Peter Howard ("New Mass", July AD2000) says that my letter in the June edition was a "simplistic criticism of Paul VI's New Mass". However, I did not criticise the Novus Ordo per se.
My first point was to try to correct a misunderstanding, widely held by many Catholics, both "Traditional" and "Novus Ordo", that the most important aspects of the Traditional Latin Mass are the Latin and/or the Gregorian Chant. They are certainly important, but "it is the Mass that matters".
A Mass celebrated in a battle zone on a makeshift altar, or in a humble country church, can be as efficacious as a Solemn High Mass celebrated on the High Altar of a Cathedral with Gregorian Chant. Some Catholics appreciate more than others this Mass, while others prefer the quietness of a Low Mass.
My second point, which I take Peter Howard agrees with, is that not all of the original instructions regarding the celebration of the Novus Ordo have been implemented. Latin and Gregorian Chant were just two things that were to be retained. I would be pleasantly surprised if someone could tell me that this is happening anywhere in Australia as a regular or normal part of the Novus Ordo Mass.
Fr Bouyer, an outstanding figure in the pre-conciliar liturgical movement and one of the most orthodox periti at the Council, stated in 1968: "We must speak plainly: there is practically no liturgy worthy of the name today in the Catholic Church"; and "Perhaps in no other area is there a greater distance (and even formal opposition) between what the Council worked out and what we actually have" (Decomposition of Catholicism).
Another noted liturgist, Monsignor Gamber, held a similar opinion: "One statement we can make with certainty is that the new Ordo of the Mass that has now emerged would not have been endorsed by the majority of the Council Fathers" (Reform of the Roman Liturgy).
Pope John Paul II's latest encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia, repeats concerns he expressed in Dominicae Cenae, a Holy Thursday letter addressed to bishops and priests in February 1980. Inaestimable Donum (1980) gave substance to this letter as it was issued by the then Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, wherein it detailed the abuses that had to be reined in. In the ensuing years little has changed, hence the new Encyclical.