Ten Objections to the New Mass: Answered

See also: List of apologetics resources for use with the Society of St. Pius X and Sedevacantists.

This post is meant to compile arguments responding to various objections to the New Mass which may be used by some supporters of the SSPX. In this post, I use the term "New Mass" as a short description of the Missal published by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1969, and I use the term "Old Mass" as a short description of the Missal published by Pope St. Pius V in 1570.

If you combine all of these arguments, I think you can show SSPX supporters that none of the things they object to make the New Mass objectionable. BTW I'd love to add to this. Do any of you know other objections to the New Mass that I could answer on this page?

Objection 1: The New Mass is objectionable because the priests usually say Mass facing the people instead of the altar.

Answer:

Premise 1. Anything permitted by the Old Mass does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Old Mass permitted priests to say Mass facing the people.
Conclusion. Therefore, to say Mass facing the people does not make the Mass objectionable.
Note: If you see an objection from a supporter of the SSPX like the objection in bold above, here is what I recommend you do. Present the above argument, or one like it, and ask what they think of it. If they think it's sound, then their objection seems answered. If they want proof for Premise 2, you can present the following information.
The Old Mass appears to have permitted priests to say Mass facing the people. For example, in Ritus Servandus, which is a part of the Missal of the Old Mass that contains an important overview of the Rite of Mass, there is the following statement:

“Si altare sit ad orientem versus populum, celebrans versa facie ad populum, non vertit humeros ad altare, cum dicturus est, Dominus vobiscum, Orate fratres, Ite Missa est, vel daturus benedictionem: sed osculato altari in medio, ibi expansis & iunctis manibus, ut supra, salutat populum.” (Missale Romanum 1570 A.D., Ritus Servandus, Chapter 5 Paragraph 3)
Note: An original page scan can be viewed here.
Here is a translation of this portion of the Old Missal:

“If the altar faces East toward the people, the celebrant facing toward the people, he does not turn his back to the altar when saying Dominus vobiscum, Orate fratres, Ite missa est, or when giving the blessing, but having kissed the altar in the middle, there extending and joining his hands, as above, he salutes the people.”
Note: This translation is modified from the equivalent portion in the Extraordinary Form.
Objection 2: The New Mass is objectionable because its altars usually face directions other than East.

Answer: 

Premise 1. Anything permitted by the Old Mass does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Old Mass permitted altars to face directions other than East.
Conclusion. Therefore, to have altars facing directions other than East does not make the Mass objectionable.

The Old Mass appears to have permitted altars to face directions other than East. For example, look at most of the ancient cathedrals in Europe. It is my understanding that they traditionally have a high altar facing East, and two side-altars facing North and South. Here is a cathedral blueprint where you can see an Eastern-facing altar at #13 and North and South altars above #7 and below #9. Masses were ordinarily permitted at the side altars, therefore the priest was never absolutely required to celebrate Mass facing East.

Objection 3: The New Mass is objectionable because it permits receiving Communion in the hand.

Answer:

Premise 1. Any form of receiving Communion permitted by the Church Fathers does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Church Fathers permitted receiving Communion in the hand.
Conclusion. Therefore, receiving Communion in the hand does not make the Mass objectionable.

The Church Fathers appear to have permitted receiving Communion in the hand. For example, St. Cyril of Jerusalem said, "In approaching therefore, come not with your wrists extended, or your fingers spread; but make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed your palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen." source

Objection 4: The New Mass is objectionable because it permits priests to say Mass without altar rails.

Answer:

Premise 1. Anything permitted by the Old Mass does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Old Mass permitted priests to say Mass without altar rails.
Conclusion. Therefore, to say Mass without altar rails does not make the Mass objectionable.

The Old Mass appears to have permitted priests to say Mass without altar rails. For example, missionaries could not wait for altar rails to be manufactured before celebrating Mass in a new area, so they said Mass without altar rails, and they were never rebuked. Here are three pieces of art illustrating pre-Vatican II Catholic missionaries celebrating Mass without altar rails.

Now, these are classic pieces of Catholic art. If they had shown the missionaries doing something sinful or forbidden by the Church, they would have been objected to by the faithful of the Church, and the Church would have refused to display them in Catholic Churches and museums. But the Church did not rise up against these images and others like them, the Church revered them as good examples of Catholic spirit. Therefore, the Church at the time did not absolutely forbid Masses to be said without altar rails.

Objection 5: The New Mass is objectionable because the music is too modern.

Answer:

Premise 1. Anything permitted by the Old Mass does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Old Mass permitted the use of new forms of music in the liturgy.
Conclusion. Therefore, the use of new forms of music in the liturgy does not make the Mass objectionable.

The Old Mass appears to have permitted the use of new forms of music in the liturgy. Examples include the organ, which I think was permitted into the liturgy in the 600s A.D. by Pope Vitalian, and orchestra, which I think was permitted into the liturgy in the 1500s A.D. Giovanni Gabrieli comes to mind as an excellent example of an orchestral composer for Masses in the 1500s.

Objection 6: The New Mass is objectionable because it permits terrible music.

Answer:

Premise 1. The New Mass does not permit things that contradict the rules set by Vatican 2.
Premise 2. Terrible music contradicts the rules set by Vatican 2.
Conclusion. Therefore, the New Mass does not permit terrible music.

Terrible music appears to contradict the rules set by Vatican 2. For example, the Council says, "[Recent] instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship...only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 120)

And: "Let [composers] produce compositions which have the qualities proper to genuine sacred music." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 121)

Objection 7: Terrible music may not be permitted by the New Mass, but it happens anyway, and it makes the New Mass invalid wherever it occurs.

Answer:

Premise 1. Only a corruption of the essence of the Mass can make the Mass invalid.
Premise 2. The music is not the essence of the Mass.
Conclusion. Therefore, corrupt music does not make the Mass invalid.

Objection 8: The New Mass is objectionable because it permits a disposition lacking reverence.

Answer:

Premise 1. The New Mass does not permit things that contradict the rules set by Vatican 2.
Premise 2. A disposition lacking reverence contradicts the rules set by Vatican 2.
Conclusion. Therefore, the New Mass does not permit a disposition lacking reverence.

A disposition lacking reverence appears to contradict the rules set by Vatican 2. For example, the Council says, "[It] is necessary that the faithful come to [the liturgy] with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 11) 

Objection 9: A disposition lacking reverence may not be permitted by the New Mass, but it happens anyway, and it makes the New Mass invalid wherever it occurs.

Answer:

Premise 1. A thing cannot make the Mass invalid if it does not make Sacraments invalid.
Premise 2. A disposition lacking reverence cannot make Sacraments invalid.
Conclusion. Therefore, a disposition lacking reverence cannot make the Mass invalid.

A disposition lacking reverence does not appear to make Sacraments invalid. This seems to be dogmatically confirmed by the Council of Trent, Session 7, Canons on the Sacraments in General, Canon 12: "If any one saith, that a minister, being in mortal sin, if so be that he observe all the essentials which belong to the effecting, or conferring of, the sacrament, neither effects, nor confers the sacrament; let him be anathema." source

Objection 10: The New Mass is objectionable because it permits the use of languages other than Latin in the liturgy.

Answer:

Premise 1. Anything permitted for use in the liturgy by the Church before Vatican 2 does not make the Mass objectionable.
Premise 2. The Church before Vatican 2 permitted the use of languages other than Latin in the liturgy.
Conclusion. Therefore, the use of languages other than Latin in the liturgy does not make the Mass objectionable.

The Church befored Vatican 2 appears to have permitted the use of languages other than Latin in the liturgy. For example, there is evidence that Jesus spoke Aramaic at the first Mass, and it appears that the early Church Fathers spoke mostly Greek at Mass, and it appears that Greek Masses continued to be permitted in the Church from then on up to the present.

See also: List of apologetics resources for use with the Society of St. Pius X and Sedevacantists.