Is Eucharist Valid if Unbelieving Priest?

I have read that the blessed Sacrament is not valid unless the priest a): has been validly consecrated, and b): believes in the Real Presence (Body, Blood, Soul and Divniity.)

The priest in question is an older priest who has been a priest for about three years; he’s been at the parish for almost that long. He attended a notorious seminary, and I realize that there is no way I can verify the validiity of the Holy Orders he professed, BUT I have grave doubts that he believes in the real presence (Examples: he mocked me for praying the Rosary because it’s “not praying to God.”; he prays American Native prayers during the homily; he causes scandal by joking about remarrying his divorced wife; he associates with a practicing homosexual, I could go on.)

I have changed parishes and have refrained from Detraction or gossip regarding this man. But aside from my own ego and pride, I am extremely concerned that his remaining parishioners might think that they are receiving Bread, when in reality they are receiving a stone. This weighs so heavily on my mind!

I can find out easily by going to his confessional and asking something like “How does Jesus get into the Host?” If, by his answer, I determine that he doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, what do I do then? I have no access to a Bishop and no priest to talk to. This particular priest is unapproachable. And what if he is invalidly consecrated anyway?

What if he had to leave and the parish couldn’t obtain another priest? (A real possibility.) Which would be worse - a priest with inadequate formation harming his flock, or no priest at all? (The parish would have to depend on guest priests or drive 16 miles away if a new priest couldn’ be found.)

Should I pursue this or hope that the Sacrament is valid? Help, someone! I don’t want to hurt anyone! God Forbid that someone might lose his faith, but how many may have lost theirs already? (I see a significant number attending the new parish; how many have just stopped attending altogether?

As long as the priest is saying Mass using the Rites of the Church then the Mass is valid, irregardless of the priest’s personal belief. The priest says Mass and confects a sacrament not by his own human power but by Christ acting through him. Christ acts through the Church and as long as the priest is using the Rites of the Church then the sacrament is valid. The Council of Trent explicitly stated that what is required for intention is simply to do what the Church intends. By saying a Catholic Rite of Mass the priest is intending the Church’s intentions even if he doesn’t believe them.

As St. Thomas noted in the Summa:

III, q. 64, a. 8

Consequently, others with better reason hold that the minister of a sacrament acts in the person of the whole Church, whose minister he is; while in the words uttered by him, the intention of the Church is expressed; and that this suffices for the validity of the sacrament…

And in the next article he states:

III, q. 64

Article 9. Whether faith is required of necessity in the minister of a sacrament?

I answer that, As stated above (Article 5), since the minister works instrumentally in the sacraments, he acts not by his own but by Christ’s power. Now just as charity belongs to a man’s own power so also does faith. Wherefore, just as the validity of a sacrament does not require that the minister should have charity, and even sinners can confer sacraments, as stated above (Article 5); so neither is it necessary that he should have faith, and even an unbeliever can confer a true sacrament, provided that the other essentials be there.

As to the validity of his Holy Orders, he was ordained by a Bishop and thus he was validly ordained. You have no basis to question the ordination rite of the Catholic Church.

If the priest in question has preached something against the faith you can write a letter detailing your concerns to the local Ordinary for him to look into.

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