A challenge from Michael Davies concerning the Novus Ordo

Michael Davies


The late Michael Davies was a good friend of my father; they taught in primary schools in the same area and shared a passionate love of the faith. They were dismayed when the "new catechetics" threatened to dismantle the teaching of the faith to children by getting rid of angels, original sin, the real presence and, ultimately, the divinity of Jesus Christ. I have fond memories of conversations in our kitchen during the late sixties and early seventies, peppered with Michael's brilliant sense of humour.

Catechetics and Liturgy go together, of course, and Michael wrote extensively on the new rite of Mass that was promulgated 50 years ago this week. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman has a good piece in the Catholic Herald: The strange birth of the Novus Ordo which helpfully details some of the more notorious aspects of the formation of the rite of Mass which most Catholics experience as a matter of routine.

I remember a warm day in the depths of Kent some years ago, celebrating Mass and then enjoying a good lunch in the company of friends. I had not long learnt to celebrate the traditional Mass and Michael was keen to encourage me. He quoted to me from n.23 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them
[Innovationes, demum, ne fiant nisi vera et certa utilitas Ecclesiae id exigat]
He then asked me quite simply "Which of the changes introduced in the new rite of Mass were certainly and necessarily required for the good of the Church?"

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