Sunday, July 26, 2020
Why You Should NOT Attend the Novus Ordo
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Sometimes I hear people ask the question of whether they can or should attend the Novus Ordo if the Tridentine Mass is not accessible locally. The closest Mass may be more than an hour's drive away. Or someone may be on vacation and there is no Tridentine Mass in the local area - or even in the country. What should someone do? Should they attend the Novus Ordo instead, even though they often attend the Tridentine Mass? Alternatively, I have heard some people ask whether it would be better to attend Eucharistic Adoration instead of the Novus Ordo Mass during the week.

After having attended the Tridentine Mass exclusively now for 10 years, and after having left the Novus Ordo seminary after two years in it, I do not hesitate to say that no one is bound to attend (or should attend) the Novus Ordo.

Why such a dramatic view that the Novus Ordo should never be attended? The Novus Ordo is unfortunately impregnated with the very spirit of Protestantism. It is harmful to the Faith, even when exterior acts of reverence are inserted into it.

I'd like to briefly outline why I would encourage every Catholic to leave the Novus Ordo behind and cease attending it, promoting it, or donating to it.

1. The Novus Ordo Prayers are Protestant at the Core

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre famously remarked, "The Novus Ordo Missae, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules, ...is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith." Simply put, every Novus Ordo is harmful to one's faith. Even though it is possible for God to work good out of evil and lead to the Truth even those in false religions or heretical denominations, this does not make the Novus Ordo as praiseworthy, as honoring, or as fitting for God. Rather, the defects in the Novus Ordo are not merely external but intrinsic in the very prayers created for the New Rite of Mass.

The Holy Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The purpose of Mass is to be present at the Sacrifice of Christ that is made present again through the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  We worship God at Mass in the manner which He has established for His worship. We are present at Calvary.  Rather than merely remembering the life and death of Christ, we are present at it and partake of its eternal fruits which flow to us from the altar and during the Canon when the priest stands in the place of Christ and offers the Eternal Victim on the Altar to God.  We can further receive grace by partaking of the Holy Eucharist if we are Catholics in the state of grace. This view of the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice has been lost in the Novus Ordo and replaced by notions of community, where the priest is a presider, and many Catholics falsely view receiving Holy Communion as the purpose of going to Mass, rather than being present at the august sacrifice of the Eternal Victim.

As Archbishop Lefebvre noted in Chapter 4 of the Open Letter to Confused Catholics, the changes to the Mass in the offertory, the sermon, the canon, and elsewhere mimic the changes sought by Martin Luther! They are in their very core protestant, especially for instance in the newly created prayers of the Offertory which bear no similarity to the Offertory in the Tridentine Mass.

Of course, while any validly ordained priest may consecrate bread and wine using the words of consecration, even while omitting the rest of the Mass (which is done at times in cases of necessity for instance by priests who are imprisoned and can only smuggle in a small piece of bread and a small amount of wine), this is not the same as promoting and saying protestantized prayers. I do not hold the Novus Ordo lacking merely because it does not have as many beautiful prayers. I hold it as protestantized because the prayers which are a part of it were written with the intention of appealing to protestants.

Jean Guitton, an intimate friend of Paul VI wrote: “The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the [New] Mass, was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist Mass.” And we know that the Calvinists - and any protestants for that matter - do not have a valid rite of Mass and do not confect the Holy Eucharist.

2. The Novus Ordo was Formed Under the Error of Archeologism

Those who encourage or at least tolerate the Novus Ordo often do so by saying that Paul VI sought for the Church to merely return to a more ancient manner of saying the Mass. This view is actually the error of Archeologism as Fr. Peter Scott explains:

"Pius XII inveighs against the error of those who would want to use the pretence of antiquity to bring
about changes in the Church’s prayers and ceremonies: “It is neither wise nor laudable to reduce
everything to antiquity by every possible device” (§ 62), for “ancient usage must not be esteemed
more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new
situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity” (§61). This is the
error of Archeologism, namely that because something is older it is necessarily better, and it denies
that the development of liturgical rites over the centuries owes its “inspiration to the Holy Spirit,
Who assists the Church in every age”. (Ib.)

"This error of those who try to justify liturgical revolution by ancient practices is clearly condemned
by the Pope: “The temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for
the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe
reproof” (§ 59). Here are some of the examples of archeologism listed by the Pope:

  • Replacement of Latin by the vernacular in the august Eucharistic Sacrifice
  • Transferral of feast days to Sundays
  • Deletion from the liturgy of some texts of the Old Testament
  • Replacement of the altar by a table – “one would be straying from the straight path were he
  • to wish the altar restored to its primitive table-form” (§ 62)
  • Excluding black as a liturgical color
  • Eliminating the use of sacred statues and images
  • Crucifixes not showing Christ’s suffering (Risen Christ)

"It is interesting to note that twenty years later every single one of these examples of abuses
condemned by Pope Pius XII had been incorporated into the New Mass, always under the pretence
that it is returning to old things. Other examples Pius XII did not mention are the procession for the
presentation of the gifts and the Kiss of peace for the laity, the abolition of the prayers at the foot of
the altar, the elimination of “mystery of faith” from the words of consecration, the elimination of
the Roman Canon (although it is the truly oldest part of the Mass), many feast of saints, the Last
Gospel and the prayers after Mass."

Even if we claim that Paul VI imposed the Novus Ordo under good intentions, they are still nevertheless imbued with archeologism. And this is not just "bad." It is heretical as Fr. Scott further explains:

"Pius XII further explains that this“exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism”(§64) is not new,but derives from the illegal Council of Pistoia, condemned by Pope Pius VI in 1794.  Due protestant influence this false council wanted to promote a return to the simplicity of the earlyChurch, despising later developments. Its principle is found in the first proposition, which Pius VIcondemned as heretical: “In these latter times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ”(Db 1501). This is precisely the reasoning of the modernists, when they want to do away with devotions to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Virgin, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the saints. Yet it is condemned as heretical."

3. The Novus Ordo's Fruits are Manifestly Rotten

We do know from first-hand experience, the fruits that have followed Vatican II, the New Mass, Communion in the Hand, and the near elimination of fasting and abstinence. Christ, Himself said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-16). What are these fruits? These are the fruits as shown by the Old Evangelization Website:


The results are grim beyond the statistics shown above. Only 30% of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing and 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.

Turning again to the words of Archbishop Lefebvre, who saw first hand the effect of the Novus Ordo on the African continent and how it eroded the successful work that Catholic missionaries had done there, he writes:
"Furthermore it can be said without any exaggeration whatsoever, that the majority of Masses celebrated without altar stones, with common vessels, leavened bread, with the introduction of profane words into the very body of the Canon, etc., are sacrilegious, and they prevent faith by diminishing it. The desacralization is such that these Masses can come to lose their supernatural character, “the mystery of faith,” and become no more than acts of natural religion. 
"Your perplexity takes perhaps the following form: may I assist at a sacrilegious Mass which is nevertheless valid, in the absence of any other, in order to satisfy my Sunday obligation? The answer is simple: these Masses cannot be the object of an obligation; we must moreover apply to them the rules of moral theology and canon law as regards the participation or the attendance at an action which endan- gers the faith or may be sacrilegious."
Conclusion

For those who are unable to attend a Tridentine Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, it is better to pray the Rosary, sanctify the day by abstaining from servile works, read the prayers of the Missal, listen to good sermons, perform works of charity, and even to watch a live stream of the Mass.

I do not hold any animosity toward those who do go to the Novus Ordo through mere ignorance. The truth is that the vast majority of Catholics do not know of the Tridentine Mass or at least do not view it as important. They do not see the errors in the New Church and have likely been told to avoid the Latin Mass or at least the SSPX or groups more traditional than them. These people may even view the FSSP for instance as traditional enough and posit them as an ideal, claiming falsely that the SSPX is schismatic (which it is not).

The changes to the Catholic Church in the past fifty years have been disastrous and that is in a significant part due to the imposition of the Novus Ordo. As I mentioned in my article 20 Immediate Actions to End the Protestantization of the Catholic Church, the Restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass - the Mass of All Times - in all Latin Rite parishes and the abolition of the 1969 Rite of Mass known as the Novus Ordo is necessary.

Please join me in praying for the Restoration of the Roman Mass.

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