Fr. Peter Scott: Is the Novus Ordo Mass invalid, or sacrilegious, and should I assist at it?
From the SSPX Archives - Catholic FAQs [2003]:

Is the Novus Ordo Mass invalid, or sacrilegious, and should I assist at it when I have no alternative?
Answered by Fr. Peter Scott

The validity of the reformed rite of Mass, as issued in Latin by Paul VI in 1969, must be judged according to the same criteria as the validity of the other sacraments; namely matter, form and intention. The defective theology and meaning of the rites, eliminating as they do every reference to the principal propitiatory end of sacrifice, do not necessarily invalidate the Mass. The intention of doing what the Church does, even if the priest understands it imperfectly, is sufficient for validity. With respect to the matter, pure wheaten bread and true wine from grapes are what is required for validity. The changes in the words of the form in the Latin original, although certainly illicit and unprecedented in the history of the Church, do not alter the substance of its meaning, and consequently do not invalidate the Mass.

However, we all know that such a New Mass celebrated in Latin is an oddity, doomed to extinction by the very fact of the reform. The validity of the New Masses that are actually celebrated in today’s parishes more than 30 years later is a quite different question. Additives to the host sometimes invalidate the matter. The change in the translation from the words of Our Lord, "for many" to the ecumenically acceptable "for all" throws at least some doubt on the validity of the form. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the intention of the Church of offering up a true sacrifice in propitiation for the sins of the living and the dead has been obliterated for 30 years. In fact, most liturgies present the contrary intention of a celebration by the community of the praise of God. In such circumstances it is very easy for a priest to no longer have the intention of doing what the Church does, and for the New Mass to become invalid for this reason. The problem is that this is hidden and nobody knows. Whereas the traditional Mass expresses the true intention of the Church in a clear and unambiguous manner, so that everyone can be certain of the priest’s intention, the New Mass does no such thing. Consequently, the doubt of invalidity for lack of intention, especially in the case of manifestly modernist priests, cannot be easily lifted or removed.

Clearly, an invalid Mass is not a Mass at all, and does not satisfy the Sunday obligation. Furthermore, when it comes to the sacraments, Catholics are obliged to follow the "pars tutior," the safer path. It is not permissible to knowingly receive doubtful sacraments. Consequently nobody has the obligation to satisfy his Sunday obligation by attending the New Mass, even if there is no other alternative.

However, even if we could be certain of the validity of the Novus Ordo Masses celebrated in today’s Conciliar churches, it does not follow that they are pleasing to God. Much to the contrary, they are objectively sacrilegious, even if those who assist at them are not aware of it. By such a statement, I do not mean that all those who celebrate or assist at the New Mass are necessarily in mortal sin, having done something directly insulting to Almighty God and to our Divine Savior.

Sacrilege is a sin against the virtue of religion, and is defined as "the unbecoming treatment of a sacred person, place or thing as far as these are consecrated to God" (Jone, Moral Theology, p.108). The moral theologians explain that sacrilege is in itself and generally a mortal sin (ex genere suo), but that it is not always a mortal sin, because it can concern a relatively small or unimportant thing. Here we are speaking of a real sacrilege, the dishonoring of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the elimination of the prayers and ceremonies that protect its holiness, by the absence of respect, piety and adoration, and by the failure to express the Catholic doctrine of the Mass as a true propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. Here there are varying degrees. Just as it is a grave sacrilege and objective mortal sin for a lay person to touch the sacred host without reason, so it is, for example, a venial sin to do the same thing to the chalice or the blessed linens, such as the purificator or pall.

Likewise with the New Mass. It can be an objectively mortal sin of sacrilege if Holy Communion is distributed in the hand or by lay ministers, if there is no respect, if there is talking or dancing in church, or if it includes some kind of ecumenical celebration, etc. It can also be an objectively venial sin of sacrilege if it is celebrated with unusual respect and devotion, so that it appears becoming and reverential to Almighty God. This in virtue of the omissions in the rites and ceremonies, which constitute a true disrespect to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Trinity, and of the failure to express the true nature of what the Mass really is. In each case, the subjective culpability is an altogether other question that God only can judge.

However, regardless of the gravity of the sacrilege, the New Mass still remains a sacrilege, and it is still in itself sinful. Furthermore, it is never permitted to knowingly and willingly participate in an evil or sinful thing, even if it is only venially sinful. For the end does not justify the means. Consequently, although it is a good thing to want to assist at Mass and satisfy one’s Sunday obligation, it is never permitted to use a sinful means to do this. To assist at the New Mass, for a person who is aware of the objective sacrilege involved, is consequently at least a venial sin. It is opportunism. Consequently, it is not permissible for a traditional Catholic, who understands that the New Mass is insulting to Our Divine Savior, to assist at the New Mass, and this even if there is no danger of scandal to others or of the perversion of one’s own Faith (as in an older person, for example), and even if it is the only Mass available.

[Emphasis mine.]
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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