Thursday, October 12, 2023

No Such Thing as 'Novus Ordo' in the Catholic Church

One of the most common misconceptions among some Catholics is that the current form of the Roman Rite, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969, is called the "Novus Ordo". This term, which means "New Order" in Latin, is often used to contrast it with the "Tridentine Mass" or "Traditional Latin Mass", which is the previous form of the Roman Rite, celebrated in Latin according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.  

"Traditional Latin Mass" is also a misconception as the rite of the Mass has evolved since the onset of Christianity. It is silly to pin the word "traditional" to Trent solely.  The term "Novus Ordo" has a similar history. 

However, the term "Novus Ordo" is not found in any official liturgical document of the Church. It is a pejorative term that was coined by some traditionalist groups who reject the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. They use it to imply that the current form of the Roman Rite is a radical departure from the authentic tradition of the Church, and that it is inferior or even invalid. Some go as far as claiming it is part of the "Novus Ordo Seclurum," or New World Order and tie all kinds of conspiracies to the rite.

This is a false and misleading claim, as the current form of the Roman Rite is fully in continuity with the previous forms, and has been approved by the highest authority of the Church. The term that the Church uses to refer to the current form of the Roman Rite is simply "the Roman Missal", or in Latin, "Missale Romanum". The term "Novus Ordo" does not appear anywhere in this document, nor in any other official source.

The use of the term "Novus Ordo" is therefore disrespectful and divisive, as it creates a false opposition between two forms of the same rite, and fosters a spirit of suspicion and hostility towards the liturgy of the Church. It also ignores the fact that the Roman Rite has always been subject to organic development and adaptation throughout history, and that the current form of the Roman Rite is not a novelty, but a fruit of a long and rich tradition.

Therefore, as faithful Catholics who love and respect the liturgy of the Church, we should avoid using or accepting the term "Novus Ordo", and instead use the proper name of "the Roman Missal," "Ordinary For," or "the Mass". By doing so, we will show our reverence for the sacred mysteries that we celebrate, and our unity with the whole Church in her worship of God.

To support this argument, we can cite some authoritative sources that confirm the legitimacy and continuity of the current form of the Roman Rite. For example, Pope Paul VI himself declared in his apostolic constitution Missale Romanum, which introduced the new edition of the Roman Missal in 1969:

> The changes in this new edition are not so great as to be called truly new. For this reason we have kept its name unchanged: it will continue to be called Missale Romanum, as it has been called hitherto. The changes affect only those parts which have suffered injury through accidents of history or which require adaptation to present-day conditions. (Pope Paul VI, Missale Romanum, 3 April 1969)

Another source is Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which granted wider permission for celebrating the older form of the Roman Rite in 2007. In this document, he affirmed that:

> There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In history there have been many liturgical books; as centuries passed they changed and grew; when this process led to truly excessive proliferation Pope Pius V imposed a general re-ordering. Still later many modifications were introduced into this liturgical book; but eventually no one called into question its legitimacy and worthiness. (Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, 7 July 2007)

These sources show that both forms of the Roman Rite are valid expressions of Catholic worship, and that there is no reason to use derogatory terms such as "Novus Ordo" to refer to one or another.

The term "Novus Ordo" derives from a forced bad translation of Italian into Latin. St. Pope Paul VI made several comments in audiences with Italian bishops. In some of them, he spoke of a "new rite," "new books," and so on. He use of "new" was not meant to be interpreted as the previous being replaced.  For example, one can have a home and add new windows, but the house is still the same. Some disegenous Catholics of the past twisted the pope's words in these audiences forcing the term "Novus Ordo" to apply to "New Rite."  They also twist the words "novus ordo missae" in order to push their false narrative. Those of us who are educated in the Liturgy know that this term is never used.  The term is simply "Roman Missal."  

So again, Catholics need to get educated and not fall for the divisiveness of some in the Church who are still upset over Vatican II and are bearing false witness against the Church. They rouse suspicious and promote heretical and apostate views by separating the Extraordinary Form from the Ordinary Form when they are both the One Same Mass (see:  St. Pope Paul VI made it clear that the Mass is the same. The only difference are the forms. Redundant elements in the Extraordinary Form were removed to make the Ordinary Form simpler and more like the rite of the early Church that we see St. Justin Martyr describe in his Apologia.

Do not be deceived!  The Catholic Church has no such thing as a "Novus Ordo." It is not found in official Church Liturgical documents or even in the GIRM or Roman Missal book.  If you use this term, please stop. You are doing hard to the Church and disrespecting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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PAUL VI, Address to a general~ audience, on the new Ordo Missae, 26

November 1969: Not 5 (1969) 412-416 (Italian). 

Paul VI  in his general audience of March 7, 1965

Pau VI  general audience of November 19, 1969

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