Expert Answer Forum

Illicit and Invalid Masses QUESTION from Michelle February 11, 2000
Can you tell me what makes a Mass illicit? What makes it invalid? Thanks. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on February 12, 2000
Dear Michelle, Thank you for your question. There are many illicit things such as changing prayers, liturgical dance, unauthorized texts and the like. These are violations of the liturgical law. If done consciously they are also disobedient acts. Illicit acts do not invalidate the Mass. A good example of a Mass that would be valid but totally illicit from beginning to end would be a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) or similar group. SSPX is a schismatic group who disobeys the pope and are suspended from active priesthood. Their ordinations are valid so their Masses are valid but since they have no permission from Rome to celebrate Mass the Mass is illicit. Any number of things can cause a Mass to be invalid. For example if the celebrant doesn’t a have a valid ordination s/he cannot celebrate a valid Mass. The priest must have valid holy orders. A Protestant minister cannot celebrate a valid Mass. Using a cookie, cake or a piece of fish would invalidate the Mass and using Pepsi Cola or grape juice instead of wine would invalidate it also. Omitting the words of consecration this is my Body… also invalidates the Mass. I think that about covers it. I hope this helps. John Miskell Back to Index Page

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