IMPORTANT: PCED response to two “dubia” about “legitimacy” in Universae Ecclesiae

I am on the road, and it is hard for me to work with this, but here is a first go at something which I think is pretty important.

The following article copy-pasted from the PDF of the 8/23/2012 edition of The Wanderer.

Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Issues Response Favorable To Traditionalists

A bishop who wishes to remain anonymous recently submitted two dubia to the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission [Actually, it’s PCED.], regarding the interpretation of “legitimacy” in the 2011 instruction Universae Ecclesiae, n. 19. The response from the commission is conciliatory to hard-line traditionalist groups [ehem… and not so “hard line” also.  Who wrote this?] such as the SSPX, because Rome is only requiring devotees of the Extraordinary Form Mass to acknowledge that the Ordinary Form is “legitimate” from the standpoint of human (ecclesiastical) law, not necessarily from the standpoint of divine law. [That seemed reasonable to me, since Summorum Pontificum is a juridical document.] It also means Rome is not requiring Catholics who want access to the Extraordinary Form Mass to admit that such innovations as altar girls and Communion in the hand are acceptable in God’s sight. We reprint below the letter submitted by the bishop and the response of the pontifical commission.

The author of the bishop’s letter is a retired theology professor. He passed that letter and the Roman response to The Wanderer after the response was forwarded to him by the bishop concerned.

Two Dubia Submitted To The Pontifical Commission [Alas, we don’t have the date, though I think we can assume that it was fairly recent.]

In article 19 of the commission’s instruction of April 30, 2011, UniversaeEcclesiae (UE), it is laid down that those Catholics who desire celebrations of the Eucharist in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (using the 1962 Missal) may not support, or be members of, any groups which “challenge the validity or legitimacy” (validitatem vel legitimitatem impugnent) of the ordinary form.

While very few still question the validity of Mass celebrated with the reformed Roman Missal, certain prominent “traditionalist” groups, individuals, and publications have been openly and defiantly challenging its legitimacy.  [In a nutshell, while most will admit that Paul VI had the juridical, legislative authority to impose the Novus Ordo, he didn’t have the – let’s put it this way – moral or even religious authority.  He had the right/power but he didn’t really have the right.] However, there often appears to be confusion and conflicting assumptions in these circles as to how, precisely, the latter word is to be understood. As a result, it is not always clear to those priests wishing to serve Catholics attached to the traditional liturgy whether or not some of these folks are in fact in compliance with this requirement of the Apostolic See enunciated in UE, n. 19.

In order, therefore, to clarify this matter and facilitate a consistent pastoral application of article 19, could the Commission graciously consider and respond to the following two dubia? [He set this up well.]

1. Whether legitimitas in UE, article 19, is to be understood as meaning:

(a) duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law (ius ecclesiasticum); [let’s call that 1A] or

(b) in accord with both ecclesiastical law and divine law (ius divinum), that is, neither doctrinally unorthodox nor otherwise displeasing to God. [1B]

2. If (b) above represents the mind of the Commission in regard to the meaning of legitimitas, whether UE, n. 19 is then to be understood as allowing access to Mass in the extraordinary form:

(a) only to those Catholics who  do not challenge the legitimacy of any specific text or practice whatsoever that has been duly approved by either universal or local ecclesiastical law for use in celebrating the ordinary form; [altar girls, Communion in the hand, etc. – 2A] or

(b) to those faithful mentioned in (a) [2A] and also to those who acknowledge in principle the legitimacy of Masses celebrated according to the reformed Roman Missal and its General Instruction, but not the legitimacy of certain specific practices which, while not mandated therein, are permitted as options by universal or local liturgical law. [altar girls, Communion in the hand, EMHC’s, etc., are all permitted.  They are actually deviations from the norm (i.e. male only service, Communion on the tongue, distribution by clergy, etc.]

The second dubium has in mind those many traditionally inclined Catholics who accept the legitimacy (in sense l [b] above [the Novus Ordo is “legitimate” by both Church law and divine law]) of ordinary-form Masses in which more traditional options are used, [I am not sure the questioner gets this wording right here, but go on…] but who regard as wrong and displeasing to God certain practices which were for many centuries universally disapproved and forbidden by the Church but which are now permitted by the local liturgical law of many or most dioceses or episcopal conferences (e.g., Communion given in the hand, female altar service, and the use of extraordinary lay ministers of Communion).  [Clear?]

Rome’s Response

Pontificia Commissio Ecclesia Dei

Prot. 156/2009 [WOAH  2009?  This goes back a while.  So, the questions raised were raised a long time ago and were recast in a new form after UE came out, or the PCED decided to economize and not open another protocol number and use a new folder.  If it were not something that was a continuation, it would have a protocol of 2012.  Anyway, Father’s tired and his brain hurts.]
Vatican City, 23 May 2012

Your Excellency,

This Pontifical Commission has received, via your Excellency’s good offices, a copy of a correspondence from [name blacked out] placing before the Commission two dubia as to the interpretation of article 19 of this Commission’s Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.

The first [dubium] asked whether legitimas in UE, article 19, is to be understood as meaning:

(a) Duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law (ius ecclesiasticum); or

(b) In accord with both ecclesiastical law and divine law (ius divinum), that is, neither doctrinally unorthodox nor otherwise displeasing to God.

This Pontifical Commission would limit itself to saying that legitimas is to be understood in the sense of 1(a). The second [dubium] is responded to by this answer. [Interesting.  They answer the 1st dubium.  Instead of then going on to say to the 2nd dubium either yes or no explicitly, the response says no (that is, it is not to be considered “legitimate” also in the sense of ius divinum, that is, stick with the answer we just gave you.  In other words, it is A (ius ecclesiasticum and not also ius divinum) but we don’t want to go into the weeds.]

With the hope that Your Excellency will communicate the contents of this letter to the individual concerned, this Pontifical Commission takes this opportunity to renew its sentiments of esteem.

Sincerely yours in Christ

Mons. Guido Pozzo

My impression is “When you get the answer you want, don’t keep asking.”   The PCED answered ius ecclesiasticum (at least) and then stopped.   “‘Shut up!’, they explained.”, isn’t quite it, but I’ll take it.

By this response, the PCED is clarifying that those who want the older form of Mass do NOT have to admit that practices such as Communion in the hand, or altar girls, or EMHCs, etc., are good.  They might be legal, but they might also be abominations in the sight of God … depending on your point of view.  Furthermore, a priest or a bishop cannot say “Because your group, over there at St. Cunigunda’s in Frostbite Falls, denies the ‘legitimacy’ of altar girls, you therefore do not quality as a stable group that can ask for the Extraordinary Form.”

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  1. pberginjr says:

    Wow, that’s some good news.

  2. wmeyer says:

    ” [In a nutshell, while most will admit that Paul VI had the juridical, legislative authority to impose the Novus Ordo, he didn’t have the – let’s put it this way – moral or even religious authority. He had the right/power but he didn’t really have the right.]”

    Fr. Z, has any book been published which explores this issue? I struggle to understand this area of discussion, but lacking a seminary education, it is a challenge!

  3. chcrix says:

    “St. Cunigunda’s in Frostbite Falls”

    What about altar Moose and Squirrels?

    [I don’t want to seem speciesist, but they are not allowed to serve.]

  4. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    Is this saying that I might hold, obediently, that the OF of the Mass is displeasing to God?

    That seems a bit odd to me, not to mention presumptuous.

    How are you able to claim a legitimate form of the mass as displeasing?

    And I assume it would be correct to say the reverse is true, that I may, obediently, that the EF is displeasing to God?

  5. This is very interesting to me.

    I’m not someone who’s “in the know” when it comes to Vatican matters… but am I mistaken in thinking that this seems to be an unprecedented ‘admission’, for lack of a better word, in the Tridentine-Pauline Mass debate?
    This is the first time I’ve heard from an official source that not only is criticism of the Pauline missal acceptable, it might even be acceptable to think that it’s rather awful, though legal.

  6. tech_pilgrim says:

    This rings true to me.

    For years I’ve been thinking that the EF and OF were equal in the sense that they are both Mass, and of infinite value; but in their human elements, the EF is more beautiful, from an objective point of view. Also the EF echos in many ways the OT liturgy, which must surely be pleasing to God.

    I often joked with my friends that when God showed prophets and saints a vision of the Heavenly Liturgy, He was actually showing them an EF Mass being performed by the ICRSP :)

  7. Salvatore_Giuseppe:

    The way I understand it, it is possible within Catholic thought for a legal allowance or even a legal act by the Pope or a Bishop to be displeasing to God or relatively unorthodox and still be legal. In other words, legal promulgation does not automatically mean that what is legal is also pleasing to God.

    So it is possible to hold that the Ordinary Form, especially as currently and commonly celebrated, is displeasing to God and relatively unorthodox, as long as one acknowledges that it is legal and that the Eucharist is truly confected therein.

    And no, this does not apply equally to the Extraordinary Form. The thing you have to understand is that for the Catholic, Sacred Tradition automatically has the high ground, always. Some Catholics don’t follow this rule, but ‘innovating in nothing and keeping the Traditions’ is simply as Catholic as Catholic gets. The Extraordinary Form has been in stable, gradual liturgical development for roughly 1500 years, and that gives it a status that the roughly 40 year old Ordinary Form just does not have, in terms of orthodoxy and being pleasing to God. The Ordinary Form is a reform of the Roman Liturgy of a magnitude and jarring quality such has never happened before, to the point where Rome is now freely acknowledging that it can be considered something of a rupture and not pleasing to God. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, consider Cardinal Ratzinger has been very critical of the Ordinary Form in the past.

  8. I was thinking a bit more, and this reminds me of the argument put forward by the late Laszlo Dobszay in “Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite”. He argued that, while legally the Novus Ordo is to be called a part of the Roman Rite, in a liturgical sense it is rather hard to justify calling it truly Roman.

  9. mwk3 says:

    It seems like Bishop Schneider said about the same thing in regard to the ‘Five Liturgical Wounds’, namely that they are allowed by the Church, but that they in fact offend Our Lord deeply. In fact, the good bishop is making a stronger claim it seems.

    In regard to these matters, I like to reflect on what Our Lord said about Moses and the latter’s allowance for divorce.

  10. Imrahil says:

    Let us carefully distinguish.

    The Holy Mass, celebrated according to the legitimate liturgical order, is very pleasing to God.

    Whoever, though, speaks of the Ordinary Form as “displeasing to God” or whatever, speaks of the specific issues in which they differ, the changements that have been made.

    It is an allowed opinion that these changements have been changements for the worse.

    I would wish (dear @JonathanCatholic – but no offense!), though, that we don’t speak of “relatively unorthodox”. Let’s speak of unorthodox whenever we must. (In case of the Ordinary Form changements, that is never.) But there is no such thing a relative unorthodoxy. There are, however, things in themselves orthodox which may nevertheless act as a veil to full orthodoxy (practical example: “we partake in the Meal of the Lord and nourish ourselves from the Bread of Life” without any mentioning of the idea of the Body of the Lord. Yes, that is in itself orthodox.)

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  12. Speravi says:

    The first question that came to my mind about this clause was whether the clause was ever intended to be conditional in the first place.

    Is there a reason this statement could not be simply declarative?

    “You can have the Traditional Mass, but it’s not okay for you to reject the new Mass.”

    I suppose, on the other hand, it could be aimed at preventing diocesan priests from subbing at the local SSPX parish or the like (though I doubt the SSPX would allow that anyway).

  13. MikeJ9919 says:

    Father, you seem surprised that the Commission didn’t answer the second dubium. But the letter itself premised the answer of the second dubium on the Commission giving the alternate response to the first dubium. Of course, the Commission could go on to answer the second one, but it is not surprising it decided to just answer what the author wanted answered.

  14. jacobi says:


    Many thanks for your clarification of the PCED’s answer which is turgid and difficult for a layman to understand. Why can’t they just say what they have to say in plain (Latin then) English that:

    The 1969 Mass of Paul VI is a legitimate, valid and co-equal rite of the Catholic Church, although confusingly and unnecessarily“ Protestantised”.
    Also, that various unauthorised alterations, which may have been since permitted, temporarily?, under indult, such as Communion in the hand, lay distribution of Holy Communion, lay prayer readers and scripture (non-Lectors) readers, altar girls, abolition of Latin, etc., do not invalidate this Mass although they make it theologically and doctrinally, obtuse and misleading, and it is now widely recognised that ordinary form must be subjected to a severe” Reform of the Reform”.

    Also that

    The Mass of St Pius V, was not and could not have been banned, and continues as a co-equal rite of the Catholic Church.

    Any priest is free to say the Mass of St Pius V. Permission from a bishop is not required.

    Any group of parishioners may request, and must be provided with this form of the Mass within a diocese (and presumably within a parish) although availability of clergy is a consideration.

    By the way I presume that Catholics who desire Celebration in the ordinary form of the Roman Rite may not support or be a member of, any group which challenges the validity or legitimacy of the extraordinary form!

  15. CharlesG says:

    Hmm, that’s a disturbing response. If one holds that the Paul VI order of mass is against divine law, aren’t you saying it is not valid or even heretical? I think we have to trust the Church’s Magisterium that it would not promulgate a heretical mass. And I think that some of the criticisms, e.g., in the Ottaviani Intervention are tendentious and not in accordance with a charitable interpretation accoding to an hermeneutic of reform in continuity.

  16. Sixupman says:

    Am I not right in thinking that both Communion in the Hand and Altar Girls were presented as a fait accompli to the Vatican, who then yielded to the practice? Regarding the validity of the OF, it all depends upon which OF one might attend? That is the rub!

    A parish, at which I was perforce to attend Mass [OF] that was clearly a Protestant/ Catholic concoction left me in a bad mood. My confessor, an adjacent parish, opined I should accept it as a penance. Efficacy is the keyword, in relation to the two!

  17. Confusion may result from blurring the distinction in traditional theology between the intrinsic and the extrinsic value or merit of the Mass.

    Any sacramentally valid Mass–whatever its form or rite, whatever the reverence or propriety of its celebration–has infinite intrinsic merit, since it perpetuates the infinite sacrifice of Christ and opens the infinite treasury of grace made potentially available by His sacrifice.

    However, man is a finite creature and incapable of receiving infinite grace, so the extrinsic value of a particular Mass, and its efficacy as a channel of finite fruits of grace, depend on many external factors, including the disposition of the celebrant, the propriety and reverence of the celebration, the receptiveness of the people which its beauty and holiness inspire, etc.

    So there is no suggestion of heresy or orthodoxy in a Mass implied by the realization that, whereas any Mass of proper form and matter is of infinite intrinsic value and valid as a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross and in confecting the Real Presence of Christ, any two Masses–whether of the same or of different liturgical forms–are likely because of differing external factors to differ in their extrinsic value and the extent to which they are pleasing to God and give glory to Him.

    This is why it is possible, that whereas the old and new Mass are both valid and of infinite value, it could still be true that a typical celebration of the old Mass is of greater extrinsic value and more pleasing to God than a typical celebration of the new Mass.

    A useful source for this traditional theology of intrinsic and extrinsic merit is an article entitled “The Merit of a Mass” by Fr. Chad Ripperger in the Summer 2003 issue of the Latin Mass Magazine.

  18. oldCatholigirl says:

    Thank you, Henry Edwards. Your ( and , evidently, Fr. Rippenger’s) use of “extrinsic” and “intrinsic” makes much more sense to me than labelling any Mass as being “against divine law”.
    BTW, I was recently surprised to hear a regular attendee at the OF come close to saying that the EF was just that. He was strenuously insisting on the desirability of the priest’s facing the people and using the vernacular. He also said that he had served the EF as a boy and attended one recently and was confirmed in his opinions. ( Supposedly judging by fruits, he stigmatized attendees of the EF as unfriendly and uninterested in helping the poor.)

  19. Phil_NL says:

    While there are ways to make sense of this (and several of the comments above helped with that, thanks) I still get the feeling that the PCED gave an answer that is favorable to keeping certain people in the fold (very ‘pastoral'”:p), but everyone else will just say: ‘what the heck?’ as the answer opens a whole new can of worms, implying that Mass can be displeasing to God, and so on. Obviously this is not what is meant, and very careful reading might dispell this and similar strange notions, but mark my words: we’ll get more than our fair share of wrangling over this text.

    But, as any good Catholic would know, Roma locuta est….

  20. chantgirl says:

    Aren’t the doubts about EF attendees’ thoughts of altar girls and communion in the hand really answered by the fact that Summorum Pontificum established that the EF would be celebrated according to the rubrics of the 1962 Mass? In other words, altar girls and communion in the hand were not allowed in the 1962 Mass, so it wouldn’t seem to be against the faith for 1962 Mass devotees to feel uncomfortable with things that were not allowed in that rite. I am not against going to the Novus Ordo (especially if it is a reverent Mass) because of the infinite value that Henry Edwards mentioned. I will even take my children to a Novus Ordo that I know will have abuses if that is the only mass I can attend. If I have a choice, though, there’s no doubt where I would prefer to be. Thankfully, more dioceses seem to be opening up to the idea of giving people a choice, so when I travel there are more opportunities to attend the EF.

  21. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:


    I don’t see how, just because it was developed organically, the EF is somehow free from criticism. It’s no less human made than the OF, so it seems that I might (vis a vis Henry Edwards) say that I find it to be extrinsically ugly/without merit, and therefore displeasing to God.

    I see no way that the EF might claim to be divinely ordained or sanctioned.

  22. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Salvatore_Giuseppe,

    I leave undiscussed whether Holy Mass can be said to be ugly in the absolute sense (this is always meant by comparison only), but – excepting cases of intentional sacrilege – It can never ever be said to be without (any) merit, however extrinsically. @Henry Edwars rightly speaks of greater and lesser merit, not no merit and all merit.

    My own very humble suggestion would be to leave out such vocabulary as “displeasing to God” and speak of better and less good.

    Of course it is also an allowed opinion that the Old Mass is less good.

    So, you might say that. But what you might say is not of interest. And no, I’m not playing the “your opinion does not matter” card: What you might say is not of interest. It is of interest what you do say.

    And what reasons you, or others, have for saying so.

  23. robtbrown says:

    CharlesG says:

    Hmm, that’s a disturbing response. If one holds that the Paul VI order of mass is against divine law, aren’t you saying it is not valid or even heretical?

    Re legitimas: Validity is intrinsic when the pope promulgates a missal.


  24. Interesting.. Cardinal Arinze has a video on youtube (my cell phone is “sharing incapable”) that addresses these issues in the same manner but with added flare to get the point across. With a bit of a admonishing tone he speaks of altar girls.

  25. Reading through these posts I wonder, what about the “intended value” of the Novus Ordo? This is a little more difficult for me to put into words vs “intrinsic” and “extrinsic”. Perhaps the mass was aimed at non catholics for the purpose of conversion, as an example?

  26. Father Anthony Cekada says:

    The idea that Paul VI “illegally” promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae has been floating around in trad circles for since the early 1970s.

    I always found this story ridiculous. I even wrote an article about it in 2000 — “Did Paul VI ‘Illegally’ Promulgate the Novus Ordo?” — and demonstrated that Paul VI did in fact follow all the correct forms for promulgation of a universal disciplinary law.

    Clearly it was this theory that the PCED letter was referring to.

  27. robtbrown says:

    The Cosmas Damian says:

    Reading through these posts I wonder, what about the “intended value” of the Novus Ordo? This is a little more difficult for me to put into words vs “intrinsic” and “extrinsic”.

    Intention is always in the mind–intended value cannot be evaluated. We can only evaluate what the words (liturgy rubrics, instruction) say.

    Perhaps the mass was aimed at non catholics for the purpose of conversion, as an example?

    It is no secret that Ecumenism was a factor not only in the composition of the Novus Ordo (which peceded Vat II by many years) but also in the introduction of the vernacular and mass versus populum.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Jacobi says,

    Also that the Mass of St Pius V, was not and could not have been banned, and continues as a co-equal rite of the Catholic Church

    The pope already said that the 1962 missal was never abrogated. Whether it could have been is a much disputed question.

  29. Giuseppe says:

    I hold confusion. I thought there were 2 types of law
    1. ius divinum – divided into 2 types of categories – i. divinum positivum (sacred scripture, revealed truths, etc) and i. naturale (natural law)
    2. ius humanum – divided into 2 types of categories – i. civile (civil law) and i. humanum ecclasticum (church law)

    I read the answer from PCED as saying that in reading UE, the word ‘legitimas’ is to refer to i. ecclesticum. Period. Thus, the way to read ‘legitimas’ in UE is to read it as legitimate in church law, and not to try and read it as legitimate (or illegitamate) in other types of law. The fact that the OF is not to be read as legitimate in divine law doesn’t mean it is illegitimate in divine law, but rather the term legitimate/illegitimate in UE is not to be read in light of divine law, but only in terms of church law.

  30. ppb says:

    I think Phil NL has the right take on this: in this response the PCED is simply advising that bishops/priests should use the less demanding interpretation of UE 19 when making pastoral decisions about any groups who might be willing to be fully regularized. Also, my reading/interpretation is that the PCED simply chose not to address anything after the first section of the first dubium (“we would limit ourselves to saying,” etc.), perhaps because they foresaw that the question would receive some sort of formulation in the ongoing talks with the SSPX and didn’t want to say anything that would get in the way of that process. I wouldn’t take this as an admission by the PCED that one is free to believe that a valid NO Mass is displeasing to God. Still, this statement is going to be seen as a vindication in some quarters, and will likely create a lot of confusion.

  31. Giuseppe says:

    Isn’t something ‘contra ius divinum’ a sin? Is his excellency via his theologian really asking the PCED if the OF is a sin? I still think the PCED is telling us not to view ‘legitimas’ as having anything to do with ‘ius divinum’ good or bad, but rather ‘legitimas’ is to be read as part of ‘ius ecclesiasticum’.

  32. Perhaps instead of “displeasing” to God, it may be “not as interesting”.

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  34. Father Z: You had my IP address banned for many days there. Paranoid takes it’s toll :P [As I explained elsewhere, I had to ban a range of IP addresses as a defense against spammers.]

    Imrahil: For the most part I agree with you in your critique of my post, and no offense taken! It is difficult to find the right language to express what we mean in comparing the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms.

    Salvatore_Giuseppe: Regarding your response, I have to say that I (respectfully!) disagree with Imrahil in that I don’t believe it is a Catholic opinion to hold that there is merely a human element in the development of the Sacred Liturgy, which seems to be the thrust of your post.

    The argument is that in the organic development of the Extraordinary Form over most of the Roman Catholic Church’s history, God guided and formed the Rite as a potter forms clay and revealed to us Liturgical principles, both universal Catholic principles and particularly Roman principles, of what is pleasing to Him in His Public and Solemn Worship. It should not be understood in the sense of “divinely sanctioned” as if it’s merely a matter of invoking God’s authority.

    The Holy Ghost lives in the Church and guides her, most especially in her Liturgy, to the proper way to worship and adore Him, and to the truth regarding Christ’s teachings. This is either true or false. If you hold it to be true, then the organically developed Roman Liturgy, the Extraordinary Form, is Divinely guided just as the Church’s teachings are Divinely guided. If you hold it to be false, then how can you be Catholic? If you intend to separate teachings from worship, and say that the teachings were guided, but not the Liturgy, then I would suggest that is a hermeneutic of rupture, and not in keeping with how the Liturgy has always been understood.

  35. Alan Aversa says:

    @Salvatore_Giuseppe: “How are you able to claim a legitimate form of the mass as displeasing?”

    Fr. Chad Rippereger, FSSP, might answer your question in his “The Merit of a MassLatin Mass Magazine article.

  36. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:


    Continuing to play the devils advocate (since I appreciate the EF just fine), I find it somewhat troubling that Fr. Rippereger would equate so easily complexity with meritoriousness.

    I see 6 candles instead of 2 pointless, and crosses made over the oblata to be unnecessary additions as compared to simply extending the hands. I find the lifting of the Chasuble to be totally without purpose and distracting (true feelings here), since they rarely weigh so much or are cut in such a way as to hinder the priest’s movements any more

    Similarly, his claim of the EF being more beautiful relies, essentially, on the fact that there is more going on. Yet surely there is more going on in the average Dali painting than the average Caravaggio. Do we therefore say that Dali’s paintings are more beautiful (I happen to love Dali’s paintings, and have visited the museum in St. Pete twice. I recommend it to all, but again somebody must advocate for the devil)?

    Would not Jesus, a poor carpenter, understand that there is beauty in simplicity, as well as in complexity?

    It simply seems like there is no objective way to determine which Form/Rite/Usage has more merit, because there is no truly objective way to judge beauty. Especially since both are approved rites. I might say that an incorrectly said mass, or a mass which is done hastily or sloppily is ugly. But in the abstract, I can only judge based on my concept of beauty.

  37. Indulgentiam says:

    “By this response, the PCED is clarifying that those who want the older form of Mass do NOT have to admit that practices such as Communion in the hand, or altar girls, or EMHCs, etc., are good. They might be legal, but they might also be abominations in the sight of God … depending on your point of view.”

    I don’t know Father but if I have even an inkling that something might be an abomination in the sight of the Almighty, i’m going to give it a REAL wide berth, never mind the point of view. Thank you for this post. I’m going to make a copy and keep it real handy. In my neck of the woods folks will tell you that you need special “permission” to say the EF and that’s why we don’t have one. Mention Summorum Pontificum and you get “well there are no Priests interested in saying the “old” Mass. (sigh)

    Salvatore_Giuseppe says: “It simply seems like there is no objective way to determine which Form/Rite/Usage has more merit, because there is no truly objective way to judge beauty.”

    There most certainly is an objective way to judge beauty. You would not say that a garbage heap is beautiful. It is clear, if you read the OT and the making of the Ark of The Covenant, what the Almighty thinks about beauty and precision. And as for merit one need only look at the fruits of each Mass to determine that. Just b/c you see things as pointless does not mean that they are. Offering the Almighty the best of the best is not pointless, He deserves nothing less. And anyone who thinks He has to settle for it is gravely mistaken. After all lets remember what used to befall the Temple Priests of the OT for just one tiny abuse. And of course we know that the same God that did that is is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  38. C. says:

    I don’t think the PCED is trying to grant freedom for debate on the Council of Trent’s infallible decree regarding the indefectibility of rites established by the supreme liturgical authority of the Church. In a nutshell, if anyone declares prayers and rubrics established by the Pope to be objectively and intrinsically evil in whole or in part, let him be anathema!

    What the PCED is doing is saying that it was not the intent of article 19 of Universae Ecclesiae to encourage or allow bishops to examine the people seeking the use of the 1962 Missal for doctrinal correctness on all points. The doctrinal examination of people seeking the 1962 Missal is strictly limited to excluding those who don’t accept the sacramental validity and ecclesiastical lawfulness of the Novus Ordo. Other heretics and schismatics are not to be excluded under Universae Ecclesiae, but rather continue to fall under those other established procedures which are only invoked once every 10-20 years or so and then usually in Rome.

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