The innovations in the Novus Ordo Missnc, and on the other hand the things of eternal value relegated to an inferior or different place (if indeed they are still to be found at all), could well turn into certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by Christians can be altered or silenced without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever.
Letter accompanying Brief Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, sent to Pope Paul VI by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci.
The Critical Study of the New Mass sent to Pope Paul VI by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci was referred to in Chapter 11 (pp. 54-58). As I explained there, at least a dozen cardinals had been expected to endorse it. Dr. Elizabeth Gcrstner from Germany, together with Msgr. Rcnato Pozzi, a prelate of the Roman Rota, played an active part in the moves to obtain these signatures between May and September 1969. The problem was to get someone to be the first to sign. Cardinal Larraona, for example, promised that he would sign if Cardi­nals Ottaviani and Bacci would sign first. This was an important step forward as Cardinal Larraona was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Cardinal Ottaviani spent several days examining the Critical Study and the covering letter before he would sign it. He had a long conversation with Msgr.
Pozzi, pen and paper in hand, and commented on various points. "It is rather strong to claim that the New Mass is contrary to Trent but, displeasing as it is (per quanto dis-piace), it is true (e vero)." The Cardinal eventually signed the letter on 13 September (although it is dated 3 September, Feast of St. Pius X). And then on 14 September disaster struck. Dr. Gerstner had given a copy of the Critical Study to a French traditionalist priest, explaining that it would be presented to the Pope with the signatures of many cardinals. It was not to be published for at least a month after the Pope had received it so that he would have ample time to have a change of heart without making it appear that he was giving way to pressure. But the priest concerned published it in his journal without consulting anyone. Now that the document had been published without the Pope having seen it, the position of the organizers was completely undermined. How­ever, they decided to press ahead. On 28 September Cardinal Bacci signed and on 29 September the Critical Study and co­vering letter were presented to Pope Paul VI.* Obviously, the impact made with the signatures of two cardinals was far less than would have been the case if fifteen had signed. However, the impact was still considerable because the arguments in the Critical Study were so well founded. It resulted in the serious modifications to the General Instruction described in Chapter XIII and, as it was published in various traditionalist journals and translated into different languages, it alerted many Catholics to the doctrinal implications of the Novus Ordo Missae. In England and Wales, for example, the Latin Mass Society sent a copy to every parish priest.
Not surprisingly, the Conciliar Church could not allow such a challenge to remain unanswered but, as the Critical Study was unanswerable, it could not be refuted by honest argument. Attempts were made to undermine it in three ways. First came Pope Paul's address to a General Audience on 19 November. This response was based on the "appeal to
authority" technique. The Pope said that the New Mass conformed to authentic tradition and therefore it did. It was hard to criticize the New Mass after this address without the appearance of deliberate disloyalty and even disobedience to the Pope. (The full text of the address is included in Appendix II).
Next came the revision of the General Instruction and the addition of a Foreword to the revised version, both published in the 1970 Missal. The Foreword"stated clearly that the Novus Ordo Missae was intended to express the traditional faith, and thus removed the misgivings of some of those who had been rightly alarmed at the Novus Ordo Missae and the General Instruction. It also gave the impression of having corrected the deficiencies of which the Critical Study com­plained without making any improvements whatsoever in the Novus Ordo Missae itself.
The third method of refuting the Critical Study was to attempt to undermine its credibility. This was done by falsely alleging that Cardinal Ottaviani had never given permission for his letter to the Pope to be published, and that he had since retracted his objections to the New Mass. These alle­gations have been repeated so frequently in the press of the Conciliar Church that the ordinary faithful have come to accept them as true. A recent example occurred in an article by Msgr. Aime-Georgcs Martimort, a French liturgist who was a peritus at the Council. His article has been reproduced in a number of publications, including L'Osservatore Romano (English edition) of 26 August 1976. The relevant passage reads as follows:
The beginning of hostilities took place in Rome itself, shortly after the publication of the new Ordo Missae in April 1969. Two Italian priests, one of whom, if I remember rightly, was a member of the staff of a Roman Congregation and the other a teacher in an ec­clesiastical faculty, drew up a 29-page booklet entitled: Breve esame critico del "Novus Ordo Missae". This booklet was addressed to Paul VI by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, who explained, in the covering letter, that this new Ordo Missae, "if one considers the new elements
*The background to the Critical Study provided here is based upon a written ac­count which Dr. Gerstner supplied to me specifically for this book.
admitting of very different appreciations, which seem understood or implied, departs in an appalling way, as a whole and in detail, from Catholic theology on Holy Mass, such as it was formulated at the 22nd session of the Council of Trent. . ." And the letter ended with the wish that "the possibility should be maintanicd of continuing to have recourse to the complete and fruitful Roman Missal of St. Pius V ..." This letter became common knowledge. In Italy where sorry campaigns of slanders against Cardinal Lercaro, President of the li­turgical Consilium, were rife, the weeklies and certain daily papers got hold of it. In France, it was reproduced in Itineraires in Decem­ber 1969. In February, however, Cardinal Ottaviani declared "that he was sorry that his name had been abused, in a direction he did not wish, by the publication of a letter which he had addressed to the Holy Father, without authorizing anyone to publish it." He de­clared that he was satisfied with the doctrinal clarifications that the Pope had given in two addresses in November 1969.
This passage contains some serious factual errors, the first being that the Critical Study was the work of two Italian priests. The principal author was French. Needless to say, what matters is not the number or nationality of the authors but the accuracy of their critique of the Novus Ordo Missae.
Msgr. Martimort then makes some allegations, doubtlessly in all good faith, which are of the utmost possible seriousness as they involve the good name of Cardinal Ottaviani. Those who have read Pope John's Council will certainly be aware that if any cardinal in this century merits the title "Confes­sor" then that cardinal is Cardinal Ottaviani. If there is one lesson which history teaches us it is that truth is indeed great and has a habit of prevailing. In this instance it has prevailed through the instrumentality of Jean Madiran, the editor of Itineraires. It is probable that only a few readers of this book will have heard of Itineraires or its editor, and so a little supplementary information is necessary to insure that the testimony of Jean Madiran is evaluated at its true worth. Itineraires is a French traditionalist journal which appears monthly, can be up to 350 pages long, and costs twelve dollars an issue. It is certainly the most scholarly traditionalist jour-
nal appearing anywhere in the world; there is nothing com­parable in English-speaking countries at least. Jean Madiran, like the paper he edits, is a man with no equivalent in English-speaking countries. His writing is on such a level in its theo­logical, polemical, and literary aspects that there is no one in the English-speaking world to whom we can compare him. He has engaged in countless controversies with progressive priests, the French hierarchy, and the Vatican itself. To the best of my knowledge he has never been shown to be in error where a question of fact is concerned. He is a man whose in­tegrity would not be questioned even by his worst enemies. Itineraires itself deals with such topics as theology, the litur­gy, philosophy, and politics in such depth and at such an in­tellectual level that English-speaking Catholics would be quite astonished. The very fact that a journal such as Itineraires exists should be a source of pride and encouragement to tra­ditionalists everywhere.
Msgr. Martimort's allegations are:
(1)                                             Cardinal Ottaviani's letter to Pope Paul VI which ac­companied the Critical Study was published without the Cardinal's permission.
(2)                                                     The Cardinal declared that his anxieties concerning the Novus Ordo Missae had been put to rest in view of clarifications made by the Pope.
These allegations are based upon a letter which it is alleged that Cardinal Ottaviani sent to a certain Dom Lafond on 17 February 1970. The background to this letter is as follows. A defense of the Novus Ordo Missae entitled Note Doctrinale sur le nouvel Ordo Missae was published as a supplement to the journal Defense du Foyer, number 111 of February 1970. The author, or principal author, was Dom Gerard Lafond, founder of and chaplain to a new order of chivalry named the Chevaliers de Notre Dame (Knights of Our Lady), which was still awaiting full Vatican recognition. Among the claims made in the Note Doctrinale were the following: that Cardinal Ottaviani had seen and approved the texts of the Novus Ordo Missae (p. 36); that Cardinal Ottaviani was
actually the author of certain passages and that others had been adopted at his request (p. 36); that it was precisely the passages composed by Cardinal Ottaviani which had been at­tacked in the Critical Study (p. 36); that Cardinal Ottaviani had not approved the Critical Study (p. 36); and that it was probable that its contents had been withheld from him (p. 37).
It is here recommended that the reader examine the com­plete text of Cardinal Ottaviani's letter to the Pope which is included as an Addendum to this chapter. It will become apparent immediately that the charges made by the Cardinal against the New Mass are of the gravest possible nature and that, together with Cardinal Bacci, he had decided to forward the Critical Study to the Pope "after lengthy reflection and prayer." Yet Dom Lafond claims in his Note Doctrinale that, in fact, the Cardinal had not even read the study and that the texts which it attacked had not only all been approved by him but had, in part, been composed by him or included at his suggestion. Not one word of proof is adduced anywhere in the Note Doctrinale to substantiate these incredible and defamatory allegations which, if true, meant that the Cardi­nal had become senile and nothing he said or wrote could be taken seriously.
Jean Madiran provided a most detailed analysis of the whole affair in a supplement to Itine'raires No. 142 of April 1970, a document of considerable historical importance from which he has generously given me permission to quote. With regard to the allegations in the Note Doctrinale, which have just been cited, Madiran writes:
Such accusations are more than simply slanderous; in themselves they are truly raving, for they enlarge on the extravagant to a quite extraordinary degree.
One can see in this (composition) the inordinate frenzy typical of the Mafia when it has lost its head; the unbelievable vulgarity of a nobody which it displays when it finds itself unseated. At all costs, and by no matter what means, it was imperative to diminish the re­percussion and the significance of Cardinal Ottaviani's step. More-
over Dom Lafond does not claim to reveal this astounding 'news' from his own sources. At one point he says: "we are in a position to state that", and elsewhere he says that it is "probable" (!). Pierre Lemaire, on page 4 of his edition of the Note, informs us obscurely that "it appears from several indications" that Cardinal Ottaviani "has seen and approved the texts published" (in the new Ordo Missae). I would like to believe that both men have been manipu­lated and drugged. Nevertheless, the minimum use of their critical faculties would have saved them from sw-allowing such fantastic tales so easily. The tales are odious, too, and they also bear the re­sponsibility for their public diffusion, a responsibility which their shadowy 'informers' have cheerfully left on their shoulders, and which will remain theirs, the wretches.
However, outrageous as the allegations made in Note Doc­trinale most certainly are, they pale into insignificance in the light of the letter which Cardinal Ottaviani is supposed to have written to Dom Lafond, the letter cited by Msgr. Marti-mort. A facsimile reproduction of this letter together with a translation is also included as an Addendum to this Chapter. The letter was published by Monsieur Pierre Lemaire in Defense du Foyer No. 112 of March 1970. In this letter the Cardinal is purported to state that he has read the Note Doctrinale, which includes scandalous calumnies concerning himself; that he not only approves of it but congratulates Dom Lafond on the dignity of its expression; that he did not authorize the publication of his letter to the Pope; and that all his anxieties have been set at rest by two papal allocu­tions.
On page 4 of the Note Doctrinale Monsieur Lemaire had appended a list of eminent ecclesiastics who had given it their approval. Among them is included the name of Msgr. Gil-berto Agustoni, the secretary of Cardinal Ottaviani. At this time Cardinal Ottaviani was almost totally blind and had to rely on the advice of his secretary with regard to the docu­ments he signed. Jean Madiran had no hesitation in claiming that Msgr. Agustoni had tricked the Cardinal into signing the letter and accused him of a public felony—challenging Msgr.
Agustoni to contest this charge in the ecclesiastical courts if he disputed it. Msgr. Agustoni did not accept the challenge and soon afterwards relinquished his position as Cardinal Ottaviani's secretary. Here is the text of Madiran's public accusation against Msgr. Agustoni:
And so the Note which casts such accusations against Cardinal Ottaviani was approved by Msgr. Gilberto Agustoni who, himself, was not struck by physical blindness, and who can read in person the texts to which he gives his approval.
I hereby declare that by doing that in his express capacity as the secretary of Cardinal Ottaviani, he has committed a public felony.
If the disloyal secretary is displeased with this designation, he has only to summon me to answer before the ecclesiastical courts. He will find me there opposite him.
The authors of the despicable deed went even further. On a second occasion—the approval of these insane accusations against Cardinal Ottaviani—they made the Cardinal sign it himself: and this time it was not merely an approval, but congratulations, if you please, praising "the dignity of expression," which represents the acme of cynical derision.
Naturally, I was not in the room, nor in the wings, the day the treacherous secretary made Cardinal Ottaviani sign this letter to Dom Lafond. I am unaware if he told him, as he guided the blind man's hand towards the place of signature, that the matter con­cerned an almsgiving or some word of encouragement to the Little Sisters of the Poor. But Pierre Lemaire, who is innocent to the very end, has published the 'facsimile' of this letter and its signature. Compare the signature at the foot of the letter to Dom Lafond with other signatures of Cardinal Ottaviani, even recently, and with that at the foot of the letter to Paul VI in 1969. You will perceive the difference. (Emphasis as in the original.)
And what of the other allegation made by Msgr. Martimort also based on the spurious letter to Dom Lafond? He alleges that the Cardinal had never authorized publication of his let­ter to the Holy Father. Here is Madiran's reply:
Secondly, the letter to Dom Lafond asserts that Cardinal Ottavi­ani did not authorize anyone to publish his letter to Paul VI. It is an untruth. In October 1969, Cardinal Ottaviani personally gave this authorization to our eminent collaborator and friend, 1'abbe Ray­mond Dulac. This authorization especially concerned the review Itineraires, but not it alone.
A misunderstanding, perhaps? Not at all. More than a month after the letter to Dom Lafond, I received a personal assurance from Cardinal Ottaviani himself that the authorization was authentic, real, not revoked, and that there was no misunderstanding about it, nor about the use which we have made of it.
This is my testimony. If Cardinal Ottaviani's secretary contests it, he can ask for my explanation before the ecclesiastical courts. I will be in attendance. I warn him that I will challenge all the written evi­dence of the Cardinal which may be produced, and that I will ask for his physical appearance and oral deposition before the court.
I am perfectly aware of the intrinsic and perhaps even the historic gravity of my insinuations above, I re-read them, I persist, and I sign before God and men. (Emphasis as in the original.)
As this question of the letter to Dom Lafond is of such im­portance some space must now be devoted to a possible ob­jection which Msgr. Martimort could bring forward in reply to what I have written. He could argue that as Cardinal Otta­viani was practically blind it is possible that the situation could have been quite the reverse, that the Cardinal could have been duped into signing the letter to the Pope but not the one to Dom Lafond. Such a thesis appears unconvincing for the following reasons:
(1)                                              No one has ever contested the fact that the Cardinal sent this letter to the Pope—only that he had given per­mission for its publication.
(2)                                            Who could possibly have tricked him into signing the letter to the Pope? His secretary was a supporter of the Novus Ordo Missae and would not have done so.
(3)                                             As I have already shown, the Cardinal hesitated for sev­eral days before summoning up the courage to sign the Critical Study and he certainly discussed it with Msgr.
Pozzi. There is not the least doubt that he gave a great deal of thought to the Critical Study before endorsing it.
(4)                                            A point which the apologists for the New Mass invari­ably pass over in silence is the fact that no claim was ever made that Cardinal Bacci had written one word modifying or retracting anything in the letter. The apol­ogists for the New Mass have acted as if the letter came from Cardinal Ottaviani alone and conveniently over­look the fact that it was a joint letter. But Cardinal Bacci was not blind and could not be deceived into signing a letter of retraction.
(5)                                             Can it be imagined for one moment that a public figure with the reputation of Jean Madiran would make such serious charges against Msgr. Agustoni and offer to sub­stantiate them in court, if there was the least possibility of his being proved wrong? If there is one man in France whom the progressive establishment would dearly love to discredit, that man is Jean Madiran.
Finally, suppose Msgr. Martimort could prove that his alle­gations were correct, that the Cardinal had not authorized the publication of his letter and that he had retracted his charges. This would not affect the fact that he had signed it, nor the validity of the conclusions in the Critical Study upon which the letter was based, nor the fact that Cardinal Bacci had also signed it and had made no retraction.
As regards the alleged "slanders against Cardinal Lercaro" —it is impossible to comment on them as Msgr. Martimort has not been specific. As he was unwilling to be specific he should not have introduced the matter and it is hard to see what any allegations made regarding the person of Cardinal Lercaro could have to do with theological criticism of the Novus Ordo Missae.
Most Holy Father,
Having examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Con-silium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy reflection and prayer, we feel it to be our duty in the sight of God and towards your Holiness to put forward the following considerations:
(1)                                             The accompanying critical study is the work of a group of theologians, liturgists, and pastors of souls. Brief though it is, it sufficiently demonstrates that the Novus Ordo Missae— considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted —represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formu­lated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by fixing definitively the "canons" of the rite, erected an insur­mountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery.
(2)                                              The pastoral reasons adduced in support of such a grave break—even if they could stand up in the face of doctrinal reasons—do not appear sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo Missae, and on the other hand the things of eter­nal value relegated to an inferior or different place (if indeed they are still to be found at all), could well turn into a cer­tainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by Christians can be altered or silenced without infidelity to that sacred depo­sit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. Recent reforms have amply shown that fresh changes in the liturgy could not but lead to utter bewilderment on the part of the faithful, who are already giving signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the
clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which numberless instances come to our notice daily. (3) We are certain that these considerations, which spring from the living voice of shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in the paternal heart of your Holiness, always so pro­foundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. The subjects for whose benefit a law is passed have always had—more than the right—the duty, if it should instead prove harmful, of asking the legislator with filial trust for its abrogation.
Therefore we most earnestly beseech your Holiness not to deprive us—at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the Church, daily and sorrowfully echoed in the voice of our common Father—of the possibility of continuing to have re­course to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by your Holiness and so deeply venerated and loved by the whole Catholic world.
Rome, le 17 fevrier 1970
Tree Reverend Pere,
J'ai bien recu votre lettre du 23 Janvier et la Note Doctrinale, da tee du 29 Janvier. Je vous felicite pour votre travail qui est remarquable pour son obec-tivite et la dignite de son expression.te n'a pas ete toujours, helas>le cas dans cette polemique dans laquelle on a vu des simples Chretiens, sincerement blee-sea des nouveautes,mel6s a ceux qui ee servent du trouble des ames pour aug-menter la confusion des esprits.
De ma part je regrette seulement que 1'on ait abuse de mon nom dans un sens que je ne desiraispas.par la publication d'une lettre que j'avais adressfie au Saint-Pere sans autoriser personne a la publier.
Je me suis profondement rejoiii a la lecture des Discours du Saint-Pere sur les questions du Nouvel Ordo Missae, et surtout de ses precisations doc-trinales contenues dans les Discbura aux Audiences Publiquee du 19 et du 26 novembre: apres crois,personne ne peut plus sincerement se scandall-ser.Pour le reste il faudra faire une oeuvre prudente et intelligente de cateche-se afin d'enlever quelques perplexites legitimes que le texte peut susciter. Dans ce sens je souhaite a votre Note Doctrinale et a l'activite de la Militia Mariae une large diffusion et succes.
Veuillez agreer, Tres Reverend Pere, l'expression de mes hommages di-stingues,accompagnes d'un benediction pqur tous vos Collaborateurs et les membres de la Militia,
Feast of St. Pius X
A. Card. Ottaviani A. Card. Bacci
Rome, 17 February, 1970
Most Reverend Father,

I have received your letter of 23 January and your Note Doctrinale of 29 January. I congratulate you on your work, which is remarkable for its objectivity, and the dignity of its expression. Such has not always been the case, alas, in this controversy, in which one has seen simple Christians, genuinely upset by novelties, involved with those who exploit the troubled state of souls in order to increase the confusion of minds.

For my part, I only regret that my name has been abused in a way that I did not desire, by the publication of a letter which 1 had addressed to the Holy Father without authorizing anyone to publish it.
I rejoiced profoundly on reading the discourse by the Holy Father on the question of the new Ordo Missae, and particu­larly at the doctrinal details contained in his discourses at the Public Audiences of 19 and 26 November, after which, I believe, no one can be genuinely scandalized any more. As for the rest, a prudent and intelligent catechetical work must be under­taken in order to remove a few legitimate perplexities which the text is capable of arousing. In this sense I wish your Note Doctrinale and the activity of the Militia Mariae widespread diffusion and success.
Most Reverend Father, please accept my esteemed compli­ments, which comes with my blessing for all your collaborators and members of the Militia.