Valid vs. Licit consecration

In the 6/17/03 CAL Open Forum, Karl was explaining that during the consecration that the minimum words that need to be said are “This is My Body. This is My Blood.” He said if the other words are dropped you’d still have a “valid” although “not licit” consecration.

Could someone define the differences between valid and licit in this context?

“Valid” means that consecration would take place – The bread and wine would be transubstantiated into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Eucharist would be confected.
(“Invalid” would indicate that such was not the case)

“Licit” means something is done according to the law. “Illicit” is in violation of or against the law.


Thanks for the reply. So would that then mean if a priest only said the necessary 8 words, that the Eucharist would be confected, but that the mass would be invalid?

The word valid is properly applied to the confection of the Holy Eucharist rather than the Mass as a whole. The Mass, in this case, would be be illicit, since it was not conducted according to Church law.

If the priest merely dropped the other words around the consecrations, then the Mass would not be according to proper form, and thus illicit. But it would be a valid Mass and consecration.

Now, if this is all the priest did and didn’t bother with any other parts of the Mass at all, it would be questionable whether his intent was really to celebrate Mass and if this were even a valid consecration.

I don’t know how closely the OP is quoting the show in question, but I think we also have to be careful when addressing the two of these qualities. The Church (it seems to me) often makes a judgment about one while being silent about the other, and perhaps deliberately so.

For instance, another issue of licity that is often brought up is that in the Latin Rite, the bread intended for the Eucharist is to be made of wheaten flour and water. The addition of other ingredients renders it illicit – This is true whether the addition is a spoonful of honey, or enough milk, eggs, baking powder, vanilla et cetera to result in wedding cake. But (AFAIK) the Church does not address whether or how much an additive or additives affect the validity.


There is no such thing as an invalid Mass. No matter how much the priest screws it up, as long as you are at the church and offer your praise and worship to God during a regularly-scheduled Mass time, your Sunday obligation (hereafter referred to as Sunday privilege) is fulfilled.

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