A Micro Look at the Pauline Mass (Part II)

In the last url, some of the claims made by self-styled 'traditionalists' against the validity and the dignity of the Pauline liturgy were listed. And while not all 'traditionalists' would profess all five of these arguments, virtually all of them profess at least one or more of them as involving either an invalidation of the rite or an objective diminishment thereof:

  • The Mass being said in the vernacular*
  • The New Mass does not teach or uphold Traditional Catholic doctrines
  • Vatican II had no authority to change the Mass*
  • The "Protestantization" of the Mass*
  • Changes to the Words of Institution*

  • This writer has already dispatched with the first three charges on this list in reasonable detail as well as seven of the fifteen points under the heading of "Protestantization of the Mass". (Namely the removal of the tabernacle, elimination of kneelers, married deacons, simplified rites, relaxation of the eucharistic fast, elimination of the last Gospel, and Communion in the hand.) This url will wrap up the previous one and finish looking at eight more so-called "Protestantizing" features of the Pauline liturgy. A look will also be given to the significance of changes to the consecratory formularies and other areas of note that reflect how someone views the Revised Missal as promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 30, 1969.

    I - The "Protestantization" of the Mass — Proposed "Nullifying" Features:

    The following objections will be addressed more in detail then those already covered. The reason is that the arguments set forth by the 'traditionalists' to the following points are generally more credible than the ones covered in the previous part of this micro examination - at least in appearance:

    Priest Facing Towards the People:

    Originally this writer treated the subject about to be discussed in a more flippant manner then he should have. Part of the reason perhaps was the sheer disgust at the manifold excuses made by self-styled 'traditionalists' to justify their schismatic activities or tendencies. Part of the reason perhaps was that natural tendency to swing towards the opposing extreme that someone who undergoes a paradigm shift of radical proportions philosophically is naturally prone to. Nonetheless, the subject of orientation during prayer was perhaps the strongest point argued against this writer's treatment of the subject of the liturgy. (By some of those who otherwise critiqued the work in ways that were indicative that they had not actually digested the full import of the arguments set forth.) Suffice to say, though this element was overlooked in the previous revision of the original version, an attempt to rectify it to some extent will be made here.

    While at bottom this is a matter of liturgical policy and not a doctrine of the faith, the custom of the priest facing East was a practice that with all likelihood was crystallized as a norm around the late fourth-early fifth centuries. Much was made by this author that this was not a norm that was practised everywhere and even at the time of Trent this was not a uniform practice in all places of the world. It was nonetheless normative and this needs to be asserted before the subject can be looked at with the carefulness that it deserves.

    To start with, the self-styled 'traditionalists' needs to ask themselves if we worship God in a fixed place as the Jews did in Jerusalem or if God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, neither of which can be put into a space or given a "direction" as we understand direction to be. We do not worship God in any one fixed place for God is spirit (cf. John 5:21-24). Likewise, the direction of the priest during mass - facing towards the people or facing away from them - is hardly relevant in the sense of being an essential of liturgical worship that renders the liturgy in any sense invalid. As long as the attention is on Him who is being worshipped, the direction of the priest fundamentally does not matter.

    After all, if the priest and congregation facing towards one another in any way resulted in a danger of people "worshipping one another" (as Cardinal Ratzinger has claimed in a work he wrote as a private theologian) then logically one could counter with the assertion that a priest who faced the wall at Mass was in danger of "worshipping the wall"!!!  And with tabernacles on the altar being a predominant custom of the recent past (i.e. post-Reformation period) did our ancestors worship walls for seventeen centuries??? Of course not.

    This is not to make light of the ad orientem  position (as it is called) but to point to the fact that even poor arguments will be buttressed to support a position that a person takes as a governing presupposition in their argumentation. Cardinal Ratzinger is on much stronger ground when he asserts that "whenever possible, we should definitely take up again the apostolic tradition of facing the east, both in the building of churches and in the celebration of the liturgy". It has also been cogently argued that the "liturgical east" can be achieved in any church. (By the priest facing the crucifix during the eucharisitic portion of the Mass: for Christ Himself is the true east.) Such a move would transcend any design or orientation that a given church building has. It would also signify a transition in focus at the most sacred part of the sacred liturgy. Arguments can be made for either posture and this writer is of the view that the difference could be split by a revision of the rubrics in both rites of Mass. This way the Liturgy of the Word in both rites would be directed towards the congregation.

    With the Tridentine liturgy the reiteration of the Epistle and Gospel in Latin then in the vernacular would be eliminated - and all reading from the Epistle through to the Gospel would be read from the pulpit followed by the Sermon. (And after the Sermon things would go back to the ad orientum posture.) With the Pauline liturgy it would retain its present orientation except for the Liturgy of the Eucharist - at least from the point of the Sanctus onward - where the priest and the people would face either East or the crucifix signifying the East. The orientation would revert back to the pre-Sanctus form after the congregation had received communion for both the announcements and the final blessing/dismissal. Such a "split" if you will would be a Solomon-like compromise which would retain the best of both orientations. Nonetheless, until such a time comes to pass (if it ever does), it bears noting that either orientation is valid and this point does not sustain itself as a valid impediment against the Pauline liturgy.

    Changes to Vestments:

    The vestments that are worn by the priest are (like all other liturgical matters) subject to modification of the Church. What is not acknowledged is that many of the vestments had lost their meaning and had become merely ornamental or symbolic.


    The maniple was originally used as a napkin by the priest but when this purpose no longer was applicable it became ceremonial and had no real purpose. Thus, this was seen as unnecessary and discarded for that purpose.


    With modern manufacturing albs were made that covered better than the early albs, and the use of an amice to hide the street clothing was unnecessary. It, too, was made unnecessary, although it may still be worn.


    Cinctures became optional as other means of keeping the alb secured were introduced. Therefore, their initial purpose was solved with other means and became only ornamental after that.


    Other changes took place with the chasuble. This garment, originally the equivalent of a 'poncho' and the traditional outerwear of the Romans slowly took on a symbolic meaning. It became larger and lighter in weight, no longer being covered with jewels, gold or silver thread, and other semi-precious materials. It returned to being a piece of clothing instead of being ornamental.

    The Stole**

    Stoles became more decorative, and some were worn outside the chasuble. The stole, of course, is the symbol of Priestly power and its usage has varied over the years. Originally worn only by the Pope, it was extended to the seven Deacons of Rome. Later, Bishops and Priests started wearing it also. Originally, the Bishop wore it straight down the front as a sign of the fullness of the Priesthood; the Priest wore it crossed in front indicating limitations to the Priesthood; the Deacon wore it across one shoulder to indicate a role of service. Eventually, the Priest and Bishop both wore the stole hanging straight down, for both share in the Priesthood. The Deacon continues to wear it across one shoulder.

    So you see, in arguing against modifications to the stole and other vestments, a 'traditionalists' is being inconsistent in not recognizing the numerous changes made to the stole and other vestments through the centuries. To accept those changes and reject these changes is illogical and purely arbitrary so if these changes at all demeaned the Mass then the previous changes demeaned the Tridentine Mass also (which no 'traditionalists' would ever claim of course). Therefore this criticism can be cast aside as being of no merit whatsoever.

    Meal or Sacrifice???:

    This sounds like a false "either/or" dichotomy in line with the ones made by Protestant apologists. The Tridentine Rite refers to the Eucharist as the 'Bread of Heaven' and also as 'consuming the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ' as does the Pauline Rite. These terms emphasize both a sacrifice and a meal. In no way does the Pauline Rite fail to emphasize the sacrificial nature of the Mass although Anaphora 2 is not as explicit as the Tridentine Anaphora. However, as noted in url 4, Anaphora 1 (Tridentine Canon), Anaphora 3, and Anaphora 4 are very explicit in emphasizing the sacrificial character of the offering while placing a greater emphasis on the metaphor of community meal - a concept that suffered neglect in the Middle Ages but was present in the early Church alongside the sacrificial metaphor.

    Also, when Anaphora 2 was proposed by a Protestant commission revising the prayers for their "Lord’s Supper" service, it was rejected for "implying transubstantiation" which is hardly a "Protestant" doctrine even among Protestants who actually believe in the Real Presence. This argument about "either" a sacrifice "or" a meal is a false dichotomy for the Mass is both of these.

    Altar or Table???:

    Another charge is that a wooden Communion Table has replaced the stone Altar of Sacrifice. The topic of the substance of the altar is not mentioned anywhere in the decrees or canons from Trent although there was a long-standing custom to make the Altar of stone with the tradition of long standing of placing a Relic in the main stone of the Altar. The problem here though is that it is not as if an altar and a table are not in some manner synonymous. An Altar is defined in two manners:

    Both definitions apply to the altar in the Church and this both/and situation is even mentioned in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (compiled at the decree of Vatican II) which says the following on the Structure of the Altar:
    259. At the altar the sacrifice of the cross is made present under sacramental signs. It is also the table of the Lord and the people of God are called together to share in it. The altar is, as well, the center of the thanksgiving that the eucharist accomplishes.
    260. In a place of worship, the celebration of the eucharist must be on an altar, either fixed or movable. Outside a place of worship, especially if the celebration is only for a single occasion, a suitable table may be used, but always with a cloth and corporal.
    261. A fixed altar is one attached to the floor so that it cannot be moved; a movable altar is one that can be transferred from place to place.
    262. The main altar should be freestanding to allow the ministers to walk around it easily and Mass to be celebrated facing the people. It should be so placed as to be a focal point on which the attention of the whole congregation centers naturally. The main altar should ordinarily be a fixed, consecrated altar.
    263. According to the Church's traditional practice and the altar's symbolism, the table of a fixed altar should be of stone and indeed of natural stone. But at the discretion of the conference of bishops some other solid, becoming, and well-crafted material may be used. The pedestal or base of the table may be of any sort of material, as long as it is becoming and solid.
    264. A movable altar may be constructed of any becoming, solid material suited to liturgical use, according to the traditions and customs of different regions.
    265. Altars both fixed and movable are consecrated according to the rite described in the liturgical books; but movable altars may simply be blessed. There is no obligation to have a consecrated stone in a movable altar or on the table where the eucharist is celebrated outside a place of worship (see no. 260).
    266. It is fitting to maintain the practice of enclosing in the altar or of placing under the altar relics of saints, even of non martyrs. Care must be taken to have solid evidence of the authenticity of such relics.
    267. Minor altars should be fewer in number. In new churches they should be placed in chapels separated in some way from the body of the church.
    268. At least one cloth should be placed on the altar out of reverence for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and the banquet that gives us his body and blood. The shape, size, and decoration of the altar cloth should be in keeping with the design of the altar. ‘The table of a fixed altar should be made of natural stone; this accords with age-long practice of the Church and its own symbolic meaning. Nevertheless the Bishops' Conference may authorize the use of some other generally accepted and solid material susceptible of good workmanship. The structure supporting the Table may be of any material so long as it is solid and durable'. [1]
    Thus, the Altar is both the altar of sacrifice (Heb. 13:10) and the table of the Lord around which the Paschal Banquet is served (1 Cor. 10:21). This serves to emphasize the dual metaphors of the Last Supper: that of both a sacrifice (proper for an Altar) and a meal (proper for a Table). It is also worth noting that the term for "altar" in Greek is translated literally as "sacrifice table". Thus, there is not the false "either/or" dichotomy that the self-styled 'traditionalists' claim there is on these matters.

    Communion Under Both Species:

    Council of Trent: CANON I.--If any one saith, that, by the precept of God, or, by necessity of salvation, all and each of the faithful of Christ OUGHT to receive both species of the most holy sacrament…let him be anathema. [2]
    This merely says that it cannot be declared a precept of God or a necessity of salvation that each faithful communicate under both kinds. But is it therefore wrong for the faithful to receive under both species??? This is a decision that is only competently made by the Church and as veteran Catholic apologist Dr. Art Sippo has noted on the matter, there were times in history where it was mandatory to receive under both kinds:
    Matters of Church discipline are not infallible or irreformable. Only dogmatic truths of the faith and those universal negative prohibitions which Pope John Paul II spoke about in Veritatis Splendor [are infallible or irreformable]. The Pope has the right and duty to set the tone for what is proper in our day and age. Indeed, what may be improper at one time may be proper at another time depending on the circumstances…In the 4th Century, the Popes mandated reception of Communion under both kinds in the city of Rome because the Manicheans (who considered wine to be evil) refused to receive the cup. At that time, the Pope enforced the discipline so that it was a serious sin to refuse the Precious Blood because such refusal was a sign of allegiance to the Manichean heresy…
    This why we have Popes. They are supposed to lead us where God wants the Church to go in the here-and-now. It is not proper to compare the disciplinary standards of a former time to our time in contradiction to the Pope's directives. [3]
    Thus far every listed element of this criticism fails upon closer examination to have any relevance whatsoever as to the validity of the Pauline liturgy or the assertion that the liturgy has been "Protestantized". This is not at all uncommon when the arguments of self styled 'traditionalists' (which on the surface sound quite convincing) are looked at with any degree of attention to church history. Finally, we get to the last three objections (Protestants at Vatican II, Altar Girls, and Lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist/Lay Readers). These will be addressed in reverse order starting with lay readers.

    Lay Readers:

    In the Tridentine Rite during Holy Week (since the Passion narratives are so long that normal protocol is not prudent), a Lay Reader will read the Passion narratives of the Gospel in English when the priest reads them in Latin. Now then, in the Pauline Rite the readers only read the First reading (OT) the Response Psalm, and the Second reading (NT epistle). At no time are they permitted to read the Gospel or preach a sermon which are duties only of the ordained. However, in the Tridentine Rite during Passion Week (the holiest week of the year), we have Lay Readers reading the Passion Narratives of the Gospels during the duration of the week!!! This writer doubts that any 'traditionalists' would assert that this deviation from the norm in any way makes the Tridentine Rite illicit or invalid for the duration of Holy Week!!! It seems a more feasible assumption to claim that the use of lay readers is merely a matter of procedure and is not a feature that (in and of itself) is an invalidating feature - or one which in any way diminishes - the Mass. As long as the readings are read in a clear voice then there is nothing inherently wrong with lay readers. As for validity or invalidity well there is only one way for a self-styled 'traditionalists' to answer this question without shooting themselves in the foot so no more needs to be said on this point.

    Lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist:

    Among the greatest concerns facing the liturgical reformers was the amount of time spent in the distribution of Communion. This is what the provision of the lay Eucharistic Minister was implemented to address. At the distribution of Communion in the Tridentine Mass, the priest recited a long formula in distributing Communion to each person. However, as the Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol noted:

    The ancient formula for Communion was formerly: "Corpus D.N.J.C. proficiat mihi sumenti et omnibus pro quibus hoc sacrificium attuli ad vitam et gaudiun sempiternum." It is unnecessary to remark that this is not a very ancient formula, such as that given in "De Sacramentis," which is very old. The Priest says: "Corpus Christi," and the faithful reply: "Amen." [4]
    Therefore, the current usage of "the Body of Christ" (Corpus Christi) in administering communion is the more ancient formula to use. Previously, since there was a single Priest at most Masses, this was the cause of quite a delay at times during which Communion was distributed. When a parish has a certain number of Masses being said in a day, this requires reducing the overlong length that administration of communion to large numbers of recipients can cause in larger parishes. Previously in some places additional Priests or Deacons were utilized to assist with Communion. However, in some places, this was not possible either due to lack of Priests or other commitments that reduce (or eliminate) the number of clergy that can aid in distribution of communion. To that end, the use of Lay ministers was instituted and while perhaps many churches use a few more then they really need; nevertheless the policy cannot be seen as illicit or demeaning of the Body of Christ which many self-styled 'traditionalists' - who do not understand Church history and ancient liturgical protocols very well - would proclaim.

    There has been released (as of July 2000) a revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000 bearing the signature of Pope John Paul II which tightens up some of these provisions a bit. It is intended to precede the soon-to-be revised Roman Missal, which is scheduled to be promulgated in the next couple of years. (The Third Edition of the Roman Missal was recently approved by Pope John Paul II in its Latin edition. What remains now is for translations from the Latin typical edition to be made and Rome is monitoring this process much more carefully than with previous editions of the Missal.) The revised GIRM is a welcoming addition after the last 25 years where the previous directives from the 1975 GIRM were ambiguous in spots. (This lent them to the possibility of abuses - a problem that has been widespread.) But getting back to the subject of Lay Eucharistic Ministers there is nothing wrong in other words with Extraordinary Ministers and of course they do not "invalidate" or "Protestantize" the Pauline Mass in any way unless St. Basil the Great, St. John Damascene, and other holy men renowned for their orthodoxy were really proto-Protestants. That is the sort of accusation a 'traditionalist' would have to make for their gripes about Communion in the hand or Lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist being problem areas at Mass from a validity or "irreverence" standpoint. (Since logically if lay people could receive by hand then lay ministers could administer the sacrament under the auspices of the presiding priest.)

    Altar Girls:

    To put it as bluntly as possible: since Pope John Paul II ruled definitively (and hence infallibly) in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that woman cannot be priests, this is not the issue that it once was. There was never anything intrinsically wrong with using female altar servers except perhaps for the "window" this arguably opened for those who were pushing to see women ordained to the priesthood. As the subject of woman priests has been dealt with decisively, this issue is no longer as weighty as it once was. While the role of the server has no bearing on the Mass’ validity, it should not be an issue at all but it is addressed here because of the constant carping that many 'traditionalists’ do about this policy. You would think female altar servers constituted "the abomination of desolation as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet" to listen to some of these self-styled 'traditionalists' talk. However, just because something is not wrong does not mean that it is automatically right or is a good policy. In light of the fact that women can never become priests (and that the server role can be recognized at least in part as a step towards higher ministry), it would be wise to restrict the role of server to boys only.

    Protestants at Vatican II:

    Yes, there were Protestants at Vatican II but they were there (along with the Eastern and Greek Orthodox) as official observers only. It is a popular lie of the self-styled 'traditionalists' to claim that these Protestant ministers had any active role in actually composing the liturgy of the Pauline Rite (except perhaps making a few suggestions, etc). Would this make the Council or the Liturgy invalid or somehow "tainted" then??? If so we can throw out the fourteenth Session of the Council of Trent!!! In a Decree from Trent at the thirteenth Session we will see that the decision regarding Communion under both species was delayed until the Protestants from Germany could come and be heard:

    Important episcopal causes shall be taken cognizance of by the Supreme Pontiff. The causes of bishops, when, on account of the quality of the crime objected, they have to appear (in person), shall be carried before the Sovereign Pontiff, and be by him decided.
    But whereas those, of the most noble province of Germany, who call themselves Protestants, desire to be heard by the holy Synod upon these said articles before they are defined, and for this end have asked for the public faith from the Synod, that they may be allowed to come hither in safety, dwell in this city, speak freely and set forth their sentiments before the Synod, and afterwards depart when they please; this holy Synod,-although it has looked forward with great earnestness for many months past for their coming, nevertheless, as an affectionate mother that groaneth and travaileth, most ardently desiring and labouring after this, that, amongst those who bear the Christian name, there may be no schisms, but that, even as all acknowledge the same God and Redeemer, so may all say the same thing, believe the same, think the same,-trusting in the mercy of God, and hoping that the result will be that they may be brought back to the most holy and salutary concord of one faith, hope, and charity, (and) yielding to them herein, hath, as far as the said Synod is concerned, given and granted, according to their request; a public assurance and faith, which they call a safe-conduct, of the tenor which will be set down below; and for their sakes It hath postponed the definition of those articles to the second next Session, which, that they may conveniently be present thereat, It hath indicted for the festival of the conversion of Saint Paul, which will be on the twenty-fifth day of the month of January of the ensuing year. And It furthermore ordains, that the sacrifice of the mass, on account of the close connexion between the two subjects, shall be treated of in the same Session; and that meanwhile It will treat of the sacraments of Penance and Extreme Unction in the next Session, which It hath decreed is to be held on the festival of Saint Catharine, virgin and martyr, which will be the twenty-fifth of November; and that at the same time, in both Sessions, the matter of reformation shall be proceeded with.
    The sacred and holy, general Synod of Trent,-lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legate and Nuncios of the holy Apostolic See presiding therein,-grants, as far as regards the holy Synod itself, to all and each one throughout the whole of Germany, whether ecclesiastics or Seculars, of whatsoever degree, estate, condition, quality they be, who may wish to repair to this oecumenical and general Council, the public faith and full security, which they call a safe-conduct, with all and each of the necessary and suitable clauses and decrees, even though they ought to be expressed specifically and not in general terms, and which it is Its wish shall be considered as expressed, so as that they may and shall have it in their power in all liberty to confer, make proposals, and treat on those things which are to be treated of in the said Synod; to come freely and safely to the said oecumenical Council, and there remain and abide, and propose therein, as well in writing as by word of mouth, as many articles as to them shall seem good, and to confer and dispute, without any abuse or contumely, with the Fathers, or with those who may have been selected by the said holy Synod; as also to withdraw whensoever they shall think fit. It hath furthermore seemed good to the holy Synod, that if, for their greater liberty and security, they desire that certain judges be deputed on their behalf, in regard of crimes whether committed, or that may be committed, by them, they shall themselves nominate those who are favourable towards them, even though the said crimes should be ever so enormous and should savour of heresy. [5]
    Due to a variety of circumstances the Protestants never managed to arrive. However, intent is as valid as actual commission of an action as we are taught in catechism class (see Matt. 5:27-28) so that the Fathers of Trent intended to have Protestants there to assist them in formulating policy (although they never arrived) is just as good as if they actually did so. Therefore, if such a policy invalidates Vatican II (VC II) then it invalidates Trent also. Those who argue about a Protestant presence at VC II need to read up on the Decrees of Trent. In fact, they need to read up on Church history period and quit making the kind of misinformed and presumptuous proclamations which never cease to blow up in their face when examined with any degree of detail. Not one single argument in the last url or this one about so-called "Protestantizing" features can stand up under scrutiny. Indeed thus far in the Macro url and in these Micro urls, the arguments against the Pauline Missal have been "weighed in the scales and found wanting" (Dan. 5:27). Only one issue remains: the words of Institution. If this criticism can likewise withstand scrutiny then the 'traditionalist' who denigrates the Pauline Missal is not in any sense a faithful Catholic at all.

    V - Changes to the Words of Institution:

    All that is required for a valid Mass is a valid consecration. (Thus in dire emergencies or in situations where it is not possible to say a full Mass, this is the essential part that must be valid for a valid Eucharist to be confected.) So if the self-styled 'traditionalist' is capable of proving their point here then they need not worry about any other arguments against the Mass. The Mass in ANY rite stands or falls based on the validity of its consecration. If we look at the Tridentine Mass we find that the words of consecration used there are as follows:

    Hoc est enim Corpus meum
    (For this is my Body)
    Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum
    (For this is the Chalice of my Blood of the new and eternal covenant: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins)
    We are told that we cannot tamper with these words because they are the "form" of the Sacrament. First of all, who is it that determines the valid matter and form of a sacrament??? It is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church who has always made these determinations, not individuals exercising their own private judgment. For all of the 'traditionalists' ramblings on this subject, they never seem to stop and ask themselves why these exact words are "necessary" or where they are from.

    If we look at Scripture we find that the words of institution used at the Last Supper are listed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and also in 1 Corinthians where St. Paul speaks of receiving them. Let us look at the words closely:

    Matthew 26:26-28:
    hoc est corpus meum (This is my Body)
    Hic est enim sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum (This is my Blood of the new covenant, it will be shed for many for the forgiveness of sins)

    Obviously the words from the Tridentine formula did not come solely from the Gospel of Matthew as they are said either in the consecration of the host or of the chalice.

    Mark 14:22-24
    hoc est corpus meum (This is my Body )
    Hic est sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur. (This is my Blood of the new covenant, it will be shed for many)
    Obviously they did not come from Mark's Gospel as they are said in the Tridentine Rite for either the consecration of the host or of the chalice either.
    Luke 22:19-20
    Hoc est corpus meum (This is my Body )
    Hic est calix novum testamentum in sanguine meo, qui pro vobis fundetur. (This cup is the new covenant in my Blood, it will be shed for you)
    In all three Gospels where the Last Supper narratives are recorded, nowhere does Our Lord say exactly the words spoken of by the priest during consecration of either the host or the chalice in the Tridentine Rite!!! The Council of Trent even notes that the words are taken "some from Matthew and some from Luke" and of course "mysterium fidei" was never said by Our Lord at all (according to the Gospels and St. Paul).

    The only other place where the words of the Last Supper are discussed is 1 Corinthians which are not the words of Our Lord but instead St. Paul's exposition on the words of Our Lord.

    1 Corinthians 11:23-25
    hoc est corpus meum (This is my Body)
    Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo sanguine (This cup is the new covenant in my Blood)
    As you can see, in every place where the Last Supper is chronicled, nowhere does Our Lord say the precise formula of the Tridentine Mass (in fact, nowhere in any of the Passion Narratives does Our Lord say "mysterium fidei" in the context of the Last Supper). Therefore, those who say that the Pauline Rite "changes" the words of institution when the precise words of institution in the Tridentine Rite as spoken by the priest appear nowhere in Scripture exactly as they are in the Tridentine Missal (and in fact other words have been added that are not in Scripture) have a lot of explaining to do. Also, if you look closely the words from the Gospel of Luke "this is my body which shall be given up for you" are almost identical to the Pauline Consecration formula for the Host. Likewise, the words used in the consecration of the chalice are almost (but not quite) identical to the words that St. Paul used in 1 Corinthians 11:25 which he said he "received" from the Lord (obviously via Apostolic Tradition).

    The Pauline consecration formula in other words, is much closer to the literal words of Scripture then the Tridentine formulary for both the Host and the Chalice. Are these 'traditionalists' going to say that the literal words of Our Lord from the Scriptures would not be sufficient for validity of Consecration??? This writer certainly hopes not because that would be blasphemy. Our Lord’s words are sacred and not to be spoken of derisively. Likewise, if the Church decides to use a formulary that is more literal scripturally then that is her prerogative. The formula is only invalid if the words of Our Lord are. And these so-called loyalists (who claim to be loyal to the Church by disobeying her) are hypocrites since the same authority that authorized the Tridentine formulary yesterday authorizes the Pauline formulary today (Matt 16:19, 18:18).

    And another thing, the use of the words "for all" as opposed to "for many" can only be legitimately disputed by many self-styled 'traditionalists' with regards to the consecration of the chalice if they are intrinsic to the action of the Consecration itself. There is also the issue of Jesus' death on the Cross and its efficacy. Did He die only for the elect for was His death for all mankind??? Let us look at what the Council of Trent said on the matter to put this subject into proper context:

    Decree on Justification (Trent - Session 6):
    On the dispensation and mystery of Christ's advent.
    Whence it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fullness of the time was come, sent unto men, Jesus Christ, His own Son-who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised-that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed as a propitiator, through
    faith in his blood, for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.
    Who are justified through Christ.
    But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death… [6]
    Therefore, logically if Jesus died for all, then his Blood was shed for all. Therefore, obviously the Tridentine formula, reflects the results as opposed to the intent. That is, Jesus died for all, but not all accept the benefits of his death. This is obviously a valid way of conveying the Gospel message. But (in a truly Hebrew fashion) one can make the same claim just as strongly for the assertion that He died for all; therefore His intent manifested in the context of His sacrificial offering is just as legitimate. Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Letter Annum Sacrum explained it in the following manner:
    Christ reigns not only by natural right as the Son of God, but also by a right that He has acquired. For He it was who snatched us "from the power of darkness" (Colossians i., 13), and "gave Himself for the redemption of all" (I Timothy ii., 6). Therefore not only Catholics, and those who have duly received Christian baptism, but also all men, individually and collectively, have become to Him "a purchased people" (I Peter ii., 9). St. Augustine's words are therefore to the point when he says: "You ask what price He paid? See what He gave and you will understand how much He paid. The price was the blood of Christ. What could cost so much but the whole world, and all its people? The great price He paid was paid for all"  (T. 120 on St. John). [7]
    There is theologically nothing wrong with the words "for all" in the consecration of the chalice and those who claim there is contradict both Pope Leo XIII and the Council of Trent. It boils down in essence to the "glass half full/glass half empty" analogy. What is the determining factor here for "validity/invalidity" is the essential words, the form of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

    If the different formularies of consecration of both the Host and the Chalice are looked at in the history of the Church, there is only one parallel in virtually every instance of record: The words "This is My Body" for the Host, and "This is My Blood" for the Chalice. Therefore, unless the consecrations prior to Trent at some points in history (in divers rites) were defective, these words are the only words of consecration necessary to validly confect the elements of sacrifice into the Body and Blood of Our Lord. So the argument against the validity of the consecrations in the Pauline Rite is obviously erroneous because if it was true than it would disprove not only the Pauline Rite but numerous other rites throughout history. The Maronites for instance used "for all" in their consecrations for about 1,000 years and no one has ever claimed that their consecrations were in any way invalid. Thus, there is no way that "for all" in the Pauline consecration can in any way be invalid either. As Matt1618 noted in his essay defending the Pauline Rite Mass:

    St. Paul reports receiving this consecratory formula from the Lord himself (by apostolic tradition: v. 23). Notice, however, that he did not use the words "for many" or "for all". The same with St. Luke (Lk. 22:14-20). What so-called Traditionalist would have the nerve to say that his consecrations were not valid because Paul does not use the phrase 'for many'! [8]
    Obviously unless St. Paul and St. Luke are repudiated, the party in error has got to be the self-styled 'traditionalists' who think they are more Catholic than the Pope, more authoritative than the Magisterium of the Church, and more Apostolic then Sts. Luke and Paul on deciding these matters. Apparently they consider themselves better schooled in theology then St. Thomas Aquinas also since the Angelic Doctor has weighed in on this issue and his position is not that of the self-styled 'traditionalists' that is for sure:
    [T]he form of the other sacraments implies the use of the matter, as for instance, baptizing, or signing; but the form of this sacrament implies merely the consecration of the matter, which consists in transubstantiation, as when it is said, "This is My body," or, "This is the chalice of My blood."But the form of this sacrament is pronounced as if Christ were speaking in person, so that it is given to be understood that the minister does nothing in perfecting this sacrament, except to pronounce the words of Christ…
    Reply to Objection 4. Some have contended that this sacrament cannot be accomplished by uttering the aforesaid words, while leaving out the rest, especially the words in the Canon of the Mass. But that this is false can be seen both from Ambrose's words quoted above, as well as from the fact that the Canon of the Mass is not the same in all places or times, but various portions have been introduced by various people.
    Accordingly it must be held that if the priest were to pronounce only the aforesaid words with the intention of consecrating this sacrament, this sacrament would be valid because the intention would cause these words to be understood as spoken in the person of Christ, even though the words were pronounced without those that precede. The priest, however, would sin gravely in consecrating the sacrament thus, as he would not be observing the rite of the Church. [9]
    So the only words generally seen as required for a valid consecration are the following words which are in all Eucharistic Anaphoras of the Pauline Mass: This is My Body  and This is My Blood. (Or words which convey the same sense of those words.) Thus, the argument about for many or for all is superfluous nonsense. It is interesting that the Maronites used "for all" in their consecrations for over 1,000 years before reuniting with the Apostolic See and at no time did anyone claim that their consecrations were invalid for stating "for all" rather then "for many." But beyond that there is also solid argument that "pro multis" is a poor Latin translation from the Greek text to begin with. As Dr. Art Sippo has noted on the matter:
    The original Biblical texts do not use "for many." They use the Greek phrase "hoi pollon" which is best translated as "for the masses." (Quite frankly, I take issue with the Latin translation "pro multis." I think that "pro multitudinis" is better.) Our Lord was saying that he was offering himself not only for those who were present at the Last Supper but for the masses of mankind. There are several places in scripture where it is made clear that Our Lord came for the salvation of all men (e.g., 1 John 2,2). This has been affirmed time and again by the Magisterium especially against the Calvinist error of "limited atonement" and the elitism of the Jansenists. [10]
    In reality the self-styled 'traditionalists' have absolutely no case whatsoever which by now should be rather obvious. The claim against Anaphora 2 that it was not "explicitly" sacrificial enough backfires on them. As the Catholic Encyclopedia noted (siding with St. Thomas and St. Ambrose), there are only a few necessary words that are needed for a valid consecration:
    After the elimination of the Offertory and Communion, there remains only the Consecration as the part in which the true sacrifice is to be sought. In reality, that part alone is to be regarded as the proper sacrificial act which is such by Christ's own institution. Now the Lord's words are: "This is my Body; this is my Blood". The Oriental Epiklesis cannot be considered as the moment of consecration for the reason that it is absent in the Mass in the West and is known to have first come into practice after Apostolic times. The sacrifice must also be at the point where Christ personally appears as High Priest and human celebrant acts only as his representative. The priest does not however assume the personal part of Christ either at the Offertory or Communion. He only does so when he speaks the words: "This is My Body; this is My Blood", in which there is no possible reference to the body and blood of the celebrant. [11]
    Obviously the "pro multis" argument has no merit whatsoever as a proposed "invalidating" feature of the Pauline Mass. In fact, Pope St. Pius V’s De Defectibus makes the following key notation about the words of Consecration:
    If anyone removes or changes anything in the Form of Consecration of the Body and Blood, and by this change of words does not signify the same thing as these words do, he does not confect the Sacrament. [12]
    So it is by the words that signify the same meaning as the ones for the Tridentine consecration. Pope Paul VI in the Apostolic Constitution promulgating the Revised Missal specifies unambiguously that nothing has changed with the essence of the Mass. Therefore, the consecrations — although worded differently — signify the exact same thing as the Tridentine words of consecration do. In the Encyclical Mysterium Fidei promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965, the Pontiff reiterated in no uncertain terms that Church teaching on the Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass had not changed and could not change (see the url 4 of this examination). The Magisterium has spoken and the Pauline consecration rendering has been sustained by the Roman Pontiff himself (Matt. 16:19). (*) Thus there is no reason whatsoever for a faithful Catholic to continue with the discussion with regards to validity or dignity of the rite.

    VI - Psychological Factors:

    As none of the changes made to the liturgy in any way infringes upon unalterable Tradition, none of them are valid excuses for avoiding the Pauline liturgy. (Those with the licit option to attend the Tridentine Mass in their dioceses can do so of course.) The only arguments can be made are ones of personal preference and not for the invalidity of the Pauline Rite. (And arguments about any rite being "superior" are by their very nature very subjective judgments.) Objectively speaking, since the merits of the Mass are infinite regardless of the rite used, arguments from any position except those of personal preference are illegitimate and those who claim otherwise are opposing themselves to the judgment of the Church. Indeed often statements about one rite or another being "superior", one rite providing "greater motivation to pray better" or the claims that "I get more out of it" are statements that this writer has heard different Catholics make about the various rites sanctioned by the Catholic Church. (Including some converts who have told him that understanding what is said at mass with the newer rite was a pivotal part of their conversion process.) Whichever liturgy this attitude is taken towards, it is a dangerous principle for reasons that will now be outlined in brief.

    One constantly hears in the west that many people do not go to church because they 'do not get anything out of it’. Now many Catholics claim that they attend a rite of mass that they are ‘motivated to pray better’ with, and a lot of them justify rending the cloak of Christ by partaking in liturgy with groups that are schismatic either de facto or de jure. Hence, that this attitude can lead to shipwreck of the Faith, it must be repudiated. The reader can start by asking himself or herself why they are "better motivated" - if indeed they are - at a particular liturgy. They need to ask themselves why they "get more out of" one liturgy than another. They need to really focus on the fact that their motivation may seriously be misplaced - because it is. An easterner would hear a statement like "I do not get anything out of it" and be shocked that someone could be so shallow, so selfish. The reason for this is that the Easterners recognize oftentimes that what one "gets out of it", is the inestimable privilege of glorifying Almighty God. This has nothing to do with what you the reader subjectively feel. Instead, it is recognizing that Mass is to honour the Lord of Hosts. Ergo, if you cannot place the honour of the Lord above your own personal motivations, then you are not approaching worship as a Catholic should. This is how a Catholic who prefers a rite of mass that is not licitly celebrated in their dioceses needs to approach this subject, lest they be like the "spiritual gluttons" spoken of by the great mystic and Doctor of the Church St. John of the Cross:

    You will find that many of these persons [spiritual gluttons] are very insistent with their spiritual masters to be granted that which they desire, extracting it from them almost by force; if they be refused it they become as peevish as children and go about in great displeasure, thinking that they are not serving God when they are not allowed to do that which they would. For they go about clinging to their own will and pleasure, which they treat as though it came from God; and immediately their directors take it from them, and try to subject them to the will of God, they become peevish, faint-hearted, and fall away. These persons think that their own satisfaction and pleasure are the satisfaction and service of God…

    These persons who are thus inclined to such pleasures have another great imperfection, which is that they are very weak and remiss in journeying upon the hard road of the Cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally has its face set against all self-denial, which is devoid of sweetness

    And many of these would have God will that which they themselves will, and are fretful at having to will that which He wills, and find it repugnant to accommodate their will to that of God. Hence it happens to them that oftentimes they think that therein they find not their own will and pleasure is not the will of God; and that on the other hand, when they themselves find satisfaction, God is satisfied. Thus they measure themselves by God acting quite contrary to that which He Himself taught in the Gospel, saying: That he who should lose his will for His sake, the same shall gain it and he that desires to gain it, the same shall lose it.

    These persons likewise find it irksome when they are commanded to do that wherein they take no pleasure. Because they aim at spiritual sweetness and consolation, they are too weak to have the fortitude and bear the trials of perfection. They resemble those who run fretfully away from  everything that is hard, and take offense at the Cross, wherein consist the delight of the spirit. The more spiritual a thing is, the more irksome they find it, for as they seek to go about spiritual matters with complete freedom and according to the inclination of their will, it causes them great sorrow and repugnance to enter upon the narrow way, which says Christ, is the way of life. [13]

    The reader needs to honestly assess if they are acting in the same manner as the "spiritual gluttons" outlined in St. John of the Cross’ work. This writer asserts that anyone who feels the need to disobey their ecclesiastical superiors in any area (except of course for a command to sin) is spiritually immature. A spiritually mature Catholic, who prefers a rite of mass that is not licitly celebrated in their dioceses, does not disobey their ecclesiastical superiors by attending illegally celebrated masses by clerics who do not have the communion of the Holy Father. This will be dealt with in greater detail in the upcoming treatise urls lest the reader falsely ascribe as "non-authoritative" or "optional" teachings or directives which are in reality binding. (Or ascribing ecclesiastical communion to those who do not have it.) But first this url (and the examination of the two rites of mass) needs to be drawn to a conclusion.

    VII - Brief Summary of Mass Sections:

    The Pauline Rite actually 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, and the rite is simplified in the tradition of the "plain" Roman liturgy of the first millennium. These are traits absent from the Tridentine Rite of Mass. There is also often no tabernacle on the altar, the words of Consecration are taken from the Gospels almost literally, there are a multiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers, and there is the Responsorial Psalm (as spoken of by Sts. Augustine and Leo the Great). Also, the Epiklesis has been restored, the petitions of the faithful before the Offertory have been restored: further ancient features that are absent from the Tridentine Mass. Finally, many of the embellishments added in later centuries have been removed (or reduced). The language of the liturgy is in the ancient plural form, the canon is pronounced in an audible voice, the laity are active in the celebration of Mass, and there is a degree of fluidity to the rite while still maintaining a basic structural form. These are all features prevalent to the "pristine norm" of the early liturgies and they are also part of the Pauline Rite of Mass today. This does not mean that the Revised Missal is perfect or could not be better conformed to the guidelines of the governing Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. However, what is there is in its elements an organic development out of the existing tradition even if the methodology of the reform left a bit to be desired.

    VIII - Conclusion:

    To sum up the previous examination, the Pauline Rite is neither illicit nor is it a sacrilege. Instead, it is a valid rite of Mass determined by the only authority competent to make this determination: the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The self-styled 'traditionalists' who say differently (as the evidence presented in the last three urls amply show) are woefully in error on every significant point. As the next two urls (and subsequent ones) will show, this is a recurring pattern among those in the 'traditionalist' movement who make similar objections and arguments from a doctrinal standpoint rather than taking a personal view that some of the non-doctrinal policies may not be prudent ones. If despite difficulties with procedure they still complied with the decisions of the Teaching Office, there would be no problems but their criticisms go much deeper then just these. They proceed instead from additional fundamental flaws to their methodology which the subsequent urls of this treatise will reveal in detail. To again paraphrase Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman and summarize the conclusion of this three url examination: "To be deep in Liturgical history is to cease to be a 'traditionalist'".

    Many indult-Mass devotees mistakenly equate the new rite with aberrations, forgetting that, without enforcement of norms, the old rite would go in exactly the same direction. After all, if a priest or other minister has no intention of following the rubrics and his superior has no intention of making him do so, were a liturgy handwritten by the Son of God himself, it would be ruined as well. [Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas]
    (*) Pope Paul VI explicitly confirmed that "for all" was a valid translation of the underlying Greek text which in the Vulgate was translated as "pro multis" when the topic came up in 1970. (With regards to the English, Spanish, and Italian vernacular translations in which "pro multis" was translated as "for all".) Remember, the Church's infallibility has both a primary and a secondary object. To the second object of infallibility belongs "theological conclusion derived from a formally revealed truth by aid of the natural truth of reason" (cf. CDF Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae §2; Dr. Ludwig Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma pg. 299). Thus, any theological conclusion which directly impacts the central mysteries of the faith would by logical extension be covered and there is nothing more central to the Faith then the Sacrifice of Calvary renewed "from the rising of the sun to the setting" whereby "a clean oblation is offered" to the Lord of Hosts by the Gentiles (cf. Malachias 1:11).


    [1] "General Instruction of the Roman Missal", Fourth Edition, Ch. V Section IV (March 27, 1975)

    [2] Council of Trent Session XXI: "Canons on Communion", Canon I (July 16, 1562)

    [3] Dr. Art Sippo: "The Magisterium and False Ecumenism" (c. 1998)

    [4] Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol: "The Mass of the Western Rites" excerpts (c. 1934)

    [5] Council of Trent Session XIII: "Decree on Reformation" §8 (October 11, 1551)

    [6] Council of Trent Session VI: "Decree on Justification" §2-3 (January 13, 1547)

    [7] Pope Leo XIII: Encyclical Letter "Annum Sacrum" (May 25, 1899)

    [8] Matt1618: "In Defense of the Novus Ordo Mass" (c. 1998)

    [9] St. Thomas Aquinas: "Summa Theologiae", III, 78,1 (circa 1270-73)

    [10] Dr. Art Sippo: "Detection and Overthrow of the 'Traditionalist Catholics' Falsely-So-Called", Part IV (c. 2000).

    [11] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "The Sacrifice of the Mass" (c. 1913)

    [12] Pope Pius V:  "De Defectibus"  (c. 1570)

    [13] St. John of the Cross: "Dark Night of the Soul",  Ch’s VI and VII pgs 55, 57, 59-60 (circa 1600)

    Additional Notes:

    Url 5 owes much in the area of structure to an article written by Deacon Ed Faulk. Parts indicated with a * were ideas from the article in subject matter discussed (although the arguments themselves in those sections are those of the author). However, parts indicated with a ** were taken nearly verbatim from Deacon Faulk's article obtained at the following link: http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/valmass.html

    The information on the altar from the "General Instructions on the Roman Missal" was obtained at the following link: http://www.cfpeople.org/Books/GIRM/GIRMp6.htm#T5

    All citations from the Council of Trent were obtained at the following link: http://history.hanover.edu/early/trent.htm

    The first passage from Dr. Art Sippo is from his writing "The Magisterium and False Ecumenism" and was obtained at the following link: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/contra.html

    The citations from "The Mass Of The Western Rites" by the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol were taken from the online version of his book which is located at the following link: http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/MASS.TXT

    The citation from Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical "Annum Sacrum" (On the Consecration of the Sacred Heart) was obtained at the following link: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13annum.htm

    The citation from Matt1618's essay "In Defense of the Novus Ordo Mass" was obtained at the following link: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/novusordo.html

    The citations from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologicae were obtained at the following link: http://newadvent.org/summa/407801.htm

    The passage from De Defectibus as well as the second passage from Dr. Art Sippo is from a project co-authored by him, Matt1618, and this author to address numerous errors of extremist Integrists. They were both taken from Part IV of the project which is located at the following link: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/part4.html

    The citations from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) article "The Sacrifice of the Mass" were obtained at the
    following link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm

    The citation from St. John of the Cross’ masterpiece "Dark Night of the Soul" was obtained at the following link: http://www.ccel.org/j/john_cross/dark_night/dark_night.html

    The citation from Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas was taken from his essay  "A Baker's Dozen of Obstacles to an Appreciation of the Sacraments" and obtained at the following link:  http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0551.html

    ©2003, 2000, "A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism'" (Part 5), 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.


    Go to Next Section of "Prescription Against Traditionalism" Treatise


    Return to Index Page "Prescription Against Traditionalism" Treatise


    Go to Ultratraditionalist Page


    Return to Matt's Catholic Apologetics Page