Sunday, October 28, 2018

Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

This Thursday, November 1, is the feast of All Saints, which is a holy day of obligation in many countries, including the United States and all of the United Kingdom.

Today, the final Sunday of October, we celebrate the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. This feast takes the place of the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, with no commemoration of the Sunday. It is a joyful feast celebrating Jesus Christ as the eternal King of heaven and earth. Like all joyful feasts of our Lord, the liturgical color is white.

God is presented as a king throughout scripture. In Deuteronomy 10:17, he is called “the God of gods, and the Lord of lords, a great God and mighty and terrible.” In Psalm 9:37, King David writes, “The Lord shall reign to eternity, yea, for ever and ever.” The Prophet Daniel admonishes King Nebuchadnezzar, “But in the days of those kingdoms the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, and it shall break in pieces, and shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). Later, after Daniel is delivered from the lion's den, King Darius declares, “It is decreed by me, that in all my empire and my kingdom all men dread and fear the God of Daniel. For he is the living and eternal God for ever: and his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his power shall be for ever” (Daniel 6:26). In the Prophecy of Jonah, we see that God has authority in heaven and on earth, and that his will cannot be escaped.

Earthly kingdoms also play a prominent role in the Old Testament. God appoints David to be King of Israel, and he appoints David's son Solomon to succeed him (1 Samuel 16:13, 2 Chronicles 1:9). Although the Prophet Daniel makes clear that God's kingdom will prevail over every earthly kingdom, the kingdom of David is significant because King David prefigures Christ. Jesus is called the “Son of David” because he is a direct descendant of King David and because he is a king in the line of David (Matthew 1:1-17, 21:9).

The prophets foretold Jesus Christ as the king. The title “Messiah,” which is synonymous with “Christ,” means “the anointed one,” implying an anointed king. The Prophet Jeremiah foretold a wise king from the line of David who would be a fair and righteous judge (Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15). The Prophet Isaiah foretells a man descended from Jesse, the father of King David, who would be filled with the spirit of God and would redeem God's people (Isaiah 11:1-3, 52:7-9). The Prophet Zechariah wrote, “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one” (Zechariah 14:9). Thus, the Messiah was to be a king who would reign over Israel.

When the angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive the Son of God, he told her, “He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). After Jesus's Incarnation, the wise men seek the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). In John 1:49, Jesus is addressed as the “King of Israel.” He is referred to as a king again at his Passion, when he is derided as the King of the Jews (John 19:3). The inscription on his Cross read, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (John 19:19). After his Resurrection, Jesus told his apostles, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). In the New Testament epistles, Jesus is hailed as the king of heaven and earth (1 Timothy 6:14-15, Hebrews 1:8). Finally, in the book of Apocalypse, Jesus reigns as king (Apocalypse 7:14-15, 19:16).

Contrary to many people's expectations, Jesus was not an earthly king. He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). To this day, the Jewish people wait in vain for a Messiah who will be an earthly king over Israel. Rather, the kingdom of Jesus is the eternal kingdom that the Prophet Daniel foretold. Jesus calls us to detach ourselves from the world (John 17:14-16). Perhaps the greatest illustration of the kingdom of God can be found in one of the primary symbols of a king: his crown. Earthly kings wear crowns with expensive gold and jewels. Jesus Christ, the true King of heaven and earth, wore a Crown of Thorns. The Crown of Thorns had no earthly beautyit only caused our Lord to bleed and sufferbut this is the crown of the kingdom of God.

Crown of earthly kings.

Crown of the true King.


The feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, a time when Europe was still recovering from World War I and was becoming increasingly secularized. Many of the major ruling dynasties of Europe had fallen, and there was a great amount of political turmoil that would eventually lead to World War II. In addition, the Pope was still held as a prisoner in the Vatican. Thus, Pope Pius XI reminded Catholics across the world of the kingdom of Christ that would have no end. He established the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King to be celebrated on the last Sunday of October, the Sunday before All Saints Day on November 1. In addition, he commanded that all of mankind be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on this feast day. Thus, once a year, we have a special feast to worship and dedicate ourselves to Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth.

In the United States, the feast of Christ the King falls shortly before Election Day. General elections are held in the United States every year on the Tuesday that falls between November 2 and November 8. Elections can be very difficult and stressful for many Americans. As Catholics, we must follow our conscience and vote for politicians who will best uphold the divine law. In particular, the most important duty of every government is to defend the infinite dignity and sanctity of every human life, from conception until natural death. However, even with all the stress of elections, we must never forget about the kingdom that will have no end. It is just as important in 2018 as it was in 1925. Jesus Christ is the true King, and his kingdom will always prevail.

The Introit for the feast of Christ the King is taken from Apocalypse 5:12, 1:6, in which Jesus Christ reigns as the “Lamb who was slain,” who reigns as the eternal King. The psalm verse is from Psalm 71:1, which refers to the kingship of Solomon, a foreshadowing of the kingship of Christ.

Dignus est Agnus, qui occísus est, accípere virtútem, et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. Ipsi glória et impérium in sǽcula sæculórum.
Deus, iudícium tuum Regi da: et iustítiam tuam Fílio Regis.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen
Dignus est Agnus, qui occísus est, accípere virtútem, et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. Ipsi glória et impérium in sǽcula sæculórum.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the King: and with your justice, the King’s son.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.

In the Collect, we pray for everyone in the world to worship and submit to Christ the King.

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui in dilécto Fílio tuo, universórum Rege, ómnia instauráre voluísti: concéde propítius; ut cunctæ famíliæ géntium, peccáti vúlnere disgregátæ, eius suavissímo subdántur império: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. Almighty and eternal God, who willed to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the Universe, graciously grant that the peoples of the earth torn asunder by the wound of sin, may submit to his most gentle rule. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen

The Epistle is taken from Colossians 1:12-20. In this passage, St. Paul first thanks God for allowing us to become saints. There is a strong connection between Christ the King and the saints, which is why we celebrate Christ the King on the Sunday before All Saints Day. St. Paul goes on to praise Christ the King for his authority both in heaven and on earth, finally hoping for the divine peace that comes through the Precious Blood of Christ the King.

Fratres: Grátias ágimus Deo Patri, qui dignos nos fecit in partem sortis sanctórum in lúmine: qui erípuit nos de potestáte tenebrárum, et tránstulit in regnum Fílii dilectiónis suæ, in quo habémus redemptiónem per sánguinem eius, remissiónem peccatórum: qui est imágo Dei invisíbilis, primogénitus omnis creatúra: quóniam in ipso cóndita sunt univérsa in cœlis et in terra, visibília et invisibília, sive Throni, sive Dominatiónes, sive Principátus, sive Potestátes: ómnia per ipsum, et in ipso creáta sunt: et ipse est ante omnes, et ómnia in ipso constant. Et ipse est caput córporis Ecclésiæ, qui est princípium, primogénitus ex mórtuis: ut sit in ómnibus ipse primátum tenens; quia in ipso complácuit omnem plenitúdinem inhabitáre; et per eum reconciliáre ómnia in ipsum, pacíficans per sánguinem crucis eius, sive quæ in terris, sive quæ in cœlis sunt, in Christo Iesu Dómino nostro. Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

The Gradual is from Psalm 71:8, 11, the same psalm that we sang a verse from in the Introit, which praises the kingship of Solomon and foreshadows the kingship of Christ. It is followed by the Alleluia Verse, which is from the Prophet Daniel's declaration that the kingdom of God will last forever (Daniel 7:14).

Dominábitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flúmine usque ad términos orbis terrárum. Et adorábunt eum omnes reges terræ: omnes gentes sérvient ei.


Allelúia, allelúia. Potéstas eius, potéstas ætérna, quæ non auferétur: et regnum eius, quod non corrumpétur. Allelúia.
He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.


Alleluia, alleluia. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom shall not be destroyed. Alleluia.

The Gospel is taken from John 18:33-37, in which Jesus, accused as the “King of the Jews,” stands before Pilate and tells him the true nature of the kingdom of God.

In illo témpore: Dixit Pilátus ad Iesum: Tu es Rex Iudæórum? Respóndit Iesus: A temetípso hoc dicis, an álii dixérunt tibi de me? Respóndit Pilátus: Numquid ego Iudǽus sum? Gens tua et pontífices tradidérunt te mihi: quid fecísti? Respóndit Iesus: Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo. Si ex hoc mundo esset regnum meum, minístri mei útique decertárent, ut non tráderer Iudǽis: nunc autem regnum meum non est hinc. Dixit ítaque ei Pilátus: Ergo Rex es tu? Respóndit Iesus: Tu dicis, quia Rex sum ego. Ego in hoc natus sum et ad hoc veni in mundum, ut testimónium perhíbeam veritáti: omnis, qui est ex veritáte, audit vocem meam. At that time, Pilate said to Jesus: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.

Finally, at both Vespers, we sing the hymn Te saeculorum Principem, which praises Christ as the King of heaven and earth, the great judge, and the source of peace.

Te sæculórum Príncipem,
Te, Christe, Regem géntium,
Te méntium, te córdium
Unum fatémur árbitrum.


Scelésta turba clámitat:
Regnáre Christum nólumus:
Te nos ovántes ómnium
Regem suprémum dícimus.


O Christe, Princeps Pácifer,
Mentes rebélles súbiice:
Tuóque amóre dévios,
Ovíle in unum cóngrega.


Ad hoc cruénta ab árbore
Pendes apértis brácchiis,
Diráque fossum cúspide
Cor igne flagrans éxhibes.


Ad hoc in aris ábderis
Vini dapísque imágine,
Fundens salútem fíliis
Transverberáto péctore.


Te natiónum Prǽsides
Honóre tollant público,
Colant magístri, iúdices,
Leges et artes éxprimant.


Submíssa regum fúlgeant
Tibi dicáta insígnia:
Mitíque sceptro pátriam
Domósque subde cívium.


Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Qui sceptra mundi témperas,
Cum Patre, et almo Spíritu,
In sempitérna sǽcula.
Amen.
To thee, O Prince of all that be,
Thou Christ, O King eternally;
O Framer of the mind and heart,
Our one true Judge we say thou art.


The wicked protest, wail and cry,
Christ Jesus’ reign they would deny;
Rejoice we at thy glorious name,
Thou Highest King we do proclaim.


O Christ! The Source of all our peace,
Make all our sinful thoughts to cease;
And still in us our loves misplaced,
As thy one sheepfold be we embraced.


For this, hanging on cruel tree,
With arms outstretched, for all to see;
His heart is pierced by soldier’s spear,
Revealing burning love most dear.


From this the altar of the tree
Thy blood flows forth from Calvary;
As wine to us it doth appear,
To thine own heart it draws us near.


Thou Governor of all that be,
May all thy creatures honour thee;
All those who rule, O Lord renew!
Source of all precepts just and true.


To regal glory, all submit,
All crowns and honours we do remit;—
To thy scepter—so sweet and mild!
Submit we as a little child.


All glory be, Jesu, to thee,
Thy scepter over all that be;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.
Amen.

No matter what happens on Election Day, Jesus Christ is King of heaven and earth.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Traditional Latin Mass vs. Novus Ordo, Part 7: Conclusion

Previous parts in this series:
Part 1: A brief history
Part 2: First half of the Novus Ordo Mass
Part 3: The rest of the Novus Ordo Mass
Part 4: The key differences
Part 5: Liturgical abuse
Part 6: The new Divine Office and sacraments

The Novus Ordo Mass, Divine Office, and sacraments are therefore inferior in form to the traditional liturgies. Sacred tradition is one of the fundamental pillars on which the Church is built. The traditional Latin Mass was constructed over more than a thousand years of sacred tradition, the devotion of the faithful, and the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Novus Ordo completely disregards all of this. It represents a striking break with tradition. The fact that Church leaders have the authority to make these changes does not mean that the changes are prudent, pleasing to God, or beneficial for the faithful. I argue that they are none of these things. In addition to the break with tradition, there are several other key traits of the Novus Ordo that make it inferior to the traditional Latin Mass, Divine Office, and sacraments:

  • The Novus Ordo has a horizontal focus instead of a vertical focus. The people have a more prominent and central role than God. The priest even turns his back to the crucifix and tabernacle to face the people during the Mass.
  • The infallible truth of the Catholic faith has been marginalized. The Novus Ordo no longer reflects certain key parts of the faith, for example:
    • The Novus Ordo Mass does not feel like a sacrifice. Nearly all mention of a sacrifice has been removed. There is no longer an Offertory, but rather a Preparation of the Gifts.
    • The Blessed Sacrament is no longer treated as divine. Much of the reverence given to the Blessed Sacrament, such as the priest keeping his forefingers and thumbs joined, has been abolished.
    • A lot of veneration of saints is abolished. Most of the saints were removed from the Confiteor and the new Eucharistic Prayers. In addition, we did not mention this previously, but many feasts of saints were either removed from the calendar or made optional.
  • Many of these compromises on matters of faith represent Protestant sentiments creeping into the liturgy.
  • The dignity of the priesthood is diminished by delegating the priestly roles to the laity. In particular, lay people are now allowed to distribute Communion, a role traditionally reserved to the ordained.
  • Instead of the Church's sacred and universal language of Latin, the liturgies are now usually conducted in the vernacular, which makes the liturgy more casual and introduces the problem of translation.
  • The Divine Office is much shorter and does away with ancient traditions, such as the hours of Matins and Prime and singing all 150 psalms in a week.
  • The Novus Ordo censors the Word of God in the Divine Office and the nuptial Mass by removing whatever does not appeal to Modernist sentiments.
  • The rubrics of the Novus Ordo are extremely vague and poorly written. This has led to the false idea that the rubrics are optional, and it has opened the door to all sorts of liturgical abuse. It has also made it very difficult and frustrating to describe the Novus Ordo liturgy accurately in this series of articles.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. However, given these facts, one cannot reasonably deny that the Novus Ordo is inferior and damaging to the faithful.

One of the core principles of Catholic liturgy is lex orandi, lex credendithe law of prayer is the law of belief. This means that the liturgy must reflect the Catholic faith. This is perhaps the most basic standard of quality for a liturgy—whether or not it actually represents the religion it purports to profess. The traditional Latin Mass, Divine Office, and sacraments all beautifully represent the Catholic faith in a way that could only be constructed by divine guidance. This is part of why the Mass is so essential to the Catholic religion. When Catholicism was persecuted in England under Queen Elizabeth I, the authorities targeted the Mass. Many holy martyrs willingly died to defend the traditional Latin Mass.

The Novus Ordo, on the other hand, does a very poor job of reflecting the Catholic faith. It fails the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi. As we have seen, the Novus Ordo Mass better reflects Protestant and Modernist sentiments than the Catholic faith. In fact, the Novus Ordo Mass is almost indistinguishable from Anglican and Lutheran liturgies. If one of the English martyrs who died to defend the traditional Latin Mass saw the Novus Ordo Mass, he would not recognize it as the Mass that he died to defend. He might recognize it as the Anglican worship that he died to defend against.

A Mass that does not reflect the true Catholic faith cannot possibly be the best choice to foster the true Catholic faith in the hearts of people. In the years since the Novus Ordo was introduced, there has been a gradually worsening crisis in the human element of the Church. The Catholic population has been steeply declining throughout North America and Europe. According to a study by Georgetown University, in 1965, 65% of Catholics attended Mass most Sundays. In 2013, only 24% of Catholics attended Mass most Sundays. In addition, many Catholics are either uneducated in the faith or willfully reject the faith. Nearly half of Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation.

Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have also been seriously hurt. In 1965, there were 58,000 priests in the United States. In 2013, there were 38,800. In 1965, there were 994 ordinations to the priesthood in the U.S. In 2013, there were only 511. In the Archdiocese of Seattle, there are currently 115 priests and 144 parishes. Many priests have to serve multiple parishes, because there are simply not enough priests.

Meanwhile, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), a society of priests who exclusively offer the traditional Latin Mass, has been flourishing. The FSSP around the world is about the size of a large diocese. In 2017, it had 287 priests and 150 seminarians. This past May, twenty-one new priests were ordained for the FSSP. This fall, twenty-eight men are beginning their studies at the FSSP's two seminaries. While the average age of priests in the United States is 63, the average age of FSSP priests is 38. The typical FSSP parish on a Sunday morning is packed with lots of families, children, and adults of all ages. Other traditionalist societies have similar results.

All this is to say that God is taking care of his Church. The Novus Ordo Mass is declining, and the traditional Latin Mass is thriving. Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16). The fruits of the Novus Ordo Mass are lower Mass attendance, weakened faith, and far fewer priests. The fruits of the traditional Latin Mass are thriving parishes with strong faith and many vocations to the priesthood. It is clear, then, which form of the Mass is more pleasing to God and more beneficial for the faithful.

Fortunately, since the Novus Ordo was introduced, there have been large groups of people who realize its critical faults and adhere to the traditional Latin Mass. They form the traditionalist movement, which keeps the traditional Latin Mass alive. Unfortunately, the great variety of such groups can make it difficult to discern which parishes that offer the traditional Latin Mass licitly. The entire history of the traditionalist movement is a story for another time, but there are three main categories into which traditionalist groups fall.

The first category comprises those groups who are obedient to canon law and in good standing with the Pope. Most prominent among these groups is the FSSP. I personally attend an FSSP parish. Another such group is the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (variously abbreviated ICRSS, ICRSP, or ICKSP). In addition, some ordinary diocesan priests offer the traditional Latin Mass. Diocesan Latin Masses can sometimes have problems stemming from the priest's or the faithful's unfamiliarity with the traditional form of the Mass, but in general, they are fine to attend. If you live in the United States, you can find a directory of Latin Masses in good standing with the Pope here.

The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) comprises the second category. They are similar to the FSSP, and they accept the authority of the Pope. However, they have always had a rocky relationship with Church authorities. Most notoriously, in 1988, their founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ordained four bishops against the Pope's orders. Since then, the SSPX has existed in a sort of legal gray area. Their Masses are perfectly fine Catholic Masses that will fulfill one's Sunday obligation (a fact that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Vatican's commission for matters related to the traditional Mass, has explicitly affirmed), and since 2015, it is even okay to go to an SSPX priest for confession, but I would caution against making an SSPX parish your regular parish.

Comprising the third category are those groups who have taken it upon themselves to declare all of the Popes since Vatican II to be formal heretics and thus not true Popes. This position is known as sedevacantism. There are several problems with it, but the biggest is that the average Catholic does not have the authority to declare the Pope a heretic. In fact, declaring the Pope a heretic and starting a new sect that purports to be the true Church is not a new concept in history. It is Protestantism. One may disagree with the Pope's decisions, but fidelity and obedience to the Pope are not optional. For these reasons, I must advise against attending Masses offered by sedevacantist communities. Notable sedevacantist communities include the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), the Society of Saint Pius V (SSPV), and many small, independent communities. Like Protestantism, sedevacantism is very divided and sectarian.

To summarize the various traditionalist groups (and note that this is not an exhaustive list):

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP)
Good
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSS/ICRSP/ICKSP)
Traditional Latin Mass at a diocesan parish
Probably good
Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)
Proceed with caution
Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI)
Bad
Society of Saint Pius V (SSPV)
Independent sedevacantist communities

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, the Novus Ordo is still a valid Mass. It is still a participation in Jesus's sacrifice on the Cross, and the bread and wine are still transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The Novus Ordo Mass may even inspire faith and devotion in the faithful. Furthermore, the Popes and other Church officials who have promoted the Novus Ordo Mass always had and continue to have legitimate authority in the Church. Popes St. John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis are all valid Popes, with the full authority of the Successor of Saint Peter and the Vicar of Jesus Christ. I am not a sedevacantist in any way, shape, or form. The Novus Ordo happens to be an inferior form of the Mass, but it is still a valid Mass.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:14, St. Paul exhorts the Christian faithful to “hold the traditions you have learned.” The traditional Latin Mass is exemplary of the Church's sacred tradition. It is a beautiful display of the Catholic faith that has kindled the devotion of thousands of saints. I strongly urge all of my readers to find a parish that offers the traditional form of the Mass, because it is much more effective at uniting one's soul to God than the Novus Ordo. Our ultimate goal is to become saints, and the traditional Latin Mass is an indisputably better means toward sainthood than the Novus Ordo Mass.

New terms
  • lex orandi, lex credendi “The law of prayer is the law of belief,” meaning Catholic liturgy should reflect the Catholic faith.
  • Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) – A prominent society of priests who offer the traditional Latin Mass, Divine Office, and sacraments while maintaining a positive relationship with the Holy See.
  • Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) – A society of priests similar to the FSSP, except that they have a very difficult relationship with the Holy See.
  • sedevacantism – The false position that all Popes since Vatican II are heretics and not true Popes.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Traditional Latin Mass vs. Novus Ordo, Part 6: The new Divine Office and sacraments

Previous parts in this series:
Part 1: A brief history
Part 2: First half of the Novus Ordo Mass
Part 3: The rest of the Novus Ordo Mass
Part 4: The key differences
Part 5: Liturgical abuse

In addition to the radical revisions to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Office and all seven sacraments were also heavily revised. These revisions represent many of the same trends that the revisions to the Mass represent, such as a horizontal rather than vertical focus and de-emphasis on infallible Catholic doctrine.

Like the Novus Ordo Mass, the Novus Ordo Divine Office and sacraments attempt to revert to ancient practices, but in this regard they fail completely. The new forms of the Divine Office and sacraments are even more novel than the Mass, and at no point do they have even the slightest resemblance to any ancient practices.

The Novus Ordo Divine Office is entitled the Liturgy of the Hours. Like the traditional Divine Office, its purpose is to be our sacrifice of praise to God, to sanctify each part of the day through prayer and psalms, and to supplement the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. However, the new Liturgy of the Hours is drastically shorter than the traditional Divine Office. If you are not familiar with the traditional Divine Office, you can read our series about it from last July. The traditional Divine Office consists of the hours of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. The sequence of hours in the Liturgy of the Hours is as follows.
  • The Office of Readings, which roughly corresponds to the traditional Matins, but may be sung at any time of day.
  • Lauds, also called Morning Prayer.
  • Daytime Prayer, corresponding to three of the four little hours of the traditional Divine Office. Daytime Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours consists of Terce (“Mid-Morning Prayer”), Sext (“Mid-Day Prayer”), and None (“Mid-Afternoon Prayer”).
  • Vespers, also called Evening Prayer.
  • Compline, also called Night Prayer.

Except for the Office of Readings, each of the hours has a descriptive English name in addition to its traditional name. For example, the evening office is called both Vespers and Evening Prayer. The traditional hour of Prime, which has been part of the Divine Office since AD 382, is completely suppressed. This is yet another example of the reckless destruction of ancient traditions in the Novus Ordo. It also means that the martyrology is no longer part of the Church's liturgy, so many thousands of saints who have been canonized by the Church are now completely neglected. The rubrics of the Liturgy of the Hours are given in the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (GILH).

Like the traditional Divine Office, the most important part of the Liturgy of the Hours is the singing of psalms. However, as mentioned before, the Liturgy of the Hours is much, much shorter than the traditional Divine Office, and each hour has far fewer psalms. In the traditional Divine Office, there are nine psalms or portions of psalms at Matins, four at Lauds, three each at Prime, Terce, Sext, and None, five at Vespers, and three at Compline, for a total of thirty-three psalms per day or 231 per week. Thus, in one week, all 150 psalms are sung. In the Liturgy of the Hours, there are three psalms at the Office of Readings, two at Lauds, three at Daytime Prayer, two at Vespers, and one or two at Compline. The ancient tradition of reciting all 150 psalms in a week is suppressed. Instead, the psalter is sung on a four-week cycle.

Even over the course of the four weeks, the entire Book of Psalms is not sung in the Liturgy of the Hours. Psalms 57, 82, and 108, along with various verses of many other psalms, are omitted, because they have the character of cursing one's enemies. This is among the most preposterous of the Novus Ordo revisions. The reformers took it upon themselves to censor the Word of God, removing whatever did not please them. This is pure, unbridled Modernism. Men have placed themselves above God and their own sentimentality above the divine truth. As Catholics, we have a solemn duty to curse and renounce all enemies of God, just as King David did in these psalms. It is tragic that the Church's own sacred liturgy fails in this duty.

In addition to the psalms, hymns composed by the Church have been used in the Divine Office for centuries. Many saints, such as St. Ambrose and St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote beautiful hymns for the Divine Office. Unfortunately, the hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours are a confusing mess. In saner times, the Vatican would publish an editio typica (“typical edition”) of every liturgical book, and all other editions published anywhere in the world had to conform to the editio typica. In the Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours, the hymns in the English translated editions do not conform to the Vatican editio typica. They do not even conform to other English editions. Every publisher of an English edition of the Liturgy of the Hours chooses English hymns to include. These hymns often include religious songs that are not sacred music and not appropriate for the liturgy. Many editions even include hymns composed by Martin Luther! This is a manifestation of the Modernist idea of placing sentiment above truth. People like these songs, so why not include them in the sacred liturgy? It is wrong and dangerous to make liturgical decisions based on the people's will instead of God's will.

Office of Readings

The Office of Readings is a new invention in the Novus Ordo. It replaces the hour of Matins, which has been celebrated since time immemorial. Unlike Matins, the Office of Readings is not a night office, though the GILH suggests that it be observed as such in religious communities. It may be sung at any time of day. Likewise, the Office of Readings is not divided into nocturns like Matins.

The Invitatory begins the office if and only if it is sung as the first hour of the day. The Invitatory is usually Psalm 94, but there is an option to replace it with Psalm 23, 66, or 99. The Invitatory antiphon is proper to the day. If Lauds has already been sung that day, there is no Invitatory, so the office begins with the traditional opening verse and Gloria Patri. If the Invitatory is sung, then this verse is omitted.

Deus ☩ in adjutórium meum inténde.
Dómine, ad adjuvándum me festína.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in sǽcula sæculórum. Amen. Allelúia.
O God, ☩ come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

A hymn is sung, followed by three psalms, each with an antiphon. At the end of each psalm, after Gloria Patri but before the repetition of the antiphon, a short prayer specific to the psalm, known as a psalm prayer, may be said, perhaps accompanied by a period of sacred silence. The psalm prayers are composed to aid personal devotion to the psalms. I actually think they are quite lovely.

After the three psalms, there are always two readings. The first is from sacred scripture, and the second is chosen from a variety of texts, such as the writings of Church Fathers or the lives of saints. The documents of the Second Vatican Council are included among the writings of Church Fathers that may be read from. There are no absolutions or blessings before the readings. Each reading is followed by a responsory. The Te Deum, the great hymn of praise composed by Ss. Ambrose and Augustine, is then sung on Sundays outside of Lent and on major feasts. It is even sung on Sundays of Advent, when the Gloria is not sung at Mass, so there is no longer the traditional connection between the Gloria and the Te Deum.

The Office of Readings concludes with a prayer proper to the day. Two options are given for the concluding prayer for each hour of the Liturgy of the Hours except Compline. The first is a prayer proper to the day unique to the Liturgy of the Hours, and the second is the collect of the Mass, so there is the option of continuing the tradition of singing the collect of the Mass at each hour of the Divine Office.

Lauds

Lauds, or “Morning Prayer,” begins with the Invitatory if the Office of Readings has not yet been sung that day, otherwise it begins with the verse Deus in adjutorium. A hymn proper to the day is then sung. The psalms follow. Unlike the traditional form of Lauds, Novus Ordo Lauds does not have separate schemes of psalms for penitential and non-penitential occasions. One psalm is sung, preceded and followed by an antiphon proper to the day. A psalm prayer may be said after the Gloria Patri. This psalm is followed by a canticle from the Old Testament, with an antiphon. The Old Testament canticle follows the same four-week cycle as the psalms. Like in the traditional Divine Office, the Canticle of the Three Children from Daniel 3:57-88 is sung on Sundays and major feasts. Also like the traditional Divine Office, the canticle is followed by a psalm of a joyful nature.

Next, there is a short reading from sacred scripture, analogous to the capitulum of each hour of the traditional Divine Office, followed by a responsory. The Benedictus or Canticle of Zechariah is then sung. Taken from Luke 1:68-79, the Benedictus is Zechariah's hymn of praise at the circumcision of his son, St. John the Baptist. If Lauds is offered solemnly in choir, the altar is incensed during the singing of the Benedictus to demonstrate the connection between the Divine Office and the Mass.

The Benedictus is followed by the Intercessions, a short litany proper to the day offering prayer to God. They are analogous to the preces feriales of the traditional Divine Office. However, unlike the preces, the Intercessions are sung every day. Since Lauds traditionally has a character of giving praise to God, the Intercessions at Lauds give praise and thanksgiving to God and consecrate the day to him. They also take on some of the character of the prayers for the day's work traditionally sung at Prime. Since the Liturgy of the Hours does not have Prime, there is no office specifically for preparing for the day's work, so this intention must be incorporated into Lauds. At the end of the Intercessions, the Our Father is said, followed by the concluding prayer.

Daytime Prayer

Daytime Prayer consists of Terce (“Mid-Morning Prayer”), Sext (“Mid-Day Prayer”), and None (“Mid-Afternoon Prayer”). In religious communities, all three of these hours are offered. However, diocesan priests are only required to offer one of these three hours each day. This destroys the tradition, extending back to the apostles, of offering prayer to God at the third hour, sixth hour, and ninth hour. It weakens the sanctification of the hours of the day that has been entrusted to the clergy since time immemorial. Furthermore, it undermines the mystical connection between the daytime hours and the events of our Lord's Passion. It is unfortunate that the Church has lowered her standards for her clergy.

The hours of Terce, Sext, and None are identical in form. They each begin with the verse Deus in adjutorium and a hymn. Three psalms with one antiphon and, optionally, one psalm prayer are sung. Since each priest is required to offer only one daytime hour, there is only one set of psalms for Daytime Prayer. Additional psalms are given in an appendix in the event that more than one of the daytime hours are offered in a day. After the psalms, there is a short reading from scripture, a versicle and response, and the concluding prayer.

Vespers

Vespers, or “Evening Prayer,” is the most solemn hour. It is similar in form to Lauds. It begins with the verse Deus in adjutorium and a hymn proper to the day. Two psalms are sung, each with an antiphon and a psalm prayer. Next, a canticle taken from the epistles of the New Testament or from the book of Apocalypse is sung with an antiphon. There are seven such canticles, one for each day of the week. These canticles are a new innovation and did not appear in the traditional Divine Office. After the canticle, there is a short reading from scripture and a responsory. The Magnificat or Canticle of Mary is then sung. The Magnificat is the Blessed Virgin Mary's song of praise when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, taken from Luke 1:46-55. It is followed by the Intercessions, which offer supplication to God for the Church. The final versicle of the Intercessions always prays for the souls in purgatory. Vespers concludes with the Our Father and the concluding prayer.

Compline

Compline, or “Night Prayer,” is the final hour of the day. It is sung before bed to prepare ourselves for our sleep that night and for the hour of our death. Compline begins with the verse Deus in adjutorium, followed by an examination of conscience and the same reduced form of the Confiteor used in the Novus Ordo Mass. This is opposed to the traditional Divine Office, in which the examination of conscience and Confiteor precede the opening verse. A hymn follows. One or two psalms are sung, with one antiphon and no psalm prayer. The psalms of Sunday (either Psalms 4 and 133 or Psalm 90 alone) may be used any day.

There is then a short reading from scripture proper to the day of the week. It is followed by the responsory In manus tuas, just like the traditional form of Compline, taken from our Lord's words on the Cross: “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). The Nunc dimittis or Canticle of Simeon, the priest Simeon's song of praise when he saw the child Jesus in Luke 2:29-32, is sung with the same invariable antiphon from the traditional form of Compline. The closing prayer is then sung, which is proper to the day of the week. The blessing, “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death,” traditionally sung at the beginning of Compline, is now sung at the end of Compline. The day's Liturgy of the Hours concludes with the final antiphon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for which there are several options.

As you can see, the Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours is drastically different from the traditional Divine Office. It is much, much shorter and does away with ancient traditions, such as the hours of Matins and Prime and singing all 150 psalms in a week. It replaces beautiful and sacred hymns with inappropriate religious songs. It even censors the Word of God by leaving out psalms that did not appeal to the reformers' sentimentality.

The new liturgies for the sacraments

In addition to the Mass and Divine Office, the liturgies for all seven sacraments were heavily revised. Once again, the Novus Ordo forms for the sacraments take away a lot of liturgical beauty and tradition and represent Protestant and Modernist influences. The people and their sentiments are given higher importance than God and his divine truth. To be clear, all of the sacraments are still valid. God's grace is still given. It is merely the ceremonies that are inferior.

Baptism

The Novus Ordo Baptism ceremony is shorter than the traditional ceremony and takes place entirely inside the church. The tradition of beginning outside the church and bringing the new Christians into the church is suppressed. The priest never addresses the child in the ceremony, instead speaking directly to the parents and godparents. Most significantly, the ancient ceremony of tasting salt and the exorcisms have been abolished, so there is no longer any reference to driving away the devil. The beautiful seven-part ceremony of Baptism of an adult, with its quasi-little hour of the Divine Office at the beginning and a threefold exorcism, has been completely abolished.

Confirmation

The Novus Ordo rite of Confirmation is completely different from the traditional rite. It takes place in the context of the Mass, after the sermon. There is an option for a “ritual Mass,” where the Mass propers relate to the sacrament of Confirmation. The ritual Mass even has a proper form of the Penitential Act, which is unusual. The prayer to bestow each of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is abolished. The second imposition of hands, in which the bishop lays his hands on each confirmand's head individually, is abolished. The first imposition of hands, in which the bishop extends his hands over all of the confirmandi together, remains. The imposition of hands is generally regarded by theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas, as part of the essential matter of the sacrament, so retaining the general imposition of hands is necessary for validity of the sacrament (Summa Theologiae IIIa, Q. 72, A. 2 ad 1). That being said, removing the individual imposition of hands is a very serious change that suppresses a tradition mentioned in the Bible itself (Acts 8:17).

Instead of the traditional form, “I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross...” the bishop says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This form is taken from the Eastern rites. It is far less beautiful than the traditional form. It is also ambiguousis the Holy Spirit itself the gift, or is it something the Holy Spirit gives? After this form and the accompanying anointing with Chrism, the bishop says, “Peace be with you,” but he does not slap the confirmand.

Eucharist

As I discussed in previous parts of this series, there is far less respect given to the Blessed Sacrament in the Novus Ordo than in the traditional Latin Mass. It comes as no surprise, then, that many Catholics today (some sources suggest as many as half of all Catholics) either do not know or do not believe that the bread and wine are completely transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In the traditional Latin Mass, only what is consecrated may touch the Sacred Hostthe chalice, paten, corporal, pall, purificator, and priest's hands. In the Novus Ordo, the Eucharist is regularly distributed by lay people and received in the hands.

Penance

The form of absolution has been changed. There is less emphasis on the priest himself absolving sin. Instead, we have a prayer that, although lovely, does not fit with the sacrament of Penance. The essential form of the sacrament, “I absolve you from your sins...” feels forced and out of place. In fact, it seems to pander to the Protestant idea that we must pray directly to God for forgiveness instead of being forgiven by a priest.

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The prayer for indulgence (“May the Passion...”) is preserved as an option, but it is not commonly used. I have only heard one priest say it in the Novus Ordo.

With the Novus Ordo's reduced emphasis on the infallible Catholic faith, the practice of regular confession seems to have fallen by the wayside for many Catholics. Far too many parishes offer confession only a half hour a week, and even that half hour is barely attended. Many Catholics only go to confession once or twice a year. Some never go at all, even though Catholics have a solemn obligation to go to confession a minimum of once a year. Some are unaware of or apathetic to the requirement of being in a state of grace to receive Communion, so they regularly receive Communion even if they have not been to confession in months or years.

I have seen many liturgical abuses with the sacrament of Penance. The most grievous is the practice in some parishes of offering a “community reconciliation service,” in which the people do not confess their sins individually, but the priest still gives a general absolution to the whole parish. This is almost always invalid, and priests who hold such a service are committing a grave sin. A general absolution may be valid only for grave reason (such as if a group of soldiers are going into battle and there is not time to hear each person's confession) and with permission of the bishop. Each person who receives such an absolution is bound to confess their sins to a priest as soon as possible.

Extreme Unction

The sacrament of Extreme Unction has been radically changed. It is now called “Anointing of the Sick.” It is no longer associated with the time of death, but rather it may be received by anyone who is seriously ill. This is contrary to the constant tradition of the Catholic Church and the writing of St. Thomas Aquinas, which dictate that the sacrament of Extreme Unction be given at the time of death (ST Suppl. IIIae, Q. 32, A. 2).

In addition, the focus of the new rite of Anointing of the Sick is not on forgiveness of sins and spiritual healing, but on physical healing. There are no exorcisms. The saints are not invoked. Instead of the six anointings on various body parts, there are only two anointings on the head and hands, using these prayers:

Per istam sanctam Unctiónem et suam piíssimam misericórdiam, ádiuvet te Dóminus grátia Spíritus Sancti. Amen.


Ut a peccátis liberátum te salvet atque propítius állevet. Amen.
Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. Amen.

Notice how the priest says, “May the Lord who frees you from sin,” as if freeing the sick person from sin were an event that occurs at another time, not related to the sacrament. Finally, any vegetable oil may be used, which contradicts the constant tradition of the Church that olive oil be used. Thus, the new rite of Anointing of the Sick, although valid, represents a completely different theology than the sacred Catholic tradition.

Marriage

In the Novus Ordo, the sacrament of Marriage is generally celebrated within the Mass, after the sermon. The nuptial blessing is given after the Our Father as usual. Strangely, the Penitential Act and the Libera nos (“Deliver us Lord...”) are both omitted at a nuptial Mass. Unlike the traditional nuptial Mass, the new nuptial Mass has many different options for prayers and readings. The bride and groom are free to choose whatever suits their sentiments. St. Paul's exhortation on Marriage from his Epistle to the Ephesians, which is the Epistle at the traditional nuptial Mass, is an option for a reading. However, the verse admonishing wives to submit to their husbands is left out. Once again, the reforms censor the Word of God to fit their Modernist sentiments.

Holy Orders

The new rite of ordination of a priest takes places after the sermon, which is a break from the tradition of celebrating ordinations between the readings. The ceremonial bestowing of the powers to bless, offer the Mass, and forgive sins are all omitted. There is no mention of the sacrificial nature of the priesthood. Yet again, the infallible Catholic truth is cast away in favor of Modernist and Protestant sentiments.

New terms
  • Liturgy of the Hours – The Novus Ordo Divine Office.
  • Office of Readings – A new hour of the Divine Office concocted to replace Matins. It consists of three psalms and two readings and may be sung at any time of day.
  • Daytime Prayer – The hours of Terce, Sext, and None, only one of which is required for each priest except in religious communities.
  • General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (GILH)The rubrics of the Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours.
  • psalm prayer – A short prayer specific to a psalm written to aid the faithful's devotion to that psalm.
  • Intercessions – Prayers sung at Lauds and Vespers, analogous to the preces of the traditional Divine Office.