Mass vs Conscience
Must a member of the Resistance attend the Mass of a priest who offers a valid Mass if the parishioner believes he cannot attend for reasons of conscience? Many people believe that if a valid Mass is available, we are required to go. I would like to address the perception that we must have the Sacraments at all cost, otherwise we are displeasing to God.
In today’s Epistle (St Paul to the 1 Corinthians 10 verses 3-5) says:
And did all eat the same spiritual food,
And all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.)
But with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the desert.
Applying this to our time, it is not enough to go to a valid Mass and Sacraments and expect that they will suffice to get us into Heaven. It was not sufficient for the Jews.
Looking at the history of the Church, we can see instances where valid Mass and Sacraments were available, but people refrained from attending.
During the Arian crisis, St Hermenegild (http://www.ecclesiamilitans.com/2014/10/13/further-information-on-st-hermenegild/) refused to attend the valid Masses of the Arian bishops and priests.
During the English Deformation, many Catholics of the time refused to attend the valid Masses and Sacraments of the compliant priests.
During the French Revolution, Catholics refused to attend the valid Masses and Sacraments of the juring priests.
The Church has consistently forbidden Catholics to attend the valid Masses of the schismatic priests.
The SSPX has consistently taught that the NOM is poisonous to the Faith even if valid, and instructs parishioners to stay away from it, and from the indult Masses.
Some Resistance priests accept the Red-light Position, instructing parishioners to stay away from nSSPX Masses and Sacraments, even though they are valid.
So there is plenty of precedent to stay away if your conscience requires it.
But if so, how do we feed our soul and be pleasing to God? What do we say to a mother who has just given birth and needs a Baptism for her infant?
Let’s look at the advice given by Fr Desmaris , a Catholic professor living in the time of the French Revolution: (http://www.ecclesiamilitans.com/2013/06/28/letter-from-fr-demaris-to-catholics-who-have-been-deprived-of-a-priest/):
- … If in the course of our lives, we had in the least neglected the means which God and His Church had provided for our sanctification, we would have been ungrateful children, but if we were to believe that in the extraordinary circumstances we could not do without even greater means, we would be forgetting and insulting the Divine Wisdom Who puts us to the test, and Who, in wishing us to be deprived of it, makes up to us with His Spirit.
- … It is of faith, the first and most necessary of all sacraments, Baptism! It is the doorway to salvation and eternal life. However, the desire, the wish for Baptism suffices in certain cases. … Baptism of Desire is for all those who, instructed in our mysteries, shall desire, according to their faith, to receive them. Such is the law of the Church, founded on what St. Peter said that one cannot refuse the water of Baptism to those who have received the Holy Ghost. When one has the spirit of Jesus Christ, one cannot be separated from Jesus Christ… This instrument of our redemption embraces all that is necessary for our salvation. The tradition and history of the better days of the Church, confirm this dogmatic truth. The faithful who desired the sacraments, the confessors and martyrs were saved without the sacraments since they could not receive them. From that it is simple for us to conclude that no sacrament is necessary when it is impossible to receive it, and this conclusion is the belief of the Church … St. Ambrose regarded the Pious Emperor Valentinian as a saint, although he died without the Baptism of water although he desired to do so, but which he had not been able to receive. “It is the desire and the will which saves us in this case.’ Said the doctor of the Church, “He who does not receive the sacraments from the hand of men, receives them from God who is not baptized by his piety and desire, is baptized by Jesus Christ.”
- What this great man said of Baptism, let us say of all the sacraments, of all the ceremonies, and all the prayers that we can be deprived of at the present time. He who is unable to go to confession to a priest, but who, having all the necessary dispositions for the sacrament, the desire, and in form the most firm and constant wish, hears Jesus Christ Who, touched and witnessed to his faith, says to him or her what He once said to the sinning women, ‘Go, it is forgiven because you have loved much.” St. Leo said that love of justice contains in itself all apostolic authority, and in that he has expressed the belief of the Church.
Attending the valid Masses of priests who run counter to one’s conscience exposed the Catholics at various points in history to false indoctrination and coercion. Attending the Wedding Mass of Henry VIII meant accepting the validity of the marriage to Anne Boleyn. Attending the Mass of the Arian priests meant accepting the heresy. Attending the Mass of the juring priests meant accepting the principles of Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.
Attending Masses results in the softening – if not the outright killing – of the conscience. Further, it causes confusion and weakens the Faith of ones’ family, friends, and fellow Catholics. What example does a Catholic give when he avoids the nSSPX Masses for Doctrinal reasons, then on his deathbed, asks an nSSPX priest for the Last Rites? Consistency matters!
In other words, although the Mass and the Sacraments are the ordinary means of God granting us Grace, He is not limited to these means. If He chooses not to make the ordinary means available to us on a regular basis, He will find another way. He wants our salvation more that we do, so He will make it possible.
We must be careful about what Masses we attend, we must preserve our Faith and we must give proper example to our fellow Catholics. Otherwise we too will be displeasing to God.