Declaration of Fr. Calmel, O.P.
November 27, 1969
I hold fast to the traditional Mass, the one which was not composed but codified by St.
Pius V in the 16th century as a custom many centuries old. I therefore refuse the Ordo
Missae of Paul VI.
Why? Because in reality the Ordo Missae does not exist. What does exist is a universal and
permanent liturgical Revolution, adopted or intended by the present pope, and which has
momentarily donned the mask of the Ordo Missae of April 3, 1969. It is within the right of
every priest to refuse to wear the mask of that liturgical Revolution; I consider it my
duty as a priest to refuse to celebrate Mass in an equivocal rite.
This new rite fosters confusion between the Catholic Mass and the Protestant “Lord’s
Supper”—as two cardinals have stated in as many words, and as solid theological analyses
have proven; if we accept it, we will quickly fall from an interchangeable Mass (as a
Protestant minister has actually attested) to a Mass which is blatantly heretical and
therefore null. Launched by the pope and then abandoned to the national churches, the
liturgical reform will simply follow its infernal logic. How can we consent to be party to
such a process?
You are going to ask me: do you realize what you are opening yourself up to, by taking this
stand for the Mass of All Time? Indeed I do. To use your own expression, I am opening
myself up to persevering in the path of fidelity to my priesthood, and therefore to
rendering the humble witness of my priestly office to the Sovereign High Priest, who is our
Supreme Judge. I am also opening myself up to reassuring the faithful, whose world has been
turned upside down and who are being tempted to skepticism or despair. Indeed, every priest
who holds fast to the rite of Mass codified by St. Pius V, the great Dominican pope of the
Counter-Reformation, allows the faithful to participate in the Holy Sacrifice without the
least ambiguity; to receive the Word of God incarnate and immolated, made really present
under the holy species, without doubt of the sacrament.
On the other hand, the priest who yields to the new rite, pasted together by Paul VI, is
collaborating in the gradual establishment of a counterfeit Mass which will have been
transformed into an empty memorial with no longer a true presence of Christ. By the very
fact, the Sacrifice of the Cross will no longer be really and sacramentally offered to God;
communion will no longer be anything but a religious meal where a little bread is eaten and
a little wine is drunk. Nothing more. Just what the Protestants have.
By refusing to collaborate in the revolutionary establishment of an equivocal Mass,
oriented toward the very destruction of the Mass, what temporal hardships and what
difficulties in this world may one expect? The Lord knows, whose grace suffices. Truly, the
grace of the Heart of Jesus will always suffice, and it comes to us through the Holy
Sacrifice and by the sacraments. That is why the Lord tells us with such tranquility, he
who loses his life in this world for My sake will live eternally.
I recognize the authority of the Holy Father, without hesitation. I affirm nonetheless that
it is possible for any pope to abuse his authority. I maintain that Pope Paul VI commits an
exceptionally grave abuse of authority in building a new rite of Mass on a definition of
the Mass which is no longer Catholic. He writes in his Ordo Missae that, “The Mass is the
sacred assembly or congregation of the people of God gathering together, with a priest
presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.” This insidious definition
deliberately omits what makes the Catholic Mass, Catholic, absolutely irreducible to the
Protestant “Lord’s Supper.”
For the Catholic Mass is not just any memorial; it is a memorial which really contains the
Sacrifice of the Cross, because the body and the blood of Christ are made really present by
virtue of the double consecration. The rite codified by St. Pius V permits of no
misunderstanding on this point, but the rite invented by Paul VI leaves the question
floating and equivocal.
Likewise, in the Catholic Mass, the priest does not preside in just any manner; he is
marked with a divine character which sets him apart for all eternity and thus he acts as
the minister of Christ, who performs the Mass through him; he could never be likened to a
Protestant minister, who is delegated by the faithful to ensure the good order of the
assembly. This role is obvious in the rite of Mass established by St. Pius V; it is
obscured if not suppressed entirely in the new rite.
Simple integrity, therefore, and priestly integrity infinitely more, demand that I not have
the impudence to tamper with the Catholic Mass, received on the day of my ordination. Since
it is a question of honesty, and especially in such a matter of divine gravity, there is no
authority in the world which may stop me, be it the authority of a pope.
Moreover, the primary proof of fidelity and love which the priest must give to God and men
is to maintain intact the infinitely precious deposit which was confided to him as the
bishop imposed his hands upon him. It is first on this proof of fidelity and love that I
will be judged by the Supreme Judge. I have entire confidence that the Virgin Mary, Mother
of the Sovereign High Priest, will obtain for me the grace to remain faithful until death
to the Catholic Mass, true and unequivocal. Tuus sum ego, salvum me fac.
Roger-Thomas Calmel, O.P.