St. Robert Bellarmine and the Traditional Mass

Today, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has published its long awaited instruction on the application of the papal motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Entitled Universae Ecclesiae, the document, when enforced, will help to protect the rights of the faithful (priests and laity) to the so-called forma extraordinaria, i.e., the traditional Roman Rite Mass.

Today is also the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine. As an apt expression of the lex credendi of the Church, let me present the lex orandi, of the traditional rite’s collect for this feast, the prayer the priest prayed this morning at our community’s daily Mass:

O God, who didst adorn blessed Robert, Thy Bishop and Doctor, with marvelous learning and virtue to expose the deceptions of error and to defend the rights of the Apostolic see, grant that, by his merits and intercession, love for the truth may increase in us and the souls of the erring may return to the unity of Thy Church.

In the prayer for the new rite — which celebrated his Feast on September 17 — “the rights of the Apostolic see,” “error,” and “the erring” are not mentioned, nor is the return of the latter to the Church:

God our Father, you gave Robert Bellarmine wisdom and goodness to defend the faith of your Church. By his prayers may we always rejoice in the profession of our faith.

On the feast of this great defender of the true and Catholic Faith, we are very happy that the Holy Father “has,” in the words of the recent document, “made the richness of the Roman Liturgy more accessible to the Universal Church.”