PODCAzT 95: PART III – 40 years ago… Paul VI on the eve of the Novus Ordo

Based on your response to PODCAzT 93 & 94, and my own desire to drill more deeply into the issue, we welcome back as our guest Pope Paul VI (+1978).

In PART I we explored Paul’s General Audience of 26 November 1969, a few days before the Novus Ordo Missae went into force.  In PART IIwe heard his General Audience of 19 Nov 1969 when he begins to address the changes people were about to experience.

In this PODCAzT we will hear Pope Paul’s Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum. with which he promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae

We are coming up on the 40th Anniversary of the implementation of the Novus Ordo in the Latin Church.

That was Forty years ago on 30 Nov 1969 .  It was the 1st Sunday of Advent.

We are facing our own challenges today, with changes to the English translation and also the reintegration of the pre-Conciliar form of Mass in the life of the Church, thanks to Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.

The questions Pope Paul asked back in 1969 are valid for us as well.

You will hear Paul Paul’s General Audience text along with my commentary.

We start with a pop hit from 1969… just to set the stage.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. FrCharles says:

    Thanks, Fr Z., especially for shedding some new light for me on Summorum pontificum with the distinction between the juridical and the theological. Qui bene distinguit, bene docet

    I agree with the trouble of the Memorial Acclamation becoming the object of mysterium fidei. Perhaps for us who offer the OF in English, some of this will be improved by the new translation and the elimination of the “Let us proclaim…” Now, will priests stop saying it? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. irishgirl says:

    I heard most of the PodCazt, Father; but then it stopped suddenly and I couldn’t hear anymore of your commentary after you read the text of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Constitution.


  3. Maltese says:

    Great podcast, Father.

    “Monumental innovation,” it was. And Clearance Clearwater Revival is to Gregorian Chant as the Traditional Liturgy is to the Novus Ordo. Vatican II “asked for a revision,” of the Mass, true. Vatican II allowed for such things as more vernacular, but decidedly did not call for an altogether new mass; Bugnini, his modernist liturgical-henchmen, and his protestant “advisors,” created a brand new rite. To say that there is continuity between the old and new invokes cognitive dissonance.

    Here, ironically, is the great good which came from the evil of creating a “banal on-the-spot” rite (rites, of which there are many, grow organically through the centuries—are slowly developed, as the Faith itself was—they are not manufactured and imposed by fiat): Paul VI actually preserved the Traditional Latin Mass in creating a brand new one. If, instead, as Vatican II called for, the Traditional Latin Mass were tinkered with, with parts remaining, and parts being changed, it might have thereby been watered-down. Tradition might not have been “held” to by such groups as SSPX and FSSP. This would have been more drastic than creating a “banal, on-the-spot” (in the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger) rite.

    Instead, Paul VI and Bugnini unwittingly saved, preserved as it were, the Traditional Latin Mass, as in amber, to be discovered anew, and give new life to the Church, when, as now, it could be brought-forth to re-charge a Church denuded by modernism.

    Paul VI’s words “we want to give the force of law…we order” etc. sure doesn’t give the impression, as Summorum Pontificum does, that the Traditional Latin Mass could still be freely said. As you say, Father, Paul VI’s imposition of the Novus Ordo was a “savage repression,” as opposed to what Trent did.

    Imagine, if you will, the generations of Cathedral toilers, building and hewing in stone, through seasons of rain, snow and heat, sometimes not seeing the fruition of their labors. Building the great Cathedral in faith and love, knowing that it would house the great liturgical tradition, a tradition itself generated by love and centuries of Christian worship from the time of the apostles—the great Sacrifice of the Mass. Imagine the Cathedral builder toiling in such a manner to build for a “banal, on-the-spot” liturgy!

    The Cathedral was built for the ineffable mystery of the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ. So, for 1960 years, Catholic Christians had a clear understanding of the Central mystery of the Faith. The Novus Ordo, perhaps unwittingly, turns this mystery on it’s head: it leads one to view the altar as a meal table, and that is why only 25% of Catholics view the Eucharist as the True Body of our Lord.

    Think of all the great art that the Traditional Latin Mass has inspired, from Palestrina to Mozart, and then think of the utterly banal music in churches today, and you begin to see the utterly devastating consequence of the imposition of a “banal, on the spot” rite.



    Versus this:


  4. irishgirl says:

    Maltese-thank you for posting the “Papae Marcelli Kyrie’! I love hearing Palestrina!

    That other video…oy vey…

    Interesting contrasts, though, from an artistic standpoint…

  5. chironomo says:

    I tend towards simplicity in explaining things…

    Is it not entirely possible that they actually thought that the NO would accomplish the Grandiose goals it was set forth to accomplish? Pope Paul’s words sound as though this was the thought at the time.

    Is it also not possible that they were, in fact simply wrong? The changes were an experiment that failed? I know, I know…. the Holy Spirit guiding the council and all. But by all accounts, the new missal had little to do with the council per se, and I don’t think that it’s necessary to attribute mistakes of individuals to the Holy Spirit.

    It is humorous that PPVI actually seems to think that the NO will reduce abuses in the liturgy.

    I ask all of this to pose the possibility that at some point, there might be a clear realization that the fault lies with the concept as a whole, and not with specifics of translation or individual formal differences between the NO and EF. At some point might TPTB have a moment of honesty and say “it was a bad move” and move on?

  6. Nathan says:

    Excellent podcast again, Father. One observation–you are much more understanding of Pope Paul’s rationale for removing “Mysterium Fidei” from the Concecration of the Chalice than I. It’s probably because I’m an old “rad trad,” but after 40 years of the N.O. I have extreme difficulty in seeing how, in any observable way, this innovation has benefitted the Faithful.

    Placing a congregational acclamation (that, as far as I know, has no precedent in the Roman Canon, the ancient Gallican/Ambrosian/Mozarabic rites, or any Eastern rite) immediately after the Concecration is, from my perspective, extremely jarring. It seems to take the action away from the priest, the Alter Christus, and seems almost to adopt a Lutheran idea that Christ becomes present by the consent of the laity in attendance.

    You make an excellent point as well that the phrase “Mysterium Fidei” preceding the acclamation points to the acclamation rather than the Mystery of Transubstantiation taking place on the altar. I would venture to guess that if you asked a representative sample of priests in the US, at least 90% would say exactly that–the Mystery of Faith is “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” or “Lord, by your Cross and Resurrection You have set us free” rather than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I admit being stubborn on this. I’d really like to hear, though, reasons why it might be a benefit to the Faithful.

    In Christ,

  7. Maltese is right about the radical changes in the Mass having, paradoxically, preserved the traditional Latin Mass whole and entire. This is how God has worked in salvation history (e.g., the crucifixion). By His permissive will, he let Bugnini and his confederates overplay their hand. Then, almost 40 years later, He triumphs.

    I think of it as Jonah in the belly of the whale. Or, even more fittingly, the raising of Lazarus. (“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days.” John 11:5-6.)

  8. Fr_Sotelo says:


    “Banal, on the spot liturgy” is a favorite phrase now, but in reading Pope Benedict’s writings on the present Mass, I don’t think he meant to place that adjective on each and every Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in the Church.

    In fact, even amongst faithful Catholics, I would place their preference for the OF Mass in at least the 98% plus range. To put things in perspective, let’s say that only 20% (and I would personally say that it’s too drastic to accuse 80% of the Church to be in heresy) of 1 billion Catholics are knowledgeable and devout in the orthodox Faith. The stats still say that over 98% of those 200 million Catholics do not attend the Tridentine Mass, do not clamor for it, and make no efforts for its revival.

    That means that even if we take into account the abuses that happened when it was promulgated, and that still occur, the vast majority of good Catholics (most of whom, I believe, live in poverty-stricken nations) find the present Mass spiritually fulfilling in every way and do not wish to return to the 1962 liturgical books.

    In my experience as a priest, I find that a majority of the most orthodox and devout parishioners still wish to stay with the Novus Ordo. So I would not agree that the Novus Ordo’s only use was to keep the EF in amber and unadulterated until great throngs would clamor for it later on.

    Pope Paul VI, I believe, personally was convinced that where the new rites were celebrated with devotion and deference to tradition, the devout Catholic faithful would be content with its changes. I don’t think he was totally wrong.

  9. Fr_Sotelo says:

    When I raise the above points to die-hards who hate the Novus Ordo (and some who say “I pray for its destruction every day” whatever that means LOL), they simply state that anyone who attends the Novus Ordo or likes anything about it is an apostate in denial.

    That’s odd. I see home school families, praying the rosary every day, teaching their children from the Baltimore catechism, modest and well-mannered, devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, and faithful to the Holy Father, who still prefer to attend the Novus Ordo. To call them apostates in denial, for me, would be the real act of cognitive dissonance.

  10. Jack Hughes says:

    With all due respect Fr Sotelo the reason that most Catholics stick with the banal yet valid N.O is that Bishops have been/ and still supressing the TLM (illegally) whilst spouting heresy such as ‘all religions are equal’, this is why orthodox catholics in most parts of the world stick with the N.O even though the TLM is ‘officially’ allowed. For the reasons stated above Fr forgive me if I don’t take your comments too seriously.

  11. Frank H says:

    Fr_Sotelo, with all due respect, the majority of Catholics today have NEVER ATTENDED an extraordinary form Mass, and thus have no basis for comparison. In the Diocese in which I live, there remains just one church which regularly celebrates the TLM. It’s like asking someone if they prefer Chicago or Rome when they have never been to Rome.

  12. MichaelJ says:

    Why do you suppose that is, Father? Why would an individual or family prefer the Novus Ordo over the Extraordinary Form? Quite honestly, I cannot think of a reason that does not involve baser or less noble motives. Is there a genuine need of the faithful that is not met in the older form?

  13. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Jack and Frank:

    Liberal bishops and bad preaching might explain why the liberal Catholics don’t go to Tridentine Mass, but it does not explain why more *orthodox* and solid Catholics attend Novus Ordo.

    If you follow this blog and others that report on the TLM, you will see that it is available in more and more cities, with the list being added to each month. The Mass is advertised as well in traditional and homeschooling circles, most of whom are still going to the Novus Ordo. I am wondering if Fr. Z has noticed this same thing. Fr. Z?

    It is the Catholics who do *not* listen to liberals and heretics, and who still attend Novus Ordo, that I am talking about. When I offered the Tridentine Mass in Bakersfield and Fresno, CA, I was blessed to see both communities grow. But I know for a fact that most of the devoted, practicing and orthodox Catholics who visited the traditional Mass still gravitated back to the local Novus Ordo Masses that were reverently offered. It was the minority that stayed with the Tridentine Mass every week.

    I am not saying this to make anyone mad. I am just reporting on what I have seen. Maybe Fr. Z has a different experience.

  14. Nathan says:

    Jack Hughes, Frank H, Michael J:

    I’m a devotee of the TLM, and I can’t imagine why any Catholic would choose to go to the N.O. once they’ve been exposed to its the beauty and reverence and clarity. However, I think we should go through the exercise of “What does Fr. Sotelo Really Say?”

    He points to something I’ve noticed and I have struggled with. I live in an area with a number of TLM options, Deo Gratias, but consistently the attendance compared with the N.O. is sparse, even where priests have been very encouraging to the TLM. In fact, at the parish where I go to Sunday Mass, the “Folk Mass” that precedes the TLM is the most attended Mass of the parish (which I believe the pastor rues).

    Why is that? Why do a good number of very devout Catholics, even when acknowledging the clarity and reverence of the TLM, still chose the N.O. when they have an educated option?

    The debatable point, IMO, is whether 100 years down the road whether the Mass offered in most parishes will be more like the TLM (my prefered option), a reverent Novus Ordo, or an amalgamation of the two forms.

    In Christ,

  15. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Thank you for being calm. I know that it is not easy with us who love the EF Mass, and I want to clarify that I love the EF Mass, the chant, and that I love reading this blog.

    As for what is happening, EF vs. OF, and the intentions behind which you choose, I believe that is something Fr. Z is challenging us to look at and respectfully discuss.

    I am afraid of taking over the discussion but at the same time it seems, to me, to be too easy (and foolish) to simply assume the Novus Ordo was all a bad mistake.

    That ignores the actual reality, IMHO, that more of our brethren who love a reverent Mass are still staying with a reverent Novus Ordo. And so you have framed a very good question that I am pondering: why would the majority of traditional, and even home schooling families, people who read all the Church Councils and know their dogma, still prefer to attend a reverent Novus Ordo when there is available the EF Mass?

  16. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You have communicated the question better than I did. Thanks!

  17. Maltese says:

    “…the actual reality, IMHO, that more of our brethren who love a reverent Mass are still staying with a reverent Novus Ordo.”

    Father, with all due respect, the actual reality is that 95% of Catholics of reproducing age commit the mortal sin of contracepting the next Catholic generation away (leaving our Catholic heritage to our neighbors in the south, not at all as unpleasant a scenario as what is happening in Europe.) So, I’m not really buying the argument that Novus Ordo is inspiring Catholic values in the faithful (never mind the argument, supra, that only 25% believe in the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.) Nevertheless, the fact that you even have the ability and inclination to say a TLM means you are a good priest, so godspeed Father!

  18. Fr. Sotelo,

    No one said anything about a demand for the traditional Mass by great throngs. This is not a quantitative argument.

    Let’s try to enter through the narrow gate.

  19. theloveofwisdome says:

    Father Z,

    @ 7:10 I believe you meant to refer to Pius XII’s Mediator Dei in regard to Liturgical Antiquarianism – not Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi. For those who are interested, what Father Z is referring to can be found in paragraphs 62-65 of Mediator Dei.

    These paragraphs basically say (paraphrased):

    ‘In the same way we cannot roll back the development of doctrine because its development is guided by the Holy spirit, so ought we not to undo liturgical development.’

  20. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Sotelo

    I know many orthodox Catholics who would love to attend the better form of the Roman rite but cannot do so simply because their heretical prelates actively discourage diocison priests from celebrating it and refuse permission for the FSSP/ICKSP to operate in their diocese, I also know a Traditional parish priest who offered the old rite several times a week in our diocese, the Bishop then loaned him to another diocese to be a full time prison chaplin where his influence in was minimised ‘- the message to Traditional priests in the diocese was clear.

    NB this Bishop has gone on the record as saying that everyone should attend the ‘modern’ i.e. more banal form of the roman rite on sundays.

  21. thomas tucker says:

    Fr Sotelo- very good observations and questions on your part. I have to say, at the risk of offending some people on this wbesite, that the TLM devotees often act arrogant and superior in discussing liturgical matters. They seem to sneer at those who like the NOM as if they are inferior, suspiciously heretical, or just plain ignorant and couldn’t possibly understand what they are missing. One might be excused for thinking that they either don’t understand, or don’t acutally believe, that the NOM is still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and re-presents Calvary. Their attitude is, let’sface it, that the NOM is inferior. Their attitude is not attractive, and won’t encourage people to attend a TLM.

  22. Maltese says:

    thomas: ” Their attitude is, let’sface it, that the NOM is inferior.”

    For clarity, we don’t think the NOM is merely “inferior,” but “supremely substandard and banal,” as compared to the Mass of All Ages!

  23. thomas tucker says:

    Perfect example, Maltese.
    Not an attitude that people will find attractive, and lead them to appreciate the TLM.

  24. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I also know people who cannot attend the EF Mass because they are still impeded, and would choose this over the Novus Ordo.

    However, the reality I have experienced, and what I am addressing, is the many devout Catholics who have “dropped in” to the Tridentine Mass when it started up in a local parish. These folks know the Mass is there and they could go each Sunday if they wished. Yet they return to a reverently offered Novus Ordo.

    Pope Paul VI, as Fr. Z explains, had his goals for the Novus Ordo: that people who would like more vernacular and more dialogue would have that, with options for sacred music which is not chant or in Latin; and that a simplified rite which can be followed without an “aid” or book would help people to pray the Mass. That may be why even devout Catholics stay with the Novus Ordo.

    Example: here in the Fresno area, there is a young Novus Ordo pastor who was trained at the Josephinum Seminary. He has home schooling families and other traditional Catholics in his parish who do not contracept, nor dissent from dogma, or teach “Amchurch” catechesis to their kids. So, why don’t they go to the Fresno Latin Mass?

    They are impressed with the way their pastor offers the Novus Ordo: nice vestments, music with organ and choir, orthodox and catechetical homilies, always faithful to dogma, and the priest follows the rubrics. So, they stay with his Masses even though the Tridentine Mass is 30 minutes away or less.

    My guess is that Pope Paul VI wanted for the new Mass flopped in many parishes. But his goals can come to pass where there is a combination of good catechesis, Catholic preaching, reverence, and a pastor who offers Mass without the abuses and “hermeneutic of rupture.”

  25. Maltese says:

    thomas: I don’t think attitudes on blogs such as this can either lead someone to, or, drive one away from a TLM. People are so subsumed into their various beliefs and understandings that I cannot hope to persuade the unpersuaded in a venue such as this.

    Free Will is mysteriously exemplified by man’s–even very intelligent mens’–ability to disregard Truth, and latch onto an utter lie.

    You say my position is not “[n]ot an attitude that people will find attractive, and lead them to appreciate the TLM.”

    But who said I’m trying to win popularity points; or am trying to win friends?

    Benedict XVI has advocated for a paired-down church. We need to narrow, not widen, those who call themselves “Catholic.”

  26. kdp says:

    “Why do a number of very devout Catholics still attend the NO when they have an educated choice?” I would like to offer two possible explanations. First, it’s easy. You don’t really have to pay attention and you can still participate. Second, not too educated. If one sits down and compares EF with the NO word for word, it is abundantly clear something huge missing.

  27. luiz says:

    If they still go to the NOM, even if a TLM is available, it seems that they are not fully aware of what the reform was. It is difficult for many to understand it, even for priests. It challenges our faith and every catholic should be afraid of such a thing.

    There should be a carefull distinction between traditional and conservative catholics. The first follow the ancient rule “quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus”. The others keep some things and accept change in others.

    I finish this post with the Papal Oath… Nihil de traditione… diminuere vel mutare, aut aliquam novitatem admittere…

    In Christo.


    Nihil de traditione quod a probatissimis praedecessoribus meis servatum reperi, diminuere vel mutare, aut aliquam novitatem admittere; sed ferventer, ut vere eorum discipulus sequipeda, totia viribis meis conatibusque tradita conservare ac venerari.
    Si qua vero emerserint contra disciplinam canonicam, emendare; sacrosque Canones et Constituta Pontificum nostrorum ut divina et coelestia mandata, custodire, utpote tibi redditurum me sciens de omnibus, quae profiteor, districtam in divino judicio rationem, cuius locum divina dignatione perago, et vicem intercessionibus tuis adjutus impleo. Si praeter haec aliquid agere praesumsero, vel ut praesumatur, permisero, eris mihi, in illa terribili die divini judicii, depropitius (…)
    Unde et districti anathematis interdictionis subjicimus, si quis unquam, seus nos, sive est alius, qui novum aliquid praesumat contra huiusmodi evangelicam traditionem, et orthodoxae fidei Christianaeque religionis integritatem, vel quidquam contrarium annintendo immutare, sive subtrahere de integritate fidei nostrae tentaverit, vel auso sacrilego hoc praesumentibus consentire.”

  28. thomas tucker says:

    Maltese- I did not mean you would be trying to persuade anyone on this venue- that would be “preaching to the choir.” I meant in the other aspects of your life.
    Regarding your comment about a “paired-down Church” (asuming you meant pared down)- to say that the Holy Father advocated that is to go far beyond what he actually said. I think the Holy Father would find your attitude abhorrent.
    As wonderful as the TLM is, the snobbery and condescension that is prevalent among so many of its devotees is proabably a stumbling block and source of scandal for many. Humility should be the rule in any discussions about the TLM versus the NOM.

  29. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Soleto

    How many of your orthodox famalies know about the TLM in the fresno area? also have you also considered that many might not be able to make it for some reason e.g. getting there is too expensive (an issue for a family I know), as Fr Chad Ripperger of the Fraternity of St Peter says “challange your friends and family to attend the Traditional Mass exclusively for 2 months” thats what I did and since then I only attend the N.O when there’s no way to get to a ‘legally’ offered TLM

  30. mpm says:

    Thank God for priests like Fr. Z. and Father Sotelo (and Fr. Finigan, my own pastor, and so many others)!

    In the comments of an earlier podcazt in this series, “Antiquarian” mentioned that people have plucked proof texts from the 3 paragraph introduction by Cardinal Ratizinger to Msgr. Gamber’s famous book. He said the original French would not justify the statement “The Novus Order is a banal, on-the-spot, made up liturgy”. Fr. Z asked him to provide a translation, but unfortunately it has so far not appeared.

    I went back to read the French, and “Antiquarian” is right. Ratzinger is talking about the approach that individuals, “curates and their liturgy teams”, have adopted to celebrating the Ordinary Form, not the Form itself.

    And please note that Benedict XVI, while fostering more appropriately traditional vestments, furnishings, music, etc., continues to celebrate according to the OF himself. If he believed, with Maltese, that “for clarity, we don’t think the NOM is merely “inferior,” but “supremely substandard and banal,” as compared to the Mass of All Ages!”, do you think he would continue to do so? Perhaps he has not celebrated the EF publicly precisely so that arguments like those of Maltese cannot take root in people’s minds?

    Maltese has the order wrong as well, when he says, “Benedict XVI has advocated for a paired-down church. We need to narrow, not widen, those who call themselves “Catholic.””

    In “Salt of the Earth” (1995 interview with Peter Seewald, not the “Ratzinger Report”), he mentions that perhaps in the future the Church will appear to be smaller, but it will be more robust, more faith-filled. He is not “advocating” that: why would he be continuing to evangelize if he wanted fewer people to follow Christ?

    Proof texting from 3 paragraphs, Maltese? How about studying “Salt of the Earth”, a 283-page book, which isn’t even hard to follow, because it is conversational? And stop trying to turn Catholicism into some kind of Protestant or Jansenist sect.

  31. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Sotelo,
    You mentioned: “home school families, praying the rosary every day, teaching their children from the Baltimore catechism, modest and well-mannered, devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, and faithful to the Holy Father, who still prefer to attend the Novus Ordo.”

    Considering your entire congregation, including walk-ins that you may or may not know (the whole shebang), what’s your estimate of the percentage who are like those above? [I would estimate it to be a low number.]

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    In fact, I think the statistics show that more than 3/4 of fertile couples are using birth control. Backing this up, are the number of families with 3 children or less during the entire childbearing period.

    And…mothers of these families are where the great majority of liturgical “ministers” come from ==> a scandal no one wants to talk about.

  33. thomas tucker says:

    catholic midwest- Father Sotelo can respond to your question, but I would like to knwo what the
    point of your question is. We all know that the majority of people who call themselves Catholic
    are not faithful to all of the teachings of the Church. So, what is your point?

  34. MichaelJ says:

    What you consider “snobbery and condescension”, I consider genuine bewilderment. Help me out here. That there are devout, orthodox and intelligent Catholics who prefer the NOM is not in question. Why is another matter. I do not understand at all why when one is given the opportunity to present their best to God, they would instead choose to offer something lesser.

    All of the reasons given for preferring the NOM are quite understandable but still appeal to a persons vices.

  35. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Some of the reasons orthodox Catholics give for prefering the new Mass do *not* appeal to a person’s “vices.” Always wanting the dialogue Mass is not a vice (it was granted as a general permission for the Tridentine Mass right before Vat. 2).

    Nor is it a vice to want to hear the Mass in vernacular (Trent reprobated the Protestant assertion that Mass *had to be* in the vernacular, but did not reprobate a desire for vernacular). In fact, during the time of Fr. Mateo Ricci, the Pope had approved of having the Missal translated into Chinese, but this was scuttled when Ricci introduced syncretism into his missiology.

    Nor is it a vice to want singing in other forms than chant and Latin. Otherwise, the Church would have forbidden this during Low Mass, which she did not.

    Luiz: the coronation oath refers to changing the substance of Catholic Faith. Vatican I defined clearly that papal infallibility, and consequently, unchangeability of doctrine, treats narrowly of what is faith or morals (not discipline), and what is contained in Divine Revelation. The liturgy falls under discipline and can certainly undergo change.

    If you narrowly defined the coronation oath as forbidding any alteration of any traditional law of a predecessor, you would have to condemn Benedict XV for allowing three Masses by one priest on All Souls Day, or Pius XII would have to be condemned for changing the rules of Papal Enclosure to allow Jewish families to be hidden in convents during the Holocaust.

    Jack & catholicmidwest: this discussion seems to turn toward a desire to impeach the character of Catholics who would choose the new Mass. I speak of my experience first hand as one who offered the EF Mass and socialized with the families. They mentioned to me various friends who, like them, followed the rules of Tradition, but still attended a reverent Novus Ordo. They dropped in on the Tridentine Mass, but did not stay.

    It is easy to want to point a finger at another Catholic who prefers the present OF Mass and say, “you’re obviously on birth control” but please remember that numerous orthodox and good Catholics are still unmarried and can’t get stuck with that accusation. Also, please be sensitive that many couples (I know some of them) would love to have a large family, but have been afflicted with infertility that they did not choose nor had any control over. It is also dangerously close to snobbery to assert that these good Catholics simply do not know as much as you do.

    In some cases, they know as much and more, but simply have a conviction that the EF Mass needed a reform and Paul VI was right to carry it out, even if he could not oversee a perfect implementation. Some orthodox lay Catholics have researched authors such as Jungmann, who points out in his research for instance that the Offertory in the time of Gregory the Great was far simpler than the present Offertory of the EF. So, that Paul VI simplified the Offertory and removed language which refers to the unconsecrated bread as if it were already transubstantiated is no big loss to them. Being in agreement with Paul VI might make fellow Catholics different than us, but it does not make them automatically stupid and unlettered people.

  36. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Heartfelt thanks for clearing up the real meaning behind Ratzinger’s words. It really made no sense for Ratzinger to see the present Mass as “banal” and yet continue offering it and continue legislating for it to be the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite.

  37. thomas tucker says:

    Well said, Father. I think all of those things need to be kept in mind.
    I sometimes go to the NOM and sometimes to the TLM.
    I don’t think one is “better” than the other- there are aspects of each that I like, and I think people
    have different tastes in liturgy as well as in other things, such as styles of churches (plain Cistercian style
    versus German Baroque, for example.)
    Ultimately, both forms of Mass are the re-presentation of Calvary, and that is the key thing.

  38. MichaelJ says:

    I agree that “vices” was too strong a word. Perhaps a better term would have been “baser” or “less noble” or “less perfect”. Now, I agree with Father Z that we should not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good, but that does not mean that we should not strive for perfection to the fullest extent of our ability.

    Now, there is nothing “wrong” with the desires you cite: dialog Mass, Mass in the vernacular and singing other than chant, but they all appeal to our quite normal but baser desires. Which of these things will advance one of the four ends of the Mass?

    For this reason, by the way, I totally reject the notion that our choice in which Mass to attend is a matter of personal preference.

  39. Fr_Sotelo says:


    If dialogue, vernacular, and singing gives to a person greater devotion and liturgical piety, than all contribute to adoration, thanksgiving, supplication, and satisfaction for sin. St. Paul says of himself and the Mystical Body: “I make up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” But a person cannot say this if the form of the liturgy they assist at impedes them.

    Besides the folks at the OF who do not want to attend the EF, you also have various Eastern rite Catholics who also say, “I don’t want to go to either the OF or EF, because neither does anything for me in comparison to the beautiful Divine Liturgy.”

    Aquinas says the “res tantum” or ultimate end of the Sacrifice is to confer that grace which will edify the Mystical Body in the bonds of divine charity. If the faithful at the OF Mass believe that this form gives them a greater sense of their being the Mystical Body (that dreaded “horizontal” element of worship), then it is doing what the liturgy is supposed to do (to be the “work of the people” to offer with Christ the Sacrifice of Calvary to His Father).

    The “sacramentum tantum” (outward rite) is certainly “de gustibus” or preference, and for this reason the Church has ever permitted various rites in different places and times. Even the greatest saints did not dare to say, “the Tridentine Mass is objectively superior to the Ruthenian Mass” as they would have been the laughing stock of the Ukraine.

  40. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Sotelo
    As one of those young Orthordox Single Catholics who attends the N.O (becasue I don’t have guaranteed access to a legal TLM every Sunday and have no access during the week) when did I ever say that anyone who attends the N.O was on birth control? I know of a wonderful large Orhtodox Catholic family who attend a reverently celebrated N.O (they’d like to attend the TLM on a regular basis but for various reasons they can’t).

    My oppisition if you can call it that to the N.O is based partly on the concerns outlined by Cardinal’s Onttivani and Baccai, partly on the awful liturgical cycle that replaced the simple one calander, partly the encourigement of ‘active’ participation whereby the congregation replaced the server meaning that people are ‘forced’ to participate in one particular way rather than that of their own choosing and finaly on the terriable abuses that it landed us with. Things may be swell in fresno but in England bar a couple of parishes here and there they are bloody awful, if it wansn’t for the fact that I am now Persona non grata at SSPX parishes I’d go back, at least there I might actually meet young single Catholic ladies instead of the Apostates I bump into on Campus who left the church becasue their priest tried to be ‘relevent’

  41. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I realize you did not accuse anyone of contracepting. What I was addressing to you and catholicmidwest was a response to a concern each of you had: 1) people don’t attend EF Mass because they don’t know about its availability, or are far away, etc. and 2) people aren’t attending EF Mass because they are contracepting or sinning in another way. What I simply wished to point out is that I know of large, Catholic and traditional families who know about a regular, nearby EF Mass and still do not go. I do not wish to imply that things are “swell” in Fresno. As per your other concerns, my own response would be:

    1) Ottaviani’s concerns were about the earlier drafts of the new Mass. Changes were made to the final draft to satisfy those concerns, including keeping all seasons and major feasts of the liturgical year.
    2) If you study liturgical history, you will see that dialogue Mass was original to Catholic Tradition, not an innovation, and so the congregation has every right to recite the server’s parts.
    3) No one is forced to do anything at the new Mass or the Tridentine Mass. At both Masses, people busy themselves with saying the rosary, or reading material, regardless of what is happening at the altar.
    4) Abuses by the clergy were common in the old Mass; the laity just couldn’t see or hear them because they either didn’t know Latin or could not visibly see a rubric being violated.

    As Fr. Z and any priest will tell you, not just me–after many years of ordination, the clergy lose that fear of hell they should rightfully have for altering the liturgy, and take liberties with shortcuts and omissions that they know they can get away with.

    If I wanted to, when I offer EF Mass, it would be quite easy to pass over or omit numerous prayers or gestures which are supposed to be “sotto voce” anyway without anyone except God knowing the difference. It is harder for me to do this at a Novus Ordo with observant Catholics, since the OF Mass exposes the priest and his gestures and prayers, because they are visible, right there, and are almost always supposed to be audible.

    I don’t want to drag this on, but am just saying that the Mass being in a certain form does not guarantee that the clergy will behave all the time. The clergy are still human and sinners, whether they ascend the altar for Novus Ordo or Tridentine Mass.

  42. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Soleto

    1)I take your point about Card. Ottaviani, but altering the cycle of readings means that I don’t know where I am in the N.O calander as per the readings but I can tell you straight away without checking my 1962 missal that the epistle readings for the 14th and 15th sundays after pentecost are from Galatians and that the Gospel readings for the 3 Mass’s on All Souls day are from John 6, when I attend N.O I have no idea
    2+3) when I was in the SSPX I frequently memorized the readings of the day and prayed the Rosary during Mass at the dialouge Mass I can’t concentrate due to a Church full of people making the responses in loud voices
    4) point taken but they didn’t have any tom,dick or brenda handing out Holy Communion like they would cookies nor did they have guitar choirs, neither did preists spout heresy such as ‘all relgions are equal’ or the Eucharist is ‘just a symbol’ on a regular basis without something being done about it, As I said before the fact that I’m PNG at SSPX parishes in the UK is the only reason I haven’t gone back.

  43. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You asked a question about the numbers of devout Catholics in my experience. At present, I am not in Fresno, and only God knows how many in the Fresno-Clovis area are Catholics loyal to the traditional Catholic Faith. The general population is over 700,000. The population of Catholics at Mass each Sunday is at least 30,000 in 11 parishes. If only 4 percent are truly devout, non-contracepting Catholics, that would be 1,200. The people present at the weekly Tridentine Mass in Fresno, on a good Sunday, is 150 people. That means the other 1,000 traditional Catholics are at Novus Ordo.

    This is all a guestimate, as I think that in the greater Fresno-Clovis area, where people could get to Tridentine Mass in 30 minutes or less, there are more than 1,200 devout, traditional Catholics.

  44. luiz says:

    Can the pope create a new rite of the mass? I don’t think so.

  45. luiz says:

    “1) Ottaviani’s concerns were about the earlier drafts of the new Mass. Changes were made to the final draft to satisfy those concerns, including keeping all seasons and major feasts of the liturgical year.”

    I have already heard this argument and a refutation. Actually, if anyone reads the intervention, it is easy to realize that the great majority of the problems are still present in the NOM.

  46. thomas tucker says:

    Michael J- if you totally reject the notion that we should have a personal preference in which Mass to attend, then I take it that you would have been very happy before the motu proprio, and would have been thrilled not having any choice but to attend the NOM.

  47. Alice says:

    I am a Catholic 20 something, married and a mother. I was homeschooled K-12. I am a sinner, but the use of contraceptives is not one of my vices. If there was an EF nearby, I’m not sure we would attend regularly. If this Mass was Low Mass every Sunday, like the EF we attended when I was in high school, I think the answer would be no. There are various reasons for this. I prefer to use my voice (speaking or singing) to pray the Mass since praying with every part of my body EXCEPT my voice for 45 minutes or more has never made sense to me. I’d also like to shelter my child(ren) from the sermons against celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, praying the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, studying Eastern Divine Liturgies, and having icons in our home. While I like Latin (I minored in it!), I prefer that the Propers be in the vernacular. Finally, I like the community we have at our church. Not only is there an acceptance of different viewpoints on things like the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, there are also women whom I trust who have a knack for knowing just when we need a little help with Junior during Mass. Of course, there’s the little fact that the OF is far more familiar to me than the EF, which means that it has become part of my prayer life in a way that the EF has not. Since I do not believe that the EF is better ex opere operato, I am left with deciding which will be better ex opere operantis. Although, I would have never believed this when I was a Traditionalist, sometimes a Mass that is not the EF IS better ex opere operantis. Since our Holy Father has graciously given Latin Catholics the freedom to choose in this matter, I cannot see how someone’s devotion or orthodoxy can be questioned based on their choice of the OF.

  48. Fr_Sotelo says:


    Apparently, Ottaviani did not agree with you as he wrote the Benedictine Abbott, Dom Gerard Lafond, OSB:

    “I have rejoiced profoundly to read the Discourse by the Holy Father on the question of the new Ordo Missae, and especially the doctrinal precisions contained in his discourses at the public Audiences of November 19 and 26, after which I believe, no one can any longer be genuinely scandalized. As for the rest, a prudent and intelligent catechesis must be undertaken to solve some legitimate perplexities which the text is capable of arousing. In this sense I wish your “Doctrinal Note” [on the Pauline Rite Mass] and the activity of the Militia Sanctae Mariae wide diffusion and success…….I regret only that my name has been misused in a way I did not wish, by publishing a letter that I wrote to the Holy Father without authorizing anyone to publish it.”

    Many traditionalists who deny that these are truly words of Ottaviani point out that he was blind at the time and could have been asked to sign any letter to Lafond.

    However, Ottaviani *was also blind* at the time of the intervention, when Archbishop Lefebvre asked the Cardinal to sign the “Intervention” based on a study of Lefebvre’s hand picked theologians.

    It is convenient for some traditionalists that if Ottaviani has concerns about the Novus Ordo, those must be published far and wide. However, once Ottaviani backs the Novus Ordo up, he is a blind fool who doesn’t know what he is saying. The fact is that Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani loved the Church and would have shouted from the rooftops if he believed Paul VI published heresy or a defective rite.

    Yet he was alive for 10 years after the new Mass was promulgated and did no such thing, and so those who hate the Novus Ordo had to search through the thousands of his writings in order to find one letter which might make their case–only Ottaviani inconviently said the issue of the Novus Ordo was resolved for him.

    I believe Ottaviani had concerns, and in his own words, those concerns were resolved by the explanations which Pope Paul VI gave at the audiences which Fr. Z has now commneted on.

    And yes, the Pope can create a new rite if he wishes to, although he employs the help of the Roman Curia to promulgate Missals and Rituales. Read Vatican I. The Papal Primacy may be exercised unhindered over the entire Church and each individual member.

  49. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Alice: Thank you. It helps me to understand what I know is a simple fact–that many good Catholics who know their Faith still attend the OF Mass. You mentioned the “operis operantis” or the way the priest, by his gestures, voice, and demeanor, shows his devotion. The OF Mass has the disadvantage that when the priest is sloppy, it shows; however, when the priest is on fire with love for the Mass, this also shows and is quite edifying.

  50. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    Then a hell of a lot of Catholics are infertile. What do you suppose is causing that?

    (Way more than any other group in society–except those who take birth control. HINT, HINT, HINT)

  51. Alice says:

    Father Sotelo,
    I was actually thinking from a lay person’s perspective. One of the arguments that I frequently heard during my years as a Traditionalist was that both forms of the Mass were the same ex opere operato, but that the Tridentine Mass was better ex opere operantis because it inspires more reverence. I realize that the sacrifice and the sacrament are the same in both forms of the Mass. There have been times that I was able to pray the Mass by piously hiding behind my mantilla and reading along in my missal; however, as I grow older and less contemplative (having a toddler does that to a woman) I find it easier to pray the Mass in the form with which I have a greater familiarity. If this makes it more clear, I think that my disposition is better for receiving the Holy Eucharist on a day that Junior has had to be walked in the vestibule for most of Mass if I have been able to participate through listening, speaking, and singing than if I have been unable to participate at all.
    Hopefully that makes sense.

  52. catholicmidwest says:

    There are a lot of reasons why one might go to the OF instead of the EF:

    -In many dioceses, there are few EFs offered. In point of fact, ours has just ONE.
    -In some dioceses, those few EF masses are said at wacky times.
    -In some dioceses, the EF is said by a priest who doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing.
    -In some dioceses, one has to avoid certain priests and groups because of things that one knows go on, whether they have the sole EF or not. (If you find this to be true, then you understand. If you don’t find this to be true, then apparently you’ve never had your nose rubbed in such. Ignore this reason please.)
    -Unfortunately in some dioceses the EF crowd is judgmental and difficult.
    -People have become used to the OF and are going to it out of habit, ease, not wanting to learn something new, drive across town, etc.
    -People don’t want to be an exception, explain their change in habits to their relatives, friends, alienate people, etc.

    The OF does have a few things going for it:
    -It’s valid, licit and short and requires little of the listener.
    -They are offered at convenient times for people who have different work hours (shift work, etc) or who take care of small children.

    The OF is also famously awful in some ways:
    -One must cultivate a tin ear to get through it, but most of us did that years ago.
    -People chew gum and talk, but we all know that can be ignored also.
    -There are “lay ministers” all over the place like ants, but that’s totally ignorable too. Unless you have an altar girl (etc) in your family, but that’s self-explanatory isn’t it?

    On the whole, it looks as though most people have looked at the advantages & awfulnesses of the NO, and decided the advantages are better than the awfulnesses in light of the effort needed to hunt down and deal with the difficulties of the EF situation. It’s pretty much that easy.

    They KNOW that they can get the mass obligation over with by going to the fast and undemanding NO that they are used to. Few seem to be thinking about spiritual advantages, holiness and so on, but they’ve been told for years that all that doesn’t matter anyway, so how would they know that it might??? They don’t.

  53. Fr_Sotelo says:


    This is what Fr. Z means by a rabbit whole–starting with a podcast on Pope Paul’s audience on the new Mass, and now we are trying to tally figures of who’s contracepting and who’s not.

    My point long ago was, before we have too much fun bashing the Novus Ordo and assuming everyone hates it, let’s look at the fact that most devout, orthodox Catholics prefer it over the EF Mass.

    I know all the reasons, superficial and shallow, that make most people seek out the OF. But the folks that make me ponder are the ones who who not typical Catholics, nor worldly and shallow, but make sacrifices and conscious choices each day to do the right thing according to our Faith, who choose the OF over the EF Mass even though the EF is in the neighborhood at a decent time.

    My sense is that if someone has really bad attitudes toward the Novus Ordo, they would rather not ponder or discuss this question. They either believe that there are no, truly devout, Catholics who choose the OF over the EF Mass when the EF is easy to go to (they must be secretly contracepting?) or they are just really stupid (of course, who would choose a Novus Ordo unless they’re idiots?). The other answers which no one has stated is “they’re neo-cons” or “EWTN brainwashed them” or “the Opus Dei is making them gluttons for punishment.” Thank God for small favors.

    Nonetheless, I had to raise the question, because I know what I’ve seen in my own experience with both forms of the Mass.

  54. luiz says:

    Salve Maria!

    Thank you for your answers, Fr. Sotelo. At the time of Sacrossanctum Concilium, Card. Ottaviani was already blind, I think. They don’t consider his blindness as an impossibility to write the letter, but as an explanation for his new position just one year after.

    I had already read this quotation (from the letter to D. Lafond) in a pastoral letter of D. Rifan, but it doesn’t make any sense. If you read the intervention, it is easy to realize that the many points considered there are still present in the new order of the mass. The intervention quotes the ordinary of the mass, so that we are able to directly compare the mass we have today with the mass studied by cardinal Ottaviani. For example, he talks about the new “Offertory prayers”, and they weren’t changed. He talks about lay ministers, they are still there. He talks about concelebration, and, again, concelebration continues there. About the paschalism, about the acclamation after the prayers of consecration and the way the words of consecration are written (as if it was a narrative). There are many other things considered. Thanks God Card. Ottaviani gave us many details, so now we are able to see if what he says in that text was really done.

    Those were very difficult times. I prefer not to consider certain kinds of arguments, but in this case, the intervention in itself is very clear.

    If it was written by any other person; if it was written by D. Lefèbvre or D. Mayer, or any other person, it would still be valid, because the arguments are still valid and I want to stress it.

    If the problems are still present in the NOM (and it is very easy to realize it), why did he say that everything was ok? Doesn’t it sound (at least) strange?

    In Christo.

  55. luiz says:

    “My point long ago was, before we have too much fun bashing the Novus Ordo and assuming everyone hates it, let’s look at the fact that most devout, orthodox Catholics prefer it over the EF Mass.”

    It is not true, at least in my country.

    “(…) But the folks that make me ponder are the ones who who not typical Catholics, nor worldly and shallow, but make sacrifices and conscious choices each day to do the right thing according to our Faith, who choose the OF over the EF Mass even though the EF is in the neighborhood at a decent time.”

    Why do people choose the EF?

    The answer could give us some insight in this matter.

    “My sense is that if someone has really bad attitudes toward the Novus Ordo, they would rather not ponder or discuss this question.”

    I don’t think so. Let’s see why…

    “They either believe that there are no, truly devout, Catholics who choose the OF over the EF Mass when the EF is easy to go to (…) or they are just really stupid (of course, who would choose a Novus Ordo unless they’re idiots?).”

    One would choose the Novus Ordo because he/she can’t attend the EF. Because he/she doesn’t know the reasons why traditional catholics don’t go to the new mass or because he/she doens’t understand the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at all. One more time, it is not easy, even for priests, to accept that the new mass has serious deficiencies. As a lay person, I would say that there is a difference in the “spirit” that moves traditional and conservative catholics. If some traditional catholics think attending the new mass is a proof of stupidity, I strongly disagree. There are many factors involved and nobody should try to judge others without real knowledge. At the right time, if God wants, they will (or not) change.

    “The other answers which no one has stated is “they’re neo-cons” or “EWTN brainwashed them” or “the Opus Dei is making them gluttons for punishment.” Thank God for small favors.”

    Unfortunately, we don’t have the EWTN in my country (I watch it through the internet).

    “Nonetheless, I had to raise the question, because I know what I’ve seen in my own experience with both forms of the Mass.”

    There are many excesses. The faithful are on need of pastors. We have to read about theology, study very difficult matters if we want to answer the world that calls us to something contrary to Christ, because there is no one to take care of us.

    We, the faithful, are trying to defend ourselves. Nowadays there are many who tell us that everything that was done to us in 40 years of Novus Ordo was a matter of liturgical abuse: there was nothing wrong with the reform in itself. But it is not true. Nowadays people say the Council was misinterpreted. But why did the bishops, the same bishops that were present at the Council, do what they did? Nowadays, the spirit of the Council is dead. But what about the letter?

    We are still in a deep dark age.

  56. thomas tucker says:

    luiz- quit trying to be more Catholic than the Pope. If there were serious deficiencies in the NOM then the Popes since PaulVI would not be saying it. Stop setting yourself up as a more knowledgeable theologian than JPII and Benedict XVI- it makes you look foolish.
    I know the reasons radical traditional Catholics give for going to the TLM, and I reject them, as have the Popes in whose company I prefer to be rather than that of the TLM-only crowd. The Popes have judged that the TLM is not superior to the NOM, and that the NOM is not a defective rite. I believe them, not rad trads.

  57. quovadis7 says:

    40 years will provide a LOT of time & reasons for one to prefer the NO over the TLM – convenience, familiarity, and ease of participation are but a few of the litany of reasons….

    However, if one makes an effort to actually study the actual prayers of the OF liturgy (using the “official” Latin text, whenever possible), it doesn’t take one very long at all to realize how much of our Catholic faith was either ignored or compromised by the efforts of the reformers.

    Dr. Lauren Pristas has written several outstanding articles to this effect. For those of you willing to take the time and make the effort to do this study yourselves, check out her articles comparing the prayers of the TLM to the NO (at the bottom of her Caldwell College faculty web page):


    Note that the link to her 1st article doesn’t work properly. When you click on the 1st link and get an error that the article cannot be found, just cut and paste the middle portion of the error message (just the article web address portion) into your browser address bar, and then you should be able to get it.

    In the past 18 months, I have come to see so MANY objective reasons why the Church NEEDS to gravitate more and more to the EF liturgy. As I have come to see them, the differences between many of the prayers of the TLM and the NO Missae go VERY FAR beyond matters of “aesthetic taste”….

    Those of us who have grown to appreciate and come to love the ancient Catholic Mass (and I am a “child of Vatican II” myself!), do need to bear our crosses patiently wrt the liabilities of NO Mass (and those whom we think don’t understand the doctrinal issues inherent with it). We, as well, need to do MUCH better at remaining charitable (yet persistent) in ALL of our words, actions, and efforts to promote the TLM….

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  58. luiz says:


    I am not trying to be more catholic than the Pope. The Pope and his conscience is not a matter we should try to discuss.

    1. If there were serious deficiencies in the NOM, then the Popes since Paul VI would say something about.

    For many reasons, that is not necessarily true.

    2. Stop setting yourself up as a more knowledgeable theologian than JPII and Benedict XVI- it makes you look foolish.

    As I wrote before, I am just a lay person. I didn’t set myself up as a more knowledgeable theologian than John Paul II and Benedict XVI, our Holy Father. Actually, it is not a matter of knowledge of theology. There are many theologians who think there is no problem in the Church at all.

    If discussing theological matters, difficult ones, serious ones, makes one look foolish, I would say the Church is full of fool people.

    I don’t know more than the Pope. And I didn’t create these arguments, I am just trying to cope with them. If they are true, we should carefully think what the implications are.

    3. I know the reasons radical traditional Catholics give for going to the TLM, and I reject them, as have the Popes in whose company I prefer to be rather than that of the TLM-only crowd. The Popes have judged that the TLM is not superior to the NOM, and that the NOM is not a defective rite. I believe them, not rad trads.

    We should try to seek the truth. If you think this is the correct thing to do, the right way to follow, go ahead. I also attend Novus Ordo masses here, because there is no TLM in my city (I have to travel more than 300 km to attend one).

    We should not discuss people. Radical traditional catholics? I think every catholic should be radically tradicional.

    One more time, these are difficult times. Try not to imagine what the other thinks, what his/her intentions are. Try to help. Ask him.

    In Iesu et Maria.

  59. Maltese says:

    I have three daughters (and one on the way,) as well as a son. I almost want to jump in here, at times, and say, “chill! Love each other! “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…”

  60. thomas tucker says:

    Yes,luiz, I agree. But that cuts both ways. And so, instead of imagining why orthodox Catholics might prefer the NOM, ask them, as Father Sotelo is doing. And I agree even more with not trying to imagine what there intentions are. I can assure you that it is not because they are lazy and want something “easier”, or that they don’t understand the Holy Sacrifice.
    Maltese- agreed. And congratulations. I have two boys, two girls, and another boy due any day.
    Blessings to you all. We have much to be thankful for.

  61. catholicmidwest says:

    I’m not “imagining” what the reasons are. I’M A LAYPERSON and for your information, I attend both forms. Just about everyone I know who’s a Catholic is a layperson. I’m not clerical. I told you above what some of the most common reasons are.

    The OF is easy and doesn’t demand much. It’s easy to get to and easy to sit through (if you can just ignore the parts you don’t like). On the other hand, the EF is often difficult to get to because the mass times are usually odd, you have to drive farther, and the EF is sometimes not done very well. Reasons like these are why I attend both myself–the Sunday evening OF because it fits my awful schedule, the Sunday afternoon EF when the OF gets to me and I can’t possibly endure yet one more rendition of the “music” (happy hour at the bowling alley redux). I more or less take turns, but when I’m very busy it’s the OF because I have to get it done. I am a layperson and that’s a fact of my life.

    You have to understand that the average layperson doesn’t have near as many dogs in this fight as the average cleric. (I’m not talking about church groupies now. Church groupies–who knows? Church groupies are a very small portion of all lay Catholics–but maybe not a minority here in this blog.) The average layperson has had the “well” poisoned wrt to the EF by bad catechesis & years of nasty comments. Moreover, the average layperson hears strife all the time at work, on tv, etc etc, and is not happy with all the infighting, politics and nonsense that goes on in the world, let alone the church. Laypeople don’t understand all the intrigues of Catholicism and don’t give a rat’s a$$ about them. Rather, laypeople believe that things should make sense in an everyday way and they ALWAYS set about to arrange things that way whenever they’re neglected. And neglected, they have been.

    As a result, most laypeople have found that they can take from the church what the church can give them–a little peace and a little “spirituality”. (probably in a way you wouldn’t want to define it!) They get a soothing homily with jokes and a singalong. Nobody says anything about that nasty birth control stuff. The kids get to participate and it’s all good. It’s church, it’s nice and it can make you feel good. What’s not to like if they just take it as it is? It’s what they’ve been told they have to accept. So be it. They get what they can out of it for an hour or so a week and then they get on with their lives, because they have to do that too.

    It’s rare for someone to criticize the OF in person. There’s a reason for that. The criticizer is likely to get blasted within an inch of his life because people don’t want change or politics at this point, and they don’t want what makes sense to them disrupted, even (especially!) when their idea of what it consists of is of their own making (and that’s been allowed, encouraged, in fact). So you can see that it’s not the case that they so much love the N.O. as it’s the case that they don’t want anything else more demanding or less useful on their terms. You might say they don’t trust the change, and for good reason from their points of view.

    SO, if the point of V2 was to promote greater conversion of a larger number of people, then it failed on both counts–and one of the KEY reasons was because the people who ran it didn’t understand the world or laypeople, and obviously, in hindsight it’s clear that they didn’t understand their own business very well either. (And no one can blame laypeople for noticing that either, although most laypeople who notice wouldn’t tell a priest that.)

    Most Catholic laypeople just about manage to scrape by wrt to the Church. It’s to their credit that they’re still Catholics and they don’t complain too much. But after what they’ve been through, they know complaining doesn’t help anyway. Most of them stopped carping long ago and just went with what was in front of them, which was the N.O. They were told they had no choice. “Okay, then,” they thought, “this is what it is.” And that posture was normalized and has become entrenched now. Thus, it’s been passed on to those who don’t remember the troubles of V2 as they were, along with a collection of hamburger-jingle-like hymns and a God-loves-you-and-that’s-all-there-is-to-it approach to church. And that’s how we got here.

    Fr Sotelo, you point out that there are “survivors” in the NO culture. I don’t doubt that. Even prisoner-of-war camps have survivors. But they’re not mostly places of survival. You should keep that in mind.

    There’s a lot of work to be done. And to get it done, some thought needs to be put into it, and some knowledge of what laypeople are like, what they actually need and what they will do needs to be arrived at. I haven’t really seen that yet.

  62. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Maltese and Thomas Tucker: First I just want to say heartfelt congratulations and blessings to your families as you await the new bundles of joy. I will commend the moms and babes to St. Gerard Majella in my prayers.

    catholicmidwest: you have a good list of reasons going there, but as I have said before, it covers for me mostly the Novus Ordo Catholics who are average run of the mill Catholics. However, Nathan posed another question with these words some time back:

    “I live in an area with a number of TLM options, Deo Gratias, but consistently the attendance compared with the N.O. is sparse, even where priests have been very encouraging to the TLM. In fact, at the parish where I go to Sunday Mass, the “Folk Mass” that precedes the TLM is the most attended Mass of the parish (which I believe the pastor rues).

    Why is that? Why do a good number of very devout Catholics, even when acknowledging the clarity and reverence of the TLM, still chose the N.O. when they have an educated option?”

    Even with the “very devout Catholics” who are, in practice, the cream of the crop of the faithful, the ones who actually give a rat’s ear about the liturgy and the changes–they will still often seek out the new Mass while they acknowledge the “clarity and reverence” of the Traditional Mass.

    I am left with the conclusion that these folks in their heart believe that the Traditional Mass needed some kind of a reform. They still love the EF Mass, and may even consider it overall “superior” in an objective way, but when the rubber hits the road, they believe that for various reasons, Pope Paul VI was “on to something” when he gave these audiences and published his new Mass.

  63. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Nathan asked how the liturgy would look in a hundred years. My personal belief is that the Novus Ordo will still be the dominant rite of the Church, the Tridentine having failed to overtake it in popularity with both the average and devout Catholics.

    However, I think, the revival of the Tridentine Mass will still be a turning point in the life of the Church, which will bring about a revival of the Novus Ordo to have more EF characteristics: chant, Latin, ad orientem prayer, devotion, and more latreutic (latria) or verticle prayer into the liturgy.

    But there is a certain influence from the Novus Ordo back to the Tridentine as well. As most EF Masses will be populated by people who grew up Novus Ordo, the ex-Novus folks will demand a certain respect for the liturgy which the pre-Vat. 2 folks didn’t always have.

    Before Vat. II, priests talked about their 25 minute Masses, took liberties to skim through rubrics or rattle Latin unintelligently, many Catholics took the liturgy for granted and never made it their business to know what Father was doing at the altar. So, “the times they are a changing” for the EF Mass as well thanks to what happened under the long, almost exclusive reign of the Novus Ordo.

    An entire generation of Catholics got “Novus Ordo-ized.” They woke up and smelled the coffee. They saw horrific abuses and the collapse of Catholic culture, and they rolled up their sleeves and have helped with brick by brick priests to restore the ancient rite. But they are not the passive “I’m just getting my Mass in to avoid hell” Catholics of their grandparents.

    They have expectations for the liturgy and are keen to observe Father and know whether he is hearing them. They actually give a rat’s you know what, and priests are taking notes from their input more than you think. Even young guys coming up in the seminary, in far greater numbers than my generation, are enthusiastically wanting to learn the EF Mass as well as the OF Mass.

    Thanks to the new Mass fiascos, the priest who ascends the altar for the EF Mass has a lot of astute and observant eyes on him, even if he is ad orientem and in Latin. The Catholics of the EF Mass, nowadays, do not take their EF Mass for granted. They know what they have been missing and they want it back in all its richness.

    In other words, there really is a mutually beneficial effect between both forms of Mass. And for the Novus Ordo clergy, it only gets better for them when they have “competition” in the liturgical marketplace.

  64. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Sotelo,

    The thing about ripping through TLM masses at record speed is a piece of propaganda. The shortest mass I ever heard was said in English–17 minutes long from in the door to out the door. IT was an N.O., of course. It was very plain that the priest was just trying to get it over with. You can easily do that with the N.O.

    I go to both masses. I don’t prefer the N.O. You don’t seem to understand laypeople’s schedules and lives very well, though. I go to the N.O. because it fits my awful schedule. Period. I endure it because the church says I have to go to mass on Sunday and I can’t always get to the TLM. Besides, I’m not as invested as all of you in the differences between the two because in my experience neither one is said all that well anymore. And because I’m numb from the fights after V2. And in addition, I’m not sure commitment to the core points of Catholicism is alive and well in many places–on both sides. My crap detector is on most of the time because you’re likely to hear anything in either mass. Say one wrong word to any of them and they all go philistine on you. See how we love one another?

    I’m pretty convinced, as are many laypeople that the church in general (and in particular too) is pretty clueless about what it’s supposed to be doing. The people who make these decisions had better get off their butts and do something. I think PBXVI is doing fine; I’m not sure about most of the rest of people who work for the church.

    Try to understand what I”m telling you. I know you live in a different world than me, but this is not all that difficult to understand.

    A) Laypeople need a mass they can attend that is faithful to the core of the Catholic religion and dependable to the truth. They don’t give a rat’s a$$ for your intrigues. They neither have the time nor the stomach for it anymore.

    B) If a significant part of the church’s mission is to work with laypeople, then priests better learn to understand the things that we have to deal with and get their heads out of the sky or they’re going to strike out yet once again. You can’t expect people to drive to the one TLM for 100 miles with 4 kids and smile on their face, at honking 7AM. And you can’t hold that against them and pervert that fact into a preference for the NO or something else. You want to see what they prefer?? Give them something TO prefer because it’s all a shade of gray right now. Understand? [I don’t like the tone of this. Understand?]

  65. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, Fr Sotelo, I don’t know how old you are, but we used to have a missal with Latin on one side and English on the other. In addition, there were nowhere near as many parts of the mass that could be changed or skipped in the old TLM. You make it sound as though we were all dummies. I can tell you that the average grade school student was capable of telling if the mass was being said correctly. We KNEW what was going on. It was very clear in 2 languages and we knew both of them.

    Now maybe somebody in Rome got bored or lost their guts, and decided to shake things up. I don’t know, but that’s when the BIG DUMMY stuff started, about the time of Vatican II. And that’s because of constant innovation, change being worshipped rather than God, and hymns with nonsense lyrics, and all the rest of it. People now don’t know 1/10 of what they used to know when they walked in the church doors. Somebody better stabilize this mess and fix it or the mass in 100 years will consist of 3 people in a closet, whispering so as not to be heard and punished. It might not matter much what language they’re using, huh?

  66. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, if the NO is the core of the mass that we have in 100 years AND it’s still recognizable as the NO, it will be because:

    a) nothing else was made WIDELY available to the people that was better, &/or
    b) the powers-that-be didn’t want to admit they screwed up for 50 years and maintained it out of pride and confidence in their own guidance (heh), &/or
    c) it’s the surest sign that the culture won out. Expect fewer Catholics.

    I personally think the NO will be maintained as the foundation *on paper* (see reason b), but all of its key features will be obliterated 100 years from now, having had its optional parts removed one by one and its uglinesses relieved one by one. I think once options & uglinesses are gone, then those spots will be filled with traditional-sounding pieces until a more organic-sounding mass is formed from this one. Mass will be unrecognizable as the NO in 100 years. I also think that Catholicism is going to undergo a pruning, and from that pruning will come a new fidelity to doctrine, a resurgence of traditional insertions into the mass, but fewer Catholics to attend it.

    Incidentally, by 100 years out, I think that V2 will have found its rightful place as a small footnote to the rest of the documents of the church. No one will incessantly quote V2 (or the spirit of V2), any more than they might quote you the 2nd Lateran council or the Council of Constance (or its spirit which was what? Quick now). It won’t matter much because it wasn’t much, and that’s how this is going to turn out.

  67. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You don’t have to get emotional and much less lecture me. [I was thinking the same thing. – Fr. Z] I know what you are speaking of: schedule of the laity, distances to an EF Mass, people not caring about liturgically petty stuff, wanting to get their Mass in wherever that can be had, and simply uninterested in intrigue or church politics.

    I have worked with Americans, Mexicans, Koreans, Portuguese, Italians, the Novus Ordo, the Tridentine Mass, obscenely wealthy and very poor, blue state, red state, “normal” and those whose elevator never went to the top floor. You have a certain take on things–I appreciated that. But your outlook is far more limited and narrow about Catholic attitudes than you wish to own or take credit for. Sorry, not meaning to offend. But you have taken on a tone in these last posts like you speak for the world now and, well, you simply don’t.

    As a priest, I know what priests do. I know what they did before the Council as well, because I get it from the horse’s mouth. I have been blessed to know a lot of priests who were ordained before Vat. 2–the oldest was ordained in 1927. Most have entered into eternity now, but they didn’t hesitate to talk about preconciliar attitudes with the liturgy. You can believe whatever you want, but if you think that they always followed the rubrics and always offered Mass with Padre Pio’s attentiveness, then, like you said, you are simply wrong. They had strong Eucharistic faith, yes, but that didn’t mean always offering the EF Mass the way it should have been offered.

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:


    The Novus Ordo has been around now for 40 years, as have the documents of Vatican II. To think that either of these in any form is going into obliteration is to simply be living in fantasy.

  69. catholicmidwest says:

    Oh, I don’t think it’s going to go away like it never happened. I said I thought it would be a footnote to the rest.

    Vatican II will find its proper place in history. There was NO RUPTURE at Vatican II. The old church didn’t die, while a new one was born. On the contrary, we have the same church we always had. It has one more collection of minor documents as of 1963 due to yet another ecumenical council in a long line of councils. But these documents are not as important as those at Nicea, not as important as those at Constantinople, not as important as those at Ephesus…. must I go down the list??? They were foundational and theological and there is no dispute about that whatsoever. Have you read V2’s opening address made by Pope John XXIII?

    It is said that it takes 50-100 years for things to settle down and normalize after an ecumenical council. We are in that period now but we will be past that period 100 years from now, thus my comment.

    It is also a historical fact that the assessment of the value of the councils is ongoing for that 50-100 years, and parts of councils can be revoked. If you don’t believe me, you check out the Council of Constance, which was partially revoked, not by people like you and me (because we don’t have the power to do that), but by the pope HIMSELF (Boniface IX). This is part of the process of bringing a council into accord with the rest of church teaching, which is still being done with V2. The story of the episode isn’t over til it’s over, Fr. Sotelo, and it may not be over yet. We’re scarcely 50 years out and still hitting turbulence (all that theological vs pastoral stuff? yeah, that, among other things).

    As for the mass, the TLM has been around for over 1400 years, which makes it one of the few rites that are considered venerable enough that they cannot be abrogated by church law. One cannot say the same thing about the NO. It could be abrogated this very evening if the pope were to will it. He won’t, but it doesn’t matter much because in its present form it will be unrecognizable in just a few generations now. You watch and see if I’m not correct. It begins in the next 18 months or so with the new translations.

  70. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    You speak from the perspective of a priest. I speak from the perspective of a layperson. That’s an important difference, Fr. It probably accounts for some of our differences of experience.

    To wit, what you’re saying about what we do is the result of an inference you’re making about us. Could it be the case that one of us might be able to tell you what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, better than you can surmise it? I think so.

    You said “as a priest, I know what priests do.” Well, as a layperson, I know what laypeople do. That’s what I’ve related to you because you were interested.

    I was a student before and during V2. I’m probably older than you, the way it sounds. Considerably older. So my accounts then and now are not second hand. I went away for a few years during the council and then came back after the council, and the transformation was astonishing. It’s been a puzzle for me all of my life. I’ve traveled thousands-no, tens of thousands-of miles to understand it. I’ve read stacks upon stacks of books. And I’ve talked to thousands of people in the last 25 years to try to understand what happened and what people think. It’s still quite the puzzle, but I have learned some things, always from the point of view of a layperson. You’ve heard some of those things, so I won’t repeat myself.

    The church doesn’t have to promote laypeople to acting as little ministers, change doctrine or anything like that, regardless of what the ideologues in the wings might say. But if the church wishes to carry out her mission with respect to the laity, which after all are most of Catholicism, then they have to try to listen to laypeople on the subject of laypeople, at least once in a while. Or they’re going to again miss the mark with respect to us as badly as V2 and all its hangers-on did. It’s been a fiasco and there’s nothing wrong with being honest about that.

  71. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I have no doubt you have a laywoman’s perspective. What I see, however, is the use of “we’re” as if you are in the position to speak for the various economic classes, ethnicities, and theological diversities within the entire, Catholic lay community.

    This is where you are over reaching. The tendency to post and say, “it’s that simple” or “that’s all there is to it” or “why can’t you understand?” We Americans tend to do that, by the way. Coming from a certain economic and cultural background (e.g. the midwest), we think that by reading stuff we have stretched our minds.

    It is one of the reasons why people from other countries and languages roll their eyeballs and humor us patiently. We haven’t begun to understand what Catholics think about the Novus Ordo unless we’ve ask them in their own, foreign language (not English), or lived in their cultural world (e.g. spending time in a foreign country).

    Have you worked with immigrants from Latin America, for instance, and interacted with them in Spanish, in the ambience of their home life and religiosity?

    It is much easier for me to get a pulse on clergy practices and thought than for you to have the pulse of the laity in general, because the world of clergy is a small pond compared to the ocean of lay, Catholic perspectives out there.

    I know too many Catholics, as devoted and educated as you, who do not share your outlook. So, while I am grateful for the points you raise, I repeat, they are part of our own, limited point of view. Even the WDTPRS readers have a certain diversity of liturgical perspectives, but it is not easy to get that out of people because folks do indeed get tired of arguing with strong headed opinions and would rather just not jump into the discussion.

  72. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Sotelo,
    Perhaps you might consider the fact that people filter the things they say when they talk to clergy. They will say things to other laypeople that they would never say to a priest. Keep that in mind. It’s huge.

  73. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    I just saw your notes. I’m out of this thread. Thanks for the heads up.

  74. MichaelJ says:

    There has never ever been a time when “not having any choice but to attend the NOM” was true.

    Also, you seemed to have mis-understood me when I wrote: “I totally reject the notion that our choice in which Mass to attend is a matter of personal preference”. I in no way intended to imply (as you apparently inferred) the removal or elimination of an individual’s free will.

  75. tzard says:

    The issue of “Mysterium Fide” and it came to mind during the following Sunday Mass. I noticed the wording of the ICEL translation was “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:”. It struck me that if there is any confusion, this is where the issue lies. Primarily because it instructs us to “proclaim” the mystery of fiath – and if “mysterium fide” refers to transubstantiation (it does) a proclamation is insufficient to properly express the mystery. Where it was before points to the consecration, which (in words and action and mystery) comprises the mystery itself, not our proclamation.

    But more telling is the latest english translation approved by the USCCB – it has “The mystery of faith.” No “proclaim” and also no colon – it comes to a full stop at a period. This seems much closer to what it’s supposed to mean.

    Lastly, in a digression, as I understand there is a disagreement between the Eastern and the Latin traditions about where the actual transubstantiation occurs. As I understand it, here in the West we tend to say it happens at the words of consecration. In the East, having a different liturgy, I have heard it said that it happens somewhere in the Eucharistic prayer – but they are unwilling to get more specific than that. Is this an attempt to appease the Eastern Orthodox?

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