Should I go to an unorthodox Mass?

Hi everybody,

I am visiting my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving, and his family is planning on going to Mass on Thanksgiving day. I have been to his Church before, and the parish is very unorthodox (the whole congregation blesses the Eucharist and the priest doesn’t give the homily). The people at the Church are full of love and love for Christ, and I don’t want to look down on them, but there are many liturgical abuses going on. Is it alright to attend the Mass? I feel uncomfortable there, but I don’t want to “skip Mass” when it is available and I don’t want to come across as “holier than thou”. My boyfriend’s family is very kind and full of faith, but the all the parishioners of their parish are missing out and misguided regarding the liturgy.

Thank you and God Bless

Could you explain a bit more by "the whole congregation blesses the Eucharist"?

By the sounds of your description, this parish is practising some outrageous liturgical abuses. I would seriously consider raising it to the attention of the bishop - he needs to know that this sort of thing is going on in his diocese.

[quote="kage_ar, post:2, topic:177283"]
Could you explain a bit more by "the whole congregation blesses the Eucharist"?

[/quote]

I think she means they all say the words of Consecration, but I could be wrong.

To sjmb: if I were you, I would raise the issue with the boyfriend in private to let him know about your discomfort... or attend Mass and do things the normal way (kneeling when you should kneel, saying the proper responses, etc.). I pray that the Eucharist is being consecrated validly there.

Assuming there’s a valid consecration, your option is to receive Jesus in the Eucharist or not. For me that would be an easy decision.

You’re also a guest in someone’s home. Even if the family were non-Catholic, if I were a guest and everyone was going to some kind of prayer service, I would join them without complaint. Not complaining is what a good guest does.

If you feel uncomfortable about receiving communion there or doubt its validity, attend the Mass, refrain from communion, and keep quiet about your reasons.

Without knowing more it would be hard to say. If you can encourage them to go to another parish, that would be good, but that's probably not feasible. But as long as the priest says "This is my body" and "This is my blood" (even if the congregation joins him) and he intends to do what the church does, it would be valid. Since you have a good idea of what's right and wrong, and know that they are doing wrong, your faith is unlikely to be corrupted by what they do, though I suppose you may be scandalized. It's not a sin to attend a Mass that has liturgical abuses.

If it were me I'd probably endure it (and write the bishop). I think your concerns about how you'd be perceived by the family if you explained your reservations are valid, if they are ordinary Catholics.

[quote="eewanco, post:6, topic:177283"]
Without knowing more it would be hard to say. If you can encourage them to go to another parish, that would be good, but that's probably not feasible. But as long as the priest says "This is my body" and "This is my blood" (even if the congregation joins him) and he intends to do what the church does, it would be valid. Since you have a good idea of what's right and wrong, and know that they are doing wrong, your faith is unlikely to be corrupted by what they do, though I suppose you may be scandalized. It's not a sin to attend a Mass that has liturgical abuses.

If it were me I'd probably endure it (and write the bishop). I think your concerns about how you'd be perceived by the family if you explained your reservations are valid, if they are ordinary Catholics.

[/quote]

Best advice!

You can always go to a different mass on Saturday night... or make enduring the mass your penance for the congregation:D

To attend, and especially to partake in, a false Church’s prayer service out of human respect is a sin. A good Catholic doesn’t attend a false Church’s prayer service unless it is a friend’s or relative’s wedding or funeral.

[quote="603304529, post:8, topic:177283"]
To attend, and especially to partake in, a false Church's prayer service out of human respect is a sin. A good Catholic doesn't attend a false Church's prayer service unless it is a friend's or relative's wedding or funeral.

[/quote]

Source, please?

Because that's not my understanding. Nor is it the understanding of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (which happened to come up when I Googled this):

Yes, Catholics may attend Protestant Services. In fact, there are many occasions on which it is appropriate to gather with our separated brothers and sisters in Christ and pray with them, such as at Thanksgiving or other civic gatherings.

However, Catholics should be mindful of a couple of things. First, we should avoid any false ecumenism or appearance that there does not exist between us a real separation. While we can pray together, it is inappropriate for Catholics to receive sacraments for non-Catholic ministers. continued]

Nor is it the understanding of Catholics United for the Faith:

Catholics are not prohibited from attending non-Christian worship services. However, before attending a non-Christian worship service, there are some considerations a Catholic should make. continued]

Clearly a Catholic should not receive communion in a Protestant service and such a service wouldn't fulfill the Sunday obligation. But that doesn't make it a sin to attend a service.

Hi everybody,

Thanks for the responses. When I was talking about how the priest blesses the Eucharist, I mean they bring hosts to multiple areas in the Church, and then the parishioners reach their hands out over the hosts while the priest blesses the Eucharist (I think he says the correct words; it just that everybody else joins in). I want to pray for everybody at the Church; they are simply misguided and think they are doing what is best out of love. Vatican II was misinterpreted and used for these things. The parishioners are very wonderful people. I have spoken with my boyfriend, and he understands the problems (which has been hard for him to do because he was raised going to that Church, and there are great outreach to the poor etc. programs there), but his family is involved in the music ministry there and I know it would be inappropriate to ask them to go somewhere else. I think my only options in this are either to attend or not to. I really appreciate all the advice from everybody. This is a good reminder that we must diligently pray for the magisterium and for loving unity in the Church loyal to the doctrine and the magisterium.

That’s a serious liturgical abuse. I don’t mean I think it’s serious, I mean it is grave matter. It shows that the priest and people don’t understand the sacraments of Holy Orders and the Eucharist (why a priest can consecrate bread and wine whereas a layman cannot). Here’s what the Church has said about this sort of thing:
52. The proclamation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which by its very nature is the climax of the whole celebration, is proper to the Priest by virtue of his Ordination. It is therefore an abuse to proffer it in such a way that some parts of the Eucharistic Prayer are recited by a Deacon, a lay minister, or by an individual member of the faithful, or by all members of the faithful together. The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full.

…]

  1. 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.
    I truly hope this is not graviora delicta, which includes “the attempted celebration of the liturgical action of the Eucharistic Sacrifice or the simulation of the same.” (Redemptionis Sacramentum 172)

Your desire to pray for them, for all of them, is laudable. Please do!

I know you’re not saying this, but there’s often the false impression given that a parish is either obedient (liturgically and otherwise) or concerned with social justice. This is simply not true.

Thank you, japhy. I appreciate the information. I definitely will not take part in such things (though when I went for the first time a year ago and, being a somewhat new Catholic, didn't understand that parishes practice liturgical abuses, I did take part). Do you think I should attend the Mass and simply not participate? Or should I not go?

Also, I do have another question, if you have the time :) I know that the priest is the only one who is supposed to consecrate the bread and wine, but I typically silently pray along with the priest during the Mass, including the consecration, to focus myself (and at times have accidentally said a word out loud while praying). Is this alright? If it is not, then I will stop.

Thanks again to everybody for the help.

God Bless

It’s a tough decision, I admit. So long as the priest is actually consecrating the bread and wine, the Eucharist is being validly confected and our Lord is present substantially in the sacrament. I suppose I would go to the Mass and offer prayers of reparation for the liturgical abnormalities, unless you fear that your presence at the Mass might cause scandal to others, but I don’t think that is the case in your situation.

Yes, it is fine to pray along silently in the Church’s very words. But I would challenge you to not only silently follow the priest’s prayers, but to spiritually unite yourself to their substance. For example, immediately after the consecration and the memorial acclamation, the priest will pray something like, “Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. Look with favor on your Church’s offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself.”

When the priest says those (or similar) words, your spiritual attitude should be one of offering yourself – united to the holy and living sacrifice of the Eucharist – to the Father. You could, for example, pray that God would be pleased with what you have to give Him and see and love in you what He sees and loves in His Son.

In other words, you should be participating internally not only by following the priest’s actions and words, but by uniting yourself spiritually to the intention of those actions and words.

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:5, topic:177283"]
You're also a guest in someone's home. Even if the family were non-Catholic, if I were a guest and everyone was going to some kind of prayer service, I would join them without complaint. Not complaining is what a good guest does.

[/quote]

If you are a guest in someone's home for the entire weekend, and they are going to a Protestant service Sunday morning, when are you going to go to the Catholic Mass?

Thank you very much. That helps a lot.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

Interesting post, and some really sound advice in the responses, but I have a question. The OP stated that the hosts are taken to various places. Does the bread and wine need to be on the Altar for a valid consecration?

One of the nice things about being Catholic is that we typically have multiple opportunities for Mass. We can go Saturday evening, several different times on Sunday morning, and even Sunday evening.

Aren’t we blessed.

And why are you trying to turn this conversation into something else? The OP is talking about going on Thanksgiving Day which is not a day of obligation. If she were staying with the Protestant family of her boyfriend and attended their service, it would take nothing away from her since she has no obligation to attend Mass that day anyway.

As for me, when I stay with friends or family who aren’t Catholic, they understand that I plan to attend Mass on Sunday and we work schedules around that.

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:17, topic:177283"]
One of the nice things about being Catholic is that we typically have multiple opportunities for Mass. We can go Saturday evening, several different times on Sunday morning, and even Sunday evening.

Aren't we blessed.

And why are you trying to turn this conversation into something else? The OP is talking about going on Thanksgiving Day which is not a day of obligation. If she were staying with the Protestant family of her boyfriend and attended their service, it would take nothing away from her since she has no obligation to attend Mass that day anyway.

As for me, when I stay with friends or family who aren't Catholic, they understand that I plan to attend Mass on Sunday and we work schedules around that.

[/quote]

Sorry, my bad. I'm Canadian, my Thanksgiving is on a Sunday...well, Monday...

[quote="Spirithound, post:14, topic:177283"]
If you are a guest in someone's home for the entire weekend, and they are going to a Protestant service Sunday morning, when are you going to go to the Catholic Mass?

[/quote]

Any of the other services that a Parish offers. Such as on Saturday night, or the few that are usually offered on Sunday. When I was Protestant I was able to attend both Mass and my Protestant Service every week, no matter what Parish I was in. Now that I am Catholic and I still have friends at my old church (like the old ladies that were like my grandparents), I am still able to go to both (although I go to the Protestant service to socialize and constantly be a witness to the Truth that is the Catholic Church).

[quote="RichT, post:16, topic:177283"]
The OP stated that the hosts are taken to various places. Does the bread and wine need to be on the Altar for a valid consecration?

[/quote]

Good point. Perhaps a priest or expert liturgist (neither of which I am) could answer. My best guess is that the priest consecrates all the bread and wine which he intends to consecrate, even if it is not touching the corporal on the altar, and even (perhaps?) if by mistake it was not brought to the altar. But this situation does indeed beg the question: does the priest intend to consecrate the hosts that are brought out to the congregation?! If not, I am afraid that there's a far more serious matter at hand!

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