A Short Critical Study
of the
 Novus Ordo Missae

By A Group of Roman Theologians 

Roman Theologians take a look at the New Order of the Mass



(Breve Esame Critico Del Novus Ordo Missae)


The new edition of this pamphlet is brought to you in an entirely fresh translation. It was written in Rome in the summer by Theologians of various nationalities, both Religious and Secular, very shortly after the promulgation of the new rite of the Mass. The original Italian is dated Corpus Christi. It is a sad reflection on the difficulties of our time that, despite the speed of communications, it is only now available for you in this country.

It shows you the strength of conservative opinion in the Holy City so that you can compare it with opinions in your own parish or diocese. We hope that you will spread this translation wherever you go. Copies are being sent to all the clergy, and to many people, both clerical and lay, in the dominions overseas. Every effort has been made to make this translation as vital and different as possible, so that it will arrest your attention. You will find at the end of the booklet a letter from Cardinal Ottaviani, who wrote to Scotland in 1967 regarding the preservation of the Latin Mass. We have the assurance that this appeal reached his Holiness Pope Paul VI.

The symbol on the cover is not merely intended to indicate the origin of this translation. We wish to witness that the Patron we share with two other Christian lands is with us still. Moreover those of us who, by faith, see the crisis in Catholic worship as a tragedy of overwhelming magnitude, but who retain their loyalty to the Magisterium, are indeed crucified with the Apostle.


August 1970

Readers may notice certain small alternations which we hope will be regarded as improvements and facilitate their understanding of the important points made by the authors of this document. The omission of one important line has been repaired.

Further it has been suggested to us that owing to the forced vernacularization of the Liturgy in the past five years, some of the faithful are less familiar with the Mother Tongue of Mother Church. In consequence we have re-translated the footnotes and attach them as an appendix.

In the June 1970 number of the French monthly “ITINERAIRES” an anonymous author headed his Notes “Re apprendre le Latin.” He gives most useful and helpful suggestions as to how we can keep in daily contact with the sacred language though we now rarely hear it spoken. We commend this practice to you.


In October 1967 the Episcopal Synod, summoned in Rome, was asked for its opinion on the experimental celebration of a so-called “normative Mass,” thought out by the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. This Mass was viewed with the gravest of doubts by those present at the Synod: in the vote taken, 43 out of 187 expressed strong opposition (non placet), 62 had substantial reservations (juxta modum) and 4 abstained. The international information press spoke of a “rejection” of the proposed Mass by the Synod, while the “progressive” press made no mention of the vote. A periodical, expressing the Bishops’ point of view and doctrine, epitomized the new rite as follows: “It would sweep away the whole theology of the Mass. With it we should, in fact, be getting close to protestant theology, which has destroyed the sacrifice of the Mass.”

Now, in the Novus Ordo Missae, which has just been promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution, the same “normative Mass” reappears in substantially identical form. And it seems that the Episcopal conferences as such have not been consulted in the interval.

The Apostolic Constitution affirms that the ancient missal promulgated by St. Pius V on July 19, 1570, but going back largely to Gregory the Great and even beyond[1], for four centuries provided the norm for the celebration of Mass by the priests of the Roman Church and spread to every land: “Innumeri praeterea sanctissimi viri animorum suorum erga Deum Pietatem, haustis ex eo sive Sacrarum Scripturarum lectionibus sive precationibus, copiosius aluerunt.” Yet the proposed reform, which would do away with the rite as it has been known for so long, has become necessary, apparently, “ex quo tempore latius in christiana plebe increbescere et invalescere coepit sacrae fovendae liturgiae studium.”

This statement seems to us to contain a serious equivocation, for the will of the people was expressed, if at all, when, thanks to the great St. Pius X, they began to discover the authentic and eternal treasures of their liturgy. The people at no time asked that the liturgy should be changed or mutilated so they might understand it better. What they did ask was that they might have a better understanding of a liturgy which was immutable and which they would never want altered.

The Roman Missal of St. Pius V has always been venerated and loved by Catholics, priests and laymen alike. We fail to see why its use, accompanied by the appropriate catechesis, should be incompatible with a fuller participation and a greater understanding of the liturgy, or why, with all the outstanding merits it is acknowledged to have, it should not be deemed worthy of continuing to nourish the liturgical piety of the people.

Thus: the “normative Mass,” which is offered anew to us as the Novus Ordo Missae, was rejected in its substance by the Episcopal Synod; the Novus Ordo itself has never been submitted to the collective judgment of the Conferences; no reform of any kind of the Holy Mass has been asked for by the people (and least of all in the missions). This being so, we fail to comprehend the reasons for the new legislation which overthrows a tradition that has survived unchanged since the 4th5th centuries, as the Constitution itself recognizes. There seems to be no rational foundation for the reform to justify it, or make it acceptable to the Catholic people.

The Council had indeed expressed the wish, in para. 50 of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, that the various parts of the Mass should be rearranged, “ut singularum partium propria ratio necnon mutua connexio clarius pateant.” If we examine the newly promulgated Ordo we shall see that, in the event, no a trace of such a wish survives.

A detailed study of the Novus Ordo reveals changes in the meaning of the Mass that can only justify the same judgment on it as on the “normative Mass.” Both, at many points, would please the more modernist among Protestants.


Let us begin with the definition of the Mass given in para. 7, that is at the beginning of the second chapter of the Novus Ordo, “De structura missae”: “Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacredote praeside, ad memorial Domini celebrandum.[2] Quare de sanctae ecclesiae locali congregatione eminenter valet
promissio Christi ‘Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum.’ (Mt. 18, 20).”

The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of “supper,” which is constantly repeated (Nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56); this “supper” is, moreover, characterized by the congregation presided over by the priest, and by the act of remembrance of Our Lord, recalling what He did on Holy Thursday. None of this implies either the Real Presence or the reality of the Sacrifice or the sacral character of the officiating priest of the intrinsic worth of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the presence of the congregation.[3] In a word, it does not imply a single one of the dogmatic values essential to the Mass, and constituting its true definition. Their deliberate omission here suggests that they are “out of date” and amounts, at least in practice, to their denial. [4]

In the second part of the same paragraph—increasing the already serious ambiguity—it is stated that Christ’s promise, “Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum” (Mt. 18, 20), holds good supremely for such a congregation. This promise, which concerns only the spiritual presence of Christ with His grace, is placed on the same qualitative level, apart from its greater intensity, as the sacramental and eucharisticpresence, which is substantial and physical.

There follows (No. 8) a subdivision of the Mass into the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic liturgy, where it is stated that in the Mass the feast of God’s word as of the Body of Christ is prepared so that the faithful “instituantur et reficiantur”—a wholly illegitimate assimilation of the two parts of the liturgy, as if for two signs of equal symbolic value—a point to which we shall return later.

There are numerous descriptions of the Mass, which are all acceptable in a relative sense, but which must all be rejected if used, as these are, separately and in an absolute sense. We quote a few: Actio Christi et populi Dei, Cena dominica sive Missa, Convivium Paschale, Communis participatio mensae Domini, Memoriale Domini, Precatio Eucharistica, Liturgia verbi et liturgia eucharistica, etc.

All too clearly, the emphasis is placed obsessively on the supper and on the remembrance, instead of on the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice on Calvary. Even the formula “Memoriale Passionis et Resurrectionis Domini” is inaccurate, for the Mass is the remembrance of the Sacrifice alone, which is redemptive in itself, while the Resurrection is its fruit and consequence.[5] We shall see later with what consistency such ambiguities are continually repeated, in the very formula of Consecration and in general in the whole Novus Ordo.


We come now to the purposes of the Mass.

  1. Ultimate purpose. It is the sacrifice of praise to the Most Holy Trinity, according to the explicit declaration of Christ on the original intention of His own Incarnation: “Ingrediens mundum dicit: ‘Hostiam et oblationem noluisti: corpus autem aptasti mihi’.” (Ps. XL, 7-9, in Heb. 10, 5).

This purpose has disappeared: from the Offertory, with the prayer Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, from the conclusion of the Mass with the Placeat tibi, Sancta Trinitas, and from the Preface, which in the Sunday cycle will no longer be that of the Most Holy Trinity (reserved from now on for the Feast itself, and hence to be used only once a year).

  1. Ordinary purpose. It is a sacrifice of propitiation. This too is distorted, for instead of placing the emphasis on the remission of sins of the living and the dead, it places it on the nourishment and sanctification of those present (No. 54). Of course, Christ instituted the Sacrament during the Last Supper, and took upon Himself the part of the victim so that we might be united with Him as victim; but this precedes the Communion and has a prior and redemptive value, characteristic of the sacrifice of blood, so that, in fact, the people present at the Mass are not obliged to receive Communion sacramentally.[6]
  2. Immanent purpose. Whatever the nature of the sacrifice it is essential that it should be pleasing and acceptable to God, and accepted by Him. In the state of original sin no sacrifice could have any claim to be acceptable. The only sacrifice which has the right to be accepted is that of Christ. In the Novus Ordo the offering is distorted into a sort of exchange of gifts between man and God; man brings bread and God changes it into the “bread of life”; man brings wine and God changes it into a spiritual drink”: Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi, quia de tua largitate accepimus panem (or vinum) quem tibi offerimus, fructum terrae (or vitis) et manuum hominum, ex quo nobis fiet panis vitae (or potus spirtualis).”[7]

One need scarcely point out the total vagueness of the two formulae “panis vitae” and “potus spiritualis,” which might mean anything. Once again we have precisely the same basic ambiguity as in the definition of the Mass: there Christ was present among His people only spiritually; here bread and wine are changed only spiritually (and not in substance).[8]

On the subject of the preparation of the offering a similar play of ambiguities is evident in the omission of two superb prayers. The “Deus, qui humane substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti et mirabilius reformasti” recalled man’s original state of innocence and his actual state of redemption in the blood of Christ—a brief and succinct recapitulation of the whole economy of the Sacrifice, from Adam to the present moment. The final propitiatory offering of the cup, that the sacrifice might ascend “cum ordore suavitatis” into the sight of the divine majesty whose mercy is implored, repeated this idea with the same wonderful economy. If the continual reference of the Eucharistic prayer to God is suppressed, there is no longer any distinction between divine and human sacrifice.

Take away the keystone, and scaffolding has to be erected: if the true purpose of the Mass is suppressed, fictitious ones have to be invented. And so we get the gestures that are meant to underline the union between priest and faithful; we get the superimposition, obviously absurd, of the offerings for the poor and for the Church upon the offering of the Host for sacrifice. The primordial unity of the latter will be completely destroyed; the participation in the sacrifice of the Victim will turn into nothing more than a gathering of philanthropists or a kind of charity supper.


Let us turn now to the essence of the Sacrifice.

The mystery of the Cross is no longer stated explicitly, but in an obscure and veiled manner, which the people will not be able to grasp,[9] and for the following reasons:

  1. The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called “Prex eucharistica” is: “ut tota congregatio fidelium se cum Christo coniungat in confessione magnalium Dei et in oblatione sacrificii.” (No. 54, end).

What sacrifice is referred to? Who offers it? We can find no answer to such questions. The initial definition of the “Prex eucharistica” is: “Nunc centrum et culmen totius celebrationis initium habet, ipsa nempe Prex eucharistica, prex scilicet gratiarum actionis et sanctificationis” (No. 54, beginning). So the effects replace the causes, of which not one word is said. The explicit reference to the purpose of the offering, which appeared in the Suscipe, is replaced by nothing. Behind the change in formula is a change in doctrine.

  1. The reason for this failure to be explicit about the Sacrifice is nothing more nor less than the suppression of the central role of the Real Presence, formerly so dominant in the Eucharistic liturgy. There is a solitary reference to the Real Presence as nourishment (the only quotation, in footnote, from the Council of Trent—No. 241, note 63). Not once is there an allusion to the Real and permanent Presence of Christ in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the transubstantiated species. The word transubstantiation itself is never once used.

The suppression of the invocation to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity (Veni sanctificator), that He might descend upon the oblations as He formerly descended into the womb of the Virgin to fulfill the miracle of the Divine Presence, is merely another link in this chain of tacit denials, designed to downgrade the Real Presence.

Then there is the elimination of—

genuflections (only three by the priest now, and one, with certain exceptions, by the people, at the Consecration);
the purification of the priest’s fingers in the chalice;
the keeping of the fingers free from all profane contact after the Consecration;
the purification of the vessels, an act which need no longer be immediate, nor performed on the corporal;
the pall covering the chalice;
the gliding inside the sacred vessels;
the consecration of the movable altar;

the altar stone and relics from the movable altar and from the “table,” when the Mass is not celebrated in a consecrated place (the distinction leads straight to “Eucharistic suppers” in private houses);
the three altar cloths, now reduced to one;
the thanksgiving while kneeling (replaced by a freakish thanksgiving by a seated priest and congregation, appropriately matched by Communion strangely received standing);
all the former prescriptions in the case of the consecrated Host falling to the ground, now reduced to an almost sarcastic “reventer accipiatur” (No. 239).

All this but repeats in extreme and offensive form the implicit rejection of faith in the dogma of the Real Presence.

  1. The function assigned to the altar (No. 262). The altar is almost constantly called “table” (mensa).[10]Altare, seu mensa dominica, quae centrum est totius liturgiae eucharisticae” (No. 49, cf. 262). It is specified that the altar should be detached from the wall so that it is possible to move round it and to celebrate the Mass facing the people (No. 262); further that the altar must be at the center of the congregation so that attention is spontaneously directed to it (ibid). But a comparison of Nos. 262 and 276 would seem to exclude the possibility of the Most Holy Sacrament being kept on such an altar. This would indicate an irreparable dissociation of the presence, in the celebrant, of the Supreme and Eternal Priest from the Presence itself realized sacramentally. Formerly the two were a single presence.[11]

It is now recommended that the Most Holy Sacrament should be kept in a place apart, where the private devotion of the faithful may find expression, as if it were any relic; so that when one goes into Church it will no longer be the Tabernacle that attracts the attention immediately, but a bare table. Once again, private devotion is set against liturgical devotion, one altar against another.

In the repeated recommendation that the Consecrated Species be distributed during the same Mass, and that indeed a large loaf should be prepared[12] so that the priest may share it with at least a part of the congregation, we have the same careless attitude towards the Tabernacle as towards Eucharistic devotion outside the Mass, and violence is done again to the faith in the Real Presence as long as the consecrated Species last.[13]

  1. The formulae of Consecration. The ancient Consecration formula was properly a sacramental formula, and no narrative, as is clear from three things:

(a) The Scriptural text, not taken word for word; the Pauline “mysterium fidei” was a direct confession of faith by the priest in the mystery fulfilled by the Church through its hierarchic priesthood.

(b) The punctuation and typographic layout of the formula—that is to say, the full stop and new paragraph, indicating the passing from the narrative to the sacramental and affirmative mode, and the giving of the sacramental words in larger type in the center of the page and often in a different color, clearly detached from the historical context. By such skillful means the formula was given a separate, autonomous value.

(c) The call to remembrance (“Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis”), which in Greek reads: “eis ten emou anamnesin.” It referred to Christ in action and not simply to the remembrance of Him or the event: it invites us to remember what He did (Haec. . . in mei memoriam facietis) and how He did it, and not only His person or the supper. The Pauline formula which now replaces the ancient one (“Hoc facite in meam commemorationem”)—proclaimed, as it will be daily, in the vernacular—will irreparably shift the emphasis in the minds of the hearers on to the remembrance of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, while it is in fact the beginning. The ultimate idea of commemoration will very soon take the place of the idea of sacramental action.[14]

The narrative mode is now underlined by the formula: “Narratio institutionis” (No. 55d), and backed up by the definition of the commemoration, where it is said that “Ecclesia memoriam ipsius Christi agit.” (No. 55c).

In short, the theory proposed for the epiclesis, the modification of the words of the Consecration and of the commemoration have the effect of changing the true import of the words of Consecration. The consecration formulae are now pronounced by the priest as part of a historic narration, and no longer express a categorical affirmation on the part of Him in whose person the priest acts: “Hoc est Corpus meum” (and not: “Hoc est Corpus Christi”).[15]

Then the acclamation assigned to the people immediately after the Consecration (“Mortem tuam annuntiamus Domine, etc., donec venias”) brings us to the crowning ambiguity with regard to the Real Presence, under pretext of concern about the Last Day. Without a break the expectation of Christ’s second coming at the end of time is proclaimed at precisely the moment when He is actually present on the altar—as if the second coming, and not this, were the true coming.

This is even more accentuated in the optional acclamation formula No. 2 (Appendix): “Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc, et calicem bibimus, mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, donec venias”; where the separate realities of sacrifice and manducation, and those of the Real Presence and Second Coming of Christ, reach the utmost ambiguity.[16]


We come now to the fulfillment of the Sacrifice.

The four elements here are, in order: (1) Christ; (2) the priest; (3) the Church, and (4) the faithful.

  1. In the Novus Ordo the position ascribed to the faithful is autonomous (absolute), and hence completely false—from the initial definition: “Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi,” to the salutation of the priest to the people, intended to express to the assembled congregation the “presence” of the Lord (No. 28). “Qua salutation et populi responsione manifestatur ecclesiae congregatae mysterium.”

So Christ is, indeed, present, but only spiritually, and the mystery of the Church is expressed, but only through an assembly that declares and calls upon such a presence.

This is repeated at every turn (Nos. 74-152): in the obsessive reiteration of the community aspect of the Mass; in the distinction without precedent between “Missa cum populo” and “Missa sine populo” (Nos. 203-231); in the definition of the “oratio universalis seu fidelium” (No. 45), where once more the priestly function of the people (populous sui sacerdotii minus exercens”) is underlined and presented in an ambiguous manner, for nothing is said of its subordination to that of the priest, though the latter in his capacity as consecrated mediator interprets all the intentions of the people in the Te igitur and the two Mementos.

In the “Prex eucharistica III” (“Vere sanctus,” p. 123) Our Lord is actually addressed with the words: “populum tibi congregare non desinis, ut a solis ortu usque ad occasum oblatio munda offeratur nomini tuo,” where the so that (ut) gives the impression that the indispensable element in the celebration is the people rather than the priest; and since once more it is not made clear who is offering the sacrifice,[17] the congregation itself would appear to be invested with autonomous priestly powers. It would come as no surprise if from this we were shortly to reach the point where the people are authorized to join with the priest in pronouncing the sacred formulae (as apparently already happens in some instances).

  1. The position of the priest is minimized, changed and misrepresented—first in his relation to the people, to whom he stands merely as president or brother, rather than as consecrated minister, celebrating the Mass in persona Christi; secondly in his relation to the Church as a “quidam de populo.” In the definition of the epiclesis (No. 55c) the invocations are attributed anonymously to the Church thereby dispensing with the role of the priest.

In the Confiteor which is now collective, he is no longer judge, witness and intercessor; the logical consequence of this is that it is no longer his function to impart absolution, which has in fact been suppressed. He is integrated with the “fratres.” Even the altar server calls him that in the Confiteor of the “Missa sine populo.”

Already, before this latest reform, the meaningful distinction between the Communion of the priest—the moment, so to speak, in which the Supreme and Eternal Priest and the one acting in His person were fused in the closest possible union (in which the Sacrifice was fulfilled)—and that of the people had been removed.

There is now no longer any reference to his powers as sacrificer, to his consecratory act, to the realization through him of the eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.

The disappearance or optional use of numerous vestments (in certain cases alb and stole are all that are required) obscure the original likeness to Christ: the priest is no longer endowed with all His virtues; he is merely an officer, barely distinguished from the mass by a few signs[18] (“a little more of a man than the others” to quote the unconsciously humorous phrase of a modern preacher).[19] Once again, as in the opposition of the table and altar, what God has united is sundered: the unique Priesthood of His Word.

  1. Finally, the position of the Church in relation to Christ. In one case alone, that of the “Missa sine populo,” do the authors of the Novus Ordo deign to admit that the Mass is “Actio Christi et Ecclesiae” (No. 4, cf. Presb. Ord. No. 13); while in the case of the “missa cum populo” the only purpose mentioned is that of the “remembrance” of Christ and the sanctifying of those present. “Presbyter celebrans . . . populum . . .sibi sociat in offerendo sacrificio per Christum in Spiritu Sancto Deo Patri” (No. 60), rather than linking the people with Christ who offers Himself “per Spiritum Sanctum Deo Patri.”

In the same context we may note: the very serious omission of the clause “Per Christum Dominum nostrum,” the promise of fulfillment given to the Church in every age (John 14, 13-14; 15, 16; 16, 23-24); the obsessive “paschalism,” as if the communication of the grace did not have other, equally important aspects; the ambiguous and eccentric eschatology whereby the communication of a reality, i.e. grace, which is permanent and eternal, is brought within a temporal dimension: we see a people on the march, a Church pursuing a pilgrimage—no longer, be it noted, militating against the Powers of Darkness—towards a future no longer bound to the eternal (hence to the eternal in the present as well), but to an actual temporal future.

The Church—One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic—as such is humiliated by the formula which in the “Prex eucharistica IV’ now replaces the prayer of the Roman Canon “pro omnibus orthodoxis atque catholicae et apostolicae fidei cultoribus.” Now they are merely “Omnium qui te quaerunt corde sincero.”

In the same way the dead are no longer recalled in the Memento as those who have gone before “cum signo fideiet dormiunt in somno pacis,” but merely with the words “obierunt in pace Christi tui”; and to the further detriment of the concept of visible unity they are lumped together with the mass of “omnium defunctorum quorum fidem tu solus cognovisti.”

Moreover, in none of the three new prayers is there the slightest reference, as has been said, to the suffering in Purgatory of the dead, or the possibility of an individual Memento. This once again makes a mockery of the faith in the propitiatory and redemptive nature of the Sacrifice.[20]

The mystery of the Church is dishonored by desacralizing omissions at every turn. Above all it is not recognized as a sacred hierarchy: Angels and Saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor and they have disappeared, as witnesses and judges, in the person of Michael, from the first.[21] The various Angelic Hierarchies have disappeared


(and there is no precedent for this) from the new Preface to “Prex II.” Gone too from the Communicantes is the remembrance of the Popes and holy Martyrs on whom the Church of Rome is founded and who without any doubt transmitted the apostolic traditions and brought them to completion in what became, with St. Gregory, the Roman Mass. Gone too is the mention in the Libera nos of the Blessed Virgin, of the Apostles and of all the Saints. Her and their intercession is thus no longer asked for in moments of peril.

The unity of the Church is compromised even to the extent of the totally unacceptable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new “Preces” (and with the sole exception of the Communicantes in the Roman Canon) of the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome, as well as the names of the other Apostles, who are foundation and sign of the one universal Church.

As for the omission of all the salutationes and of the closing benediction when the priest is celebrating Mass without a server, as well as of the Ite Missa est[22] even when the server is present—this is to be seen as a definite attack on the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.

In the double Confiteor the priest, in his quality as Christ’s minister, and bowing low in recognition of his unworthiness to perform the high mission laid upon him, to celebrate the “tremendum mysterium,” and to enter indeed into the Holy of Holies (in the Aufer a nobis), invoked by way of intercession (in the Oramus te, Domine) the merits of those martyrs whose relics the altar contained. Now both prayers have been removed. What has already been said about the double Confiteor and the double Communion also applies here.

The conditions that mark the sacred nature of the Mass have been profaned: take, for example, the celebration outside sacred precincts, when the altar can be replaced by a simple “table” (mensa) without consecrated stone or relics, and with only one cloth (Nos. 260 and 265). Here too what has already been said with reference to the Real Presence applies: the dissociation of the “convivium” and sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence.

This process of desacralization culminates in the grotesque new mode of procedure in the offertory; the reference to ordinary bread instead of unleavened bread; the permission given to the altar servers (as also to laymen in the communion sub utraque specie) to touch the sacred vessels (No. 244d). Then there is the distracting atmosphere that is bound to result in the church from the perpetual coming and going of priest, deacon, subdeacon, psalmist, commentator (the priest himself becomes one, so continuously is he enjoined to explain what he is about to do), readers (men and women), clerics and laypeople receiving the faithful at the door and accompanying them to their places, taking up the collection, bringing in and sorting the offerings. And in the midst of all this feverish prescribed activity, the quite anti-old-Testament, anti-Pauline presence of the “mulier idonea” who, for the first time in the Church’s history, is to be permitted to read the lessons and even to fulfill other “ministerial quae extra presbyterium peraguntur” (No. 70). Finally there is the craze for concelebration which will end by destroying the Eucharistic devotion of the priest and by obscuring the central figure of Christ, sole Priest and Victim, merging it in the collective presence of all the concelebrants of the Mass.[23]


We have limited ourselves to a summary examination of the Novus Ordo at those points where it departs from the theology of the Catholic Mass. The observations made were only typical ones. A complete evaluation of its insidious dangers and the spiritually and psychologically destructive elements which the document contains, whether in the texts, the rubrics or the instructions, would require a work of much greater dimensions.

As they have been repeatedly and authoritatively criticized in their form and substance, we have only touched briefly on the new canons, the second[24] of which immediately scandalized the faithful by its brevity. Among other things it has been said of it that it could be celebrated with a clear conscience by a priest who no longer believed in either transubstantiation or the Sacrificial nature of the Mass, and hence it would also lend itself perfectly to celebration by a Protestant minister.

The new Missal was presented in Rome as “broad pastoral material,” “more a pastoral than a juridical text,” on which the Episcopal Conferences could act according to the circumstances and inclinations of different peoples. In addition, Section I of the new Congregation for Divine Worship will be responsible “for the editing and constant revision of the liturgical books.” The latest official bulletin of the Liturgical Institutes of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria[25] states: “The Latin texts must now be translated into the various vernaculars; the ‘Roman’ style must be adapted to the individual character of the local Churches; what was conceived out of time must be brought within the changing context of concrete situations, the constant flux of the universal Church and its myriad congregations.”

The Apostolic Constitution has dealt the death-blow to the universal language, going against the express desire of the Second Vatican Council, and declaring unequivocally that “in tot varietate linguarum una (?) eademque cunctorum precatio . . . quovis ture fragrantior ascendat.”

So the end of Latin is to be taken as an accomplished fact; and that of the Gregorian chant, which again the Council recognized as “liturgiae romanae proprium” (Sacros. Conc. No. 116), enjoining that “principem locum obtineat” (ibid.), follows as a logical consequence, with free choice of the texts of the Introit and Gradual antiphons.

Thus from the start the new rite is presented as pluralistic and experimental, tied to time and place. If unity of worship is thus irrevocably lost, what will be left of the unity of faith that resulted from it, and which is always spoken of as the essence, to be defended without compromise?

It is clear that the Novus Ordo no longer intends to present the faith as taught by the Council of Trent. Yet the Catholic conscience is bound to that faith in eternity. Hence the true Catholic, by the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, is faced with the tragic necessity of a choice.


The Constitution explicitly draws attention to devotional and doctrinal riches taken over by the Novus Ordofrom the Eastern Churches. The results seem such as to repel the faithful of the Oriental rites so entirely is their spirit betrayed. What do these ecumenical borrowings amount to? Basically, they consist in the multiplicity of anaphoras (rather than their beauty and complexity), the presence of the deacon and communion sub utraque specie. On the other hand, there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to remove all that the Roman liturgy has in common with the Eastern[26] and, by disavowing the unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, to renounce what was most distinctively its own and spiritually most precious to it. It is replaced by elements that detract from its true quality and bring it, to its detriment, nearer to certain reformed rites (and not even those closest to Catholicism), elements which can only further alienate the East, as the latest reforms have already done.

On the other hand it will thoroughly please all those groups, on the verge of apostasy, who have been at work ravaging the Church, corrupting its organism and assaulting its doctrinal, liturgical, moral and disciplinary unity, in a period of spiritual crisis that is without precedent.


St Pius V carefully edited the Missale romanum so that (as the Consititution itself recalls) it should be an instrument of unity among Catholics. In conformity with the prescriptions of the Council of Trent it was to exclude any possibility, in worship, of aberrations from the faith, threatened at the time by the Protestant Reformation. The gravity of the Supreme Pontiff’s task gives an almost prophetic force to the sacred formula with which the Bull promulgating his Missal closes: “Si quis autem hoc attentare praesumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum eius se noverit incursurum.” (Quo primum, 19th July, 1970).[27]

Its authors, at the official presentation of the “Novus Ordo” at the Press Hall of the Vatican, had the audacity to declare that the motives activating the Council of Trent no longer exist. Not only do they still exist, but we do not hesitate to assert that the position is infinitely more serious today. It was precisely to cope with the dangers that, through the centuries, threatened the integrity of the inheritance received (“depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates”—I Tim. 6, 20) that the Church was obliged to build round it the inspired defenses of its dogmatic definitions and its doctrinal pronouncements. These had a direct repercussion in the liturgy, which became the most complete monument of its faith. To attempt to restore worship, at any cost, to its primitive form, to refashion artificially what in antiquity had enjoyed the grace of spontaneity, in line with the “unhealthy archaeological tendency” so promptly and lucidly condemned by Pius XII,[28] amounts, as has already been seen, to dismantling all its theological defenses and getting rid of all the beauties it has accumulated through the centuries;[29] and this at one of the most critical moments—perhaps the most critical—in the whole history of the Church.

Today the existence of division and schisms, not only outside but within Catholicism itself, is officially recognized;[30] the unity of the Church is not merely threatened but tragically compromised,[31] and errors against faith are being not so much insinuated but are rather an inevitable consequence of liturgical abuses and aberrations, given equal recognition.[32] To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was sign and pledge of unity of worship and to replace it with another which can only stand for division, given the endless license it implicitly authorizes and which teems with oblique attacks and downright errors against the integrity of the Catholic faith, can only be described—in the most restrained terms—as a mistake likely to have incalculable consequences.


Corpus Christi, 1969.


“Roman Theologians Take a Look at the New Order of the Mass”

(The text of the translation is, for the most part, that used in the official translations where these are available, with minor adjustments. For texts from the Bible and the Roman Missal, the Douay Bible and the St. Andrew’s Missal are used).


Page 2, para 3, line 4: “Furthermore, innumerable holy men nourished their piety towards God with its readings from scripture and its prayers.”

Para 3, line 7: “Since that period a liturgical renewal has developed and spread among the Christian people.”

Page 3, para 4, line 2: “in a way that will reveal more clearly the real function of each of the parts and the connections of the various parts with one another.”

Para 6, line 2: “General structure of the Mass. The Lord’s Supper or the Mass, is the sacred assembly or gathering together of the people of God, with a priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, the promise of Christ is particularly true of a local congregation of the Church: ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt. 18:20).”

Page 4, Para 4, line 2: “The Eucharistic Assembly is the center of the community of the faithful.”

Para 5, line 1: “To begin with, this Holy Synod teaches and openly and plainly professes that in the bountiful Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man is, after the consecration of the bread and wine, truly, really and substantially contained under the appearance of those sensible things.”

Para 6, line 1: “Wherein that Sacrifice of Blood once and for all to be wrought upon the Cross should be represented and its memory abide to the end of the world, and its saving power applied for the remission of those sins into which we all fall day by day.”

Para 7, line 1: “Jesus Christ our Lord ‘declaring Himself to be the Priest appointed forever according to the order of Melchisedec, offered His Body and Blood to God the Father under the appearances of bread and wine, and gave it, under the same appearances, to His Apostles whom He then appointed priests of the New Testament; to them, too, as to His successors in the Priesthood, He, by the words: ‘Do this in memory of Me’ gave the command to offer it, as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught.’ The celebrant, the one offering the sacrifice, is the priest, consecrated to that end, and not God’s people or congregation. ‘If anyone shall say that by the words: ‘Do this in memory of Me’ Christ did not make His apostles priests or did not ordain them so that they and other priests might offer His Body and Blood, let him be anathema’.”

Para 8, line 2: “If anyone say that the sacrifice of the Mass is merely an act of praise and thanksgiving; or a bare commemoration of the sacrifice made on the Cross, and not a propitiatory sacrifice; or that it benefits only those who receive Communion, and is not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sin, for faults, for atonement, and for other necessities, let him be anathema.”

Para 9, line 1: “If anyone say that the Canon of the Mass contains errors, and therefore be abrogated, let him be anathema.”

Para 9, Line 2: “If anyone say that Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, are unlawful, and must therefore be abrogated, let him be anathema.”

Page 5, para 2, line 2: “Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in their midst.”

Para 3, line 3: “so that the faithful ‘are instructed and refreshed’.”

Para 4, line 3: “ ‘Action of Christ and of the people of God,’ ‘the Lord’s Supper or Mass,’ ‘the Paschal Banquet,’ ‘the universal sharing in the Lord’s Table,’ ‘the Memorial of the Lord,’ ‘the Eucharistic prayer,’ ‘the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy,’ etc.”

Para 5, line 3: “Memorial of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord.”

Para 7, line 2: “Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith: ‘Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: but a body thou hast fitted to me’.”

Para 9, line 2: “the blessed Passion (of the same Christ Thy Son, Our Lord), and also his Resurrection from hell and also his glorious Ascension into heaven.”

Page 6, para 4, line 6: “Blessed are You, O Lord, God of the universe, because through your bounty, we have received the bread (or wine) which we offer to You, fruit of earth (or vine) and of human hands, out of which bread of life (or spiritual drink) shall be made for us.”

Para 5, line 1: “ ‘Bread of life’ and ‘spiritual drink’.”

Para 7, line 2: “Nor is it right to be so preoccupied with considering the nature of the sacramental sign that the impression is created that the symbolism—and no one denies its existence in the most Holy Eucharist—expresses and exhausts the whole meaning of Christ’s presence in this sacrament. Nor is it right to treat the mystery of the transubstantiation without mentioning the marvelous change of the whole of the bread’s substance into Christ’s body and the whole of the wine’s substance into his blood, of which the Council of Trent speaks, and thereby to make these changes consist of nothing but a ‘trans-signification’ or a ‘trans-finalization,’ to use these terms.”

Para 7, line 2: For quotation, see page 3, para 4-5.

Para 8, line 3: “Spiritual sustenance, spiritual food, spiritual drink.”

Para 8, line 4: “For when the integrity of faith has been preserved, a suitable manner of expression has to be preserved as well. Otherwise our use of careless language may, though it is to be hoped that it will not, give rise to false opinions on belief in very deep matters”; he quotes St Augustine: “There is a claim on us to speak according to a fixed rule so that unchecked words do not give rise also to an impious view of the matters which they express.” (De Civ. etc.); and goes on: “This rule of speech has been introduced by the Church in the long work of centuries with the protection of the Holy Spirit. She has confirmed it with the authority of the Councils. It has become more than once the token and standard of orthodox faith. It must be observed religiously, no one may presume to alter it at will, or on the pretext of new knowledge . . . It is equally intolerable that anyone on his own initiative should want to modify the formulas with which the Council of Trent has proposed the eucharistic mystery for belief.”

Page 7, para 1, line 2: “O God, Who in a wonderful manner didst create and ennoble human nature, and still more wonderfully has renewed it.”

Para 1, line 6: “with a sweet savor.”

Para 5, line 1: “That the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in the offering of sacrifice.”

Para 6, line 2: “The initial definition of the ‘eucharistic prayer’ is: ‘The center of climax of the whole celebration now has its beginning, which is, of course, the eucharistic Prayer, the prayer that is, of thanksgiving and sanctification’.”

Page 8, para 15, line 2: “. . . now reduced to an almost sarcastic ‘should be picked up reverently’.”

Page 9, para 2, line 2: “The altar, or Lord’s table, which is the center of the whole Eucharistic liturgy.”

Para 5, line 1: “The altar, upon which the sacrifice of the cross is made present under sacramental signs.”

Para 8, line 4: “God speaks to his people . . . Christ, through his word, becomes present in the midst of the faithful.”

Page 10, para 4, line 1: “As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me.”

Para 4, line 4: “Do these things . . . in remembrance of Me.”

Para 4, line 5: “(Do this in memory of Me).”

Para 5, line 1: “The narration (or story) of the institution.”

Para 5, line 2: “The Church enacts the memory of the same Christ.”

Para 6, line 5: “’This is My Body’ (and not: ‘This is the Body of Christ)’.”

 Page 11, para 1, line 2: “We announce your death, O Lord, until You come.”

Para 2, line 2: “As often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we announce your death, O Lord, until you come.”

Para 5, line 2: “The Mass is the sacred assembly or gathering together of the people.”

Para 5, line 4: “Through which greeting and the people’s response is manifested the mystery of the assembled church.”

Para 7, line 2: “Mass with people.”

Para 7, line 3: “Mass without people.”

Para 7, line 3: “The universal prayer or prayer of the faithful.”

Para 7, line 4: “The people exercising the function of their priesthood.”

Para 8, line 2: “You do not cease to gather a people to Yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting, a clean sacrifice may be offered to your name.”

Page 12, para 2, line 3: “in the person of Christ.”

Para 2, line 4: “one of the people.”

Para 7, line 2: “All priests and only priests, are in the correct sense of the term, the secondary ministers of the sacrifice of the Mass. Christ indeed is its principal minister. The faithful also offer, not in the strict sense, but through the priests.”

Page 13, para 1, line 2: “The action of Christ and of the Church.”

Para 1, line 7: “The priest, in celebrating, unites the people to himself in offering the sacrifice to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit” rather than linking the people with Christ who offers Himself “through the Holy Spirit to God the Father.”

Para 2, line 1: “Through Christ our Lord.”

Para 3, line 2: “’Eucharistic prayer IV’ . . . ‘for all true believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith’ . . . ‘Of all who seek You with a sincere heart’.”

Para 4, line 2: “ ‘With the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace’ . . . ‘have died in

the peace of your Christ’ . . . ‘of all the departed whose faith You alone knew’.”

Page 14, para 7, line 2: “ ’Mass without a congregation’ into ‘The Lord be with you’ (in the singular) and ‘Pray brother’.”

Page 15, para 1, line 1: “ ‘suitable woman’ . . . ‘services performed outside the sanctuary’.”

Para 5, line 2: “in such a variety of tongues one (?) and the same prayer of all, may ascend more fragrant than any incense.”

Page 16, para 1, line 2: “ ‘specially suited to the Roman liturgy’ . . . ‘it should be given pride of place’.”

Page 17, para 2, line 6: “Should anyone presume to tamper with this, let him know that he shall incur the wrath of Almighty God and of his holy Apostles Peter and Paul”—(N.B.—The date given is, alas a misprint for “1570,” and not a prophecy).

Para 3, line 5: “Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties.”

Para 4, line 2: “tearing out by the roots ‘the cockle’ of abominable heresies and schisms which ‘an enemy had oversown’ in those doctrines of the faith which are concerned with the use and the cult of the most holy Eucharist . . . which our Savior has left to his Church as a symbol of her unity and charity, and by which He wished all Christians to be joined and linked amongst themselves.”

Para 5, line 1: “To go back in mind and heart to the sacred liturgy is wise and praiseworthy. The study of liturgical origins enables us to understand better the significance of festivals and the meaning of liturgical formulae and ceremonies. But the desire to restore everything indiscriminately to its ancient condition is neither wise nor praiseworthy. It would be wrong, for example, to want the altar restored to its ancient form of table, to want black eliminated from the liturgical colors, and pictures and statues excluded from our churches, to require crucifixes that do not represent the bitter sufferings of the Divine Redeemer . . . This attitude is to attempt to revive the ‘Archeologism’ to which the pseudo-synod of Pistoia gave rise; it seeks also to reintroduce the many pernicious errors which led to that synod and resulted from it and which the Church in her capacity of watchful guardian of the ‘deposit of faith’ entrusted to her by her Divine Founder, has rightly condemned.” (Mediator Dei).

Most Holy Father,

Having 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 reflection and prayer, we feel it to be our duty in the sight of God and towards your Holiness to put forward the following considerations:

  1. The accompanying critical study is the work of a group of theologians, liturgists, and pastors of souls. Brief though it is, it sufficiently demonstrates that the Novus Ordo Missae—considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted—represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which by fixing definitively the “canons” of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery.
  2. The pastoral reasons adduced in support of such a grave break—even if they could stand up in the face of doctrinal reasons—do not appear sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo Missae, and on the other hand the things of eternal value relegated to an inferior or different place (if indeed they are still to be found at all), could well turn into a certainty the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by Christians can be altered or silenced without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. Recent reforms have amply shown that fresh changes in the liturgy could not but lead to utter bewilderment on the part of the faithful, who are already giving signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonizing crisis of conscience of which numberless instances come to our notice daily.
  3. We are certain that these considerations, which spring from the living voice of shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in the paternal heart of your Holiness, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. The subjects for whose benefit a law is passed have always had—more than the right—the duty, if it should instead prove harmful, of asking the legislator with filial trust for its abrogation.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech your Holiness not to deprive us—at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the Church, daily and sorrowfully echoed in the voice of our common Father—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 venerated and loved by the whole Catholic world.

  1. Card. Ottaviani
  2. Card. Bacci

Feast of St. Pius X

Ogilvie Foundation (Lumen Gentium)
c/o 3 Magdala Crescent,
Edinburgh, Scotland.

Printed by David Macdonald Ltd., 29 Albany Street, Edinburgh

  1. [1] “The prayers of our Canon are to be found in the treatise De Sacramentis (late 4th-early 5th cent.). . . Our Mass goes back, with no essential change, to the period in which it began to evolve out of the ancient common liturgy. It still has something of the flavor of that primitive liturgy about it, of the days when Caesar governed the world and hoped to extinguish the Christian faith, the days when our fathers gathered before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as to their God (cf. Pl. Jr., Ep.96). . . There is not in all Christendom a rite more venerable than the Roman Mass.” (A. Fortescue).“The Roman Canon, as it is today, goes back to Gregory the Great. There is not, in East or West, a Eucharistic prayer, remaining in use to this day, that can boast such antiquity. In the eyes not only of the orthodox but of Anglicans and even of those Protestants who have still, to some extent, a feeling for tradition, to jettison it would amount to a rejection of any claim, on the part of the Roman Church, to represent the true Catholic Church.” (Fr. Louis Bouyer).[2] The definition is supported in a footnote by a reference to two texts of the Second Vatican Council. But we can find nothing in the texts to justify such a definition.The first text (the decree: Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5) reads as follows: “The priests are consecrated to God through the ministry of the Bishop, so that, in the sacred offices, they can act as ministers of Him who continuously exercises the priestly function for us in the liturgy . . . Above all, in the celebration of the Mass, they offer sacramentally the Sacrifice of Christ.”The second text referred to is (the Constitution: Sacrosanctum Concilium, 33): “In the liturgy God speaks to His people, Christ still pronounces His Gospel. The people in their turn respond to God with Hymns and prayer. Or rather, the prayers addressed to God by the priest who presides over the congregation in the person of Christ are spoken in the name of all the people and of all those present.It is incomprehensible how the above definition could be drawn from these texts.We note also the radical alteration in this definition of the Mass as compared with that of Vatican II (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5): “Est ergo Eucharistica Synaxis centrum congregationis fidelium . . .” In the Novus Ordo the centrum is fraudulently removed and the congregatio usurps its place.[3] The Council of Trent sanctions the Real Presence as follows: “Principio docet Santa Synodus et aperte et simpliciter profitetur in almo Santae Eucharistiae sacramento post panis et vini consecrationem Dominium nostrum Jesum Christum verum Deum atque hominem vere, realiter ac substantialiter (can. 1) sub specie illarum rerum sensibilium contineri.” (DB, 874). At Session XXII, which is of immediate interest to us here (De sanctissimo Missae Sacrificio), the doctrine sanctioned (DB, nos. 937a to 956) is clearly synthesized in nine Canons:
    • Jesus Christ Our Lord “sacerdotem secundum ordinem Melchisedech in se aeternum (Ps. 109, 4) constitutum declarans, corpus et sanguinem suum sub specibus panis et vini Deo Patri obtulit ac sub earundem rerum symbolis Apostolis (quos tune Novi Testamenti sacerdotes constituebat), ut sumerent, tradidit, et eisdem eorumque in sacerdotio successoribus, ut offerrent, praecepit, per haec verba: ‘Hoc facite in meam commemorationem’ (Luke 22 19; I Cor. 11, 24) uti semper catholica Ecclesia intellexit et docuit.” (DB, ibid). The celebrant, the one offering the sacrifice, is the priest consecrated to that end, and not God’s people or congregation. “Si quis dixerit, illis verbis: ‘Hoc facite etc. Christum non instituisse Apostolos sacredotes, aut non ordinasse, ut ipsi alique sacerdotes offerrent corpus et sanguinem suum: anathema sit.” (Can. 2; DB, 949).
    • The Sacrifice of the Mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice and NOT a “bare commemoration of the sacrifice made on the Cross.” “Si quis dixerit Missae sacrificium tantum esse laudis et gratiarum actiones aut nudam commemorationem sacrifici in cruce peracti, non autem propiaitaorium; vel soli prodesse sumenti, neque pro vivis et defunctis, pro peccatis , poenis, satisfactionibus et aliis necessitatibus offeri debere, a.s.” (Can. 3; DB, 950).

    Canon 6 may also be noted: “Si quis dixerit Canon Missae errores continere ideoque abrogandum, esse, a.s.” (DB, 953); and Canon 8: Si quis dixerit Missae, in quibus solus sacredos sacramentaliter communicat, illicitas esse, ideoque abrogandas, a.s.” (DB, 955).

    [4] It is superfluous to point out that if a single dogma were denied, all dogma would ipso facto collapse, for the very principle of the infallibility of the supreme Hierarchic power, be it of Pope or Council, would be destroyed.

    [5] The Ascension also should be added if it were desired to recall the Unde et memores, which besides does not identify but clearly and carefully distinguishes: “. . . tam beatae Passionis, nec non ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in caelum gloriosae Ascensionis.”

    [6] The same shift of emphasis is to be seen in the surprising elimination, in the new canon, of the Memento for the dead and of the mention of the sufferings of souls in Purgatory, to whom the atonement sacrifice referred.

    [7] Cf. Mysterium Fidei, where Paul VI condemns both the errors of symbolism and the new theories of “transignification” and “transfinalisation.” “. . . aut ratione signi . . . ita instare, quasi symbolismus, qui nullo diffitente sanctissimae Eucharistiae certissme inest, totam exprimat et exhauriat rationem presentiae Christi in hoc Sacramento . . . aut de transubstantiationis mysterio disserere quin de mirabili conversione totius substantiae panis in corpus et totius substantiae vini in sanguinem Christi, de qua loquitur Concilium Tridentinum, mentio fiat, ita ut in sola ‘transignificatione’ et ‘transfinalizatione,’ ut aiunt, consistant.” (A.A.S. LVII, 1965, p. 755).

    [8] The introduction of new formulae or of expressions which, though they occur in the writings of the Fathers or of the Councils or in the documents of the Magisterium, are used in only one sense and are not subordinated to the essential doctrine with which they form an indivisible unity (e.g., “spirtualis alimonia,” “cibus spiritalis,” “potus spiritalis” etc.) is widely denounced and condemned in Mysterium Fidei. Paul VI states that: “servata Fidei integritate, aptus quoque modus loquendi servetur oportet, ne indisciplinatis verbis utentibus nobis falsae, quod absit, de Fide altissimarum rerum suboriantur opiniones”; he quotes St. Augustine: “Nobis tamen ad certam regulam loqui fas est, ne verborum licentia etiam de rebus quae significantur impiam gignant opinionem” (De Civ. Dei, X, 23. PL, 41, 300); and goes on: “Regula ergo loquendi, quem Ecclesia longa saeculorum labore non sine Spiritus Sancti munimine induxit et Conciliorum auctoritate firmavit, quaeque non semel tesserae et vexillum Fidei orthodoxae facta est, sancte servetur, neque eam quisquam pro lubitu vel praetextu novae scientiae immutare praesumat . . . Eodem modo ferendus non est quisquis formulis, quibus Concilium Tridentinum Mysterium Eucharisticum ad credendum proposuit, suo marte derogare velit.” (A.A.S. LVII, 1965, p. 758).

    [9] This in direct contradiction of what Vatican II prescribes (Sacros. Conc., No. 48).

    [10] Only once is its primary function acknowledged: “Altare in quo sacrificium crucis sub signis sacramentalibus praesens efficitur.” This is hardly enough to eliminate the ambiguities of the other, constantly-repeated description.

    [11] “To separate the Tabernacle from the altar is equivalent to separating two things which by their nature must remain united.” (Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress on Liturgy, Assisi-Rome, 18-23 September, 1956). Cf. also Mediator Dei, I, 5 (see note 28 below).

    [12] The word “hostia” is rarely used in the Novus Ordo, though traditional in liturgical books in this precise meaning of “victim.” This is part and parcel of the system employed to emphasize exclusively the “supper” and “food” aspects of the Mass.

    [13] According to the by now familiar phenomenon whereby one thing is substituted and exchanged for another, the Real Presence is equated with the presence in the word (No. 7, 54). But the latter is in fact something completely different, because it is real only when in use, while the Real Presence exists permanently, objectively, independently of its communication through the Sacrament. Typically Protestant are the formulae: “Deus populum suum alloquitur . . . Christus per verbum suum in medio fidelium praesens adest.” (No. 33, cf. Sacros. Conc., Nos. 33 and 7)—which strictly speaking is without meaning because God in the word is mediate, tied to an act of the spirit, to the spiritual state of the individual and limited in time. The error could lead to the most tragic consequence: the affirmation or implication that the Real Presence is tied to use (usus), and comes to an end with it.

    [14] The sacramental action of the institution is made to depend on the fact of Jesus’ having given the Apostles His Body and Blood to be “eaten” in the form of the elements of bread and wine, and not on the action of the consecration and the mystic separation consummated in it of the Body from the Blood, the essence of the eucharistic sacrifice (cf. the whole of chapter 1, Part II—“The Eucharistic Rite”—of Mediator Dei.).

    [15] The words of the Consecration, as they appear in the context of the Novus Ordo, may be valid according to the intention of the ministering priest. But they may not be, for they are so no longer ex vi verborum, or more precisely in virtue of the modus significandi which they have had till now in the Mass. Will priests who, in the near future, have not had the traditional training and who rely on the Novus Ordo in order to “do what the Church does” make a valid consecration? One may be permitted to doubt it.

    [16] Let it not be said, after the manner of Protestant criticism, that such expressions belong to the Spiritual passages themselves. The Church has always avoided juxtaposition and superimposition precisely in order to remove the confusion of separate realities which the said texts express.

    [17] As against the Lutheran and Calvinist affirmation that all Christians are priests and so all offer the sacrifice—v. A. Tanquerey: Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae, t.III, Desclée 1930: “Omnes et soli sacerdotes sunt, proprie loquendo, ministri secundarii sacrificii missae. Christus est quidem principalis minister, F Fideles mediate, non autem sensu strictu, per sacerdotes offerunt.” (Cf. Conc. Trid. Sess. XXII, Can. 2).

    [18] We draw attention here to an unthinkable innovation, which can only be disastrous psychologically: on Good Friday red instead of black vestments are to be worn (No. 308b). It thus becomes the commemoration of any martyr, instead of the Church’s day of mourning for her Founder. Cf. Mediator Dei I, 5 (see note 28 below).

    [19] Fr. Roguet, O.P., to the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, at Plesschenet.

    [20] In some translations of the Roman Canon the “locus refrigerii, lucis et pacis” was rendered simply as a state(“blessedness, light, peace”). What are we to say now of the disappearance of every explicit reference to the Church suffering in Purgatory?

    [21] In all this fever to curtail and limit there is a single improvement: the omission, mentioned in the accusation of sins in the Confiteor.

    [22] At the press conference at which the Ordo was presented Fr. Lecuyer, in a purely rationalistic profession of faith, spoke of changing the Salutationes in the “Missa sine populo” into “Dominus tecum” and “Ora, frater”—“so that there should be nothing that did not correspond with the truth.”

    [23] In this connection it may be noted in passing that it would apparently6 be permissible for priests, obliged to celebrate Mass alone, before or after the communal celebration, to take communion again sub utraque specie during the latter . . .

    [24] Put forward as the “canon of Hippolytus,” although in fact it contains no more than an occasional verbal echo of it.

    [25] “Gottesdienst,” No. 9, 14th May, 1969.

    [26] Consider, for example—to refer only to the Byzantine rite—the extremely long, urgent and repeated penitential prayers; the solemn rites of clothing the celebrant and the deacon; the preparation, already a complete rite in itself, of the offerings to the proscomodia; the constant presence, in the prayers and even in the offerings, of the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, and the Angelic Hierarchies (who, in the Entry with the Gospel are actually called upon as participating invisibly in the celebration, and with whom the Choir in the Cherubicon is actually identified; the iconostatis, which clearly separates the sanctuary from the nave, the clergy from the people; the hidden consecration, obvious symbol of the Unknowable to which the whole liturgy alludes; the position of the celebrant “turned towards God” (versus ad Deum) and never towards the people (versus ad populum); the administering of communion always and only by the celebrant; the continual signs of profound adoration towards the Species; the essentially contemplative attitude of the people. The fact that such liturgies, even in their less solemn form, last for more than an hour, and the repeated references to them as “awful and ineffable liturgy,” and “awful, celestial, life-giving mysteries,” etc., complete the picture for us. It may be noted finally that in both the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and in that of St. Basil the concept of “supper” and “feast” is clearly subordinated to that of Sacrifice, just as it was in the Roman Mass.

    [27] In its Session XIII (decree on the Most Holy Eucharist) the Council of Trent declared its intention “ut stirpitus convelleret zizania execrabilium errorum et schismatum, quae inimicus homo . . . in doctrina fidei usa et cultu Sacrosanctae Eucharistiae superseminavit (Mt. 13, 25 ff.) . . . quam aliqui Salvator noster in Ecclesia sua tamquam symbolum reliquit eius unitatis et caritatis, qua Christianos omnes inter se coniunctos et copulatos, esse voluit.” (DB, 873).

    [28] “Ad sacrae liturgiae fontes mente animoque redire sapiens profecto ac laudabilissima res est, cum disciplinae huius studium ad eius origines remigrans, haud parum conferat ad festorum dierum significationem et ad formularum quae usurpantur, sacrarumque caeremoniarum sententiam altius diligentiusque pervestigandam: non sapiens tamen, non laudabile est omnia ad antiquitatem quavis modo reducere. Itaque, ut exemplis utamur, is ex recto aberret itinere, qui priscam altari velit mensae formam restituere; qui liturgicas vestes velit nigro semper carere colore; qui sacras imagines ac statuas e templis prohibeat; qui divini Redemptoris in Crucem acti effigies ita conformari iubeat, ut corpus eius acerrimos non referat, quos passus est cruciatus . . . Haec enim cogitandi agendique ratio nimiam illam reviviscere iubet atque insanam antiquitatum cupidinem, quam illegtimum excitavit Pistoriense concilium, itemque multiplices illos restituere enititur errores, qui in causa fuere, cur conciliabulum idem cogeretur, quique inde non sine magno animorum detrimento consecuti sunt, quosque Ecclesia, cum evigilans semper existat ‘fidei depositi’ custos sibi a Divini conditore concrediti, jure meritoque reprobavit.” (Mediator Dei, I, 5).

    [29] “. . . Let us not be deluded by the criterion of bringing back to its original tiny proportions the vast edifice of the Church, which has arisen like a magnificent temple to the greater glory of God—as if its original state were the only true and good one.” (Paul IV, Ecclesiam suam).

    [30] “A virtually schismatic ferment is dividing, subdividing and splitting the Church.” (Paul VI, Homily in Cena Domini, 1969).

    [31] “There are also amongst us those ‘schismata,’ those ‘scissurae’ sorrowfully denounced in St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians.” (Cf. Paul VI, ibid).

    [32] It is well known that the Second Vatican Council is today being rejected by the very people who originally boasted of supporting it; while the Supreme Pontiff at its close declared that it had changed nothing, they went away determined to “explode” its findings when it came to applying them. Unfortunately the Holy See, with a haste that the majority of people found inexplicable, has permitted and almost encouraged (through the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia) an ever-growing disloyalty to the Council, ranging from what are, to all intents and purposes, its merely formal aspects (Latin, the Gregorian chant, suppression of venerable rites, etc.) to the fundamental ones sanctioned by the Novus Ordo. The desperate consequences, which we have tried to illustrate, have had repercussions (and the psychological ones are possibly even more catastrophic) in the fields of discipline and ecclesiastical teaching, undermining seriously the prestige of the Apostolic See and the obedience due to it.

    The Mass is a true and visible sacrifice—not a symbolic representation—“quo cruentum illud semel in cruce peragendum repraesentaretur atque illius salutaris virtus in remissionem corum quae a nobis quotidie committuntur peccatorum applicaretur.” (DB, 938)

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