If I should encounter a Liturgical Abuse


I understand that it is important to speak to the Priest, and then possibly the Bishop, if one encounters a Liturgical Abuse. But if there is an abuse of a fairly minor sort (say, the presence of Extraordinary Ministers for a situation that may not warrant them), does that invalidate the Mass in question? I ask because I do not know, and because I am terrified by the prospect of possibly never having attended a valid Mass in years (if this is the case, which i dearly hope it isn’t). I’m also worried by the possibility of the absolute war that will erupt if I suggest to my parents that we go somewhere for Mass other than the place we’ve gone for the last 18+ years. Please, can somebody ease my mind on this matter?

PS - There is an additional complication to this matter, namely that the Priests in my diocese are few and quite advanced in years, and may legitimately not be able to serve the Eucharist alone. I do not know, I have not investigated the matter thoroughly.


No, the use of Extraordinary Ministers in cases where they are not needed does not invalidate the Mass. Really the only things that can actually invalidate a Mass are improper matter (for the bread and wine) or improper or lack of words of institution. The overuse of EMs would not even make the Mass illicit.


Please be at peace!

As Rand Al’Thor said, the only thing that will invalidate a Mass is invalid matter (i.e. not using bread and wine) or invalid form (i.e. changing the words of consecration in a substantial way).

You do not need to be the liturgical police. That is not your job. It’s not your role to “investigate thoroughly” and ascertain whether a priest is using extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion appropriately. Satan uses such things to drive a wedge in our hearts and spoil the graces of the Mass that are available to us.

When I first became more aware of what the liturgy is and more conscientious about my relationship with Jesus, I became a liturgical snob looking for “abuse” wherever I went. Such thinking is destructive and not conducive to holiness. (And most of the time, I found that I was actually wrong about there being any abuse at all.)

Obviously, if you see the priest trying to consecrate pizza and beer, you’re going to need to run things up the chain of command and make your concerns known. Such extreme abuse is not really that common, though.

So let it go. And, again, be at peace.


Have you been talking to people who have planted these doubts in your mind? It is not usual for a person to come up with these doubts on their own, esp. a young person.

In order for a Mass to be invalid, either improper matter or form for the Eucharist has to be present (there may some circumstances in which a non-ordained man poses as a priest–that of course would invalidate the Eucharist). That is very rare for that to happen. And many things that people claim to be abuses really aren’t.

In order to ease your mind you need to study up on what the Church actually teaches, and to trust your spiritual leaders to do the right thing. Be very discerning about who you listen to.


Thank you all. I will have more faith in my priests from now on. Honestly, I should have looked up the matter more thoroughly first. I will also be careful not to let such things turn me into a hard-hearted cretin, although they are of course important. I think this thread can be considered closed now, for all intents and purposes.

Thank you all again.


Anything wrong if a priest gives a homily in an area other than the altar? Didn’t bother me, just wondered what the protocol was.


Nope. It can be given at the presider’s chair or at the ambo or, when appropriate, in another suitable place (GIRM 136)


Thank you for that. I enjoy the Homilies they do great reverence to the Gospels.

Anything wrong with a projector screen? This doesn’t ever happen at the Mass I attend, but the following Mass I’ve seen it. I know, very modern, maybe too much so.


What a wonderful post! I’m sure this will help many people. Thanks for posting.


Chances are all the Masses you’ve attended are valid. DeDefectibus, written a long time ago, gives a lot of leeway in that regard. Whether things are legal or not, I’ve learned it’s probably best if we don’t make that decision. There is so much licet, opertet, decet, placet, etc., written into law that we’ll just have to trust our bishops on that. We can always attend a valid Mass elsewhere if we feel we aren’t spiritually nourished at one.


I would also make very sure that indeed there was a liturgical error, and it was not one of the licit but maybe little used options, before firing off a letter to the bishop or priest. Might save a lot of :blush: to do the research first.

Moreover, priests are human, and an occasional error such as forgetting to include the Gloria at a feast during a weekday Mass, can happen even unintentionally. Unless the error happens systematically, it is just that, an error, and not an “abuse”.


Some of you guys have no compassion for your priests, elderly or not. Some of these men have to serve three masses on Sunday. You want communion on the tongue which means the priest has to reach up to your mouth. (possibly a good reason to let you kneel) He has to stand for whole mass. If he uses EMHC as little too much for your liking, he may have sore feet or a sore shoulder. He may be exhausted from having been visiting the sick. Give him the benefit of the doubt. You want him to be available all the time to hear your confessions or give you guidance. The priest is human. Unless there are obvious abuses like changing the words or consecrating the wrong matter, then let it slide. You would not like to have your priest’s job. Those who are male have chosen not to be priests. Most priests are doing the best they can. Instead of complaining about him, invite him for dinner occasionally or along on a family outing. He would be most grateful.


:thumbsup: More good advice


He took pizza and sliced it, saying, take this all of you and eat it, for my doctor says I need to limit saturated fats. Then he took beer and said, take this all of you and drink it, for I joined AA last week.

Would this be abuse beyond tolerance? :rotfl

Thanks for the visual…gave me a good chuckle…


Peace be with you.


Nothing in the GIRM to the contrary. Modern maybe but then so are electric lighting and (shock horror) microphones. anything which assists people in the celebration of the mass can’t be all bad!


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