On this feast of St. Pope Pius V (+1572) I drill into one of his most famous acts as Roman Pontiff. Today we look into and listen to his Apostolic Constitution Quo primum, by which he promulgated the editio princeps of the Missale Romanum.
Of course there was an somewhat different version in an edition prior to the 1570 edition, in 1474, but for all our purposes, the 1570 is the first.
This history changing document came out of turbulent times. The Council of Trent had just closed and Pius, as Pope, was tasked with the standardization of the Church’s liturgy as a bulwark against attacks on the Catholic Faith on many fronts. Catholic identity was shaken by the theological revolt in the north, uncertain teachings, lack of unity in the expression of worship and even the menace of invasion by Islamic armies.
Because there is a reciprocal relation between what we believe and how we pray, our worship plays a key role in the shaping and maintaining of our Catholic identity in a difficult world.
However, centuries after the editio princeps of the “Tridentine” Roman Missal, decades after Paul VI issued his own Apostolic Constitution for the promulgation of the so-called Novus Ordo of the Roman Rite, confusing claims remain about the juridical force of Pius V’s Quo primum.
Some people maintained that Paul VI absolutely abolished the older, traditional “Tridentine” form of Mass with his own Constitution Missale Romanum.
Some people maintain that Pius V’s Quo primum can never be abrogated or abolished or modified even by other Popes and that it still has force of law.
While not trying to get too canonical, we drill into the questions, draw some conclusions, and hear the words of Pius V in their 16th century splendor.
You may surprised at how modern some of the saintly Pope’s actions sound.