Thursday, December 29, 2005


By Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt
Editor, The Catholic Voice

[Made available on the TRADITIO Internet Site with permission of The
Catholic Voice, a publication of The Society of Traditional Roman

The beginning of this year my parish moved from a small, converted
office space to a beautiful church facility. While the parish was
tucked away, we were of little threat to anyone. My parishioners and I
used our time to grow in our love for the Latin Mass and the truth of
the Catholic Church.

Now that we have moved, there are many effects that I hadn't planned
on. Most of these are good. However, some are not. The chief among
these latter concerns is an attack made by the priests of the modern
church in my area who tell those interested in the Tridentine Latin Mass
at our traditional church that the Mass is "illicit" and that they
cannot attend.

The power of the pulpit is an awesome one and not something that
should be taken lightly. The structure of the Catholic Church is such
that the faithful look to their priests for guidance, and most of that
teaching and counsel is given from the pulpit. Priests are given the
power to preach the Gospel at the Diaconate and spend years of study in
perfecting that art. Their studies include dogmatic, moral and pastoral
theology, and every effort on their part is made to preach only what the
Church teaches. However, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the
pulpit has been used as an instrument of change.

Modern preachers have brought the faithful like docile, yet blind,
sheep to a form of worship that simply bears no resemblance to the
ancient practices of the Catholic Church. It has been an abuse of the
preaching power that has secured these changes in the churches
throughout the world. From these same pulpits priests lash out at the
Tridentine Latin Mass. It is forbidden, it is wrong, they say.

When these words don't stop the hundreds and thousands of people who
frequent the Latin Mass, they start hammering at the "power words."
They say the Tridentine Latin Mass is "illicit," and people start to
question. These priests make the word "illicit" sound so powerful that
it imparts fear in the hearts of those who would dare to attend a Latin

What does it mean for a Mass (or any of the Sacraments for that
matter) to be illicit? Simply put, if a Mass is declared to be illicit
by legitimate authority, the faithful are warned that while the Mass is
most probably valid, they cannot attend because the priest is either
under suspension, excommunicated, or acting without faculties. Attending
a Mass that is illicit does not fulfill one's Sunday obligation either.
The case these modern preachers have against the Tridentine Latin Mass
is to say that the faithful cannot attend because they would be sinning
in doing so. They sin because they attend an unapproved, illicit Latin
Mass. Let's examine their case.

First of all, no one has the authority in the Church to make the
Tridentine Mass illicit and to forbid the faithful from attending. This
is just as true as pointing out that no one, not even the Church
Herself, has the power to make changes in the Mass that affect its very

Secondly, in regards to priest's faculties, most priests who offer
the Latin Mass today do not have the permission of their local bishops.
If this is why their Masses are called "llicit,"then by their standards
tradition-minded priests are guilty as charged. Yet, they are not under
the local bishops not because they are renegades, but because these
bishops steadfastly resist the celebration of the Tridentine Latin Mass.

These bishops, themselves, are operating under questionable authority
given their adherence to a heretical liturgical form and their open
promotion of the practices of the Second Vatican Council that blatantly
contradict traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It is
their liturgies that are at best illicit and almost assuredly invalid.
We cannot accept their judgment on the works of the Latin Mass parishes
since that which is done in the modern parishes is illegitimate and in
opposition to Jesus Christ and His Church.

A question arises: If some tradition-minded priests are offering the
Tridentine Latin Mass without the approval of the local bishop, then
where do they get their faculties? Their faculties exist from those
given them after their ordination. They continue the use of them because
no modern bishop can take them away in order to force adherence to the
Novus Ordo.

Calling the Tridentine Latin Mass illicit is a weak form of answering
the questions in the hearts and minds of the faithful. Labelling
opposition is always a cowardly way to force compliance when solid
answers to questions cannot be given. If these priests who are afraid of
the Latin Mass would look seriously into the reasons why so many
Catholics do not prefer the new liturgy, perhaps they could see why all
their pontificating is not slowing down the tide of people looking for
Latin Masses. The faithful will not be bullied into accepting a form of
liturgy that is destructive of their Faith.

TRADITIO Traditional Roman Catholic Internet Site

E-mail List:, Web Page:

Copyright 1997 CV. Reproduction prohibited without authorization.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home