Tuesday, 23 August 2016
The Novus Ordo Missae
Those who know me well know I do not like the New Order (Novus Ordo) of Mass. I have no difficulty saying the Novus Ordo is legitimate (it is, after all, built from the elements of the Traditional Mass) and valid (it has been promulgated by the Church’s Supreme Authority). But whereas Vatican Council II asked for noble simplicity in the Mass, what we have in the Novus Ordo is banal and skeletal.
I hold however, that the Norvus Ordo Rites cannot be invalid, since if the New Rites (for Mass, Ordinations, Anointing of the Sick etc) are indeed invalid,  God has been failing to feed His flock for the last fifty years, and  Christ has failed to keep His promise that His Church will not fail. I believe we cannot accept that the new Rites are invalid unless we also hold that that God has failed to feed His flock and Christ has failed to protect His Church.
That does not mean the New Rites are good, however. To be good a Rite should express clearly the reality is holds, and the New Rites do not always do this. In that sense the New Rites can be said to be entirely ‘fit for purpose’. Still, when compared to the Traditional Rite, the Novus Ordo Missae does not come off too badly in that:
1. Both contain an entrance antiphon (Introit)
2. Both contain a Confiteor which actively seeks the intercession of the angels and saints
3. Both contain the misareatur
4. Both contain the Kyrie
5. Both contain an Epistle
6. Both contain the Gospel
7. Both contain the Credo
8. Both contain the ancient Roman Canon
9. Both contain the Our Father
10. Both contain the prayer for peace (Libera nos)
11. Both contain the Agnus Dei
12. Both contain the Domine non sum Dignus before distribution of Holy Communion
13. Both contain a final antiphon
14. Both contain a blessing and dismissal.
Sadly however, we have to recognise that though much as has been retained, it is the significant elements that the Novus Ordo omits that disturbs, for it omits:
1. The seeking of God’s grace before we dare to enter His sanctuary (Judica me),
2. The Indulgentiam (minor absolution)
3. The genuflection during the Creed by which were honour the Incarnation
4. The genuflections given to the Blessed Sacrament before and after every time the priest touches the Sacred Host
5. The Offertory (the prayers preparing for a Holy Sacrifice having been replaced with a prayer based on the Jewish Grace before Meals, thus giving lie to the central reality of the Mass as His Body given up and His Blood being shed: “every time you eat this bread and rink this cup you are proclaiming the lord’s death” 1.Cor.11v26).
6. The prayer to the Holy Trinity (Placeat tibi) asking that the Sacrifice offered may bring forgiveness for all for whom it is offered, yet forgiveness (mercy) is at the core of the Gospel.
Indeed, even in what has been retained there was an unnecessary meddling with the texts. For example:
1. The Kyrie has been reduced from nine invocations to three, and re-ordered so that it now sounds like a plea to the Trinity rather than to Christ alone, who in the Traditional form was named in each of the three stanzas, thus making clear that the whole of the Kyrie is addressed to Christ and not to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. There has been a interpolation into the Roman Canon of an acclamation said by the people, using the words ‘ Mysterium fidei’ as its introduction. This is an unwarranted (and ill-mannered) interruption of the prayer of the Son to His Father, and for no other reason than to give the people something to say. It is also a sneaky way of undermining the priest’s unique, irreplaceable and singular role in the recitation of the Canon and the confecting of the Consecration.
3. The very words of the consecration have been changed, despite the injunction of Vatican II that “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them” (SC #23). There was no ‘genuine and certain need’ for the words of the consecration to be changed. This can only have arisen from a political ideology (such as diminishing the role of the priest by introducing a people’s acclamation of the Mysterium Fidei).
The Novus Ordo also fails in its concrete celebrations, in that it
(a) most usually ignores Vatican II’s injunction that Latin be retained:
“In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and the common prayer, but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution. (cf. 36. 1: Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.)
(thus)…steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed (that is, that the permission of Rome is sought and obtained -GD).
(b) has opened the Rite of the Holy Eucharist –the Most precious Gift Christ gave us- to novelties:
(i) Communion in the hand (a Protestant invention long abandoned by Rome) despite the ruling by Paul VI that this may not be introduced after 1969 –cf. Memoriale Domini, 1969) and can be permitted only in those countries which prior to 1969 had illicitly begun the practice: Holland, then Belgium, France and Germany).
(ii) Lay Extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion (which destroys the priest’s role as he who stands in the place of Christ who ‘took, blest, broke and gave’).
(iii) Ladies acting as Extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion (Christ established only males as ministers of His Body and Blood)
(iv) A people-facing orientation of the celebrant (making the Mass a dialogue between priest and people rather than a pilgrimage of priest and people toward the heavenly Jerusalem of the spiritual East).
None of the above novelties are found in the documents of Vatican II, and indeed, and this is very important, they are not found in the N.O.M promulgated by Paul VI as the faithful implementation of Vatican II’s liturgical decree.
All in all, while there is indeed a significant similarity between the 1570 and 1970 editions of the Missale Romanum, there are also striking divergence, and it is this divergence that leaves one’s soul seeking more. What is truly sad is that those who refuse to welcome the Traditional Rites demonstrate an antagonism to their own roots, and cut off from their roots they die, as is seen in the massive lapsation, the dearth of vocations and the closure of schools, parishes and convents that has followed this rejection of Traditional Liturgy and the Tradition of the Catechism.