Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Can A Valid Novus Ordo Mass Offend God? Are We Obligated to Attend It?
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The Angelic Doctor goes on to summarize two ways in which worship directed to the True God is nevertheless evil. As to the first reason, St. Thomas Aquinas illustrates by way of example: “…in this way, at the time of the New Law, the mysteries of Christ being already accomplished, it is pernicious to make use of the ceremonies of the Old Law whereby the mysteries of Christ were foreshadowed as things to come: just as it would be pernicious for anyone to declare that Christ has yet to suffer.” Thus, observing seder meals, religious circumcision, abstaining from pork for religious reasons, etc. would now offend the True God.

As to the second example, the saint continues: “…falsehood in outward worship occurs on the part of the worshiper, and especially in common worship which is offered by ministers impersonating the whole Church. For even as he would be guilty of falsehood who would, in the name of another person, proffer things that are not committed to him, so too does a man incur the guilt of falsehood who, on the part of the Church, gives worship to God contrary to the manner established by the Church or divine authority, and according to ecclesiastical custom.”

Consequently, we can say that even valid worship offered by those who do so in a manner contrary to that established by the Church would offend God. This may be the case of a valid Catholic priest who ad libs the Missal and, while validly confecting the Holy Eucharist, mortally sins by intentionally neglecting the rubrics. This would also be the case of a valid Divine Liturgy offered by schismatic groups like the Orthodox Church. And this would certainly apply to rituals performed by heretical protestant denominations who do not follow the Church’s prescriptions, do not offer any valid Sacraments (exceptions aside ), and who teach a doctrine contrary to that taught by Christ our Lord.

Can A Valid Novus Ordo Mass Offend God?

Taken to the next logical question, we consider if it is possible for a valid Novus Ordo Mass to offend God. 

Even though it is possible for God to work good out of evil and lead to the Truth those in false religions, this does not make the Novus Ordo as praiseworthy or fitting for God. Rather, the defects in the Novus Ordo are not merely external but intrinsic in the 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. 

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.

The Faith is not defined by merely external actions. Archbishop Lefebvre rightfully criticized the Novus Ordo – even when accompanied by Latin, ad orientem postures, and the external appearance of piety.  Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted a set of doctrines and established His one True Church as the means of bringing about the conversion of souls and their salvation. He did not institute merely external gestures while telling His disciples to ad lib the rest. And on the opposite extreme, the Lord also did not teach His disciples the precise words for Sacramental validity and tell them that their external postures, garments, and actions were useless since only the internal mattered. Our Faith not only includes heart-felt prayers, works of charity, and pious devotions, but also includes rich liturgical music, elaborate cathedrals, and ornate vestments. Even the presence of Eucharistic miracles in Novus do not mean that the Novus Ordo is pleasing to God.

Are We Obligated to Ever Attend Offensive Worship?

More than mere validity is necessary in the worship of God. If validity was the only basis for whether worship was pleasing to God, Catholics would be able to have their children baptized by an Anglican minister or attend receive the valid Eucharist from schismatic Greek orthodox priests. Yet, we know that attending the worship of any other denomination is a sin against the First Commandment. 

Consequently, we have an obligation to seek out not only valid Masses but those which are offered according to the Church’s immemorial rubrics and customs. We should not feel obligated to attend a Novus Ordo Mass – even on Sundays or Holy Days – since attending them is often a grave danger to our spiritual lives


1 comment(s):

del_button January 22, 2022 at 10:30 AM
Unknown said...

The Traditional Mass is available only on First Saturday mornings two hours from my home in Maine. I attend our NO Mass Sundays and often daily. But during the Mass, I offer prayers of reparation, often the Rosary. I want to receive the precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Savior, even though the NO saddens me deeply. I know well the great "shortcomings", errors in the NO. I want to keep Our Lord company in the Blessed Sacrament. Is all of this justifiable?

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