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Quotes on the Sacred Liturgy

"I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”-Pope Benedict XVI, "Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977" (SF, CA: Ignatius), p. 149.


“It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety”.-Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, July 7th, 2007


"A sizable party of catholic liturgists seems to have practically arrived at the conclusion that Luther, rather than Trent, was substantially right in the sixteenth century debate; one can detect much the same position in the post conciliar discussions on the Priesthood…It is only against this background of the effective denial of the authority of Trent, that the bitterness of the struggle against allowing the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal, after the liturgical reform, can be understood. The possibility of so celebrating constitutes the strongest, and thus (for them) the most intolerable contradiction of the opinion of those who believe that the faith in the Eucharist formulated by Trent has lost its value."


-Pope Benedict XVI, a lecture given when still His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered during the Journees liturgiques de Fontgombault, 22-24 July 2001


"I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It's impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent."-Pope Benedict XVI, "Salt of the Earth", Ignatius Press, 1997, p. 176



“Respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives for the use of the Traditional Latin Mass.”-Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia Dei, July 2nd, 1988


"There is a prejudice that imagines that everything Eastern must be old. This is a mistake, and there is no existing Eastern liturgy with a history of continual use stretching back as far as that of the Roman Mass."-Adrian Fortescue (England's greatest liturgical historian, 1874-1923), The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy (London, 1917), p. 213n


"The Roman Rite, in important parts, goes back at least to the fourth century, more exactly to the time of Pope Damasus (366-384). The Canon of the Mass had attained by the time of Gelasius I (492-496) the form it has kept until now, apart from some modifications made under Gregory I (590 -604). The only thing which the popes have unceasingly insisted upon since the fifth century is that the Roman Canon must be adopted; their argument being that it went back to the Apostle St. Peter."-Monsignor Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background (Una Voce Press, 1987/1993)


"We must discard from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything that could constitute the slightest risk of obstacle or displeasure for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants."-Fr. Annibale Bugnini, principal author of the Novus Ordo liturgical reforms, L'Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965


"Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass that we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists [le rite romain tel que nous l’avons connu n’existe plus]. It has been destroyed [il est detruit]. Some walls of the former edifice have fallen while others have changed their appearance, to the extent that it appears today either as a ruin or the partial substructure of a different building. We must not weep over the ruins or dream of an historical reconstruction."-Fr. Joseph Gelineau, one of the most influential members of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's Consilium, which composed the New Mass, "Demain La Liturgie," Latin Mass, November-December 1992, p. 32


“Desacralizing omissions everywhere (in the novus ordo) debase the mystery of the Church. Above all She is not presented as a sacred hierarchy. Angels and saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor…..The unity of the Church is greatly compromised by the wholly intolerable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new prayers, of the names of the apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome….It is evident that the Novus ordo HAS NO INTENTION OF PRESENTING THE FAITH AS TAUGHT BY THE COUNCIL OF TRENT….. St Pius V had the Roman Missal drawn up so that it might be an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the injunction of the Council of Trent, it was to exclude all danger in liturgical worship of errors against the faith…..The gravity of the situation fully justified, and even rendered prophetic, the saintly Pontiff's solemn warning given at the end of the Bull promulgating his missal "should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of God Almighty and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”-Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (October 29, 1890—August 3, 1979) , attended the Second Vatican Council and was a strong opponent of the false "spirit of Vatican II" from its very beginning.


"The people never on any account asked for the liturgy to be changed, or mutilated so as to understand it better. They asked for a better understanding of the changeless liturgy, and one which they would never have wanted changed."-Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (October 29, 1890—August 3, 1979)


“Liturgical Reform, having as one of its basic principles the abolition of all mystical acts and formulations, insists upon the usage of modern languages for the divine service…. Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the heart of all enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond that unites Catholics throughout the world, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. They consider it the most powerful arm of the Papacy. We must admit that it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in ever destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to a profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one's work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being said in the way one speaks in the marketplace. How long do you think the faithful will go to hear these self-styled liturgists cry "The Lord be with you" and how long will they continue to respond "and with your spirit"?”-Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., Liturgical Institutions, vol. 1, chapter IV "The Antiliturgical Heresy," (1840)


"Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."-Venerable Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947


"Nothing could better obstruct the confrontation of man with God than the notion that we "go unto the altar of God" as we would go to a pleasant, relaxing social gathering. This is why the Latin mass with Gregorian chant, which raises us up to a sacred atmosphere, is vastly superior to a vernacular mass with popular songs, which leaves us in a profane, merely natural atmosphere."-Dietrich von Hildebrand (October 12, 1889 – January 26, 1977), German Catholic philosopher and theologian who was called (informally) by Venerable Pope Pius XII "the 20th Century Doctor of the Church."


"What happened at the Council was something else entirely: in the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living, process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."-Pope Benedict XVI, From the preface to the French edition of "Reforms of the Roman Liturgy Its Problems and Background" 1993


"The second great event at the beginning of my years in Regensburg was the publication of the Missal of Paul VI, which was accompanied by the almost total prohibition, after a transitional phase of only half a year, of using the missal we had had until then. (…) The prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic."-Pope Benedict XVI, "Milestones – Memoirs 1927 – 1977", Joseph Ratzinger, Ignatius, San Francisco, 1998, p. 146


"It is prohibited for the faithful to even touch the sacred vessels, or receive in the hand."-Pope Saint Sixtus I (115-125 AD)


"Pope (Saint) Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the Bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the Bishop of Tusculum: 'Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.' We too have forbidden this practice in the same words …." -Benedict XIV, Allatae sunt, #29, July 26, 1755


“The proposition of the synod by which it shows itself eager to remove the cause through which, in part, there has been induced a forgetfulness of the principles relating to the order of the liturgy, "by recalling it (the liturgy) to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice"; as if the present order of the liturgy, received and approved by the Church, had emanated in some part from the forgetfulness of the principles by which it should be regulated,—rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it.”-Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fide (28 August 1794), Condemning the Synod of Pistoia and its errors of trying to change the Liturgy


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