PODCAzTs on the 40th Anniversary of the Novus Ordo

On the 1st Sunday of Advent in 1969, 40 years ago, the Novus Ordo of the Mass went into effect.

I recently made some audio projects about this monumental event (and I may make more).

Be sure to check these PODCAzTs:


There is some lively discussion going on under a couple of these entries.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Classic Posts, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, PODCAzT, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Worth saving and converting so it can be playable in any CD player! Thanks for the great work, Father. I’ll give this as a gift to my lay friends and priests.

  2. Roland de Chanson says:

    Ille novus ordo. Quod omen Deus avertat! Absit subito. Instautetur Missa Vera.

    (I do appreciate your podcasts.)

  3. Roland de Chanson says:

    “instautetur” debet scribi “instauretur”. (Diabolus claviaturae me manifeste possedit! Exorcismi opus est.)

  4. Roland de Chanson says:

    It certainly was! I wracked my poor brain trying to think of that. Aaaarrrgghhh.

  5. Bill Haley says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I have used your podcasts for discussions a number of times.

    FYI, I was unable to download this on itunes. Is there a delay before it becomes available?

    Keep up the valuable work and a blessed Thanksgiving to you.

  6. cregduff says:

    These latest 3 are invaluable historical reference points for understanding the Novus Ordo Missae. I can’t thank you enough for this. I plan on sharing this with priest friends and seminarians, and those who are true believers and looking for the Truth. Mille grazie, /Ed Casey

  7. Maltese says:

    Great podcast, Father! I am reposting an earlier comment because I think it is appurtenant to your triune podcasts.

    “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:


  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Only God knows what was really supposed to happen, and whether we saw any of it or not. We’ll never know about either proposition. But I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” This certainly looks like another instance of it.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    It’s not like who God is and what He wants is a total mystery to us. We have 2000 years of tradition and the Scriptures. What is the problem? And why do we insist on running off half-cocked like we have no information to go on?

  10. The last 40 years have been a real “test” for the Church. God is ever greater. Although there have been horrible aberrations, liturgical abuses, and downright apostasy, our Lord has continued to work in spite of all of this.
    Our task?
    To follow both John Paul II and Benedict XVII. To restore the sacred.
    Many may be highly critical of Paul VI and John Paul II of their so-called lack of attention to the sacrality of the Sacred Liturgy. But history will show, even if they made mistakes, that they were, in fact, instruments of God.
    How? The importance of the participation of the faithful (even with the vernacular which we have seen, has needed to be corrected), the focus upon the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery (even when it has been done poorly or with incorrect understanding), and the resurgence of Gregorian chant and the need to put God in the center of it all (thanks to the writings of Pope Benedict).
    There is need for some “distance” from the current events (even 50 years). Our Sacred Liturgy IS being restored; but it will take time and diligence. We have to be patient, pray, and be good witnesses.

  11. Sorry, that should be Benedict XVI…typo problem!

  12. Tom Ryan says:

    When did baptisms according to the Novus Ordo begin? Other sacraments?

  13. kenoshacath says:

    Larry Henderson, a convert to the faith, said it best:

    “The Tridentine Mass (Traditional Latin Mass) is the Mass that will never die!”

    We would do well to promote,preserve, and protect this inestimable privilege.

  14. Paul Knight says:

    Thank you Father for these podcasts. I always enjoy listening to them.

    I have to say that listening to Paul VI concerning the Novus Ordo makes for difficult listening. I’m left with the feeling as if I’d just been robbed in broad daylight.

    One thing I would like to pick up on is the reference by Paul VI to Eastern liturgical traditions. This has always seemed very odd to me, after all, we are talking about what is supposed to be the Roman Rite, albeit a reformed version. However, the way that the reformed liturgy was constructed is totally in opposition to the inspiration of the Eastern rites. The result of the reforms are that the new “Roman” Rite has been stripped of it Roman character, especially when we consider the way in which it is almost universally celebrated today, with Latin, the chant and the Roman Canon more-or-less falling into disuse.

  15. kenoshacath says:

    The institution of the Novus Ordo was a revolution, not a reform. Even Pope John Paul II offered an apology in 1980 to those scandalized at the manner in which the liturgical “reform” was implemented. They set out to destroy the Roman Rite. There are lost generations. Open and wide offering of the TLM will bring beauty, dignity, and sublime spirituality back to souls who have been thirsting for 40 years.

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    Except I have to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear: I remember the TLM before the council and it sounded different. It’s not that the words were different, no. But the way it was said and peoples’ demeanors were different. Before the council, I attended mass in a number of places, so I remember what it sounded like. I’ve also attended the TLM in a number of places in the last 2 years or so, and it sounds qualitatively different.

    Different how? The warm everydayness of it is gone. The congregations used to sing in those days and everyone knew the words, even in latin. The churches were full to overflowing. It was *normal* for Catholics to know those things and like walking into one’s own house. Now, it’s got a defiant tone to it; the music is either absent or overwrought but never just sung by the congregation as though it belonged; it even sounds different to the ear coming from the altar. It’s much harder to follow. [And no–I didn’t forget how to follow. I’ve even taken my old St. Joseph missal down there. Priests have learned it second-hand, without ever having heard it in its original robust form.] This is the saddest part for me.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    Both sides have changed, as if they were mental silos in isolation from one another. At Vatican II, the liturgy came apart and no amount of rationalization is ever going to change that.

    When this period in history passes, it will come back together again in a restored form. Of that I am sure. But it will always carry the scars of Vatican II. And we must never allow it to happen again. Make no mistake, I know the church isn’t a democracy, but laypeople have every bit as much guilt in this matter as anyone else, although they had the most to lose from the delinquency of the religious orders and some of the “periti” who were simply out on a 1960’s populist limb.

  18. kenoshacath says:

    Vatican II did not happen overnight. I believe that many Catholics took their faith for granted much earlier than the 1960s. We all should develop a great appreciation for the Mass, which is the highest form of worship that has infinite value. Every Catholic should strive to become familiar with the ceremonies and prayers of the Mass so that he may assist with ardent interest and fervor. “The Latin Mass Explained” by Msgr. George J. Moorman is an excellent book for both lay people and priests. I found it extremely helpful.

    We need to be on-guard. Faith is dynamic. If we are not increasing, we are decreasing.

  19. It breaks my heart to hear these podcaZts. It makes me want to travel back in time and warn Paul VI, a saintly man, a man I like, that he’s about to make a big mistake.

    That’s what is so horrible: to see that a good man can be so convinced against his own instincts, and so wrong, and so blind and deaf to the consequences. It makes me wonder what horrible mistakes I’ve made, after plenty of thought and with the full conviction I’m doing the right thing.

    But I do believe that God allowed this in order to chasten and strengthen us, and that things are getting better. Paul VI may have messed up on earth, but I believe his prayers are helping us greatly, now.

  20. kenoshacath says:

    They shouldn’t have tried to fix what was not broken. It was the people who were “broken” by sin. We cannot conform the Church to fit our needs. In 1986, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now the Holy Father) noted in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review that in some of the contemporary liturgies people celebrate only themselves. He further pointed out that this means that they celebrate absolutely nothing.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    One doesn’t do evil so that good will result. It’s immoral.
    Rather God draws straight with crooked lines. Somebody (actually many somebodies) goofed up.

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    God may have allowed it, but he allowed it in the same way he allows us to suffer the effects of gravity.

    Play around on the stairs, fall down the stairs.
    Mess around with the liturgy, damage the liturgy.

    God will sew up the carnage because He does that, but He’s not responsible for the feckless idiocy of Catholics who participated in this mess.

  23. antonb3182 says:

    Dear Father Z,

    Thank you so much for the podcasts. I listened to the first of the series this morning as I drove to work. I have been thinking about it on and off through out the day. My experience of the Catholic Church has been “post conciliar” and yet it is presentations such as this that show what several generations of Catholics have missed since the last Sunday in Advent in 1969. I can only hope that many more “post conciliar” Catholics have the opportunity to enjoy the full richness of the Church’s worship through the Liturgy.

  24. ASD says:

    Excellent podcasts. Thanks!

    A few thoughts:

    + I wonder if the juxtaposition of Jimi Hendrix & chant isn’t misleading. Was that crazy moment in U.S. history really so relevant? I mean, Americans experienced Jimi Hendrix and new Mass at the same time. But, what the Consilium published c. 1969 was the product of many decades of experimentation by Bugnini, Taize community, et al, right?

    + What I hear in Paul VI’s words about a new springtime is the rhetoric of 19th and 20th century European revolutionary utopianism. Although one isn’t comfortable mentioning the totalitarians and Paul VI in the same sentence, consider: Goebbels, Stalin, et al, used almost the same words: A new springtime, a new man. Obviously, the comparison is limited. I’m just saying that the rhetoric is strikingly similar.

  25. ASD: I think that we are people of our time. I used the Hendrix and the chant (the chant for the 1st Sunday of Advent, btw) as extremes to stress the tension between the world views that were operative at the time. The craziness exemplified in the Hendrix selection wasn’t limited to the USA. Nor was it limited to just young people or the secular. There were tendrils everywhere.

  26. ASD says:

    Fr. Z,

    Fair enough.

    It occurred to me after I posted those remarks that the whole New Left hippie thing was directly related to, well, the Old Left revolutionary thing.

    That is, there’s a sense in which the 1960s nuttiness is just another facet of the same 19th and 20th century revolutionary attitude: Make the world new, whatever it takes.

    So, I guess I have realized that your juxtaposition was pretty much right on. Paul VI is nothing like a totalitarian monster; neither was Hendrix, one assumes. But to a certain extent, they had the same attitude about remaking man and society.

    The parallel makes me very uncomfortable, but there it is: Nietzsche, Marx, Trotsky, Goebbels, Bugnini, Hendrix, et al, were all dreaming of making a new man in a new springtime.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    It is true that popes are divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit in a way that other men aren’t. Our faith (& tradition & scripture) say as much. But that doesn’t mean that at every waking moment popes have a literal conference call ongoing to God that tells them every little detail. The pope’s not just “taking dictation” you understand. And it doesn’t mean that every single thing the pope does is an act of holiness, like read the luncheon menu or have bathroom habits. YOu get the idea. [Some of the PJP2 stuff verged on this extreme, IMO.] Still, the pope’s guidance is critical to the Church because he’s the only one that can do what he does because of the action of the Holy Spirit in him. He’s the pope. That’s how God has chosen to run this.

    The degree to which the pope can understand God’s orders is the degree to which he can listen and interpret what God says to the church. This is why it’s very important that our popes are men of God, deep in prayer and the ways of the Church. It’s not easy to listen to God when you see all kinds of other things around you. Some popes in history have done less than adequate jobs, and it’s not wrong to notice that.

    Pope Benedict is doing a great job, I think. Others, more or less good. It’s a fact of Catholic life.

    Okay, now you can throw the rotten tomatoes. I’ve put my face shield on and I’m ready for yah.

  28. ssoldie says:

    What was a fabricated liturgy (40 yrs ago as was created by Annabelle Bugini and his committee) then, is a fabricated liturgy (created by Annabelle Bugnini and his committe) now. Not so? Just as what was sacred then,(liturgy) (1500yrs ago)is sacred now. Not so? Why do we try so hard to deny the very words given to use by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, preface to ‘The Reform of the Roman Liturgy’1989,now Pope Benedict XVI. Fabricate; to manufacture or assemble: invent a story: to lie. Are we to believe that the Holy Ghost was there, guiding, when this fabricated liturgy was being created by Bishop Bugnini a Freemason,? and why did Paul VI, accept it and let the Traditional Latin Mass be surpressed, to the point of having the Catholic laity believe that the T.L.M. was to be no longer?

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    Yeah, well, ssoldie,

    It would do most catholics good to have a church history lesson and an old testament lesson. It would also help if they didn’t try to whitewash every little hiccup that happens.

    It’s the kitty-litter effect in action. Every time a catholic sees something they don’t like, they about face 180 degrees and throw kitty litter in its direction. Doesn’t help. The poo still smells. It’ll still have to be fixed sooner or later. And now there’s kitty litter all over the place.

    What really happens is a lot more interesting and powerful than most Catholics think. The mass will never go away. I’m not sure what will happen (that has more to do with us than we might think), but it will never go away.

  30. kenoshacath says:

    I prefer the time-tested TLM to the fabricated liturgy of Bugnini. The Novus Ordo served its purpose and destroyed the faith of many.

    Well said ssoldie!

  31. quietbeginning says:

    “Many may be highly critical of Paul VI and John Paul II of their so-called lack of attention to the sacrality of the Sacred Liturgy. But history will show, even if they made mistakes, that they were, in fact, instruments of God.”
    Nazareth Priest, I don’t want to foment any discord here, but I’m in need of enlightenment as to just how John Paul II was anything other than an unwitting instrument of God. He touted himself as “a sign of contradiction.” I look at the quarter century of his reign and see a “sign of contradiction,” to be sure–as in contradiction of the 1900 years of Catholic teaching prior to Vatican II. I pray for JPII’s soul, and I seek to think charitably of his memory. And yet, I know what the official teaching of the Church was up until Vatican II, and I know what it became following that Council. I don’t see how any rational person who knows pre-Vatican II teaching could fail to see the contrast. But then, maybe you can enlighten me.

Comments are closed.