30 Nov 1969 – 50th Anniversary of imposition of the Novus Ordo – PODCAzTs Revisited

It has been 50 years. 50 long years. Some might say, “Only 50? It seems longer.”

Note the bizzare photo of a Novus Ordo being celebrated in the Sistine Chapel.

Originally Published on: Nov 26, 2019 at 16:27

FIFTY years ago on 30 Nov 1969 the Novus Ordo went into force.  It was the 1st Sunday of Advent.

In 2009, the 40th anniversary of that momentous change, I did three podcasts about the imposition of the Novus Ordo at Advent of 1969.   These podcasts – now a decade old – remain fresh today.

Since the blog was updated, I no longer have a way simply to embed all three recordings.  Here are links.

We Pope Paul VI (+1978) in General Audiences in at the end of November 1969 on the subject of the changes people were about to experience.

The pop music selections were all hits from 1969.   Their choice is also part of my commentary.

For the first of these three, the Audience was exactly 50 years ago, today, 26 November 1969.

093 09-11-16 40 years ago… Paul VI on the eve of the Novus Ordo

094 09-11-20 40 years ago… Paul VI on the eve of the Novus Ordo (Part II)

095 09-11-24 40 years ago… Paul VI on the eve of the Novus Ordo (Part III)

I will note that since 2007 the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum… and the pre-55 Missale… is statistically exploding.  At the same time, demographics in the Church across the board are plummeting.  The Masses with the traditional form are packed with young people, young families.

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17 Responses to 30 Nov 1969 – 50th Anniversary of imposition of the Novus Ordo – PODCAzTs Revisited

  1. JakeMC says:

    Listening to some of the things Paul VI said in that general audience, I have to wonder if he wasn’t somehow trying to warn us about the pitfalls in the coming changes; otherwise, why would he have spoken so eloquently about the value of Latin? He speaks profoundly about the Mass of the ages being handed down to generations, then abruptly switches to talking about “torpor.” Annoyance. Inconvenience. All of this sounds more like a warning to me, like he’s saying I didn’t want this, but my hands are tied…

  2. Gab says:

    My parish priest (may God bless him in time and in eternity) wrote the following in the newsletter and the website (so it’s public). He has an insightful angle:

    “A Forgotten Anniversary?

    This Saturday, 30th November, marks 50 years to the day since the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae (in 1969, it was the First Sunday of Advent). Although there had been continuous liturgical change in the preceding five and a half years, this was a dramatic and, indeed, revolutionary moment: an entirely new Missal for the Roman Rite. An experimental Mass very close to the Novus Ordo had been presented to the Synod of Bishops in 1967 in an actual celebration in the Sistine Chapel. Despite the assembled Bishops decisively rejecting this Mass, it re-emerged substantially unchanged in 1969, and was imposed on the Church (so much for Synodality!) on the First Sunday of Advent. It was made clear that this was intended to supplant the historical Missal of the Roman Rite, and for many years the fiction was maintained that the ancient form of Mass had been legally suppressed, or abrogated.

    Cardinal Ottaviani’s eponymous intervention was but the first of a series of theological criticisms of the new Mass that have never been answered (mission impossible?). There is not sufficient space here even to begin to summarise them. What I find of great interest at this moment is that there is no attempt to celebrate the “golden” anniversary by the usual defenders and promoters of the new liturgy…. If in fact the new Mass is the exemplary fruit and symbol not just of liturgical reform, but of the whole project of the Second Vatican Council, we should have expected there to be a series of celebrations. But instead, there is silence….

    Is this a recognition of failure, an admission that the emperor has no clothes? Or perhaps something more subtle and less salutary is at work? Could it be that a decision has been made not to draw attention to the fact that a revolution occurred at all? Because if the younger generation discovered in greater numbers that there is a “before” and an “after”, a “new” Mass that is new precisely because there is an “old” Mass that has endured – and flourishes – against the odds, it might cause the Revolution of ’69 to totter, and fall….
    Let us pray for the Church! God bless you!”

    Good question though, why aren’t there any celebrations to mark the event?
    P.S. Father’s sermons are fabulous.

  3. JonPatrick says:

    “It is Christ’s will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change.” (Paul VI General Audience, November 26, 1969). Really???

  4. Glennonite says:

    “Forty years I have endured that generation.” :/

  5. Danteewoo says:

    Contribute to the destruction on the faith of millions, and get yourself canonized.

  6. Andrew says:

    I was 23 at the time. I had a nagging feeling about many novelties and I tried to convince myself that it was all good since it was mandated. That lasted about twenty years. The last thirty years or so, I have a different view of things.

  7. Mojoron says:

    In 1969, I was in the middle of a four year hitch in the USN as a Corpsman. The entire four years I was in the service, I went to Mass four times, one was my marriage. I don’t remember when the “change” came, my attention span was zero, worrying about going to Vietnam after just getting married, I digress. When I decided to head back to the Body Of Christ, it was 30 years later, 1999. I got involved in the liturgy, Extraordinary, Folk Mass Band, and then I stopped. Folk Masses did not make me happy—it was a performance, not a liturgy. I still Extraordinary only because it has to be done, not that I enjoy it, but its necessary, so to speak, because our ordinary will not change the Rite, although I read he wants to, but too many hurdles and he’s over 70 and all that exuse-ly rot. I’m over 70 and still want to see the liturgy turn around, but I’m not in favor of Latin. I rather like the Episcopal Catholic Rite the best, it is to me more reverent than our backwards Mass. Anyway, good luck PPVI, I hope Jesus didn’t stick you in Purgatory for screwing up the Mass, although I heard that he, once he signed the paper, regretted it. I hope so and I hope he went to confession that night.

  8. I read Dr Kwasniewski’s post at NLM, too. ‘A rapturous majority of laity and clergy were rushing to embrace the new form of the Mass with zeal for active participation,’ according to his Paul VI.

    Am not sure if ‘contempt’ is the right word to use for his attitude to the laity but it is certainly difficult to understand Paul’s purposes and motives– what is said about him? ‘Hamlet-like’? (Happily, we can be grateful that he knows Truth face to face now and can trust that he intercedes for the success of true liturgical renewal.) On the other hand, it occurred to me that if Francis used some of the same language, the same sentences, as Paul VI did, I would indeed perceive a certain contempt, I suppose, or at the very least a not very attractive human condescension.

  9. veritas vincit says:

    As a post-Vatican II convert, the Novus Ordo Mass is the only Mass I’ve really known. Very few of those I’ve attended have been awful. Most have been middle of the road. Some have been reverently done, usually with communion rails and communion on the tongue. One parish I attend during the week or on Saturdays uses a rail and ad orientem.

    My conviction is that if the NO is properly celebrated, with at least some of the non-conciliar innovations removed, that will take care of at least 90% of the issues.

    And having Mass in the vernacular removes a big barrier to most lay “active participation” which I understand to be interior participation, joining one’s prayers to the celebrant’s — hard to do when you can’t understand them.

    That impression has been reinforced by the one and only TLM I attended recently, which was a Low Mass I was not expecting. I know the Low Mass is not the High Mass, which might have made a difference. Even with a missal a kindly woman provided me, I struggled to keep up. The fact that many of the prayers were “secret” and that the celebrant said many of the prayers, even non-secret, in a low voice, did not help.

    I hope that my participation was pleasing to Our Lord, but I can’t honestly say it would be my choice, if I had one. Maybe a High Mass would be different, but I have few opportunities in the Columbus area. And with respect to Father Z and the traditionalists on this blog, I personally don’t see a compelling reason to seek out the TLM. [Except for the texts and the ceremonies and its longevity, no reason.]

    None of which is to diminish the shenanigans that attended the creation of the Novus Ordo, or the abuses and innovations that were allowed to happen since. But I think the solution is the “mutual enrichment” that Benedict XVI envisioned, which I doubt will be a one-way process.

  10. omgriley says:

    I recently read an article by Dr. Pete Kwasniewski which explored Paul’s commentary on the Novus Ordo and his seemingly negative attitude toward the “nay sayers.”

    I used to think that Paul VI was begrudgingly and almost regretfully instituting the changes of the Council. But lately I’m starting to see the animosity he had toward traditional Catholics. It reminds me of Francis.

  11. misternaser says:

    I appropriately observed the anniversary by attending the Solemn High Mass for St. Andrew at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton.

  12. robtbrown says:

    veritas vincit says,

    My conviction is that if the NO is properly celebrated, with at least some of the non-conciliar innovations removed, that will take care of at least 90% of the issues.

    And having Mass in the vernacular removes a big barrier to most lay “active participation” which I understand to be interior participation, joining one’s prayers to the celebrant’s — hard to do when you can’t understand them.

    That impression has been reinforced by the one and only TLM I attended recently, which was a Low Mass I was not expecting. I know the Low Mass is not the High Mass, which might have made a difference. Even with a missal a kindly woman provided me, I struggled to keep up. The fact that many of the prayers were “secret” and that the celebrant said many of the prayers, even non-secret, in a low voice, did not help.

    I am also a post VatII convert, and I completely disagree with you.

    1. How can the vernacular contribute to active participation more than Latin? The responses are the same at every mass in whatever language. Before 1965 Catholics knew them by heart.

    2. There are prayers that are strictly for the celebrant, and so it is proper that they be done in secret. How many there are is a good question. I think, however, that one principle needs to be kept in mind: The celebrant does not any congregants to say mass. If weather prohibits anyone else from showing up, the priest should still say mass: The Eucharist is a good in itself.

    3. Re a public low mass: Years before Vat II there were dialogue masses, in which the congregation, joined the server in many of the responses.

    4. Use of the vernacular (which means local) encourages narrowness. Conversely, Latin introduces someone to another culture. Thus, JXXIII in Veterum Sapientia refers to Latin as trans cultural.

  13. veritas vincit says:

    robtbrown: Thank you for your observations.

    I entered the Church during my military service in Europe. As I traveled during my service there, I had the opportunity to attend Mass in several different vernacular languages, in multiple cultures. I could follow along in any language only because I was already familiar with the prayers and responses in English. That also includes the handful of NO Masses where much of the liturgy was conducted in Latin. (EWTN’s broadcast NO Masses are a good example, reverently conducted). That is, the prayers of the NO Mass were accessible to me via the English vernacular, which assisted me in attending Mass in a foreign vernacular, or in Latin.

    Of course, Latin is the basis of our rites including the NO. I had no intention of denigrating Latin otherwise. But a Latin-only liturgy would be a practical barrier for many to enter into the Mass, whether converts entering the Church or Catholics taking part in the TLM. I don’t see how Mass in an unfamiliar language (which Latin is to most of us since it is no longer widely taught in schools) contributes to active participation.

    Maybe a Low Mass conducted in dialogue style, where the congregation made the server’s responses (at the TLM I attended, one man near the front made all the server responses, and he was not easily heard more than a few rows back), might have been different. But I don’t think that is commonly done. Am I wrong?

    What I can say, is that a Low Mass is not something that in and of itself, readily invites a NO Catholic to explore the TLM any deeper. As I said previously, it does not present a compelling case. Of course, I respect the views of yourself and others who believe otherwise, and of the historic value. of the TLM to the Church.

  14. Prayerful says:

    I marked it by hearing a morning Low Mass for the Feast of St Andrew. The words of the Gospel are striking: ‘Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,’ and nowadays ironic given the Amazon Synod and its sacrileges.

    Anyhow, Mass of Ages can seem daunting at first, but a hand or leaflet missal (often available for those without their own missals), but with a little persistence, it is an easy thing to follow. Latin is no obstacle, witness the vitality of the Church before the New Order of Mass and related disasters, this in a time where few enough had anything beyond primary school education, and its near death in the West now. It is some irony that something launched on the Feast Day of St Andrew, an evangelist and martyr of extraordinary witness, has proven so destructive of faith and morals.

    Anyhow the NOM could range between deathly dull and the purest cringe (the Folk Mass or Children’s Mass), while the Mass of Ages pitches reliably between High Mass magnificence and the ordered dignity of the Low Mass.

  15. eulogossusan says:

    Veritas vincit, I am writing this to urge you to keep an open mind to the TLM. I have to admit that my initial reaction was much like yours. I thought I should like it because it was old and traditional and I always like old and traditional things and besides people I admired liked it. But I could not follow it even though I know a bit of Latin. The only things I liked at first were what it did not have- bad music and irreverence. I could tell the other people there were all really serious about the faith. So I kept trying, off and on, struggling to follow the missal. I loved the words when I read them. It took a long time, maybe 30 masses, before I followed all the way through without getting lost. It also took time before I was able to pray that way, interiorly joining my intention to the priest’s words and actions. I attend mass in the NO, in the Ordinariate form, and in the Byzantine rite. But now I find that it is at the TLM that I pray with the most intention and depth. You may not have the opportunity to attend enough TLM’s to go through this process of learning to pray it. But please don’t have a fixed opinion based on one experience.

  16. adriennep says:

    Yesterday in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, Father Steven Kenyon celebrated the Latin Mass at Sacred Heart Church. It was a big victory in being able to have this weekly in Southern Oregon, which previously had only been possible every two months. Archbishop Sample sent personal regards and support to the community in a letter read by Fr. Kenyon at the homily. He gave excellent catechesis at a warm and hearty potluck gathering afterward. Our local Una Voce group had been persisting in their advocacy for this weekly Mass for years and for their independent chant choir. This, folks, is how it’s done. Brick by painful brick.

    He mentioned in his talk the 50th anniversary to the day of the Norvus Ordo, something I vividly remember in 1969 (in Berkeley of all places) when my one Catholic friend then described the horror her family felt at the radical Mass being forced upon them literally overnight with banal guitar music. I thought wow, guitars. She assured me it was not cool. It took me until 2006 to finally enter the Church, so personal transformation is possible. And in history, true change often begins after a 50 year cycle. And there was the sound of babies crying at this Mass yesterday: the healthy future Catholics. Don’t hear them at anemic NO Masses. So we can pray, hope, and not worry. And give thanks for our Archbishop.

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