It is particularly disturbing during these unstable times that as the nation continues its abandonment of traditional Christian values and principles and steadily persists in its descent into chaos, a corresponding collapse is underway within the Catholic Church. At the precise time that the secular world could most benefit from a Church standing its ground on the teachings of Jesus, the same evils bedeviling the world are taking root within the Church. It is so anomalous now to witness bishops and cardinals supporting the homosexual and transgender perversions, [1, 2, 3] and members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, appointed by the Pope himself, advocating for abortion. [4] And the aberrations in the direction of the Church are not limited simply to questions of morality: the Vatican is now actively championing dangerous progressive causes, aligning itself with the radical globalist agenda of the World Economic Forum. [5] The abject capitulation by the Vatican to the oppressive and coercive measures undertaken by governments around the world in response to the covid pandemic is an especially disheartening recent example of the Church’s failure to fight evil. [6, 7]

With the Church in such disarray, perhaps it should be no surprise that its leaders have now turned upon their own. The suppression of the Traditional Mass delivered a stinging rebuke to some of the most steadfast of the Catholic flock. But make no mistake – this betrayal of traditional Catholics is not about unity or obedience or graciously accepting a hard teaching – it is about the substance of the faith itself. It is essential to recognize that the scope of this attack on the Traditional Mass is not limited to forcing traditional Catholics to attend a different liturgical rite for an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday. The liturgy is the primary way in which Catholics pray: it guides and forms our entire Catholic life. The way in which we pray is intimately related to our faith, to what we believe, and to how we conduct our lives. Catholics who are so passionate about the Traditional Mass are that way because they know that the Traditional Mass is better for them. Far better. Better for their faith – and better for their life.

Therefore, for those of us who suffer from an “attachment” to the Traditional Mass, gravitation toward the Novus Ordo is simply absurd. It makes no sense, and it’s not going to happen. Further conflict is inevitable here in the Arlington diocese, due to a problematic condition contained in the recent policy implementing restrictions on the Traditional Mass which has not received much attention:

“Pastors of parishes in which the Mass in usus antiquior is celebrated . . . must develop a pastoral plan ‘to lead the faithful who are attached to the antecedent liturgy towards the celebration of the liturgy according to the liturgical books reformed by decree of the Second Vatican Coucil, and which form the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.’” [8]

And so the seeds of conflict, where there were none to begin with, have been sown.

Accordingly, my purpose here is to briefly present some detail as to why the Traditional Mass is considered to be so critically essential by traditional Catholics. Since most Catholics have never encountered the Traditional Mass, they probably wonder what the fuss is all about. It is also likely that those devout Catholics who have not had the opportunity to experience a Traditional Mass have no idea what they are missing, and would be surprised to learn that the Novus Ordo incorporates a very limited and restricted expression of worship of Jesus compared to that of the Traditional Mass.

The differences between the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo involve every aspect of the Mass, including the prayers, the music, and the actions of priest and congregation. I recommend the recent Mass of the Ages videos for an easily understood yet comprehensive overview of all of the differences. [9] For this discussion I will focus on just some of the Ordinary prayers, those which do not change on a weekly basis, with the intent to provide here the perception of one average lay Catholic who walks into Church and there experiences something life-changing in the Traditional Mass.

Because of parish duties, I sometimes attend the Novus Ordo Mass as well as the Traditional Mass on Sunday. Both Masses are conducted by the parish priests in a reverent and worshipful manner. So I am in a good position to compare these two Masses, in a situation where the Novus Ordo is not subject to the abuses which commonly affect it. Compared to the Traditional Mass, the Novus Ordo can only be described as spartan. It is stripped-down, business-like, and efficient. The prayers are minimized. It seems that once Mass begins, Father is reading the Gospel in a matter of minutes, and most of the congregation’s time prior to that has been spent singing or saying the responsorial psalm. And then after the Creed, it is startling how quickly Father is commencing the Consecration. There are usually a few stalwarts who attempt to find the prayers proper to that particular Sunday using the Missalettes, but it is not easy given the speed of the Mass. The famous so-called “full and active” participation for many people means simply listening to whatever is being sung or said, although some prayers do enjoy substantial participation, such as the Confiteor, the Gloria, the Creed, and the Our Father.

At a typical Traditional Solemn Mass (known as Missa Cantata if celebrated by one priest without deacons), which should always have been the norm for Sundays in my humble opinion, Mass does not even begin until holy water is sprinkled upon the entire congregation and the opening Antiphon, taken for most of the year from the famous penitential psalm of King David, is sung by priest and choir and congregants:

“Thou shalt sprinkle me Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed;

Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.

Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.

And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.” [10]

Even before Mass starts, we are reminded of our failings, and that our ability to worship Him depends on our desire to free ourselves of sin and beg for His grace and forgiveness. That same attention to repentance persists throughout the Mass, in many different prayers which do not appear in the Novus Ordo. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales website has a convenient comparison clearly depicting the differences between the two forms of Mass. [11] It seems as if someone thought that it is unhealthy for us to acknowledge the reality of our circumstances before God, and therefore removed almost every mention of sin.

Mass begins with the prayers at the foot of the altar, built around Psalm 42, Judica Me, a beautiful psalm, voicing supplication, hope, and confidence in God:

“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation which is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.

For Thou, O God, art my strength: why hast Thou cast me off? and why go I sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?

Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy mount, and into Thy tabernacles.

And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth.

To Thee, O God, my God, I will give praise upon the harp; why art thou sad, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?

Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him: the salvation of my countenance and my God.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I will go in to the altar of God.

To God who giveth joy to my youth.” [12]

This psalm perfectly sets the tone for the Mass, as we admit our utter dependence on God amidst the vagaries of life and our own faults and go into worship at the altar of God. Only after this preparation is it time for the Confiteor, our explicit declaration of repentance. And only then does the priest approach the altar, but even as he does so, he continues in penintence:

“Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies: through Christ our Lord. ” [13]

These prayers at the foot of the altar have been removed from the Novus Ordo, except for the Confiteor itself, and replaced with a single cursory line:

“Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.” [14]

It is easy to see, right from the beginning of the Mass, how very different the practice of worship is between the two Masses. In the Traditional Mass, we do not even raise our eyes to Jesus until we have taken the time to offer our repentance and gratitude to Him, at some length. And that is one of the things I value most about the Traditional Mass. This time of preparation at the beginning of Mass serves to separate us from the clamor of the world and opens our souls to His voice.

The same dichotomy between the two forms of Mass happens again, after the Credo. Several of the Traditional Mass prayers intended to prepare our hearts for the Sacrifice that is about to happen have been either abbreviated or extracted from the Novus Ordo. The very first of the prayers of the Offering, Suscipe, sancte Pater, is a good example of this:

“Accept, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this unspotted host, my living and true God, for mine innumerable sins, offences, and negligences, and for all here present: as also for all faithful Christians, both living and dead; that it may be of avail for salvation both to me and to them unto life everlasting. Amen.” [15]

The language used here in the Traditional Mass regarding salvation and the truth about what Jesus did for us is indispensable. It communicates truth, and hope, and it is missing from the Novus Ordo. Similarly, the prayer Deus, qui humanae in the Traditional Mass professes another significant truth:

O God, who, in creating human nature, didst wonderfully dignify it, and hast still more wonderfully restored it, grant that, by the Mystery of this water and wine, we may become partakers of His divine nature, who deigned to become partaker of our human nature, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Thy Son, who with Thee, liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God: world without end. Amen.” [16]

This prayer speaks directly to the God-given dignity of our human nature, one of the central themes of Vatican II – yet that part of the prayer has inexplicably been removed from its depleted counterpart in the Novus Ordo:

“By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” [17]

References to salvation and Jesus’ Sacrifice continue in the Offerimus tibi and the two following prayers, also removed from the Novus Ordo:

“We offer to thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency, that it may ascend before Thy divine majesty as a sweet savour, for our salvation and for that of the whole world.” [18]

“Accept us, O Lord, in the spirit of humility and contrition of heart, and grant that the sacrifice which we offer this day in Thy sight may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord God.” [18]

“Come, O almighty and eternal God, the Sanctifier, and bless this Sacrifice, prepared for the glory of thy holy Name.” [18]

These essential words placing the Offering in its correct context of Jesus’ Sacrifice have been replaced in the Novus Ordo by verses which fundamentally obscure its nature:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands,it will become for us the bread of life. [19]

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink. [19]

These words could serve as a nice blessing before meals, but hardly describe the momentous nature of the Sacrifice that Jesus Himself continues to make for us at Holy Mass. Father Z’s discussion about the Jewish origin of these prayers is illuminating. [20]

The diminishment in the Novus Ordo of the depth and breadth of the spiritual realities reflected in the Mass continues with the prayer for the Washing of the Hands. In the Traditional Mass, the eloquent and heartfelt sentiments of Psalm 25 are used to describe the necessary purity of the participants in the Sacrifice, but also clearly convey devotion and outright love for the Lord:

“I will wash my hands among the innocent: and I will compass Thine altar, O Lord. That I may hear the voice of Thy praise: and tell of all Thy wondrous works.

I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with bloody men. In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts.

But as for me I have walked in mine innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way; in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord.” [21]

This language of reverence and affection and desire to be right with the Lord has been replaced with this peremptory phrase in the Novus Ordo:

“Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” [22]

And then there is the prayer Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, a fitting summary of the prayers of offering, in which we address the holy Trinity and request the intercession of the Saints:

“Receive, O holy Trinity, this oblation which we make to Thee, in memory of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, that it may avail unto their honor and our salvation, and may they vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.” [23]

Yet another important prayer excised from from the Novus Ordo.

The appreciation of salvation, wherein we not only recognize what Jesus has done for us but also show our determination to bind ourselves to that salvation, is woven throughout the Traditional Mass – not employing simple, plain statements devoid of human emotion – but rather embracing language that is unmistakeably full of love for Jesus. The prayers of the Traditional Mass allow us to pray with wholehearted devotion, worship with no reservations and all doubts cast aside, in complete dependence on and love for Him.

The fundamental alteration of the Mass demonstrated by this brief comparison of the changes affecting just some of the prayers is characteristic of the entire Novus Ordo. For example, the prayers of the Roman Canon have effectively been displaced by the optional and severely abbreviated “Eucharistic Prayer II.” And while the defective 1970 Novus Ordo version of the Canon itself has undergone significant corrective revisions, as discussed by Monsignor Pope in 2010, [24, 25, 26, 27, 28] – it seems rather tragic that we have to go about patching up the crippled Novus Ordo version when we already have the undamaged original in the Traditional Mass. The many other aspects of the Mass which speak powerfully to the human soul, such as Gregorian chant and sacred hymns, or the intervals of silence which allow our hearts to hear His voice, or the incredibly worshipful way in which the Holy Eucharist is treated and adored by both priest and congregation – have all been scrubbed, reduced, minimized and condensed in the Novus Ordo.

The Traditional Mass delivers a message radically different from that of the Novus Ordo, generating in our hearts a profound disposition to worship Jesus, assisting us in the recognition of our sinful nature, leading us into the joy of repentance, and celebrating the incalculable benevolence of Jesus’ Sacrifice. This disposition permeates and encompasses our daily life: it affects how we conduct our lives, how we relate to God and to others, how we set our priorities, everything. And it is poorly supported by the Novus Ordo.

So now it should be obvious why the Traditional Mass will not simply be abandoned by those who have found it. The issue is not Sunday Mass – the issue is the character and substance of Catholic faith and life. Therefore, this Mass must be defended. It may be driven underground, but it will be sustained. I find it really quite surprising that the leadership of the Church has failed to consider its own history, which is replete with examples of how the faith flourished under persecution. The fervent flame of truth embedded in the Traditional Mass may have to be protected and nurtured exclusively within the bosom of orthodox Catholic families and heroic priests for now, but protected and nurtured it will be.


1. Wolfe, Raymond. “Cardinal Müller: Belgian bishops’ homosexual ‘blessings’ are ‘heresy and schism.’” LifeSite News. October 21, 2022.

2. Pentin, Edward. “Cardinal Müller: For Faithful Catholics, It’s a ‘Time of Tribulation and Psychological Terror.’ National Catholic Register. February 11, 2022.

3. Wolfe, Raymond. “Pope Francis’ American cardinals are pro-LGBT revolutionaries with a radical agenda for the Church.” LifeSite News. October 21, 2022.

4. Jones, Kevin J. “Another Pontifical Academy for Life member criticizes overturning Roe v. Wade.” Catholic News Agency. October 21, 2022.

5. McLoone, David. “Vatican official at Davos says the Church is implementing the World Economic Forum agenda. LifeSite News. May 26, 2022.

6. Moy, Alan B. “Catholics have been betrayed by the Vatican’s allegiance to secular COVID authorities.” LifeSite News. August 30. 2022.

7. McLoone, David. “Vatican renews Pope’s push for COVID vaccination as an ‘act of love’ in new video.” LifeSite News. August 13, 2022.

8. Catholic Diocese of Arlington. “Policy for the Implementation of Traditionis Custodes in the Diocese of Arlington.”29 July 2022.

9. Mass of the Ages: A Stunning Trilogy About The Latin Mass. Directed by Cameron O’Hearn.

10. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, From the Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962. Summorum Pontificum Edition. Baronius Press Ltd. 2019. 895.


12. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 900 – 903.

13. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 906 – 907.


15. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 922 – 925.

16. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 924 – 925.


18. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 924 – 927.


20.Zuhlsdorf, Father John. “ASK FATHER: Using the traditional offertory prayers in the Novus Ordo. Wherein Fr. Z rants.” Father Z’s Blog. 20 April, 2015.

21. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 928 – 929.


23. The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, 1962. 930 – 931.

24. Pope, Msgr Charles. “Truth in the New Translation Series: The Opening of the Roman Canon. Community in Mission. May 4, 2010.

25. Pope, Msgr Charles. “Truth in the New Translation Series # 2: The Memento Domine or Commemoration of the Living in the Roman Canon.” Community in Mission. May 7, 2010.

26. Pope, Msgr. Charles. “Truth in the New Translation Series #3: The Communicantes of the Roman Canon. Community in Mission. May 14, 2010.

27. Pope, Msgr Charles. “Truth in the New Translation Series #4: The Hanc Igitur of the Roman Canon. Community in Mission. May 21, 2010.

28. Pope, Msgr. Charles. “Truth in the New Translation Series #5: “The Quam Oblationem.” Community in Mission. July 2, 2010.