OLDIE PODCAzTs: Advent 1969 the Novus Ordo imposed by Paul VI – 45 years later

In conjunction with reading Peter Kwasniewski’s new, provocative book (which rather reads like this blog in many respects), I just reviewed three old PODCAzTs I made at the time of the 40th anniversary of the implementation of the Novus Ordo for Advent of 1969/70. I used music that was on the charts at that time, as well as a few ditties that came after the Novus Ordo.  It is pretty jarring sometimes, but I meant it to be.

In the second of the triptych I gave a roundup of what was going on in the world at the time Paul VI was speaking in these General Audiences and when he imposed the Novus Ordo on the Latin Church.

It was really interesting to read the combox under the three entries with the podcasts.

Frankly, I found review of these podcasts pretty useful, especially as the terrain is shifting again today.  Pope Paul’s commentary on what was going to take place was for me – 45 years later – surreal.  It was as if Rod Serling were reading the texts, and not the undersigned. (Wasn’t Night Gallery playing in 1969/1970?)

We are 45yrs out now. 45 years.

Is what Paul VI described, what we actually got?  As he lists in anticipation certain criticisms and gives some defenses… how do the arguments sound to you?

“So do not let us talk about ‘the New Mass”.  Let us rather speak of ‘the New Epoch’ in the Church’s life.”

In those days, optimism oozed from every crack.  I am not convinced that it was justified.

Check these old 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{]:¬)
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  1. Traductora says:

    I lived through it, and I’m not sure optimism was oozing through every crack. People were okay with the 1965 missal, which didn’t make a major number of changes, and even though most parishes adopted the vernacular, the approved translations were good. What people were most upset about was the new orientation of the priest and the resulting replacement of the alter with a table.

    But on that fateful day in 1969, the priest came out and told us that he hoped we would see the wisdom of the Church in this new mass, and if we didn’t see it right off, we should be patient…

    People left the church that day in tears. We couldn’t believe what had happened. Everything went downhill after that. Suddenly we were beng told not to go to confession more than once a year, one of the young associates started to hang out and smoke dope with his favorite teenage boy, and only a year later, the priest who had celebrated that first mass had left the priesthood and was married and working in an alcohol rehab program somewhere. That’s probably because the pastor had literally retired to his room and started drinking after seeing the collapse of everything he had built up for years in that working class Western parish.

    So people who think liturgy is just a sort of entertainment or something superfluous and not an integral part of Catholic faith should think again.

  2. mhazell says:

    There is a fine line between optimism and irresponsibility. In a less ‘optimistic’ age, would so much of our liturgical heritage have been irresponsibly discarded, rearranged and remixed?

    Take the lectionary, for example: here is the text of Paul VI’s 1969 handwritten note to Cardinal Benno Gut, prefect of the CDW at the time, regarding its approval (cf. A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 [Liturgical Press, 1990], p. 420):

    In the very limited time allowed me, I have not been able to get a complete and detailed grasp of this new and extensive Ordo lectionum Missae.
    But because of the confidence I have in the skilled and devout individuals who spent a long time compiling it, and because of the trust I owe to the Congregation for Divine Worship, which has examined and corrected it with such expert care, I gladly approve it in the name of the Lord.
    The feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24, 1969.
    Paul VI, Pope

    Centuries of tradition, signed away in a moment – unfailing optimism in the work of “skilled and devout individuals”! And, hand on heart, can we honestly say the Church is better off for their work?

  3. Charles E Flynn says:


    As the NASA public relations officer Steve Nesbitt said shortly after the launch of Challenger failed, “Obviously, a major malfunction.”

  4. Mojoron says:

    Randy Engle, in her five volume series on the Church’s sexual abuse problem: The Rite of Sodomy, in Volume 5 has much to say about the change in the Catholic Liturgy. She indicated that Pope Pius XII wanted to start the process of changing the liturgy during WWII, and because the war was in process, he did not have the time to put forth. Pope John XXIII continued that idea within Vat II. He never lived to see the product of his work. Pope Paul VI absolutely wanted to get the ball rolling and did so. It is also interesting when I read from some Catholic Blog site that when Pope Paul heard the liturgical change was supposed to happen, I assume at Advent, he cried. The question is whether he cried because he was overcome with joy or saw that the “old way” was permanently being tossed to the bin of history.

    From reading her book I have to wonder why Pope Paul VI is being considered for Sainthood, he was a rascal according to her writings and the numerous bibliography’s she used.

    One might ask why Ms. Engle wrote so much about the liturgy in a book dedicated to sex abuse, and that would be a valid question. You’ll have to read the book to find out. I would suggest not wasting your time on books one through three unless you want to know about how the Greeks and early Romans had homosexual sex. Book three starts the history of the U.S.’s sexual abuse that started in the 1950’s. Book four and five are much more recent, except, the books were completed in the mid 2000’s when many of the perverts had yet to go to trial. Much of her information and the later court proceedings not included in her books can be found at http://www.bishopaccountability.org.

  5. majuscule says:

    I’m sorry Father, but using Kumbaya in a podcast on a blog like this automatically invokes Godwin’s Law.


  6. Traductora says:

    I don’t think Paul VI intended or even really knew what was happening. I always thought that while he had been considered fashionably leftwing in his days as a bishop, he was probably devout and really didn’t know how to control what was happening. John XXIII had also been quite the leftist, but he was intended to be a kind of nice-guy fill-in for a couple of years after the death of a very important Pope, and probably he himself had no idea of what he was doing by invoking a Council.

    But be that as it may, the point is that liturgy is not an irrelevant add-on, which is how many, including significant people in the Vatican, wish to portray it.

  7. NBW says:

    I am not sure what to think. I strongly believe that the Mass should have changed to suit modern man. It’s 45 years later and there is low attendance at Mass, the pedophilia scandals, the awful themed Masses, the LCWR that have moved beyond Jesus , ecumenism, and the 2014 Synod antics. I attended a Latin Mass last year; it was so reverent and beautiful; heaven on earth. It was a long Mass and I didn’t mind . I wanted to stay. I don’t get that at the N/O Mass.

  8. jbpolhamus says:

    The New Mass provided me with one miracle in my life, and that is that I am still a Roman Catholic despite it. It is positively the worst expression of faith that I can possibly imagine. You cannot imagine the incompetence which I witness on the altar of my small church every week, the sheer uncomprehending ignorance and stupidity, the ecclesiastical indolence. MY PRIEST ACTUALLY DROVE HIS CAR THROUGH HIS GARAGE AND HALFWAY THROUGH THE APARTMENT HOUSE NEXT DOOR…yet still he reigns, self-editing the prefaces, rendering readings incomprehensible, reversing their meanings by adding “not” or “will” ad libitum; i.e.: “I will taste of the fruit of the vine again before I enter into my heavenly kingdom.” huh? One of the extraordinary monsters of communion is a strong supporter of Euthanasia. They drop hosts, and bless little children just as if they were priests, and they perform the ablutions calling the Precious Blood “the wine.” i.e.: “Oh, didn’t Bill finish his wine? That’s ok, I’ll do it in a minute.” Father has made clear that his Sunday afternoons are not for Evening Prayer, much less Vespers, and he would “not be interested in saying the Old Mass.” I show up. I play the piano and organ. I leave. I go off to other churches for communion because I find no trace of Christ in the one in which I serve. That’s my “new mass” experience. And yet I believe! It’s only a test, and I know that what I see before me every Sunday has nothing to do with Catholicism. But I pity the others who have no context, who don’t know, who leave, and never find that other church, the one where Christ lives and is revered and worshiped meaningfully. I pray for THEM.

  9. Clinton R. says:

    ” It’s 45 years later and there is low attendance at Mass, the pedophilia scandals, the awful themed Masses, the LCWR that have moved beyond Jesus , ecumenism, and the 2014 Synod antics.”

    It would appear as if God was not pleased with the radical departure from the Holy Mass of centuries past. As is the right of God, He can withdraw His Graces, so that man may see the folly of his ways. It is the hope of many here, I would say, that someday the Church will phase out the Novus Ordo, and restore the TLM and repair the damage the NO and faulty teachings and praxis has caused to the Faith. May God bless us with the Mass of All Ages, which nourished the faith of the saints and so many faithful. +JMJ+

  10. JonPatrick says:

    NBW says “I strongly believe that the Mass should have changed to suit modern man”. This sentiment seems to be quite common in the Church today, and in society in general, that there is something special about Man in the latter half of the 20th and the 21st century, that we are so different than anything that has gone before and that therefore we need a different approach. For example illiterate 15th century peasants had no problem with a Mass in Latin, but somehow this is incomprehensible for Modern Man who must be catered to.

  11. catholictrad says:

    The part that galls me is seeing signs celebrating the decades of disaster following “the council”. It is like celebrating war! It is especially sad to see people old enough to know better yet still enthralled with having become protestant (at least in form).

    This we must all understand, however. The Modernists, Humanists, Liberals, and Revolutionaries were all raised on the Traditional Mass and Catechism, were immersed in Catholic beauty, yet still they rebelled. It surrounded them, yet they willingly overturned the high altar and replaced Mozart with tamborines. They had steak in a fine restaurant, but preferred McDonalds!

    So even if the entire Church returned to her full Tradition the specter of Revolution will always hang over our heads. The fight will always be ours until Our Lord returns.

  12. magister63 says:

    I still have the booklet that was given out in the Archdiocese of Baltimore introducing the New Mass. It is called “Come Let Us Worship. Sunday, April 26 to Sunday, May 17, 1970” Inside the cover is the letter from Paul VI on the New Rite for the Celebration of Mass. Every so often I read it with disbelief. The part that strikes me the most is this:
    “This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed- perhaps so much accustomed that we no longer took any notice of them. The change also touches the faithful. It is intended to interest each one of those present, to draw them out of their customary personal devotions or their usual torpor.
    We must prepare for this many sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect. ”
    And it goes on….
    Torpor? Inconvenience? Annoyance? Disturbed? Novelty? This is how a Supreme Pontiff introduced the new rite of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? It is all so surreal. Pious persons are disturbed most by the New Rite. Well, you can’t argue with that!

  13. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Everything about the OF Mass; nothing about the OF Liturgy of the Hours. The Bugnini group did a terrible job with the former, and a good job with the latter. At least the OF has a better lectionary; the EF doesn’t give the preacher much to work with. I don’t need to list for this audience the problems with the rest of the OF Mass.

  14. LarryW2LJ says:

    It seems to me that a major failure occurs when anything that works is changed in a significant way. The people proposing the changes always assume their changes will only result in the positive ways they envision, and hence, they continuously fail to consider the “Law of Unintended Consequences”.

    It would be nice, for once, instead of running around gleefully, expecting only rainbows and sunshine, if planners would take time to consider:

    1) Could our plan backfire?
    2) What are the possible negative ramifications – are they worth the risk?
    3) Does the problem that we perceive to exist, actually exist?
    4) What is the least radical method for obtaining the results we desire?

    I could go on and on, but I think common sense left the building somewhere in the 60s. i wish it would return.

  15. Imrahil says:

    Dear Sid Cundiff in NC,

    As we all in, as you say, “this audience” are familiar with the change of the Mass…

    what, precisely, were the changes to w.r.t. Liturgy of the Hours?

    I’m not familiar with the OF Liturgy of the hours (and only little, though it is beginning to be more^^, with the EF Divine Office. It is, or used to be until very recently, the available Office on the Internet.)

  16. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    In agree in part with Traductora. What really upsets me is the ad populum orientation, Communion in the hand, the picnic table, the removal of the Tabernacle, the lack of kneeling, the lack of silence, the horrible music and unsuitable musical instruments — fit more for a beach party than church and with the same dress –, the four hymn sandwich of largely Protestant hymns (thus ignoring our own musical traditions), ad libbing the Black and ignoring the Red, adding to the rite with handholding at the Pater noster, copying the priest’s hand and arm gestures, and the spirit of general irreverence. Get rid of all of this, and the OF Mass could become palatable. At least we got a better translation.

  17. CruceSignati says:

    catholictrad said:
    “They had steak in a fine restaurant, but preferred McDonalds!”
    This is something that I have thought about quite a bit recently. Now we are faced with something else: those raised on the NO McDonalds wrinkle their noses with disgust at the fine restaurant steak EF. And there are some who wonder how this could have happened…?

  18. MrsMacD says:

    God allowed it. He has a plan. We must trust Him. Maybe to shake us up. My dad grew up in Montreal, Canada. They were a haven of Catholic identity. Nuns and priests ran everything and they did it with exceeding charity and grace. But there was a torpor. My dad talks about running from church to church, block to block, to serve Mass after Mass each morning before school and he recounts, “there were only ever a handful of old ladies at Mass.” And he was ridiculed by playmates at a religious run, Catholic school for attending daily Mass. If anybody knew what the Mass was the churches would be full and people would drag themselves over broken glass to get there. There is nothing greater in all the world. You would be astonished to see a cripple rise before your eyes but is this greater than the miracle that is a soul in sanctifying grace? That is God come down on our altars? That is God offering His life, laying it down for me? O Holy priest, if you could see what you are, what your place is in heaven if you live the good life, you would die of joy. Do not forsake, degrade, diminish the place of Christ for it is your trust more than any other’s to bring Him to us!

    We need to pray for our priests, for our bishops, for our Pope! We need to pray for many and good priests. We need to aid our priests by backing them with out sacrifices and offering Masses for them and most of all, we NEED to become saints by an attachment to daily duty and by a life of prayer and penance. “Let me live no more, but let Christ live in me!”

  19. frahobbit says:

    Of late, awareness of the feeling of losing my heritage has made itself felt even more intensely. In the early stages, shock numbed me. As that wore off, over the years, more and more realization of what has been lost and almost unrecoverable has set in, painfully. It feels like wholesale abandonment, by men first, then by women, of all that was held sacred. Abandonment of responsibility for families, for spouses; abandonment of handing on legacies, of protecting society from anarchy, was spread like a fast virus through all areas. Loss of the liturgy is another area that has been impacted by abandonment. When will it all end? When will we reach the apogee and see the beginnings of the return? How long, O Lord?

  20. Charles E Flynn says:

    @Sid Cundiff in NC,

    Thanks for letting us know what is written on Satan’s mug:

    Ad lib the Black.
    Ignore the Red.

  21. robtbrown says:

    CruceSignati says:
    catholictrad said:
    “They had steak in a fine restaurant, but preferred McDonalds!”
    This is something that I have thought about quite a bit recently. Now we are faced with something else: those raised on the NO McDonalds wrinkle their noses with disgust at the fine restaurant steak EF. And there are some who wonder how this could have happened…?

    Let’s continue the metaphor. They are eating at McDonald’s, but McD’s is charging the same prices as the fine restaurant.

  22. Gratias says:

    The Church is becoming protestantized and smaller. For this reason I think that every time we attend a 1962 Extraordinary Mass we help keep the remnant of the Catholic Faith for future generations. Ours are fortunate times because by doing so little we can achieve so much.

  23. Uxixu says:

    FSSP celebrated a Solemn High Mass in Los Angeles on this last weekend, the First Sunday of Advent in commemoration.

    Here are some pictures from someone who attended in the pews:


  24. frival says:

    I have to disagree with Sid Cundiff in NC on the Liturgy of the Hours. I was praying the LotH before I was even a Catholic and found it a wonderful experience, although some of the psalm-prayers were written in a form of gooey English that made my nose twitch. Then Baronius Press came out with their Latin-English Breviarium Romanum and from the first day of praying that I haven’t ceased to feel a sharp pain at all that was lost when that went away. So many beautify prayers lost, Prime suppressed, reduced Psalms in each office. I consider it a high honor to be able to pray every day:

    “Respice in servos tuos, Domine, et in opera tua, et dirige filios eorum. Et sit splendor Domini Dei nostri super nos, et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos, et opus manuum nostrarum dirige.”

    “Look down with favor on your servants, Lord, and on the work of Your hands, and direct their children. And may the glorious beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. Direct the work of our hands for us; yes, direct the work of our hands.”

    To quote from that underappreciated movie National Treasure: “‘People don’t talk like that anymore.’ ‘No, but they think that way.'” And I think most people would like to talk like that but just no longer know how.

  25. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    If Frival didn’t like the translation of the LOTHs, he might wish to wait until the new translation comes out. Such a problem can be corrected.

    I go now on public record that if Frial and others have the time to pray the EF Office, and pray it digne, attente ac devote, then I say “God Bless” — with two provisos:

    1. provided that the Offices are prayed at at the hour for which they are intended. One particularly tiresome fellow told me that he prays in the morning Mattins, Lauds, Prime, and Terce one after the other, and in the evening Sext, Nones, Vespers, and Compline the same way. By so doing he isn’t praying the Liturgy of the Hours, nor is his obeying the duty
    (officium) of praying the Divine Office with its chief purpose in mind: the sanctification of the day.
    Those hours are, following Pius Parsch:
    Mattins, 3am or cockcrow
    Lauds, sunrise
    Prime, 7am
    Terce, 9am
    Sext, noon
    Nones, 3pm
    Vespers, sunset
    Compline, 9pm.

    2. And provided that those who pray the old Office realize that they are praying an Office intended for the spiritual benefit of monks, not an Office intended for the spiritual benefit of diocesan clergy in parishes and laity in the workaday world. In the first six centuries the Western Church had such an office for clerics and laity; the Eastern Church still does. See the magisterial Robert Taft on this.

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