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'Quick Help' Page: How Should We Assist At Mass?

 

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How should we assist at Mass?

 

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As stated in the Baltimore Catechism...

"We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety, and with every outward mark of respect and devotion."

It should be noted that the word "assist" does NOT mean the faithful have any role in effecting the Sacrament. It is the priest alone – acting in the place of Christ – who effects the transubstantiation, and no lay persons (or 'spectators') are necessary...

"The proposition of the synod in which, after it states that 'a partaking of the victim [that is, Christ in the Holy Eucharist] is an essential part in the sacrifice,' it adds, 'nevertheless, it does not condemn as illicit those Masses in which those present do not communicate sacramentally, for the reason that they do partake of the victim, although less perfectly, by receiving it spiritually,' since it insinuates that there is something lacking to the essence of the sacrifice [of the Mass] in that sacrifice which is performed either with no one present, or with those present who partake of the victim neither sacramentally nor spiritually, and as if those Masses should be condemned as illicit, in which, with the priest alone communicating, no one is present who communicates either sacramentally or spiritually, [is condemned as] false, erroneous, suspected of heresy and savoring of it." ('Auctorem fidei', Condemning the Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, Aug. 28, 1794 A.D., emphasis added)

"[A]s all know, the integrity of the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice only requires that the priest partake of the heavenly food. Although it is most desirable that the people should also approach the holy table, this is not required for the integrity of the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice... They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive Holy Communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is question not of a [Eucharistic] sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration. Now it cannot be over-emphasized that the Eucharistic Sacrifice of its very nature is the unbloody immolation of the divine Victim [Christ], which is made manifest in a mystical manner by the separation of the sacred species and by their oblation to the eternal Father. Holy Communion pertains to the integrity of the Mass and to the partaking of the august Sacrament; but while it is obligatory for the priest who says the Mass, it is only something earnestly recommended to the faithful." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

In fact, the laity should not perform any actions proper to a priest...

"Can. 907 In the celebration of the Eucharist [the Mass], deacons and lay persons are not permitted to say the prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, nor to perform the actions which are proper to the celebrating priest." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Final Note: It has been widely demonstrated that the Novus Ordo Mass of the 1960's can make it difficult for Catholics to assist properly at Mass (e.g. due to noise, abuses, etc.). Thankfully, the Traditional Latin Mass is still lawfully said throughout the world. This ancient & incomparable, highly reverent Mass contains numerous & significant differences from the 1960's Novus Ordo Mass (try here for more information). To locate a Traditional Latin Mass in your area, try here.


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