Bird’s Eye View of the News
Dear Mr. Atila Guimarães,
Thank you very much for your words of encouragement and advice in your highly anticipated reply to my questions.
As soon as I read it, I entrusted myself and this discernment to Our Lady of Good Counsel and pray that she may still enlighten me. Here is what I have thought in these last few weeks. I apologize in advance for the long email. …
I have been considering the following points. I think a good criterion to establish from the beginning is that I would like to go with the decision that brings the most peace, the peace that comes from Christian order. With this in mind, I see the panorama around me much clearer.
Paul VI saying the first New Mass
Second, another fundamental element is ensuring the validity of the sacramental actions I would be carrying out as a priest.
Third, I should only worry about canonical status inasmuch as it may affect the previous two points.
With these principles thus hierarchically arranged, I can consider my options.
- I had thought that I wouldn't be able to hear confessions or celebrate weddings validly as a priest not in good canonical standing ...
- The more pressing problem, however, arises when I think about our Society. You have mentioned on TIA that celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass is objectively a mortal sin. This is a problem for us, since we keep celebrating it for the faithful tied to us (many more since the "pandemic" began and we were the only place to stay open and offer the Sacraments.) … That would go against the very first principle of choosing a morally good option. So I think the next step for me would be to clearly resolve this issue in such a way as to leave no room for doubt for any of us.
- That being said, I do not see clearly the entire argument for the sinfulness of the new Mass. I believe that in order to prove it, I would have to do a thorough study of it, using all the resources I have available and that are posted on your wonderful site. The arguments I would seek to prove through this study would be:
a. Strongest argument: The consecration of the wine is invalid and therefore the mass is sinfully incomplete every time it is celebrated. I've seen this stated on TIA a couple of times, but it would have to be proven in such a way as to convince us of its truth without a doubt.
b. Argument: Elements of the Mass that cause problems with Protestantism were removed or modified to be compatible with it. Therefore, the NO Mass itself worships God in a way that somehow contradicts the one true Faith, which would be a mortal sin. I think there is much more information on this point, but I would still have to clarify and prove the truth of each premise.
The New Mass assimilated pop music - a wrong adaptation to the world
- If it turns out to be a proven fact that the celebration of the NO Mass and the other Sacraments is sinful, then we'd have to make many, many changes.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any suggestions? Or any resources to get me started? Is there any near equivalent to your 11-volume set against Vatican II that refers to the NO? If not, I plan to finish reading the set first, then do a side-by-side comparison of the NO with the traditional Latin Mass, using commentaries taken from the reformers themselves to explain the changes.
I apologize again for writing such a long email and for taking up so much of your time. I can't help but wonder, however, at God's providence in this.
God bless you,
Dear Mr. J.S.,
Thank you very much for the consideration you show for TIA's work as well as mine.
I will proceed to answer your questions with a previous observation that I am neither a Moralist, nor a Liturgist nor a Canon Lawyer. Normally, I address these topics from the perspective of a layman, that is, with the sensus fidelium. Please take this into consideration.
Allow me to make two initial remarks about your general approach.
- I consider the position you took of looking for a solution that brings peace to your soul very noble. It is a wise criterion. This approach supposes, of course, that you should not fall into sin. So, here also your resolution not to sin is noble and advisable. Thus, the questions in your letter are centered on not committing personal sin. Although this is laudable, I believe that something is missing.
Peace of soul is a characteristic of the state of grace
- The second observation is that I will not criticize the Novus Ordo Mass from the point of view of its validity, as I will explain below, but rather of its orthodoxy. So, I situate myself outside of the canonical controversy in order to see what it is legitimate from the point of view of Faith and Dogmatic Theology.
Regarding the invalidity of the formula of the Consecration, which you mentioned in your item a: It is a question that relies fundamentally on accepting one of the following presuppositions:
- Paul VI was not a validly elected Pope because he was a heretic as a Cardinal, or he was validly elected but lost his pontificate when his heresy became known. Therefore, all the reforms he made for the Sacraments are invalid;
- Paul VI was a valid Pope but did not have the authority to change the formula of the Consecration as established in the traditional Missale Romanum and confirmed by the Bull Quo primum tempore by St. Pius V.
- I believe that a Pope can fall into heresy and continue to validly exercise his pontificate until his heresy is known by the Church. He ceases to be Pope before God, but continues to be Pope before the visible society called the Catholic Church until the Church becomes aware of it.
This knowledge by the Church is open to discussion: Is it required for the entire Church to know his heresy or only her sanior pars (healthy part)? In this last case, who represents the sanior pars? What kind of public notoriety of his heresy is required for him to lose his pontificate? In this matter, I follow the study of Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira – Part II - The Hypothesis of a Heretic Pope – a book that is posted on our website that you can read here.
So, even when it is clear that Paul VI supported at the least the heresy of universal salvation, I believe that he continued to be Pope before the Catholic Church.
- Since I consider that Paul VI was a valid Pope, I believe that he had the authority to change the formulae of the Sacraments. I think that the authority of the Bull
Quo primum tempore forbidding changes in the Mass applies to all Catholics and Hierarchs of the Church, but does not apply to another valid Pope. I have explained in detail my position on this topic in an answer to another seminarian, which you can read here.
So, just as a Pope can recognize formulae of consecration in the Masses of Eastern Catholic Rites, which are different from the traditional Missale Romanum, he also can alter the formulae of the Roman Rite as long as he is seeking the greater glory of God, the exaltation of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls. Since Paul VI clearly failed to follow these three last requirements, I consider his reform valid, but not legitimate.
Paul VI: a valid Pope although illegitimate
in his promotion of Protestatntism
In the topic below, I will analyze among other matters the orthodoxy of the new formula of the Consecration of the wine.
2. The Novus Ordo has the flavor of Protestantism
I will now address your item b where you mention that the Novus Ordo Mass was reformed to abolish the elements that were contrary to Protestantism. You are correct. You admit that it is a mortal sin and that it is a topic that needs more study of your part.
I will try to help you delve further into this matter.
The main points in the Novus Ordo Mass (2) that changed the Traditional Mass include:
- Abolition of the Sacrificial character of the Offertory - The three principal oblations of the Offertory were: 1. The oblation of Jesus Christ truly took place at the moment of the Consecration, but was prepared by an ensemble of prayers that told Catholics who was the Victim to be immolated, and, by anticipation, offered this Victim to the Most Holy Trinity; 2. The oblation of ourselves through Jesus Christ; 3. The many prayers showing the propitiatory character of the Sacrifice included in the traditional Roman Missal. These three elements disappeared in the New Offertory.
The prayers abolished to Protestantize the Offertory were the Suscipe Sanctae Pater, Offerimus Tibi Domini, Deus Qui Humanae Substantiae and Veni Sanctificator.
- Confusion on the concept of Transubstantiation - Perhaps the most important confusion in the Offertory concerns the concept of Transubstantiation. Only an allusion to the Transubstantiation of the bread is present in the Novus Ordo Mass: "That this bread may become for us the bread of life." This affirmation is ambiguous since the preaching of the word of God is also the bread of life. The expression "bread of life" allows misinterpretations such as to say that what takes place is trasnsignification and not Transubstantiation.
- Essential modifications in the Consecration - The expression Canon of the Mass was replaced by Eucharistic Prayer, which now has three optional formulae. Since Canon means what is obligatory, the ideal of an immutable formula reflecting an immutable doctrine disappeared. Such a change along with the new formula of the Consecration accommodated the conception of the Eucharist as a simple agape or banquet realized by the community in commemoration of the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord.
Paul VI with Protestants who helped write the New Mass; below, the six Protestant theologians of that Commission
The Consecration formula was fused into the preparatory prayer, Qui Pridie, and the two became the "Narration of the Institution." This change in itself implies that the Mass has changed from a Sacrifice to a memorial supper.
Now, the traditional formula of the Consecration in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was defined in its dogmatic character by the Council of Florence in 1442 and confirmed by the Council of Trent in 1545, as well as by the Bull Quo primum tempore of Pope St. Pius V in 1570. Therefore, the changes introduced in 1969 and 1970 by Paul VI objectively diluted the dogmatic significance in order to approach heresy. That same heresy the Council of Trent and St. Pius V combated. In other words, these changes favor heresy and have the flavor of heresy.
The removal of the words "mysterium Fidei" from the Consecration formula of the wine in the Novus Ordo Mass contradicts the dogmatic declarations of those two Councils and of Quo primum, and seem to be a deliberate attempt to eliminate the sacrificial nature of the Mass. These changes favor the heresy of Protestantism and have the flavor of heresy.
- Other modifications in the 1970 Mass - I go on to list other modifications that favor Protestantism: introduction of the vernacular, Communion under two species for the faithful, the possibility of introducing new prayers, the consideration of the actions of the faithful as an essential part of the Mass equivalent to the role of priest, the omission of the Mass as a sacrifice and its presentation as a commemoration of the Resurrection, the insistence on the Liturgy of the Word having the same value as the Eucharist.
You can find similar arguments and others in the already mentioned excellent book by Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira – Part I - Theological and Moral Implications of the New Ordo Missae – which you can read here.
3. The Novus Ordo Mass assimilated elements of the Revolution
In your item c, you mention as another reason against the New Mass the fact that in its prayers it eliminated elements that were contrary to the spirit of the Revolution. You are correct regarding the past. You could add that, regarding the future, its doors are also open to assimilate new elements of the Revolution, such as modern music, modern art, social revolution, class struggle, feminism, homosexuality etc. These elements have been or can be introduced into parts of the Liturgy, into the customs of the Novus Ordo celebrations or into its mutable prayers.
The acceptation of Luther's theses is the main concession to the Revolution made by the New Mass
However, the most important concession to the Revolution was the tacit acceptation of Protestantism, as analyzed above.
Regarding the glory of God, the minimum we can say about the Novus Ordo Mass is that it is like the offering of Cain, made up of bad fruits that are rejected by God.
Regarding the gravity of the moral culpability of those who celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass, I suggest that you investigate the anathemas of the Councils of Florence and Trent, as well as of St. Pius V's Bull Quo primum tempore. I further speculate whether or not those who opt to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass and are aware of all its dogmatic errors could not be included among those who deny the truth known as such, which constitutes a sin against the Holy Spirit.
These are my comments on your arguments and my answers to your questions that I can offer you right now, with the hope that you and your friends may benefit from them.
May Our Lady of Good Counsel continue to help you to see clearly and make the right decisions.
- I leave aside here the fact that the original Novus Ordo Missae offered by the Vatican to each Conference of Bishops has three formulae of the Eucharistic Prayer - each one bolder and closer to heterodoxy - which replaced the Canon in the Traditional Mass. Each Bishops' Conference chooses the formula it considers more adequate for its followers. So, a complete study of its heterodoxy should analyze not only the formula chosen for this or that country, but the other formulae as well.
- What here is generically referred to as the Novus Ordo Mass includes the following documents: the Institutio of 1969; the Ordo of 1969; the Institutio of 1970 (with its Prologue); the Ordo of 1970. Although the Institutio and Ordo of 1970 diluted the explicit concessions to Protestantism present in the documents of 1969, these documents are useful to show the orientation of those dilutions.