OLDIE PODCAzT 084: Quo Primum of St. Pius V (1570) and the Missale Romanum – “henceforth, now, and forever”

I’ve been getting questions about the infamous “survey” sent out to bishops about Summorum Pontificum and its implementation (or more likely NOT!) in their dioceses.  I wrote about it HERE.   The important thing is not to panic and act like a loon about this.

However, my real point is that some people are raising the question of Pius V’s Quo primum.  Given that the “survey” is under discussion, and given that the Feast of St. Pius V is coming up on 5 May (in the traditional calendar), I’ve dredged up an old PODCAzT in which I talk about and read Quo primum.  This is from 2009… !  Tempus fugit.

pius v 01On 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.


No sooner did I post but I get a text saying that Taylor Marshall and Tim Flanders were talking about QUO PRIMUM live on YouTube, which explains why I was getting questions.

I’ll listen to their comments later.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. On a side note, it would be nice if we could go back to the days when a papal document could be read out in its entirety inside of ten minutes.

    [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    Anita Moore, O.P.(lay) and Fr. Z: Amen. There’s been some real doorstoppers lately. Vatican computers could be donated to schools and replaced by parchment and inkwells. And, the lack of Papal airplane pressers recently is appreciated.

  3. DBuote says:

    Can anyone recommend a good biography of St. Pius V? I’ve been looking but haven’t been able to turn up very much.

  4. Cincture says:

    Markus Graulich, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, told the German Tagepost that laypersons should help their bishops respond to the Vatican questionnaire regarding Summorum Pontificum.


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