Chartres 2006
Photo Story

Remnant Tours

Click Here to visit
THE REMNANT Scrapbook!


See Remnant

If It’s Just the “Extraordinary Form” What Do You Expect?
Louis Tofari POSTED: 8/8/13




News has been abuzz about the recent disciplinary action taken by the Congregation of the Religious against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI), specifically (and apparently centering upon) the order that their priests must cease offering the traditional Roman Mass as of August 12, unless they have individually obtained special permission.

A general outcry has resulted amongst those of a traditionalist bent, leading to a wailing and gnashing of teeth, the former out of worry of what the future holds for the traditional Roman Mass, and the latter in anger against the most recent injustice committed against the venerable rite.

There have been those who are quick to defend the legal aspects of the matter per Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, while also claiming that the Congregation’s decree is undoing the pope-emeritus’ liturgical reforms. However, the friars have been more accurate in summarizing the reality of things when they stated in response to the decree’s objectors: “Francis has not contradicted Benedict’s reforms”.[1]

Pope Francis is indeed continuing in the way of Pope Benedict’s “reforms” – for he has yet to correct the liturgical fallacy latent in the Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae. These documents did confirm that the traditional Roman Mass had never been abrogated, but both contain an Achilles Heel in relation to the New Mass – they ignored that it is theologically-deficient and was not properly promulgated.

Thus instead of saying that in its theology the True Mass is diametrically opposed to the Novus Ordo, Summorum Pontificum affirms that they are “one and the same rite”. Instead of stating that in logical consequence that Quo Primum was never abrogated – or that the proper legislation for promulgating the New Mass was lacking – and thus the Mass of All Ages is still de jure the liturgical norm and official rite of the Roman Church, it has been given the legal term of “extraordinary form”, while the Consilium’s revolution has been deemed the “ordinary form”.

Hence in consequence of the erroneous legal labels of “extraordinary” and “ordinary”, the  Novus Ordo Missae continues to be regarded as the liturgical norm of the Roman Rite, while the Immemorial Mass takes second place in precedence not only in law, but more importantly in theology in expressing the Faith. This latter crucial point has been further compounded by Universae Ecclesiae, which reiterated the unacceptable condition of the 1984 Indult, that the theological orthodoxy of the New Mass must not be called into question by those desiring the Roman Mass.

This Achilles Heel – that the New Rite is theologically sound and was properly promulgated and thus has a right to exist and even supersedes the Tridentine Rite – becomes even more vulnerable with the addition of a “Reform of the Reform” mentality; that is, the New Mass has some issues, but these can be fixed by melding it with the Old Mass. This denies the reality though that the Novus Ordo Missae has a deformed nature (an ecumenical foundation) and thus cannot be reformed.

All of these problems find their synthesis in the term “extraordinary form”, which implicitly denies the reality of the theological and canonical status of the traditional Roman Mass – thus as I have stated in previous Remnant articles, the essential fight for our Rite is far from over.

Nor can the battle for the Mass of All Ages be ultimately won if it is conceded that the Novus Ordo Missae is the “ordinary form”, is “one and the same rite” with the traditional Roman Mass, and is a legitimate theological expression of the Catholic Faith – because as Michael Davies once wrote: “Let it be made clear once and for all, opposition to the new Mass is based on theological and not cultural considerations…”.[2] Thus the battleground must be first and foremost on the doctrinal plane and not on the grounds of accidentals or esthetics (after all, beauty is the expression of Truth).[3]

As for those currently itching to make legal arguments for the FFI and the traditional Mass, while these are certainly important, we must face the fact that ecclesiastical laws will only be applied as much as the seated judge sees fit – and as has been frequently witnessed during the post-conciliar era, those laws that support Tradition are generally struck down, obfuscated or circumvented by the liberal-controlled Curia, and not held up. Consider the illegal actions taken against Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society of St. Pius X between 1974 and 1975 – even to the point that his right to an ecclesiastical trial was (via political machinations) unjustly denied, causing His Excellency to famously quip: “even the Communists would at least grant you a kangaroo trial!”[4]

In conclusion, it must be recognized that “it’s the Mass that matters” because it is the most visible aspect of our struggle against Modernism and to restore the Catholic Faith, whole and entire. So while the True Mass is certainly our banner in this supernatural conflict, it is not the war in itself. Holding to this complete position will not win any popularity contest in the mainstream Church, even amongst many attracted to the traditional Mass, but it is the only real way in which complete victory will finally be obtained, for the salvation of souls and glory of God.


1 Extracted from the title of June 31st article published by the National Catholic Register, “Francis Has Not Contradicted Benedict’s Reforms, Say Franciscans of the Immaculate”.

2 The New Mass (Augustine Pamphlets, 1977).

3 To this end, there are many excellent books available from Angelus Press that deal specifically with the issues of the Church crisis and the errors of Modernism, as well as the Novus Ordo Missae, such as: The Mass of All Time, Pope Paul’s New Mass and The Roman Rite Destroyed

4. Cf. the book, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican and Marcel Lefebvre: A Biography for details.

  HOME    |    PRINT SUBSCRIBE    |    E-EDITION    |    ADVERTISE    |    NEWS    |    ARTICLES   |    RESOURCES    |    ABOUT    |    CONTACT
Web Format and Content   ©  1996-2010 Remnant Press