Dear SSPX: Are Francis’ Masses valid?

Francis Mass InvalidOn Sunday, June 23, Jorge Bergoglio, otherwise known as “Francis,” delivered a homily for the Novus Ordo version of the Feast of Corpus Christi during which he answered, with unassailable clarity, a question that many have been asking for more than six years:

Why doesn’t Francis genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament?

During the homily, Francis confirmed what most clear-thinking Catholics had already deduced; he doesn’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. He also, however, provided new impetus to ask an even more important question:

Are Francis’ Masses valid?

He said:

… for we eat the Bread that contains all sweetness within it.  God’s people love to praise, not complain; we were created to bless, not grumble.  In the presence of the Eucharist, Jesus who becomes bread, this simple bread that contains the entire reality of the Church… [Emphasis in original Italian text provided by the ‘Holy’ See]

No less than twice did Francis assert that the bread on the altar remains bread following his act of consecration. And guess what? He may very well be correct.

To declare that “Jesus becomes bread… simple bread” is, of course, to commit a grievous heresy; one that, in the present case, cannot possibly be attributed to genuine ignorance given that the dogmatic teaching concerning Transubstantiation is most certainly well-known to him.

For the record:

If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, Session XIII, Canon II) [Emphasis Added]

The emphasized text above is precisely what Francis publicly preached, and in the context of celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi of all occasions.

Many other commentators have made similar observations, but what has not been adequately addressed is the impact Bergoglio’s heresy may have on the validity of the consecration and on the Mass itself. [For the sake of argument, let us leave aside the defects that are inherent in the Novus Ordo regardless of who celebrates it.]

First, it must be said that the simple fact alone that Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic who does not believe in Transubstantiation does not render either the consecration or the Mass invalid. As Pope Leo XIII teaches:

A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. (cf Pope Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae)

Pay close attention to what the Holy Father stated: It is not Jorge’s heresy that renders the Sacrament (and the Mass) questionable; his potentially defective intention, on the other hand, does exactly that. For validity, it is necessary for the minister to “have intended to do what the Church does.”

Now, one may rightly ask: But can we truly know Bergoglio’s intention?

Once again, let us turn to Pope Leo XIII:

The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. (ibid.) [Emphasis added]

In the present case, the mind and intention of Jorge Bergoglio has most certainly been made manifest in the external forum, and his words as cited above are not all that we have to consider. We also have the witness of his actions; namely, his consistent failure to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament; that is, to behave as if he is before the Real Presence of Christ.

The Society of St. Pius X offers the following explanation concerning intention:

The Baltimore Catechism explains what the expression “intending to do what the Church does” really means, namely:

“the intention of doing what Christ intended when He instituted the Sacrament and what the Church intends when it administers the Sacrament.”

As a consequence, it follows that if a priest has a positive intention against what the Church does, namely of specifically not intending what Christ intends and what the Church intends, then one of the three elements necessary for the validity of the Mass is absent, and the Mass is invalid.

Let us now apply the above to the present situation:

Does Francis have a positive intention against what Christ and the Church intends?

By his very own words, we know that Francis’ positive intention is for Jesus to become “simple bread.” This intention stands against the dogmatic teaching of the Church concerning what Christ and the Church intends; so much so that the Council of Trent saw fit to specifically anathematized those who would even say such a thing.

The answer to this question appears, therefore, to be AFFIRMATIVE.

Are one of the three elements necessary for the validity of the Mass absent when offered by Francis?

Once again, the answer to this question appears to be AFFIRMATIVE.

In light of this, are Masses offered by Francis invalid?

It would certainly seem so, however, in light of the internal nature of intent, the SSPX article states:

The greatest certitude that we can have is a moral certitude, which is also the certitude that we can have about any contingent, singular reality. However, it is perfectly possible to have a moral certitude.

Given all that has been discussed, it seems perfectly reasonable for one to conclude with moral certitude that when Jorge Bergoglio offers the Novus Ordo Missae there is no consecration, and if there is no consecration there is no Mass; i.e., both are invalid.

Before we conclude this examination, let’s take a look at the counterargument that will be offered by the defenders of all things Bergoglian.

In 1999, Jimmy Akin, on behalf of Catholic Answers, delved into the question of sacramental validity vis-à-vis intention. He wrote:

In order for a minister to lack valid intention, while outwardly performing the rites of the Mass and the Eucharistic prayer, he virtually would have to say to himself, “What I am doing is not the Eucharist. I’m only play acting and fooling all of these people into thinking I’m performing a sacrament, when really I’m not.” Needless to say, a priest is almost never going to have such an intention.

This treatment is problematic on a number of levels. For one, Mr. Akin introduced a new contingency for invalidity; namely, trickery or deception. It is clear from the text of both Apostolicae Curae and the Baltimore Catechism, however, that the minister need not deliberately intend to fool anyone in order to lack the intention necessary for validity.

Secondly, if indeed the minister is simply saying his defective intention to himself; i.e., if it remains strictly internal, it cannot be judged and, furthermore, no one (save for God) would be the wiser. It is necessary, as in the case of Francis, for the defective intention to be externally manifest in order for any inquiry into the matter to take place (see Pope Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae, cited above).

In attempting to put to rest any and all questions of invalidity due to the lack of right intention, Mr. Akin also cited Fr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma and St. Thomas Aquinas:

Thus for the Eucharist, but also for other sacraments, only the general intention to “do the thing that Christians do” is needed for validity: “Objectively considered, the intention of doing what the Church does suffices. The minister, therefore, does not need to intend what the Church intends, namely to produce the effects of the sacraments. . . . It suffices if he has the intention of performing the religious action as it is current among Christians” (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 344). This is also the interpretation of Aquinas (ST III:64:9-10).

The first thing that stands out is that we apparently have conflicting texts:

The minister does not need to intend what the Church intends. – Ludwig Ott

Whoever administers a Sacrament must have the intention of doing what Christ intended when He instituted the Sacrament and what the Church intends. – Baltimore Catechism No. 3, Q. 585

In our attempt to determine whether or not Francis’ Masses are valid, which one are we to believe? The most reasonable answer appears to be both. (And we can include in this the work of St. Thomas Aquinas.)

Once again, we turn to the Society of St. Pius X for clarity:

In the traditional rites of the sacraments and of Mass the guarantee of this moral certitude is contained in the rites themselves. For the traditional rites for Mass and the sacraments express the intentions of the Church in a very explicit manner, leaving no room for doubt whatsoever. The same is not the case for the new rites, framed explicitly to be ambiguous, and to be just as compatible with a Protestant intention as with a Catholic one … Although theoretically it would be possible for a priest to celebrate sacrilegiously in the traditional rite by having a positive counter intention, it is hardly likely, given that the correct intention is repeated several times, which is not the case in the new rite.  

In order to discover how both Ott and the Baltimore Catechism can be applied to the question at hand, it is necessary to recognize that both texts were written at a time when the rite of Mass repeatedly expressed the intentions of the Church in a very explicit manner, to quote the SSPX article.

It is this that evidently moved Fr. Ott to state that the minister does not need to intend what the Church intends. In other words, he did so in the belief that simply by “performing the religious action as it was then current among Christians,” the minister would thus be expressing his will to make of himself an instrument whereby the intention of the Church as repeatedly expressed would be accomplished.

St. Thomas Aquinas explained the function of the minister’s will with respect to his instrumentality as follows. (Notably, Mr. Akin cited ST III:64:9-10 in his article. Here, we will cite the immediately previous article in the same work.)

But an animate instrument, such as a minister, is not only moved, but in a sense moves itself, in so far as by his will he moves his bodily members to act. Consequently, his intention is required, whereby he subjects himself to the principal agent; that is, it is necessary that he intend to do that which Christ and the Church do. (ST III:64:8) [Emphasis added]

In the Traditional Latin Mass, the will of the minister to subject himself to the principal agent is made manifest in the performance of the rite itself. As the SSPX points out, the same cannot be said of the Novus Ordo, and let us not forget what Pope Leo XIII taught with regard to intent; that which is “manifested externally” is of critical importance.

All of this said, the fundamental difference between Ott and the Baltimore Catechism in this matter lies in the following:

The former seems not to think it possible that a minister can perform the letter of the rite and yet render a Sacrament invalid by his own defective intention. The latter allows for such a possibility. Neither, however, were speaking of the Novus Ordo!

While the perfection of the Traditional Roman Rite may very well be an irresistible force if only performed according to its rubrics, I tend to agree with the Baltimore Catechism and the Society of St. Pius X. In any case, our focus here is on a rite that neither authority would even recognize as Catholic.

This brings us at last to the conclusion.

It is not surprising in the least that not one solitary “full communion” bishop has raised his voice in this matter. These men are, for the most part, cowards who dare not speak out for fear of having their benefices withdrawn by the hand of the heretic. And let’s be honest, many of them likely have their own heretical views of the Blessed Sacrament anyway.

But what about the Society of St. Pius X?

It is abundantly evident from the above treatment that they are perfectly clear on the grave implications of Jorge Bergoglio’s lack of intent and its impact on questions of validity. The SSPX is also presumably well aware that this matter directly concerns the salvation of souls.

Following Saint Paul and our revered founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, under the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, we will continue to hand on the Catholic faith that we have received (cf.1 Cor 11:23), working with all our might for the salvation of souls… – Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General, Society of St. Pius X, February 2019

So, will Fr. Pagliarani and the Society of St. Pius X speak up on behalf of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church, and countless innocent persons who genuinely wish to remain faithful; i.e., are they really willing to work with all their might for the salvation of souls?

I suppose we will find out. As for what specifically should be done, let’s be clear:

One need not have moral certitude in this matter. It is enough that reasonable questions exist concerning the validity of the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass when offered by Francis. This being so, silence – as has been the case with the “full communion” hirelings – would amount to gross negligence given the gravity of the situation. 

At the very least, therefore, Francis should be publicly called upon to publicly correct his heresy, to publicly reaffirm the dogma of the Church concerning Transubstantiation, and to publicly and explicitly confirm his “intention of doing what Christ intended when He instituted the Sacrament and what the Church intends when it administers the Sacrament” (see Baltimore Catechism).

If he does this, he must then be pressed to answer for his unwillingness to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament. If he does not do this, well then… let him stand, it’s probably just “simple bread” anyway.

NOTE: Many of our regular readers are among the SSPX faithful. We also have a number of Society priests among our readership. If you belong to the former group; share this article with your pastor and let him know that the salvation of souls demands a pubic response. If you happen to be a priest of the SSPX, approach your superiors and do likewise.

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