14 March 2023

Priscilla Proudie and the Novus Ordo.

 Off to Barchester the other day ... I like to try to get there once a year for old-time's sake ...  firstly, to visit Mrs Proudie's monument ... and to look at the site of the shrine of S Ewold, marked nowadays by four candlesticks around a vase of flowers (not all plastic) on the bare Cathedral pavement ... ... amusing how modern Anglicanism tries to stake out some claims to continuity but in so doing seems simply to emphasise its historical ruptures and emptiness.

I don't only go to Barchester to visit the Departed. I meet up (why nowadays does one have to "meet up" with someone rather than simply meeting them?) with a friend from our Anglican days, Fr ****. Sadly, I found him incredibly (yes!) depressed. Eventually, he came out with it. "John ... I don't know whether I can with a good conscience continue to celebrate public Masses any more." 

He explained that, in retirement, he has had a routine of saying Mass on Thursdays in the church of S Philomena (Virgin) down by the Railway Station (in modern English, "the Rail Station"), to enable the pp to get away for his Day Off. That Mass has been Novus Ordo (rather than the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite which we had both learned at Staggers back in 1966). 

For us old gentlemen, there are indeed practical problems about the Novus Ordo; things like all the books one has to juggle with ... Missal; Lectionary; Intercessions ... the endless fiddling around and all the fuss and bother ... it's all so complicated and convoluted, as if deliberately designed to catch one out. Especially as compared with the streamlined simplicities of the Authentic Mass.

On one of the last few occasions before I finally gave up the Novus Ordo, there were just two elderly ladies there. At Communion time, both came up and one of them announced to me "I am the Eucharistic Minister". I simply couldn't think what I was supposed to do to each of of them, or in what order.

But for ****, it is the basic propriety of actually using the Novus Ordo rite AT ALL that increasingly now worries his conscience. Qua rite, it strikes him as somehow indecens sacerdoti. He explained:

"It's certainly not because I doubt its validity. I don't even question its liceity. After all, if you went to a windswept beach in January and found a Council Notice saying 'It is licit to skinny-dip from this beach on cold winter's days, BY ORDER', that wouldn't actually make it illicit for you to keep your trousers on and to button up your overcoat, would it?"

"Er ... n-n-no . .. I stammered, shivering a little. Indeed, I have never vastly liked either skinny-dipping or the Novus Ordo.When I was a toddler during the War, there was also the (Valid and totally Licit) Codliver Oil  Problem.

But **** had not finished. He went on:

"It's ... well, the Novus Ordo has got rather inextricably bound up, hasn't it, with the whole excruciatingly horrible phenomenon of Bergoglianism. It's as if, by celebrating that Mass, one is associating oneself with the errors and heresies and general cultural nastinesses of this ghastly pontificate; it's as though, in celebrating it, one is siding with all the bullies and liars around the world who are gleefully taking part in the persecution of orthodox Catholic individuals and families."

Dangerous stuff, this, I thought. Surreptitiously, I checked that there were no Bergoglian spies or delatores lurking behind Priscilla Proudie or the plastic flowers. I quietly murmured the ancient prayer in necessitatibus to S Ewold: "Beate Ewolde Confessor, in tempore malo Dux noster et Protector ..." etc..

Then **** came up with his specific question:

"So, John, here's my question to you. Do you think I should give the Novus Ordo totally up and henceforth refuse to celebrate it at all?"

I'm afraid I was at a loss how to help him.

What should I have said to the poor chap, not to mention his poor conscience, in his moment of need? O All ye Blessed Casuists, assist us both!


Richard Ashton said...

Substitute 'attend' for 'celebrate' and you have the problem faced by so many of us: by attending the NO are we giving the thumbs up to half a century of disastrous liberalisation?

philipjohnson said...

Fr.I gave up attending the Novus Ordo as soon as i had access to the Latin Mass.God Bless Pope Benedict for this.

coradcorloquitur said...

The answer is clear (if not easy to execute), dear Father: "Yes, give up a rite of Mass that although in its pristine form may be valid is terminally associated with the subversion of the Faith of the Ages and boldly seek the remnant Catholics who are clamoring for your priestly services." Better the Apostolic Mass in a rented hall or hotel conference room than the new one in Westminster Cathedral. Such are the times we live in.

vetusta ecclesia said...

“Train station” is now v common. At one time “ station” always referred to the railway, all other stations were qualified : bus, police, first aid etc

Kathleen1031 said...

I have no idea what you should have said, dear Fr. Hunwicke, but, he couldn't have sought out better counsel. God bless Father **** and you as well. God bless all our faithful priests.
I enjoyed reading this.
You should not have trusted the plastic flowers. Dead giveaway.

FrB. said...

Refusal could lead to an unnecessary witch hunt. He's retired, he's not obliged to help the PP. My advice would be for him to announce that he's going away on holiday for a while and take the day off in Asda in the next town. I'd let the weeks tick by and if contacted again just say I'm beginning to feel my age (no word of a lie!) and will let the PP if I'm up to it again.

E sapelion said...

By celebrating Mass in any licit rite , or indeed by assisting at Mass in any licit rite, one is associating oneself with the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary. I do ot see that one is associating with the ineptitude of any Pope, neither Bergoglio nor Montini, nor Ghislieri.

Arthur Gallagher said...

One of the many things that were so wonderful about the old mass was that everything had a meaning, nothing was arbitrary, and all of it was very old, going back in parts to the temple in Jerusalem, and in all of its essential parts to many centuries before Trent.

Despite the rage for "ecumenism" among the Novus Ordites, literally hundreds of liturgical acts, customs, prayers and calendar dates were still preserved in common with both Lutherans and Anglicans. Eliminating them has made the Catholic church less obviously authentic, and still less appealing.

It seems that any popular custom associated with the Latin liturgy, or with the old calendar, is always on the chopping block, no matter how popular they are with the various ethnic and national groups. Thus Epiphany is ignored by the diocese, even as the Spanish speaking immigrants are doing "Three Kings" with a vengence.

Do you ever wonder if what the establishment really wants is to destroy it all?

Albertus said...

I should rather not celebrate at all, than celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae. Your priest friend, as each of us, must follow his own conscience; or, if it not be a matter of conscience for him, then he ought to do what he thinks best or most fitting in the present situation.

Richard said...

So what was Benedict's real motive in advocating "mutual enrichment"? Was it an earnest hope? Was it wishful thinking? Was it subtle subterfuge designed to reveal the futility of it all? If your priest friend hasn't been able to work it out, I can't see how it is anything but chimera. Which means we are in deep chimera indeed.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. As one who is rash and wicked and ready to barge in where friends fear to tread, I say that because the Pope hates the Holy Holocaust/Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (been around forever) and is trying to kill it a Priest has the duty to do what he can to ensure its survival.

John Patrick said...

Any mass, even a flawed NO mass is preferable to no mass at all. It still benefits those to whom it is offered. Think of the many souls in purgatory who have been forgotten in this age of "everyone goes to heaven". They could use those intentions.

Childermass said...

I know two diocesan priests in Italy who refused to offer the Novus Ordo anymore following Summorum Pontificum. The bishop ordered them to order the Novus and they refused out of conscience. The bishop sacked them from their parishes. After a months-long standoff, the the bishop relented and allowed them to do their thing in a church deep in the mountains. 15 years later they continue, and still no Novus Ordo.

Matthew said...

Further to the comment by Childermass: another priest in the Italian mountains who prefers the Old Ways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF1jJy1F-8I

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Catholic Prelates seem to have have a casual indifference about The Holy Holocaust. I wonder what they think about when they read The Torah and the explicit and detailed instructions God gives His then chosen people about how He desires to be worshipped.

Even more chilling is what happened to the authorities back then when they chose to establish a rupture with that tradition.

The Holy Holocaust is the most sacred and consequential act occurring on Earth at an time but our Prelates seem to think - whatever, its no biggie

Lord have mercy

wonastow said...

I speak as an ignoramus and ask the questions that have troubled me deeply for the last 53 years.

Doesn't the validity and efficacy of a Sacrament depend on form, matter and intent?

What was the intention of Bugnini when he wrote the words of a communion service (the Novus Ordo Missae) which would be (theologically?) acceptable to "our separated brethren"? We know what Cardinal Ottaviani thought. A+ Lefebvre is usually understood to have acknowledged the validity of the NO, yet he called it a "bastard rite". Why did Pere Gelineau gloat(?) that the NO "is a different liturgy"?

Could (as a matter of fact) the form of the NO be defective? What if the Pope said that Cranmer's communion service 'did the biz'. Would it? Would it be capable of doing the biz?

By their fruits shall ye know them. How could a true expression of the Eucharist cause such division in the Church and impel the Pope to seek to extinguish the liturgical practices of the last two millennia? How (albeit given the sociological changes of the last 60 years) can we explain the flight from the priesthood and the religious life since the ("the!") Council and the collapse of church attendance?

I hadn't intended to write a Polemic and my thoughts are somewhat incoherent, but for those with eyes to see and ears to hear I think my message is clear.

F Marsden said...

Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Novus Ordo thousands of times. Benedict presided when the much more accurate translation was produced. The N.O. can be celebrated with dignity, with Latin chants if desired, ad orientem if desired, or indeed totally in Latin.
Perhaps it is our manner of celebration, our preparation and our prayerfulness which we need to examine.....? Benedict did say there should be more reflective silence during the Liturgy.

Matthew said...

F. Marsden: Indeed, the NO can be celebrated in the manner you describe, but I would suggest that in practical terms this is an unattainable ideal. Besides, there is the problem frequently mentioned by Fr Hunwicke of the mistreatment and poor allocation of the collects in the new order, and the unfortunate jettisoning of the ancient scheme of scripture readings. Latin isn't a sine qua non -- there are still a (very) few Anglo-Catholics who celebrate the Tridentine liturgy in the English of the Book of Common Prayer, and this seems to work well.

Rissy Anne said...

Dear Father, may I help you with this perspective. I understand the obedience to authority we are all required to exercise. It can put a person into a delicate situation. But you are a Father. Think of it as I, as a mother have had to think. I have children that God has given me to instruct. To bring into the faith. He has said "do not hinder them". I consider, and there is great evidence, that the Novus Ordo hinders the understanding of the faith. It does not show Children how to properly pray and worship. This in itself makes me travel and put forth extra effort to bring my children to the Latin Mass. I even go so far as to juggle 3 children by myself(my husband is not Catholic). Consider that the faithful are your children. It is your duty to offer Mass for them and to bring them to God in the best way.