Patrick Henry Omlor
of speech of Patrick H. Omlor
Delivered to the
Latin Mass Society of Australia
At its General Annual Meeting at Sydney, Australia
Sunday, October 21, 1973
format and coding
Copyright © 1998 by Cordi-Marian Fathers.
In his Encyclical “Acerbo Nimis”, dated April l5, 1905, Pope St. Pius X singled out one principal cause of the remissness from which all the grave evils of that day arose. He claimed that the main source of all the troubles was ignorance - the ignorance of divine things on the part of Catholics. And in stating his case he cited these words of his predecessor, Benedict XIV:
“We declare that the greater part of those who are damned have brought the calamity on themselves by ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, which they should have known and believed, in order to be united with the elect.”As an immediate and drastic remedy for this dangerous and widespread ignorance, St. Pius ordered, by virtue of his apostolic authority, that every bishop in the world should immediately put into effect a program for the Catholic education, not only of children, but also of adult Catholics. He directed that all pastors should on Sundays and Holy Days, in addition to the usual sermon at Mass, give a separate full period of instruction to all the faithful. Moreover he specified that the Catechism of the Council of Trent be followed in all these instructions. Very shortly, by the way, we will be examining several compelling teachings found in this Trent Catechism.
Now by the time 1962 rolled around, the widespread ignorance of divine things, not only among the laity, but also and especially among the hierarchy and clergy, had reached colossal proportions. Had even a significant minority at that time known what is taught in the Trent Catechism, it is doubtful that even a fraction of the subversion of our Faith that has occurred could indeed have occurred. It is certain that all of us, sadder and wiser now, have learned or relearned much about our precious Catholic Faith since 1962.
This warfare in which we are all presently engaged is a very vast and allencompassing one. It is no less than a war to preserve the very Catholic Faith itself. Many are the different battlefronts where we must dig in and take our stand. We must oppose the forces of religious indifferentism which today masquerades under the euphemistic banner of “ecumenism.” We all know of the dangerous “catechisms” (so-called) which are designed to rob our children of their precious Catholic Faith and heritage. On every side we witness the almost total abandonment of all standards of Christian morality.
The Mass - Our Chief Rampart
Although we must fight all these battles, and many others, the chief rampart we must defend is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The enemies of the Church have always had this key axiom:
“Tolle missam; tolle ecclesiam.” “Take away the Mass, and thereby take away the Church.”Contrariwise we may affirm with the greatest confidence:
Preserve the Mass, and thereby preserve the Church.But what exactly can we hope actually to accomplish? At this point - and it is very late in the game - perhaps our chief job is salvaging, preventing shipwreck. That is to say, through our prayers and our work we must hinder as many as possible of our fellow-Catholics-members of Christ's Mystical Body - from being sucked down into the quicksands of this universal apostasy we are witnessing.
We must awaken them to what has happened, and what is even now happening, in this complete sell-out of our Faith and our Church by our supposed spiritual leaders, who are abetted and encouraged by a largely craven and faithless laity. Our prayer should be especially the Rosary. Our work lies principally in informing others.
We must continue to write our letters, to talk to confused and uninformed priests and lay persons, and to pass out appropriate literature to be read. In a word: we must continue to proselytize, to make converts even as did the early Christians. With this difference, that here the missionary field is not among the pagan and the infidel, but among the nominal Catholics!
Dark Forebodings - A Grace!
The mental anguish we often feel in seeing the situation worsen from day to day is, paradoxically, our comfort.
was Chesterton who wrote these lines:
of the mouth of the Mother of God
Like a little word come I;
For I go gathering Christian men
From sunken paving and ford and fen
To die in a battle, God knows when,
By God, but I know why.
And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world's desire;
No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
No more comfort, save that the sky grows darker yet?
Are we actually to find comfort in witnessing the situation growing bleaker? Yes!
It is because from the standpoint of eternity bad news is often good news. It forces us down upon our knees, it reminds us that we have not here a lasting city, and that our dependence upon Almighty God must be total. And so, paradoxically, we may rejoice in the fact that very likely there are even far worse things in store for us, lurking beyond the horizon.
The Much-feared “Validity Issue”
The issue feared most by the “progressive” or “new-breed” hierarchy and clergy is the question whether the “English Mass” is valid. Often they will tolerate our complaints about this and that, the forsaking of traditions, the abolition of the Latin liturgy, the deplorable catechisms, and so forth. On occasion they may even partially agree with us, or else simply nod their heads and go their way.
However, when the “validity issue” is raised to them their reaction is usually quite intense. There have been instances when bishops and priests, upon having the question of validity put to them, have become livid with rage. This is doubtless a defense mechanism on their part, for down deep they fear that we are right, they know that we have a sound case, and since they cannot explain away our arguments even to themselves, they wish to hear nothing of them.
Many cannot face up to this dreadful possibility - or, rather, in my opinion, probability - that the “English Masses” are invalid. But for our part we must never fear the truth, nor must we fear to be “controversial,” always bearing in mind, of course, how essential it is in theological matters to be absolutely sure of our facts. We must be careful to state our case calmly but emphatically, without fear, and also without flaw in our facts or in our logic.
We should be determined never to fear or flee from the truth. however agonizing it may be. For we cannot afford to be like those who, having eyes see not and having ears hear not. Quite to the contrary, we must seek to know the truth, the very worst, and to provide for it. It is my belief that in the English, and in certain other vernacular versions, the Mass has most probably been rendered invalid, and that what is performed in most Catholic churches today is, at best, on a par with the Protestants' “Lord's Supper” or “Communion service.”
Our case is based on the principle of Sacramental Theology known as “invalidity through defect of form.”
We do not claim that the “English Mass” is invalid because it is no longer celebrated in Latin, nor because an entire “New Order” has replaced the Tridentine [Ancient Roman Rite] mass, nor because we feel that many priests simply no longer have the proper intention, or have largely lost their faith.
No, the sole basis for our position is not a subjective one, but a very concrete and objective one .
Our Case in the Briefest Terms
In as few words as possible, this is our case. Always we were taught that the Form, the necessary words, for a Sacrament must not be altered, or else the Sacrament is not produced.
“In our Sacraments,” teaches the Catechism of the Council of Trent, “the Form is so definite that any, even a casual deviation from it, renders the Sacrament NULL.”
Concerning the Sacramental Form for the Holy Eucharist (the wine Consecration at Mass) this same Catechism clearly states:
“We are firmly to believe that it consists of the following words:The “English Mass' alters this Form substantially, in several ways, but principally by using the words “FOR ALL MEN” instead of “FOR MANY.”'THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT, THE MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.'”
In explaining that these words “for many” refer to the elect only, and not to all men, the Trent Catechism explicitly affirms:
“With reason, therefore were the words 'for ALL (men)' NOT used, as in this place the fruit of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation.”And so we see that these very words “for all men” which, according to the resolute and clear teaching of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, must not be used, are, in very fact, being used in the “English Mass.”
There are many other details and aspects of our position, and other important principles of sacramental theology enter in. Many additional and very forceful pronouncements of the Magisterium, and of learned and holy theologians, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, can be cited to support our arguments, but the foregoing is the case condensed as briefly as possible.
During the past five and a half years we have encountered only five main counter-arguments that have been brought forth against our thesis:
(1) That the words spoken in the Aramaic language by Our Lord at the Last Supper really meant “for all men” and not “for many.”
(2) That in Holy Scripture the word “many” is often to be taken as meaning “all.”
(3) That Christ indeed died for all, and not just for many.
(4) That in the consecration of the wine the mere words “This is My Blood” are sufficient for a valid consecration, just as the words “This is My Body” suffice for the consecration of the bread.
Once these four counter-arguments have been decisively answered, and they are easily rebutted; and once logic, reason and sound theology have backed our opponents into a corner, invariably they will resort to the fifth and final argument, which is supposedly the very last word. All discussion must come to an end, so they suppose, when they solemnly proclaim:
(5) “It has been approved!” And, needless to say, by inference we are being disobedient to lawful authority by daring to question what has “been approved.”How do we answer that one? Once again we have sound papal authority on our side. In the ensuing discussion we shall see proof that the altered form containing “for all men” cannot have been lawfully approved. It is important to bear in mind that we are referring only to the change in the Words of Consecration, and that the following evidence does not constitute a case for the Tridentine [Ancient Roman Rite] Mass as a whole, against the “New Order.”
Now, on at least four separate occasions Holy Mother Church, speaking through Her authentic, Magisterium, or teaching authority, has positively declared that no one has the right or the power to innovate anything whatsoever touching upon the substance of the sacraments. By “substance of a sacrament” is meant the matter and the form. Of these four clear-cut pronouncements let us, to serve the purpose, consider only the two most recent ones.
First: in the letter “Ex Quo, Nono”, of December 26, 1910, Pope St. Pius X declared:
“It is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the Sacraments.”Thus even the Church Herself has no power or authority to alter the words in the Form of a Sacrament.
The second ruling we will cite is that of Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution “Sacramentum Ordinis”, of November 30, 1947.
Said Pius XII:
“As the Council of Trent teaches, the seven sacraments of the New Law have all been instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the Church has no power over the 'substance of the Sacraments'.”The Church has no power! No bishop, no council, no Pope, no one at all can change or even tamper with the essential matter or Form of a Sacrament.
By the very fact that these pronouncements were made one thing is quite evident. It is evident that the Church, always guided by the Holy Ghost, envisaged and foresaw the possibility at least, that at some future time someone (or ones) calling themselves “the legitimate authority of the Church” - but in fact abusing authority - just might actually presume to attempt to change the Form of a Sacrament.
Now it might be thought by some that certainly our very shepherds, the ones whose chief business should be defending the Faith, would not and could not ever do such a thing. But if such a possibility were entirely out of the question, then St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII (both of whom we have just quoted) - and before them the Council of Trent, and also Clement VI - would not have bothered to issue their solemn admonitions.
“De rebus parvulis non curat lex.”:Therefore this change “for all men” - a change in the Sacramental Form of the Holy Eucharist, the substance of that Sacrament- simply cannot have been made validly or legitimately.The law does not concern itself with trifles, nor we might add does it concern itself with impossible situations.
If you should tell me that all the bishops have approved this change; if you tell me that a general council has approved it; or if you should tell me that the Pope himself has approved it, or even, yes, that an Angel sent from Heaven made this change, my reply will be ever the same. It will be in the words of St. Pius X:
“It is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the Sacraments.”Or in these words of Pope Pius XII:
“As the Council of Trent teaches,... the Church has no power over the substance of the Sacraments.”Consequently any so-called “approval”, regardless of the alleged source, must have been necessarily null and void at the very outset. And, moreover, null and void in a manner totally beyond the control or powers of any would-be innovators.
And that is the firm and resounding stand we must take against those who would claim that it is we who are being disobedient! Name for me those who have made and “approved” this change, and I'll name for you the disobedient ones!
A Bishop Did Speak Out
At one point during this “for all men” controversy in the United States, Bishop Sylvester Treinen of Boise, Idaho, had a letter published in the “Homiletic and Pastoral Review”, a magazine widely read by the clergy. Bishop Treinen pointed out that there is no Scriptural basis whatever for this change. In the accounts of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, both St. Matthew and St. Mark record in their Gospels that Our Lord said “for many,” and not “for all men.”
Moreover the Bishop enumerated many Bible editions - Catholic and Protestant, very old, editions as well as the newest versions - and he claimed that there isn't now nor has there ever been a single edition of the New Testament that has those words “for all men” in this place. He might have added that this holds true not only in English, but in all the Greek texts, ancient and modern, in the Peshito Bible translated into the Syriac language in the Fifth Century, in the Latin Vulgate, and without doubt in all the Bibles ever printed in any language.
Clearly, then, there is a discrepancy between the “English Mass” and Holy Writ itself. No one seems to deny that. Now perhaps the “Modernist” or “progressive” would claim that all those Bibles are deficient, and that now the I.C.E.L. [International Committee for English in the Liturgy] has finally got it right!
But the point is that no one will deny that there is indeed a discrepancy. Please bear that in mind while we ponder these words of St. Teresa [of Avila]:
“The Holy Ghost never inspires anything that is not conformable to Holy Writ. If there were the slightest divergence, that alone by itself would prove so evidently the work of the Evil One, that were the whole world to assure me it was the Holy Ghost, I would never believe it.”
As you know, there are those who do not agree that the “English Mass” is most probably invalid. Some do not even concede that it might possibly be invalid. Consider, for example, the pamphlet entitled, “Why The Tridentine Mass?”
The author is at pains to assert most confidently that the “English Mass” is certainly valid. This he does in at least three different places. Yet on page 25 he cites a Decree from the Roman Missal which states:
“If anyone removes or changes anything in the Form of Consecration of the Body and Blood, and by this change of words does not signify the same thing as these words do, he does not confect the Sacrament.”In short, this Decree avers that if any words in the Form are changed, and this involves a change of meaning, the Holy Eucharist is not produced and hence there is no Mass.
Now, immediately after quoting this Decree, the author of this said pamphlet goes on to say (and I certainly agree, with him here) that the “for all men” change is “a most serious mutilation of the meaning of the words of the Consecration of the wine, at the very least.”
And in the very next breath he proclaims:
“We must firmly reaffirm our belief that it does not, per se, make the new Mass in English invalid”(SIC!). No further comment!Tampering with the Form of a Sacrament - and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at that - is by far the most serious and the most audacious move the Innovators have undertaken thus far.
Everything is at stake on this point. My friends, if we are willing to let them get away with this unchallenged, our other lesser battles are certainly fought in vain.
all this strife and confusion, in all our efforts and our frustrations,
we must at all costs avoid bitterness. When events don't shape up to our
liking, when we seem to be getting nowhere, when all appears futile and
hopeless, let us recall these lines:
more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.”