CARDINAL OTTAVIANI
The Ottaviani Intervention: A Critical Study of the New Mass

Written by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci and a Group of Roman Theologians

Editor's Note: The New Order of Mass was introduced on April 4, 1969. On June 5, 1969 Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani of the Holy Office, and Antonio Cardinal Bacci, along with a group of Roman theologians, presented Pope Paul VI with a Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass. The Study contained a cover letter signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, which warned that the Novus Ordo, "represents both as a whole, and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent". Among other points, the Study maintains that the faithful "never, absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to make it easier to understand." "On many points," the study says, "it has much to gladden the heart of even the most modernist Protestant." Furthermore, "the definition of the Mass is thus reduced to a 'supper'." "The altar is nearly always called the table." "The instruction recommends that the Blessed Sacrament now be kept in a place apart ...as though it were some sort of relic." "The people themselves appear as possessing autonomous priestly powers." "He [the priest] now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister." For these and many other reasons, the Critical Study concludes that to abandon our liturgical tradition in favor of a liturgy "which teems with insinuations or manifests errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith is . . . an incalculable error." Presented here are Chapter 3 and part of Chapter 4 of this Study. CFN readers are urged to obtain, or re-read, the entire book. This will help Catholics keep their feet on the ground in the midst of the jubilation prompted by the recently-released Liturgiam authenticam. The grave deficiencies pointed out by the Critical Study were not of a flawed translation of the Novus Ordo, but of the original Latin text.

"The Ottaviani Intervention"

Letter from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father, Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, 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. The "canons" of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.

Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come tour notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci

Brief Summary

I History of the Change
The new form of Mass was substantially rejected by the Episcopal Synod, was never submitted to the collegial judgement of the Episcopal Conferences and was never asked for by the people. It has every possibility of satisfying the most modernist of Protestants.

II Definition of the Mass
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.

III Presentation of the Ends
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.

IV The Essence
The Real Presence of Christ is never alluded to and belief in it is implicitly repudiated.

V The Elements of the Sacrifice
The position of both priest and people is falsified and the Celebrant appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister, while the true nature of the Church is intolerably misrepresented.

VI The Destruction of Unity
The abandonment of Latin sweeps away for good and all unity of worship. This may have its effect on unity of belief and the New Order has no intention of standing for the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent to which the Catholic conscience is bound.

VII: The Alienation of the Orthodox
While pleasing various dissenting groups, the New Order will alienate the East.

VIII The Abandonment of Defences
The New Order teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the purity of the Catholic religion and dismantles all defences of the deposit of Faith.


Chapter I
History of the Change

In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was required to pass judgement on the experimental celebration of a so-called "normative Mass" (New Mass), devised by the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a "refusal" of the proposed "normative Mass" (New Mass) on the part of the Synod. Progressively-inclined papers made no mention of it. In the Novus Ordo Missae lately promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, we once again find this "normative Mass" (New Mass), identical in substance, nor does it appear that in the intervening period the Episcopal Conference, at least as such, were ever asked to give their views about it.

In the Apostolic Constitution, it is stated that the ancient Missal promulgated by St. Pius V, 13th July 1570, but going back in great part to St. Gregory the Great and still remoter antiquity, [1] was for four centuries the norm for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice for priests of the Latin rite, and that, taken to every part of the world, "it has moreover been an abundant source of spiritual nourishment to many holy people in their devotion to God". Yet, the present reform, putting it definitely out of use, was claimed to be necessary since "from that time the study of the Sacred Liturgy has become more widespread and intensive among Christians".

This assertion seems to us to embody a serious equivocation. For the desire of the people was expressed, if at all, when - thanks to Pius X - they began to discover the true and everlasting treasures of the liturgy. The people never on any account asked for the liturgy to be changed, or mutilated so as to understand it better. They asked for a better understanding of the changeless liturgy, and one which they would never have wanted changed.

The Roman Missal of St. Pius V was religiously venerated and most dear to Catholics, both priests and laity. One fails to see how its use, together with suitable catechesis, could have hindered a fuller participation in, and great knowledge of the Sacred Liturgy, nor why, when its many outstanding virtues are recognised, this should not have been considered worthy to continue to foster the liturgical piety of Christians.


Rejected by Synod

Since the "normative" Mass (New Mass), now reintroduced and imposed as the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass), was in substance rejected by the Synod of Bishops, was never submitted to the collegial judgement of the Episcopal Conferences, nor have the people - least of all in mission lands - ever asked for any reform of Holy Mass whatsoever, one fails to comprehend the motives behind the new legislation which overthrows a tradition unchanged in the Church since the 4th and 5th centuries, as the Apostolic Constitution itself acknowledges. As no popular demand exists to support this reform, it appears devoid of any logical grounds to justify it and makes it acceptable to the Catholic people.

The Vatican Council did indeed express a desire (para. 50 Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium) for the various parts of the Mass to "be revised in a way that will bring out more clearly the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them." [2]We shall see how the Ordo recently promulgated corresponds with this original intention.

An attentive examination of the Novus Ordo reveals changes of such magnitude as to justify in themselves the judgement already made with regard to the "normative" Mass. Both have in many points every possibility of satisfying the most Modernists of Protestants.

Chapter II
Definition of the Mass

Let us begin with the definition of the Mass given in No. 7 of the "Institutio Generalis" at the beginning of the second chapter on the Novus Ordo: "De structura Missae":

"The Lord's Supper or Mass is a sacred meeting or assembly of the People of God, met together under the presidency of the priest, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. [3]Thus the promise of Christ, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them",[4]is eminently true of the local community in the Church (Mt. XVIII, 20)".
The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of the "supper", and this term is found constantly repeated [5](nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This supper is further characterised as an assembly [6] presided over by the priest and held as a memorial of the Lord, recalling what He did on the first Maundy Thursday. None of this in the very least implies either the Real Presence, or the reality of sacrifice, or the Sacramental function of the consecrating priest, or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the people's presence. It does not, in a word, imply any of the essential dogmatic values of the Mass which together provide its true definition. Here, the deliberate omission of these dogmatic values amounts to their having been superseded and therefore, at least in practice, to their denial. [7]

In the second part of this paragraph 7 it is asserted, aggravating the already serious equivocation, that there holds good, "eminently", for this assembly Christ's promise that "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. XVIII, 20). This promise which refers only to the spiritual presence of Christ with His grace, is thus put on the same qualitative plane, save for the greater intensity, as the substantial and physical reality of the Sacramental Eucharistic Presence.

In no. 8 a subdivision of the Mass into "liturgy of the word" and Eucharistic liturgy immediately follows, with the affirmation that in the Mass is made ready "the table of the God's word" as of "the Body of Christ", so that the faithful "may be built up and refreshed"; an altogether improper assimilation of the two parts of the liturgy, as though between two points of equal symbol value. More will be said about this point later.

This Mass is designed by a great many different expressions, all acceptable relatively, all unacceptable if employed, as they are, separately in an absolute sense.

We cite a few: The Action of the People of God; The Lord's Supper or Mass, the Pascal Banquet; The Common Participation of the Lord's Table; The Eucharistic Prayer; The Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy.

As is only too evident, the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the supper and the memorial instead of upon the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The formula "The Memorial of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord", besides, is inexact, the Mass being the memorial of the Sacrifice [8] alone, in itself redemptive, while the Resurrection is the consequent fruit of it.

We shall later see how, in the very consecratory formula, and throughout the Novus Ordo, such equivocations are renewed and reiterated.

Chapter III
Presentation of the Ends

We now turn to the ends or purposes of the Mass-----what it accomplishes in the supernatural order.

1. Ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose of the Mass is the sacrifice of praise rendered to the Most Holy Trinity. This end conforms to the primary purpose of the Incarnation, explicitly enunciated by Christ Himself: "Coming into the world he saith: sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast fitted me." (9)

In the Novus Ordo, this purpose has disappeared:

2. Ordinary Purpose. The ordinary purpose of the Mass is propitiatory sacrifice-----making satisfaction to God for sin.

This end, too, has been compromised. Instead of emphasizing remission for sins for the living and the dead, the new rite stresses the nourishment and sanctification of those present. (10)

At the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament and thus placed Himself in It as Victim, in order to unite Himself to us as Victim. But this act of sacrificial immolation occurs before the Blessed Sacrament is consumed and possesses beforehand full redemptive value in relation to the bloody Sacrifice on Calvary. The proof for this is that people who assist are not bound to receive Communion sacramentally. (11)

3. Immanent Purpose. The immanent purpose of the Mass is fundamentally that of sacrifice.

It is essential that the Sacrifice, whatever its nature, be pleasing to God and accepted by Him. Because of original sin, however, no sacrifice other than the Christ's Sacrifice can claim to be acceptable and pleasing to God in its own right.

The Novus Ordo alters the nature of the sacrificial offering by turning it into a type of exchange of gifts between God and man. Man brings the bread, and God turns it into "the bread of life"; man brings the wine, and God turns it into "spiritual drink:"

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
for through your goodness
we have this bread [or wine] to offer,
fruit of the earth [vine] and work of human hands.
It will become for us the bread of life [spiritual drink]. (12)

The expressions "bread of life" and "spiritual drink," of course, are utterly vague and could mean anything. Once again, we come up against the same basic equivocation: According to the new definition of the Mass, Christ is only spiritually present among His own; here, bread and wine are only spiritually-----and not substantially-----changed. (13)

In the Preparation of the Gifts, a similar equivocal game was played. The old Offertory contained two magnificent prayers, the Deus qui humanae and the Offerimus tibi:

In the Novus Ordo, both these prayers have been eliminated.

In the Eucharistic Prayers, moreover, the repeated petitions to God that He accept the Sacrifice have also been suppressed; thus, there is no longer any clear distinction between Divine and human sacrifice.

Having removed the keystone, the reformers had to put up scaffolding. Having suppressed the real purposes of the Mass, they had to substitute fictitious purposes of their own. This forced them to introduce actions stressing the union between priest and faithful, or among the faithful themselves-----and led to the ridiculous attempt to superimpose offerings for the poor and for the Church on the offering of the host to be immolated.

The fundamental uniqueness of the Victim to be sacrificed will thus be completely obliterated. Participation in the immolation of Christ the Victim will turn into a philanthropists' meeting or a charity banquet.

Chapter IV
The Essence

 
We now consider the essence of the Sacrifice. The New Order of Mass no longer explicitly expresses the mystery of the Cross. It is obscured, veiled, imperceptible to the faithful. (14) Here are some of the main reasons:

1. The Meaning of the Term "Eucharistic Prayer." The meaning the Novus Ordo assigns to the so-called "Eucharistic Prayer" is as follows:

The entire congregation joins itself to Christ in acknowledging the great things God has done and in offering the sacrifice." (15)

Which sacrifice does this refer to? Who offers the sacrifice? No answer is given to these questions.
The definition the Instruction provides for the "Eucharistic Prayer" reduces it to the following:

The center and summit of the entire celebration begins: the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. (16)

The effects of the prayer thus replace the causes.

And of the causes, moreover, not a single word is said. The explicit mention of the purpose of the sacrificial offering, made in the old rite with the prayer Receive, Most Holy Trinity, This Oblation, has been suppressed--and replaced with nothing. The change in the formula reveals the change in doctrine.

2. Obliteration of the Role of the Real Presence. The reason why the Sacrifice is no longer explicitly mentioned is simple: the central role of the Real Presence has been suppressed. It has been removed from the place it so resplendently occupied in the old liturgy.

In the General Instruction, the Real Presence is mentioned just once-----and that in a footnote which is the only reference to the Council of Trent. Here again, the context is that of nourishment. (17) The real and permanent presence of Christ in the transubstantiated Species-----Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity-----is never alluded to. The very word transubstantiation is completely ignored.

The invocation of the Holy Ghost in the Offertory-----the prayer Come, Thou Sanctifier-----has likewise been suppressed, with its petition that He descend upon the offering to accomplish the miracle of the Divine Presence again, just as he once descended into the Virgin's womb. This suppression is one more in a series of denials and degradations of the Real Presence, both tacit and systematic.

Finally, it is impossible to ignore how ritual gestures and usages expressing faith in the Real Presence have been abolished or changed. The Novus Ordo eliminates:

All these suppressions only emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.

3. THE ROLE OF THE MAIN ALTAR. The altar is nearly always called the table: [19] "...the altar or the Lord's table, which is the center of the whole eucharistic liturgy..." [20]

The altar must now be detached from the back wall so that the priest can walk around it and celebrate Mass facing the people. [21]

The Instruction states that the altar should be at the center of the assembled faithful, so that their attention is spontaneously drawn to it. Comparing this Article with another, however, seems to exclude outright the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar where Mass is celebrated. [22] This will signal an irreparable dichotomy between the presence of Christ the High Priest in the priest celebrating the Mass and Christ's sacramental Presence. Before, they were one and the same Presence. Before, they were one and the same Presence. [23] The Instruction recommends that the Blessed Sacrament now be kept in a place apart for private devotion--as though It were some sort of relic. Thus, on entering a church, one's attention will be drawn not to a tabernacle, but to a table stripped bare. Once again, private piety is set up against liturgical piety, and altar is set up against altar. The Instruction urges that hosts distributed for Communion be ones consecrated at the same Mass. It also recommends consecrating a large wafer, [24] so that the priest can share a part of it with the faithful. It is always the same disparaging attitude towards both the tabernacle and every form of Eucharistic piety outside of Mass. This constitutes a new and violent blow to faith that the Real Presence continues as long as the consecrated Species remain. [25]

4. THE FORMULAS FOR THE CONSECRATION. The old formula for the Consecration was a *sacramental* formula, properly speaking, and not merely a *narrative*. This was shown above by three things:

  1. The Text Employed. The Scripture text was not used word-for-word as the formula for the Consecration in the old Missal. St. Paul's expression, the "Mystery of Faith," was inserted into the text as an immediate expression of the priest's faith in the mystery which the Church makes real through the hierarchical priesthood.
  2. Typography and Punctuation. In the old Missal, a period and a new paragraph separated the words "Take ye all of this and eat" from the words of the sacramental form, "This is My Body." The period and the new paragraph marked the passage from a merely *narrative* mode to a *sacramental* and *affirmative* mode which is proper to a true sacramental action. The words of Consecration in the Roman Missal, moreover, were printed in larger type in the center of the page. Often a different color ink was used. All these things clearly detached the words from a merely historical context, and combined to give the formula of Consecration a proper and autonomous value.
  3. The Anamnesis. The Roman Missal added the words "As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of Me" after the formula of Consecration. This formula referred not merely to remembering Christ or a past event, but to Christ acting in the here and now. It was an invitation to recall not merely His Person or the Last Supper, but *to do* what He did *in the way* that He did it. In the Novus Ordo, the words of St. Paul, "Do this in memory of Me," will now replace the old formula and be daily proclaimed in the vernacular everywhere. This will inevitably cause hearers to concentrate on the remembrance of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, rather than as its beginning. The idea of commemoration will thus soon replace the idea of the Mass as a sacramental action. [26] The General Instruction emphasizes the narrative mode further when it describes the Consecration as the "Institution Narrative" [27] and when it adds that, "in fulfillment of the command received from Christ...the Church keeps his memorial." [28] All this, in short, changes the modus significandi of the words of Consecration--how they show forth the sacramental action taking place. The priest now pronounces the formulas for Consecration as part of an historical narrative, rather than as Christ's representative issuing the affirmative judgment "This is My Body." [29] Furthermore, the people's Memorial Acclamation which immediately follows the Consecration--"Your holy death, we proclaim, O Lord...until you come"--introduces the same ambiguity about the Real Presence under the guise of an allusion to the Last Judgment. Without so much as a pause, the people proclaim their expectation of Christ at the end of time, just at the moment when He is *substantially present* on the altar--as if Christ's real coming will occur only at the end of time, rather than there on the altar itself. The second optional Memorial Acclamation brings this out even more strongly:

"When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory."

The juxtaposition of entirely different realities--immolation and eating, the Real Presence and Christ's Second Coming--brings ambiguity to a new height. [30]

Chapter V
The Elements of the Sacrifice


We now consider the question of who performs the Sacrifice. In the old rite, these were, in order: Christ, the priest, the Church and the faithful.

1. The Role of the Faithful in the New Rite. In the New Mass, the role attributed to the faithful is autonomous, absolute--and hence completely false. This is obvious not only from the new definition of the Mass ("...the sacred assembly or congregation of the people gathering together..."), but also from the General Instruction's observation that the priest's opening Greeting is meant to convey to the assembled community the presence of the Lord:

Then through his greeting the priest declares to the assembled community that the Lord is present. This greeting and response express the mystery of the gathered Church. [31]

Is this the true presence of Christ? Yes, but only a spiritual presence. A mystery of the Church? Certainly--but only insofar as the assembly manifests and asks for Christ's presence. This new notion is stressed over and over again by: 

The faithful's "priestly office is presented equivocally, as if it were autonomous, by omitting to mention that it is subordinated to the priest, who, as consecrated mediator, presents the people's petitions to God during the Canon of the Mass.

The Novus Ordo's Eucharistic Prayer III addresses the following prayers to the Lord:

From age to age you gather a people to yourself, *so that* from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.

The "so that" in the passage makes it appear that the people, rather than the priest, are the indispensable element in the celebration. Since it is never made clear, even here, who offers the sacrifice, the people themselves appear as possessing autonomous priestly powers. [35] From this step, it would not be surprising if, before long, the people were permitted to join with the priest if pronouncing the words of Consecration. Indeed, in some places this has already happened.

2. The Role of the Priest in the New Rite. The role of the priest is minimized, changed, and falsified:

3. The Role of the Church in the New Rite. Finally, there is the Church's position in relation to Christ. In only one instance--in its treatment of the form of the Mass without a Congregation--does the General Instruction admit that the Mass is "the action of Christ and the Church." [40] In the case of Mass with a Congregation, however, the only object the Instruction hints as it "remembering Christ" and sanctifying those present. "The priest celebrant," it says, "...joins the people to himself in offering the sacrifice through Christ in the Spirit to the Father" [41]--instead of saying that the people join themselves to Christ who offers Himself through the Holy Ghost to the Father. In this context, the following points should likewise be noted:

The many grave omissions of the phrase "through Christ Our Lord," a formula which guarantees that God will hear the Church's prayers in every age. [42]

In Eucharistic Prayer IV the Church--as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic--is abased by eliminating the Roman Canon's petition for all orthodox believers who keep the Catholic and Apostolic faith. These are now merely all who seek you with a sincere heart. The Memento of the Dead in the Canon, moreover, is offered not as before for those who are gone before us with the sign of faith, but merely for those who have died in the peace of Christ. To this group--with further detriment to the notion of the Church's unity and visibility--Eucharistic Prayer IV adds the great crowd of "all the dead whose faith is known to You alone." None of the three new Eucharistic Prayers, moreover, alludes to a suffering state for those who have died; none allows the priest to make special Mementos for the dead. All this necessarily undermines faith in the propitiatory and redemptive nature of the sacrifice. [43] Everywhere desacralizing omissions debase the mystery of the Church. Above all, the Church's nature as a sacred hierarchy is disregarded. The second part of the new collective Confiteor reduces the Angels and the Saints to anonymity in the first part, in the person of St. Michael the Archangel, they have disappeared as witnesses and judges. [44] In the Preface for Eucharistic Prayer II--and this is unprecedented--the various angelic hierarchies have disappeared. Also suppressed, in the third prayer of the old Canon, is the memory of the holy Pontiffs and Martyrs on whom the Church in Rome was founded; without a doubt, these were the saints who handed down the apostolic tradition finally completed under Pope St. Gregory as the Roman Mass. The prayer after the Our Father, the "Libera Nos," now suppresses the mention of the Blessed Virgin, the holy apostles and all the Saints; their intercession is thus no longer sought, even it times of danger. Everywhere except in the Roman Canon, the Novus Ordo eliminates not only the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Church in Rome, but also the names of the other Apostles, the foundation and mark of the one and universal Church. This intolerable omission, extending even to the three new Eucharistic Prayers, compromises the unity of the Church. The New Order of Mass further attacks the dogma of the Communion of Saints by suppressing the blessing and the salutation "The Lord Be with You" when the priest says Mass without a server. It also eliminates the "Ite Missa Est," even in Masses celebrated with a server. [45] The double Confiteor at the beginning of the Mass showed how the priest, vested as Christ's minister and bowing profoundly, acknowledged himself unworthy of both is sublime mission and the "tremendous mystery" he was to enact. Then, in the prayer "Take Away Our Sins," he acknowledged his unworthiness to enter the Holy of Holies, recommending himself with the prayer "We Beseech Thee, O Lord" to the merits and intercession of the martyrs whose relics were enclosed in the altar. Both prayers have been suppressed. What was said previously about elimination of the two-fold Confiteor and Communion rite is equally relevant here. The outward setting of the Sacrifice, a sign of its sacred character, has been profaned. See, for example, the new provisions for celebrating Mass outside a church: a simple table, containing neither a consecrated altar-stone nor relics and covered with a single cloth, is allowed to suffice for an altar. [46] Here too, all we have said previously in regard to the Real Presence applies--disassociation of the "banquet" and the Sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence itself.

The process of desacralization is made complete, thanks to the new and grotesque procedure for the Offertory Procession, the reference to ordinary (rather than unleavened) bread, and allowing servers (and even lay people, when receiving Communion under both Species) to handle sacred vessels. [47] then there is the distracting atmosphere created in the church: the ceaseless comings and goings of priest, deacon, subdeacon, cantor, commentator--the priest himself becomes a commentator, constantly encouraged to "explain" what he is about to do-- of lectors (men and women), of servers or laymen welcoming people at the door and escorting them to their places, while others carry and sort offerings. And in an era of frenzy for a "return to Scripture," we now find, in contradiction of both the Old Testament and St. Paul, the presence of a "suitable woman" who for the first time in the Church's history is authorized to proclaim the Scripture readings and "perform other ministries outside the sanctuary." [48] Finally, there is the mania for concelebration, which will ultimately destroy the priest's Eucharistic piety by overshadowing the central figure of Christ, sole priest and Victim, and by dissolving Him into the collective presence presence of concelebrants. [49]

Chapter VI
The Destruction of Unity


We have limited ourselves above to a short study of the Novus Ordo where it deviates most seriously from the theology of the Catholic Mass. Our observations touch upon deviations which are typical. To prepare a complete study of all the pitfalls, dangers, and psychologically and spiritually destructive elements the new rite contains, whether in texts, rubrics, or instructions, would be a vast undertaking. We have taken no more than a passing glance at the three new Eucharistic Prayers, since they have already come in for repeated and authoritative criticism. The second gave immediate scandal to the faithful due to its brevity. [50] Of Eucharistic Prayer II it has well been said that a priest who no longer believed in either Transubstantiation or the sacrificial character of the Mass could recite it with perfect tranquillity of conscience, and that a Protestant minister, moreover, could use it in his own celebrations just as well. The new Missal was introduced in Rome as an "abundant resource for pastoral work," as "a text more pastoral than juridical," which national bishops' conferences could adapt, according to circumstances, to the "spirit" of different peoples. Section One of the new Congregation for Divine Worship, moreover, will now be responsible "for the publication and *constant revision* of liturgical books." This idea was echoed recently in the official newsletter of the Liturgical Institutes of Germany, Switzerland and Austria:

The Apostolic Constitution itself, in promulgating the Novus Ordo Missae, deals a deathblow to the Church's universal language when--contrary to the express wish of the Second Vatican Council--it unequivocally states that "in great diversity of languages, one [?] and the same prayer will ascend, more fragrant than incense." The demise of Latin may therefore be taken for granted, Gregorian chant--which Vatican II recognized as a distinctive characteristic of the Roman liturgy, decreeing that it "be given pride of place in liturgical services" [52] --will logically follow, given, among other things, the freedom of choice permitted in choosing texts for the Introit and the Gradual. From the outset, therefore, the new rite was pluralistic and experimental, bound to time and place. Since unity of worship has been shattered once and for all, what basis will exist for the unity of the faith which accompanied it and which, we were told, was always to be defended without compromise? It is obvious that the New Order of Mass has no intention of presenting the Faith taught by the Council of Trent. But it is to this Faith that the Catholic conscience is bound forever. Thus, with the promulgation of the New Order of Mass, the true Catholic is faced with a tragic need to choose.

Chapter VII
The Alienation of the Orthodox



The Apostolic Constitution explicitly mentions the riches of piety and doctrine the Novus Ordo supposedly borrows from the Eastern Churches. But the result is so removed from, and indeed opposed to the spirit of the Eastern liturgies that it can only leave the faithful in those rites revolted and horrified. What do these ecumenical borrowings amount to? Basically, to introducing multiple texts for the Eucharistic Prayer (the anaphora)--none of which approaches their Eastern counterparts' complexity or beauty--and to permitting Communion Under Both Species and the use of deacons. Against this, the New Order of Mass appears to have been deliberately shorn of every element where the Roman liturgy came closest to the Eastern Rites. [53] At the same time, by abandoning its unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, the Novus Ordo cast off what was spiritually precious of its own. In place of this are elements which bring the new rite closer to certain Protestant liturgies, not even those closest to Catholicism. At the same time, these new elements degrade the Roman liturgy and further alienate it from the East, as did the reforms which preceded the Novus Ordo. In compensation, the new liturgy will delight all those groups hovering on the verge of apostasy who, during a spiritual crisis without precedent, now wreak havoc in the Church by poisoning Her organism and by undermining Her unity in doctrine, worship, morals and discipline.

Chapter VIII
The Abandonment of Defences


St. Pius V had the Roman Missal drawn up (as the present Apostolic Constitution now recalls) as an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the injunctions of the Council of Trent, the Missal was to exclude all dangers, either to liturgical worship or to the faith itself, then threatened by the Protestant Revolt. The grave situation fully justified--and even rendered prophetic--the saintly Pontiff's solemn warning given in 1570 at the end of the Bull promulgating his Missal:

Should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of God Almighty and His holy Apostles Peter and Paul. [54]

When the Novus Ordo was presented at the Vatican Press Office, it was impudently asserted that conditions which prompted the decrees of the Council of Trent no longer exist. Not only do these decrees still apply today, but conditions now are infinitely worse. It was precisely to repel those snares which in every age threaten the pure Deposit of Faith, [55] that the Church, under divine inspiration, set up dogmatic definitions and doctrinal pronouncements as her defenses. These in turn immediately influenced her worship, which became the most complete monument to her faith. Trying to return this worship to the practices of Christian antiquity and recreating artificially the original spontaneity of ancient times is to engage in that "unhealthy archaeologism" Pius XII so roundly condemned. [56] It is, moreover, to dismantle all the theological ramparts erected for the protection of the rite and to take away all the beauty which enriched it for centuries. [57] And all this at one of the most critical moments--if not the most critical moment--in the Church's history! Today, division and schism are officially acknowledged to exist not only outside the Church, but within her as well. [58] The Church's unity is not only threatened, but has already been tragically compromised. [59] Errors against the Faith are not merely insinuated, but are--as has been likewise acknowledged--now forcibly imposed through liturgical abuses and aberrations. To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries stood as a sign and pledge of unity in worship, [60] and to replace it with another liturgy which, due to the countless liberties it implicitly authorizes, cannot but be a sign of division--a liturgy which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith--is, we feel bound in conscience to proclaim, an incalculable error.

Corpus Domini 5 June 1969

Notes:

1. "The prayers of Our Canon are found in the treatise De Sacramentis (4th, 5th centuries)...Our Mass goes back without essential changes to the epoch in which it developed for the first time from the most ancient common liturgy. It still preserves the fragrance of that primitive liturgy, in times when Caesar governed the world and hoped to extinguish the Christian faith' times when our forefathers would gather together before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as their God...There is not in all Christendom a rite so venerable as that of the Roman Missal." (Rev. Adrian Fortescue). "The Roman Canon, such as it is today, goes back to St. Gregory the Great. Neither in East nor West is there any Eucharistic prayer remaining in use today that can boast such antiquity. For the Roman Church to throw it overboard would be tantamount, in the eyes not only of the Orthodox, but also of the Anglicans and even Protestants having still to some extent a sense of tradition, to a denial of all claim any more to be the true Catholic Church." (Rev. Louis Bouyer)

2. SC 50, DOL 50.

3. A footnote in the Instruction refers us to two texts of Vatican II. But nothing in the texts justifies the new definition, as it is evident from the following: "Through the ministry of the bishop, God consecrates priests...In exercising sacred functions they therefore act as the ministers of him who in the liturgy continually fulfill his priestly office on our behalf....By the celebration of Mass people sacramentally offer the sacrifice of Christ." Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterum Ordinis, 7 December 1965, Section 5, DOL 260. "For in the liturgy God is speaking to his people and Christ is still proclaiming his Gospel. And the people are responding to God both by song and prayer. Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest, who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ, are said in the name of the entire holy people and of all present." SC 33, DOL 33. One is at a loss to explain how the Instruction's definition could have been drawn from these texts. We note too how the new definition of the Mass alters what Vatican II laid down in Presbyterum Ordinis Section 5: "The Eucharistic assembly is the center of the congregation of the faithful." Since the center in the New Order of the Mass has been fraudulently spirited away, the congregation has now usurped its place.
4. GI 7, DOL 1937 fn.
5. GI 8, DOL 1398; GI 48, DOL 1438 fn. GI 55.d, DOL 1445 fin; GI 56, DOL 1446.
6. The Council of Trent reaffirms the Real Presence in the following words: "To begin with, the holy council teaches and openly and straightforwardly professes that in the blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really and substantially contained under the perceptible species of bread and wine." DB 874. Session 22 which interests us directly (De sanctissimo Missae Sacrificio) clearly synthesized the approved doctrine in nine canons (DB 937a-956): 1) The Mass is not a mere symbolic representation, but rather a true, visible sacrifice, instituted "to re-present the bloody sacrifice which [Christ] accomplished on the cross once and for all. It was to perpetuate his memory until the end of the world. Its salutary strength was to be applied for the remission of the sins that we daily commit." DB 938. 2) "Declaring himself constituted a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, [Our Lord] offered his body and blood under the species of bread and wine to God the Father and he gave his body and blood under the same species to the apostles to receive, making them priests of the New Testament at that time...He ordered the apostles and their successors in the priesthood to offer this sacrifice when he said, 'Do this in remembrance of me,' as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught." DB 938. The celebrant, offerer and sacrificer is the ordained priest, and not the people of God or the assembly: "If anyone says that by the words, 'Do this in remembrance of me,' Christ did not make the apostles priests, or that he did not decree that they and other priests should offer his body and blood: let him be anathema." Canon 2, DB 949. The Sacrifice of the Mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice, and not a simple memorial of the sacrifice offered on the cross: "If anyone says that the Sacrifice of the Mass is merely an offering of praise and of thanksgiving, or that it is a simple memorial of the sacrifice offered on the cross, and not propitiatory, or that it benefits only those who communicate; and that it should not be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfaction, and other necessities: let him be anathema." Canon 3, DB 950. Canon 6 should likewise be kept in mind: "If anyone says that there are errors in the Canon of the Mass and that it should therefore be done away with: let him be anathema." DB 953. Likewise Canon 8: "If anyone says that Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally are illicit and should be done away with: let him be anathema." DB 955.
7. It is perhaps superfluous to recall that, if a single defined dogma were denied, all dogma would fall ipso facto, insofar as the principle of the infallibility of the supreme hierarchical magisterium, whether conciliar or papal, would thereby be destroyed.
8. In light of the first prayer after the Consecration in the Roman Canon (Unde et memores), the Ascension could also be added. The Unde et memores, however, does not lump different realities together. It makes a clear and fine distinction: "calling to mind...the blessed passion, and also His rising from the dead and His glorious Ascension into Heaven."

9. Ps. 50:7-9, in Heb. 10:5.
10. GI 54, DOL 1444.

11. This shift of emphasis occurs in the three new Eucharistic Prayers, which eliminate the Memento of the Dead and any mention of souls suffering in Purgatory, to whom the propitiatory Sacrifice is applied.
12. See "Mysterium Fidei," in which Paul VI condemns the errors of symbolism together with the new theories of "transignification: and "transfinalization": "...it is not allowable...to stress the sign value of the sacrament as if the symbolism, which to be sure all acknowledge in the Eucharist, expresses fully and exhaustively the meaning of Christ's presence; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning the marvelous changing of the whole substance of the bread into the body and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood of Christ, as stated by the Council of Trent, so that only what is called 'transignification' or 'transfinalization' is involved." Encyclical "Mysterium Fidei" on the doctrine and worship of the Eucharist, 3 September 1965, Section 11, DOL 1155.
13. "Mysterium Fidei" amply denounces and condemns introducing new formulas or expressions which, though occurring in texts of the Fathers, the Councils, and the Church's magisterium, are used in a univocal sense that is not subordinated to the substance of doctrine with which they form an inseparable whole (e.g., "spiritual nourishment," "spiritual food," "spiritual drink," etc.): "Not only the integrity of the faith, but also its proper mode of expression must be safeguarded, lest, God forbid, by the careless use of words we introduce false notions about the most sublime realities." He quotes St. Augustine: " 'We, however, have the obligation to speak according to a definite norm, lest the carelessness of our words give rise to impious ideas about the very realities signified by these words.' " He continues: "We must religiously respect the rule of terminology; after centuries of effort and under the protection of the Holy Spirit the Church has established it and confirmed it by the authority of councils; that norm often became the watchword and the banner of orthodox belief. Let no one arbitrarily or under the pretext of new science presume to change it...In like manner we must not put up with anyone's personal wish to modify the formulas in which the Council of Trent set forth the mystery of the Eucharist for belief." Sections 23, 24; DOL 1167-8.
14. Contradicting what Vatican II prescribed. (Cf. SC 48, DOL 48).
15. GI 54, DOL 1444.
16. GI 54, DOL 1444.
17. GI 241 fn. 69, DOL 1630.
18. GI 129, DOL 1629.
19. The Instruction recognizes the altar's primary function only once: "At the altar, the sacrifice of the cross is made present under sacramental signs." GI 259, DOL 1649. This single reference seems insufficient to remove the equivocation resulting from the other, more frequently used term.
20. GI 49, DOL 1489. Cf. GI 262, DOL 1652.
21. GI 262, DOL 1652.
22. GI 262, DOL 1652, and GI 276, DOL 1666. 23.
23. "To separate tabernacle from altar is to separate two things which by their origin and nature should remain united." Pius XII, "Allocution to the International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy." 22 September 1956, PTL 817. See also Pius XII, Encyclical "Mediator Dei," 20 November 1947, PTL 550, quoted below.
24. Rarely does the Novus Ordo use the word hostia. In liturgical books this traditional term has a precise meaning: "victim." Again we encounter a systematic attempt to emphasize only "supper" and "food."
25. Following their customary practice of substituting one thing for another, the reformers made Christ's presence in the proclaimed word equal to the Real Presence. (See GI 7, 54; DOL 1397, 1444). But Christ's presence when Scripture is proclaimed is of a different nature and has no reality except when it is taking place (in usu). Christ's Real Presence in the consecrated Host, on the other hand, is objective, permanent and independent of the reception of the Sacrament. The formulae "God is speaking to his people," and "Christ is present to the faithful through his own word" (GI 33, DOL 1423) are typically Protestant. Strictly speaking, they have no meaning, since God's presence in the word is mediated, bound to an individual's spiritual act or condition, and only temporary. This formula leads to a tragic error: the conclusion, expressed or implied, that the Real Presence continues only as long as the Sacrament is in the process of being used--received at Communion time, for instance--and that the Real Presence ends when the use ends.
26. As the General Instruction describes it, the sacramental action originated at the moment Our Lord gave the Apostles His Body and Blood "to eat" under the appearances of bread and wine. The sacramental action thus no longer consists in the consecratory action and the mystical separation of the Body from the Blood--the very essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice. See "Mediator Dei," esp. Part II, Chapter I, PTL 551, ff.
27. GI 55.d, DOL 1445 fn..
28. GI 55.d, DOL 1445.
29. As they appear in the context of the Novus Ordo, the words of Consecration could be valid in virtue of the priest's intention. But since their validity no longer comes from the force of the sacramental words themselves (ex vi verborum)--or more precisely, from the meaning (modus significandi) the old rite of the Mass gave to the formula--the words of Consecration in the New Order of Mass could also not be valid. Will priests in the near future, who receive no traditional formation and who rely on the Novus Ordo for the intention of "doing what the Church does," validly consecrate at Mass? One may be allowed to doubt it.
30. Let it not be said, following the methods of Protestant biblical scholarship, that these phrases being in the same Scriptural context. The Church always avoided superimposing and juxtaposing the texts, precisely in order to avoid confusing the different realities they express.
31. GI 28, DOL 1418
32. GI 74-152, DOL 1464-1542.
33. GI 209-231, DOL 1599-1621.
34. GI 45, DOL 1435.
35. Against the Lutherans and Calvinists who teach that all Christians are priests and offerers of the Lord's Supper, see A. Tanquerey, "Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae," (Paris, Tournai, Rome: Desclee, 1930), v. III: "Each and every priest is, strictly speaking, a secondary minister of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself is the principal minister. The faithful offer *through the intermediary of the priest, but not in a strict sense*." Cf. Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 2, DB 949.
36. GI 55, DOL 1445.
37. GI 298, DOL 1688 fn..
38. We note in passing an unthinkable innovation which will have disastrous psychological effects; employing *red* vestments on Good Friday instead of black (GI 308.b, DOL 1698)--as if Good Friday were the commemoration of just another martyr, instead of the day on which the whole Church mourns for her Founder. (Cf. Mediator Dei, PTL 550, quoted below.)
39. Rev. A. M. Rouget, OP, speaking to the Dominican Sisters of Bethany at Plessit-Chenet.
40. GI 4, DOL 1394. Cf. "Presbyterum Ordinis," Section 13, DOL 265.
41. GI 60, DOL 1450 fn.
42. See Jn. 14:13-16, 23-24.
43. In some translations of the Roman Canon, the phrase a place of refreshment, light and peace was rendered as a simple state: "blessedness, light, peace." What can be said then of the disappearance of every explicit reference to the Church Suffering?
44. Amidst this flurry of omissions, only one element has been added: the mention in the Confiteor of "what I have failed to do."
45. At the press conference introducing the Novus Ordo, Rev. Joseph Lecuyer, CSSp, professing a purely rationalist faith, discussed changing the priest's salutations in Mass without a Congregation from plural to singular ("Pray, brother," for example, replaces "Pray, brethren.") His reason was "so that there would be nothing [in the Mass] which does not correspond with the truth."
46. GI Section 260, 265; DOL 1650, 1655.
47. GI 244.C, DOL 1634.
48. GI 70, DOL 1460, fn.
49. It now seems lawful for priest to receive Communion under both species at a concelebration, even when they are obliged to celebrate Mass alone before or after concelebrating.
50. It has been presented as "The Canon of Hippolytus," but only a few traces of that original text remain in the new rite.
51. Gottesdienst no. 9 (14 May 1969).
52. SC 116, DOL 116.
53. Consider the following elements found in the Byzantine rite: lengthy and repeated penitential prayers; solemn vesting rites for the celebrant and deacon; the preparation of the offerings at the "proscomidia," a complete rite in itself; repeated invocations, even in the prayers of offering, to the Blessed Virgin and the Saints; invocations of the choirs of Angels at the Gospel as "invisible concelebrants," while the choir identifies itself with the angelic choirs in the "Cherubicon;" the sanctuary screen (iconostasis) separating the sanctuary from the rest of the church and the clergy from the people; the hidden Consecration, symbolizing the divine mystery to which the entire liturgy alludes; the position of the priest who celebrates facing God, and never facing the people; Communion given always and only by the celebrant; the continual marks of adoration toward the Sacred Species; the essentially contemplative attitude of the people. The fact that these liturgies, even in their less solemn forms, last for over an hour and are constantly defined as "awe-inspiring, unutterable...heavenly, life-giving mysteries" speaks for itself. Finally, we note how in both the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil, the concept of "supper" or "banquet" appears clearly subordinate to the concept of sacrifice --just as it was in the Roman Mass.
54. Bull "Quo Primum," 13 July 1570. In Session 23 (Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist), the Council of Trent announced its intention to "uproot completely the cockle of the damnable errors and schism which in these fateful times of ours and enemy has sown (see Matt. 13:25) in the teaching of the faith about the Holy Eucharist and about the use and worship of the Eucharist. In addition to his other purpose, our Saviour left the Eucharist in his Church as a symbol of unity and love which he desired to unify and unite all Christians." DB 873.
55. "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words." (1 Tim. 6:20)
56. "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the Sacred Liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the right path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the Divine Redeemer's Body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings...This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Synod of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "depositum fidei" committed to her charge by her Divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn." "Mediator Dei," I.5, PTL 548, 549.
57. "Let us not deceive ourselves with the suggestion that the Church, which has become great and majestic for the glory of God as a magnificent temple of His, must be brought to its original and smallest proportions, as though they were the only true ones, the only good ones." Paul VI, Encyclical "Ecclesiam Suam," 6 August 1964.
58. "A practically schismatic ferment divides, subdivides, splits the Church." Paul VI, Homily "In Coena Domini," 3 April 1969.
59. "There are also among us those "schisms" and "separations" which St. Paul sadly denounces in I Corinthians." Paul VI, ibid.
60. It is well-known how Vatican II is now being repudiated by the very men who once gloried in being its leaders. While the Pope declared at the Council's end that it had changed nothing, these men came away determined to "explode" the Council's teachings in the process of actually applying it. Unfortunately the Holy See, with inexplicable haste, approved and even seemingly encouraged through Consilium an ever-increasing infidelity to the Council.. This infidelity went from changes in mere form (Latin, Gregorian Chant, suppression of the ancient rites, etc.) all the way to changes in substance which the Novus Ordo sanctions. To the disastrous consequences we have attempted to point out here, we must add those which, with an even greater effect psychologically, will affect the Church's discipline and teaching authority by undermining the respect and docility owed the Holy See.

Reprinted from the June 2001 Issue of Catholic Family News.

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