Can I attend this mass?

I just want to know if it would be sinful or good to attend a mass that is going to be held at my college.

It’s part of the college group, and they just sit around in a small circle (only about 10-15 people) with the priest. It’s on a regular table, there is no kneeling (cause of the odd location), and we pass communion around. The priest points out that it is probably how they Jesus did it, but I don’t want to break any binding Church disciplines or anything.

Is the mass illicit? would it be sinful for me to attend?

I ask because I’m leading a bible study beforehand, and so it may cause some level of confusion if I hasten to leave to avoid mass. Just wondering, thanks for your time.

Communion is not to be handed around

Should a priest tell me to “take” communion?

Other than that I don’t really know. But I doubt it fits the form of Mass. That being said, technically if the four Eucharist requirements are met (form, matter of species, intent, done by an ordained priest) it would be a highly illicit but not invalid Mass. Why can’t Mass be held properly?

Is this at your college’s “Newman Center”? How sad that so many Newman Centers on college campus across the country find it necessary to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a way which detracts greatly from its solemnity and sacredness. They really do a disservice to the Church and to the people who attend these Masses. Why can’t they just celebrate the Mass properly, and hand on the faith properly while they’re at it?

If you go, you should kneel at the proper times, and you should only accept Communion from the priest. Never take Communion yourself at Mass. If you go, make a stand for your Catholic faith. Otherwise, don’t stay for the Mass if you’re going to play along with a disobedient priest’s ideas.

Both the Priest is right (that this is closer to the way it was likely done in Jesus’ time) and those who say it is not liturgically proper are right too!

My suggestion is to tell the Priest that you don’t feel comfortable with the situation and have someone else lead the bible study, and then don’t be there at all. I don’t see how you could participate (and take a lead) in just some of it.

Although when I was your age and in those same circumstances, I would have been there. Of course back then there was no CAF or anyone else to check with to see what was acceptable.

Actually, what happened at the Last Supper was an entirely different context, as this was also the Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

This is what Redemptionis Sacramentum notes about the issue of Holy Communion:

[94.] It is not licit for the faithful “to take … by themselves … and, still less, to hand … from one to another” the sacred host or the sacred chalice.181 Moreover, in this regard, the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass.

Thus, the priest is violating the document. This should not be taken lightly and should be charitably brought to his attention. If he remains obstinate, then, the bishop needs to be informed.

Concur with the above – I don’t know if and/or when attendance to an illicit service crosses a line into sin, and shall not speculate.

It is not you who would be causing confusion, but the priest, should he insist on illicit practice. Your example may, in fact, lead others to correct behavior.
(Presuming you all assist at a licit Mass elsewhen, if we are talking about a Sunday or other holy day)


I wasn’t referring to the Last Supper, rather to how early Christians gathered and shared the Eucharistic meal. From my readings of church history, it was nothing like the liturgy and Eucharist of today.

I do understand and appreciate that the Church has rules about this, which is why I suggested that the OP avoid the entire situation, after telling the Priest why.

And I do know that this type of small communal liturgy occurred 40+ years ago at college campuses and similar places where young Catholics gathered. So when I read this it took me back to my own youth.

Redemptionis Sacramentum also has this to say (bold emphasis added):

  1. Grave Matters

[173.] Although the gravity of a matter is to be judged in accordance with the common teaching of the Church and the norms established by her, objectively to be considered among grave matters is anything that puts at risk the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist: namely, anything that contravenes what is set out above in nn. 48-52, 56, 76-77, 79, 91-92, 94, 96, 101-102, 104, 106, 109, 111, 115, 117, 126, 131-133, 138, 153 and 168. Moreover, attention should be given to the other prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law, and especially what is laid down by canons 1364, 1369, 1373, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1385, 1386, and 1398.

It is my understanding that “grave matters,” when committed with full knowledge and consent, constitute mortal sin. While you might want to double-check this with a moral theologian, it would seem to me that it could possibly be mortally sinful to do this. I would ask the priest to change his ways, show him why (provide documentation), and if he refuses to do so, I would not participate in this action.

What you witnessed some 40+ years ago, was experimentation at its worst. Furthermore, it is a bad example of antiquarianism, a heresy long condemned by the Church. Only in this case, this imitation may not have been accurate.

Please cite your sources. Mike Aquila’s book, the Mass of the Early Christians, a well-researched effort, does not necessarily indicate that what you described happened. It may have happened among the Gnostics, but not among the members of the Church.

Maybe illicit, not sinful for you to attend (unless you have some intention/motivation for attending that would make an otherwise good act sinful).

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