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Monday, August 8, 2011

Deficiency...Part II

It is wonderfully amazing how conversation can stir the human soul.  It can bring all sorts of emotion, but it can also stir reason as well....I was in a recent conversation with a peer about the Mass and here is how it went.

She said:
Has the NO contributed to the decay in our Church? The decay in the Church is what allowed the NO to happen. It has made the situation progressively worst. It has changed the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary to a  Happy Meal in the minds of the average Catholic. But just because it is in the mind of a Catholic, doesn't make it so. It is still the Holy Sacrifice, which is sufficient.

I responded:
Here is where we start to differ.  I firmly believe that the Novus Ordo, as celebrated today, has contributed to the decay in our Church.  This necessarily is the case, because the rules which governed the Novus Ordo have not, nor will they be strictly enforced.  I also don't believe this can happen, period.  My reasoning, because the "freedom of expression" was written into the Novus Ordo.  Whereas you look to the TLM and you'll see that there is no "freedom of expression."

Now, this aggiornamento or "freedom of expression" was supposed to be the salvation of the Church.  The loosening of the bonds of structure was supposed to draw people closer to the mystical Body of Christ.  I think that we can both agree that this simply hasn't been the case.  The numbers of practicing Catholics has decreased, the numbers of vocations has decreased, the catechetics has been dismal, the numbers of people who understand their faith has and large, aggiornamento has been a disaster on an epic scale. 

This first extends to the Mass. The Novus Ordo was supposed to be the best expression of Catholic Sacramental doctrine, because it was going to allow for "noble simplicity."  The language was going to move to the vernacular (unfounded), people would understand the mystery and they would come in droves.  A lot of the ceremony would be eliminated, so the "people of God" would be able to relate to the Mass.  The prayers would be simplified, so that they could "get" what the Church was saying....all of these things have not drawn people to Mass.  Mass attendance is at it's lowest in history.  Why?  I believe it is because the structure of the Mass was fundamentally changed.  If the Mass is not "offensive" to Protestants any longer, what is the reasoning for staying Catholic?  What separates our worship from a Lutheran?  Or a Methodist?  Or a Calvinist?  The answer is nothing.  It is precisely this idea that the Mass is "offensive" which causes the Protestant to do one of two things; 1) Continue to protest, or 2) Convert.

Next however, this aggiornamento has brought the Church to the banality of Protestantism.  If there is nothing different, or offenisve to the Protestant, then what is a Catholic to think?  Eventually, he will think that there is no difference and at that point he will look to what he finds inside himself to be correct.  If the Lutheran prayer service (their liturgy) is appealing to the Catholic man, then why not go?  There is nothing offensive about the Catholic Mass to a Protestant and if they are mutually enriching, then why not go where it is most expressive to the particular man.  Look into Modernism, you'll see the idea that I just spelled out is a key component.

She went on to say:
Is the NO as sufficient as the TLM? Yes. They are both Masses, both bring the faithful the Eucharist, both approved by the Church, both should be given the same place in the Church. The Liturgy's summit is obvious the Eucharist, so this is about the Blessed Sacrament. Which is why that statement is wrong.
To which I responded:
If the Novus Ordo is as sufficient (FOR FAITH) as the TLM, then why is Mass attendance at the Novus Ordo so poor?  If it is just as enriching as the TLM, why hasn't the Novus Ordo grown the Church at the same rate as the TLM?  The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there is something missing from the Mass.  If something is missing from the Mass, even though it is valid, it is deficient.  If Catholics relate 98% of their faith through the Mass, then it should be the Mass that is most sufficient.  I just don't see the Novus Ordo being that way.  If it were, then the growth of the Church would be commiserate with the historical numbers...right?

She then said:
We have allowed ourselves to conform to this world instead of being beacons of light.
To which I responded:
If that is the case, then what is our beacon?  If the Church is our continent and we are on a ship which is our journey, the Mass must be the beacon which draws us to the Church, for it is the official prayer of the Church.  It is how we most perfectly worship.  If our beacon is not sufficient, then we will crash upon the rocks.  For 1500 years, we have had a strong beacon and Catholicism grew.  For the last 40+ years, we have not, and the Church has not grown.

Christ was present to the Jews and they didn't accept Him.  His presence isn't enough.  There must be an acceptance and a submission to Him.  The Church is an all or nothing proposition.  It isn't just being in his presence which will draw us to Him.  It is accepting Christ fully.  We don't necessarily have to understand it perfectly, but we do have to accept Him fully.

If the Novus Ordo has the same salvific power, then why are people not embracing it the same way that they accepted the TLM?  No, salvation is not exclusive to the TLM, but the TLM is a more sufficient expression of faith.  I'm not saying that the Novus Ordo isn't valid, I'm saying that it isn't sufficient.  Presented with the two options Sacramentally, which is more desirable, that which more complete, or that which is more simple?

And I disagree, it is the rubrics which will save us.  If we didn't have rubrics, we wouldn't have the Mass.  The Mass is a process and insofar as the Mass is a process, there must be rules which bind it.  If the rules are not followed, then what?  Eventually you will have anarchy.  I don't think that you really want to argue that the necessity of the rubrics isn't tied to salvation.  They are.

She then goes on:
But the Sacrifice is the same therefore it is not deficient. Because solemnity of the Mass does not change because of our mindset.
 I answered that by saying:
The Mass is an action, not a mindset.  Insofar as it is an action, a mindset can change the solemnity of the Mass.  A pontifical Mass is more solemn than a Solemn Mass.  A Solemn Mass is more solemn than a Sung Mass.  A sung Mass is more solemn than a low Mass.  The reality is that mindset does effect action.  And insofar as that is the case, the Novus Ordo is deficient.  Why?  Because the mindset is not the same.  The mindset is to change the action.  When the Mass ceases to be a sacrifice and becomes a communal meal (mindset), the Mass becomes less than what it should be.

Let me put it to you this way, if a priest were to celebrate the Novus Ordo as the Church wishes, then there would be no problem with the validity or licitness of the Mass.  The problem lies in the fact that nobody can tell us exactly what the Church wishes, because the Church doesn't enforce the action of the Mass.  What you get from parish to parish is different.  BUT, if you go to the TLM, you get the same thing, no matter where you are.  Why?  Because the Church has been express in her administration of the Mass.  We can overtly know what the Church wants, because the Church enforces the action of the Mass.  How?  Through the rubrics.

Can this be accomplished through the Novus Ordo?  I don't think so, precisely because the Novus Ordo didn't come from the mind of the Church, it came from the desk of a Consilium.  It is fabricated and it is contrived.  I'm not saying that it isn't valid.  Pope Paul VI promulgated it, therefore it is valid, but it is deficient, because it came not from Tradition, but rather it came from innovation and fabrication.  It is a re-imagining of an immutable truth handed down through the ages by the Church.  Because it came from man and not from the Church, it is deficient.

The point of the Mass is not to know what the priest is saying, but rather it is to unite our souls to his action.  It doesn't matter if we can understand his prayers, but what does matter is that we can know that his prayers are being offered properly, efficiently, and with all devotion.

Also, the Council Fathers disagree with you.  They expected Catholics to understand Latin enough to be able to respond to the prayers.  So, I would argue that the vernacular is yet another abuse, which has become the norm.

Ask one of your priests, "Why don't we follow the mandate of the Council Fathers and use Latin, as put forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium?"

See, here's the deal...the Mass, which is the most visible sign of Catholicism was undermined.  It was watered down and it was changed arbitrarily.  The wishes of the Council Fathers were not followed, by the Pope or by his Consilium.  They pushed through a Mass which was/is less than what the Council intended and Paul VI signed off on it.  That makes it valid.  But that doesn't mean that it is licit.  Whether something is licit or not is based upon how it is carried out.  Clearly the Novus Ordo has not been carried out as the Council Fathers wished.  If it is not licit, then there is something missing.  If there is something missing, then it is deficient.

So, this begs the question, why assist at something which is not sufficient?  If the TLM is sufficient and the Novus Ordo is deficient, why would anyone willingly assist at it?

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