Are the Eucharists at some parishes invalid?

My husband and I have been seriously considering the Catholic Church for a while now and have gone to Mass a couple of times. I have a question about a recent comment from my Catholic neighbor.

Her family attends a parish that it VERY traditional (prayer veils, etc.) and as we were discussing a parish in our city whose priest had caused a scandal (interviewed on t.v. because of his differing opinions with the Church regarding same-sex marriage, marriage of priests, divorce, etc. and who was subsequently forced to retire by the Bishop), she commented that she suspected that MANY parishes in our city may not have a valid Eucharist. When I asked what she meant, she said, “Well, I’m sure there are books written on that subject.”

Needless to say, I don’t quite think she and her husband were very overjoyed when I told them we had attended Mass (at the nearest parish that is likely a little too “modern” for her tastes). But, her comment has me pondering and asking, “How would I, as a person unfamiliar with all the intricacies at each parish be able to discern if the parish had a legitimate Eucharist?” :confused:

Is my neighbor being too far reaching with her comment because of her own personal views of worship style, etc. I believe her comment did involve the issue of birth control usage, etc., which I believe she assumes is permitted by other parishes because her parish has the extraordinarily large families (i.e., 7-10 kids is not unusual). :shrug:

While I know the official RCC position on these issues, are these teachings something that is explicitly spoken at each church by the priest to the congregation?

I feel that if I’m going to actually do all the work and steps necessary to convert, I sure want to make sure that the parish I land at is teaching in line with the true teaching of the Church :slight_smile:

In a word, your friend is wrong.

Heretical belief, personal sin, even schism or incredulity regarding transubstantiation on the part of the priest do not invalidate the Mass. This was settled in the first three centuries of the Church.

Invalid matter and invalid words of consecration are the two things that can invalidate the Mass/consecration. I highly doubt you will encounter either if these situations in your entire life, let alone in your neighborhood parish.

You have NO reason to be concerned or believe you need to discern validity in each Mass you attend.

Don’t worry. No matter how “modern” the parish priest is, his Eucharist will be valid. It would be an extremely rare circumstance that it would not be – so rare that it’s not necessary to worry over it.

It’s always best to do your own legwork. If you are interested, you might meet with the pastor of the parish you’re considering. He will explain the RCIA process, and allay some of your concerns. Beware of well-meaning extremists.Best to find out for yourself. Pray for your friend, she means to be helpful.
But as 1ke said, she is wrong.

God bless you today, and always.

Was this the Roman Catholic or possibly Old Catholic Church?

there is differences in traditional vs progressive that may be worth investigating further.

Welcome home regardless

You can attend Mass at any Roman Catholic parish you feel comfortable with, but the Eucharist is valid in all.

The only things needed for a valid Eucharist:

  1. Ordained Priest
  2. Words of Consecration
  3. Wheat bread and Grape wine

If those 3 things are present, the Eucharist is valid. If not, it isn’t.

Your friend seems to be falling into the Donatist heresy.

Just wondering… What’s a “prayer veil”?

Thanks, Pietro Paolo.

Her parish is Latin Rite but from what I observed at her baby’s baptism, they are very “old school” and probably holds a lot of pre-Vatican II personality.

I’m not sure about heresy on her part, but she has said before that she was raised with the “letter of the law” versus her husband who was raised in “the spirit of the law”. She is very sweet, kind, and well-meaning but I can definitely see that exact dynamic between her and her husband.

There are two types of people who hold to the super traditionalist view.

One are the sedevacantists. I walked into one of their churches that was very beautiful. Not until they were praying and talking about a bishop that was the head of their diocese in a state far away did I have a clue that something was wrong. On the outside the church just said St. Marys Catholic Church and listed a single Mass time. If you are not Catholic there is no way that you would know that you were in a church that is in schism.

The other type are people who hold that with the form of the Mass that was promulgated after Vatican II, that the prayers that the priest says to consecrate the Eucharist have been changed, making the Eucharist invalid. I believe the prayers were changed. I cannot remember the persons name but an author of a book criticizing the changes that were made after Vatican II, right at the beginning of it says he believes that even with the changes the Mass is still valid. I will research his name, I believe he died recently.

Honestly, I just think she is taking her personal preference for church personality and making a sweeping statement against other Catholic parishes in our area that maybe have a little livelier personality in their music, etc.

It was just her comment about the validity of the Eucharist at some parishes that caught my attention.

God did not try and make it hard for us to receive the Eucharist. In fact he tried to make it as easy and as widely available as possible. Please check out John 6 when Jesus feeds the masses with loaves and fish.

If you think a church is doing something wrong please call your bishop.


Those veils remind me of the 1950’s when women had to cover their heads at mass. Some women wore hats, kerchiefs & some a Kleenex tissue.
Obviously, that photo was taken in another country.

They have to follow the rubrics issued by the Church. So the priest has to follow the rubrics for the mass.

There was a diocese in California that published a recipe that indicated that they were making the wafers with sugar. Something like that invalidates it.

The intention of the priest is also required.

As a followup from this website

With respect to the intention required for the valid administration and reception (by an adult) of the sacraments, the Council of Trent requires only that the minister or subject intend to do at least what the Church does.

This is a fairly minimum intention and means that a sacrament would be valid even if a minister lacked faith in the sacrament, or were in a state of mortal sin. It is enough for him to intend to do what the Church does when administrating this sacrament.

This refers only to the intention; some sacraments, such as matrimony and hearing confessions, have additional requirements for validity such as formal authorization or proper canonical procedures.

Normally the celebrant’s and subject’s intention may be presumed. Indeed, in order to invalidate the sacrament, either one would usually have to make a positive act of rejection in the very moment that he was administrating or receiving the sacrament.

For example, a bishop would have to say to himself, while in the very act of laying his hands on the ordinand, “I do not intend to ordain this man,” or the subject “I do not intend to receive ordination.”

Thanks everyone! I believe my original question has been answered :smiley:

I just did not realize initially that although the faith and beliefs are the same in every Roman Catholic church parish, that the personalities (i.e., demographics, architecture, music, etc.) could be vastly different :shrug:

I’ve been in contact with a friend who is very knowledgable of all the different parishes in my city and she has given me the “low down” on each one and what our experience would be like there :wink: Now that I don’t have to worry about the validity of their sacraments, I feel compelled to check those out.

Moderator, feel free to close the thread. Thank you!

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