Twelve Things I Like About the Novus Ordo Mass

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Like many, I’m critical of the abuses of the new Mass–the dreadful architecture, banal art, saccharine and heterodox music, poor preaching etc etc that too often has gone along with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, but my point has always been that these are abuses and when you take the Ordinary Form of the Mass–simply what’s in the book–just the words and rubrics–there’s not much wrong with it. Can there be some improvements? Sure, but I’ve asked traditionalists if they can tell me what is so terribly wrong with it–just the words in the book–not all the other abuses and things they don’t like that are associated with Vatican II.

Nobody’s given me a good answer yet.

In keeping with my own view that one should always give the benefit of the doubt and try to find what’s right rather than always find what’s wrong I thought I’d put together this list of what’s GOOD about the Novus Ordo Mass.


It’s flexible. We’re supposed to honor Latin as the language of our church and it is easy enough to integrate a little or a lot of Latin into the Novus Ordo Mass. It is also flexible musically. You don’t have to use Haagan Daz, hootenany and soft rock music. Learn Gregorian chant and polyphony. It fits.


It can be celebrated ad orientem, with altar rails, communion administered to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue, well-trained altar servers, good music, vestments, architecture and art. Yes, bland and banal is possible, but so is grand and glorious.


It’s simple. The plain words and actions of the Novus Ordo provide for a celebration with noble simplicity. Just saying the black and doing the red has a down to earth dignity–not overly ornate and fancy nor banal and vulgar.
Does this mean I am against traditionalists and disapprove of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass? No. It’s good to have both and each should inform the other. A person is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies. It is possible therefore to be critical of a thing without rejecting it entirely just as it is possible to see the good in a thing without endorsing it 100%.

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