We must always judge the claims people make, according to our Traditional Catholic Principles. As one example: it is a core, unshakable Traditional Catholic Principle that Vatican II is a bad tree which can only bear bad fruit.
In his war against Our Lord, the devil has endless false arguments which seek to deceive Catholics that bad fruit is really good fruit. One such Satanic attempt to deceive Catholics is the following superficial “argument” that falsely concludes that the new mass gives Grace:
Our Catholic Common Sense (judging according to Traditional Catholic Principles) causes us to know immediately that the hand of Satan is in this “argument”, because the new mass is a bad fruit of a bad tree. No bad fruit is good and something evil cannot be a source of Grace. Our Catholic Common Sense immediately “smells” the work of Satan, even if a Traditional Catholic leader or an “angel of light”1 were to insist otherwise.
We know that the new mass always offends God and is inherently evil. God never uses something inherently evil as a source of Grace. (However, when a person is ignorant and witnesses evil, God might use that particular time and place as the occasion to give His Grace, to help that person see the evil and make changes in his life.)
Further, if every mass gave Grace, then all evil (but valid) masses would give Grace. This cannot be! This would mean all (valid) masses of heretics and schismatics give Grace and thus, are good because they (supposedly) sanctify souls!
We would also be forced to conclude that the (valid) masses of Satanists give Grace and are good, even though they are designed and conducted to mock our Lord and offend him as greatly as possible through the gravest possible sacrileges. Our Catholic Common Sense knows immediately that this is Satan’s “argument” and that it must be false to say all valid masses give Grace.
That argument (above) no more proves the new mass gives Grace, than does the following (false) “argument” prove that all prayer pleases God:
Through our Catholic Common Sense, we know immediately that this argument is false, and Our Lord told us that God did not hear the Pharisee’s prayer.
The devil knows we have Catholic Common Sense and that this “argument” won’t fool us if we judge (and reject) this argument according to our Traditional Catholic Principles.
For this reason, the devil has additional “layers” of false arguments so that he can attempt to deceive by a subsequent “layer” of argument any persons who had managed to remain undeceived by his earlier fallacy. His next “layer” of false argument involves presenting his fallacious “reasoning”, adding something like “Archbishop Lefebvre said this” or “St. Pius X taught this”.
A striking (and unfortunate) example of this type of demonic “argument”, is the one which currently deceives Bishop Williamson (and, tragically, which he is spreading).
Bishop Williamson used to say the new mass is inherently evil and no one should ever attend it. He now says that the Council of Trent’s infallible teaching shows that the new mass gives Grace. Here are Bishop Williamson’s recent words:
I’m sure you ask yourselves: “What kind of world are my children going to have to grow up in? How are they going to keep the Faith?” Very good question. By prayer and Charity and by frequenting the sacraments, so long as they are still available, so long as it’s at all still possible to reach the sacraments. And some Novus—I’ve got into quite a lot of controversy for saying this, but it’s true—there is no question that some Novus Ordo Masses are valid.3 And if they’re valid, then it’s defined by the Council of Trent that grace passes, “ex opere operato”, is the strict phrase.4
However much this superficial invocation of the Council of Trent deceives Bishop Williamson himself, the fact remains that our Catholic Common Sense immediately “smells the rat” despite mention of Trent. Despite Traditional-sounding buzzwords, we know that the new mass is evil and cannot be a source of Grace.
To unmask this false argument, let us look more closely than Bishop Williamson did (in the conference quoted above), at his claim that the Council of Trent shows that the new mass gives Grace.
The Council of Trent truly states that Sacraments are instrumental causes of Grace (“ex opere operato”). See, session VII, canon VIII. The Council of Trent distinguishes (on the one hand) the seven Sacraments—which cause Grace—from other good works and prayers (on the other hand) through which we obtain Grace, which are not themselves causes of Grace. Reciting a Hail Mary is not a direct cause of Grace. Rather, it is a pious occasion which disposes us and prompts God to give Grace—but not through that prayer as a cause.
However, although Catholics know that the Sacraments cause Grace, it is against Catholic Teaching and Catholic Common Sense to wrongly jump to the conclusion that every valid Sacrament gives Grace, as Bishop Williamson asserts. In other words, although the Sacraments are causes of grace, this does not mean that there aren’t obstacles which sometimes serve to prevent a valid Sacrament from giving Grace.
Bishop Williamson’s superficial “reasoning” misses three key distinctions:
Below we examine these distinctions which show the falsehood of Bishop Williamson’s rash, overly broad claim that every time there is a valid Sacrament, “Grace passes” (i.e., is given).
When Bishop Williamson says that, if a Sacrament is “valid, then it’s defined by the Council of Trent that grace passes”, he distorts the Council of Trent and makes a false, overly broad “rule” that a valid Sacrament always gives Grace. If his rule were correct, then to receive the Holy Eucharist in mortal sin would give Grace. But such Communion is a mortal sin of sacrilege, not a source of Grace. Thus, Bishop Williamson’s rule is false (because it is overly broad) that every valid Sacrament gives Grace.
Bishop Williamson’s second crucial omission is failing to consider valid Sacraments performed by heretics and schismatics. Such (valid) Sacraments are mortal sins and God does not give His Grace through those Sacraments. Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this important truth:
[S]ome have contended that heretics, schismatics, and the excommunicate, who are outside the pale of the Church, cannot perform this Sacrament [viz., the Holy Eucharist]. But herein they are deceived, because, as Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii),it is one thing to lack something utterly, and another to have it improperly; and in like fashion,it is one thing not to bestow, and quite another to bestow, but not rightly.... [S]ince the consecration of the Eucharist is an act which follows the power of order, such persons as are separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication, can indeed consecrate the Eucharist, which on being consecrated by them contains Christ’s true body and blood; but they act wrongly, and sin by doing so; and in consequence they do not receive the fruit of the sacrifice [viz., Grace]....
Summa, III, Q.82, a.7, Respondeo.
This is a second reason Bishop Williamson is plainly wrong in his superficial misuse of the Council of Trent to support his assertion that “Grace passes” with every valid Sacrament.
For any reader interested in further enumerations of the Catholic teaching that no “Grace passes” when valid Sacraments are given by heretics, see the teaching of St. Augustine, Pope Gregory XVI, St. Fulgentius, St. Bonaventure and St. Jerome, quoted (with citations) in Lumen Gentium Annotated, by Quanta Cura Press, pp. 117, 135 & 138, © 2013.
Concluding this section: Plainly, our Catholic Common Sense is confirmed by the teachings of the Catholic Faith, viz., even if a particular evil mass were valid, it is false and rash to judge that this mass gives Grace (as Bishop Williamson asserts). This truth applies to all heretics and adherents to any false religions, including the new conciliar religion.5
Even when a Sacrament is valid, the Council of Trent nonetheless infallibly declares it is a mortal sin to omit the Catholic rites surrounding that Sacraments’ Matter and Form. Here are the Council’s words:
If anyone saith, that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, wont to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments, may be contemned, or without sin be omitted ... let him be anathema.
Session VII, canon XIII.6
Thus, the Council of Trent verifies our Catholic Common Sense that a valid sacrament can be a mortal sin (and thus, not give Grace), because of omissions from (or additions to) the Catholic sacramental rite. This is precisely the case of the new mass, which changes the Catholic rite surrounding the Sacrament’s Matter and Form so that it is inherently a mortal sin of sacrilege and thus, cannot cause Grace (even if we were to suppose the consecration were valid).
Let us pray for Bishop Williamson that he correct his grave errors promoting the new mass. He has done great good in the past and it is possible for him to still do great good in the future.
But though ... an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.Galatians, 1:8. St. Paul further explains that this “angel of light” is the devil:
Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light.II Cor. 11:14.↑
The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself:St. Luke 18:11-12.↑O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
Bishop Williamson here supposes that if a new mass were to have a valid consecration, this would automatically mean that the new mass is a valid mass. For purposes of this article, we leave aside—but do not grant— this unsupported assumption.
Church law treats the Mass’s Offertory as one of the three main parts of the Mass without attending which, a Catholic has not attended Mass. Thus, even if a person were to assume that a new mass’s consecration were valid, this does not allow us to conclude that such a new mass would be a valid mass as such, since the conciliar “offertory” is so radically different and might properly be called the very antithesis of the Catholic Offertory. Thus, even if a person were to suppose that a new mass were to have a valid consecration, this is not enough to show that it is a valid mass because the new mass contains an “anti-Offertory”.
Also, Bishop Williamson here implicitly makes the unsupported assumption that some conciliar ordinations and consecrations are known to be valid—which is a necessary assumption to support his supposition that some new masses have definitely valid consecrations. But the truth is that the validity of all conciliar “ordinations” and “consecrations” is inherently doubtful. For a thorough explanation of this, see:
We reject the new mass and all other aspects of new conciliar religion, just as we reject all aspects of all other false religions. Although we reject their objective errors, we do not judge other persons’ subjective culpability for holding those grave errors.
For a thorough explanation of our Catholic duty to judge objective errors but not judge other persons’ subjective culpability, see the discussion of the mortal sin of rash judgment.↑