19 May 2014

The Influence of Freemasonry and Related Theological Issues of Concern with the Novus Ordo Mass

Sub Tuum. 

Nota bene: This article first appeared in Telicom: The Journal of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry. 

Pope Saint Pius V, who codified
the Catholic mass.

     The 1970s saw much change in Catholic liturgy and culture. The new ways were called the Novus Ordo (New Order), which followed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Neither doctrinal changes nor the changes to tradition that would occur, however, were intended by the council. It was intended to be a pastoral council that would, in the words of the Pope who called the Council, “throw open the windows of the Church and let in the fresh air of renewal.” It was dialogue with the modern world that the Holy Father wanted, not a rebuilding of the Church in the image of the modern world. Yet many ecclesiastical liberals and modernists took the former to imply or even outright demand the latter. What the modern Roman Communion has been left with is not a renewed Church, but indeed a new Church completely unrecognizable to its former self as predicted by the very Cardinals in Rome who were appointed to study the impact of this new liturgy and structure. Yet these changes have become the new status quo, and the so-called “old ways” were largely banned. For many devout Catholics, though, this has become a crisis of faith. Unity within the Church has been severely tested. 

     In the fourth apparition of Our Lady on 21 January 1610 to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, the Blessed Virgin warned that Satan would reign through Masonic sects and destroy unity within the Holy Church.[1] The revelation made plain the infiltration by Satan through Freemasonry into all levels of society, destroying the Sacrament of Matrimony, which represents the bond between Christ and His Church, and entering “the beautiful, flourishing vineyard of the Church, leaving it destroyed and in complete ruin.”[2] Moving forward to the early twentieth-century, a direct persecution of the Church by the Masonic forces leading Mexico was seen. In 1927, Fr. Francisco Vera was executed by firing squad, still wearing his mass vestments, for celebrating the Holy Mass.[3] This was most definitely not the first instance of direct persecution of the Catholic Faith, and it has certainly not been the last. The increased secularization of American and world society follows the revelation of Our Lady. It is the revelation of infiltration that is the most troublesome.

     As many conspiracy theories abound about the Freemasons as exist about the Church herself, spawning books and movies of often highly questionable veracity. It is all too easy to dismiss the notion of infiltration of the Church by diabolical sects as just another nonsensical conspiracy theory. Yet, we recall the revealed words of the Blessed Virgin. We see the truth behind what was revealed to Mother Mariana almost four hundred years ago in history and in society today. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony has been attacked at least for the last fifty years. Today we are witnessing strong efforts in society to redefine marriage, with the goal being to force all people to accept this new definition, which includes same-sex unions. As Our Lady proclaimed, if the Sacrament of Matrimony is destroyed, then the people have destroyed the very symbol of the bond between Christ and His Church.

     Now, Christ promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. There shall, then, always remain a true Church. It is useful to recall the words of Saint Athanasius, who admonished his flock that those who keep the traditions of the Catholic Church, even if reduced to a handful, are the true Catholic Church. Thus, an infiltration by diabolical sects will not destroy the Church, but can nevertheless create harmful factions. There may be those who follow the true Church and those who follow Satan. This is a destruction of unity of which Our Lady spoke in the apparition to Mother Mariana, for if some in the Church worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, while others worship Satan, even unknowingly, there cannot be complete unity. The wolves in sheep’s clothing enter into the vineyard that has for so long been flourishing and destroy it and, in the process, take the souls of many with them. What was beautiful becomes laid to waste.

     Can it be said that this the work of the Freemasons? The trouble with uncovering the truth lies in the secrecy of the Freemason organization. It is well-known that there are Freemasons within the hierarchy of the Church, for the Masonic organization itself has proclaimed it. There are many further suspicions. There are those who have been discovered, but there are many more who have not been discovered. As one example, Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, one of the creators of the Novus Ordo mass, was strongly believed to be a Mason. These allegations prompted him to be removed from the Roman Curia and sent to a remote diplomatic outpost.

     There are sound reasons that Catholics may not be Freemasons! A Catholic who becomes a Freemason is automatically excommunicated. Indeed, truly secret societies are forbidden by the Church. In the case of Freemasonry, the prohibition also exists because it is a sect that so resembles a religion that it cannot be taken to be anything other than a religion. As our Lord said, no man may serve two masters. Therefore one can be a Freemason or a Catholic, but not both. The allegation of involvement of Freemasons in the creation of the Novus Ordo mass following the Second Vatican Council, and the commission led by Cardinal Gagnon in the 1970s to investigate infiltration of the Roman Curia by enemies of the Church, including Freemasons, is enough to cause grave concern as to the benefit of the Novus Ordo sacraments, or even its very validity and the harm it may be doing to the souls of the clergy and faithful. This has prompted debate, disunity, and crisis for decades.

     The Second Vatican Council was called by Pope John XXIII to breathe new life into the Church. It was intended to be a pastoral council, not a doctrinal council. Yet during the pontificate of Paul VI, sweeping changes were made. Modernist Bishops took advantage of the freedom given by the Council and rode roughshod over the traditions of the Holy Church. What was to come out of their efforts was, to many, something that barely resembled Catholicism, if at all.

     Until the Novus Ordo mass, the liturgical standard for the Roman Rite was the Tridentine mass, often called the Mass of Saint Pius V or the Mass of the Ages. Today it is also often called the “traditional mass” or the “Latin mass,” though in the latter case care should be taken to differentiate the Tridentine mass, which is in the Latin language, from the Novus Ordo mass celebrated in Latin. The Tridentine mass was the natural evolution of liturgy beginning in the very earliest days of the Christian Church. It was compiled and codified by Pope Pius V, a Saint and an Incorruptible.[4] The Novus Ordo mass, on the other hand, represents a massive change in both form and theology invented under Protestant influence and likely Masonic influence. Even Msgr. Bugnini, who was a co-author of the new mass, admitted that it was no mere cosmetic change, but a new creation. What could possibly have justified this transformation of the liturgy into something less than a total profession of the Catholic Faith?

     Let us turn to the words of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci in A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Mass, which was a report given to Pope Paul VI on the impact of the new mass.[5] First, it is clear that the new mass (the Novus Ordo) leads us to think "that truths ... can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever."[6] So here it is seen that the new mass opens the door to the notion of relativism in all things, including the most sacred of beliefs. The theological principle of lex orandi, lex credendi makes it clear that as we pray, so we believe. Thus as we pray the mass, so we believe. The Holy Mass, then, is of the utmost importance in safeguarding, upholding, and perpetuating the sacred doctrine and dogma of the Catholic Faith. In the new mass, "all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all."[7] While so-called pastoral reasons were cited as justification, in fact “the pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition ... do not seem to us sufficient."[8] One must bear in mind that the Tridentine mass has been the sustenance of many saints. Even Pope Paul VI admitted that "innumerable saints have been fed abundantly with the proper piety towards God by it..."[9]

     The new mass is essentially protestant in form and nature. Not only were a number of protestant ministers involved in the authoring of the new mass, protestant principles were directly injected into this new liturgy. In the new mass, the real presence and mystical presence of Christ are confused. Further confusion is added when the new mass entertains the heretical and Protestant notion that it is the faith of the people present rather than the actions and words of the priest that make Christ present in the Eucharist. Indeed, the notion of a hierarchical priesthood is replaced with a sense of a common priesthood of the people, i.e., there is confusion created between the sacramental and ministerial priesthood and the separate and distinct priesthood of all believers. These two Lutheran concepts are thus embraced by the addition of the Lutheran “Prayer of the Faithful” and the removal of the separate priest’s Confiteor. The Offertory, a sacred and intricate rite within the traditional liturgy, has been done away with in the new mass, which instead has a highly simplified “preparation of the gifts.” These are but a few of the drastic changes that are not mere stylistic changes, but directly assert a change in fundamental theology. The result has been a removal of the belief in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass held so strongly and so dear, replacing it with a far more protestant notion of worship. Even protestants recognized this, proclaiming that the new Eucharistic prayers removed the idea of sacrifice.

     The non-Catholic nature of this new liturgy led to a crisis of conscience for many of the clergy and faithful. One Franciscan priest stated that it was his greatest test of obedience to abandon the Tridentine mass for the Novus Ordo. This underscores the terrible dilemma facing many priests both then and now. Should they obey and celebrate the new mass, or should they remain faithful and obedient to the universal Church of the ages? This discord caused great disunity that persists to this day. Heresy or that which supports heresy does not warrant obedience. In fact, what promotes heresy must be opposed out of obedience to God and the universal Church. Some Catholics ended up separate from the administrative structure of the Roman Communion over these very issues, such as the Society of Saint Pius X and the Society of Saint Pius V.

     Yet, despite the problems, the Novus Ordo remains the most widely-celebrated liturgy within the Roman Rite today. The Tridentine mass has been banned in some locations, even in defiance of the universal indult (permission) to celebrate the Tridentine mass granted by Benedict XVI. Even Paul VI, the Pope under whose pontificate the Novus Ordo mass was developed, stated that it was not his intention that the Tridentine mass be banned. Yet that is precisely what happens, either explicitly or through pressure, in so many locations. Those who keep to the venerable traditions of the Church are often treated as “second-class citizens” within their dioceses. Some converts are left wondering why they converted when they see the protestant-style worship. Gone in the new mass is the horizontal worship between man and God. It has been replaced with horizontal worship between men. Truly the new mass is the mass of the people. The Tridentine mass is the mass of our Lord Jesus Christ, given universal indult for all time by Pope Saint Pius V.[10]

     Consider the many young people in the Church today who proudly profess that the new mass is far superior and have no interest in the Tridentine mass, which they consider irrelevant and outdated. There are still many youth and young adults who are drawn through the grace of God and the gift of faith to the beauty and truth of the Tridentine mass, but they are small in comparison to the rest. Also observe the vast decline in morality among the youth of the world. Even at Catholic schools, age-inappropriate and even outright vulgar attire is now often permitted or at least tolerated. Now consider the words of Our Lady in the apparition to Mother Mariana in which she said that Satan through Freemasonry would corrupt the minds of the youth. Now consider further the credible involvement of Freemasons in the authoring of the Novus Ordo liturgy. Not only were Protestant ministers involved, but Freemasons. How many were involved we will likely never know due to the secret nature of the organization.

     The end result is that the Church is left with a new rite conveying a new theology. This stems from abuses following in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, which John XXIII clearly never intended as anything more than a pastoral council. While claiming to be in accordance with the Second Vatican Council, the new mass really opposes the Council and its clear desire to preserve the traditional rite. Furthermore, the changes to the liturgy cannot simply be justified by the excuse of “pastoral reasons.” Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci specifically stated that it is reasonable to doubt that priests who use the Novus Ordo mass actually consecrate the Sacrament validly. That is a very poignant statement indeed; one can hardly be dismissed as being a matter of personality or politics.

     The lasting effects of the new mass, invented in part by Protestants and Freemasons, is a revolution to create a new church. The Archbishop of Birmingham, Msgr. Dwyer, openly proclaimed that liturgical form is where revolution begins. The beauty of the ages has been replaced with novelties to entertain the people, all in the name of keeping with the times. Remember the words of Our Lady: “the beautiful, flourishing vineyard of the Church, [left] destroyed and in complete ruin.”

[1] Fr. Manuel Sousa Pereira. The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana. 1790.
[2] Ibid. In an apparition regarding the Feast of Corpus Christi.
[3] Rutherford Card. Johnson. Daring to be Christian. 2012.
[4] Incorruptibles are Saints whose bodies, without embalming, were preserved, in whole or in part from the effects of decomposition. It is considered a particular sign of spiritual grace. The incorrupt remains of Pope Saint Pius V lie in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.
[5] 62 Theses Demonstrating Why The Preservation and Practice of the Traditional Latin Mass is Superior in Every Way to the Novus Ordo Missae. Edited by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Keith Patrick Steinhurst v.u.z. Westphalia.
[6] Idem.
[7] Idem.
[8] Idem.
[9] Pope Paul VI. Const. Apost. Missale Romanum.
[10] In the Papal bull Quo Primum, Pope Saint Pius V granted universal permission everywhere and for all time to celebrate the traditional rite of the Church, i.e., the Tridentine mass.