Valid or not?


#1

A friend of mine reported that she went to a Catholic Parish out of town while on vacation for Mass. She said that the priest received AFTER everyone else had received. Is this Mass valid? I have never heard that before.

Sadly I don't attend the parish in my town because the priest brings all the kids up to gather around the altar while he prays the prayer of consecration. At no time does he have them kneel, bow, or anything. They just stand there. Then he adds things in, sort of winging the prayer. It drives me crazy. Then he tells everyone to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer which I will not do. Where is the Bishop???


#2

[quote="Irishgal49, post:1, topic:306883"]
A friend of mine reported that she went to a Catholic Parish out of town while on vacation for Mass. She said that the priest received AFTER everyone else had received. Is this Mass valid? I have never heard that before.

Sadly I don't attend the parish in my town because the priest brings all the kids up to gather around the altar while he prays the prayer of consecration. At no time does he have them kneel, bow, or anything. They just stand there. Then he adds things in, sort of winging the prayer. It drives me crazy. Then he tells everyone to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer which I will not do. Where is the Bishop???

[/quote]

The priest should not be receiving after everyone else has received. But that would not be enough to make the Mass invalid.


#3

I remember sometime ago I had a chat with our parish priest about validity and Mass. He explained to me that the Mass cannot be invalid. He said that the terms 'valid' and 'invalid' cannot be applied to a liturgy and the Mass is a liturgy. Valid means that something has taken effect so if Mass has been celebrated how could it be invalid, i.e. not have happened.

When Mass is celebrated the sacrament of the Eucharist takes place. When the priest celebrates Mass the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. That action can be valid (has effect) or invalid (nothing happens).

There are rubrics that tell us how to celebrate Mass. The rubrics are a form of church law. If the rubrics are not followed church law is not followed so Mass can be described as illicit (church laws broken).


#4

[quote="St_Stephen, post:3, topic:306883"]
I remember sometime ago I had a chat with our parish priest about validity and Mass. He explained to me that the Mass cannot be invalid. He said that the terms 'valid' and 'invalid' cannot be applied to a liturgy and the Mass is a liturgy. Valid means that something has taken effect so if Mass has been celebrated how could it be invalid, i.e. not have happened.

When Mass is celebrated the sacrament of the Eucharist takes place. When the priest celebrates Mass the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. That action can be valid (has effect) or invalid (nothing happens).

There are rubrics that tell us how to celebrate Mass. The rubrics are a form of church law. If the rubrics are not followed church law is not followed so Mass can be described as illicit (church laws broken).

[/quote]

Technically, this is correct. There is no such thing as an invalid Mass. Mass, by definition, is a valid confection of the Eucharist. And, I'm assuming the priest is also having a proper understanding that the sacraments work ex opere operato. In other words, if the right minister has the right intention, with the right "stuff," and says the right words, then the sacrament happens. But, to suggest that we can do nothing to render the Eucharist invalid is wrong.

For instance, a layman can try to celebrate Mass. He can say the right words, with the right intention, and using the right stuff. But, because he is not a priest, it would be invalid. And, the priest is correct. This faux action would not be Mass.

However, we always assume validity. For example, with marriages, the Church assumes validity until a given marriage is shown to be invalid. We have to quite sure that something is invalid before declaring it. So, to the OP, I would follow the guidance of the Church. Assume that your friend attended a valid Mass. But, this priest is not being faithful. Pray, and maybe fast, for him.


#5

[quote="buc_fan33, post:4, topic:306883"]
Technically, this is correct. There is no such thing as an invalid Mass. Mass, by definition, is a valid confection of the Eucharist. And, I'm assuming the priest is also having a proper understanding that the sacraments work ex opere operato. In other words, if the right minister has the right intention, with the right "stuff," and says the right words, then the sacrament happens. But, to suggest that we can do nothing to render the Eucharist invalid is wrong.

For instance, a layman can try to celebrate Mass. He can say the right words, with the right intention, and using the right stuff. But, because he is not a priest, it would be invalid. And, the priest is correct. This faux action would not be Mass.

However, we always assume validity. For example, with marriages, the Church assumes validity until a given marriage is shown to be invalid. We have to quite sure that something is invalid before declaring it. So, to the OP, I would follow the guidance of the Church. Assume that your friend attended a valid Mass. But, this priest is not being faithful. Pray, and maybe fast, for him.

[/quote]

This is not what the priest said to me. Perhaps I didn't put it across well. He said Mass can be neither valid or invalid. These terms basically mean something has happened or it hasn't. If Mass was celebrated how can it be invalid? It happened. It can be celebrated according to the rubrics and be licit or the rubrics can be "broken" and the Mass is illicit.

During Mass the Eucharist is celebrated. It is the Eucharist that can be valid (the Eucharist is confected) or it is invalid (nothing happens). You could have Mass where the Eucharist is valid or invalid. I think there are four things needed to make Mass valid:

[LIST=1]
]ordained priest with his bishop's permission to celebrate Mass or ordained bishop
]priest or bishop celebrant has the proper intent
*]the proper form is used - words of the consecration
*]the proper matter is used - wheat bread and grape wine
[/LIST]
*Mass can be concelebrated too.


#6

[quote="St_Stephen, post:5, topic:306883"]

the proper form is used - words of the consecration

[/quote]

Just pointing out that the only words that must be said or reasonably attempted at are "this is my body" and "this is my blood".
In other words, the proper form can be really really messed up and it's valid. Terrible, sacrilegious, and disrespectful, but valid.


#7

[quote="waanju, post:6, topic:306883"]
Just pointing out that the only words that must be said or reasonably attempted at are "this is my body" and "this is my blood".
In other words, the proper form can be really really messed up and it's valid. Terrible, sacrilegious, and disrespectful, but valid.

[/quote]

How wrong do you suggest they can be before they render the Eucharist invalid? As I understand it all seven sacraments have a form (words) that are needed to make the sacrament valid.


#8

[quote="St_Stephen, post:7, topic:306883"]
How wrong do you suggest they can be before they render the Eucharist invalid? As I understand it all seven sacraments have a form (words) that are needed to make the sacrament valid.

[/quote]

I was at an event where someone posed a question to a very faithful and true to the rubrics and knowledgeable about Church teaching priest, asking at what point a mass was invalid.
He said that as long as there is:
-a validly ordained priest
-bread of wheat and wine of grapes
-the priest says "this is my body" and "this is my blood" (he mentioned that stuttering or accidentally misspeaking (ie theese is my body) as long as the priest intended to use the right words and one could reasonably understand the meaning were okay)

then it is a valid mass. Even if, (to quote him) "the priest is dressed like barney and people are dancing on the altar".

He did suggest that anyone encountering such a mass should send a letter to the bishop and find a new parish, though.


#9

[quote="St_Stephen, post:3, topic:306883"]
I remember sometime ago I had a chat with our parish priest about validity and Mass. He explained to me that the Mass cannot be invalid. He said that the terms 'valid' and 'invalid' cannot be applied to a liturgy and the Mass is a liturgy. Valid means that something has taken effect so if Mass has been celebrated how could it be invalid, i.e. not have happened.

When Mass is celebrated the sacrament of the Eucharist takes place. When the priest celebrates Mass the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. That action can be valid (has effect) or invalid (nothing happens).

There are rubrics that tell us how to celebrate Mass. The rubrics are a form of church law. If the rubrics are not followed church law is not followed so Mass can be described as illicit (church laws broken).

[/quote]

[quote="buc_fan33, post:4, topic:306883"]
Technically, this is correct. There is no such thing as an invalid Mass. Mass, by definition, is a valid confection of the Eucharist. And, I'm assuming the priest is also having a proper understanding that the sacraments work ex opere operato. In other words, if the right minister has the right intention, with the right "stuff," and says the right words, then the sacrament happens. But, to suggest that we can do nothing to render the Eucharist invalid is wrong.

For instance, a layman can try to celebrate Mass. He can say the right words, with the right intention, and using the right stuff. But, because he is not a priest, it would be invalid. And, the priest is correct. This faux action would not be Mass.

However, we always assume validity. For example, with marriages, the Church assumes validity until a given marriage is shown to be invalid. We have to quite sure that something is invalid before declaring it. So, to the OP, I would follow the guidance of the Church. Assume that your friend attended a valid Mass. But, this priest is not being faithful. Pray, and maybe fast, for him.

[/quote]

If I understand correctly, this is false. Mass is technically a separate act from the confection of the Eucharist. Mass cannot be celebrated without the confection of the Eucharist, but the Eucharist can be confected outside of the celebration of Mass. Now, this is absolutely forbidden, but it can be done.

Furthermore, as I understand it, the Sacrifice itself is not complete until the priest receives Holy Communion under both Kinds. When we talk about the validity "of a Mass," this must happen:

1) The priest must consecrate both Species
2) The priest must receive both Species

To have the Eucharist the priest must only do the first, but to have a valid Mass, a complete Sacrifice, the priest must do both. This is because the priest's reception of Holy Communion is the Consummation of the Sacrifice (like the Consummation of the World to Christ). The Sacrificial Act is not complete until the priest Consummates it by eating It, but you can still have the Eucharist without having a valid Mass (ie, without the priest receiving both Species).

I personally understand it like an incomplete Passion. When Christ gave the Apostles bread and wine, It was truly His Body and His Blood, even though the Sacrifice was not chronologically complete (or even begun, really).

There are graces to be received:

1) From the confection of the Eucharist
2) From the completion of the Sacrifice by the priest's both-Species reception
3) From the individual's reception of Holy Communion under either Species
4) To a greater or lesser extent, from a worthy and beautiful reception (for example, the Sacrifice is technically complete as soon as a drop of the Precious Blood touches the priest's tongue, but if he just chops off the rest of the Mass, it is clearly not as efficacious as a complete Mass)


#10

Excellent responses everyone, I appreciate all that everyone is saying. The Mass is valid then if the priest is adding his own little additions to the prayer of consecration. He is using all the words but throwing in his own comments, requests, etc. I don't know why he is doing this since we have intentions for this very thing but he seems to like to add his own little comments in there. But he does use the words he is supposed to --I just hate the add-ons.


#11

[quote="Irishgal49, post:10, topic:306883"]
Excellent responses everyone, I appreciate all that everyone is saying. The Mass is valid then if the priest is adding his own little additions to the prayer of consecration. He is using all the words but throwing in his own comments, requests, etc. I don't know why he is doing this since we have intentions for this very thing but he seems to like to add his own little comments in there. But he does use the words he is supposed to --I just hate the add-ons.

[/quote]

As long as he says, "This is my body, this is my blood," the Eucharist Itself is valid and when you receive It you are receiving the Eucharist.


#12

[quote="Irishgal49, post:1, topic:306883"]
A friend of mine reported that she went to a Catholic Parish out of town while on vacation for Mass. She said that the priest received AFTER everyone else had received. Is this Mass valid? I have never heard that before.

Sadly I don't attend the parish in my town because the priest brings all the kids up to gather around the altar while he prays the prayer of consecration. At no time does he have them kneel, bow, or anything. They just stand there. Then he adds things in, sort of winging the prayer. It drives me crazy. Then he tells everyone to hold hands during the Lord's Prayer which I will not do. Where is the Bishop???

[/quote]

A Mass is valid as long as the priest use the correct words of consecration AND receives Communion.


#13

From my understanding, from what my parish priest explained, the issues that you describe would render the Mass illicit rather than invalid. At a basic level invalid means that something does not happen. Let’s take for example if the priest used Dundee cake and coke for the matter. The Eucharist would be invalid. It would not happen. The Eucharist was not confected. At Communion the comminicants would receive a slice of Dundee cake and a drink of coke. They would not receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.

If a Mass is celebrated it happened. For example, today the choir may have given a beautiful rendition of the Gloria in Latin using Gregorian chant. That would be illicit because the Gloria is not to be used on this Sunday. It would not make the Mass invalid. The Mass still happened. Clearly, some illicit actions would be going too far. For example, the priest might dress as a circus clown and during the entrance procession do cart wheels down the aisle. This would certainly be illicit and probably sacriligious. But, the Eucharist might still be validly confected.

I cannot see how a Mass can be invalid. If a Mass is celebrated it happened, even if illicit. That’s just my opinion based on a conversation one Sunday morning with a priest. I won’t claim to be an expert in sacramental theology.


#14

Of course a Mass can be invalid! If the Eucharist is not confected, then the Mass did not happen. You cannot have a Mass without the Eucharist. If there is not valid matter - if the hosts are made in such a manner that they are invalid matter (not illicit, invalid), then they are not consecrated, no matter how well the priest says the words of consecration. Equally, with wine that is not valid matter - for instance, sherry, or port.

It is most unlikely that a priest will so thoroughly change the words of consecration that they would be invalid - I have been subjected to many illicit Masses, where I felt like screaming at the priest (I didn't), but every one of the priests said the actual words of consecration correctly. However, it is quite possible that hosts that are invalid could be used, particularly in parishes (hopefully few and far between) where some of the laity make bread that has sugar, or honey, or other ingredients in it that will invalidate it.

No Eucharist, no Mass. If the Eucharist is not valid, then the Mass was invalid. There is no such thing as a valid Mass without a valid Eucharist.


#15

[quote="Joan_M, post:14, topic:306883"]
Of course a Mass can be invalid! If the Eucharist is not confected, then the Mass did not happen. You cannot have a Mass without the Eucharist. If there is not valid matter - if the hosts are made in such a manner that they are invalid matter (not illicit, invalid), then they are not consecrated, no matter how well the priest says the words of consecration. Equally, with wine that is not valid matter - for instance, sherry, or port.

It is most unlikely that a priest will so thoroughly change the words of consecration that they would be invalid - I have been subjected to many illicit Masses, where I felt like screaming at the priest (I didn't), but every one of the priests said the actual words of consecration correctly. However, it is quite possible that hosts that are invalid could be used, particularly in parishes (hopefully few and far between) where some of the laity make bread that has sugar, or honey, or other ingredients in it that will invalidate it.

No Eucharist, no Mass. If the Eucharist is not valid, then the Mass was invalid. There is no such thing as a valid Mass without a valid Eucharist.

[/quote]

I have based my postings on what was explained to me by a priest. Are you putting forward a personal opinion or restating some teaching of the church. I've joined this site to learn more about the church. If you can point to where this teaching is found I'd be much obliged.:)


#16

[quote="St_Stephen, post:15, topic:306883"]
I have based my postings on what was explained to me by a priest. Are you putting forward a personal opinion or restating some teaching of the church. I've joined this site to learn more about the church. If you can point to where this teaching is found I'd be much obliged.:)

[/quote]

As I've noted here:
[T]he difference between a valid Consecration and a valid Mass is one I've taken pains to point out on a number of other threads. Let me give an example of its relevance, however: if the priest does everything that he normally does at Mass, but omits to take communion himself, then (1) the Eucharist is valid, hence the other people there who received it actually received Jesus Christ, but (2) it was not a Mass, hence the priest is forbidden under Canon Law to accept a stipend for it.

I doubt if you will find a list of four or five pithy "requirements for a valid Mass," since it is not really an issue that comes up that often and, as CTG notes, the Mass is not itself a sacrament. In fact, the validity or not of the Mass has no bearing at all on the validity of the Eucharist. We know that leaving out some things (candles) does not negate the Mass; others (the priest's communion) do. Leaving out the entire Liturgy of the Word, or the Offertory? I'm just not sure.

[M]any people . . . fail to make this distinction (because it is almost never relevant to people's lives). So [a certain] website says, "For a Mass to be invalid, the Consecration of the Eucharist does not occur." But that is not true. For instance, if a priest, trying to consecrate matter to be distributed at the hospital, walks into a room and just says the words of consecration over bread and wine, the consecration of the Eucharist does occur, but obviously you do not have a Mass. Or if, in a normal Mass setting, the priest mistakenly uses invalid wine (e.g., rice wine), then the consecration of the bread occurs, but you do not have a Mass because Mass requires the consecration of both species.


#17

[quote="MarkThompson, post:16, topic:306883"]
As I've noted here:[T]he difference between a valid Consecration and a valid Mass is one I've taken pains to point out on a number of other threads. Let me give an example of its relevance, however: if the priest does everything that he normally does at Mass, but omits to take communion himself, then (1) the Eucharist is valid, hence the other people there who received it actually received Jesus Christ, but (2) it was not a Mass, hence the priest is forbidden under Canon Law to accept a stipend for it.

I doubt if you will find a list of four or five pithy "requirements for a valid Mass," since it is not really an issue that comes up that often and, as CTG notes, the Mass is not itself a sacrament. In fact, the validity or not of the Mass has no bearing at all on the validity of the Eucharist. We know that leaving out some things (candles) does not negate the Mass; others (the priest's communion) do. Leaving out the entire Liturgy of the Word, or the Offertory? I'm just not sure.

[M]any people . . . fail to make this distinction (because it is almost never relevant to people's lives). So [a certain] website says, "For a Mass to be invalid, the Consecration of the Eucharist does not occur." But that is not true. For instance, if a priest, trying to consecrate matter to be distributed at the hospital, walks into a room and just says the words of consecration over bread and wine, the consecration of the Eucharist does occur, but obviously you do not have a Mass. Or if, in a normal Mass setting, the priest mistakenly uses invalid wine (e.g., rice wine), then the consecration of the bread occurs, but you do not have a Mass because Mass requires the consecration of both species.

[/quote]

So if a priest doesn't take communion are you saying the Mass is illicit, against the rules. Are you saying it didn't happen, invalid. This is where I'm struggling with this idea. My parish priest said invalid means not happened. Eevn if a Mass is not done properly it's happened, hasn't it? It's very confusing.


#18

[quote="St_Stephen, post:17, topic:306883"]
So if a priest doesn't take communion are you saying the Mass is illicit, against the rules. Are you saying it didn't happen, invalid. This is where I'm struggling with this idea. My parish priest said invalid means not happened. Eevn if a Mass is not done properly it's happened, hasn't it? It's very confusing.

[/quote]

If the priest says the correct words of consecration but does not receive Communion himself then the Mass is invalid, i.e. the Mass did not take place.


#19

[quote="St_Stephen, post:17, topic:306883"]
So if a priest doesn't take communion are you saying the Mass is illicit, against the rules. Are you saying it didn't happen, invalid. This is where I'm struggling with this idea. My parish priest said invalid means not happened. Eevn if a Mass is not done properly it's happened, hasn't it? It's very confusing.

[/quote]

Yes, that's what's I'm saying. Now, it was the Eucharist, and people who received it did receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. But if the priest failed to complete the sacrifice by communicating himself, it was not a Mass. The effects of this would include, for instance, that the priest may not canonically accept a Mass stipend for having said it, just as he could not for holding a Communion service.


#20

[quote="MarkThompson, post:19, topic:306883"]
Yes, that's what's I'm saying. Now, it was the Eucharist, and people who received it did receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. But if the priest failed to complete the sacrifice by communicating himself, it was not a Mass. The effects of this would include, for instance, that the priest may not canonically accept a Mass stipend for having said it, just as he could not for holding a Communion service.

[/quote]

I think I've got it now. Tried looking up 'invalid' in the Catholic Encyclopedia but it's not there. I checked an ordinary dictionary and I can see how invalid can be used for Mass.


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