Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Revision of the Missal of 1962.

The Concerns of the International Federation Una Voce,

It is known that work has commenced in Rome on the revision of the Missal of 1962. As has been the norm in recent years, these matters are being conducted discreetly and only made public when the relevant document is promulgated, viz: Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae. The very narrow remit given by the Holy Father to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in his Letter to Accompany Summorum Pontificum [7 July, 2007] was that: “..new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal.”  No other changes were sanctioned. Pope Benedict also stated that “The Ecclesia Dei Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the possibilities in this regard.”
Those who are “devoted to the usus antiquior” must continually and carefully ensure that this specific and narrow remit is not exceeded by those in Rome and elsewhere who desire to undermine the integrity of the Missal of 1962 by demanding the inclusion of some of the novelties which were introduced into the liturgy post-1962.  The International Federation Una Voce was founded in early 1965, even before the Second Vatican Council had ended, and is by far the oldest organisation, lay or clerical, which is devoted to the usus antiquior. While other organisations and societies, clerical and lay, may also be devoted to the ‘usus antiquior’, none can match the 46 year history of the Una Voce Federation in its unswerving devotion to this cause. The Federation has played a unique role in being the first, and the continuous voice of the lay faithful in seeking adherence to the expressed wishes of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council as declared in Sacrosanctum Concilium n.4:

“Finally, in faithful obedience to tradition, the Sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognised rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.”

The members of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, confirmed what the International Federation has always claimed, that the Missal of 1962 ‘was never juridically abrogated’. The Holy Father also confirmed in his letter that his decision was to bring about “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the church.”

Liturgical innovation and creativity is unwanted by the faithful and has consistently disturbed, angered and alienated them in the years following the Second Vatican Council. This must not happen again with the adulteration of the Missal of 1962. The International Federation accepts organic development but emphatically rejects liturgical innovation which is alien to the character, spirit, and integrity of the usus antiquior.  The inestimable treasure of the ancient liturgy must not be undermined by novelty, reductionism, and destructive modernisation. Nothing describes the attraction of the usus antiquior more powerfully than the growing number of young Catholics world-wide, including many seminarians and young priests, who are discovering this ancient and deeply spiritual liturgy and are being captivated by it.  

We are now entering a critical period in the life of the liturgy of Holy Mother Church. Decisions that are being taken in Rome today will have a lasting impact on the spiritual welfare of the faithful for generations. The need to implement the will of the Holy Father for a limited and organic change in harmony with the character of the Missal of 1962 must not be the excuse for the introduction into the traditional Roman liturgy of alien concepts that created so much disunity and disharmony in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council.

Following the publication of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the President of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce presented a document to the Ecclesia Dei Commission in June 2008. Now that work on amending the Missal of 1962 has commenced, it may be timely to republish this document, in an updated form, to make clear, once again, the desires and aspirations of the members of the Una Voce Federation.


The long-awaited clarification document, Universae Ecclesiae, was published by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei on 30th April 2011 and was subject to much comment and detailed analysis in the media. The International Federation Una Voce welcomed the document. 

Although some have commented that Universae Ecclesiae still leaves some questions unclear, what is perfectly clear is that the Holy Father has fully restored to the universal Church the traditional Roman rite as enshrined in the liturgical books of 1962, that the rubrics in force in 1962 must be strictly observed, and that Latin and the Usus Antiquior must be taught in seminaries where there is a pastoral need. And this pastoral need must be determined by those who wish to benefit from Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, and not be decided by those many in authority whose natural desire is to prevent their implementation. 

The International Federation Una Voce has worked patiently and tirelessly for the restoration of the traditional liturgy for more than 45 years and is now witnessing a vindication of its fidelity to Holy Mother Church and the See of Peter. However, its members, the lay faithful of Holy Mother Church, are fully aware that many in the ranks of the clergy have a burning desire to thwart their legitimate aspirations to benefit spiritually from the pastoral solicitude of Pope Benedict XVI.  To this end, we who are beneficiaries of these documents, wish to state unequivocally that, while accepting the stated will of our Holy Father for the inclusion of new Saints and some new Prefaces into the Missal of 1962, we will respectfully and vigorously challenge any proposal that strays beyond these clearly defined limits and seeks to adulterate the integrity of that Missal.

Leo Darroch,
President – Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce.
30th January 2012.

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