Fables versus the Novus Ordo Mass

In order to be a Republican, you have to believe the party line on most issues. In order to run for office as a Republican, even more so. And the same if you want to run as a Democrat. You can’t work for a liberal University and have conservative views on anything. And the same thing happens in religion. This is the way that groups of human sinners work, unfortunately. If you want to be part of a group, you have to have their point of view, you have to accept their stories, their group-myths.

To be a traditionalist, you have to hate on the Novus Ordo Mass. “No, but I really think the NOM is bad!” Right. And it is just coincidence that nearly every single traditionalist has the same point of view on the Novus Ordo. None of them say both are good, and it is a matter of personal preference. None say that the differences are all exterior and superficial, and therefore do not pertain to the heart of the Faith.

And then stories are told to support the things you have to believe to be part of a group, whether it is liberal or conservative or traditionalist. To be liberal as a Catholic, they want you to believe there’s only two uses of Papal Infallibility, and that the Bible contains errors on matters outside of those pertaining to our salvation. To be a traditionalist, there are all kinds of stories and claims about Vatican II, and the election of Pope Francis, and the NOM that they spin. These are generally accepted in that subculture. They are not dogma, but they are treated as such. Some claim that the NOM was devised by freemasons and Protestants, and then there is the claim that liberals manipulated the Second Vatican Council. These are the stories that go around in certain subcultures in Catholicism today. And they have more power over what people believe than dogma does.

The Church is indefectible. “Yes, but have you read Taylor Marshall’s book on how the Church was infiltrated by Freemasons, Communists, Global Elitists, Socialists, Liberals, and the Illuminati!!” Yeah, I’ve read that piece of blasphemous trash. It is storytelling designed to undermine dogma. It is a group-myth designed to hold the group together and to villainize those who are outside the group. That book is a wicked fairy tale.

{1:3} Now I asked you to remain at Ephesus, while I went into Macedonia, so that you would speak strongly against certain ones who have been teaching a different way,
{1:4} against those who have been paying attention to fables and endless genealogies. These things present questions as if they were greater than the edification that is of God, which is in faith.

{4:7} But avoid the silly fables of old women. And exercise yourself so as to advance in piety.

{4:3} For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but instead, according to their own desires, they will gather to themselves teachers, with itching ears,
{4:4} and certainly, they will turn their hearing away from the truth, and they will be turned toward fables.

{1:13} This testimony is true. Because of this, rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith,
{1:14} not paying attention to Jewish fables, nor to the rules of men who have turned themselves away from the truth.

We should interpret things like “Jewish fables” and the book of Revelation’s “synagogue of Satan” not as referring to Jews, but as a figure. Jewish fables represent the foolish stories told by those who do not want to accept the truths taught by Christ. And early Christians were not called Christians; many were Jews who still attended synagogues. So the “synagogue of Satan” are Christians who gather together, not to worship God, but idols.

The storytelling that prevails today in the Church is very harmful. There are fables told about the Novus Ordo Mass, such as: “clown Masses, balloon Masses, soccer Masses” — which are all individual examples of foolish decisions at individual Masses, and not representative of the true NOM.

Then there are the complaints about the music. Is it really true that no good hymns have been written in modern times? That can’t be true. And did not some of our best hymns begin with Protestants? This storytelling, that if you go to a NOM the music is terrible is self-fulfilling. You are not permitted to like that music, if you are a traditionalist.

It’s like an interview I saw on TV, many years ago, a reporter was asking a group of teenagers for their opinions on fragrances. In every single case, after sampling the fragrance, one teen would given a opinion, and they others would all agree. At no point did any teen disagree with the group. “Oh, that NOM fragrance is terrible. Yes, Yes, we all agree.” Is it really true that no good hymns are found at Novus Ordo Masses? Are the hymns prescribed by the Apostolic See? Why don’t you pick some good hymns and get involved in the music ministry? No, this is the way that traditionalists and some conservatives maintain their traditionalist or conservative “street cred”. You can’t be traditionalist and say, “The hymns as NOM today were pretty good.”

The other issue is that you don’t go to Mass to hear a concert. I attended a parish, when I was traveling years ago, in Maryland. They had a choir, and the singing was at a professional level, with four part harmonies. Then the songs chosen were not those hymns that are frequently criticized, like “Taste and See”. But the choir sang loudly and so professionally that no one could join in. We just listened to them sing. Then after the closing hymn, the audience clapped. Of course they did. Because the choir was putting on a show. That is not what you want. I’m not here criticizing the clapping, but that the music was done so well that it detracted from the worship of God in the Mass.

What do you want at Mass in some small parish? A team of professionals on hiatus from their world tour? And why does it matter? My only criticism is please vary the hymns more. “Taste and See” is a good hymn that is just over-used. It is words from Scripture, after all.

But you have to hate on the NOM if you want to fit in with the traditionalist subculture. And you also have to criticize Pope Francis and Vatican II. It’s part of the culture. You don’t show up at a Red Sox game wearing a Yankees hat. And that is a crying shame in our Church today, that there are still cliques where you have to believe one thing or another, outside of doctrine.

Refusing to attend Mass at all, unless it is TLM, is like refusing to listen to Christ’s Sermon on the mount, in person, because you don’t like the way He is dressed. No matter how much praise you heap upon the TLM, the NOM has the same essentials; the differences are exterior or non-essential. Were any of these exalted elements of the TLM at the Last Supper? Will any of these elements be retained at the secret Masses during the Last Days? Then they are not necessary and you should not fall in love with what is superficial.

Be an adult. If there is no longer a TLM where you live, attend the NOM. Focus on the Scriptures and the Eucharist, prayer the Rosary, maybe the Sermon will speak to you, if you listen closely enough. Adore the Eucharist and ignore the music. And no more repeating the party line, the fables of the faction you belong to. Have faith in what the Church teaches, including Vatican II and Pope Francis.

And when Traditionis came out, we saw a rush to invent new fables about that document and about the Pope. “The Pope dropped a bomb.” No, he didn’t. It’s a brief document of discipline, with a letter of explanation. “The Shepherd is beating us with his crook.” No, but this is a correction from Christ for the guilty. Then for the innocent, it is a cross. Fables abound, as a way to undermine the authority of the Church.

Then the worst of these fables is the interior state of the Pope, or the behind the scenes manipulations which are baseless stories. When did you see the soul of the Pope? Never. They stop making claims about what is in his heart.

Let us pray for those who find solace and depth in the Latin Mass, that they will accept this cross and prove that they are faithful to Christ. Otherwise, they might turn out to be only faithful to the pretty exterior of the TLM or to the clique of overgrown teenagers who have adopted it.


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6 Responses to Fables versus the Novus Ordo Mass

  1. john says:

    One problem in the NOM is how to deal with the Propers. Before Vatican II they would have been sung by a choir in collegiate churches and chanted by the clergy elsewhere (if done according to the rules). The reforms arising from Vatican II envisioned that the Propers would be sung by the congregation. But the Propers change each week (there are over 1,000 tunes in the liturgy), have irregular tunes, and are just too difficult for pretty much all congregations to actually sing. It seems that there are three different solutions that have been adopted.

    1. Replace the Propers with hymns (which rarely follow the lectionary).
    2. Chant or recite the Propers (and the Ordinary parts of the Mass).
    3. Have the Propers sung by a choir.

    None of these solutions is ideal. Most parishes seem to have basically adopted the first solution or a mixture of the first and second solution. In most parishes, the congregation don’t even realise the liturgy, in theory at least, prescribes Propers. I can understand why the third solution has sometimes been adopted, but the Mass can end up being a sort-of concert performance. Part of the attraction of the using the 1962 Mass seems to be that it forces the adoption of the third solution.

    In practise, most of the abuses seem to happen over these propers, and allowing their replacement by “hymns” has enabled all sorts of abuses of the liturgy.

    • Ron Conte says:

      “The Propers of the Mass are liturgical texts that vary from day to day according to the calendar: the Introit, the Gradual, the Responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia Verse (and the Lenten Tract which substitutes for it), the Offertory Chant, and the Communion Antiphon.”

      I don’t consider most of the complaints made about the NOM to be abuses. As long as the Mass has all the essentials, I think paying to much attention to details of form is not edifying.

  2. ignacy says:

    I do have a complaint about NOM as it is practiced virtually everywhere. Note thatI have nothing against the Roman Missal by S. PVI itself, only to how it is almost universally applied. In fact, I’m so used to it that I subjectively prefer it to the Vetus Ordo.

    The complaint is that the Missal and the General Instruction to Roman Missal are extremely rarely followed, even by bishops. The Roman Canon is prescribed on Sundays (alongside EPIII) and has to be used on important Feasts, particularly of Saints mentioned in the Canon. It is the only Eucharistic Prayer that may always be used (others have to be cycled). In practice though, it is almost never used, and instead EPII is used, even on Sundays, which is an abuse unless “special conditions” arise. These special conditions are apparently present every week. This is extremely sad to me, especially after the liturgical reform permitted the faithful to hear the Canon, only to never have an occasion to do so. Without the Canon, it’s even hard to say that the Mass is a Roman one (this doesn’t make the Mass less Catholic or deficient in any sense, except for the abuse part – it just ceases to be an expression of worship of the particular people in time and space that we call Roman, just as Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy is not Roman and at the same time is the same Mass of All Ages).

    • Ron Conte says:

      Thanks. Good points.

    • ignacy says:

      To go further this road, let’s quote Karl Rahner SJ, definitely not a traditionalist (quotation does not mean full approval):

      “”Imagine that the pope, as supreme pastor of the Church, issued a decree today requiring all the uniate churches of the Near East to give up their Oriental liturgy and adopt the Latin rite … the pope would not exceed the competence of his jurisdictional primacy by such a decree, and the decree would be legally valid. But we can also pose an entirely different question. Would it be morally licit for the pope to issue such a decree? Any reasonable man and any true Christian would have to answer ‘no’. Any confessor of the pope would have to tell him that in the concrete situation of the Church today such a decree, despite its legal validity, would be subjectively and objectively an extremely grave moral offence against charity, against the unity of the Church rightly understood (which does not demand uniformity), … a mortal sin from which the pope could be absolved only if he revoked the decree.” (quote via Phoenix from the Ashes, Mr Henry Sire, Angelico Press and Fr John Hunwicke’s blog).

      If I’m right, then we clearly see a problem. Roman Rite (not just the traditional Latin Rite!) has for all practical intents and purposes disappeared. What we are left with is a Mass that is so often abused that it is in some places easier to find a Vetus Ordo than a Mass free from abuses.

      Now, the decrees against the 1962 use of the Roman Rite, including Traditionis Custodes, are perfectly valid and to be obeyed by any Catholic, but how can one not be empathetic with the situation of those attached to the Roman part of their Catholicism? In fact, I’m surprised that so few feel this sentiment, something that speaks so poorly about the experience of the Mass pre-V2.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Rahner is wrong. It is also wrong to put an opinion of a theologian — speaking only in the hypothetical! — above the real world decision of the Roman Pontiff. Each Pope has the charism of truth and of never failing faith, and his Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error in doctrine or discipline. So if it were a grave sin against Faith, then the Pope would not be able to make such a decision, committing such a sin. And, further, one cannot nullify the authority of the Roman Pontiff, by accusing him of a personal sin within his official valid and licit judgments as Pope. That situation is not possible. It would be a failure of faith, that scenario that Rahner discusses, and so it cannot happen.

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