By: Louis J. Tofari
A reader writes:
So many traditionalists seem to think that no NO Mass can be an actual sacrifice or deliver the true Eucharist. It’s the TLM or nothing for them. While I much prefer the TLM, I’m thinking the first Masses must have been much simpler.
Question: What were the first Masses like compared to the TLM? Is there documentation for Jesus’ instructions on how the Apostles were to celebrate it?
The problems of the Novus Ordo Missae are indeed manifold, firstly for its theological deficiencies, such as the minimalizing of the sacrificial and sacerdotal quality of the Mass as well as the doctrine of the Real Presence. This was in fact an intended object in order to ecumenically placate the Protestants. To better understand the issue of the New Mass, I would suggest reading The Ottaviani Intervention as well as the books of Michael Davies. 
However, this being said, the Novus Ordo Missae is sacramentally valid per se, that is, the consecration of the Sacred Host and Precious Blood does take place when offered “by the book”. The issue of invalidity occurs when there is a defect in any of the four criteria required for the validity of any sacrament: matter, form, intention and minister; but this is a discussion for another time.
To answer your questions about how the first Masses were offered…
Beyond the specific instruction of Christ to “Do this in memory of Me”, Sacred Scripture only records His words of institution and actions that took place during the Last Supper (and the inference of being repeated at Emmaus, hence recognized by His disciples). Otherwise, Our Lord left the development of the sacred liturgy, particularly the celebration of the Mass, to His Church. Thus as with the Bible, Jesus Christ did not give a copy of the Missale Romanum to His Apostles!
Also, scant written evidence exists of how first Masses were offered during the Apostolic Age except what is written in Sacred Scripture (for example of St. Paul), or from the period of the Early Church, save for a few well-known examples such as the Didache, the Letter of St. Justin the Martyr, the Apostolic Constitutions, the so-called Liturgy of St. Hippolytus, and some texts of Syrian and Egyptian origin. From these historical documents, many liturgical-archeologists have struggled to recreate what the early liturgy of the Mass would have been like, but with limited success. 
That being said, it is apparent that the Holy Apostles were following some sort of basic structure, which Dr. Adrian Fortescue calls the “Parent Rite” in his book, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy. The evidence for this is from the fact that all of the liturgical rites of the East and the West bear remarkable similarities and share many essential things in common, or universals (you can learn more about this in my LARL radio show: The Liturgical Rites of the West vs. the East.
It also seems apparent that the Apostles applied to this Parent Rite the Jewish rituals of the Synagogue (i.e., our Liturgy of the Catechumens) and of the Temple (i.e., our Liturgy of the Eucharist) with which they would have been well-acquainted. Of course, in the case of the Temple rituals, these were particularly given to the Israelites by God and were a prefigurement of what Christ would accomplish in His first Mass of the Last Supper and His Passion and Crucifixion at Calvary.
To conclude this answer, in speaking of the prayers of the Roman Mass, we can trace elements in the Canon that date from Apostolic times and thus would have been uttered by St. Peter himself. This is more clear in the Roman Canon (which is used also in the other rites of the Latin Church) than in any anaphora (i.e., Eucharistic Prayer) found in the Eastern Rites. This evidence caused Fortescue to boldly make this statement in his aforementioned book:
“Our [Roman] Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Caesar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our inquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours.”
1 For example, Pope Paul’s New Mass, The Roman Rite Destroyed, and Cranmer’s Godly Order.
2 One of the best in my opinion is Dom Benedict Steuart’s The Development of Christian Worship: An Outline of Liturgical History (Longmans & Green, 1953), who seems to resolve the issue of the Agape Meal in relation to the actual Mass.
Before I converted to Catholicism I remember seeing my first Mass on EWTN in 1999, just before their Bishop ordered the priest to face the parishoners. It was obvious this was a sacrifice being offered to God! (Boy, was Mother Angelica mad at the Bishop!!) I remember my impression being “This IS the Jewish religion that accepted Christ as the Messiah!” Now I understand why I got that impression:
‘It seems apparent the Apostles applied to this Parent Rite the Jewish rituals of the Synagogue and Temple with which they would have been well acquainted.’
I am certainly not well-educated on Liturgy, etc. but in my opinion, the priest facing the people COMPLETELY distorted the idea of what the Mass is.
Thanks so much for this wonderful explanation, Mr. Tofari. And I am glad you explained what is required to make a Novus Ordo Mass valid, too.
‘However, this being said, the Novus Ordo Missae is sacramentally valid per se, that is, the consecration of the Sacred Host and Precious Blood does take place when offered “by the book”.’
The Novus Ordo Missae goes against Divine Law set forth in the infallible Bull of Pope Saint Pius V, Quo Primum and the infallible Canons of the Council of Trent regarding the Holy Mass. The consecration may take place in a New Mass, but that is hardly an argument to be made in its favor. There’s more to consider according St Thomas Aquinas:
“Sometimes the one celebrating the sacraments differently [than prescribed] does not vary those things that are essential to the sacrament [i.e., the form and matter], and in that case, the sacrament is indeed conferred; but one does not obtain the reality (grace) of the sacrament unless the sacrament’s recipient is immune from the fault of the one celebrating it differently.” (In IV Sent., d. 4, q. 3, a. 2, qa. 2, ad 4)
Very interesting quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas. Thanks Rushintoit. I will have to add this to my notes.
I look at it this way, if the NO does confect the sacrament, for what is its purpose? Meal or Sacrifice? Black Masses claim to use validly consecrated host, buy obviously for diabolical purposes. The primary reason a host must be consecrated at mass is so the priest may consume it thus completing the sacrifice. The congregation is never obliged to communicate. NO masses are all about community and not about the sacrifice.
Can you explain what St. Thomas means by “unless the sacrament’s recipient IS IMMUNE FROM THE FAULT OF THE ONE CELEBRATING IT DIFFERENTLY”? I do not understand what this means.
To be immune, you would have to spend the entire Mass beating your breast and begging God’s mercy for the soul of the Priest for offering the Mass in an illicit form. But that begs the question of why you are at that Mass in the first place. Obviously St Thomas had no knowledge of the NO. But it does show that validity by itself is not a proof of goodness.
Rush, I must really be thick in the head because I cannot see an answer to my question in your response. Care to try again? Anyone?
The Catholic Church does not invent new rites from scratch. She guards and hands on what has been received.
There is no way to be certain that the Novus Ordo presider has the interior intention to do what the Church does, because he does not manifest it externally. He doesn’t manifest the correct intention because the Novus Ordo does not express what the Church believes. This is because he is using a rite that deliberately supresses Divine Truth to please heretics, Truths which Our Lord shed His Precious Blood for on the Cross. Thus it is of doubtful validity, and more importantly, it rejects what God has revealed, and offers this very supression of His Truth to Him as worship.
“For you and for all men” in the consecration of the Chalice instead of “for you and for many” made the Mass almost certainly invalid for 45 years. The Catholic Church cannot produce such a rite, even though the Novus Ordo church “corrected” the error in 2011. The Church doesn’t make mistakes.
The following short summary of the controversy was written by John Lane in 1998:
“Sacraments signify what they effect, and effect what they signify. The chief thing which must be signified, according to Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae, is the “res tantum” – the “reality”, the “grace proper” of the sacrament. In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist this “reality” or “grace proper” is the unity of the mystical body. (The Real Presence is “reality and sign” or “res et sacramentum”, not the “res tantum”).
This signification is found in the words “for you and for many unto the remission of sins” – the “you and many” refer to the members of the Mystical Body, and the “remission of sins” is the cause of their unity. The Novus Ordo says “for all” and consequently fails to signify the Mystical Body or its unity. Hence the Novus Ordo fails to signify what it is meant to effect, and is by definition invalid. That is, it is no sacrament at all.”
Why would anyone trust these same people to create new, altered FORMS for the sacrament of Holy Orders in 1968 (Ordination and Episcopal Consecration) and be certain of their validity, when the same people can create a synthetic liturgy from scratch that is most likely invalid?
Patrick Henry Omlor’s “No Mystery of Faith – No Mass” provides weighty arguments to say that the seletion of this phrase from the FORM of the consecration of the Chalice also invalidates the Mass.
So the Novus Ordo has a triple doubt.
The minister, the form and the intention, and most importantly it offeres non Catholic worship to God, even if all three of these doubts regarding validity are removed.
“Patrick Henry Omlor’s ‘No Mystery of Faith – No Mass’ provides weighty arguments to say that the deletion of this phrase from the form of the consecration of the chalice also invalidates the Mass.”
Omlor’s argument holds no water. If that were true, that would mean our Byzantine liturgy is invalid as well. We don’t have that phrase in the words of institution, nor have we ever had it.
I think what is meant is that removing the Mystery of Faith from the consecration, it simply adds more doubt to the NO. The Mystery of Faith, though not explicitly said in the Eastern Rites, is implied by the iconastasis and other rubrics of the Divine Liturgy. Mystery and awe are central tenants of Eastern Liturgical practice.
Without more, on the words of the text quoted, supra., it would appear to mean the recipient of the sacrament receives the graces thereof if he has no share in moral culpability with respect to the wrongdoing of the priest, in departing from the proper form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Dear Anastasia, sister in Christ, How’s preparation of that website coming on?!!
Many thanks, Lynda. The sentence looked completely different after some sleep, and your explanation made it crystal clear. Thanks, again.
Why in the world would it add any doubt whatsoever when it’s a known fact that the words “Mysterium Fidei” are not essential… at all… to the consecration?
Those words are not found in Sacred Scripture, we in Byzantine parishes don’t use them and never did, and nowhere has the Church taught that those words are essential to the consecration. They aren’t.
Therefore, their deletion cannot possibly invalidate a Mass or a liturgy.
There is an interesting text from the late fourth century, “Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage ” that should still be available from The Newman Press. It describes the pilgrimage of a pious northern Spanish woman to the Mid East to visit locations described in scripture. It is interesting to note at this early date, that while Egeria described differences in fasting practices and organization of the Divine Office between East and West , she has remarkably little to say about differences in the mass, other than that it was offered frequently during her pilgrimage- perhaps every day- and was always referred to as “the sacrifice”, a word by which it is still known in the Syriac rites (qurbana=korban). At this early date then, the ritual structure surrounding the Eucharistic Sacrifice was well established in the furthest corners of Christendom – from Syria to Spain – and was recognizable as a unitary practice despite differences of language and local custom. Of interest to those who view acts of obeisance to clergy (kissing hands, etc) as a medieval development, these practices are well established by the year 500, such that kissing the Bishop’s hand by all the faithful was a major component of the liturgical dismissal. What emerges is a picture not of a state of flux in liturgical practice with an ancient simple rite appearing foreign to later eyes for having acquired superfluous accretions, but rather of a well developed, robustly lived liturgical patrimony which would be as recognizable to those familiar today with the Eastern liturgies or the preconciliar mass as it would have been to Christians of the first century. I am inclined to side with those who attribute to the mass of the apostolic times a highly structured, rather than simple, ad hoc, or fluid form. It is in light of this bimillennial history of Eucharistic liturgies as acts of sacrifice vested in well-established ritual that the NO must be judged – and found wanting. Rather than harking back to days of yore, this rite would scarcely be recognized as Christian to early Christians, who would be hard pressed to find in it any outward signification of its supposed sacrificial character.
The Mystery of Faith proclamation in the TLM is said as part of the consecration of the Chalice. It is clear that the mystery of faith being alluded to is transubstantiation. In the NO, the proclamation is made after the consecrations and no longer refers to transubstantiation but to whatever the congregation responds with. Such as Dying You destoyed our death etc etc. This was done to appease protestants.
Even if the early mass were some simple gathering, which there is no evidence of, the notion of antiquarianism was condemned by the Church. I can’t remember by whom. If you read about the Liturgical Movement that began in the late 1800s, you can see where the Novus Ordoists got their evil ideas.
You’re welcome, Dennis. God bless you.
Thanks for the reminder. I guess I should just think about jumping into my own website rather than keep waiting for that ideal time when I feel I have the proper amount of time to devote to it. I am thinking that maybe I should really prioritize my time better. I know that I could use my ‘down time’ to work on this important website on the topic of marriage if I wasn’t so afraid of its effects and demands that it would take from my duties and demands as a wife and mother.
Your sister in Christ,
You did not comprehend Omlor or it seems, Res Sacramenti by Fr Pierre Denzil Meuli. Both clearly state the absence of the form and matter render NO invalid.
But look at the fruit of the Changes. Bad to the Bone. What has been the effects of whole Reform [so called] message delivery. Chaos in a word. There are no credible apologists for the Novus Order; infact the reason the word change : from All to many” was effected implies anecdotal error correction. No huge theologies to explain that mistake from the minion architects- or did I miss what their reasons say on that change of direction.
No, the cut and paste Protestant techniques are consistently bad from Luther onwards, prefigured by earlier heretics, and emulated by current heretic Shepherds.
Hold water or waste water it matters little. the ship is sinking – even a blind man can see that.
Shorten the Days Lord lest this evil generation confuse those who love you, with their silver tongues and the wiles of the Devil.
Our Lady of Good Success pray for Us
Dear Anastasia, May God’s Holy Will be done. Thank you for all your intrepid service to God, His Holy Church and for the good of souls. God bless and protect you and your care (family).
The Reformers of 1958 manifested themselves, following the same Luther line of “ideas”, namely abandoning the Latin for the vernacular, all the protestant novelties design to “dissolve Christ” from the Holy Sacrificial altar and Mass, specifically the words of consecration, the throwing away of Collects and other prayers of thanksgiving, creating a banal and lifeless, supper service, pondered over by a clueless [or stunned faithful] to the ruin of so many souls.
The masses, as in the Days of Noah and then Lot forged ahead, marrying and giving in marriage, party time thrice more. claiming the “rainbow” as their flag for their various abominations. Desolation entered the Holy Place as seen by the Prophet Daniel. Our Lady said as much at La Salette, concerning Rome. The Fatima seer Sister Lucia was told by Our Lord Himself of such dire events and consequences.
So as St Nillus told us in an early interval, in these Last Days…siting modern mans technological feats, Man would deny God in the Three Hypostases. Luther did exactly that, and more.
The last Shepherd according to St Malachy’s, Peter the Roman, giving homage to Lutheran ideas and fostering more dialogue, nay apologetics for the heretic, has said as much in support of plural pathways to Eternal Life; and is apparently Hell bent on extinguishing Traditional vocations and their Rites in Orders who report directly to him in South America. What a vile coincidence.
What a gambler he appears to be… taking on the triumph of Our Lady..ironic that his mention of the Holy Rosary is somewhat muted
leaving to those who would war against the man, [ and not the Office} the weapon of Her choice[ with the Brown Garment of Mt Carmel] to crush the head of the Serpent, and his fellow deceivers.
The son of perdition is striking at Her heal using false Shepherds and apostate Bishops. The reality is just so obvious to those who can still think..
He specifically goes into the form of the consecration of the Chalice in the Roman Rite, it’s history, what the scripture passages say etc.
Patrick Omlor left no stone unturned. If you would like more info, there are several places online where you can download a free, soft copy of all his material under the single volume “The Robber Church”. He was no hack, and his arguments were and still are weighty. You don’t have to read him, but don’t dismiss him without reading first. May he rest in peace.