Bishops’ ban on sacraments during pandemic violates Church law, priests can disobey: canonist ‘If the priest believes there is a violation of divine law by the bishop’s directive, he has an obligation to the divine law’

March 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholic bishops issuing blanket bans on the faithful receiving the sacraments as a response to the coronavirus pandemic is a violation of canon law, and a priest can in good conscience disregard such directives, according to an American canonist.

In fact, a priest is obliged to do so, says Philip Gray, the president of St. Joseph’s Foundation, which advises on canon law, and director of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF).

“If the priest believes in his conscience — because primacy of conscience is a matter — if the priest believes there is a violation of divine law by the bishop’s directive, he has an obligation to the divine law,” Gray told LifeSiteNews.

“We’re talking about the life and death of the soul.”

Gray’s response was echoed by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, who told the traditional Catholic newspaper The Remnant that a priest, using discretion and following the necessary health precautions “has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful.”

“If a priest observes in a reasonable manner all the necessary health precautions and uses discretion, he has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful. Such directives are a pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls. Priests in such a situation have to be extremely creative in order to provide for the faithful, even for a small group, the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Such was the pastoral behavior of all confessor and martyr priests in the time of persecution,” he said.

And Cardinal Raymond Burke equally criticized the suspension of public Masses.

“Even as we have found a way to provide for food and medicine and other necessities of life during a time of contagion, without irresponsibly risking the spread of the contagion, so, in a similar way, we can find a way to provide for the necessities of our spiritual life,” the American cardinal said in a March 21 statement.

Gray told LifeSiteNews that Catholic bishops are wrong to cancel public Masses and scheduled confessions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, an argument he expands on in the current issue Christifidelis, the newsletter of the St. Joseph Foundation.

Under canon law, baptized Catholics “have a right to receive the sacraments if they ask for it at an appropriate time, and are properly disposed, and it’s the minister of the sacrament who makes that determination,” Gray told LifeSiteNews.

“It’s not appropriate for a bishop to put blanket prohibitions on the use of the sacraments.”

Rather, bishops “should be collaborating with their priests instead of issuing prohibitions against the sacraments; they should be setting guidelines for the priests to work with,” he said.

“I’m not saying that people should gather 500 at a time and be crushed in like sardines in a church,” Gray noted.

“What I’m saying is that there are reasonable measures that a bishop can put in place to allow all the sacraments to continue. That is what Christ would expect of us. These are the ordinary means of salvation.”

However, as the pandemic continues, the vast majority of American dioceses have canceled all public Masses, and some bishops have gone so far as to ban confession, baptism, and even last rites.

Notably, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark suspended confession except in “extreme emergency” — as well as locking all chapels and churches — and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has ordered a moratorium on baptisms.

Catholic blogger Fr. Zuhlsdorf reported Friday that another bishop ordered confession “be suspended except for those in danger of death,” and that “all other means of providing the Sacrament” should “cease” — particularly drive-through confessions.

More recently, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, told his priests in a March 27 message that the sacrament of last rites is “suspended” in the diocese, according to Catholic News Service.

When it comes to confession, prelates will “want to argue this is not a reasonable time” to ask for confession, “but there’s absolutely no health guidelines in the United States that would prohibit the exercise of regular confessions,” Gray told LifeSiteNews.

Catholics hold that the priest has the power to forgive all sins, acting as God’s instrument of mercy. Confession is integral to Catholic life since it cleanses one from deadly sins that would otherwise cut one off from God and the Kingdom of heaven.

For bishops to suspend this sacrament except in danger of physical death is “insane,” because “that’s placing the soul under the body, and that is a danger of death,” Gray said.

“And if they’re going to say we’re concerned that we’re going to spread death, they are spreading death.”

The Church also teaches that mortal sin can be forgiven by an act of perfect contrition, which is inspired by love of God and sorrow at offending Him, not fear of hell — and that the person must go to sacramental confession at the first opportunity.

But most Catholics in mortal sin don’t understand what perfect contrition means, and “what goes through their mind is to go to confession, so they’re going to go knock on a priest’s door or show up for confession,” Gray said.

He pointed to the Vatican’s March 20 note on providing this sacrament during the pandemic, which said bishops must provide guidelines for priests on implementing appropriate safeguards for hearing confessions.

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of Steubenville, where regularly scheduled confessions continue, is exemplary in this regard, said Gray.

Monforton “put out clear guidelines to make confessions safe and reasonable and fall within the bounds of what the health officials are telling us to do. And people still show up, and line up to go to confession every time.”

Another case in point is Ave Maria Parish in Florida, where the priest, with the blessing of his bishop, devised a way to distribute Holy Communion after Mass to all parishioners.

“It is unprecedented that in a time of crisis, so many bishops are choosing to close churches when they do not have to; or prohibit the exercise of sacraments without coercion from secular laws,” Gray noted in his article.

“My biggest concern is that the church authorities in North America are putting greater restrictions on the distribution of the sacraments than the civil authorities are,”  Gray told LifeSiteNews.

Moreover, under the First Amendment “many of the mass gathering laws or regulations that are being put out by health officials do not apply in churches in the United States,” he observed.

“It is unprecedented that in a time of crisis, so many bishops are choosing to close churches when they do not have to; or prohibit the exercise of sacraments without coercion from secular laws,” Gray wrote in Christifidelis.“It doesn’t have to be this way.”

He urged Catholics to look to the example of Japanese Catholics, who kept the faith without the sacraments for 250 years, principally through praying the Rosary, and to “not let this crisis distort your participation in God’s plan” but to respond in love.

“Let us join this suffering to the Cross of Jesus Christ and make it redemptive,” he wrote.

Saving Lives maybe but definitely not saving souls

President Trump summed up the Corona crisis in one sentence, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”  I think we are reaching critical mass on that.

First off lets look at the positive side of this.  Yes there is actually a positive.  Rank and file Catholics, specifically priests and laity, have come to the aid of mother church with little if any help from most church hierarchy.   In a St. Thomas More like response to the closed churches in just a matter of days systems of live streaming masses, outdoor masses, drive up confession have been thrown together with lightening speed.  Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Schneider have urged churches remain open and the sacraments flowing.  However the vast majority of bishops prefer to cave in to government demands.

In my neck of the woods the bishops and cardinals are marching lock step with the government.  In the diocese of Joliet newly minted Francis bishop Pates was the first to ban mass and he went one step farther, he banned communion on the tongue which is a violation of church law.  When confronted with this, Pates, like any good modernist worth his salt, prefers to ignore it.  A week Later bishop Malloy in Rockford followed suite.  This tells me that most of them do not believe in transubstantiation.  If they did they should know that a consecrated host is the body and blood of Christ and in being such, no harm can come from it.

Now now in Chicago, where the Lesbian mayor, Laurie Lightfoot reigns and in New Orleans the armed jack boots of the state have been sent in to break up funeral masses.  The government refuses to let people grieve for the dead as they are scooped up in a gestapo like sweep and locked up in jail.  Just like most totalitarian regimes they claim it is for our own good.   There is no difference with what is going on in this country right now and the regimes of Stalin, Hitler, or Castro.  In being a practicing Lesbian Lightfoot lives in a world of mortal sin anyway so spirituality and God has no place in her world.

We are seeing the socialists, calling themselves Democrats trying to see how much they can get away with, how many peoples rights they can do away with.  I am very worried about where we are headed and the most frightening is to see how quickly people capitulate their rights as both Americans and God’s creation to the state.  Right now there is no difference between most American Catholic Bishops and Chinese state Catholic bishops.  They appear to be a cowardly lot and poor shepherds shaking in their boots as the government takes more and more rights away.  I am afraid this is a dress rehearsal for life after the Corona virus.  Catholics will once again have to return to the catacombs to hear mass.  I am also curious to see how many Catholics return to mass after this sabbatical of the free Sunday morning.

Be afraid, be very afraid.  Not so much of the virus, but the political implications and aftermath of it.


CBS News Caught Using Footage from an Italian Hospital to Describe Conditions in New York City (VIDEO)

Emergency Room Footage on CBS Matches Footage from Italian Hospital!

This is footage from SKY News on March 22 from Italy.

And here is footage from CBS News during their New York City report on March 25.

CBS News painted a dire picture from New York City this week in their coronavirus coverage.

On Wednesday morning CBS aired this footage from a New York hospital.

The footage matches SKY News video from inside an Italian hospital from Sunday March 22.

UPDATE: ALX posted the video comparison from the two news outlets.

White House Reaches Deal on Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

West Wing Reads

White House Reaches Deal on Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

“Lawmakers and the Trump administration reached an agreement on an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at shielding the U.S. economy from the worst consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” Joshua Jamerson and Andrew Duehren report for The Wall Street Journal.

The relief package “will provide direct financial checks to many Americans, drastically expand unemployment insurance, offer hundreds [of] billions in loans to both small and large businesses, and provide health care providers with additional resources as the virus spreads.”

Click here to read more.

“The United States was ranked the best-prepared country in the world to handle a pandemic in late 2019 by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS)—an assessment seemingly at odds with claims by Democrats that the Trump administration left the country vulnerable to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak,” Gregg Re reports for Fox News.

President Trump is thankful for every citizen doing his or her part during this global pandemic. It’s clear that Americans are coming together: “On day nine of a 15 day social distancing period, President Trump is getting a positive report card from Americans,” with a majority approving his handling of the crisis, Katie Pavlich writes in Townhall.

“President Trump can’t do right by some critics no matter what he does. For three years he’s been denounced as a reckless authoritarian, and now he’s attacked for not being authoritarian enough by refusing to commandeer American industry. The truth is that private industry is responding to the coronavirus” with support from the government rather than “command and control,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

President Trump is standing up for working families in this crisis

While Democrats in Congress stall on economic relief for American workers and businesses, the President is standing up for all those affected by this global pandemic.

Today, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a “virtual townhall” with Fox News from the White House. While answering questions from citizens, the President put Democrat leaders on notice: Stop holding Senate negotiations hostage for a partisan wish list that has nothing to do with Coronavirus or protecting our economy.

 WATCH: Democrats want a Green New Deal. I want to help American families.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are putting their donor base first. They want a relief package that has “nothing to do with the workers—that had to with an agenda that they’ve been trying to get passed for 10 years,” President Trump said.

America can’t afford politics as usual during this crisis. President Trump has understood that from the beginning, which is why his Coronavirus response reflects bipartisan leadership and not a checklist of partisan pork like the Democrats’ bill. In just the past few days, he and his Administration:

All of these actions, of course, are aimed squarely at responding to this global pandemic and protecting American families. That’s because President Trump is taking this crisis seriously—both the public health threat and the economic pressure facing middle-class Americans. Democrats in Congress must do the same before it’s too late.

🎬 Small businesses have President Trump’s full support!

VP Pence: It is crucial for Congress to come together

🎥 How to protect your loved ones

Americans sprang into action last week in response to President Trump’s call to help slow the spread of Coronavirus. Millennials and other young Americans are doing their part, and many want to know how else they can help.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx says there are important ways that young people can contribute.

“The way the Millennials can help us is help your parents and grandparents understand each of these issues,” she said. “Help them get connected by media or phones or videoconferencing so they don’t have to leave their houses.”

Of course, continuing to avoid crowds is key. “You’re the group that’s most likely to be [spreading the] virus without knowing it,” she added.

Public health experts have shared other ways that everyone can do their part:

The Traditional Mass vs. The New Mass A Doctrinal Comparison

A Liturgical Rupture
The Traditional Mass The New Mass
A sacrifice linked to the sacrifice of the Cross, expressed in:


1.      Offertory = oblation of the victim

2.      Double consecration = immolation of victim

3.      Communion = consummation of victim


The entire Mass is directed toward the sacrificial act. Sacrifice is the primary end; thanksgiving is one among other secondary, subordinate ends.

A meal linked to the Last Supper, expressed in:


1.      Presentation of the gifts = berakah or blessing of the food, leading up to the Offertory, wherein the Jewish grace before meals is the main prayer

2.      Eucharistic prayer = canon of the New Mass; it is primarily a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts received; it is in this context that the consecration is performed

3.      IG n.48 = breaking and partaking of the bread instead of consummation of the victim

The Mass is a memorial meal, which makes the mysteries of Redemption present, among them the sacrifice of the Cross and the Resurrection, which have at least equal footing.

The Communion Rite
Partaking of the Victim

a) The Victim is sufficiently symbolized under one species

b) Only the priest consumes the main Host

c) The priest asks for the salvation of those to whom he gives Communion

A meal

a) Both eating and drinking must take place;

b) Brotherly sharing: the main Host must be large enough to give some to the faithful;

c) Friendship: the aspect of personal sanctification is relativized; priest says nothing when distributing communion

Presence of Christ at Mass

Dual presence:

W      As Priest – in the person of His minister

W      As Victim – in the Eucharistic species

Christ as Victim is the center of the liturgy, being offered to God and given to men.


Spiritual presence: He is given to the faithful in His Word and His Body and these presences are placed on the same level.

The New Mass devalues Our Lord’s presence as Victim, reducing it to the level of His presence in the readings, and His presence as Priest, by putting the common priesthood of the faithful on the same level as the ministerial priesthood of the celebrant.


W      14 genuflections

W      Canonical fingers held together and fingers purified

W      Only the priest distributes Communion

W      Communion kneeling, on the tongue

W      Church is a quiet place of reverence where God dwells in the tabernacle in the center of the main altar. This makes the place intrinsically holy, regardless who is there

W      Signs of cross over the Victim (these identify the oblations with Our Lord) – three times in Offertory, 26 times in Canon, three times before Communion and once when receiving


Three genuflections, and these three are related to the people (two after elevation, one just before distribution)

No holding of canonical fingers together nor purification of fingers

Any and all distribute Communion

Communion standing, in the hand

Church more a house of the people than of God; tabernacle separated from the main altar. The building only has meaning when the community is gathered

Signs of the cross over the Victim = once only during the Canon

The Presence of Christ in His Word


The Bible actively becomes revelation when it is proclaimed by the Magisterium of the Church; ordained ministers act in the authority of Christ by transmitting this Revelation.



Christ in present in His Word (Scripture) through the gathering of the community; this presence is on the same footing as the Real Presence, as both presences are the table of the Lord because both give us the spiritual sustenance unique to the Paschal banquet.



a) The reading of Scripture only by ordained ministers shows the necessity of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in transmitting Revelation.

b) Scripture is not a celebration in itself, but rather directed to the central mystery of the Mass, to which it directs the faithful. It enkindles the fervor of the faithful for the sacrifice.



Scripture is celebrated in itself; by itself, and not by the minister’s teachings, Christ is present è No need for an ordained minister to proclaim it; any layperson can do it.


The Presence of Christ in the Priest and the People


Christ is present under the Eucharistic species and in His minister. The former presence is made possible by the words of consecration and it nourishes the faithful, being the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.



The priest alone can confect the Eucharist and Mass takes place through him alone, with or without the cooperation of the faithful.


Mass = a true and proper Sacrifice in which the bloody sacrifice once accomplished on the Cross is represented, in which the same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, and offers His own Body and Blood, through the ministry of the priest, under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father, the manner alone of offering being different (Trent)



Christ is present spiritually through the gathering of the community and this presence is made tangible firstly as “Word” in the Liturgy of the Word and secondly as oblation through the memorial of His acts, which are made present once again. The people are fed at both these “tables” with a spiritual food.


The “People of God” are the only agent recognized. Christ is present in the assembly, which performs the Mass under Him.



Mass = The Lord’s Supper or Mass is the sacred assembly or congregation of the people of God gathering together, with a priest presiding, in order to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason Christ’s promise applies supremely to such a local gathering together of the Church: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Institutio Generalis, 1969)




W      There is a clear distinction between the unbloody immolation of the consecration (ex opere operato, performed by priest alone; it alone qualifies as a sacrament) and the sacrificial offering of the participants through union with the priest in intention (ex opere operantis).

W      The priest clearly acts in a unique role in the person of Christ, alone mediating with God. The faithful can only unite with his actions by their intention; they cannot perform the visible rite to confect the sacrament.

W      The prayers of sacramental oblation are either in the first person, as being offered by the priest alone, or they make a clear distinction between the offerings of priest and faithful.



The assembly is a “new sacrament” because, as a sign of the universal Church, it has the power to make Christ present. This is most clearly manifested when the bishop presides over his priests and the faithful take active part è concelebration is preferable; the Confiteor is an act of the community and there is no separate confession of sins.


In the Liturgy of the Word – Once Christ is spiritually present by the assembling of the people, the liturgy becomes a dialogue between God and His people without need of a priest. Christ is present in His Word and the people perform a “priestly function” in their prayer and singing, appropriating the divine word.


In the Liturgy of the Eucharist – i) The sacrifice is always described as an act of both the priest and the faithful. ii) The prayers of oblation put the offering as belonging to the assembled people, not the celebrant. iii) The priest is only described in the prayers of the New Mass and the IGMR in the context of his relation to the people of God as their “president” and never in terms of the power that he alone possesses to act in persona Christi, consecrating and making the sacrificial offering.



From Propitiation to Thanksgiving



Man has offended God and continues to do so. He deserves punishment for these sins and must make up for them. This unremitted punishment due to man’s sins is always in view. The Mass an application of the merits of Redemption to sinful souls.




God has an undying love for man, regardless of man’s crimes. Man is seen as reconciled with God, no matter what state his soul is in. The Mass is a liturgy of the saved, a celebration with thanks-giving of a Redemption already released in full, without any propitiatory dimension. This follows from diminution of the Mass as sacrifice and the priest as sacrificing agent & mediator with God.





The Offering and Sorrow for Sin

W       Prayers of compunction for sin return again and again, e.g. Confiteor, Aufer a nobis, Oramus te, Munda cor meum, Per evangelica dicta, In spiritu humilitatis, Incensum istud, Lavabo.

W       The unworthiness of the minister is always in view, because of the unremitted punishment due to his sins. He asks for the approval of his offering in 10 separate prayers in the Offertory and Canon.

W       Intercession of Our Lord – Mediators are placed between the minister and God, because of his deficiency, firstly Our Lord Jesus Christ, then the saints.
W       Intercession of the saints – There are at least four prayers during the Mass that call upon the merits and intercession of the saints and 200 collects throughout the year.

The Satisfaction Due for Sin – the traditional missal tries to obtain the remission of punishment due for sin by the merits of Our Lord and the saints.


W       Frequent requests in the collects to be “purified from the stains of sin.”

W       Requiem: Frequent reference to judgment, punishment due to sins, and the need to be loosed from them.





The Offering and Sorrow for Sin

Only the “Per evangelica dicta,” the “In spiritu humilitatis,” and the “Lava me,” an abbreviated freestyle version of psalm 25, remain. These prayers, moreover, are often translated in the vernacular so as to remove all trace of contrition.

No requests for the approval of the offering.

Intercession of Our Lord – almost complete suppression of all mention of Our Lord’s mediation in the offering of the sac-rifice. The one “through Christ our Lord” etc. left in Eucharistic prayers II-IV refers to the heavenly liturgy hereafter.

Intercession of the saints – Prayers during the Mass are gone and the 200 collects have been reduced to only three obligatory ones.

The Satisfaction Due for Sin – no thought of the unworthiness of the human ministers è the consequences of sin are no obstacle to the approval of the sacrifice è no need for intercession of Our Lord or the saints.

All references to divine justice in any part of the propers have been considerably reduced. Only a few ferial Masses in Lent have request to be purified from sin.

Requiem: No mention of the punishment due to sin or the pains of purgatory; the propers emphasize the happiness of heaven and the resurrection while omitting the traditional Tract, the Dies Irae, and Offertory prayer.

The Principle behind the Liturgical Reform: “The Paschal Mystery”
Classic Theology New Theology
The Passover of the Lord
Redemption =  a propitiatory offering to divine justice offended by sin

Emphasis: the satisfaction of justice, the cooperation of man, and the pains of Our Lord’s Passion

Redemption = a pure work of love, where God reveals His infinite charity for all men; justice is disregarded

Emphasis: the great importance of love, the initiative of God, and the new life of the Resurrection


W      Sin is an offense against the honor of God, and is measured by the majesty of the Person offended, not the harm to the one offending. Man has a duty to honor God.

W      God is a jealous defender of His own honor and damns to hell those who do not respect it.

W      God’s justice needs to be satisfied for the sins of men. This was done ultimately by the sacrifice of the God-man’s life on the cross and is renewed in the sacrifice of the Mass. But every man has an individual obligation to make satisfaction on his own for sin.


Sin only harms man and society, as it can take nothing away from God’s nature. It does not offend the justice of God, but only His love insofar as it is a refusal of that love.

There is never any difference in God’s love for us, whether we be full of sin or of virtue. It is contrary to God’s goodness to punish us for our faults, as His justice demands no satis-faction and His love is enduring. Men only go to hell by excl-uding themselves from God’s love, not by God’s punishment

Nothing needs to be made up to God. Satisfaction only enters in as a corrective punishment to help man straighten himself out with respect to God and society, to recover his spiritual health and capacity to love.


W      It is a work of love to appease divine justice, providing the infinite satisfaction required by the sins of mankind. It re-establishes the friendship between God and man, which was lost through sin.

W      Author = Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the redemptive work is making satisfaction for sins

W      Principal act = the death of Our Lord on the Cross, as by this act Our Lord satisfied for our sins and opened the gates of Heaven


It is the revelation of God’s unchanging love toward man, in spite of sin, an eternal Covenant which never has been destroyed. It gives nothing back to God, but gives God back to man, showing him that God always loved him and did not cast him off, even after sin.

Author = God the Father rather than Our Lord, as the redemptive work is revealing the love of the Father for men.

Principal acts = Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, because they are the fullness of the revelation for which Christ became incarnate, i.e. to show us the unconditional love of the Father for us

The Traditional Mass

W      Frequent references to punishment due to sin or need to appease God’s anger

W      Ends of thanksgiving and petition subordinate to those of a-doration and propitiation; frequent reference is made to the vicarious satisfaction of Christ and His mediation in prayer

W      Celebration of first class Feast of the Precious Blood, which was instituted to profess belief in the classic truths regarding Redemption

The New Mass

No references to punishment due to sin or need to appease God’s anger

Ends of Mass are solely thanksgiving and petition; no reference made to the vicarious satisfaction of Christ and His mediation in prayer

Initial removal of the feast of the Precious Blood, then later it was put back as a votive Mass with substantial changes following the theology of the Paschal Mystery

The Sacrament as Mystery
Sacrament = an efficacious sign of grace


Range of sacraments – three things are required to make a sacrament: a) institution by Christ; b) an outward sign; c) power to give grace

Sacrament = a symbol that contains what it signifies, making the sacred hidden thing visible and objectively present

New “sacraments”

a) Christ, because He reveals God, the sacrament par excellence, to man, is the “primordial sacrament”

b) The Church – Christ represents God to men and the Church represents Christ to men, making the Church a sacrament where men can meet Christ and God in Christ

c) The liturgy itself – the liturgy, “mystery of worship,” makes the glorified Christ really present

d) The assembled faithful – they manifest the Church and make it present

W      Revelation – it was given to the Church by the visit of God to His people, but that visit was limited to a narrow historical time. From there, revelation is transmitted by preaching and it requires belief in the mediation of the Church and her infallibility in matters of Faith. This notion is based in a realist philosophy that recognizes the value of speculative knowledge.

W      Tradition – it is guaranteed by the Magisterium of the Church. A Christian’s faith develops by learning the catechism.

   Revelation – it is not merely a series of abstract statements forming a doctrinal system, but also living contact with the mystery of divinity through divine actions making God present to man. The jump from mystical phenomenon to a divine absolute is made possible by presenting the phenomenon as a “symbol” lining up with schools of modern symbolist thought, which allow man to go from an objective contact to a non-experiential reality.

Tradition – it is guaranteed by a living contact with God; hence Tradition itself is living. A Christian’s faith develops by being brought into contact with the Word through the celebration of the Paschal Mystery. The liturgy is the arena of Revelation.



The Traditional Mass

W      Sacraments – Focus is on power over meaning. The sacraments derive their efficacy from Christ, and not from the persons administering them or receiving them. They give grace of themselves (ex opere operato), even when the priest or person administering them is unworthy. Faith is needed on the part of the recipient of a sacrament that it be received fruitfully, but that faith only need go so far as to bring the soul to submit itself to the action of the Church. The sacraments receive their power to give grace from God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

W      Scripture – Focus is on meaning over power. Biblical readings are meant firstly to provide the concepts of faith with their intellectual content.

W      The Real Presence has value in itself, being Our Lord Himself, present to be offered as an infinite sacrifice to God and to nourish the souls of the faithful.

W      The priest alone has the power to confect the sacrament; this is the source of his elevation above the faithful and his indispensable role at Mass. The faithful are a dispensable accessory to Mass.


The New Mass


Sacraments – Focus is on meaning over power. An act of faith on the part of the faithful is needed to make the reality signified by the sacrament present to the participants. Faith and attainment of the mystery are inseparable. As a sacrament is primarily an actuation of faith, then the priest’s action offering Our Lord, which only requires only habitual faith, being a physical act, is subordinate to the act requiring an attitude of faith, i.e. the offering of the assembly. The sacraments are said to work ex opere operato only based on the efficacious faith that accompanies them. They represent deeds which bring about our salvation through a contact provided by an efficacious faith. Their power is subordinated to their nourishment of faith and actuation by it.

Scripture – Focus is on power over meaning. We must go beyond the sign of faith to what is signified, i.e. Christ Himself, Who is the definitive Word of God. Scripture in this way itself becomes a sacrament. Hence both the “Liturgy of the Word” and the Eucharistic Liturgy make Christ present, for our nourishment. The Catechism even gives primacy to the former in saying that it determines the meaning of the other sacramental symbols.

The Real Presence is not recognized firstly in itself, but firstly insofar as it nourishes faith.

The common priesthood of the faithful is practically elevated to the level of the sacramental priesthood of the priest, as the sacrificial oblation is considered as being confected by the faith of the assembly


The Memorial
Doctrine of Redemptive Sacrifice: a) The most important action of Christ was His death on the cross saving mankind from Hell è b) sacraments are most important as imparting the saving grace of the Cross to our sinful souls è c) Mass is most important as offering an infinite sacrifice of propitiation to a just God. Doctrine of Paschal Mystery: a) the actions of Christ as revelation are more important than His sacrificial action è b) sacraments are most important as means of making the actions of Christ present è c) Mass is most important as making present the reality it commemorates. Christ’s mission of salvation was one in “words and deeds” and it is in making this present that the Mass has value.



The Mass is a Sacrifice

W      Christ’s mission was to render to God the glory that man had refused to give. He became incarnate for the love of the Father. Now, it was His obedient death on the cross that showed the greatest love, as it was a laying down of His life, and it was the most perfect act of the virtue of religion: sacrifice. Even insofar as His Incarnation benefits men, His death is the most important of actions, as only it has meritorious and satisfactory value. Hence, the Mass, greatest act of religion, must be a true sacrifice, wherein Our Lord is offered on the altar.


W      Our Lord’s death was most important again in that it was the only action in which He merited something for Himself, i.e. the glorification of His physical body and the sanctification unto glory of His Mystical Body. By His death, He merited in a new way what He had previously merited from the first moment of His earthly existence.

W       The Mass is firstly a true, ritual sacrifice, and secondly a memorial insofar as it is an image representing the sacrifice of the Cross. It is a true sacrifice, not because it is a memorial, but because transubstantiation makes Our Lord truly present.

W       Mediator Dei: the mysteries of Redemption are present and operative, but do not operate in the obscure manner as given by the new theology. The Mass renews the sacrifice of the Cross, but is not a memorial making the historical sacrifice present again.

W       The Mass is a sacrifice in its own right. By the double consecration of the separate species, an unbloody immolation takes place. The sacrifice is a memorial, but only insofar as it represents the death of Our Lord; it does not make the mysteries of the life of Our Lord actually present.

W       The Mass has objective meaning through the sacramental immolation of Our Lord accomplished by the double consecration, accompanied with the offering and consummation of this Victim by the ordained priest. The faithful enter this picture only incidentally.


The Mass is a Memorial

Revealed mysteries are to be considered from an historical point of view è NT is to be analyzed in light of the OT è the essential nature of the Eucharist is tied up in the essence of the Jewish Passover. The Passover was three things: a) a memorial of the deed which saved them; b) the declaration and celebration of the present Covenant; c) a prophecy of the future fulfillment of God’s promises. Therefore, the Mass must do the same.

The focus is more on Christ’s mysteries than Christ Himself, Priest and Victim. And, of these mysteries, His death certainly finds a place, but foremost are His Resurrection and Ascension, since His central mission is to reveal the unchanged love of the Father (in the new scheme of Redemption) and the Resurrection and Ascension are accomplished by the Father’s power.


As Our Lord used the rite of the old Passover when instituting the Eucharist, so the Mass is primarily the memorial of the Lord, since only the memorial aspect of this rite is described.

As the Jewish memorial was able to make God present again and renew the effects of His salvation, so too the Eucharist is not a simple remembrance but makes present the deeds by which Christ wrought salvation. While the old Passover simply made present to the memory of the believers events of the past, the new Passover makes Our Lord’s death and Resurrection present, as well as future mysteries yet to happen. In short, it encompasses the whole work of salvation in a dynamic and invisible unity.

The Mass is not a sacrifice in its own right, but rather the actual sacrifice of the Cross brought from history into the present moment. The sacrifice is in this re-presenting of Christ’s mysteries, not in an exterior rite.

The Eucharist conveys an objective memory by means of an action, but for this action to constitute an objective one, it must be a social action, one of the community è this communal action is a meal, the Jewish ritual meal of the Passover during which Our Lord instituted the Eucharist.

Does the Liturgical Reform Constitute a Dogmatic Rupture with Tradition?
Traditional Dogma New Theology
Redemption – A Truth of Faith Refused

Principle: Christ died on the Cross in order to satisfy the debt of punishment demanded by divine justice offended by sin.


Arguments of authority

W       Trent: The doctrine that Our Lord’s death on the Cross made vicarious satisfaction for sin is part of the deposit of the Faith, as is the propitiatory end of the Mass.

W       Roman Catechism: teaches that Our Lord made the highest satisfaction or compensation possible to God by His death on the Cross.

W       The dogma of Our Lord’s vicarious satisfaction has always been defended by the Church, and especially recently to protect against liberal Protestantism, as seen in the prepared canons of Vatican I, Humani Generis of Pius XII, and a preparatory schema of Vatican II.


Principle: There is no debt to be paid to satisfy divine justice offended by sin è no propitiatory aspect in the New Mass. Redemption is the revelation of the eternal covenant that God has made with man. It is the revelation of God’s unchanging love toward man, in spite of sin, an eternal Covenant which never has been destroyed. It gives nothing back to God, but gives God back to man, showing him that God always loved him and did not cast him off, even after sin.

The Mass as Sacrifice – A Truth of Faith Put in Doubt
Trent: the Mass is a) a true sacrifice, real and visible; b) it represents, commemorates and applies the sacrifice of the Cross; c) it is not merely a commemoration.

W      Visible Sacrifice: a) the sacrifice is represented visibly, which can only be done through the species of bread and wine; b) the Mass is linked with the Passover because the latter ceremony was the visible sacrificing of a victim. Conclusion: repraesentare is used to mean an image resembling the thing represented

W      A True and Proper Sacrifice – Mass is truly and properly a sacrifice, which is only possible if there be a true victim and real immolation

W      Not a mere commemoration – Trent condemns calling the Mass a purely conceptual reminder of the Cross, i.e. only referring to the Mass as a sacrifice in a figurative way.

Paschal Mystery: The Mass a memorial meal, but it is also a sacrifice in that it is an objective memorial.


An Invisible Sacrifice – The Mass is only a sacrifice insofar as it makes the sacrifice of the Cross present. And this sacrifice is incomplete without the Resurrection and Ascension; therefore a mere sacramental representation of Calvary is not sufficient to include all the mysteries of salvation, which the memorial sacrifice does. Repraesentare means making really present what is remembered. This is the objective aspect of the Liturgy.

An Analogical Sacrifice – Mass is a sacrifice, only as an objective memorial containing the sacrifice of Christ è no true victim or real immolation

A Figurative Sacrifice – the notion of a memorial, whether objective in terms of the Paschal Mystery or subjective in terms of Protestant theology, never admits a literal application of the term “sacrifice” to the Mass

The Notion of Sacrament – A Danger for the Faith
W      All of the sacraments work ex opere operato. There are seven and only seven sacraments instituted by Christ. Trent condemns those who say that sacraments were only to nourish the faith.

W      Trent: the Eucharist is present truly, really and substantially.

W      Clarity of symbols – A sign must be a distinct and separate entity from the thing signified. This is clearly the case for all of the seven sacraments.

W      Pascendi: condemnation of the identification of formulae of the faith with the sacraments.

   The distinctions of efficacy ex opere operato and ex opere operantis can no longer be applied, as the entire body of the liturgy is a sacrament. The efficacy of the sacraments is wholly dependent on the faith of the recipients interpreting the symbol of the sacrament; this makes the sacraments efficacious.

The divine presence depends on the interpretation of its symbols (bread and wine) given by man, as in the Old Testament natural blessings were seen under the same symbols.

Blurring of symbols – Christ is separated from His divinity which He signifies, and the Catholic Church is made distinct from the Church of Christ which it signifies.

The new sacramental theology seems to identify the formulae of faith with the sacraments.