November 30, 2009

On This Date-40 Years Ago...

..The Novus Ordo Mass, a.k.a. The Mass of 1970, the Mass of Pope Paul VI, and what we now call, since Summarum Pontificum, the Ordinary Form became effective. Effective-odd word isn't it? Was it effective? Effective at doing what? November 30, 1969 was the First Sunday of Advent that year.

Father Zuhlsdorf has a trio of interesting PODCAzT's wherein he reads the text of Pope Paul VI's writings just before the implementation of the new form of the Mass. They are here, here and here

From my studies of the era and Pope Paul VI, and I admit they are not overly comprehensive, I'm not convinced, as some are, that Pope Paul VI had any idea of the nuttiness that would ensue. Still, a former dissenter, as I was, should spend a lot of time studying this era, right? You'd think so. Alas, that is rarely the case. Many rely on others, "authorities", to do the scholarship for them.

For most of my life, I don't remember anything but the New Mass. A priest, who was very influential in the "progressive" Catholic movement in this area, was already doing his own thing at Mass before November of 1970. The release of the new Mass, and the resulting confusion, seemed to give him all the license he needed to go even further afield. He died a few years ago. His funeral "mass" was an occasion of great insult to the then Archbishop and rage and confusion to many.

Rage and confusion.I think that sums up that era of the New Mass implementation for me. I remember my Dad getting angry at the sudden presence of folk guitars in the sanctuary of the church he and my Mom were married in and pulling us out of there to another parish across town. To this day, if he hears folk music in the sanctuary he wants to leave. I remember my maternal Grandfather never setting foot in a Catholic church, or any church, unless there was a funeral. I think his funeral was the longest period of time he'd been in the Church of his birth in Christ in 30 years. He'd spend any period of time he was forced to be there due to someone's death, muttering to himself. I thought he was speaking Polish under his breath. Now, I wonder if it was Latin. It may as well have been Russian for all the Latin I knew then. I remember the confusion of "folksy" and "down to earth" homilies, wretched CCD, "creative" liturgies. The Novus Ordo is not to blame for all this insanity, but I think the newness and the rupture it caused enabled a lot of people to feel like they could do and believe what THEY wanted. Everything was new-see. Old was bad-see. Tradition was boring.

People think the Mass is only engaging when you are entertained. I never remember being entertained at Mass. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Forget obligation-it was a chore. What young adult or child is going to sit, willfully, thru one hour of folk music and Father talking about his weekend? Who cares? Really, at any age, who cares about that? If that's all there is, invite Father over for dinner and have some friends round to sit by a firepit and jam.

It took me over 30 years to get beyond it all. There was little meaning to the methods. Even worse, there was no depth.

I can't blame the Novus Ordo for all the weaknesses in the Church or in the Faith. I share blame too. I was too trusting of the wrong people for too long. What we need is a revolution! The faithful need to rise up and demand to learn the truths of their faith! Why is everyone sitting around? We should be outraged! People with their own personal agendas took over the Church-pure and simple and we let it happen. Take it back!

The Novus Ordo is not to blame for some of the foolery of the last 30 years. I have no problem with the Novus Ordo if it is reverantly and properly (aye, those are the rubs!) celebrated. Some people see an open window and they knock the walls down. I, honestly, believe that it was inconceivable to most of the Vatican II Council fathers that people would interpret what they really meant into, what was often, heretical ways and directions. Villains take an opportunity and run with it. Even if they don't see an opportunity, they create one.

One thing I've learned. The hermeneutic of continuity is SO important. I, believe the Mass of 1970 was a rupture. Perhaps, if it were implemented gradually and with greater instruction and catechesis maybe things would've been different. I think, I hope, we as a Church have learned from that. I never want to see us break that much with our history again. Thankfully, our current Holy Father appears to share this view by giving the 1962 Mass greater freedom to be celebrated-not instead of the 1970Mass, but also.

One more thing I've been pondering lately. Blessed John XXIII is a hero to "progressive" Catholics solely because he convened the Second Vatican Council. It was Pope Paul VI, John XXIII's sucessor, who implemented the Council. Yet, Pope Paul VI is vilified by progressives. Why? Because of Humanae Vitae

To some folks, you can never be a hero unless you give THEM what they want. The crowds wanted Barabbas. Does that make Pontius Pilate a hero?


Blogger X said...

Great post! Did you read mine titled Ecclesia Semper Reformanda? I put it up last night - it dovetails nicely with yours.

(heh...word verification is asend...hmmm....)

November 30, 2009 11:43 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

My sister and I attended Mass at a N O parish recently and asked the priest if there was any chance that the Tridentine Mass could be celebrated there. His response was shocking to us- he said, basically, "over my dead body". There is a great deal of intolerance amongst the priests of this diocese when it comes to the Latin Mass, and I really don't understand their attitude. No one is asking them to perform the Mass, as it takes special training, but it seems that they go against the Vatican's mandate to allow the TLM when they flatly refuse like that.

November 30, 2009 11:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


You probably figure that if a priest was ordained before 1985, "over my dead body" might be his mantra.

If he was 26 when he was ordained, that means the he probably is 50, now.

There are many exceptions, of course, on both sides of the timeline.

But it's probably 20 years until we can purify the Church of the entertainers and the extemporizers and their ilk who feel that the liturgy is theirs to play with.

But boy, the men coming behind them are often quite fabulous priests!

Pray for them all, but an extra Ave and Pater or two for the younger ones.

November 30, 2009 10:18 PM  
Blogger Ed Kohler said...

It seems like American Catholics get caught up in the politics of the institution more than other countries. We love to debate rules.

December 02, 2009 12:53 PM  
Blogger Shirley said...

Ray from MN- you're right, this priest is at least in his 50's. And I keep praying for more vocations to the FSSP.

December 04, 2009 7:36 AM  

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