Let’s make something very clear here: what we Roman Rite Catholics today call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass or Mass is neither new nor old. How could it be unless Jesus Christ came back to Earth and instituted a whole new Eucharist or perhaps changed the mode of His Sacrifice or His act of Redemption? He has not done that; the primary substance of what truly defines the Mass has not changed – not ever – in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
GOD HISTORICALLY DIRECTS LITURGICAL CHANGE, AND HAS AGAIN…
The form of the liturgy can and has changed. There are older forms and newer forms and forms within rites and forms varying between rites. In recent Catholic Church history, the Holy Spirit formally called for reform of the Church’s central liturgical form at the Second Vatican Council (ecumenical) via the Constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC).
A NEW ROMAN MISSAL CAME OUT OF VATICAN II COUNCIL…
After SC was promulgated, the Church enthusiastically moved forward in happy obedience, beginning with the MIssal of 1962 (what some correctly call the Missal of John XXIII, but some others more vulgarly call the Traditional Latin Mass) as the basis for reform and ordered 3 April 1969 that the revised Missale Romanum, a New Roman Missal, go into effect by 30 November 1969. Why is it vulgar to call the Missal of John XXIII the Traditional Latin Mass? Because, of two things: 1) The Mass is traditional no matter what form we use and 2) the Mass does not change; the form of the liturgy or missal we use at the Mass changes.
HOW WE OUGHT TO DESCRIBE THE CURRENT AND PRIOR ROMAN MISSALS…
The New Roman Missale is well-known as the Novus Ordo Missae or New Order of the Mass. In contrast, the older Roman Missale should be referred to as the Vetus Ordo Missae or Old Order of the Mass. But, no one should call the Mass new nor old. The substance of what the Mass is never changes; only the form of the liturgy used changes.
Later, because of a desire to bring the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and their adherents into the Church after their very lengthy protest of changes brought via the Second Vatican Council (this is due in part to a vicious doubt and rebellion against authority), Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio Summorum Pontificum where he relaxed restrictions on the use of the Missal of John XXIII and referred to the form of that missal as an “extraordinary form” and the form of our new missal as the ordinary form of the liturgy. The word “extraordinary” is from the Latin “extraordinarius, from extra ordinem ‘outside the normal course of events.'” The word can also mean “very unusual or remarkable,” or not to be used under normal circumstances. Afterall, the whole Church has been directed to worship under a new form! But, Summorum Pontificum has been interpreted much more loosely, and with ill effect such as liturgical idolatry, but I digress…
AVOID HERETICAL THINKING AND EXPRESSION
If we say the Mass has changed, then we enter into heresy. Why? Because there is one Christ, one Sacrifice and one Eucharist for all salvific intents and purposes. There is no new Christ, no new Sacrifice, and no new Eucharist. Period. Unless, of course, we think we are Anglicans, Lutherans, or another form of Protestant who change or “protest the Mass.” (My friends of these separated groups, I do not judge you if you belong to these groups; you are innocent and do not yet know or understand. We love you and desire communion with you. You are not “bad” because you belong to these groups.)
There is no “Old Mass,” and there is no “New Mass.” There is the same Mass using different forms of the liturgy.
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Novus Ordo Missae;
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Ordinary Form of the Liturgy;
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the New Missal;
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Vetus Ordo Missae;
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy;
- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the Old Missal.
Let us not harbor passive-aggressive feelings which lead us to sarcastically call the Mass “old” or “new” as if what came out of a holy ecumenical council could ever change our central dogma – it can’t and would never do that. The Mass does not change; the form can and does change. Try to find joy in accepting the New Missal knowing that you are doing exactly what God desires, and focus more on understanding the form and knowing the Lord’s Presence in the Mass, and finding joy in obedience.