Out with the old in with the new? How the Novus Ordo Mass changed Catholicism
I have grown up Catholic. I follow the seven precepts of the Church, and I receive the sacraments regularly. Yet, it wasn’t until this past summer that I saw the beauty of the Tridentine (Latin) Mass and I experienced a deep sorrow for the loss of symbolism in the Mass.
Novus Ordo literally translated means “new order”, this is the proper term for the way Mass has been celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church since 1965. The Novus Ordo Mass is a product of the Second Vatican Council, a council misunderstood and misinterpreted by many Catholics around the world, but primarily in the United States.
So what is wrong with the new Mass you ask? In one word: nothing. However, the American Catholic Church and their perception of the new Mass is dangerous. When we tamper with the order of the Mass and the beauty surrounding it, we are tampering with the highest form of prayer. The way the Mass is said, and in the manner which it is done says a lot about the seriousness of the faith, and shows a deeper understanding of Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary.
Gone are the days of receiving the Eucharist on bended knee, symbolizing how we will praise Christ in the next life. Gone is the priest offering the sacrifice to God at His high altar. Catholics receive the Eucharist in their hands, and now the priest says the Mass facing the congregation, giving the perception that the Mass is for our benefit. Before, the priest would face the altar and offer the Mass to God, the congregation were there as blessed witnesses to the ultimate sacrifice of the Mass.
I recognize that the Eucharist is the Eucharist, and that the Novus Ordo has the same merit as the Tridentine Mass, but there is something more beautiful, mystical and awe inspiring about the Latin Mass. Maybe it is because we can trace the Tridentine Mass back 1500 years to the time of Saint Justin the Martyr? Or maybe it is because Saint Peter said Mass the same way? It is true that people may not know Latin now like they used to, but the best way to learn a language is total immersion into that language. Pax Christi!