By popular demand, I continue my column analyzing the Ottaviani critique
of the Novus Ordo Mass.
IV THE ESSENCE
We now pass on to the essence of the Sacrifice.
The mystery of the Cross is no longer explicitly expressed. It is only there obscurely, veiled, imperceptible for the people. And for these reasons:
1. The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called "prex Eucharistica" is: "that the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in offering sacrifice" (No. 54. the end)
Which sacrifice is referred to? Who is the offerer? No answer is given to either of these questions. The initial definition of the "prex Eucharistica" is as follows: "The centre and culminating point of the whole celebration now has a beginning, namely the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and of sanctification" (No. 54, pr.). The effects thus replace the causes, of which not one single word is said. The explicit mention of the object of the offering, which was found in the "Suscipe", has not been replaced by anything. The change in formulation reveals the change in doctrine.
In case the thread is getting lost here, the 'Suscipe' in the traditional Mass is as follows:
Accept, O Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, this spotless host, which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer to Thee, my living and true God, to atone for my numberless sins, offenses, and negligences; on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians living and dead, that it may profit me and them as a means of salvation to life everlasting. Amen.
This clear statement of the nature and purpose of the Holy Sacrifice, which is indeed "the centre and culminating point of the whole celebration", along with several other prayers mentioned in our previous posts, has been replaced with this:
Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
Nothing wrong with this. In fact, the same prayer (identical in Latin, subtly altered in the ICEL 'translation'*) appears in the traditional Mass -- after all the other Offertory prayers that have been suppressed. The question is, why suppress prayers that explain so beautifully what it is we are about to do as a Church, especially when that is the most important thing human beings are given to do in this vale of tears? Could someone give me a single worthy motive for this, or explain how it constitutes 'reform' to cast Christians further into the dark about what they are doing at Mass?
* The new 'translation' has 'our sacrifice' where the Latin reads 'my sacrifice and yours', thus erasing the distinction between priest and people and obscuring the individual encounter of the soul with Christ, which is lost in the group-think praxis of the Novus Ordo today.
It is these little details -- which can be found in virtually every prayer of the official Enlgish translation of the Novus Ordo Mass -- which make it abundantly clear that the dominant figures behind liturgical 'reform' are in fact heretics, despite their being unable to destroy the *validity of the Holy Mass.
2. The reason for this non-explicitness concerning the Sacrifice is quite simply that the Real Presence has been removed from the central position which it occupied so resplendently in the former Eucharistic liturgy. There is but a single reference to the Real Presence, (a quotation - a footnote - from the Council of Trent) and again the context is that of "nourishment" (no. 241, note 63)
The Real and permanent Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the transubstantiated Species is never alluded to. The very word transubstantiation is totally ignored.
The suppression of the invocation to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity ("Veni Sanctificator") that He may descend upon the oblations, as once before into the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin to accomplish the miracle of the divine Presence, is yet one more instance of the systematic and tacit negation of the Real Presence.
That prayer is simply:
Come, O Sanctifier, Almighty and Eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Thy Holy Name.
Soon afterwards comes a petition to the Holy Trinity, quoted earlier, which is also suppressed.
Note, too, the suppressions:
of the genuflections (no more than three remain to the priest, and one, with certain exceptions, to the people, at the Consecration;
of the purification of the priest's fingers in the chalice;
of the preservation from all profane contact of the priest's fingers after the Consecration;
of the purification of the vessels, which need not be immediate, nor made on the corporal;
of the pall protecting the chalice;
of the internal gilding of sacred vessels;
of the consecration of movable altars;
of the sacred stone and relics in the movable altar or upon the "table" - "when celebration does not occur in sacred precincts" (this distinction leads straight to "Eucharistic suppers" in private houses);
of the three altar-cloths, reduced to one only;
of thanksgiving kneeling (replaced by a thanksgiving, seated, on the part of the priest and people, a logical enough complement to Communion standing);
of all the former prescriptions in the case of the consecrated Host falling, which are now reduced to a single, casual direction: "reventur accipiatur" (no. 239)
All these things only serve to emphasise how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.
One could add dozens of examples of how faith in the Real Presence has been lost. The synod of bishops was quite occupied with this recently, but few wanted to admit the simple cause, which Pope Benedict himself recognizes quite clearly: the liturgy of the Holy Church itself has drastically reduced signs of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and the people have responded quite naturally by losing their consciousness of this sacred mystery. As this Intervention shows, this tendency was written in to the Novus Ordo and evident in it from the beginning. To laud the 'reform of the liturgy' as the bishops did while lamenting loss of Eucharistic faith is the height of self-contradiciton.
3. The function assigned to the altar (no. 262). The altar is almost always called 'table', "The altar or table of the Lord, which is the centre of the whole Eucharistic liturgy" (no. 49, cf. 262). It is laid down that the altar must be detached from the walls so that it is possible to walk round it and celebration may be facing the people (no. 262); also that the altar must be the centre of the assembly of the faithful so that their attention is drawn spontaneously towards it (ibid). But a comparison of no. 262 and 276 would seem to suggest that the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on this altar is excluded. This will mark an irreparable dichotomy between the presence, in the celebrant, of the eternal High Priest and that same presence brought about sacramentally. Before, they were 'one and the same presence'.
In many ways, this is the most important flaw in the new rubrics, which try to separate the celebration (conducted on the altar) from its result (the bringing of Christ into the world physically) by demanding that the altar be separated from the Tabernacle where Christ's Body and Blood are reserved. Formerly, the High Altar was 'against the wall' and centered, with the Tabernacle -- usually ornately decorated -- permanently fixed on it. From the moment one enters a traditionally designed church, one's attention is focused on the altar/Tabernacle, and remains there through all prayers and throughout the Mass. The priest had no choice but to face the altar/Tabernacle ('with his back to the people' in the vulgar phrase) so that all present were oriented toward Christ the whole time. The purpose of the Mass -- to make Christ and His Sacrifice present to his faithful people -- was impossible to ignore, no matter how unschooled one might have been in Catholic doctrine.
Today, by contrast, all focus is on the altar which by law must stand alone, away from the Blessed Sacrament it exists to bring forth. Even when the Tabernacle is visible at all, and not in a broom closet as it was in the church I grew up in, it is ignored throughout the Mass and even by most faithful as they enter the church and pray -- they ridiculously bow to the altar while ignoring the Real Presence of Christ among them! During Mass all eyes will focus on the priest himself and whatever laypeople are strutting around the sanctuary doing this and that, facing the people and show-boating in various ways. The result is obviously to eradicate any awareness of the actual purpose of Mass and its connection to the Most Blessed Sacrament and therfore to the sanctification of our lives.
I'm well aware that despite these massive flaws, many Novus Ordo Catholics remain devout and orthodox in their beliefs, and even receive many graces from the Mass in full consciousness of what it actually is. My point is that, having been hijacked by heterodox thieves, the Mass is currently conduced in such a way as to tend to prevent any of this from happening. (This is less the case where significant efforts are made to celebrate the N.O. in a traditional way, but such cases are in my experience rare and usually bring down the wrath of bishops and the lay committees they cater to. Besides which, as this letter shows, these efforts go against the spirit of the N.O. which was from the beginning heterodox
.) Novus Ordo Catholics who are devout and orthodox are swimming against the stream, not only in the world (which must hate true Christians) but also in the Church itself -- whose m.o. is literally scandalous.