When the New Mass was first being introduced, Cardinal Ottaviani, who served as head of the Holy Office under three Popes (the Holy office is the Vatican tribunal responsible for uprooting heresy and protecting the purity of the Catholic faith) came out with a scathing letter against it. Soon thereafter, the Cardinal Ottaviani was silenced, a nd the New Mass was imposed on the Church.
The following is what the Cardinal said in his cover letter Pope Paul VI. And keep in mind that what the Cardinal was condemning was the new mass in its most pure condition and without any “abuses”. The mass had not yet been poorly translated into the vernacular; the Priest was still facing the altar, there were no altar girls, no communion in the hand, and the words of consecration had not been changed (since the change was made in the translation to the vernacular). Yet, even its most pristine state, the Cardinal felt it his duty to warn Paul VI of the serious consequences that could result from this “innovation”.
Cardinal Ottaviani: "Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:
- The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, **the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.
**2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.
**Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come tour notice daily.