August 30-September 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 147

The Ottaviani Interventions

A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae

Part Seven: Chapter Five first section

    We now consider the question of who performs the Sacrifice. In the old rite, these were, in order: Christ, the priest, the Church and the faithful.

1. The Role of the Faithful in the New Rite. In the New Mass, the role attributed to the faithful is autonomous, absolute - and hence completely false. This is obvious not only from the new definition of the Mass ("...the sacred assembly or congregation of the people gathering together..."), but also from the General Instruction's observation that the priest's opening Greeting is meant to convey to the assembled community the presence of the Lord: Then through his greeting the priest declares to the assembled community that the Lord is present. This greeting and response express the mystery of the gathered Church. [31]

    31. GIRM 28, Documents on the Liturgy - DOL 1418
    Is this the true presence of Christ? Yes, but only a spiritual presence. A mystery of the Church? Certainly - but only insofar as the assembly manifests and asks for Christ's presence. This new notion is stressed over and over again by:
  • Obsessive references to the communal character of the Mass. [32]
      32. GIRM 74-152, DOL 1464-1542.
  • The unheard of distinction between "Mass with a Congregation" and "Mass without a Congregation." [33]
      33. GIRM 209-231, DOL 1599-1621.
  • The description of the Prayer of the Faithful as a part of the Mass where "the people exercising their priestly office, intercede for all humanity." [34 ]
      34. GIRM 45, DOL 1435.
        The faithful's "priestly office is presented equivocally, as if it were autonomous, by omitting to mention that it is subordinated to the priest, who, as consecrated mediator, presents the people's petitions to God during the Canon of the Mass.

        The Novus Ordo's Eucharistic Prayer III addresses the following prayers to the Lord:

      From age to age you gather a people to yourself, *so that* from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.

        The "so that" in the passage makes it appear that the people, rather than the priest, are the indispensable element in the celebration. Since it is never made clear, even here, who offers the sacrifice, the people themselves appear as possessing autonomous priestly powers.
      35. Against the Lutherans and Calvinists who teach that all Christians are priests and offerers of the Lord's Supper, see A. Tanquerey, "Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae," (Paris, Tournai, Rome: Desclee, 1930), v. III: "Each and every priest is, strictly speaking, a secondary minister of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself is the principal minister. The faithful offer *through the intermediary of the priest, but not in a strict sense*." Cf. Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 2, DB 949.
        From this step, it would not be surprising if, before long, the people were permitted to join with the priest if pronouncing the words of Consecration. Indeed, in some places this has already happened.

    2. The Role of the Priest in the New Rite. The role of the priest is minimized, changed, and falsified:

  • In relation to the people, he is now a mere president or brother, rather than the consecrated minister who celebrates Mass "in the person of Christ."
  • In relation to the Church, the priest is now merely one member among others, someone taken from the people. In its treatment of the invocation to the Holy Ghost in the Eucharistic Prayer (the epiclesis), the General Instruction attributes the petitions anonymously to the Church. [36]
      36. GIRM 55, DOL 1445.
        The priest's part has vanished.
  • In the new Penitential Rite which begins the mass, the Confiteor has now become collective; hence the priest is no longer judge, witness and intercessor before God. It is logical therefore that he no longer recites the prayer of absolution which followed it and has now been suppressed. The priest is now "integrated" with his brothers; even the altar boy who serves at a "Mass without a Congregation" calls the priest "brother." [Editor's Note: What would His Eminence have said if he realized shortly after his death that girls would be allowed to serve as acolytes? Serving Holy Mass has always been reserved for only males since it is the first step to the priesthood! It is all just more convincing evidence of the corruption of the liturgy and a need to return to the one true Holy Mass that has been suppressed by the conciliar Church.]

  • Formerly, the priest's Communion was ritually distinct from the people's Communion. The Novus Ordo suppresses this important distinction. This was the moment when Christ the Eternal High Priest and the priest who acts in the person of Christ came together in closest union and completed the Sacrifice. - Not a word is said, moreover, about the priest's power as "sacrificer," his consecratory action or how as intermediary he brings about the Eucharistic presence. He now appears to be nothing more than a Protestant minister.

  • By abolishing or rendering optional many of the priestly vestments - in some cases only an alb and stole are now required [37]
      37. GIRM 298, DOL 1688 fn
    the new rite obliterates the priest's conformity to Christ even more. The priest is no longer clothed with Christ's virtues. He is now a mere "graduate" with one or two tokens that barely separate him from the crowd - [38]
      38. We note in passing an unthinkable innovation which will have disastrous psychological effects; employing *red* vestments on Good Friday instead of black (GIRM 308.b, DOL 1698)--as if Good Friday were the commemoration of just another martyr, instead of the day on which the whole Church mourns for her Founder. (Cf. Mediator Dei, PTL 550, quoted below.)
    "a little more a man than the rest," to quote from a modern Dominican's unintentionally humorous definition. [39]
      39. Rev. A. M. Rouget, OP, speaking to the Dominican Sisters of Bethany at Plessit-Chenet.
    Here, as when they set up altar against altar, the reformers separated that which was united: the one Priesthood of Christ from the Word of God.

    Note: Bold added by editor for emphasis

    Next issue: Chapter Seven

    For the introduction and Cardinal Ottaviani's letter to Pope Paul VI on September 29, 1969, see Part One Introduction

    August 30-September 2, 2001
    volume 12, no. 147
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