Pope Paul’s New Mass: Some Extracts

November 27, 2013
Source: District of the USA

Pope Paul's New Mass is one of the most detailed and comprehensive books on the Novus Ordo Missae, or New Mass, in any language.

Masterfully written by traditional apologist, Michael Davies (+2004), this book is part of the 3-volume set that comprises his highly-recommended Liturgical Revolution Series. We offer below some extracts from each chapter of this excellent study concerning the problems of the modernist Liturgical Reform that begot the New Mass.

Extracts from Michael Davies' Pope Paul's New Mass


Archbishop Lefebvre maintains that the liturgical anarchy and doctrinal confusion which have followed the Council are not caused simply by departures from the official reform but are a direct result of this reform itself. He is in full agreement with the opinion expressed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci in the letter they sent to Pope Paul VI with the Brief Critical Study of the New Mass in 1969: “The Novus Ordo Missae—considering the new elements susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted—represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.”

The Development of the Roman Rite (Chapter 1)

The Protestant Reformation provided the stimulus for a liturgical reform which would have become necessary in any case. The exuberance of some local variations of the Roman Rite with their many sequences and all sorts of customs, some of them strange and eclectic, had lasted long enough. But far more important was the need for a uniform and authoritative liturgical expression of Catholic Eucharistic teaching. This would provide a bastion of the true faith against the Protestant heresies which the Reformers had expressed in their new liturgies. As I have shown in Cranmer’s Godly Order, the Reformers gave liturgical expression to their heresies principally by removing prayers from the variants of the Roman Rite previously used in the local churches over which they had gained control. The two particular Protestant betes noires were the Offertory Prayers and the Roman Canon.

Revolutionary Legislation (Chapter 2)

Sadly, those who made a stand for tradition soon became the objects of considerable hostility. They constituted an obstacle to the triumphant progress of the Revolution, they were an anachronism, a nuisance. They would eventually be termed rebels and schismatics—but that was yet to come. The pattern of compromise was already firmly established. Priests and people who had gone along with the changes up till now had passed the point where they were likely to resist. If the parish priests used a travesty of the Canon with practically every sign of reverence removed it was not for the laity to object. If the bishops wanted this Canon used, it was not for the parish clergy to resist; after all, the bishop is the guardian of orthodoxy in his diocese and his priests have taken an oath to obey him. And if Rome wanted this Canon used, and most of the bishops seemed agreeable, what right had an individual member of the hierarchy to rock the boat?

Reform or Revolution? (Chapter 3)

No, Fr. Gelineau is correct. The Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed. We are indebted to Fr. Gelineau not only for his honesty in admitting this but for the frank manner in which he also admits that the Revolution which has taken place can in no way be identified with the reform decreed by the Council Fathers: “But it would be dishonest to identify this liturgical renewal with the reform of rites decided by Vatican II. This reform goes back much further and it goes well beyond [elle va bien au-dela]. The liturgy is a permanent workshop.”

When traditionalists who resist the Liturgical Revolution are accused of opposing a General Council of the Church they have every right to insist that it is those who promote the so-called renewal who are in opposition to Vatican II. We have witnessed not a reform but a revolution—and a triumphant revolution.

A Successful Revolution (Chapter 4)

The imposition of the new liturgy was accomplished by a sustained barrage of propaganda from the pulpit and Catholic press. The faithful were told that these changes were for their good and for the good of the Church; that they would welcome and enjoy them; that, in fact, they had been clamoring for them for decades; and that, to clinch the matter, the unquestioning acceptance of these changes would be the acid test of their loyalty to the pope…

…It is also important to stress the effect of introducing the revolution by stages. This was precisely the policy pursued by Cranmer, who, at the beginning of his liturgical revolution, avoided any drastic changes “which would needlessly provoke the conservatives and stiffen the attitude of that large class of men who, rightly handled, could be brought to acquiesce in ambiguity and interim measures”.

A Pastoral Failure (Chapter 5)

Apologists for the reform insist that it was intended to promote “intelligibility and participation”. Surely, if the faithful had found the Mass more intelligible and their sense of participation had increased, they would be flocking to it in greater numbers. Imagine the response of the liberals if Mass attendance throughout the West had increased rather than decreased by millions and some disgruntled traditionalist had responded that it was not legitimate to argue “post hoc ergo propter hoc”. In English-speaking countries there had been a steady pattern of increasing Mass attendance figures until the reform got under way. This was then transformed into a steady pattern of stagnation or decline.

The Destruction of Popular Catholicism (Chapter 6)

The decline in reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is certainly the most reprehensible aspect of the Liturgical Revolution as it sometimes involves profanation and sacrilege. Although it can be argued that where this occurs it involves a departure from the official rubrics, it cannot be denied that these rubrics themselves have endangered the atmosphere in which the Blessed Sacrament is no longer looked upon as our very God before Whom we kneel in awe and reverent adoration. With the exception of a single genuflection by the celebrant after the consecration, virtually every sign of respect for the Body and Blood of Christ which characterised the preconciliar Church has been either abolished or made optional by the Conciliar Church.

The Cult of Man (Chapter 7)

…Perhaps the most dramatic symbol of the man-centered nature of the new liturgy is the turning round of the altar, or rather, its replacement by a table. I will show in some detail in Chapter XIX that the manner in which Mass was celebrated before the Council, with priest and people together on the same side of the altar facing east, was an effective symbol of the heavenly orientation of the traditional liturgy. It is now an inward-looking celebration. Man has turned away from God to face his fellow men.

The President as Actor (Chapter 8)

…The temptation for the celebrant to behave like a prima donna, rather than a humble instrument of Christ the High Priest, is accentuated by the official rubrics of the New Mass which urge him to depart from the text of the Mass to “do his own thing” at all too frequent intervals.

The Children’s Directory (Chapter 9)

Far from attempting to raise the hearts and minds of the congregation to God the objective is to keep their hearts and minds fixed firmly upon the things of this earth. This is particularly true in the case of children. Where the Directory on Children’s Masses, which will be examined in this chapter, is implemented, the only possible result is that Catholic children will be deprived of any experience of true worship or any knowledge of the true meaning of Mass. The concept of the Mass which derives from the principles of the Directory is that it is a form of entertainment, an activity in which children (and adults) engage in order to be amused.

Send in the Clowns (Chapter 10)

I accept that the abuses described in this chapter are unofficial in that they are contrary to the rubrics of the new liturgy although, as no action is taken against the priests who perpetrate them, it seems fair to claim that they are at the least condoned by those in authority. Even though these departures do not form part of the official liturgical reform they are clearly a logical and, indeed, inevitable extension of that reform.

Bring on the Dancing Girls (Chapter 11)

…Nothing could be further from the truth. Dancing formed no part of the prescribed ritual for Jewish worship in either the Temple or the synagogue. There is thus no precedent whatsoever for liturgical dancing within the official worship of either the Old or New Testament.

An Ecumenical Liturgy (Chapter 12)

…The extent to which the Novus Ordo Missae departs from the theology of the Council of Trent can best be gauged by comparing the prayers which the Consilium removed from the liturgy to those removed by Cranmer. (Such an examination is made in Chapter XXV.) The coincidence is not simply striking—it is horrifying. It cannot, in fact, be a coincidence.

The General Instruction (Chapter 13)

…The true significance of the new Roman Missal published in 1970 is not that the IG was amended but that the Order of Mass was not. Thus what is being celebrated throughout the Roman Rite is still the Lord’s Supper of Article 7 of the 1969 Institutio Generalis; and the definition of the Lord’s Supper given in this Article would have satisfied, and could have been written by, Thomas Cranmer.

The Problem of the Offertory (Chapter 14)

The very same Offertory Prayers which evoked the wrath of the Protestant Reformers were also found unacceptable by Archbishop Bugnini and his Protestant advisers. Once these prayers had been attacked from a doctrinal standpoint it meant that their removal from the Mass could not take place without compromising the doctrines they enshrined. While the Offertory Prayers remained the Mass would have continued to represent a stumbling-block to unity. Now they have been removed, together with other prayers equally unacceptable to Protestants, and some Protestants are now able to interpret the Novus Ordo Missae in a manner that conforms to their own heretical beliefs.

New Eucharistic Prayers (Chapter 15)

…Given that the Consilium wished to concoct a Eucharistic Prayer that would be acceptable to Protestants, what would have to be excluded from the text? I suggest that the reader makes his own list and then examines Eucharistic Prayer II in the light of what he has written.

Quod Bonum Est Tenete (Chapter 16)

St. Paul urges us to test everything but to hold fast to what is good: “Omnia autem probate, quod bonum est tenete” (I Thess. 5:21). Where the Latin liturgy is concerned, the Catholic Church was, to use a very vernacular expression, “onto a good thing”. This was particularly true in English-speaking countries where, before the Council, Catholic churches were packed on Sundays, Mass attendance continued to rise, and converts flocked to the Church. (Includes an addendum: The Popes on Latin)

A Sacred Stillness Reigns (Chapter 17)

The prohibition of the silent Canon is not simply a matter of aesthetics, it is of the very greatest ecumenical significance. Protestant approval could never have been secured for a liturgy which permitted a silent Canon—and Fr. Jungmann has given the reason why: “the priest now separates from the people and makes his way before the all-holy God in order to offer up sacrifice to Him.”

Introibo ad Altare Dei (Chapter 18)

The Church attaches supreme importance to the altar in her liturgy, and prior to 1969 had regulated every aspect of its form and furnishing down to the most minute detail. This is because the altar is the focal point of the whole liturgy; it is the raison d’etre of the building in which it stands. The church exists for the altar, not the altar for the church…

…And how does the Conciliar Church show its esteem for the altar of God? This can be discovered in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, numbers 259 to 270. Some of the traditional regulations are still recommended but are not mandatory, which means that neo-Protestant clergy can ignore them with impunity.

Mass Facing the People (Chapter 19)

…The error made by unscholarly proponents of Mass facing the people is to conclude that the orientation of the altar in such basilicas as St. Peter’s proves that in ancient times Mass was celebrated versus populum. The concept of a versus populum celebration is one that would have been totally alien to the ancient Church. The first recorded instance of a reference to a celebration versus populum is by Martin Luther.

The Tabernacle (Chapter 20)

There is not one word in the teaching of Vatican II suggesting either that the tabernacle should be removed from the principal altar or that there is any objection to celebrating Mass on an altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.

Holy Communion Under Both Kinds (Chapter 21)

However, the ecumenical faction was determined that Latin Rite Catholics should conform to the Protestant usage. They realised quite correctly that the Church could not be made acceptable to their Protestant friends unless Communion under both kinds was restored. When reading accounts of the debates on this topic it is depressing to see the manner in which Catholic cardinals and bishops utilised the very arguments put forward by the sixteenth-century Protestants. Cardinal Alfrink, for example, claimed: “In refusing to give the Chalice to the laity, the Church was depriving them of their right to conform to Christ’s injunction.”

Communion in the Hand (Chapter 22)

Communion in the hand was reintroduced into the Catholic Church as an act of rebellion soon after Vatican II. It began in Holland as an arbitrary act of defiance of legitimate authority. Mandatory liturgical norms were defied and Communion was distributed in some Catholic churches in what had been, since the Reformation, the characteristically Protestant manner. It was an abuse and should have been dealt with by the bishops immediately and effectively.

The Ottaviani Intervention (Chapter 23)

It is here recommended that the reader examine the complete text of Cardinal Ottaviani’s letter to the pope, which is included as an Addendum to this chapter. It will become apparent immediately that the charges made by the cardinal against the New Mass are of the gravest possible nature and that, together with Cardinal Bacci, he had decided to forward the Critical Study to the pope “after lengthy reflection and prayer”.

Archbishop Bugnini: Great Architect of the Revolution (Chapter 24)

Fr. Bugnini was now in the most influential position possible to consolidate and extend the revolution behind which he had been the moving spirit and principle of continuity. Nominal heads of commissions, congregations, and the Consilium came and went—Cardinal Lercaro, Cardinal Gut, Cardinal Tabera, Cardinal Knox—but Fr. Bugnini always remained.

An Ingenious Essay in Ambiguity (Chapter 25)

An objective study of the Novus Ordo Missae reveals a serious minimalisation in “the sacrificial and sacerdotalist elements which were such a characteristic feature in the old rite”. The removal of explicitly sacrificial and sacerdotal prayers goes a long way towards making the Novus Ordo Missae acceptable to Protestants when a judicious use is made of the available options.


  • List of Official Documents cited
  • Documents Relating to the Reform
  • The Participation of Protestant Observers in the Compilation of the New Catholic Liturgical Texts
  • The Right to Resist an Abuse of Power
  • The ICEL Betrayal
  • The American Scandal

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