Holy Week Destroyed: In Summary (Updated)

Holy Week Destroyed: In Summary (Updated)

Q: Why did  Sodalitium Pianum address the Holy Week “reforms” of Pope Pius XII?

A: Because our mission is to “expose the subversion of Tradition.”


  • We aimed, first and foremost, at demonstrating that the revisions of Bugnini, Antonelli, Braga, et al. (approved by Pius XII), were no small modification of the Roman Missal, but rather, an entirely Novus Ordo of Holy Week;
  • We aimed to demonstrate that many of the “reforms” which found their way into Pius XII’s Novus Ordo were spawned by a corrupted pre-conciliar liturgical movement (an historical fact which will be drawn out more clearly in future posts), holding as its primary principle the uncatholic concept of “active participation” never endorsed by Pope St. Pius X (despite claims to the contrary; see here, and read the next couple installments there);
  • We aimed also at illustrating the unswerving continuity and commonality of principles between the pre- and post-conciliar “reforms” (e.g., The same grand principle of “active participation”, which found its first fraudulent (*) victory in the Dialogue Mass in the 1910’s is one of the same animating principles motivating many of  Pius XII’s “reforms” in his Novus Ordo of Holy Week, and the same agitators would continue to conspire to build upon those earlier victories until that false liturgical principle found its ultimate realization in Paul VI’s own Novus Ordo only a thirteen years later;
  • We consciously desired to demonstrate (by the use of pre-conciliar, conciliar, and indultarian sources, to the conscious exclusion of sedevacantist works) that a preference for the traditional Holy Week need no longer be interpreted as a sign of sedevacantism (a claim made even more obvious by Pope Francis’ recent indult for the FSSP to use the traditional Holy Week…as the ICK and other non-sedevacantist independents have been doing in some locales for decades);
  • If we used indult and sedevacantist videos, it is not because we recommend (much less endorse) those positions, but because there were no Resistance or SSPX recordings available on the internet.  Yet, the visual aid was essential to helping the reader to grasp just how different were the rites of Pius XII, and the pre-1956 rites of the Church: To intellectually understand the rubrical changes is one thing; to actually see them played out in worship is quite another!
  • We definitely did not NOT want to convey the idea that everyone ought to boycott attendance of the 1956 rites.  I myself attended Palm Sunday this year in the Pian rite (albeit the low Mass, where much of the novelty of the normative High Mass is omitted), however unenthusiastically.  For the rest of the week (none of those days being holy days of obligation), I preferred to stay home, and follow the traditional Holy Week rites on the computer, and study them.  For me, this was a cause of actual (not sanctifying) grace, and very profitable spiritually.  My knowledge of just how these reforms came about, the intentions of the “reformers,” the uncatholic nature of many of the principles which guided these “reforms,” and the modernist theological underpinnings beneath them, present an obex gratiae (i.e., an obstacle or barrier to grace): If I would attend those rites, I would be grumbling to myself the whole time, indignant, and ill-disposed to receive grace.  So I did better to stay home.  You, on the other hand, may not.
  • We definitely DID hope to increase awareness about the scope and magnitude of the liturgical rupture between the traditional and Pian rites of Holy Week, and encourage the faithful to make their desires for the return of these rites known to their pastors, whoever they are.  That might be banging your head against a brick wall in the SSPX, but I know Resistance priests (and the whole indult world) who are open to it;
  • We wished to emphasize that in many respects the new rites of Pius XII are not traditional (many aspects are even anti-traditional); were initially designated as “experimental rites,” having only a 13 year existence in the history of the Church, and represented an intentional and transitional move to a wider and more comprehensive liturgical (r)evolution;
  • Finally, we wish to point out to those of a legalistic bent, who think that because Pius XII was a legitimate Pope, we are compelled to use the revisions he approved for use in the Church:
    • Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum guaranteed access to the Missal of 1570 for all times, declaring that none ought to have any scruple ever after about using it;
    • That same Missal would preserve its integrity and liturgical and theological lineage, were subsequent versions to include whatever organic changes might be made over the centuries;
    • But a hasty concoction which attacks that Missal, and attacks its organic development over the centuries?
    • The changes contained in the Holy Week rites approved by Pius XII did precisely that (as explained in the words and memoirs of the “reformers” themselves), in many instances representing such substantial mutations and deviations from the prayers, rubrics, and principles they replaced (particularly with regard to Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Paschal Vigil), that it can fairly and truly be said to represent a Novus Ordo of those rites; that it is no longer a liturgical descendant of the Missal promulgated for all time by St. Pius V (who, we conjecture, would be horrified by many of the changes contained in Pius XII’s rite), but a negation of that Missal;
    • That consequently, every priest has the right to say the fully traditional rites of Holy Week prior to the changes introduced from 1951-1955/6, in virtue of this perpetual permission of St. Pius V (and the faithful have the right to attend them).

These were the ideas we wished to impart to our readers.  

(*) Fr. Juan Carlos Iscara (SSPX) explained to us in Liturgy I class how the liturgical movement of Dom Gueranger had been hijacked by the modernists early on, and by 1920 could no longer be considered to be animated by Catholic liturgical principles.  The first major feat of the modernists had been to conspire among themselves to appeal to modernist bishops, and gain permissions to discreetly experiment with new rites; to give liturgical conferences expressing modernist concepts; and through these channels create liberal citadels throughout the Church (e.g., Mont Cesar and Maria Laach Abbey; etc.), essentially building a modernist grass-roots movement which would inevitably reach all the way to Rome…and it did.  

It was by such nefarious means that the Dialogue Mass was approved, and gained at first a cautious and experimental approval, then later by further pressure, approval for use in the universal Church (same as Pius XII’s Novus Ordo of Holy Week).

For an excellent introduction to understanding the methodical subversion and hijacking of the liturgical movement, see the concise work of Fr. Didier Bonneterre (SSPX), The Liturgical Movement (Angelus Press – 2002).

See also this Wikipedia article, highlighting the illicit origins of the Dialogue Mass:

The same tactics resulted in pressuring Rome to approve the experimental revisions of 1951-1955 in 1956, and later caused the dam to burst completely at and after Vatican II.

The famous words of St. Augustine come to mind: “Nothing begun so poorly could end well.”

How the SSPX can teach its seminarians about the dishonorable and modernist origins of the Dialogue Mass on the one hand, yet require its use in its own seminaries and schools worldwide on the other hand, is a question for the ages.