Reflections on the Novus Ordo Mass

I have previously argued here that because of the massive acceptance of contraception, and the implied right to sex-without-procreation, all the current attempts to block abortion and gay “marriages” are similar to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I concluded with the exhortation of Archbishop Chaput to priests, to overcome their fear of rejection and make the Catholic position regarding contraception clear in their homilies.

But I have begun to wonder, “in their homilies?” What Scriptural passages might be relevant? A priest has great flexibility in interpretation of the readings at Sunday Mass, but should not force an interpretation.

For example, I recall a homily by our former pastor on Lk. 2:17 about collecting the wheat but burning the chaff with “unquenchable fire” – as a lesson supporting “inclusiveness.” Another on Mt. 18:15-20, where Jesus tells his followers to treat some recalcitrant sinners as “heathens or publicans” – became an admonition to be “compassionate and forgiving.” A third on Mk. 1:21ff, where Jesus at a synagogue expels an unclean spirit – was turned into a condemnation of racism. (I forget the exact passage that prompted another parish priest to preach that Vatican II taught it is “no longer necessary to convert” people of other religions to Catholicism.)

But a conscientious priest willing to follow Archbishop Chaput’s advice would want to wait until the appropriate OT or NT reading came up in the Mass. For the priest’s “homily,” since Vatican II, and since papal directions concerning the Novus ordo missae, should be quite specifically oriented toward bringing out the meaning of the Scriptures.

In an editorial in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. raised the question, “Should Homilies Offer Systematic Instruction?” He points out that prior to Vatican II, bishops would often indicate topics for sermons in their dioceses, but that since Vatican II, the emphasis has been on Scripture, such that much of the Bible is presented Sunday by Sunday in three-year cycles.

How, then, does a pastor cover basic Catechetics within those guidelines? More specifically, Baker writes:

In the revised liturgy, how can the priest give a systematic, coherent presentation of Catholic teaching on the Creed, the Commandments, and the Sacraments within the course of the three-year cycle of scriptural readings?. . .There is little or no connection between the homilies from one Sunday to the next. As a result, more and more Catholics simply do not know what their Church teaches on such basic questions as original sin, mortal and venial sin, the Incarnation, the Trinity, heaven, hell, purgatory, the Real Presence, bodily resurrection, and so forth.

He mentions, however, that the Homiletic and Pastoral Review tries to incorporate such systematic instruction in the homilies that they regularly publish as a resource for preachers.

Pope Francis celebrates the Mass ad orientem
Pope Francis celebrates the Mass ad orientem

The Novus Ordo Mass is a result of changes originating at Vatican II, but drawing on calls for liturgical reform in previous decades. There was, reformers said, a lack of participation by congregations in the Mass (people just standing and kneeling, saying their rosaries, etc.); there were silent parts of the Mass, where the priest at the altar, with his back to the people, was reciting the Latin prayers for the “Ordinary” of the Mass; almost no one understood Latin, although they could follow translations in their Missals; and, shouldn’t liturgists try to revive the original practices of the early Church, as indicated in the New Testament letters and Patristic writings?

And there was the agenda of many periti at the Council – namely reunion with Protestants. There was great optimism that this ecumenical goal could be accomplished, and the initial move could be liturgical – removal of unessential elements in the Mass that could be an obstacle to reunion; concrete reminders of the “priesthood of the laity” and the idea of the “people of God”; emphasis on the Bible; and especially language echoing the common Protestant alternative to the Mass, the “Lord’s Supper.”

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium, of Vatican II, along with Pope Paul VI’s personal implementation of the directives of that Constitution, cleared the way for the use of the vernacular in the liturgy, as well as for replacement of the altar with a table for the “Lord’s Supper.” No special directives were given for the priest to face the congregation (coram populo) rather than facing the altar (ad orientem). But this practice rather swiftly became adopted during the 1970s along with the change from altar to table.

Many of us who have attended the Novus Ordo Mass since Vatican II are aware of numerous “liturgical additions” that went far beyond what the Constitution of the Liturgy or Pope Paul VI envisioned: namely, extensions of the Kiss of Peace with the priest walking throughout the church to greet people; extensions of the Prayers of the Faithful with a deacon passing around the church to gather personal prayers; the quite ordinary presence in the sanctuary of numerous “Extraordinary” ministers; children being invited to surround the altar during the Consecration; “inclusive” language throughout Mass, even when speaking of God (by avoiding the use of “He” or “Him;” and replacement of traditional hymns with songs emphasizing the horizontal aspects of community and presence at the Lord’s Supper, rather than the vertical relationship to God.

Fortunately, there are still parishes in which such “additions” do not prevail. But even in the context of a reverent Novus Ordo Mass, how is a priest to follow Archbishop Chaput’s exhortation to preach concerning contraception and other doctrines of Faith and morals?

As Father Baker indicates, it’s possible, with some planning, to coordinate catechetical instruction with Sunday homilies. But it should not be necessary, for example, to wait for a year before the relevant Scripture appears at Sunday Mass. More flexibility is necessary; and when urgent issues come to the fore, the priest should have the liberty of offering. . .an old-fashioned sermon.

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    The Mass readings are replete with occasions when reference to contraception could be made. Jesus was forever making allusion to his relationship with the Father. What else is contraception than a refusal to trust God as our Father. If we truly believed God to be who He says he is, then we would place the entirety of our lives into His hands and believe He would father us – even when it comes to our fecundity. I suspect all sin begins when we have refused to truly and fully trust in God and, by default, man is left to trust only himself.

    • Fr Kloster

      Bravo, Deacon. Might we say that we have verbally contracepted the ability to plummet and mine the ore filled passages of Holy Scripture?

      • Famijoly

        Last year, I listened to a podcast of a Catholic radio program in which the host was interviewing a young priest, known for his orthodoxy and zeal. The priest expressed distress over the manner in which so many receive our Lord in Holy Communion. He was especially referring to Communion in the hand and the casual approach to the King of Kings at the time of Eucharistic Communion with Him. The host asked if the priest had addressed the situation via a homily. The priest replied that he wanted to, “but the Sunday Scripture readings have not presented an opportunity yet. I do want to be obedient to the Church and preach from the Scriptures.”

        When I heard that, I screamed at my computer (as if screaming to the priest), “NOOOO!!! Father (Name), every Sunday, the Holy Spirit will open the Scriptures for you to shepherd the flock, if you trust Him!” And keep in mind that the Entrance Antiphon, the Responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia verse, and the Communion Antiphon are all Scripture passages ASSIGNED by the Church for the text of that particular Mass. All are therefore “preachable,” even if, like the young priest on the podcast, we give the narrowest interpretation of the GIRM when it comes to homilies at Mass. There are plenty of opportunities to call your people to greater reverence.

        I like Fr. Kloster’s expression that we have contracepted — worked against life — the Scriptures when we fail to see Scripture in the larger context of Tradition.

    • ThirstforTruth

      That is it!!! in a nutshell where the Church and its members have ” fallen by the wayside”…a bible verse that could be used in almost any homily to promote almost all Catholic teaching it would seem.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    The practice before the Second Vatican Council was to have a homily at Mass, expounding the Scripture readings and to have “Rosary (or Vespers), Sermon and Benediction” in the afternoon and these sermons often included a course of catechesis, week by week.

    In France, it was customary to have a daily sermon each evening during Lent (Le carême). In the larger churches in Paris, such as Notre Dame and la Madeleine, the invitation to preach the course of sermons was considered a great accolade. They were typically what is rather irreverently, called “three-decker (trios-ponts) sermons,” consisting of exposition, development and recapitulation and lasted for 45 minutes or an hour.

  • Michael Dowd

    Congratulations to Archbishop Chaput on his instruction to priests to preach about contraception at Mass. To most Catholics such a development would be shocking and probably result in some folks leaving the Church not to mention the many complaints to the Archbishop.

    I believe the failure to preach about the sin of contraception has been the chief cause for Catholic morality being no different in practice than Protestant. This has rendered the sacrament of Confession merely ritualistic and essentially unnecessary in the minds of most Catholics and priests, too, it would seem. If one were to test the knowledge and behavior of Catholics about Church teachings in 1950 and compare it with 2015 the findings would show a devastating and catastrophic loss of faith, knowledge and practice of the Church’s teaching.

    I would like to see all the Bishops instruct their priests to preach about Catechism of the Catholic Church every single Sunday at least for a few minutes. At least it would be a beginning of a return to the truth of the Catholic Church.

    • AGL

      As a lecturer I never really understand what is meant exactly by “preach” nor what people mean when they say the priest should “teach” via a homily. Certainly within the structure of the homily, normally without visual aids, congregation participation or feedback, the achievable reception of information or personal development is minimal. There needs to be a very careful analysis of exactly how much is possible within the accepted framework of the homily, and whether anything better than a reflective and prayerful understanding of the Gospel of the day should be attempted.
      I would like to see informed and trained laity leading seminar groups around the papal encyclicals. However, I know that is pure fantasy in the parishes I know,

      • Phil Steinacker

        While I see great value in modern concepts like “visual aids, congregation participation or feedback,” it is difficult for me to swallow your contention that “the achievable reception of information or personal development is minimal.”

        Before the age of electricity, and more pointedly, the development of modern communication technologies which enable the newer features you mention, our human history was replete with great oratory, lectures, and homilies without those value-adds.

        In particular, it seems to me that much vaunted participation and feedback have mostly yielded the unpleasant reality of near total ignorance by so-called “educated” masses of the basic philosophical and spiritual truths better grasped by less educated peasants of earlier times.

  • RaymondNicholas

    An old fashioned sermon at my Parish: on immigration or any popular social engineering cause…all you need in love, love is all you need. A “new fashioned” sermon at my Parish: on immigration or any popular social engineering cause…all you need in love, love is all you need. On “unsafe” issues like abortion, the gay agenda, religious freedom and persecution, and belief in and adherence to the true Faith, the Last Four Things, etc…..dead silence. What can the average pewsitter do but read the Sunday passages and contemplate on his or her own or seek out learned commentaries? Talking to the priests about their sermons is like sitting across from an empty chair and talking to yourself, then wondering if you are slowly going mad.

    • ThirstforTruth

      Raymond….welcome to the common experience of being Catholic in today’s Church, at least in the USA. There are few priests coming out of today’s seminaries, that are willing
      to run the risks that, for example, their counterparts during the English Reformation were
      eager to take. English soil was stained with the blood of the English martyred priests.
      Don’t expect that to happen here where our USCCB has “accommodated” the faith with their political loyalties.

      • RaymondNicholas

        I did my First Confession in 1958 in Philly. i was accustomed to priests in cassocks, sisters in full black, everyone in the pews dressed for Mass, the women on one side and the men on the other, and the Latin Mass. I would call myself a Traditionalist, although it shouldn’t be necessary. On occasion my good liberal priests invite seminarians to Mass to practice their sermons. When I corner a young guy after Mass and shake his hand, I grip it tightly and say, “I do hope you believe in the Faith and teachings of the Church. Otherwise, you need to find another career.” Sometimes they act astonished, other times they say things are changing for the better. Then I say, “I’ll be watching you.”

  • Dave

    Thank you, Prof. Kainz, for this great article. I think you’re right that the structure and choice of readings, in the current lectionary make for hard times in systematic instruction in the Faith — from the pulpit, during Mass; and I think you are right that it can be done. But how wonderful would it be if priests were to offer catechetical homilies during Evensong with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, or if they were simply to teach the Faith in the parish hall of an evening? I think we limit the teaching office, and the effectiveness, of the priest if we hope that systematic instruction in the Faith occur during Mass. I think, too, many people currently alienated from the Church, and unwilling to assist at Mass, might find Benediction or even simple catechetical instruction a much lower bar. In our parish, one of the priests is a dynamic, brilliant teacher; and his Lenten classes are chock-full.

    • Famijoly

      Very important point, Dave. I found out by experience that limiting my preaching and teaching to the Sunday homily is a disservice to my parishioners. In fact, many of those outside-of-Mass sermons/homilies/lectures/talks are great opportunities to be more expansive on a given topic and to field questions and comments.

  • Jhawk77

    Professor Kainz: Good column. Even if every sermon were perfectly crafted in accord with church teaching, the church is attempting to move against a tsunami made up of liberal and progressive ideas that have been adopted by the culture, codified by legislation, and nearly settled in concrete by the U.S Supreme Court. And now we face what Canadian Christians have faced for years and what Christians here have begun to face: actual persecution for Christian views.

    • ThirstforTruth

      How are our brothers and sisters in Canada being persecuted for their Christian faith?
      I mean how is it any different from here in the USA? When a public official was recently
      incarcerated for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, she was and is
      incarcerated. From here on in, in the USA, it would appear that Catholics will not be
      able to perform certain governmenalt duties and therefore will be excluded from being
      eligible for certain public offices other than dog catcher, which is usually appointed anyway.
      Most of our current Catholic government officials, including 5 on the Supreme Court, have
      “learned” to separate their faith life from their official office. In this article, it is suggested
      that in the future, our priests will do the same, in order to be able to be excused from
      marrying gay couples.
      I would like to know how things are different in Canada from here in the USA. Thanks and God bless!

  • Unanimous Consent

    The Vatican published The Homiletic Directory on 29 June 2014. It contains CCC reference sections for each and every Sunday of the Year according to the particular Cycle. It also has all major Feast Days.

    By publishing this, it seems pretty clear that Rome wants instruction included in homilies.

    • Augustine of Virginia

      Thank you so much for sharing that information. I never knew the Vatican had published this directory. A great tool for faithful Catholics who are getting watered-down, lukewarm homilies. God bless you Unanimous Consent!

    • MSDOTT

      Just looked this up, and will print it. Thank you for alluding to this reference. Very helpful

  • Bill Beckman

    I question the title of this piece. Is it not more accurately “Reflections on the Failure of Preaching”?
    The real problem isn’t that some “Vatican II – based” directive bans doctrinal instruction, it is a lack of skill or courage in those with the faculty of preaching. A well-intentioned, skillful and obedient preacher can open the scriptures to the assembly and teach the doctrine of faith. They should be instructed on how to do this and be encourage to desire it. There are excellent audio/video presentations by Fr. Francis Martin online – a great start.

    • Famijoly

      Yes, I agree. The article presented points that a majority of Catholics are unaware of and a good many priests should take to heart. But the title is misleading. I thought it was going to be on the Novus Ordo itself. Instead it is on one aspect of the Novus Ordo, and that is the homily, and even more specifically, on the poor preparation and delivery by bishops, priests, and deacons, which has left most Catholic with unformed consciences and ripe for Satan’s picking in the evils of the day.

  • Fr Kloster

    I can literally count on on hand the number of homilies I have given in over 20 years as a priest. I heard an older priest mentor of mine tell me that homilies were usually ill prepared sermons.

    It always seemed to me that many preachers are merely rehashing what the parishioners already heard in the readings and gospel. It would be quite refreshing to hear them at least give some deeper insights that would be the fruits of their contemplation.

    My Sermons are almost entirely catechetical since so few have a good foundation in the teachings of the Church. We only get so much time from the pulpit. Those words have to be carefully chosen and crafted. We don’t have to be professional writers nor members of a public speaking club. What we do need is the transmission of the apostolic faith; the fruit of our prayers and sacrifices.

    • Famijoly

      Sadly, even the terms “sermon” and “homily” have been hijacked by modernists in a false dichotomy that serves their agenda. Sermon = antiquated, rigid, authoritarian, out of touch. Homily = pastoral, breaking open the Word, accepting people where they are, inclusive. The priests in my diocese even got this zinger from a mostly solid orthodox older priest retreat master at a recent priests retreat: “You know the difference between a homily and a sermon? A homily reflects what Jesus said. A sermon is what Jesus should have said.”

      I take the approach the two terms are non-contradictory, like saying “All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares” and “All bishops are priests but not all priests are bishops.” All homilies are sermons but not all sermons are homilies. A sermon that is also a homily draws its source from Scripture passages and, in part, exegetes them. A sermon that is not a homily probably employs Scripture but does not build from it.

  • Francis Miller

    I think you missed the bigger issue. The fact the homilies offer no instructive value and as I was clearly told not so subtly, shouldn’t do so, my generation’s Catholic are left to their own devices. Lots of extra work on my part opened the door to Catholic teaching. I have been an RCIA catechist for well over 20 years. I prepare for my turn as catechist and so do most laymen. Sadly, of the priests I have dealt with over those years at least 50% wing it. I notice it, happily most of our candidates and catechumens seem not to do so. You could say the same for most homilies in the last 40 years. Many great ones, most are just winging it and very rarely is there any teaching or reinforcement of Church teaching. Recently, the media tripped over the Pope Francis’ encouraging priests to forgive sins. In this case women who have had abortions. Earth-shaking news! The Church is finally forgiving these women. With no recent, 10 years or so, mention of Reconciliation it is ironic that such a revelation is found to be this Pope ‘changing’ the Church. Who would know? It is truly nice to see the Church being updated with the times.

    • Jude

      The sad truth is that RCIA is too often a watered-down program when it is not overseen (as in actually IN the room, leading) by a solid priest. If father can make it to Bridge Night or the Men’s Club, then he can darn well be there for the much more pressing task of saving souls by bringing them into the Church.

  • Branden Seiwert

    I know the Wichita diocese is stronger than many, but I have a hard time believing we are THAT sheltered. No, we don’t often have systematic homilies, but our priests frequently preach on the harder issues like abortion, contraption, homosexuality, etc. It may be hard to find 5-10 consecutive Mass readings that relate to a particular subject but it is not difficult to find relevant scripture passages for relevant issues. Most are able to do it compassionately yet firmly although this is understandably a difficult balance to strike. As for the liturgical abuses and “additions,” it seems like most of these have been taken back out for quite some time now. Of course, priests are people too and are subject to make mistakes, but does inclusive language still happen at Mass? Again, maybe I’m sheltered, but I can confidently say I haven’t seen anything like that in at least two full decades.

  • Manfred

    I enjoyed the specificity of this article. It is the fiftieth anniversary of MYSTERIUM FIDEI in which Paul VI restated the Church’s teaching on TRANSUBSTANTIATION. He knew then that the Novus Ordo had already been corrupted by the Protestant concept of “transignification”, i.e., the bread and wine remain bread and wine but their use in a liturgy enhances their significance.
    The train left the station many years ago on true Catholic teaching on any subject, including contraception. Cdl Mueller, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, just warned the German Bishops that if they push their agenda at the Synod next month, they could cause a schism greater than the Reformation. A brilliant priest friend. told me and my wife last weekend, that schism could very well occur and that Francis could be on “the wrong side” of the issue After all,it us Francis who has been promoting Cdl Kasper and his ideas. The Five Cardinals book before last year’s Synod on the Family, and the Elevren Cardinals book before the final Synod next month, were not written and published as a waste of time. They are stark warnings.
    We are reaping what has been sowed for the last fifty years.Some few of us saw it coming.

  • MSDOTT

    Interesting subject. I know some people who apparently understand the Church’s teaching on contraception, don’t agree with it, and have decided to use contraception (within marriage), saying their conscience is their guide. Given this then, is it a matter of instruction only?

    A founder of a relatively new order of priests ( founded in the 1980’s), an order that is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and whose priests have a great devotion to Our Lord’s Blessed Mother, has said on a number of occasions that it is not simply a matter of catechesis. My understanding of what he has said is that it’s important to lead people to have an encounter with the Lord himself first – and then to catechize. To that end, they urge people to get to know Our Lord and invite Him into their lives. They don’t leave it there ofcourse, but then journey with them in understanding what Holy Mother Church teaches. That’s the way they evangelise in the post-Christian society that the West has become.

    Sometimes, I wonder if Pope Francis is thinking along somewhat along those lines as well. Though not as straightforwardly. However, unlike our pope, these priests (at least the ones I’ve encountered) don’t denigrate traditional Catholics.

  • bernie

    Your article is very much to the point, and deals with the massive
    ignorance to which many of us can attest that we witness in today’s
    Church. Those of us who are old enough to have experienced the
    pre-devastated Church are particularly distraught. Older Catholics
    believed and tried to live the tenets and morality of the Faith
    without question or evasion, while still acknowledging their sins.
    But sermons, as you rightfully want to emphasize, are not where I
    think the problem begins.

    Today’s Protestantized “Communion Service” in the Catholic Church
    does not clearly represent the true nature of what is happening.
    For the sake of trying to ‘trick’ Protestants, so to speak, back to
    the Universal Roman Catholic Church, we have totally abandoned even
    mentioning the principal reality that we witness each Sunday: the
    Holy Mass is the re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross;
    when we go to Mass we are present at Calvary – the greatest event in
    human history. Oblivious to this reality, Catholics now parade to
    Holy Communion, row after row as directed by Ushers, perhaps also out
    of human respect, in a facade of unity, membership,
    self-justification, and “feel goodism”.

    As any serious Catholic should know, three concepts are active when we
    are at Mass: Sacrifice, Eucharist and, if we are in an objective
    State of Grace, a possible Holy Communion. The Church obliges that
    we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass about 56 times a year to
    give thanks for our Salvation, but the Church obliges us to
    Confession and Holy Communion only once a year. That is not to say
    that even daily Mass and Communion are any less important, but it
    does emphasize the centrality of Our Lord’s colossal gift to mankind.
    For it, we are obliged to give eternal praise and Eucharistic
    thanksgiving. In a spirit of Eucharist, we are obliged to cleanse
    ourselves of sin and receive Holy Communion at least once a year to
    maintain ourselves in the company of the Church – the Communion of
    the Saints. Certainly, this is the beginning of all catechetacal
    instruction, the foundation of every sermon.

    The older way of offering up the Holy Mass “Ad Orientem”, as
    well as those former prayers, made these primary realities more
    penetrating to the mind and soul, regardless of Latin (which was then
    and still is today our common heritage and which permeates so many
    and much of the languages spoken by a vast percentage of the human
    race). The switch to today’s ‘communion service’ environment is a
    primary contributor to the devastation we see about us. The current
    polls confirm an almost inconceivable lack of belief and practice
    even among those who attend Mass regularly.

    • ScottG

      Hmmm, I can’t seem to find any of these Catholic imperatives in my bible. Oh yeah, now I see it, you are talking about “Roman Catholic” so no need to explain further. Your very first sentence is spot on though, well done for that!

  • ThoughtorTwo .

    It is true that doctrinal and moral catechesis from the pulpit has been sorely lacking for at least half a century (!). This was a reaction after Vatican II by liturgists and others to what they saw as a longstanding but misplaced custom in the liturgy of replacing scriptural homiletics with catechesis. Unfortunately this reaction coincided with a general decline in catechetics which has left many Catholics with only a rudimentary understanding of their faith. And that is amongst the Boomers, the situation with Generation X’ers and Millennials is much worse. Boomers may know, for example, that the Church “bans” artificial contraception but have no idea why. So good catechesis is desperately needed. Unfortunately the hierarchy, following the lead of the liturgists, are stuck in a 1960s time-warp where they are still reacting to old issues now long irrelevant. Liturgists will maintain that the Sunday worship is not the appropriate time for catechetical instruction, that another time should be found, but of course few will come at other times, yadda yadda. And this is where we remain stuck.

    However, there is another problem. Too many people fall into the Platonic fallacy of thinking evil is committed out of ignorance. If wrongful actions are committed out of ignorance of the evil involved then the answer is knowledge. So we have to teach Catholics about the wrongs of contraception and, once enlightened, they will change their minds and actions. Good luck! That may work for a few but not for many. People are often willfully ignorant. They ignore teachings and information that opposes their desires. In fallen human nature the will often triumphs over the intellect. We are in rebellious times.

  • Kathy

    This article is certainly relevant in my life . . . as a matter of fact we went out with friends last evening all of whom were talking about this very subject – why do we not hear instructional formation from the pulpit? The past two weeks have offered perfect opportunities in the readings; Jesus advising His followers that they need to either follow Him or not – get off the fence!! And the OT reading of the Israelites being told the same thing! And last Sundays gospel (James) talking about being doers of the WORD and not just hearers. So many times our priests get just so far and you think they are actually going to correlate the reading with current times, but then we are deflated and left with a rehash of the readings. It would be so great to see scripture used as a foundation for learning the truth and to come away with tons to think about!

    • Jude

      It was a pleasant surprise to me when we started attending FSSP Masses that the homilies were not a rehash of the readings culminating in “because God is (insert Love, Truth, Forgiveness, etc…).” They are actual spiritual formation. So you might have modesty as a virtue one week and then custody of the eyes the next. We had three Sundays in a row that really dug into suffering: what causes it, how to accept it, how to find joy in it, etc… Abortion? Check. Purity? Check, check. Seeking holiness? You betcha. You can’t attend an FSSP parish and not get the full facts on what the Church teaches. What a difference! I noticed that in my copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent it lays out topics for every Sunday of the year.

  • JR

    I have no idea why anyone would attend the Novus Ordo Missae, if as the author has pointed out, there are some Novus Ordo parishes that have abused the Mass by “liturgical additions” even if some have not. The fact that there are some who have distorted the Mass is an indication of the inferiority of the Novus Ordo Mass in solidly and clearly expressing Catholic Doctrine and Theology. You dont get none of this “some do some dont abuse it” chaotic mess with the Tridentine Mass. The Protestant Revolutionaries like Luther and Cranmer were offended by the Roman Mass of their day because the Holy Mass confronted them unambiguously with the Catholic Faith, namely the Unbloody Sacrifice. Today those same cast of characters would probably not be so offended with the Novus Ordo.

  • ThoughtorTwo .

    Kevin:
    My point was that for the last half century the liturgical formation of priests has discouraged them from using the homily during Sunday worship as an opportunity to teach catechism, not that the lectionary does not offer opportunity for catechetical instruction.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Now the liturgical formation of priests should be encouraging them to use the homily to teach doctrine, as per the Homiletic Directory.