Did six Protestant ministers at the 2nd Vatican Council really help design the Novus Ordo Mass?


(Vatican II’s “Fantastic Six” didn’t really wear numbers)

Returning to the “myth” that Protestant observers did not contribute in creating the New Mass, to hold this position is to deny the obvious – not only in fact, but also in substance. In the first place, an ecumenical liturgy that would no longer offend Protestants was Fr. Annibale Bugnini’s intention from the get-go as he declared in 1965:

We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants… [my emphasis]

While we learn from the close confidant of Pope Paul VI, Jean Guitton:

The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to reform the Catholic Liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass” [my emphasis][4].

To accomplish this ecumenical goal, the Consilium
enlisted the help of these Protestant observers:

  1. A. Raymond George (Methodist)
  2. Ronald Jaspar (Anglican)
  3. Massey Shepherd (Episcopalian)
  4. Friedrich Künneth (Lutheran)
  5. Eugene Brand (Lutheran)[5]
  6. Max Thurian (Calvinist-community of Taize).

Their contribution in creating the New Mass was immortalized in a picture taken of them during an audience with Pope Paul VI after thanking them for their assistance. The image was subsequently published in L’Osservatore Romano on April 23, 1970 with the title: “Commission Holds Final Meeting, Pope Commends Work of Consilium”.

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  1. Consider this member of the choir already-been-preached-to in these matters…decades ago.

  2. Theology! Theology!! Theology!!! Total nonsense. AND I might add for good measure,
    Church History! Church History! Church History!! for those that constantly whine on about Paul VI and the post Vatican 2 papacy, church and its affects.
    Get over it!
    The church moves . . .just because its a Rock does not mean it has a heart of cold dead stone!

    • They said the same thing about Russia after Lenin overthrew the Czar.


      • LOL Doug . .. but the Russian Revolution like the French one only really happened because the previous regimes, Tsar or French Monarchy were so divorced from the people! What followed may or may not have been better?
        Rather like a tea party in Boston maybe!
        Damn these free thinking revolutionaries! 🙂

      • Both the Russian and French revolutions were prompted by financial dislocations and the result in both cases was anti-church and anti-Christ. The U.S. was never thrilled about Catholics, from the very beginning, so from a purely religious standpoint, regarding practicing Catholics, the results haven’t been all that different than Russia and France. I’m not really thrilled about having a Catholic Mass that was built around a Protestant Calvinist service, in the hopes that more Protestants might decide to join the Catholic Church. That idea was a non-starter from the beginning and it never did work.


  3. You find something NEW, on Novus Ordo….and this time the 6 Ministers!
    My question :
    If, they had SO much influence, in changing the Mass,
    Why did they not change Trent, and let Protestants participate in Catholic Communion?
    The Real Presence of Christ vs.Memorializing Christ!
    True Ecumenism would have changed the # 1 reason for being Catholic!
    This Dogma has Never been changed, as Dogmas are Not to be changed!

    • You are correct Cathy, the New Church? (what a ridiculous title that is! There is only ever ONE TRUE APOSTOLIC CHURCH) and it has not and will not and can not change the dogma of the Eucharist etc.

      Firstly before Constantine and Nicene the Church (by this people usually understand the roman orthodox Catholic Church) was know as the Great Church but it was by no means alone in the world as a multitude of local and global influencing churches were all about it. Many Saints were influenced or may have been followers of these institutions which were in some case hardly recognisable as Christian. After Nicene of course Officialdom was born and many of the Gnostic organised churches for example were slowly pushed into oblivion.
      I mention that because we should understand that the Roman Church is not nor has ever been in its history an organisation of set ideas. These internal conflicts have in history risen sometimes to fever pitch and often with hysterical and most Unchristian behaviour been stamped about.

      The Reformation which was never a single event or a single debate exploded across Europe very much in time with printing and local understanding. In many things men like Luther were correct and the Church in Rome was seen as little more than a brothel! Of course from a Catholic viewpoint the Reformation went too far and Rome replied with Trent and the Counter Reformation. Down the centuries this has led to full war against Protestantism and deaths I thousands.
      Often this was assisted by Economic necessities and local monarchic disputes. For example Rome Recognised and recognises still about 25 other Christian denominations as being in the See of Rome; including Greek and Russian orthodox and Armenians and Coptic’s etc. This is despite sometimes open warfare in holy sites between these Churches and Rome’s.

      Since the start of the 20th century and two world wars killing more people than all other centuries combined in warfare etc The Church in Rome has had to rethink its moral stance in many areas and places. This does not mean that Dogma is neglected but has to be reinterpreted for modern living.
      One such stance is ironically in Scripture; its reading and understanding by the faithful. The Church especially since the New Church? has asked the faithful to read and study Holy Scripture more. Today a more educated and literate people need to explore its meaning and allow Scripture to be alive on their hearts.

      The Roman See accepts that fellow Christians ie Protestants are also “brethren” in Scripture and because they accept Jesus as Lord (as Scripture states they are thus under the influence of The Holy Spirit, God) they too are our brethren in Christ. They are essentially Redeemed by Our Lord on Calvary as any Catholic may hope themselves.
      It does not mean that we are all the same nor does it imply because they are mistaken on issues such as the Eucharist
      (it is a very difficult problem as many protestants today seem to believe in the Divine Presence of Our Lord despite officially whatever there leaders may suggest just as many Catholics are uncertain of this grace)
      that we can imagine them today as Heretics! That it is no longer Officialdom and just as Pope Paul VI (to help erase stupid anti-Semitic views) officially forgave the Jews for the Crucifixion we are expected to have an ecumenical spirit. This means we show charity and respect and learn from Our Protestant friends because they have much to teach us.
      The Mass has not changed in its fundamentals but it has grown and we must all ask for the grace to grow with it. The Liturgy is no longer repetitive and the wide use of Scripture is for all our benefit. If we desire to please Our Lord and thank him for his mercy then we must take a lead in moving forward to embrace all our brethren and the New Church is one thereby.

      • I like your post

        Many Protestant churches are mistaken about some things–certainly Calvinism is one of those mistakes but to suggest that the Catholic church is not steeped in error, fortified by the A Priori belief that it alone has infallibility, doesn’t line up with the facts.

        Thats not to say that I dont love much of what you wrote. As Peter said..”God made no distinction between us and them and gave them the Holy Spirit just as he did when we believed.”

        I obviously dont have space for a debate but I always ask Catholics this…Is your church the Light of the World? Are unbelievers ashamed when they see your works? The world knows the answer to that.

        When Paul’s detractors challenged that Christ was not speaking through him–that “they”, instead, were apostles–Paul proved his authority with Power–signs–to back up his teachings.

        With all the obvious conflicts with scripture, all the abuse, murder and corruption–none of it was backed up–no Apostolic power whatsoever. When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit they Dropped dead on the spot—they were NOT handed over to the Romans to be lit on Fire at the stake. Doesn’t the fact that many of us Christians would be On Fire right now at the behest of the papacy argue for an exploration of ones core beliefs?
        In fact the only significant development is that over a billion people have received the Holy Spirit since the 16th century–yet it *was claimed and is even sometimes claimed today this is not true–which is bordering on blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. To deny the obvious work of the Spirit. God’s Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

        Im not a Catholic basher either..my Dads one and I dont try and talk him out of it. I think a believer should stay where he is unless it wars against his conscience..and I think the Protestant’s have also gone beyond what is written many times and have abused power, killed, and fought against Christ after the reform. Many of both of our leaders have failed the test and destroyed the simplicity of Christ for nothing. A quote I like is…

        ..human weakness is naturally drawn to a form of false religion that is worldly, pompous, ritualistic, anthropomorphic, polytheistic, infected with magical thinking and legalism, and that values human accomplishment more highly or more practically than the work of God (divine grace) is valued. Given the chance, people will substitute the sort of religion they naturally prefer, over the Gospel….

        Believing in the A Priori–the Linchpin belief–that you somehow have a magical connection to Peter that has no foundation in reality–that was not confirmed. That something so important and crucial that its blatant vagueness caused 3 major divisions(all who have the Holy Spirit). You must consider, and I know it hurts..I know it crushes your paradigm..that this was never God’s intention. We are commanded to have faith in God–not some guy who declared he’s infallible during the middle ages or at any other time.

        Doing so may help explain how such corruption, worldliness, ritual, child abuse, legalism, forbidding the reading of scripture(Hello?)killing instead of loving enemies–and even friends–could occur. Much of Christianity fits the Laodicean church. Any Catholic can read the Philadelphian Church of the Book of Revelation and *Know…..they are Not like them.

        So the pin point question is—if the Catholic church IS what it proudly claims to be…which is the Pinnacle..”The True Church”–How in the world can it rank among the most dysfunctional? So we have Cognitive Dissonance here. We have what we believe…and we have the truth contradicting it. Hence..A Priori, Properly basic psychological belief thats Conclusion does not follow its Premise.

    • You may find this interesting Rev. Stephen F. Somerville, STL; Made a formal Apology for Translating New Mass. http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=show_article&article_id=2161

      Also, the Latin Rite is the Tridentine Mass. The Novus Ordo is a new Rite, this is why Pope Paul VI never promulgated (or officially and publically decreed) the new Mass as it would have gone againts the Pro Quimum.

  4. Scampy22,
    You should write a book, covering past Catholic History to today’s Modern Roman Catholic Church. I’ll bet you could sell to Catholics, who do not want to study History and how the Church evolved!
    People today, are just plain Lazy, and very few read Scripture. I am considered a “Freak” for taking interest in Scripture….Sanctimonius. 🙂
    About 5 years ago, after an accident, I became compelled to read the New Testament for Truth, and I read it 2 more times. Now, I have been studying the Old Testament…..OT = God’s Will Concealed, NT = God’s Will Revealed!!!
    I do not study Church Father’s or the Papacy, it would require a Theology Doctorate. I am just a simple Catholic, Baptized at birth in Japan, searching for Truth in a challenging time!
    Thank You,

    • LOL write a book! That made me burst out laughing Cathy!! I think it has to do with my LONG .Oh God! Such LONG replies!!!! 🙂
      One day maybe. 🙂 🙂

      I wouldn’t be concerned with what people think if I were you.
      I know it sounds peculiar but once many moons ago I worked for a very famous Architects Group and talk about being in the presence of devils!! I was removed from that abode only by a singular act of Grace and it did show me upon other things that what the crowd want (no matter the noise) must not upset you. So I think its a great idea to carry on with Scripture because that is literally for your/anyone’s eternal good. It is a terrible thing that so many really stupid (in a Biblical sense of stupid) people can criticize anyone that does what they should all be doing if they had an atom of intellect!
      When you finally come to realise that the eyes of Christ are upon you .. well the mob no matter how large falls into insignificance! So carry on cause Scripture researching, reading and pondering does you honour my gal! 🙂

      • Scampy22,
        Thank you for the encouragement!
        I know that I’ve made a Divine Decision, and No One can inhibit me!!!

  5. In fact, a lot of what is found in the Novus Ordo can also be found in the very ancient original rite of Spain, the Mozarabic Rite… I am certain that when it was celebrated at the Vatican during the Council, it really influenced a lot of people then preparing to change the old Latin rite. I have written a substantial essay on this ancient rite. I can email it to you if you want.

    • I would love to see it. Thank you. There’s a “Contact” link at the top of my site. Three lines down, on the left – in the main header graphic.



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