The Novus Ordo and Corpus Christi “Lite”

A NUMBER of details in the Feast of Corpus Christi in the Missal of Paul VI— which rebranded  the feast as “The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ — betray the modernist doctrinal presuppositions behind the New Mass. It’s worth mentioning a few, since today is the Feast of Corpus Christi.

(1) The Optional Sequence. St. Thomas Aquinas’s magnificent Eucharistic poem Lauda Sion, which was sung or recited before the Gospel, is now optional.

This reflects not only the modernists’ desire to shorten the liturgy wherever possible, but also their theory that the only true participation in the liturgy is vocal participation. Silent contemplation of a text as it is recited or sung doesn’t cut it.

Since the melody of the Lauda Sion is melodically complex and requires a wide vocal range (an octave and a fifth), participation by the celebrating assembly is rendered impossible. So, it can be skipped.

(2) The Expurgated Epistle. From the passage in 1 Corinthians that the old Missal prescribed for the feast, the reformers removed St. Paul’s warning to those who would receive the Eucharist unworthily:

Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (1 Cor 11:27-29.)

This, of course, is what the modernists would characterize as “negative theology” — judgement and condemnation. Moreover, it contradicts the assembly supper theology behind the New Mass. (Everyone must eat.) So even though St. Paul said it, it had to go.

The removal of the passage was intentional, because it was also removed from the Epistle for Holy Thursday.

The Sequence likewise, by the way, contains “negative theology,” which was an additional reason for making it optional.

The good and the evil eat of it, but the outcome is different — life or death.

Death for the wicked, life for the good. See how one food gives a different end!

(3) The Abolished Communion Chant. The lengthy Communion chant in the old missal, Quotiescumque, was based on the same passage in Corinthians, and ended with:

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

Again, more “negative theology,” So, the revisers simply replaced the Communion chant in its entirety with:

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, says the Lord. (Jn 6:57)

Much more positive than gloomy old St. Paul!

And all this, of course, from the men who promised us a “more scriptural” liturgy.

(For a discussion of the elimination of “negative theology” from the Mass of Paul VI, by the way, see Work of Human Hands 224–31 and 266ff.)

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  1. Vasari
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This is wonderful! To be able to see Fr. Cekada’s method of analysis applied to the actual liturgy of the day we are in (Corpus Christi). There is something very positive about this, because (1) it allows us to see how very full our faith is compared to the liturgical impoverishment of its opposite, (2) it helps us to reflect on the immense power of what the Novus Ordo has rejected. Let us not fail to discern the Body of our Lord, as the sacred expurgated text demands. Let us always meditate upon our unworthiness and strive always to make ourselves worthy.

    There is a great spiritual benefit to be derived form this blog.

  2. Posted June 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for pointing this out; I did not realize the Novus Ordo greatly “expurgated” St. Thomas’s mass. Before attending solely Extraordinary Form masses, I never even knew about Corpus Christi even though in 2006 I visited Orvieto, Italy, where St. Thomas composed this mass, and I didn’t even know back then the great importance of it for the whole Church!

    By the way, being in a schola at an EF mass here in Phoenix, I loved singing the sequence Lauda Sion and the communion hymn Quotiescumque.

  3. Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    It is also important to remember that the process of getting ‘lite’ started before Vatican II.

    The destruction of the Octave for the feast, the Incarnational Doxology, the preface of the Nativity being removed etc were all steps in a contiguous and continuous process of desacralisation of the Liturgy both before and after Vatican II.

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