Written by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci and a Group of Roman Theologians
Editor's Note: The New
of Mass was introduced on April 4, 1969. On June 5, 1969 Alfredo
Ottaviani of the Holy Office, and Antonio Cardinal Bacci, along with a
group of Roman theologians, presented Pope Paul VI with a Short
Study of the New Order of Mass. The Study contained a cover letter
by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, which warned that the Novus Ordo,
both as a whole, and in its details, a striking departure from the
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
absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to
it easier to understand." "On many points," the study says, "it has
to gladden the heart of even the most modernist Protestant."
"the definition of the Mass is thus reduced to a 'supper'." "The altar
is nearly always called the table." "The instruction recommends that
Blessed Sacrament now be kept in a place apart ...as though it were
sort of relic." "The people themselves appear as possessing autonomous
priestly powers." "He [the priest] now appears as nothing more than a
minister." For these and many other reasons, the Critical Study
that to abandon our liturgical tradition in favor of a liturgy "which
with insinuations or manifests errors against the integrity of the
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
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
Study were not of a flawed translation of the Novus Ordo, but of the
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
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. Bacci
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.
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,  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." 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.
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. Thus the promise of Christ, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them",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 (nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This supper is further characterised as an assembly  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. 
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:
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 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.
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
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:
3. THE ROLE OF THE MAIN ALTAR. The altar is nearly always called the table:  "...the altar or the Lord's table, which is the center of the whole eucharistic liturgy..." 
The altar must now be detached from the back wall so that the priest can walk around it and celebrate Mass facing the people. 
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.  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.  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,  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. 
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:
"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. Chapter V
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. 
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.  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."  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" --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. 
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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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."  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. Chapter VI
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"  --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
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,  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.  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.  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.  The Church's unity is not only threatened, but has already been tragically compromised.  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,  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 1969Notes:
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.
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
the following: "Through the ministry of the bishop, God consecrates
exercising sacred functions they therefore act as the ministers of him
who in the liturgy continually fulfill his priestly office on our
the celebration of Mass people sacramentally offer the sacrifice of
Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterum Ordinis,
7 December 1965, Section 5, DOL 260. "For in the liturgy God is
to his people and Christ is still proclaiming his Gospel. And the
are responding to God both by song and prayer. Moreover, the prayers
to God by the priest, who presides over the assembly in the
of Christ, are said in the name of the entire holy people and of
present." SC 33, DOL 33. One is at a loss to explain how the
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
Ordinis Section 5: "The Eucharistic assembly is the center of the
of the faithful." Since the center in the New Order of the Mass has
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."
Reprinted from the June 2001
of Catholic Family News.