I OBEDIENCE TO GOD II OBEDIENCE TO THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE
III WHAT DOES THE COUNCIL OF TRENT SAY ABOUT THE NEW MASS ?
Abraham, Abraham,. And he answered : Here I am.
I OBEDIENCE TO GOD
Genesis Chap. 22; verses 2, 7- 12
2. He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac whom you lovest, and go in the the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon on to the mountains which I will shew thee.
7. Isaac said to his father: My father. And answered: What tilt thou son ? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust.
8. And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son . So they on together
9. And they came upon to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it, and when he bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.
10. And he put forth his hand and took the sword to sacrifice his son.
11. And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called him, saying: Abraham, Abraham,. And he answered : Here I am.
12. And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God. And hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.
II OBEDIENCE TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE
"Unity", being an essential quality of God, is bound to be reflected in His Church.
Anyone familiar with his Penny Catechism knows that this "unity" subsists in three things unity of faith, unity of worship, and rites, and under one head, the Pope, who is
Christ's representative on earth. When the Church speaks of "unity of faith". She is not speaking of anything else that the acceptance of that faith which Christ and the Apostles revealed, and which "is believed always, by, all, and everywhere". The same of course applies in the realm of worship, for the essential features of the Mass are divine and not of human origin. No one can dispute but that there has been, in the true traditional Catholic Church, a perfect continuity in the unity of belief and worship among Catholic from Apostolic times down to the present day. As to unity under the Pope, this essentially a unity with the Papacy. Thus. If an indivdual "pope" departs from unity of faith and worship, he can no longer say o him. "he who hears me, hears me". As Vatican I put it:
St. Augustine said: "He who devoutly hears Holy Mass will receive a great vigor to enable him to resist mortal sin, and there shall be pardoned to him all venial sins which he may have committed up to that hour." 1
St. John Fisher said: "He who goes about to take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from the Church plots no less a calamity than if he tried to snatch the sun from the universe."2
St. Alphonsus said: "The devil has always attempted, by means of heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the antichrist, who before anything else, will try to abolish and will actually abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a punishment for the sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel, 'And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice.' "3 (Daniel 8:12)
St. Robert Bellarmine said: "When we enter ornate and clean Basilicas, adorned with crosses, sacred images, altars and burning lamps, we most easily conceive devotion. But on the other hand, when we enter the temples of the heretics, where there is nothing except a chair for preaching and a table for making a meal, we feel ourselves to be entering a profane hall and not the House of God."4
Martin Luther's slogan was: "Take away the Mass, destroy the Church."5
St. John Vianney said: "All the good works together are not of equal value with the Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of man, and the Holy Mass is the work of God."6
III What does the Council of Trent say about the New Mass ?
COUNCIL OF TRENT
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was called to defend the Teaching and Practice (which are both summed up in the one word "Tradition") of the Catholic Church. The results of this Council, which are infallible, were recorded in Decrees (which explain the Teachings) and Canons (which summarize what must be believed, and which call down anathema, or automatic excommunication, upon those who obstinately refuse to assent to the respective Canons). The following Canons have particular significance for the New Mass:
Teaching / Practice
The Council of Trent
The New Mass
Lay Readers and Lay Ministers of Communion
"If anyone says that all Christians [lay people] have the power to administer the word [read at Mass] and all the sacraments [give out commnion], let him be anathema." [Canon 10, Session VII, March 3, 1547]
At the New Mass it is quite usual for lay people to read at Mass and to distribute Communion.
Communion under both species
"If anyone says that the Holy Catholic Church has not been influenced by just causes and reasons to give communion under the form of bread only...or that she has erred in this, let him be anathema." [Canon 2, Session XXI, July 16, 1562]
At the New Mass communion under both species is commonly administered.
The Canon of the Mass
"If anyone says that the Canon of the Mass contains errors, and therefore sholud be abrogated, let him be anathema." [Canon 6, Session XXII, Sept. 17, 1562]
In the New Mass the Canon that existed in the Mass at the time of the Council of Trent has been changed (this includes the new Eucharistic Prayer I)
The Language of the Mass
"If anyone says that the Rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the Canon is pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned, or that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only...let him be anathema." [Canon 9, Session XXII, Sept. 17, 1562]
At the New Mass the whole Canon (Eucharistic Prayer) is said out loud, and the New Mass is said entirely in the vernacular everywhere.
Making changes to the Mass
"If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church... may be changed by any pastor of the Churches to any new ones: let him be anathema." [Canon 13 on the Sacraments,Session VII, March 3, 1547]
Bishops and priests make personalized changes to the New Mass whenever they like. (This includes adding extra prayers that are not in the Missal, or leaving prayers out, or adding clowns, balloons or dancing girls. Some may argue that it also includes adding the shaking of hands, WHICH IS NOT IN THE MISSAL EITHER. Only the Pope has the authority to change the liturgy.
To contradict any one of the above named infallible declarations results in automatic excommunication. We must make the observation that priests and bishops who say the New Mass contradict these infallible declarations every day. Vatican II did not nor COULD NOT CHANGE these declarations because they are infallible. Thus, in the light of these declarations, it is not the priests, bishops and faithful who attend the Traditional Mass today who are in danger of excommunication, but those who attend the New Mass.
Summary of Reasons why we shouldn't attend the New Mass
1. We are never allowed to have any doubts with regard to the sacraments, so if a sacrament is doubtful, we must not take part in it. Because of the ambiguity of the prayers in the New Mass, and because these prayers have an effect on the intention of the priest saying the Mass, there is doubt of his intention, and hence a doubt about the validity of the Mass. Hence we shouldn't attend the New Mass.
2. The New Mass is displeasing to God. This is because:
1. The various circumstances that usually surround the celebration of the New Mass make us slowly lose our Faith.
2. The New Mass lacks something good it should have as a sacrifice worthy of being offered to God.
3. The New Mass is bad in itself, containing ambiguities and an actual lie about the words Jesus said at the Last Supper.
4. The New Mass is bad because of the purpose expressed in it.
3.The way the New Mass is celebrated most of the time has been condemned by infallible declarations of the Council of Trent. Besides the question of the New Mass and a Catholic's Sunday obligation, there are other pastoral questions, such as attending the New Mass for weddings, funerals, and other family occasions. We discuss these questions in the next section.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions Regarding the New Mass
We have already shown above that the New Mass is always objectively displeasing to God and although it may on occasion be valid, nonetheless it can never objectively fulfill a Catholic's Sunday obligation: something displeasing to God cannot be considered to be a form of worship of Him, nor can it fulfill any command to worship God, either from the Church or from God Himself.
That being said, we must be prepared to answer the many questions that people will ask concerning attendance at the New Mass. These questions can be asked in several ways, but there are basically eight of them:
1. I have fulfilled the Sunday obligation all my life by attending Sunday Mass. Furthermore, the Church has always taught that to not fulfill the Sunday obligation is a mortal sin. I must, therefore, attend Mass on Sunday, even if it is the New Mass, must I not?
Quite simply, the answer is NO.
The 3rd commandment, which comes from God says that we must make the sabbath day holy. This commandment we must fulfill, without any exception. The Church has added to this a precept that in order to make the sabbath day (Sunday) holy, we must attend Mass. The Church's commandments can be dispensed from, especially when it is not possible to attend Mass, as in the case of illness, or if there is no Mass close to you. (The Church has decided that no-one is obliged under pain of sin to travel a distance of more than an hour to go to Mass. However it is very praiseworthy to do so).
What about the New Mass and the Sunday Obligation? These are our conclusions:
A. The Sunday obligation does not oblige anyone to attend the New Mass, and
B. No one attending the New Mass fulfills their Sunday obligation.
And this is not because the New Mass is always invalid, but because the New Mass is displeasing to God:
1. because of the defective intention of the Preparation of Gifts, which does not contain that intention which is due in true divine worship; hence the New Mass is not true divine worship and cannot fulfill a Sunday obligation
2. because of the ambiguity of expression which leads to lessening of faith and devotion of the faithful and the priest; this can lead to a possible contrary intention of the priest and then to possible invalidity
3. because the words of Consecration the New Mass tell a lie that Christ said something at the Last Supper that He didn't say
4. because in the New Mass the defective expression of the honour and respect due to God leads to irreverence toward the Blessed Sacrament which is the greatest of sacrileges
and finally because
5. the good intention of the priest saying the New Mass or of those who attend the New Mass can't make a Mass which is displeasing to God into one which does please God, just as a good intention cannot make a bad act into a good one.
On the other hand: the traditional Mass DOES fulfill the Sunday obligation, because:
1. it always did
2. it still does
We know it still does because of a letter from Cardinal Oddi, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy in Rome, dated March 17, 1984. This letter was a direct response to a letter from Mrs. Barbara Keenan, 17 Ralph Street, Holbrook NY 11741, dated January 11, 1984. In her letter, Mrs. Keenan asked whether her family could fulfill the Sunday obligation by attending Mass at a chapel which is under Archbishop Lefebvre.
The Cardinal's answer: YES.
The conclusion regarding the Sunday obligation is clear:
To fulfill the Sunday obligation:
i) attend the traditional Mass
ii) don't attend the New Mass.
What if you can't find a Traditional Mass near you? If you cannot find a Traditional Mass within one hour's distance from you, the best thing to do is to stay at home and, putting aside the same time that you would've spent at the New Mass, read the Missal of the Traditional Mass, and if you are so inclined sing some hymns, and thus sanctify the Lord's day.
Remember: you can't make the Lord's day holy with a Mass (the New Mass) that is not holy.
2. If the New Mass is as bad as you say it is, then no-one could attend it under any circumstances. Must I then cut off all ties with relatives and friends who get married or die?
NO. The Church has always permitted Catholics to attend Protestant services when a serious reason, such as civil or family duty, has made such attendance necessary. The attendance in question must be passive participation and must be occasional.
Passive attendance. There must be no question of active participation. Out of courtesy you may stand and sit when the others stand and sit, but don't answer any of the responses or sing any of the hymns. Moreover, don't take an active part by being a pallbearer or a member of the bridal party.
Occasional: There must be no question of attending these services on a regular basis. Inasmuch as the New Mass is based on a compromise with Protestant ideas, and does not clearly proclaim Catholic beliefs, regular attendance at the New Mass will gradually make you lose your Faith. This is simply human nature: after a while what is said and done at the New Mass will "gradually sink in", and you will eventually be thinking like a Protestant. However it might also be true that the occasional attendance, although never with any participation, could actually strengthen your Faith. The reason for this is that by attending the New Mass on such isolated occasions, you would be shocked by what you see, and this would serve as a confirmation that by attending only the Tridentine Mass you are in fact doing the right thing to preserve your Faith.
3. In my area there is no Traditional Mass except those Masses which are said by priests under the Indult of 1984. What about attending such Masses?
NO. In such cases, the local bishop has made people sign an agreement that the New Mass is just as good as the old. Furthermore, the priest saying the Indult Mass usually has the permission to say it only if he assures the bishop that he will say the New Mass at least once a year. Lastly, when you attend an Indult Mass, you have the Traditional Mass, but New Sacraments. The New Sacraments are unacceptable for the same reasons that the New Mass is unacceptable. To accept them is to compromise. It's better to stay at home and read the Missal, just as we said in answering the first question.
4. In my area there is no Traditional Latin Mass but there is a Ukrainian Rite Liturgy. What about attending Traditional liturgies such as the Ukrainian?
Besides the Tridentine Latin Rite, there are many other rites of Holy Mass (or Divine Liturgy) that were approved by Rome for use in Catholic churches before Vatican II. Among these are the Ukrainian and Maronite Rites, but there are many others. A Catholic could only consider attending these rites of the Church if they are done in churches that are in union with Rome. Many churches where these rites are performed were not in union with Rome before Vatican II, and these churches are clearly schismatic.
If in fact the Ukrainian or other rite church in your area is in union with Rome, it could be possible to attend liturgies at this church, but there is another problem. Some of these churches are already becoming quite liberal, and have already made ecumenical and other compromises in line with the "spirit of Vatican II". For example, some Ukrainian Catholic churches have held ecumenical services with schismatic Orthodox clergy. Others have introduced changes in the Liturgy, with obvious ones such as General Absolution, Saturday evening liturgies, and dancing girls, but also with subtle ones, such as changes to the words. If this is the case in your local situation, then you cannot attend liturgies at such a church, as the compromises that permeate the spirit of the place would put your Faith in danger, just as they would in the case of the New Mass.
5. I do not attend the New Mass, and there is not a Traditional Mass close to me. What if I am in danger of death, and need to receive the sacraments?
If possible, you should call a traditional priest. He may agree to come to administer the last rites even if you are several hours away. Canon Law (before Vatican II) provided that in danger of death, any Catholic could receive the sacrament of confession from any priest, even a schismatic priest, if there were no Catholic priest available. If can you foresee this happening to you, the best thing is to talk to a traditional priest now, and get his advice on what to do if this should happen. Many people have explicitly stated in their wills that they must be given the Traditional Mass of St. Pius V for their funerals, and have pre-arranged this with a local funeral home.
6. What should be our attitude towards those who attend the New Mass in good faith, being ignorant that it is objectively a lie and a sacrilege?
As the catechism teaches, for a mortal sin, you need three things: grave matter, full knowledge and full consent. In the case of someone who is ignorant of the true nature of the New Mass, an act which otherwise would be an evil act (such as attending the New Mass) would not be a sin on their part. This is especially true in the case of someone for whom the ignorance is not their fault. These things are best judged on a case by case basis, and require a knowledge of a person's inner dispositions.
7. What should be our attitude towards those who have begun to attend the Traditional Mass, but because of scruples or other reasons continue to attend the New Mass?
As we said above, for a mortal sin, you need three things: grave matter, full knowledge and full consent. It is sometimes true that there is not full consent, through fear, or coercion. In such cases, an act which otherwise would be an evil act (such as attending the New Mass) would not be a sin on the part of the one committing the act. On the surface, it does seem unlikely that someone who "should know better" could be excused from attending the New Mass again. However, we could imagine the case of a person who has begun to attend the Traditional Mass, but cannot attend this Mass every Sunday or on days during the week, and on these occasions this person still wishes to be able to attend Mass. Or another case where family pressures place a heavy moral obligation upon this person to "go along" and attend the New Mass. If you know someone in this situation, you do weel to remind them that to resist such pressures is an act of heroic virtue, and God will help them resist if they pray. Such situations are best judged on a case by case basis, and require a knowledge of a person's inner dispositions.
All the above being said, we should remind someone who "should know better" about the scandal they are likely to cause those who are weaker in their Faith. We can easily imagine someone saying: "So-and-so goes to the Traditional Mass but they also go to the New Mass, therefore both Masses must be O.K." We must stress with everyone who attends the Traditional Mass that to attend the New Mass, without a serious reason as given in question 2 above, is to be in danger of formal cooperation in the evil.