ASK FATHER: How do you argue with extreme fringe trads that the Novus Ordo is valid?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I am asking advice that you’d think you’d never be asked to do – how to defend the Novus Ordo.  No, I don’t mean to defend it as being superior to the TLM – trust me, I’d never do that either.  What I’m trying to do is defend it as legitimate – from a TLM point of view.  One of the things I’ve experienced in the TLM community is the stereotypical vitriol from the extreme fringe that declares the NO as completely illegitimate, even heretical – something I know is not true and also gives the other 99.9% of the TLM community a bad name.  I know that there’s a way to express the validity of the NO while being true to the true faith of the TLM – but I don’t know how to express it without looking like a V2 sellout without any authority behind the defense.
I think that’s what I’m more concerned about – that those fringe extremists who have a public platform make the rest of the TLM faithful look no better than the “Happy Clappy” bunch who think TLM adherents are schismatic.  Thank you for any advice and wisdom.

I’ll keep this short.

The Novus Ordo, like it or not, is a valid rite for Mass.  Period.  It is a waste of time to argue with anyone about this.   Don’t fritter valuable minutes of your life tangled up in the chattering Id of that kind of Traddydom.

Just be polite to them and move on.

One can spend time discussing the merits of certain aspects of the Novus Ordo, of course.  Examples: Was it what the Council Fathers wanted? (A: No)  Has it helped to usher in the great post-Conciliar Springtime? (A: No)  Is it artificially cobble-together (Ratzinger’s view) in such a way that it almost by itself invites liturgical abuses? (A: Yes).   Has it done more harm than good to the identity of Catholics across generational and geographical divides since it was implemented and in the way it was implemented?  (A: Yes) Is it worthwhile to compare the two different Rites? (A: Yes)    Is the Novus Ordo completely without any merits at all? (A: No)

Brush the assertions made by those who say that it is invalid off of your cuff and do something more worthwhile, like reading the Fishwrap or Jesuit-run Amerika or one of Francis’ airplane pressers.

Yes, even looking at those is time better spent than arguing with someone over the validity of the Novus Ordo.

 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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40 Comments

  1. C.G. says:

    One thing that might help is to research any Eucharistic Miracles that has happened at the N.O. mass. If it was invalid, there would be no miracles.

    One of my priests at a Dominican parish I attend claims that one host started to bleed during the consecration at one of his previous parishes. He consumed it immediately, so I only have his word. I’m sure there are others.

  2. WVC says:

    The interesting aspect in the current debacle is that the validity of the Novus Ordo is being used as a tool to discourage good men (and especially priests) from standing up to defend the Vetus Ordo. The argument being pushed is, “But I’m still able to offer a valid Mass, so it’s crazy for me to ‘risk everything’ for the Old Mass.”

    Validity is the lowest bar to clear. If validity is all that matters, then just say your Novus Ordo Mass and put the valid Eucharist in an envelope and mail it to me (I would say this is sarcasm, but since this practically happened in some places during COVID-mania, I don’t know anymore). For a Church that prides itself on having had a knock-down, drag-out fight to the death over the importance of a single letter from back in the days of Arius, we certainly are timid to standing up to the folks who want to ban the Old Mass while simultaneously promoting homosexuality and abortion. But, hey, I’m sure it’s “just a coincidence” that those things all happen to be on the same side of the debate . . . and if you believe that, I have a 4th or 5th booster shot to sell you. Guaranteed 100% effective!

  3. OzReader says:

    The Id of Traddydom, what a clever description, surely the contrast would be the Id of the NO/V2, I suppose that would be a bunch of clowns chasing people with guitars?

    It is these fringe types, which, combined with the pandemic and my own failings, keep me from Mass.

  4. monstrance says:

    If the NO is invalid, we’re in big trouble. It’s the only Mass most of this world’s Catholics have access to.
    I think sometimes Trads live in a bubble.

    [NO! NO!!! Very few are like that.]

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  6. JamesM says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre didn’t think the NO Mass was invalid.

    Really, the idea that the NO Mass is invalid is a very fringe position to hold. Most of those who hold it are beyond the point of reason and certainly beyond by reasoned with by 99.99% of Catholics.

    In my personal opinion though, validity is a very low bar. I don’t assist at the NO Mass. I don’t do this because of any doubt as to the validity of the Mass but because I think large numbers of NO Masses are harmful. I moved to Ireland a year ago and things are particularly bad here, the Irish bishops give the Germans a run for their money.

    The Roman Rite (Pope Francis has said the NO Mass is a different rite) is not a magic bullet. Before Vatican II there were liturgical abuses, there was heresy. However, the Roman Rite doesn’t lend itself to abuse in the same way the NO Mass does.

    I know plenty of good and holy priests who only celebrate the NO Mass. I’m not passing any judgement whatsoever on them, their priesthood or anything else. My conscience does though prevent me from assisting at the NO Mass. We must remember that our bishops tell us time and time again how Vatican II taught us all about the primacy of conscience!*

    *Note : Primacy of conscience only applies to the laity. Clergy are only permitted to follow their conscience with the permission of their bishop ;)

  7. Fr. Reader says:

    @WVC
    i think you are simplifying things too much, as if the only decision for a priest is to decide about novus or vetus ordo.
    I don’t decide to celebrate using the novus ordo just for the sake of validity, as if I just don’t want to complicate my life, and it is not equivalent as to send the Eucharist in an envelope as you jokingly suggest.
    I think that to suggest that vetusordoers are ipso facto closer to allow abortion or sodomy is quite unfair, unless I’m not really understanding what you want to transmit.

  8. Cornelius says:

    WVC is right, methinks: validity is a low bar to clear. This is evinced by the fact that everything Fr. Z says about the NO is (to my mind) also correct, i.e., it’s cobbled together, not what the Council directed, didn’t usher in Catholic Springtime, etc.

    But I think that, despite its validity, the implicit (sometimes explicit) theology of the NO acts as a sort of training ground for the production of Modernists. Its “I’m ok, you’re ok” theology, discernible in its prayers and even hymns, [hymns? Which?] discourages (the need for) repentance – why repent of anything when God loves us just the way we are?

    Despite its validity, one could argue that the long term effect of being exposed to the NO’s theology is decidedly negative.

  9. Dan says:

    I would hesitate to even call these people traditionalists, as it gives faithful traditionalists who desire the entirety of their faith a bad name.
    Even the SSPX clearly states that the NO is a valid Mass (although some of their priests and members may personally believe otherwise)
    The danger is the NO is an overtly complicated Mass riddled with options that leaves it open to debate as to whether any priest can really figure it out and if they followed the rubrics.

  10. RosaryRose says:

    Yes, the NO Mass is valid!!! Jesus Christ, Body Blood Soul and Divinity, is truly present on the altar after the consecration! Yes. That is why we must fight abuses to His Sacred Body:

    – Kneel for the consecration (kneelers or not)
    – Kneel to receive communion
    – Only consecrated hands touch Our Lord
    – Never refer to a consecrated host as bread: Once consecrated, it is Body and wine is Blood (not in the memorial acclamation, not in songs)

    Or, find a TLM. Even at the SSPX. (Storm Shelter Par Excellence in the storm to come )

    Pray for our priests.
    God bless you Father Z!

  11. Imrahil says:

    A very wise answer by our reverend host.

    If one despite his counsel were to try an answer, my choices would be “I know you won’t believe me or my arguments, because to you that’s probably going to be rationalist balderdash (and just as an aside, the sentence “reason is a whore born of a stinking ram called Aristotle” was not said by a Catholic); but as you won’t trust either the Pope at least in so far, or me, why do you consider a Mass invalid that Archbishop Lefebvre considered valid?”

    In a less good mood, “if the new Mass were invalid, why should an old Mass, said by a priest who considers the new Mass to be valid, be valid?” But I really shouldn’t be doing this. I know what “if – then” with verbs in the Irreal means and what a proof by reduction-to-absurdity is; but their inability to understand that as intended, rather than hearing what they want to hear, is even greater than their distrust to rational arguments in general. I should be doing damage.

    – But now for the interesting question. The dear WVC is on to something (despite the criticism of the rev’d dear Fr Reader, who however apparently read her incorrectly: she said that vetusordoers were less close, not closer, to allowing abortion and sodomy). Why do these trads think the Novus Ordo is invalid, despite this being obvious nonsense?

    Well, because they feel that invalidity is the only safe place they can go to. If the new Mass were valid, so they think, then there’s all sorts of reasons to celebrate it, starting with the comfortability of the priest but going far into real spiritual benefit for the attenders (which is true enough), “and we don’t want that”.

    Not quite unlike to the Feeneyite who thinks that if a non-Catholic had any chance at all for salvation, then it would make no sense to missionize him (which, here’s the difference, is not true), and we don’t want that, and therefore the statement must be wrong.

    A Catholic, knowing that our Lord has said “I am (among other things) the Truth” should know that in speaking, the tone, the mode of speaking, choice of content, etc., may be directed to achieve certain effects, pastoral, encouragemental and otherwise: but the actual content cannot be derived from those effects. You have to take things that are true. To say what brings the intended effect irrespective of whether it’s true is lying (and even if it should happen to be true by chance, not much different from lying); or, to be more precise, the thing our reverent host calls “b as in b, s as in s”.

  12. APX says:

    Imagine if instead of arguing about stuff like this, we’d invest our time in good works.

    [Perhaps you think that people can’t do more than one thing, if not at the same time, then in close series with other things.]

  13. roma247 says:

    Unfortunately I have had no choice but to fight this battle because my own sons are regularly exposed to SSPX priests who tell them outright that it is a sin to attend a Novus Ordo Mass.

    These folks carefully avoid using the phrase “The NO is invalid” for reasons already pointed out, but to say that it is a sin to attend one, no matter how many very good reasons may make that assertion sound plausible, is to arrogate to oneself an authority that does not exist.

    It’s very simple: there is at present no authority both competent and willing to declare the Novus Ordo invalid.

    Thus, until such an authority appears, to claim such a thing is to separate oneself from the Church Catholic.

    Good luck with that.

    If your conscience tells you that you fail to offer to God the honor and worship due to Him by choosing the Novus Ordo when you could have chosen the Vetus Ordo, then you ought to do as your conscience demands if it is possible to do so.

    If it is not possible for whatever reason, it is at least consoling to know that you do not sin in at least offering God the best worship you could by attending a Novus Ordo (rather than violating the 3rd commandment by remaining at home and offering Him no worship at all).

  14. Lurker 59 says:

    Having had in-person conversations with various priests on myriad topics relating to the N.O. and “why don’t you do better option X that you know is better?” and the reply being more or less “because I like my job/it is not worth the fight”, @WVC is absolutely correct that the validity of a poorly done heterodox/illicit NO is being used as an argumentative means (even if soft implicit argument) to pressure priests to offer N.O. Masses that are less dignified and less excelling at the virtue of religion than what they could be doing.

    Herein is where the language needs to be shifted — away from discussing the validity and towards discussing how a priest in their conducting of their office should go about excelling at the virtues of religion and piety.

    To the question: I would ask the questioner if they are being approached by argumentative TLMers or if they are the ones approaching TLMers? That answered, the argument over validity is, as Fr. Z said, not worth one’s time. If one is going to have the contentious waste of time argument, the ground rules of what constitutes acceptable evidence, what constitutes loss of the argument, and what precisely is the definition of “validity” anyway have to be agreed to. As most people will not have thought through what it takes to change their mind, this also serves as an easy way out of the conversation. If you are going to press forward, really understand the Orthodox position on the validity of the Roman Sacraments and why the hardline on that is wrong. The arguments are kissing cousin arguments and will allow you to have a rhetorical victory.

  15. codycarver says:

    It seems to me the question isn’t is the N.O. valid. It should be: Is the Mass I’m assisting at valid? Is proper form and matter being used? I’ve visited with traveling priests who have related stories of home made bread being offered, and table wine that was suspect. One priest told me of a group of ladies who brought him the “bread” for Mass. When he told them he brought his own they were quite offended, explaining Fr. used theirs all the time.

    [Abusus non tollit usum.]

  16. MarcPolo says:

    A most important theological point is to distinguish between “is the NO valid” and “is the NO licit”. Those are two different questions that the questioneer seems to throw together.

    The (original latin) NO is not in itself invalid, someone who says that has to prove it, which I think he can not. However some of the translations can be a different topic regarding the words of consecration of the most precious blood, where there are forms that are at least doubtful.

    [For example?]

  17. WVC says:

    @Fr. Reader
    I was speaking more in the context of the current effort to wipe out the Vetus Ordo. In at least one diocese where the bishop has acted harshly to severely restrict the Vetus Ordo, he has met with little resistance from the priests, and part of the reason given is “It’s not like he’s restricting the Mass. I’m still able to offer the Mass, it’s just the Novus Ordo, so it’s not worth it for me to risk fighting for the Vetus Ordo, because we are allowed to have a valid Mass already.” The same goes for the sacraments – in fact, I heard one priest get very upset when laity asked why they couldn’t receive the sacraments in the traditional form (baptism and marriage in the old form are forbidden here). His answer was, “I was ordained as a priest in the Novus Ordo – do you think that makes me less of a priest?” (because father apparently thinks we should judge the significance of 1,600+ years of sacred liturgical traditions on his personal ordination).

    My point is that the validity of the Novus Ordo is being used as a tool to discourage any attempts to preserve the Vetus Ordo.

    My crack about the envelope is an attempt to highlight how absurd it is to hold “validity” as the sole consideration in liturgical matters.

    Honestly, folks in the “but it’s okay so long as we offer a reverent Novus Ordo” crowd baffle me. If one cannot defend the importance and vitality of 1,600 years of sacred liturgical tradition, then how does one expect to defend the importance of one’s own personal opinion about what a “reverent” liturgy would be? It’s like a variant on the argument C.S. Lewis laid out in “The Abolition of Man” – only this is the “Abolition of Mass” – once the tradition by which reverent liturgy was defined has been cast away, there is no basis upon which to have a reverent liturgy and we will be forever lost in the chaos of personal opinions and impulses.

  18. WVC says:

    @Fr. Reader,
    Sorry – I was also unclear – I’m not saying the Novus Ordo promotes abortion and homosexuality. I’m saying that the folks who hate and want to ban the Vetus Ordo practically all happen to be either on the pro-abortion and pro-sodomy side or at least on the “let’s not rock the boat too hard and be mean to pro-abortion or pro-sodomy folks lest we hurt their feelings” side. While the Novus Ordo may not promote this agenda, the Vetus Ordo clearly represents a threat to that agenda, which is why it is so sincerely hated.

    So, no, I do not believe it is a coincidence that the folks who are supportive of the ban on the Vetus Ordo are pro-abortion and pro-homosexual. I could offer my philosophical speculation on the link, but that there is a link I have no doubts.

  19. Notsoserious09 says:

    I suppose the follow up question would be: Which new order Mass is valid? Assuming Paul VI approved the NO in Latin, that is. There must be hundreds of NO Masses and missals for all the languages concerned. Paul did not, could not have approved them all and no two are alike. Similar, yes, but not identical. The American missal has been rejiggered twice(?) since I’ve entered the Church? Presupposing the Pope can do as he damn well pleases and then can delegate others to do the same using his authority is a bridge too far. Yeah, with all due respect, something ain’t right there.

  20. Imrahil says:

    (I meant “quite like” in the comment above, not “quite unlike. Sorry.)

    Dear WVC,
    as for me personally, I won’t pay the respect to Traditionis custodes that letting it drive me out of the Novus Ordo would amount to. (Other than above, I did mean Novus, not Vetus, here.)

    Dear MarcPolo,
    I don’t think there are two orthodox opinions on the wiseness, the necessity, the linguistic respectablity, the pastoral efficiency in the good sense of the word, and so forth, of “translating” “pro multis” by “for all”. But apart from the fact that these words are probably not essential to the form anyway, there is a sense in which Christ’s Blood was shed for all, and the Church has rubberstamped this mistranslation. Hence there can be no doubt about the validity here.

  21. Imrahil says:

    (Yes, that was why I wrote “not quite unlike”. I should trust my proofreading better. Sorry.)

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Are the rabid TLMers thinking that the TLM is the only valid Mass? If so, that would be a problem. There are many rites in the Church with valid Masses. The question, then, becomes one of how far one can deviate from the TLM and still satisfy them.

    Also, there seems to be a whiff of sedevecantism in these people because four popes have declared, at least implicitly, that the N. O. is valid, so either they (the popes) are all mistaken, or the Chair of Peter is empty, or there has been a systematic defect in papal teaching of a type never before seen in history.

    The Chicken

  23. PNF says:

    Very strong opinions. But all have failed to distinguish between the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Properly speaking, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the fruit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    One conflates these two separate concepts when stating simply that “the Mass is valid.” The consecration of the species can be “valid,” while at the same time the event in which the consecration occurs is not “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” properly understood.

    As canon 927 (1983 code) states, it is possible, yet “wicked/forbidden” [latin = nefas], to consecrate the species outside of “the eucharistic celebration.” So, a real consecration might occur outside of this thing called a “eucharistic celebration,” but to participate in such an event would be cooperation with evil.

    What is this “eucharistic celebration?” Well, in order to be consistent with the 1917 Code (canon 817), it must be “the Mass.” What is “the Mass?” It is “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?” What is “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?” It is the supernatural event in which Jesus’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are instantiated on the altar and offered to God the Father as a propitiation for sins, as stated dogmatically at the Council of Trent (Session 22).

    The Council of Trent anathematizes anyone who claims “that the sacrifice of the Mass is merely offering of praise and thanksgiving or that it is a simple commemoration of the sacrifice accomplished on the Cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice…for sins, punishments, satisfactions and other necessities.” Therefore, the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can ONLY be a ritual that unambiguously expresses this propitiatory element. If the propitiatory element is missing from the prayers of “the eucharistic celebration,” then, whatever that celebration is, it is not “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

    Read carefully the prayers offered in the TLM, on the one hand, and the prayers offered in the Novus Ordo, on the other. They can be found here: https://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/RM3-EP1-4.htm

    Ask yourself whether, except in the case where Eucharistic Prayer I is used, do the prayers of the Novus Ordo clearly ask for God to remove our personal sins through the Sacrifice of Jesus and fill us individually with heavenly graces? Or is the overwhelming petition in the new Novus Ordo prayers simply “prayers of unity” with our brothers and sisters, (e.g. that “we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit” [EPII] or “we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ” [EPIII] or that “all who partake of this one Bread and one Chalice that, gathered into one body by the Holy Spirit, they may truly become a living sacrifice in Christ to the praise of your glory” [EPIV])?

    A petition for heavenly graces to overcome personal sin is not the same thing as a petition for unity with our brothers and sisters. One petition is oriented vertically. The other is oriented horizontally. One seeks a heavenly end. The other seeks an earthly end.

    Now which “eucharistic prayer” is the most commonly heard in the Novus Ordo masses throughout the world? Practically speaking, EP I is very rarely said. Do you think this might be on purpose?

  24. Cornelius says:

    I think that, if the NO is invalid then there has been a massive failure of Apostolic succession – which is an even greater failure than that assumed by Sedevacantism (which only posits an empty Chair of St. Peter, does it not?).

    If that’s the case then the gig is up and we might as well all become Protestants.

  25. jerryforZ says:

    Fr Z. A cop out response. Provide your one best reason.

  26. sjoseph371 says:

    Thank you – both Fr Z. and all of you! First Fr. Z – given all of the mail you probably get, I never imagined that you’d get to reading my question, much less answer it in pretty much 24 hours, so to that, I thank you very much. Also, thank you for the thoughtful answers, especially not to waste my time debating them – that puts it all in perspective!
    And to you all who commented – just like I never imagined such a swift response / publishing of my question, I never imagines so many people commenting on this as well, again, with well thought out answers.
    Another perspective I’ve heard is that in a way “who cares, we ALL know how this will wind up in the end of days. . . . Christ will ultimately win, and his Church will never succumb to evil.” That was His promise to us. While our days here on earth may be filled with hardship & tribulation, it is but a drop in the bucket compared to the (God willing) eternity we will hopefully be spending with Him – time without such petty disagreements.

  27. It might help to keep in mind that there is a phenomenon here at work that I believe has no essential connection to the specific issue of the new or old Mass, or to being traditional or not; what is often at work is the personality and mindset of the individual.

    Some of us, for whatever reason, tend toward more pessimistic and even conspiratorial ways of explaining things; we are, as it were, anti-Occamists; the simplist explanation is certainly NOT the correct answer.

    And I reiterate: this way of seeing things can show up in anyone, of any political, theological or other sort of slant.

    I’m sure someone else can explain it better, but keeping this in mind is helpful, whenever you get into a conversation and you seem to find yourself led deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole.

    There are no outer limits for where this sort of thinking and doubting can reach. There really is a Flat Earth Society and real people do argue that position. I offer that as, perhaps, the furthest-out example of this sort of doubt-ism that I can think of at the moment; indubitably, someone else can cite a beyond-the-asteroid belt example I haven’t encountered. And don’t want to.

    And, honestly, sometimes arguing with such folks does more harm than good. Really.

  28. Not says:

    Well……, Yes, it is valid. Are the Spiritual Benefits that we receive in the Latin Mass, the same in the NO? My big question about the NO is why.
    It was like Coca- Cola, the best selling soft drink changed Coca-Cola to taste like Pepsi. After the outrage they had to put out Coca-Cola Classic.
    Why have a Pepsi , when you can have a Coca -Cola, “The Real Thing”?

    P.S. I haven’t a soft drink since I was an adolescent.

  29. John says:

    I do not see how anyone can seriously say the New Mass is invalid in of itself. It has the Matter and Form, the only somewhat questionable thing is the intention, but that is up to the priest more than the mass itself. The more reasonable question is: “is the New Mass legitimate” and “does it expound the same doctrine on the mass as Trent?”

  30. Fr. Reader says:

    @WVC thanks for the reply

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    I’ve had to do this a few times.

    The Mass is the Mass is the Mass.

    One mistake that such people nearly always make is to confuse the all-too-frequent abuses of the Mass by the flakiest “liberal”-“progressives” for the Mass itself, as if an abuse of the liturgy came from the liturgy itself rather than from the abusing of it.

    Though it’s also true that some have found themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of having nothing but such abusive rites in their nearby Diocesan or other established parishes. They may never have attended a properly Latinate, reverential NO Mass, from their local priests and Bishop providing no such thing. Let alone the NO Mass given in Latin and with Gregorian Chant.

  32. Gabriel Syme says:

    Of course the Novus Ordo is valid, given the relevant Church authorities have promulgated it.

    Concern over its origin or apparent deficiencies can never remove this fact.

    I go to the TLM at the local SSPX Chapel and also a Diocesan venue and have never heard anyone (clergy or lay) deny the validity of the modern Mass. Many (including me!) will criticise it and plenty of people (including the Diocesan priest) say openly that its better to attend the TLM though.

    Personally I regard “tradition” as comprising groups such as SSPX, FSSP, ICKSP etc, plus those unsung Diocesan priests who say the traditional Mass. I would be shocked to anyone in those circles deny the validity of the Novus Ordo.

    Beyond those parties are sedevacantist traditionalists and, given they do not recognise the Church authorities, I presume its them who deny validity – which would be coherent and in keeping with their misguided sedevacantist stance.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear PNF,

    I appreciate your distinction between the Eucharist and the Mass. Your arguments regarding the insufficiency of the NO Mass based on the missing element of propitiation is not convincing to me for the following reasons (feel free to offer rebuttals, since we all should be aiming for discovering the truth by charitable argumentation):

    1. You write:

    “Properly speaking, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the fruit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

    Christ said that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. If the Eucharist is sound fruit, it cannot come from an unsound Mass. By your logic, you cannot have a valid Eucharist in the context of an invalid Mass. Thus, since valid confection requires proper form and matter and these are supplied in the Mass, the Mass is valid. Eucharists confected outside of Mass may be valid, but maybe not, depending on how closely the elements of a Mass are present. For example, a prisoner in a war camp may not have the necessary books to say a Mass, but has the necessary materials and he may remember exactly the formula for confection, but can only approximate the rest of the Mass from memory. Is his celebration nefas, wicked? One would assume not. He intends to do what the Church defines as a Mass, even if he can only approximate it. Most priests saying the NO Mass intend to do what the Church defines as a Mass, even if the books might be defective in some matters. Intention is important in judging validity and culpability for missing elements.

    2. “It is the supernatural event in which Jesus’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are instantiated on the altar and offered to God the Father as a propitiation for sins, as stated dogmatically at the Council of Trent (Session 22).”

    Any true confection of the Eucharist accomplishes this because the words of consecration contain the idea of a propitiation of sin and a priest offers sacrifices, so these conditions are satisfied when the Eucharist is properly confected by a valid priest (again, outside of a Mass, any confection might not be valid because the priest is not, necessarily, acting in persona Christi, whereas in the Mass, he is, offering the consecration as a prayer, since it derives from the Seder prayer.

    3. The citation from the Council of Trent was meant to clarify why Protestant simulations of the Eucharist are invalid, not define a criteria for an invalid Catholic Mass. Protestant only held the Eucharist as an anamnesis, a remembrance, not a sacrament.

    4. The Eucharistic prayer in the TLM and Eucharistic Prayer I in the NO reinforce the idea of propitiation, but to properly confect the Eucharist presupposes this, in itself, since it was instituted in a Seder meal of propitiation, as mentioned, above.

    5. “ ask for God to remove our personal sins through the Sacrifice of Jesus and fill us individually with heavenly graces?”

    Indeed, the Mass does not remove our personal sins. The Church has never taught that. The Eucharist forgives genial sins. There are at least 3 places outside of the Eucharistic Prayer in every NO Mass where forgiveness of sins are sought (no time to list them, in a hurry), however.

    Of course, I may be wrong in my disagreements. That’s fine. I like good proofs, even at my expense, because I learn the truth.

    The Chicken

  34. MarcPolo says:

    @ Fr. Z
    For example in the german version where the missal says “… mein Blut, daß für euch und alle vergossen wird…” translated to “my blood, which will be poured out for you and for all”

  35. PNF says:

    @The Masked Chicken

    I will try to be succinct with my reply to your points:

    1. Canon 927 logically implies that it is POSSIBLE to “consecrate the matter” outside of “the eucharistic celebration.” It is precisely that possibility that is forbidden by canon 927. So your belief that a “valid consecration” assumes that the proper surrounding ritual was used is contradicted by Canon Law of 1983.

    2. No, again, the “consecration” alone does not assume a petition for “the propitiation for sins.” In the Novus Ordo, the “consecration” is said within the context of the historical narrative of the Last Supper. Protestants claim that the sufficient propitiation for sins happened 2000 years ago, and, as such, that there is no need to have a continual sacrifice for continual sins of humanity. In that context, the content of the prayers surrounding the consecration matters, which is why the Roman Canon includes those additional petitions. If you ask God to give you a stone, that’s what he will give you. If you ask God to fill us with His heavenly graces, that what he will do. If you don’t ask for heavenly graces to overcome continual sins, it shows that the person asking doesn’t think that they are in need of such graces. That person is guilty of pride.

    3. I disagree. If a so-called “mass” does not contain explicit propitiatory petitions, then it is ipso facto a “statement” of what is anathematized in that canon of Trent. It is a counterfeit of the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” and, as such, should be avoided as nefas.

    4. Answered in 2 above, but I will add that the Seder meal was a memorial or commemoration of a past event. The effect of the Seder meal was not the “satisfaction” for personal sins of the attendees. The actual sacrifice in the Temple (or the Tabernacle) was the only method allowed for the propitiation for sins. Similarly, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the New Testament version of “the Temple sacrifice.” The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not, according to Catholic dogma, simply a Seder meal (or remembrance thereof).

    5. From Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma: “The Sacrifice of the Mass does not remit the guilt of sins immediately as do the Sacraments of Baptism and of Penance, but mediately by the conferring of the grace of repentance. The Council of Trent teaches: ‘Propitiated by the offering of this sacrifice, God, by granting the grace and the gift of penance remits trespasses and sins, even great ones.’ DH 1743”

  36. What right did the rulers of the Church have to even put the people in the position of having to worry about the issues underlying this debate?

  37. tzabiega says:

    I think this rejection of the NO is more common among some groups of traditionalists than people think. I personally would prefer the TLM be the only Mass, but we are also raising our children in Mexican and Polish traditions (because it is these traditions which prevent them from assimilating in the Protestant American culture) and unfortunately the TLM Masses in the U.S. are exclusively Anglo: meaning the homilies are only in English and the hymns and traditional practices are Anglo-Germanic in origin. If there were TLM Masses with Polish or Spanish homilies, hymns, and traditions, I would be TLM exclusive.

    Therefore, we often go to NO Mass in Polish and Spanish that are as conservative as possible for the NO to be, but when our son received First Holy Communion in a NO Mass from a priest very sympathetic to the TLM (who before the current restrictions would invite TLM celebrating priests to his parish), I was surprised that almost all of our TLM attending friends did not show up (though they all showed up at the party later on that day). It was a Saturday so there was no competition with the TLM. Many trads will not express it, but they truly believe the NO is invalid and they definitely do not want their children exposed to it. That is actually funny to me: the few times my kids have attended liberal, bizarre Masses with bad music and either having or being close to having abuses, it was a great learning experience for them because they truly understood (as I did when I was a kid) how horribly insulting to God Masses can be in some parishes and how blessed they are to be able to attend more traditional and more beautiful liturgies.

    Never letting your kids see how bad it is out there will not make your kids more Catholic, especially since they will start thinking of themselves as an elite that is better than other Catholics. There are many Catholics attending really badly organized NO Masses who are holier than many attending exclusively TLM Masses (and they are much holier than me). And having the attitude that the NO is heretical or invalid is one of the main reasons that God has not protected us who love the TLM from the liberal hierarchy. It is because of the sin of pride of some TLM people who will never set foot in a NO Mass that I believe prevents the TLM from becoming more widespread.

  38. Charivari Rob says:

    What I’m trying to do is defend it as legitimate – from a TLM point of view.


    I think that “from a TLM point of view” runs the risk of being a flawed premise.

    Tying legitimacy to the lens of the TLM tends to move TLM from “example of legitimate” to “defining legitimacy”.

    The TLM is (loosely) the means to an end – not the end itself.
    The NO has some differences in form from the TLM. It was consciously developed as a change in form. It is unfulfillable to saddle it with ‘resemblance to the TLM’ as a litmus test.

  39. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear PNF,

    To continue our discussion…

    1. ‘Canon 927 logically implies that it is POSSIBLE to “consecrate the matter” outside of “the eucharistic celebration.”’

    So? This says nothing at all about the validity of the NO Mass. Once you prove the NO is invalid, then this kicks in, but you can’t assume the NO Mass is invalid, then cite this. Just because something can be done in one context does not mean that it is being done in another, unless you, first, prove that the two contexts are identical with respect to the defining attribute.

    It is illegal to cross the street against the traffic light, but just because the law envisions that possibility does not mean that I am doing it when I cross the street. You would have to prove that the light were red before you properly accuse me of breaking that law. So, this is no argument against the validity of the NO Mass.

    2. “In the Novus Ordo, the “consecration” is said within the context of the historical narrative of the Last Supper. Protestants claim that the sufficient propitiation for sins happened 2000 years ago, and, as such, that there is no need to have a continual sacrifice for continual sins of humanity.”

    I, recently, heard a priest give a homily in which he stated that Christ is in Heaven offering continual sacrifices to the Father. He said this in the context of the Mass reading of the Letter to the Hebrews, but in Hebrews we read:

    Heb 7:23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office;
    Heb 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever.
    Heb 7:25 Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
    Heb 7:26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted Heb 7:27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
    Heb 7:28 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever…

    Heb 9:11. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)
    Heb 9:12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
    Heb 9:13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh,
    Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God…

    Heb 9:26. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
    Heb 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the by the sacrifice of himself.
    Heb 9:27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
    Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    Christ did only die once. We do not re-sacrifice Christ at every Mass. The consecration is a re-presentation of the one sacrifice on Calvary. What we pray for in the Mass is the application of those graces to the world. The normal channels for the forgiveness of sins is Baptism and Penance, not the Mass.

    Second session of the Council of Trent

    Canon x. If any one shall say, that men are justified without the righteousness of Christ, by which He merited [not continually merits, Chicken’s comment ] for us to be justified; or that it is by that [justice] itself that they are formally just; let him be anathema.

    Canon v. If any one shall say, either that the chief fruit of the most holy Eucharist is the remission of sins, or, that from it other effects do not result; let him be anathema.

    22 Session of the Council of Trent

    Chapter II

    “That the Sacrifice of the Mass is propitiatory as well for the Living as the Dead

    And inasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is performed in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in a bloodless manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory, and that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy, and find grace in convenient aid, if we draw nigh unto God, contrite and penitent, with a true heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence. For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof, and granting the grace and gift of penitence, forgives even heinous crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits indeed of which oblation, of that bloody one, to wit, are most plentifully received through this bloodless one; so far is this latter from derogating in any way from that former [oblation]. Wherefore, not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities of the faithful who are alive, but also for those who are departed in Christ, and who are not as yet fully purified, is it rightly offered, agreeably to a tradition of the apostles.”

    Nowhere does it say that the Mass has to announce that it is propitiatory to be so. Any valid Mass is ipso facto propitionary. The propitionary nature comes about because, “ And inasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is performed in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in a bloodless manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory…”

    The propitiation comes from the sacrifice, i.e., the proper confection of the Eucharist, as I mentioned in my original answer. It does not come from the surrounding prayers.

    3. I have quotes the relevant texts of Trent. It is clear that nowhere does it mention the need for an explicit text in the context of the Mass for the Mass to be propitiatory. The original citation from Trent that you had is against the Protestants who only saw the Mass as a meal and not a sacrifice. Trent is suffused with these sorts of comments against the Protestant behavior. Tent was not called to define the Mass in all of its theological nuances, but to refute the actions of the heretics (Protestants) within their simulations of the Mass/Last Supper.

    4. True, the Mass is not just a Seder meal, but it is a real Passover, with Christ as the lamb of sacrifice. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…”. I never said the Mass was simply a Seder Meal. I said that the sacrifice of the Mass was instituted at the Passover meal on Holy Thursday. It was completed on Good Friday. There is a real sense in which the Mass is a representation of the complete action of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. While the Jewish Seder is a reminder of the Passover, the Sacred Triduum is a real Passover. The consecration of the Eucharist is joined both to the Seder meal on Holy Thursday and the Cross on Good Friday. These are institutive and propitiatory. The Seder Lamb is supposed to be sacrificed for the sins of the people, although, as you point out, it was only a ritual in Old Testament times, without efficaciousness, since the world had to wait for Christ to make real satisfaction for sins.

    5. Nothing Ott says contradicts what I said. The primary purpose of the Mass is not the forgiveness of sins, but to apply the graces of the sacrifice, in such a way as to stir men’s consciences. The phrase from Trent which you quote (see the complete quote, above), “ Propitiated by the offering of this sacrifice, God, by granting the grace and the gift of penance remits trespasses and sins, even great ones.’ DH 1743,” does NOT mean that this is done by the Mass, but through the graces of the Mass. It is not the Mass that remits great sins, it is the graces and gift of penance the flow from the Mass (i.e., leading one to confession) that remits great sins. The Church teaches that reception of the Eucharist forgives venial sins; it has never taught that the Mass forgives mortal sins. Indeed, one does not receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, but the graces obtained by every Mass can be applied to the human race and can touch even sinners with its graces leading them to repentance.

    While this is all interesting sacramental theology, nothing that has been said is a good argument against the validity of the NO Mass. At best, it reveals it to be substandard.

    Now, I have a personal bugaboo about most NO Masses, because Trent clearly teaches in Session XXII:

    CANON IX.–If any one saith, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema.

    Doing away with Latin in favor of a vernacular NO is strictly forbidden by Trent. That, for now, Latin NO is still possible, prevents this Canon from going into effect. If the Vatican ever forbids Latin Masses, then fire will fall from Heaven. They haven’t quite gone that far, yet, although forbidding the TLM is pushing it. Vernacular Masses are valid, if they contain the proper elements, and I know we disagree on the essential elements, but I stand firm on not replacing Latin, at least in principle, for the Mass. Then, the vernacular Masses would be invalid because they would be condemned outright by Trent if they were the only Masses allowed.

    The Chicken

  40. Chaswjd says:

    I might ask whether a liturgy celebrated according to the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom would be a valid liturgy? How about a liturgy celebrated according to the Liturgy of St. Basil? How about one celebrated according to the Liturgy of St. Mark? The person will have to admit those are valid liturgies or they will condemn the liturgies celebrated by the Eastern and Orthodox churches as invalid. If they admit those liturgies are valid, they will have to accept that liturgies and Eucharist Prayers other than those in the Missal of St. Pius V are valid.

    If they base their argument on Quo Primum, I would ask whether the church erred in canonizing St. Joan of Arc or St. Pius X. Because in canonizing and setting their feasts on the calendar, the popes who proclaimed those canonizations necessarily changed St. Pius V’s missal.

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