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“An Incalculable Error”: Excerpts From The “Ottaviani Intervention”

Cardinal Ottaviani, Praefect-Emeritus of the CDF at the time of the "Intervention"

This is given without commentary, as truly no commentary is necessary.

Please say a prayer for these brave souls, who fought from the very heart of the Church to try to avoid the biggest damage, in what was certainly the darkest hour of the post-V II madness.

The entire document – also giving background information and making clear that the translation may seem strange in order not to compromise a strict adherence to the Italian original – may be found here.

You will note that Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci made entirely theirs the conclusion and tone of a study of a group of Catholic theologians, led by Marcel Lefebvre. The fact that Lefebvre could have his position so fully approved by Cardinals in such high standing within the Vatican tells you everything you need to know about the dramatic events of those years.

Ottaviani and Bacci signed the letter accompanying the study. They did not mince words. They are a luminous example of Catholic steadfastness in the midst of deafening rhetoric and rampant heterodoxy.

The first two quotations are from the letter, the others from the study. They are so lucidly prophetic as to make any excuse on the lines of “we couldn’t have imagined” utterly ridiculous.

Read, and cry.

Mundabor

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The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever.

Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing 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 innumerable instances come to our notice daily.

…..the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the supper and the memorial instead of upon the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary

The priest’s position is minimized, changed and falsified. Firstly in relation to the people for whom he is, for the most part, a mere president, or brother, instead of the consecrated minister celebrating in persona Christi. Secondly in relation to the Church, as a “quidam de populo.”

In the Confiteor which has now become collective, he is no longer judge, witness and intercessor with God; so it is logical that he is no longer empowered to give the absolution, which has been suppressed. He is integrated with the fratres

Desacralizing omissions everywhere debase the mystery of the Church. She is not presented above all as a sacred hierarchy: Angels and Saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor: they have disappeared, as witnesses and judges, in the person of St. Michael, from the first.

The unity of the Church is gravely compromised by the wholly intolerable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new Eucharistic Prayers, of the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church of Rome, and the names of the other Apostles, foundation and mark of the one and universal Church, the only remaining mention being in the Communicantes of the Roman Canon.
A clear attack upon the dogma of the Communion of Saints is the omission, when the priest is celebrating without a server, of all the salutations, and the final blessing, not to speak of the Ite missa est now not even said in Masses celebrated with a server.

A complete evaluation of all the pitfalls, the dangers, the spiritually and psychologically destructive elements contained in the document—whether in text, rubrics or instructions—would be a vast undertaking

….. the new Liturgy will be the delight of the various groups who, hovering on the verge of apostasy, are wreaking havoc in the Church of God, poisoning her organism and undermining her unity of doctrine, worship, morals and discipline in a spiritual crisis without precedent.

St. Pius V had the Roman Missal drawn up (as the present Apostolic Constitution itself recalls) so that it might he an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the injunctions of the Council of Trent it was to exclude all danger, in liturgical worship of errors against the Faith, then threatened by the Protestant Reformation. The gravity of the situation fully justified, and even rendered prophetic, the saintly Pontiff’s solemn warning given at the end of the bull promulgating his missal: “Should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of God Almighty and of his Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Quo Primum. July 13, 1570).

It was precisely in order to ward off the dangers which in every century threaten the purity of the deposit of faith (“depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates.”—I Tim. VI, ) that the Church has had to erect under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost the defenses of her dogmatic definitions and doctrinal pronouncements. These were immediately reflected in her worship, which became the most complete monument of her faith. To try and bring the Church’s worship back at all cost to the ancient practice by refashioning, artificially and with that “unhealthy archeologism” so roundly condemned by Pius XII, what in earlier times had the grace of original spontaneity means—as we see today only too clearly—to dismantle all the theological ramparts erected for the protection of the Rite and to take away all the beauty by which it was enriched over the centuries.

To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was both the sign and the pledge of unity of worship (and to replace it with another which cannot but be a sign of division by virtue of the countless liberties implicitly authorized, and which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic religion) is, we feel in conscience bound to proclaim, an incalculable error.

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