May 5th is the feast day of the holy Pope, Saint Pius V, in the traditional calendar (prior to the liturgical changes of Vatican II). Below we post the link to a video of Padre Pio’s last public Mass celebrated on Pius V’s feast, exactly 64 years ago today!
Padrd Pio and the Novus Ordo Missae
[Saint] Padre Pio ((May 25th, 1887-September 23rd, 1968) was a model of respect and submission towards his religious and ecclesiastical superiors, especially during the time when he was persecuted. Nonetheless, he could not remain silent over a deviation that was baneful to the Church. Even before the end of the Council, in February 1965, someone announced to him that soon he would have to celebrate the Mass according to a new rite, ad experimentum, in the vernacular, which had been devised by a conciliar liturgical commission in order to respond to the aspirations of modern man. Immediately, even before seeing the text, he wrote to Paul VI to ask him to be dispensed from the liturgical experiment, and to be able to continue to celebrate the Mass of St. Pius V. When Cardinal Bacci came to see him in order to bring the authorization, Padre Pio let a complaint escape in the presence of the pope’s messenger: “For pity sake, end the Council quickly.”
The same year, during the conciliar euphoria that was promising a new springtime to the Church, he confided to one of his spiritual sons: “In this time of darkness, let us pray. Let us do penance for the elect“; and especially for the one who has to be their shepherd here below: All his life, he immolated himself for the reigning pope, whose photograph was among the rare images that decorated his cell.
Renewal of religious life?
There are other scenes from his life that are full of meaning, for example, his reactions to the aggiornamento the religious orders concocted in the wake of Vatican II. (The citations here are taken from a book bearing an imprimatur):
In 1966, the Father General [of the Franciscans] came to Rome prior to the special Chapter on the Constitutions in order to ask Padre Pio for his prayers and benedictions. He met Padre Pio in the cloister. ‘Padre, I came to recommend to your prayers the special chapter for the new Constitutions…’ He had scarcely gotten the words ‘special Chapter‘… ‘new Constitutions‘ out of his mouth when Padre Pio made a violent gesture and cried out: ‘That is all nothing but destructive nonsense.’ ‘But Padre, after all, there is the younger generation to take into account… the youth evolve after their own fashion… there are new demands…’ ‘The only thing missing is mind and heart, that’s all, understanding and love.’ Then he proceeded to his cell, did a half-turn, and pointed his finger, saying: ‘We must not denature ourselves, we must not denature ourselves! At the Lord’s judgment, St. Francis will not recognise us as his sons!‘”
If we consider that Padre Pio was a veritable alter Christus, that his entire person, body and soul, was as perfectly conformed as possible to that of Jesus Christ, his stark refusal to accept the Novus Ordo and the aggiornamento should be for us a lesson to learn. It is also noteworthy that the good Lord desired to recall His faithful servant just before they were implacably imposed on the Church and the Capuchin Order.
Padre Pio was even less obliging towards the prevailing social and political order, or rather, disorder (in 1966): “the confusion of ideas and the reign of thieves.” He prophesied that the Communists would come to power, “by surprise, without firing a shot… It will happen overnight.”
This should not surprise us, since the requests of Our Lady of Fatima have not been listened to. He even told Bishop Piccinelli, that the red flag will fly over the Vatican, “but that will pass.” Here again, his conclusion rejoins that of the Queen of Prophets: “But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The means by which this prophesy will come to pass, we know: by the divine power; but it must be prompted by the two great powers in man’s hands: prayer and penance. This is the lesson which our Lady wanted to remind us of at the beginning of this century: God wants to save the world by devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and there is no problem, material or spiritual, national or international, that cannot be solved by the holy rosary and our sacrifices.
This is also the last lesson that Padre Pio wanted to leave us by his example, and especially by his “prayer groups,” which he established throughout the world. “He was never without a rosary, there was even one under his pillow. During the day he recited several dozens of rosaries.” A few hours before he died, as those around him urged him to speak a few more words, all he could say was: “Love the Blessed Virgin and make her loved. Always say the rosary!”
The imminent elevation of Venerable Padre Pio is certainly going to arouse in many souls both curiosity and admiration. We could take advantage of the opportunity to remind them of these few lessons, if indeed we know how to put them into practice ourselves, in the merciful love of the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
An excerpt from an article by Fr. Jean, OFMcap and printed originally in May 1999 in The Angelus magazine.