From a reader:
I have a question about the validity of the consecration. I attended two NO Masses this week and as each priest said, "…broke the bread…", they broke the bread with an audible crack. One priest held the two halves close together for the elevation so that It looked unbroken; the other priest lifted one half in each hand for the elevation, with his arms spread wide apart, never bringing them together above his head.
This same priest who split the Host also didn’t lay his hands over the gifts. I think this is called the Epiclesis, isn’t this a "must"?
What you saw were two grave liturgical abuses, but they did not make the consecration invalid.
In the case of the premature breaking of the Host, the priests probably imbibed during the "silly season" of liturgical experimentation the notion that we had to strive to make Mass "meaningful". That meant that the priest was to "act out" the actions of the Last Supper he was describing via the words of the Eucharistic Prayer. In any event this is a liturgical abuse. There is a specific time, clear in the long history of the Roman Rite, clear in the rubrics, when the Host is to be broken. If this priest is an assistant, you might ask the pastor what is going on. If he is the pastor, after asking him about this with cheerful respect, you might direct your concerns to the bishop.
As for the other, I am assuming that the priest said the words of the epiclesis but did not extend his hands. That is also a liturgical abuse, but it does not make the consecration invalid. What I find odd is that he wanted to use an extravagant gesture in regard to the Host, but did not when it came to a rather drammatic gesture actually prescribed in the rubrics.