February 15, 2017
P. L. FORD writes:
I have been reading your website every day for the past couple of years. The information you provide has been very helpful and encouraging as I make my journey from the Protestant to the Catholic Church. You appear to be a very traditional Catholic, as evidenced by the content of your site, so I value your opinion and beg a few minutes of your time. I live in rural West Georgia where there are few Catholic Churches, however there is a very nice church not far from us although it is a Novus Ordo Church. Is it wrong to attend the Novus Ordo Mass?
My wife and I were both raised in the Southern Baptist Church and unfortunately both have a previous marriage that ended in divorce so we cannot be confirmed into the Catholic Church. I am 64 and my wife is 62 years of age. Since the fall of 2014 I have been reading and studying the Catholic faith and discovered that I am Catholic in my beliefs. The Protestant church is becoming more difficult to accept and attend and it seems so wrong not to attend any church at all. There are no traditional Catholic Churches within a few hundred miles from our home.
Your opinion is valuable based on the wonderful articles you have posted on your website.
Thank you for your time to read this.
Thank you for your appreciative comments and thank you also for your trust. I commend you for giving serious thought to your beliefs and for considering a change that may have unpleasant social consequences. It takes intellectual humbling — and the grace of God — to challenge your own religious beliefs and to admit that you were mistaken. Most of us have had to do that at some point. I certainly did, as I was not much of a practicing Catholic at all for more than ten years. I didn’t believe in it. I had to admit that I was wrong.
Here is my lengthy response to your question:
Leaving aside the issue of the New Mass and Vatican II for a moment, I just want to point out, though you probably already know this, that the most important issue for you, as a Protestant, is the issue of the Church’s authority. Once you have that down, then it’s merely a matter of gradually understanding the Church’s teachings, discipline and worship and embracing its mysteries with docility and trust. But without acceptance of the Church’s teaching authority, other specific doctrines should not concern you. I say that because some Protestants approach it backwards. They try to learn, understand and approve of all the doctrines and teachings of the Church, which could actually take a lifetime, rather than trying to decide first whether the Church’s claim to being “Apostolic” is true and whether God teaches through the Church.
The Rev. Michael Muller, C.S.S.R. wrote in his book Catholic Dogma (a good primer for the thinking Protestant):
[A] discussion of doctrinal points [cannot] be of any great use to one who is not thoroughly convinced of the divine authority of the Church: This being once accepted, everything else follows logically, as a matter of course. Hence no one should be admitted to the one fold of Christ who does not firmly hold and declare that the Roman Catholic Church, ruled by the successors of St. Peter, is God’s whole and sole appointed teacher of the Gospel on earth. However familiar persons may be with our doctrines, or however much they may believe our dogmas, without holding this, the fundamental truth of Catholic faith, they should not be allowed to join the Church. The moment it is well understood, and firmly believed, there need be but little delay about the abjuration.
Yes, there should be no delay. Once a Protestant is convinced of the authority of the Church, he should waste no time in learning the basic catechism and fully entering the Church.
You are a Protestant. You don’t want to join another Protestant sect. You want to join the Catholic Church. The modernist Vatican II Church, which includes the church nearby you, substantially and strikingly departs from the doctrines, worship, and disciplines held by the Church for 2,000 years. If the Modernist Church is the Catholic Church than the Church is not indefectible, as it claims to be, or of divine origin, since God cannot deceive or contradict Himself, and Vatican II contradicts much of what came before. I mean no disrespect to sincere Catholics who remain in the “Novus Ordo” Church (after all, I was one of them once too) when I, in deference to the beliefs every lay Catholic is required to hold and understand, advise you to stay away entirely from the New Mass and the Modernist sect.
The New Mass is not just a vernacular version of the former Mass, which Pope St. Pius V decreed in 1570 must never be substantially changed. In Quo Primum, the Holy Father wrote: “By this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth now, and forever, We declare and enjoin that nothing must be added to our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed with it.” It is to be “followed absolutely” without “fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure.” No one may be “forced or coerced” to alter it.
The Pius V missal, based on ancient prayers and the instructions of Christ, was in general use up until the 1960s. But the first radical changes were introduced in the mid-1950s. The New Mass is a radically altered liturgy that is at the very least of highly dubious validity. Here’s an essay on the similarities between the New Mass and Protestant worship. Protestants deny the real Presence of Christ and Transubstantiation. (Based on the explicit instructions of Christ, Transubstantiation holds that the Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Christ, under the veils of bread and wine. Christ answered the objection that the bread and wine could not possibly be His flesh.)
What is the Catholic Mass? It is a reenactment of the Sacrifice of Calvary, not a simple replay of the Last Supper. What is sacrificed at the Mass? Jesus Christ Himself, pure and unblemished Victim, offered up to God in praise and thanksgiving and in propitiation for sins. We then partake of a divine food that is Christ Himself. Miraculous? Yes. Hard to believe? The ways of God are not the ways of men. The Eucharist is the ongoing manifestation of the Incarnation in human history. It is indeed miraculous.
In the New Mass, the idea of this Sacrifice and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine have been marginalized. The Mass was radically re-worded and reworked; many ancient prayers which reinforce and teach Catholic theology were stripped from it. The New Mass put the “people first, God second,” as Dr. Carol Byrne writes. Like much of Protestant worship, the new liturgy holds that by celebrating community, God is adequately worshipped. You can find more here by Dr. Byrne and the rest of her series at Tradition in Action. Here are 62 reasons to reject the New Mass. Bishop Donald Sanborn reviews the liturgical changes in a 30-minute talk here. These interviews withFr. Michael Oswalt, who is now in Alabama, are also worthwhile. The 1969 “Ottaviani Intervention,” addressed to Pope Paul VI by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci and a group of anonymous theologians, was the first of the eventual outpouring of critical studies of the New Mass and Vatican II. The book “Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI,” by the Rev. Anthony Cekada, covers the changes in great detail and can be found in video form here. ” In the liturgy, ever word and every gesture conveys a theological idea,” he writes. And here is a priest’s answer to a Protestant convert who embraces the New Mass.
The priests at the Congregation of St. Pius V write:
The modernists have destroyed the sacred liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church in nearly all of her holy places. The process which brought about this destruction was begun well before the Second Vatican Council and achieved its ultimate expression in the impious New Order of the Mass promulgated by Paul VI in 1969. This destruction was effected by applying to the liturgy the principle of conforming the Church to the modern world. The end result was the New Mass and the many liturgical aberrations produced by it, thereby changing the liturgy from a treasury of Catholic doctrine and piety into a cesspool of Protestantism, modernism, ecumenism, pantheism, and virtually every error condemned by the Roman Catholic Church.
The important thing is not whether the Mass is pleasing to man, but whether it is pleasing to God. There are — or should be — many opportunities for warm social gatherings outside of the Mass.
The proof is in the pudding. The New Mass preceded or, better yet, precipitated a massive dropping away of the Catholic faithful. Among the most devastating consequences were the terrible crimes committed by Novus Ordo priests and infiltrators against children, crimes which were surely caused in part by the loss of faith and Sanctifying Graces that come with the True Mass.
Many Catholics who remain in the New Church, including many of the sincere and earnest, hardly understand what Catholicism is anymore. Many others reject its morals and do not attend Mass. If the majority of the actual people who embrace the New Church don’t even attend the Mass, doesn’t that tell you something important?
More proof, much of which you probably already know: The religious orders in the Novus Ordo are soon to be almost totally depleted in the United States. “A 1958 Gallup poll reported that 74 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1958. A 1994 University of Notre Dame study found that the attendance rate was 26.6 percent. A more recent study by Fordham University professor James Lothian concluded that 65 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1965, while the rate dropped to 25 percent in 2000.” “…. in 1965 there were 5,277 Jesuit priests and 3,559 seminarians; in 2000 there were 3,172 priests and 38 seminarians. There were 2,534 OFM Franciscan priests and 2,251 seminarians in 1965; in 2000 there were 1,492 priests and 60 seminarians. There were 2,434 Christian Brothers in 1965 and 912 seminarians; in 2000 there were 959 Brothers and 7 seminarians. There were 1,148 Redemptorist priests in 1965 and 1,128 seminarians; in 2000 there were 349 priests and 24 seminarians. Every major religious order in the United States mirrors these statistics.” Source.
Not a surprise. The new liturgy brought ugly, stripped-down, Protestant-looking churches and all kinds of hokey, irreverent and even blasphemous innovations.
The Modernist takeover of the Vatican in 1958 could never have been successful if they had only changed the beliefs on paper. Most Catholics are not familiar with papal encyclicals (which are addressed to clerics, anyway, and not to laymen), nor do they read conciliar documents; but all practicing Catholics assist at Holy Mass at least once a week. Just as the secular-sexual revolution of the 1960’s was transported into every home via rock music on the radio, and mostly thereby produced its evil fruit in abundance, so the New Faith of the Modernists could not spread into every Catholic heart and soul except by imposing on the faithful a “New Mass” that would longer be an expression of the pure Catholic Faith of the ages but of the poisonous new Modernistic religion that had begun to be introduced and sanctioned by John XXIII and his successors, especially Paul VI. [Novus Ordo Watch]
Here is what I suggest, if you decide to take the most necessary step of becoming a Catholic:
Buy a copy of the Roman Missal that pre-dates the start of the liturgical changes in 1955, such as the St. Andrew’s Missal.
Begin to follow along with Sunday masses via Internet (such as the one at St. Gertrude the Great in Ohio)
Stay away for the time-being from the deeper conflicts among traditionalists who are understandably divided on some points because of what are essentially vacancies at the top; find a chapel that is run by validly consecrated priests who are in resistance to the New Church and who do not openly defy a man whom they believe is Pope, a stance which is contrary to the obedience and submission Catholics owe to the Chair of Peter; and plan to attend Mass there when you are able to make the trip, even if you can only go once, letting a priest there know your intentions and your desire to enter the Church. Directories can be found here and here.
Catholics are not entitled to a normal parish life. That life is a privilege. In the past, such as during the Anglican Revolt in England and the suppression of the Church in Japan and China, Catholics have been forced to do without the ready availability of the sacraments. Some preserved their faith in these very difficult times.
A couple other points:
You and your second wife would have to begin, I believe, to at least live as brother and sister, not considering yourselves married, in order for you to become a Catholic in good faith. But I would suggest that you discuss the specifics with a Traditional priest who works under the above criteria if you are in doubt about this.
Beware of “Feeneyites” who reject Baptism of Desire. I recommend Fr. Muller’s book mentioned above for an explanation of the doctrine of “No Salvation Outside the Church.”
Does all this make you feel overwhelmed?
Don’t be. The inexhaustible treasures of the Mystical Body of Christ are at your disposal in this age of easy communication. The Faith itself, defined over and over again for 2,000 years, is intact. The Faith comes before the sacraments. It is the basis of them. It would be true ingratitude for us to complain. In your case, you would be taking necessary steps toward your eternal salvation and entering the only divine institution in the world.
One of the results of the catastrophe of Vatican II — a revolution that has had worldwide cultural repercussions — is that there can be no such thing anymore as just ordinary Catholics. All Catholics are called to extraordinary sacrifice and fidelity. As for the good priests who remain in the Vatican II Church, traditionalists are their greatest defenders. For one of the worst effects of this revolution was its denigration of the holiness, uniqueness and authority of the priesthood.
— Comments —
Tom R. writes:
The TRADITIO website, with which I’m sure you’re familiar, has a Traditional Official Catholic Directory, regularly updated, of Tradional Latin Masses & independent and/or traditional priests &
parishes (as well as ones to avoid) that I contacted myself when I left the Novus Ordo scene, with gratifying results. [Laura: Thank you. I included a link to it above.]
Here are the the three parishes listed for the state of Georgia (pg. 73 of the Directory) which Mr. Ford may want to contact & should be of help to him…
Mass Site, La Quinta Inn, 3944 River Dr., Macon, GA 31210 No celebrant announced Independent (Traditional Resistance), SU 7 pm
Christ the King Chapel Savannah, GA 31401 Fr. W Craig Hosch, SVM, 912/996-4117, email@example.com Independent, opening pending
Mass Site Douglas, GA 31533 No celebrant announced, (706) 215-3939 Independent, no schedule announced
Posted by Laura Wood in Uncategorized