Question: Should Catholics attend the New Mass or Novus Ordo? The "indult"?
Answer: The rite issued by Pope Paul VI in 1969 was cobbled together by a team of Catholic and Protestant authors -- apparently for the purpose of making the Catholic Mass more like a Protestant "Communion" Service. The translations from its original Latin to modern languages generally worked further damage on the rite. Side by side comparison of the texts will show the elimination of the sacrificial aspect of the Mass -- there may be "sacrifice of praise" and sacrifice of possessions, but the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is not in evidence. Coupled with this, we often hear of the "presider" rather than the sacrificing priest; of the "narration of institution" (a story) rather than the consecration of bread and wine. The Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is de-emphasized through the elimination of traditional reverences like receiving Communion only from the priest, kneeling, and on the tongue. In (hopefully) isolated cases we hear of priests dressing as clowns, or discarding the "leftover" Hosts after Mass.
The changes have been radical enough to allow doubt as to whether a particular celebration of the Novus Ordo is a Mass at all. We speak of four things being necessary for the validity of any Sacrament: proper matter, form, minister, and intention.
The Sacramental matter of Mass is wheaten bread and grape wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. Alternative matter -- bread with notable additions of sugar or molasses or made from rye flour -- plain grape juice or some other liquid -- simply cannot be consecrated. Home baked hosts, often with invalidating additions, are popular in trendy parishes.
The Sacramental form of the Mass is the words of Christ spoken at the Last Supper. There are four scriptural accounts, each slightly different, out of which -- and, perhaps, from oral tradition -- the Church developed a composite form. The translations of the Novus Ordo used in all of the major vernacular translations are worded to suggest the heresy of universal salvation. An heretical form is certainly sacrilegious if not invalid.
The minister of the Mass is a priest ordained by a bishop. The rites for ordination, and particularly for the consecration of bishops, were drastically redrawn in 1968, deleting, as in the New Mass, many of the features that express what is supposed to be taking place. As it is no longer clear that the minister of the New Mass is a sacrificing priest, and the rites of ordination are likewise unclear, and the theories of ministry advanced by modern theologians vary considerably, the Novus Ordo may be invalid for lack of a priest validly ordained by a valid bishop.
The intention of the priest must be to act "in the person of Christ" to bring about the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In the past, the intention "to do what the Church does" would have been adequate -- but today it is not clear just what the Conciliar Church is doing! The rubrics of the Novus Ordo and the New Catechism claim that the priest is narrating the institution of the Eucharist. Narration is telling about what Christ did, not doing it in His place, and may be a further cause of invalidity.
Even if we were to assume that the Novus Ordo is a valid form of Mass, there remains the question of sacrilege and sacrilegious behavior while it is being conducted. Certainly no one is obliged or even morally permitted to take part in an invalid Mass or a valid sacrilege. But, even ignoring all of these objections --they really cannot be ignored, but just for the sake of discussion -- one ought not attend a Mass valid and pleasing to God in Itself (we will get to the "indult" Mass presently) if doing so presents a danger to the Faith.
The New Order Church has new doctrines in addition to its New Mass. With the best of intentions, a priest of the New Order can no longer teach the Catholic Faith to his people. He certainly cannot point out the errors in the documents of Vatican II, or in the post-conciliar encyclicals. He cannot, for before very long he will no longer be employed by the New Order Church. If he identifies "ecumenism" as a violation of the first Commandment, criticizes the New World Order politics of the New Catechism, or speaks out against the bishop's liberality in granting annulments or the preferential admission of homosexuals to the seminary, he will be gone. While he would probably get away with criticizing Pope Paul VI' for upholding the moral law with respect to contraception, if he were to point out that the encyclical clearly redefines marriage itself (!) he would be history.
In reality, of course, there are not that many priests still on the job who know the teachings of the true Faith. Vatican II was 40 years ago. Today the seminaries teach the philosophy and theology of men like Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger in preference to that of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Existentialism and phenomenology in which the "acting person" creates his own reality are preferred to the reality that is known in the mind of God. Morality must follow suit, if it has not already it will shortly, as 40 years become 60 or 80.
There is also a political dimension. The New Order Church seems firmly committed to the New World Order. Why else would it have Hindus, Moslems, Animists, and Practitioners of Voodoo speak from its pulpit at Assisi? Just how many pigs and chickens must we sacrifice, and how many gods must we worship to have world peace? Might not a strong and doctrinally united Christendom be a safer alternative? Disarming citizens and sovereign nations in favor of a world government, world court, and world police force will surely weaken Christ's Church and Christian society. The United Nations is not "the last great hope of humankind."
Finally, there is an economic reality. Catholics who attend the "parish church" as though nothing has happened are financing the destruction of the Faith, and withholding support from those who would preserve it.
It is hard to find any justification at all for Catholics to attend the New Mass.
Reading recommendations: Father James F. Wathen, OSJ, The Great Sacrilege. Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci, The Ottaviani Intervention: Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass. Both available from TAN Books and Publishers, Box 424, Rockford Illinois, 61105
Question: Should Catholics attend the "Indult Mass"?
Answer: A definition and a few distinctions are necessary. For purposes of discussion, an "indult Mass" is a religious service conducted by a New Order clergyman using the traditional Roman Rite of Mass (usually Pope John XXIII's last revision, although more modern versions have been known to be used).
In the first distinction, the celebrant may be a validly ordained priest, beyond the ability or age of active ministry, who celebrates the traditional Mass more or less in private; perhaps in a monastery or a retirement home. Presuming that no scandal is given, and the priest is not expected to promote the theology of the New Order, it seems legitimate to attend such a Mass. Old men holding fast to the Mass of their ordination ought to be respected and given the benefit of the doubt as to their orthodoxy, unless proven otherwise.
A second distinction ought to be made in the case of those in the active ministry, sometimes celebrating the traditional Mass and other times the Novus Ordo -- the “switch hitters.” In this case, there is a strong likelihood that the errors of the New Order will be advanced, and certainly tolerated -- they are, after all, a condition of employment. While the matter and form of the Mass may be employed, there may be questions as to the celebrant's ministry and intention, just as there are with the Novus Ordo: was he ordained a valid priest by a valid bishop? does he intend to consecrate or to narrate? will he distribute hosts kept in the tabernacle from the Novus Ordo?
A third distinction exists in those New Order priests who follow the traditional rite exclusively, either in an exclusively Roman Rite parish or in one of the "approved" religious orders. This may help some with regard to the problem of Novus Ordo hosts being given as communion, but does little else to insure orthodoxy or validity. Under such circumstances one may encounter priests who deserted the traditional organizations of their formation and/or ordination, or were simply attracted by the financial security of the New Order.
It must be remembered that the "indult" exists for the primary purpose of drawing support away from those organizations attempting to maintain traditional Catholic morality and doctrine, as well as the Mass. Generally speaking if you can find an "indult" Mass location, it is because there is a traditional Catholic priest or Mass center in the general vicinity. Attending the "indult" Mass under such a condition can only strengthen the Modernists at the expense of the orthodox Catholics. One has only to look at the sumptuous brochures and full page newspaper advertisements placed by the "indult" religious orders to know that they are already very well financed. Catholics concerned with preserving the Faith ought not contribute either their money or their bodily presence.