It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Mass (Novus Ordo) Was Intended To Be Like This

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: When Pope Paul VI released the new ordinary of the mass (Novus Ordo) in 1970, he did not intend for it to be a radical departure from the original Tridentine mass. The Missal of Pope Paul VI was released in Latin, with the intention that a good portion of it would continue to be said in Latin, allowing for various parts to be translated into the vernacular languages. What was intended was something along the line of what is shown in the two videos below...

I've seen a few parishes where the Novus Ordo is celebrated this way, but unfortunately this is the exception to the norm. The overwhelming vast majority of Novus Ordo celebrations don't even come close, which is why the Church is in a liturgical and vocational crisis today. Yes, studies show the crisis in liturgy and vocations are related.

In the confusion following the Second Vatican Council, some "progressives" took it upon themselves to introduce their own ideas into the implementation of the scheduled reforms. The introduction of the Novus Ordo mass in 1970 served as an ideal platform for many of these "innovations" to take place. The first major innovation was the reorientation of the priest to face the congregation, rather than toward the Lord (ad orientem), during the consecration of the Eucharist. This resulted in new alters being put into some churches, and old high alters being torn out. Eventually, newer chapel layouts dropped the high alter entirely, along with many elements of traditional Catholic design. Some even placed the tabernacle in obscure locations, moving the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist away from the center of the parish community. Simultaneously with that came vernacular translations of the mass that the Vatican later determined to be "defective." (The English translation used in the United States from 1970 through 2008 is one such example.) Then traditional Catholic music (such as Gregorian chant) was jettisoned in favor of newer Protestant style hymnals, gradually progressing to the pop/folk music commonly used in parishes today. Beyond that, the laity also contributed to the abuse of the Novus Ordo liturgy by making gestures imitating the priest during the liturgy, finally holding hands during the "Our Father" and making quite the commotion during the exchanging of the peace. In recent times the Novus Ordo has degenerated in some places to new lows of liturgical abuse, starting with liturgical dance and ending with the infamous "clown mass."

In spite of repeated warnings from Pope John Paul II and later Pope Benedict XVI, little to no effort was made to correct these types of liturgical abuses. Because of this, Pope Benedict XVI finally decided in July of 2007 to release the old Tridentine mass from the grip of bishops who refused to let it be celebrated in their diocese. He placed the old Tridentine mass along side the Novus Ordo mass in Church law, effectively creating a level playing field, allowing local priests to directly chose which mass they wanted to celebrate with (or without) the local bishop's permission. Knowing full well that this action would quickly create an exodus of Catholic faithful from the new (Novus Ordo) mass back to the old (Tridentine) mass, especially among a growing number of young people who prefer the Tridentine mass, Pope Benedict XVI has now set into motion the first phase of his liturgical reforms planned for the Catholic Church.

As the exodus gets underway, priests and bishops favoring the new (Novus Ordo) mass now find themselves in direct competition with priests and bishops favoring the old (Tridentine) mass. To keep their parishioners from leaving their celebrations, Novus Ordo priests and bishops are now going to have to compete with the solemnity of the ancient liturgy. This is all by the Holy Father's design. What drives faithful Catholics away from the Novus Ordo is the lack of solemnity typically found in the celebration of the Tridentine mass. Though the Latin language is an important part of Catholic heritage, it is not the language itself that is the deciding factor for why more Catholics favor the Tridentine. It's really more about solemnity and less about language. A common mistake is to assume the Catholic faithful simply crave Latin. Granted, Latin is important, but it's not nearly as important as the solemnity often found in the old Tridentine mass. Make no mistake about it; solemnity (not necessarily Latin) is what draws people to the Tridentine. If Novus Ordo priests want to keep their parishioners in the long run, they're going to have to bring solemnity (inspiring awe and reverence) back into their celebrations of the Novus Ordo mass. This is a reform they will have to make, or else face the reality of diminishing congregations in the years ahead.

In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio (Summorum Pontificum) liberalizing the use of the Tridentine mass, a growing number of bishops have announced that seminaries under their control will now teach future priests to say both forms of the mass (Novus Ordo & Tridentine). That being the case, the years ahead will see the rise of a priesthood fully familiar with both forms of the mass, and completely capable of providing parishioners with the solemnity they crave in either form of the mass. The Novus Ordo priests of today are already obsolete in this capacity, and that will continue to become more obvious in the years ahead.

Thanks to the actions of the Holy Father, Novus Ordo priests have only two options available for them if they want to remain relevant in the coming years. The first would be to learn to say the Tridentine mass, which requires a great deal of training and discipline most priests today are not prepared to undergo. The second option, which is more reasonable to many priests, would be to simply learn how to celebrate the Novus Ordo with the kind of solemnity displayed in the videos above. If the later were done, a priest familiar with this one form exclusively could easily provide the kind of liturgical atmosphere young Catholics are beginning to crave, and will soon become the expectation of all priests in the years ahead.

Please feel fee to share this story with your parish priest: