Last week, in commenting upon Francis’ ongoing “catechesis” on the Mass, we took notice of the fact that he apparently sees it as nothing more than a glorified retreat and an opportunity to recharge one’s social justice batteries for the week ahead.
Then again, we observed in fairness, that’s pretty much all that the Novus Ordo Missae has to say for itself.
Contrast this with the Traditional Roman Rite, which plainly identifies itself as the Sacrifice of Christ with every gesture, every sound, and every nuance; sacred sings too numerous to number.
This past Gaudete Sunday, for example, the Secret alone tells us more about what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass truly is in some sixty words than Francis the Loquacious could in one hundred General Audiences:
May the sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be always offered unto Thee: that it may both fulfill the end for which Thou didst institute this sacred mystery, and wonderfully work in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
And then there was the Post Communion prayer:
We implore, O Lord, Thy mercy: that these divine helps may expiate our sins, and prepare us for the approaching feast. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
By the time this prayer was offered, the Collect had already spoken of our unfortunate state and our need very clearly:
Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O’ Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
Altogether, these texts offer authentic Catholic catechesis on the Mass worthy of considerable contemplation.
What, on the other hand, did the Novus Ordo have to say for itself on Sunday?
Well, there is no Secret, which only makes sense given that this rite places a very high premium on making the actions of the “presider” as audible and as visible as possible.
The Post Communion Prayer reads:
We implore your mercy, Lord, that this divine sustenance may cleanse us of our faults and prepare us for the coming feasts.
As for the Collect before it, it reads:
O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
So, let’s do a brief comparison:
The Traditional Latin Mass propers for Gaudete Sunday make it known that the sacred rite is offered in order to affect our salvation, as expiation for our sins, and as a means of placing our needs before the Lord; among which is to seek the grace necessary to enlighten our darkened minds.
The Novus Ordo, by contrast, implores the Lord merely to cleanse us of our faults, and that after having already audaciously informed Him as to how faithfully we are behaving.
Sure, I suppose that one can, with great and deliberate effort, force oneself to focus on the more Catholic parts of the Novus Ordo missal, or to view (more appropriately, interpret) the more questionable texts in a Catholic way.
On the other hand, as Francis has plainly demonstrated, a heretic can quite happily do the exact opposite. He may even sell his twisted views to the naive as Catholic “catechesis.”
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