Mass without a Priest


#1

I know I am probably betraying my ignorance here (so be gentle with me :wink: ) but if the sacraments operate ex opere operato which I think I translate correctly as “by the fact of the actions being performed” - if the correct words are said by anyone is the Eucharist valid, and does transubstantiation take place?

if not, what does that phrase mean?

Thanks!


#2

No. Without a priest there is no Mass. Only a validly ordained priest can confect the Eucharist and absolve sins.


#3

The authority of the one performing the actions is key. I as a deacon have authority to baptize small children under the age of reason and therefore orriginal sin is washed away, however, I do not have authority to forgive personal sin.


#4

[quote="ianjmatt, post:1, topic:299640"]
I know I am probably betraying my ignorance here (so be gentle with me ;) ) but if the sacraments operate ex opere operato which I think I translate correctly as "by the fact of the actions being performed" - if the correct words are said by anyone is the Eucharist valid, and does transubstantiation take place?

if not, what does that phrase mean?

Thanks!

[/quote]

No, for the Eucharist to be confected, a validly ordained bishop or priest with the right intention (to confect the Eucharist), with the right matter (wheaten bread and grape wine), are required.

If anyone else says the words of consecration, nothing at all happens. It remains bread and wine in substance.


#5

Thanks. So what, in the context of the eucharist, does ex opere operato mean?


#6

[quote="Lapey, post:3, topic:299640"]
The authority of the one performing the actions is key. I as a deacon have authority to baptize small children under the age of reason and therefore orriginal sin is washed away, however, I do not have authority to forgive personal sin.

[/quote]

This is very interesting to me! Now after giving it thought, it makes sense that you as a deacon are able to baptize only children under the age of reason, but I had never even considered the limitation before. Thanks for teaching me something new today. :)


#7

Ex opere operato, by the working of the work itself, means that the sacrament is valid so long as matter, form, and intention are correct, regardless of the disposition of the minister (who must still be a validly ordained minister). What this means is that so long as you are using bread and wine of proper constitution, the proper ritual words given by the Church in the context of her liturgy, and intend to do what the Church does in the sacrament (i.e. confect the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ), then the consecration occurs. Let’s say you have a priest who is in mortal sin or who does not believe any longer in the Eucharist or even in God–by virtue of his using proper matter (bread and wine) and form (the ritual of the Church), his intention is presumed, even if it is not fully formed within him. In short, ex opere operato means that as long as all the other factors are present–matter, form, intent, and the validly ordained minister–the sacrament still occurs, even if the priest’s disposition is not complete or correct.

-ACEGC


#8

In short, ex opere operato means that as long as all the other factors are present–matter, form, intent, and the validly ordained minister–the sacrament still occurs, even if the priest’s disposition is not complete or correct.

This protects both the people and the priest. The people don’t have to worry about attending an invalid Mass. The priest doesn’t have to be questioned about his intent before every Mass.


#9

[quote="edward_george, post:7, topic:299640"]
Ex opere operato, by the working of the work itself, means that the sacrament is valid so long as matter, form, and intention are correct, regardless of the disposition of the minister (who must still be a validly ordained minister). What this means is that so long as you are using bread and wine of proper constitution, the proper ritual words given by the Church in the context of her liturgy, and intend to do what the Church does in the sacrament (i.e. confect the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ), then the consecration occurs. Let's say you have a priest who is in mortal sin or who does not believe any longer in the Eucharist or even in God--by virtue of his using proper matter (bread and wine) and form (the ritual of the Church), his intention is presumed, even if it is not fully formed within him. In short, ex opere operato means that as long as all the other factors are present--matter, form, intent, and the validly ordained minister--the sacrament still occurs, even if the priest's disposition is not complete or correct.

-ACEGC

[/quote]

Very helpful - thank you.

Why is ti different when it comes to baptism then, when only the correct form being used is sufficient?


#10

Probably b/c you don't need a Priest or anyone ordained for a baptism to be valid. I was baptized in the Baptist church...not by the preacher. I had no record of it. The records were destroyed during Katrina. My Priest asked if there was a video, pictures or a witness. The friend who did it died last year, my parents were there, but they are dead as well. He finally accepted a call with my cousin (Catholic) who remembered my talking about being baptized.


#11

[quote="ianjmatt, post:9, topic:299640"]
Very helpful - thank you.

Why is ti different when it comes to baptism then, when only the correct form being used is sufficient?

[/quote]

Umm... it isn't different for baptism! You still need form, matter, and intention. The form is the rite of baptism (at the very least, the proper baptismal formula 'I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'), the matter is water, and the intention is to baptize into the Christian faith. What's different is that it isn't necessary to be a priest in order to baptize -- in danger of death, any person may baptize. In ordinary circumstances, an ordained person should be the one celebrating the baptism.

btw, the reason Lapey said "under the age of reason" doesn't have anything to do with him being a deacon, per se -- it has to do with the fact that, for teens and adults, the proper way to initiate a person is through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which is a process that culminates at the Easter vigil, and includes baptism, First Communion, and confirmation (as applicable to the particular person). Although confirmation usually requires a bishop, a priest can get permission (and usually has it in general) to do this in his parish at the Easter vigil...


#12

Technically with out a priest (or bishop) there can be no Mass.


#13

I don't know if it has been pointed out, but intentionally carrying out the actions of a priest without actually being a priest, IE impersonating a priest, is a grave offense. I don't know if it incurs excommunication, but it is an impediment to Holy Orders if you ever did want to get ordained in the future.

-Tim-


#14

[quote="TimothyH, post:13, topic:299640"]
I don't know if it has been pointed out, but intentionally carrying out the actions of a priest without actually being a priest, IE impersonating a priest, is a grave offense. I don't know if it incurs excommunication, but it is an impediment to Holy Orders if you ever did want to get ordained in the future.

-Tim-

[/quote]

I think you are correct, simulating a sacrement does hold an automatic ex...I'll have to read up on that one again, but i think you are correct.


#15

[quote="Lapey, post:14, topic:299640"]
I think you are correct, simulating a sacrement does hold an automatic ex...I'll have to read up on that one again, but i think you are correct.

[/quote]

Yes, it is an automatic interdict (and also automatic suspension, if one is a cleric), according to Canon 1378. Only for Mass and absolution, though.


#16

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:8, topic:299640"]
This protects both the people and the priest. The people don't have to worry about attending an invalid Mass. .

[/quote]

Yes they do. If the priest doesn't receive under both species, the sacrifice isn't completed, and the Mass is invalid.


#17

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:16, topic:299640"]
Yes they do. If the priest doesn't receive under both species, the sacrifice isn't completed, and the Mass is invalid.

[/quote]

I believe it is only illicit if the priest doesn't receive both species rather than being invalid as as reception of both species is not part of the "form and matter" of the Eucharist.

Please correct me if I am wrong but the form is the words of institution and the matter is the bread and wine.


#18

A person at the Mass can easily see if the priest consumes both bread and wine. They can't "see" his intentions. If he is struggling with personal doubt, one can't know that just by looking at him. But even if he is, if he performs the actions correctly, with the correct words and bread and wine, the people are protected.


#19

What about water? If the small amount of water is omitted, is that incorret matter?

I’m just curious as I saw it omitted once. Probably just an oversight but it did make me wonder.

-Tim-


#20

The consecration is valid, but the Mass itself isn’t because the sacrifice isn’t completed. So you’re receiving the actual body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus, just of within a valid Mass. This is why mustum had to be introduced for alcoholic priests, and why people with celiacs cannot be ordained priests.


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