25 Reasons why I do not attend (when I can help it) the Novus Ordo
(the following is a criticism of a normal Catholic Mass, not a
loony liberal one)
Note: I believe the new rite of Mass and the old rite of Mass are
substantially and supernaturally equally Catholic and are both valid
when celebrated with the correct form, matter and intention. However,
I also believe that the new rite of Mass is a pale reflection of its
traditional counterpart, not poisonous, but severely deficient in its
presentation of the eternal sacrifice of Calvary, thus lessening the
ability of the faithful to absorb the graces that flow from it. We
are human beings, a union of soul and body. Therefore, the way
something is presented has a profound effect upon our reception of it.
So without questioning the validity of the new rite of Mass, I provide
the following reasons for not attending it, based firmly on the
subjective way in which the objective reality of the Mass is enveloped
by the liturgy and the actions of the priest and laity.
1. The mere fact that the new liturgy was created through a committee
of "experts", drawn up by them in a specific time and place,
reflecting a specific need in the Church. This is totally
anti-traditional, and is unprecedented in the history of liturgical
development. Liturgy has always been the product of centuries of
development, overseen by the patient and eternal presence of the Holy
Spirit. A liturgy that is "created" is inevitably fixed to a specific
point in time, and also fixed to the personalities that devised it,
and thus can be soon outdated and even irrelevant to people with a
different world-view. The traditional liturgy transcends the mind of
any man or group of men, becoming both timeless and universal in its
2. Much of the Sacrificial language has been removed from the
liturgy. These prayers were also removed by such notorious heretics
such as Luther and Cranmer. Where is the mention of the Holy
unspotted Victim? The Offertory prayers have been simplified to such
an extent that their Catholic expression has almost been completely
3. The celebration of the new Mass depends heavily on the personality
and preferences of the priest celebrating it. The priest can choose
the Greeting, the Penitential Rite, the bidding prayers (or they could
be composed by a member of the congregation) and even the Canon of the
Mass itself. Priests often ad lib during Mass, even expanding the
Entrance Rite into a mini-homily further concentrating on the people
present, rather than God. Moreover, the priest often alters the
wording of the liturgy in places, not rendering it invalid (changing
the words of the consecration would, though), but adding his own
"personal touch" to the proceedings, especially in respect to the
"Ecce Agnus Dei". In this respect, the rubrics for the new Mass are
very loose lacking the precision of the traditional liturgy.
4. Explicit teaching of the Trinity is reduced, thrown out with much
of the rest of the Offertory prayers with nothing replacing it. The
sign of the cross, in particular, has been radically
5. The invocation of the saints has also been reduced, especially by
name, in the Confiteor, the Offertory and the Canon of the Mass. This
further enhances the feel that the new Mass is an action of our
earthly existence, rather than an eternal action of God Himself in the
presence of all the saints and angels. It also reduces belief in the
Communion of Saints and even purgatory, that we are part of a greater
Church - not only the Church militant, but also the Church triumphant
6. The lack of preparatory prayers for the priest and servers before
they approach the altar of God. The start of the new Mass appears
extremely casual, with the priest looking and talking to the people
present and paying attention to them, rather than preparing himself
for the most awesome and incredible action that any human can do: the
sacrifice of God Himself.
The roles of priest and laity have been confused by :
7. the use of a single Confiteor. The priest is no longer set apart
from the servers and the people in confessing his sins to God and the
court of heaven as the chosen priest to offer the divine victim to
God, acting in persona Christi. The faithful do join him in
offering Christ and themselves to God the Father, but it is through
the ministry of the priest that it is accomplished. The priest has
seemingly become a "representative of the people" or a presider,
rather than a person set apart to bring the Sacraments - channels of
grace - to God's people.
8. the priest no longer separately receives Holy Communion. In the
traditional liturgy, the priest has his own "Domine non sum dignus..."
("Lord I am not worthy..."), and only after he had received Communion
did he present the sacred Host to the faithful with the "Ecce Agnus
Dei" with a "Domine non sum dignus" for the laity. They then made
their way forwards to the altar rail for their turn, fed by Christ
with His own Body and Blood through the ministry of the priest. In
the new liturgy, the priest first receives Communion, then usually
followed by the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and the
faithful, all using a common "Domine non sum dignus" to affirm their
9. the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (usually
referred to as Eucharistic Ministers) to distribute Communion to the
faithful. Having the laity touch the sacred Host at all diminishes
the uniqueness of the priesthood, and inevitably reduces belief in the
Real Presence. When any old Joe Bloggs can handle the Blessed
Sacrament, surely it can't be the very Body and Blood of Almighty God,
Following on :
10. Emphasis has been heavily weighted from the Eucharistic sacrifice
towards Scripture. Readings from Scripture are of infinite value, but
the notion of having three Scripture readings, a psalm with responses
by the laity, and a homily together with the wholesale destruction of
the sacrificial language has tipped the balance to a ridiculous
extent. Moreover, with the use of Eucharistic Prayer II, the time
taken to prepare and offer the sacrifice is reduced to a bare
The words of the liturgy are ambiguous in respect to :
11. the response to the mystery of faith. Responses such as "When we
eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death Lord Jesus
until You come in glory" hardly states the Catholic belief that
transubstantiation (that the substance of the bread and wine have
literally been replaced by the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
Himself) has just taken place! Take another one: "Christ has died,
Christ has risen, Christ will come again" when Christ is fully present
on the altar before us!
12. who the offering is being directed to during the Canon. The
sacrifice is Christ offered by Christ to God the Father through the
ministry of the priest in union with the faithful present. However,
immediately afterwards in the mystery of faith, we then direct our
words towards Christ Himself, not to God the Father.
13. the response of the mystery of faith turns away from the miracle
of the consecration towards the belief in the second coming of our
Lord. Although this is a very important belief, it is hardly
appropriate at that time in the Mass.
14. the wrong translation of "pro multis" into "for all" when the
literal translation has always been "for many" as scripture states
most clearly (see St. Matthew's and St. Mark's account of the
institution of the Eucharist). The full translation is that Christ
saves "all who believe in His name" (cf. John 3:16), not simply "all"
on its own.
15. the use of the vernacular. Contrary to the teachings of Vatican
II, the whole canon of Mass is now said in the vernacular, suppressing
the immense feeling of unity that existed before. With the
overrunning of Latin as the language of the Church, much of the
musical culture and heritage that existed has now vanished. The
beauty and the unchanging nature of Latin (used as a liturgical
language) has been discarded in favour of the ordinariness and
ambiguities of the vernacular.
16. the audible canon. The power of the words of the consecration
are simply too awesome to be heard, only silence can convey the power
and instil a reverent atmosphere to reflect the events taking place.
It is more important to know what is happening than what is simply
being said: we are dipping our toes into the pool of eternality, not
hearing some political speech. The words are a means an end, hearing
them somewhat diminishes this concept.
17. physical participation seemingly placed over spiritual
participation. The constant need to respond or listen drowns out the
spiritual participation that only comes through silencing one's
senses, enabling us to offer ourselves with Christ to God the
The practice of :
18. receiving Communion whilst standing. This reduces the sense of
humility before one's Creator, and the atmosphere of submission and
obedience to the Lord of all. Receiving communion whilst standing
turns the whole affair into an everyday event, walking up and picking
up just a "symbol". In the traditional liturgy, the priest comes to
us, helpless children, who lack the ability to speak, to feed
ourselves, without the infinite mercy of God Himself.
19. receiving Communion in the hand. Anything valuable should not be
touched, as it increases one's own familiarity with the subject making
it become more ordinary and casual. The Eucharist is the most
valuable substance the universe has ever seen, so don't touch it! It
also blurs the line between priest and laity (see above), and
introduces the problem of particles left on the hand, all of which are
our Lord Jesus Christ whole and entire.
20. having the Blood of Christ practically always presented to the
people further increases the confusion between the Mass and a
commemorative meal. The language used makes the problem worse; "The
Body of Christ" and "The Blood of Christ" when both are the
Body and the Blood of Christ.
21. the priest facing the people. This reduces the sacrificial tone
of the Mass, turns it into a meeting or a supper, and centres the Mass
on the people present rather than towards the Person to whom it is
being offered. The priest, our shepherd, is seemingly no longer
leading us towards the next life, but is faced inwards on the
congregation concentrating on this life.
In addition :
22. Awful music. With the dropping of Latin from the liturgy, modern
secular music was the only way to turn.
23. The suppression of symbolic gestures. The abolition of gestures,
such as genuflecting within the Credo, reduces the sense of what we
really believe in and what is important within our faith (i.e. the
Incarnation). The expression of our faith becomes "flat", lacking a
dynamic flavour. Moreover, the important practice of the priest
keeping his index and thumbs together after the consecration further
diminishes the our belief in the miracle of the Blessed Sacrament,
that each and every particle being substantially and supernaturally
our Lord and our God.
24. Most "Novus Ordo churches" have been re-ordered to reflect their
neo-Protestant beliefs, destroying altar-rails, replacing the high
altar with a simple table, moving the tabernacle into a corner,
building a nice big chair for the "presider", making it increasingly
impossible to celebrate a Catholic Mass in a Catholic atmosphere.
Moreover, vestments, chalices and other important features of the Mass
have been cheapened.
25. The practice of altar girls and women readers confuses Catholic
theology on the distinct roles of the sexes, though equal, are very
different physically, socially and in their intended vocations.
Moreover, having the laity enter the sanctuary during Mass inevitably
reduces the sacredness of the sanctuary, the nature of the priesthood
and questions the presence of the Almighty God Himself in the
tabernacle. Again, our worship has become "flat", in that one part of
the church is as holy as another. The loss of a sense of awe and the
complete lack of holy fear is most worrying.
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Last modified 20th June, 1997, by David Joyce.