of the reproduction and reconstruction of Our Lord's last repast, of the Last Supper in the Cenacle. This rite is found everywhere. We have quoted the texts of Clement of Rome, of Ignatius of Antioch, of Justin, etc. But we could have multiplied our witnesses. A Christian traveler of the third century, Abercius, who had journeyed through the East as well as the West, tells us in a famous inscription:
"My name is Abercius: I am the disciple of a Holy Shepherd Who feeds His flocks of sheep on mountains and on plains; Who has eyes so large that their glance reaches everywhere. He it is Who has taught me the faithful Scriptures. He it is Who sent me to Rome.... I have also seen the plain of Syria and all its towns-- Nisibis on the borders of the Euphrates. Everywhere I went I found brethren. Paul was my companion. Faith led me everywhere; everywhere it served as my food, a fish from the spring, very great and pure, caught by a Holy Virgin; continuously she gave it to eat to her friends; she also has a delicious wine, which she gives with the bread."
This rite considered as a banquet and a sacrifice, has banished all the other sacrifices. Although the Church borrowed so largely from the Jewish liturgy, she left them their sacrifices. Those who attempt to discover analogies between the rites of paganism and those of the Christians cannot deny that the peaceful and unbloody Sacrifice of the altar has put an end to all sacrifices of blood. That river of blood which flowed through all pagan temples has been stopped by the Sacrifice of the Lamb.
This rite was accomplished with bread and wine. (Certain eccentrics are pointed out, such as the "Aquarians" or "Hydroparastes," who, already prohibitionists, forbade all wine, even at Mass.) Those who partook of it wished to renew the scene in the Cenacle in relation to the Sacrifice of the Cross; and were persuaded that under the species of bread and wine they received the Body and Blood of Christ.
The rite, as has been remarked, presents numerous variants when it is studied according to the testimony of different Churches, and great liberty of interpretation and improvisation still reigns; but the general and essential features are the same. What is called the Eucharist, the fraction, the "anaphora," the eulogy, the synaxis, is always and for all the same rite as that which we call the Mass. [14]
"Great liberty of interpretation and improvisation still reigned"??? Is not that a primary complaint of the self-styled "traditionalist"??? Is not the Pauline Rite "have too many optional parts not firmly fixed" do we not hear that often from "traditionalist" circles??? Well it is a feature of the earlier liturgies that the Fathers of Vatican II decided to apply to the reform of the liturgy to avoid the kind of degenerative state that had happened to the Tridentine liturgy by the mid twentieth century???

Notice too that the participants partook of both the bread and the wine. This is done in the Pauline Rite today but not in the Tridentine Rite. To highlight even more the Jewish roots of our faith, here are more Hebrew similarities of note. Note also that the rite was considered to be "BOTH a banquet AND a sacrifice." These are the dual metaphors of the Mass common to the early Church which Vatican II sought to reinforce as a result of a dangerous narrowing of perspective which started in about the Middle Ages and seriously impairs the view of "traditionalists" (and many "Tridentine" Catholics as well).

From that time--that is, from the first three centuries --we see, both as regards the Mass and Baptism, a tendency to develop the very simple original rite. To the kind of liturgic synaxis described, for example, in St. Paul's meeting at Troas, where, after the Apostle's sermon those present "broke bread" before separating, the heads of the Church under whose control the liturgy was constituted, added sometimes one ceremony, sometimes another. The union of the aliturgical synaxis to the Mass is, already, a considerable fact; it is a prelude which in our own day has the same extent as the rite of Sacrifice or of the Mass properly so called. Hippolytus gives us an "anaphora" which is a model of precision and concision. It is a brief, weighty sermon in a single breath; for the whole "anaphora" proceeds without a break from the Preface to the conclusion, which is the Amen of the faithful. The Fraction follows; the Communion, thanksgiving, and dismissal. [15]
The earlier rites were simplified compared to the later rites showing that the "traditionalist" argument against simplified rites has no historical leg to stand on.
THE AFRICAN MASS.--In Tertullian and St. Cyprian we find numerous allusions to the Eucharist and the Mass. By these we know that the synaxis or meeting took place before the dawn; that the Sacrifice, or actual Mass, was preceded by readings, prayers, chants, and by the dismissal of the catechumens. Tertullian blames the heretics who allow these last to be present at the Sacrifice. We also know that the bread and wine were consecrated by the words which Our Lord pronounced at the Last Supper…[16]
Which I might add are not the same words used in the Tridentine Rite consecrations. However, they ARE used in the Pauline Rite of Mass and almost verbatim I might add (see Luke 22:19 for the Host and Matt. 26:27-28 for the Chalice).
St. Augustine completes this information. We may accept his description given by Mgr. Batiffol (p. 100) of the Pre-Mass. The Bishop, he says, awaits in the "secretarium" (a place close to the Basilica) the moment of entrance. He enters solemnly, but St. Augustine does not speak of the chant which should accompany his entry, and which corresponds with the Roman. He salutes the people, probably with the "Pax vobis," but it does not appear that this greeting was followed by the prayer or collect customary at Rome. The readings, as in Spain, Gaul, and elsewhere, were three in number--the first taken from the Prophets (and called Prophecy, or prophetical reading), the second from the Acts of the Apostles or their Epistles (the Apostolic reading), while the third was from the Gospel. This was followed by the homily of the prelate, who commented on one or another of these lessons; for usually the events of the day, anniversaries, or the Feast itself had determined both the course of reading and the Bishop's sermon. [17]
Those poor early Christians. Actually having three readings instead of two. All that focus on the Liturgy of the Word detracting from the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I can hear another "traditionalist" argument crumbling to the ground. (I believe we are up to at least 8 distinct similarities between the Pauline Rite and earlier rites that are noticeably absent from the Tridentine Rite of Mass.) But we are not done yet gentle reader for many more "traditionalist" canards are about to go the way of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
The church" where the Station was to take place was a "Basilica," a great building inspired by architectural tradition as this was understood in the third and fourth centuries, but modified since by the Church for Divine service. Many of the most ancient Roman churches such as St. Clement, St. Sabina, St. Laurence-Without the-Walls, have preserved this form. And even those which have been altered again and again, like St. Paul Without-the-Walls, have been reconstructed on the same plan. It was that of a long building with a central nave, separated by columns from two lateral naves to right and left, with an altar at the end and in the axis of the principal nave; and behind the altar, an apse. At the end of the apse was the "cathedra," or Bishop's chair, and, all around it, stalls for the clergy; this was the choir. The part surrounding the altar is the sanctuary, with an "ambone," or pulpit, or sometimes two, one to right, the other to left. [18]
Why on earth would the Bishops cathedra (chair) and the choir be "behind the Altar"???
Today, as the altar usually has a retable and a tabernacle, the priest when standing before it turns his back to the people; so that when he greets them with "Dominus vobiscum" he is obliged to turn round. The Bishop would be hidden on his "cathedra" at the back of the apse, and could hardly follow the ceremonies, therefore his throne, as well as the stalls of the clergy, have been moved to places before the altar. But if we wish to  understand the ancient positions, it will help us to remember that at that time the altar was a "table" (hence its name of "mensa") of wood or stone, forming either a solid block or else raised on four feet, but in any case without a tabernacle; so that the officiating priest would face towards the people, as he does to-day at "San Clemente."In our own churches, of course, he officiates on the other side of the altar; the Gospel side being the left and that of the Epistle the right. As we explain elsewhere, another consideration has brought about these changes: the practice of turning in prayer towards the East, the region of that light which is the image of Christ, Who Himself came from the East. The question of the orientation of churches was an important one in Christian architecture from the fourth-twelfth centuries.  [19]
Contrary to popular myth, Mass said facing the people on a table-altar is hardly the the "novelty" that many pro-Tridentine people would claim but was in fact it was the more common position 8 to 16 centuries before Vatican II. (And arguably from the very beginning if one takes into account the private intimate setting of Mass in homes before the fourth century.) Taking into account what I have just mentioned and also that the architecture of the ancient churches up to the twelfth century was to accommodate Masses said facing towards the people, what does this do to the following two major objections to the Pauline Rite of Mass being either: Well gentle reader, these commonly espoused canards are now officially killed and buried forever as legitimate criticisms against the Pauline Rite of Mass. The errors of these sort perhaps come in large part from the common but flawed notion that the earlier rites were as formalized as the later rites became. However, such a position is lacking in any historical foundation whatsoever. As even the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 edition) noted:
[A]n Apostolic Liturgy in the sense of an arrangement of prayers and ceremonies, like our present ritual of the Mass, did not exist. For some time the Eucharistic Service was in many details fluid and variable. It was not all written down and read from fixed forms, but in part composed by the officiating bishop. As for ceremonies, at first they were not elaborated as now. All ceremonial evolves gradually out of certain obvious actions done at first with no idea of ritual, but simply because they had to he done for convenience. The bread and wine were brought to the altar when they were wanted, the lessons were read from a place where they could best be heard, hands were washed because they were soiled. Out of these obvious actions ceremony developed, just as our vestments developed out of the dress of the first Christians. It follows then of course that, when there was no fixed Liturgy at all, there could be no question of absolute uniformity among the different Churches. [20]
Yet the goal it seems of both "Tridentine" Catholics for the most part (as well as "traditionalists" and even some of the liberals) is for a form of fixity which did not exist in the early Church. As I noted earlier, liturgies in the earliest of times were not so rigidly fixed. (The Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol noted this in "The Mass of the Western Rites" much as the Catholic Encyclopedia has noted it as well.) Therefore, insistance on the uncompromising fixity of the Tridentine Mass is hardly at all "traditional" in any manner whatsoever since much of what was done out of necessity in the past was incorporated as symbolic ritual later on (such as meticulous cleaning of the paten or fingers, etc) and Vatican II in restoring the liturgy would have been acting with tradition to remove what had become more ornamental then practical in this vein - a point I noted in the treatise on "traditionalism". To quote more from the article "Liturgy" from the Catholoc Encyclopedia:
And yet the whole series of actions and prayers did not depend solely on the improvisation of the celebrating bishop. Whereas at one time scholars were inclined to conceive the services of the first Christians as vague and undefined, recent research shows us a very striking uniformity in certain salient elements of the service at a very early date. The tendency among students now is to admit something very like a regulated Liturgy, apparently to a great extent uniform in the chief cities, back even to the first or early second century. In the first place the fundamental outline of the rite of the Holy Eucharist was given by the account of the Last Supper. What our Lord had done then, that same thing He told His followers to do in memory of Him. It would not have been a Eucharist at all if the celebrant had not at least done as our Lord did the night before He died. So we have everywhere from the very beginning at least this uniform nucleus of a Liturgy: bread and wine are brought to the celebrant in vessels (a plate and a cup); he puts them on a table -- the altar; standing before it in the natural attitude of prayer he takes them in his hands, gives thanks, as our Lord had done, says again the words of institution, breaks the Bread and gives the consecrated Bread and Wine to the people in communion. The absence of the words of institution in the Nestorian Rite is no argument against the universality of this order. It is a rite that developed quite late; the parent liturgy has the words.
But we find much more than this essential nucleus in use in every Church from the first century. The Eucharist was always celebrated at the end of a service of lessons, psalms, prayers, and preaching, which was itself merely a continuation of the service of the synagogue. So we have everywhere this double function; first a synagogue service Christianized, in which the holy books were read, psalms were sung, prayers said by the bishop in the name of all (the people answering "Amen" in Hebrew, as had their Jewish forefathers), and homilies, explanations of what had been read, were made by the bishop or priests, just as they had been made in the synagogues by the learned men and elders (e. g., Luke, iv, 16-27). This is what was known afterwards as the Liturgy of the Catechumens. Then followed the Eucharist, at which only the baptized were present. Two other elements of the service in the earliest time soon disappeared. One was the Love-feast (agape) that came just before the Eucharist; the other was the spiritual exercises, in which people were moved by the Holy Ghost to prophesy, speak in divers tongues, heal the sick by prayer, and so on. This function -- to which I Cor., xiv, 1-14, and the Didache, x, 7, etc., refer -- obviously opened the way to disorders; from the second century it gradually disappears. The Eucharistic Agape seems to have disappeared at about the same time. The other two functions remained joined, and still exist in the liturgies of all rites. In them the service crystallized into more or less set forms from the beginning. In the first half the alternation of lessons, psalms, collects, and homilies leaves little room for variety. For obvious reasons a lesson from a Gospel was read last, in the place of honour as the fulfilment of all the others; it was preceded by other readings whose number, order, and arrangement varied considerably. A chant of some kind would very soon accompany the entrance of the clergy and the beginning of the service. We also hear very soon of litanies of intercession said by one person to each clause of which the people answer with some short formula. ...The place and number of the homilies would also vary for a long time. It is in the second part of the service, the Eucharist itself, that we find a very striking crystallization of the forms, and a uniformity even in the first or second century that goes far beyond the mere nucleus described above. [21]

Much like the Intercessions at the end of the Liturgy of the Word in the Pauline Mass it seems. Also notice how multiple homilies were not uncommon in some places. This is a direct refutation of an article at TCR’s site which spoke of the "Protestant" nature of such matters.

In the Apostolic Fathers the picture of the early Christian Liturgy becomes clearer; we have in them a definite and to some extent homogeneous ritual. But this must be understood. There was certainly no set form of prayers and ceremonies such as we see in our present Missals and Euchologia; still less was anything written down and read from a book. The celebrating bishop spoke freely, his prayers being to some extent improvised. And yet this improvising was bound by certain rules. In the first place, no one who speaks continually on the same subjects says new things each time, Modern sermons and modern extempore prayers show how easily a speaker falls into set forms, how constantly he repeats what come to be, at least for him, fixed formulæ. Moreover, the dialogue form of prayer that we find in use in the earliest monuments necessarily supposes some constant arrangement. The people answer and echo what the celebrant and the deacons say with suitable exclamations. They could not do so unless they heard more or less the same prayers each time. They heard from the altar such phrases as: "The Lord be with you", or "Lift up your hearts", and it was because they recognized these forms, had heard them often before, that they could answer at once in the way expected. [22]

Active responses by the laity became very scarce by the Middle Ages so the concept of active participation of the laity in the liturgy is another ancient theme that Vatican II addressed in its restoration of the liturgy.

We find too very early that certain general themes are constant. For instance our Lord had given thanks just before He spoke the words of institution. So it was understood that every celebrant began the prayer of consecration -- the Eucharistic prayer -- by thanking God for His various mercies. So we find always what we still have in our modern prefaces -- a prayer thanking God for certain favours and graces, that are named, just where that preface comes, shortly before the consecration (Justin, "Apol.," I, xiii, lxv). AN INTERCESSION FOR ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE ALSO OCCURS VERY EARLY, AS WE SEE FROM REFERENCES TO IT (e. g., Justin, "Apol.," I, xiv, lxv). In this prayer the various classes of people would naturally be named in more or less the same order. A profession of faith would almost inevitably open that part of the service in which only the faithful were allowed to take part (Justin, "Apol.", I, xiii, lxi). It could not have been long before the archtype of all Christian prayer -- the Our Father -- was said publicly in the Liturgy. The moments at which these various prayers were said would very soon become fixed, The people expected them at certain points, there was no reason for changing their order, on the contrary to do so would disturb the faithful. [23]

It is amazing when you read the above passage that it applies far more in description to the Pauline Rite then it does the Tridentine Rite.

One knows too how strong conservative instinct is in any religion, especially in one that, like Christianity, has always looked back with unbounded reverence to the golden age of the first Fathers. So we must conceive the Liturgy of the first two centuries as made up of somewhat free improvisations on fixed themes in a definite order; and we realize too how naturally under these circumstances the very words used would be repeated -- at first no doubt only the salient clauses -- till they became fixed forms. The ritual, certainly of the simplest kind, would become stereotyped even more easily. The things that had to be done, the bringing up of the bread and wine, the collection of alms and so on, even more than the prayers, would be done always at the same point. A change here would be even more disturbing than a change in the order of the prayers.
A last consideration to be noted is the tendency of new Churches to imitate the customs of the older ones. Each new Christian community was formed by joining itself to the bond already formed. The new converts received their first missionaries, their faith and ideas from a mother Church. These missionaries would naturally celebrate the rites as they had seen them done, or as they had done them themselves in the mother Church. And their converts would imitate them, carry on the same tradition. Intercourse between the local Churches would further accentuate this uniformity among people who were very keenly conscious of forming one body with one Faith, one Baptism, and one Eucharist. It is not then surprising that the allusions to the Liturgy in the first Fathers of various countries, when compared show us a homogeneous rite at any rate in its main outlines, a constant type of service, though it was subject to certain local modifications. It would not be surprising if from this common early Liturgy one uniform type had evolved for the whole Catholic world. We know that that is not the case.. The more or less fluid ritual of the first two centuries crystallized into different liturgies in East and West; difference of language, the insistence on one point in one place, the greater importance given to another feature elsewhere, brought about our various rites. But there is an obvious unity underlying all the old rites that goes back to the earliest age. The medieval idea that all are derived from one parent rite is not so absurd, if we remember that the parent was not a written or stereotyped Liturgy, but rather a general type of service. [24]
This is why I find the idea that the Pauline Rite is a "fabrication" and that the Tridentine Rite is "the Traditional Mass" so absurd: if anything the Pauline Mass resembles the ancient Western Mass Rites FAR more so then the Tridentine Mass does. Also, it does not hurt to mention that the Mass was said in Aramaic and Greek initially (most notably the latter) and this was a fixture until Pope St. Damascus I (366-384) changed the primary language of the liturgy from Greek to Latin which was the "vulgar" tongue in the West. Latin was the vernacular language of the West from the late second early third century to the eighth (approximately). It was the foundation of the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, Portugese, French) and was the secondary language in the West up to the late seventeenth-early eighteenth centuries much the way English is in the world today. If you could read you read Latin. If you went to school you spoke Latin in class. It is much the way English is today in the world: virtually anyone outside of America who goes to school learns English as a second language. In this light the move to the vernacular English language as undertaken by Vatican II is in line with the same move by Pope St. Damascus I in the late fourth century in the shift from Greek to Latin as the liturgical language in the West.
Returning to the book "The Mass of the Western Rites" for a moment, the Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol makes the following notations also on the ancient rites:
At the time we are now considering (SEVENTH CENTURY) there were neither crosses nor candles, neither tabernacle or retable; nor were there any of these things till the ninth, or even the eleventh, century. But the "ciborium," a kind of dome, or dais, usually supported by four columns, was in use from the fourth century onwards, and sometimes at Rome it was made of precious metal. The marbles, mosaics, chandeliers, and candelabras, the lamps hanging from the vaulted roof and other ornaments in use from the time of Constantine, show us that the Church has come out of the catacombs, and that to primitive austerity has succeeded the desire to surround Divine worship with splendour, upheld by the generosity of Christians. [25]
In the seventh century there were no tabernacles on the altar. So much for any objections about the tabernacle not being on the altar during Mass. Now there was a ciborium of course which is a kind of tabernacle but it was not on the Altar and it was not used before the fourth century. (The reader should recall at this point what I said earlier about Masses before the fourth century being said in private homes.) Another clear example of a Tridentine feature that was not present in the early Masses of the first seven centuries.

I could go on and on but I think I have made my point. Anyone calling the Tridentine Rite of Mass the "Traditional Mass" or the "Mass of All Time" needs to do a lot of studying up on the history of the liturgy. (That includes Mr. Michael Davies whose books are often recommended in this vein by misinformed ideologues.) Note here I am not denigrating the Tridentine Rite at all. Being one who believes in liturgical pluralism I support all approved rites of the Church. However, to any "Tridentine" Catholics who is overtly critical of features of the Pauline Rite of Mass (as opposed to abuses of the liturgy or poor pastoral policies that have been detrimental in the post VC II period), I have news for you: the Pauline Rite has a greater similarity to the earliest Mass rites than the Tridentine Rite does. We can dispense with the terms "New Mass" or "Novus Ordo" title now because they are wholly inaccurate. The Tridentine Rite is NOT "the Mass of All Time", it is not THE "Traditional Mass." It is one rite only and was only in substantial form by the second millennium.

The canon was formed primarily out of the fifth to sixth century recasting of the ancient Roman canon which Pope Gregory the Great put finishing touches on in the late sixth/early seventh century. Other non-canon modifications were made in subsequent centuries from the eighth to the fifteenth. (The Confiteors and the Creed were added in the eleventh century, the Offertory from the Offertory Prayer all the way to the Sanctus was added in the thirteenth century, etc.) The form of the Missal which was in place by 1474 was in most respects identical to the Roman Missal of 1570 codified by Pope St. Pius V which was modified in minor ways six times between 1570 and 1962. The Pauline Rite has more things in common with the pre-fifth century Masses than the Tridentine Rite does but at the same time it employs the bulk of its structure from the post fifth century restructurings much as its older Tridentine counterpart does. The Pauline Rite has three readings, communion under both species, simplified rites, is said facing the people, there is often no tabernacle on the altar, the words of Consecration are taken from the Gospels almost literally, there are a multiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers, etc. These are all features prevalent to the early liturgies before the fourth century and guess what??? They are also part of the Pauline Rite of Mass today.

It matters not how liberals and Modernists tell us what the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II" was since they have no Magisterial authority for any of their abuses committed the past few decades since the close of the Council. Does what I have stated in this essay mean that the Tridentine Rite cannot be legitimately celebrated??? Of course not since if we look at history, a genuine restoration would include a certain liturgical pluralism that has been lacking since Trent. While liturgical pluralism was finally officially allowed again after Vatican II, it was nonetheless never actively encouraged in any form by the Church at large. (In fact, many if not most bishops actively discouraged it.) Even the Indult of 1984 and Ecclesia Dei of 1988 are mere facilitations and not active encouragement, although the Pope’s presence at the tenth anniversary of Ecclesia Dei with FSSP was definitely an act of encouragement in this vein which is very reassuring.

Much of the "Tridentine" Catholic objections are over externals that the Tridentine Rite possesses and that the Pauline Rite does not possess.While I agree that there is a good argument to having more external worship signs and ceremonial ornament to the Pauline Rite, I do believe that the extent of the Tridentine Rite repetitions tend towards a form of rubricism which is legalistic. It should be pointed out that the true "Traditional Roman Rite" was much more like the current Pauline Rite then the older Tridentine Mass which has a fair amount of Gallican influence. Or as the Catholic Encyclopedia noted:

So we see that at the latest by the tenth or eleventh century the Roman Rite has driven out the Gallican, except in two sees (Milan and Toledo), and is used alone throughout the West, thus at last verifying here too the principle that rite follows patriarchate. But in the long and gradual supplanting of the Gallican Rite the Roman was itself affected by its rival, so that when at last it emerges as sole possessor it is no longer the old pure Roman Rite, but has become the gallicanized Roman Use that we now follow. These Gallican additions are all of the nature of ceremonial ornament, symbolic practices, ritual adornment. Our blessings of candles, ashes, palms, much of the ritual of Holy Week, sequences, and so on are Gallican additions. The original Roman Rite was very plain, simple, practical. [26]

The Pauline Rite is very "plain, simple, practical" too. It also in light of all that I have covered in this essay is a genuine restoration along the line of the ancient Western Mass Rites. This does not make it above some forms of criticism of course either in the form of abuses of the liturgy, poor pastoral directives allowed after the Revised Missal was promulgated, or areas where implementation has in practice has not worked as well as in theory. These are all legitimate criticisms and one is not acting at all unorthodox in making them. However to call it a "lessor rite" as some pro-Tridentine groups have done is also (in light of what history and common sense reveals to us) profoundly erroneous since all approved rites are equally sacred and one is not more or less "holy" or "proper" then another one. (Provided that they are celebrated in accordance with their prescribed rubrics.) Comments to the contrary get hung up in style or externals and miss the whole point of the Mass which is an action of Christ Himself. In this light, all other aspects are a distant second in importance.


[1] The Ratzinger Report - pgs. 124-125

[2[ ibid. pgs. 126-127

[3] ibid. pg. 127

[4] Sacrostantum Concilium Chapter 3, Para. 21: Vatican II: (December 4, 1963)

[5] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpt from the subject "Liturgy" authored by Fr. Adrian Fortescue, 1913

[6] Pope Pius XII: Mediator Dei - Para. 48,49; 58, 59, 60 (November 20, 1947)

[7-19] Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol: "Mass of the Western Rites" excerpts, 1934

[20-24] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpts from the subject "Liturgy" authored by Fr. Adrian Fortescue, 1913

[25] Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol: "Mass of the Western Rites" excerpt, 1934

[26] Catholic Encyclopedia: Excerpts from the subject "Liturgy" authored by Fr. Adrian Fortescue, 1913

Additional Notes:

The citations from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger were taken from the book "The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (translated by Vittorio Messori); Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1985.

The citation from the documents of Vatican Council's Constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium" was obtained at the following link:

The citation from Pope Pius XII's Encyclical Letter "Mediator Dei" was obtained from the following site:

The citations from the book "The Mass Of The Western Rites" by the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol, Sands & Company, 1934 were taken from an online version of the book located at the following link:

The citations from Fr. Adrian Fortescue's 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article "Liturgy" were taken from the following link:

©2000, "The Pauline Liturgy - A True Restoration", Appendix A, written by I.Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

Page created by: Matt1618. Send email with questions on this Treatise to I. Shawn McElhinney



Go to Appendix B of “Detection and Overthrow 
of the ‘Traditionalist Catholics’ Falsely So-Called” Project

Return to Index Page of “Detection and Overthrow 
of the ‘Traditionalist Catholics’ Falsely So-Called” Project

Return to Matt's Catholic Apologetics Page

Go to Matt’s Ultratraditionalist Page