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Monday, September 19, 2011


I've been having a conversation with a friend over some issues going on with regard to the Novus Ordo and the TLM.  Here is the latest exchange....
My thoughts are although what you have said is all good and true, none of it was sacriligeous... the abuses don't count. the GIRM is not to be considered a handy guide of ways to help make mass better. The fact that priests take it to be that doesn't mean they are correct.

I really want to draw the line between what the Novus Ordo mass actually is theologically, rubrically, and through the instructions provided by the Magisterium, and between what we often see in modern day liberal or even not-so-liberal parishes that are following some "spirit of what I believe to be true" and not the Magisterium.

This would mean that the Novus Ordo mass is said ad orientem, with latin given preference, gregorian chant given pride of place, the organ given pride of place etc etc etc. That is why I listed all the stipulations. Guitar music, David Haus, versus populum, communion on the hand, 10 minute signs of peace, etc are not what the Novus Ordo mass is; those things are what abuses, modernism, and liberal priests/laity have added to the liturgy.

Now while I agree that the Novus Ordo has watered down language, reduced prayers, "simplificiations", and whatnot as you mentioned with the prayers at the foot of the alter, the collects, the kyrie, etc - I don't see the prayers of the Novus Ordo as being sacriligeous.

The distinction is between the Novus Ordo mass being sacriligeous, and people doing sacriligeous things at the Novus Ordo mass. Now, the rubrics being as open as they are surely contribue to the ease of which abuse occurs, but all of the "sacriligeous actions" that you speak of are not part of the Novus Ordo mass, but are introduced into it through abuse, liberalization, and modernism.

Edited to add: These posts are not well thought out or researched, just my first thoughts on the matter.

Here is how I responded to him....

We have to define sacrilege. It would be any transgression against religion. So, let's use that as a starting point. By taking the abuses out, you are discounting any number of sacrileges that do take place in the Novus Ordo, which do, in fact happen and in some cases are widespread. I think that by qualifying abuses is not being intellectually honest. So...

The GIRM SHOULDN'T be a handy guide, but the reality is there is nothing which holds the force of law which the GIRM is. The rubrics are liturgical law and if nobody is enforcing them, then yes, that is sacrilege, because it is a transgression against religion. And precisely because the preists act the way they do, moreso with the Novus Ordo, than with the TLM does speak to the sacrilege which goes on. If nothing more, that is exactly what the lack of institutional control the Vatican excercises over liturgical law does. That lack of control is sacrilege.

If you want to draw the line, I've started to do that. You don't think that shifting the theology from that of a sacrifical action completed by the priest to that of a meal celebrated by the community with the preist as presider is NOT a transgression against religion? It certainly is. I'm not willing to argue the validity of the Mass on this point, but I am willing to say that it is sacrilegious. Because that attitude harms the truth and the religiosity of the Catholic Church.

I'll focus on the music of the Mass....the Mass has music which is proper to it. That music is the prayer and the vocalization of the Mass, both ordinarily and properly. That music has been abandoned and it has been replaced with a Protestant model, of four hymns and nothing properly sung (ie the propers). So, at best only the ordinaries are sung and the proper understanding of singing has been lost. Why because those prayers which are proper to the Mass are either simply recited or in almost all cases (introit, the gradual/alleluia/tract, offertory, communion) have been eliminated. And those prayers which do remain collect and post-communion are no longer sung, but rather recited. This is a transgression against religion. Because it is the religiosity of the Mass through the music which has been summarily destroyed. Sacrilege.

We often times think that sacrilege is a major action such as stealing a host or punching a priest or defacing a statue or something like that, but sacrilege is also the distortion and elimination of those things which are PROPERLY Catholic, in favor of a deficient view.

Again, looking at the role the priest fulfills in the Novus Ordo, compared to the TLM, when it comes to the comparison of the Liturgy of the Word as opposed to the Mass of the Catechumens:

In the LoW, the priest's role has been reduced to that of presider. His active role in the whole of the first half of the Mass is reduced to praying the collect and (if no deacon is present) reading the Gospel. THAT'S IT!!! He has no other function in the Novus Ordo LoW. The priest does all of this from the chair and is not proclaiming anything from the altar to the masses. His necessity is mitigated to the assembled, save two small parts of the first half of the Mass.

By contrast:

In the TLM, the priest's role is indispensible, he is necessary. He must pray the prayers at the foot of the altar. He must pray the Confetior, he must pray the Kyrie, he must pray the Introit, he must pray the collect, he must proclaim the readings (both) and the gradual/tract/alleluia...even if they are also sung, he must STILL read them. All of this is done from the altar, not the chair. He is celebrating the Mass of the Catechumens, leading the heathens to the altar and then proclaiming the Word of God as celebrant to the masses.

To remove the priest from the role of celebrant and to change his role to presider is a transgression against religion. To change the theology from that of a ministerial celebration in which the faithful participate to that which the assembly celebrates and the former celebrant merely presides is a sacrilege. It is a transgression against religion. Why? Because it specifically removes the religiosity of the Mass from the one who properly celebrates it and places it in hands of the assembled. That is Protestant and that is sacrilege.

So, yes, the Novus Ordo is sacrilegious, not only from a legal point of view with the various abuses, but also with the shift in sacramental theology to that of the assembly celebrating the Mass and the priest simply presiding. The same things happen in both the revised offertory and the Liturgy of the Eucharist v. Mass of the Faithful, but stopping at this point is a good place for now.

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