The Case Against The Validity of The Vernacularized "Masses"
[Some have suggested the usefulness of a "digest" of this case, covering only the essential points and those of particular interest, since there are potentially receptive readers who might have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through my lengthier writings. This paper highlights the most important points raised in those previous writings.-- Patrick Henry Omlor, March 1994.]
Necessity of Using The Proper Form
The validity of any Sacrament depends, among other things, upon the use of the proper words by the person administering the Sacrament. In order to bring about any Sacrament the words prescribed by Christ Himself, as found in Holy Scripture or else handed down by Tradition, or in the case of some Sacraments the words determined by the Church, must be diligently and accurately pronounced. These words are known as the form of the Sacrament. Although the Holy Eucharist is sometimes received outside of Mass (for example, Holy Viaticum), this Sacrament is confected, or brought about, only by a priest while celebrating Mass. As is the case with all Sacraments, the proper matter and form must be used. The Holy Eucharist is twofold in its matter and form; that is, the matter consists of the two substances, bread and wine, and the form consists of two separate sets of words, one spoken in conjunction with each of the two elements of matter.
Concerning the form for the Holy Eucharist there is a most weighty passage contained in Part V of De Defectibus in Celebratione Missarum Occurrentibus, which is a section incorporated in the official rubrics accompanying the Roman Missal. In his Bull Quo Primum (1570) Pope St. Pius V ordered that this Missal be used in the Latin Rite "in perpetuity," and the aforementioned De Defectibus... always appears in the introductory pages of legitimate altar missals. These extremely significant words in Part V of De Defectibus are as follows:
"The words of Consecration, which are the form of this Sacrament, are these: For this is my Body. And: For this is the Chalice of my Blood, of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. Now if one were to omit, or to change anything in the form of the consecration of the Body and Blood, and in that very change of the words the [new] wording would fail to mean the same thing, he would not consecrate the Sacrament. If in fact he were to add something that did not change the meaning, it is true he would consecrate, but he would sin most gravely."
This precept begins by setting forth the consecration form in its entirety. It then warns that if anything (aliquid) in this form just defined should be altered in any way whatsoever involving a change in meaning of the originally specified words, then the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist containing the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ would not be produced, and hence the priest-celebrant would celebrate no Mass at all. De Defectibus does not single out the introductory words of the form for the wine, "This is the chalice of my blood," and state that if only those words are changed in meaning the consecration is invalid, but the prescription clearly states that the entire form must be recited, conveying its correct meaning, in order for the Sacrament and the Mass to be truly valid.
Catholics were always instructed that the form, the necessary words, for a Sacrament must not be altered, or else the Sacrament is not produced. "In our sacraments," teaches the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "the form is so definite that any, even a casual deviation from it, renders the sacrament null." This same Catechism, in complete agreement with the teaching of De Defectibus, spells out most clearly and forcibly what is the sacramental form for the Consecration of the Wine:
"It must certainly be believed that it consists of the following words: `For this is the Chalice of my Blood, of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.'"
And, to repeat the teaching of the Catechism, this form is "so definite that any, even a casual deviation from it, renders the sacrament null."
The ICEL Form Contains Four Flagrant Deviations
In the "All-English Canon" that was first introduced in October of 1967, the ICEL gave the following form for the wine-consecration:
"this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant -- the mystery of faith. This blood is to be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven."
Since this original "translation" of 1967, the ICEL has meddled with it two more times, so that it now reads:
"This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven."
The foregoing "form" consists of two sentences, with exactly fifteen words in each sentence. In those thirty words the ICEL deviated four times from the established form set forth in De Defectibus, which is the same form, word for word, that the Authors of the Roman Catechism taught "must certainly be believed" to be the form.
The four flagrant deviations in the ICEL's "sacramental form" are as follows:
 The breaking up of the form into two sentences has serious theological implications (see the commentary on pp. 36-37 of Questioning The Validity of McCarthy's Case, which treats of this matter).
 The omission of the words, "the mystery of faith." The serious consequences of this omission were discussed at length on pp. 50-64 of The Necessary Signification In The Sacramental Form Of The Holy Eucharist.
 The changing of "for you and for many unto the remission of sins" to "for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven." This change is the subject of this present paper.
 In the correct form the words following "This is the Chalice of My Blood" -- to wit: "... which shall be shed for you and for many ... etc." -- refer to the word "chalice," not to the word "blood," which shows clearly that the blood as the contents of the chalice, and not only as shed upon the cross (as the Protestants and other heretics claim) is Christ's true Blood : a clear affirmation of the doctrines of transubstantiation and the Real Presence.
In the ICEL's form, after the first words, "This is the cup of my blood," the words "the blood" are then repeated: "This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed ... etc." This subtle change, the insertion of those words "the blood," makes the remaining words of their bogus, invalid form refer to "the blood" rather than to "the chalice" -- i.e., the contents of the chalice after the Consecration -- thus removing this additional proof of transubstantiation and the Real Presence, which the Church has from St. Luke's Gospel (Lk. 22:20), and which has always stood as a stumbling block for the heretics. (A more detailed discussion of all the foregoing is to be found on pp. 7-8 of Monsignor McCarthy Again! Another Fiasco!).
Must Be Conformed to the Same Definite Type
Elsewhere I have stressed that the precise form of words used in the Latin Rite is not necessarily required for validity in all (or even any) of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. It was in § 145 of Questioning The Validity of the Masses Using the New, All-English Canon that I first quoted these words from pp. 44-45 of the Vindication of the Bull `Apostolicae Curae', authored by the official interpreters of the mind of Pope Leo in Apostolicae Curae, namely, the Catholic hierarchy of the Province of Westminster under the leadership of Cardinal Vaughan:
"But you are also mistaken in thinking that matters have been left by Our Lord in so much uncertainty, and that there is no one definite form which has prevailed in the Catholic Church both in the East and in the West. If, indeed, you mean merely that no identical form of words has always and everywhere been in use, but that, on the contrary, several different forms of words have been recognized by the Holy See as sufficient, you say what all will admit, and the Bull nowhere denies. ... The Bull, however...is requiring, not that the form should always consist of the same words, but that it should always be conformed to the same definite type."
In six of the eight Eastern Rite wine-consecration forms that are currently in use, as well as in many ancient Eastern liturgies no longer in use, we do not find the words, "This is the Chalice of My Blood ... etc." at all, but only "This is My Blood ... etc." Moreover, in only three of these eight current Eastern Rite forms do we find the words, "the mystery of faith." But all those words that are essential in our Latin Rite are not necessarily essential in other rites. I demonstrated this at length on pp. 50-64 of The Necessary Signification...
The important point to be noted is that in those Eastern Rites that use the form "This is My Blood ... etc." rather than "This is the Chalice of My Blood ... etc." -- and, moreover, do not have the words "the mystery of faith" in the form -- absolutely nothing has ever been removed nor changed. The Eastern Catholics of these various rites use those various forms (which are in some cases even worded slightly differently from one another) which, by the command of Our Lord, were handed down to them by those Apostles who proselytized in the East.
Whereas other different Apostles, the ones who first brought Catholicism to the West, handed down the form that is used today in the Latin Church (not in the "Novus Ordo" Robber Church, of course, we are speaking of Catholics) and which, in fact, has always been used. Pope Innocent III (letter Cum Marthae Circa, Nov. 29, 1202; Denz., nos. 414-415) made this point clear when he taught authoritatively: "Therefore we believe that the form of words, as is found in the Canon, the Apostles received from Christ, and their successors from them."
Consequently, we can see the vital importance of this admonition: "In adhering rigidly to the rite handed down to us we can always feel secure; whereas if we omit or change anything, we may perhaps be abandoning just that element which is essential" (A Vindication of The Bull `Apostolicae Curae', p. 42).
When the Authors of the Roman Catechism teach that any deviation from the form of a sacrament, however casual it might be, invalidates the sacrament, they are speaking as catholic doctors; that is, on truths that apply universally. Hence this teaching regarding the fatal consequences of deviating from established sacramental forms applies not only in our Latin Rite, but, needless to say, to the forms used by the Eastern rites. Thus any deviation from the forms handed down in those rites would similarly invalidate their sacraments. The fact that the precise forms of words differ in the various rites has no bearing whatever on the truth or applicability of what the Catechism has laid down.
Sufficiency Aspect vis-à-vis Efficacy Aspect
In order to comprehend clearly that the ICEL's "form" involves a basic change in the theological meaning of the ancient and proper form, it is necessary to consider two distinct aspects of the Passion and Death of Our Divine Lord. The first aspect is that of sufficiency; that is, for what and for whom did Christ's Passion suffice? The second aspect is that of efficacy; that is, for what and for whom is Christ's Passion effective or efficacious?
The distinction between these two aspects was stated in one brief sentence of the Council of Trent: "But, though He died for all, yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His Passion is communicated" (Session VI, "Decree concerning Justification," Chap. 3).
Many theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Th., III, q. 78, art. 3, ad 8 and Scriptum Super Lib. IV Sententiarum, dist. 8, q. 2, art. 2, q. 3 ad 7), the Authors of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, also known as the Roman Catechism (part II, chap. IV, § XXIV), St. Alphonsus (Treatise on the Holy Eucharist, p. 44), Pope Innocent III (De Sacro Altaris Mysterio, book IV, chap. XLI), and Pope Benedict XIV (De Sacrosancto Missae Sacrificio, book II, chap. XV, § 11) have expounded this distinction between the sufficiency aspect and the efficacy aspect of Our Lord's Passion and Death. In the course of their explanations of "sufficiency vs. efficacy" they have all taught that the correct theological meaning in the wine-consecration of the words "pro multis" is "for many" and not "for all." This is the very heart of our argument. It will suffice here to examine two of these explanations.
First, St, Alphonsus: "The words pro vobis et pro multis (`For you and for many') are used to distinguish the virtue of the blood of Christ from its fruits; for the blood of our Saviour is of sufficient value to save all men, but its fruits are applicable only to a certain number and not to all, and this is their own fault. Or, as the theologians say, this precious blood is (in itself) sufficiently (sufficienter) able to save all men, but (on our part) effectually (efficaciter) it does not save all -- it saves only those who co-operate with grace. This is the explanation of St. Thomas, as quoted by Benedict XIV."
Second, the Roman Catechism: "For if we look at the vertue of it, it must be confess'd, that our Savior shed his Blood for the salvation of all men. But if we look at the fruit which men gather from thence, we may easily understand that it comes not to all to advantage, but only to some. When therefore he said, `For you,' he signifi'd either them that were then present, or those whom he had chosen out of the Jewish people, such as were his Disciples, except Judas, with whom he spake. But when he added, `For many,' he would have the rest that were elected, either Jews or Gentiles, to be understood."
Continuing, the Catechism explicitly singles out the ICEL's false substitution "for all" in the wine-consecration form as being contrary to "the design of the discourse"; that is, contrary to the Mind of Christ, when in instituting the Holy Sacrament He expressly said "for many," meaning not all men, but only the members of His Church, the Mystical Body, the elect, who are the only ones who actually benefit ultimately from the "fruits of the Passion," namely, the "Fruit of Salvation":
"Rightly therefore was it done, that it was not said `for all,' seeing that in this place the design of the discourse extends only to the fruits of the Passion, which brought the Fruit of Salvation only to the Elect."
The foregoing excerpts are from p. 207 of the first translation of the Roman Catechism into English, published at London in 1687, under the Catholic King James II. Hence the archaic expressions and spelling (e.g. "vertue").
The ecumenical Council of Florence (1438-1445) taught:
"But since in the above written decree of the Armenians there was not set forth the form of words, which in the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord the holy Roman Church, confirmed by the teaching and authority of the Apostles Peter and Paul, has always been accustomed to use, we have deemed that it should be inserted here. In the consecration of the Body the Church uses this form of words: `For this is my body'; and for the consecration of the Blood: `For this is the chalice of my blood, of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.'" (From "Decree for the Greeks and Armenians").
The Significance of the Aforesaid Changes in Theological Meaning
In addition to these arguments from authority it is expedient here to explain briefly why, from the standpoint of sacramental theology, this mutilated ICEL form, "shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven," necessarily invalidates the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and, perforce, the "Masses" in which it is used. This is now to be explained in eight steps.
 Apostolicae Curae: Pope Leo XIII in his Bull Apostolicae Curae (1896) authoritatively laid down the principle of sacramental theology of which we speak. He taught that in any Sacrament the essential sacramental grace proper to that Sacrament must be explicitly signified in the form of words used in bringing about the Sacrament:
"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. Although the signification ought to be found in the whole essential rite -- that is to say, in the matter and in the form -- yet it pertains chiefly to the form; since the matter is a part which is not determined by itself, but which is determined by the form." And also: "That form consequently cannot be apt or sufficient for a Sacrament which omits what it must essentially signify." (Sec. 8). [I emphasized the words "the grace" above: this is a vital point.]
 Grace of the Sacrament: Here the Sovereign Pontiff Leo XIII is teaching infallibly that the forms of the various Sacraments ("it still pertains chiefly to the form") must signify the grace which they effect. That is, the "grace proper" to a Sacrament, which is the sacramental grace of that Sacrament, which is also known as "the effect" of the Sacrament, and, moreover is also known as "the reality" of the Sacrament, which in Latin is the "res sacramenti" or the "res tantum." All these expressions -- grace proper, sacramental grace, the effect, the reality, "res sacramenti," "res tantum" -- mean exactly the same thing. It is this grace that the words of the sacramental form must signify, as Pope Leo XIII so clearly teaches.
 Unambiguous signification required: On p. 31 of the aforementioned Vindication of the Bull `Apostolicae Curae' we find the following reinforcement of the teaching that the form of a Sacrament must signify the grace of the Sacrament, which must not be confused with grace in general or other kinds of grace:
"Moreover, the signification must not be ambiguous, but so far definite as to discriminate the grace effected from graces of a different kind; as, for instance, the graces of other Sacraments." And on p. 40: "The definite signification, as has already been explained, must be found in the essential part [emphasis in the original text], in the matter and form morally united together."
 The `Grace Proper' of the Holy Eucharist: Now what is this sacramental grace, this grace proper, this effect, this reality, this res sacramenti of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist? What is this grace that must be so definitely signified in the sacramental form that it must not be confused with graces of a different kind? As is so well known and documented so exhaustively, the res sacramenti or grace proper or special sacramental grace of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the union of the Mystical Body of Christ. And it is this union of the Mystical Body which must be signified somewhere in the sacramental form, that is, in the Words of Consecration. That the res sacramenti of the Holy Eucharist is the union of the Mystical Body is acknowledged by all theologians.
 The words of the Consecration that signify this: Now where in the Words of Consecration is this reference to the union of the Mystical Body to be found? Is this signification contained in the mere words, "This is My Body; This is the Chalice of My Blood"? These words signify the True Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, which become present through transubstantiation, not the Mystical Body, and to claim otherwise or to claim that both Christ's True Body and His Mystical Body are signified by these words would be heretical. Some Protestant theologians have in fact claimed this (see, for example, the reference to Dorner and Loofs on p. 106 of The Necessary Signification...). The words which signify the res sacramenti are found in the final phrase of the Consecration of the Wine: "for you and for many unto the remission of sins."
 Proof of the foregoing: "For you and for many unto the remission of sins" are the words of the sacramental form for the Holy Eucharist that provide this vital signification of the res sacramenti, for the words "you" and "many" are the only words of the form that explicitly designate the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. Moreover, the final phrase, "unto the remission of sins," signifies the union of the members, as will now be shown.
Now, it is through reception of the Holy Eucharist that we, the members of the Mystical Body in the branch known as the Church Militant, become more closely and firmly united to Jesus Christ -- the Head of the Mystical Body -- and also to one another, and also to our fellow-members in the other two branches; viz., the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. The very principle of existence and origin of this aforesaid union is sanctifying grace. Any person living in the state of sanctifying grace is automatically within Christ's Mystical Body.
But since sanctifying grace is the principle of existence and origin of the union of the Mystical Body, which is the res sacramenti of the Holy Eucharist, it must then be acknowledged that the essential and absolute prerequisite -- the sine qua non -- of this union is the remission of sins. It is by means of the Sacrament of Baptism that we first receive sanctifying grace; thus through the remission of original sin and actual sin (in the case of adult baptisms) we first become members of the Mystical Body, as the bull Exultate Deo of Pope Eugene IV teaches: "Holy Baptism, which is the gateway (janua) to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church."
We retain our status as living members of the Mystical Body by remaining in the state of sanctifying grace. A member who has become spiritually dead, through mortal sin, though not severed from the Mystical Body, can be reinstated as a living member and again become a vital part of the union of the Mystical Body only by the remission of his sins, through what St. Jerome calls "the second plank after shipwreck," namely, the Sacrament of Penance.
From all the foregoing it is evident that the remission of sins -- that is, the actual and efficacious remission of sins; or in other words "in remissionem peccatorum" (unto the remission of sins) -- is the necessary prerequisite for: (a) our initial incorporation in the Mystical Body; and (b) the reinstatement as living members, through the Second Plank After Shipwreck, of those who have lost sanctifying grace. Consequently, the remission of sins can be said to cause the union of the members of the Mystical Body.
Hence the final phrase of the form for the Consecration of the Wine in its entirety -- to wit: "for you and for many unto the remission of sins" -- comprises the essential words signifying the grace of the Sacrament -- to wit: the union of the Mystical Body. The words "you" and "many" designate the members; the words "unto the remission of sins" signify the cause underlying the principle of existence of their unity, without which there is no vital unity, namely, their living in the state of sanctifying grace.
 ICEL form signifies falsely: The ICEL's corrupted form, "for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven," by saying "all" fails to designate the members of the Mystical Body since not all men are members of the Mystical Body, but only "many" are members. Moreover, the words, "so that sins may be forgiven," do not signify the efficacious remission of sins, since they do not convey the idea that any sins actually are or have been remitted, but only "may be forgiven."
Three Examples to Illustrate and Prove All the Foregoing Points
Investigating the eight consecration forms currently in use in the Oriental rites reveals that all, without exception, contain the words, "for you and for many" and "unto the remission of sins," thereby having the necessary signification of the union of the Mystical Body. But let me give three illustrations (from among many that could be cited) of ancient liturgies which are no longer in use, which do not contain the precise words, "for you and for many unto the remission of sins," but nevertheless have words that are equivalent in meaning and thus "conform to the same definite type."
(_) The Syrian Liturgy of St. Cyril: "This is my blood, which seals the Testament of my death; for it prepares you and the many faithful for eternal life." ("Hic est sanguis meus, qui obsignat Testamentum mortis meae; vos autem, et multos fideles praeparat ad vitam aeternam.") Since this form must be of the same definite type as our Latin Rite form, the words "the many faithful" (multos fideles) demolish the argument advanced by some of our opponents that the words "pro multis" should be interpreted as meaning not just many, but all men. For fideles is a technical term used by the Catholic Church in order exclusively to denote her members. And it would be absurd to claim that the meaning conveyed by the sacramental form in one liturgy would be different from that of another liturgy. That is, in the present-day vernacularized liturgies "multis" means "all men," while in this ancient liturgy "multos" modified by "fideles" clearly means Catholics only!
Moreover, not only does "you and the many faithful," contain the necessary signification of the members of the Mystical Body, the words, "prepares ... for eternal life," beautifully signify their union, for The Church Triumphant consummates, nay is, this union. It is also seen from this example that the words "unto the remission of sins" are not per se essential words; they are essential only in those rites where they appear and fill the role of signifying the union of the Mystical Body.
(_) The Syrian Liturgy of St. James: "This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for the many faithful (pro multis fidelibus effunditur), and is given unto the remission of sins and eternal life."
(_) The Syrian Liturgy of Moses Bar-Cephas: "This is my blood, which is shed and given for you and for those who believe in me, preparing for eternal life all those who receive it." Again a form that conforms to the same definite type, inasmuch as "those who believe in me" surely is equivalent to "many," and cannot conceivably mean "all men."
 GRACE is that which must be signified: Some have argued that since the words, "This is My Body; This is the Chalice of My Blood," signify the True Body and Blood of Christ, Whose Real Presence is brought about through the Consecration, and since Christ is true God, the Author of all grace, these words alone suffice to satisfy Pope Leo's teaching that the form must signify the grace of the Sacrament! This argument is fatuous to the extreme, and it is on a par with arguing that in the form for Baptism the only essential words are, "in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," because these words signify the Holy Trinity, God, and since God is the Author of all grace these words automatically signify the grace of the Sacrament! God is the Author of all grace, but He is not grace; least of all is He the sacramental grace (the res sacramenti) of the Holy Eucharist, the union of the Mystical Body, which is what the sacramental form must signify.