For years we, as faithful Roman Catholics, have had to endure innumerable liturgical abuses and outright heresies being preached from our pulpits in the name of progress, change and "bringing the Church into the twentieth century". The Second Vatican never authorized any of the vast changes in the liturgy that have taken place since 1965. In fact in section 23 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Liturgy the Council fathers warned that any changes or innovation should be done rarely and cautiously and only when it was determined that it was for the primary good of the faithful: "...there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them..." Despite this and other warnings, the Modernists, twisted the documents of the Council to further their agenda. By using phrases such as "in the name of Vatican II," or "in the spirit of Vatican II," as the authority behind their demolition, they have completely refashioned the Church into their own image without much opposition from the Pope or the bishops. Sadly, Pope Paul VI was guilty of cooperation with the Modernist agenda. He went way beyond the Council directives and established a new rite by virtue of his own authority. He did to the Church what has amounted to the spiritual equivalent of a heart, lung, liver and stomach transplant on a healthy patient.

Religion is the unique expression of worship and the adherence to a system of beliefs and practices. If we were able to transport a man from the 1940's to a Mass in 1997, he would never believe he was in a Catholic Church. When you change the outward practices of a religion you de facto change the religion. This is exactly what the Modernists have done. As many of our parents complained when all the changes were taking place; "They've taken my religion away from me." They did not need a degree in theology to see what was happening.

This article is designed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the authority of the Church in these matters?
  • What are the necessary elements for a sacrament to be valid?
  • Do the sacraments of the modern rite, created by Paul VI, contain the necessary elements for validity?
  • Where do we go if we suspect a priest or even a whole parish is heretical?

The Authority of the Church

1 The seven sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ in His mission as High Priest in order to apply to individuals the effects of His redemption. The seven sacraments can be found either explicitly or implicitly throughout the New Testament and confirmed by Holy Tradition. The Apostles were given the authority by Christ to establish the specific rites that confect the sacraments and they were given the power by Christ to confect those sacraments for the people. Without the power of the priesthood given to the Apostles, and subsequently to their successors, the sacraments of the new dispensation would not exist, and without the sacraments there could be no salvation.

2 The essential elements of each Sacrament were designated by Christ and established by the Holy Apostles. Though the rites surrounding each sacrament vary significantly throughout both East and West, the essential elements remain the same. Since a sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace the "sign" must remain the same within each valid rite. Essential to the sign of each sacrament are three necessary elements; form, matter and intention.

3 Outside of the above mentioned necessary elements Jesus left the rites surrounding the sacraments to be developed by the Apostles and the Church throughout the ages. Anyone with any knowledge whatsoever of the many different valid celebrations of the liturgy throughout the world will understand, that despite all the differences in the various rites, the essential elements are always present. For instance, any Latin Rite Catholic going to a Russian Rite celebration of the Divine Liturgy would be astounded by the vast differences between the Traditional Latin Mass in the West and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in the East. Compared to the various Western liturgies the Eastern liturgies are vastly different. Each is influenced by its particular culture and the circumstances in which it developed.

4 Even with all the cultural differences in the various rites, there are certain structures in the liturgy that are said to have come directly from Christ at the Last Supper and the instructions He gave directly to the Apostles which have been handed down from them to this very day. For instance, it is believed that the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1 in the new rite) comes directly from St. Peter. If one reads the history of the liturgy by Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J. in his ground breaking two volume work "The Mass of the Roman Rite, Its Origins and Development", one will find, that even with all the different cultural expressions in the liturgy, there are also certain structural elements that are similar to all of the various valid liturgies in both East and West.

5 Another important aspect of the various liturgies of East and West is the fact that in normal circumstances each liturgy was developed within its own climate ORGANICALLY. That is, each historical liturgy did not just come into being by being manufactured. The valid liturgies of East and West all have their roots in the historical developments of the past and all of them find their origins in what tradition has handed down from the first Mass ever celebrated. This goes for all the rites of all the sacraments throughout the universal Church. When these essential elements and structures are changed the rites become invalid and therefore non-sacramental.

The 3 Necessary Elements

6 As mentioned above there are 3 elements beside the necessity of the sacerdotal priesthood that must be present for a sacrament to exist. These again are form, matter and intention. If any one of these elements are missing then the rite becomes invalid.

7 The form of the rite is the verbal formula used by the priest in order to verbally signify what is happening. Thus the form of the Blessed Sacrament is "This is my Body," and "This is the cup of my blood." These words were the words Jesus used at the Last Supper to change the bread and wine into His living body, blood, soul and divinity. However, in most of the sacraments Jesus did not specify a particular formula. In fact, He left it up to the authority of the Church to set these formulas based upon Tradition, Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church.

8 It is interesting to note that in the second part of the consecration in the Traditional Latin Mass when the priest says "This is the chalice of my blood. The blood of the new and everlasting testament; The Mystery of Faith. It will be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. Do this in commemoration of me." The phrase "mystery of faith" was not said by Jesus. It cannot be found in the Scriptures, nor does Tradition say these words came from Jesus. In actual fact, these words were proclaimed by the deacon to the people during the Mass in order to produce reverence for the great miracle taking place upon the altar. It developed as an intimate part of the words of consecration and was used for centuries. In the new liturgy these words have been placed at the end of the consecration. The ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy) took it upon themselves to completely misrepresent these words. Because in the Latin text of the Novus Order after the words "Do this in memory of me" it says immediately "The mystery of Faith" referring not to the coming proclamation but rather to the fact of the TRANSUBSTANTIATION of the species. In the Modernist liturgy this phrase is made to seem like the mystery of faith is the proclamation "Christ has died....etc," or one of the other 4 proclamations. This is a typical Modernist twisting of things in order to take away from the proper reverence due to the Eucharist.

9 The matter of the sacraments have in many cases been specified either by Christ, the Scriptures or the Apostles handing on what Christ taught them. So we use bread and wine for the Eucharist, water for baptism, holy oils for Confirmation, Holy Orders, sacrament of the sick, the verbal confession of sin for confession, and the exchanging of vows for marriage.

10 The final necessary element to confect a valid sacrament is "Intention". Without the proper intention either on the part of the priest, or sometimes on the part of the one receiving the sacrament, then no sacrament is received. FOR EXAMPLE: A person goes to confession and deliberately withholds a particular sin that he/she is embarrassed to tell the priest. Even though the priest intends to give the person absolution and says the correct formula the person is not absolved, but actually has added sacrilege to his/her list of sins. Another example of the need for proper intention is found in the exchanging of vows between a couple getting married. If one or both of the individuals proclaiming those vows does not have a real intention to make the marriage relationship sexually exclusive then they are not validly married in the eyes of God.

Changing the Rite

11 We have seen that Jesus did not specify the form, matter and intention needed for each and every sacrament but left this up to the authority of the Church to develop and specify. The final and ultimate authority for this rests within the authority of Peter and his successors. It becomes clear, therefore, that with the proper intention, the Pope can change the rites of the sacraments to reflect what he may perceive to be the pastoral good of the people. It has been argued by some great theologians (such as Cajetan and Suarez) of past centuries that this authority is not ipso facto absolute and for a Pontiff to take this authority upon himself would, in effect, put this Pope in a state of schism with the whole Church. This would not necessarily make the new rites invalid, but simply illicit according to the constant Tradition of the Church. Thus Suarez states that a Pope would be schismatic, "...if he, as is his duty, would not be in full communion with the body of the Church as, for example, if he were to excommunicate the entire Church, or if he were to change all the liturgical rites of the Church that have been upheld by apostolic tradition." Nevertheless, because the whole Church, by Christ guaranteeing its indefectibility, cannot be in schism and the whole Church followed this Pope in obedience, then practically speaking, it is necessary for the unity of the Church to remain in de facto communion with such a Pope and all the bishops in obedience, until such time that the situation can be corrected.

12 As long as the rites conform to the structure (if any) instituted by Christ within the sacraments and manifest outwardly the grace they are intended to convey, then the rites are valid, if the intentions of the one confecting the sacrament are what the Church intends, at least implicitly.

13 Now, Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council documents had been promulgated took it upon his own authority to completely change the rites of the Western Church. The impetus for changing the rites of the Latin Church did not come as a mandate from the Second Vatican Council, but actually came from a modern liturgical movement, consisting mainly of Modernists, but also of some sincere liturgical experts who wanted to "reinvigorate" the liturgy and make the liturgical rites of the Church more appealing and relevant to the laity. The move by Pope Paul VI to approve a system of new liturgical rites for the universal Church was unprecedented. No Pope or Council has ever used their legitimate authority to "create" a liturgy. As stated above every valid liturgy has its roots from Apostolic Tradition and the infant Church. Every legitimate liturgy developed organically from those roots. The Mass of Paul VI is a complete break with Tradition and replaces the Ancient Roman Rite with a "Modern Rite" or "Ritus Moderna."

Did Pope Paul VI Have the Authority?

14 The answer to the question is that it depends on which orthodox theologian you are talking to. Pope Paul VI used his legitimate authority to change the rites and as long as they retained their proper elements they are valid. He could not have, for instance, changed the form, matter or intention of any of the sacraments such as saying it was okay to use pretzels and beer, or coffee and donuts, instead of bread and wine. Or to change the words of absolution to "May God forgive you of your sins" instead of the necessary words "Ego Te Absolvo", i.e., "I absolve you from your sins..."

15 In fact, Pope Paul VI did not change the essential elements of any of the rites in the Western Church and he maintained the essential traditional structure of the rites. Therefore, all of the new rites, if done according to the mind of the Church, are valid and efficacious in bestowing the grace of Christ on the individual soul of the recipient.

16 Nevertheless, even though Pope Paul VI used his authority to do what he did and even though the rites are valid, when done according to the mind of the Church, it does not mean that he should have done what he did!!!!! After years of careful analysis, I believe that what Pope Paul VI did, and what he allowed to happen to the Church as a consequence of his actions and inaction, was a terrible abuse of authority. He used his legitimate authority to create new rites, but he abused that authority by doing so. Because these fabricated new rites were a break with the organic developments of the past and incorporated within them elements alien to the Ancient Roman Rite, they ended up being a synthetic, plastic monster. Like Doctor Frankenstein taking parts from various dead bodies and making an imitation man. It was alive and it acted like a man, but it was a monster which ultimately destroyed its creator. In his all embracing need to appease the Modernists, the liberals, the whiners and the heretic Protestants he basically gave away "the whole enchilada." He changed the visible way we worship God, and in so doing took away the emotional comfort and underpinnings of our religion. The modern rites remain valid but open to the most horrendous abuses. All of the terrible things that have taken place within the Church in the last 35 years are reflected in liturgical abuses. And all the Popes from Paul VI to Pope John Paul II are responsible for going along with the systematic destruction of the Ancient Roman Rite.

17 It finally comes down to the fact that having the authority to do something does not mean that it should be done. Due, however, to the infection of Modernism,the leadership in the Church has lost a true sense of prudence and right judgment concerning the good of the faithful.

Modernist Heretics and the New Rites

18 It is obvious to any one with even the least amount of faith that there are those bishops (e.g. Cardinal Mahoney, Bishops Clark, Untner, Weakland, et al) and innumerable priests whom have embraced Modernism completely. These men are in positions of authority and continually promulgate their agenda. Can a faithful Roman Catholic, who realizes that a particular pastor, priest or whole parish is Modernist, continue to attend Mass at that parish, in good conscience? I would say that given that kind of a situation it would be more spiritually healthy for the person to find a parish that remains loyal to the Magisterium, the Pope and the Traditional Catholic Faith. If it becomes impossible to find such a parish in their region, it is permissible to go to an Eastern Rite Catholic liturgy. It is also permissible to attend "underground" Traditional Latin Masses celebrated by priests loyal to the Pope who may or may not be retired. There is a whole underground network of Traditional priests who are Loyal to Rome. If it is impossible to find an underground Mass celebrated by a loyal priest then, as a last resort, one can, in good conscience, attend the Traditional Mass celebrated by the Society of St. Pius X.

19 The faithful have rights in the Church. The most fundamental right of all is the right to worship God in the way God Himself established The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as organically developed over the last two millennia is the established will of God for the Latin Rite. The second most fundamental right of all Christians is the right to receive the sacraments by which God's grace is applied to our individual souls. (See Canons 212, 213 & 214 in the new Code of Canon Law). If there are priests, whole parishes and even bishops who refuse to provide us with our God-given rights, then we have an obligation to seek out and go to those who will provide what is ours by divine right.

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