Monday, 26 August 2013

If it looks Protestant and sounds Protestant......

.....then, logic dictates, it must be Protestant.

I mean, of course, the Ordinary Form of Mass, the Novus Ordo.

This post has been prompted by several comments, made privately, from recent converts who have found themselves in the 'double somersault' position, namely, the first somersault in converting to the Catholic Faith and the second in discovering the Tridentine Latin Mass.

And then comes the process of attempting to reconcile the one with the other - a hard and often painful period of doubt and concern.

And to a certain degree it applies also to Novus Ordo Catholics who, again, 'discover' the Old Rite and then come up against the same problems as their converted brethren.

Now, I stress that, what follows are my own views and I accept that some may be offended by them but, I return to the post heading: "If it looks Protestant and sounds Protestant, then it must be Protestant".

The liturgical case of OF vs EF has been made many times but I would like to focus on the physical, actual signs of Protestantisation in the new Mass.

The elements that make the distinction between old and new as clear as white is from black.

Catholic or Protestant? Hard to tell in today's world


Again, I pre-qualify what follows by stating that we have many good priests who celebrate both forms. I believe that to be an acceptable but dangerous thing inasmuch that, in many respects, the two represent very different spiritual processes. 
We also have many indifferent priests who only celebrate the Ordinary Form, and that, indeed, is an extremely dangerous thing.

1. The Catholic altar has been replaced by the Protestant table

2. The Faithful stand to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the hand

3. Holy Communion is given in both forms

4. Unifying Latin has disappeared to be replaced with the vernacular

5. The Priestly vestments have morphed into the style of the Protestant pastors

6. Females as altar servers

7. Religious statues, flowers on the altar, candle offerings - all are disappearing in the new order

8. Holy water fonts are, often dry and neglected

9. Sacred music has been replaced by guitars and tambourines

10. Altar servers wear albs

Now, please comment by all means but do not tell me that, in your parish, the water font is full to overflowing.
My points are generalisations and you will always find parishes where the Novus Ordo is celebrated reverently and largely in Latin.

But, every time that I attend an OF Mass (infrequently, admittedly) I see all that is listed above taking place.

That list, of course, is not exclusive. You could add the disappearance of bells, thuribles, dancing and so on to the list (and please feel free to do so in the comment box).

So, on the one hand we have the Mass that organically expanded until, in the 16th century, it was (broadly) ratified and has remained the same ever since, throughout the world, and, on the other, the Mass that was committee designed in the 1960s and 70s, that is subject to constant variations and changes according to the whim of the celebrant and that is allegedly in the vernacular but, in Britain today, is just as likely to be in Tagalog or Polish or Mandarin.

I know which Mass has Catholic Doctrine in its DNA.

I know which Mass I will attend to fulfil my Sunday obligation.

Picture: Infallible Catholic blog


  1. I think it's more subtle than just a Catholic/Protestant divide. Many Anglican churches (at least 50 ago) had proper altars at the east end, with kneeling at the altar rail for communion, grown-up music, traditional vestments... but the "Spirit of Vatican II" swept through the Anglican tradition as well.

    Many of the Anglicans welcomed in various other spirits of course, some of them definitely the sort that would be more at home rushing down a hill with the Gadarene swine.

  2. Yes, yes, and yes. Not to mention the basic new structure of the NO to approximate a meal rather than the Sacrifice, the new prayers designed to downplay too much mention of sin, hell, satan, virtues, Saints, etc., the 3-year "bible study" lectionary, and on and on.

    At my dual-rite parish, they offer a reverent Novus Ordo Mass, ad orientum, in Latin. They have the option to either kneel at the rail and receive Communion on the tongue or get in line to receive standing up and in the hand. The regulars at that Mass, I'm told, love that Mass because of the reverence, beauty and the priest using Latin. It's all very familiar to them and they can recognize easily what part of the Mass is happening at any given moment because it's exactly the same as a Clown Mass, minus the clowns. Unfortunately, if one were able to follow along in a Missal, which they don't have (like the 1962 Missal), they might be surprised to read the translations of those prayers they're finding so beautiful in Latin. Or maybe not. Maybe they'd be just fine with what they're actually praying. I think that Mass must be perfect for the Novus Ordo crowd that doesn't want anything to do with that scary Tridentine Mass and this feels just fine to them. They LIKE the watered down language or don't know any better.

  3. Bruvver Eccles, you are right and we Catholics owe much to Anglicans for keeping alive many of our traditions over the past 50 years.
    But the listing I made is very much Protestant in origin. Specifically, if you like, low Church.
    Elizabeth, agree totally.

  4. Actually, I think most protestants still kneel to receive their bread.

    Simon Platt

  5. Richard, you qualify your words, but perhaps not enough,'ware heresy.Just as a priest may be a grave sinner and still say a valid mass,in the same way in a church building influenced by protestant mentality ie wreckervated ( had a sad experience recently seeing what has been done to a fine church) in a liturgy consciously or otherwise bent in a protestant direction ,said by a properly ordained priest, howsoever trained , howsoever tainted by modernism ,the mass is still the mass.NO , but mass. Howsoever in need of.., but the mass.
    Nothing, however, can save heretical catequesis/RI/passing on the faith in the family. Parishioners have been formed at mass, in the home, at other parish activities, and in Catholic , very inverted commas,schools. One aspect: catholic contraceptive thinking (which predates VII ) means precisely your tagalog and polish masses, the children god planned catholics to have and they havent could just asoon have been muslims coming in and up, for the the english have backed out of.
    .I know, I know, I think it was Cardinal Burke who said some of the things you mention at mass, I forget the exact words , can start getting towards an occasion of sin for some people.
    And yes, I know, I haven't had 40 years of ICEL to put up with!

  6. Simon, some do and some don't. My wife was CoE until she converted in 1974, she received standing and in the hand in those days. I do believe the practice to be Protestant in origin, even if it is not done in every church.
    Mike, I think the heresy is on the side of the NO. I agree with your letter of the law points but feel most strongly that the spirit of the NO is protestant. I did avoid the 'valid but illicit' case.

  7. When Cranmer made his revisions he stripped out the prayers that were specifically of a sacrificial nature.The same thing happened with the introduction of the Novus Ordo.The protestant observers at V11 were all pleased with the changes made.How often, if ever, do you hear of the N.O being referred to as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Yes it certainly sounds, looks and feels protestant.Sadly due to the protestantisation of the liturgy many catholics have a decidedly protestant outlook.

  8. The constant denial by most of the authorities in the Church of the state of the Faith, including Sacred Liturgy is surreal. One feels like one is accompanying Alice in "wonderland". I wish I would wake up from this nightmare.

  9. Hi all,

    Great post. Beauty in the Sacred Liturgy is of the utmost importance. Why can't everyone understand that? It's beyond me.

    The Church is in such a crisis. I can see it. It's time for all Catholics to wake up.

    I'm just a young person. I didn't live through the worst of the 'tribulation' (It's still bad I know, but you get the point!). I was born in 1997 to be exact and wasn't baptized until 2009. I'm eternally grateful to God for leading me to the Holy Catholic Church.

    If it's anything to you all, there is still reverence out there. My parish is one example. We are the most conservative in our Diocese and we don't have any nonsense, as described here. We have an altar rail (no one here ever stands for Holy Communion, unless it's someone with a knee impediment). It's still there because a lady attached her brown scapular to it long ago. We have altar servers in surplice. We have a Latin Mass every Sunday at 9:15 with a choir, of which I am a part. Singing Gregorian Chant is amazing. We don't have lay people handling the Holy Eucharist and thank goodness for that! (What right have we to touch the Holy of Holies. I mean seriously. I've never done it and never will. That's God, people). We don't have altar girls (They can't be Priests. Why on earth should they serve then?), etc etc. You get the point. The point is, there is hope in some parishes, while others not so much...

    I'm lost anywhere else other than my parish. Sometimes it's seems Traditionalists are treated like lepers. For instance, I get the ugliest looks for wearing my mantilla and even dressing modestly in some parishes, while most women are dressed to the equivalent of prostitutes...

    I don't want to be a protestant or worship like a protestant. I just want to worship as we once worshiped. I love tradition. I have no interest for innovation. Poor Pope St. Pius X would be inconsolable at the state of the Church today. I pray that he intercedes for us. I apologize for the lengthy post. I just want to share my thoughts with like-minded people. Please pray for me and I'll pray for you all. May God bless.

    Viva Christo Rey!


    1. What understanding and insight and a pure Catholic sensibility for one so young in years and in the Church! And the ability to convey it so clearly. Bravo! Maybe you would share your conversion story sometime? I'm sure it would be very helpful for many to hear it, particularly those who've left the Faith out of the pull of anti-Catholic secular forces and young persons who have not been brought up in the Faith, denied their priceless heritage. Thank you!!!

  10. Not long ago I might have argued that the ten items on your list were abuses and not generic to the Novus Ordo as such, despite the fact that they are normative in most parishes. And you don't even mention the abuse of EMHC which goes on even in Westminster Cathedral (Basil Hume wanted "jobs for the girls" and no Administrator has dared to meddle with it, Redemptionis Sacramentum notwithstanding).

    However, a priest who comments on another blog and is very much pro-Novus Ordo points out that the 'ecclesiology' of the OF is radically different from that of the EF and I think he is right. We see this in the first decree of Bugnini's Consilium, Inter Oecumenici, issued in October 1964. The priest is described as "presiding over the assembly". Changes are to be introduced incrementally so as not to disturb the faithful unnecessarily, but the reformers knew pretty well what the new Mass would look like even before the Council met. In reality it took less than three years to destroy the Roman Rite and only two years more to replace it with a product that Bugnini himself envisaged would be only temporary.

    The third stage of the revolution ('inculturation' to the extent that the missal texts would be locally generated rather than being translations of the Latin) never happened since Paul VI belatedly came to his senses and gave Annibale the heave-ho in 1976.

    Despite attempts at damage-limitation and the admission that the Roman Rite was never abrogated, the fact remains that the 'renewal' of the liturgy has resulted in a complete dogs' breakfast, with all the sacraments and sacramentals dumbed-down and ambivalent (all exorcisms removed from the baptismal rite for example, and a 'Book of Blessings' that doesn't actually bless anything), delivered in a Babel of tongues and accompanied by music of unbelievable banality.

    Hannah, it might just be put right in your lifetime, but don't bank on it.

  11. Thank you all, good to have such accord. God bless.

  12. "Hannah, it might just be put right in your lifetime, but don't bank on it."

    That's what I'm praying for. And it will be when the Church is purified.

    I've been studying and studying and studying trying to figure out what happened. It's horrific. I'm taking my heritage and the faith of my forefathers back. I do NOT want feel good nonsense! I want what the Saints had and everything. I want truth and tradition. That's what I want.

    This is ultimately about Christ. I look at the 1950s and ask what happened? Where is the Catholicism? I could go on and on, but you get the point.

    Catholics don't even believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist...

    God bless!


  13. Lynda @ 1:06 hours....just for a split second I thought you were talking about me :(
    Hannah fits the bill much more accurately!

    1. Mr Collins, it goes without saying that your contribution to the return of most of the Church to the Truth! Thank you.

  14. ... is priceless (!)

  15. Thanks Lynda, I wasn't fishing. Honest.

  16. Do I detect a note of superiority? Does God love
    his Catholic children more than His Protestant children? Was Vatican II really a waste of time and effort? Where is love in all this put down talk?

    1. He loves protestants just as much, imagine His sorrow over their sorry state!

    2. Yes I sincerely believe that V2 was a complete waste of time and effort. I will also suggest that your definition of "love" does not fulfill the true meaning.

  17. Anon - yes, no and yes. Please leave a name next time.

  18. This post makes me sad to read for two main reasons: first, because there are so many abuses of the OF Mass, and I wish priests would follow the GIRM and rubrics, but second, because I think speaking about those abuses, and even of the whole OF in such a disrespectful way encourages division in the Church. I know this may be a dangerous place to air this, but I don't have any ill will towards anyone here, I like to argue, and I love the Church. This makes me emotional, but, pray God, not incapable of rational argument.

    I love the EF, attended it occasionally growing up, and have even done retreats at Clear Creek Monastery. I was in a chant "schola" in high school, or as near to one as our parish could muster at the time. I prefer many things about the EF, but I am wary of excommunicating by default people who attend and love their parish OF Masses. I am from a conservative parish in a conservative diocese. There are many reverent OF Masses said around here. I think comments like Elizabeth's, especially, to be paramount to Donatism. Yep, calling you out. I don't hate you, I just disagree with you. Fire back, I can take it.

  19. Help me through the thought process here. How is it that the TLM is the only appropriate expression to fulfill Christ’s command to “do this in memory of me”? If we had a time machine and went back to the 1st c., grabbed an Apostle, and brought him back here for a TLM, would he even recognize what was going on? Ok, that might be an unfair exaggeration, but really; think HOW DIFFERENT what he would see would be from the liturgy he knew. We can argue about scripture scholarship if need be, but would any Christians from the 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd century immediately fathom the developments that have come into that liturgy? So what is it that guarantees me that this Mass, the EF/TLM, really is in continuity with the liturgy of the first Christians?
    From a Greek liturgy to a Latin liturgy, from a common meal where even other food was served to one in which all the participants don’t even fulfill (an uninitiated observer would have to conclude) the second command to “take…drink,” there have been a lot of changes in the Mass since we first received it, and what guarantees that we are still doing what Christ commanded?
    I believe that the Holy Spirit helped to guide and inspire the evolution of the Mass over the centuries, I really do, but didn’t the Holy Spirit do the same in the Eastern (uniate) Rites? Or should they all use the TLM as well? I believe that the Mass is still the Mass because Jesus gave us the Church and Peter’s keys and Chair to ensure that we would never get so off course that we would be lost. The SAME AUTHORITY that ensure me that the TLM is still fulfilling Christ’s command is the SAME AUTHORITY that tells me the OF of the Mass, validly celebrated is STILL THE MASS.
    What Council of the Church ushered in the transition from Greek to Latin? Was Vatican II not a “real Council?” The Holy Fathers celebrate the OF of the Mass. Did someone drop the keys? I have a hard time understanding how Catholics in union with Rome can think the Pope’s Mass isn’t getting the job done. If it isn’t, then how can he be the pope, and then you must be sede vacantists. Right? Help me with this, because I really don’t get it.
    I keep thinking of Jesus’ admonition against those who swore by the gold of the Temple without acknowledging the God the Temple was built to Adore. The Mass, the Liturgy, is a man-made (guided by the Spirit!) “Temple” in which we receive the unspeakable gift of God Himself. By necessity we acknowledge that this Temple can have various forms (the Eastern Rites). Worship the God, not the Temple; worship the Eucharist, not the Liturgy. To worship the liturgy, or even the details of the liturgy is to betray the very Presence that the liturgy was created to adore.
    Annnnd, ok, now I’m gonna get it!

  20. If it looks Protestant and sounds Protestant......
    .....then, logic dictates, it must be Protestant.

    I mean, of course, the elevation of one's private judgment over that of the Popes and the Church.

  21. Howard, no Pope has ratified the NO with an ex cathedra statement. This allows for individual opinions (and logic) to be applied. Of course, when the NO was first conceived the direct teachings of Pope St Pius V were ignored (Quo Primum). Now that really was a case of flagrant disobedience to Church teaching.

  22. Sempergaudentes - what links us back to the time of Christ is the EF Latin Mass, a Mass ratified by Pope St Pius V (see my response to Howard). My real point of my post was to emphasize how protestant, in origin, is the new Mass.
    That would seem to be incontrovertible.
    Please also remember the words of Our Lord (roughly paraphrased here):-
    "I do not come to bring peace but with a sword of fire to set son against father" etc.
    My personal preference is not to attend a Mass that has all the worst elements of a third rate circus. I believe that to be deeply insulting to Almighty God.
    You did say that you could take it! God bless.


  23. All of this post saddens me. Let us never forget that our first love, our boast, and our total focus is the Lord Jesus, not the religious trappings of what some call "high church." Religion can an obstacle to faith in God. The externals of religion are gifts to bring us to God. We must be sure we don't get stuck in the gifts and lose sight of the Giver. Also, let us value our Protestant brothers and sisters for they too have the Holy Spirit and do their part to build up the body of Christ. It should be more important to say we are Christian than to say we are Catholic. Christianity should always trump Churchianity.

  24. Anonymous - I am really sorry but you are definitely on the wrong bus. The worship of Almighty God and the framework that accompanies it are not 'trappings' as you describe them.
    They were instigated by Our Lord Himself and then framed by the early Fathers of the Church.
    That is most precious and provides what Pope Emeritus Benedict called 'the hermeneutic of continuity'. An essential link back to Christ and Catholic orthodoxy.
    We cannot 'value' our Protestant brothers and sisters as such. They are in error and heretics. We can love them, pray for them and respect them but there is no value to ignoring Christ's teachings as they do on divorce, abortion, the True Presence and so on.
    I believe, as does any Catholic who says the Credo, that we are the one true Faith.
    Full stop.
    A name would be much appreciated when you comment. Thank you and God bless you.

    1. Now I am even sadder. Your self-righteousness and arrogance are not of God. You need to get off whatever bus you are on;it does not give glory to God. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. You need to start building up.

    2. The Catholic Church teaches there is no salvation outside the Church. Period. You must accept ALL the teachings of the Church if you're Catholic.

      Those "trappings" you speak of are a taste of Heaven for us. They do bring us closer to God. God deserves the best, not our meager watered-down nonsense. Is that what your God is worth?

      "It should be more important to say we are Christian than to say we are Catholic."

      What does this mean? Catholics are Christians. We are not just one denomination. We are the One True Church without which there is no salvation. We have to work to bring people to the Church. We aren't supposed to sit back and let them wallow in their falsehoods. Protestantism and all other false religions shouldn't even exist in the first place. They are false and the Church has taught that always.

      I would suggest you go and study what your Church teaches, for the good of your soul. You are very misinformed from reading what your post says.

      God bless you.


    3. The Magisterium teaches Jesus is the best way to heaven, but not the only way, as per the official catechism. Other religions contain, at least, some truth. I suggest you put a little love in your heart, give it a chance to grow. Pride of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Salvation is not a written exam. I see no love in your words, just a real pharisee mentality. I would not be attracted to your church. You are not doing the CC a service.

  25. I’m back. Sorry to leave a discussion on pause, I don’t intend to be rude.
    Here is my next line of questioning. Surely the TLM can’t be considered THE INHERITOR of the Church’s Tradition only because of this “ratification” (by infallible, ex cathedra pronouncement, if I understand correctly) by Pius V. If this ex cathedra ratification is necessary to guarantee the Mass’ validity [I don’t mean sacramental validity...hrm. Maybe make a distinction between Validity (the Sacrament occurred) and validity=a right, correct, legitimate successor/inheritor/manifestation of Tradition], then what was the status of the Mass BEFORE this pronouncement? Was it in limbo because it had not yet received this approval? Of course not. The reason for this is because the Church’s liturgy is (lower-case) valid when it is carried out according to the direction of the proper authorities, as the TLM had been before Pius the V, and after him, just as the Ordinary Form is valid when it is celebrated according to its prescribed directives.
    Did Pius V ratify the liturgies of the Eastern Rites, as well? Should they be worried about their status as legitimate inheritors of Tradition? What about Rites that came back into union with Rome after this proclamation? I found this article to be a good, basic primer of some of the issues at stake:
    One minor point: an insult is not the same thing as an argument. Your post deals with claims that some elements of OF Masses which you or your contributors have attended are “Protestant” in inclination or in origin. That in and of itself is merely an insult, if one considers being called Protestant to in fact be an insult. The same goes with calling the OF a “circus.” That isn’t an argument, just an insult, and of course doesn’t further your position at all, rather than bating people to exchange insults, which I could do if you would enjoy that, but isn’t really the reason I initiated this exchange. I acknowledge that I am the “aggressor” here, as I came to YOUR page and started this up. I ask you to defend your positions without being needlessly emotionally defensive, and pledge to attempt to do the same. As I said, I truly bear no ill will to you or any of your regular readers. (Even people I “call out”)

    1. The simple question is: If you had a choice to worship God according to the OF or EF, which do you think would be more pleasing to God? I have lived through V2 my whole life, and having experience all the "fruits".. the Spirit of Sedevacantism from many in the pews.

  26. Anonymous...please leave a name or a pseudonym and I will respond. Thank you.

    Hannah - very well said. Thank you.

  27. Sempergaudentes - quite a few points to respond to. Perhaps a good place for me to start would be to clearly set out my beliefs regarding both my previous comment and post and the OF Mass.
    I do not believe the OF Mass is invalid, it may be illicit but that is for a much deeper debate. My description of the OF Mass as a 'circus' was intended for those Masses that truly fit the description. Where dancing takes place or a folk group play on the sanctuary or the priest cracks jokes during the Consecration (really).
    The OF Mass said reverently and in accord with Canon Law is subject to the influences of Protestantism as listed on my post.
    I can see no earthly reason why we should have adopted these incursions into what was a beautiful liturgy that linked us back to Christ. The statistics speak volumes; since the changes (not just liturgical, admittedly), we have seen a great apostasy take place.
    Now, to your point re Quo Primum. As you know, any Mass that had a 200 year precedent for the liturgical format of worship was granted validity. But QP laid down the norm (the unchangeable norm if one believes in Papal infallibility) of what we now call the Extraordinary Form of Mass.
    I am not being insulting when I describe a NO Mass as Protestant in style, that is merely a factual observation, please be assured that I value all comments (other than anonymous ones) and that your contribution is highly appreciated (I feel I should incorporate that sentence on my blog somewhere). God bless.


    Protestants---heretics---really? No. They are beloved children of God. Most Protestants are faithful believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ who respect the Catholic faith because they, too, have the Holy Spirit.(Try eating and praying with them and you will understand.) Legalistic restorationism will not bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus or make them more like Him. Legalism is loveless, a noisy gong, a clanging symbol. It makes for dead apologetics as well.

    Instead of immersion in the history of the liturgy, try immersion in sacred Scripture and prayerful meditation, much better for the health of the soul.

    This post badly needed a dissenting voice!

  29. Anonymous - actually, a reply is necessary. It is not a question of not loving Protestants, of course, we are obliged to do this. But we need to recognise that they are in error and are not fulfilling what Our Lord requires of us. Please do not presume that I have no experience of 'living' with them. I live in a country that is overwhelmingly Protestant and, no, I have not felt too much respect for the Catholic Faith coming from that direction. Our Credo says it all. God bless. Please leave a name should you comment again.

  30. "I have not felt too much respect for the Catholic Faith"--------now I know your problem; sorry about that, but my experience has been different. Ideally, we should want to love our Protestant brothers and sisters, not be obligated to.