In his reply to my earlier letter, Monsignor Elliott mentioned the Roman Missal of 1962. However, the text of this Missal was, except for one phrase, identical with that of the Missals that had preceded it since the time of Pope Pius V in the 16th century. The only change is the insertion of St Joseph in the list of Saints in the Communicantes prayer at the beginning of the Roman Canon.
With the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, there was a revolutionary change. For one thing, the celebrant, instead of one Canon, now had the choice of one out of four. Many other changes were made with the result that celebrations of the Eucharist could be taken at times for Communion services instead of the offering of a sacrifice of propitiation asking for the forgiveness of the sins of the living and the dead.
The New Mass, it was confidently predicted, would lead to an increase in the number of the faithful assisting at Sunday Mass and the number of converts to the Faith. This forecast has not been fulfilled.
In fact, when the New Mass first appeared, Peter Berger, an eminent sociologist - not a Catholic, but not unfriendly to the Church - commented that if an evil genius was seeking a means of destroying the Catholic Church, this is the kind of thing he would have devised. Recently, Cardinal Ratzinger said that among factors contributing to the Church's crisis has been the implementation of the New Mass.
FR G.H. DUGGAN SM
Silverstream, New Zealand