The inferiority of the Novus Ordo

A few weeks ago Benedict Turvill wrote his first ever article for the U.K.-based Catholic Herald. The title of the piece is “Why young Catholics love the Extraordinary Form: But don’t expect them to disparage the Novus Ordo

Ostensibly speaking on behalf of all “young Catholics,” Turvill praised “the purity and beauty” of the “Extraordinary Form,” but also extolled the “appealing” “structural simplifications” and “versatility” of the Novus Ordo Missae.

He begins his essay by writing:

The Latin, the Gregorian chant, the priest facing ad orientem and even the Roman biretta are ingredients in a spiritual feast that represents an oasis of replenishing beauty from the madness of the modern world.

Turvill continues by admitting:

I love the Extraordinary Form because it is so unashamedly and distinctively Catholic. It represents a brave and missionary faith willing to take on the world, and affirm our identity in so doing.”

I’m not exactly sure what to make of this. A spiritual feast? A brave and missionary faith? Well-catechized Catholics would likely say that what makes the Latin Mass “distinctively Catholic” is its prayers and symbolism (the altar rail, receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue, etc). Though when one reads Turvill’s essay it appears that he, like many young Catholics, is simply enchanted by reverence. Nothing more. Indeed, here is what he says about the new mass:

However, it would be wrong to assume that solemnity, beauty and spiritual armour cannot be found within the rich folds of the Novus Ordo Mass…

Turvill is scared to appear triumphalist and judgmental. He takes his cues from other quasi-Traditionalists and neoconservatives, who talk about “reverence” ad nauseum in order to cloak their different strokes for different folks mentality regarding the “Extraordinary” and “Ordinary” Forms of the Roman Rite.

It seems Mr. Turvill is unaware that the Novus Ordo was not an organic development taking place over hundreds of years. It was literally concocted out of thin air with the help of six non-Catholics. It’s aim was not to better express the truths of the Catholic faith, but to suppress them so inter-religious dialogue could occur. Put another way, the “Extraordinary Form” and the “Ordinary Form” reflect two different religions. Louis Tofari from Romanitas Press explains as much in this article for the Remnant newspaper.

Moreover, high ranking Vatican officials at the time did not believe there was “solemnity, beauty and spiritual armor” in the new mass. As Cdl. Alfredo Ottaviani once famously remarked, “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.” Has Mr. Turvill ever read Ottaviani’s critique of the mass he believes is such a treasure to the Church? Cardinal John Heenan, the Archbishop of Westminster from 1963 until 1975, claimed that if the Church began to offer the Novus Ordo, she “would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children.” Has this not come true?

Beauty is not what makes something Catholic. Even pagans love solemnity on occasion. We are Catholic because of our theology, our ecclesiology, and our doctrines, among other things. The Latin Mass reflects these, clear and unambiguously. For hundreds of years it acted as a veritable saint producing factory. The Novus Ordo is ecumenical, democratic, and can be celebrated in a diverse number of ways, making it more susceptible to abuse. Its fruits have been to drive persons away from the faith instead of pulling them in.

Turvill closes his poorly written article by kicking sand in the eyes of the Society of St. Pius X, claiming that Pope Francis is “orthodox,” and singing the praises of “St. John Paul the Great.” Read his essay by clicking here (if you think you can stomach it). Otherwise, just listen to what Stephen Kokx had to say about it on Church and State the other week.

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