20 November 2013

Should I be so cross?

Well, it did make me rather tetchy. I read somewhere about some 'traditionalists' referring to celebrations of the Novus Ordo Mass as "evil". It made me more than 'rather' cross.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against people arguing, forcefully and rationally, about the process by which the Novus Ordo Mass emerged from the post-Conciliar political skirmishes. It's OK by me if severe criticisms are made of the way in which the Novus Ordo is commonly celebrated. Fair enough, if a priest who feels strongly about things urges his hearers, very decisively, to prefer to go to Vetus Ordo Masses. Just as I couldn't complain if someone like, for example, that Mgr Loftus, were to urge his readers, very decisively, to go only to Novus Ordo Masses. (Although I do rather deplore making the Liturgy a battle-ground, I suppose such differences are inevitable. Like any vigorous institution in this world - and the Church does have one foot in this world -  thesis and antithesis are the very stuff of life.)

BUT ... and it's a very large But ... however it is celebrated, the Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ our Lord and Redeemer, re-presented on Earth and before the Face of the Everlasting Father. By its inherent nature, it is a wonder before which the Angels fall down in worship and the Devils tremble. In it, the Lord of the ages runs to meet us, his outstretched arms marked with the wounds of his love. No valid celebration of Mass can be within a million miles of being 'evil'. No sin, no heresy, no liturgical messing about on the part of a daft celebrant, can change this by so much as a millimetre.

Since I began to exercise sacerdotal ministry in full communion with the See of S Peter, I have been worried by how often I have been asked whether Mass done in such-and-such a way is or is not 'valid'. The traditional teaching of the Church is very clear here. It is extremely difficult for a priest to render his Mass 'invalid'. If he is validly ordained; if he uses real bread and real wine; if he uses words which clearly reference the Lord's utterances "This is my Body", "This is my Blood", and if he intends to 'do what the Church does', his Mass is valid. His way of celebrating may be profoundly unedifying; but the Mass is not essentially about edification. It is the Lord's Sacrifice.

'If he intends to do what the Church does'! So ... you ask .... can a heretical priest be said to 'intend to do what the Church does'? You may well ask.

I will, Deo volente, deal with this tomorrow. Meanwhile, I shall not accept comments. And, by the way, this post is NOT an attack on the SSPX.

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