A few days ago, I included a paragraph from Fr Adrian Fortescue about the immense auctoritas, the antiquity and majesty and theological importance of the Authentic Roman Rite ... the rite by which most Western Christians were worshipping before 1970.
My purpose was to expose (yet again) the dishonesty of those who go around arguing that the publication of the Novus Ordo by S Paul VI in 1970 is somehow equivalent to the publication of an edition of the Roman Rite by S Pius V in 1570.
To state or even to hint at this is disgraceful. What S Pius promulgated was an edition of our rite which had evolved, gradually and organically and gracefully, since the Patristic period. In fact, S Pius made so few changes that it was still possible, after 1570, for a priest to use at the Altar the previous edition of the Roman Missal. In his Bull of Promulgation, the Pope in fact mandated the continuance of earlier 'dialects' of the Rite.
Mandated: he did not "permit" the continuance of editions such as our English Sarum or York Missals. He "ordered" their continuance, provided that they had been established more than a couple of centuries before.
Today, I set before you another learned writer of the pre-Conciliar period ... which was a golden age in liturgical studies before Liturgy fell into the hands of men for whom telling the truth was not their primary consideration.
Here are some words by Archbishop Edward Myers, Coadjutor Archbishop of Westminster:
" ... if we take the text of our Missal and consider the Ferial Masses, it is surely an inspiring thought that the prayers that the Church asks us to say with her day by day during Lent are the self-same prayers that have inspired the sanctity of close on fourteeen hundred years. The epistles and gospels read during Lent, with one or two exceptions, are the self-same as were read on the same days in Rome in the sixth century. The prayers of the Proper of the daily Mass come to us straight from the records preserved in the Gregorian or Gelasian Sacramentaries. In the Introits, Graduals, Offertories and Communions of the Ferial Lenten Masses, we pray as prayed the Saints of old, and draw our inspiration from the self-same sources."
Myers was born in 1875; priested in 1902; consecrated Bishop of Lamus in partibus infidelium in 1932; translated to (the Pauline See of) Beroea in 1951 as coadjutor Archbishop. He died in 1956.
This Lent, I have beside me his masterly Lent and the Liturgy published by The Grail in 1948 (44 pages). It contains the paragraph I have offered above.
Is his work still available?
If we are quoting Fr Adrian Fortescue, perhaps we should include "whatever beauty interest or historic value, or dignity, the Roman rite ever had has been utterly destroyed by the uneducated little cads who run that filthy congregation at Rome" - November 24, 1919 to Stanley Morison
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