Is the Novus Ordo Missae Catholic?

Concerning the so-called Traditional Latin Mass, a well-known clerical pioneer of “liturgical reform” wrote:

We therefore first assert: It is not now, nor ever has been, our intention to abolish the liturgical service of God completely, but rather to purify the one that is now in use from the wretched accretions which corrupt it.

Any guesses as to who said this and when?

Many readers will immediately assume, and understandably so, that these words were written at some point in the mid-1960s by Annibale Bugnini, Secretary of the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II (aka the Consilium). Others may guess that it was Giovanni Battista Montini.

Those would be a very good guesses, but they’re incorrect. 

The above was actually written in the year 1523 by Martin Luther in his work, Formula Missa, aka “Order of Mass and Communion for the Church at Wittenberg.” 

Among the stated purposes of this work, according to Luther, was to remove or revise any text in the traditional Roman rite that “sounds almost like a sacrifice.” This included first and foremost the Offertory, about which he writes:

That utter abomination follows which forces all that precedes in the Mass into its service and is, therefore, called the Offertory. From here on, almost everything smacks and savors of sacrifice … Let us, therefore, repudiate everything that smacks of sacrifice, together with the entire canon and retain only that which is pure and holy, and so order our mass. (Martin Luther, Formula Missa, 1523)

Luther was most certainly correct: The Offertory is unambiguous, leaving room for neither confusion nor misinterpretation, the Mass is the Holy Sacrifice of Christ.

Dutifully intent upon stripping from the Traditional Latin Mass anything that might cause the heretics discomfort, Bugnini & Co., with the approval of Paul VI, laid the axe to the Offertory, excising it entirely from the bastard rite that would come to be known as the Novus Ordo Missae.

In this, the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II was simply living up to its name, faithfully carrying out the mandate set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium. (See HERE for details.)

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Offertory alongside the text that came to replace it in the Novus Ordo. In so doing, readers will see to just how large an extent the Mass of Paul VI embodies the liturgical vision of the heresiarch Martin Luther.

[Translation below provided by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.]

The ordinary prayers of the traditional Offertory act as a prism through which the meaning of the prayers and ritual actions that follow are brought into undeniably sharp focus. 

One notes that these prayers break the bonds of time and place, in a sense, by anticipating the consecration that has yet to take place in the rite, analogous to the way in which the Crucifixion and Resurrection were anticipated in the words of Our Lord spoken at the Last Supper when He said, “This is my Body…” 

In so doing, the traditional Offertory makes plain to all present that the bread and the wine are not to be understood as mere human gifts derived from the bounty of the earth, rather, they are that singularly spotless Offering that alone can atone for the “countless sins, trespasses and omissions” of both the living and the dead. The end for which the offering is made is also clearly expressed, namely, the attainment of “our own salvation and that of the whole world.”

In the Novus Ordo, the tone is quite different. Sin is given no mention, nor is any hint given that the offering is propitiatory in nature. Absent as well is any indication of a salvific intent.

In slides 1 and 3 above, we see that the traditional prayers for the Offering of the Host and the Offering of the Chalice have been replaced by two earthbound “Jewish” blessings that are derived, not from the Old Testament nor from Judaism proper, but rather from the blasphemous anti-Christian Talmud. [See HERE for more detail as to the origins of these “Barucha” prayers.]

The Novus Ordo prayer in slide number 2 is problematic inasmuch as it prays “may we come to share in the divinity of Christ,” when, in reality, the baptized already share in the divinity of Christ. The traditional formula invites no such confusion given that the prayer, “grant us to have part in the Godhead,” is placed in its proper eschatological context by the Offertory prayer that immediately preceded it, indicating that the intent is to “avail to salvation unto life everlasting.”

In this one example alone one can plainly see how removing the prism that is the traditional Offertory has opened wide the door to doctrinal confusion and, worse, heterodoxy. Moving on…

Reference to “contrition” is as close as the Novus Ordo comes at this point to even suggesting that an offering in atonement for sin is intended, much less taking place, in the rite. Sure, a priest or a participant may bring that intention (or preconceived notion) to the rite, but the rite itself fails to communicate as much.

This being so, there appears to be more than ample room for one to harbor positive doubt as to whether a propitiatory sacrificial intent is objectively inherent to the Novus Ordo itself, i.e., one is justified in asking the question posed in the title to the post.

One also notes that the invocation of the Holy Ghost in the traditional prayer has been eliminated from the Novus Ordo. This effectively solidifies the perception that a purely human act is taking place.

After the Offertory, the rite proceeds to the Lavabo, which we will not touch on here beyond noting that the traditional prayer consists of Psalm 25:6-12, while the Novus Ordo version has been reduced to just one sentence. Following this is the Orate Fratres, (“Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours…”) which is the same in both the Catholic rite and the Novus Ordo.

At this, we arrive at the Secret prayer in the Mass of Ages, which in the Novus Ordo has been replaced with what is called the “Prayer Over the Offerings,” or “Prayer Over the Gifts.”

If what we’ve examined thus far isn’t enough to illustrate the point that the Mass of Paul VI is an earthbound event that has little claim to a Catholic pedigree – not simply by way of personal perception but rather by way of deliberate invention – a closer look at the some of the Prayers Over the Offerings should remove any remaining doubt.

Like the Secret, the Prayer Over the Offerings changes according to liturgical seasons and dates, although limited in number and repeated verbatim on multiple days. Some of these prayers, many only with genuine effort (that is, by imparting one’s own intentions and preconceived notions upon the text) may be defensible from a Catholic perspective. Others, however, seamlessly express Martin Luther’s liturgical vision.

Consider some examples taken from the season of Advent:

Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,

gathered from among your gifts to us,

and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below

gain for us the prize of eternal redemption.

Through Christ our Lord.

Note what is being offered: It is not the Body and Blood of Christ, the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross, but simply “your gifts to us” (“fruit of the earth… fruit of the vine…”). One might also include the alms that have been collected as well.

While the faithful do indeed make their own offerings at Mass, these are far more than just earthly things. They consist primarily of the personal sacrifices, the sufferings, the prayers, and petitions that are offered to the Father through, with and in Christ as joined to His Holy Sacrifice. Absent the perspective supplied by the traditional Offertory prayers, this sense is lost in the Novus Ordo, or worse, it is not even necessarily intended. (We will return to this point momentarily.)

While the end stated in the Prayer Over the Offerings above may sound somewhat Catholic (gaining the prize of eternal redemption), the wording, it seems, should more properly be ordered toward gaining salvation. In any event, the entire formula is aberrant inasmuch as an offering of earthly gifts is utterly incapable of attaining such an end, regardless of how devoutly it is celebrated here below. Another example also taken from Advent:

Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings,

and, since we have no merits to plead our cause,

come, we pray, to our rescue

with the protection of your mercy.

Through Christ our Lord.

Here, the end appears more obviously earthbound (come to our rescue, protect us with your mercy). Note as well that, while it may seem laudable to acknowledge that our prayers and offerings are humble, that is far from all that is supposedly happening on the altar. [See commentary above.]

Let us look at one more Novus Ordo Prayer Over the Offering, this one taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Look, O Lord, upon the prayers and offerings of your faithful,

presented in commemoration of Blessed Mary, the Mother of God,

that they may be pleasing to you

and may confer on us your help and forgiveness.

Through Christ our Lord.

Once again, the offerings mentioned are merely those coming from “your faithful.” Nowhere in this prayer is there a hint of the Offering of Christ, i.e., it evokes imagery of an entirely earthbound human act.

For those who may feel compelled to suggest that my treatment of the Prayers Over the Offerings is unduly harsh, let’s turn to a Novus Ordo priest – one whom our “conservative” friends no doubt hold in high regard – to instruct us as to what we are to make of them.

“Just as we say grace before meals, now the priest prays the prayer over the gifts,” according to Fr. Francis J. “Rocky” Hoffman, Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio, a priest of Opus Dei.

Is the Holy Sacrifice a meal? In his Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy, Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII speaks of the “heavenly food, celestial banquet, divine feast” of the Mass. Is it not frivolous (and faithless) to imagine that it is appropriate to “say grace” over that which is infinitely holy?

Yes, but the grace is being said over the people’s gifts!

This only makes sense for those who believe that Holy Communion is a sharing in the people’s gifts which, at best, are merely symbolic of the Sacrifice of Christ.

In fact – as survey after survey have shown – this is exactly what most Novus Ordo attendees believe! Now you know why: It is because the post-conciliar liturgical reformers were so Hell bent on accomplishing their ecumenical aims that they created a rite that utterly fails to express the true faith. In other words, the Novus Ordo Missae is not Catholic.

As for the Catholic Mass, the Holy Father Pius XII stated, “The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness to the faith of the Church” (ibid).

Get that? The entire liturgy… As such, it is puerile to plead the case, as many have, that it is possible to understand the Novus Ordo in a Catholic sense, i.e., one may shoehorn a Catholic interpretation onto the rite, therefore, despite its deficiencies, the rite is Catholic.

In truth, it is not necessary for one to bring his or her knowledge of the Catholic faith to the true Mass, rather, one encounters the Catholic faith in the true Mass, in its entirety, i.e., the door is not left cracked open for errors and heresies.

In conclusion, let it be said that Jorge Bergoglio (stage name, Francis) was entirely correct when he declared that the Mass of Paul VI is “the unique expression of the lex orandi” of the institution over which he reigns.

Indeed, neither one is Catholic, nor is he.