Editor’s Note by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Since the persecution of the Catholic Faithful who continue to use the ancient missale is even more in the news lately, I present here the original text of the Bull of Pope Saint Pius V which forever declared the Ancient Roman Rite the liturgical norm of the Roman Church. And to better aid comprehension to all my readers, I have included after the original text, which I have extracted from the Benzinger edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum, my own English translation of the Latin original of the Papal Bull, which I prepared this afternoon.
Saint Pius V, was the greatest Dominican to sit on the throne of St. Peter. He organized the Holy League which defeated the entire navy of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, Oct. 7, 1571, and in the year before defended the Roman LIturgy with this monumental declaration of Quo Primum. He is also known to have authorized the official text of the Hail Mary (Ave Maria), which the Catholic world prays today.
In all the debates over the rights of Catholics to continue praying the same prayers that their ancestors have used from the distant ages of the past, there is continual reference to the Bull Quo Primum, which follows below. — St. Pius V did not invent this liturgy. His Missale Romanum of 1570 was nearly identical to the Curial Missal published a century beforehand, which was in turn nearly an exact copy of the Missal compiled by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor in the 13th century, when for a more useful single compilation of the liturgical books of the ancient Roman Rite, which Pope Innocent III granted to St. Francis of Assisi as the liturgy proper to his new Order, he ordered them recompiled into a single volume with permission of the Apostolic See.
Here follows the text of the 1570 A. D. bull.
SERVUS SERVORUM DEI
AD PERPETUAM REI MEMORIAM
QUO PRIMUM tempore ad Apostolatus apicem assumpti fuimus, ad ea libenter animum, viresque Nostras intendimus, et cogitationes omnes direximus, quae ad Ecclesiasticum purum retinendum cultum pertinerent, eaque parare, et, Deo ipso adiuvante, omni adhibito studio efficere contendimus. Cumque inter alia sacri Tridentini Concilii decreta, Nobis statuendum esset de sacris libris, Catechismo, Missali et Breviario edendis atque emendandis: edito iam, Deo ipso annuente, ad populi eruditionem Catechismo, et ad debitas Deo persolvendas laudes Breviario castigato, omnino, ut Breviario Missale responderet, ut congruum est et conveniens (cum unum in Ecclesia Dei psallendi modum, unum Missse celebrandae ritum esse maxime deceat), necesse iam videbatur, ut, quod reliquum in hac parte esset, de ipso nempe Missali edendo, quam primum cogitaremus.
First, from moment We were raised up to the summit of the Apostolate, We willingly turned Our spirit and strengths, and directed all Our thoughts, to those things, which pertained to retaining the cult of the Church pure, and We do now, also, with God Himself helping, strive to effect their preparation, having employed every effort. And when among other things there was established by Us, among the other decrees of the Sacred Council of Trent, concerning the publication and emendation of the sacred books, the Catechism, the Missal and Breviary: with the Catechism already published, with God Himself approving, and the Breviary corrected to render to God due praises, it seemed then entirely necessary that the Missal respond to the Breviary, as is fitting and convenient (since in the Church of God it is most decorous that there be one manner of singing Psalms, one manner of celebrating the ritual of the Mass), that, what remained in this matter, namely, in publishing the said Missal, We might consider first of all.
Quare eruditis delectis viris onus hoc demandandum duximus: qui quidem, diligenter collatis omnibus cum vetustis Nostrae Vaticanae Bibliothecae, aliisque undique conquisitis, emendatis, atque incorruptis codicibus; necnon veterum consultis ac probatorum auctorum scriptis, qui de sacro eorundem rituum instituto monumenta Nobis reliquerunt, ad pristinam Missale ipsum sanctorum Patrum normam ac ritum restituerunt. Quod recognitum iam et castigatum, matura adhibita consideratione, ut ex hoc instituto, coeptoque labore, fructus omnes percipiant,
Wherefore, We directed that this burden be committed to chosen expert men: who indeed, having diligently gathered together all the ancient, emended and incorrupt codices from Our Vatican Library, and others searched out from all places,; and not without having consulted the writings of ancient and approved authors, who left to Us their testimonies concerning the institution of the same rituals, and restored the same Missal to the pristine norm of the holy Fathers. Which having already been recognized and corrected, having employed mature consideration, so that all might perceive the fruit of this instituted and undertaken labor,
Romae quam primum imprimi, atque impressum edi mandavimus: nempe ut sacerdotes intellegant, quibus precibus uti, quos ritus, quasve caeremonias in Missarum celebratione retinere posthac debeant. Ut autem a sacrosancta Romana Ecclesia, ceterarum Ecclesiarum matre et magistra, tradita ubique amplectantur omnes et observent, ne in posterum perpetuis futuris temporibus in omnibus Christiani orbis Provinciarum Patriarchalibus, Cathedralibus, Collegiatis et Parochialibus, saecularibus, et quorumvis Ordinum, monasteriorum, tam virorum, quam mulierum, etiam militiarum regularibus, ac sine cura Ecclesiis vel Capellis,
We ordered that it be first printed at Rome and published in printed form: namely, so that priests might understand, which prayers to use, which rituals, or which ceremonies they ought hereafter to retain in the celebration of Masses. Moreover, so that all the things handed down by the sacrosanct Roman Church, the Mother of all other Churches, be embraced everywhere and observed, lest unto posterity in unending future generations in all the Patriarchates, Cathedrals, Collegiate, Parish and secular Churches, and those of any Order or monastery whatsoever, both of men, as of women, even of regular soldiers, or Churches and/or Chapels without the care of souls,
in quibus Missa Conventualis alta voce cum Choro, aut demissa, celebrari iuxta Romanae Ecclesiae ritum consuevit vel debet, alias quam iuxta Missalis a Nobis editi formulam decantetur, aut recitetur, etiamsi eaedem Ecclesiae quovis modo exemptae, Apostolicae Sedis indulto, consuetudine, privilegio, etiam iuramento, confirmatione Apostolica, vel aliis quibusvis facultatibus munitae sint; nisi ab ipsa prima institutione a Sede Apostolica approbata, vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos Missarum celebrandarum in eisdem Ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem, vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus;
in which Conventual Mass is accustomed or ought to be celebrated out loud with a Choir, or in low voice, according to the rite of the Roman Church, there be sung anything other than according to the formula of the Missal published by Us, even if the same Churches have been exempted in any manner by an indult of the Apostolic See, custom, privilege, even under oath, by Apostolic confirmation, and/or any other faculty; lest having been approved by the Apostolic See from their first institution, whether by a custom, which, has been observed and/or by its own institution more than two-hundred years of being assiduously celebrated in those same Churches: from which, We in no way take away the aforesaid constitution, and/or custom of celebrating;
sic si Missale hoc, quod nunc in lucem edi curavimus, iisdem magis placeret, de Episcopi, vel Praelati, Capitulique universi consensu, ut, quibusvis non obstantibus, iuxta illud Missas celebrare possint, permittimus; ex aliis vero omnibus Ecclesiis praefatis eorundem Missalium usum tollendo, illaque penitus et omnino reiiciendo, ac huic Missali Nostro nuper edito, nihil unquam addendum, detrahendum, aut immutandum esse decernendo, sub indignationis Nostrae poena, hac Nostra perpetuo valitura constitutione statuimus et ordinamus. Mandantes ac districte omnibus et singulis Ecclesiarum praedictarum Patriarchis, Administratoribus, aliisque personis quacumque Ecclesiastica dignitate fulgentibus, etiamsi S. R. E. Cardinales, aut cuiusvis alterius gradus et praeeminentiae fuerint,
thus, if this Missal, which We now have taken care to publish, pleases the same more, by consent of the Bishop, and/or Prelate, or entire Chapter, We permit that they can celebrate Masses according to it, with nothing whatsoever withstanding: however, We establish and ordain, under the punishment of Our indignation, by this our perpetually valid Constitution, that with the publication of this our said Missal, nothing is ever to be added, detracted, or changed by taking it from the use of those same Missals of any of the aforesaid Churches, and by rejecting those things thoroughly or entirely. We, commanding also strictly each and every Patriarch, Administrator of the aforesaid Churches, and other persons enjoying whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity, even if they be Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church or anyone of another grade or preeminence,
illis in virtute sanctae obedientiae praecipientes, ut ceteris omnibus rationibus et ritibus ex aliis Missalibus quantumvis vetustis hactenus observari consuetis, in posterum penitus omissis, ac plane reiectis, Missam iuxta ritum, modum, ac normam, quae per Missale hoc a Nobis nunc traditur, decantent ac legant; neque in Missae celebratione alias caeremonias, vel preces, quam quae hoc Missali continentur, addere vel recitare praesumant.
precepting these in virtue of holy obedience, so that with all those reckonings and rituals, from other customary Missals howsoever ancient hitherto observed, hereafter entirely omitted, and plainly rejected, they may sing and read the Mass according to the rite, manner, and norm, which is handed down now by Us through this Missal nor let them presume in the celebration of the Mass to add and/or recite other ceremonies and/or prayers, than those which are contained in this Missal.
Atque ut hoc ipsum Missale in Missa decantanda, aut recitanda in quibusvis Ecclesiis absque ullo conscientiae scrupulo, aut aliquarum poenarum, sententiarum et censurarum incursu, posthac omnino sequantur, eoque libere et licite uti possint et valeant, auctoritate Apostolica, tenore praesentium, etiam perpetuo concedimus et indulgemus. Neve Praesules, Administratores, Canonici, Capellani et alii quocumque nomine nuncupati Presbyteri saeculares, aut cuiusvis Ordinis regulares, ad Missam aliter, quam a Nobis statutum est, celebrandam teneantur:
And also, by Our Apostolic authority, and the tenor of the present letters, We also concede perpetually and indulge, that they may entirely hereafter follow this Missal in a sung, or recited, Mass in whatever Churches without any scruple of conscience or incursion of any punishments, sentences and censures, and use this freely and licitly and validly. Or lest Praefects, Administrators, Canons, Chaplains and other secular Priests named by whatever name, or regulars of any Order, be bound to celebrate Mass otherwise, than is established by Us:
neque ad Missale hoc immutandum a quolibet cogi et compelli, praesentesve litterae ullo unquam tempore revocari, aut moderari possint, sed firmae semper et validae in suo exsistant robore, similiter statuimus et declaramus. Non obstantibus praemissis, ac constitutionibus, et ordinationibus Apostolicis, ac in Provincialibus et Synodalibus Conciliis editis generalibus, vel specialibus constitutionibus, et ordinationibus, nec non Ecclesiarum praedictarum usu, longissima et immemorabili praescriptione, non tamen supra ducentos annos, roborato, statutis et consuetudinibus contrariis quibuscumque.
We similarly establish and declare that they also cannot be coerced and compelled by anyone to change this MIssal, nor can the present letters be at any time ever revoked or constrained, but that they stand forth always firm and valid in their strength. With no Apostolic constitutions, and ordinations, and/or special constitutions and ordinations published in Provincial and Synodal general Councils, nor use of the aforesaid Churches, strengthened by the longest and immemorial prescription, not more than two-hundred years, or statutes and customs whatsoever contrary, withstanding the aforesaid.
Volumus autem et eadem auctoritate decernimus, ut post huius Nostrae constitutionis, ac Missalis editionem, qui in Romana adsunt Curia Presbyteri, post mensem; qui vero intra montes, post tres; et qui ultra montes incolunt, post sex menses, aut cum primum illis Missale hoc venale propositum fuerit, iuxta illud Missam decantare, vel legere teneantur. Quod ut ubique terrarum incorruptum, ac mendis et erroribus purgatum praeservetur, omnibus in Nostro et S. R. E. dominio mediate, vel immediate subiecto commorantibus impressoribus, sub amissionis librorum, ac centum ducatorum auri Camerae Apostolicae ipso facto applicandorum:
Moreover, We will and decree by the same authority, so that after the publication of this Our Constitution, and Missale, which shall be displayed at the Roman Curia, for the Priests, after a month: but who dwells on this side of the Alps, after three months; and where beyond the Alps, after six months, or when this Missal has been offered to them for sale, that they be bound to sing and/or read the Mass according to it. Wherefore, so that it be preserved incorrupt in all lands, and purged from emendations and errors, to all printers resident in Our immediate and/or mediately subjected Domain and that of the Holy Roman Church, under the loss of the books, and 100 ducats of gold to be applid ipso facto to the Apostolic Camera:
aliis vero in quacumque orbis parte consistentibus, sub excommunicationis latae sententiae, et aliis arbitrii Nostri poenis, ne sine Nostra vel speciali ad id Apostolici Commissarii in eisdem partibus a Nobis constituendi, licentia, ac nisi per eunden Commissarium eidem impressori Missalis exemplum, ex quo aliorum imprimendorum ab ipso impressore erit accipienda norma, cum Missali in Urbe secundum magnam impressionem impresso collatum fuisse, et concordare, nec in ullo penitus discrepare prius plena fides facta fuerit, imprimere, vel proponere, vel recipere ullo modo audeant, vel praesumant, auctoritate Apostolica et tenore praesentium similibus inhibemus.
but to others consisting in whatever part of the globe, under the punishments of latae sententiae excommunciation and others at Our will, We prohibit by Apostolic Authority and the tenor of the present letters, that, they dare in any manner to receive, and/or presume, to publish or offer for sale, without Our permission and/or special license, according to that of the one to be constituted in those same parts by Us as Apostolic Commissioner, the exemplary copy, from which there is to be accepted the norm of other printings by the printer himself, before full faith has been first given to the printer himself by the same Commisioner for the Missal to be published in great quantity in the City of Rome and that it not be discrepant in anything at all.
Verum, quia difficile esset praesentes Iitteras ad quaeque Christiani orbis loca deferri, ac primo quoque tempore in omnium notitiam perferri, illas ad Basilicae Principis Apostolorum, ac Cancellariae Apostolicae, et in acie Campi Florae de more; publicari et affigi, ac earundem litterarum exemplis etiam impressis, ac manu alicuius publici tabellionis; subscriptis, nec non sigillo personae in dignitate ecclesiastica constitutae munitis, eandem prorsus indubitatam fidem ubique gentium et locorum, haberi , praecipimus, quae praesentibus haberetur, si ostenderentur vel exhiberentur.
Truly, because it might be difficult for the present letters to be borne to all places of the Christian globe and to proffer unto the notice of all at first notice, We precept, that these be published and affixed to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, and to the Apostolic Chancery, and in the piazza of the Campus Flori as is customary; and that there be had printed also copies of the same letters, and in the hand of any public notary; and to those underwritten, and not without the seal of a person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, that they be regarded the same undoubted faith in whatever nations and places, as the present letters are held, when they are displayed and/or exhibited.
Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam Nostrae permissionis, statuti, ordinationis, mandati, praecepti, concessionis, indulti, declarationis, voluntatis, decreti et inhibitionis infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare praesumpserit, indignationem omnipotentis Dei, ac beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum eius se noverit incursurum. Datum Romae apud S. Petrum, anno Incarnationis Dominicae millesimo quingentesimo septuagesimo, pridie Idus Iulii, Pontificatus Nostri anno quinto.
Therefore, to no one among men let it be licit to infringe this page of Our permission, statute, ordinance, mandate, precept, concession, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition, and/or with darying temerity to contradict it. if, however, anyone will have presumed to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indigation of the Omnipotent God and of His blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord, 1570, on the first day of the ides of July, in the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
Anno a Nativitate Domini 1570, Indict. 13, die vero 19 mensis Iulii, Pontificatus sanctissimi in Christo Patris et D. N. Pii divina providentia Papae V anno eius quinto, retroscriptae litterae publicatae et affixae fuerunt ad valvas Basilicae Principis Apostolorum, ac Cancellariae Apostolicae, et in acie Campi Florae, ut moris est, per nos loannem Andream Rogerium et Philibertum Cappuis Cursores.
In the year of the Nativity of the Lord, 1570, in the 13th indiction, but on the 19th day of the month of July, in the fifth year of the Pontificate of our most holy Father in Christ and our lord, Pius V, Pope by the divine providence, these letters transcribed were published and affixed to the folding-doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, and to the Apostolic Chancery, and in the piazza of the Campus Florae, as is the custom, by us Footmen, John Andrew Roger and Philibert Cappue .
SCIPIO DE OCTAVIANIS, Magister Cursorum.
11 thoughts on “Quo Primum — St. Pius V’s 1570 Bull on the Roman Missal — Latin and English Text”
Thank you for providing this.
Dear Br. Alexis,
Thank you so very much for printing Quo Primum. So many Catholics I know are not familar with it. And thank you for printing the Latin and the English that you translated beneath the Latin text. It is vitally important to know this. You are a treasure — my profound gratitude!!!! And prayers to Our Lady of Lourdes for you!
thanks I need it, I have a nasty persistent cough.
Dear Br. Have you tried grapefruit seed oil (it’s drying so if your cough is wet, you can buy it in pill form & there is even throat spray) & zinc & colloidal silver (with the silver make sure you buy from a reputable brand.) In the states you can purchase them at a health food store or online. I know you’re on a fixed income but I have used them & they worked for me. Hopefully they will work for you. I heard about some these supplements indirectly from the Amish. God Bless. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us! Side note – I don’t always agree with you but I do pray for you & hope you can pray for me. Thank you. (I prefer that my comment not be made public.)
I found that when I stopped all the meds, my cough went away. They were making my throat dry, my mucus acidic.
Besides mandating the traditional Roman Rite which is the customary rite used in the Church, would not the following sentence, which refers to the document itself, be a mark of infallibility?
“nor can the present letters be at any time ever revoked or constrained,”
Infallibility is the mark whereby a teaching contains no errors. This document is a disciplinary document. Disciplinary documents are of two kinds, those which reiterate Divine, Sacred, Apostolic tradition or which are based on the Natural law, and those which are ordinances for a time or place or circumstance to solve some problem which has arisen.
The first kind, inasmuch as they reiterate the unchanging source of right, cannot be abbrogated, but inasmuch as they apply it they can be modified or perfected. The second kind can be entirely changed or abandoned.
As regards the divine liturgy, if you have ever participated in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or of St. Basil, you can see that there is a fundamental concept of worship which remains the same in those and the Roman Rite, but that the application of that principle in the Roman Rite is very meager and downright whimpy, almost to the point that its simplicity can deceive one into thinking that there is no presence of the Divine.
So, for this reason, the Roman Rite which Quo Primum preserved can never be abolished, but it could be through the ages that it can be perfected. The Roman Rite which Quo Primum Preserved was a minimum, and if we understand it as an ancient version or outdated form, it is from that erroneous appreciation all error comes forth.
Thank you for posting this translation of Quo Primus and your clarification.
Three follow up questions:
1. How many other Mass Rites meet the criteria of Quo Primum, what are their names and can you provide any more details?
2. What of the changes made to the Roman Rite before Vatican II, for example by Pope Pius XII for the 1962 Missal. Must we as Catholics consider them to be progressive perfections of the prior Roman Rite?
3. Did Pope Paul VI claim that the Novus Ordo he promulgated was a progressive perfection of the Roman Rite?
1. There are, I believe some 18-23 other rites in the Church, but some of them are merely derivative from others. The Roman Rite, however, is the only one which an ancient heritage going back to the Apostle Peter. The others seems to have been compiled in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th centuries after Christ.
2. He totally changed Holy Week, and I think there is reason to believe that it was both unnecessary and damaging. That liturgy is the same one in the NO, so his holy week was the first roll out of the principles of the NOM.
3. No Paul VI made no theological or canonical claims for the NOM. He did not even promulgate it. Later, such committes as the Congr. for Divine Worship, when Karol Wotyla was a member, made the bold claim that the NOM obrogates Quo primum, but that is impossible, since it covers an entirely different ritual of the mass, and because Paul VI never declared such an intention in any juridical document.
Thank you, Br Bugnolo, these answers are very helpful.
Maybe some time you could enlighten your readers on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil and what sets them apart from the Roman Rite.
Another ancient rite for which Apostolic authority and tradition is claimed (from St. Thomas) is the Syro-Malabar Rite of South Western India (Kerala).
I believe the Syro-Malabar Rite Mass is around twice the duration of the Roman Rite Mass.
Another of the better known ancient rites (among English speaking Catholics) is the Ambrosian Rite, used in the Diocese of Milan.
Many grateful thanks for this complete translation of such a mighty liturgical document.
It will indeed be good to have this “to hand” in the coming months when, so it would appear, the liturgical reprobates & ignoramuses within the Vatican will be attempting further ‘suppressions’ of the TLM.
Seems to me that Pride, Anger, Envy & Ignorance are key characteristics of all those who laughably consider the Novus Ordo as “equal” in liturgical status to the TLM and, worse still, that the NO should be considered the “only” form of the Roman Rite for today’s Church…….!!
“Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle……etc.”