The Novus Ordo Missae at 50…
Five Sorrowful Decades:
Fifty Years of Paul VI’s “New Mass”
by Francis del Sarto
“Truly, if one of the devils in C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy, he could not have done it better.” –Dietrich von Hildebrand
“Every sectarian who wishes to introduce a new doctrine finds himself, unfailingly, face to face with the Liturgy, which is Tradition at its strongest and best, and he cannot rest until he has silenced this voice, until he has torn up these pages which recall the faith of past centuries.” –Dom Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B.
“Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass that we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.” –Fr. Joseph Gelineau
“The reform of the liturgy is irreversible.” –“Pope” Francis
For the past half-century the vast majority of the 1.2 billion people identifying as Roman Catholic around the world have had as their “ordinary” form of worship a rite that would have seemed utterly alien to most of the faithful who lived in the nearly two millennia leading up to it. These forebears certainly would not have seen it as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which they knew and so cherished, once described by Fr. Frederick Faber as “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven”. Only knowledgeable Catholics who had lived in the past 500 years would recognize it at all, but even then only as something resembling the false form of the worship services concocted by Protestant “Reformers” as a direct rival to the Mass, a veritable anti-Mass.
It was on Holy Thursday, April 3, 1969, that “Pope” Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) promulgated the “Apostolic Constitution” Missale Romanum as part of a liturgical “renewal” he said had begun with Pope Pius XII’s restoration of Holy Week services as “the first step toward adapting the Roman Missal to the contemporary mentality”. We are permitted to be highly skeptical of Montini’s assertion that a return to antiquated forms may somehow be more relevant to contemporary worshippers after centuries of disuse than those that have developed organically. In fact, it was Pope Pius XII who explicitly rejected “the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation” (Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 63).
Paul VI’s “Promulgation of the Roman Missal” was in reality the announcement of a non-Catholic, pseudo-Roman Missal meant to supplant the true Roman rite as promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in the 1570 Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum. Of course, we know now that the unstated goal of this new worship service was the ushering in of a new religion — the replacing of the Catholic lex orandi, lex credendi for a crypto-Modernist counterfeit. It was to eliminate the true Mass once and forever, and replace it with a fake “revised” version.
The fact that April 3, 1969, was not only Holy Thursday that year but also the first day of the Jewish Passover, is surely more than simple coincidence; for the New Mass is the Modernist repudiation of the Sacrifice of the Mass, much as observing Passover after the institution of the New Covenant is intended to reject the Sacrifice of Calvary, which is its fulfillment.
From Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to Memorial Meal
Despite a few red flags in the language of Paul VI’s Missale Romanum — vocabulary such as “[t]he words Mysterium fidei [mystery of Faith] have been removed from the context of Christ’s own words and are spoken by the priest as an introduction to the faithful’s acclamation” — it would be three days later that the full heterodox orientation of Montini’s changes became patently obvious. On April 6, the official rubrics of the “new order of the Mass” (novus ordo Missae as it was called) were published along with an accompanying General Instruction of the Roman Missal (sometimes abbreviated GIRM). This new order of Mass has since become known as the “New Mass”, the “Pauline Mass”, the “Mass of Paul VI,” or simply the “Novus Ordo.”
The following links highlight the stark differences between the Roman Mass of the ages and the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI:
- The Holy Catholic Mass vs. the Novus Ordo Service
- The True Mass vs. the Novus Ordo Mass: Sermon by Fr. Benedict Hughes
- Work of Human Hands: Fr. Anthony Cekada critiques Paul VI’s New Mass (book can be purchased here)
- New Religion, New Mass (video produced by non-sedevacantists)
- The Invalidity of the Novus Ordo Missae
The publication of this “revised” Roman rite led to a prompt counterattack by Catholics, principally in the form of the justly celebrated Critical Study of the New Order of Mass (aka The Ottaviani Intervention because it was presented to the “Pope” by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani), which argued, among other things, that the revised liturgy constituted “a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent” and “has much to gladden the heart of even the most modernist Protestant”.
This was by no means an exaggeration, as the Critical Study copiously demonstrated. Indeed, even Paul VI’s very definition of what the Holy Catholic Mass is was a blatant surrender to Protestantism. The first edition of the GIRM defined the Mass as follows:
The Lord’s Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ’s promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt. 18:20).
(“General Instruction of the Roman Missal”, Missale Romanum: Ordo Missae Editio Typica [Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1969], n. 7)
Martin Luther could not have said it better himself!
When contrasted with the true and traditional Catholic definition of the Holy Mass, such as can be found in any pre-Vatican II catechism, the departure from orthodoxy appears most striking: “The Mass is the true and especial Sacrifice of the New Law; in it Jesus Christ, by the ministry of the priest, offers His Body and Blood to God the Father, under the appearances of bread and wine, by a mystical immolation in an unbloody manner” (Cardinal Peter Gasparri, The Catholic Catechism [Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 1932], n. 385). That’s the Catholic definition.
In his Intervention, Cardinal Ottaviani chastised Paul VI for his overtly Protestant definition, charging:
The definition of the Mass is thus reduced to a “supper,” a term which the General Instruction constantly repeats. The Instruction further characterizes this “supper” as an assembly, presided over by a priest and held as a memorial of the Lord to recall what He did on Holy Thursday. None of this in the very least implies:
– The Real Presence – The reality of the Sacrifice – The sacramental function of the priest who consecrates – The intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independent of the presence of the “assembly.”
In a word, the Instruction’s definition implies none of the dogmatic values which are essential to the Mass and which, taken together, provide its true definition. Here, deliberately omitting these dogmatic values by “going beyond them” amounts, at least in practice, to denying them.
(Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani, Antonio Bacci, et al., Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, Sept. 25, 1969)
On March 26, 1970, the Vatican released a second edition of the GIRM, in which the original definition was revised. The result was visibly little more than damage control: “At Mass that is, the Lord’s Supper, the People of God is called together, with a priest presiding and acting in the person of Christ, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord, the Eucharistic Sacrifice” (n. 27).
“Pope” Montini had cited the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, as providing the impetus for his
revision butchering of the Roman rite of Mass. And fittingly it was during deliberations over that document that Cardinal Ottaviani was in the midst of heated exchanges that ultimately led to the highly symbolic moment at the Council when this great voice of Tradition was literally silenced. A review of The Liturgical Movement by Fr. Didier Bonneterre notes:
During the first session of the Second Vatican Council, in the debate on the Liturgy Constitution, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani asked: “Are these Fathers planning a revolution?” The Cardinal was old and partly blind. He spoke from the heart without a text about a subject which moved him deeply, and continued:
Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation.
So concerned was he at the revolutionary potential of the Constitution, and having no prepared text, the elderly Cardinal exceeded the ten-minute time limit for speeches. At a signal from Cardinal Alfrink, who was presiding at the session, a technician switched off the microphone, and Cardinal Ottaviani stumbled back to his seat in humiliation.
The Council Fathers clapped with glee, and the journalists to whose dictatorship Father Louis Bouyer claimed the Council had surrendered itself, were even more gleeful when they wrote their reports that night and when they wrote their books at the end of the session…
(Michael Davies, “The Liturgical Movement”, The Remnant, n.d.)
Paul VI knew very well what detrimental effects this “New Mass” would have upon the people. During the last General Audience before its universal use became mandatory, “Pope” Montini prophesied:
We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others.
Not Latin, but the spoken language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice: we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators [intrusi e profani] in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad, and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price.
(Paul VI, General Audience, Nov. 26, 1969. English translation taken from “40 years of Missale Romanum and the new Roman Rite – II: a Requiem, by Paul VI”, Rorate Caeli, Nov. 29, 2009; underlining added.)
More than anything else in the post-conciliar epoch, it was Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Missae that catapulted the new religion of Vatican II into the souls of unsuspecting Catholics throughout the world. Montini was a spiritual terrorist of the worst possible sort.
How Missale Romanum Aided the Devil’s War against the Mass
In the March-April 1993 issue of the sedevacantist journal Catholic Restoration, there appeared an article entitled “The Bugnini File: A Study in Ecclesial Subversion” by John Kenneth Weiskittel. The theme of the article was to examine accusations that “Archbishop” Annibale Bugnini, who had presided over the fateful “reform” of the liturgy, had been a Freemason whose goal was to de-Catholicize the worship of the Church. While it’s not been proven beyond doubt that he was a Lodge brother, circumstantial evidence points strongly in that direction. The recent biography Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy by Yves Chiron devotes a few pages to this question (pp. 171-175) but does not reach a definitive conclusion either way.
Certainly, the effects of the Novus Ordo rite on souls could not have been any more deleterious if the rite had been concocted by a Freemason. Bugnini, the architect of the post-conciliar liturgy, was in truth what many called him, namely, the “gravedigger of the Mass” and the “evil spirit of the liturgical reform”. (And, may we suggest, he would make an excellent addition to the rogue’s gallery of Novus Ordo Modernist “saints” who best exemplify the “ideals” of Vatican II.)
Bugnini was Paul VI’s Secretary of the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, and would be appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship in May of 1969. Mr. Weiskittel, in a section aptly titled “The War Against the Mass”, shows how the new liturgy of Montini and Bugnini worked to the advantage of occult forces bent on the Church’s destruction:
“Justly,” writes Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, “has St. Bonaventure called the Mass a compendium of all God’s love and of all his benefits to men. Hence the devil has always sought to deprive the world of the Mass by means of heretics, constituting them precursors of Antichrist, whose first efforts shall be to abolish the holy sacrifice of the altar, and according to the prophet Daniel, in punishment of the sins of men, his efforts shall be successful: And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice because of sins” [Dan 8:12].
For many Catholics the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled in 1969, when Paul VI promulgated the publication of a “new order of the Mass.” There can be no question that with the introduction of the new “Mass” the Conciliar revolution shifted into a higher gear. All of the errors of the Council now more quickly became apparent and spread with greater ease; the Novus Ordo Missae constituting their very embodiment. Whereas the [traditional] Latin Mass is a sacramental action aimed at giving glory to God, the object of the new “Mass” is a social action centered around the congregation.
The Latin Mass is one thing, and one thing only, the perfect mode of divine worship. For the “reformers,” however, this was precisely the problem with it. Oh, they pushed the idea that the Mass had to be made more “relevant” and “understandable” to the man in the pew, and that a “return to ancient liturgical forms” was the way to accomplish this. But, in truth, there was only one real reason for eliminating the Tridentine Mass: Its continued survival constituted a major obstacle to the imposition of a new belief system on Catholics; hence, it had to go. Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy summed this up well, when he wrote:
One final problem remained. The Reformers feared that “nothing would come out of the Council.” Even though they had managed to insert into the “official” Documents of the Council their false ideas, they knew that this alone was insufficient…. Change would occur far too slowly for the impatient innovators. The greater majority of the faithful had never asked for the Council (the Curia had opposed it also), and were perfectly content with the way the Church had always been. Even John XXIII had acknowledged and praised it as being “vibrant with vitality.” For most people things would have gone on much as before. It was absolutely necessary to introduce into the fabric of the everyday life of the Christian, all these new ideas, the “new economy of the Gospel.” How then to achieve this? The answer was obvious. One had to “reform” the Liturgy. [Rama P. Coomaraswamy, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition (London: Perennial Books, 1981), p. 137.]
This is in line with the apostate [priest and occultist Paul] Roca’s thinking, who, along with calling for “the scientific, economic, and social transfiguration of our … sacraments,” writes [in his book Glorious Centennial]:
As long as Christian ideas remained in a state of sacramental incubation, in our hands and under the veil of liturgy, they were unable to exert any efficacious and scientifically decisive social effect upon the organic and public government of human societies. [Quoted in Fr. Joaquin Saenz y Arriaga, The New Montinian Church, p. 191]
The new “Mass,” likewise, would need to reflect the “ecumenical,” “humanistic,” “universalist,” “socially relevant” activism of the Conciliar Church — abominations like the civil rights “Mass,” the farm workers’ “Mass,” the Marxist “Mass,” the feminist “Mass,” the homosexual “Mass,” which removed the focus from God to “special interest groups” [that] required a fitting service for their “social gospel” messages. And they got just that with the “reformed” rite. While these are extreme manifestations, to be sure, they are accepted extremes in the Conciliar religion and serve to underscore the doctrinal gulf that separates the true Catholic faith from the new “Catholic” faith.
(John K. Weiskittel, “The Bugnini File: A Study in Ecclesial Subversion”; italics added and some formatting adjusted.)
Theory aside, the last 50 years are proof positive of the destructive nature of the Novus Ordo Missae, for, with very few exceptions, the generations raised with that liturgy have no concept whatsoever of the true Roman Catholic religion.
The apostate priest Paul Roca [1830-1893], quoted above, also had a rather remarkable prediction to make, one that must have seemed absurd in the 19th century but which, in the 21st, is basically just a recap of historical fact:
[T]he divine cult in the form directed by the liturgy, ceremonial, ritual and regulations of the Roman Church will shortly undergo a transformation at an Ecumenical Council, which will restore it to the veritable simplicity of the golden age of the Apostles in accordance with the dictates of conscience and modern civilization.
(Paul Roca, qtd. in Bp. Rudolf Graber, Athanasius and the Church of Our Time, trans. by Susan Johnson [Gerrards Cross: Van Duren C. P., Ltd., 1974], p. 35)
What are we to make of Roca’s prescient vision of the Church being radically transformed by a council in the not-too-distant future? It could be just idle boasting, or it could be something more sinister. Did he have insider knowledge of what the secret societies were planning against the Church? In any case, we notice the striking similarities between Roca’s prophecy and Paul VI’s fulfillment:
- Roca: Liturgy to be transformed at an Ecumenical Council
Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium calls for a revision of the liturgy
- Roca: Said change will “restore it to the veritable simplicity of the golden age of the Apostles in accordance with the dictates of conscience and modern civilization.”
Paul VI in Missale Romanum: The revision is based on “ancient sources”, the “doctrinal and spiritual riches” of which must be brought to light in order to adapt “the Roman Missal to the contemporary mentality”
How appropriate for Montini to choose “Paul” — Roca’s first name — as his “papal” name!
Francis Speaks Out in Favor of Missale Romanum and against “Nostalgic Past Tendencies”
The usually loquacious Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) somehow managed not to bring up the topic of his predecessor’s paradigm-smashing document this April 3, though he had already brought it up earlier in the year. Speaking to the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican on February 14, 2019, in typical fashion he made some Catholic-sounding noises, only to abruptly take a hard left turn in his discourse: “We must rediscover the reality of the sacred liturgy, and not reduce it”, he declared; but by no means was he making an appeal to restore the traditional Latin Mass to its rightful place in once-Catholic churches.
On the contrary — after all, this is Francis we’re talking about. The Vatican II “liturgical renewal”, he told those gathered, was greatly furthered in 1969 by the actions of Montini:
In the first months of that year the first fruits of the reform accomplished by the Apostolic See flourished for the benefit of the People of God. On precisely this date the Motu proprio Mysterii paschalis was promulgated regarding the Roman calendar and the liturgical year (14 February 1969); then, the important Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum (3 April 1969), with which the Holy Pope [sic] promulgated the Roman Missal. In the same year the Ordo Missae and various other Ordo were issued….
(Francis, Address to Plenary Meeting of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Zenit, Feb. 14, 2019; italics given.)
The entire address provides many insights into Bergoglio’s mindset, which shows a determined revolutionary bent, as reflected in the following passage, where he contrasts the “irreversible” revised liturgy of Paul VI with what went before:
The liturgy is not “the field of do-it-yourself”, but the epiphany of ecclesial communion. Therefore, “we”, and not “I”, resounds in prayers and gestures; the real community, not the ideal subject. When we look back to nostalgic past tendencies or wish to impose them again, there is the risk of placing the part before the whole, the “I” before the People of God, the abstract before the concrete, ideology before communion and, fundamentally, the worldly before the spiritual.
In this sense, the title of your assembly is valuable: The liturgical formation of the People of God. The task that awaits us is indeed essentially that of spreading among the People of God the splendour of the living mystery of the Lord, Who makes Himself manifest in the liturgy.
Just beneath the surface of his words we can see the conflict between the worship services of two opposing religious belief systems: Catholic vs. Novus Ordo. Francis condemns the Catholic conception of the liturgy every step of the way:
- Stressing the “we” over the “I” is coded language for saying that the priest has no unique role as the alter Christus (“another Christ”), the one who offers the Mass in the person of Christ Himself; now it’s all about a community offering “praise and thanksgiving” (but not the sin-atoning Sacrifice of Calvary)
- He restates the same when he condemns those “placing the part before the whole, the ‘I’ before the ‘People of God’”, and this criticism is also directed against whom Paul VI referred to as “pious persons … having their respectable way of listening to Mass, [who] will [now] feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others” (that is, their interior prayers are now interrupted by the humanistic spectacle of the “People of God”, including an often even irreverent “presider” who acts more as entertainer or assembly leader than as sacrificing priest)
- Bergoglio’s warning against putting “the abstract before the concrete” may be an unspoken denial of the doctrines of Transubstantiation and the Real Presence, which he possibly regards as abstract and unreal, not to mention unimportant, especially when the concrete — community — is to be preferred
- His criticism of putting “ideology before communion and, fundamentally, the worldly before the spiritual” is absurd: The traditional Latin Mass is worldly and ideological? Really? This is yet another astounding Bergoglian black is white, white is black inversion of truth. If anything, it is the “New Mass” that is worldly, first of all because of its invalidity, but also because of its focus moved away from God and onto the congregation, and the systemic and ubiquitous liturgical “abuses” that are always focused away from the Divine, including a pastor riding a bull down the center aisle of a church, a tango in the “sanctuary” before the watchful gaze of Bergoglio, the utter chaos of “Cardinal” Christoph Schonborn’s youth liturgies, a monstrance delivered by drone, and a Super-Soaker water pistol used for sprinkling the people with holy water, and untold other liturgical and spiritual abominations, all of which can be excused by the rubric of “mak[ing] the liturgy relevant to the modern mind”, so fundamental to Montini’s justification for the changes
- And of course one would be hard-pressed to find a bigger ideologue than Bergoglio, who reads his political and Naturalist ideology into just about every Scripture passage he preaches on; and his one-foot-in/one-foot-out-of-the-closet Marxism is by definition materialist and mundane
So, as comes as no surprise, Francis’ presentation is quite congruent with the raison d’être of the Pauline “Mass”. Fifty years later, Missale Romanum is still a foundation stone to the whole rotten Novus Ordo superstructure.
Rejecting the Conciliar Church Means First Rejecting the New “Mass”
As shown above, the Novus Ordo Missae is the most crucial “reform” of the Modernists, because by its very nature it first compromises and then utterly destroys the Faith of those who attend it. In 2002, a Patrick Buchanan column entitled “An Index of Catholicism’s Decline” included the following statistic: “By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a ‘symbolic reminder’ of Jesus.”
There is a bit of an error there, for it should read, “70 percent of all Novus Ordos”. This is the grim legacy of the Montini-Bugnini liturgy: a dissolving of even the most rudimentary Catholic beliefs. An amusing irony, however, must not escape us: In the case of Paul VI’s invalid New Mass and its equally invalid “priests”, those 70% of people who do not believe in the Real Presence happen to be unintentionally correct, for in their “Mass”, Christ is truly not present!
But some much-needed levity aside, the unhappy anniversary of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo liturgy is one to be bemoaned, not celebrated. The “New Mass” is a destroyer of souls. We must work tirelessly to bring benighted people into the light, so that they may see that it is not Catholic, is not a Mass, does not please God, and is frightfully harmful to souls.
By the way, an anagram of Novus Ordo Missae is, “a dubious norm S.O.S.”.
How very appropriate.