QUAERITUR: Anglicans using a Catholic church for their services

From a reader:

I have been informed by an Anglican group that my Bishop gave the green light to let an Anglican (not an ordinariate group, but a schismatic Anglican group) use one of our school’s sanctuary and altar to celebrate their services. Is this permitted? If not, what should I do?

I get the sense that you, dear reader, want to act on this.  Be careful not to read something negative into every ecumenical gesture.  Not all of them are illicit.

This situation is addressed in the 25 March 1993 Decree on the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.  This is a dicasterial, not a papal document. It was not signed “in forma specifica“.  It nevertheless has binding force as an act of executive power.

The document contains these pertinent paragraphs:

137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances, permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries.

138. Because of developments in society, the rapid growth of population and urbanization, and for financial motives, where there is a good ecumenical relationship and understanding between the communities, the shared ownership or use of church premises over an extended period of time may become a matter of practical interest.

139. When authorization for such ownership or use is given by the diocesan Bishop, according to any norms which may be established by the Episcopal Conference or the Holy See, judicious consideration should be given to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, so that this question is resolved on the basis of a sound sacramental theology with the respect that is due, while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building, e.g., by constructing a separate room or chapel.

140. Before making plans for a shared building, the authorities of the communities concerned should first reach agreement as to how their various disciplines will be observed, particularly in regard to the sacraments. Furthermore, a written agreement should be made which will clearly and adequately take care of all questions which may arise concerning financial matters and the obligations arising from church and civil law.

Therefore, the bishop is within his authority to permit what you described.

Hopefully, the bishop has a well-worded contract laying out the situations and circumstances of the use of the church.

Think of it this way.  Since this is a schismatic Anglican group, it may be part of the bishop’s plan gradually to pull them into the Catholic fold!

As for what YOU might do concretely, dear questioner, here are a few suggestions.

  • Pray for the unity of the Church.
  • Pray for these Anglicans, that they might respond to the grace that is being given to them to come into full unity with the Church of Rome.
  • Pray for the bishop, who is obliged by his office to care for souls of the baptized in the diocese.
  • Write a graciously worded letter to the Catholic bishop in question, thanking him for his zeal and pastoral solicitude not only for the Catholics, but for the souls of all the baptized of his diocese whom in his heavy office he is obliged by God to care for unto their salvation.

BTW… Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. St. Rafael says:

    Anglicans are not schismatic. Anglicans have no valid priesthood, sacraments, or Mass. In order to be schismatic like the Orthodox churches, you have to have apostolic succession, valid orders and valid sacraments. Schisms are divisions and splits that can be healed because there isn’t an issue over sacramental validity, but only over unity.

    Anglicans are heretics and not schismatics. Aglicans ministers have to abandon a heretical religion and then be validly ordained for the first time as Catholic priests. It is not an issue of schism.

  2. Random Friar says:

    We have likewise benefited from the generosity of other ecclesial bodies that have allowed us use of their spaces. This is not uncommon in case of natural or man-made disasters that destroy Catholic parishes.

  3. Pingback: Anglicans Using a Catholic Church for their Services « Fr Stephen Smuts

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Last year, there was a kerfuffle about this in Scotland when Archbishop Conti allowed some of the Scottish Episcopalians to use a Catholic church. The problem there was the group being allowed in are very liberal. Some of the people at the time wondered why the Archbishop did not let the SSPX use the site, as they had more in common with the Catholic Church then the piskies.

  5. Malvenu says:

    I understand the comment about necessity and natural disasters and not wanting to burn one’s bridges but, come on, Anglicans using a Catholic Church? Are they taking the pee? How about they give us ALL *OUR* CHURCHES BACK and then maybe we’ll think about whether they can use them from time to time. Or not.

    (You may detect a certain degree of, they’ve-got-the-11th-century-Church-in-the-centre-of-town-with-stained-glass-windows,-bells,-side-chapels,-etc.-and-we’ve-got-a-former-baptist-chapel-that-we-had-to-buy-through-an-intermediary-because-the-baptists-said-that-they-would-sell-it-to-anybody-except-the-Catholic-Church about my response!)

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    Recognizing the evident intent of the passages you cite, couldn’t dissident theologians read the letter of these and justify (or even claim mandate for) the removal of the crucifix at Georgetown?

  7. St. Rafael says:

    It is absolutely scandalous and an abomination that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has given the license and the greenlight for bishops to break the first commandment in allowing false worship to take place on consecrated altars in the house of God. [Okay, we all know you are zealous. Now tone it down.]

  8. jarthurcrank says:

    I am part of an ordinariate community. In my opinion, the Archdiocese of New York was correct when it allowed Trinity Church, Wall Street to use St. Peter’s Parish after 9-11 when Trinity’s interior was severely damaged by the ashes from the WTC.

  9. mamajen says:

    Well, if Anglicans are going to play mass, I almost feel better about them using a real church rather than their pretend ones. At least some aspect of it would be legit. Hopefully something will rub off on them and they’ll want to become full-fledged Catholics. It frustrates me to no end that there are so many good Anglicans who are essentially Catholic, but just won’t go that extra step.

  10. mamajen says:

    @St. Rafael

    I don’t think it’s that simple. We’re not talking about worshipping a golden calf here.

  11. eulogos says:

    Thank you Mamajen.
    I just made a long comment which seems to have disappeared. So I will content myself with this quote from Unitatis Redintegration for now.
    “Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

    The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation.

    It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.”
    Susan Peterson

  12. Southern Baron says:

    My high school once did the reverse, using an Episcopalian retreat center for a student retreat and their chapel for Mass. Notably however our priests brought their own ‘Mass kit’ as they should–but Fr Z, if in such a situation the priest forgot it, would it be permissible to use the Episcopalian communion plate? You hear about priests in prison using bottle caps and the like but this would be a less extreme case.

  13. Clinton R. says:

    Does the allowance of a Catholic parish being used for a non Catholic service have any precedence prior to Vatican II? Or is this another example of the “spirit” of Vatican II? It would appear it would border on false ecumenism, because sharing a Catholic parish or chapel for non Catholic services doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the Catholic faith. Additionally, how can it be justified to allow not only a non Catholic liturgy, but also to have preaching by a Protestant that by its nature, conflicts with Catholic doctrine? It just does not seem right for the altar, which is used to offer the Holy Sacrifice, to be also used for a sect that does not have valid Holy Orders and thus invalid Communion. Dr. Taylor Marshall has an excellent post on his blog on Anglicans and the invalidity of their communion. http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/07/do-anglicans-have-valid-eucharist.html

    That being, said I agree with Father of the utmost importance of praying for the return home to the Holy Catholic Church all of men. +JMJ+

  14. jacobianflaherty says:


    I respect you greatly and visit this site at least twice daily, but I find your answer lacking, especially with regard to Episcoplians. Either that, or the passage you cite is hopelessly out of date, keeping in mind the radical changes that have occurred in most mainstream Protestant groups in the last two decades.

    Is this (the Episcoplians) not the same denomination that approved transgender Bishops and to bless same-sex marriages, not to mention female ‘priests’?!!!! Under this line of thought, using the document you cite, a liberal Bishop could allow the Episcopalians to come in, the woman ‘Bishop’ could preside, she could ‘ordain’ a transgender Bishop, and preside over a same sex marriage, all at the altar consecrated by the Catholic bishop, containing the relics of the Catholic Saint, etc… “I will go in unto the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.” And then for good measure, throw in #139 and the line “judicious consideration should be given to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament”… yes, let’s stick Jesus in a broom closet somewhere. Actually that is better than in the place of those outrages, but what about lauding Christ as King? It’s as if we say, “Well, He’s our King, but we don’t want to offend you, so we’ll just be moving Him now.”

    I know you’re not advocating it, Fr. Z, but such religious indifferentism sort of seems like the death to any meaningful Faith. For some reason the Steward of Gondor, in the movie ‘Return of the King’ (Lord of the Rings), comes to mind here in his quote: “Go now and die in whatever way seems best to you.” We need a Gandalf to come us into our senses and out of our apathy!

  15. Sissy says:

    jacobianflaherty: I’m not sure if you’re in the US or not, but in the States the term “Anglican” indicates those who have separated themselves from the Episcopalians for the reasons you mention above. Anglicans in the US are much more orthodox and traditional in their thinking and religious practice than Episcopalians, generally. They reject the actions of the Episcopalian leadership and no longer associate with them. I assumed that the OP was writing about a situation in the US, but I could be wrong.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Malvenu, I am glad the Anglicans in England had our churches so long, as the post-Vatican II group of Catholic architects and bishops would have wreckovated them all.

  17. St. Rafael says:

    I don’t think it’s that simple. We’re not talking about worshipping a golden calf here.


    The Catholic religion is the only religion that is pleasing to God. God abhors and hates every religion outside of Catholicism as an abomination. This is the same God of the Old Testament who abhorred every false religion and every false idol. The God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God instituted his Church with the one and only sacrifice and worship acceptable to him, which is the Catholic Mass.

    It has always been a teaching of the Catholic Church, that it alone is the only true religion and every other religion, a false one. To practice any other religion outside of Catholicism, for the Catholic, has always been a sin against the first commandment and a mortal sin. This includes Protestantism, a false religion, which a Catholic is not allowed to practice without breaking the first commandment of God. When in the history and tradition of the Church has the clergy ever allowed non-Catholic worship, false religions, and Protestant sects to use Catholic churches for their Protestant services? It was never done before Vatican II and the craziness of the late 20th century. Those Churchmen were serious about the Catholic faith, the commandments, and the true worship of God. They believed in dogma and heresy.

  18. muckemdanno says:

    137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services.

    Since the SSPX are said to be “not in full communion” with the Catholic Church, shouldn’t they be also allowed use of Catholic Churches for their services? Why the double standard?

  19. iPadre says:

    There is one Religious Order founded by a former Anglican many years ago that went off the road. They had church building that were shared by Catholics and Anglicans/ Episcopalians. Within the church, they had a shared tabernacle. One side for the Catholic Blessed Sacrament, the other for the Anglican. Could we say, one side for the Real Presence and the other for the Real Absence. I’m sure that situation caused not only a lot of scandal, but a tremendous amount of confusion.

  20. Clinton R. says:


    This is exactly what is wrong with using a Catholic parish or chapel for Protestant use. It only leads to confusion and religious indifference, not to mention sacrilege. Say a Protestant sect was offended at the site of the Crucifix or the Tabernacle. Does that mean it should be covered and we’ll just pretend for the duration of the service that it is not a Catholic parish “while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building…”?

  21. acardnal says:

    Clinton R. said:“Say a Protestant sect was offended at the site of the Crucifix or the Tabernacle. Does that mean it should be covered and we’ll just pretend for the duration of the service that it is not a Catholic parish “while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building…”?

    You mean like “catholic” Georgetown University did? And as far as I know they still do. Disgraceful!

  22. mamajen says:

    @St. Rafael

    “The Catholic religion is the only religion that is pleasing to God. God abhors and hates every religion outside of Catholicism as an abomination”

    Are you quite sure about that? I certainly am not. Unless you are St. Rafael himself, I don’t think you can make such pronouncements. God alone knows the souls of the individuals who practice other religions, and I don’t see how He could actually hate it when people are trying their best to worship Him in a way they think is right. There are many good Catholics who started out as protestants (Father Z. himself is just one example). Without their similar Christian foundation, who knows if they ever would have found their way to the Catholic Church? Especially in this day and age with the assault on our religious liberties, we simply can’t afford to dismiss our fellow Christians as “abominable”.

  23. Sissy says:

    mamajen said: “Without their similar Christian foundation, who knows if they ever would have found their way to the Catholic Church?”

    Thanks for this, mamajen. I grew up in a completely protestant area in a home where I learned nothing at all about Christianity. A kind protestant lady taught me about Jesus, and later in my life, it was protestant Bible study that got me started on the road to Mother Church. I long for all protestants to know the fullness of the Church that Christ gave us, but I also know from personal experience that the Lord can use even those ecclesial communities to work His will for His lost children.

  24. FrJLP says:

    Some of you people really scare me…especially those claiming angelic patronage… Really, folks…

  25. DBuote says:

    I suppose it doesn’t sound like an ideal situation. In any way, ie a protestant denomination using a Catholic Church. But on the other hand, charity blots out a multitude of sins.. And on a practical level if my Church burns down, I’d like a place to go!


  26. FrJLP says:

    @Sissy: This was my experience, too. From a non-Christian home, through Pentecostalism, and now a Catholic priest. I would have never learned of Jesus were it not for that sweet lady who first share His Name with me…. An imperfect proclamation, perhaps; but one who trajectory ultimately led me to Christ’s Church and to share in His Priesthood…

  27. acardnal says:

    mamajen, sissy: “the Catholic Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within Her, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics, cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Mt. 25;41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock . . .(Council of Florence, Denzinger 714).”

    It is clear that followers of other religions can be saved under certain conditions, that is to say ,if they are in invincible error. If they are trying to the best of their abilities, God will give them actual graces, and if they are faithful to these graces and work with these graces, God will finally give them sanctifying grace, and so they might be saved. But they are always saved as individuals. Although they are saved IN the other religions, they are never saved BY the other religions. It is not possible that errors should lead to the kingdom of truth. “I am the Way, the truth and the life. Nobody come to the Father but through Me.” And this applies to the Church He founded because it is the visible body of Christ on earth with Jesus at its head and the pope as its visible head. So, if someone is saved, is in heaven, they are there only because of and through the Holy Catholic Church.

  28. St. Rafael says:


    My post what about religions in themselves, and not about individuals. God loves all men, wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth, and wants all men to be Catholic. It is the false religions in themseleves as a system of religion, and as another religion rivaling the true religion, that he abhors. The Islamic religion, modern Jewish religion, Protestant religion, and all other pagan religions are not the religion that God created and loves. As there is one God, there is one religion.

    God doesn’t hate the person offering false religion, but hates the false offering and worship in iteself. Objectively speaking, the worship itself being offered to God is not pleasing and cannot be accepted. God only accepts the sacrifice at Calvary being represented to him in the Catholic Mass. A Lutheran or Aglican service can never be accepted by God and he rejects that worship. God doesn’t hate or reject the Methodist or Lutheran minister. He only hates and rejects the worship and offering made by the liturgy and prayers. God cannot find the bread and wine being offered in these liturgies, pleasing to him, because it not the Mass with its Catholic prayers, valid sacraments, and revealed truth.

  29. Clinton R. says:

    Perhaps using a Catholic parish to hold a Protestant service might be legal, but like Communion in the hand, girl altar boys, and the horde of EMOHC’s, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

  30. Malvenu says:

    @ Supertradmum. I hadn’t thought of that! I suppose one of the reasons i am envious is that, not only do they have an exquisite side altar with icons in it (my daughters goes to the associated school as there isn’t a Catholic one in town) , but it is also a lot ‘higher’ than my Church. Perhaps, they can keep them for a bit longer and then, when we’ve sorted ourselves out a bit and most of the liberals have, er, moved on, we can have them back then!

  31. FrJLP says:

    @St. Rafael: And God rejects their baptisms as well? ALL of them? Seems to me that the Church understands a Trinitarian baptism from a Protestant (minus, of course, the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) to be valid and conveying of Grace… Yes, ultimately that grace comes through and unites to the Catholic Church (albeit in an “imperfect way”). God hears not the pleas of these people as they pray in assembly? God cares not about their, perhaps misinformed, worship? He finds it repugnant and rejects it instead of redirecting it to and through His Holy Church??? Hmmmm…. You seem to know an aweful lot about the ineffable mind of the Almighty… Where might we make pilgrimage?

  32. Sissy says:

    acardnal said:” So, if someone is saved, is in heaven, they are there only because of and through the Holy Catholic Church.”

    100% agree! And that is why, once I had become educated enough that I was no longer invincibly ignorant, I hurried post-haste to the Church! Looking back, I can see that the Lord in His mercy used those protestant experiences and people to lead me to His truth. I couldn’t possibly stay outside the Church once I knew that She is the one, holy, apostolic, Catholic Church.

  33. mamajen says:

    FrJLP summed things up better than I ever could.

    As a parent I cannot imagine hating my son’s uninformed, but well-intentioned, actions. I appreciate any way in which he tries to show me love, including that crayon masterpiece scribbled on the wall. I suppose I could look objectively at his actions and decide to be offended, but what is the point?

  34. Volanges says:

    Clinton R. said: “Say a Protestant sect was offended at the site of the Crucifix or the Tabernacle. Does that mean it should be covered and we’ll just pretend for the duration of the service that it is not a Catholic parish “while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building…”?

    Interesting that you should ask that.

    While in Canada, military Bases usually have two Chapels, one Catholic, one Protestant, it seems that US military Bases often had only one Chapel, used by both the Catholics and the Protestants.

    In the sanctuary the Crucifix was framed by curtains. If Catholics were worshipping, the Crucifix was visible; when Protestants were worshipping, the Crucifix was cranked out of sight behind one curtain, exposing a bare Cross which had been behind the other curtain.

    The Tabernacle was in a side Chapel where sparsely attended daily Mass was often celebrated.

  35. Michael_Thoma says:

    I don’t recommend regular use of Catholic parishes by protestants, due to the danger of indifferentism and /or sacriliege. The example of the shared Tabernacle – sounds quite dangerous, as an Anglican minister may or may not believe in the Real Presence as Catholics and Orthodox do. What if s/he were to use the Catholic ciborium? or Throw away the remaining, since some believe Christ is no longer present after the Service is finished? Etc.

    As for Orthodox using the Catholic facilities – I have no problem at all with it. In fact, I hope Catholic priests encourage such cooperation with both the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches which ask. It leads to further education on the part of the Latin laity, and better relations with both Orthodox and Eastern Catholic faithful.

    A negative note — I experienced hostility toward Eastern Catholics using Latin parishes on numerous occasions, by both (liberal) priests and “pastoral associates/liturgists”, mainly when we bring up how we need to arrange the altar ‘ad orientem’. They’re shocked that we “turn our back to the people”, even when I clearly explained “actually they pray the same direction as the people”, etc.

    A positive – the vast majority of priests have been supportive and down right joyful to have us. The traditional Latin communities and priests are the most encouraging. Opus Dei, SSJC, ICKSP, etc. In my personal interactions with these holy priests and laity, they have brought out the universality (Catholicity) of the Church and her One-ness.

  36. asshur says:

    It’s not a new idea or situation, as it is something that exists in some areas of the former Holy Roman Empire at least since the Reformation (see f.i. Simultaneum (wikipedia))
    Even more exotic agreements did exist.The cathedral chapter of Halberstadt was, till its extinction in 1810 of mixed confession, had common Office and -even more strange- a catholic canon was present vested (and acting) as Deacon at some lutheran offices (h/t to the New Liturgical Movement )

    I’m sure more historical examples could be found in the East.
    So really nothing new under the sun …

    It is also a non unheard of situation in vacational areas or with high number of inmigrants in Europe. In fact, where I have my summer home, there is a catholic chapel where an Anglican community -dependent of the bishop of Gibraltar (CoE) – is hosted there quite some years since.

  37. JKnott says:

    Luke 9 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Granted most good Catholics wouldn’t care to see Protestants using our sanctuaries , especially since they deny the Eucharist, but there are many who have been brought up as sincere in what they were taught and are not responsible for the heretical revolt.

    Even though a little off topic, I recently came across the approved (by the Latin and Orthodox Church) apparition of Our Lady at Zeitoun Egypt in 1968- 70. She is said to had been seen by literally millions, kneeling before the cross atop the Orthodox cathedral and even entering the church itself. It says in this little video that amidst upheaval and the persecution of Christians at that time, instead of taking revenge, she cured and healed many of all faiths, Muslims, protestants and Catholics. Million saw her. It shows that Mary is the Mother of all. I don’t think we should be so harsh in judging others not of our faith. God’s Providence uses many ways and people to convert others.
    Here is the video on Zeitoun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMEWxRB-1dc

    But, in another vein, the NO has been so Protestantized that they could have just invited these people to our Mass and asked them not to receive and the people probably would have felt right at home.

  38. St. Rafael says:


    The Church teaches De fide that religion of Protestantism is a heresy. Protestants are heretics. Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is a dogma of the Church. To deny this is heresy.
    Protestants have valid baptisms when they use the Trinitarian formula. However, once they reach the age of reason, Protestants lose sanctifying grace through actual sin. They lost their state of grace through mortal sin. They need the sacrament of Penance. They need Catholicism. Once they reach maturity, Protestants have the duty to seek out the truth, leave a false religion, and convert to Catholicism. God gives every man sufficient grace to be saved and he is always trying to lead Protestants to Catholicism.

    Our God is the God of the Bible. He is the God of the Old and New Testaments. The history of the Old Testament is perfectly accurate and clear. God abhorred every false religion, false idol, and false worship. The only worship and sacrifice pleasing to him was that of the Jews, as prescribed the Mosaic Law and rituals. God ordered nations and peoples destroyed because of their sins, idols, and pagan worship. The Israelites fought wars to destroy these cities and peoples. God does not change. Can God accept the bread and wine offered in an Anglican service as a true sacrifice? Can that bread offering be an acceptable sacrifice?

    Then there is the Magisterium of the Church:

    Pope Pius XI , Encyclical Mortalium Animos: “The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation… Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors”.

    [Breathe, friend, and into a bag if you must. I think you should be careful about pronouncing authoritatively as if you know what God is and isn’t pleased by. Moving toward greater unity with Holy Church or toward the life of grace must be pleasing to God in some way, or He wouldn’t give the graces for it to happen. So, settle down a little.]

  39. Sissy says:

    JKnott said: “But, in another vein, the NO has been so Protestantized that they could have just invited these people to our Mass and asked them not to receive and the people probably would have felt right at home.”

    I regret to report that my former Anglican service felt much more reverent and “Catholic” than my current NO Mass. The church I attend now is far more protestant in behavior and outlook than any Anglican service I ever attended. I was very disappointed when I first started attending Mass there (before I was received into the Church). Now, I try to think of myself as “salt and light” to try to do my little part to help bring back some reverence.

  40. dominic1955 says:

    Yes, that is the distinction-all non-Catholic worship is OBJECTIVELY displeasing to God. There is only one right way to worship God, and that is in the Catholic Church. SUBJECTIVELY, the persons themselves embroiled in error may be pleasing to God because they are invincibly ignorant and thus innocent of the mortal sin of sacrilege, blasphemy, heresy, etc. but what they are doing is objectively wrong and thus in and of itself displeasing.

    If anyone is saved who was not formally in the Catholic Church during life, it is wholly in spite of the errors and heresies they held and committed in good faith during life, not knowing any better-certainly not because of them in any way.

    When the Second Vatican Council says that there are means of sanctification in non-Catholic religions, it is not saying anything more than traditional Catholic theology would admit-though unfortunately in such a way that those who do not know their traditional theology may be confused by. For instance, a baby is validly baptized in the context of a Protestant service and soon after dies. He would be in heaven, there is only one baptism and in reality he’s made part of the Church by this valid baptism and not the heretical sect of his parents. Baptism is a “means of sanctification” that the sectarians have. Same with other things like the Bible-many folks have been converted by reading their bibles with open minds and seeing that its ultimately a Catholic and not Protestant book. Eastern Orthodox who are invincibly ignorant of the schismatic condition of the Eastern Orthodox Churches are receiving valid Sacraments and are being sanctified. So, obviously, there are means of sanctification in non-Catholic groups.

    However, objectively, does anyone doubt that God is not pleased (objectively) when the Sacrament of Unity is celebrated by those who have fundamentally rejected that God-ordained unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

    Thus, for the sake of this topic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are less than pleased when an objectively heretical and sacrilegeous religious action (regardless of the good will or invincible ignorance of the participants) is allowed to take place on a Catholic altar blessed (or consecrated in the old days) for the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. People would be rightly shocked and appalled if animists would slit the throat of a goat on one of our altars in honor of their pagan gods or spirits. The same shock (even if not as visceral) should be had at the thought of heretics (regardless of how nice they might be) doing their “service” which was/is a mockery of the True Mass on our altars.

    Many of our parishes have church halls or other such non-cultic “gathering spaces”. If we wanted to be hospitable to non-Catholics in their rituals, I don’t see why giving them use of such space wouldn’t be sufficient.

  41. dans0622 says:

    @dominic1955: could you provide a source for the statement “all non-Catholic worship is OBJECTIVELY displeasing to God”?

  42. FrJLP says:

    @St. Rafael: Well, then: You have schooled me. I should go now, in shame, and return my Doctorate in Sacred Theology to the pontifical university from whence it came! My friend, the living Magisterium of the Church did not end with Pius XI. For now, I shall return to my manuals of apologetics to find out what else might be repugnant, and repulsive, and putrid in God’s sight. I might find “arrogance” and “presumption” and “pride” on such a list…hmmmm…

    Ohhh…and received news today from an Anglican parish in my hometown, who currently use the Chapel at the Catholic high school…that the whole parish will be received into the Ordinariate in September. What is it that Fr. Z keeps saying around here? Oh yeah….I remember now: Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity.

  43. Sissy says:

    FrJLP: “Ohhh…and received news today from an Anglican parish in my hometown, who currently use the Chapel at the Catholic high school…that the whole parish will be received into the Ordinariate in September.”

    That is such fantastic news! That makes two parishes I’ve heard of in just the last 24 hours. And a dear relative of mine will be received along with the other congregants in one of those parishes…..I am so grateful for our wonderful Holy Father, the Pope of Christian Unity.

  44. ByzCath08 says:

    We have an Anglican church that uses our chapel for their Sunday worship. Our Bishop gave approval for this and the hope is that this gesture will spark an interest in the Eastern Church and lead to their conversion.

    Sometime you catch more flies with honey, than vinegar.

  45. St. Rafael says:

    the living Magisterium of the Church did not end with Pius XI.


    What Pius XI taught was infallible because it is part of the Ordinary Magisterium. It has always been what the Church has taught. Pius XI didn’t invent anything. He restated prior Church teaching.

    Can what Pius XI taught be contradicted? Can what he taught be changed? Is this teaching not true anymore?

    Fuuny, that you didn’t answer my question. Can the bread offering In Anglican or Lutheran services be accept by God as a true and acceptable sacrifice? God accepts the sacrifice of his Son at Calvary represented to him in an unbloody manner by the priest in a Catholic Mass. Is the bread of the Anglicans a true sacrifice?

  46. FrJLP says:

    @St. Rafael. I am not going to answer your question either. Of course the Anglican eucharist is not the Mass. Nobody is claiming so. Can the current magisterium contradict that of the past??? You either remain Catholic or become a schismatic… But I am done now. It has been nice parlaying with you. I hope that your sense of Catholicism doesn’t fundamentalize itself where it seems to be. The Lord has not abandoned His Church with the election of John XXIII or Paul VI or John Paul I or John Paul II or Benedict XVI. Perhaps you ought to measure your own theological thoughts against those upon whom the mantle of Peter’s Office rests… Perhaps. And so, I bid you adieu.

    @Sissy: Praise be to God! The Lord desires this! And authentic charity on our part will most certainly draw them in…especially as global Anglicanism implodes upon themselves. I, for one, will be there to welcome them into full communion with the Catholic Church when they arrive… And I will not beat them over their weary heads for being heretics offering repugnant worship to God… I remember the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and I will do my best not to be him. Rejoice in their return and teach them the fullness of the faith. And, in all things, show them the love of the Lord…

  47. St. Rafael says:

    How convinient for you to end the discussion, not answer the questions, and bolt.

    No one is suggesting that the Lord has abandoned his Church, abandoned her with the current Popes or that there is no Popes or Magisterium.

    Popes are only infallible when it comes to ex cathedra definitions and when restating Church teaching using the Ordinary Magisterium. It’s simple Father. Church teaching doesn’t change and Popes are not allowed to contradict prior Magisterial teaching. If they do, they are in error, their teaching is not considered part of the Ordinary Magisterium. It is resisted. That doesn’t mean they are not Popes, or God has abandoned the Church or whatever else. It just means they errred. Popes can err. God didn’t promise them impeccability. They are human. They are free to reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Free to lie, cheat, steal, sire children, and make errors in governance and teaching. When Popes err, that doesn’t mean schism. Catholics don’t claim the Pope lost his office or teaching authority. They just ignore his error on that particular matter where he made the mistake.

    Also, I know you know that the Anglican service is not the Mass. I wasn’t asking if it was the Mass. I was asking if you thought God accepted the Anglican offering as a valid sacrifice? Does God accept it and find it pleasing as he does the Catholic offering?

  48. St. Rafael says:

    @Fr. Z

    In your response, I was struck by your phrase “Moving toward greater unity with Holy Church.” If I read you right, it seems to me that you think Protestants, such as Anglicans, have a unity with Holy Church. That they need to move toward a greater unity. As if they are on a trajectory. It would seem that it would be possible for their unity to get greater and greater over time. That there are degrees of unity. Do Anglicans and Protestants have some type of current unity with Holy Church?

  49. FrJLP says:

    @St. Rafael: One final comment because I can’t help myself before bed. Insofar as they have received a valid baptism, leaving that INDELIBLE MARK, they share some union with both God and His Church. God does not forsake what He Himself has invested in through the gift of His Triune Presence in the soul. Protestants are not aware that their doctrine is objective heresy, nor that their worship falls short of the perfection of the Holy Mass. So, YES! There is “partial” or “imperfect” communion with the Church vis-a-vis a valid baptism and the ignorance that 500 years of the Reformation culture has inculcated. And NO! I am not in the position to determine that every Protestant commits mortal sin and is incapable of making a perfect act of contrition before the countenance of Our Lord, not yet knowing that the Sacrament of Penance is the normative way for such to be forgiven! That is beyond my knowledge AND YOURS! And YES…an active Orthodox Christian has a “greater” union with Christ and His Church than a validly baptized “Trinitarian” Pentecostal… There are “degrees of unity”, so to speak… And that I have full unity with the Catholic Church neither negates nor invalidates the “partial” unity shared by the Orthodox or the less-“partial” unity shared by virtue of the valid baptism of a Pentecostal! Now…I am done. Enjoy your bubble. Best regards: -a priest of Jesus Christ.

  50. jacobianflaherty says:

    Fr. JLP,

    I liked the content of your last answer here. It hit on something I’ve discussed a lot with an Evangelical family member. I remember the quote from the mini-series ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, and, while hardly authoritative, invents a discussion of the three wise men which concludes with one saying: “The Israelites know that there is only one God. All the rest are vain or parts of Him.” Jesus also said, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” -John 10:16 Unity will come, but Jesus must lead and bring about a change of heart.

    I do feel that perhaps more charity could be shown to St. Rafael. Neither you or I know much about this author (or any authors here) and their stories and what has led to their frustrations. It is very difficult to be a faithful Catholic in the world. Some have been given great fire for the Lord, and simply need to know what to do with it and how best to use it. Psalm 69:9 is a quote that comes to mind: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” May it be for us all a fire that burns for love of souls that DO NOT YET HAVE CHRIST!

  51. Imrahil says:

    Just for a little chiming-in…

    as for Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno was certainly not simply restating previous Church teaching. Nor was, in a helpful usage of the term, Ardenti cura. Nor Divini Redemptoris. Nor Quas primas.

  52. Deesis says:

    What bothers me about this along with the decree on religious liberty is it send double messages. It says we mouth slogans and statements about the truth of the Catholic Faith. However with our acts and behaviour we do not care. While you cannot be cooerced to become a Catholic, we lack any conviction that says you are in error. It actually is the Church participating in heresy and even facilitating it. The facilitation of error leads to apathy, sycretism and Catholics leaving the Faith since while we protest or mouth platitudes it doesn’t matter in practise.
    It is a Church mouthing woffle it doesn’t intend to uphold!

  53. FrJLP says:

    @jacobianflaherty: Perhaps you are right about showing a bit more charity towards St. Rafael… I am not intending to be uncharitable…only blunt. It is a very serious thing to “pontificate” so absolutely and to “presume” so assuredly and to “judge” so harshly… It is VERY necessary to remind this person of Our Precious Lord’s admonition: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Mt 7:1-2). Discern, yes; we must all discern matters for the sake of clarity and truth. But to discern, for example, that Mass/Divine Liturgy is the “most perfect” sacrifice and worship to be offered to the Father, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean that all other worship, or lesser worship is “repugnant” to God! Does God find the worship offered by sincere Anglican through the reverential chanting of the Psalms of David repugnant? Does God find the worship offered by the well-meaning Pentecostal whose hands are lifted to Heaven singing “I lift my hands to the Lord, from whence cometh my help…” repugnant? Does God find the worship offered by the well-meaning Southern Baptist who, with a repentant heart, responds to a call for conversion while singing “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come” distasteful in His sight??? One bears a mighty burden upon his or her shoulders who would confidently answer “yes” to any of those questions….and I am afraid to think that such a burden might just be that “millstone” of which Our Lord speaks. We can confidently know that Holy Mass or Divine Liturgy is the Most Pleasing sacrifice and worship that humans can offer to God. But such august worship does not negate the possibility of other forms of worship being pleasing to God; or, when circumstances mitigate, that imperfect worship subjectively offered by one who is ignorant of the above might also be pleasing to God…

    Zeal is wonderful, until we presume to “possess” the mind of the Almighty in matters such as this…

  54. Supertradmum says:

    FrJLP, love all your comments and the problem is partly that some of the younger generation do not know how to argue objectively and get all subjective and personal. For that, I apologize to you for them. God bless you and your work.

  55. St. Rafael says:


    I find it comical, how I pretty much was the only one asking objective questions, engaging in an objective debate, yet was met with ad hominem, ridicule, patronization, and subjectivity. You have it completely backwards Supertradmum. Look at FrJLP’s posts. The father even admitd he didn’t want to answer the questions and at one point felt the need to mention his doctorate. I have continued to argue it objectively. It was quite sad to see a priest responding the way he did.

  56. St. Rafael says:

    The Catholic Mass can only be called the true sacrifice because it is Christ giving himself to the Father as victim in reparation for sin. In fact, without the true sacrifice of the Mass being offered every day, God would have destroyed the world already. It is only the Mass that is pleasing enough for God to be able to satisfy his anger and justice. The day not a single Mass is offered in the world, is the day God brings an end to the world.

    The Orthodox have a valid Eucharist and valid sacrifice, but it is illicit. They are in schism. They are outside the Catholic Church. God is not pleased with schism. God detests the division, because he created his own Church, wants unity, and for everyone to be Catholic. Only the Catholic Church is the body of Christ.

    Only Liturgical worship can be properly called worship. The Protestant religion has has liturgical worship in the liturgical churches of Mainline Protestantism. Some of the Protestants don’t really have what can properly be called worship or even a sacrifice. Evangelicals and Southern Baptists don’t have liturgy. They don’t have rites. They don’t have an offering. They don’t have sacrifice. They don’t have a proper liturgical worship.

    Many continue to miss the objective nature of the debate concerning the rites of Protestantism itself. They get stuck in the subjective. In the individuals, and not the rites, offering, and liturgy of Protestantism itself. Objectively speaking the bread offering in Anglican services, remains bread. God cannot accept bread as an acceptable sacrifice. If Catholics and the orthodox offered mere bread, it would not appease God. These churches do not offer bread, but offer Jesus Christ. Because they offer the real presence, God accepts it.

  57. Sissy says:

    St. Rafael, it is objectively true that the Catholic Church is the church created by Jesus Christ; it’s sacraments are those ordained by him for our good. You are completely right that the Catholic Church represents the fullness of God’s revelation to us and the ideal of worship. But the humans we want to evangelize stand at very different locations along the continuum leading back home to Mother Church. Some are farther away than others and have much farther to go to reach that ideal. There is no doubt that God wants all of His children safely within what Newman called the one true fold of the Lord. But we have to “meet people where they are” to use a protestant cliche. Once we meet people, we can try to lovingly lead them to the truth. Speaking only for myself, I understand what you are saying, but find the manner of saying it a bit off-putting.

    I wasn’t drawn to Catholicism because the people were so nice, but because it is demonstrably true. But I’m not sure I would have ever had the opportunity to discover that truth if Catholic friends and neighbors had been “like clanging gongs” about it. The charity that Catholics have shown me helped create conditions under which I felt safe to learn more.

  58. dans0622 says:

    @St. Rafael: “St. Rafael says: 11 July 2012 at 3:36 pm
    It is absolutely scandalous and an abomination that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has given the license and the greenlight for bishops to break the first commandment in allowing false worship to take place on consecrated altars in the house of God.”


    “St. Rafael says: 12 July 2012 at 1:44 pm “The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation… Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors”.

    Why should I not conclude that, given these two statements, you are mistaken in how you understand and practically apply truths of the faith? I find this conlcusion much more plausible than the alternative: the Vicar of Christ, through his Curia, has actively and directly promoted the breaking of the First Commandment.

  59. FrJLP says:

    @St. Rafael: “I’m the only one…” Indeed! This seems to be the hermeneutic out of which you speak. Hence my decision not to engage your arguments any further in said debate. It would not matter one iota what I said or what arguments I used…you would simply pontificate again, as you just did above. I, too, appreciate your zeal, but find your “methods” off-putting, as Sissy intimated, and your conclusions untenable, as danso622 intimated immediately above. I “felt the need” to mention my doctorate because you seem to speak so pedantically and write as though none of the rest of us have a clue regarding Catholic theology or tradition. My hope is that in presenting your view on these matters, you will remember that citation from Matthew 7:1-2 and share your thoughts accordingly. Good day to you.

  60. Clinton R. says:

    @ St. Rafael:

    I agree with what you have been stating in your comments, my friend. Nothing you have said is false. I don’t believe you been demonizing individual Protestants, but have been stating the truth that the Catholic Faith is the only religion in which we can be saved. On March 11, 1989, Pope John Paul II told a joint assembly of Archbishops, the Catholic Church is ” …is not merely the best path among many, but the one and only path to salvation.” While grace is freely given by God and many who have been in Protestant communities have (and continue to) come home to the True Faith I think we’ve gotten off the original topic on this thread. It is not a good practice (though a legal one) to have a Protestant sect use the altar on which the Holy Sacrifice is made. There is no precedence of this occurring that I am aware of before Vatican II. To me, what has been illustrated in this discussion is the tragic division in Christianity the last 500 years wrought by Martin Luther and the Protestant “Reformers”. The damage to the unity of Christians has caused conflicting theology and doctrine, and has created distrust, confusion, disillusionment, persecution, and schism. Schisms and heresies, no strangers to the Church even in her earliest days, especially those that questioned the Divinity of Christ, played a large part in the formation of a heresy that has long been an enemy of the Church, Mohammedism We wouldn’t have an Anglican Church if not for disobedience and arrogance. We wouldn’t have the abominations we see today in the Episcopal Church if there wasn’t an Anglican Church. We wouldn’t have thousands of churches if the seeds of dissent hadn’t been planted centuries ago. And the saddest division is between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches not in communion with the Pope. However, we are seeing signs of the damage being healed, little by little. May Our Lord bless all of mankind with the grace to return home to the Holy Catholic Church. +JMJ+

  61. Sissy says:

    Clinton R, I appreciate every word you said, and you speak the truth. But, as my husband likes to say at the end of a long discussion: where do we go from here? As has been pointed out on this forum before, many protestants in days long gone split from the Catholic Church. But those folks are long dead. Protestants today were born into a situation not of their making. We do them no favors by varnishing the truth, yet there is a way of stating the truth that is inviting of further conversation and a way that is condemning and unkind. I don’t think Catholic altars should be used for non-Catholic worship, but if it’s permitted I am under obedience not to notice (just as I have to try not to be bothered by altar girls and EMHCs and reception in the hand while standing, and lousy music). A protestant mega-church in my area started out in the gym of a Catholic school, and that seems more appropriate to me. But if the Bishop is permitted to make this call and does so, I bow to his discretion.

  62. dans0622 says:

    I, too, think the altar should always be off limits. And, for what it’s worth, I understand the rationale behind a strict segregation between “us” and “them” as well as a more open, yet regulated, interaction as long as the fundamental purpose of either method is kept in mind: bringing everyone into true unity in the Catholic Church. At different times and places, one practical application is more prudent than the other. It can be argued that Catholics of today are very “open” just for the sake of being open, without any attempt to actually bring people into the Church. I shouldn’t talk, though, because I know that I am way too timid in how I evangelize….

  63. Indulgentiam says:

    All theology aside and understanding that; For as the heavens are exalted above the earth,…,so are Gods thoughts above ours. i wonder how the Lord feels when He sees the caretakers of HIS Home allow His professed enemies, not only, to walk into His House and use it as their own but to push Him out of His rightful place of honor and into a back room as though He has no rights.
    It all makes me think of Zacharias 13:6–“And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.”

    who among us would invite an entire slew of protestants to have their heretical services in our own living rooms? and yet no one thinks any thing of it when they are invited to parade their heresy in the Sacred House of God. Incomprehensible

  64. St. Rafael says:


    I am talking about how things are objectively and theologically. I also talking among Catholics here. This is a discussion among Catholics on this blog. Of course one uses evagelization, prudence and tact when talking to Protestants. I am not going to go off the rails with fire and brimstone and start screaming at Protestants. I am not talking to Protestants here, nor is this a Protestant blog. Protestants are heretics, but that doesn’t mean we go around and yelling this in their face. That’s not going to win converts. Discussing the Catholic faith will. We are discussing hard truths among ourselves.

  65. St. Rafael says:


    It’s simple. The teaching by Pius XI is part of the Ordinary Magistrium. It is infallible Magisterial teaching. It hsa what the Church has taught throughout the centuries and by other Popes. The teaching is eternal and cannot change.

    Therefore the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has erred and in fact is condoning the breaking of the first commandment. Their document is not Magisterial teaching. it is not part of the Magisterim. It carries no doctrinal weight. Bishops have the responsibility to use their reason, their faith, and love of God, to protect their churches from this type of sacrilege. They should not follow such a scandalous permission.

    The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity does not have infallibility. Nor are they protected from error. The issue is related to governace. It is not an issue over doctrine. The document is about helping bishops in their governance, by allowing differnt uses for their chapels and churches. Any Catholic is free to agree and disagree with matters and decisions of governance.

    We must also take into account the current state of the Church with its rampant apostasy and Modernism at all levels. This includes the Curia. It cannot be denied as has been seen with all the corruption and leaks in the Curia, that there is a severe crisis and that the Curia is overrun with Modernists.

    The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is full of Modernists. The prefect for many years was Cardinal Kasper. Cardinal Kasper was a hardcore, and I mean a hardcore Modernist. His heresies were well know. Cardinal Kasper was pretty close to being an outright Atheist.

  66. Sissy says:

    St. Rafael, you are mistaken in your assumption that only faithful Catholics come here. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time. Long before I was a Catholic – when I was curious and intrigued about Catholicism – I came here for information. This blog played a big role in my conversion. So, tone is important at all times.

  67. St. Rafael says:

    And NO! I am not in the position to determine that every Protestant commits mortal sin and is incapable of making a perfect act of contrition before the countenance of Our Lord, not yet knowing that the Sacrament of Penance is the normative way for such to be forgiven! That is beyond my knowledge AND YOURS!

    I have to respond to Fr.JLP on this one point.

    99.9% of all men commit mortal sin. That is just a fact of human existence. It is just human nature. Every man born, is born into sin, with the exception of Our Lady. Our original sin is taken away at baptism, but 99% of all men have commited actual sin. That is just the truth. We are a race of sinners. Only some of the holiest of the holiest among the Catholic saints, have been able to escape life without mortal sin. Off the top of my head, I believe St. Margaret Mary might have been one of these handful of rare souls even among the saints! Men commit mortal sin at some point in their lives. It’s a fact of life.

    As far as making a perefect act of contrition, it is a hard thing to do. It is also extremely hard trying to make it when facing imminent date. Man is so full of fear and terror in the face of death, that it is tremedously hard to make it at the moment of certain death. When dealing with a a perefect act of contrition, you are dealing with a longshot. No one should bet eternal life on a longshot. Catholics should be praying everyday that they receive the last rites before death and not to have a quick and unexpected death. At least they should never be in a state of motal sin when death finds them. God help us if death finds us in a state without grace. Our only hope is that perefect act of contrition, which is a longshot. It can be made, but who is the world wants to risk it and take the chance?

  68. St. Rafael says:


    I understand the concern about tone, but nothing said has been untrue. When discussing objectively a serious theological issue, Catholics have learn to use reason, and keep their emotions and sympathies under control.

    For example, when I objectively claim that mere bread is not enough to appease the anger of God, nor sufficient to make reparation, Catholics shouldn’t loose their heads and somehow think this is an attack on individuals or the Protestant ministers themselves. Let their sentimantlity get in the way and therefore start feeling sorry and get upset because they think i have called them devils or that the Protestant ministers and all Protestants are unsaved and going to hell.

    All I have claimed is the the mere bread in the Protestant liturgical services, is not going to be accepted by God as a sacrifice that satifies his justice and is an acceptable offering that will make reperation.

    As I have said, If there is not a single Catholic Mass in the world, and all the Catholic priests in the world were removed, the world ends. The Anglicans and Lutherans offereing their bread is not enough. God would destroy the world despite every Protestant minister offering bread and wine on that day.

  69. jhayes says:

    As I have said, If there is not a single Catholic Mass in the world, and all the Catholic priests in the world were removed, the world ends.

    St. Rafael, can you refer me to a source for that? I have never heard that, before your post.

  70. FrJLP says:

    @jhayes: He or she will not be able to refer you to a solid magisterial source for such a claim because such an idea is not endorsed by the magiserium nor based on sound theology. You have not heard that before because it is not part of the fundamental proclamation of the Faith as handed on by the Apostles and their successors. The position here is mixed with proper doctrine and “interesting” suppositions. The Mass makes present the propitiatory and atoning sacrifice of Christ. The Mass makes this present so that we, bound by kronos (linear time) can participate (koinania) in that sacrifice offered “once for all” (Hb 10:10) which has “eternal” (kairos) consequences. The notion God is bent with righteous judgement upon the destruction of the world and the celebration of Mass holds him back as though the Mass is a divine referee seems a bit strange. And it, of course, begs the question as to what happened when there were only 12 to celebrate the Mass? Did the world end when they went to bed? Did the Apostles stagger their activity out so there was always a Mass going on to hold back God’s wrath on the world??? If not, was the Mass only sufficient for a day to appease God? And what about that day of the Triduum where no mass is celebrated anywhere? From the Mass of the Lord’s Supper thru the Vigil of Easter? Has the world been destroyed? This is an odd notion and, when taken ad absurdum, really seems nonsensical.

  71. dans0622 says:

    @St. Rafael: thanks for the response. I am thoroughly unconvinced.

  72. robtbrown says:

    St Rafael says,

    God help us if death finds us in a state without grace. Our only hope is that perefect act of contrition, which is a longshot. It can be made, but who is the world wants to risk it and take the chance?

    It is impossible to make a perfect act of contrition without sanctifying grace (i.e., in mortal sin). To say otherwise is Pelagianism.

  73. St. Rafael says:


    I am not claiming that is a Magisterial statement. It’s something I believe would be likely to happen. No one has to agree with me on that position. It’s something I heard in a talk by the Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis. I can’t remember where exactly, but I will try to find it if I can.

    Iam specifically thinking about our times. I don’t think we are in the end times, but it could very well be the end times. Certainly, the state of the world is at its worst point in its entire history. Never before in the history of the world has there been as much sin and decadence as there is today. The Church itself is at its lowest point in history. Apostasy reings everywhere in the Church. The Church has collapsed and is almost dead. The priesthood is in total shambles.

    It’s no secret the current status quo is completely unacceptable to God. God would have destroyed the world by now if it hadn’t been for the intercessions of Mary, Christ, and actions of the Popes. We know from Marian apparitions, that Mary and Christ have held back the hand of God numerous times. The Popes have bought us time with their consecrations of the world. God has not destroyed the world yet, but has been content with smaller punishments and chastisements to the world and Church.

    Given the utter corruption and abomination of the world today, it is not out of the question, that the Mass plays a role in appeasing God right now and today. That without one Mass said somewhere in the world, It would play a major factor in God just pulling the plug once and for all. We know God will not hold back his vengeance much longer. From Our Lady of Akita, we have it known that God is preparing a punishment greater than the deluge of Noah’s time.

    As far as the Triduum, God knows and expects that there is no Mass on Good Friday. That is a given. That is expected and honored by God. The Mass goes on however every other day of the liturgical and calender year. Again my reference to God ending the world without the Mass is specific to this epoch and not necessarily any other time.

    As to the question of the 12 apostles, they celebrated Mass everyday. Sure they went to sleep at night, but not a single day passed without one Mass being said. Remember a day is 24 hours.

  74. jhayes says:

    It’s perhaps worth pointing out that Catholics can participate in non-Catholic worship services, with some limitations:

    Sharing in Non-Sacramental Liturgical Worship

    116. By liturgical worship is meant worship carried out according to books, prescriptions and customs of a Church or ecclesial Community, presided over by a minister or delegate of that Church or Community. This liturgical worship may be of a non-sacramental kind, or may be the celebration of one or more of the Christian sacraments. The concern here is non-sacramental worship.

    117. In some situations, the official prayer of a Church may be preferred to ecumenical services specially prepared for the occasion. Participation in such celebrations as Morning or Evening Prayer, special vigils, etc., will enable people of different liturgical traditions—Catholic, Eastern, Anglican and Protestant—to understand each other’s community prayer better and to share more deeply in traditions which often have developed from common roots.

    118. In liturgical celebrations taking place in other Churches and ecclesial Communities, Catholics are encouraged to take part in the psalms, responses, hymns and common actions of the Church in which they are guests. If invited by their hosts, they may read a lesson or preach.

    [see the following sections regarding sharing in the sacraments]


  75. St. Rafael says:


    Truth is truth, and truth cannot contradict itself. There can be no ctradictions in reality. Pius XI and the The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity are contradicting one another. We have a contradiction here. They both can’t be right. One of them has to be right and the other one has to be wrong.

    I claim the Pope is right and that committee of the Curia is wrong. As fars as I am concerned, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity should be abolished. I see no reason for their existence.

  76. FrJLP says:

    @robtbrown: What of CCC 1452? It reads: “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.” It seems as though someone guilty of mortal sin CAN have this type of contrition… Also c.f. Trent, Sess. 14, cap. 4.

  77. dans0622 says:

    @St. Rafael: of course “truth is truth.” Why I am unconvinced is because I think you misunderstand the nature of many statements of Popes (at least, in this case, Pius XI) in times past, attributing infallibility to practical judgments of a particular time and place. The statement of the PCPCU is one such set of practical judgments as was the majority of Mortalium animos: discipline, not doctrine. Disciplines can be accepted or changed by subsequent Pontiffs and that is what we have in this situation. You can say that this is only a problem of the PCPCU but two Popes, over the course of nearly 20 years, have let its decree stand. They have changed the disciplinary requirements regarding some interaction with “separated brethren” or schismatics and heretics, whichever you prefer. Thank you for your time.

  78. robtbrown says:


    If perfect contrition is the contrition of charity and a soul in mortal sin is without charity, then how can a soul in mortal sin have perfect contrition? The text notes that an act of contrition formed by charity remits venial sin, but St Thomas says that the reason serious sin is called “mortal” is that it kills the capability of such acts. Of course, the text then invokes the possibility of a kind Absolution of Desire, which places such remission outside an act of contrition.

    This problem touches the Dominican-Jesuit dispute mentioned by Abp DiNoia in the interview.

    BTW, I prefer St Thomas’ distinction (found in the SCG): Contrition is informed by Charity; Attrition is not.

  79. FrJLP says:

    @Robtbrown: You make good points, yet the text itself indicates that “it [i.e. contrition] also obtains the remission of mortal sins…” Perfect contrition is listed as the immediate cause of such remission and the intention of future confession as a contingent condition. So, it seems, that the Magisterium either things it is possible for one in mortal sin to be able to make an act of perfect contrition or is simply speculating about a practical impossibility. The footnote to 1452 makes reference to this line from Trent, XIV, cap. 4: “The Synod teaches moreover, that, although it sometimes happen that this contrition is perfect through charity, and reconciles man with God before this sacrament be actually received, the said reconciliation, nevertheless, is not to be ascribed to that contrition, independently of the desire of the sacrament which is included therein.” With this background, it seems as though the Magisterium envisions a similar situation to what would come to be called the baptisms of “blood” and “desire”; namely, that God grants the grace of the sacrament should the desire to receive the sacrament be present, thought mitigating circumstances make it impossible to immediately (or in the case of death, ever) receive the sacrament. This makes sense. Trent says that the grace of “reconciliation” should not be attributed to contrition alone (combating, of course, the protestant claim that such was true), but is tied to the desire for the sacrament of penance. Yes, both Trent and the CCC seem to indicate the possibility of this contrition being present in one guilty of mortal sin. Perhaps prevenient grace vivifies that which has died, but is nonetheless signified (in the proper sense of signum) in the indelible character marking the soul from baptism.

  80. St. Rafael says:

    I think you misunderstand the nature of many statements of Popes (at least, in this case, Pius XI) in times past, attributing infallibility to practical judgments of a particular time and place.


    Vatican I (Canons):
    “If anyone says: it may happen that to doctrines put forward by the Church, sometimes, as knowledge advances, a meaning should be given different from what the Church has understood and understands, let him be anathema.”

    Pius X (syllabus condemning the Errors of the Modernists) Lamentabili Sane:
    “58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.
    59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.”

    Pius XI was not making “practical judgments”. He was teaching doctrine. His teaching on the true worship of the Mass and salvation only through the Church is doctrine, and has always been the doctrine of the Church. The idea that doctrines are only for a a particular time and place is Modernism, as shown above.

  81. Supertradmum says:

    I think perfect contrition is actually a grace, when one sees the horror of even one small imperfection in the Presence of Truth, Love, Innocence and Goodness. In other words, it is given and not obtained.

  82. Imrahil says:

    The thing is actually easy.

    When Pius XI spoke about the theological nature of Protestantism and the like, he was teaching doctrine. Fallibly, in Mortalium animos, by the way; but unreversed (and no, nothing in either Unitatis redintegratio or Dominus Jesus, reversed anything of these doctrinary parts of Mortalium animos.)

    When Pius XI spoke about the practical arrangements as to what to do about protestants, he gave prudential judgments. Of course these were at the time binding. But they can and have been reversed; and no, it is in no way intrinsically sinful to pray together with non-Catholics, provided the prayer itself has no wrongful content, and the praying is not purposely used as a statement of something wrong (for instance, “I’m Catholic, you’re Protestant, and Christianity-as-a-whole is split into our denominations”. That cannot be said like this.)

    In Germany in ecumenical service, whatever may be said about them*, it is a nice confession of Catholic truth when the Catholic participants obstinately confess to believe in the holy Catholic Church. For the Protestants have here explicitly changed the Apostolicum; they say “holy Christian Church”. [*Cardinal Marx once said, not word-by-word, “I’m all for ecumenism, yes, but that does not mean we can put our Holy Mass aside”. But to my humble eye, all ecumenical services actually organized do mean putting Holy Mass aside. Leaving the itio in partes as the perhaps most honest and charitable way of ecumenism. I disgress, though.]

    You may disagree with the prudential reasons behing changing the policy, though.

  83. AnAmericanMother says:

    Slight correction: Episcopalians say”holy catholic church”. Always have. Little “c” was introduced sneakily in the 1979 version – before that it was always capitalized. Now whether they mean it . . . “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Or something like that.
    The Methodists didn’t change it either. And only some Lutherans, not all.

  84. Imrahil says:

    When I said “here” I meant “in Germany”. All Protestants (well, virtually… at the very least those who used to be the official Protestant Churches and make out some 95% or so of Protestants) here have changed the Apostolicum.

    [The problematic part of it is that sometimes you hear even of Catholic explainers, “‘Catholic’ is understood confessionally, but as things really stand Catholic here means all of Christianity”. As if that wouldn’t have its concrete mode of existence in the Roman Catholic Church…]

  85. robtbrown says:


    You can see the change between Trent and Vat II. Trent says that contrition informed by charity results in forgiveness of sin (thus venial), but that it is to be attributed to the desire for the Sacrament. IMHO, this reflects the Ecclesiocentric Sacramental Theology of the Counter Reformation era.

    On the other hand, Vat II says that in the same situation it is the contrition itself (informed by charity) that remits venial sin–the contrition of someone in the state of grace is supernaturalized ontologically. This seems more in line with the Christocentric Sac Theology of St Thomas.

    When it addresses the question of mortal sin, however, it uses the word “obtains” (obtinet), which indicates that forgiveness is to be attributed to the Sacrament, in so far as it is desired–not the contrition itself. The problem I have with the text is that the subject of “obtains” is not clear. If it is contrition, then I agree with it. If, however, it is contrition informed by charity, then I don’t see how that can exist when someone is in mortal sin.

    Also: Trent distinguishes contrition and attrition psychologically–the former reflects love of God, the latter fear of hell and punishment. As I said earlier, I much prefer St Thomas’ use: contrition is informed by Charity(i.e., in a state of grace), attrition is not (i.e., not in a state of grace).

  86. AnAmericanMother says:

    My apologies! I was reading far too quickly.
    It makes sense that in Germany the Lutherans would be more anxious to distinguish themselves from Catholics. The United States is another story – at least in the South, with which I am most familiar, there was no need for Protestants to distinguish themselves from Catholics until very recently. Because there were none around (at least not any statistically significant number of them, except in a few port cities like New Orleans, Savannah and Mobile — Louisiana also having been French territory and a refuge for persecuted French Catholics from Canada.)

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