For those that ask the question, "Is this consecration valid/licit?"

What would you do if you got the answer that the consecration you witnessed/questioned was not valid or licit?

And some more questions to go along with the first. Do you spend every mass with baited breath waiting for the priest to slip up and say or do something that could be wrong? Do you go “Aha! I have a question that I can ask on CAF now!” Why don’t you simply ask you priest about what you saw/heard?

It seems very disrespectful to me that so many priests are being questioned on a daily basis here.

Is it possible that in reality people are questioning their understanding of the Mass more that the priest actions? It appears to me that on internet a lot of times people use poor wording to ask their questions.

It is a personal idiosyncrasy I have that I react immediately and poorly to errors of various types. When I see a typo or grammar error, my eyes are drawn to it. So it is during a liturgy, that my attention is grabbed by something out of the ordinary, so to speak. I dislike illicit changes in the Mass, but I am not the type to be writing letters to my bishop about it.

I have faith that my own pastor is an orthodox man, and can be trusted, along with most ministers in my parish, to carefully follow the liturgical guidelines as Rome expresses them. However, I do not have the same faith when I travel, or make a pilgrimage to some church, that I will automatically find the same type of orthodoxy. If I saw or heard something odd, no, I would not ask the priest there, because the priest is not the authority on liturgy. The bishop of a diocese is the immediate authority in these matters, but even he does not have the power to add or change things that have not been designated to him. Priests have the responsibility to read and understand current Church documents so as to follow liturgical norms, and their responsibility extends to catechesis of the faithful on matters that pertain to us. But many priests do not stay current, or do not wish to follow the rules.

In the theoretical case if I were traveling and saw a bishop do something possibly illicit then no, I would not approach him to ask about this, because charity prevails, and I did not question the validity. If I did question validity, then I might be inclined to bother the bishop.

In any case, I would feel justified to post here in the Liturgy and Sacraments forum. My anonymity here is assured, and I do not disclose my diocese or parish. There are knowledgeable people here, who know the church documents, and are happy to take the time and look things up if I do not already know where to look. In fact I had a question for Holy Week when my choir was about to do something, and I needed quick opinions on whether it was permissible. The priest could have answered this competently, but was not available in that time frame. The forum goers here provided an excellent range of responses from which I was able to determine a course of action.

I do find it upsetting that people resort to much gossip and name-calling and denigrating clergy sometimes. As a product of Catholic school, and a current Knight of Columbus, I can tell you that I have a profound respect for the very offices of deacon, priest and bishop, and personal attacks on priests are in very poor taste. (There is a current smear campaign which is not being conducted in this forum due to the moratorium, thank God for that.) But lively debate and polite disagreements are the stuff of every forum, and I am happy that CAF provides a good place like this forum for the enlightenment of the faithful such as myself.

I agree with you that very often poor wording is involved. Then you have the incidents of, "the priest added an ______ (insert word and, if, or, but of choice) in the prayer. Or someone questions the priests posture, “His right hand was not exactly even with his left hand. Gasp.” :eek:

I know those were silly examples. But it seems some will delight in any reason to see scandal even if there was no scandal.

Thank you for answering.

So what would you do if you found that the mass/consecration was not valid?

Of primary importance, I would defer judgement until a competent authority had issued an opinion on that. But to protect myself, I would not return to such a person or place if I had serious doubts as to validity. If the sacrament had officially been declared valid, I might try to contact friends or acquaintances who had attended at the same time, to notify them about the issue. Not to gossip, and not to forum-goers or the general public, but to inform them that the sacrament had not happened as we thought it had.

The question is bigger than just a Eucharistic celebration, too. What if a baptism, or reconciliation service was not valid? We saw a recent contentious thread about general absolution. An invalid Mass still has the occasion to nourish us with the Word of God from properly done biblical readings. An invalid reconciliation, or baptism, can truly endanger souls. I would want to take the same steps as above.

I understand you feelings. I don’t think that folks are looking for things to go wrong (at least I hope not!), but I do sometimes wish for a more trusting or charitable attitude.

I also think a question to the priest (especially the priest at our home parish) would go a long way. Not “Father, I think that was wrong, explain yourself!” but “Father, I’ve never seen/heard that before. Tell me about it please.”

You are abosolutely right and I point this out every chance I get on CAF as I am sure you do. Someting is wrong if a person does not have a communicating relationship with their priest. If it concerns the priest, be direct and ask him. If you can’t do that, then ask the help of a deacon to assist you in addressing the priest.

Be part of your own church community more than the CAF community. Don’t go advice shopping, this defeats the purpose of your relationship with the church and may put you in the position of gossiping.

Good point about the sacraments. Since I was mainly thinking about the Eucharist with the original question, you’ve given me something to muse over.

That would be more along what I think ought to be done instead of hashing it out here. I attended a Sunday mass once with a priest with an accent I was not used to hearing. During the consecration I would have sworn he dark angels. Then to bring what I heard to this forum and ask about the validity of the consecrations, etc. and so forth with the possibility of going to the bishop about what the priest had done. Oy, the mess that could have created for someone.

Yeah, he said archangels.

So I’m all for quietly asking a priest about changes or perceived changes.

This is my first time asking about this subject. And I totally agree with you.

When I first started reading the CAF forums, I would read those posts like they were juicy gossip. Now, it the posts fall into the bored “oh, not another one” and bordering on the “get a life” category. Which was why I felt I needed to post the original question.

Thanks to some of the responses I can be more charitable with my thoughts.

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