From a reader:
I’ve not written to you before, but I’m really looking for some help here. I am from England. I go to the Traditional Mass, which I love, at the London Oratory every Saturday and Sunday, and the Latin Novus Ordo in the week, when possible, also at the Oratory. Very occasionally, when I am away from home, I attend the Novus Ordo in the vernacular. I recently got a book by Father Paul L Kramer, B.Ph., S.T.B., M. Div., S.T.L (Cand) called "The Suicide of altering the Faith in the Liturgy". I was very disturbed when I read it. Trying to find some further advice/guidance, I found your four articles on the ‘Pro Multis’ issue, http://wdtprs.com/blog/category/wdtprs/pro-multis which I read. Fr Kramer’s book is very worrying to say the least [I think not.] . . . in light of what you have written in your four articles, what do you make of this paragraph from the book?
"It needs to be emphasised that a Mass which is probably invalid or even probably valid, even if there is a relatively high probability of validity, is totally and gravely illicit, since the Church’s moral doctrine, set forth by Pope Innocent XI (see Footnote) clearly forbids probably valid sacraments. Thus, it is gravely sinful (in the objective moral order) for anyone to celebrate or attend Mass when the vernacular expression "for all" is used in the consecration of the chalice, since that formula of consecration is not certainly valid . . . "
Footnote:- "In conferring the sacraments, as also in the consecration in the Mass, it is never allowed to adopt a probable course of action as to validity and to abandon the safer course. The contrary was explicitly condemned by Pope Innocent XI (1670-1676)" – Fr Henry Davis, S.J. Moral and Pastoral Theology, v.3, p27.
I would be grateful for some advice. I know that you say that the term "For All" doesn’t invalidate the Mass, but I wondered what you made of the above quotation. Some friends of mine advise that I should go to the SSPX . . . I don’t know what to do sometimes.
What do I make of the quotation? I suggest that Fr. Kramer has very little standing to make any such interpretation.
Paul VI and John Paul II were Popes. They were no less Popes than Innocent XI. They promulgated the post-Conciliar editions of the Missal. Popes don’t give Holy Church Missals with texts for invalid Masses. You might not like what they promulgated in every respect, but the Masses are not invalid. You might think that the texts of the previous Missal were superior, but the newer texts are not invalid.
Fr. Kramer’s insinuations were imprudent.
People can argue about whether or not the texts of the Novus Ordo rite of Mass are good, or whether they convey a somewhat different theology than that of the older, pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum. People can like or not like, for various reasons, the Novus Ordo. But it is wrong to say that Mass with the post-Conciliar editions is invalid. To do so implies that you think your own authority is above that of the Vicar of Christ.
I will be delighted with the new translation of the Novus Ordo is released, with its correct rendering of pro multis, and this tired controversy is put to rest.