From a reader:
This weekend, Father was having a series of talks during his Masses which spanned about fifteen minutes, and so he was late for one at another Church.
The parish sister started the Mass with the full (including greeting) introductory rites and Liturgy of the Word.
Father arrived at the offertory and then Mass continued as normal.
This is a common, though not weekly, practice. [?!?]
1) Is it still Mass?
2) Does it satisfy the obligation of the faithful (and myself) to attend Sunday Mass?
3) Is Our Lord still rendered present in the Blessed Sacrament?
4) If so, does this mean priests can just walk around saying the words of consecration with the right intention and confect the Sacrament?
Just when you think it can’t get stranger. If this happens often, I would inform the diocesan bishop and/or the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome.
1. It does not seem to be a Mass. Mass is the entirety of the ceremony.
Could we hack away and say, “If the priest simply forgot the sign of the cross at the beginning would it still be a Mass? If he forgot the sign of the cross AND the penitential rite, would it still be a Mass?” Sure, it would be. In the case above, however, it’s clear that what happened was not a Mass.
2. It would not fulfill anyone’s obligation (including the priest’s obligation to offer Mass – if there was a stipend accepted, or if this was a pro populo Mass). The faithful who attended this inadvertently would not be culpable for not fulfilling their obligation. Objectively however, this did not fulfill their obligation.
3. Yes, Our Lord is present in the Sacrament confected.
However.. and this is a big however….
The priest, however, is guilty of a major crime, a crime so bad that canon law uses the Latin word “nefas“, rarely encountered in the law (canon 927).
It is absolutely forbidden to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the Eucharistic celebration.
4. Possibly, though to do so would be an abuse so great that one one could call into question either Father’s sanity (were he totally insane, the sacrament would probably not be confected) or his real intention to do what the Church intends.
Reason #675663 for Summorum Pontificum.