Overall, however, when weighing the two forms, I think the gains outweigh the losses. The 50th anniversary of the Novus Ordo’s debut is, therefore, a time to thank God for those gains.
FATHER ROGER LANDRY
I believe Father Roger Landry is a good man and a good priest with a lot of good intentions. I also think he is deluded by his own good intentions in this Register article, “Celebrating the Novus Ordo as It Ought to Be.” I always grew up hearing that old saw that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. This was my introduction to the law of unintended consequences.
When welfare programs began many decades ago, the intention was to help families in their hardships. The unintended consequences of those programs was to foster generations of unwed mothers and fatherless sons who would become savage criminals who have turned urban life into urban hell. I am crazy, but I think the solution to the problem is to end the programs. Why repeat the same mistake expecting a different result? And if the current result is worse than the problem the solution was intended to cure, you abandon the solution. This would be common sense.
The Novus Ordo Mass had many good intentions behind it at the outset. But good intentions don’t count. What we have to see are the potential unintended consequences of our actions. The unintended consequences of the Novus Ordo are plain to see. We see a decline in vocations, church attendance, and belief in the Real Presence. Liturgical abuses are common. The atmosphere of a typical Novus Ordo Mass has less reverence than what you will find at an Episcopal or Lutheran church service. And the Novus Ordo opened the doors to all sorts of innovations from the modernists in other areas. How can Father Landry seriously claim that the gains outweigh the losses?
The biggest loss is that priests like Father Landry cannot see the destruction the Novus Ordo has brought to our parishes. It’s like living in a town with a paper mill. After awhile, you don’t notice the rotten egg smell anymore. But your out of town relatives notice it when they come to visit.
There is only one upside to the Novus Ordo Mass. It makes you appreciate the real thing when you encounter it. When you attend a Latin Mass, you are struck immediately by its beauty and reverence. When you kneel at the rail and take communion, you see how much better and efficient it is than the clumsy attempt at a supermarket express lane with extraordinary ministers of holy communion. Worship is not about the utilitarian, but the utilitarian arguments against the Latin Mass are without substance.
The Novus Ordo should be totally abolished. There was and is nothing wrong with the Latin Mass except that it put restraint on bad priests in the liturgy. The Novus Ordo opened the doors wide to innovations that are ongoing even today. The changes never stop. Ultimately, those changes will invalidate the Mass altogether, and the Real Presence will vanish in an abomination of desolation. This is the ultimate destination of all these good intentions. When we reach the end of that road paved with the stones of all those good intentions, we should not be surprised to find ourselves in Hell nor claim that we weren’t warned.