September 3-5, 2001
volume 12, no. 148

The Ottaviani Interventions

A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae

Part Eight: Chapter Five second section

3. The Role of the Church in the New Rite. Finally, there is the Church's position in relation to Christ. In only one instance - in its treatment of the form of the Mass without a Congregation - does the General Instruction admit that the Mass is "the action of Christ and the Church." [40]

    40. GIRM 4, DOL 1394. Cf. "Presbyterum Ordinis," Section 13, DOL 265.
    In the case of Mass with a Congregation, however, the only object the Instruction hints as it "remembering Christ" and sanctifying those present. "The priest celebrant," it says, "...joins the people to himself in offering the sacrifice through Christ in the Spirit to the Father" [41]
    41. GIRM 60, DOL 1450 fn
- instead of saying that the people join themselves to Christ Who offers Himself through the Holy Ghost to the Father. In this context, the following points should likewise be noted:
  • The many grave omissions of the phrase "through Christ Our Lord," a formula which guarantees that God will hear the Church's prayers in every age. [42]
      42. See John 14:13-16, 23-24
  • An all-pervading "paschalism" - an obsessive emphasis on Easter and the Resurrection - almost as if there were no other aspects of the communication of grace, which, while quite different, are nevertheless equally important.
  • The strange and dubious "eschatologism" - a stress upon Christ's Second Coming and the end of time - whereby the permanent and eternal reality of the communication of grace is reduced to something within the bonds of time. We hear of a people of God on the march, a pilgrim Church - a Church no longer *Militant* against the powers of darkness, but one which, having lost its link with eternity, marches to a future envisioned in purely temporal terms.

    In Eucharistic Prayer IV the Church - as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic - is abased by eliminating the Roman Canon's petition for all orthodox believers who keep the Catholic and Apostolic faith. These are now merely

      all who seek you with a sincere heart.
    The Memento of the Dead in the Canon, moreover, is offered not as before for those who are gone before us with the sign of faith, but merely
      for those who have died in the peace of Christ.
    To this group - with further detriment to the notion of the Church's unity and visibility - Eucharistic Prayer IV adds the great crowd of
      "all the dead whose faith is known to You alone."
    None of the three new Eucharistic Prayers, moreover, alludes to a suffering state for those who have died; none allows the priest to make special Mementos for the dead. All this necessarily undermines faith in the propitiatory and redemptive nature of the sacrifice.
      43. In some translations of the Roman Canon, the phrase a place of refreshment, light and peace was rendered as a simple state: "blessedness, light, peace." What can be said then of the disappearance of every explicit reference to the Church Suffering?
        Everywhere desacralizing omissions debase the mystery of the Church. Above all, the Church's nature as a sacred hierarchy is disregarded. The second part of the new collective Confiteor reduces the Angels and the Saints to anonymity in the first part, in the person of St. Michael the Archangel, they have disappeared as witnesses and judges. [44]
      44. Amidst this flurry of omissions, only one element has been added: the mention in the Confiteor of "what I have failed to do."
    In the Preface for Eucharistic Prayer II - and this is unprecedented - the various angelic hierarchies have disappeared. Also suppressed, in the third prayer of the old Canon, is the memory of the holy Pontiffs and Martyrs on whom the Church in Rome was founded; without a doubt, these were the saints who handed down the apostolic tradition finally completed under Pope St. Gregory as the Roman Mass. The prayer after the Our Father, the "Libera Nos," now suppresses the mention of the Blessed Virgin, the holy apostles and all the Saints; their intercession is thus no longer sought, even it times of danger. Everywhere except in the Roman Canon, the Novus Ordo eliminates not only the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the Church in Rome, but also the names of the other Apostles, the foundation and mark of the one and universal Church. This intolerable omission, extending even to the three new Eucharistic Prayers, compromises the unity of the Church. The New Order of Mass further attacks the dogma of the Communion of Saints by suppressing the blessing and the salutation "The Lord Be with You" when the priest says Mass without a server. It also eliminates the "Ite Missa Est," even in Masses celebrated with a server. [45]
      45. At the press conference introducing the Novus Ordo, Rev. Joseph Lecuyer, CSSp, professing a purely rationalist faith, discussed changing the priest's salutations in Mass without a Congregation from plural to singular ("Pray, brother," for example, replaces "Pray, brethren.") His reason was "so that there would be nothing [in the Mass] which does not correspond with the truth."
    The double Confiteor at the beginning of the Mass showed how the priest, vested as Christ's minister and bowing profoundly, acknowledged himself unworthy of both is sublime mission and the "tremendous mystery" he was to enact. Then, in the prayer "Take Away Our Sins," he acknowledged his unworthiness to enter the Holy of Holies, recommending himself with the prayer "We Beseech Thee, O Lord" to the merits and intercession of the martyrs whose relics were enclosed in the altar. Both prayers have been suppressed. What was said previously about elimination of the two-fold Confiteor and Communion rite is equally relevant here. The outward setting of the Sacrifice, a sign of its sacred character, has been profaned.     See, for example, the new provisions for celebrating Mass outside a church: a simple table, containing neither a consecrated altar-stone nor relics and covered with a single cloth, is allowed to suffice for an altar. [46]
      46. GIRM Section 260, 265; DOL 1650, 1655.
    Here too, all we have said previously in regard to the Real Presence applies - disassociation of the "banquet" and the Sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence itself. The process of desacralization is made complete, thanks to the new and grotesque procedure for the Offertory Procession, the reference to ordinary (rather than unleavened) bread, and allowing servers (and even lay people, when receiving Communion under both Species) to handle sacred vessels. [47]
      47. GIRMI 244.C, DOL 1634
    then there is the distracting atmosphere created in the church: the ceaseless comings and goings of priest, deacon, subdeacon, cantor, commentator--the priest himself becomes a commentator, constantly encouraged to "explain" what he is about to do-- of lectors (men and women), of servers or laymen welcoming people at the door and escorting them to their places, while others carry and sort offerings. And in an era of frenzy for a "return to Scripture," we now find, in contradiction of both the Old Testament and St. Paul, the presence of a "suitable woman" who for the first time in the Church's history is authorized to proclaim the Scripture readings and "perform other ministries outside the sanctuary." [48]
      48. GIRM 70, DOL 1460, fn
    Finally, there is the mania for concelebration, which will ultimately destroy the priest's Eucharistic piety by overshadowing the central figure of Christ, sole priest and Victim, and by dissolving Him into the collective presence presence of concelebrants. [49]
      49. It now seems lawful for priest to receive Communion under both species at a concelebration, even when they are obliged to celebrate Mass alone before or after concelebrating.

    Note: Bold added by editor for emphasis

    Next issue: Chapter Eight

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

    September 3-5, 2001
    volume 12, no. 148
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