The Ottaviani Interventions |
A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae
Part Four: Chapter Three
We now turn to the ends or purposes of the Mass--what it accomplishes in the supernatural order.
Note: Bold added by editor for emphasis
1. ULTIMATE PURPOSE. The ultimate purpose of the Mass is the sacrifice of praise rendered to the Most Holy Trinity. This end conforms to the primary purpose of the Incarnation, explicitly enunciated by Christ Himself: "Coming into the world He saith: sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast fitted me." 
9. Psalms 50:7-9, in Hebrews 10:5.
In the Novus Ordo, this purpose has disappeared:
- From the Offertory, where the prayer "Receive, Holy Trinity, this oblation" has been removed. - From the conclusion of Mass, where the prayer honoring the Trinity, "May the Tribute of my Homage, Most Holy Trinity" has been eliminated. - From the Preface, since the Preface of the Most Holy Trinity, formerly used on all ordinary Sundays, will henceforth be used only on the Feast of the most Holy Trinity.
2. ORDINARY PURPOSE. The ordinary purpose of the Mass is propitiatory sacrifice--making satisfaction to God for sin. This end, too, has been compromised. Instead of emphasizing remission for sins for the living and the dead, the new rite stresses the nourishment and sanctification of those present. 
10. GIRM 54, Document on the Liturgy 1444.
At the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament and thus placed Himself in It as Victim, in order to unite Himself to us as Victim. But this act of sacrificial immolation occurs before the Blessed Sacrament is consumed and possesses beforehand full redemptive value in relation to the bloody Sacrifice on Calvary. The proof for this is that people who assist are not bound to receive Communion sacramentally. 
11. This shift of emphasis occurs in the three new Eucharistic Prayers, which eliminate the Memento of the Dead and any mention of souls suffering in Purgatory, to whom the propitiatory Sacrifice is applied.
3. IMMANENT PURPOSE. The immanent purpose of the Mass is fundamentally that of sacrifice. It is essential that the Sacrifice, whatever its nature, be pleasing to God and accepted by Him. Because of original sin, however, no sacrifice other than the Christ's Sacrifice can claim to be acceptable and pleasing to God in its own right. The Novus Ordo alters the nature of the sacrificial offering by turning it into a type of exchange of gifts between God and man. Man brings the bread, and God turns it into "the bread of life"; man brings the wine, and God turns it into "spiritual drink":
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have this bread (or wine) to offer, fruit of the earth (vine) and work of human hands, It will become for us the bread of life (spiritual drink). 
12. See "Mysterium Fidei," in which Paul VI condemns the errors of symbolism together with the new theories of "transignification: and "transfinalization": "...it is not allowable...to stress the sign value of the sacrament as if the symbolism, which to be sure all acknowledge in the Eucharist, expresses fully and exhaustively the meaning of Christ's presence; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning the marvelous changing of the whole substance of the bread into the body and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood of Christ, as stated by the Council of Trent, so that only what is called 'transignification' or 'transfinalization' is involved." Encyclical "Mysterium Fidei" on the doctrine and worship of the Eucharist, 3 September 1965, Section 11, DOL 1155.
The expressions "bread of life" and "spiritual drink," of course, are utterly vague and could mean anything. Once again, we come up against the same basic equivocation: According to the new definition of the Mass, Christ is only spiritually present among His own; here, bread and wine are only spiritually---and not substantially---changed. 
13. "Mysterium Fidei" amply denounces and condemns introducing new formulas or expressions which, though occurring in texts of the Fathers, the Councils, and the Church's magisterium, are used in a univocal sense that is not subordinated to the substance of doctrine with which they form an inseparable whole (e.g., "spiritual nourishment," "spiritual food," "spiritual drink," etc.): "Not only the integrity of the faith, but also its proper mode of expression must be safeguarded, lest, God forbid, by the careless use of words we introduce false notions about the most sublime realities." He quotes St. Augustine: " 'We, however, have the obligation to speak according to a definite norm, lest the carelessness of our words give rise to impious ideas about the very realities signified by these words.' " He continues: "We must religiously respect the rule of terminology; after centuries of effort and under the protection of the Holy Spirit the Church has established it and confirmed it by the authority of councils; that norm often became the watchword and the banner of orthodox belief. Let no one arbitrarily or under the pretext of new science presume to change it...In like manner we must not put up with anyone's personal wish to modify the formulas in which the Council of Trent set forth the mystery of the Eucharist for belief." Sections 23, 24; DOL 1167-8.
In the Preparation of the Gifts, a similar equivocal game was played. The old Offertory contained two magnificent prayers, the "Deus qui humanae" and the "Offerimus tibi":
- The first prayer, recited at the preparation of the chalice, begins: "O God, by Whom the dignity of human nature was wondrously established and yet more wondrously restored." It recalled man's innocence before the Fall of Adam and his ransom by the blood of Christ, and it summed up the whole economy of the Sacrifice from Adam to the present day. - The second prayer, which accompanies the offering of the chalice, embodies the idea of propitiation for sin: it implores God for His mercy as it asks that the offering may ascend with a sweet fragrance in the presence of Thy divine majesty. Like the first prayer, it admirably stresses the economy of the Sacrifice.
In the Novus Ordo, both these prayers have been eliminated. In the Eucharistic Prayers, moreover, the repeated petitions to God that He accept the Sacrifice have also been suppressed; thus, there is no longer any clear distinction between divine and human sacrifice. Having removed the keystone, the reformers had to put up scaffolding. Having suppressed the real purposes of the Mass, they had to substitute fictitious purposes of their own. This forced them to introduce actions stressing the union between priest and faithful, or among the faithful themselves--and led to the ridiculous attempt to superimpose offerings for the poor and for the Church on the offering of the host to be immolated. The fundamental uniqueness of the Victim to be sacrificed will thus be completely obliterated. Participation in the immolation of Christ the Victim will turn into a philanthropists' meeting or a charity banquet. [Editor's Note: It has!!! And the architectural changes and elimination of the sacred have only enhanced the concept of 'a dinner-theater-in-the-round!']
Next issue: Chapter Four
For the introduction and Cardinal Ottaviani's letter to Pope Paul VI on September 29, 1969, see Part One Introduction
August 20-22, 2001
volume 12, no. 144
OTTAVIANI INTERVENTION - CAMPAIGN FOR THE FirstCRUSADE of the 21st Century