Earlier in the history of this blog (almost a year ago, actually) I posted the first part of a multi-part defense of the Novus Ordo Missae, called by Pope Benedict XVI the "Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite." The reason for that particular name is to emphasize a very important point. The Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form (also known as the Mass of Paul VI or the Tridentine Mass) are, in fact, the same Mass, and are even of the same Rite. The difference is a matter of use, not one of rites and validities. Yet many Ultra-traditionalists believe the opposite. They center their belief around the Mass, only they hold that the Ordinary Form, the Novus Ordo, is at best a bad Mass and at worst invalid and heretical. Could they be right? Is it possible that the Church as been not only promoting but saying a heretical Mass for almost 40 years? Could the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity and Paraclete of the Church, have abandoned that same Church sometime in the middle of the last century. The idea is terrifying, and the errors that lead to such a conclusion are so grave that they almost seem possibly correct. Could the Holy Spirit abandon the Church?
The Ultra-traditionalist examination of this phenomenon is interesting. They hold that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church. Instead, it is a sort of dark night of the soul for the the faithful, where evil men try to lead the innocent to damnation. The bishops of the Church, and even the pope, are trying to lead the Church to its destruction, an ominous plan constructed by Satan himself. There is, however, the Remnant, those who have withstood the attempts of the Father of Lies and have stood on the Church's holy Traditions to save the Church. This is how the Ultra-traditionalists view themselves, a band of 300 Spartans against the possessed Persian Magisterium. It has happened before, they state. It is the same situation that the Church found itself when the Arians took over and nearly drove the Faith to destruction. Only a handful remained Catholic, and the Church was saved. Once again, the Ultra-traditionalists hold, the Church faces a devastating heresy. They, the defenders of Tradition, are the those that stood against the Arians so many years ago.
Are they right?
Ultra-traditionalism, contrary to what many more moderate Catholics think, goes far beyond the liturgical arguments over Masses. The key is the liturgy for them, but their problem goes deeper. Maybe at a later point I'll examine their other arguements, but for now I will focus on the liturgy, the central mystery of the Church, which is the most prominent controversy between Ultra-traditionalists and the Church.
My arguments will be in parts. I will first examine the heart of the liturgy, i.e., the words of consecration, first in its original Latin context (still the official language of the Church) and in the current English translation. I will then examine another argument on the part of Ultra-traditionalists, that the Novus Ordo itself is heretical, focusing first on some of the phrases in the Mass claimed to be "too Protestant" to be Catholic and also provide an argument against claims that the Mass promotes the Antiquarian heresy, my arguments I did not argue in my Apologetics presentation.