Damian Thompson’s obervance of the 40th anniversary of the Novus Ordo

I see that Damian Thompson has his blade sharpened:

My emphases and comments:

November 30th, 2009

Happy 40th birthday, Novus Ordo!

It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. [Blue or Red, I wonder.]  We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead[That’s a good way to put it.]

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.




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  1. DavidJ says:

    I’m confused. I don’t see theonion.com in the linked URL anywhere. Is that a typo, Father Z?

  2. q7swallows says:

    DT’s ripping sarcasm certainly strikes a sympathetic chord in this liturgical refugee . . .

  3. asperges says:

    Well, the last comment of the article is certainly true. Today is also St Andrew’s Day: Patron of Scotland. Much more a cause to rejoice, I suggest.

  4. The Astronomer says:

    ZZZZZZING!!!!! Somewhere Archbishop Bugnini, aka ‘Buan’ is smiling

    Our Lady of Fatima and Padre Pio, pray for us.

  5. JosephMary says:

    One thing is true in that writing: there has been some sort of new architechure. As for anything else, what planet is this where this is happening?

  6. JohnE says:

    I thought this was legit until I read the word “efflorescence”.

  7. Athelstan says:

    1. Damian’s sarcasm appears unimpaired.

    2. There is one heck of a thread underway on this topic – spurred by Ken Wolfe’s surprising NY Times guest piece – over at the Commonweal blog, for those interested. http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=5640#comments

    In response to one gentle link to Fr. Z, my favorite caustic reply: “I’m already aware of Fr. Zuhlsdorf and his one-man vendetta against ICEL translations. No thanks.”

  8. Athelstan says:

    P.S. When I say “favorite,” of course, I’m also indulging in a little sarcasm.

  9. ssoldie says:

    It was B.S. then(1969) and is B.S. now (2009).new architechure, yea! ‘The Yellow Armadillo’

  10. Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. LOL

  11. EnoughRope says:

    I read this twice. The first time, I was confused. The second time, I was laughing.

  12. Seraphic Spouse says:


    Not to brag or anything, but this evening I was at a simply beautiful Missa Cantata to celebrate the Feast of Saint Andrew. Red vestments and red cloths around the altar, including a red tabernacle veil. Three men singing Gregorian Chant and polyphany, accompanied by organ music. A small but devout weeknight congregation silently following the prayers of the Mass in their beribboned missals. An attentive young altar server (who is discerning a vocation to the priesthood) assisting the solemn priest. Front pews that served as altar rails. Most of the women vested in sober mantillas. Then, at the penultimate verse of the hymn about St. Andrew, fireworks in the distance, continuing past the end of the music.

    I’m sorry that not everyone can get to beautiful liturgies like that. But maybe the tambourines make up for it.

  13. kenoshacath says:

    As we pray for the restoration of the Mass, I believe it is only a matter of time before the Novus Ordo is formally abrogated.

    We must thank God daily for Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, which promotes and encourages us to ASK for the TLM. The Holy Father has given us steps to take if our requests are not met in every parish. I hope all the Catholic faithful are listening to his directive, taking initiatives, and heeding his suggestions. This is truly how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be restored! Let’s take our Churches back!

    God wants our personal involvement and challenges each of us! Petition your local priests and bishops this week!

  14. Mike says:

    A friend of mine said that the only recourse for some Churches in N. Virginia is the bull-dozer.

    Happily, our parish church was built in ’68–whoa!–and restored last year–beautifully! Our dear Pastor died Holy Thursday Evening this year, but what a gift he left us!

  15. PatrickV says:


    More pointed satire. Father Z, you are rocking today!

  16. S Petersen says:

    sorry to confuse, but this is about Kenneth Wolfe of the NYT article
    Dear Fr. Z. Do you know who Wolfe is? Google turned up nothing and none of you commenters said anything about him (as far as I could tell in a quick skimming). How does it happen that he became an NYT contributor? I mean, it’s a fine article, but it’s dropped from the sky without knowing who he is. Yours, S. Petersen

  17. dbgallup says:

    Mike, do you know where one can find a particularly large bull-dozer? I’m thinking of our Yellow Armadillo.

  18. wanda says:

    I thought I had fallen down the rabbit hole there for a minute. It took a moment for my senses to return before I realized this is sarcasm. Much relief.

    becket1, thanks for the memories, I think.

  19. ssoldie says:

    I really enjoyed Benedict Carter’s comment on Damian Thompsons blog as they express exactly what I believe. Benedict Carters comment, Part I

    I have had the experience of being a Church-going Catholic for the last four years, having been before that mostly lapsed for more than twenty. I was lucky – for most of this time I was a member of a special parish in Moscow made up of expats of many colours and nationalities, and led by a special priest, an effective and holy man whose leadership binds the parish together, meeting for Mass in the crypt and corridors of the Cathedral in Moscow on Ulitsa Malaya Gruzinskaya. I was edified by the friendship shown to me and despite my misgivings about certain elements of the Mass I attended there, I have no doubt at the gut level that the Novus Ordo is valid, that it transmits Grace.

    But that it the very minimum it should be. There should be so much more.

    At the same time, I have been of the growing opinion that the Novus Ordo is ONLY potentially safe (I emphasise the “potentially”) in the hands of an orthodox priest. In the hands of a free-thinker, a weak or an out-and-out heterodox priest it is a lethal weapon against the Catholic Faith.

    The problem is, in the post-Vatican II Church there are many more of the latter types than the former.

    The Mass, as the centre of our Holy Faith, should:

    a) Reinforce the whole Catholic Religion in every aspect – the way we worship contains within itself all that we believe;
    b) It should raise up the individual reverently to the majesty and glory of God;
    c) It should present to the individual (sic) soul the starkness and finality of the moral choices we have to make in order to inherit Eternal Life;
    d) It should keep us in safe continuity with the two thousand years of organic (and in fact miniscule) development of the Church’s main western liturgy: I want to be a Catholic, hearing the same words and seeing the same gestures, as a Catholic in Italy in the 4th century, as a Portuguese Catholic (I live in Portugal now) in the 9th century, as a Swedish Catholic in the 14th century, as an Englishman hearing a recusant Mass in the 17th century; as any Catholic at all until the late 1960’s. Communion in worship is communion in belief, not only with one’s fellow Catholics throughout the world, but with all Catholics throughout the centuries back to the time of Christ Himself.

    The Novus Ordo does not fulfill ANY of these functions of worship. When + Williamson of the SSPX says that it represents a new religion, he is speaking as a bishop (yes, illicitly consecrated, suspended a divinis) and not as the holder of strange historical opinions. This view of his should be thought about most carefully by any serious Catholic. It is a terrible charge to lay on the Novus Ordo and I think that it is correct.

    That there has been a gigantic rupture in the Church these past forty years cannot be denied. Those who do deny it are either stupid, have a vested interest in the rupture or (even worse) are quite happy that it occurred, whatever the damage done; or have been formed by it and don’t know anything else.

    I was born in 1963 so came to self-consciousness with the changes already made. I was therefore extremely lucky to be the child of parents whose whole lives and characters were (and are, I’m glad to say!) formed by and steeped in the Catholic Faith of their parents, people of the First World War generation. So prayers were said, our home was full of Catholic pictures, statues, music, books and conversation. Going to Mass was the highlight of the week and the whole world of Catholicism was in our home constantly.

    The rupture has caused conflict, civil war in the Church, apostasy on a scale not seen since the 16th century and before that, in the time of Arius, and has lost countless souls. I am certain of this latter point: the changes have cost many, many lost souls. At the heart of the rupture is the Novus Ordo: quite understandable, as the Mass is the centre of the Catholic Faith.

    So what is the nature of the rupture, seen most vividly in the New Mass?

    I believe with all my heart that at its bottom-most level, it is a loss of faith in the existence of God and the invisible world, which for any authentic Catholic should be the world that has most pull on his mentality, thoughts, conduct, whole life. This has in turn led directly to the loss of the sense of sin, or of its seriousness. And so the Confessionals are empty. To this extent + Williamson is absolutely right.

    It also represents – as anyone who knows from whom and how the New Mass came into existence quickly realises – the fruit of a significant number of people in the Church Herself who were seeking ways of robbing the Mass of its Catholic nature in order to (a) appeal to German and English protestants, to whom they felt closer than to their fellow Catholics; (b) actively do the Church harm.

    These were Modernists who had kept a low profile since the time of Pope St. Pius X and who had gone underground. Their world-view was shaped by the seeming triumph of “historicity”, by the (coming, they thought) triumph of Marxism and its “truths”, and by the onward march of science and technology. The Council experts, or periti, were mostly made up of these people. Let us not forget that Pope Benedict was one of the most active of them.

    They thought that a new Mass was needed for a “Modern Man” formed by all these processes; a New Mass giving Man greater “dignity” (= “involvement” = Eucharistic Ministers, civilians tramping about the Sanctuary, the diminution, even destruction of, the priesthood). A Mass for the (Marxist Collective) “community” where the individual soul is no longer called to say in his heart “I believe” but, along with the Collective, say “We believe”. The mindset produced by this emphasis is one of “community”: thus the Mass is no longer a sacrifice in the Catholic sense, but a “meal” in which the Communion is the culmination and meaning of the Mass, not the Consecration of the Species. In fact, it is the Collective at prayer.

    In reality it is the Collective praising itself. As for being a “meal”: I prefer roast turkey and gravy.

    And the New Mass, by deliberately eliminating specifically Catholic doctrine about Sacrifice, would appease all those Lutherans and Anglicans to whom we had been so nasty for so long, eh?

    And for this New Mass, with its centre of gravity NOT Christ above the individual soul (a vertical relationship) but the Collective (a horizontal relationship), there was needed a new physical orientation: priest and people face each other; the Tabernacle to which I knelt and prayed as a small boy thrust out of sight into some alcove chapel. All barriers (altar rails) “denying” the Collective its rightful dignity were removed so that the Sanctuary became the whole Church (no more holy place); new Churches built to more represent an ampitheatre where the Collective can gather round each other rather than the Churches of all our forefathers that were built in one dimension – vertically, a line from the faithful to the priest and deacons to God in His Tabernacle.

    In fact, the physical changes were greater than those of the early iconoclasts and certainly equalled the protestant destruction of the 16th century.

    Benedict Carter on Nov 30th, 2009 at 3:35 pm
    Report commentIt is so refreshing to read something positive about Bugnini whom we could perhaps describe as the Grand Master of the new liturgy. It is so easy to criticise the man but we should take time to think how upsetting it must be for all the Brethren in his Lodge to read this after his lifetime of service to the Supreme Being.

    Damian Rhodes on Nov 30th, 2009 at 3:39 pm
    Report commentPart II

    Culturally, the Novus Ordo has been a catastrophe of world historical proportions. That the Catholic Church, repository of the greatest fruits of human endeavour in history, should have effectively turned Her back on Her own cultural greatness is like the Irish monks of the 5th to 9th centuries saying, “What the hell, the transmission of all the Ancients’ knowledge, art, poetry, prose and greatness is boring, let’s chuck all that copying into the Atlantic and have a rest”. The Novus Ordo is culturally utterly impoverished, and all of us are as a result greatly impoverished. A catastrophe.

    What I say about the Novus Ordo, the opposite is the case for the true Roman Rite, the Old Mass (which I refuse to call the “Extraordinary Form”):

    * it is a Mass specifically created (the first time this has been done in history) to meet an imagined sociological need of a supposed “Modern Man”;
    * it was, without question, designed to effectively protestantise the Catholic Church (the motivations for which range from naivety to being misguided to outright demonic hostility to the Church – see quotations below). This aim has undoubtedly been achieved;
    * it has led to Christ and the Sacrifice of His own life for us sinners being thrust out from the centre to the periphery – both literally and figuratively;
    * it is proud, oh so very proud, trumpeting in its nature a “dignity” of Mankind that we sinners do NOT deserve;
    * it is a cultural non-entity; a disaster;
    * it banishes the soul’s private communion with God and through noise and distraction makes such communion well-nigh impossible;
    * it is the collectivisation of the Church’s worship in a Marxist form.

    Yet I attend it (I have no easy option at present). I find it difficult. I am made angry here in Portugal by the women traipsing about the Sanctuary as if they owned it (as an altar boy, the Sanctuary for me was HOLY, not to be defiled. It was a great HONOUR for me to be anywhere on the Sanctuary); by the refusal of the old parish priest to allow altar servers to wear vestments at Mass or even to have Holy Water in the stoops.

    We have to get the Old Mass back if we ever want the Church to triumph in this world. You can’t abuse it – indeed, it is impossible to assist at the Old Mass and NOT be a Catholic.

    One might ask, “if the useless priests were eradicated, could I be reconciled to the New Mass?

    In the sense that I go to the New Mass, I AM reconciled to it. But not in my heart: it is fundamentally un-Catholic, and it is only because Pope Paul VI couldn’t stomach what Bugnini really wanted to do that we have a valid Mass now at all. Indeed, the first editions of Bugnini’s Missal were recalled because his Forward used openly protestant language in describing the Mass. And even so Pope Paul had to be shamed into some kind of stand by the “Ottaviani Intervention” of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci.

    A bad priest can turn the New Mass into straight-forward sacrilege (clown Masses etc) whilst a good priest has one arm permanently tied behind his back by it. Which is why it cannot be reformed. By its very nature it is no good.

    It must be formally abrogated.

    And in what does the difference fundamentally lie? In a wholly different Christology. The Old Mass places me where the Faith says I should be – on my knees before God, knowing that only through God can I be saved. The New Mass puts me in the centre, in the place of God Himself, or at the very least, alongside Him. It ASSUMES my deification has already been achieved.

    But the whole thrust of the Church these last decades is one of PRESUMPTION about our Salvation, no?

    So here are a few quotations (as this is an English newspaper, I wish I had handy the quote from Cardinal Newman about the spiritual destruction wrought by changing venerable liturgies):

    Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, main author of the New Mass, L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965:

    “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants.”

    and in 1974:

    the reform of the liturgy has been a “major conquest of the Catholic Church”. (These words of Bugnini should be pondered on in silence.)

    Now would follow “The adaptation or ‘incarnation’ of the Roman form of the liturgy into the usages and mentality of each individual Church.” (ibid.)

    Father Kenneth Baker, SJ, editorial February 1979 “Homiletic and Pastoral Review”:

    “We have been overwhelmed with changes in the Church at all levels, but it is the liturgical revolution which touches all of us intimately and immediately.”

    Professor Peter L. Berger, a Lutheran sociologist:

    “If a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible had been an adviser to the Church, he could hardly have done a better job.”

    Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand:

    “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

    Cardinal Heenan of Westminster, autobiography “A Crown of Thorns”:

    “Subsequent changes were more radical than those intended by Pope John and the bishops who passed the decree on the Liturgy. His sermon at the end of the first session shows that Pope John did not suspect what was being planned by the liturgical experts.”

    Cardinal Heenan warned the Council Fathers of the manner in which the periti could draft texts capable “of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation.” He told them that he feared the periti, and dreaded the possibility of their obtaining the power to interpret the Council to the world.

    On 26 June 1966 The Tablet reported the creation of five commissions to interpret and implement the Council’s decrees. The members of these commissions were, the report stated, chosen “for the most part from the ranks the Council periti”.

    Father Joseph Gelineau SJ, Council peritus, enthusiastic proponent of the post-conciliar revolution, wrote in “Demain la liturgie”:

    “To tell the truth it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.”

    I am truly sorry to draw the conclusion (because I like this Pope and much about his Pontificate) that, in calling the Novus Ordo and the Old Mass “two versions of the same Rite”, the Holy Father is engaged in naive hopefulness at the least and dishonesty at the worst. His “reform of the reform” is doomed: you can’t call a Trabant a Jaguar and expect it to look or drive like one. In comparison with the Old Mass, the Novus Ordo is a child’s scribble alongside a Carravagio

  20. Tom A. says:

    I agree ssoldie. A meer three years ago, I would never have said such a thing. But since Summorum Pontificum and having now attended the Mass of the Ages for almost two years, I see no hope for the Novus Ordo. Every time I go, I yearn for the Mass of the Ages. When the Novus Ordo is well said according to the rubrics (only by the Legionaires or EWTN), it still comes up very short to the majesty and dignity of even a Low Mass. When it is abused (most of the time I attend it is abused), the distraction is too much. I simply must shut my eyes and endure altar girls, gum chewing, queueing up for communion in the hand, the dreaded Kiss off of Peace, clapping for the youth choir, and the endless ad libs.

    Only one form can survive eventually. One must go.

  21. boko fittleworth says:

    “the Ken Wolfes of the world”

    Reading that comment thread was like a trip to the zoo.

  22. kenoshacath says:

    ssoldie: Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand was brilliant!

    I love calling the TLM the Extraordinary Form. As noted in the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, it means exceptional to a very marked extent.

  23. boko fittleworth says:

    And then there’s Maude, I mean, this: http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?id=73796740-3048-741E-3614042828385995

    The picture of the altarkids reminds me of the old National Lampoon cover of a puppy with a gun to its head: Buy This Magazine or the Puppy Gets It!

  24. This was hysterically funny, but it was also extremely sad to read.

    Thanks for this, Father Z.

  25. boko fittleworth says:

    I’m sorry. Wrong thread. I was commenting on the NYT op-ed. D’oh!

  26. The Astronomer says:

    Boko – Great link. The article by Francis X. Clooney is filled with so much heterodox thought, picking it apart is like being an apologetics ‘kid in a candy store’, so here are a few choice pieces:

    1. “The typical Eucharistic celebration is no less holy or sacred than it was in 1960” Calling all clown or liturgical dance Masses!!!

    2. “Many of the reforms were intended to restore practices of the Church far older than Trent” I believe the saintly Pope Pius XII of blessed memory addressed this ‘false archaeologism’ definitively with his encyclical Mediator Dei, but modern Jesuits don’t have too much use for the papacy.

    3. “I believe it was a very good thing to remove…barriers that made the Eucharistic NEEDLESSLY different or divisive (from Protestantism).” Yikes…calling the Council of Trent!!!

  27. Emily Lowe says:

    I just about barfed when I first read this.

  28. Mike Morrow says:

    I regret the continued pretense, or ignorance, that the institution of the novus ordo newchurch began on 30 November 1969. If one had attended mass in 1967, it would have varied inconsequentially from the mass of 30 November 1969.

    I can appreciate that few here actually lived through the transmogrifications of Vatican II. But that should cause those who did not, to listen to the ones who did.

    The people who lived through it confirm that the Church began changing radically in late 1965, not late 1969. The church of 1966, not to mention that of 1969, bore little resemblence to the Church of 1964.

    The institution of the novus ordo on 30 November 1969 was a complete non-event to those of us there at the time. The real desecration and destruction had been completed years earlier.

    Stop pretending that 30 November 1969 has any significance. It just shows disturbing historical ignorance.

  29. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Reality check.

    The Mass, which Pope Paul VI promulgated, introduced a codification of the liturgical changes introduced throughout the 1960’s. These changes are not going to be abrogated. They are not going away.

    As Fr. Z and every other priest posting in this blog will tell you, at least 90% plus of the Catholic clergy worldwide–Western, Asian, African, and everywhere else between the two poles, are not going to stop saying the Novus Ordo. They are not even going to advocate or agitate for the Ordinary Form Mass to go away, be abrogated, or whatever other “go away” language one wishes to use.

    It just isn’t going to happen. I don’t even see, in the real world which exists (as opposed to dream worlds, parallel universes, or illusions resulting from mental breakdowns), an inkling that 99.5% of the worldwide clergy desire the Novus Ordo to go away. Most priests, in fact, would never dream to revert back to the EF Mass.

    What can be done, and what is realistic, is a patient and devout restoration within the Pauline Mass of chant, some Latin, ad orientemm posture, solidly orthodox preaching, and distinctively Catholic art forms in the externals of the liturgy. The restoration of the Tridentine Mass has been an excellent first step by Pope Benedict XVI.

    The next step is to attentively receive the Holy Father’s liturgical catechesis and get supportively behind those bishops and priests who are working to change the landscape from free-for-all Novus Ordo to sober, traditional, and rubrically faithful Novus Ordo Masses. Once you get the clergy to that level, it is much more realistic that they will then open up to offering the EF Mass and see its clear beauty and effectiveness for liturgical piety.

    I understand that, on a certain level, some need the catharsis and emotional unloading that comes with trashing the OF Mass and all the abuses which still haunt it. But to continually call into question the Catholicity of the OF Mass and to insist that only the EF Mass can truly transmit Catholic Faith is not constructive at all.

    When most priests read or hear those comments, you lose them. It is pretty much what happens. Or worse, they relegate those of us who love the EF Mass to “the looney fringe” of the Church and continue merrily ignoring us. They go on assuming we are narrow, intransigent, whacked, religious nuts who have nothing to say to them.

    I for one believe we must try to remain constructive and look to converting them, changing them, and getting them to see by our example the fruits of holiness and charity which follow from: 1) the traditionalizing of the OF Mass and 2) the increased celebration of the EF Mass. Or we can continue with the bile and ridicule and find that we preach to one another and our influence doesn’t go beyond blogs and article comment sections of the internet.

  30. Dear Father Sotelo:

    The Catholic Church in the United States has paid to date $2.7 BILLION to resolve priest abuse cases and it will hit $3 BILLION very shortly. Do you think I, for one, give a hoot that 90% of priests are even alive? 1% percent of women’s religious orders have complied with Vatican requests?
    My friend Chris Ferrara, Esq. wrote a book a few years ago about the current state of the Church. He called it THE GREAT FACADE for that is truly what It is.

  31. Tradster says:

    The NO will never go away because feminists and the demasculized liberal hierarchy that support them would fight tooth and nail to keep females (EMHCs, lectors, cantors, altar girls) in the sanctuary. Unless the EF suddenly admits females beyond the communion rail it will never become mainstream again.

  32. Fr_Sotelo says:

    William H. Phelan:

    So now we trot out molested children as the reason for what? To go out and assassinate 90% of the clergy, the vast majority of whom never sexually molested anyone? I had not thought of that before. How nice to wish most of us priests dead for crimes we have not committed.

    You could agitate for world governments to massacre us priests, and since we wouldn’t be around anymore to offer the OF Mass, I guess that is one “creative” solution for bringing about the New World Tridentine Order.

    Of course, it is very likely that once the powers that be have been persuaded to exterminate us filthy priest vermin, they would also be quite happy to exterminate most of the Catholic faithful as well. That is pretty much how it played out during the Reign of Terror and the Soviet gulags.

  33. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Following your thought logically, the only way the EF Mass can be popular in the Church is for it to imitate the abuses of the OF Mass. Oh ye of little faith. Do not think so little of the EF Mass or the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Latin Mass community of St. Stephen’s in Sacramento, CA has grown quite nicely without doing any of the things you mention. And they are totally in union with the Holy Father.

  34. Kimberly says:

    Tradster: This may be true but it is the trad families that are having the most children and are bringing them up in the solid faith. Feminists don’t care about anyone but themselves and thier power, that means “no children”.

  35. mpm says:

    For those who are interested, I have put up the original French, and my English translation, of Cardinal Ratzinger’s Preface to Msgr. Klaus Gamber’s well-known book here:


    Publishing a blog is not my thing, and I had been waiting to see if Antiquarian would do something similar, but since the pejorative adjectives keep getting (mis)used by being applied to the Novus Ordo itself, I decided to “go public” with my own effort.

  36. William H. Phelan, do not use the sins of bad priests to justify sins of rejecting the Church established by Jesus Christ. Modernists, atheists, secularists and traditionalists (small ‘t’) use the same process – highlighting the disobedience / hypocrisy of unfaithful Catholics as an excuse to follow their own opinion. It’s the “if they can disobey why can’t I” process. The only difference is which particular teachings of the Church are disobeyed by each particular person. That’s the true “great facade!” Jesus had a traitor Bishop too, right? And you may get your wish – with the Reign of Terror soon to be repeated.

  37. chironomo says:

    Fr Soleto;

    I’m curious, and I will try to ask this in a totally “neutral” way. If Paul VI was able to make such radical changes to the Mass in 1965 (or whenever it actually was), then why is it a given fact that such a radical change could never happen again? The changes made by Paul VI were not unanimously supported by the clergy, and the Catholic faithful were certainly not 100% behind them. And I understand the changes that have ocurred in the hierarchy that made such things possible then that would be very difficult now. But to say that change could never happen is maybe a bit too defining.

    I see a nearly 2000 year tradition and continuity on one hand, and a 40 to perhaps 80 year break in that continuity on the other. I doubt there will be an abrogation or admission that the NO was a mistake, but just as the Mass in 1962 was far different from the NO Mass in 1972, and the NO Mass now is far different from that in 1972, I think there will be developments in the next (N) years that will continue development.

  38. Glen M says:

    This is an age of sarcasm and Damian Thompson made good use of it. History teaches the years after a revolution are chaotic and the Bible has several references to the number 40. The Novus Ordo has been a failure but this genie isn’t going back in the bottle anytime soon. It will take generations to fully restore our liturgy to where it was pre-Age of Aquarius. It’s harder to smarten up then dumb down; with the FSSP & SSPX seminaries full and the others sparse or closing the next generation will be tasked to fix this mess.

    “Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray, they do not know my ways” Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter my rest.” Psalm 95

  39. thomas tucker says:

    Excellent comments, Fr. Sotelo.
    Keep preaching and maybe a few at a time will start to listen.
    Your approach is very wise.

  40. Andy F. says:

    Happenings among others in 1969:
    1. Sesame Street
    2. Bryan Adams acquired his first guitar
    3. Novus Ordo

    I’m sensing a theme.

  41. irishgirl says:

    Whoa-Damian was deep in the sarcasm bottle with that one!

    Ouch….! Yes, he has sharpened his blade, big time!

  42. Eric says:

    You forgot 4. Woodstock.

  43. Clare says:

    “God wants our personal involvement and challenges each of us! Petition your local priests and bishops this week!”

    Comment from kenoshacath on Monday @ 6:44 pm

    Been there.

    Done that.

    He said, “NO!”

    Also, Father Soleto, although it is true that the vast majority of priests did not abuse children, I believe it has been established — please correct me if I’m wrong — that the majority of priests knew of such abuse — and covered it up.

  44. Bede says:

    God bless you, Fr. Sotelo. While “patient and devout restoration” is nowhere near as exciting as counter-revolution, it is always more effective in the end.

  45. Henry Edwards says:

    Chironomo: If Paul VI was able to make such radical changes to the Mass in 1965 (or whenever it actually was), then why is it a given fact that such a radical change could never happen again?

    I believe it’s an historical misconception to think that Paul VI actually made any “such radical changes”. It can be argued that the changes that occurred in the mid 1960’s were made more from the bottom up rather than the top down, largely without explicit approval, either papal or Episcopal. Cardinal Ratzinger has remarked (in the Fontgombault volume) on the loss of episcopal control of the liturgy in the chaos of the 1960’s to a world-wide apparatus of liturgical commissions and networks of “experts” and circuit-riding liturgists (then a new term). Indeed, many or most bishops in the 1960s and 1970s disapproved of what was happening, but could not stop it. (Including a certain Archbishop of Munich, now somewhat better known.)

    At any rate, from a pretty good viewpoint mid 1960s – one step removed from the only U.S. episcopal member of the (in)famous Consilium – it was my impression that Pope Paul had little or nothing explicitly to do with what the chaos and changes we were then seeing (still in the context of the Tridentine rite).

    Then later, as Mike Morrow and others have explained, no real changes occurred as a result of Paul VI’s 1969 promulgation of the Novus Ordo. Indeed, one motivation for the Novus Ordo surely was to stabilize the deteriorating liturgical situation. In particular, to end the proliferation of ad hoc Eucharistic prayers in use, which may have numbered several hundred in the late 1960’s, with an new one seemingly appearing every week or so in some parishes. He succeeded in cutting back to four approved EP’s. But in other areas, his efforts to restore order may have been less successful, exhibiting a lack rather than an exercise of effective papal power.

  46. moon1234 says:


    I beg to differ with you. Even in France today we see traditional orders make up 10% of the active Catholic faithful. These are groups that say ONLY the EF. This may sound like a small number, but the reality is that over the last 10 years, in France alone, vocations from the Novus Ordo has dropped by over 100% while at the same time vocations to Traditional orders have risen 300%. It is only a matter of time, from articles I have read online which I am sure you can find, before the SSPX and other traditional orders become the dominent force in Catholocism in France.

    You won’t hear Novus Order priests clamoring for the end of the Novus Ordo. The demise of the Novus Ordo will come through simple attrition of it’s clergy. This may take 100 or more years, but it will happen. In France this is predicited to happen within the next 15-25 years. The Novus Ordo will still be there, but it and it’s clergy will no longer be the dominent Catholic Population.

    I think that this is what people are looking towards. The Pauline Mass is a fabrication of the 60’s. Even Bugnini did not think it would last more than 50 years. The young of today are attracted to tradition and a sense of being connected to all of those great Catholics who came before them. It grounds them in this world that thinks only of now and itself. The EF immediatly gives the faithful the sense that they are witnessing and attending the same Mass that St. Faustina, St. Pius the X, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Bernadette of Lourdes and so many other great saints did.

    The Novus Ordo is almost a complete break with Tradition. The sense of a link with the past only goes back to the 60’s. When one digs deeper into why things were changed in the 50’s and 60’s one will scratch their heads and ask why? I know because my CCD students who have access to the EF have asked WHY things were changed.

  47. thomas tucker says:

    Glen M- I do like that moniker, The Age of Sarcasm. If the Durants had written
    a volume on the history of our times, perhpas they could have used that as the title.

  48. MichaelJ says:

    Mike Morrow:

    At best, those who “lived through the changes” can offer only anecdotal evidence about the state of the liturgy prior to 30 November 1969. What conclusion can be drawn by an individual (like me) when your anecdotal evidence differs dramatically from anecdotal evidence from someone else who also “lived through the changes” like my Mother? Should I simply conclude that your experience was nearly universal and my mothers was simply a small anomaly?

    While it may show “disturbing historical ignorance” to believe that 30 November 1969 had any significance (a point which I do not conced, btw) it seems to show a “disturbing ignorance of human behavior” to believe that this date had no significance. When I began in high school, smoking on school grounds was strictly prohibited, but many students did anyway. By my senior year, the school board umm… wisely made a provision to set aside smoking areas. Are you seriously willing to suggest that the school board’s decision had no effect and did not, in fact, increase the number of students who smoked?

  49. Fr_Sotelo says:

    mpm: I appreciate very much your correction on those quotes of Ratzinger. We now know he did not call the OF Mass a fabricated and banal Mass, but was referring to how certain people were implementing the liturgical changes. In the same section, Ratzinger also levels a criticism at those whose only solution is for the Church to revert to the EF Mass:

    “On the other side, there is a conservation of ritual forms whose grandeur is always moving, but which, pushed to the extreme, manifests a dogged isolation and, in the end, allows only sadness.”

    I think any intransigence which does not allow us to be further informed by the Magisterium, even in matters of the liturgy, would contribute to a certain sadness or even bitterness that the Church needs to start “going my way.”

  50. Henry Edwards says:


    If someone like Mike Morrow afirms that every innovation of the Novus Ordo had already been seen in his parish in 1965 — as they had been in mine — then that testimony carries some historical significance. At least in regard to the question as to whether the Novus Ordo introduced innovations, or merely institutionalized them. The significant point is not whether these things were previously seen everywhere, but whether they were seen somewhere.

    By contrast, if a member of the parish where I currently attend Sunday Mass mentions that this parish had no altar girls or communion while standing or communion in both kinds until fairly recently, then his testimony would be of no historical significance whatsoever regarding the origin of these things, proving merely that some people are luckier than others.

  51. MichaelJ says:

    I have apparently misunderstood Mike’s comments then. I did not think that the debate was whether the introduction of the Novus Ordo caused these “innovations” but whether its introduction had any historical significance in regards to the current state of the Liturgy.

    I am of the opinion that the state of the Liturgy today is worse than it otherwise would have been had the Novus Ordo never been promulgated. I base this on my observations of how individuals (including me) respond when an institution or other authority figure relaxes its “rules” when confronted with disobedience.

  52. Fr_Sotelo says:


    In addition to Henry Edwards’ post, which I agree with (that the changes were also a groundswell from the bottom up and Paul VI wanted to bring some order to this groundswell by issuing a codification), there are other elements of the OF Mass which make it the “main event” for many years to come.

    1) It is easier to go from complex to simple than vice versa. The OF Mass, for the clergy, allows them to offer Mass in a simplified form which they can pray in their own language.
    2) The clergy know that the people want liturgy in which they can speak up, respond, sing, without the High Mass/Low Mass rules (e.g. “this is a low Mass so please do not sing the Sanctus and Agnus Dei since no one is singing the propers”).
    3) The clergy see Paul VI as having introduced a reform and development in the Mass. They believe that the Church should not “revert back” to previous forms because that would be a form of “antiquarianism” or holding onto past forms for the sake of keeping the past alive.
    4) The authoritarian structures and mentality present in 1969, which allowed the OF Mass to be promulgated and implemented with widespread obedience, are gone. The Pope, wisely, uses the method of exhortation, theological formation, and gradual change to bring about changes working with the clergy, not ordering them to obey just because he says so.
    5) The clergy generally believe that the present rites have been received by the Church positively and affirmatively, making them a part of the “sensus fidelium.” Thus, they see a need to “protect” the new Mass when it is under attack, and to repel attempts to question its Catholicity.

    These are some of the reasons for which the clergy, in my opinion, not only do not clamor to offer the EF Mass, but make no effort even to learn or relearn Latin for that eventuality. By and large the younger, conservative clergy, seek to “traditionalize” the OF Mass rather than offer the EF Mass exclusively. Most believe in the reform of the reform, not the abrogation of the reform. Thus it simply is not reality to think that a sweeping reversion to the EF Mass could be introduced and that the clergy would just go along with it.

  53. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Not even the anti-Catholic Boston Globe made the assertion that most priests knew about molestations and did nothing about them. They make the assertion that most bishops knew and did not handle this crime in a correct manner.

    In fact, how could someone even make such an assertion that most priests knew? They would have to have cameras in every rectory on 24 hours a day. The reality is that these crimes were usually covered up in a web of secrecy, where other priests would see a guy transferred out and no one would say out in the open what was going on.

    That is how the extent of the 2002 expositions were as searing and shocking for us priests, who then had to live with the stigma of a crime we never committed.

    Even now, seven years later, an argument breaks out on the problems of the Novus Ordo and someone has to trot out the molested children, as if such crimes never happened before 1969 or as if an absurd connection has to be made that the Novus Ordo molested children.

  54. seminarian87 says:


  55. kenoshacath says:

    Clare at 11:46 a.m.,

    Don’t be discouraged! We had a “NO” too for over a year and a half. Keep coming back to the priest to discuss the Motu Proprio (always with charity). Collect written petitions from those desiring it locally and send them to your bishop.

    After this, you can take the NEXT step as directed by the Holy Father, Ecclesia Dei. Don’t give up . . . and just remember, prayer before action. We have the Holy Father on our side.

    Here are more suggestions from a parish priest:

    For matters having to do strictly with the the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, write to:

    His Eminence
    Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos
    President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”
    Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio
    00120 VATICAN CITY

  56. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Since the SSPX started out with French roots, it is natural that they would have made so many inroads in 30 years of working there. But what is happening in secularized France is not happening throughout the Catholic world. Even in France, as you know, the OF Mass still holds sway for 90% of Catholics.

    Thousands of new priests are ordained each year, almost all of them in the OF Mass. They go to serve OF Mass parishes and offer the OF Mass. Less than 100 are ordained in the EF Mass for EF Mass parishes, and so I do not know what attrition you are talking about.

    I think “attrition” of OF Mass priests, and “demise” of the OF Mass, are wishful thinking. That is why we need a reality check. The way to spread the EF Mass and to make the OF Mass more traditional is to work with the vast majority of priests and try to convert them to a different thinking.

    I don’t know why you think Bugnini saw the OF Mass lasting 50 years. That certainly does not seem to be his thought or that of Paul VI when it was promulgated. In 40 years already, few changes were made to this form of the Roman Rite–a priest could use a 1969 missal and pretty much be saying the same Mass as now.

    As for connecting to the saints, you must know that over 90% of Catholics who spread the devotion and writings of St. Faustina, St. Pius X, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and St. Bernadette do so from within Novus Ordo parishes. They do not see the Novus Ordo as a disqualifier from connecting to Catholic Tradition. Most Catholics come to know their Tradition from within the Novus Ordo.

  57. Jack Hughes says:

    Questions for Fr Sotelo
    1) why bother to traditionalize the banal form of the roman rite when the better form of the Roman Rite is already there? sorry to say but putting in a bit of latin here and there does not make an N.O. more traditional as the N.O scrubbed out the graduals, Judica me ect ect, by the time you have finnished ‘traditionalizing’ the N.O you might as well just say the TLM
    (2) since when did simple = better? I could have spent just half an hour perparing for my tutorial today but instead I spent 3 hours on it and earned high praise for doing a job well done, if I can spend that long on what is a relitatvely straightfoward exercise such as stakeholder mapping surely priests should be as careful with Holy Mass

    The N.O. needs to be put on the shelves from whence it came, the laity should not be reciting the servers parts and Bugini should be numbred amoungst those whose name should be erased from church history or at the very least numbered amongst the likes of Alexander VI

  58. Henry Edwards says:


    I agree with you that an institution generally worsens the situation when it relaxes or changes previous rules to accommodate existing violations and disobedience. E.g., when despite their own personal reservations Paul VI and John Paul II allowed communion in the hand and altar girls (respectively).

    And the promulgation of the Novus Ordo itself can be perceived as an instance of this phenomenon, though it seems possible to me that the liturgical chaos had (by 1969) devolved to the point that without the promulgation the situation might have gotten still worse than it actually did.

  59. moon1234 says:

    These are some of the reasons for which the clergy, in my opinion, not only do not clamor to offer the EF Mass, but make no effort even to learn or relearn Latin for that eventuality. By and large the younger, conservative clergy, seek to “traditionalize” the OF Mass rather than offer the EF Mass exclusively. Most believe in the reform of the reform, not the abrogation of the reform. Thus it simply is not reality to think that a sweeping reversion to the EF Mass could be introduced and that the clergy would just go along with it.

    This must be highly location dependant. My experience has been the opposite. The young would RATHER say the EF, but are not allowed to say it exclusively unless they are attached to an order that only says the EF. All of the young priests I have met have said privately that they prefer the EF, but their ordinary requires them to say the OF or they will not get a parish.

    Number 1 in your list is a canard. It is poor catechesis that leads to this mentality. Even VII states that Latin should be retained with gregorian chant having pride of place. The exact opposite is what priests push today as evidenced by your own statement. A priest, if he really wanted to keep with VII requests, would be saying most of the Mass in Latin, ad orientem with Gregorian Chant and traditional poloyphany. How many NO priests would be willing to implement a Prima Latina class for the faithful. My guess is close to zero.

  60. Fr_Sotelo says:


    1) The Graduale with proper chants still exists, because the OF Mass still has an introit, alleluia antiphon, an offertory antiphon, and the post Communion antiphon. The Gradual was expanded into the psalm response. As far as banal, what makes the Mass to possess the essentials of Tradition is the devotion and piety in the prayer and gestures, not making everything Latin and adding more rubrics. Remember that Nazis and Fascists attended the Tridentine Mass and it did not turn them into saints.
    2) I did not say that simple equals better. I said that this was one reason why clergy in general will not revert to the TLM. They do not consider the extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules about all-or-nothing chanted Mass parts to be that helpful or sublime. But when you throw into the mix the sarcasm and nasty tearing down of the OF Mass, you most assuredly will convince the majority of priests that the return of the TLM will bring no fruits of sanctity. In fact, some priests I know who have had contact with these traditionalists attitudes were actually convinced that what once turned people into great saints (TLM) now succeeds in making them rude and prideful idiots.

    We can be missionaries about this or we can act like Soviet propagandists. If we are the latter, we are doing the EF Mass no favors. Or put another way, with angry and vicious friends to turn people off to Tradition, the EF Mass needs no enemies.

  61. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I believe that a young person who really wants to offer the EF Mass will not let anything stop him from learning Latin and acquiring the help to learn it. There is a priest in my diocese who is learning from me, but I told him that he had to take Latin classes in the seminary and be serious about it. He did, so now I am able to teach him the EF Mass. But other guys tell you that this is what they want, to placate you, but then are content to stay with the status quo and the OF Mass.

    The “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” whine is valid for so long. I’ve heard it from young priests who went on to become established pastors and still did nothing to implement the EF Mass in their parish or even at least say it privately.

    There was a local Latin Mass family in my diocese that would call me up and ask why I didn’t train their young pastor in the EF Mass. I said I would, if he asked. Yet he kept telling them how much he wanted to learn, but that I didn’t help him. The fact is, underneath, he just didn’t want to learn and so never called and asked for my help.

    As far as location dependent attitudes, almost every Catholic country has internet ties that give some stats on the EF Mass in their countries. You can see, or have someone translate for you (e.g. a Spanish speaking person can look up for you all the stats on Spain and Latin America), that my take on clergy attitudes is not off the mark. I get my info from visiting clergy who tell me bluntly that in their respective countries, there is no clamoring from priests to revert to the EF Mass.

  62. MichaelJ says:

    Father Sotelo,
    Your statement that “They [Priests] do not consider the extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules about all-or-nothing chanted Mass parts to be that helpful or sublime.” illustrates the point I was (unsuccessfully) trying to make in our recent discussion of why anyone would perfer the NOM.

    I can accept that my opinion may very well be clouded by my own personal experiences, but I was under the impression that the “extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules” did not exist primarily for our benefit. Instead, they exist primarily to give God His due to the best of our ability.

    In other words(to paraphrase Rick Warren)when I go to Mass it’s not about me, or what’s easier for me, but about Him

  63. mpm says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    After reading the Preface, I went back to re-read the Letter to Bishops of Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, 2007. After mentioning the two “negative” reasons for the legislation of Summorum pontificum, he says:

    I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.

    When we denounce the OF, it strikes me that we are declaring the Pope’s hope for reconciliation a dead letter, dead-on-arrival. “Yes, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth; yes, the Pope is the successor of St. Peter; yes, the Pope possesses the keys to the kingdom of God; BUT, he is really out-to-lunch on the Novus Ordo! How do I know? Some guy told me so.”

    I take your point about the attitude among clergy regarding the “sensus fidelium” and the OF. You, and they, are probably right. However, for the clergy not to learn Latin simply because they are not going to celebrate Mass in Latin, strikes me as a rather odd mentality. There are other reasons for Catholic priests to know Latin, even if only to check the meaning of words/phrases in Church documents, the philosophical and theological writings of the greats, the preaching of the Fathers and Saints, Canon Law, etc., etc. [I view it as if they were business majors who refused to learn math or accounting! Good luck with that!]

    And I am entirely with you on the despicable tactic of dragging out the homosexual abuses of the past and trying to tar the OF with that. The whole modern phenomenon started while every priest was celebrating the EF every day (or, at least, every day he celebrated Mass). And let the purveyors of that theory tell it to St. Peter Damian (+1072) whose role it was to clean out the Augean Stables of his day (at the Pope’s direction).

  64. moon1234 says:

    Remember that Nazis and Fascists attended the Tridentine Mass and it did not turn them into saints

    They were not there to attend Mass, but to intimidate the local populace, keep track of who is Catholic, and to make people think they were pius individuals. They had alterior motives for sitting in the pews. MOST people who come to church today are not there for any of these reasons. They are hopefully there to honor and glorify our Lord and not for a show.

    As far as location dependent attitudes, almost every Catholic country has internet ties that give some stats on the EF Mass in their countries. You can see, or have someone translate for you (e.g. a Spanish speaking person can look up for you all the stats on Spain and Latin America), that my take on clergy attitudes is not off the mark. I get my info from visiting clergy who tell me bluntly that in their respective countries, there is no clamoring from priests to revert to the EF Mass.

    Which is not what I said. You restated your original point. The priests I have met already say the Latin Mass, the seminarians that I have met want to or are already learning the latin Mass. Their ordinary will not give them a parish unless they also say the NO. Even Fr. Z. has stated on this blog that many of the seminaries do not properly form new priests or provide poor formation. I tend to only hang around the more traidional circles so my impression will most likely be different than others. Your attitude though is not what Pope Benedict had in mind in Summorum Pontificum. He wished that the EF be available in every parish and widely. Your attitude of “I will only provide instruction if I am personally asked” is not what our Holy Father wished for. How about reaching out to young priests? How about asking them to come to a training session on the EF Mass that you will provide?

    They do not consider the extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules about all-or-nothing chanted Mass parts to be that helpful or sublime.

    Which would again show poor formation and lack of understanding what the rituals represent.

    In fact, some priests I know who have had contact with these traditionalists attitudes were actually convinced that what once turned people into great saints (TLM) now succeeds in making them rude and prideful idiots.

    Which is a sign of an attitude of rebellion of the 50’s and 60’s where the thinking was that all rules needed to be tossed out in order to better placate protestants and others. If the TLM could form so many great saints; how dare any priest look at it and say it is antiquated or that it is not efficacious for the salvation of souls. This line of thinking comes from the evil one.

  65. mpm says:


    I think you miss the sense of Fr. Sotelo’s mentioning the problem with the “extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules about all-or-nothing chanted Mass parts to be that helpful or sublime.”

    It seems to me that there is an objective problem here. Not every parish (what percentage? dunno) has the properly trained people, vestments, correct number of ordained ministers, etc., to be able to celebrate the full panoply of degrees of solemnity, according to the rubrics and rules of the TLM.

    The NO allows parishes to “build up” solemnity as the people, and furnishings, allow.

    So, for a given desire to worship God appropriately in a given set of economic and social circumstances, it is possible to have some solemnity at Mass in a parish according to the OF, whereas the same parish might only be ALLOWED by the rubrics and rules established by the Church to celebrate a Low Mass, which all the experts tell us, at WDTPRS and elsewhere, is NOT the “ideal Mass”, which they would say is a “Solemn High Mass”, or even a “Pontifical Solemn High Mass”.

    I don’t know if I’ve been clear about what I think Fr. Sotelo is pointing out or not, so let me use a formula: Degree of “solemnity” is a defined quantum in the EF; the quantum model does not apply in the OF, it is more of a continuum.

  66. Aaron says:

    Why try to re-form a Yugo so it looks and runs like a Cadillac, when you have a perfectly good Cadillac in the garage?

    If it took five years to tear out the altar rails, replace the high altars with tables, and replace the organs with guitar amps, maybe it will take ten years to change it back. Maybe 20, or 50, but it can be done. It will be painful and expensive, surely, but so were the changes in 1965-69, and that didn’t slow them down any. It’s certainly not impossible.

    Start teaching Latin in the seminaries again, require seminaries to say the TLM a couple times a week and teach it, and in a generation, you’ve got the trained priests for it. That’s plenty of time for retrofitting or rebuilding the churches to prepare for it.

  67. caterham says:

    ” Remember that Nazis and Fascists attended the Tridentine Mass and it did not turn them into saints.”

    They weren’t there to turn into saints either. I take umbrage at this argument. It’s the same as bringing pedophile priests into the argument.

  68. kenoshacath says:

    Yes Aaron, The Mass is certainly already alive and well (TLM).

  69. kenoshacath says:

    I think God is telling us to appreciate what we have in the TLM. Do not take it for granted like many Catholics did years ago.

  70. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I think you are reading me wrong when you say to me “your attitude.” I would like the EF Mass to spread far and wide, but I am speaking of the concrete reality that I see with the clergy right now. Please do not think I am some how the enemy of other priests learning the EF. I am the only priest in my diocese who has taught other priests to offer in the EF form, so I have a good sense, I think, when I see another priest who really wants to learn and one who is giving lip service.

    That is a good way of putting it–that in the OF Mass you can have a “continuum” of solemnity and the clergy find this helpful pastorally. The only option for many beginning EF communities in lieu of a High Mass is the Low Mass.

    Aaron: The Church can do everything you mention, but if the clergy are not converted to see “Yugo” instead of “Cadillac” the changes are dead on arrival. The forced imposition of the EF without prior understanding and earnest hearts would be a disaster to the EF Mass, as even many SSPX priests have acknowledged.

    caterham: I did not say that the EF Mass *caused* Nazism or Fascism, as many trads have tried to insinuate that the new Mass caused the molestation of children.

    What I was pointing out is that Catholics in the 1930’s attended the EF Mass and, at the same time, considered themselves both Catholic and Nazis and Fascists. The EF Mass, in and of itself, does not protect its attendees from sin and heterodoxy. By the way, if you research your history of the era, you will read that not only lay Catholics, but various priests were also allied to those totalitarian regimes (evidenced by the fact that German priests working in the Vatican spied for the Third Reich).

  71. Henry Edwards says:


    All of us have suffered abuses allowed by the excessive optionitis allowed by the Novus Ordo rubrics, but you have (amplifying Fr. Sotelo) clarified an important advantage of the flexibility of those same rubrics – allowing in some circumstances greater beauty and solemnity than the TLM would afford.

    This past Sunday, I attended a glorious EF Missa Cantata, celebrated with incense in the more solemn form a la Fortescue. Schola chanting the propers beautifully, people joining in the Credo, Sanctus, etc. Procession of torch bearers. Everything.

    Then yesterday, with a different priest in a different church, I attended a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated with equal reverence and precision! (Though less complexity.) It being a feast day (of St. Andrew) it was a sung Mass with all the bells and smells (including, importantly to me, incensing of the Host and Chalice at elevation). Sung except for the silent offertory and very quiet Roman Canon (with no saints omitted) – including not only the priest’s prayers but also all the people’s dialogue responses – sung in English except for the Kyrie (Gr.) and the Sanctus and/or Agnus Dei in Latin.

    At no point in the Mass was a single word uttered that’s not printed in the missal – other than the homily and the sung intercessions that were themselves printed in advance. Nothing was done anywhere that’s not printed in red in the missal. The Gloria and Our Father were sung in English, there being no choir to lead them or chant the propers as would have been required for an EF high Mass.

    In short, the alternative in an EF setting would have been a low Mass which – even in my view as an ardent TLM supporter – would not have been provided the parish an equally beautiful and solemn celebration of an important feast.

    And recently I attended a Novus Ordo funeral Mass, celebrated ad orientem and mostly in Latin (including the almost silent Roman Canon) for a very small congregation, by a priest wearing black Roman vestments with a single altar boy. But all the bells and smells, with the congregation singing the responses and ordinary in Latin just as at a TLM. And with the In Paradisum in Latin over the casket at the end, I suspect some there thought it was a TLM. Again, a Mass of such beauty and solemnity as a requiem low TLM would not have afforded.

    At any rate, I suspect that most commenters have never seen Novus Ordo Masses exhibiting all the beauty and reverence that many associate only with the TLM. And, indeed, I sometimes get the impression that the very term “Novus Ordo” frequently is used not to refer to the Mass defined by the 1969-2002 Roman Missal, but as shorthand for the admittedly prevalent abuses perpetrated by a couple of generations of malformed priests who don’t simply “do the red and say the black”.

  72. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Very nicely put. I could not agree with you more. I have noticed that when some see the OF Mass offered with the bells and smells, and reverence which it was intended to have, they calm down and do not equate it with heresy and banality.

    If, however, people are intent to highlight its most negative features, they will never make inroads with the vast majority of Catholic clergy. Most priests, even liberal ones, have a protective sense for the Mass as they know it. If you trash the OF Mass, they will take that as sacrilegious and treat your views with contempt. The majority of priests do not make the distinction that sarcasm for the OF Mass is good but sarcasm for the EF Mass is bad. Any sarcasm against the Mass from traditional Catholics is going to turn them off and convert them to wish a rupture with the past.

  73. Dear Fathers Sotelo and Marie Paul: Have you taken any courses in logic? Read my 6:30 AM today comments again. Do you see even the remotest suggestion by me that any priest ever be harmed, much less executed? Fr. Sotelo states in the article above mine that 90% of priests worldwide are going to continue to say the NO Mass. I could have said: “Who cares?” I said instead that I wouldn’t care if they were alive. Fr. Marie Paul, in his rebuke of my comments, refers to “..the sins of a few bad priests”…
    Excuse me, they may be sins, but the priests’ behavior is also considered CRIMINAL which is why the Diocese of Bridgeport waged a legal battle for eight years so thousands of pages of evidence of priestly abuse and hierarchical cover-up would not fall into the Attorney General of Connecticut’s hands. People will go to JAIL. If these men had never become priests or bishops would not the Church, especially some sons of the laity, not be better off? Thank you for your attention.

  74. Aaron says:

    I think we’re often offered a false choice: either we immediately discard the Novus Ordo and return to the Roman Missal–which is clearly impossible–or we resign ourselves to the Novus Ordo and make the most of it.

    But there’s a third choice: start teaching Latin and the Latin Mass again in the seminaries, and simply encourage the EF as the “better” form, just as the High Mass is considered “better” than the Low Mass. The OF would still be considered completely valid (when said correctly), but priests would be encouraged to learn and say the Mass of Ages as much as possible, and lay people would be encouraged to request it. Gradually, the number of priests available and willing to say the EF will grow, and more people will become familiar with it, and see no particular reason to keep the “new” Mass around. Those who have a strong emotional attachment to it as their generation’s special innovation will be gone in another generation anyway, and future generations have no reason to be pre-decided for or against either one. No, it won’t be instant, but it can happen.

  75. quietbeginning says:

    Fr_Sotelo wrote:
    “Most priests, even liberal ones, have a protective sense for the Mass as they know it.”

    Now, these are supposedly highly educated men who have studied Church history and theology, are they not? Then, as men well-versed in both the history and theology of the Church (am I presuming too much here?), would they not be aware of the SUPPOSED continuity of the “EF” with the “OF?” (Remember, we were assured by the VII architects that nothing of substance was changed by “The Council,” a statement the supreme irony of which must have them rolling in their graves.) So, would it not be logical for them to be just as upset to hear someone trash the EF? (I know. I know. Logic is no longer taught in NO seminaries.)

  76. Aaron says:

    I suspect that most commenters have never seen Novus Ordo Masses exhibiting all the beauty and reverence that many associate only with the TLM.

    That’s correct, many of us haven’t. The question is, why haven’t we? How can someone have been Catholic for 3-4 decades and have heard hundreds or thousands of Masses said by dozens of priests at numerous parishes, and never have felt the sense of beauty and reverence that he feels on an average Sunday at the EF? Why, even after repeated attempts to fix bad translations and rein in abuses, is a truly beautiful and reverent OF Mass still so rare (and one in Latin, still the normative language, even more so)?

    Is it just a coincidence of timing, that the new Mass happened to come along at the same time as people became irreverent in their worship? If the new Mass had never been created, would we still have seen just as much liturgical abuse in the last 40 years, only taking place at high altars behind Communion rails?

    If the answer to those last two questions is yes, then it makes sense to say there’s no qualitative difference between the forms, and we should be perfectly happy with the OF and focus our attention on battling the irreverence that has coincidentally afflicted it. But I personally doubt that the answers are an absolute yes, which leaves me to conclude that the form itself is itself responsible for at least some of the irreverence and abuse, and therefore we should not settle lightly for it.

  77. At the risk of appearing simplistic, I believe I can cut away a lot of the fog on this subject. The Modernists, who were condemned by SAINT Pius X in 1907, reached their zenith of power at the Second Vatican Council. As they had the numbers at the Council, in the voting they prevailed. The entire Church (and the world) has seen their fruits. Forty years after the Council compares to eleven months of the Obama Administration and the results are the same: BUYERS’ REMORSE.

    Thank you.

  78. quietbeginning says:

    I remember what Mass was like in the 1950’s. It wasn’t as the Modernists would have you believe. It was holy, reverent, and there was a divine innocence about it. I also remember what Catholicism in general was like in the 1950’s. It was wonderful, and it gave meaning to our lives on earth and taught us that this life was one of warfare against unremitting evil, a warfare the outcome of which would determine whether we spent eternity in Heaven or Hell. Things were simple back then. Truth has a fundamental simplicity about it.
    But these notions are alien (and repugnant) to modern man. Our task as Catholics is a daunting one.

  79. rinkevichjm says:

    I went to Mass as little child in the 60’s (P PVI Ms started in Advent ’69), the people didn’t sing except at High Mass-most masses were low Masses where the prayer could barely be heard beyond the first pew. The people knew what they were supposed to do but even the Catholic college educated couldn’t explain why. And that lack of true Catechisis is why the PPVI Mass has turned out to be poorly executed: few quirky litugicists got in and no one knew right from wrong in the new Mass. They had always depended upon it always being the same and that was right. When the new Mass and its new translation was introduced everything was different and the faithful could say to perform it this way or that and felt compelled to follow the poor liturgicists who wanted acclamation for there new works. Modernists or whatever they are didn’t reach their zenith in the 1960 and 1970s, they took advantage of the lack of solid, well known theologians who were Catholic and knew how to express the why of the issue(s). It wasn’t so much that the Modernists had increased but rather a disappearance of well grounded scholars at that time. Take a look at the book notes in most NAB copies: Markian priority has recently been refuted by textual critics (cf the International Bible Commentary published by Liturgical Press) and has never been held by any real historian. But yet you find that in practically every NAB version.

    I believe that if the PPVI Mass had been implemented as the Eastern Divine Liturgies are in the vernacular and that had beld held up as normative for vernacular, we could have many fine PPVI Masses that would on average be better than the EF. I remember going to the monastary of Mt Tabor when it was located near Hadley, MI (they moved to Northern California) and they had Divine Lirgurgies that were as good as any NF Mass held in the Latin Rite Church of the Immaculate Conception in Lapeer (for those of you who don’t know that is the first church that the priest who started the Catholic Extension, built – you may have seen a picture of it on one of their calendars)

  80. Glen M says:

    Father Sotelo,

    Thank you for your numerous posts to this thread. It’s worth noting however that your posts contain opinion and speculations. The Novus Ordo may be currently entrenched in our parishes but that doesn’t mean it is impenetrable. Our Church has been in decline since the sixties and certainly the Novus Ordo hasn’t help stem that tide. If a ground swell counter-revolution attracts people to the EF then the clergy will have to accept it. By its very nature the EF promotes Catholic doctrine and dogma more fervently then the OF. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi, or as Father Z likes to say, “Save the liturgy, save the world.”

    May God Bless you,


  81. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Soleto
    I’m no soviet propgandist, just a 21yr old traditionalist who has put up with sloppy N.O’s for the majority of the 3 years since my conversion/reversion (I’m not sure which and it’s a long story), I am also tired of the modernist prelate who runs my diocese (I can’t leave currently because of University) and his blatent suppression of traditionalist priests/Masses. I am also annoyed that out of obedience I had to stop attending the local SSPX chapel (they probebly wouldn’t have me back anyway) and therefore that I can only attend the TLM when I am offered a lift. As an avid defender of the N.O Father, I find venting at you from 5000 miles away the easiest way to deal with it.

  82. Aaron says:

    I went to Mass as little child in the 60’s (P PVI Ms started in Advent ‘69), the people didn’t sing except at High Mass-most masses were low Masses where the prayer could barely be heard beyond the first pew. The people knew what they were supposed to do but even the Catholic college educated couldn’t explain why.

    And now, after 40+ years of the Ordinary Form, the increased push for “active participation,” and the weakened emphasis on sacrifice in all areas of Catholic life, the people don’t know what they’re supposed to do or why.

    Maybe in 1960 people were genuflecting at certain points (for instance) without knowing why, and that certainly isn’t ideal. But now they’re not genuflecting at all–or in many cases, showing up to Mass in the first place. Seems like the baby went with the bath water to me.

  83. thomas tucker says:

    “By its very nature the EF promotes Catholic doctine and dogma more fervently than the OF.”
    This is an oft-made assertion for which there is no proof. It is only an opinion and apparently not held by successive Popes. As an opnion, take it for what it’s worth.

  84. Fr_Sotelo says:


    If you notice, I spice my comments with “in my opinion” or “I think” or “I believe that” and so I hope that people have the sense that I am presenting my personal opinion.

    However, I am a priest, who has worked with English and Spanish speaking clergy. I have had extensive contact with foreign supply priests: from Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, China, Korea, Nigeria, parts of Central and South America, and Spain. I have visited Italy, Portugal, and Spain, as well as Mexico. I don’t have near the expansive knowledge which Fr. Z has, whose network reaches much further.

    However, I have a feeling that one of the reasons Fr. Z has to tell people to chill out, get charitable, and take their reality checks, is because he sees what I have seen, especially when he uses a term like “brick by brick.”

    My contention is that the vast, vast majority of the Church is entrenched in the OF Mass. Unlike the times when St. Pius V had no telephone, no internet, no modern media, and it took forever to get the Roman Missal properly implemented, the OF Mass benefitted from almost instantaneous implementation through the entire globe.

    It was received by the clergy as the normative form of the Roman Rite and whatever the attitude 40 years ago, I don’t see see most of the clergy doing handsprings of delight that the EF Mass has been freed. If we ever want to persuade the clergy to reform the reform, we had better wise up and get some attitude adjustments, before we do far more damage to the cause of the EF Mass than good.

  85. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I hear you. We all need to vent. In my moments of anger with my Latin Massers, I myself have gone so far as to snap at them: “Now you are acting sooo Novus Ordo” and it is not a compliment. Or the time I told the Latin Mass altar boys in the sacristy, “keep acting like that and I’ll send you back to the Novus Ordo Mass.”

    I know that the present liturgical situation is deplorable, and very hard to bear in some places. And if the devotees of the EF Mass show extreme anger at times, I do realize it is because they have a unique love for and concern for the Mass and sacraments.

  86. MichaelJ says:


    Once again, it appears that I have misunderstood the meaning of someone’s comments. When Fr Sotelo wrote:

    ” I said that this was one reason why clergy in general will not revert to the TLM. They do not consider the extra rituals and gestures, along with the rules about all-or-nothing chanted Mass parts to be that helpful or sublime.”

    I took it to be a statement of why Priests in general had no desire to offer Mass according tp the EF and not, as you interpreted, that they had no ability to do so.

    That being said, I think the only thing we can agree upon regarding this issue is that the NOM will not (at least in our lifetime) be abrogated or eliminated. That does not mean, though, that I will not continue to desire this or will stop advocating for this result. I identify with the Isrealites who, through their own fault, were condemned to never set foot in the Promised Land and yet never ceased seeking it.

  87. MichaelJ says:

    Fr Sotelo,

    One final note. While we may not agree on the particular details, I hope I have not come across as rude or superior. If I have, I sincerely apologize. I am eternally grateful that there are men, such as yourself, who are willing to make the extra sacrifices that I was too weak to make. Thank you for all that you do.

  88. robtbrown says:

    A few comments:

    1. It is true that Paul VI codified changes with the 1970 Missal, and that many of those changes came from the bottom, not the top. On the other hand, as I’ve noted before, Paul VI was directly responsible for the active persecution of clergy and laity who favored Latin liturgy–and there is no explaining that away.

    2. To say that most of the priests in France use the NO is to say little. The Church in France has been run with a skeleton crew since c. 1970. There are archdioceses than have a bit over half the priests they did 35 years ago.

    Even Fontgombault now is not getting vocations.

    3. It is true that most priests say the NO because they were trained for it–not only liturgically but also theologically. Some of those priests are very good men who have somehow survived.

    4. The contemporary problems in the Church are not merely liturgical–they are systemic. But JRatzinger understands–he all but said it in his Memoirs–that Latin is the foundation for the formation of a priest. And so those systemic problems cannot be rectified until Latin is re-introduced to the system.

    By SP he has begun the process of that re-introduction. It is, however, only a beginning.

  89. mpm says:

    Henry Edwards,

    As usual, in your comment of (1 December 2009 @ 7:20 pm) you spendidly put flesh on the bone. Your examples are exactly what I meant in mine of (1 December 2009 @ 5:40 pm).

  90. mpm says:

    Jack Hughes,

    Hang in there, guy. 3 years in the Church, and it’s already driving you crazy? (I know, it doesn’t even take that long!) I’ll bet it will get a lot better within the next ten (at least liturgically)!

  91. mpm says:


    I didn’t mean to insult you (in retrospect, I think my way of speaking could have been phrased much better). I just meant to say what you mention: that I had the impression that Fr. Sotelo was talking about what might be possible for a given parish and priest.

    I certainly agree with you that we should give the best to Our Lord!

    I’m sorry if I seem to have “come down hard”.

  92. Aaron says:

    That being said, I think the only thing we can agree upon regarding this issue is that the NOM will not (at least in our lifetime) be abrogated or eliminated.

    Short of an outright miracle, I’m sure that’s true. That’s why it’s interesting to see how vehemently some oppose the TLM even being allowed for those who want it. (As I recall from that Georgetown survey, about 12% of Catholics had that attitude.) When I hear of a 60-year-old priest or layperson making snide remarks about ‘nostalgia’ or working hard to keep the Latin Mass out of a town entirely, I have to wonder what they’re afraid of. Surely they don’t think it’s going to catch on so fast that they’re going to spend their retirement back in school trying to learn Latin and polyphonic chant. There’s no reason for it to affect them at all; there will be plenty of Novus Ordo Masses for everyone who wants it for the foreseeable future. (In fact, it’s my hope to someday see Summorum Pontificum turned upside down: ensuring that those groups of the faithful who were formed in and are most comfortable with the Mass of Paul VI may have access to it.)

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