Yesterday I posted a response to a question about the validity of Mass if a priest says “for all” instead of “for many” in the English version of the Novus Ordo. HERE
That raised a question in the combox so serious that I must make another post.
Suppose the priest says:
“for you, for the forgiveness of sins”
omitting both “for all” and “for many”?
I wish this were a hypothetical question. [!!!]
The fact that the questioner added “I wish this were a hypothetical question” alarms me.
In the Novus Ordo, the essential forms of the two-fold consecration are a) over the Host “Hoc est enim Corpus meum” and b) over the wine in the chalice “Hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testament, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur, in remissionem peccatorum”. In the present English translation: “[For] this is my Body” and “[For] this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins”.
These two phrases are the essential forms. The other bits, such as “In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice…” are not of the essence. “For” is not essential (which doesn’t not mean “not important”). The only words which are strictly necessary are those which signify transubstantiation of both the Host and of the Precious Blood individually as well as the sacrifice for both the Host and Precious Blood together.
St. Thomas Aquinas explains this in STh III, 78 (also III, 60, a.8 and Super I Cor, c. 11, v. 25). That explanation of course deals with the wording of the Vetus Ordo including “mysterium fidei“, hoisted out of the form of consecration in direct disobedience to Council Fathers’ mandate in Sacrosanctum Concilium 23 that “Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” The “mysterium fidei” issue is another question entirely which space does not allow for here.
If a priest does not say the essential words of consecration the Mass is invalid. It might be that just one species is consecrated or neither are. Either way, Mass is invalid.
What if Father gets confused and mixes up part of the old translation with the new? What if he says “cup” instead of “chalice” or “all” instead of “many”? Won’t that invalidate the consecration?
No. These defects, though serious, do not change the essential meaning of the forms.
Leaving out “pro multis” completely in the Latin would invalidate. Leaving out completely the English rendering of “pro multis” (either “for all” or more accurately “for many”) would invalidate the consecration.
The omission changes the essential meaning of the consecratory form.
If the priest is doing this regularly, that is intentionally, he must immediately be informed about what he is doing and the bishop must be alerted.
For the sake of completeness, if a priest realizes or suspects that he did something wrong in the two-fold consecration, he ought immediately to stop and pronounce the proper form over both or either of the two species to be consecrated. Then he should return to the point in Mass where he left off.
All seminarians and priests would be wise to learn well the De Defectibus section at the beginning of the Vetus Ordo Missale Romanum. This section was intentionally excluded from the Novus Ordo editions.
The rationale for that was, I think, that these were matters of moral theology.
The result of that was disastrous for the ars celebrandi of priests and for the knock-on effect that had on congregations.
What is crucial to understand is that De Defectibus said that some defects, abuses, were mortal sins. The combination of removing the concept of sin from straying from rubrics or defects in matter and form, along with the vagueness of Novus Ordo rubrics and the prevalence of “options” for actions and texts, greatly eroded the Novus Ordo’s continuity with the Vetus Ordo to the point one can legitimately argue that they are two different Rites.
Here’s an example from De Defectibus (in translation):
V. 1. DEFECTS may arise in respect of the formula, if anything is wanting to complete the actual words of consecration. The words of consecration, which are the formative principle of this Sacrament, are as follows: Hoc est enim Corpus meum; and: Hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti; mysterium fidei, [Vetus Ordo] qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. If any omission or alteration is made in the formula of consecration of the Body and Blood, involving a change of meaning, the consecration is invalid. An addition made without altering the meaning does not invalidate the consecration, but the Celebrant commits a mortal sin.
If it does change the meaning and it does invalidate, how much more is it a mortal sin?
Does Traditionis Custodes Pass the Juridical Rationality Test?
by Fr. Réginald-Marie Rivoire FSVF and Fr. William Barker FSSP
A note of CAUTION: Lay people, with a few exceptions, are not adequately formed or informed such that they should interrupt Mass. Most of the time, and I say this from experiential knowledge as well as sincere respect, they don’t know what they don’t know*. Alas, the internet age (and the age of hand missals before that) have given some well-meaning and zealous Catholics (YouTubers are not an exception to this) a false sense of how well-informed they truly are in these matters, the details of which are important. Moreover, there’s the critical point of knowing how to proceed in a concrete situation such that the very best outcome is obtained. There’s an art to that in ecclesiastical contexts.
*Priests are not automatically to be excluded from this these days.