For us traditional Catholics the term “Novus Ordo” has great significance. But for most other Catholics, they have absolutely no idea what we mean when we use this term. Some have heard about the masonic symbol on the dollar; “Novus Ordo Seclorum” meaning, “A New Order Of the Ages”.
But, for the majority of Catholics, they have no idea what we traditional Catholics mean when we say things like, “that is a Novus Ordo Mass” or Novus Ordo way of thinking”. For this reason, we traditional Catholics need to stop throwing this word around. We need to just talk in terms that they understand.
Most Catholics do not know there is anything other than the ordinary Sunday Mass that they attend in English, Spanish or what ever language is used where they go to mass. Only a few older Catholics still remember, that before Vatican II and the New Mass of 1969, there was such a thing as the Latin Mass.
I am bringing this up, because I think most traditional Catholic assume that other Catholics have experienced the Latin Mass before it was taken away. We also assume that they have some concept of different liturgies and have studied Catholic history. But, the matter of fact truth is that most Catholics only know what they experience every Sunday or, for the non-practicing, the masses they may go to for a funeral or wedding.
By assuming that others hold such value to the term “Novus Order” as we do, is simply speaking, way off base. So, for this reason, we need to speak in their terms and vocabulary, like the Church since Vatican II or the Mass. From there we can let them know that their mass is actually a new Mass that Pope Paul, Bugnini, the Concilium, and Fr. Bouyer created. They used the parts from Roman Rite Mass to come up with the New Roman Missal. They retained some of the Roman Latin Mass, but introduced many new prayers and Canons. We need to literally show the two missals side by side. Then we need to explain how the Ancient Roman Latin Missal developed slowly from the Apostle time to what is in the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII. And then show the difference in the New Roman Missal. I am a diehard scientist who only uses provable facts.
“Father Louis Bouyer (photo): I wrote to the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, to tender my resignation as member of the Commission charged with the Liturgical Reform. The Holy Father sent for me at once (and the following conversation ensued):
Paul VI: Father, you are an unquestionable and unquestioned authority by your deep knowledge of the Church’s liturgy and Tradition, and a specialist in this field. I do not understand why you have sent me your resignation, whilst your presence, is more than precious, it is indispensable!
Father Bouyer: Most Holy Father, if I am a specialist in this field, I tell you very simply that I resign because I do not agree with the reforms you are imposing! Why do you take no notice of the remarks we send you, and why do you do the opposite?
Paul VI: But I don’t understand: I’m not imposing anything. I have never imposed anything in this field. I have complete trust in your competence and your propositions. It is you who are sending me proposals. When Fr. Bugnini comes to see me, he says: “Here is what the experts are asking for.” And as you are an expert in this matter, I accept your judgement.
Father Bouyer: And meanwhile, when we have studied a question, and have chosen what we can propose to you, in conscience, Father Bugnini took our text, and, then said to us that, having consulted you: “The Holy Father wants you to introduce these changes into the liturgy.” And since I don’t agree with your propositions, because they break with the Tradition of the Church, then I tender my resignation.
Paul VI: But not at all, Father, believe me, Father Bugnini tells me exactly the contrary: I have never refused a single one of your proposals. Father Bugnini came to find me and said: “The experts of the Commission charged with the Liturgical Reform asked for this and that”. And since I am not a liturgical specialist, I tell you again, I have always accepted your judgement. I never said that to Monsignor Bugnini. I was deceived. Father Bugnini deceived me and deceived you.
We all should purchase the book of Memoirs Of Fr. Louis Bouyer” and give them out to people. But even then, we know the context in which it was written and why it is so important. For us these are sacred issues. For most Catholics they only care about who their parish priest is and what kind of music is sung.
So when we talk to these “Novus Ordo” Catholics, we need to remember that they have no idea that there was any other Mass before the one the attend, that there was a Vatican II or that there was Vatican I, Trent and 18 other ecumenical councils before these.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know so much about the sacred things. But let us never assume other Catholics know what we are talking about. And let us be loving and kind as we help them to discover the scientific evidence and beauty of traditional Catholicism.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.