The New Mass – A Lethal Weapon?

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The Tabernacle of the Catholic Church in Doha, Qatar (Arabian Gulf)
behind the new style altar.

Blogger, Benedict Carter has submitted an article on the Mass which will be published in full in our newsletter, in the near future. In the meantime, he’s kindly agreed to allow us to discuss an extract here – share your thoughts…

Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci (‘The Ottaviani Intervention’, 1969) to Pope Paul:   “The Novus Ordo Missae, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules… is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith.”

“We have limited ourselves to a summary evaluation of the Novus Ordo where it deviates most seriously from the theology of the Catholic Mass and our observations touch only those deviations that are typical. A complete evaluation of all the pitfalls, the dangers, the spiritually and psychologically destructive elements contained in the document—whether in text, rubrics or instructions – would be a vast undertaking.”

Cardinal Alfons Stickler, November 27, 2004:   “The analysis of the Novus Ordo made by these two cardinals has lost none of its value nor, unfortunately, of its relevance …. the results of the reform are considered by many today to be devastating. It was to the credit of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci that they discovered very quickly that the change of the rites led to a fundamental change of doctrine.”

Pope Paul VI, October 13, 1977:   “The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church.”

“I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times, and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging”

Pope John Paul II, visit to the USA in 1979:   “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. … We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church … must take up.” ————–

What has happened to our Catholic Church since the mid-1960’s? A healthy Church (at the level of the laity at least) has collapsed. Indeed, the collapse was more or less complete by the mid-1970’s: all since then has been a series of stases before further lurches downwards.

We have seen everything change, but nothing has affected us so much as the changes in the Mass. What follows are my own thoughts and observations on this matter since my return to the Church in 2005. In this essay I will seek to show that the Novus Ordo is, even in the hands of an orthodox priest, a lethal weapon against the Catholic Faith. I will not enter into a discussion of whether the Novus Ordo is a valid Sacrament per se or not: this essay assumes that it is (although many hundreds of thousands of individual Novus Ordo Masses have undoubtedly been invalid for want of valid matter or form over the last decades). But valid is the very, very least it should be. There should be so much more.

The Mass, as the centre of our Holy Faith, should:

1. Reinforce the entire Catholic Faith in every aspect. The way in which we worship contains within itself not only what we believe but the spirit of that belief; 2. It should raise up the individual reverently to the majesty and glory of God; 3. It should present to the individual (sic) soul the starkness and finality of the moral choices we have to make as Catholics in order to inherit Eternal Life; 4. It should keep us in safe continuity with the two thousand years of organic (and in fact miniscule) development of the Church’s main western liturgy, so that we can be Catholics hearing the same words and seeing the same gestures as an Italian of the 4th century, a Portuguese of the 9th century, a Swede of the 14th century, an Englishman hearing a recusant Mass in the 17th century; as any Catholic at all until the late 1960’s. Communion in worship is also communion in belief not only with one’s fellow Catholics throughout the world, but with all Catholics throughout the centuries back to the time of Christ Himself.

The Novus Ordo does not fulfill any of these functions of worship. It is a terrible charge to lay on the Novus Ordo that it represents a non-Catholic religion, but I believe that fundamentally the charge is justified.

That there has been a gigantic rupture in the Church these past fifty years cannot be denied. Those who do deny it are either stupid, have a vested interest in the rupture or (even worse) are quite happy that it occurred, whatever the damage done; or have been formed by it and don’t know anything else.

I was born in 1963 so came to self-consciousness with the changes already made. I count myself extremely lucky to be the child of parents whose whole lives and characters were formed by and steeped in the Catholic Faith of their parents, people of the First World War generation. So prayers were said, our home was full of Catholic pictures, statues, music, books and conversation, going to Mass was a serious event and the whole world of Catholicism was in our home constantly. I remember my mother would cross herself and bow to the Tabernacle at the door to the church porch after Mass. She would not speak until she had physically left the building altogether. I never forgot it. The next time I saw someone do the same was thirty-five years later, in Moscow – a Russian Orthodox believer leaving an Orthodox church. What we have lost! The entire Catholic intimacy with the divine!

The rupture has caused conflict within families, civil war in the Church, and apostasy on a scale not seen since the 16th century and before that, in the time of Arius; and has lost countless souls. That the changes have cost many, many souls must be true: if people stop going to Confession and to Mass, how can they receive the Grace necessary to conquer concupiscence and stay free of mortal sin? At the heart of the rupture is the Novus Ordo: quite understandable, as the Mass is the centre and summit of the Catholic Faith. So what is the nature of the rupture, seen most vividly in this New Mass?

At its bottom-most level, it must be a loss of faith in the existence of God and the invisible world, which for any authentic Catholic should be the world that has most pull on his mentality, thoughts, conduct, and whole life. (This basic loss of faith in Christ involves too the loss of a sense of sin and of its seriousness. And so of course the Confessionals are mostly empty.) END OF EXTRACT…