It has been forty years—a biblically significant forty years—since Fr. James Wathen's earth-shattering analysis of the New Mass first went to print. During this time we Catholics have witnessed many things, both with regard to the rough and un- pastoral manner of the Novus Ordo Missae's implementation, and the outright persecution and “excommunication” of those who would remain faithful to it, the Faith, and their Oath Against Modernism.
Recently, however, we have seen certain apparent concessions granted by the hierarchy to those of us who are “attached” to the ancient Mass; these concessions include Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, as well as a newly translated vernacular version of the Novus Ordo. Many Catholics, undoubtedly, are overjoyed that someone in Rome appears to be “listening” to our voices, voices crying in this ecclesiastical wilderness these past four decades. While these “changes” and apparent victories serve to thrill many Catholics, and are perhaps even disarming to some, readers of this work (a work written at the very advent of the Novus Ordo) will not be so quick to celebrate.
The apparent concession of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio that the True Mass has never been abrogated, and that any priest can say it (under certain circumstances), has indeed been a cause of great joy among
many Catholics. However, so few seem to recognize (or perhaps refuse to discuss) the fact that in the Motu Proprio and the accompanying letter, the Pontiff states emphatically that the New Mass is just as much a proper profession of the Catholic Faith as the Old, and that they are to be held by Catholics as “equal”.
The second great “concession” which has many Catholics’ attention is the recent re-translation of the Novus Ordo into the vernacular. It appears that, after forty years of liturgical dreaming, someone suddenly woke up and realized that the English translation of the New Mass was so poorly executed (either by intention or incompetence—either one of which should have disqualified the translators), that a nearly ten year endeavor to “fix” these mistakes must be undertaken. It is ironic that “conservative” Catholics judge these changes to be good insofar as it causes the New Mass to more resemble the True Mass. In other words, whether they admit it or not, the True Catholic Mass is, by default, the benchmark of Orthodoxy and true, fitting Divine Worship.
Regardless of what appears to be good in these recent changes, faithful Catholics everywhere recognize that, until the Pope reissues Quo Primum, and affixes his hand and seal to it, nothing has really changed in the world of the Conciliar Church.