Nov 8, 2006

The Ottaviani Intervention

One of the most important documents of the Catholic Church in the 20th century is the Ottaviani Intervention. The Intervention is a relatively small study developed in 1969 by a number of good bishops and theologians. It was presented to Pope Paul VI by two senior Vatican Cardinals who saw serious theological and other problems with the new Mass. You'll have to judge for yourself as to the validity of their observations.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council assumed that the great Roman Rite would be maintained in all its essentials and would continue to be the principal form of the Mass. This did not happen. Inside the Vatican magazine notes in a May 2004 editorial: "A New Mass was created that "attracts and 'enables' abuses because it was intentionally shaped to diminish the 'transcendent' and emphasize the 'profane' dimension.

"The New Mass has turned out to be a rite too rapidly produced and too influenced by the rampant secularization of the 1960s. Pope Paul VI himself was hesitant about the new Mass, as he was about so many things. He approved it half-heartedly. It is said that after he attended a 'trial run' of the new Mass, he said, 'But where is the mystery? The mystery is gone!' He himself felt something was missing in the new Mass, but promulgated it anyway."

Pope Benedict XVI is trying to patch up the New Mass, but I believe his efforts may take too long and achieve only limited success. Current news items indicate Benedict XVI soon may free the ancient, holy liturgy of the Roman rite that sustained the Saints of the past and allow it to be restored in almost all parishes. The restoration of the old Latin Mass seems necessary for the Church to come out of a very harsh 'winter' when many of our children and friends became spiritually weak and died.

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