The Lesson of the Latin Mass

The central lesson of the Church’s ancient liturgy is the absolute dependence of man upon God.

What Adam denied in one garden, and Christ affirmed in another, we contemplate and embrace in our own bodily and spiritual union with the sacrifice that makes possible our rebirth into fellowship with our Creator.

Though changes have (rarely) been made to the rites of the Church over the centuries, those that have stuck have always been tailored to enhance this vital point. Contrary to popular propaganda, Vatican II made no attempt to alter this policy.

When one reads the actual words of the Council, one finds that Latin is to be retained in the celebration of Mass, that Gregorian chant is to be given pride of place, that “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them,” and that “care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”

Though (suggestions to the contrary notwithstanding) hardly anyone questions the validity of the new rite, even the more honest of its proponents must admit that it grossly violates these Conciliar formulas.

To be fair, one must concede that the Mass of Paul VI can be celebrated in a relatively traditional and reverent spirit. What’s more, we must praise God for the many priests and lay faithful who do their best to cultivate sanctity in the context of the newer liturgy. Many of them have enjoyed a success that ought to humble those of us who find in that liturgy a formidable impediment to our own spiritual growth.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the text and rubrics of the Novus Ordo Missae, and the culture that governs its use in a majority of places, represent a massive break with older forms, in ways that have manifestly not been for “the good of the Church.”

To point this out is not to reject the Council or the Magisterium, but to exercise one’s inalienable right, and to fulfill one’s inescapable duty, of telling the truth.

Books can and have been written on the innovations of the new Mass, and their unwisdom. But the key point is very simple. In the old rite, we have a vehicle whose provenance and design are aimed at heaven, and whose rudder cannot be turned in any other direction, without abuses so flagrant as to mark the perpetrator as an open enemy of God.

In the new liturgy, with its brazen jettisoning of traditional elements, insertion of texts hastily composed by committees, and frequent invitations for celebrants to showcase their own genius (or mindlessly ape the latest psychobabble) through adlibbing, we have a vehicle designed to be steered every which way, according to the desires of those with their hands on the helm.

Though the new rites can be used well, they are primed for easy abuse on the part of ideologues who wish to lead us away from Christ, and his Kingdom, into realms we should never want to visit, much less inhabit.

The Latin Mass poses a very real threat to these men, because it robs them of the means by which to confuse and mislead the faithful whose care they have sacrificed on the altar of secular humanism.

Every faithful Catholic, whether he is much interested in the usus antiquior or not, should realize that the same forces presently attempting to wipe it out are bent on erasing everything in our faith that teaches us to obey God rather than man.

These men are deeply threatened not simply by the Latin Mass itself, but by the lesson it teaches. If they had their way, the only liturgy left to us would be that celebrating “the man of sin,” who “sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God” (2 Thes. 2:3-4).

For our part, let us resolve never to let such men have their way in our own thoughts, words, or deeds!

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