Mr. John Sonnen shared the following story on his blog. Our readers know we shun gossip, but this story is told by a living person who “names names.”
FEW YEARS AGO I had the honor to sit down with the great Rev. Dr. Giuseppe Soria, personal physician of St. Josemaría Escrivá. Don Giuseppe was his close and personal friend, and was even in the room the moment the saint breathed his last. In fact, he is the one who reached out and closed St. Josemaría’s eyes the moment after he died. Don Giuseppe was ordained in Madrid and lived in Rome in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
I asked Don Giuseppe why St. Josemaría had not celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae. His response was frank and to the point.
St. Josemaría was always first and foremost obedient, but he could not read the faded print in the new edition of the Roman Missal (see this photo). He had cataracts and found it difficult and painful to read the poor quality typeset. Also, the saint had experienced certain mystical moments associated with particular words, sentences, and structural parts of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Such moments had been a part of his spiritual life since boyhood and through his priesthood. In having to celebrate the Mass of Paul VI, the saint would have been cut off from this.
Finally, it was the saint’s secretary, Don Alvaro del Portillo, who at the behest of the saint telephoned Msgr. Annibale Bugnini to ask permission to continue celebrating the Classical Rite. Monsignor Bugnini was quick in his response: “You don’t need permission from me. Just continue to celebrate the Mass of St. Pius V.”
I believe Pope Paul VI allowed priests with certain conditions—such as blindness—as well as retired priests to continue to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, even after the new Missal was introduced circa 1970. I’m told some priests loved the Extraordinary Form so much, they chose to retire early.