Sometimes a parallel is suggested between S Pius V, revising the Roman Rite after and by mandate of the Council of Trent, and Paul VI, revising it after and by mandate of Vatican II. This is, I believe, a gross misunderstanding (i) of what S Pius was about, as he describes his own actions in Quo primum; and (ii) of the considerable differences between those two events.
S Pius has been seen as suppressing variant dialects of the Roman Rite - such as the English Sarum Rite - in the interests of a centralising uniformity. This analysis does not fit the facts. In the later sixteenth century, there was a fair amount of liturgical experimentation - and S Pius intends to suppress such innovations in the Eucharist. He does not intend to suppress established rites with a couple of centuries' history. Let us look at his words enforcing his new edition "... nisi ab ipsa prima institutione a Sede Apostolica adprobata, vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos missarum celebrandarum in eisdem ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem, vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus; so there ... just my point ... but he goes on sic, si Missale hoc ... magis placeret ..." and ah!, you cry, so - with a nudge and a wink - S Pius is encouraging churches with a 200 year prescription to change over to his new edition! But No! ... he goes on "de episcopi, vel praelati, Capitulique universi consensu ...". "Capituli universi consensu!" So, apparently, even just one bolshie traddie Canon on a Chapter could veto the desire of some episcopal johnnie-come-lately to introduce the Pian edition of the Missal into the diocese! What we have here is not a policy of universal standardisation by an autocrat, but the mandated preservation of the old and sanctified dialects of the Roman Rite combined with a firm suppression of recent faddery.
There is some interest in comparing the legislation of S Pius with what could happen elsewhere in the West. In one province, a metropolitan Archbishop, who had secured the support of the secular state and control of the technology of printing, decreed that "whereas heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in the Churches within this realm: some following Salisbury Use, some Hereford Use, and some the Use of Bangor, some of York, some of Lincoln; now from henceforth all the whole Realm shall have but one Use". Thomas Cranmer had little thought of subjecting his abolition of ancient uses - which certainly had a prescription of more than two hundred years - to a veto even by a majority of a Cathedral Chapter. When the Chapter at S Paul's, London, adopted his new rite but attempted merely to graft onto it certain features of their previous customs, a peremptory order by the Privy Council put an end to the attempt. One wonders whether the legislation of Paul VI, resembles much more closely the actions of the Tudor regime than it does the precedents set by S Pius.
Add to this, the process which S Pius employed to produce his new edition: the examination of old versions in the Vatican Library; the collection of other exemplars; a reading of old liturgical authors. His missal was "recognitum iam et castigatum". It was not, like the Missal of Paul VI, a rite marked on every single page with revolutionary innovations. Nobody denies that the 'Tridentine' Missal differs very little from earlier editions. Nobody claims that alterations were made in the Canon which had no basis in its textual history; that a dozen or so alternative 'Eucharistic Prayers' were added; or that the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels of every single Sunday were changed. Nobody can deny that all this is true of the Pauline Missal*.
One pope publishes a very light standardisation with a 98% unchanged text; another pope publishes a vastly different rite. I now address an ad hominem argument to those who believe that the two events match each other: if that earlier pope deemed it wrong that variant dialects of the Roman Rite (not so very different from the Rite he had edited) should lightly be set aside when they had a couple of centuries behind them, then, a fortiori, it would be incongruous for the later pope to think it right, or inevitable, that all the earlier dialects of the Roman Rite (representing, in their developed forms, something like a thousand years of history) should be set aside ... without even a mention that he was mandating such an unheard-of revolution.
I do not like some propaganda of the SSPX which appears to suggest that Quo primum made the Pian edition immutable. Certainly no future Pontiff deemed it immutable; they presided over its organic evolution. But the Pauline missal was not just one more light, slight, evolutionary revision of the Pian Missal. Those who most strongly argue that the Pian events and the Pauline events were parallel and congruous can hardly avoid the conclusion that Paul did not desire ... any more than Pius intended ... to consign the traditional forms of the Roman Rite to the rubbish dump.
I offer these thoughts as my meditation upon the words I quoted in my last post from Cardinal Ratzinger: that it is contrary to the Spirit of the Church to abolish the rites which have served the piety and lives of generations of Christians.
Continues, and gets more ecclesiological.
*Well, I suppose that in the Pauline Missal two or three Sundays after Epiphany somehow managed to keep their collects. And Palm Sunday.