We come now to the realisation of the Sacrifice, the four elements of which were: 1) Christ, 2) the priest, 3) the Church, 4) the faithful
In the Novus Ordo, the position attributed to the faithful is autonomous (absoluta), hence totally false - from the opening definition:
“Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi” to the priest’s salutation to the people which is meant to convey to the assembled
community the “presence” of the Lord (no. 48). “Qua salutatione et populi responsione manifestatur ecclesiae congregatae mysterium”.
A true presence, certainly of Christ but only a spiritual one, and a mystery of the Church, but solely as an assembly manifesting and
soliciting such a presence.
This interpretation is constantly underlined: by the obsessive references to the communal character of the Mass (nos. 74-152); by the
unheard of distinction between “Mass with congregation” and “Mass without congregation” (nos. 203-231); by the definition of the “oratio
universalis seu fidelium” (no. 45) where once more we find stressed the “sacerdotal office” of the people (populus sui sacerdotii munus
excercens") presented in an equivocal way because its subordination to that of the priest is not mentioned, and all the more since the
priest, as consecrated mediator, makes himself the interpreter of all the intentions of the people in the Te igitur and the two Memento.
In “Eucharistic Prayer III” (“Vere sanctus”, p. 123) the following words are addressed to the Lord: “from age to age you gather a people
to yourself, in order that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name”, the ‘in order that’ making it
appear that the people rather than the priest are the indispensable element in the celebration; and since not even here is it made clear
who the offerer is, the people themselves appear to be invested with autonomous priestly powers. From this step it would not be surprising
if, before long, the people were authorised to join the priest in pronouncing the consecrating formulae (which actually seems here and
there to have already occurred).
Priest as Mere President
The priest’s position is minimised, changed and falsified. Firstly in relation to the people for whom he is, for the most part, a mere
president, or brother, instead of the consecrated minister celebrating in persona Christi. Secondly in relation to the Church, as a
“quidam de populo”. In the definition of the epiclesis (no. 55), the invocations are attributed anonymously to the Church: the part of the
priest has vanished.
In the Confiteor which has now become collective, he is no longer judge, witness and intercessor with God; so it is logical that his is no
longer empowered to give the absolution, which has been suppressed. He is integrated with the fratres. Even the server address him as such
in the Confiteor of the “Missa sine populo”.
Already, prior to this latest reform, the significant distinction between the Communion of the priest - the moment in which the Eternal
High Priest and the one acting in His Person were brought together in the closest union - and the Communion of the faithful has been
Not a word do we now find as to the priest’s power to sacrifice, or about his act of consecration, the bringing about through him of the
Eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.
The disappearance, or optional use, of many sacred vestments (in certain cases the alb and stole are sufficient - no. 298) obliterate even
more the original conformity with Christ: the priest is no more clothed with all His virtues, become merely a “non-commissioned officer”
whom one or two signs may distinguish from the mass of the people: “a little more a man than the rest”, to quite the involuntarily
humorous definition of a modern preacher. Again, as with the “table” and the Altar, there is separated what God has united: the sole
Priesthood and the Word of God.
Finally, there is the Church’s position in relation to Christ. In one case only, namely the “Mass without congregation”, is the Mass
acknowledged to be “Actio Christi et Ecclesiae” (no. 4, cf. Presb. Ord. no. 13), whereas in the case of the “Mass with congregation” this
is not referred to except for the purpose of “remembering Christ” and sanctifying those present. The words used are: “In offering the
sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Ghost to God the Father, the priest associates the people with himself” (no. 60), instead one ones
which would associate the people with Christ Who offers Himself “per Spiritum Sanctum Deo Patri”.
In this context the follows are to be noted:
the very serious omission of the phrase “Through Christ Our Lord”, the guarantee of being heard given to the Church in every age
(John, XIV, 13-14; 15; 16; 23; 24);
the all pervading “paschalism”, almost as though there were no other, quite different and equally important, aspects of the
communication of grace;
the very strange and dubious eschatologism whereby the communication of supernatural grace, a reality which is permanent and eternal,
is brought down to the dimensions of time: we hear of a people on the march, a pilgrim Church - no longer militant - against the Powers
of Darkness - looking towards a future which having lost its line with eternity is conceived in purely temporal terms.
The Church - One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic - is diminished as such in the formula that, in the “Eucharistic Prayer No. 4”, has taken the
place of the prayer of the Roman Cannon “on behalf of all orthodox believers of the Catholic and apostolic faith”. Now we have merely:
“all who seek you with a sincere heart”.
Again, in the Memento for the dead, these have no longer passed on “with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace” but only “who
have died in the peace of thy Christ”, and to them are added, with further obvious detriment to the concept of visible unity, the host “of
all the dead whose faith is known to you alone”.
Furthermore, in none of three new Eucharistic prayers, is there any reference, as has already been said, to that state of suffering of
those who have died, in none the possibility of a particular Memento: all of this again, must undermine faith in the propitiatory and
redemptive nature of the Sacrifice.
Desacralizing the Church
Desacralising omissions everywhere debase the mystery of the Church. Above all she is not presented as a sacred hierarchy: Angels and
Saints are reduced to anonymity in the second part of the collective Confiteor: they have disappeared, as witnesses and judges, in the
person of St. Michael, for the first.
The various hierarchies of angels have also disappeared (and this is without precedent) from the new Preface of “Prayer II”. In the
Communicantes, reminder of the Pontiffs and holy martyrs on whom the Church of Rome is founded and who were, without doubt, the
transmitters of the apostolic traditions, destined to be completed in what became, with St. Gregory, the Roman Mass, has been suppressed.
In the Libera nos the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the Saints are no longer mentioned: her and their intercession is thus no
longer asked, even in time of peril.
The unity of the Church is gravely compromised by the wholly intolerable omission from the entire Ordo, including the three new Prayers,
of the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Founders of the Church of Rome, and the names of the other Apostles, foundation and mark of
the one and universal Church, the only remaining mention being in the Communicantes of the Roman Canon.
A clear attack upon the dogma of the Communion of Saints is the omission, when the priest is celebrating without a server, of all the
salutations, and the final Blessing, not to speak of the ‘Ite, missa est’ now not even said in Masses celebrated with a server.
The double Confiteor showed how the priest, in his capacity of Christ’s Minister, bowing down deeply and acknowledging himself unworthy of
his sublime mission, of the “tremendum mysterium”, about to be accomplished by him and even (in the Aufer a nobis) entering into the Holy
of Holies, invoked the intercession (in the Oramus te, Domine) of the merits of the martyrs whose relics were sealed in the altar. Both
these prayers have been suppressed; what has been said previously in respect of the double Confiteor and the double Communion is equally
The outward setting of the Sacrifice, evidence of its sacred character, has been profaned. See, for example, what is laid down for
celebration outside sacred precincts, in which the altar may be replaced by a simple “table” without consecrated stone or relics, and with
a single cloth (nos. 260, 265). Here too all that has been previously said with regard to the Real Presence applies, the disassociation of
the “convivium” and of the sacrifice of the supper from the Real Presence Itself.
The process of desacralisation is completed thanks to the new procedures for the offering: the reference to ordinary not unleavened bread;
altar-servers (and lay people at Communion sub utraque specie) being allowed to handle sacred vessels (no. 244d); the distracting
atmosphere created by the ceaseless coming and going of the priest, deacon, subdeacon, psalmist, commentator (the priest becomes
commentator himself from his constantly being required to ’explain’ what he is about to accomplish) - of readings (men and women), of
servers or laymen welcoming people at the door and escorting them to their places whilst others carry and sort offerings. And in the midst
of all this prescribed activity, the ‘mulier idonea’ (anti-Scriptural and anti-Pauline) who for the first time in the tradition of the
Church will be authorised to read the lessons and also perform other “ministeria quae extra presbyterium peraguntur” (no. 70).
Finally, there is the concelebration mania, which will end by destroying Eucharistic piety in the priest, by overshadowing the central
figure of Christ, sole Priest and Victim, in a collective presence of concelebrants.