The Dangers of Attacking the Validity of the Novus Ordo

Courageous Priest Note.  Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke is a “say the black and do the red” kind of priest.  This article is not about which form of the rite is better.  The abuses occurring during  Novus Ordo Masses are well-documented.  What Father makes clear is that the abuses are the fault of the priest.  They do not affect the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass.  The two issues must be separated.  Abuses do not change the validity of the Mass.  It perfectly acceptable to hate the abuses occurring.  It is even fine to have a strong distaste for the Novus Ordo.   Let’s remember, Rome has spoken.  Let us consider someone who attacks the Novus Ordo Mass so successfully that someone decides not to attend Mass.  Who’s culpable?  In all things charity.  Personally, I love the Extraordinary Form and drive many miles to attend a faithful one.  I detest the abuses and irreverence which can (and do) occur in the Novus Ordo, but that does not change whether the Mass is valid or not.  Charitable discussion is encouraged.

By Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke:

Unwarranted criticism of the ‘Novus Ordo’: “Instead of incurring sin to ourselves through such unwarranted and ignorant criticism of a valid liturgical Rite, we can quietly begin to attend the Mass in any of the other Rites that are in communion with Rome…” unless, of course, we think that the other Rites too are defective. Let us focus on living our faith.

Someone recently posted: “The Novus Ordo is feminized. It represents divergent spiritual expression and theology; it avoids homilies on hard teaching, and teaches the primacy of conscience over a well defined set of rules for our conduct. The Novus Ordo represents the subjective and shifting sand”. It is wrong to define a liturgical Rite on the basis of defects encountered among individual priests and members of a congregation. A Rite represents a church tradition about how the sacraments are to be celebrated. There are about 20 liturgical Rites present in the Church today. Of these, the ordinary form of the Latin Rite, despicably referred to as the Novus Ordo by some people, has been the target of unremitting negative attacks. The way the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the ‘Novus Ordo” is stipulated in the Roman Missal. What is to be said by the priest is printed in black and what he is to do is printed in red. If the rubric were followed, as stipulated, the ‘Novus Ordo’ mass would be reverential as it is meant to be.

When a priest offers the Mass in a distracted manner, then that is his personal fault that has nothing to do with the Rite. If a priest were to add words and make gestures that are not in accord with the laid-down rubrics, then that is his fault. If a priest were to preach uninspiring homilies at Mass, then that is a personal problem that has nothing to do with the Rite. If the congregation were irreverent at Mass, then that is their fault for there is no place where the Church officially stipulates that the Mass be participated in irreverently. If anyone thinks otherwise let him or her present the document.

It is about time we stopped conflating individual defects with a perfect liturgical Rite into a liturgical entity despicably referred to as Novus Ordo. Instead of incurring sin to ourselves through such unwarranted and ignorant criticism of a valid liturgical Rite, we can quietly begin to attend the Mass in any of the other Rites that are in communion with Rome…unless, of course, we think that the other Rites too are defective. Let us focus on living our faith.

Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke

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25 comments to The Dangers of Attacking the Validity of the Novus Ordo

  • Father Deacon R

    So by what RITE does one become a POPE? How is the “spirit” of Peter conferred on the Pope? Unlike the consecration of a bishop, the elevation of a priest, or the ordination of a deacon, there is no rite by which the Pope becomes the Pope. There is merely an election. I agree that Christ said to Peter “You are Peter (petra – little rock) and on this Rock (petros – big rock – referring to Christ himself) I will build my church.” Indeed this scripture must be read with the understanding that Christ is the STONE rejected by the builders but has become the CORNERSTONE of the foundation. It must also be read with the understanding that Christ is the HEAD of the Church. Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. No mere man is any of those things. Our salvation flows from Jesus, the Son of God. Thus, is the foundation of the Church truly Peter and his successors? Or, is the foundation of the Church Our Lord Jesus Christ? Recall that the church did not define the dogma of infallibility until Vatican I in 1869. Thus those Catholics who lived prior to that time were not under constraint to believe this doctrine. The Catholics after 1869 however are branded heretics if they don’t believe this dogma. Moreover, this dogma places one’s faith in a man over God. If your “faith” is in any man it is in the wrong place. Will you believe that the N.O. is true and correct because the Pope declares it or will you listen with your ears and use your own God-given reason to interpret? Please listen carefully to the words planted in the Novus Ordo texts. In my humble opinion, they do not reflect the ancient faith. Is it not true that worship belongs to God alone? Yet the N.O. distracts us from that singular worship to the actual worship of inanimate objects. For example, for the Exaltation of the Cross, Morning Prayer from the Divine Liturgy, the Morning Prayer reads, “We worship your cross, oh Lord.” (Antiphon for Canticle) It is time to repent of this nonsense.

  • Esperanza

    My heart goes out to all agonizing in soul over this. How unfortunate that we can’t worship God with peace in our heart at mass on Sunday!! I didn’t ever think what I read above could ever come here to where I live….now I cry every Sunday after trying to worship my God. My only hope now is that Jesus come “and renew the face of the earth”!!

  • Thankful

    Thank you so much, Father!

  • tz

    It is necessary to separate validity from aesthetic problems.
    That said, if the words of consecration are altered, or the priest is trying to consecrate milk and cookies, the sacrament, and the mass is invalid.

    Somewhere in a post which I will not link to, a persnikety family refused to commune with Christ in the Eucharist because it was a Novus Ordo, but didn’t even bother enumerating any abuses, much less heterodoxy or heresy. And the old Rite has a homily, and those often are problematic. But to tell Jesus, I hate that you didn’t provide us a latin mass, so we aren’t going to receive you in the eucharist, is itself evil.

    In the parish Corpus Christi, in Great Falls, Montana, they have a latin Novus Ordo which I think V2 was intending. It is both beautiful and accessible. Promote more of that rather than complaining.

    Or worse, committing mortal sin by intentionally missing sunday mass.

  • lisag

    It does depend on the Pastor, the liturgical committee and the music ministry at the parish as to how faithful and beautiful the mass is. One must remember that the mass does not have to be “your” perfect mass, but your heart and mind should be ready to receive the Lord in the Eucharist and word, participate in the prayers and welcome fellow parishioners. It is the Pastors parish and he sets the tone.

  • Ted

    Yes, this is good to hear and be reminded of the truth that this Mass is approved and valid. I have witnessed a priest repeatedly changing the words to the consecration which might then make the Mass Ilicit but not necessarily invalid. We need to be very careful not to become judges as Jesus is the supreme judge. I pray now for that priest but I cannot attend Mass at his parish as it is too painful and distracting to my worship. Let us pray for we are in the end times for certain.

  • Lionel Andrades

    If you change the ecclesiology of the priest then he can support an exclusivist ecclesiology of the Church, he would be saying outside the Church there is no salvation, as did the priests who offered the Latin Mass in the 16th century.
    Presently the Vatican is controlling ecclesiology by promoting an irrational interpretation of the magisterial documents. I have written about this on my blog Eucharist and Mission.
    It is with an irrational and heretical ecclesiology that Cardinal Sarah for example offers Holy Mass and is approved by the liberal popes and the Left.

    Cardinal Sarah affirms a vague Christology without the necessity of being a member of the Catholic Church for salvation : this is a rupture with the past ecclesiology of the Greek and Latin Mass.This would be the same for priests in general irrespective of the Rite.-Lionel

    • Mary


      The liberal clergy HATE Cardinal Sarah, that’s why the pope removed him from opening this academic year at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
      Although he has expressed respect for how muslims in Guinea practice peacefully, he believes that there is little possibility of theological dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and that abortion/homosexual ideologies and Islam are like two apocalyptic beasts with demonic origin.

  • How about Jesus when He said that first mass…He actually had the nerve to say it in Aramaic! Can you believe that! And he handed out the host to his disciples in their hands! How barbaric! As far as I remember when He broke the bread the crumbs dropped to ground in front of him because there was no alter server to catch them! Not to mention, His homily wasn’t very long either and those apostles kept asking questions while he was talking. It was really distracting! There really was no clear order to the whole affair! And now that I think of it Mary Magdelane was present on the alter! I know Jesus forgave her and all but that was just taking it too far! Im so grateful the Church in its infinite wisdom has made all these man-made rules and “rubrics” so abuses like these never happened again. It was nice of them to keep Jesus’ words at the mass but thankfully threw everything else out. God’s Son obviously wasn’t thinking clearly.

  • Maureen Avila

    I do not know how extensive this is, and granted I only know of 2 cases where the Mass and consecration were actually invalid due to the priest not saying the proper words of consecration… both from 5-10 years ago, but I suspect there are more. In first case, Mass and consecration were ‘diagnosed’ as invalid by a dominican priest answering a layperson’s inquiry in the question and answer section of a Catholic magazine. The priest said that the consecration did not take place and recommended spiritual communion should this happen again, but did not comment on the possibility that left-over unconsecrated hosts would probably be placed in the tabernacle for distribution later, perhaps even by another priest. The other case occurred in a convent and the nuns did not like to have the particular priest involved offer Mass there because they doubted the validity of the consecration due to his changing the words. I personally do not like receiving hosts not consecrated at the Mass that I am attending and I know that it has been restated throughout the history of the Church that whenever possible hosts should be given out at the Mass where they are consecrated but reserve some host for the sick.

    • Stella

      At the risk of flunking the “charity” test, I have to say that your first sentence is absurd. The idea that a person who, in good faith, goes to Communion and it is “invalid” because the priest says the incorrect words of consecration strikes me as preposterous. Let’s drop the Communion issue for a second. Let’s say a person goes to confession and confesses a mortal sin and the priest, somewhere along the line, says the wrong words of absolution. Are you going to tell me that this sinner isn’t forgiven? Finally, I once heard a story, and I hope it was a story, that an entire ordination class was “reordained” because someone discovered the holy oil wasn’t blessed. I hope we’ve moved beyond this legalistic stuff.

      • Ted

        Stella, the words are important. Otherwise, creativity sets in and chaos and wishful thinking take over. What if the priest was not really a priest? That has happened to some friends of mine. Would the faithful attending his Mass be receiving communion? Apparently not. I discovered a few years ago that a priest I occasioned to go to confession to was not properly absolving me of my sins. He was not saying the right words. I was alerted to this by a Q & A in my Catholic newspaper. I brought this up with our Chancellor who is a monsignor and trying to be charitable, he said I had the right intention but…no. It is very possible that my sins were not forgiven. I presume if I had died after these invalid confessions that our Lord would understand but we must always be careful about presumption. Anyways, this was rectified by reconfessing to another priest and moving on.

        • Peter James

          My Gosh, many of you make God out to be some legalistic bully! How do you sleep? Jesus hated legalism yet you make the letter of the law greater than His mercy. If i wasn’t Catholic before i found this site i would never become one after listening to most if you. what a miserable state to live in.

      • Dave Wuthenow

        I would imagine each circumstance is different. Say a priest said “my body” twice rather than “this is my body” and then “my blood” would be a good consecration since it was just an accidental slip up. Assuming it happened unintentional. The holy oil incident I think would need to be redone as without the blessing it is literally just oil. The act of absolution was the other one. To be honest all three questions are great questions for sure. I’ll have to write to someone well qualified to find an answer. Father Simon known, if you where to Google, “Father know it all- Father Richard Simon” in Skokie Illinois and on “Go Ask Your Father”Relevant Radio would be able to answer the question. Great questions

  • Daniel

    It’s not as solemn and beautiful as the TLM, but it still is the Holy Sacrifice of Christ. That’s why Bergoglio and his ilk are so determined to change it. And soon they will, you can be sure.

  • TLM

    The N.O. Mass is so full of variants permitted by the Celebrant that it invites abuse and abuse of ALL KINDS, I might add. For that reason, yes, I don’t know why the laity should NOT be allowed to speak out about it. To call it INVALID is a different matter, but just to criticize the abuses is actually not only permitted but required of us. I will NEVER confess as a ‘sin’ the criticizing of a ‘liturgical dance’ Mass, or when the Priest decides to ‘consecrate’ cookies and kool aid to teach the kids at the Childrens’ Mass. If they make a mockery out of it, I will not only criticize, I will stand up and walk out…….and then go to the Bishop. I think I would have to account to God Himself at my Judgement if I DIDN’T.

    And, Joan from facebook above is CORRECT. The N.O. Mass was purposely ‘Protestantized’ by those around Paul V1 and then not only approved by him, but the Traditional Mass pretty much banned. The N.O. Mass has done NOTHING to promote the True Church of Christ, in fact, it’s done the very OPPOSITE! If ANYONE is going to save the Church in the present CRISIS that is destroying her today, it will be the LAITY. It’s very obvious that the Bishops will do NOTHING. And furthermore, if they change the N.O. Mass YET AGAIN as there are rumors that they will; changing the Eucharistic Prayer to some kind of Pagan Worship with not even a mention of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as I’ve seen in print, I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING IT!! Because at that point, it will NOT BE A MASS AT ALL BUT A SACRILEGE being a sin TO ATTEND IT and maybe even A MORTAL SIN!!

  • Mary Langdon

    Reverence for religious ceremonies, whether the Old Mass or the new liturgy, ie, the Novus Ordo , comes from within the soul of the person, whether priest or layman. But, I find it interesting that PPaul 6th appears to be very free with his promulgation pen from 1965 when he promulgated the 1st Mass of V2, then 1969 the NOvusORDO . Then In1974, Laudate Deo, in latin( which was supposed to be sent to each Bishop in the world, but somehow didn’t make it..Somewhere there’s something …amiss. And it’s still that way!!!

  • Jon C.

    In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a particularly important issue.

  • Sue

    Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart, Fr. Charles!!! In recent years, I’ve been on the verge of leaving the Catholic Church solely because of the hateful attitude expressed by Tridentine people towards those of us who have to attend a silent Novus Ordo Mass where there are no children present. We must do this because nearly all of us suffer from Meniere’s Disease & become very ill when exposed to high-pitched sounds like screaming babies & some musical notes. Since I’m pretty much homebound & have very few friends, most of my socializing is done via Facebook. Until recently, it was primarily Catholic sites. But, the vitriol directed at people like me by those who firmly believe they are saved by Latin became intolerable & broke my heart. In these times of extreme turmoil & confusion, faithful Catholics MUST be united to wage war against the enemy–satan! There’s no need for us to be attacking one another when we all believe the exact same teachings!!! That last statement is what most angers the Tridentine people with whom I had contact.

  • Liam Ronan

    I have noticed a number of NO Mass-goers here in Ireland who pray the rosary throughout the Mass.

  • tg

    All the things listed above that we criticize happen at every parish. It’s hard to find a good NO parish. I go to the most traditional in my city and there are things that happen there that put me in a bad mood. This past Sunday, the hymns were a detraction to me. If I go to another parish, it’ll be worse. At least I don’t have to watch dancing women in the altar. I couldn’t take that. There’s only one priest in my diocese that I know that gives the NO Mass some beauty and his parish is about 45 minutes away in a small community. If only the FSSP could be near me, oh how happy I would be.

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