Exactly 50 Years Ago, Paul VI tried to destroy the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Novus Ordo Mass

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:

  1. The Institutio Generalis, with 341 articles in which the new rites are minutely explained, and
  2. 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.

Paul VI says the first Novus Ordo Missae at the Vatican



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).”

The Mass of the Ages

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.

Number 7 of the first edition of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the General Instruction of the Roman Missal – GIRM) is the end moment of the original liturgical movement. Its writers also thought they would have the final say in the history of the Traditional Mass – within a few months, the storm started by these words on the edge of acceptability would spark the Brief Critical Study of the New Order of the Mass, presented to the Pope and to the Catholic world under the auspices of Cardinals Ottaviani, first Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bacci.
The waves set by that text have not subsided. That famous number 7 and other highly problematic words of the original 1969 IGMR (in which Trent is not mentioned a single time) and Ordo Missaewould be amended in 1970, 1975, and 2002. While much was vindicated by the swift and significant corrections of 1970 — and, ultimately, by the proclamation by Pope Benedict XVI that the traditional Roman Missal was “never abrogated — can it be denied that the spirit of the 1969 IGMR lives on in the New Mass, or “Ordinary Form”?

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.)

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9 Responses to Exactly 50 Years Ago, Paul VI tried to destroy the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

  1. “FSSP apostolates are booming all across the US. The story is always the same: Church scheduled to be shuttered, flourishes after traditional fraternity takes over.” https://bit.ly/2VeOPoB

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Crow says:

    I am so curious about this story – it is just weird. First, if Pope Paul VI was genuine (& he was said to have cried when he DISCOVERED that the octave of a particular feast day had been abolished), then, would he not have made amendments and not allowed the Novus Ordo to be forced on us? Also, how did he, the Pope, suddenly discover changes of which he was previously unaware? Why did Bugnini have such influence? And, even though a biography has been written about Bugnini by Chiron, there is no definitive answer as to whether he was a Freemason. I have only read Dr Kwasniewski’s article on the issue, but I wonder if Chiron addresses the existence of Pecorelli’s list. If the list is a hoax, it was a very ruthless one, as Pecorelli was murdered in a manner said to be a Mason message. His list provides names of key figures in the V 2 reforms, including Bugnini (BUAN) and Villot and many others. There is also the issue of Pius XII supposedly discovering that Cardinal Montini had divulged the names of priests behind the iron curtain to the communists – what does that say? There are rumours that Paul VI was homosexual. I don’t know if any of these are true or scurrilous but the introduction of the Novus Ordo has certainly had the effect that Catholics who have a strong faith may remain practising, but it is without substance that is sufficient to sustain the vast number of people. Hence, there is misinterpretation of doctrine and watering down of principle and faith, and, of course, as Robert said, an exit from the churches.
    I doubt very much that Bugnini was an enthusiastic well-meaning reformer who acted on his own. Changes like this do not come about with simple good intentions and a single person. There was a concerted body behind this and they seized upon the opportunity. Maybe they had Paul VI compromised in some way, but I find it hard to believe that enthusiastic, well-meaning changes were allowed to occur in the face of articulate and doctrinally sound opposition in the part of clerics such as Lefebvre and Ottoviani, and that the Pope was simply unable or too weak, to act.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kathleen says:

    Excellent comment, Crow! You bring up many important questions here that very many Catholics have been asking themselves over the years, especially the older generations who lived through the devastating changes to the Mass.

    Many believe Bugnini must have been a closet Mason (and Pope St. Pius X had already warned that Freemasonry had infiltrated the Church); there are no feasible explanations otherwise for what he did to the Holy Mass. Another inexplicable and outrageous decision was allowing six Protestant ministers to help and advise Bugnini in his dismantling the Mass of all its sublime reverence, prayers, sacrificial aspect, etc. Why Protestants? They had all but spat at the Mass when they left the Church one after another at the time of the Protestant Revolution four centuries earlier; how on earth could they offer anything positive to that which they had thrown out and scorned?

    And yes, Pope Paul VI is another enigma. His behaviour is strange indeed, weeping at and welcoming the changes at the same time! Perhaps he was “compromised” in some way, as you say, for otherwise one would have to ask why, if the brutal destruction of the Holy Mass horrified him so much, did he do nothing to rectify things? After all, he showed true papal authority when he published his Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, totally ignoring the progressives who were advising changes to the Church’s teaching on contraception. Strong in this case, but weak in his defence of the True Mass!

    So many questions, aren’t there?, but no clear answers. Will we ever find out what evil machinations were at play at that time?
    All we can see are the terrible rotten fruits that came out of a Council that never gave its approbation to these changes. (However, in the opinion of most orthodox Catholics, the Modernist document Nostra aetate from V2 is one that could certainly be thrown into the bin!)

    The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has always been recognised as central to the life of the Church, which even the post-V2 CCC calls its “source and summit”. (In fact, the diabolical spirit of destruction that invaded the Church at the time was well aware that the Mass and the Priesthood were the two pillars they needed to focus on.)

    [Edit. Video deleted – link didn’t work!]


  4. kathleen says:

    Another try to link Michael Matt’s YouTube video at ‘The Remnant’ about this sad anniversary.

    Didn’t work either, so watch it over there:



  5. Johann du Toit says:

    Being a convert to Catholicism in my adulthood, I had no idea on how rich and beautiful the Mass used to be before the “reforms” took place.

    I feel like I was robbed of my Catholic Legacy.


  6. Crow says:

    Johann, I wonder if you can find a Latin Mass near to you? I would prefer to say that the V2’s didn’t rob you of the liturgy, they just borrowed it without consent!??? As Robert observed, where the traditional communities operate (ie., are not suppressed), the parishes thrive, and vocations too. Kathleen attends once a month (that’s correct Kathleen?) and goes on the Chartres Pilgrimage (which I would like to do next year). Perhaps, if you make inquiries, you can find some traditional communities or some people who would like to have the Traditional Latin Mass. You may be able to locate a sympathetic priest – many (younger) priests would love to say Latin Mass, but be prepared for some animosity from some older ones who don’t like it (don’t ask me why!)


  7. Crow says:

    I just read the Remant article – thank you, Kathleen- it is horrifying and also amusing, in a black- humour way.


  8. kathleen says:

    That’s right Crow – where I live I have the opportunity of attending only one Traditional Latin Mass every first Sunday of the month at an hour’s drive away. That’s tomorrow!! What eager anticipation as the day draws near, and what tremendous joy it is! Not even wild horses could keep me away… although occasionally unforeseen gremlins interfere to keep me away, grrrr (e.g., an invasion of visitors to look after, illness, the car breaking down, etc.) Most months I manage to get there though.

    Catholics who have the possibility of regular attendance at the TLM are very fortunate. Those parishes are always small oases of a flourishing, orthodox Catholic faith too for lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi

    Great news you are hoping to join us on the holy Chartres pilgrimage next year; you won’t regret it. I have my name down for the pilgrimage this year once again. Some family members of our loyal commentator, Geoff, (also from Oz, as you know) are participating this year. I look forward to meeting them!


  9. Shadon says:

    Just my tuppence worth about the enigmatic behaviour of Pope Paul VI – maybe more weight should be given to those who spoke out about the imposter Pope (e.g. Veronica Lueken in the Bayside Prophecies), when Pope Paul VI was allegedly drugged and kept on a tight leash while an actor took his place…sounds crazy but would explain the contradictions and apparent double standards…You can read more here if interested: https://www.tldm.org/news3/impostor.htm


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