A Brief Overview of the Major Theological Difficulties Inherent in the Novus Ordo Missae
By Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., F.A.C.S.
“The Sacrifice of the Mass is and remains the center of the Christian Religion, the sum of spiritual exercises, the heart of devotion and the soul of piety. Hence that ever-new, never-failing power by which the Holy Sacrifice of the mass attracts all Catholic hearts and gathers Catholic nations around its altars. Everywhere the Holy Mass retains this magnetic power of attraction... The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the soul and the heart of the liturgy of the Church; it is the mystical chalice that presents to our lips the sweet fruit of the passion of the God-Man – that is, grace.” – Father Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Catholic Mass
The Catholic Mass is a True Sacrifice
A Further Explanation of the Nature of this Immolation
A Brief History of the Mass
Can We Lose the Mass?
The Problems with the New Mass
Two Techniques of Deletion
The Authors of the New Mass
Why the New Mass Was Written
Acceptable to Protestants
The Structure of the New Mass
The New Eucharistic Prayers
The “Institution Narrative”
Changing Christ’s Words
“All” for “Many”
The Memorial Acclamation
“The Body of Christ”
The Altar Becomes a Table
The Priest Facing the People
Is a Doubtful Consecration Acceptable?
The Sacrament of Unity
The General Instruction
Defining the New Mass
A “Revised” General Instruction
Still a Supper
Still a President
More “Table Talk”
A Sop to Conservatives
The “Indult” Mass
Are the Mistranslations Abuses?
“He who goes about to take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from the Church plans no less a calamity than if he tried to snatch the sun from the universe.” – St. John Fisher 1 (1469-1535)
The Catholic Mass
Any discussion of the Catholic Mass requires a recognition of its crucial position in the Church, as well as some understanding of its nature. According to St. John Chrysostom (347-407), a Father and Doctor of the Church, when the Mass is said:
A fountain is opened which sends forth spiritual rivers – a fountain round which the angels take their stand, looking into the beauty of its streams, since they more clearly see into the power and sanctity of the things that lie to open view, and their inaccessible splendors. 2
St. Alhponsus Liguori (1696-1787) described the Mass as “the most beautiful thing in the Church.” And why? Because “at the Mass, Jesus Christ giveth Himself to us by means of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, which is the end and the purpose of all the other Sacraments.” 3 St. Leonard of Port Maurice called the Mass “the sole Sacrifice which we have in our holy religion... a Sacrifice, holy, perfect, in every point complete, by which each one of the faithful nobly honors God.” 4 Father Michael Mueller, C.SS.R. says, “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of those works greater than which the omnipotence of God cannot produce... it is an utter impossibility for any human or angelic understanding to conceive an adequate idea of the Mass. All we can say is that its dignity and sanctity are infinite.” 5 The Cure of Ars tells us, “All the good works together are not of equal value with the Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of man, and the Holy Mass is the work of God.’ 6
Father Nicholas Gihr, in his learned and monumental study of the Mass, says:
The celebration of the Mass is the most worthy and most perfect divine service, for it procures to the Most High a worship and a veneration which millions of words would be incapable of rendering Him... it is a unique Sacrifice [and] infinitely excels in value and dignity, in power and efficacy, all the many prayers of the Church and the faithful... As often as this memorial sacrifice is celebrated, the work of redemption is performed... It is the soul and the heart of the liturgy of the Church; it is the mystical chalice which presents to our lips the sweet fruit of the passion of the God-man – that is, grace. 7
Pope Urban VIII said of the Mass:
If there is anything divine among the possessions of man, which the citizens of Heaven might covet (were covetousness possible for them), it would certainly be the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, whose blessing is such that in it man possesses a certain anticipation of Heaven while still on earth, even having before their eyes and taking into their hands the very Maker of both Heaven and earth. How greatly must mortals strive that the most awesome privilege be guarded with due cult and reverence, and take care lest their negligence offend the eyes of the angels, who watch with envious adoration.
Such statements as the above are legion among the writings of the Saints, Doctors and holy writers of the Church; they reflect the belief of the Church as to the nature and importance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Catholic Mass Is a True Sacrifice
The Catholic Church always speaks of the Mass as both a Sacrament and a Sacrifice. The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) Teaches that “Christ hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a Sacrifice to God for the odor of sweetness.” St. Cyprian (200-258) tells us that “the right to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice constitutes the most beautiful adornment and garland of honor of the Catholic priesthood, and for this reason the deprivation of this privilege was regarded as the most severe and most painful of punishments.” St. Ambrose (340-397) tells us that “angles are present when we are celebrating the Sacrifice, for you may not doubt that angels are present, when Christ is there, when Christ is being sacrificed...” The Liturgy of St. James states: “Let all mortal flesh be silent, standing there [at the time of the Consecration] in fear and trembling; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God is about to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful.” 8
Now a sacrifice cannot occur without the immolation, or “offering up,” of a victim. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “It is proper to this Sacrament that Christ should be immolated in its celebration.” (Summa, III, 83, 1). In the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass, the primary sacrificing Priest, namely Christ, and the sacrificial gift are identical. Only the nature and mode of the offering of the two are different. Each and every valid Mass recapitulates – makes present once again – the same Sacrifice which occurred at Calvary. The only difference is that Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, that of the Mass is unbloody. The sacrifice of the Cross and that of the Mass are nevertheless one and the same Sacrifice. As the Catechism of the Council of Trent states:
The bloody and unbloody Victim are not two, but one Victim only, whose Sacrifice is daily renewed in the Eucharist... The priest is also one and the same, Christ the Lord; for the ministers who offer Sacrifice, consecrate the holy mysteries, not in their own person, but in that of Christ, was the words of Consecration themselves make clear; for the priest does not say, “This is the body of Christ,” but, “This is My Body,” and thus acting in the person of Chris the Lord, he changes the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His Body and Blood.
This doctrine about the immolative and truly sacrificial nature of the Mass is biding on the Catholic conscience, for as the Canons of the Council of Trent state: “If anyone saith that in the mass [i.e., each and every mass] a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God... let him be anathema!”
Further Explanation of
The Nature of this Immolation
The immolative sacrifice of Christ is said to be “perpetual.” As Father M. Olier, the saintly founder of St. Suplice in Paris explains: “In order to present the mystery of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, one must know that this Sacrifice is the Sacrifice of Heaven... A Sacrifice offered up in Paradise which, at the same time, is offered up here on earth, and they differ only in that here on earth the Sacrifice occurs unseen.” 9 What Father Olier is referring to is explained in the Apocalyptic vision of St. John the Apostle in which he describes the sacrifice of the Lamb, “slain” but alive and seated on the throne, with the twenty-four ancients adoring Him, with melodies on the harp and with the burning of incense, while multitudes of angels and all creatures sing praise to the Lamb and the eternal “Amen.” (Apoc. 5:6-14). As Scripture teaches: “The Lamb.. Was slain from the beginning of the world” (Apoc. 13:8), this “Lamb,” unspotted and undefiled, foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you.” (I Pet. 1:19-20). Thus in the Mass we see the perpetual Celestial Sacrifice of the Lamb brought down from Heaven and present on the altar before our eyes. As Canon Smith tells us, such saintly individuals as
P. Condren, Cardinal de Berulle, M. Olier and P. Lapin are at one in holding that Christ in Heaven continues forever to make an external and visible offering of His sacred Body, but whereas on Calvary that Body was destroyed in death, in Heaven it is annihilated, so to speak, in the radiant devouring glory of the divine life. 10
The Consecration and Sacrifice effected by the priest (standing in the place of Christ) is, then, the visible manifestation of an eternal and timeless act. After the Consecration, as Gueranger says in The Liturgical Year, “the divine Lamb is lying on our altar!” Thus we see that the Mass is the visible reality, here and now, of the timeless eternal Mass of Heaven, described in the Apocalypse. Through it we participate in the Celestial Liturgy; through it the gates of Heaven are opened to us and the possibility of eternal life is made available to us.
The concept of the Mass being the renewal of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is important if we are to understand why the Mass is called a “memorial.” It is not a memorial in the sense that we commemorate the death of the unknown soldier, or even the death of a loved one. This is the Protestant view, namely, that the Mass is a “memorial” of the historical Crucifixion. Rather, the mass is a memorial in the sense that it “recalls to mind,” in the philosophical sense referred to by the pagan philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.), of a recollection of something that has a self-existing, everlasting and eternal reality of its own in heaven. It is in this manner that the Mass makes present once again what happened at Calvary and what is occurring eternally and perpetually in Heaven. This of course can only occur through the mediation of a priest who has been given the power, as it were, “to bring Heaven down to earth.”
Protestants and Anglicans (Episcopalians in American) 11 reject this dogma. They deny that there is any immolative (sacrificing) action and hence any REAL PRESENCE. Whereas Catholics give veneration to the Sacred Species after the Consecration of the Mass, Protestants admit of only bread and wine and hence accuse us of idolatry. 12 Despite the fact that they will admit that the Sacrifice of the Cross was a true Sacrifice, still they insist that it occurred once and for all, and that the only thing that happens or can happen in the daily Mass is a retelling in story-like fashion of what occurred some two thousand years ago. In their eyes the rite is a mere “memorial” of this historical event, and as such requires neither priest nor special sacerdotal powers to perform. As Luther said, “The Mass is not a sacrifice... call it benediction, Eucharist, the Lord’s table, the Lord’s supper, Memory of the Lord, or whatever you like, just so long as you do not dirty it with the name of a sacrifice or action.” As for the Anglicans or Episcopalians, Article Thirty-One of their “creed” states that the Mass, as understood by the Council of Trent, is a “blasphemous fable and a dangerous deceit.” 13
Because of the infinite magnitude of this immolative Sacrifice of the Mass, Catholic doctrine holds that the Mass is also and at the same time a sacrifice of praise, of thanksgiving, of propitiation (atonement, expiation, conciliation), and of impetration (petition).
The Mass is a sacrifice of praise and adoration because
The celebration of the eucharistic Sacrifice contains an infinitely perfect adoration of God, for it is the Sacrifice which Christ Himself offers to His heavenly Father. Nor is it possible for man to create a rite that is a great Sacrifice of praise and adoration, for it is Christ Himself and the Holy Ghost, acting through the Apostles, who is the Author of the Mass. 14
At the same time and in the same way, the Mass is a sacrifice of thanksgiving. “Inasmuch as in the Holy Mass we adore, praise and magnify God through and with Christ, we fulfill in a perfect manner the first duty, which as creatures we owe to the Creator – the duty of gratitude.” 14
Protestants are perfectly willing to grant that a worship service be described as a “sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving.” But this is where they stop. To claim that the Mass is more than this is to them a blasphemy. The Church however insists that the true Mass is much more. 15 Because of its fundamentally immolative nature, the Mass is, among other things, a “propitiatory sacrifice”; it “propitiates” (appeases) God’s anger and justice. As Father Nicholas Gihr says, “On the Cross Christ merited for us all forgiveness of sins, the grace of sanctification and eternal beatitude... Whosoever separates himself from this Sacrifice; whosoever through disobedience and unbelief despises and rejects it, for him ‘there is now left no [other] sacrifice for sins, but a certain dreadful expectation of judgment and the rage of fire.’” (Heb. 10:26-27). Further, as an act of propitiation, the Mass “calms and appeases the righteous anger of God, disarms His justice and induces the Lord to regard sinful man with favor and mercy... As a propitiatory sacrifice the Mass has, therefore, the power and, in consequence of the ordinance of Christ, has for object directly and infallibly – that is, in the strictest sense ex opere operato, to cancel temporal punishment.” 16 Moreover, this cancelling of temporal punishment can be applied to both “the living and the dead.” As St. Augustine says, “It must not be doubted that the departed receive help by the prayers of the Church and the life-giving Sacrifice.” 17 For the living, this fruit is only “medially” granted, for by virtue of the Sacrifice, the Eucharist obtains this grace for sinners only “if it finds them disposed” (St. Thomas, Sent., IV. 12, q. 2, a. 2.); for the dead it infallibly remits, yet not necessarily entirely, but only in accord with the good pleasure of Providence. 18 The Council of Trent holds it to be de fide (i.e., part of the Catholic faith that must be believed) that “the Holy Mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice, whereby we are reconciled to God and regain His favor.” Protestant theology specifically denies both the “propitiatory” nature of the Mass, as well as the doctrine of Purgatory.
Finally, the Mass is described as a sacrifice of impetration or petition, for as the same Council states, the Mass is offered not only for sins, punishments and satisfaction, but also for “other remedies.” Man, by joining the priest in offering Mass, can anticipate that his requests (provided they are in conformity with God’s will) will receive an appropriate response. And in view of all that has been said above regarding the power and efficacy of the Mass, how could it be otherwise?
A Brief History of the Mass
There is in the Traditional Mass 19 no word or phrase, no single act of the celebrant, and no adornment of the altar that is without significance. It naturally follows that ever word and action of the priest is also significant. The Mass recapitulates the entire history of the Redemption. When, for example, it makes 33 Signs of the Cross, this is to commemorate the number of years Our Lord spent on earth. When the priest extends his hands over the chalice while reciting the Hanc Igitur, he is recapitulating the action of the High Priest of the Jews, who placed his hands on the sacrificial goat to transfer to it the sins of the people. (The “scape-goat,” prefiguring Christ, was adorned with a red ribbon – as Christ was mockingly covered with a red cape at His trial – and then led out into the desert, where he was hurled down from a high precipice as a sacrifice.) When the priest faces the altar during the Sacrifice (except when he turns to bring us the blessings that derive therefrom), it is because it is on the altar that the action is occurring, and the priest is, like Christ whom he represents, an intermediary between us and God the Father. When the altar traditionally faces the East, it is because this is the direction of the Rising Sun, which, as the “light of the world,” is a symbol of Our Lord, who is the true “Light of the World.” As to the altar (it is not a “table”), we know from the traditional rite of consecrating Catholic altars that our altar relates to the altar of Moses and also to that of Jacob (Jacob’s pillow) – and that the eternal altar is itself the body of Christ which is placed “at the center of the world” – the axis mundi – so that all creation is, as it were, peripheral to the “eternal” Mass and is thus capable of being integrated through the divine action. (As St. Thomas says in his Homily for the Second Sunday in Advent, “All those things which are to us insensible, are sensible to Him.”) When six candles are used at High Mass, it is because this represents the integration of the Jewish Menorah, or Seven-Branch Candlestick, into the Sacrifice of Christ, Our Lord being and replacing the central or Seventh Candle. When the priest is dressed in royal fashion during the rite, it is because he represents Christ the King. He is no longer an individual (e.g., “Fr. Bob,” etc.), but an alter Chrisus, “another Christ.” It is not for nothing that the priest purifies his hands before performing the Sacrifice, nor for vain reasons that he cleanses the chalice with exquisite care after consuming the Sacred Species. None of these acts is the invention of men. As the Abbe Gueranger says: “It is to the Apostles that these ceremonies go back.” Similarly, we find the great authority on the Mass, Father Nicholas Gihr, stating:
Christ’s example was the norm for the Apostles at the celebration of the Sacrifice. They did, first, only that which Christ had done before. According to His directions and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they observed other things besides, namely, according to circumstances, they added various prayers and observances, in order to celebrate the Holy Mysteries as worthily and edifyingly as possible. Those constituent portions of the sacrificial rite, which are found in all the ancient liturgies, have incontestably their origin from Apostolic times and tradition: the essential and fundamental features of the sacrificial rite, introduced and enlarged upon by the Apostles, were preserved with fidelity and reverence to the mystical blessings, the use of lights, incense, vestments and many things of that nature that she [the Church] employs by Apostolic prescription and tradition... 20
Whereas certain prayers were at times added to the Traditional Mass, it is well recognized that its central core or “canon” remained fixed and unchanged from the earliest days. According to Sir William Palmer, a non-Catholic historian:
There seems nothing unreasonable in thinking that the Roman Liturgy, as used in the time of [Pope Saint] Gregory the Greta [590-604], may have existed from a period of the most remote antiquity, and perhaps there are nearly as good reasons for referring its original composition to the Apostolic Age... 21
In point of fact, historical research, both Catholic and Protestant, has shown that the Traditional Mass dates back to at least the fourth century. (Prior to that time, the Church was subject to severe persecution, and therefore historical records are sparse.22) Since then, until 1962, when Pope John XXIII added the name of St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass, a total of 26 words have been added to the Traditional Canon, by Popes St. Leo (440-461) and St. Gregory the Great (590-604). Thus, as the Council of Trent accurately states, the Canon “is composed out of the very words of the Lord, the tradition of the Apostles, and the pious institutions of the holy pontiffs.”
In the course of history some further additions were made – though never any subtractions. As a result, the Council of Trent ordered that “all such accretions should be removed, and that the Church should firmly establish the use of the Mass as it was in the time of St. Gregory.” (590-604).
This then is the Traditional mass. This is “the Mass of All Times.” This is the Mass that was “promulgated” (or “codified”) by Pope Saint Pius V in 1570 after the Council of Trent. This is the Mass that is protected by his Apostolic Bull Quo Primum of that same date. This is the Mass that Paul VI changed because, among other things, it contained “undesirable features” and “failed adequately to express the holy things it signified.” 23
A Traditional Catholic Prayer Said Before Mass
O my God, Eternal and Omnipotent Father, I offer Thee in union with Thin Only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, His very own Passion and death on the Cross in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: in profound ADORATION of Thy Divine Majesty, in joyful THANKSGIVING for all Thy graces and blessings; in humble REPARATION for my innumerable sins and those of the whole world; and in ardent SUPPLICATION for Thy mercy and grace, as well as for the temporal needs of myself, my loved ones and my neighbors. O God, be merciful to me a sinner!
Can We Lose the Mass?
Had Satan been aware that Christ was the Divine Logos [Second Person of the Blessed Trinity], he would never have agitated for the Crucifixion. Needless to say, every true Mass reminds him once again of his terrible mistake and at the same time is a vehicle for bestowing infinite graces on mankind. No wonder that the devil has an intense hatred for the Mass.
It has always been predicted that the true Mass would be taken from us. Listen to the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori:
The devil has always attempted, by means of heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the anti-Christ, who, before anything else, will try to abolish and will actually abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, as a punishment for the sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel, “And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice.” (Dan. 8:12). 24
Much the same is said by Father Denis Fahey:
All the frightful energy of Satan’s hatred is especially directed against the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Arrayed with him and animated with the same hatred, there is an army of invisible satellites of the same nature. All their efforts are directed towards preventing its celebration by exterminating the priesthood, and towards curtailing its efforts. If Satan cannot succeed in completely doing away with the one and only acceptable act of worship, he will strive to restrict it to the minds and hearts of as few individuals as possible. 25
The hatred of the “Reformers” of the 16th century for the Traditional Mass is well known. Above all, they abhorred any suggestion that the Mass is an “immolative Sacrifice.” Luther called it an “abomination,” a “false blasphemous cult,” and instructed the rulers under his influence “to attack the idolaters” and to suppress their worship as much as possible. He repeatedly denied its true sacrificial nature and above all hatred the “abominable Canon in which the Mass is made a sacrifice.” Indeed, he went so far as to say, “I affirm that all brothels, murders, robberies, crimes, adulteries are less wicked than this abomination of the Popish Mass.” As to the Canon or core of the Mass, he stated:
That abominable Canon is a confluence of puddles of slimy water, which have made the Mass a sacrifice. The Mass is not a sacrifice. It is not the act of a sacrificing priest. Together with the canon, we discard all that implies an oblation.
In words that are almost prophetic, Luther noted that “when the Mass has been overthrown, I think we shall have overthrown the Papacy. I think it is in the Mass, as on a rock, that the Papacy wholly rests... Everything will of necessity collapse when their sacrilegious and abominable Mass collapses.”
All this brings us to the problems with the New Mass.
It is well known that the hallmark of traditional Catholics is their refusal to participate in the New order of the Mass – the Novus Ordo Missae – as set up April 3, 1969, after Vatican Council II. For reasons that will soon become apparent, it is of the utmost importance for us to review the reasons for their objections to this New Rite. The remainder of this study will attempt to explain and clarify their attitude.
The Problems with the New Mass
The New Order of the Mass has been the subject of many critical books, articles and pamphlets since 1968. With the renewed interest in the Traditional Latin mass, it may be useful one again to sum up some of the arguments against the New Rite in order to underline the fact that the objections of the “Traditional” Catholics to the New Mass are not based on matters of aesthetics or nostalgia, but rather, and eminently more importantly, on questions of doctrine, religious pedagogy (instruction) and validity.
The “New Mass,” or Novus Ordo Missae (“New Order of the Mass” – both names will be used alternately in this book) was first publicly offered in the Sistine Chapel before a synod of bishops in October of 1967. At that time it was called the Missa Normativa, or “normative Mass.” The bishops present were polled as to their opinion whether it should be implemented: 71 voted yes; 62 voted yes with reservations; and 43 rejected it outright. To accommodate the wishes of this last group, a number of minor changes were made, including the restoration of two of the traditional Offertory prayers.
Paul VI promulgated the final form of this Mass as the Novus Ordo Missae in his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, April 3, 1969. Tied to his Apostolic Constitution was an explanatory text entitled the Institutio Generalis (“General Instruction”). Whereas the liberal bishops were delighted, others were far from pleased. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci wrote to Paul VI in September, 1967, stating that the “New Mass” represented, “both as a whole, and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.” Along with the letter, they presented to him the now famous Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae, prepared by a group of Roman theologians. In an attempt to deflect the criticisms this document made, a revised General Instruction was issued on March 26, 1970 – but absolutely no change was made in the actual text of the Novus Ordo Missae itself. Since then, some minor changes have been made in the New Mass; the current edition appeared in 1975. Let us examine this New Rite in greater detail.
If the Novus Ordo Missae (or the “New Mass”) was to reflect the beliefs of the post-Conciliar Church, as well as our “separated” Protestant brethren, and at the same time remain acceptable to Catholics brought up in the Ancient Faith, it had to achieve several objectives: 1) It had to avoid professing the new doctrines too openly, while at the same time eliminating anything which contradicted them. Also, it could not deny any Catholic doctrine directly – it could only dilute or expurgate it. 2) It had to introduce changes slowly and retain enough of the outer trappings of a true sacrifice in order to give the impression that nothing significant was changed. 3) It had to create a rite that for ecumenical reasons was acceptable to Protestants of every shade and persuasion, even though all of them consistently deny that the Mass is truly the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary and that a “sacrificing” priest is necessary to offer it. And 4) It had to soften up Catholic resistance and introduce into the lives of the faithful the Modernist ideas promulgated in the aftermath of Vatican II. The only way the New Mass could achieve all this was by the use of ambiguity deletion and mistranslation.
There is nothing ambiguous about the traditional rites of the Church; and indeed, the Mass is, as the theologians say, a primary locus (source) of her teachings. Despite the laxity of modern language, we should not forget that the ambiguous statement is fundamentally dishonest. Every father and mother knows that when his or her child resorts to equivocation, he is attempting to hide something. And every priest knows how penitents sometimes use this technique in the confessional. It is even more dishonest, once the Magisterium of the Church has clearly spoken on an issue, to have those responsible for preserving the “Deposit of the Faith” to use equivocation or ambiguity to disguise a change in belief. As the Book of Proverbs says, “God hates a mouth with a double tongue.” (Prov. 8:13).
In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformer, Bishop Cranmer, used ambiguity in order to establish the Anglican-Protestant (Episcopalian) sect in England. At the time, the English Pastor Dryander wrote toe Zurich, stating that the first Book of Common Prayer harbored “every kind of deception by ambiguity or trickery of language.”1 According to T. M. Parker, an Anglican theologian, the net result was that
The First Prayer Book of Edward VI could not be convicted of overt heresy, for it was adroitly framed and contained no express denial of pre-Reformation doctrine. It was, as an Anglican scholar put it, “an ingenious essay in ambiguity,” purposely worded in such a manner that the more conservative could place their own construction upon it and reconcile their consciences to using it, while the Reformers would interpret it in their own sense and would recognize it as an instrument for furthering the next stage of the religious revolution. 2
Apart from ambiguity in the Novus Ordo Missae, one must consider the numerous deletions which the post-Conciliar innovators made – some 60 to 80 percent of the Traditional Rite of the Mass was eliminated, depending upon which Eucharistic Prayer is used. And these deletions are precisely those which Luther and Cranmer had made – those which relate to the sacrificial nature of the mass. Ambiguity, deletions and, lastly, mistranslations were all used to achieve the innovators’ goals.
The second requirement was the need that the New Mass retain the outer trappings of a Catholic rite. Once again, there were plenty of precedents. 3 Consider the following description of the early Lutheran service, as given us by the great Jesuit scholar Hartmann Grisar:
One who entered the parish church at Wittenberg after Luther’s victory discovered that the same vestments were used for divine service as of yore, and heard the same old Latin hymns. The Host was elevated and exhibited at the Consecration. In the eyes of the people it was the same Mass as before, despite the fact that Luther omitted all prayers which represented the sacred function of the Sacrifice. The people were intentionally kept in the dark on this point. “We cannot draw the common people away from the Sacrament, and it will probably be thus until the Gospel is well understood,” said Luther. The rite of celebration of the Mass, he explained, is a “purely external thing,” and said further that “the damnable words referring to the Sacrifice could be omitted all the more readily, since the ordinary Christian would not notice the omission and hence there was no danger of scandal.”
The post-Conciliar liturgical innovators followed the same pattern. As the authors of the Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae noted, “having removed the keystone, the reformers had to put up a scaffolding.” One is reminded of Lenin’s dictum: “Keep the shell, but empty it of substance.”
After Vatican Council II, and following the patter established by Luther and Cranmer, changes in the Catholic liturgy were introduced, at first slowly, and then at an increasingly faster pace. Those victimized by the early days of “Aggiornamento” will remember the almost weekly changes mandated. Cardinal Heenan of England bears witness to this, stating that we would have been “shocked” 4 if all the changes had been introduced at once. Changes came, however, one on top of another, and if we are to believe the Hierarchy of the Church, still more in the offing. There is much talk today of “institutional violence.” I can think of no better example of this than the manner in which the “New Mass” was forced down the throats of the laity.
Two Techniques of Deletion
The innovators used two techniques to purge the Mass of Catholic doctrines – omission and emasculation. As noted above, between 60 and 80 percent of the traditional Mass was deleted. I ask the reader to compare the New Order of the Mass with the Traditional Rite, as found in any old Missal published during the pat 500 years – that is, prior to 1954. (Old Missals usually give the Latin on one side and the English on the other.) The number of prayers missing is astounding.
Gone are all the prayers said at the foot of the altar (note, it was not a “table” the Traditional Mass was said on), including Psalm 42 and the Aufer a nobis. The personal confession aspect reflected in the Confiteor prayer is replaced by a truncated “Penitential Rite” that stresses sins against “our brothers and sisters.” The prayer for absolution (Indulgentiam) is omitted. In the Offertory, the Suscipe Sancte Pater, the Deus qui Humanae, the Offerimus tibi, the Veni Sanctificator, the Lavabo (Psalm 25), and the Suscipe Sancta are all gone. Note how many doctrinal concepts were clearly proclaimed in these prayers, which the liturgical innovators seem to find objectionable. Only the In Spiritu Humilitatis and the Orate Fratres have been retained, and this, as we shall see, for specific reasons. In the Canon, if the “president” 5 chooses not to use “Eucharistic Prayer No. I” (which is falsely labeled the old Roman Canon, and which, being the longest Eucharistic Prayer, is in fact rarely used), the following six prayers before the highly questionable Consecration have been deleted: The Ite Igitur, Memento Domine, Cumminicantes, Hanc Igitur, Quam Oblationem, and the Qui Pridie. After the Consecration, the following seven prayers are dropped: the Unde te Memores, Supra quae Propitio, Supplices Te Rogamus, Memento Etiam, Nobis quoque Peccatoribus, and the Per quem haec Omnia. As if these deletions were not enough, numerous prayers that used to follow the “Our Father” are also dropped: namely, the Panem Coelestem, Quid Retribuam, the second Confiteor, the Misereatur and the Indulgentiam. Also eliminated are the threefold Domine non sum Dignus, the Corpus Tuum, Placeat Tibi and the Last Gospel. Again, one should consider the innumerable doctrinal concepts that have been cast into oblivion by these removals – and above all, any reference to the Mass being an immolative sacrifice and the need for a true, sacrificing priest to offer it. And this is not to mention the numerous genuflections, Signs of the Cross, blessings, bows to the Tabernacle, kisses of the altar and other actions of the priest which have also been expunged. So much for the first technique of deletion, namely, positive omission.
An excellent example of the second technique of deletion – i.e., the use of emasculation – is provided by the changes made in the prayer Libera nos (“Deliever us...”) which follows the “Our Father.” In the Traditional Rite it reads
Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present and to come, and by the intercession of the Blessed and Glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew, and all the saints, mercifully to grant peace in our days, that through the bounteous help of Thy mercy, we may be always free from sin and secure from all disturbance...
It now reads:
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Note that the references to the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the saints have been eliminated. Their intercession, it would seem from this, is no longer required – presumably because it would offend Protesant sensibilities and thus frustrate the “pastoral” intent of the rite.
Note that in both the technique of ambiguity and of elimination the innovators cannot be accused of directly “changing” Catholic teaching – just of ignoring it. This pattern is consistent throughout the new mass: all clear-cut references to the propitiatory (atoning) and impetratory (entreating) nature of the Mass are removed. Every explicit reference to the immolative sacrifice of a victim and the real Presence is deleted. The residue is but a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,” such as the Protestants find acceptable. Whereas it is true that adults, well-formed in the Catholic Faith, may have some degree of protection from the ambiguities and deletions in the New Mass, but recalling also the very direct and important connection between prayer and belief – beautifully expressed in the famous, terse Latin expression, Lex orandi, lex credendi (“the law of prayer is [leads to] the law of elief”) – HOW, we must ask, can our children avoid having their religious beliefs neutralized by a rite in which mention of the elements of atonement and sacrifice have been eliminated?
* * *
Whereas most Catholics, accustomed to trusting what Rome has prescribed, went along with the liturgical changes, others protested strongly. Petition after petition was sent to Rome, and all were consistently ignored. 6 (Some conservative Catholics are still attempting to effect changes in the New Mass by this obviously futile method.) Paul VI, seemingly desiring to further the Liturgical Revolution without losing any of the faithful, gave his usual conflicting responses. He told us on the one hand that the New order of the Mass was changed in “an amazing and extraordinary way,” that “it was singularly new” and that “the greatest innovation [he used the word “mutation”] was in the Eucharistic Prayer.” 7 On the other hand, he found it necessary to assure us repeatedly that “nothing had changed in the essence of the traditional Mass.” 8 Other witnesses were more honest and straightforward. Father Joseph Gelineau, S.J., one of the Conciliar periti (“expert” theological advisors), bluntly declared that the end result of all the changes in the liturgy was “a different liturgy of the Mass.” He continued: “This needs to be said without ambiguity. The Roman rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.” 9 Cardinal Benelli, one of the principal architects of the new liturgy, stated that the new liturgy reflects a “new ecclesiology.” 10 The liturgist Father Louis Bouyer opined that “the Catholic liturgy has been overthrown under the pretext of rendering it more compatible with the contemporary outlook.” 11 Finally, Archbishop Bugnini, Paul Vi’s executive officer in the creation of the Novus Ordo Missae, described the result as “a new song” and as “the conquest of the Church.” 12 Despite all this, Paul VI persisted: “Be very sure of one point: nothing of substance of the traditional Mass has been altered.” (DOL., No. 1759). There was no retrenchment or apology, or change in the New Mass, to accommodate the legitimate complaints of perceptive, concerned Catholics – or to answer the many published complaints about the problems with the New Mass. These changes – which have been aptly called “The Liturgical Revolution” – became a fait accompli.
The Authors of the New Mass
We know that ultimately the Holy Ghost is the author of the Traditional Mass, “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven,” as Fr. Frederick Faber called it. According to the Council of Trent, the central part of the Mass, called the Canon, was “composed out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the Apostles and the pious institutions of the holy pontiffs.” The core of the Canon dates back to at least the middle of the fourth century. Before that time, historical records are sparse, for the Church was under persecution. (The last of the 10 great Roman persecutions ended in 304). However, as the Anglican historian Sir William Palmer states, “There are good reasons for referring its original composition to the Apostolic Age.” The Canon was considered so sacred that early sacramentaries wrote it in gold ink, and mediaeval theologians referred to it as the “Holy of Holies.” No wonder that Father Louis Bouyer once said, “To jettison it would be a rejection of any claim on the part of the Roman Church to represent the true Catholic Church.” As for the prayers and ceremonies surrounding the Canon, these are all drawn from Scripture and/or Tradition.
When we come to the Novus Ordo Missae, we also know its authors. Whereas Paul VI was formally and juridically responsible, it was actually composed by a committee called the Concilium, which consisted of some 200 individuals, many of whom had functioned as Conciliar periti (“experts”) during Vatican Council II. At its head was Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, whose Freemasonic connections are virtually beyond dispute. The Concilium was helped by six Protestant “observers,” whom Paul VI publicly thanked for their assistance in “re-editing in a new manner liturgical texts... so that the lex orandi [the law of prayer], conformed better with the lex credendi [the law of belief].” As previously noted, we are forced to assume that either the lex orandi (“law of prayer”) prior to this time did not conform very well to the lex credendi (“law of belief”) – or else that the lex credendi was changed. And since when did the Church need the assistance of Protestants, heretics – men who by definition reject her teaching – to assist her in formulating her rites? Considering the background of those responsible for the creation of the New Mass and considering its marked divergence in theme and representation from the Traditional Mass (as we shall see more fully below), despite the New Mass’s bland use of Scriptural phrases, one can seriously question whether the Holy Ghost had anything whatever to do with its creation.
Why the New Mass Was Written
The clam that the laity had demanded the “renovation” of the Mass – which is what we all had preached to us when the liturgical changes were taking place during the 1960’s – has never been substantiated. But then, revolutionaries always attempt to promulgate their dictatorial schemes “in the name of the people.” Why then all the changes? And these, not only in the rite of the Mass itself, but also in everything that went to support that rite – the altars turned into tables, the tabernacles displaced, the priest facing the congregation, the altar rail removed, the table placed on a lower level, the removal of the six High-Mass candlesticks, the placing of the table closer to the people and even in their midst, the virtual elimination of servers, etc. – the list goes on and on.
According to the statements of Paul VI, the changes were made: 1) to bring the Church’s liturgy into line with the modern mentality; 2) in obedience to the mandate of Vatican II; 3) to take cognizance of progress in liturgical studies; 4) to return to primitive practice; and 5) for “pastoral” reasons. Let us consider each of these in turn.
The first reason is but a way of expressing the principle of Aggiornamento – of bringing the modern world, its anthropocentricism (man-centeredness) and utopian thought, its false ideas of progress and evolution as applied to truth itself, into the bosom of the Church. As Paul VI said, “If the world changes, should not religion also change? .... it is for this very reason that the Church has, especially after the Council [Vatican Council II], undertaken so many reforms...” (General Audience, July 2, 1969). Forgotten is the principle that the world must pattern itself on the Church, and not the other way around. Should the father of the Prodigal Son join his son in dissipating the treasures of the family, or must not the son return to the bosom of his father and the rational use of his patrimony?
The second reason: Vatican Council II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy recommended that the rite of the Mass be revised “in accord with sound tradition.” It also said that the liturgy was made up of “unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change.” Surely the “unchangeable elements” referred to the time-honored Canon, and above all to the form (words of Consecration) and substance of the Sacrament itself. Indeed, such an opinion is strengthened if one reads the Council Daybook, which states that the Fathers “insisted that the Canon of the Mass especially should remain intact.” (Nov. 5, 1962).
If one compares the Novus Ordo Missae with the Traditional Rite, however, one soon finds that few, if any, items were considered truly unchangeable. Furthermore, the Latin original of Paul VI’s New Missal is loaded with “options,” 13 and whatever reflections of Catholic doctrine were found within it were soon obliterated by translations into the vernacular – translations sanctioned by Rome’s official guidelines. True, such words as “Alleluia” were not put into the vernacular, and certain prayers such as the “Our Father” were left intact. But these were, in any event, always acceptable to the Protestants. One thing is clear, however: despite the many “time bombs” (as Michael Davies calls them) in the Constitution on the Liturgy, none of the Fathers at Vatican II – except those “in the know” – envisioned the radical changes in the Mass that would follow as a “mandate” from this Council. 14
With regard to the third reason for the liturgical changes, i.e., “progress in liturgical studies,” one presumes that Paul VI was referring to the voluminous Modernist productions that fill the liturgical journals of the immediate pre- and post-Conciliar period. However, to give the name “progress” to these pseudo-scholarly productions – all aimed at fostering the Liturgical Revolution – is simply an abuse of language. It is also to forget the tremendous legitimate scholarship that preceded the codification of the Mass by Pope St. Pius V in 1570.
With regard to the fourth reason, i.e., “a return to primitive practice,” it is hard to understand just why those who would adapt our faith to the modern world would at the same time have us return to primitive practice. Such an attempt, like burning a candle at both ends, soon leaves very little of the original in the middle. Beyond this, the only ancient document with any real significance that has come to light since the time of Pope Saint Pius V is the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, and of this we have only a partial and reconstructed version of the original document. 15 Moreover, Hippolytus was both a schismatic and an anti-pope at the time he wrote it – and despite this, as we shall see below, it was drastically rephrased by the post-Conciliar liturgists in order to bring it into line with Protestant and Modernist theology. So much is this the case that Father John Barry Ryan calls the result an entirely “new creation.” 16 The only other ancient prayer incorporated into the Novus Ordo Missae is what Father Jungmann calls a “reconstruction... probably the very words used at the blessing of bread and wine in a Jewish meal at the time of Christ.” 17 It is indeed such. Anyone who has attended a Jewish banquet is familiar with the phrase “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, God of all creation....” It is the Jewish grace before meals said by the Rabbi as he cuts the loaf of bread.
Paul VI’s last reason for the liturgical changes was “pastoral.” As far as I can determine, neither he nor the Council ever defined this term. In the “double-speak” of the post-Conciliar Church, we well may ask, just what does “pastoral” mean? The answer can be found in the “Letter to the Presidents of National Councils of Bishops concerning Eucharistic Prayers,” sent out by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship:
The reason why such a variety of texts has been offered [referring to the number of Eucharistic Prayers in the New Mass], and the end result such new formularies were meant to achieve, are pastoral in nature: namely, to reflect the unity and diversity of liturgical prayer. By using the various texts contained in the new Roman Missal, various Christian communities, as they gather together to celebrate the Eucharistic, are able to sense that they themselves form the one Church, praying with the same faith, using the same prayer.
In other words, we can conclude that the “pastoral intent” was and is to create a service that any Christian body can use – to foster that ecumenism and “unity” which the post-Conciliar Church believes and teaches is its “internal mission.
Acceptable to Protestants
Now, the real issue for the innovators was not whether the New Order of the Mass retained enough of its Catholic character to be acceptable to the Catholic faithful, but whether it was sufficiently “ecumenical” to satisfy Protestants of both liberal and conservative persuasions. Here the answer was a resounding, “Yes!” Let us listen to the Superior Consistory of the Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine, a major Lutheran authority. On December 8, 1973, they publicly acknowledged their willingness to take part in the “Catholic eucharistic celebration” because it allowed them to “use these new eucharistic prayers with which they felt at home.” And why did they feel at home with them? Because they had “the advantage of giving a different interpretation to the theology of the sacrifice” than they were accustomed to attribute to Catholicism. Lutherans, Anglicans and a wide variety of other sects not only find the New Mass acceptable, many of them have actually changed their own rites in order to bring them into line with it. In order to understand why, let us turn to a French Protestant theologian:
If one takes account of the decisive evolution in the eucharistic liturgy of the Catholic Church, of the option of substituting other Eucharistic prayers for the Canon of the Mass, of the expunging of the idea that the mass is a sacrifice and of the possibility of receiving communion under both kinds, then there is no further justification for the Reformed Churches forbidding their members to assist at the Eucharist in a Catholic Church. 18
Now there is something a little surprising in all this. Let us recall that the Anglicans (called Episcopalians in America) officially consider the Catholic teaching on the Mass to be a “blasphemous fable,” 19 and that the Lutherans believe that the Mass is neither a sacrifice nor the act of a sacrificing priest. Luther, in fact, called the Canon “a confluence of puddles of slimy water....,” worse than “all brothels, murders, robberies, crimes, and adulteries.” Even more to the point, Luther said of his own “new mass”: “Call it a benediction, Eucharist, the Lord’s table, the Lord’s supper, memory of the Lord, or whatever you like, just so long as you do not dirty it with the name of a sacrifice or an action.” 20
The Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae by the Roman theologians, mentioned earlier, also explains just why the Novus Ordo Missae is so acceptable to those who reject all belief in an immolative Sacrifice:
The position of both priest and people is falsified, and the celebrant appears as nothing more than a Protestant ministers... By a series of equivocations the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the “supper” and the “memorial,” instead of on the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary... The Real Presence of Christ is never alluded to and belief in it is implicitly repudiated... It has every possibility of satisfying the most modernist of Protestants.
We shall see whether this statement is justified as we conduct our investigation of the rite itself.
The Structure of the New Mass
The Traditional Mass is divided into two parts: “the Mass of the Catechumens” and “the Mass of the Faithful.” As the St. Andrew Missal states, “The catechumens, Christians by desire and belief, could take part in the prayers and chants of the faithful, listen with them to the readings and instructions, but as they were not yet baptized, they could not communicate or be present at Mass. They were dismissed before the Offertory.”
The New Mass is also divided into two sections, “the Liturgy of the Word,” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist.” The former roughly corresponds to the Mass of the Catechumens, but has been altered in order to bring it completely into line with Protestant theology. Gone are the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. After the “priest-president” greets the parishioners, one starts out with a truncated confession. Post-Conciliar Catholics are denied the absolution formula that follows the Traditional Confiteor – the Indulgentiam..., which is capable of giving absolution for those venial sins that even the best of us fall prey to. 21 (Considering the August nature of the true Mass, it is only appropriate that the laity should not only be in the state of grace, i.e., have no mortal sins on their souls, they should also be absolved of their venial sins as well.) The Gloria is still allowed on Sundays and a few feast days, but it is falsely and incompletely rendered – with the false concept that peace is available to “all men,” and not just to those of good will, as the traditional Gloria states. (It will be argued that the Latin version found in Paul VI’s New Missal is unchanged, but in the practical order, Latin is really no longer used as a liturgical language to any great extent. Therefore, the people are almost never exposed to it.)
The principle feature of “the Liturgy of the Word” (which in the New Mass is supposed to correspond to the “Mass of the Catechumens”) is the reading of Scripture – but in such a way as to lead one to believe that it is Scripture, rather than the Sacred Species or Eucharist, that is the Word of God made flesh. The readings are taken from the new, ecumenical and frequently false translations of the Bible. Further, they are part of a three-year cycle, rather than a one-year cycle, as in the Tridentine Mass, and therefore can hardly be called “fixed,” for the New Lectionary allows for a whole host of options which can be followed at the celebrant’s discretion.
The one-year cycle used in the Traditional Mass is of great antiquity, having been established by Pope St. Damasus (266-284), (well-known from the phrase “let us keep the faith of St. Damasus”). Readings heard each year in the Traditional Catholic Mass become part of the Catholic’s consciousness of Sacred Scripture. Those based on a three-year cycle, even apart from the problem of the “options” allowed to the celebrant, most likely never will since they occur too seldom to be easily remembered.
Scripture in the New Mass is followed by a “homily,” which, in accord with Protestant practice, almost always becomes the center of the New Rite. In the Traditional Rite, the priest is liturgically speaking a “nobody” – his own personality is really counted for nothing. Before all the changes in the liturgy, one never thought to ask who was saying Mass. But in the Novus Ordo Missae, the personality of the priest becomes all-important; his elocution is significant, and people often select which service they will attend on the basis of who is celebrating. This practice by Catholics who attend the New Mass has the further result of providing everyone with a choice of “liberal” or “conservative” formularies, and thus, in effect, the New Mass largely divides the Church-worshiping into various camps of belief.
The “Liturgy of the Word” concludes with the Credo – which the Anglicans and Lutherans also retained – but rendered in the vernacular with the communitarian “We believe,” rather than “I believe” (which is exactly what credo means in Latin), so that it is now not so much a “Credo” (“I believe”) as a “Credimus” (“We believe”). Absent from this statement of belief is the hallowed term “consubstantial.” 22
All these changes in what used to be called the Mass of the Catechumens, however offensive, in no way affect the Sacrifice itself. It is to the second part of the Rite that we must give our special attention. For the sake of convenience, I shall first discuss the Offertory, and then the changes in the Canon – that part of the Rite in which the Consecration occurs. It will be shown that, in almost every situation, accommodation to Protestant belief is made, if not enforced. As a result, the Novus Ordo Missae lacks the clear character of an immolative act, and the celebrant no longer appears as a “sacrificing priest.” Indeed, it will become clear, as we proceed with this analysis, that it is not the priest, but the “people of God” who celebrate the new liturgy – under the “priest-president’s” direction.
In the Traditional Rite of the Mass, the first part of the “Mass of the Faithful” is the Offertory. Its importance is manifested by two facts: 1) in ancient times the catechumens were dismissed before the Offertory began, and 2) the faithful must be present by the time the Offertory prayers begin in order to fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation. In the Offertory, the Sacrifice of the Mass is both prepared and directed to a determinate end. In essence, the Offertory prayers anticipate the Consecration and make the sacrificial nature of the remainder of the Mass unmistakably clear. In the Traditional Catholic Mass, the Offertory prayers refer to the bread by the term hostia or “victim.” Thus, in the first Offertory prayer of the Traditional Mass, the priest unveils the chalice, takes the gold-plated paten with the host of unleavened bread, raises it to the level of his heart and says:
Receive, O Holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, this spotless host which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for mine own countless sins, offenses and negligences, and for all here present, as also for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may avail for my own and their salvation unto life everlasting.
What a marvel of doctrinal exactitude! Along with the actions of the priest, this prayer makes it clear that what is offered at the mass is the “spotless host” or victim. Second, the propitiatory (atoning) nature of the Mass is explicit – it is offered for our sins. Third, it reminds us that the Mass is offered “for the living and the dead”; and fourth, that it is the priest who offers the Sacrifice as a mediator between man and God. The beauty of its precise expression is the splendor veritatis – the “splendor of the truth.”
In the New Mass this prayer, needless to say, has been entirely deleted. And one of the reasons Paul VI offers for doing so is to make the doctrinal content of the Mass more clear (cf. p. 24). In fact, of the twelve Offertory prayers in the Traditional Rite, only two are retained in the New Mass. 23 And of interest is the fact that the deleted prayers are the same ones that Luther and Cranmer eliminated. 24 And why did they eliminate them? Because, as Luther said, they “smacked of Sacrifice... the abomination called the offertory, and from this point on almost everything stinks of oblation.”
The Novus Ordo Missae not only omits these significant prayers, but it effectively abolishes the entire Offertory. The General Instruction speaks instead of the “Preparation of the Gifts.” And within this part of the New Rite there is not so much as a word which even hints that it is the Divine Victim which is offered. The bread and wine – “the work of human hands” – is all that is offered. Michael Davies points out that this concept is fully compatible with the Teilhardian theory that human effort, the work of human hands, becomes in a certain way, the matter of the Sacrament. 25 And further, except for the prayer of the washing of the hands, all the petitions are in the first person plural – “we” – which is consistent with the false concept enveloped in various parts of the New Mass that it is not the priest-president who offers up the Mass by his own special sacerdotal power, but rather it is the “assembly” or “the people of God” who do so.
In line with this principle, all the prayers from the Traditional Mass that differentiate the priest from the laity have been systematically eliminated. The Latin original of the New Missal still makes such a distinction within the prayer Orate Fratres. This was a prayer which the Concilium wished deleted and which was restored to accommodate the Synod of Bishops. However, the innovators achieved their desire in the vernacular translation where – in English, French, Portuguese and German – the distinction of priest from laity was eliminated.
Conservatives will point to the retention in the Novus Ordo Missae of the traditional Offertory prayer In Spiritu Humilitatis (“in a Spirit of Humility”) as proof that the new Offertory rite alludes to the traditional teaching that the Mass is first and foremost a Sacrifice offered to God. Now, this prayer is taken from Daniel )3:39-40) and refers to the personal sacrifice – at most, a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” – made by Azarias and his companions in the fiery furnace. As such, this prayer is totally acceptable to Protestants and was retained by them in the “reformed” Lutheran and Anglican services. Should anyone doubt its acceptability to the Modernist mind, he has but to consider the interpretation placed on this prayer by Father Joseph Jungmann, S.J. – a liberal and one of the most scholarly members of the Concilium responsible for the New Rite:
The prayer “In a spirit of humility” which had always served as an emphatic summary of the process of offering, and as such was recited with a deep inclination [bowing of the body by the priest], has been retained unchanged for the very reason that it gives apt expression to the “invisible sacrifice” of the heart as the interior meaning of all exterior offering. 26
In the “Offertory” of the Novus Ordo Missae, when interpreted literally, that is, according to the prayers actually said, and not according to the traditional acceptation of what the Offertory of the Mass really is (or is supposed to be in the New Mass), then all that the New Mass “Offertory” actually indicates is to be offered at the New Mass is the bread and wine. Against this observation, some will say that, in the offering of the bread-host, the priest-president of the New Mass says, “It will become for us the bread of life.” But as the late Father Burns, one of America’s most conservative Novus Ordo priests, pointed out, this can as well be understood as referring to the bread we eat each day at our regular meals, often called “the staff of life.”
The prayer, “In a Spirit of Humility,” in the New Mass, also includes the phrase “for us” which the 16th century English Protestant Reformer Cranmer insisted denied the sacrament principle ex opere operato – the principle that, so long as the proper form and matter are used by the priest offering the Mass, and providing the celebrant is a true priest, Consecration occurs. Regardless of the disposition of the priest or other participants. The same comment that was made with regard to the bread being the “staff of life” can be made with regard to the wine and the phrase, “it will become our spiritual drink.” And so, once again, the conclusion of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci’s Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae appears appropriate:
The three ends of the Mass are altered; no distinction is allowed to remain between Divine and human sacrifice; bread and wine are only “spiritually” (not substantially) changed... Not a word do we find as to the priest’s power to sacrifice, or about his act of consecration, the bringing about through him of the Eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.
The New Eucharistic Prayers
The heart of the Traditional Mass is the Canon. It remains the same every time Mass is offered, except during the most solemn feasts of the Church, when a phrase or two are added which refer to the mystery being celebrated. In the New Mass, the Canon is abolished. In its place is substituted one of four (at least for now) “Anaphoras” or “Eucharistic Prayers.”
The first Eucharistic Prayer (even in Latin) is not, as is often claimed, the ancient Roman Canon we were all familiar with in the Tridentine Mass. It is merely modeled on the traditional Canon, but contains several significant differences. The claim that the ancient Canon of the Mass was retained allowed the New Rite to be accepted with a minimum of protest from priests and laity alike. Those priests using the First Eucharistic Prayer were assured that they were in effect saying the old Mass. However, with the destruction of the traditional Offertory, with its prayers that state precisely what occurs during the Canon, and with the modern mistranslations, Eucharistic Prayer Number One is totally capable of being given an entirely Modernist and Protestant interpretation.
The phrase which allows for this wrong interpretation is found in the prayer Quam Oblationem: “Be pleased to make this same offering wholly blessed, to consecrate it and approve it, making it reasonable and acceptable, so that it MAY BECOME FOR US the Body and Blood of...” (emphasis mine). In the absence of the traditional Offertory prayers, “for us” can be understood in the Cranmerian sense and general Protestant acceptation, visibly, that the bread and wine are not themselves transubstantiated so that they become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ substantially and in themselves, but rather that as we receive them “with lively faith,” they might become FOR US (!) the presence of Jesus Christ. In Cranmer’s first edition of the Book of Common Prayer, he prefaced the Words of Institution (i.e., the words used for the Protestant so-called “consecration”) with this phrase:
Hear us, O merciful Father, we beseech Thee; and with Thy Holy Spirit and Word vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these Thy gifts and creation of bread and wine that they may be made UNTO US the body and blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ. [Emphasis added]
Some of his fellow reformers attacked this wording on the grounds that it was capable of being understood as effecting Transubstantiation! To this Cranmer indignantly replied: “We do not pray absolutely that the bread and wine may be made into the body and blood of Christ, but that UNTO US in that holy mystery they may be made so; that is to say, that we may so worthily receive the same that we may be partakers in Christ’s body and blood and that therefore in spirit and in truth we may be spiritually nourished.” Cranmer was insisting that the expression “for us” meant that Transubstantiation (the change of the substance of the bread and wine into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ) did not objectively occur, but rather that the personal disposition of those present allowed them to be spiritually nourished. In other words, the phrase in effect denied the Catholic doctrine as it would alter be solemnly defined in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. 27
The Second Eucharistic Prayer is said to have been taken from Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition (written, it should be remembered, at a time when he was a schismatic and an anti-pope). However, to this already questionable document, the innovators made significant changes. Thus, for example, they suppressed the phrases ut mortem solveret et vincula diaboli dirumperet, et infernum calceret et iustos illuminet (“so that He [Christ] could conquer death, break the chains of Satan, trod Hell under foot, and illuminate the just”), and qua nos dignos habuisti adstare coram te et tibi sacerdotes ministrare (“for holding us worthy to stand before Thee and serve Thee as priests”) – Catholic concepts which the liturgical innovators removed and all concepts the innovators and liberal Protestants abhor. Most significant of all, they gratuitously inserted into the original text the very phrase “FOR US,” an action which makes their heretical intent more than clear.
As in Cranmer’s second Book of Common Prayer, so also in the Novus Ordo’s Eucharistic Prayer Number 2, all pretense of a Catholic interpretation is eliminated. When Eucharistic Prayer Number 2 is used, the Te Igitur, Memento domine, and Quam Oblationem – three prayers that unambiguously allow for a Catholic interpretation of nobis (for us) – are no longer said. Thus, there is absolutely NO preparation (build-up or development) in Eucharistic Prayer Number 2 for the “Consecration” of the species (bread and wine). Sneeze and you will miss it.
In the Traditional Mass it is impossible to understand the word nobis (“for us”) in the Cranmerian sense (i.e., where Transubstantiation is denied). In Eucharistic Prayer Number 1 of the Novus Ordo Missae, the situation regarding the priest’s intention to consecration (effect Transubstantiation) is ambiguous. But in Eucharistic Prayer Number 2, Catholic teaching in this regard disappears entirely, and the Protestant acceptation triumphs. As Hugh Ross Williamson said, “It is impossible to understand it in any other way than in the Cranmerian sense.” 28
Further, the deliberate nature of the changes in Eucharistic Prayer Number 2 – the addition of nobis (“for us”) to the “canon of Hippolytus – reflect back on the manner in which we are to understand nobis (“for us”) in Eucharistic Prayer Number 1. To make matters worse, the creators of the Novus Ordo Missae clearly show their preference for Eucharistic Prayer Number 2. The official documents from Rome instruct us that Eucharistic Prayer 2 can be used on any occasion. It is recommended for Sundays “unless for pastoral reasons another Eucharistic Prayer is chosen.” It is also particularly suitable “for weekday masses, or for mass in particular circumstances.” Further, it is recommended for “masses with children, young people and small groups,” and above all for Catechism classes. 29 Beyond the power of these suggestions, human nature being what it is, priests will be inclined to use Eucharistic Prayer 2 because of its brevity. The more commonly it is said, the more quickly Catholic understanding of the true nature of the Mass will be lost.
It is worth noting at this point that Paul VI added the phrase quod pro vobis tradetur (“which is given up for you”) to the supposed words of Consecration in the New Mass. So also did Luther and Cranmer to their Protestant liturgical services. Luther explained the reasons for this in his Shorter Catechism. “The word ‘for you’ calls simply for believing hearts.” And such, of course, only further highlights the importance of the word nobis (“for us”) in this entire sordid affair.
Space in this short presentation allows for only a brief comment on Eucharistic Prayers 3 and 4.
In Eucharistic Prayer 3 the following words are addressed to the Lord: “From age to age You gather a people to Yourself, in order that from east and west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of Your name.” This phrase once again makes it clear that it is the people, rather than the priest, who are the indispensable element in the celebration. 30 Even Michael Davies notes that “in not one [his emphasis] of the new Eucharistic Prayers is it made clear that the Consecration is effected by the priest alone, and that he is not acting as a spokesman or president for a concelebrating congregation.” 31
Eucharistic Prayer 4, composed by innovator Fr. Cipriano Vagaggini, presents yet another interesting aspect of the “Liturgical Revolution.” The Latin itself is innocuous, but the official (and Rome-approved) translation used in the United States was clearly open to an heretical interpretation. Compare the following passages, one from the Preface to Eucharistic 4, and the other from the Preface of the Traditional Mass of the Holy Trinity:
Father in Heaven, it is right that we should give
You thanks and glory, You alone are God,
It is truly meet and just, profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, everlasting God, who with Thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost are One God, One Lord, not in the oneness of a single person, but in the trinity of one substance.
Faced with the fact that the entire teaching of the Church is contained in the liturgy, this is a most instructive piece of skulduggery. In the Latin version of the New Mass the words unus Deus (“one God”) are to be found, and no explicit heresy is taught. However, even in the Latin, apart from the Creed, there is no clear expression of the doctrine of the Trinity. When we come to the vernacular version of Eucharistic Prayer 4, the mistranslation of unus Deus by “You alone are God” clearly departs from the traditional norm. In the absence of any other reference in this prayer to the Son or the Holy Ghost, the use of the word “alone” appears to be an explicit denial of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity – but definitely an implicit denial, at the very least. It is for this reason that some have referred to this Eucharistic Prayer as the “Arian Canon.” (The heretic Arius denied the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity.) Here we have yet another example of “a return to primitive practice!” Because of repeated complaints, this mistranslation has been recently corrected. That an explicit heretical formula could have been used for 18 years in the post-Conciliar Church speaks volumes about the liturgical innovators’ contempt for the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church. 32
The “Institution Narrative”
In the Novus Ordo Missae, as in the Lutheran service, the words of Consecration – the very heart of the Traditional Rite – are now part of what is called the “Institution Narrative,” 33 an expression not found in the traditional Missals of the Church.
Merely placing the words of Consecration under such a heading is bound to induce the “priest-president” at the New Mass to say these words as if he were merely retelling the story of the Last Supper, some 2,000 years ago, instead of actually consecration the bread and wine in the here and now. Retelling the story of the Last Supper alone does not change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ – the priest must act in persona Christi, that is, he must say these critical words “in the person of Christ,” for it is Christ who, by His infinite power, through the words of the priest, effects the Consecration. The “revised” version of the General Instruction, seeking to mollify critics of the New Mass, does speak of the priest acting in persona Christi, but not with regard to the manner in which he says the words of Consecration. Even if the use of the phrase “Institution Narrative” were the only defect in the New Rite, it would be sufficient to raise grave doubts as to whether or not the elements of bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ at the New Mass.
The Church has always taught that, for the Sacred Species to be confected at Mass, that is, for Consecration to occur the priest must 1) be properly ordained, 2) intend to do what the Church intends to do at Mass, 3) use the proper matter, and 4) use the proper form (or words). He must also say the Words of Consecration as an act which he personally, by his own priestly power, performs in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ,” who is the Principal Priest at every Mass), and not as part of a mere historical narrative, he turns what is supposed to occur at Mass (namely Consecration) into just a simple memorial of an historical event that happened two thousand years ago, and nothing sacred takes place, i.e., there is no Consecration. As St. Thomas Aquinas says:
The Consecration is accomplished by the words and expressions of the Lord Jesus. Because, by all the other words spoken, praise is rendered to God, prayer is put up for the people, for kings, and others; but when the time comes for perfecting the Sacrament, the priest uses no longer his own words, but the words of Christ. Therefore, it is CHRIST’S words that perfect the Sacrament.... The form of this Sacrament is pronounced as if Christ were speaking in person, so that it is given to be understood that the minister does nothing in perfecting this Sacrament, except to pronounce the words of Christ. (Summa, III, Q. 78, Art. 1).
To say the words of Consecration merely as part of a narrative would render the Mass invalid; that is, the bread and wine would remain just bread and wine afterwards and would not become the Body and Blood of Christ. According to the eminent liturgist, Father O’Connell:
The Words of Consecration have to be said, not merely as a[n] historical narrative of words used once by Our Lord – as the celebrant recites them, e.g., in the accounts of the Last Supper, which are read in the Mass in Holy Week, or on the Feast of Corpus Christi – but as a present affirmation by the priest speaking in the person of Christ, and intending to effect something, here and now, by the pronouncing of these words. 34 [Emphasis added]
Older priests may say the words of Consecration in persona Christi from habit. Younger priests, basing their practice on the General Instruction and on the Modernist theories of Sacramental theology, which they imbibe in the post-Conciliar seminaries, almost certainly will not. Thus, it is hardly surprising to find Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci’s Critical Study of the New Order of the Mass noting that
The Words of Consecration, as they appear in the context of the Novus Ordo [in Latin] may be valid according to the intention of the ministering priest. But they may not be, for the yare so no longer ex vi verborum (“by the force of the words used”), or more precisely, in virtue of the modus significandi (“the way of signifying”) which they have had till now in the Mass. Will priests who, in the future, have not had the traditional training and who rely on the Novus Ordo to do what the Church does, make a valid consecration? One may be permitted to doubt it....
These words of the Critical Study, having been published already in September, 1967, are incredibly perspicacious, if not indeed prophetic.
Changing Christ’s Words
And so we now come to consider the words of Consecration themselves. These words in the Traditional Mass are most sacred, for they are attributed by Tradition to Christ Himself, and it is by means of them that the Sacred Species is “confected” (the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ). These precious words, the very words of Christ, once written in gold and always highlighted and emphasized in their printed form, have been altered and embedded in the Institution Narrative of the New Mass.
Now, a Sacrament, by doctrinal definition, is “a sensible sign, instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to signify and produce grace.” This sensible sign consists of a “matter” and a “form” (i.e., a proper “material thing” and proper “words”). As St. Augustine taught, “the word [‘form’] is joined to the element [‘matter’] and the Sacrament exists.” Examples of “matter” are water in Baptism and wheat bread and grape wine in the Mass. 35 The “form” consists of the words which the “minister of the Sacrament” pronounces which he applies to the matter. These words “determine” the matter, to produce the effect of the Sacrament, and also closely signify what the Sacrament does. The forms (“words”) of the Sacraments were given to us by Christ either in specie (exactly) or in genere (in a general way). According to standard teaching,
Christ determined what special graces were to be conferred by means of external rites: for some Sacraments (e.g. Baptism, the Eucharist) He determined minutely (in specie) the matter and form: for others He determined only in a general way (in genere) that there should be external ceremony, by which special graces were to be conferred, leaving to the Apostles or to the Apostles or to the Church the power to determine whatever He had not determined – e.g., to prescribe the matter and form of the Sacraments of Confirmation and of Holy Orders. 36
The form of the Consecration in the Traditional Mass has been fixed since Apostolic times. 37 It has been “canonically” fixed since the so-called Armenian Decree of the Council of Florence (1438-1445). According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the form (capitalized below) is found within these words in the Canon:
Who the day before He suffered took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up to Heaven, to Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed, broke, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and eat you all of this.
FOR THIS IS MY BODY.
In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this glorious chalice into His holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to Thee, He blessed and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and drink you all of this.
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT: THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.
As often as you shall do these things, you shall do them in memory of Me.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent continues: “Of this form, no one can doubt.”
Taken from the People’s Mass Book, and in accord with Documents on the Liturgy, par. 1360, the following is the “form” for the Novus Ordo Missae (In the People’s Mass Book – as in the “Missalette” in common use in American Churches – no words are capitalized or italicized; they are run together so that the form of the Sacrament can in no way be distinguished from the rest of the text which forms part of the Institution Narrative: however in Paul VI’s Latin original, the words are in slightly larger type, signified below by italicization.):
Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, he took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take and eat, all of you, this is my body which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me. 38
In introducing these new forms Paul VI called them “the words of the Lord” (verba dominica) rather than “the Words of Consecration” – thus once again stressing the narrative nature of the Rite. Having changed the very words of Our Lord, he further said that he “wished them” to be “as follows” (Documents on the Liturgy, par. 1360; also cf. Paul VI’s Missale Romanum, his Apostolic Constitution of April 3, 1969, establishing the New Mass). How anyone, even a Pope, could “wish” the words of Christ to be other than what they are is beyond conception! It would seem however that for the innovators, even the very words of Christ are neither sacrosanct nor inviolable. And so it is with exactitude that Paul VI described the changes introduced into the Eucharistic Prayers as “singularly new,” as “amazing and extraordinary” and as the “greatest innovation” of all the innovations introduced. Indeed, with regard to the words of Consecration instituted by Christ at the Last Supper, Paul VI used the Latin term “mutation.” 39 When such a “mutation” is substantial – that is, when it changes the meaning of the form of a Sacrament, it renders it invalid. As we shall see, even if there is only doubt about whether or not a change in the words of a Sacrament is substantial, i.e., whether or not there is a change in meaning, the use of such a form is considered sacrilegious. 40
In changing the form of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, the innovators argued that they were bringing it “into line with Scripture.” 41 Now there is absolutely no reason why this should have been done. Scripture is not a greater source of Revelation than Tradition – indeed, strictly speaking, Scripture is part of Tradition. Imagine the hue and cry that would be raised in someone were to say that he wanted to change Scripture to bring it into line with Tradition! It is not from Scripture, but from Tradition that we receive the form (the words) used in confecting the Eucharist! Such indeed must be the case, because the earliest Gospel was written some either years after Our Lord’s death. Let us listen to the words of Cardinal Manning:
We neither derive our religion from the Scriptures, nor does it depend upon them. Our faith was in the world before the New Testament was written. 42
And, as Father Joseph Jungmann states:
In all the known liturgies the core of the eucharistica, and therefore of the Mass, is formed by the narrative of the institution and the words of Consecration. Our very first observation in this regard is the remarkable fact that the texts of the account of institution, among them in particular, the most ancient, are never simply a Scripture text restated. They go back to pre-Biblical tradition. Here we face an outgrowth of the fact that the Eucharist was celebrated long before the evangelists and St. Paul set out to record the Gospel story. 43
Beyond this, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) notes “that there are three elements in the narrative not commemorated by the Evangelists: ‘with his eyes lifted up to heaven,’ ‘and eternal testament’ (whereas the Gospels give only ‘of the New Testament’), and ‘the mystery of the faith’ (mysterium fidei).” And these he holds to be derived from Christ and the Apostles, “for who would be so presumptuous and daring as to insert [much less remove] these things out of his own devotion? In truth, the Apostles received the form of the words from Christ Himself, and the Church received it from the Apostles themselves.” 44
Indeed, it is quite possible, and even probable, that the Scripture accounts intentionally avoided giving the correct form of this Sacrament, lest it be profaned. Listen to St. Thomas Aquinas:
The Evangelists did not intend to hand down the form of the Sacraments, which in the primitive Church had to be kept concealed, as Dionysius observes at the close of his book on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; their object was to write the story of Christ. (Summa, III, Q. 78, Art. 3).
No one can doubt but that the post-Conciliar Church has gone against Tradition, against the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, and against the Catechism of the Council of Trent in changing the form of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is not a matter of debate as to whether it has the right to do so. As Leo XIII (1878-1903) said in the Bull Apostolicae Curae:
The Church is forbidden to change, or even touch, the matter or form of any Sacrament. She may indeed change or abolish or introduce something in the non-essential rites or “ceremonial” parts to be used in the administration of the Sacraments, such as the processions, prayers or hymns before or after the actual words of the form are recited.... 45
One of the documents printed in front of every edition of the traditional Roman altar Missal is the bull of Pope St. Pius V entitled De defectibus (1572), which states in part:
If anyone removes or changes anything in the Form of the Consecration of the Body and Blood, and by this change of words, does not signify the same thing as these words do, he does not confect the Sacrament. 46
With regard to those Sacramental forms given us in genere, the words can be changed, providing there is no change in meaning. When an alteration in meaning occurs, the change is called “substantial.” Now, apart from the fact that one cannot apply this principle to those forms given us specifically by Christ (in specie), it is nevertheless argued by some that, despite the change in the words, there is no there is no change in meaning, and hence no substantial change. It behooves us then to consider the substance of the form of the Sacrament, for if there is a “substantial” change – that is to say, a change in meaning – then the form is unquestionably rendered invalid. This is not a matter of debate, but of fact. 47
First, consider the change in the first and last sentences of the supposed “form of consecration” in the New Mass. Instead of “do these things,” we find the celebrant instructed to “do this,” that is, “take and eat (drink),” thus strongly suggesting that what is involved is a “supper” and a “memorial,” rather than the entire action. And all this activity involves a “cup” rather than a “chalice,” thus further reinforcing a merely culinary implication. Next, note the addition of the phrase “which will be given up for you.” We have already alluded to Luther’s reason for adding this phrase (cf. page 40), and the Novus Ordo Missae, as we have seen, was brought into line with the Lutheran rite. The removal of the phrase “Mystery of Faith” (which Tradition tells us was added by the Apostles) and its displacement to the so-called “Memorial Acclamation,” which follows the words of Consecration, leads the faithful to believe that the Mystery of Faith lies, not in the Consecration, but rather in Christ’s Death, Resurrection and Final Coming. In the New Mass, while Christ is supposedly right there on the altar immediately after the words of Consecration, the faithful are made to say, “Until You come again,” which sets up a total contradiction to the reality of His Sacramental Presence.
It is also argued that as long as the priest says the essential Words of Consecration – “This is My Body.” “This is My Blood....” – nothing else is required. Those who hold to this position ignore the defects in the “form” of the New Mass (essential words needed to confect the Sacrament) and the fact that the preceding words – i.e., the setting in which these words of the “form” occur (as we shall see more fully later on) – alter the meaning of the words of the form. They also ignore the fact that the words of the form of the New Mass, while themselves essential to the form of the Sacrament, do not constitute the COMPLETE form of the Sacrament. (One should compare the form of the New mass with that of the Traditional Roman Catholic Mass, or even with the forms used by the other Rites of the Roman Catholic Church.) Finally, those who object to these criticisms of the “Consecration” of the New Mass ignore the fact that it is forbidden for a priest to use the Words of Consecration with the intent to confect the Sacred Species outside of a true Mass. As Canon 817 of the 1918 Code of Canon Law states, “it is unlawful even in the case of extreme necessity, to consecrate one species without the other, or to consecrate both outside the Mass.” Benedictine canonist Father Charles Augustine comments on this to the effect that “to consecrate outside of the Mass would not only be a sacrilege, but probably an attempt at invalid consecration.” 48
The issue of the context in which the essential Words of Consecration are used is most important because this setting is capable of changing their meaning in a substantial manner. This is another reason why the Catholic Church traditionally has always been so insistent upon the integrity of the form (i.e., all the words of the form) used to confect the Sacraments. Consider the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on this point:
Some have maintained that the words “This is the Chalice of My Blood” alone belong to the substance of the form, but not those words which follow. Now this seems incorrect, because the words that follow them are determinations of the predicate, that is, of Christ’s Blood; consequently they belong to the integrity of the expression. And on this account others say more accurately that all the words which follow are of the substance of the form, down to the words, “As often as ye shall do these things.” [But not including these words, for the priest puts down the Chalice when he comes to them.] Hence it is that the priest pronounces all the words, under the same rite and manner, holding the chalice in his hands. (Summa, III, Q. 78, Art. 3).
“All” for “Many”
The culmination of sacrilege occurs in the use of the new form of the Words of Consecration over the wine with the mistranslation of the Latin word multis (“many”) in the Latin version of the Novus Ordo Missae by “all” in almost all vernacular versions, a change which (to use St. Thomas Aquinas’ words), clearly “determines the predicate,” with a meaning that is different from the meaning traditionally intended by the Catholic Church. The excuse given for this mistranslation was that there is no Aramaic word or “all,” a philological falsity propagated by the Protestant scholar Joachim Jeremias and one which has been repeatedly exposed. 49 Moreover, of the various Mass rites which the Church has traditionally always recognized as valid – some 76 different rites in many different languages, many of which date back to Apostolic times – NOT ONE has ever used “all” in the form for the Consecration of the wine.
What makes this particular mistranslation most offensive is that the Church has always taught the word “all,” for very specific reasons, is purposely not used! St. Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, explains why not in an opinion that is also confirmed by St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism of the Council of Trent, earlier in Church history:
The words pro vobis et pro multis [“for you and for many”] are used to distinguish the virtue of the Blood of Christ from its fruits: for the Blood of our Savior is of sufficient value to save all men, but its fruits are applicable only to a certain number and not to all, and this is their own fault. or, as the theologians say, this precious Blood is (in itself) sufficiently (sufficienter) able to save all men, but (on our part) effectually (efficaciter) it does not save all – it saves only those who cooperate with grace. [Treatise on the Holy Eucharist, emphasis mine]. 50
It is pertinent that Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) discussed this issue and stated that this teaching “explains correctly” Christ’s use of “for many,” as opposed to “for all” (De Sacrosanctae Missae Sacrificio).
In view of the constant teaching of the Church, this change from “many” to “all” in the modern language translation from the original Latin of the New Order of the Mass cannot be accidental. 51 The Latin original of the Novus Ordo Missae still uses multis (“many”),but how often does one hear the Novus Ordo Missae in Latin? Moreover, this mistranslation occurs in almost all the vernacular versions: e.g., in German, fur alle; in Italian, tutti; and in French, the vague word la multitude. 52 In Polish, for some reason, “many” is retained. Rome clearly approved the change “translations” (Documents on the Liturgy, No. 1445, Footnote R 13). According to Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, Paul VI reserved to himself the approval of the vernacular translations of the Institution Narrative, and especially of the word multis. Given all this background, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the heresy of apocatastasis is being promoted by the wording of the “Consecration” of the New Order of the Mass – i.e., the heresy held by many of our “separated brethren” (such as the Anabaptists, the Moravian Brethren, the Chsitodelphians, Rationalistic Protestants, Universalists and Teilhardians), namely, (the false notion) that all men will be saved. 53
The Memorial Acclamation
As mentioned above, the phrase Mysterium Fidei (“The Mystery of Faith”) is part of the form of Consecration in the Traditional Mass. In the New mass, the phrase has been removed from the form and made into the introduction to the people’s “Memorial Acclamation,” thus implying that the Mystery of Faith is the Death, Resurrection and Final Coming of Our Lord, rather than His “Real Presence” on the altar. Nor are the other Memorial Acclamations any more specific; e.g., “When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim Your death, Lord Jesus, until You come in glory.”
Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the principle architect of the New Mass, informs us in his memoirs that he discussed this issue directly with Paul VI. The Concilium had wished to leave the text of the “Memorial Acclamation” up to the various National Bishops’ Committees on the Liturgy, but Paul VI urged that “a series of acclamations (5 of 6) should be prepared for [use] after the consecration.” According to Archbishop Bugnini, Paul VI feared that “if the initiative were left to the Bishops’ Committees, inappropriate acclamations such as ‘My Lord and my God’ would be introduced.” The Catholic Church traditionally has always encouraged the private and quiet use of the ejaculatory prayer, “My Lord and my God,” by the people at the Elevation of the Host during Mass and at Benediction; Pope St. Pius X attached rich indulgences to this practice, as it both affirmed belief in the Real Presence and gave praise to God.
“The Body of Christ”
In the Traditional Mass, the formula the priest recites while distributing Holy Communion is, “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting, Amen.” This, too, has been changed. The new formula is simply, “The Body of Christ.”
Some conservatives claim that the Real Presence is affirmed when the “priest-president” says this phrase. Not so! According to the Instruction of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy,
The use of the phrase “the body of Christ, Amen,” in the communion rite asserts in a very forceful way the presence and role of the community. The minister [sic] acknowledges who the person is by reason of baptism and confirmation and what the community is and does in the liturgical action... The change to the use of the phrase “The body of Christ,” rather than the long formula which was previously said by the priest, has several repercussions in the liturgical renewal. First, it seeks to highlight the important concept of the community as the body of Christ; secondly, it brings into focus the assent of the individual in the worshiping community, and finally, it demonstrates the importance of Christ’s presence in the liturgical celebration.
And indeed, in line with this “New Gospel,” the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy strictly forbade the priest to say, “This is the Body of Christ!”
The Altar Becomes a Table
Now all this “spiritual nourishment” is effected, not on an altar, the purpose of which is for sacrifice, but on a table. An altar stone containing relics is no longer required for the Mass to be celebrated on. Tabernacles are no longer to be placed on these tables, as they are upon the altars of the Traditional Rite – indeed, if they were, the priest-president would have great trouble addressing and making visual contact with his congregation. 54 The six candles used at High Mass, and which recall the Old Testament Jewish Menorah (Seven-Branch Candlestick), with Christ, the Light of the World now being the central and seventh “candle,” are gone. No longer does the priest face the crucifix while saying Mass, which, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908 ed.), is “the principle ornament of the altar... placed [there] to remind the celebrant and the people that the Victim offered on the altar is the same as was offered on the Cross,” and “which must be placed on the altar as often as Mass is celebrated.” 55 Instead, the “president” now faces on the altar only a microphone! (Some conservative priests keep a crucifix lying flat on the table, but such is not mandated.) No longer is the altar covered with three linen or hemp cloths, to absorb any possible spillage of Our Lord’s Precious Blood – cloths symbolic of the shroud 56 in which Our Lord’s Body was wrapped. Nor is there a requirement now to use linen – any material will do.
Altar rails are gone, so that the sanctuary (the sacred enclosure where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered) is joined to the nave (where the people traditionally are located while they attend the Mass) – the distinction between the sanctuary and the “world” (always carefully made in all traditional Catholic Churches) is destroyed in the same manner as the formerly clear-cut distinction between the priest and the layman. (Communion is received in the hand and standing – if not distributed in a basket.) The “president” kisses the “table” only twice, compared to 8 times in the Traditional mass and definitely not before every blessing and Dominus vobiscum (“The Lord be with you”), as before. We cannot help but be reminded of what the 16th century Protestant Reformer Cranmer said: “The use of an altar is to make sacrifice upon it; the use of a table is to serve men to eat upon.” 57
As for the priest-president, he no longer says the Lavabo inter innocentes... (“I will wash my hands among the innocent, and will encompass Thine altar, O Lord”) at the Offertory time. Instead, he now recite a single verse from Psalm 50, in which no altar is mentioned and in which he simply asks for God to forgive his sins.
And the “meal” imagery is carried further. The sacred vessels are no longer handled only by those in Holy Orders, or at least only by specially designated sacristans; but now they are handled by laymen, often chosen from the congregation at random. Nor are the vessels any longer necessarily made of precious metals (gold and silver) and covered with a veil, symbolic of their mysterious and sacred character. At the end of the present “meal-type” service, the “cup” need not be purified at once; its purification can be deferred to a later time. In some places (in accord with “optional” rubrics), it is handed, unpurified, to a layman, who places it off on a side table. Signs of the Cross are reduced to only 3, compared to the 33 in the Traditional Mass (and 48 blessings with the Sign of the Cross, all told), but by now, one should hardly be surprised.
The Priest Facing the People
All these things are done with the priest facing the congregation. His position no longer symbolizes the fact that he is an intermediary between God and man, as in the Traditional Mass, where he faces the Tabernacle, but he is now the “president” of an assembly, presiding at the table around which the faithful are to gather and “refresh” themselves at the “memorial supper.” (All these phrases are from the General Instruction.) At great expense, the altars in many of our churches have been destroyed and replaced by tables, placed – at least symbolically, since there is no longer any distinction between sanctuary and nave – in the center of the community.
Why this last extraordinary and symbolically important change? Cardinal Lercaro, the president of the Concilum (that created the New Rite), informed us that this “makes for a celebration of the Eucharist which is true and more communal....” (DOL., No. 428). 58 Paul VI approved the new arrangement, because the altar was now “placed for dialogue with the assembly,” and because it was one of the things that made the Sunday Mass, “not so much an obligation, but a pleasure; not just fulfilled as duty, but claimed as a right.” (DOL., No. 430).
The symbolic significance of the positional change of the “president” is also very great. How can a priest perform a Sacrifice to God as both an alter Christus (“another Christ”) and an intermediary between man and God, on the one hand, when on the other hand he is facing the “ontological” congregation? Many religions other than Catholicism have sacrificial rites, but in none of them is this inversion seen. And within the Catholic tradition there is no more a precedent for the priest facing the congregation than there is for the laity gathering around a table to partake of a Jewish “seder” or Passover-type meal. 59 Can anyone imagine the High Priest of the ancient Jews acting this way before the Holy of Holies? Can one imagine a child asking his father’s forgiveness while facing his school-friends? Be this as it may, this inversion of the priest’s position once more makes clear the non-sacrificial nature and intent of the Novus Ordo Missae.
It is totally false to claim that the practice of the priest facing the people is a return to primitive practice. At the Last Supper, the Apostles did not sit around the table in some casual manner, but, rather, as in any solemn Jewish feast, they sat facing the Temple of Jerusalem. As Msgr. Klaus Gamber, Director of the Liturgical Institute at Regensburg stated, “There never was a celebration versus populum [“facing the people”] in either the Eastern or Western church. Instead, there was a turning towards the east.” Not surprisingly, it was Martin Luther who first suggested this inversion. It is true that there were certain churches in which the priest did incidentally “face the people,” but this was because architectural restrictions occasionally imposed this necessity in order to have the altar placed over a particularly sacred tomb – as with St. Peter’s and St. Cecilia’s in Rome. Father Louis Bouyer in his Liturgy and Architecture has conclusively shown that there is absolutely no evidence from antiquity that the priest ever, for any reason, faced the people while saying Mass. Those who talked of returning to early Christianity – Protestant “Reformers” or post-Conciliar theologians – would have done well to remember Our Lord’s complaint made through the mouth of the Prophet Jeremias: “They have turned their backs to me, and not their faces.” (Jer. 2:27-ff).
The truth of the matter is that the priest has, whenever possible, faced the East. And this is, as St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, because: 1) The way in which the heavens move from the East to West symbolizes God’s majesty; 2) It symbolizes our desire to return to Paradise; and 3) Christ, the Light of the World, is expected to return from the East. (Summa, II-II, Q. 84, 3 ad. 3).
Is a Doubtful Consecration Acceptable?
It is hard to see how so-called conservatives can argue that the changes in the Mass, and above all, the changes in the consecratory formula, have not rendered the Mass invalid. Certainly, in the face of the evidence given, they must, at the very least, agree that the matter is open to debate. But if it open to debate, there is doubt – and above all, there is doubt with regard to the form (the words) of the Consecration.
Under such circumstances, Catholics are obliged to abstain from nay participation in such rites. Listen to what two standard theological manuals from before the Second Vatican Council had to say about using a doubtful form of a Sacrament:
In conferring the sacraments, as also in the consecration in the Mass, it is never allowed to adopt a probable course of action as to validity and to abandon the safer course. The contrary was explicitly condemned by Pope Innocent XI [1670-1676]. To do so would be a grievous sin against religion, namely an act of irreverence toward what Christ Our Lord has instituted. It would be a grievous sin against charity, as the recipient would probably be deprived of the graces and effects of the sacrament. It would be a grievous sin against justice, as the recipient has a right to valid sacraments. 60
Matter and form must certainly be valid. Hence one may not follow a probable opinion and use either doubtful matter or form. Acting otherwise, one commits a sacrilege. 61
No wonder then that pre-Conciliar theologians like J. M. Herve instructed the priest to
Omit nothing of the form, add nothing, change nothing; Beware of transmitting, corrupting or interrupting the words. 62
It is indefensible, therefore, to dispense or receive a Sacrament whose validity is only “probable.” Validity must be certain.
The Sacrament of Unity
Since Vatican Council II, we have repeatedly been told that the Eucharist is the “sacrament of unity.” One must be careful how he understands this perfectly legitimate phrase. The Church traditionally teaches that only Catholics in the state of grace can worthily receive the Sacred Species. Unity is, by definition, a characteristic of the True Church, and those who have the privilege of receiving Communion from her partake of that unity.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, the post-Conciliar concept of “unity” is vastly different. The predominating attitude among the present hierarchy in Rome envisions the Church as having lost her “unity” with those outside herself, due in large part to her own failings. She seeks, therefore, to reestablish this unity by a false ecumenism – the 1983 Code of Canon Law, for instance, permits those separated from the Church to join her in partaking of the Eucharist, under certain circumstances, and this without in any way demanding that they accept the fullness of the Catholic Faith, or that they be in a state of grace. All they really need to do is show “some sign of belief in these sacraments consonant with the faith of the Church.” (See also DOL., Nos. 1022 and 1029). “Some sign of belief” is, to say the least, a vague phrase. And further, it is unclear whether the “consonance” of their belief is to be with the traditional teaching of the Church, or only with the new, warped post-Conciliar theology. Certainly, if our “separated brethren” had full belief, they would become Catholics. But many Protestants who are in a state of mortal sin can be said to have “some sign of belief” in the Eucharist.
Be that as it may, non-Catholics are now often permitted to communicate at the post-Conciliar rite, and this is enshrined both in practice and in the new Code of Canon Law. 63 And why should this not be so, when one considers the following text taken from the documents of Vatican II:
The Ecclesial Communities separated from us do not have the full unity with us that derives from baptism... Nevertheless, when in the Lord’s Supper they commemorate His death and resurrection, they attest to the sign of the life in communion with Christ and await His glorious Second Coming. (Decree on Ecumenism).
The General Instruction
So far we have shown that everything in the New Mass points in one direction. It was created to accommodate the Protestants and to foster that unity which is the “internal mission” of the “New Church.” 64 This is why, it would seem, the New mass implicitly denies the sacrificial nature of the Mass. But there is more. The General Instruction on the Novus Ordo states that it is not the priest-president who celebrates the rite, but rather the “people of God,” or the “community.” We shall now examine this General Instruction and, above all, the definition of the Mass it contains.
The General Instruction serves as a sort of preface to the New Rite and was promulgated along with it in Pope Paul VI’s Constitution Missale Romanum. it is to be found in the new Missals in the same location that the Bulls Quo Primum (1570) and De Defectibus (1572) occupied in the Traditional Roman Missal. According to the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, “The Instruction is an accurate resume and application of those doctrinal principles and practical norms on the Eucharistic that are contained in the Conciliar Constitution....” and “seeks to provide guidelines for catechesis of the faithful and to offer the main criteria for eucharistic celebration...” Cardinal Villot is even more specific:
The General Instruction is not a mere collection of rubrics, but rather a synthesis of theological, ascetical [and] pastoral principles that are indispensable to a doctrinal knowledge of the Mass, to its celebration, its catechesis, and its pastoral dimensions. (DOL., No. 1780)
If we are to understand the New Rite, we must have recourse to this General instruction – even if it is, as Michael Davies says, “one of the most deplorable documents ever approved by any Supreme Pontiff.” 65 Moreover, it should be clear that, regardless of who actually wrote it, it is Paul VI, in his official capacity, who promulgated it.
Defining the New Mass
We turn first to what was the most controversial passage of the General Instruction when it originally appeared in 1969:
7. The Lord’s Supper or Mass is the sacred assembly or congregation of the people of God gathering together, with a priest presiding, in order to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason Christ’s promise applies supremely to such a local gathering together of the Church: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Matt. 1:20). (DOL., No. 1397).
8. The Mass is made up as it were of the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist, two parts so closely connected that they form but one single act of worship, for in the mass the table of God’s word and of Christ’s body is laid for the people of God to receive from it instruction and food. There are also certain rites to open and conclude the celebration. (DOL., No. 1398)
In the Traditional Mass it is clearly the priest alone who celebrates; the Real Presence is effected independently of and regardless as to whether or not an “assembly” is present. In the above definition, however, the phrase” with a priest presiding” is, when one really considers exactly what has been said in this document, by no means essential to what occurs. One has only to leave out this phrase to see that the action of the rite is performed by the “assembly or congregation of the people of God gathered together.” Witness: “The Lord’s Supper or Mass is the sacred assembly or congregation of the people of God gathering together... in order to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.” (DOL., No. 1397, with the words “with a priest presiding” omitted where the ellipsis [...] appears).
Other sentences of the General Instruction add weight to such an interpretation. Thus, paragraph 60 states that the priest “joins the people to himself in offering the sacrifice,” and paragraph 62 states that “the people of God... offer the victim, not through the hands of the priest, but also together with him.” And the point is continuously stressed within the Rite itself by the insistent use of “we” in all the prayers. (In the Traditional Mass, the priest uses “I” when referring to “who” it is that offers the Mass.)
The concept of the priest “presiding,” despite the fact that it is found in Justin Martyr (an early Church Father), is an innovation. The verb “to preside” comes from the Latin praesedere, which means literally “to sit in the first place” and signifies, as Webster’s Dictionary states, “to occupy the place of authority, as a president, chairman, moderator, etc.” To preside at an action in no way means to accomplish the action personally – indeed, in almost every situation where a person “presides,” he is actually isolated from the action performed. The President of the French Assembly, for example, does not even cast a vote! Nor does the President of the U.S. Senate, except when there is need to break a tie. 66
According to this new definition, the Mass is still made equivalent to the Lord’s Supper. Whereas the phrase can be found in Scripture (1 Cor. 11:20), it is no way part of Catholic theological tradition. Indeed, the phrase the “Lord’s Supper” was specifically used by the 16th century Protestant Reformers to distinguish their services from the Catholic Mass. To imply today that the two are equivalent is an abomination to Catholics who know their religion.
Far worse is the statement that “Christ’s promise applies supremely to such a local gathering... ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.’” Let the meaning be clear. If this be accepted, Christ is no more present at Paul VI’s New Mass then He is when a father joins his children for evening prayers! One is reminded of the Protestant Reformer Cranmer’s statement when this issue was brought up in regard to the Anglican rite: “Christ is present whensoever the church prayeth unto Him, and is gathered together in His name....”
Many were horrified by this definition. As Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci’s Critical Study of the New Order of Mass stated, it in no way implied
either the Real Presence, or the reality of the sacrifice, or the sacramental function of the consecrating priest or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independent of the people’s presence... In a word, it does not imply any of the essential dogmatic values of the Mass.
A “Revised” General Instruction
In an attempt to obviate these and other criticisms which the Cardinals’ Critical Study presented, a second version of the General Instruction was issued – in 1970. That this new version was in fat a “whitewash” of these problems is quite clear; those responsible (ultimately, once again, Paul VI, because it was by his authority that all these things were done) had the audacity to state that in reviewing the initial version they “found no doctrinal errors.” It should be added, and emphasized, that no change in the Rite itself was made!
A review of the General Instruction, both before and after its publication by the Fathers and periti of the Concilium, found no reason for changing the arrangement of the material or any error in doctrine. (DOL., No. 137)
Indeed, that they changed the General Instruction at all was, in their own words, “in order to avoid difficulties of all kinds, and in order to make certain expressions clearer...” They assured us that absolutely “no innovations were introduced” into the second version and that the “amendments were few in number, sometimes of little importance, or concerned only with style.” (DOL., No. 1371).
Yet the amended version did its task. Despite such clear-cut statements, and despite the fact that the new version of the General Instruction in no way “clarified” expressions, but rather obfuscated them, the conservative Novus Ordo-attending Catholics were mollified and raised little further complaint. Let us consider how the definition reads now:
7. At Mass or the Lord’s Supper, the people of God are called together, with a priest presiding and acting in the person of Christ, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord or eucharistic sacrifice. For this reason Christ’s promise applies supremely....
A careful reading of this changed definition will show that its authors were correct when they said that “no innovations were introduced” – one must smile at the innovators’ expressing themselves in this manner – and that “the amendments were only a matter of style.”
Still a Supper
First of all, the “new” general Instruction still made the Mass equivalent to “the Lord’s Supper”; moreover, this equating of the two, i.e., the Mass and the Lord’s Supper, which in fact and in Catholic theology are fundamentally different, manifests a persistent patter. The complaint of the Roman Catholic theologians in their Critical Study holds true of both versions of the General Instruction. Throughout both versions, as they said, the Mass “is designated by a great many different expressions, all acceptable relatively, all unacceptable if employed as they are separately and in an absolute sense.” The study cited as examples: “The Action of Christ and of the People of God,” “The Lord’s Supper or Mass,” “the Paschal Banquet,” “the common participation in the Lord’s table,” “the memorial of the Lord,” “the eucharistic Prayer,” “the Liturgy of the word” and the “Eucharistic Liturgy,” etc.
Still a President
The phrase which speaks of “a priest presiding” is still unessential to the definition of the New Mass as the General Instruction gives it. What has been added by the new General Instruction is that the priest is “acting in the person of Christ.” But the priest can act in the person of Christ in a variety of ways other than as a sacrificing priest (which is the essential and traditional understanding of the nature of the priesthood), as for example, when he teaches, exhorts, counsels, or exorcizes in the name of the Lord; and hence, no substantial change results in the meaning of what the new General Instruction says the Mass really is by its adding the phrase “with a priest presiding and acting in the person of Christ” to the definition provided by the original General Instruction. Moreover, as in the earlier version, the entire phrase can be left out without destroying the sense of the definition. (Cf. pp. 66-67).
Other parts of the “amended” General Instruction, despite the insertion of several ambiguous allusions to what the Mass is, in no way contradict the original definition of the Mass in the first General Instruction as being “the Lord’s Supper” or “memorial of the Lord.” (par. 7).
In order to avoid the accusation that I have either misinterpreted the General Instruction’s definition of the Mass or somehow misjudged the document in this regard, allow me to provide two statements which shed light on how the Instruction’s concept of “presidency:” is to be understood. The first is taken from Father Thomas Richstatter’s Liturgical Law Today, a text used in modern seminaries:
The priest also sees his relation to the laity in a new perspective. The priest is no longer the one “officially delegated” to perform a clerical action in which the people are invited to participate. For example, the second edition of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal systematically refuses to speak of the priest as “the celebrant,” as though the priest alone celebrates. It is the community who celebrates the liturgy [emphasis added]. The priest celebrating has different responsibilities than the laity, but it is not the priest alone who celebrates. The priest sees his role more as a leadership role within an action which belongs to the community. 67
Again, consider the following quote from the commentary on the General Instruction which was written and edited, among others, by Father Martin Patino, one of the members of the Concilium who assisted in preparing the New Order of the Mass:
The [new] mass is not an act of the priest with whom the people unite themselves, as it used to be explained. The Eucharist is, rather, an act of the people, whom the minsters serve by making the Savior present sacramentally... This former formulation, which corresponds to the classical theology of recent centuries, was rejected because it placed what was relative and ministerial (the hierarchy) above what was ontological and absolute (the people of God). 68
A further change, or rather an addition, was made in the definition given in paragraph 7 of the new General Instruction. After the quotation from Matthew, it added,
For the celebration of Mass, which perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross, Christ is really present to the assembly gathered in his name; he is present in the person of the minister, in his own word, and indeed substantially and permanently under the eucharistic elements.
Once again, there is nothing in these ambiguous phrases that would really offend a Protestant. Nowhere are we informed that the celebration involved is other than a memorial – and the word “memorial,” like the phrase “the Lord’s Supper,” is another 16th century Protestant Reformation term used to distinguish a Protestant service from the Catholic Mass. The new version of the General Instruction states that the Mass “perpetuates” the Sacrifice of the Cross; this is another bit of ecumenical sleight-of-hand. The traditional expression is that the Mass “re-enacts” or “re-presents” the Sacrifice of the Cross. Further, the Instruction states that Christ is “really” present, as much in the assembly as in the priest and in His (Christ’s) words. There is nothing within the “new” General Instruction to suggest to us that He is any more present in any other parties or “elements” than He is in the assembly of the people.
Some may argue that the reference to His “substantial and continued presence in the eucharistic elements” suffices to remove all doubt about the orthodoxy of the definition of the Mass by the new General Instruction, but this “substantial” presence is in no way differentiated by the General instruction from His “presence” in the assembly or in the priest-president. Moreover, the use of the term “perpetuates” suggests that no “change” in the bread and wine has occurred in the New Mass, nor does it suggest that Christ is now sacramentally present. One is reminded of Luther’s comment that “If Jesus is present everywhere, perhaps He is also present in the Eucharist.”
Conservatives who would defend the New Mass may also contend that the General Instruction itself nowhere specifically states that the people confect the Sacrament. This indeed is true, for, in fact, in no place does the General Instruction state that a Sacrament is confected! What exactly do the people of God do? They gather “together” “to celebrate the memorial of the Lord OR eucharistic sacrifice.” (Cf. the quote on p. 70; my emphasis). The text does not say “AND” the eucharistic sacrifice, which once again clearly implies that the “eucharistic sacrifice” is in no way different from “the memorial of the Lord,” as Protestants understand it. Moreover, the term “Eucharist” literally means “thanksgiving,” and this ambiguity between the “memorial of the Lord” and the “eucharistic sacrifice” makes it possible, once again, to bring the entire definition into line with Protestant theology, according to which the “sacrifice” is only one of “praise and thanksgiving,” and never one or propitiation (atoning sacrifice) or immolation (sacrifice of a victim)!
More “Table Talk”
Looking elsewhere in the Instruction offers not much help toward clarifying these ambiguities. Such phrases as “the Mass is the culminating action by which God in Christ sanctifies the world and men adore the Father...” or “the eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification is the center of the entire celebration,” if anything, confirm the Protestant orientation of the Rite.
Looking briefly at Paragraph 8 of the Instruction (unchanged in the “new” version), one finds nothing to contradict what we have said up to now. The division of the Rite into the “Liturgy of the Word” and the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” implies that the Word of God is found only in Scripture. The term Eucharist, meaning thanksgiving, allows one, if he so wishes, to see in the second part of the service only a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.” (And nothing in the Rite itself would lead us to believe differently; for example, the New Rite’s use of an historical narrative rendition of Our Savior’s words of Consecration, as opposed to the personal act of the priest in consecrating during the Consecration of the Traditional Mass.) Now this second paragraph affirms once again that the entire affair of the New Mass is carried out on a “table,” and that from this “table” the faithful are “instructed” and “fed.” Once again, this terminology is fully in line with the Protestant idea that the function of a minister is primarily to instruct. Whereas “food” can have a spiritual connotation, its use in this situation is more consistent with the breaking of the brief post-Conciliar eucharistic fast with a little bread and wine. Once again, Protestantism prevails – indeed, it would seem, triumphs.
A Sop to Conservatives
Other changes were made in the revised Instruction. A Foreword was added which feebly attempted to reiterate the teaching of the Council of Trent on the Mass, but at the same time the Foreword or Introduction insisted once again that it is the “people” who are responsible for the celebration of the New Order of the Mass: “for the celebration of the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church... they are a people called to offer God the prayers of the entire human family, a people giving thanks in Christ for the mystery of salvation by offering His sacrifice.” The net impression left is that the second version of the Instruction does little (if anything) to affirm orthodoxy or to assure us of the reality of the Consecration. Indeed, all it does – and such, I believe, was its intent – is to provide conservative Catholics the opportunity of mollifying their consciences and convincing them that the New Mass is essentially no different than the Traditional Mass – the making present once again the Sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody manner.
It should further be noted that, whereas Paul VI may have made his belief in the Catholic teaching on the Mass explicit in other documents or speeches, this in no way changes the immediate situation with regard to the New Mass and the General Instruction. What is important to our consideration here is that nowhere in the Novus Ordo Missae itself or in the General Instruction that introduces the Novus Ordo and instructs about it is such a belief made specific.
Conservative post-Conciliar Catholic argue two ways: 1) that the General Instruction in no way affects the validity of the New Mass, and 2) that the changes in the second version of the General Instruction somehow make the Rite itself acceptable to Catholics and capable of being interpreted in an orthodox manner. Whatever position they take, they cannot deny that both the New Order of the Mass and the General Instruction are ingenious and masterful compilations of ambiguity, aimed, from all we have discussed here, at making Catholic teaching obscure and propagating Protestant beliefs. Indeed, one has to express a certain amazement and awe at the extreme skill with which all this has been achieved. One is reminded by these things of Our Lord’s words: “The children of the world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8).
The “Indult” Mass
Passing mention should be made of the changes mandated in the Missal of 1962 by Pope John XXIII, commonly called the “Mass of John XXIII.” Though they appear now to be very minor by comparison to what came later on, many of the changes found in this Mass were significant, even radical for the time. In retrospect, I believe it can now be safely said that this Mass was to be used only for a time and that it was initially introduced 1) as a beginning step toward the Novus Ordo Missae; 2) to introduce the faithful to the idea that their time-honored rites could be changed, and 3) to determine how strong the resistance to the New Rite would be. The Mass of John XXIII became obsolete just three years after it was introduced, when a whole new group of additional changes was introduced to accustom us, as it would seem now, to accepting these liturgical changes that would eventuate in the New Order of the Mass.
The Missal of Pope John XXIII has recently been brought out of mothballs by the 1984 “Indult” of John Paul II (which allows the celebration of the “Tridentine” Mass for special occasions) in order to give the faithful the impression that the present hierarchy is returning to tradition. Many people falsely advertise this Indult Mass as the “Tridentine” Mass or the “Mass of St. Pius V.” It definitely is not. Gone are all the commemorative collects and the Confiteor before Communion, along with its absolution. Many feasts are “suppressed,” and much is made “optional” – all this in preparation for what was to follow. Whatever the rite may be in the 1962 Missal, it is most certainly not the one codified by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. 69
Moreover, the 1984 “Indult” requires that those who take advantage of using this Mass accept without reservation 1) the “doctrinal soundness and legitimacy” of the New Order of the Mass and 2) all the teachings of Vatican II, and further, that they have no connection with groups that do not. Some Bishops insist that those attending these celebrations must first sign a statement to this effect. But even those who do not sign such a statement must implicitly accept the terms of the Indult.
Are the Mistranslations Abuses?
It should be clear that in discussing the Novus Ordo Missae above, I have made reference to the Rite as it is used by the most conservative of post-Conciliar Catholics. Any reference to such phenomena as “clown masses,” “marijuana masses,” “guitar masses,” etc., would immediately have raised the defensive cry that such are “abuses.” Therefore, they have not been included in our discussion, but the allowance of such “sideshows” and participation in them by the hierarchy, plus the fact that they have never been clearly condemned, significantly undermines the “abuse” argument.
However, with regard to the Novus Ordo Missae, one must clearly deal with the issue of mistranslations from the original Latin. These are not and cannot – by any stretch of the imagination – be dismissed as “abuses” enforced by those who surround the “poor beleaguered Popes,” or as the illicit liturgical productions of dissident, experimenting priests.
Several points should be made in this regard: 1) Latin is for all practical purposes dead as a liturgical language. Those who point to the Latin original of the Novus Ordo Missae to prove the Catholicity of the vernacular Mass, or who use the Latin to exonerate the post-Conciliar Popes of promoting a Mass that contains heresy must recognize this fact. 2) Almost every defect in the New Order of the Mass we have discussed applies to the Latin version as much as to the English. 3) We have already given evidence that critical aspects of the translations have had direct papal approval, and we shall show below that they are advocated by official curial documents. 4) The mistranslations have been in use for decades, and complaints about them, as with the New Mass itself, have been repeatedly ignored by Paul VI and John Paul II. We are forced to conclude that the mistranslations are not “abuses,” but an integral part of the “Liturgical Revolution.”
Well might one ask why those who felt that the vernacular would allow greater participation on the part of the “celebrating congregation” did not use the already available translation of the old Mass. The answer, perhaps, was provided long ago in a work by the noted Jesuit historian Father Philip Hughes. In discussing the Anglican rites created by the 16th century Protestant Bishop Cranmer he stated:
Such a proceeding would have advertised only the more loudly the conflict between the newly-imposed doctrine and the older belief. The new service was indeed in English, and in better English almost than any man before or since has ever devised. But it was also a careful re-modeling of the service and a re-writing of its prayers such that every sign that this rite was ever, or was ever meant to be, a sacrifice itself efficacious for the living and the dead, was entirely removed. 70
It should also be emphasized that the errors in translating the New Mass from the Latin are paralleled in all the various vernacular versions used, with the exception of Polish. Further, the pattern they follow was first outlined in the document Inter Oecumenici (1964), and further delineated in subsequent Vatican pronouncements (such as DOL. Nos. 843 and 871). There can be no doubt that the mistranslations had the clear approval of the Pope. Archbishop Bugnini informs us in his memoirs that Paul VI reserved to himself the approval of the translations of the Canon, and above all, the Words of the Consecration. As we noted above, this fact was also confirmed by Archbishop Weakland.
In English-speaking countries, the organization responsible for translating the Mass is the “International Committee for English in the Liturgy,” commonly abbreviated to ICEL. ICEL is one of the most powerful organizations within the post-Conciliar Church and has the authority to overrule even the national bishops’ conferences in certain matters. Its complex and far-reaching influence is described by Gary Potter in his now-famous article “The Liturgy Club.” 71
Christopher Monckton, former editor of The Universe (of London), informs us that the in the English version of the New Order of the Mass there are over 400 mistranslations from the Latin (Faith, Nov., 1979). Of far greater importance is the pattern they follow! According to Michael Davies, the “motivating force” which they follow is “precisely the same... [as that] behind the official Latin version of the New Mass, i.e., a tendency to minimize the liturgical expression of Catholic eucharistic teaching which is not acceptable to the Protestants.” 72 Mr. Monckton described this two-stage pattern in the following terms:
The errors display a common theme which reveals the intentions of the translators. That theme is the dilution or removal of allusions and references to those doctrines of the Mass which are specifically and peculiarly Catholic... The thoroughness and determination with which those teachings which distinguish Catholic beliefs from those of other Christians have been removed is demonstrated by many minor omissions which are often repeated. 73
But the errors are not just limited to the Ordinary of the Mass itself, that is, to the Creed and the Eucharistic Prayers. The entire new Missal in its official vernacular version is packed with outrageous translation errors. Father Anthony Cekada, a priest who celebrates the Traditional Mass, did a study of this question and presented the results in a lecture given in Detroit on October 25, 1986:
.... The fraud is not confined to the translations of the new Eucharistic Prayers and the other more or less fixed new parts of the New Mass you hear in English every Sunday. I recently came across a Latin-English Missal produced by a “conservative” organization which promotes celebrating the New Mass in Latin. I compared the 34 sets of Orations for the Sundays in Ordinary Time (Dominicae per Annum) in Pope Paul VI’s Missal to their English translations.
The American liturgical mafia completed the process of de-Catholicizing which Rome began [i.e., first stage in Latin, second in the vernacular]. Phrases and expressions in the “translated” Orations [i.e., the collects, secrets, etc.] which allude to “negative” ideas are suppressed; [such as] pleasing God or appeasing His wrath, Christ’s Passion, our need for worthiness, our wickedness, [our] error, the weakness of human nature, sins which “burden the conscience,” and putting aside our own inclinations, as [also] are expressions referring to the human will and our minds and bodies.
The translators also downplayed or omitted ideas non-Catholics consider “offensive.” Heretics will be pleased to note that the translations do not speak of the faithful or of the offering of Christ as the victim at Mass, and Jews and Moslems will be delighted to note that phrases referring to the perfection of the sacrifices of the Old Testament in that of the New, and the redemption for “those who believe in Christ” have been excised. And Martin Luther himself would have had no problems reciting those prayers in which the translators have suppressed the notion of performing good works.
But the greatest outrage that the translators perpetrated was consistently leaving out the word “grace” from their translations. It appears in the Latin original of the Orations 11 times, but not once in the official English version. Thus, the word which is fundamental to Catholic teaching on the Fall of man, the Redemption, sin, justification and the entire sacramental system has utterly disappeared without a trace.... 74
All this may not bother those who have become accustomed to the New Order of the Mass through their weekly or even daily attendance. However, I would ask any reader who still considers himself to be Catholic and still professes the Catholic Faith complete and entire to consider the horror of being buried with the New Mass funeral rites. In the Latin original of Paul VI’s Missal there are 114 possible funeral orations (prayers). The Latin word anima, “soul,” only occurs in two of them, and these are not only “optional,” but when translated into English, have “this offensive word” expunged. 75 Those who have attended New Mass funerals will note that, not only is there no mention of sacrifice offered “for the living and the dead,” but that at no time is the congregation asked to pray for the soul of the departed – at least not within the Rite itself. Of course, if all men are saved, which one might very well infer from the absence of any mention of atoning sacrifice in the New Mass, the importance of praying for the deceased also goes away. But then one might also and with complete logic ask, “Why bother at all to have the New Order of the Mass for funeral services?”
The New Order of the Mass has caused havoc among the Catholic faithful, a fact evident even to the Lutheran sociologist Dr. Berger:
The Liturgical Revolution – no other term will do – is a mistake.... touching millions of Catholics at the very core of their religious belief. Let me only mention the sudden abolition, and indeed, prohibition of the Latin Mass, the transposition of the officiating priest from the front to the back of the altar (the first change symbolically diminished the universality of the Mass, the second, its transcendant reference) and the massive assault on a wide variety of forms of popular piety... If a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible, had been able to be advisor to the Church, he could hardly have done a better job. 76
Whereas almost every phrase of the Novus Ordo Missae and its attendant General Instruction are open to widely differing interpretations, the overall result is a Protestant rite with some superficially Catholic “scaffolding.” The innovators’ “editing” – nay, “butchering,” – of the ancient texts, reveals a clear-cut pattern of “accommodation” to Protestant errors. Nowhere is the New Order of the Mass clearly presented as an immolative (sacrificing of a victim) or propitiatory (atoning) sacrifice. Nowhere is it clearly stated that a sacrificial act is performed by a priest acting independently of the assembly and acting in persona Christi (“in the person [or place] of Christ”). Indeed, it is repeatedly affirmed that it is the (“ontological”) “people of God” who celebrate the Rite. No immolation (sacrifice of a victim), no propitiation (atonement) and no sacrificing priest! If such is the case, as the wording of the New Order of the Mass and its General Instruction clearly indicate, then, whatever the New Order of the Mass is, it is not a Catholic Mass in the traditional, doctrinal acceptation of its being the unbloody but completely real re-enactment of Our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself on Calvary. The resulting concoction, however, is admirably suited for use by any and all (non-Catholic) Christian denominations – indeed, it could easily serve as the harbinger of some universal false religion, which some of the Ecumenists may in fact have in view.
Despite this, is it possible that a true immolative sacrifice occurs in the New Mass? If one accepts Paul VI’s definition, if one accepts the wording of the Rite in its literal meaning, and if one believes in the Church’s constant teaching on sacramental theology, then it is difficult to see how such is possible. (Theoretically, a true priest who used the outline of the Novus Ordo Missae, but who made a series of changes and additions to assure validity, might consecrate. But then he would be violating the principle of obedience, and the net result would no longer be the Novus Ordo Missae, but a Mass of his own creation.)
Many conservative post-Conciliar Catholics try to avoid the issues raised by the problems connected with the New mass by insisting that every phrase and word of both the General Instruction and the rite of the New Mass can be interpreted in an orthodox manner. Others assure us that we can accept the Novus Ordo Missae while completely rejecting the General Instruction . But such requires a kind of “pretzel” mentality and avoids the natural obligation to understand the teaching and instruction of the Church in the plain sense of the language used. The children of such Catholics, not having the advantage of the traditional teaching of the Church, will invariably fall victim to the obvious meaning of the actual words in the New Mass, that is, if they bother any more to attend it at all. (As a recent Catholic journal noted, in the United States there has been a 50 percent drop in those people who even call themselves Catholic, i.e., register as such, whether they practice or not. And in a recent survey done in Australia of the children from Catholic families, age 18 to 25 who live away from home, some 95% no longer attend Mass!)
Obedience is always brought forth as a defense for attending and/or saying the New mass. Whereas this issue was discussed elsewhere [in an earlier book of the author, soon to be republished], we must add that those who use this argument should recognize the obligation they have that their obedience be “total.” Obedience requires that one say the Canon and supposed words of Consecration in the Novus Ordo Missae as a part of the Institution Narrative – that is, in the same manner that one would read the Gospel story of the Passion. Granted this is not mandated, but nor is saying it in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”). Clearly, a priest who is obedience should not add anything of his own to the Rite. Again, one cannot talk of “obedience” in attending and/or saying the Novus Ordo Missae without also talking of obedience in accepting and nurturing ALL the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church, which include the doctrine that the Mass is a sacrifice – is THE sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, re-enacted in an unbloody manner. When one considers his commitment to obey and nurture all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, then the pernicious – albeit implicit – teaching of the New Mass and the General Instruction that accompanies it, that the Mass is not a sacrifice, comes into direct conflict with his Catholic Faith, properly understood, to which every Catholic owes obedience under pain of mortal sin. With regard to the New Mass, one simply cannot talk of obedience at all unless he is willing to accept the plain sense of the language used in both the New Order of the Mass and the “official” General Instruction that introduces and explains it.
Finally, true obedience requires that one respect the teaching that he should refuse to accept any Sacrament whose validity is open to question, because to do otherwise is a sacrilegious act. And a sacrilege is an act which directly violates that which is sacred. Therefore to commit a sacrilege is to act directly against God.
Perhaps now the reader who is new to this subject will understand just why many priest have returned to saying the Traditional Mass (the Tridentine Mass). These priests know for certain that the Traditional Rite is valid, plus that it is holy and pleasing to God; whereas, the New Mass, when said according to the manner prescribed by the words of the New Rite and in accord with the accompanying General Instruction, is definitely dubious as to validity, and therefore may not be said by one who knows his Catholic faith well and who would please God. For the same reasons, it will now be obvious why many serious, knowledgeable Catholic lay people refuse to go to the New Mass and have thereby often incurred the contumely of their fellow Catholics for being seemingly “against the Pope” and “against the Church.” Rather, the truth of the matter is, they have no other choice (except, of course, simply to discontinue going to Mass). Thus, the New Mass, which was supposed to attract so many more people and make our Catholic liturgy “more understandable,” has itself caused a profound rift among the faithful. It has separated off a large segment of the most serious and zealous priests and lay people, who must now bear the false accusations of disobedience and schism because they are in fact attempting to be obedient to and at one with the perennial mind of the Church.
It is easy, then, to understand why, in almost every major city of the world, there are communities of priests and lay-people who refuse to have anything to do with the New Mass and who continue to say or attend the ancient traditional Catholic Mass at great personal sacrifice. It should not be forgotten that the Apostolic Bull of Pope St. Pius V entitled Quo Primum (1570) guarantees their right to do so. Those who would deny to Catholics this right, risk incurring, as this Bull states, “the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.” That is to say, they risk their eternal salvation.
Let us consider once again the Traditional Mass. As Father M. Jean-Jacques Olier, the famous cure of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, put it: “One must know that this Sacrifice is the Sacrifice of Heaven... a Sacrifice offered up in Paradise which, at the same time is offered up here on earth, and they differ only in that here on earth the Sacrifice remains unseen.” What power! What a sacred action! The Divine made present on our altars! St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that “The entire Church cannot give to God so much honor, nor obtain so many graces, as a single priest by celebrating a single Mass.” Indeed, as he also says, the sacerdotal dignity is so great that it “surpasses the dignity of angels.”
To conclude this discussion of the New Order of the Mass, let us consider finally two quotes, the first from St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and the second from St. Basil the Great (329-379), both Doctors of the Universal Church (Whereas St. Basil was speaking about the Arian Heresy – which infected almost the entire Church in the 4th century and some 80% of the bishops – his words apply with even greater force to the current crisis in the Church):
Falsehood in outward worship occurs on the part of the worshipper, and especially, in common worship which is offered by ministers impersonating the whole Church. For even as he would be guilty of falsehood who would, in the name of another person, proffer things that are not committed to him, so too does man incur the guilt of falsehood who, on the part of the Church gives worship to God contrary to the manner established by the Church or divine authority, and according to the ecclesiastical custom. Hence St. Ambrose says: “he is unworthy who celebrates the mystery otherwise than as Christ delivered it.” (Summa, II-II, Q. 93, A. 1).
Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in faith avoid the places of worship as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitude with groans and tears to the Lord of Heaven... (Ep. 92). Matters have come to this pass; the people have left their houses of prayer and assemble in deserts. To this they submit, because they will have no part in the wicked Arian leaven... (Ep. 242). Only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our Father’s traditions... Joy and spiritual cheerfulness are no more; our feasts are turned into mourning; our houses of prayer are shut up, our altars deprived of their spiritual worship. (Ep. 243).
1. Rev. T. E. Bridgett, Life of Blessed John Fisher (London: Burnes & Oates, 1888). Cardinal St. John Fisher was martyred, along with St. Thomas More, by Henry VIII in 1535.
2. Quoted by Fr. Michael Mueller, C.SS.R., God the Teacher of Mankind – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1885).
3. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Holy Mass (London: Benziger Brothers, 1887).
4. St. Leonard of Port Maurice, The Hidden Treasure (Rockford, Illinois, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1971).
5. Fr. Michael Mueller, C.SS.R., op. cit.
6. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1929).
8. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, op. cit. The Liturgy of the Apostle St. James can be found in The Anti-Nicene Fathers (Eerdmans, 1967).
9. Quoted by Gaby, Le Sacrifice dans L’Ecole Francaise de Spiritualite (Paris, 1951).
10. Canon George D. Smith, The Teaching of the Catholic Church (N.Y., Macmillan, 1949)
11. Anglicans recognize the King or Queen of England as the head of their Church. At the time of the American Revolution, Anglicans in this country rejected this “headship” and declared themselves to be Episcopalians.
12. They describe the efficacy of the bread and wine used in their service in a wide variety of ways. Some admit that Christ is “subjectively” present for the worshiper (see the discussion of NOBIS – “For Us” – later in the text), but all deny any objective “PRESENCE,” independent of the worshiper.
13. The Anglicans and Lutherans still say the Nicene Creed, which dates from 325. This statement however is taken from the “Thirty-Nine Articles” to which Anglicans and Episcopalians must give their assent “in the plain meaning of the words.”
14. Both quotations are from Fr. Nicholas Gihr, op. cit.
15. As the Canons of the Council of Trent state: “If anyone saith that the Sacrifice of the Mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving... Let him be anathema.” The Eucharistic prayers of the Novus Ordo Missae constantly utilize the phrase, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, without reference to the other aspects of the sacrifice.
16. Ex opere operato means literally “by its own power.” The personal defects of the priest (assuming he is properly ordained, uses a valid rite, and has the proper intention) or of the communicant do not affect its “power.”
17. Confessions, I., 9, c. 11-12.
18. Adolf Tanquerey, A Manual of Dogmatic Theology (New York: Desclee, 1959).
19. Also called “the Mass of All Times” (because it dates back to the Apostles in its essential elements – though it is eternal in its nature), the “Tridentine Mass” (only because the 16th century Council of Trent [Tridentum in Latin] ordered it to be “codified”), “the Mass of Pius V” (after the Pope who actually “codified” it in 1570), and on occasion (but loosely and incorrectly) the “Latin mass” (incorrectly, because any rite can be translated into Latin and because the Novus Ordo Missae itself was issued originally in Latin).
20. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, op. cit. It should be added that the Christian Revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle, and not with the death of Christ.
21. Quoted by Patrick H. Omlor, Interdum, Issue No. 7, Menlo Park, CA.
22. There is moreover considerable evidence that the Mass was considered too sacred to be written down.
23. Statements publicly made and reported in the Osservatore Romano while thanking the six Protestant “observers” for their help in formulating the New Mass (or Novus Ordo Missae) used by the Church in post-Conciliar times.
24. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Dignity and Duties of the Priest, or Selva (London: Benziger Bros., 1889), p. 212.
25. Fr. Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganization of Society (Dublin: Regina Publications).
1. Bard Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church (New York: New American Lib., 1974), p. 236. The head of the Anglican Church is the King of Queen of England. Changes in its teaching or liturgy have to have the approval of the British Parliament. Hence American Anglicans in 1776 found themselves in a somewhat awkward position. They resolved this by declaring themselves independent of British royalty and government and by changing their name to Episcopalian. But no doctrinal or ritual changes of significance were involved in this transition.
2. Quoted in Michael Davies, Liturgical Revolution – Cranmer’s Godly Order (Devon, England: Augustine, 1976), p. 99.
3. “The first new service [of Cranmer] in the place of the Mass had to be a kind that men might mistake for something like the continuance of the Mass in another form. When that pretense had done its work and the measure of popular resistance taken, they could proceed to the second step and produce a final Service Book in which no trace of the old sanctities would remain.” Hilaire Belloc, Cranmer (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1931), p. 246.
4. Pastoral Letter, September 15, 1969.
5. In referring to the priest as a “president” we are only following the patter established by the New Mass’s “General Instruction” (see later in the text).
6. A group of 400 pilgrims walked from Paris to Rome to ask Paul VI to grant them permission to use the Traditional Mass, i.e., the so-called “Tridentine” Mass. He was too busy to see them. Later, it became known that at the time he was entertaining the Belgian soccer team.
7. “It would be well to understand the motives for such a great change introduced [into the Mass]... It is the will of Christ. It is the breath of the Spirit calling the Church to this mutation...” (General Audience, Nov. 26, 1969). According to the Canon lawyer Father Capello, a “mutation” which is substantial in the form of a Sacrament would invalidate it. (De Sacramentis [Rome Marietti, n.d.], p. 33.) Cf. also Pope Paul VI’s Missale Romanum, April 3, 1960.
8. Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Conciliar, Papal and Curial Texts (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1983), paragraph 1757. This collection is cited hereafter as “DOL,” followed by a paragraph number.
9. Michael Davies, Liturgical Revolution – Pope Paul’s New Mass (Dickinson, TX: Angelus Press, 1980), p. 17 (cited hereafter as “PPNM.”).
10. Christian Order, Oct., 1978. The full quote is of interest. Reporting on a conversation: “At the end Dr. de Saventham asked the prelate whether the traditional liturgy could not be permitted at the side of the new one. The answer was startling: ‘Sir, all these reforms go in the same direction: whereas the old Mass represents another ecclesiology!’ Dr. de Saventham: ‘Monseigneur, what you said is an enormity!’” It was shortly after this that Benelli was made a Cardinal by Paul VI, and Michael Davies describes him as “a most authoritative spokesman for the post-Conciliar Church.”
11. Fr. Louis Bouyer, Religeux et Clerics Contra Dieu (Paris, 1975), quoted by Michael Davies, PPNM. Fr. Bouyer, a convert from Lutheranism, initially supported the liturgical reform, but soon came to the conclusion that the process went much too far.
12. Notitiae, April, 1974, p. 126; see also P. Coughlan, The New Eucharistic Prayers (London, 1968), p. 5.
13. These “options” often contained traditional ideas. This was a clever method of allowing post-Conciliar apologists to claim that the New Rite was still orthodox, while at the same time virtually guaranteeing that no one would utilize these “options” in the everyday liturgy.
14. For example, Archbishop R. J. Dwyer of Portland, Orgeon said: “Who dreamed that on that day [when the Council Fathers voted for the Constitution on the Liturgy] that within a few years, far less than a decade, the Latin past of the Church would be all but expurgated, and that it would be reduced to a memory fading in the middle distance? The thought of it would have horrified us, but it seemed so far beyond the realm of the possible as to be ridiculous. So we laughed it off.”
15. For details on this, see my article “The Post-Conciliar Rite of Holy Orders,” Studies in Comparative Religion, v. 16, nos. 2 and 3. Available from Society of St. Pius V, 8 Pond Place, Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y. 11771.
16. Fr. John Barry Ryan, The Eucharistic Prayer (New York: Paulist Press, 1974), p. 26.
17. Fr. Joseph Jungmann, S.J., The Mass (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1975), p. 190. Fr. Jungmann was a member of the revolutionary liturgical Concilium and fully approved of the changes made in the Mass.
18. Le Monde, Sept., 1970.
19. Cf. page 7, footnote 13. Article XXXI of the Thirty-Nine Articles.
20. These phrases will be very familiar to post-Conciliar Catholics. It is pertinent that Luther tells us that it was Satan who convinced him that the Mass was not a true Sacrifice, and that in worshiping bread, he was guilty of idolatry. Satan appeared to him and said: “Listen to me, learned doctor, during fifteen years you have been a horrible idolater. What if the body and blood of Jesus Christ are not present there, and that you yourself adored and made others adore bread and wine? What if your ordination and consecration were as invalid as that of the Turkish and Samaritan priest is false, and their worship impious... What a priesthood is that! I maintain, then, that you have not consecrated at Mass and that you have offered and made others adore simple bread and wine... If then, you are not capable of consecration and ought not to attempt it, what do you do while saying mass and consecrating, but blaspheme and tempt God?” Luther acknowledged at the close of this conference that he was unable to answer the arguments of Satan, and he immediately ceased saying Mass. The details are available in Audin’s Life of Luther, and are quoted by Fr. Michael Muller, C.SS.R., God the Teacher of Mankind – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1885), p. 482.
21. Fr. Jungmann explains that this prayer is simply a confession that we are sinners, “and that the Misereatur was retained, as this prayer, unlike the Indulgentiam, could be said by any layman.” The Mass, p. 167.
22. The word “consubstantial” is of hallowed use since the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), where it as used to distinguish Catholic doctrine from the Arian heresy. The heresiarch Arius, like many liberal Protestants, denied the divinity of Christ, and hence the term “consubstantial” has anti-ecumenical connotations. Pope St. Damasus (366-384) anathematized all who refused to use the term “consubstantial.” The post-Conciliar translators justified this error on the grounds that “the son is not made but begotten, he shares the same kind of being as the Father.” This is, to say the least, semi-Arianism. Michael Davie discusses this issue in PPNM., pp. 619-621.
23. Msgr. Frederick McManus was the directing force behind the English translations. As early as 1963 he objected to the Offertory Prayers that “anticipate the Canon and obscure the sacrificial offering in the Canon itself.” (“The Future: Its Hopes and Difficulties” in The Revival of the Liturgy [New York: Herder & Herder, 1963], pg. 217). One may well wonder how the Church survived over the past 2,000 years withotu the help of these liturgical innovations.
24. Cf. Michael Davies’ Liturgical Revolution – Cranmer’s Godly Order (Devon, England: Augustine, 1976).
25. PPNM., p. 340.
26. Fr. Joseph Jungmann, S.J., The Mass (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976), p. 191.
27. Catholics believe that, providing the priest is validly ordained, uses proper form and matter (words and “material” and/or action), and has the right intention, Consecration occurs. The technical phrase applied to the power of a Sacrament is ex opere operato, meaning that the operation of the Sacrament takes place automatically, if these four requirements are present. It occurs regardless of the spiritual state of the priest or of the people present. Space has limited our ability to discuss the issue of “intention.” Suffice it to say that there is an external intention implicit in the words and action of the priest, and also an internal intention on the part of the priest himself, which we can never know, apart from his informing us of it. In the Traditional Mass, one could presume that the internal intention corresponded with the outer acts and words – the priest would have had to entertain a positively contrary internal intention to invalidate the Mass (i.e., a priest saying the Traditional Mass can intend not to consecrate while using the correct words and actions, and the nothing would happen. Of course he would be guilty of grave sacrilege). In the New Rite, the external words and acts in no way assure us that a proper intention is based on the external words and actions of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Sacrament is, to say the last, most doubtful. For the priest to consecrate – assuming for the moment that such is even possible within this rite, especially when said in many of the vernacular languages – he must have the positive intention to “do what the Church does,” and/or, “to do what Christ intended.” What makes this whole matter extremely germane is that the majority of priests being trained today are not taught traditional Sacramental theology and therefore very likely do not know the nature of the positive intention they must entertain. According to Fr. Robert Burns, C.S.P., an editorial writer for The Wanderer, “Many newly ordained priests are either formal or material heretics on the day of their ordination. This is so, because their teachers embraced Modernist errors and passed them along to their students. Their students, after ordination, in turn propagated these errors, either in catechetical teaching or in pulpit preaching. The same situation is also true in the cases of many older priests who return to schools of theology for updated courses or ‘retooling in theology’.”
28. Hugh Ross Williamson, The Modern Mass (Rockford, IL: TAN, 1971), p. 26. Mr. Williamson appealed to the English hierarchy to remove the words “for us” from Eucharistic Prayer 2 “as evidence of good faith,” but his petition was completely ignored.
29. DOL., Nos. 1712 and 1960.
30. See comment of Fr. Joseph Jungmann, The Mass: An Historical, Theological and Pastoral Survey (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976), p. 201.
31. PPNM., p. 343.
32. It was changed to “You are the one God” on February 24, 1985.
33. The term “Institution” refers to the institution of the Sacrament by Christ, and could be a perfectly legitimate theological word. The idea that the Mass is a mere “narrative,” however, is patently false and entirely Protestant. Despite this, official French catechisms make such statements as “at the heart of the Mass lies a story....” The official French Missal, published with the approval of the French hierarchy, states that the mass “is simply a question of making memorial of the unique sacrifice already accomplished”! (“Il s’agit simplement de faire memoire de l’unique sacrifice deja accompli.”) This statement has been repeated in more than one edition, and this despite the repeated protests of the Faithful. It would however appear to be the “official” teaching of the Conciliar Church in France.
34. Fr. J. O’Connell, The Celebration of the Mass (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1941), v. 1, p. 226.
35. In a previous edition of this booklet, the issue of invalid matter was raised in reference to post-Conciliar legislation which permits alcoholic priests to use grape juice to celebrate the New Mass (DOL., No. 1674, R51). But, as St. Thomas notes (Summa, III, 74), Pope Julius did in fact allow the use or mustum, or the juice of ripe grapes, in cases of necessary. On the other hand, that the artificially-processed beverage we call “grape juice” meets this standard as valid matter seems, to me at least, open to question. Recently, John Paul II, in the name of inculturation, has authorized the ad experimentum (“experimental”) use of hosts made from farina of the casava grain and wine made form corn in Zaire. The source of this statement is La Croix (Paris), August 9, 1989, and reported by Fr. Noel Barbara in Forts dans la Foi, No. 7, 1990.
36. See Catholic Encyclopedia, v. 13, p. 299, 1914 edition.
37. Below are given all the known forms from the various rites which the Church has always accepted as valid. (There are 76 such rites in various languages, but they all fall into one of the patters given below.) Note that the only significant variation relates to the words Mysterium fidei. These two words are said to have been added to the words of Christ by the Apostles – an act entirely within their province and function, for Revelation comes to us both from Christ and the Apostles. The reason for the other minor variations is that the various Apostles established the mass separately, in various parts of the world to which they were dispatched. Thus, St. Thomas informs us, “James, the brother of the Lord according to the flesh, and Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, edited the rite of celebrating the Mass.” (Summa, III, Q. 83, Art. 4). All use the same formula for the Consecration of the Bread. For the wine: Byzantine: “This is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Armenian: “This is My Blood of the New Testament which is shed for you and for many for the expiation and forgiveness of sins.” Coptic: “For this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Ethiopic: “This is My Blood of the New Covenant, which shall be poured out and offered for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life of you and of many.” Maronite: As in the Latin rite. Chaldean: “This is My Blood of the New Covenant, the mystery of faith, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Malabar: “For this is the chalice of My Blood o the New Covenant, the mystery of faith, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Malabar: “For this is the chalice of My Blood of the New and Eternal Testament, the Mystery of Faith, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.” The most complete listing is given in Rev. J. M. Neale and Rev. R. F. Littledale’s The Liturgies of Ss. Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom, and Basil and the Church of Malabar (London: Hayes, date unknown).
38. In the General Instruction that accompanies the New Order of the Mass, these words are referred to as “the words of the Lord,” rather than, as in the rubrics attached to the Traditional Rite, the “Words of Consecration.” I am aware that the second version of the General Instruction was amended in paragraph 55d to read “Institution narrative and consecration,” but this in no way changes the import of what we have said. Consecration can, in the context of the New Mass, simply mean that the bread and wine are “set apart” for sacred use.
39. Cf. footnote 7, page 22. Also cf. DOL., No. 1360.
40. Certain words in the sacramental forms are said to be essential. Others are said to be substantial because they are so intimately connected with the essential words that any change in them involves a change in meaning. Still others are required for the integrity or completeness of the form. Needless to say, anyone who believes in the power of the form (the words of the Sacrament) will hesitate to tinker with it in any way.
41. Luther also wished to do this – a process which again points to the narrative aspect of the New Rite. Cf. Roland Bainton, Here & Eternal (New York: Mentor Paperbacks, 1950/1978).
42. Henry Cardinal Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Church (London: Burns and Oates, 1901).
43. Fr. Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development (new York, Benziger, 1950), v. 1, p. 194. Dom Gaspar Gueranger also noted in his Institutions Liturgiques that “It is to the Apostles that those ceremonies go back... The Apostolic liturgy is found entirely outside of Scripture; it belongs to the domain of Tradition.”
44. De Sacro Altaris Mysterio, quoted by Maurice de la Taille, The Mystery of the Faith, Theses XXIV and XXV, p. 454.
45. This is by no means an isolated quotation. Consider the following: “It is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything on the substance of the Sacraments.” (Pope Saint Pius X, Ex quo nono, Denziger 2147A).
46. Missale Romanum, Desclee. De defectibus. Ch. V, par. 1.
47. “It is clear, if any substantial part of the sacramental form is suppressed, that the essential sense of the words is destroyed; and consequently the Sacrament is invalid.” (Summa, III, Q. 60, Art. 8).
48. Fr. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law (1917) (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1925), v. 4, p. 155, commenting on Canon 817. Some may argue that we now have a New Code of Canon Law, dating from 1983, and therefore that this present observation is no longer a valid objection. However, there is a principle in Canon Law (as in Civil Law) that so long as a law has not been specifically abrogated, it is still in effect. Also, cf. Canon 5 of the 1983 Codex to the same effect.
49. See Interdum, No. 2 (February 24, 1970), p. 2. Joachim Jeremias was a Protestant who specifically denied the possibility of Transubstantiation. His contention that there was no word for “all” in Aramaic is also proved false by referring to Porta Linguarum Orientalium. All this is not a matter of quibbling over inconsequential details. The Council of Nicea fought over the issue of adding one letter to the word homoousios, which change the meaning of the term. As Leo XIII said in Satis Cognitum: “Nothing is more dangerous than the heretics who, while conserving almost all the remainder of the Church’s teaching intact, corrupt with a single word [emphasis mine], like a drop of poison, the purity and simplicity of the Faith which we have received through Tradition from God and through the Apostles.”
50. St. Thomas Aquinas expresses the same opinion in Summa, III, Q. 78, Art. 3.
51. It also confirms St. Thomas’s contention that these words are “determinations of the predicate.”
52. Some French missals use the phrase un grand nombre (a large number).
53. For an interesting study of how this teaching is implicit in the speeches and writings of John-Paul II, see Fr. Louis-Marie de Blignieres, John-Paul II and Catholic Doctrine (1983), distributed by The Roman Catholic Association, Oyster Bay Cove, NY 11771. See also Wiegand Siebel’s Philosophie et theologie de Karol Wojtyla (Basel: SAKA, 1989). An English translation of this book is in preparation at the time of this writing.
54. Many conservative post-Conciliar Catholics argue that the removal of the tabernacles was an “abuse.” They are wrong. It was mandated directly by Rome with the suggestion that they be removed to side chapels. See Fr. Anthony Cekada, “A Response,” The Roman Catholic, January, 1987.
55. Citing Benedict XIV, Constitution Accepimus, 1746.
56. The three cloths are also symbolic of the threefold division of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church triumphant.
57. Quoted from The Works of Thomas Cranmer (London: Parker Society), v. 2, p. 524. The assumption here is that the various actions of the priest in the Traditional Mass are arbitrary and without metaphysical meaning. That such was the case is clearly shown by Fr. James Meagher, D.D., How Christ Said the First Mass (Rockford, IL: TAN, 1984). The Novus Ordo Missae, however, is clearly the product of arbitrary and purely human decisions.
58. Cardinal Lercaro, formerly Bishop of Bologna and nicknamed the “Red Bishop” (The New Montinian Church, Fr. Joaquin Arriaga, Lucidi, California, 1985), was president of the Concilium that created the Novus Ordo Missae. Archbishop Bugnini was secretary. In view of the former’s Communist affiliations and the latter’s Freemasonic connection, it is not surprising that the resulting New Mass is what it is. It should be remembered that, whereas the Concilium created the Mass, Paul VI and the post-Conciliar popes are juridically responsible for its promulgation.
59. It is of interest that the practice of the priest facing the congregation was practiced among priests working with the Boy Scouts and other youth movements in Italy as early as 1933. One chaplain of the Catholic Youth Movement at that time was Fr. Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Paul VI. (See Fr. Francesco Ricossa, “The Liturgical Revolution,” The Roman Catholic, February, 1987).
60. Fr. Henry Davis, S.J., Moral and Pastoral Theology (London: Sheed and Ward, 1936), v. 2, p. 27.
61. Fr. Heribert Jone, Moral Theology (Westminster, MD: Newman, 1952), p. 323.
62. Canon J. M. Herrve, Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae (Paris: Berche et Pagis, 1934).
63. See Canons 844-4, 843-1, and 912, Code of Canon Law, Text and Commentary (New York: Paulist, 1985). The commentaries make this even clearer than the Canons. Too, the post-Conciliar popes have been known personally to authorize intercommunion without either conversion or Confession.
64. Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism is entitled Unitatis Redintegratio – literally, “The Restoring of Unity.” It tells us that “It is the goal of the Council... to nurture whatever can contribute to the unity of all who believe in Christ.”
65. PPNM., p. 280.
66. The term “president” (praestoos in Greek) is found in the First Apology of Justin Martyr, written fro the Emperor Antoninus Pius, a pagan. Fr. Anthony Cekada notes in a book in progress that it is quite possible that Justin chose the term in order to distinguish the Christian priesthood from the pagan priesthood. In the context of the Novus Ordo Missae, it is impossible to divorce the meaning of “president” from its political connotations. This ambiguity is most satisfying to those who, in line with Protestant theology, consider the “minister,” not as one called (through a divine calling, “vocation”) by God, but as a person chosen by the congregation.
67. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., Liturgical Law Today: New Style, New Spirit (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1977), p. 174.
68. The New Order of Mass, Official Text of Instruction, English Version and Commentary, translated by the Monks of Mount Angel Abbey (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977).
69. Those interested in a detailed comparison between the Traditional Mass and the Indult Mass will find it in The Roman Catholic, September, 1984.
70. Philip Hughes, S.J., Rome and the Counter-Reformation in England (London: Sheed and Ward).
71. Triumph, May, 1968.
72. PPNM., pp. 616-619.
73. Quoted in PPNM., pp. 617-618. Our recurrent use of Michael Davies as a source in no way implies that we approve of his theology. Cf. John Daly, Michael Davies, An Evaluation (London: Britons Catholic Lib., 1990).
74. Fr. Cekada is preparing a lengthy study of the New Mass, which will undoubtedly be the most thorough yet published, one chapter of which discusses this entire matter of the emasculation of the orations (collects, secrets, etc.) in the New Mass. Gone from these prayers is virtually all mention of matters typically Catholic, such as sacrifice, grace, sin, reparation, etc.
75. See Fr. Anthony Cekada, “A Response,” The Roman Catholic, January, 1987.
76. Homiletic and Pastoral Review, February, 1979.