The Reasoning Behind the Novus Ordo?

Ok, I’ve already asked the differences between the Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass, so now I ask another question. What was the reasoning behing changing the TLM to the NO? A friend of mine believes some Catholics intended it for good reasons but the others who were Masons influenced it to lead the Church astray. What’s the truth? Why not just have the entire structure of the TLM translated into english? Why all the changes in prayers and the Priests facing the people?

Here’s your answer right from Pope Paul VI himself:

Missale Romanum (Promulgation of the Roman Missal) April 3, 1969 [Apostolic Constitution]

Hi Catholic,

Genesis has hit the spot. Paul VI’s MIssale Romanum indicates that the new mass ritual is a result of the Sacred Council’s recommendations :

The recent Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in promulgating the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, established the basis for the general revision of the Roman Missal: in declaring “both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify”;(4) in ordering that “the rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, can be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful can be more easily accomplished”;(5) in prescribing that “the treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s Word”;(6) in ordering, finally, that “a new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and incorporated into the Pontifical and into the Roman Missal.”(7)

It then goes on to explain how this was achieved.


The other reference I think the the Preface to the GIRM if I remember correctly.

It is interesting to consider what Pope Paul VI himself said about the new Mass during the time it was being introduced. The following quote comes from the general audience of November 26, 1969

[quote=]Pope Paul VI to a general audience,November 26, 1969:

Our Dear Sons and Daughters:

  1. We ask you to turn your minds once more to the **liturgical innovation **of the **new rite **of the Mass. This **new rite **will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].

  2. A **new rite **of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. **It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead. **

  3. …This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed …

  4. We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect.

  5. So what is to be done on this special and historical occasion? First of all, we must prepare ourselves. This novelty is no small thing. We should not let ourselves be surprised by the nature, or even the nuisance, of its exterior forms…

  6. … A prophetic moment is occurring in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church…

  7. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. NOTE: Vatican II specifically stated that Canon of the Mass was to remain in Latin] The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. **We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. ** NOTE: Vatican II specifically stated that Gregorian chant was to remain].

  8. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? …

Here’s the whole document that USMC was quoting from:

What was the reasoning behing changing the TLM to the NO?

I think that’s what a lot of us want to know.

Paul VI gives some “whys” for it changing, but he doesn’t really explain why the “whys” for changing it outweighed the “whys” for not changing it.

Just because I can list some Pros for doing something, doesn’t mean I’ve proven that they outweigh the Cons.

It’s not so much that the new Mass, considered in and of itself is objectionable, but given the long tradition of the old mass, that nourished so many saints, that was the hallmark of Catholic culture and Christendom, that was used as a symbol in all sorts fo liturature…why the change? The new mass isn’t bad, but the old mass wasn’t either…so why bother changing it?

In essence that is what was done moast places between 1965 and 1970. I have interim missals from that time that show exactly how the Mass was celebrated then which I have provided to various others on this forum via e-mail. Many feel it should have stayed that way.

You will get a skewed answer from whoever you ask this question of. Some will say the Catholic Church was too distant from the people, that few if any of the worshippers knew what was going on and was in effect, dying of inertia and needed a shot in the arm so to speak in order to survive. . Others will say the Traditional Mass had wandered too far away from the simple community meals of the early church and had assumed a life of their own. Needless duplication of prayers, endless genuflections and crossings, inane rules about the most minor things and the whole thing badly needed simplification. Others will tell you that while the Council meant well, and wanted renewal and change in some areas, the Church was actually hijacked by certain liberal minded special interest opportunists who wanted to shape not only the Mass but the entire faith into a new Catholicism that reflected modern man and sensibilities better. Still others will tell you that Protestant and Masonic interests conspired to destroy the Catholic faith in its entirity.

Wow. Most folks opinions will fall more or less into one of these camps. Some more than others. It all depends who you ask.

Each theory has supporters and detractors to one degree or another. My best advice, read the documents that came out of Vatican II, in their entirity. It will take a while. :slight_smile: Do this with an unbiased mind. Do the same with official post conciliar documents. See what the Council really wanted to accomplish. Then look at the Church today and see what the result has been. Again try this with an unbiased mind. It will not be easy:)

Then you will be in a position to have an understanding of what happened and maybe even why.

Good luck. It is interesting reading believe me, very interesting.

Yep at the end of the day the differing views are based on theory.

The Tridentine Mass wasn’t changed to the Novus Ordo. It remains intact today. The Novus Ordo replaced the Tridentine Mass as the rite offered in most of the Latin rite churches.

I haven’t found any logical reason for replacing the Tridentine Mass. Pope Paul VI found a reason, but, like USMC posted, he called it a new rite and an innovation.

I’m not saying the Novus Ordo isn’t valid and licit, because it clearly is both, but it is deficient just by the fact that it condensed the prayers that were said in the Tridentine Mass.

This is why I attend the Tridentine Mass or the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom whenever I have the chance.

Sometimes from some of the things I read on this and other forums, I wonder what in the world the views are based on.

What’s your definition of deficient? Would you say that it’s lacking and essential element, insufficient,defective or inadequate(yes I’ve been on again)? Is the Byzantine, Maronite, etc. Mass deficient because the prayers are not the ones you prefer or are unaccustomed to?

Agree completely. The NO lacks a mystical, sacred flow of prayer !!! It is a choppy invention of liturgy at best. A kind of my turn to say something now your turn to say something, especially on Sunday.


I just wish that the Holy Father and Bishops had the courage to say that what was done should not have been done.

But you have to know it won’t happen, not after all the churches were altered.

So many people like the new way. When I attend the Novus Ordo I always feel like it’s Protestant.

Is it possible that even the pope was a bit swept away by the “feeling” of the times I mean “change is what’s needed”.
Has the NO really been a blessing for the Church?

Cannot words in even the vernacular somtimes constitute a “screen” hiding the Mystery?

I hope the pope someday will change it back.

BTW I like the readings in the vernacular.

The original intent, as invisioned at the time of the council, was only to translate some of the readings into the vernacular, such as the Gospel and the Epistle; not to completely rewrite the Mass.

The Canon of the Mass was considered untouchable, even by the Pope. When Pope Pius IX was asked to add the name of St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass he replied: “What power do I have to touch the Canon? I am only the Pope.”

I would like to see the Novus Ordo mass more often celebrated in Latin with the readings in the vernacular. The beauty of the Latin language along with the fact that it is not the vernacular emphasizes the holiness of the mass. It is, however, a positive sign that the Engilsh translation coming in the next couple of years will include language that is less pedestrian in nature.

Just my two cents.

The Canon of the Mass was considered untouchable, even by the Pope. When Pope Pius IX was asked to add the name of St. Joseph to the Canon of the Mass he replied: “What power do I have to touch the Canon? I am only the Pope.”

I’m not saying this didn’t happen but it would be nice if you gave a source. The only places I can find it thus far are places like and I really don’t pay any attention to them since so much of their quotes, stories, etc. are outright lies. I’d like to read it in context.

I don’t know.

Given that Vatican II, regarding the reform of the liturgy, stated in SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM:
"Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them…"
I find it a stretch to say the N.O. is the mass of Vatican II. Rather, it seems, the N.O. was promalgated using Vatican II’s call for modest liturgical reform as a pretext for giving us an almost entirely new mass. I simply can’t find the resulting reforms, prayer changes and removals, etc. called for within the Council’s document.

Could we even dare to say that it wasn’t Vatican II that gave us the N.O. mass, but the “Spirit of Vatican II”? Can such a thought be whispered?

Peace in Christ,

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