Rorate Caeli

The Roman Rite: Old and New - VI
The New Mass and the Church: the underlying theology of the New Rite is Protestant and motivated by Ecumenism

In the sixth part of of Don Pietro Leone's "The Roman Rite: Old and New", the author reaches his conclusion on the problematic aspects of the theology of the New Mass, as compared with the Traditional Rite, now dealing with the Ecclesiological deficiencies of the New Rite and quoting numerous testimonies on the  Protestant nature of the New Mass, ending this subtantial portion of his study with the ecumenical motivation behind the enactment of the Modern Rite.

10. The Church

The Church featured large in the Old Rite: Her three-fold nature: Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant, was clearly manifest, whereas in the New Rite She is hardly recognizable.
The Church Militant, whose goal is Grace, permanent and eternal, has been substituted by the pilgrim Church on the march to a purely temporal goal; Her Faith (as when we pray pro omnibus orthodoxis atque catholicae et apostolicae fidei cultoribus for all worshippers with the orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Faith) has been substituted by a search with sincere heart (omnium qui te quaerunt corde sincero)[1].
The Church Suffering is no longer mentioned in the three new eucharistic prayers; the Requiem Mass has been abolished; the phrase cum signo fidei et dormiunt in somno pacis (with the sign of Faith and sleep with the sleep of peace), has been transmuted into obierunt in pace Christi tui (have died in the peace of Christ) with no mention of Faith; and a group of persons has been added: omnium defunctorum quorum fidem tu solus cognovisti (of all the deceased whose Faith is known to You alone) where two of the four characteristics of Faith, namely its unity and visibility, are lacking.

The Church Triumphant has been minimalized:[2] angels and saints have been reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor, and have disappeared as witnesses and judges in the person of Saint Michael in the first part; the angelic hierarchies have been removed from the new preface to the second eucharistic prayer, and Dominus Deus Sabaoth (Lord God of the Heavenly Hosts) in the Sanctus has been translated as Lord God of Power and Might in the English, and Dio dell’Universo [3](God of the Universe) in the Italian version[4].
The popes and martyrs have been removed from the Communicantes; the Blessed Virgin Mary, the apostles, and all the saints from the Libera nos; the holy apostles Peter and Paul and the other apostles no longer appear at all in the entire Novus Ordo (with the exception of the Communicantes of the Roman Canon); nor are the holy martyrs invoked at the beginning of the Mass.
We notice too that the clause per Christum Dominum Nostrum has been removed, which is the eternal guarantee that God will listen to the prayers of the Church.
The Church was also clearly manifest in the Leonine prayers: those that conclude the Low Mass. These consist of three Aves, the Salve Regina, the prayer: “O Lord, Our Refuge and Our Strength…”, where, “by the intercession of the glorious and Immaculate Virgin Mary Mother of God, of St. Joseph her spouse, thy Blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints”, God is asked “mercifully and benignly to hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners and for the liberty and
of Holy Mother Church”; the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel; and three invocations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Michael Davies says (p. 519): “Five prayers less compatible with Protestantism could hardly be imagined. They have been suppressed by the Consilium.”
C. Public Testimonies

Lest any doubt remains that the theology of the New Rite is not Catholic but Protestant, we proceed to quote various public testimonies: the first group Catholic, the second group Protestant.
1. Catholic Testimonies

i) The first testimony, which is also the most authoritative, as being that of Cd. Ottaviani, erstwhile prefect for the Congregation of the Faith - together with Cardinal Bacci - is found in the letter with which he presents the Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae to Pope Paul VI, as well as in the Critical Study itself: “the Novus Ordo Missae… represents both as a whole and in its detail a striking departure [impressionante allontanamento] from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass, as it was formulated in the 22nd Session of the Council of Trent, which by establishing definitively the “canons” of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against all heresy that could touch the integrity of the Magisterium” (Letter 1). It is such “as to satisfy in many aspects the most modernist of Protestants” (Critical Study I).

The other testimonies are taken from the classical critiques of the New Rite in the German, French, and English languages.

ii) Mgr. Gamber in the “Reform of the Roman Liturgy” (2nd Edition, 1981 ch.1) speaks of “a frightening rapprochement to Protestant views which sails under the banner of a misconceived ecumenism[5]”; and in “The Liturgical Reform in Question” (French version, 1992, p. 42): “The new organization of the liturgy and above all the profound changes of the rite of Mass…were much more radical than the liturgical reform of Luther - at least in that which regards the external rite - and took less account of the sensibility of the people.”
iii) Prof. Louis Salleron writes in La Nouvelle Messe (Collection Itinéraires, p. 195): “Let it suffice to say that the new Mass is liturgically the “evangelical” Supper with its meal character, its vernacular language, its table, its celebration towards the people, its communion in the hand or under both species, and, in the words and the rites, the suppression of the representation of the sacrifice, of the Real Presence and the ministerial priesthood.[6]
iv) Michael Davies, in his book from which the majority of the material of this first part of the essay is taken, a book which together with the two other volumes of the trilogy “Liturgical Revolution” must rank as the most scholarly and detailed of all the critiques of the New Mass to date, writes: “there cannot be the least doubt that sacrificial language in the Novus Ordo Missae has been deliberately minimized so that it is compatible with the Protestant theory of sacrifice” (p. 520 of the last chapter of this book in which he compares the Old Rite with the New Rite in the light of Cranmer’s “communion service”).

2. Protestant Testimonies

i) Max Thurian, speaking of the New Rite in La Croix (May 30th1969 quoted in La Nouvelle Messe p.193), writes: “One of its fruits will perhaps be that non-Catholic communities will be able to celebrate the holy supper with the same prayers as the Catholic Church. Theologically it is possible[7]
ii) Dr. Ramsay, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, remarked in a visit to America in 1972: “I have experienced Roman rites which are really very Anglican. If you wish to find rites that are really Roman, visit some of our old-fahioned Anglo-Catholic shrines.” (MD p.274)
iii) The Protestant Hoeheres Konsistorium der Kirche der Augsburgischen Konfession von Elsasz-Lothringen published in the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (14th December 1973) stated: “To-day it should be possible for a Protestant to recognize in the Catholic eucharistic celebration the Supper instituted by the Lord… the new Eucharistic prayers make it easier for us to rediscover an evangelical theology.[8]
iv) After an ecumenical meeting in the Catholic Academy in Stuttgart-Hohenheim, a participant wrote (to the Rheinischer Merkur no.11 of March 26th1976) that a Protestant parson had celebrated the new Catholic Mass. A Catholic priest, asked how he found it, replied: “It was too Catholic for my liking[9]”. In a subsequent letter (RM no.14), another paticipant replied to the letter explaining that in fact the “Catholic Mass” had been a Protestant service, close to Luther’s “German Mass”, which, he added, would be considered too Catholic by many Catholic priests to-day.
D. An Ecumenical Motivation

The distinguished writer Jean Guitton, when interviewed on the radio[10] about the biography of Pope Paul VI by Yves Chiron, stated that the Pope had done all in his power to bring the Catholic Mass into conformity with the Protestant meal theory, and after twice repeating the allegation, concluded as follows: ‘Paul VI had an ecumenical intention of exstinguishing, or at least correcting or diluting, all that was too ‘Catholic’ in the traditional sense of the term in the Mass, and, I repeat, of bringing the Catholic Mass into conformity with the Mass of Calvin.’ 
We may distinguish between an indirect and a direct ecumenical influence on the creation of the new rite.
The indirect influence derives from the liturgical movement in its modernistic stage[11] heralded in by the publication in 1914 of the book La Prière de l’Eglise: principes et faits by the Belgian bendictine Dom Lambert Beauduin. This movement, which notably spread to the abbeys of Klosterneuburg and Maria Laach, fostered the following protestantizing elements: the Mass versus populum and in the vernacular; the communitarianism, participation, and priesthood of the faithful; the shift from altar to mensa; and the disfavour for private devotion and Eucharistic piety.
We have seen how such elements were present in the minds of the Innovators, finding their way into the articles of Sacrosanctum Concilium and into the Institutio Generalis. Professor de Mattei (cf. the last footnote) relates how they were also manifested on the floor of the Council. Of particular relevance was the speech of Msgr. Duschak who sustained the necessity of a Mass celebrated towards the people, aloud, in a vulgar and comprehensible tongue, in the manner of a feast, ecumenical, creating ‘the unity so much desired at least in the eucharistic memorial of the Lord. The People of God would then enjoy the perfect and intimate participation that the Apostles enjoyed in the Last Supper.’[12] 
The direct ecumenical influence on the New Rite is clearly manifest in the contribution made by the ‘Protestant Observers’ present at its creation. This contribution was officially denied, for example, by Mgr. Bugnini, the Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, and of the Consilium, who stated in the July-August 1974 issue of “Notitiae” (the Congregation’s official journal): “What role did the ‘observers’ play in the Consilium? Nothing more than that of - ‘observers’.” It was similarly denied by the Director of the Vatican Press Office on 25th February 1976 with the words “the Protestant Observers did not participate in the elaboration of the texts of the new Missal” (MD p. 586).
By contrast, Mgr. (later Cd.) Baum had observed in the course of an interview with “The Detroit News” 27th June 1967: “They are not simply there as observers, but as consultants as well, and they participate fully in the discussions on Catholic liturgical renewal” (MD p. 586). In order to establish the truth on this issue, Michael Davies contacted a certain Canon Ronald Jasper, one of the six Protestants present. The latter explained that the observers were present at the official debates in the morning, where they were not allowed to speak. In the afternoon, however, they had an informal meeting with the periti where they were certainly allowed to comment and criticize and make suggestions…. These informal meetings were a complete free-for-all, and there was a very frank exchange of views” (MD p. 587). The result was “exactly the type of liturgy and the type of renewal that could have been expected, in view of what they represented.” (Jean Madiran quoted in MD p. 259)
Michael Davies (p. 263-6) gives evidence of a “concerted scheme for different denominations to reform their respective liturgies in the direction of an eventual united Christian rite.” He cites the example of the Anglican “Series III Communion Service”, which comprises elements also added to the New Roman Rite, such as “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” after the consecration, with the apparent purpose of rapprochement with evangelical Protestants. The Ecumenical thrust is all the clearer in virtue of the leading role of Canon Jasper in the compilation of Series III. 
And yet, we must agree with Mgr. Gamber (see above) that this type of ecumenism is “misconceived” because it comprises no union in re but only in appearance: the Catholics, the High Anglicans, and the Evangelicals may celebrate the same rite, but they would produce a different effect. The Catholic priest makes Christ and the Sacrifice of Calvary really Present; the Anglicans and Evangelicals do not. As Mgr. Lefèbvre predicted, this ecumenism “will not attract a single Protestant to the Faith, but will cause countless Catholics to lose it, and will instil total confusion in the minds of many more who will no longer know what is true and what is false” (MD p. 273)[13].
We have argued that the theology of the Old Rite is Catholic and that the theology of the New Rite is Protestant. It follows that only a Protestant (or someone with a Protestant spirit) could coherently wish to substitute the Old Rite with the New - or some-one, of course, who wished to damage the Church, either by debasing the rite or by destroying the Mass itself.
If his intention were to destroy the Mass, he would not, however, have succeeded, because, as Michael Davies explains, the Church has the authority to validate a rite of Mass, and has done so in the case of the Novus Ordo[14].
Michael Davies entertains the idea that the intention to damage the Church was behind the creation of the new rite[15]. He explains how information was placed in the hands of Pope Paul VI to the effect that Mgr. Bugnini was a Freemason, that the latter was “then dismissed and his entire congregation dissolved”, whereupon he was sent as nuntius to Iran.[16]


[1] In this connection we note the suppression of the Church Militant from the Feast of Christ the King (qui sub Christi Regis vexillis militare gloriamur who glory to fight beneath the standards of Christ the King) and that of St. Ignatius Loyola (militantem Ecclesiam roborasti: you have strengthened the Church militant) see Fr. Cekada (op. cit.). 

[2] The Blessed Mother of God is no longer descibed as ‘Ever Virgin’ e.g. in the German and Italian versions, which would of course ‘offend’ Protestants.

[3] the same title with which God is addressed in the oblation of the bread and of the wine in the Italian of the Novus Ordo.This is no longer the Transcendent, personal God: the Most Blessed Trinity, the Divine Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of us, but some vague abstract concept compatible with any form of theism or pantheism including the wild and heretical vagaries of a Teilhard de Chardin.

[4] where we also note an anti-militaristic tendency (cf. Iota Unum 281 p.620). 

[5] “…eine erschreckende Annaeherung an Vorstellungen des Protestantismus, die im Zeichen eines falsch verstandenen Oekumenismus segelt.”

[6]Qu’il nous suffise de dire que la Nouvelle Messe, c’est liturgiquemnt la Cène “évangélique” - avec son caractère de repas, sa langue populaire, sa table, sa célébration face au peuple, sa communion dans la main ou sous les deux espèces et, dans les paroles et les rites, l’estompage de la représentation du sacrifice, de la Présence réelle, et du sacerdoce ministériel”.

[7]Un des fruits en sera peut-etre que des communautés non-catholiques pourront célébrer la sainte Cène avec les memes prières que l’Eglise catholique. Théologiquement c’est possible.”

[8]es mueszte heute fuer einen Protestanten moeglich sein, in der katholischen eucharistischen Feier das vom Herrn eingesetzte Abendmahl zu erkennen… die neuen eucharistischen Gebete erleichtern es uns, eine evangelische Theologie zu wiederfinden.”

[9]Das war mir zu katholisch

[10]‘...l’intention de Paul VI au sujet de la liturgie, au sujet de ce qu’on appelle vulgairement la messe, c’est de réformer la liturgie catholique de manière à ce qu’elle coincide presque avec la liturgie protestante... Je repète que Paul VI a fait tout ce qu’était en son pouvoir pour rapprocher la messe catholique - au–delà du concile de Trente - de la Cène protestante – aidé par Mgr. Bugnini...Autrement dit, il y a chez Paul VI une intention oecuménique d’effacer, ou du moins de corriger, ou du moins d’assouplir ce qu’il y a de trop ‘catholique’ au sens traditionnel, dans la messe, et de rapprocher la messe catholique, je le repète, de la messe calviniste.’ Lumière 101/ Radio Courtoisie Sunday 19th Dec. 1993.
[11] see Il Concilio Vaticano II - una storia mai scritta, Roberto de Mattei, Lindau 2010 (I.4  and III.8)

[12] In a press conference later that day he expressed his idea of introducing “a Mass that one could really call ecumenical, stripped as far as possible of its historical superstructures – una Messa che veramente si potrebbe chiamare ecumenica, spogliata in tutta la misura del possibile dalle sovrastrutture storiche…”
[13]In this context we may compare the following four forms of cult: the Protestant community meal presented as a community meal (as by the Non-conformists, MD p.414); the Protestant community meal presented as the Sacrifice of Calvary (as by certain High Anglicans); the Sacrifice of Calvary presented as a community meal (as in the new Roman rite); and the Sacrifice of Calvary presented as the Sacrifice of Calvary (as in the old Roman rite). As far as each form of cult aspires to be faithful to Christ’s words: “Do this in memory of me”, we may summarize these forms of cult respectively as follows: False presented as False; False presented as True; True presented as False; True presented as True.

[14] Here we note that the Critical Study raises the question as to whether the words of consecration would be valid if an individual celebrant understood them only as a form of narrative in accordance with the spirit of the Novus Ordo (see above).

[15] This seems likely in view of the thoroughness and meticulous nature of the destruction of the liturgy, and of the fact that the heresiarchs have always begun by attacking the liturgy (cf. the quotation of Dom Guéranger in the second part of the Epilogue).

[16] In this connection, we refer to “The Masonic Plan to Destroy the Holy Mass in Thirty-three Points, promulgated by the Masonic Grand Master and in effect from 1962” (Editions Delacroix BP 18 35430 Chateauneuf) which includes directives to sow doubts on the Real Presence and encourage ecumenism (3); to suppress the Latin liturgy (4), sacred organ music (7), altars in favour of tables (10); to remove tabernacles from altars and eliminate genuflections (11); to suppress the cult of the saints (12) and the statues and images of the angels (15); to introduce lay-ministers of the Eucharist (including women), Communion in the hand, the sign of peace (29), etc. Even if the booklet is no proof of any such plan on the part of the Masons, it shows how these abuses correspond to their way of thinking. In this connection we also quote the prophetic words of the apostate Canon Roca (1830-1893) in ‘L’Abbé Gabriel’ about an ecumenical Council which will give the Roman liturgy a ‘venerable simplicity of the golden age’ while adapting it to the ‘new state of conscience and modern civilization’: “Je crois que le culte divin tel que le règlent la liturgie, le cérémonial, le rituel et les préceptes de l’Eglise romaine subira prochainement dans un Concile oecuménique une transformation qui, tout en lui rendant la vénérable simplicité de l’age d’or apostolique, le mettra en harmonie avec l’état nouveau de la conscience et de la civilisation moderne : I believe that the divine cult, such as it is regulated by the liturgy, the ceremonial, the ritual, and the precepts of the Roman Church, will soon undergo a transformation in an ecumenical council, which, while giving it the venerable simplicity of the apostolic golden age, will bring it into harmony with the new state of modern consciousness and civilization.” (quoted in Mystère d’Iniquité, Pierre Virion, Téqui). In this connection we quote a further prophecy, this time from the Catholic standpoint, concerning such a liturgical eventuality. Cd Louis Billot S.J. (in the passage quoted immediately before the conclusion of the present essay) speaks of the divinized Humanity usurping the true God in the place where the tabernacles of the Lord Jesus have been overthrown with the words. ‘Quelque mystère luciférien des antres ténébreux des couvents maconniques: some luciferian mystery hatched in the dark caves of the masonic convents.’