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Novus Ordo | NO

Novus Ordo Mass

New Mass | 1960's Mass

'Ordinary Form' of Mass | OF

Traditional Latin Mass | TLM

'Tridentine' Latin Mass

Ancient Catholic Mass

'Extraordinary Form of Mass'

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"My concern is that your site vehemently condemns the OF. I agree that many priests have taken liberties with the OF, and that saddens me deeply. However, such priests' abuses does not invalidate the OF. When OF is done properly it is a beautiful Mass. Can't mistake a priest misinterpretation for fault in the Mass. What I appreciate about the OF Mass is its fostering of active participation. Before the NO Mass many Catholics were doing personal devotion during Mass, mainly because active participation was very difficult being that they did not understand what was being said. Yes, this is a shame, but nonetheless reality. I am very wary of people/sites that condemn that the Church does not."

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

Thank you for your feedback. I noticed in your comment that you feel the Novus Ordo Mass ('Ordinary Form'/OF) fosters "active participation", yet by this comment I believe what you really mean is "active external participation." There is often little silence in a Novus Ordo Mass, which is typically not conducive to fostering true participation of the internal sort. As Pope Pius XII said in Mediator Dei (On The Sacred Liturgy)...

"...the chief element of divine worship must be interior."

Those who attempt to achieve 'active participation' of the interior sort may have quite a hard time doing so at a 'noisy' Novus Ordo Mass.

Also, regarding the 'personal devotions' during Mass that you seem to view negatively, please consider this quotation from Pope Pius XII...

"So varied and diverse are men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

Although you state that Catholics previously "did not understand what was being said" during Mass, I would point out that they may or may not have known the meaning of specific Latin terms, but Catholics in the past generally understood what was going on much better in the Traditional Latin Mass than Catholics do today with Mass in the vernacular. This is proven by various facts (for example by the fact that the majority of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, the fact that so many Catholics find the 'sign of peace' to be the highlight of the Mass, the fact that so few Catholics seem to view the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the re-presentation of Calvary, etc.).

Regarding 'liberties' taken in the Novus Ordo Mass, it is true that the issues are NOT just with 'liberties' taken by priests. Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci wrote the 'Ottaviani Intervention' which is highly critical of the Novus Ordo Mass based on a 'pure version' of the Novus Ordo with NO liberties taken. Pope Benedict XVI was also referring to the Novus Ordo WITHOUT liberties when he called it "banal"...

"...in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it - as in a manufacturing process - with a fabrication, a banal, on-the-spot product." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI)

To be sure, liberties taken by priests make the situation worse, but the issues are not exclusively with that. Both of the following quotations from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci were based on the 'most perfect' form of the Novus Ordo Mass, with NO liberties taken... (emphasis added)

"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." (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci)

"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." (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci)

And these types of quotes could be multiplied many times over.

As far as priests' abuses not invalidating Novus Ordo Masses, this is true to an extent, but it is also true that some abuses have resulted in invalid Masses (e.g. when there has been incorrect form or mater). I believe there have been cases where invalid Novus Ordo Masses have occurred for years due to incorrect matter.

We agree that it is wise to be wary (or even very wary) in order to protect your Catholic faith, but please do keep in mind that the Church may, unfortunately from time to time, allow things that are problematic. This is simply a fact born out by history (for example, consider some modern 'sex ed' programs). It is unprecedented in the 2,000 year history of the Church that a liturgy fabricated by men – with the help of Protestant observers! – was imposed on the entire Catholic population as it was with the Novus Ordo, and statistics prove that this new liturgy has come with great consequence. Reasonable 'criticism' (or really just stating the facts) that is based in truth is just and proper. Faithful Catholics are not called to deny truth or pretend it does not exist. The truth is the truth.

You may want to ask yourself why you do not seem to be troubled by the fact that changes made to the Mass parallel those made by Protestants in 16th century (changes that were made by them to destroy Catholics' faith) or by the fact that Protestants may use the Novus Ordo Mass in their 'churches'. [BTW, you can find more information concerning the above online and also in various publications (books by Michael Davies come to mind).] Again, these issues have nothing to do with 'liberties' taken by priests but with the actual rite itself.

The above being said, if you find an actual error on our site, please let us know.

Thanks again for contacting us. We appreciate hearing from you.


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