In April of 1985, The Coca-Cola Company launched a new formula for Coke. It seems that a committee reformulated coke and tested it on 200,000 people and, due to the outcome of their taste tests, decided that they would change their formula and retire ‘classic’ coke replacing it with ‘new’ coke. It was a clear demonstration of bureaucratic committees making decisions and changes that the people themselves did not demand or want. People began hoarding the old Coke and basically revolted against the Coke Company so vociferously that by July of 1985 they backed down and began offering both formulas: ‘New’ Coke and ‘Classic Coke’. Then they advertised both and eventually changed the name of New Coke to Coke II. Now Coke II is unavailable in the U.S. The people had spoken and they did not like the new product.

Then there is this type of interference which our Government has no business getting involved with:

May 22, 1997

Last year Amtrak celebrated its silver anniversary. After a quarter-century, we still haven’t learned what should have been evident when Richard Nixon launched this ill-begotten experiment: Uncle Sam doesn’t have a clue as to how to run a railroad.

Since 1972 Amtrak has received more than $13 billion of federal subsidies. Twenty-five years later, Amtrak appears no closer to financial independence than the day taxpayer assistance began. Worse, Amtrak has no apparent plan to become self-sufficient. In fact, it is now pressing for a half-cent of the federal gasoline tax in order to have a permanent umbilical cord to the federal treasury. That hardly seems fair, since people who pay the gasoline tax — that is, people who drive their cars — aren’t using Amtrak.”

What should we learn by these two stories, picked at random? Committees don’t create good products and governments don’t run good companies. And what should the Catholic Church learn from this about the Novus Ordo Mass and the Traditional Mass? There is a striking parallel if one just takes a moment and thinks about it.

“[W]e have a liturgy which has degenerated so that it has become a show which, with momentary success for the group of liturgical fabricators, strives to render religion interesting in the wake of the frivolities of fashion and seductive moral maxims. Consequently, the trend is the increasingly marked retreat of those who do not look to the liturgy for a spiritual show-master but for the encounter with the living God in whose presence all the ‘doing’ becomes insignificant since only this encounter is able to guarantee us access to the true richness of being.” (Cardinal Ratzinger’s preface to the French translation of Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Monsignor Klaus Gamber, 1992).

Yes, we fabricated a ’new’ liturgy and removed the ‘classic’ liturgy by the act of a committee, the liturgical fabricators, much like Coca Cola did. The people responded immediately as they did in the Coke fiasco. The seminaries, monasteries and convents emptied and many existing priests, brothers and nuns left the Church while the pews likewise suffered from an emptying.

But unlike Coca-Cola, who looked at the bottom line and corrected their course, the Vatican, and the bishops tried to make the failed product (the Novus Ordo Liturgy) thrive by erecting obstacles to the Traditional Mass and what amounts to subsidizing the Novus Ordo Mass. Their reaction did nothing but create a schism between Traditional Catholics and Novus Ordo Catholics. 

To fill the pews again, the bishops tried to outlaw the ‘classic’ Mass and sell the ‘new’ Mass on the concepts of simplicity, entertainment and by subsidies.

  • The simplicity of the Novus Ordo made it quicker to say and more understandable on the cognitive level by the elimination of much of the content of the Traditional Mass and the change from Latin into the vernacular.
  • They attempted to enlist the support of the Novus Ordo by the use of clowns, liturgical dancing, and folk songs and even tried rock and roll.
  • As the seminaries, monasteries and convents still remained empty, they began the egalitarian movement, which the Church is still working on: for if the Mass is only run by men you can double the human pool by extending to women the same duties that were traditionally given to men.
  • Then they began to import priests from developing nations and ordaining deacons in numbers heretofore unheard of in the Church.
  • They introduced ‘extraordinary’ ministers and lay lectors and then extended this ‘ministry’ to both men and women; receiving from a woman points naturally to the consecration of women priests.
  • Altar servers were now both boys and girls as well.
  • Now there is talk of filling the pews with Protestant spouses by allowing the access to Communion like they did with formal adulterers. Will it work?

What they did not get was that the Novus Ordo was not working. It does not engender an allure for the youth to participate or to become priests or religious brothers and sisters. And all the while, even with these ‘subsidies and accommodations’ the Churches were emptying. Here in the US it seems that the USCCB is banking on illegal immigrants from South America to fill the pews. But  Church closures and selling of old decaying and empty convents and monasteries are still rampant in many of our dioceses to this day. Katy Perry just bought a Convent for God-knows-what purpose or price.

However, all this time, the Traditional Catholics continue as they always have: no shortage of seminarians nor religious brothers and sisters. They do not have to subsidize and try to accommodate the youth in any way to ‘participate’ and to do their ancient duties. For every seat in a Traditional Seminary we have many applicants who are turned away while the standard diocesan Novus Ordo Seminaries have been coalescing and closing at a steady rate. This past year the US produced only 48 (I believe) new priests. And all of this is in the face of unheard of opposition from the bishops, cardinals and even our latest Pope who hates the Traditional Mass.

If the Catholic Church were a business, it would have failed without subsidies and it will eventually go broke unless its sole purpose is to become another Amtrak; producing a poor product in need of subsidizing and definitely not on the road to becoming self-sufficient.

I doubt any of the things they have done to ‘save’ the Novus Ordo is going to work. If it had been a company with a product the product does not fulfill its intended purpose. Therefore it does not succeed and the company goes belly up. If it must prop up the New Mass by incentives and discourage any competition of the Classic Mass then it is not succeeding on its own. Had it been a company the New Mass would have been ditched long ago and the Classic Mass would have taken its rightful place; because it works and draws the youth to the priesthood and the religious life and fulfills the spiritual yearning which dwells in our souls. In other words, if you want to fill your pews, your seminaries and your religious houses with people then you will return to what worked: the Traditional Latin Mass. Unless, of course, the intended purpose is to destroy the Church as it was and bring into being a new church made in their image.