Is The New Mass of Pope Paul VI Invalid?

A Response to the Arguments Against its Validity and Legality

by Adam S. Miller



POINT I: All vs. Many
             - Signification and essential sense;
             - "All" and "Many" used interchangeably in Sacred Scripture
             - The use of “all” in other rites of the Church;

POINT II: Principle of Supplied Catholic Understanding
             - Catholic use and understanding;
             - Examples from traditional rites;
             - Signification is not lost, but maintained

POINT III: Principle of Logical Necessity
             - Logic works in one direction;
             - Principle of necessity missing from "anti-valid" position;
             - The Leonine Principle

POINT IV: Papal Authority
             - Quo Primum and other documents;
             - Sacred Scripture
             - Councils of Florence and Trent
             - A new Rite?

POINT V: Specific Refutations of Points Found in “The Robber Church”
             - Questioning the Validity of the Mass using the All-English Canon
             - Has the Church the Right?
             - Res Sacramenti
             - Questioning the Validity of McCarthy’s Case
             - No Mystery of Faith: No Mass?

POINT VI: Was the New Mass Legally Promulgated?

APPENDIX I: Variations in the Sacramental Form for the Consecration of the Wine



       There is a grave crisis in the Church today. For laity and clergy alike, it is a crisis of, faith, of morals, of authority, of praxis, and of liturgical life. If confusion is produced by this crisis, it is made worse when doubt is cast on matters that should never be questioned by the faithful. This is the case when the validity and legality of the sacraments, the life giving channels of God’s saving and sanctifying grace to men, are questioned. Because of questions raised against it, doubts exist among some traditionalists as to the validity of the Rite of Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969. The present work is concerned with these questions. It is undertaken in the surety that anyone who does not accept the validity of the sacraments in their present form is excommunicated from the Church of the Faithful, outside of which there is no salvation. Such was declared by then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger (cf. Ad Tuendam Fidem published with the note of the CDF in the Acta Apostolicae sedis 90 [6/30/1998] 542-551).

       To be sure, it is sometimes alleged on grounds of moral theology, that Catholics with any doubt about the validity of a particular sacrament cannot in good conscience participate in it. However, such works which address this matter are dealing only with the occasion of when an individual priest or some group makes changes to the sacramental form of the particular rite being used, and not to that which has been promulgated and approved for universal use by the Roman Pontiff himself, as is the case with the Mass of Pope Paul VI. (We address this point in Part VI.) In truth, as laymen we have no business “doubting” anything in regard to the Sacred Mysteries of the Sacraments. Further, when the Church promulgates and pronounces a particular sacramental rite to be a sufficient and proper vehicle for conferring a particular sacrament, not simply is it valid and are the faithful obliged to accept it as such, but no layman has a moral rite (let alone duty) to cause others to doubt because of his own subjective mental state of doubt. Besides being proud and impertinent, it is scandalous to call into question the validity of sacraments approved by the Church and to cause others to do the same. Unfortunately, many Catholics have become confused over the numerous arguments put forth by Patrick H. Omlor and others as to the validity of the new Rite of Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI.

       The purpose of the present work is to examine, critique, and refute questions (and conclusions) that have cast doubt on the validity and legality of the Novus Ordo Missae: New Order of Mass (N.O.M. for short) promulgated by Pope Paul VI. This work should be approached more as a study than as simply reading material, for to benefit fully the reader must be studiously attentive to the arguments herein.

What this work is NOT:

   • not a critique of the entire N.O.M. in general. In other words, this is not a critique of the ceremonies surrounding it, which can often contribute to a loss of the sense of the sacred; not a critique of the offertory prayers, which have deleted nearly all references to propitiatory sacrifice; not a critique of the other prayers (Propers, etc.) which omit much Catholic theology/teaching;

   • not an examination of the abuses that occur in many N.O. Masses;

   • not a defense of the N.O.M. in preference over the traditional Latin/Roman Rite;

What this work is:

   • A critical and detailed examination of the critiques of the new sacramental form of the N.O.M. offered by Patrick Henry Omlor and others;

   • A refutation of the arguments denying the validity of the N.O.M.;

   • A refutation of the arguments denying the legality of the N.O.M.;

   • A defense only of the fact that the N.O.M. can be said validly, even with the use of the words “for all” in the Consecration of the wine.

Patrick Henry Omlor: The Robber Church:

       The Robber Church (Ontario, Canada; Silvio Mattachione & Co., 1998) is a compilation of the works of Patrick Henry Omlor. Mr. Omlor has presented a substantial amount of arguments and documentation to buttress his position, putting forth the position that the validity of the N.O.M., particularly in its various vernacular translations, is at best highly doubtful, at worst it is null and void, and thus invalid. The more significant works pertinent to the validity or invalidity of the N.O.M. within this compilation are:

   • “Questioning The Validity of the Masses Using the New, All-English Canon” (pp. 13-81);

   • “Interdum” (eight issues: 91- 215)

   • “Questioning the Validity of McCarthy’s Case” (233-266) and “Excerpts from Monsignor McCarthy Again!” (323-330);

   • “The Necessary Signification in the Sacramental Form of the Holy Eucharist” (267-322)

   • “The Charlatans” (331-344);

   • “No Mystery of Faith: No Mass” (354-374)

   • “Denotes Does Not Imply Accomplishes” (375-376)

       Many ill-informed and/or radical traditionalist Catholics have been influenced by and use his arguments to cause others to doubt the validity of the N.O.M. I will state now, in summary form, Patrick H. Omlor’s Position: Mr. Omlor states that IF the new form “involves an essential change in meaning,” and he believes that it does, THEN “the sacrament has clearly been rendered invalid” (page 28, #35). He claims that he shall prove this to be the case, and will use St. Thomas Aquinas as his authority. Mr. Omlor holds that the new “sacramental form,” particularly in the all-English translation of the new Canon, signifies an essential change in meaning (p.28), and that it suppresses what is essential and signifies falsely (pp. 39ff); hence "invalidity through defect of form" (see p. 218-219: "Our Case in the briefest Terms").

       Defect of form is defined as a change in signification, a change in the essential meaning of the words. Omlor argues that the change of "for many" into "for all" in the new consecration formula is a change that does not signify the same reality (nor the same theology) as do the words "for many.” According to Mr. Omlor and others, the words “FOR ALL”:

    1. fail to convey the sense of efficacy (i.e. the effective application of Christ's shed blood upon many, but not all men), and denote only the sense of sufficiency (i.e. that Christ simply died for all men, with no reference to the actual application of His Precious Blood to believers), even though the constant teaching of the Church is that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the efficacious application of the graces and merits of Christ’s shed Blood. Thus the new form, “… is to be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven,” destroys the true sense of the proper form (pp. 31-34);

    2. if not conveying the sense of sufficiency, but still referring to the efficacy of the Sacrifice, then the heresy of universal salvation is signified, thus invalidating the new rite (i.e. Christ's shed blood is effectively applied to ALL men, thus all men will be saved - which is contrary to Divine Revelation and Church dogma);

    3. signify all men of all time, not the Elect, or the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, or those upon whom the shed blood is efficacious. This means that the new form confuses, if not denies, the effect of the Sacrament as not signifying the union of the Mystical Body (the reality or effect of the Sacrament). Thus the words “for you and for all (men)” not only fail to convey this essential signification of the Mystical Body, but on the contrary, they signify falsely! (pp. 39-42)

       This means, according to Mr. Omlor and others, that the substance of the sacrament has been changed, for there is a DEFECT IN FORM, hence the invalidity of the N.O.M. (The “substance” of a sacrament involves two realities: 1: that which makes it what it is, and without which the Sacrament would not be and, 2: those things which Christ the Lord Himself prescribed must be maintained in the sacramental signs.) Mr. Omlor states that his concern is with the substitution of the form: “for you and for many unto the remission of sins” with “for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins” (p.29). Later on, Mr. Omlor admits that: "EVERYTHING is at stake on THIS point" (p. 222; capitals are my addition). Taking Mr. Omlor at his word, this is what we shall concentrate upon. The burden of proof, to determine that the new consecration formula of the wine does in fact signify an essential change in meaning, is upon Mr. Omlor.

       Another point to be mentioned is that Mr. Omlor admits that his position concerning the short form of the Consecration as being insufficient for validity is only an opinion, and even then that his opinion is only probable. He also recognizes (p. 355, # 5) that the matter concerning whether the short form (“This is the chalice of my Blood”) or the long form (entire consecration form) suffices for validity has not been decided definitively by the Church. Thus, Mr. Omlor can only offer an opinion on this point, though it is one that has some historical backing. (See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, Q.78, Art.3)

The crux of Mr. Omlor's argument against the short form as being sufficient for validity is that, according to Pope Leo XIII's Bull, Apostolicae Curae (1896), "all know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, must both signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify... The form consequently cannot be apt or sufficient for a Sacrament which omits what it must essentially signify." According to Mr. Omlor, the short form of the Consecration fails to signify in the an unambiguous manner the remission of the sins of the members of Christ's Mystical Body, and also fails to signify the union thereof.

       The point also could be made that the words “for many” nor “for All” do not affect the consecration which preceded these words because they have no effect upon the signification of THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD. It is these words which signify the change and the reality: logic and grammar demand it, and theology can never contradict right reason, Vatican I defined this De Fide Definita. However, we will not be arguing for the short form opinion against the long form opinion, which is Mr. Omlor’s position. For the sake of argument on this point, we will argue with Mr. Omlor (and others) in his own court and presume as fact that the short form alone is not sufficient to confect the Sacrament.

I offer as my Points of Refutation the following:

1. Point I: Signification is in fact not changed with the use of “for all,” nor does it signify falsely,     hence the essence of the sacramental form is not affected, but kept intact;
2. Point II: The principle of supplying a Catholic understanding refutes the anti-“for all” position, and     proves that “for all” in fact provides proper signification;
3. Point III: The principle of logical necessity is lacking in the anti-valid/doubtful validity position;     without this necessity, the anti-valid/doubtful validity position cannot be sustained;
4. Point IV: Papal authority in regards to Quo Primum, and its use in the legislation of N.O.M. as a     valid rite, is both protected by the indefectibility of the Church and is validly exercised;

       It might be asked: Why do I, a traditional Catholic apologist and educator, take the side of defending the validity and legality of the N.O.M., despite the fact that it is a clear break from tradition? I do so for three reasons: 1) because Catholics are not allowed to deny any truth, natural or supernatural, but are obligated to recognize the truth where it is found and defend it if need be; 2) because the same authority (papal) which approved all the traditional rites also approved and promulgated the new rite of Mass; and 3) because Mr. Omlor welcomes corrections.

       Mr. Omlor admits that his arguments are not “beyond question or challenge,” and that “[w]hen more weighty arguments (either for or against [his]) are advanced, [he] will welcome them.” Mr. Omlor goes on to quote St. Anselm, adopting the saint’s attitude: “If there is anything that calls for correction I do not refuse the correction” (see Preface to “Questioning the Validity;” also found on p. 22 in The Robber Church). This is what I have set out to accomplish.

       Every work this author has read which argues against the validity of the NO Mass, or even argues that a serious doubt exists, fail to recognize the first three points just listed above. So it appears that Mr. Omlor has not encountered the arguments of this author. One fatal fact of Mr. Omlor’s, as well as others who hold his position, is that they all presume that the words “for all” necessarily mean “all men of all time,” and can not have any other meaning. We will demonstrate that this is in fact not the case. (Each section has prominent objections answered.)

The Novus Ordo of Paul VI is now in print and is titled: Is the New Mass of Pope Paul VI Invalid? The rest of this copywritten material is no longer online. To read the rest of this work, order your copy today. Order Here

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