Was October 22, 1967 the most ominous and frightening day in the two-thousand-year history of the Catholic Church, and certainly in the history of the Church in the United States of America? Did that day see a legalized contradiction of hitherto inviolate decrees and norms guarding the Canon of the Mass? Did it possibly even bring a new era of darkness into the world, the extinguishing of the true sacrificial and sacramental Eucharistic Christ from the majority of our churches?
During the early days of agitation for the introduction of the Vernacular into the Mass, and even during the climax of the movement, when the matter was debated at the First Session of Vatican Council II (1962), Catholics were always assured that even if the vernacular should be introduced, the Canon would remain untouched, in its centuries-old, inviolate Latin form. And rightly so, for the Canon is the heart and center and essence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. But since the 1963 Liturgy Constitution’s granting of permission to employ the vernacular in some parts of the Mass, a literal cascade of subsequent changes and increased vernacularization has now culminated in the introduction of the new, “English Canon,” yielding what is, in effect, an all-vernacular Mass, (notwithstanding Article 36 of that same Constitution and the decrees of the Council of Trent). Thus, that which was heretofore and for thirteen centuries considered inviolate has now been touched and disturbingly altered. Something ominously different from the Canon we have always known now occupies the heart and center of our Catholic Worship.
Not since the introduction of the vernacular in parts of the Mass in 1964, has so much protest, with so many intense misgivings, been engendered, as has been by the introduction of this new, English Canon. How, infinitely more thundering this protest would be were it not for the fact that the clergy and the faithful have been gradually “conditioned” by change after change in recent years, – perhaps to the point of expecting change as the order of the day and the “mind of the Church”!
There are three main classes of objections to the new, English Canon: (1) That it contains many omissions, mistranslations and distortions, which offend against Catholic reverence, piety, and the integrity of the Faith. (2) That it is illicit, i.e., in violation of enduring and unrescinded decrees and teachings of previous Councils and Popes. (3) That it is invalid, i.e., that because of some radical mutilation it no longer confects or produces the true Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist. Such an alleged invalidity is by far the gravest and most crucial of all the objections, though this view is not shared by many or most of the Canon’s critics. It is to the question of the validity of the “new Canon” – in the light of a mutilation of the Form of Consecration – that Patrick Henry Omlor devotes this treatise, “Questioning the Validity.” Fr. Lawrence S. Brey (1927-2006) Source
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