28 July 2022

Ask Father: Quo Vadis, Novus Ordo?

'Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine.' - Piero Marini, secretary to Annibale Bugnini, Destroyer of the Mass.

From Fr Z's Blog

From a reader…


I pose my question about the Novus Ordo Missae in homage to the now famous question, “What is a woman?” It seems to me that the Consilium took a rib from the 1962 Missal and instead of creating something beautiful and complementary to it, created a nascent liturgical monster whose “aquatic variation” highlighted in one of your recent posts was particularly grotesque. Even prior to that disrespectful and disgusting spectacle a thought arose in my mine about its trajectory over these last 50+ years. Quo vadis, Novus Ordo? At what point can we say that the Novus Ordo began as a well-intentioned, though dimwitted, liturgical reform, metastasized into a feckless imitation of the Roman liturgy and has now become a full-blown psychological operation to keep Catholics from understanding the true Catholic faith and living out a life of holiness unto eternal salvation? Is that a reasonably accurate way of understanding what is, on the whole, going on with the Novus Ordo in the Church today?

The short answer is “No.”

However, the longer answer must consider that the Novus Ordo can and has produced good fruits even though its origins are compromised.

It is an undisputed fact that the Novus Ordo, celebrated by the book and with due reverence and attention to Tradition, has resulted in conversions and in holy lives well-lived. I think that the actual reforms desired by the Council Fathers would have produced more.

One could go on at length about differences between the Novus Ordo and the Vetus Ordo, the desired reform and the reform we got, etc.

Think about this.

Our liturgical worship is the glorious and worthy distillation of the Christian experience across many cultures for many generations. Patiently and lovingly it grew and was tended and maintained.  This is the Vetus Ordo of the Roman Church.

Then came the reformers who, with the power they usurped and weaponized within the Consilium, using the authority of the Council against the Sacred Congregation for Rites and manipulating in a double-pronged maneuver both Paul VI and the experts of the Consilium, they arrogantly, rudely, imposed their own will on the Church in the construction of a new Rite, the Novus Ordo, abruptly imposed.

Abrupt changes in Cult, Code and Creed are not the Catholic way.

Abrupt changes signal that something has gone very wrong.

In a book over the signature of Annibale Bugnini’s secretary, later papal MC and now Archbp. Piero Marini,  A Challenging Reformwe read of the machinations of the Consilium of its head, Card. Lercaro and, especially, Bugnini.

Here is a smoking gun quote about how the kingpins of the Consilium were trying to, not fulfil the wishes of the Council Fathers, but to impose their own will on the Church’s worship and, therefore, her belief.

Context: Marini recounts how the Consilium had just taken a major step in moving from a group meeting informally to an officially and formally established body.  They have their first plenary session.

“They met in public to begin one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church.  Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine.”  (p. 46)

The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change the way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa.

That’s what they set out to do: change doctrine.   That was NOT their mandate!

Consider that, now, a small group of movers and shakers have manipulated a clearly willing Francis to attack the Vetus Ordo as being – try to get your head around this – against the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council.

John XXIII in his opening speech for the Council (Gaudet Mater Ecclesia) set the course for the Fathers saying explicitly that no new doctrine or definitions were to be made.  The Fathers said that no changes to the liturgy were to be made that weren’t organic continuations of what we had in the Vetus Ordo (SC 23).

“Disconnect” doesn’t begin to describe what happened with the Council and sacred worship.

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