Husband says NO is endangering his faith
#1
The gist of my request is for any resources or information you can point me to that makes a case for why one ought to attend a NO mass to fulfill one’s obligation if a proper liturgy is not available. I assume there will be different member opinions on this but I am really in search of legitimate resources and arguments one way or the other, not just opinions, although those are welcome along with your prayers.

The context for why I am making this request is below:


My husband and I have been faithfully fulfilling our Sunday obligation together at Latin Rite new masses for many years. We have always had concerns about the new mass. We have moved a lot and seen a lot of liturgical abuse and just awful stuff that I’m sure you don’t even need me to detail for you because you have all seen it and know exactly what I’m talking about.

A few years ago, we moved to an area that has a Byzantine Catholic Church one hour’s drive away. We have been attending their liturgy on most Sundays for the past three years. We have been really blessed by attending this liturgy. 

There have been a few weekends or holy days, here and there, that we have attended the Latin Rite Novus Ordo mass that is just across the street from where we live.

This has been brewing for a while now but recently, my husband has been becoming more and more concerned about everything that has been going on with the Church lately. Amoris Laetita, the death penalty, the scandals... we attended a new mass a couple weeks ago and he just broke. He snapped. He told me that he could never attend a new mass ever again, that it was harmful to his faith, and that he was in danger of losing it altogether. We have been doing everything we can to make it to a proper liturgy but this can’t always practically be done. 
For example, he gets migraines sometimes and is too sick to go in the morning but feels better by the evening and attends a late evening NO mass that night. Or at least he used to do that...
Or, there are some holy days that the Eastern Rite does not celebrate that the Roman Rite does like All Saint’s Day, November 1st. There are no daily masses at the Byzantine church for us to attend that day. There is a church that offers the TLM but it is an hour and 15 minutes away. We plan to attend that but my point is that there are going to be times that he is going to miss a proper liturgy in the morning and will be obligated to attend the evening mass close by but he is going to choose not to.

Today is that day and I am feeling very ill about this. He had a migraine this morning and was not able to go the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. He is feeling better after taking medicine but plans not to attend the evening NO mass across the street tonight.

I, of course, prefer traditional liturgies. But I also prefer not to go to Hell! So I will be attending the NO mass tonight without him. I am afraid for his soul but also just confused myself as well. I am also wondering if I am doing the right thing.
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#2
(08-04-2019, 03:16 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: I, of course, prefer traditional liturgies. But I also prefer not to go to Hell! So I will be attending the NO mass tonight without him. I am afraid for his soul but also just confused myself as well. I am also wondering if I am doing the right thing.

This is a case of conscience. If he cannot in good conscience justify his attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass, because he believes it would endanger his Faith, then he is making the correct moral call.

There is the question of whether this is a correct assessment. I would say it is, but others would say it is not. It certainly is a debatable topic on which there is clear doubt among good people, so one cannot then say in such a doubt there is a moral obligation.

The danger in the attitude you have above, good-willed as it may be, is that you are now judging him guilty of a mortal sin. That he certainly is not, if he truly (correctly or not) thinks that the Novus Ordo is a harm to his Faith. The Faith must be protected at all costs, so even if external obedience puts our Faith at risk, we cannot obey.

It would be best for you to ask him why he thinks that the Novus Ordo is a danger to his Faith, and then educate yourself on these points. You say you have a preference. Your husband clearly has some principles. Ask what these and and then ask for explanations. Then LISTEN to him and try to understand, not retort or judge. Go do your research, ask questions and then discuss it more with your husband.

Perhaps you will come to understand what he means, or you will find answers for him, but just jumping out and accusing him of grave sin and then patting yourself on the back for your fidelity is a tact that will probably create a lot of unnecessary friction in your marriage.
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#3
(08-04-2019, 03:16 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: A few years ago, we moved to an area that has a Byzantine Catholic Church one hour’s drive away. We have been attending their liturgy on most Sundays for the past three years. We have been really blessed by attending this liturgy. 

There have been a few weekends or holy days, here and there, that we have attended the Latin Rite Novus Ordo mass that is just across the street from where we live.

This has been brewing for a while now but recently, my husband has been becoming more and more concerned about everything that has been going on with the Church lately. Amoris Laetita, the death penalty, the scandals... we attended a new mass a couple weeks ago and he just broke. He snapped. He told me that he could never attend a new mass ever again, that it was harmful to his faith, and that he was in danger of losing it altogether. We have been doing everything we can to make it to a proper liturgy but this can’t always practically be done. 
For example, he gets migraines sometimes and is too sick to go in the morning but feels better by the evening and attends a late evening NO mass that night. Or at least he used to do that...
Or, there are some holy days that the Eastern Rite does not celebrate that the Roman Rite does like All Saint’s Day, November 1st. There are no daily masses at the Byzantine church for us to attend that day. There is a church that offers the TLM but it is an hour and 15 minutes away. We plan to attend that but my point is that there are going to be times that he is going to miss a proper liturgy in the morning and will be obligated to attend the evening mass close by but he is going to choose not to.

Today is that day and I am feeling very ill about this. He had a migraine this morning and was not able to go the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. He is feeling better after taking medicine but plans not to attend the evening NO mass across the street tonight.

I, of course, prefer traditional liturgies. But I also prefer not to go to Hell! So I will be attending the NO mass tonight without him. I am afraid for his soul but also just confused myself as well. I am also wondering if I am doing the right thing.

A migraine can make someone feel pretty sick, so I could understand not being able to attend with a migraine.

Is this particular NO parish a pretty crazy Mass.  I would ask what the reasons are for him not being able to attend the NO Mass. Perhaps a different parish with a different priest would be better. Perhaps it is that particular parish or what is happening there. 

I have a very similar situation. We have one evening Mass on Sundays near us and it is sooo crazy wild with so many abuses. (It's a Lifeteen Mass without any teens, if that gives you any idea.) If I miss Mass for some reason Sunday morning, usually winter weather or an illness, there is absolutely no way in good conscience I can attend that Sunday evening Mass.

As the poster above said if your husband in good conscience can not justify his being at that NO Mass then I believe he is making the correct moral call, especially if he is willing to go to the TLM or Byzantine liturgy. If he is just wanting to miss Mass on Sundays, I would see that as different.

I would maybe try to work on the morning migraines. Maybe taking something as soon as he wakes up or watching what he eats and drinks the night before.
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#4
(08-04-2019, 04:13 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The danger in the attitude you have above, good-willed as it may be, is that you are now judging him guilty of a mortal sin. That he certainly is not, if he truly (correctly or not) thinks that the Novus Ordo is a harm to his Faith. The Faith must be protected at all costs, so even if external obedience puts our Faith at risk, we cannot obey.

It would be best for you to ask him why he thinks that the Novus Ordo is a danger to his Faith, and then educate yourself on these points. You say you have a preference. Your husband clearly has some principles. Ask what these and and then ask for explanations. Then LISTEN to him and try to understand, not retort or judge. Go do your research, ask questions and then discuss it more with your husband.

Perhaps you will come to understand what he means, or you will find answers for him, but just jumping out and accusing him of grave sin and then patting yourself on the back for your fidelity is a tact that will probably create a lot of unnecessary friction in your marriage.

Thank you very much for your response. I am ashamed that I came across as judgmental and prideful as that is not my intention at all. I am legitimately afraid for his soul and have always understood the obligation in simple terms such as - if you choose not to attend mass when you are physically able, this is a mortal sin. But I am learning now that this may not always be the case if the only liturgy available is offensive to God. But that is what I am having trouble figuring out. Is any new mass offensive to God so much that one ought never to attend? This is what my husband is coming to believe. We discuss it constantly. I have learned a lot but I am confused and scared about what this position means in terms of understanding and adhering to the Church’s authority.
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#5
One alternative route he could take until you can figure this out is to make a holy hour and spiritual communion. This isn't necessarily a replacement for Mass, but it's a valid means of sanctifying Sunday if he truly feels it is a danger for his faith. Remember that the Desert Fathers all subsisted for years on spiritual communion since Mass or Liturgy was not readily available.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#6
(08-04-2019, 10:00 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: But I am learning now that this may not always be the case if the only liturgy available is offensive to God. But that is what I am having trouble figuring out.

Unless there are ridiculous abuses being performed at your local NO Mass, to the point of being heretical, I don't think any of us can decide if a liturgy is "offensive to God." I'll be honest, it seems to me quite a bold statement to decide that a particular liturgy not only offends God, but that the third commandment will also be broken because of someone's personal preference for a Mass. One can ask, why would God permit such liturgies that have offended Him for the last 50 years? Literally millions of Masses held that supposedly offended God. As difficult as this concept is for many folks to grasp, the Lord did not hand down the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as an unchangeable teaching of the Faith. I prefer the EF and attend occasionally, when possible, but I belong to a NO parish and attend NO Mass primarily. I understand his frustration with it, but sometimes we need to humble ourselves and obey the Lord. Is it, "Thy Will be Done" or "My Will be Done?" Insisting that the EF is the only valid form of the Mass is putting one's own pride and preference over the Third Commandment, if one refuses to attend Mass because they perceive it as invalid or offensive to God.

The Third Commandment says "Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath." It doesn't say "Thou shalt attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass every Sunday."
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#7
(08-04-2019, 10:00 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: Thank you very much for your response. I am ashamed that I came across as judgmental and prideful as that is not my intention at all. I am legitimately afraid for his soul and have always understood the obligation in simple terms such as - if you choose not to attend mass when you are physically able, this is a mortal sin. But I am learning now that this may not always be the case if the only liturgy available is offensive to God.

That is why I wrote that I thought you were well-meaning. I don't think you're just trying to put yourself out there as a judge for his soul. I think you really want the best for him.

The problem with your approach is not so much that there is the problem of an offensive liturgy, but that when it comes to sin there is more than just an action. Sin exists in the will of the person who is sinning.

There is the objective action which may in its material nature go against some law or commandment. A person who takes money out of the till at work does something which is objectively sinful. To take money which is not one's own is the sin of stealing.

Beyond this, however, there is the will of the person acting. What may outwardly look like a sin may not actually be sinful due to some subjective thing. Perhaps the employee who is taking the money has not been paid for months and the employer refuses to do so, and she thinks this is the only way she can pay her rent this month. Not exactly the same situation. Her actions still might be wrong, but she may truly believe that it is okay, and thus while the action is sinful, one could not say that she is doing something she knows to be wrong.

A greater problem comes when it seems like we are obliged to do an action by one virtue, by the result of that action may be sinful against another. That is the case of the Mass about which you speak. Your husband may truly and honestly think that the Novus Ordo could cause harm to his Faith. If that is true (or even if he wrongly believes it to be), he is obliged to act on his conscience. He would commit sin if he went, because he would think himself endangering his Faith, and thus he would consent to it, even if it never happened.

So the problem is one of a case of conscience. If you husband is correct in his judgement, then he did exactly the right thing. If not, then you should work to help him correct his error.

The danger I see is only that if you don't try to understand where he's coming from, and instead try to play the legalist, it will cause unnecessary tension. Try to understand why he thinks the Novus Ordo is such a danger. Ask him to explain his reasons. Have a good discussion, see if you can find out where he is wrong and if he is, then correct him on this. If it all seems logical, then maybe it is time to reconsider your position on this.

That's all I was getting at. I was not trying to make you feel ashamed. Clearly your motives are good.

(08-04-2019, 10:00 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: But that is what I am having trouble figuring out. Is any new mass offensive to God so much that one ought never to attend? This is what my husband is coming to believe. We discuss it constantly. I have learned a lot but I am confused and scared about what this position means in terms of understanding and adhering to the Church’s authority.

It's good to make distinctions where we can. The 3rd Commandment does not oblige us to go to Mass. It obliges us to sanctify our Sundays and Holy Days. It is the Divine Law and so admits of no exceptions. It is the precept of the Church that tells us how the Human Law of the Church (Ecclesiastical Law) wants us to perform this. She wants us to attend Mass and refrain from servile work. Since it is a human law, it cannot consider all of the possible scenarios like Divine Law, so there may be exceptions to this. When it is physically or morally impossible to come to Mass you do not have to do so.

It is not just a physical limitation (too far), but also a moral limitation. Thus Church law has always permitted an unwed mother who is beginning to show and could cause scandal to others, to stay away from Mass (because preventing Scandal is Charity). Those who need to care for the sick can stay away (again a Charitible action), or a mother needing to care for her very young children (our duty of state may demand we not go).

So we always have to sanctify our Sunday in some way, but do not always have to do so by going to Mass if there is a physical or moral limitation.

Your husband would seem to argue that there is a moral impossibility. He thinks that the Novus Ordo is a danger to His Faith. Because the Faith is the foundation of the SN virtues needed to save our souls, if our Faith is injured and we could prevent it, we commit a serious sin. We expose ourselves to harm.

You will find different opinions on what constitutes that danger, and some people say some level is acceptable. I personally think that any real harm to our Faith is too much. I would argue that ever Novus Ordo Mass ends up embodying some of this harm because its very design by Protestant ministers working with Catholics was to eliminate anything which is explicitly Catholic in the Mass, and instead make it acceptable and usable by both Catholics and non-Catholics. The three areas impacted are the nature of the Mass as a Sacrifice, the Ordained Priesthood and the Real Presence. The New Mass was designed to make the Mass seem like a meal and not a sacrifice, to emphasize the "priesthood of the faithful" as nearly equal to the Ordained Priesthood, and to diminish the belief in the Real Presence.

The theological study that the SSPX produced highlighting this can be found here (PDF) : http://archives.sspx.org/superior_genera...reform.pdf

Many will disagree with their assessment, but the fact that they could make such an in-depth study suggests that there is at least a serious case to be made.

To take one aspect which may at first seem innocuous, it is pretty easy to show some deviations in the rite itself (no matter how well it is celebrated) : the Consecration.

In the Novus Ordo Mass, the words of consecration (now called "institution") are said aloud, and then without any genuflection, the host (on a paten) or chalice are held up for the faithful to see. Then afterwards the priest genuflects to them. The priest holds his hands as normal afterward.

In the older Roman Rite, the priest says these words so only he and those immediately next to him can hear. He then genuflects immediately upon their presence, raises them up, then again after putting them down genuflects. The host is not on the paten, but kept only on the corporal (which represents a linen burial shroud). From this point on until the purifying of the chalice the priest joins thumb and forefinger.

Small differences, but the genuflections in the latter suggest the Real Presence is brought about by the priests, and the lack of paten, that this is a sacrifice, not a meal (since there is no plate). The words are silent because it is a priestly action, and spoken only so the priests and minister can hear.

In the New Rite, it opens the rite to the Protestant idea that the presence of Jesus is brought about not by the priest, but by the faithful's faith in His presence. The genuflections happen only after the people have looked upon the host or chalice, not immediately upon the priest's words. The words are spoken more in narrative form than as a priestly prayer and action, suggesting more of a collective action. Then immediately afterward the "Mystery of Faith" is proclaimed, most versions of which subtly deny the real presence. "When we eat this bread and drink this cup ..." (but it is no longer bread or a simple cup). The old "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again" (He has come again sacramentally, but that second coming is not directly related to what has just happened).

These are subtle things, but not isolated. They work against the Catholic understanding of the three elements above.

Some think they do not do so enough to cause harm in the most orthodox of Novus Ordo Masses. Perhaps not, but the very fact we can even discuss such things means we're in a really bad situation. And it is a situation where good people can fall on both sides of the debate. Since we do not have a final authority who is getting involved in these questions, they will be thorny and good people will make different moral decisions. That is why it is a case of conscience and not so easy to set hard and fast rules.

That is why I think it is worthwhile to discuss and try to understand, read, research, but always with in a peaceable way.
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#8
(08-04-2019, 10:44 PM)LionHippo Wrote: The Third Commandment says "Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath."  It doesn't say "Thou shalt attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass every Sunday."

Nor does the Third Commandment say anything about Mass attendance.

That Divine Law requires us to sanctify our Sundays and Holy Days. Period. It does not say how. It admits of no exceptions. One always has to sanctifying one's Sunday or Holy Day.

The Church's Precept (which is a human law and admits of exceptions) specifies how we normally do this : To attend Mass and abstain from servile work.

There are a myriad of reasons that the Church's Precept might be impossible (physically or morally) to keep. There is never a reason to not do something to sanctify Sunday.
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#9
(08-04-2019, 10:49 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(08-04-2019, 10:44 PM)LionHippo Wrote: The Third Commandment says "Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath."  It doesn't say "Thou shalt attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass every Sunday."

Nor does the Third Commandment say anything about Mass attendance.

That Divine Law requires us to sanctify our Sundays and Holy Days. Period. It does not say how. It admits of no exceptions. One always has to sanctifying one's Sunday or Holy Day.

The Church's Precept (which is a human law and admits of exceptions) specifies how we normally do this : To attend Mass and abstain from servile work.

There are a myriad of reasons that the Church's Precept might be impossible (physically or morally) to keep. There is never a reason to not do something to sanctify Sunday.

Well, fair enough, if those are what the "rules" are.

But honestly, in this case I say:  "man up."  Maybe go through the Stations of the Cross.  You don't like the NO Mass?  Oh, cry me a river.  Sorry.  Maybe just go, and gaze your eyes upon our Lord on the Cross.  Then realize how insignificant your complaining is compared to what Jesus endured.
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#10
(08-04-2019, 10:44 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: That is why I wrote that I thought you were well-meaning. I don't think you're just trying to put yourself out there as a judge for his soul. I think you really want the best for him.

(snip)

That is why I think it is worthwhile to discuss and try to understand, read, research, but always with in a peaceable way.

Thank you very much again for your response and expounding further. I see it differently now.
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