Tradition: Was Pope Pius XII Wrong?editor
Following some comments on another thread, sparked by the question of whether or not Jesus prayed in Latin at the first Mass, Petrus offered the following article to allow us to debate the legitimacy of seeking to restore the Mass to its original, very earliest form. Those who want to do this, claim that they are the true defenders of “Tradition”. Pope Pius XII disagreed.
Read on and then tell us if you agree with Petrus. Or, rather, if you agree with Pope Pius XII. You can check the pontiff’s own words on the topic by clicking on his photo.
Time and time again we hear from Modernist voices, “What did the early Christians do?” They direct their poisonous venom at various old chestnuts. Usually, these haters of tradition save their fiercest criticism for the Traditional Latin Mass, such is their hatred for the traditional liturgy.
What these Modernists don’t realise is that their attacks on Catholic Tradition are nothing new. The last pope truly faithful to Catholic Tradition, Pope Pius XII, condemned their arguments as heresy in his encyclical letter “Mediator Dei”. Let’s take a look at how this great pope torpedoes the arguments of liberals.
“The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity.” The liturgy is organic and has always evolved. Just because the early Church did something a certain way is not a good enough reason for doing it now.
The Latin language is usually a target. “Did Jesus pray in Latin?”. Well, he certainly didn’t attend liturgical worship in the vernacular. Hebrew was the liturgical language of the time – used to protect the liturgies of the Jewish people. Pope Pius XII condemns this attack on the official language of the Church:
“It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august eucharistic.”
So, the argument that Our Lord didn’t use Latin just does not wash. It’s an attack on the Sacred Liturgy and an attack on Sacred Tradition.
These attacks on the Holy Mass are nothing new. So important is the Mass to Catholics that the Church’s enemies have always tried to attack it. Martin Luther attacked the Mass. The innovators who attempted to destroy the Roman Rite after Second Vatican Council used the antiquarian heresy that Pope Pius XII condemned just a few short years before the Council. These proponents of innovation are the heirs of Martin Luther. Indeed, one of the six Protestant advisers who helped Archbishop Bugnini concoct the New Mass declared triumphantly, “We have finished what Luther started”.
So, for the Modernists out there who think they are being clever writing to Catholic Truth, or submitting a comment on the blog, asking sarcastically “What did the early Church do?”, I suggest you ponder the words of Pope Pius XII before you lift the pen or hit the keyboard. You are supporting, intentionally or unintentionally, a diabolical attempt to destroy the Mass.