When the Novus Ordo Missae was first introduced on 3rd Abril, 1969, exactly 50 years ago today, it was defined in the Institutio Generalis as “an assembly of the People of God under the presidency of the Priest.” There was no mention in it of the Mass as a sacrifice. Nor was there any mention of the dogma of transubstantiation. Incidentally, both omissions incur the anathema of the Council of Trent. Instead the Mass was presented as a memorial of the Resurrection and Ascension.
Two documents were promulgated on that date for the reform of the Mass:
- The Institutio Generalis, with 341 articles in which the new rites are minutely explained, and
- The text of the new Ordo Missae.
On November 30, 1969, these two documents came into force, which in practical terms means that Novus Ordo Missae was thrust upon the Roman Catholic Church.
7. Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacerdote praeside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum. Quare de sanctae Ecclesiae locali congregatione eminenter valet promissio Christi: “Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum” (Mt. 18, 20).
“7. The Lord’s Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ’s promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: ‘Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst’ (Mt. 18:20).”
This is the original complete definition of the Mass according to the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae, the New Order of the Mass promulgated by the “Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum”, to the horror of many believing Catholics, exactly 50 years ago today: they were arguably the most influential liturgical words written in the 20th century and signaled a watershed moment — in a sense, closing the book written since late antiquity and the chapter begun in Sessions XIII and XXII of the Council of Trent.
While the texts of the 1970, 1975, and 2002 IGMR are widely available, it had been impossible up to now to find online the original source of the controversy. We in RORATE first presented to our readers the original 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani. in 2011, and we take the opportunity of this tragic anniversary to make known once again the full horror that Paul VI wrought.
(Note: this is the entire IGMR, but only the first pages of the original complete publication of the 1969 Ordo Missae, promulgated on April 3, 1969, by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, of Pope Paul VI.)