Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Man vs God in the Liturgy
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis mine].

The Liturgical Movement, chiefly under Jungmann’s influence, had turned the liturgy into a battleground of rivalry between God and man as to who should have the greater glory. The winner of this tug-of-war was revealed in 1969 with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Mass. This new rite of Mass was an entirely man-made artefact whose designers wanted to exalt human values (“active participation,” self-expression, “work of human hands,” gift offerings from the people etc.) at the expense of the divine (Christ’s Sacrifice, the forgiveness of sins, the Real Presence).

This reveals two noteworthy aspects of the reformers who produced the New Mass. They did not take to heart the words of St. John the Baptist: “He [Christ] must increase and I must decrease.” (Jn 3:30) And they displayed a fundamental distaste, even revulsion, for the sacred, authoritative nature of liturgical tradition.

The ensuing revolution in the liturgy has, as would be expected, produced noticeable effects in secularizing the Catholic Church. It has accomplished this by overturning the internal order of the souls of those whose spirituality had been formed in the traditional rites, making them lose the sense of the supernatural that their forebears in the Faith made every effort to encourage.

The evidence for this is all around us that it is the people, not God, who are the center of the liturgy. It is an incontrovertible fact that, generally speaking, modern Catholics routinely talk and laugh aloud in church; they no longer genuflect before the tabernacle, and the habit of visiting the church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament has fallen into demise. In fact, they ignore Jesus present in the tabernacle, preferring to greet each other instead. They have no inhibitions about handling sacred vessels, even consecrated Hosts, or parading themselves in the sanctuary during Mass, and are comfortable with casual and immodest dress in church. All this and much more came about not at the instigation of the laity, but with the connivance and encouragement of the clergy.

Sowing Cockle among the Wheat

An enemy hath done this”, we are told, “while men were asleep” (Mat 13: 24-30). It was only when “the blade had grown up and had borne fruit” in the Novus Ordo that it became clear that the traditional Faith had been over-sown by a “new understanding” of the Mass. The unique honor due to God had been virtually written out of the script, and His place usurped by man, who was to be the centre of attention and whose participation was considered essential to the rites.

Who sowed this anthropomorphic cockle among the wheat in the field of the liturgy? Although he had many helpers, and was certainly not the first to do so, Jungmann, by the sheer volume of his writings, should go down in history as the main disseminator of the man-centered liturgy stripped of mystery, awe and reverence.

Down with the ‘Allegorical’ Traditional Liturgy

Jungmann’s role in this desacralization process is of the greatest significance. In his highly influential work on the history of the Mass, and under cover of historical research, he devoted a whole section to the vilification of the medieval liturgy, which he presented as corrupt and decadent. His real purpose seems not to have been to give an accurate account of the historical data according to the standard of Catholic truth, but to smuggle in his own preconceived ideas – which many liturgists simply adopted without argument.

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Card. Francis Gasquet in 1916

Jungmann’s main target was the so-called “allegorical method” of liturgical interpretation, (1) which had been practiced from the beginning of the Church, passed on by the Church Fathers, the Saints and Doctors, and still continues to live today among those who are faithful to Catholic Tradition. Simply put, it was not just a means of explaining what was going on in the liturgy. It was a hermeneutical tool of discernment helping pre-Vatican II Catholics to grasp something of the inner spiritual meaning of the liturgy as inspired by the Holy Ghost. It served as a reminder that the ceremonies and rites were imbued with a sacred character – so sacred, in fact, as to become sacrosanct through consecrated usage. As Dom Francis Gasquet (later Cardinal) expressed it in the 19th century:

Quote:“A Catholic, who sees in the living liturgy of the Roman Church the essential forms which remain still what they were 1,200, perhaps nearly 1,400, years ago, cannot but feel a personal love for those sacred rites which come to him with all the authority of centuries. Any rude handling of such forms must cause deep pain to those who know and use them. For they come to them from God, through Christ and through the Church. But they would not have such attraction were they not also sanctified by the piety of so many generations, who have prayed in the same words and found in them steadiness in joy and consolation in sorrow.” (2) See here.

But, nothing in the traditional liturgy, not even the sacred Canon, was sacrosanct to Jungmann and the leaders of the Liturgical Movement. Far from finding it attractive, they not only subjected it to “rude [i.e. rough, insensitive] handling” by violating its dignity, but scorned the piety of the faithful who assisted at it with the greatest devotion throughout the centuries.

As for the “allegorical” tradition of interpreting the liturgy that had served the Church so well since its beginning, Jungmann torpedoed it below the waterline by subtly subjecting the liturgy to the “historical-critical” method of analysis. This method had arisen during the era of the “Enlightenment” which was generally hostile toward the Church, (3) and also from Protestant biblical exegesis. In so doing, he and his colleagues broke the hermeneutical continuity of the liturgy and isolated themselves from the Church’s past. For the “allegorical” interpretation provides an epistemological bridge between ancient and modern times enabling all generations of Catholics to understand the Mass in the same sense.

How the ‘Allegorical’ Method Worked

It has always been acknowledged that the external features – that is to say, the words, actions, chants, architecture and appurtenances – of Catholic worship were instituted to promote the glory of God and the edification of the faithful. The Council of Trent said that the “visible signs of religion and piety” instituted by the Church raise the minds of the faithful “to the contemplation of those most sublime things that are hidden in this Sacrifice.” (4)

But, because we are dealing with mysteries beyond the grasp of the human intellect, we need allegories to help us understand something of the divine truths contained in the liturgy. With reference to the ceremonies of worship, St Thomas Aquinas explained:
Quote: “the things of God cannot be manifested to men except by means of sensible similitudes. Now these similitudes move the soul more when they are not only expressed in words, but also offered to the senses.” (5)

In other words, in the traditional liturgy, there is nothing merely exterior. Every detail of the ceremonies and decor is expressive of both higher, supernatural realities and the inner, spiritual life so as to direct the minds of the faithful to what is invisible, divine and eternal.

As Fr. Nicholas Gihr, a traditional historian of the Mass, put it:

Quote:“The Church has enveloped the celebration of the adorable Sacrifice in a mystic veil, in order to fill the hearts and minds of the faithful with religious awe and profound reverence, and to urge them to earnest, pious contemplation and meditation.” (6)

It was this “mystic veil” that Jungmann (and before him leaders of the Protestant Reformation) (7) wanted to tear away as nothing more than a mythical smokescreen obscuring a more mundane reality that, in the opinion of some, could only be uncovered by historical investigation. Once applied to the whole area of the liturgy, this method of historical criticism permeates everything sacred, displaces the previous method of interpretation and finally changes the perception of the Faith.

In the next article we will give examples of the bad fruits of the “historical-critical” method as they manifested themselves in the reformed liturgy of Paul VI.


1. It might be helpful to know that the word “allegory” is derived from a combination of two Greek words: agoreuo: to say/speak publicly in the agora – a gathering place or assembly – and allos: other. The term came to denote how we can explain the “other” i.e. the higher or mystical meaning of a text or ceremony that is not immediately evident to the eye or ear.
2. Francis Gasquet and Edmund Bishop, Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer, London: John Hodles, 1890, p. 183. Having served as Prior of Downside Abbey, Gasquet was elected Abbot President of the English Benedictines in 1900 and was made a Cardinal in 1914. As a member of the Pontifical Commission to study the validity of the Anglican ordinations (1896), he made a major contribution to the drafting of Leo XIII’s Bull Apostolicae Curae, on the invalidity of Anglican orders.
3. It was in this period that the Synod of Pistoia was held, which, significantly, proposed many liturgical reforms that prefigure those of Vatican II.
4. Session 22, Chapter 5.
5. Summa Theologica, II. I, q. 99 a. 3.
6. Fr Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained, Freiburg: Herder, 1902, p. 336.
7. Allegorical interpretation of the Bible and the liturgy came under sustained attack during the 16th century from both Humanists and Protestants. Their fundamental objection was the authority of the Catholic Church in the area of exegesis.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Destroying Mass Symbols in the Name of Modernity
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis mine].

Anyone who has read the massive tomes of Jungmann’s work on the Roman rite cannot fail to be struck by the tendentious nature of his criticism of the traditional liturgy that appears at frequent intervals throughout. Amid the plethora of historical data (some of which were later found to be spurious), he produced a series of fantasies purporting to show that the Mass codified by Pope Pius V was not a sacred patrimony, but the product of historically conditioned forces and “wrong turnings” taken by the Church in the Middle Ages.

To illustrate this point, let us consider Jungmann’s approach to some key aspects of the liturgy.

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The crucifix over the altar on Calvary Hill

Jungmann’s principal target of criticism (as with the 16th century Protestant pseudo-reformers) was the Mass as the renewal of the Passion and Death of Christ. This doctrine, which had been in the Church since Apostolic times, was given enhanced emphasis by the medieval allegorical or symbolic commentators. (1)

What Jungmann objected to most strongly was the symbolic interpretation given to every detail of the liturgy – the prayers of the Missal, the gestures and vestments of the officiating priest, the sacred vessels and accoutrements of worship, the altar and furnishings of the church – linking them chiefly to the Passion and Death of Christ. (2)

Thus, for example, the altar was thought of as the Cross on which our Savior died or the Tomb in which He was buried (3); the silent Canon recalled the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple to which only the High Priest was admitted. There were hundreds of similar examples all recalling to mind some aspect of Revelation mystically enshrined in the liturgy. In other words, the liturgy was clearly about Christ.

But Jungmann had no practical interest in this aspect of the liturgy because it did not further the Liturgical Movement’s aim of “active participation” of the people. With reference to the allegorical method, he complained:
Quote:“In the various explanations of the Mass there is hardly any mention of the fact that the assembled people have a part in the oblation or at least participate in praising and honoring God.” (4)

But, he misunderstood the nature of the liturgy. The external features of the Mass constituted the sights, sounds and smells of Catholic worship. They have always been understood as a symbolic mode of communication conveying the mystical meaning of the Mass even to children and the simplest souls among the congregation, uniting all spiritually with the sacramental life of the Church. The people’s understanding of the rites was, through symbols, facilitated at the highest level.

Jungmann had missed the point because he believed that 
Quote:“much in the existing content of our liturgy could be explained only with the help of historical and archaeological knowledge and, therefore, remained unintelligible to the majority of the faithful.” (5)

Dismissing St. Thomas’ Interpretation

In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas defended the priest’s ritual gestures at Mass, such as the many signs of the Cross made even after the Consecration, which had come under attack as being “ridiculous.” The method he used was the allegorical one:
Quote:“The actions performed by the priest in Mass are not ridiculous gestures, since they are done so as to represent something else.” (6)

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Jungmann objected to reverences like the numerous Signs of the Cross in the Latin Mass

The “something else” was the Sacrifice of Calvary and he went on to explain the sacramental signification in the Mass. Jungmann, however, found this explanation so unacceptable that he denounced this relevant section of the Summa as a forgery, an interpolation written by someone other than Aquinas. (7) Interestingly, he provides no substantiating evidence for this piece of “historical” information.

Jungmann, applying his historical-critical method, considered the Catholic doctrine on the Mass to be a historically conditioned distortion and exaggeration:
Quote:“Thinking of the Mass almost exclusively as a sacrifice is a one-sided attitude resulting from the doctrinal controversies of the 16th century. … Since the Council of Trent the understanding of the sacrifice of the Mass has often been obstructed by the apologetic tendency to overstrain its identity with the Sacrifice of the Cross.” (8)

So, he worked successfully to ensure that the New Mass would “be colored by the basic motif of Easter” (9) and become a joyous celebration of the Resurrection rather than Christ’s Sacrifice for the salvation of sinners.

Misunderstanding the Symbols of Liturgical Vestments

Each individual vestment (10) of the celebrating priest was invested with its own significance. Fr. Nicholas Gihr reminds us:
Quote:The Church “justly ascribed to them a higher and mystical meaning, inasmuch as she made use, for example, of the name and origin, the color and destination, the usage and form, as well as the method and manner of putting on and wearing the vestments, in order to express mysteries of the life of Christ and of faith and moral admonitions.” (11)

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Today the magnificent vestments & vessels have been removed from use & relegated to museums
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According to the allegorical interpretation, the vesting prayers remind the priest of the mystery into which he is about to enter and of his need for purity of heart. With such beautiful sentiments expressive of the Faith, what criticism could be brought against them?

Jungmann certainly found them unsuited to modern ears. So, he dismissed this interpretation as unnecessarily “spiritual,” relegating vestments to the domain of mere functionality:
Quote:“The individual garments are not explained on the basis of any conscious essential function which is theirs when worn, but it is rather only some ascetical thought, some handy reference to a scriptural text around which the prayer is composed.” (12)

In the Novus Ordo, the sacred and mysterious were reduced to the mundane. The vestments were greatly simplified and cheapened and some, as for example the maniple, were discontinued as being no longer “functional.” (13) As for the vesting prayers that contained reminders of Christ’s Passion and incentives to Christ-like virtue, especially holy purity, they were not required by the new rubrics and, consequently, fell into widespread disuse. Thus, a valuable sacramental aid to the spiritual life of the priest was lost.

Jungmann pretended that he was only attacking the hermeneutical method as a relic of a fanciful, “unscientific” Catholic era, a product of the historical age in which it flourished and, therefore, a transient form of expression that could and should be changed to suit the mentality of modern man. (14)

He could not have been unaware that symbolical interpretation is an essential element of the Church’s liturgical patrimony and that to discard it is to break the hermeneutic of continuity with the past.

For all the liturgical writers of that time showed a deep respect for the work of the Church Fathers that they inherited and developed. Their allegorical interpretations of the liturgy reflected, each in its own way, some aspect of the divinely revealed truths of the Faith that were passed on down the centuries by way of the lex orandi. By bringing out the mystical significance of the liturgy with the background of the history of salvation, they showed us what to believe about the nature of God, the meaning of the Mass and the role of the priest.

Fr. Gihr, a 20th-century exponent of the allegorical method, stated:
Quote:All that is precious belongs to the Lord and should serve to promote His glory; therefore, the Church would have not only rich vessels, but also handsome vestments for the service of the altar. The richness and the value of the sacred vestments betoken and awaken due reverence for divine service, and set forth before the faithful the incomprehensible grandeur and holiness of the mysteries of the Eucharistic sacrifice.” (15)

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The Altar of the Virgin in Aachen Cathedral - reflection of a glorious past turned to honor God

Modern vestments and church buildings, on the other hand, reflect the local culture and have no more exalted purpose than to inspire and encourage dialogue and reflect a community spirit.

It follows that discarding this approach to the liturgy must lead to a decline in a sense of the sacred and to a neglect of the sacramental theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, which influenced the teaching of the Council of Trent. But, in the opinion of the liturgical reformers, all that rich past had to be removed to make way for “active participation.”

Unfortunately for the Church, the leaders of the Liturgical Movement saw the traditional liturgy as little more than an object for speculation and conjecture by historians. But, its spiritual meaning can only be perceived by faith. As it is precisely upon pseudo historians that doctrinal deviations are often built, it is not the sacred liturgy that needs to be purified from distortions and errors, but the minds of those using the historical-critical method.


1. The principal medieval exponents of the allegorical or symbolic method of interpreting the liturgy were Amalarius of Metz (died circa 852) and William Durandus (died in 1296).
Amalarius provided a comprehensive commentary on the liturgy which influenced liturgical writers up to the start of the Liturgical Movement in the early 20th century. His Liber Officialis, or De Ecclesiastico Officio, covers every aspect of the liturgy from the prayers and chants of the Roman Rite to the gestures and vestments of the priests.
Durandus wrote the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, a sort of encyclopaedia of ecclesiastical ceremonies and architecture in which he explained their inner mystical meaning. Contrary to the opinion of modern reformers, his work was not arbitrary and subjective, but a compilation of the allegorical interpretation provided by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
2. For a full account of the allegorical interpretation of vestments, see Fr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained, Freiburg: Herder, 1902, pp. 267-328.
3. Up until 1960, the association of altar and tomb had been consciously kept alive among the faithful by the custom of placing a stone containing relics of the saints in the center of every altar.
4. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 117.
5. Jungmann, ‘Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy’, in H. Vorgrimler, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, vol. 1, London: Burns and Oates, New York: Herder, 1967, p. 23.
But the doctrine of the Mass as the renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross had been the belief of the Church from the beginning, and had been propounded by the Church Fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas long before the Pseudo-Reformation. Jungmann here gave the false impression that it only came into being in the 16th century.
6. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, q. 83, a. 5.
7. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol.1, p.114, note 61.
8. Jungmann, Announcing the Word of God, trans. from German by Ronald Walls, London: Burns and Oates, 1967, pp. 112, 115.
9. Jungmann, ibid., p. 113. In the same book, he stated that the “idea of atonement and forgiveness of sins … does not sound the underlying note of the Mass and does not govern its structure.” He placed it on an inferior plane to “the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,” i.e., the activity of the “plebs sancta gathered round the priest.”
10. Traditionally, the Church has assigned various meanings to liturgical vestments. Thus, for example, the amice represents the blindfold put on Jesus when He was mocked and struck; the cincture represents the ropes and fetters that bound Him during His arrest and scourging; the stole represents the Cross He carried to His crucifixion; and the chasuble the seamless garment for which the soldiers rolled dice.
11. Fr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice, p. 271.
12. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 288.
13.“In an age already nearing empiricism and scientific study it [allegorizing] has lost most of its strength. No longer does it satisfy the people. It can no longer so shackle the minds of the faithful that they are [only] able to follow the action in silence.” Ibid., p. 144-145.
14. Ibid., p. 113: “This is nothing more, really, than the logical consequence of carrying through Plato’s theory of knowledge, with its sharp separation of the world of sense and the world of ideas.”
15. Fr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice, p. 270.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
The Architect of the Liturgical Reform Explains Vatican II
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

A few years after the Constitution on the Liturgy (1963), Fr. J.A. Jungmann revealed the internal logic – or rather the ludicrous rationalization – of the liturgical reform in which the people would be given a more prominent role in the liturgy than Christ acting through His representative, the priest. His interpretation of the Constitution can be regarded as the authentic expression of the liturgical reform that culminated in the Novus Ordo Mass because, as we have seen, he was the most influential architect of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the post-conciliar reforms. This is how, in 1967, he envisaged and predicted the Novus Ordo Mass:

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The Golden Altar in San José Church, Panamá City, glorifying God present in the Tabernacle expresses well what the liturgical reform wants to destroy

Quote:“The reform should work towards a form of worship that speaks for itself and does not require much explanation. This means that ornamentations, which originate from the style of royal courts and from the urge for pomp or even from the form of piety of earlier times, should disappear, and that the holy mysteries should be given a simple expression closely connected with the life and feeling of the people. Unnecessary ceremoniousness should be avoided.” (1)

Contempt for Tradition

This reveals a calculated plan to demolish all the symbols of transcendence that awakened a sense of awe before the presence of God and reduce the unfathomable mysteries to a few simple formulas expressive of “the life and feeling of the people.” The reform would banish God from the centre of the liturgy (as happened in the ensuing Novus Ordo Mass) together with the spirit of adoration, the presence of mystery, and the atmosphere of holiness that characterized the traditional Mass.

The absurdity of the Vatican II reform lies in the fact that a Church that was notable for the orthodoxy and beauty of her liturgy was now being damned for her fidelity to Tradition. It is tantamount to saying that if it weren’t for Catholic Tradition, everything in the Church would be fine.

The Real Presence

Jungmann’s main objection to the practice of Eucharistic adoration was that it encouraged the faithful to concentrate on the Real Presence and deflected attention away from the activity of the gathered community. In support of this theory, dear to the Liturgical Movement, he quoted fellow-Jesuit Henri de Lubac’s Corpus Mysticum, (2) which had already been condemned by the Holy Office in 1950 for “pernicious errors on essential points of dogma.” (3)

Jungmann recommended especially the final chapter of this book in which de Lubac set out a theory, drawn from his ressourcement studies (resssourcement = return to the sources), that the doctrine of the Real Presence only entered the Church in the ninth century. (4) In his opinion, this “novelty” led the medieval Church to develop a false conception of the Eucharist as the verum Corpus, the true Body of Christ. (5) That title, de Lubac argued, belonged by rights to the body of people united around the Eucharist and should be transferred to them (6) on the assumption that this was the original belief of the early Christians.

De Lubac also brought into discredit orthodox medieval theologians (among whom we must include pre-eminently St. Thomas Aquinas) by accusing them of being so fixated with the doctrine of transubstantiation and the Real Presence that they overlooked the importance of the assembled people. Worse still, he charged, the doctrine of the Real Presence was a cause of division in the Church because it made the people (the “true Body of Christ”) become “detached from the Eucharist.” (7) This false accusation became the central paradox of the Liturgical Movement, a sort of Hegelian dialectic, which would be resolved by erasing the distinction between Christ and the people, between the supernatural and the natural, grace and nature, and pretending that they are identical.

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Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J.

This was, of course, typical de Lubac and part of the Nouvelle Théologie. (8) Where does this leave the substantial Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar? In de Lubac’s theology, there was no need to be concerned with a real, objective Presence of Christ in the Sacred Species, because the people are the “true Body of Christ” and Christ is already immanent in the community even before reception of the Sacrament. Nor was there any need for an extrinsic miracle (transubstantiation) mediated by the priest to bring about the Real Presence on the altar, because, for de Lubac, it was the activity of the people that brought the Eucharist into being. (9) The Blessed Sacrament was reduced to a symbol, a token of their “solidarity” and “unity.”

Like all progressivists, Jungmann did not approve of giving the Blessed Sacrament its traditional place of honor, as the following unwarranted complaints make clear:
Quote:“In church, the tabernacle takes the central place and outweighs the altar in importance. The idea spreads that a church is primarily the house of God… A sacramental piety develops that, even within the Mass, values and understands only the Consecration… Not all these developments can be approved. For the result of much far-reaching emphasis was to isolate the Blessed Sacrament from the original context of its foundation [a meal to be shared]. A static view of the Sacrament became all too often predominant; the main interest centered on the abiding Presence.” (10)

But, the abiding Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar has always been the focal point of the Church and the Mass since Apostolic times. Catholic belief in the reality of the Eucharist (which St. Thomas Aquinas called the res et sacramentum) long pre-dated the custom of fixed and permanent tabernacles.

It was only with the Liturgical Movement that the primary focus of attention would be diverted from the Blessed Sacrament to the “active participation” of the people, from the cult of the Eucharist to a “self-celebration” by the people, in other words, to the cult of man.

Since the abiding Presence was regarded as a hindrance to the “active participation” called for by Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy, some radical changes were considered necessary to rectify what was a long-lasting and (for the reforming liturgists) an intolerable situation.

‘See what the Enemy has done in the Sanctuary’ (Psalm 73:3)

So, they persuaded the National Conferences of Bishops around the world to make the following liturgical changes specially designed to alter Catholic belief, attitudes and behavior regarding the Real Presence:
  • The Tabernacle is demoted from its central position on the altar and placed in an obscure corner or niche, preferably out of sight;
  • The central altar versus Deum (turned toward God) was either entirely removed or kept as a mere artistic background and a table versus populum (turned toward the people), placed in the presbytery between the altar and the assembly, is now where the New Mass is said;
  • Devotions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, such as Exposition, Benediction, the Forty Hours and Corpus Christi processions were suppressed, with consequent loss of faith and reverence;
  • No one is required to genuflect when passing in front of the Tabernacle or keep a reverent silence in church, even when the Mass is not being celebrated;
  • Minimalism became the keynote in modern church architecture and decoration so as to have no visual distraction from the liturgical action of the gathered assembly;
  • Any lay person can be made a Eucharistic minister – after a speedy course – and handle and distribute Holy Communion to anyone, because it is no longer regarded as the object of adoration.

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Christ the King Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a typical Vatican II church: no ornaments, no traditional altar, 
but a table facing the people, the tabernacle is at the right side - enlarged below

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No one could claim that these reforms adequately express the res et sacramentum of the Eucharist – the Reality that is present in the Sacred Species. It was this slighting of the Blessed Sacrament by the progressivist theologians that characterizes the Novus Ordo Mass and reveals a definite, ideological and anti-Catholic intent behind their reforms. Their effect was to obstruct and diminish belief in the Real Presence for millions of post-Vatican II Catholic souls – a tragedy of incalculable proportions. For it was the Blessed Sacrament that was the very source of holiness in the Church, the principal means of sustaining the stream of Catholic life throughout all the centuries of Christianity.

It is important to keep in mind that whereas devotion to the Blessed Sacrament survived the assaults of the 16th century Protestant “Reformation,” it could hardly survive the internal attacks launched by the 20th century Church’s own hierarchy and clergy.


1. J.A. Jungmann, “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” in H. Vorgrimler, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, London and New York: Burns & Oates/Herder, 1967, vol. 1, p. 24.
2. J.A. Jungmann, ibid., p. 118, note 87. Corpus Mysticum: l’Eucharistie et l’Église au Moyen Age (The Mystical Body: The Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages) (1944) was among several books by Fr. Henri de Lubac condemned by the Holy Office in 1950. All Jesuit Provincials in the world were ordered to remove it from their libraries and, where possible, from public circulation. Also under pressure from Rome, de Lubac was removed from his post as Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of Lyon and from his editorship of Recherches de Science Religieuse. But, he continued writing and giving conferences to priests. One of his books, Méditation sur l’Église, was published in Paris in 1953 during the period of his silencing by Rome. Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Paul VI) had an Italian version printed in Milan in 1955 and circulated among his priests.
3. De Lubac was rehabilitated by Pope John XXIII, who appointed him as a consulter to the Preparatory Theological Commission for Vatican II. He, then, became a perito at the Council and a member of the Theological Commission before being made Cardinal in 1983. De Lubac exerted a considerable influence on the drafting of the Conciliar documents Dei Verbum, Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes. He enjoyed the special esteem of the other conciliar Popes from Paul VI to Francis.
4. Henri de Lubac, At the Service of the Church, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993, p. 68.
5. Jungmann supports this point of view: “Out of the distant past, Eucharistic thought had gradually taken a new turn, so that from the time of Isidore and the controversies of the ninth century it began little by little to look upon the Sacrament (omitting its symbolism) almost entirely from the viewpoint of the Real Presence.” At this point Jungmann inserts a footnote referencing de Lubac’s Corpus Mysticum. See Jungmann, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, p. 118.
6. This chapter was called “Du symbole à la dialectique,” (from symbol to dialectic) (pp. 255-284). Here, de Lubac accused the Church in the 12th century of separating the sacramental Body of Christ from the ecclesial Body of Christ. He called this “une césure meurtrière” (a deadly break), alleging that it destroyed the symbolic unity of Christ and the Church.
De Lubac purported to prove that the medieval Scholastics had reversed the Church’s original understanding of the Eucharist. Whereas they defined Christ’s Body sacramentally present on the altar as the “true Body” (verum Corpus) of Christ and the Church as His “Mystical Body,” de Lubac pointed out that some pre-medieval theologians had understood these titles in reverse fashion. By merely juggling these titles around, he sought to prove that medieval sacramental theology had gone astray from the original concept of the Eucharist held by the early Christians. But, he failed to prove that the content of the Faith had changed and could continue changing with time. Indeed, it would have been impossible for him to do so; for St. Thomas Aquinas had ably demonstrated that “the articles of Faith are not based upon mere opinion, but upon Truth and, therefore, cannot possibly change.” (Pope Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem, June 29,1923)
7. De Lubac, Corpus Mysticum, p. 283. It was simply pure speculation, a product of de Lubac’s imagination, that when the term “Mystical Body” was applied to the Church, it caused a rift between Christ and His Church. “Thus the ultimate reality of the Sacrament, which was formerly the thing and the truth par excellence, is now expelled from the Sacrament. Any symbolism is now only extrinsic… For the moment it first became corpus mysticum, the ecclesial body has already become detached from the Eucharist.”
8. The practitioners of the Nouvelle Théologie did not adhere to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and, consequently, did not understand that only in the Blessed Sacrament does Christ’s Presence pertain to the ontological or metaphysical order, the order of real being. As Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., pointed out in Where Is the New Theology Leading Us? (1946): “The philosophy of being or ontology is substituted by the philosophy of action, which defines truth as no longer a function of being but of action.”
9. De Lubac: “each one of us” in the Church is “the chief minister of all the sacraments.” Catholicisme, Paris: Éditions du Cerf,, 1952, p. 86.
10. J.A. Jungmann, “Eucharistic Piety,” The Way: a Quarterly Review of Christian Spirituality, London, vol.3, n.2, 1963, p. 88.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Jungmann: ‘The Eucharist Should Not Be Adored’
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

The Catholic Middle Ages have long been the target of sneering Protestants, carping cynics and, nearer to our time, the entire Liturgical Movement industry – all determined to defame the Church in the medieval period as a corrupt institution. Indeed, even today, the epithet medieval, when applied to the Church, is nearly always used in a pejorative sense to describe the ultimate in ecclesiastical power-mongering, ignorance, bigotry and superstition.

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St. Pius X: 'War has been declared against everything supernatural'

From the early days of the Protestant “Reformation,” history was ransacked for dirt to fling at the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, some of the mud-slingers, then as now, were Catholic priests. (1) The main targets of their criticism were the Mass and the Priesthood.

It is important to keep in mind that these “historical” attacks concealed an anti-supernatural bias, as Pope Pius X observed in 1907: “War has been declared against everything supernatural, because behind the supernatural stands God and because it is God that they want to tear out of the mind and heart of man.” (2)

Although his Encyclical predates the official start of the Liturgical Movement, its references to the enemies of the Church can be said to apply pari passu to the liturgical leaders, who would later succeed in replacing God with man in the reformed liturgy.

Jungmann’s Anti-Supernatural Bias

Far from studying the medieval period with genuine interest, appreciation or affection, Jungmann displayed an almost prurient curiosity about whatever criticisms the 16th century Protestant heretics raked up or invented against the traditional liturgy and the devotional life of the faithful. As we will see below, he joined with the Church’s detractors to denigrate not only the Mass and the Priesthood, but also the very faith and pious practices of the medieval faithful.

We will see how he ridiculed all that was distinctively Catholic in the medieval Mass, especially the Elevation of the Host and Chalice; the role of the chantry priests who said Masses for the dead; the Votive Mass that was said for special intentions; the Low Mass said by a priest with an altar server, with or without a congregation; and the use of side-altars.

Every one of these features has been the target of bitter vituperation and calumny by Luther, Cranmer and other leaders of the Pseudo-Reformation. For their aim was to alienate the Catholic faithful from the Mass by accusing it, among other things, of having deviated from the purity of the original Christian liturgy; of being divorced from the lived experience of the people; of inventing rituals that fail to inculcate a genuine “community spirit”; and of denying the faithful true participation in the liturgy.

We cannot omit to notice that these unjust criticisms were also the main planks of the Liturgical Movement’s reforms in the 20th century, which culminated in the New Mass.

The Elevation

Let us now turn to the ceremonies that accompanied the moment of Transubstantiation, and against which the 16th century Protestants launched their fiercest invectives.

Around the end of the 12th century, the practice was introduced of elevating the Host after the words of Consecration so that It could be seen and adored by the people. The elevation of the Chalice was introduced a century later.

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Truly, no moment commands greater reverence, no moment is more holy or more beneficial than that in which the Eucharistic Sacrifice is accomplished,” stated Fr. Nicholas Gihr in his explanation of the Mass. (3)

The medieval practice was instituted, under divine inspiration, so that faith in the Real Presence could flourish and grow at a time when the doctrine was being attacked. It was also an aid to greater participation of the people in the Mass.

To say that Jungmann ignored the spiritual value of the Elevation would be an understatement. He fiercely criticized it for being too spiritual, for encouraging what he regarded as excessive and inappropriate adoration of the Eucharist and especially for failing to promote the “active participation” of the people:

Quote:“The Eucharist … is not primarily an object for our adoration … the specific purpose of the Sacrament is not the cult, but the celebration of the Eucharist, primarily its Sunday celebration by the assembled congregation.” (4)

He also affirmed that this communal celebration, i.e., the active participation of the people, is the “primary and true function” of the Mass.

Jungmann’s hermeneutic of rupture

Already we see the rationale for the Novus Ordo emerging, based on a Protestant understanding of the Eucharist rooted in the presence and activity of the people. According to Jungmann, the early Christians saw the Mass “as a Eucharistia, as a prayer of thanks from the congregation who were invited to participate by a Gratias agamus”; but, he alleged, in the 7th century “a change had been taking place in the concept of the Eucharist … an opposite view was taking precedence in men’s minds, swayed as they were especially by the teaching of Isidore of Seville.” [emphasis in the original] (5)

Here, Jungmann was implying that the Church had broken the continuity of Eucharistic doctrine by subverting its original concept. His grievance was, basically, that the Mass was becoming too God-centered. He complained that medieval theologians were becoming fixated on the precise moment of Consecration; the people were focusing their attention on the Real Presence at the Elevation.

All those special liturgical forms of reverence – genuflections, ringing of bells and swinging of thuribles, periods of silence – he considered de trop and, therefore, inappropriate. Interestingly, this was also the basis for the Protestant rejection of the Mass.

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The priest joins the people to say the Our Father at a Mass at Notre Dame; below, a female eucharistic minister gives communion in Brooklyn, NY

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Jungmann had no sympathy with the concept of the Eucharist as “the bona gratia, (6) which God grants us and which at the climactic moment of the Mass, the Consecration, descends to us.” (7) Hence, his distaste for the Elevation. His preference was for a liturgy that would accentuate the all-important “gifts” of the laity and allow them the full play of their energies and talents through “active participation.”

In 1965, he explained that the purpose of the Liturgical Reform was to diminish the latreutic (8) and mystical dimensions of the Roman Rite in favor of the active participation of the people:
Quote:The return from the dominant worship of the Eucharist to the community celebration of the Eucharist has remained the principal theme of the liturgical renewal.” (9)

Two diametrically opposed views are presented here. On the one hand, there is the concept of the Mass whose animating principle originates in the activity of the people and which Jungmann pretended was the authentic Christian heritage. On the other, there is the Immemorial Mass in which Christ descends daily on our altars and which Jungmann implied was an invention of medieval theologians.

To put it in a nutshell, one is naturalistic because it chiefly concerns man and comes “from below”; the other is supernatural because its point of reference is God and comes “from above.” History has shown which view gained credence and acceptance in the Liturgical Reform that produced the New Mass. And examples are evident and abundant of the consequent loss of awareness of the value of the Consecration among modern Mass-goers.

Anyone not yet convinced that Vatican II’s Liturgy Constitution was based on a false premise that would lead logically to an equally false conclusion (the Novus Ordo Missae) would do well to bear in mind that it was Jungmann who wrote and edited the entire Chapter Two on the Eucharist.

In the next article, we will see what exactly Jungmann said about the Elevation and how closely his criticisms resembled, even mimicked, those of the 16th century Protestant heretics.


1. The main difference was that the 16th century detractors, e.g. Martin Luther, left the Church, whereas the Vatican II-era ones generally remained, like termites working from the inside to bring the whole structure down.
2. Pope Pius X, Une Fois Encore, Encyclical on the Separation of Church and State, 1907, § 4.
Pius X addressed this document to all the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops of France as well as to the French clergy and people, assuring them of his support in their struggle against persecution by the Church’s enemies. He gave as examples of persecution against the Church “the declarations made and repeated over and over again in the press, at meetings, at Masonic congresses, and even in Parliament, as well as in the attacks that have been progressively and systematically directed against her.” (ibid., § 8)
3. Fr Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Fribourg: Herder, 1902), p. 642.
4. Jungmann, Announcing the Word of God, trans. from the German by Ronald Walls (London: Burns and Oates, 1967), p. 124.
5. St. Isidore, Archbishop of Seville and Doctor of the Church, was reputed to be the last of the Latin Church Fathers. His teaching on the Eucharist was in line with that of all his predecessors in the Faith. Shortly after his death in 636, the 8th Council of Toledo described him as: “Illustrious teacher and ornament of the Catholic Church, the most learned man of our time, always to be named with reverence.”
6. This is a reference to the freely-given gift of grace for the salvation of souls. In the Novus Ordo, the main emphasis is on the “people’s gifts” which overshadow and eclipse the gift of supernatural life which Christ makes available at every Mass.
7. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 82.
8. This refers to the supreme homage (latria = adoration) due to God alone, which is the first end for which the Mass is offered.
9. Jungmann, The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer, trans. Geoffrey Chapman (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1989), p. 256. The first edition was published in 1925 under the title Die Stellung Christi im liturgischen Gebet when Jungmann was a young university lecturer in Innsbruck. It was praised by Dom Odo Casel and Karl Adam as a major contribution to the Liturgical Movement. The second edition was published in 1962 and revised in 1965.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Sabotaging the Elevation & the Consecration
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

Jungmann shared some of the belligerently anti-Catholic attitudes that drove the Protestant “Reformation,” as we can see from the following criticisms he made of the Elevation:

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Progressivism's objections against the Elevation are the same as those of Protestantism

  • It was an “intrusion of a very notable innovation” into the Mass; (1)
  • It resulted from some pedantic and futile quibbles among medieval theologians regarding a “precise moment of Consecration”;
  • It was closely connected with superstitious practices arising from popular perceptions of the Grail legend;
  • It caused harm to the spiritual lives of the faithful by inducing them to be satisfied with looking at rather than receiving the Host;
  • It was the cause of disorderly conduct in church as people jostled one another for a view of the elevated Host;
  • It caused them to neglect the rest of the Mass as they raced from church to church to be present only at each “showing” of the Host and Chalice.
The idea that the Elevation, which was instituted to honor the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and to increase devotion to It, was an unwarranted intrusion or that it could have been productive of so many ills, is inconceivable, even blasphemous. We should keep in mind that the Council of Trent issued the Church’s severest condemnation against anyone stating that any of the ceremonies of the Roman Rite were capable of exerting a malign influence on the faithful. (2)

No Innovation

The first critics to attack the Elevation as a novelty were the 16th century Protestants (3) in a vain attempt to show that it was an unauthentic “Romish” [Roman] addition. Historically, there were and still are, a number of minor elevations at different points in the Roman Mass. In fact, the custom of elevation – in the sense of showing the Blessed Sacrament to the people before Communion for their adoration before reception – was already established in the Apostolic Constitutions of the 4th century. (4) In pre-medieval times, the priest held the Host at shoulder level during the Consecration.

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Thomas Becon & Josef Jungmann are on the same page

So, by the 13th century, it was only a question of raising the consecrated Host a few inches higher for the people to see and adore – hardly a startling revolution. The “new” ritual, being rooted in the centuries-old pious customs of the faithful, grew naturally and organically from the living tradition, as a tree puts forth its blossoms in due season.

The Elevation was, therefore, a development of the liturgical tree rather than an innovation. It was also regarded as a mystical symbol of Christ being raised on the Cross at Calvary, an effective aid in recalling the Passion and Death of Christ. Most significantly, it marked the moment of Christ’s descent upon the altar in the miracle of transubstantiation.

Why the Objection?

Jungmann tried to make out that this was not the teaching of the early Church. The medieval emphasis on the “descent of the sacred mystery” was, he alleged, a harmful error because it “led to a lessening regard for the oblation which we ourselves offer up and in which we offer ourselves as members of the Body of Christ, and a greater attention to the act of transubstantiation.” (5)

The ‘Moment of Consecration’

For those who disbelieved in the act of transubstantiation or wanted to ignore it, Jungmann provided the following “justification”:

“In general, Christian antiquity even until way into the Middle Ages manifested no particular interest regarding the determination of the precise moment of the Consecration. Often reference was made merely to the entire Eucharistic Prayer.” (6)

This was his way of dismissing the Scholastic theology of the Middle Ages by making this vital issue (an exact moment of Consecration) seem like a pointless academic dispute – an analogue to the angels-on-heads-of-pins conundrum – or a “magic moment” theory which can be laughed away. In this way, the progressivists continue to ridicule and undermine old certitudes and fixed beliefs. It was an example of how Jungmann indulged in polemics (7) to challenge traditional values whenever historical evidence was lacking to prove his point.

He was quite wrong, for evidence exists that the early Fathers of the Church testified to their belief in an exact moment of Consecration occurring immediately after Christ’s words are spoken by the priest. (8)

Christ’s Descent onto the Altar at Mass

In objecting to the “descent of the sacred mystery,” Jungmann was placing himself outside the entire tradition of the Church’s sacramental theology, for the whole doctrine of transubstantiation is intimately connected with the Incarnation – as Pope Leo XIII pointed out: “The Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as, in a manner, a continuation and extension of the Incarnation.” (9)

The ‘Scandal of Particularity’ (10)

Jungmann did not accept the essential point held by the Church Fathers that, just as the Son of God descended at a precise moment into the chaste womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so He descends every day into the hands of the priest at a precise moment after the words of Consecration. It was to reinforce this analogy that the Church used the Preface of Christmas in the traditional Mass of Corpus Christi – at least up until 1955 when that Preface was swept away by the stroke of a pen in the liturgical “purges” made by Pius XII. (11)

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In the Novus Ordo the Consecration is supposed to be made by the whole congregation

Jungmann could not swallow the idea of a “precise moment” of Consecration (12) enacted by the celebrating priest without suffering acute liturgical indigestion. Instead, he posited that the “entire Eucharistic Prayer” from the beginning of the Preface up to the Our Father was consecratory. He also sustained that the Consecration was not effected just by a prayer of the priest but by the whole assembly, and that it should include an active role for the congregation (expression of thanksgiving, various responses and acclamations, reciting the Sanctus etc.)

Was the Elevation removed from the N.O.?

No, in the sense that the Elevation, together with the ringing of bells, has not been specifically prohibited, as it had been in Cranmer’s 1549 Prayer Book; it is still tolerated as an option for the more conservatively inclined.

Yes, in the sense that the General Instruction of the Novus Ordo has replaced the rubric in the traditional Missal concerning elevation (“elevat”), with the instruction that the priest simply shows (“ostendit”) the Host. The General Instruction also calls the Eucharistic Prayer, as a generic whole, the “high point” and the “center and summit of the entire celebration,” (13) a title of honor traditionally given to the Consecration as Fr. Gihr explains:

“The moment of Consecration is the moment most important and solemn, the most sublime and touching, the most holy and fruitful of the whole sacrificial celebration; for it includes that glorious and unfathomably profound work, namely, the accomplishment of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which all the marvels of God’s love are concentrated as in a focus of heat and light.” (14)

But, it was precisely on the grounds of this focus on the Blessed Sacrament that Jungman criticized the Elevation. As we have seen, he wanted to deflect attention away from the Real Presence and onto the presence of the people and, accordingly, devised a reform of the Mass that would reflect this new orientation. It is entirely to be expected that, as Cardinal Ottaviani pointed out in his Critical Examination of the Nouvs Ordo, “The central role of the Real Presence has been suppressed. It has been removed from the place it so resplendently occupied in the old liturgy.” (15)


1. J.A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 2, p. 108. In an astonishing display of hypocrisy, he expressed his outrage that the Elevation had been introduced into the Canon “which for ages had been regarded as an inviolable sanctuary.” At the time he wrote those words, Jungmann was planning to violate that very sanctuary with his own reforms that would eventually become evident in the Novus Ordo.
2. Council of Trent, 22nd session, canon 7: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than stimulants to piety, let him be anathema.”
3. A typical 16th century example is the criticism made by Thomas Cranmer’s Chaplain, Thomas Becon, who said with reference to the Elevation: “Verily it is not much more than 300 years old. Let the lying papists be ashamed to brag that their devilish mass came from the Apostles; seeing it is a new and late invention of the antichrist. (Apud ‘Displaying of the Popish Mass’ in Prayers and Other Pieces of Thomas Becon, Publication of the Parker Society, edited by Rev. John Ayre, Cambridge University Press, 1844, vol. 3, p. 270)
4. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass, A Study of the Roman Liturgy, London-New York-Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co, , 1913, pp. 337-338.
5. J.A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 2, pp. 101-102.
6. Ibid., pp. 203-204, note 9.
7. “Polemics” derives from the Greek polemos, (war) and polemikos (warlike, hostile). It can be aptly applied to Jungmann’s approach, for he went to war against the Mass of the Roman Rite.
8. St. Justin Martyr (2nd century): “As we have been taught, the food which has been made Eucharist by the word of prayer, which is His Word, and by change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and Blood of the incarnated Christ.” (1 Apology, chap. 66); With reference to the Roman Canon in the 4th century, St. Ambrose said: “When the moment comes for bringing the Most Holy Sacrament into being, the priest does not use his own words any longer: he uses the words of Christ. Therefore, it is Christ’s Word that brings this Sacrament into being… Before the Consecration, it was not the Body of Christ, but after the Consecration I tell you it is now the Body of Christ.” (De Sacramentis, book 4, chap. 4, n.16); St. John Chrysostom (4th century) said: “The priest standing there in the place of Christ says these words but their power and grace are from God. ‘This is My Body,’ he says, and these words transform the gifts.” (Homily 1, 6, Homilies on the Treachery of Judas); St. Gregory the Great (7th century) rebuked those who doubted that “at the very moment of immolation, the heavens are opened by the voice of the priest, [and] that the choirs of angels are present at this Mystery of Jesus Christ.” (The Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, trans. Edmund G. Gardner, London and Boston, 1911, book 4, chap 58, p. 256)
9. Pope Leo XIII, Mirae caritatis, On the Holy Eucharist, 1902, n. 7 .
10. This phrase denotes the reaction of sceptics to the truth that God became man at a particular moment of time and in a particular place and that He is the unique Saviour of mankind. And it is used with reference to those who disbelieve that God intervenes in the particularities of human affairs. It also covers any of the “exclusive” claims of the Catholic Church, e.g., to possess the one true Faith or to be the one Ark of Salvation for all, which are a stumbling block for many.
11. The Preface of Christmas on the feast of Corpus Christi was suppressed by the decree, Cum nostra hac aetate (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 47, 1955, n. 8, p. 224) on the pretext of “simplifying” the liturgy. As a result, the Corpus Christi Mass of the 1962 Missal has just the Common Preface. At the same time, the Octave of Corpus Christi was suppressed, as well as the Mass of the Sunday within the Octave.
Nor could the Catechism of the Catholic Church which merely states: “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the Consecration.” (n. 1377) But, St. Thomas Aquinas taught that this happens immediately after (not at) the words of Consecration, so that transubstantiation “is wrought by Christ’s words, which are spoken by the priest, so that the last instant of pronouncing the words is the first instant in which Christ’s Body is in the Sacrament; and that the substance of the bread is there during the whole preceding time.”(Summa Theologiae III, q. 75, a. 7)
12. General Instruction, nn. 30, 78.
13. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Fribourg: Herder, 1902, pp. 631-632.
14. Ottaviani Intervention, chap. 4, 1969.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Like the Protestants, Progressivists Mock the Elevation
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

It is interesting to see how satire and caricature fuelled both the Protestant “Reformation” of the 16th century and the Liturgical Revolution of the 20th. Both movements sought through these means to create a climate of scepticism towards the supernatural, break down respect for the sacrality of Tradition and destroy attachment to the medieval rites, particularly those that honored the Blessed Sacrament.

Historical evidence shows that Protestants of the “Reformation” era habitually ridiculed the Elevation with satirical tales intended to make a mockery of the practice of adoring the Host and to link it with superstition.

Jungmann treated the Elevation as a Joke

Fr. Josef Jungmann seemed to gloat over these scurrilous tales, judging by the evident delight he took in repeating them as if they were historically verifiable facts. For example, with reference to the Elevation, he stated:

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Protestant satire ridiculing ‘Romanish’ superstitions and institutions

“It could happen – as it did in England – that if the celebrant did not elevate the Host high enough, the people would cry out: ‘Hold up, Sir John (1), hold up. Heave it a little higher.’” (2)

The credibility of such a tale is seriously compromised by the fact that it had been written as a burlesque of Catholic piety by Thomas Becon, chaplain to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and one of the most aggressive 16th century polemicists, notorious for his crudely expressed anti-Catholic insults. (3) See here.

Insofar as Jungmann knowingly suppressed the context of this parody of the Elevation (4) and presented it instead as a historical record, he can be accused of deliberately misreading the past to justify the perpetration of future reforms.

If sarcasm (5) can be described as contempt disguised by humor, Jungmann’s true attitude to the Elevation is manifested in these words:

Quote:“There are examples of congregations where the majority of the faithful waited for the sance-bell [Sanctus bell] signalling the approach of the Consecration before they entered the church and, then, after the elevation they rushed out as quickly as they had come in... fleeing as if they had seen the devil.” (6)

One could say that he had a diabolical sense of humor

Jungmann derided the Elevation, describing it as a Fetish

The underlying message was that the Elevation, accompanied as it was by the ringing of bells, (7) was problematic because it caused a stampede of the faithful in and out of the church. But, his opinion can be shown to be merely a cum hoc fallacy. (8)

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Jungmann ridicules the people who eagerly awaited the moment of elevation

Also, the image he cultivated of the Elevation as something of a spectator sport with crowds of people racing from church to church just to catch a glimpse of it (9) is now a running joke – pun unintended – among modern liturgists and is the standard view of the Elevation promoted in modern histories and encyclopaedias.

We must remember, however, that a few reports of such behavior, even where they corresponded with reality, are often exaggerated as if they were the common custom, especially by historians who approach their subject with preconceptions; and that it is only the exceptions and irregularities which attracted attention at the time that are recorded for future generations, while the everyday examples of humble obedience and unobtrusive piety escape the satirist’s pen.

Unfortunately, Jungmann had the potential to shape the “popular” conception of the medieval liturgy by appealing to the worst tendencies in his readers, including the desire to scoff at the holy, even the Holy of Holies.

Jungmann continued to surround the Elevation with an atmosphere of jest and amusement:
Quote:“To look at the sacred Host at the elevation became for many in the later Middle Ages the be-all and end-all of Mass devotion. See the Body of Christ at the Consecration and be satisfied!” (10)

His opinion shows a certain disdain or, at the very least, a lack of respect for the faith of medieval Catholics whom he accused of regarding the Elevation as a “substitute for sacramental Communion”.

‘The Gaze’

Jungmann was determined to tarnish the ritual of the Elevation by suggesting the “showing” of the Host was inspired by the popular medieval folk legend, the Grail, which featured a supposedly magical power of the act of seeing:

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Jungmann uses the Grail legend to denigrate the Elevation

“To see the celestial mystery, that is the climax of the Grail-legend in which, at this same period, the religious longing of the Middle Ages found its poetic expression ... And as in the Grail-legend many grace-filled results were expected from seeing the mystery, so too at Mass.” (12) [emphasis added]

He virtually accused the faithful of believing that, just as in the Grail legend material benefits were thought to be magically guaranteed through direct eye contact with the object of their devotion, so also looking at the Host could produce the same effects. “There is a startling parallel here,” he averred, (13) and concluded that, in the opinion of medieval Catholics, looking at the Host was more beneficial than receiving. (14)

'Ocular Communion'

It is merely the wildest speculation that medieval Mass-goers thought of the Elevation in this way. There was never any such thing as “ocular Communion” (an expression still current among modern liturgists to ridicule the Elevation) as distinct from the pious practice of “spiritual Communion.” Every well-instructed Catholic knew that the grace of the Sacrament was wrought by Christ, not by the action of seeing and that merely looking at the Host would not be spiritually efficacious without an accompanying intention of adoration.

This is why, in their pastoral and catechetical instructions, the clergy exhorted the faithful to venerate the Host at the Elevation. And there were many manuals of devotion for lay people, complete with a variety of prayers as an aid to contemplation during the Consecration e.g. this beautiful 13th century prayer of William Durandus, Bishop of Mende, contained in his diocesan Instructions. (15)

It is of the greatest significance that the jibe about “ocular Communion,” which is prevalent among modern liturgists, originated from medieval Protestant objections to the Elevation as a form of superstition. This was the theme of a satire of the Mass by George Hakewill, a 16th century Church of England clergyman and a virulent anti-Catholic polemicist, in which he called the Mass an “eye-service”:
Quote:“OUR adversaries [the Catholics] indeed place a great and main part of their superstitious worship in the eye-service; in the magnificent & pompous fabric and furniture of their Churches and attiring their Priests; in gazing upon their dumb ceremonies … in beholding the daily elevation of their Idol in the Mass, (for the greatest part hear nothing)” (16)

From Jungmann’s perspective, the medieval liturgy was a magnificent spectacle put on by the priests for a mute and highly superstitious audience.

Misdirected Criticism

But the charge of superstition against the medieval faithful regarding the Mass in general and the Elevation in particular cannot be maintained. For the medieval hierarchy, unlike the progressivists in the Church today who support and encourage New Age theories, voodoo etc., strove to correct and control all superstitious elements among the faithful. (17)


1. In medieval England, priests were commonly addressed as Sir, a courtesy title also given to knights. The obvious intent here is one of unreserved mockery, which was common among the leaders of the “Reformation.” For example, in the Works of James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham from 1561-1575, we read that he called priests “Sir John Lack-Latin” (p. 20), “Sir John Smell-smoke” (a reference to the use of incense) (p. 255), and “Sir John Mumble-matins” (p. 26). He also referred to them as “the Popes’s oiled shavelings” (tonsured clerics anointed with holy oils) (p. 82), and “the Pope’s belly-gods” (gluttons) (p. 580). He described the Catholic Bishops as “the Pope’s horned cattle” (p. 664) in allusion to their mitres; monks were “abbey lubbers” (a medieval word for swindlers, parasites) (passim); he renamed Hildebrand (Pope St. Gregory VII) as “Hell-brand” (p. 565); he called St. Thomas of Canterbury a “stinking martyr” (p. 65) and Cardinal Pole a “Carnal Fool” (p. 77); he said Purgatory was “the Pope’s scalding house” (p. 497), and execrated the Holy Mass as “the popish clouted [clothed i.e. with vestments] Latin Mass” (p. 496).
2. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 121, note 101.
3. Thomas Becon, ‘Displaying of the Popish Mass’ in Prayers and other pieces of Thomas Becon, Publication of the Parker Society, edited by Rev. John Ayre, Cambridge University Press, 1844, vol. 3, p. 270. In the same essay, he called priests “mass mongers” and the Mass an “abominable idol-service” (p. 253); he wrote of “anti-Christ’s brood of Rome” (p. 259) and the “idolatrous priests of Babylon” (p. 261). Becon especially detested the Elevation: “And although the whole mass of the papists be utterly wicked and abominable, yet this part, which they call the sacring, is most wicked and abominable; forasmuch as it provoketh the people that are present to commit most detestable idolatries.” (p. 270)
4. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, note 101, quoted from the respected Catholic historian, Fr. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass, A Study of the Roman Liturgy, p. 341, but omitted Fortescue’s explanation that Becon was using this tale for the purposes of “attacking the Mass.”
5. “Sarcasm” can be traced back to the Greek word sarkasmos, a cutting or wounding remark, which in turn derives from sarkazein, meaning to tear flesh like a dog. Its use here seems apposite in the sense that treating the Consecration with contempt is tantamount to lacerating the flesh of Christ.
6. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol 1, p. 121, note 102.
7. The Council of Trent mandated the use of bells at the Elevation during Consecration (not to mention at other parts of the Mass), but only after the custom had already been established for 350 years. After 750 years’ use of bells during the Mass, the custom was made optional in the Novus Ordo reform, and fell into almost complete desuetude. The reason for its unpopularity in the Liturgical Movement was the progressivist belief that the Eucharistic Prayer was a consecratory, seamless whole and should not be interrupted by the sound of bells, which mark a precise moment of Consecration.
8. The Latin phrase cum hoc ergo propter hoc means, literally, “with this, therefore, because of this.” Jungmann committed the cum hoc fallacy by assuming – or rather getting the reader to assume – that because the unruly behaviour occurred just before and immediately after the Elevation, it must have occurred because of it. Although there is a correlation between the two events, Jungmann has failed to prove a causal connection between them. Nor did he take into consideration other factors that influenced the irreverent behaviour, such as a worldly and lukewarm attitude to the Faith. In every era there were some half-hearted Catholics who arrived late (some time after the sermon) and left early (around Communion time), which roughly corresponds to the Canon of the Mass. A survey carried out in the 1950s in a parish in Vienna (a city with which Jungmann was familiar) revealed that about 30 % of the congregation arrived late and left before or just after Communion, in addition to which a “sizeable number” hung around the doorway of the church, smoking and talking. See B. Ziemann, Encounters with Modernity: The Catholic Church in West Germany, 1945-1975, Berghahn Books, 2014, p. 39.
9. “In the cities people ran from church to church, to see the elevated Host as often as possible.” J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol 1, p. 121.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid., p. 120.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., note 97.
14. In order to support this hypothesis, Jungmann referenced the work of the German liturgical historian, Fr. Anton L. Mayer, a disciple of Abbot Ildefons Herwegen of the Benedictine Monastery Maria Laach. In 1938, Fr. Mayer had written a book-length essay for Dom Herwegen, entitled “Die heilbringende Schau in Sitte und Kult” (The Grace-giving Gaze in Custom and Cult). In it, he posited that the medieval faithful believed that during the Elevation their eyes emitted magical rays by means of which they could “touch” the Host and that a range of benefits could be transmitted back from the Host along the same pathway. (ibid., pp. 235-236) For this fanciful theory he invented the term “Schaudevotion” (devotional viewing) and blamed it for reducing the congregation to silent spectators instead of active participants. His book was edited by Dom Odo Casel, also of Maria Laach, and exerted a continuing influence on the Liturgical Movement. See Anton L. Mayer, “Die heilbringende Schau in Sitte und Kult” in Heilige Überlieferung: Ausschnitte aus der Geschichte des Mönchtums und des heiligen Kultes (Festschrift für Ildefons Herwegen), Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 1938, pp. 234-241.
15. “Furthermore, when the Body of Christ is shown to the people to be adored thus, reverently kneeling, they should say: O most precious Body of Christ, true God and true man, Who art the Price and Reward, the Salvation King and Light of the world, whom every creature together justly praises and blesses, to Thee I devoutly commend my body and soul, suppliantly and earnestly beseeching that to me and all my relatives, parents, friends and benefactors, Thou mayest vouchsafe to grant spiritual and temporal peace, joy also, and all things needful for health of soul and body; moreover [vouchsafe to grant us] the heart, time and opportunity to repent and serve Thee worthily and laudably; and protect us from shame, want and sudden death, and from every adversity of mind and body, and also to have mercy upon us and all the faithful, both the living and the dead.” [translation by C. Byrne] (J. Berthelé and M. Valmary (eds.), Instructions et Constitutions de Guillaume Durand, Montpellier, 1900, pp. 79-80)
16. George Hakewill 1578-1649. The Vanity of the Eye, chapter 25, ‘That the popish religion consists more in eye service than the reformed’, 1608, pp. 125-126. [The spelling in the original Middle English version has been modernized for the sake of clarity]
17. Medieval theologians relied heavily on the Church Fathers and the towering figure of St. Thomas Aquinas who denounced all superstitious practices as an infringement of the First Commandment. St. Augustine taught that superstition entailed pacta cum daemonibus (pacts with the devils) and was the antithesis of true religion; and St. Thomas Aquinas took up the same theme and linked it with heresy.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Progressivist ‘Simplification’ of the Mass Inspired by Luther
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

When we study the history of the Liturgical Movement, which was heavily influenced by Fr. Josef Jungmann, we must marvel at the ease with which the 20th century progressivists were made to believe almost anything that reflected badly on the medieval Church. His fellow-Jesuit, Fr. (soon to be Cardinal) Avery Dulles neatly encapsulated in a few words the core of Jungmann’s circumlocutory treatment of medieval Catholics:
Quote:“In the Middle Ages the cult of the saints became exuberant to the point of falling into excesses [i.e. superstition]. A venal clergy, in combination with a gullible and largely illiterate populace, furnished a breeding ground for fanciful legends about apparitions, heavenly messages and miraculous cures…The fires of Hell and Purgatory were vividly imagined. Indulgences, pilgrimages, relics and Votive Masses became objects of a thriving business.” (1)

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Progressivist Card. Avery Dulles takes Luther's position & labels Catholic teaching 'legends'

No 16th century Protestant propagandist could have put it more venomously or unfairly. And as the history of the “Reformation” has been largely written by Protestants, the idea that remains to this day is that the Catholic faithful were intimidated out of their money by a clergy whose main motivation was the accumulation of wealth. It was easy for Jungmann to capitalize on these polemical caricatures – after all, he too was strongly motivated to reject the thought and achievements of the Middle Ages.

Having demeaned the value of the Elevation for the amusement of modern liturgical reformers (here and here), Jungmann next turned his attention to another pillar of Catholic liturgy, the venerable tradition of Votive Masses. (2) These were most commonly said at the request of the faithful for their own special intentions (notably for the souls of deceased loved ones) (3) and were often accompanied by the voluntary payment of a stipend to the priest as a gift to the Church.

Jungmann & Luther Slander the Medieval Faithful

The medieval Votive Mass was denounced by both the 16th century Protestants and 20th century liturgists, interestingly for the same spurious reasons: superstition, ignorance and clerical greed. According to this view, the clergy fleeced the gullible laity by filling their heads with superstitious ideas about the effects of the Mass, which would come to them in return for the requisite sum of money. Jungmann stated:
Quote:“The complaints raised by the Reformers, especially by Luther, were aimed accurately and quite relentlessly against questionable points in ecclesiastical praxis regarding the Mass; the fruits of the Mass, the Votive Masses with their various values, the commerce in stipends.” (4)

While no one denies that abuses exist in every era of Church history and that there were in the Middle Ages clerics who failed to live up to their calling and lay people of questionable orthodoxy, Jungmann was not justified in taking Luther’s criticisms at face value. For such opinions constituted a significant aspect of anti-clerical complaint in the 16th century and were fed not so much by factual evidence as by Protestant opposition to Catholic doctrine and liturgy.

The fruits of the Mass

The doctrine that the Mass produces “fruits” – that it brings both spiritual and temporal benefits to the faithful present and those for whom they pray – was rejected by the Protestant heretics as a superstitious fable. It was their way of attacking the Church’s role in the dispensation of grace. Instead of upholding the impetratory value of the Mass on the grounds that it is Christ Who acts in it and is unfailingly heard by the Father, Jungmann joined with the Protestants in ridiculing it.

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Jungmann ridicules the efficacious value of the Mass

A whole section of his history of the Mass is devoted to a series of medieval caricatures in the form of anecdotal satire, i.e., “funny stories” intended to raise a few laughs at the expense of traditional Catholic piety. (5) Thus, according to Jungmann, it was popularly believed that “during the time one hears Mass one does not grow older… after hearing Mass one’s food tastes better” etc. (6)

But he made no attempt to put any of this into its proper context, ignoring the centuries-old tradition of Catholic piety, which has been in the Church since the time of the early Fathers but which has been jettisoned by the Liturgical Movement. For example, the mention of not growing any older was explained by St. Leonard of Port Maurice as a reference to a sort of spiritual youthfulness experienced by those who hear Mass devoutly. (7)

In short, Jungmann did not understand the inner logic and intellectual coherence of medieval Catholicism.

And he complained that the system of Votive Mass, with its emphasis on stipulated days, numbers of candles and pre-arranged stipends, lent itself to exploitation by Catholics as some sort of magic formula:

“What was really questionable in this practice of Mass series and Votive Masses was the assurance ‒ recurring time and again ‒ of unfailing results.” (8)

According to Jungmann, these ideas “were able to flourish unimpeded in homiletic and devotional literature of the day” (9) and were believed by the people because they “coincided with their own mania for miracles.” (10)

But there is no evidence to prove that superstition was a defining element in the corpus of medieval belief and practice, or that the faithful were trying to manipulate God into guaranteeing them instant favors. What is evident, however, from Jungmann’s remarks is that progressivists pay scant attention to miracles and look with uncomprehending eyes on the faith of our medieval ancestors.

Jungmann dismissed the Votive Mass contemptuously as the product of a pre-scientific mentality suitable only for people living in the “Dark Ages”: (11)
Quote:“The low state of medicine and hygiene and in general the small knowledge of natural remedies, as well as the widespread uncertainty of legal rights in the early medieval states, to some extent explain the large number of external petitions in these Votive Masses and the strong appeal they had for the people.” (12)

This is simply an example of reductionist thinking; a fuller understanding of the medieval faithful would reveal that their motives for requesting Votive Masses were primarily spiritual and devotional, even in times of crisis and epidemic such as the Black Death.

It is not difficult to see why these Masses were rejected by Protestants who did not believe that the Mass is the supreme form of Christian worship, infinitely pleasing to God, or that the merits of the Holy Sacrifice could be applied to the living and the dead.

What is difficult to understand is that, as a Catholic priest, Jungmann should have adopted the two major themes of Protestants’ animosity towards the medieval Votive Mass: the alleged greed of the clergy for financial gain (the so-called “traffic in stipends”) and superstition of the faithful (their supposed belief in the “magical” effects of the Mass).

Luther inspired the Progressivist ‘Simplification’

He even went so far as to maintain that the status quo in the medieval Church – as painted by the Protestants – caused whole nations to revolt against the Mass, thus effectively vindicating Luther and the other heresiarchs who supported him:
Quote:“In general, the evil [the Mass] continued to flourish… became an object of scorn and ridicule and was repudiated as a horrible idolatry by entire peoples… The reference to self-interest and superstition had made an impression. And considering the low state of religious training, this adverse criticism threatened to destroy in people’s minds not only the excess foliage, but the very branch and root. The Mass was disregarded, despised.” (13)

But the blame for this, in Jungmann’s estimation, was not to be attributed to Luther, but to the medieval liturgy, especially the Elevation, silent Canon, use of Latin, emphasis on priesthood and sacrifice, “non-participation” of the laity etc.:
Quote:“It was not hard for Luther to strike a destructive blow against such a system. At least at the outset, he and the other reforming influences already at work in the Church were undoubtedly moved by genuine religious concern. Luther demanded a return to a more simple Christianity.” (14) [emphasis added]

These words are illuminating. They show us that the much vaunted “simplification” of the liturgy, begun by Pope Pius XII and progressively imposed on the Church, was greatly desired not only by Luther but by Jungmann and other influential liturgists as a means of sweeping away all that was distinctively Catholic in the traditional Mass.


1. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 132
2. Votive Masses have been in existence since the early centuries of the Church, and examples of them are contained in the earliest sources of the Roman Rite, i.e., in the Leonine Sacramentary (4th century) and also the Gelasian Sacramentary, which has a large collection of them. (Cf. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass: a Study of the Roman Liturgy, Longmans, Green, 1922, p. 120.) The intentions for these Masses reflected the great variety of human needs for which the faithful sought divine assistance, and had both a private and public character: for an increase in charity, a safe journey, in thanksgiving for a wedding, birthday or anniversary of ordination, for help in various afflictions such as illness or injustice, for protection against plague, drought or war etc.
3. Another use of the Votive Mass is to celebrate one of the mysteries of God, such as the Holy Trinity, or in honor of Our Lady and the Saints.
4. Avery Dulles, The New World of Faith, Huntington, IN.: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2000, p. 71.
5. It is noteworthy that satire of the Votive Mass was a well established genre in Pseudo-Reformation times, providing a precedent for Jungmann’s parodies. A prime example is a work by the 16th century German Protestant theologian and preacher, Naogeorgius (the nom de plume of Thomas Kirchmayer). His satirical skit on the Votive Mass was originally written in Latin doggerel verse and entitled Regnum Papisticum before being translated by the English poet, Barnaby Googe, and published in 1570 under the title The Popish Kingdom, or Reign of Antichrist. Interestingly, this can be read in the Introduction to Fr. F.X. Lasance’s New Roman Missal (1945 edition) and is here presented with an ironic twist. As Fr. Lasance pointed out, although the poem set out to ridicule Catholic faith and practice, it unwittingly demonstrated just how important the Mass was to medieval Catholics, covering every aspect of their lives in this world and the next.
6. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 129.
7. “One does not grow older in sin.” See The Hidden Treasure: or the Immense Excellence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Dublin, James Duffy, 1861, p. 33. This idea is reinforced at the beginning of Mass when the priest declares his intention to approach the altar of God “qui laetificat juventutem meam”. As the point was considered by modern liturgists to be of no value, it was expunged together with the whole of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.
8. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 130. But he omitted to mention the essential proviso – known to all medieval Catholics – that the outcome of our prayers is entirely subject to God’s will and judgement. St. Leonard, quoting St. Jerome, explained as a certainty that “the Lord grants all the favours for which we petition Him in the Mass, provided they be suitable to us.” (Ibid., p. 31)
9. Ibid., p. 129
10. Ibid., p. 130. Here Jungmann confused miracles with superstition. He failed to point out that the medieval faithful were right to believe in the miraculous effects of the Mass. An example was given by St. Augustine, who related the cure of one of his neighbors as a result of a Votive Mass: “Hesperius, of a Tribunitian family, and a neighbor of our own, has a farm called Zubedi in the Fussalian district; and, finding that his family, his cattle, and his servants were suffering from the malice of evil spirits, he asked our presbyters, during my absence, that one of them would go with him and banish the spirits by his prayers. One went, offered there the sacrifice of the Body of Christ, praying with all his might that that vexation might cease. It did cease forthwith, through God’s mercy.” St. Augustine, The City of God, book 22, chapter 8 ‘Of Miracles Which Were Wrought that the World Might Believe in Christ, and Which Have Not Ceased Since the World Believed.’
11. The term “Dark Ages” was coined by the Italian Renaissance scholar, Petrarch (1304-1374). From the modern perspective, the Middle Ages are described as “dark” because of a supposed lack of scientific progress.
12. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 220.
13. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 132.
14. J. Jungmann, J., ‘Liturgy on the Eve of the Reformation,’ Worship, 33, 1959, pp. 514
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Progressivist Opposition to the Chantry System

Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis in the original].

In the Middle Ages, a chantry was essentially an institution to administer an endowment by one or more benefactors for a priest to celebrate Masses at a particular altar for the souls of specified persons. This took the form of a gift either of money to the priest as a contribution to his upkeep, or of land that he could farm or rent to produce an income. (1)

Any of the faithful could become a founder of a chantry, also often known as a chantry chapel, as chantries were adapted to the means of all ranks of society, including people of widely divergent status and wealth. (2) Such was their popularity that there was scarcely a church without at least one chantry, (3) while cathedrals and collegiate churches often had a considerable number of them. (4) There were also numerous purpose-built chapels dotted around the countries of Europe that could each support several chantry priests.

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Chantry Chapel of St. Mary on the Medieval Bridge in Wakefield, England

It is worth noting at this point how indispensable chantries were to the vitality of medieval religious life. They may seem unimportant to most people today (if they even knew of their existence), but for the Liturgical Movement they represent an embarrassing aberration. In their time they were, literally, matters of life and death.

As their foundation was based on the efficacy of Masses for the dead, they were a work of Christian charity, a spiritual work of mercy, for the relief of souls suffering in Purgatory. What more fitting context could there be for assisting the transition of souls from this world to eternity than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which heaven and earth meet? As most people, rich or poor, were concerned for the welfare of the soul after death, chantries can be said to have formed a bond of community between the living and the dead, a spiritual network that helped to give medieval society a sense of Catholic identity.

In terms of practical utility, the financial provision for chantries was a boon to the Church at large. It funded a copious supply of priests, vestments, altars, chapels and housing for the priests, free schooling and almshouses for the poor, the construction of roads and bridges, and even contributed to the enlargement of local parish churches.

After their dissolution by the Second Chantry Act of 1547 in the reign of Edward VI, (5) their endowments were confiscated by the Crown, the priests dismissed, prayers for the dead outlawed by royal decree, and countless souls deprived of the Church’s intercessions. Thereupon began the demolition of chapels and the smashing of Church property including altars, rood screens, statues and stained glass. Wall paintings were whitewashed, and gem-encrusted Missals were vandalised for their precious stones, gold leaf illuminations and silver hinges and clasps. Chantry land was sold or diverted to secular uses. (6)

But, it was not just the monetary value of chantry endowments that was at stake. More fundamentally, the aim of the Protestant “Reformation” was to attack the Mass and erase the doctrine of Purgatory from living memory. Chantries, therefore, were the target of Protestants who inveighed against the riches of the Church and charged that praying for the deceased in return for money was tantamount to buying one’s way into Heaven.

Jungmann’s Hatred of Chantries

Jungmann was as intolerant of the existence of chantries as any 16th century Protestant who denounced them as “Popish monuments.” When they were outlawed as “superstitious uses” and their properties sequestered by the State, he shed no tear for their demise. Nor did he evince any sympathy for the priests who were dismissed, the benefactors whose wills were abrogated or those souls of the faithful departed who would no longer have prayers said for their release from Purgatory. It was as if he, too, wished to dissociate himself from any “Popish taint.”

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Bishop Henry Beaufort's chantry and tomb in Winchester Cathedral

In fact, he saw the chantry system only in negative, derogatory terms, as an unfortunate blemish on the face of the Church:

“And so there arose during the last centuries of the Middle Ages an unnatural multiplication of Masses and, along with it, an unnatural increase in clergy.” (7)

Many of the Protestants had made the same complaint. Luther, for instance, railed against “whole swarms of massing priests” who were being financially supported by the faithful, (8)  while Thomas Fuller, another Protestant leader, described chantry priests as a “hive of drones (not of bees, industriously advancing learning and religion).” (9)

Jungmann evidently agreed, for he applied the drone metaphor to chantry priests, implying that they did no real work (as if saying Mass was unproductive or not of infinite value) but lived off the “nectar” gathered in by others:

“Towards the end of the Middle Ages every town had countless “altarists” (“altar-thanes”) who had no other duty except to say Mass and the Office … of whom a part, at least, derived their entire income from Masses either through endowments (foundations or chantries) or by way of Mass stipends.” (10)

It is not without significance that Jungmann deplored the “mushrooming” of clergy – with its accompanying proliferation of low Masses and side altars – and saw it as “an element that contributed in no small way to the ecclesiastical crisis of the 16th century.” (11)

As we shall see below, everything in his account is either tendentious or historically incorrect – two attributes that are often present in Jungmann’s writings – and it bears little relation to the realities of medieval life taken as a whole.

Let us examine each of Jungmann’s accusations:

The objection to the multiplication of Masses

Jungmann’s use of the word “unnatural” to describe the role of the chantry priests as well as their ordination implies that they generally joined the priesthood in droves in order to make a lucrative career by saying as many Masses as possible each day. That is still the progressivist interpretation of the medieval chantry system. (12)

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Jungmann repeats Luther's lies about 'too many Masses'

The Church has always encouraged increasing celebrations of the Mass, but not by the same priest on the same day. Like every other aspect of the liturgy that might otherwise become unwieldy, the chantry system was subject to regulation. Pope Innocent III legislated in 1206 that every priest might say only one Mass daily, except in the case of necessity, (13) and this was universally observed.

The proliferation of Masses and the endowment of a special class of so-called “Massing-priests,” far from being unnatural, was a necessity at a time when increased requests, by their sheer order of magnitude, could not be met by the usual channels: the monasteries and parish priests. There are no grounds, therefore, for believing that the provision of such services was either vain or superfluous.

The Objection to the Foundation of Chantries

Jungmann’s caricature of an army of idle and parasitical priests who were largely free to live a life of leisure and prosperity at the expense of the faithful, was based on ignorance. In order to rehabilitate the reputation that these priests have unjustly acquired through prejudice and malice, we must turn, not to the Liturgical Movement, but to the secular field of scholarly research, (14) which has produced voluminous documentary sources for the chantries. (15)

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Scholarly studies disprove the Protestant lies about chantries

From these we gather that there were a great variety and complexity of chantries and that the priests who served them were called upon to fill a variety of roles. According to chantry certificates and other surviving evidence, their foundation ordinances often stipulated that, in addition to their primary duty to say Mass, their members participate regularly in divine services in the choir, assist the parish priest in administering the Sacraments, act as schoolmasters for poor children of the parish and as chaplains to hospitals or prisons. They were also useful in ministering to the faithful in outlying districts where geographical or climatic conditions made access to the parish church impossible.

It has been noted that without these priests’ faithful labors in their obscure chapels of ease, “the cure of souls in pre-Reformation England would have been gravely impaired.” (16)

And, in times of plague, churches were frequently and heroically manned by chantry priests who, as true shepherds, lived and died alongside the faithful they served.

As for their income, documentary evidence shows that generally more than half of the money they received was donated to the poor. (17) And while some chantry priests were the recipients of large benefactions from wealthy individuals, it was estimated that their median income was “sufficient to keep one celibate alive and reasonably comfortable” and that “many were indeed poor by any definition.” (18)

Next, we will examine the underlying reasons for Jungmann’s hatred of chantries.


1. The 4th Lateran Council (1215) explained the reasonableness of supporting priests: “He who serves at the altar should live from it.”
2. Wealthy individuals – kings, barons, knights, successful merchants etc. – could found a chantry in their own name; the poor and others of limited means could club together, each making a small contribution in money or in kind to a guild or confraternity which would found a chantry to provide Masses for their souls.
3. This came about either by individual benefactors acting in their own name or by a group of parishioners clubbing together to endow an altar in their own parish and provide for the support of a chantry priest.
4. For instance, the original St Paul’s Cathedral (later destroyed in the Great fire of London in 1666) had no less than 84 chantries which necessitated the construction and use of many side altars. (For more details, see Chapter 3 of Marie-Hélène Rousseau, Saving the Souls of Medieval London. Perpetual Chantries at St. Paul’s Cathedral, c.1200-1548, London, Ashgate, 2011).
5. Jungmann stated that “in England Henry VIII suppressed 2,374 chantries just before his death” (J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 130, note 20) is historically inaccurate. Henry VIII’s Chantry Act (1545) only established the formal right of the King to take control of the endowments of the chantries, but it did not order their wholesale suppression. It was the Second Chantry Act of 1547, signed by his successor, the boy king, Edward VI, which completely suppressed 2,374 chantries and ordered Commissioners to seize their assets for the Crown.
6. In 1514, Edmund Daundy, one of the wealthiest merchants of his day, founded a perpetual chantry at St. Thomas à Beckett’s altar in the Church of St Lawrence, Ipswich, in Suffolk. He nominated Fr. James Crawford as the first of a succession of chantry priests to say daily Masses in perpetuity for his soul and the souls of his relatives (among whom is named Thomas ‒ later Cardinal ‒ Wolsey, Dean of Lincoln Cathedral.) His endowment included a house for the priests, money and lands as a source of income for them, and also almshouses and gifts for the poor. But after his death (he was buried in the floor of the church), Fr. Crawford was dismissed and his post given (probably as a sinecure) to Thomas Becon (future chaplain of Thomas Cranmer); the church was ransacked for its valuables (cross, tabernacle, chalices, vestments of cloth of gold etc.); the stained glass windows were smashed and the wall paintings whitewashed; even Daundy’s tomb was defaced for its brass ornaments, and the spot was sanded over.
Today, no visible memorial exists to the pious and charitable Edmund Daundy. The Church of St Lawrence, Ipswich, long redundant, is now a Community Centre. In the mid 20th century, a council house estate was built on his chantry lands and called, with supreme and bitter irony, Chantry Estate. But, who will now pray for his soul? Most of this information was taken from Edmund Daundy’s will and foundation deeds as recorded in John Wodderspoon, Memorials of the Ancient of Ipswich, in the County of Suffolk, Longmans; and J. R. Smith, pp. 348-353.) See here.
7. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 130.
8. Martin Luther, A commentary on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, Philadelphia, John Highlands, 1891, p. 115
9. Thomas Fuller, The Church History of Britain, from the Birth of Jesus Christ Until the Year 1648, London, T. Tegg, 1837, 3 vols. vol. 2, p. 269. Fuller (1608–1661), was a Protestant clergyman and preacher. The reference to the hive of drones was intended as an analogy with chantries that provided prayers for the dead.
10. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, p. 130, note 20.
11. Ibid., pp. 223-224.
12. Fr. Thomas Bokenkotter, for example, complained about “the multiplication of private Masses – Masses said without a congregation – by stipend-hungry priests who hawked Masses … and would offer many Masses on a single day.” (Dynamic Catholicism, Crown Publishing Group, 2010, p. 214).
13. This decree is found in the Decretals of Gregory IX (1234) chapter 3, book 41, title 3. The Decretals of Gregory IX are a compilation of previous collections of papal decrees and became the official Code of Canon Law.
14. Katherine Wood-Legh’s Perpetual Chantries in Britain, published in 1965, was the first major in-depth study of the chantry as an institution.
15. These studies have revealed in great detail the historic background of the chantries: their founding, location and management; the multifarious duties of chantry priests; their housing, remuneration, supervision and conditions of work and, finally, their dissolution.
16. Alan Kreider, English Chantries, The Road to Dissolution, Cambridge, Mass., 1979, p. 57.
17. Quoting from the Chantry Certificates made by the King’s Commissioners in the first year of the reign of Edward VI, Francis Gasquet gives several examples of this practice. See Francis Gasquet, Parish Life in Medieval England, Methuen and Co. Ltd., London, 1922, p. 96. These findings are replicated in many other studies.
18. Alan Kreider, English Chantries, The Road to Dissolution, p. 61.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Fabricated Charges against Chantries

Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis mine].

As we saw in the last article, Fr. Josef Jungmann strongly objected to the pre-Vatican II chantry system. Jungmann contended that chantries were part of a “trend to the private and the subjective … since most of them were for private requests and had no public character.” (1)

In this, as in much else, he was mistaken. For, like all Masses, whether celebrated in a monastery, parish church or special chapel, chantry Masses were not private functions even if no one else happened to be present besides the priest and a server. They were performed by a chaplain in his public authority as a priest in the name of the whole Church.

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A parclose screen in a chantry chapel, allowing visibility

Apart from the theological aspect, it is obvious from a purely secular angle that Jungmann’s assessment was misconceived, and we have to look to the work of modern-day historians for a broader understanding and appreciation of the chantry system. Dr. Simon Roffey, for example, substantiating his conclusion with detailed documentary evidence, proved that “far from being primarily individualist or indeed ‘private’ monuments, chantry chapels were in fact of great relevance to the wider community.” (2)

Further in his book, the scholar asserts: 
Quote:“Though chantries and chapels were founded and managed by individuals or by specific collectives, they were very much public monuments and an important feature in communal piety …[they] actively promoted inclusivity and communal participation and greatly embellished, enhanced and encouraged parish church religious practice.” (3)

Their public character is placed beyond doubt by Roffey’s analysis of the topographical arrangement of the chantry chapels. He showed how they were freely accessed from public areas of the church, such as the nave or aisles. Even though some were sectioned off by a screen, (4) this was decorated with openwork tracery in a manner that allowed visibility from the nave. The people, therefore, were not excluded, even visually, from being present at Mass.

Denying the Benefits of Many Masses

In order to bolster his opposition to the multiplication of Masses, Jungmann made use of the medieval theologian, Meister Eckhart, whom he quoted as saying that “neither blessedness nor perfection consist in saying or hearing a lot of Masses.” (5) As he did not, however, give a context or an original reference for this quote, which is certainly incomplete, it cannot be taken at face value. (6)

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Meister Eckhart, 28 propositions condemned as heretical or with flavor of heresy

But, more to the point, Eckhart was hardly an authority on Catholic doctrine; he was brought before the Inquisition in 1326 on the charge of preaching unorthodox doctrines and causing confusion especially among the simple faithful. It is noteworthy that Jungmann failed to mention that 28 of Eckhart’s propositions were condemned ‒ 17 of them as heretical, and 11 savoring of heresy ‒ by Pope John XXII in 1329 in the Bull In agro Dominico.

We have it on the authority of St. Thomas Aquinas that
Quote: “with several Masses, the offering of the sacrifice is multiplied, and, therefore, the effects of the Sacrament and the Sacrifice are also multiplied.” (7)

How spiritually well-served the medieval faithful were can be gauged from the multiplication of Masses in the cathedrals, monasteries and large churches, where several daily Masses were celebrated simultaneously every hour of the morning. This means that, no matter how early or late the faithful arrived, there would always be a Mass in progress for them to attend.

A typical example is Lincoln Cathedral whose surviving records show that in 1531 about 5 Masses per hour were celebrated simultaneously by the chantry priests from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. (“from the striking of the fifth hour (ab hora quinta signata) to the eleventh”), with each priest saying his own Mass at a designated side altar. (8) That amounts to about 30 Masses per day within the walls of one church.

If we extrapolate from the above figures over the course of a year, the number of Masses would have increased exponentially; and from there in all the Catholic churches over the whole world down to our day, the sum total of graces bestowed on the human race through the Mass would be incalculable.

This pertained in the Church up until the post-Vatican II years (9) when it was replaced by the widespread practice of concelebration, which drastically reduced the numbers of individual Masses said throughout the world and, consequently, the amount of grace available through them to mankind, living and dead.

Jungmann Trod in the Steps of Luther

But Jungmann and, with him, the members of the Liturgical Movement who were his disciples, eschewed the traditional position:
Quote:“Today in the church that is constructed logically for the corporate celebration of Mass by the whole congregation, the side altars disappear and the church is built as a unified space where all eyes are directed to the one altar upon which the sacrifice is corporately offered, the one meal prepared for all.” (10)

Here we can see the original ground plan of our modern church architecture and liturgical practices, which have swept away centuries of ongoing, authentic Catholic Tradition. The idea of eliminating side altars was originally Luther’s, as was the concept of the Mass as a community meal at which all present are meant to eat and drink.

In 1533, Luther published an attack on the Mass and the Priesthood in which he called especially for the abolition of private Masses said at side chapels. (11) In it, he referred derisively to the private Mass said without a congregation as a “Winckelmesse,” literally a whispered Mass-in-a-corner.

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Multiple Masses said at side chapels eliminated, replaced by concelebration, below

[Image: F120_Concel.jpg]

We can see how the same anti-Catholic prejudice has resurfaced in the mainstream Church via the Liturgical Movement. According to Jungmann, the custom of the side altar was an “obstacle in the way of a truly corporate divine worship” and was one of the causes alleged by the Pseudo-Reformation because it had led to a sense of loss of the Church as a “community.” (12)

Thus, Jungmann can be said to have joined the ranks of those condemned by Pope Pius X in 1907 who “feel no horror at following in the footsteps of Luther.” (13)

Scorn of the Low Mass (14)

Jungmann criticized the Low Mass when it was said without people present, but he did the same even when it was attended by large congregations.

First, he found it too elitist:
Quote:“Only the priest is permitted to enter the sanctuary to offer the sacrifice. He begins from now on to say the prayers of the Canon in a low voice and the altar becomes farther and farther removed from the people into the rear of the apse. In some measure, the idea of a holy people who are as close to God as the priest is, has become lost. The Church begins to be represented chiefly by the clergy. The corporate character of public worship, so meaningful for early Christianity, begins to crumble at its foundations. (15)

The clear implication here is that there is no distinction between the priest and the people in the offering of the Mass, and that the lex orandi, which gave a privileged place to the clergy was unjust and domineering. Consequently, a reform would be needed to restore the “rights” of the laity.

Second, he accused the “silent” Low Mass of being an obstacle to true participation by the laity. In his opinion, it led to “the estrangement of those who attended Mass without really taking part in it,” (16) with the result that “the Mass is looked upon as a holy drama, a play performed before the eyes of the participants.” (17) The expression “dumb spectators” springs to mind.

These complaints raise theological issues about the identity of the Catholic priesthood, at the very heart of which lies the meaning of the Mass. It is that issue which, first, the 16th century Protestants and, then, the 20th century liturgical progressivists aimed to destroy. And the same complaints have been acting ever since as a corrosive acid eating away at our Catholic institutions, values and identity.


1. Josef Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 131. Jungmann defined the private Mass as “a Mass celebrated for its own sake, with no thought of anyone participating, a Mass where only the prescribed server is in attendance or even where no one is present, as was the case with the missa solitaria”. (Ibid. p. 215)
2. Simon Roffey, The Medieval Chantry Chapel: An Archaeology, Boydell Press, 2007, p. 6.
3. Ibid. pp. 160-161.
4. In architectural terms, this was called a parclose screen and was often intricately carved with fine trellis work, leaving plenty of open spaces for visibility from the main body of the church.
5. J. Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 131, note 25. Johannes Eckhart (c. 1260-c. 1328), popularly known as Meister Eckhart, was a German Dominican theologian, preacher and mystic. He was well known for criticizing “Pharisaical” external actions not performed with the right inner disposition, i.e. out of love of God. It seems that this essential condition for gaining merit from the performance of good works (such as saying or hearing Mass) was missing from Jungmann’s quote.
6. We are not given direct access to the original quote attributed to Meister Eckhart. Jungmann reproduced it from Adolph Franz, who in turn took it from a 19th century historian, Anton Linsenmayer, Geschichte der Predigt in Deutschland (History of Preaching in Germany). (Munich, 1886, p. 408) It is evident that Jungmann suppressed the context that Franz had given, namely Eckhart’s insistence that outward observance alone is insufficient: “alle äusseren Übungen nicht Selbstzweck, sondern nur Mittel zur Erreichung des höchsten Zieles, der Vereinigung mit Gott durch Jesus Christus, seien.” (all outer exercises are not ends in themselves, but a means to achieve the highest goal, the union with God through Jesus Christ) See A. Franz, Die Messe im Deutschen Mittelalter (The Mass in Medieval Germany), Freiburg, Herder, 1902, p. 298.
7. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, q. 79, a. 7, ad. 3.
8. R.E.G. Cole (ed.), Chapter Acts of the Cathedral Church of St Mary of Lincoln A.D. 1520-1536 , Publications of the Lincoln Record Society, 1915, pp. 142-144. These records show that, in addition, there was Mass at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, High Mass at the main altar at 11 a.m. and another chantry Mass at a side altar later in the morning.
9. Pre-Vatican II Catholics will recall that in any large town or city where there was a cathedral, monastery or house of a religious order of priests, Masses were available throughout the morning starting from about 5 a.m., and that they were generally well attended by people on their way to work, by mothers who had taken their children to school, by the retired and elderly and by passing visitors.
10. J. Jungmann, Announcing the Word of God, translated from the German by Ronald Walls, London: Burns and Oates, 1967, p. 118.
11. Martin Luther, Von der Winckelmesse und Pfaffen Weihe (Of the Corner Mass and Ordained Priests), Wittenberg: Nickel Schirlentz, 1533. The first few pages of the book take the form of a dialogue which Luther stated he had with the Devil. In it, according to Luther, the Devil persuaded him to give up saying Mass on the grounds that it was an idolatrous service. But the illogicality of calling the Mass a form of idolatry did not strike Luther. As idolatry is Devil’s worship, why should Satan recommend abolishing it? And, as Prince of this world, why should he want to destroy his own Empire? It was Scripture, not Satan, which condemned idolatry: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14)
12. J. Jungmann, “The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution of Religious Culture in the Early Middle Ages,” Pastoral Liturgy, New York: Herder and Herder, 1962, pp. 68, 79. Jungmann’s essay was originally written in 1947 and was reproduced in Pastoral Liturgy, 1962.
13. Pius X, Pascendi, 1907, § 18.
14. The Low Mass was sometimes referred to as Missa Privata, but the word privata (Latin for “deprived”) simply meant that this form of Mass, while still retaining its sense of mystery and its quintessentially Catholic nature, lacked certain ceremonies found in the High Mass. In the rubrics of the Low Mass, everything is recited by the priest and the responses are made by the server; there is no role for the deacon, sub-deacon or choir; incense is not used and there are only two candles. Under the influence of the Liturgical Movement, the silent lay people attending at Mass were encouraged to speak aloud and sing the responses at Low Mass well before Vatican II.
15. J. Jungmann, “The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution of Religious Culture in the Early Middle Ages,” p. 60.
16. J. Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 141.
17. Ibid., p. 107.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Dr. Carol Byrne: A Series on the History of the Dialogue Mass
Essence of Mass: No Longer a Sacrifice, But a Banquet
Taken from here [slightly adapted - emphasis mine].

Fr. Josef Jungmann, as we have seen, floated the idea that the Council of Trent’s definition of the Mass as the Sacrifice of Calvary was a distortion of the truth, brought about by its “exaggerated” preoccupation with combating the attacks of 16th century Protestantism.

In his opinion, if we want to find the true meaning of the Mass, we must not look to Trent and subsequent catechisms because they were too “narrow” and “one-sided” in their definitions. He complained, for example, that they “insist on the fact that on our altars Christ renews His Passion and Death in an unbloody manner”; they “talk about the renewal of the sacrifice of the Cross, about an oblation in which Christ gives himself to His heavenly Father”; they are too concerned about the Christ’s “presence in the sacred Host” (1) and care nothing for the people.

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The medievals often placed Christ on the altar to emphasize His sacrifice

According to Jungmann’s new paradigm of thinking about the Mass, “we cannot make the notion of sacrifice a basis absolutely and exclusively. … We must start off from one of the broader and more general ideas, which find an application in an examination of the essence of the Mass solemnity.” (2) [emphasis added]

But, as the essence of a thing is that which gives it its identity and determines its fundamental nature, it follows that the Mass must have something unique and specific by which we can “absolutely and exclusively” identify it. And this identity, according to the clear and explicit doctrine of the Church, is the Holy Sacrifice.

That is why the Council of Trent did not affirm that the Mass is also a meal, not even a sacrificial meal; and why Pope Pius XII condemned the Liturgical Movement’s “captious argument that here there is question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union”. (3)

Here we must pause to consider how Pius XII’s warnings went unheeded by the progressivists and how even the most eminent of post-conciliar theologians, such as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – later to become one of Pius XII’s successors – have fallen into this particular elephant trap. (4)

Jungmann introduced ambiguity into the meaning of the Mass by presenting it under a patchwork of identities: a thanksgiving ceremony, a memorial that recalls past events, a holy meal shared by all, a gathering of the faithful, a community experience and an oblation made collectively by the Church. (5) But in this kaleidoscope, Christ’s sacrifice of himself is placed in the background.

Only One Identity Possible

It is self-evident that the Mass cannot be in essence all of these things at the same time, for everything that exists can have only one identity. In other words, we cannot use the same term, essence, to signify multiple things that are accidental. Thus, Jungmann committed the logical fallacy of violating the Law of Identity, which is one of the principles that form the basis of all rational thought. (6)

[Image: F121_Gathering.jpg]
Jungmann’s triumph: A ‘gathering of the people’ to replace the sacrificial Mass

Yet this fallacy is found in Article 47 of the Council’s Liturgy Constitution (1963), the relevant section of which was written under Jungmann’s direction. (7) It is evident from this description of the Mass that its essence as the Holy Sacrifice is fragmented into multiple identities and rendered meaningless to the Catholic mind.

And it was precisely upon this fallacy that the doctrinal foundation of the Novus Ordo was based in 1969 when the General Instruction of the Roman Missal defined the Mass as “the Lord’s Supper” and the “gathering of the people.” (8)

Whereas this description would meet with the approval of any Protestant, it makes no sense in Catholic theology. For the essence of the Mass does not require the presence of anyone other than a validly ordained priest. With good reason, therefore, did Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci point out in their Critical Study of the Novus Ordo, which was sent to Pope Paul VI, that his New Mass was based on “no rational foundation.” (9)

Mass Confusion

Jungmann’s adverse influence on the modern perception of the Mass is ongoing. Ever since Vatican II, the terms Mass, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist and Eucharistic Celebration are used interchangeably, even in official documents. Basing itself on Article 47 of the Liturgy Constitution, the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the section headed The Paschal Banquet, defines the Mass as a memorial, a sacred banquet and a Communion service all rolled into one. (10) No one in official circles seems to be able to mention the Mass without also qualifying it as a banquet. With such a confused presentation, one could hardly expect anyone – priests or lay people – to know what the Mass really is.

Here, St. Thomas Aquinas’s reference to the Sacred Banquet is misrepresented. O Sacrum Convivium (O Sacred Banquet) was the Antiphon that he composed for the Office and Mass of Corpus Christi. It was unmistakably clear to the pre-Vatican II faithful that the Sacred Banquet referred to the Blessed Sacrament, not the Mass itself, so that no one would have been in danger of regarding the Mass as a Communion service.

The Catechism’s “explanation” seems not so much an instruction in the Faith as indoctrination into the underlying ideas of the Liturgical Movement.

Jungmann emphasized the Mass as a meal

In January of 1943, Jungmann participated, together with Rahner and Guardini, at a symposium in Vienna about the liturgy of the Mass. The purpose of the gathering was to gang up, as it were, against Archbishop Conrad Gröber of Freiburg, a member of the German Bishops’ Conference, who had complained about the attempts of the liturgical reformers to “Protestanize” the Mass. The Archbishop had recently circulated a Memorandum consisting of 17 criticisms, one of which concerned the error of presenting the Mass as a meal.

In an attempt to save the situation, Jungmann came up a year later with a compromise solution, which he euphemistically termed a “fruitful understanding.” While affirming the sacrificial nature of the Mass, he proposed that “other aspects of the mystery also, such as the meal and the commemoration, should be taken more strongly into account.” (11)

But nothing could be more calculated to diminish the concept of the Mass as an act of worship than to give greater emphasis to the idea of a meal that is associated in everyone’s mind with a purely human, social activity.

[Image: F121_table.jpg]
Progressivist churches look remarkably like the Lutheran temple above with its centerpiece ‘table’

Yet, this was how Jungmann cynically manipulated the meaning of the Mass to make it appear as a communal meal, with the Communion of the faithful constituting its essence. He stated:
Quote: “The sacrifice of the New Covenant is essentially constituted as a meal, so that the offerers might gather around the sacrificial table, the table of the Lord, to eat. … A table is set; it is the Lord's table (12) … the meal is still in our own time the basic form of the eucharistic celebration.” (13)

It does not take a great deal of perception to notice how, chiefly under Jungmann’s influence, the “community meal” dominated the creation of the Novus Ordo and how virtually all prayers pertaining to the Holy Sacrifice in the traditional Mass came to be seen as disposable. As a result, the texts, rubrics and architectural features of the Novus Ordo ensured that the Sacrifice of the Cross faded into the background.

The Offertory, to take only one example, with its clear emphasis on the impending Consecration, was abolished. Like many of the progressivists, Guardini thought it would be best done away with; he stated – it could have been Martin Luther speaking – that it had nothing to do with Christ’s self-sacrifice, but is “merely the preparation for the sacred banquet.” (14)

It was replaced by spurious “table prayers” recited over things to eat and drink. In this way, attention was deliberately deflected away from the miracle of what the bread and wine were about to become, and on to the people – their gifts, their offering, their munificence, their procession, their “rights” to act and be heard.

In the next section, we will look at how Jungmann brought the “community experience” to new heights when he invented the first “mega-Mass” in 1960.


1. Josef Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 180. These thoughts are expanded in its note 10: “This is true not only of German-language catechisms, which are satisfied with a statement that “Jesus Christ offers himself in holy Mass”; the New Baltimore is equally vague (“Christ gives us His own Body and Blood ... to be offered ...” q. 356) and equally one-sided (“The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.” q. 357).
2. Jungmann quoted as his source the work of a prominent member of the Liturgical Movement, G. Ellard, S.J., ‘Mediator Dei and Catechism Revision,’ The American Ecclesiastical Review, CXX, April 1949, pp. 289-309. But in this article, Ellard stated that the Baltimore Catechism should be modified to accommodate the new thinking on the Mass promoted by the Liturgical Movement.
3. J. Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, p. 176.
4. Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947, §114.
5. According to Joseph Ratzinger, “The Mass is not only a meal among friends who have come together to remember the Lord’s Last Supper through the common breaking of bread. The Mass is the common sacrifice of the Church, in which the Lord prays with us and for us and communicates himself to us”. The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Ignatius Press, 1987, p. 132.
6. Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite , vol. 1, pp. 175-179. This section is headed “The Meaning of the Mass”.
7. The Law of Identity, having been formalized by Aristotle, has a long tradition in the history of philosophy and logic. It can be summarized by saying that everything that exists has its own specific and particular identity and cannot be something else. As the Mass and the Sacrifice of Calvary possess identical attributes they can be seen as one and the same entity. Pius XII stated that “the Eucharistic Sacrifice of its very nature is the unbloody immolation of the Divine Victim, which is made manifest in a mystical manner by the separation of the Sacred Species and by their oblation to the eternal Father.” (Mediator Dei, § 115)
8. “At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again and, so, to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His Death and Resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”
Congregation for Divine Worship, General Instruction of the Roman Missal,(GIRM), 6 April 1969, § 7. The same document also stated that “the Last Supper is made present” in the Mass (§§ 48, 55). Although these grave theological errors were brought more into conformity with Catholic doctrine in the revised version of the GIRM in 1970, no corresponding changes were made to the New Mass itself. Neither is any recognition given, in any part of the revised document to Pius XII’s teaching in Mediator Dei (§ 91) that Christ is made present on the altar by the priest alone acting in the name of Christ, and not as the representative of the faithful. Even in the 3rd typical edition (2003, English version), there are references to “the celebration of the Mass, that is, the Lord’s Supper” (§§ 17, 27).
The conclusion is inescapable that these errors and deficiencies found in the original GIRM constitute the true principles of the Novus Ordo as intended by its framers (principally Jungmann), and reveal its true nature.
9. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae, September 25, 1969.
10. “The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1382 – small case letters in the original)
11. J.A. Jungmann, ‘Zu liturgischen Fragen im Freiburger Memorandum’ (On Liturgical Questions in the Freiburg Memorandum), 1944, in Theodor Maas-Ewerd, Die Krise der Liturgischen Bewegung in Deutschland und Österreich, (The Crisis of the Liturgical Movement in Germany and Austria), Regensburg 1981, p. 612. Maas-Ewerd gives various sources of information on the Vienna symposium.
12. GIRM § 73 mentions “the altar, the Lord’s table.” Although it can be argued that St. Paul mentioned “the table of the Lord” (1 Cor. 10:21) and that these terms were interchangeable in early Christian times, their use as synonyms cannot reasonably be condoned since the Protestant “Reformation.” That is because the replacement of altars by tables was undertaken by all the Protestants as a deliberate sign of their denial of the Mass as a Sacrifice. John Calvin, for example, taught that since Christ cannot die again, God “hath given us a table at which we are to feast, not an altar upon which any victim is to be offered: he hath not consecrated priests to offer sacrifices, but ministers to distribute the sacred banquet.” (J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, book 4, chapter 18, n. 12, London, 1838, vol. 2, p. 526) Nicholas Ridley, the Anglican Bishop of London, stated that “the form of a table shall more move the simple from the superstitious opinions of the Popish mass unto the right use of the Lord's Supper. For the use of an altar is to make sacrifice upon it: the use of a table is to serve for men to eat upon.” (Thomas Cranmer, Works,, Cambridge: Parker Society, 1846, vol. II, pp. 524-525) In 1969, in his Critical Study of the Novus Ordo, Cardinal Ottaviani complained that “the altar is nearly always called the table.”
13. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 1, pp. 191, 178, 179. Here he referenced the work of Romano Guardini, who had elaborated his own theory that the basic structure (Grundgestalt) – which he equated with the essence of the Mass – was the Lord’s Supper. See R. Guardini, Besinnung vor der Feier der heiligen Messe (Meditations before Mass), Mainz, 1939, pp. 72-76.
14. Romano Guardini had nothing but contempt for the traditional Offertory. “What sacrifice it contains” he stated, “is of a very simple nature: formerly the faithful brought gifts so that from them the sacred meal might be prepared and the poor fed. This sacrifice consists, then, in the generosity and charity with which the congregation contributes to the holy service of the altar and to their neighbors.” R. Guardini, Meditations Before Mass, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1956, Chapter 6, note 5.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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