OD GAVE TO MAN free will. As a result, some members of the clergy do evil things. Our Blessed Lord Himself chose Judas as one of the Apostles! Our Lord did that—it would seem—to teach us something important. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen used to say: “If the Church were as pristine and holy as some demand, I would be afraid to join because I am a sinner.” Sometimes church legislation needs to change; and we have seen this throughout history.
Change In Approach • After the Council of Trent, there was an emphasis given to Sacred Scripture by “pruning” the many sequences that had developed over the centuries. (Broadly speaking, sequences don’t come from Sacred Scripture.) After Vatican II, we saw the reverse. The reformers who came after Vatican II generally chose to downplay Sacred Scripture; e.g. they eliminated about 50% of Sacred Scripture from each Mass. This decision by the post-conciliar reformers was almost ‘unforgivable’ because the Proprium Missae prior to Vatican II had been the primary way Catholics came into contact with Sacred Scripture, since it was divided into tiny little snippets, easily absorbed by the faithful.
Father Valentine’s Discovery • The reformers who came after Vatican II also carefully removed certain parts of Sacred Scripture, making sure congregations would never hear or sing those parts at Mass. An example would be Saint Paul’s warning about unworthy reception of Holy Communion. Father Valentine Young (d. 2020) discovered this omission in the 1980s. Later on, in 1997, Alfons Cardinal Stickler wrote about Father Valentine’s discovery:
Pastorally “unpopular” passages—often of fundamental theological and moral significance—were simply eliminated. A classic example is the text from I CORINTHIANS 11:27-29. Here, in the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, the serious concluding exhortation about the grave consequences of unworthy reception has been consistently left out, even on the Feast of Corpus Christi.
A Sequence For Martin Luther?
Father Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923) wrote as follows:
“Luther’s Wicked Deceits” • The heretical contrafactum by John Nass was called Invicti Martini laudes intonant Christiani (“Christians sing aloud the praises of the invincible Martin”), and appeared in the 1520s. But on the weblog of Gerhard Eger, we find Pessimas Lutheri Fraudes, which is a Carthusian Sequence condemning the false teachings of Martin Luther, written by Thomas Kress (also circa 1520). The translation begins: “Luther’s most wicked deceits let Christians flee.”
How Does It Sound? • A note explains that this text it is to be sung to the tune of Victimae paschali laudes (the famous Easter sequence). Gerhard Eger explains: “The text cleverly adapts the Easter sequence to portray Luther as a veritable Antichrist.” Dr. Luca Ricossa, professor of Gregorian chant at the Haute école de musique in Geneva, has made a recording:
The heretical ex-monk Martin Luther did tremendous damage to the Bride of Christ—there’s no question about that. However, there were others as well: Henry VIII, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and so forth.