Post by Admin on Jan 24, 2018 18:02:09 GMT
This sermon by Fr. Pfeiffer on January 14th, 2018, was transcribed on the Cor Mariae forum, which we gratefully reprint here (formatting ours).
[..........] Today's sermon is rather on a little catechism in our situation today and what is the rule of the church on which Masses we should attend or not attend - the rule of the Mass on Sunday, the rule of going to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass and which Masses to attend and which Masses not to attend. What are some rules and principles to follow?
We of course know by the third commandment that the people, on the Lord's day and this is a commandment of God, and St. Thomas Aquinas points out concerning the commandments that there are ten commandments and that all the commandments have negative and positive obligations. For eight of the commandments the principle obligation of the commandment is negative. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange God's before Me. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness, and so on.
Of eight of the commandments the first statement is negative. This, says St. Thomas, is because the principle obligations of those eight commandments has no exceptions. There are also positive obligations of the first commandment - such as to pray. We're not obliged to pray at every instant of our lives, so there are exceptions to the positive obligations to pray which is the positive obligation of the first commandment. The negative obligation - thou shalt not have strange God's before me has no exceptions. So, if a man puts a gun to your head and says you must spit on a crucifix, or you must mock the true religion, or must worship or burn incense to an idol then we are obliged under the pain of mortal sin to say no. If we say yes to the persecutor we commit a mortal sin.
Remember, with regard to the would-be martyr he has two choices. Either become a martyr and a saint or commit mortal sin and be damned. There is not a third option. Some souls believe that under certain circumstances the saints will not burn incense before the idols. The average man will burn incense but not really mean it. The wicked man will burn incense and mean it. This is false. The fact is that if you are told to burn incense to an idol; you're told to spit on a crucifix; you're told to violate the first commandment by worship of a false god, or the rejection of the true God, there are no exceptions to this principle obligation. Thou shalt not have false gods before me. T
hen there are the two commandments that are positive - that is the third commandment and the fourth commandment. The third commandment is remember to keep holy the Lord's day. The fourth commandment, honour thy father and thy mother. The commandments are stated positively says St. Thomas Aquinas because the principle obligations have exceptions. So the principle obligation of the third commandment is to do something holy in honour of God on the day of the Sabbath. So on the day of the Sabbath the principle obligation is to do something holy. In the Old Testament you would say prayers and do the worship to keep the Sabbath Day holy. In the New Testament this means primarily the attendance of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
If it is impossible to attend Mass, then there will be the fulfillment of something to make the day holy. Like a holy hour or at least a holy half hour - then it would be like 30 minutes set aside for God. Even if you cannot go to Mass on Sunday you are still obliged to keep the day holy. So you still must do something to keep the day holy even if you cannot go to Mass. However, there are exceptions. Supposing you are in the trenches in a war and you're on a 24-hour watch and you're guarding the machine gun, and you're shooting at the bad guys. You are doing that on your 24-hour watch between midnight on Sunday until midnight on Monday. All you've got to do is keep shooting. You're not allowed to take your half hour of prayer time; you're not able to go to Mass. The other soldiers are going to Mass on the back of a jeep somewhere on the other side of the battlefield but you're not able to do that.
These positive obligations have exceptions. Example given in the Old Testament is the example of Machabees. Judas Machabees who knew the sabbath day was holy. You were not allowed to work or fight on the sabbath day. On one particular Sabbath day the enemies of God attacked the Jews and slaughtered them. They refused to fight and so they were wiped out. Then the enemies of God figured out they don't fight on the Sabbath. We'll just wait til next Saturday and attack them again. So they just took a vacation during the week and then during that week the Judas discussed with the other soldiers - we're not going to attack the enemy on the Sabbath but if they attack us the next Sabbath which they will probably do we will fight back. They talked to the High Priest; he talked to the priests because they were not supposed to fight on the Sabbath - but this is a secondary obligation, not a primary obligation. Hence there are exceptions to it. The next Sabbath came and the enemies of God attacked the Jews and this time the Jews wiped them out. So with regard to the third commandment to keep holy the Lord's day there are exceptions to the principle obligations.
The same is true of the fourth commandment. The fourth commandment, honour thy father and mother, the principle obligation is obedience. But there are exceptions to obedience. Here we're not talking about simple obedience. If you are commanded to murder someone; if you are commanded to do some evil you're obliged to say no. There are in fact legitimate commands given by a father that must be disobeyed sometimes - which must not be followed sometimes. So the father tells you, for instance, you must take out the trash, you must take it out into the street and you must put it inside the dumpster - but it turns out that Al-Qaeda is outside and it turns out that a bomber delivered a package and it's inside the trash can and it turns out that there's an air strike on your trash can. Now those being the case - that daddy didn't know about those three things, and he said take out the trash - you can say, no I'm not going to take out the trash. So there was an exemption to that obligation. It was not a simple command, it was a legitimate command - you would normally fulfill the command but there are circumstances that say, no I am not going to fulfill it in this situation.
So when we talk about simple obedience this does not apply. There are obviously some simple obedience that can never be done like talking about a legitimate command and then you don't fulfill it because of circumstances that arise that make you not fulfill it. This is the case of all laws, all law all positive law. Now the third and fourth commandment come together which means positive laws don't oblige in grave inconvenience. They come together with regard to the Sunday obligation. Because we're obliged by Divine Law to keep the day holy - it means do something to make the day holy. Say a Rosary; do a holy hour; do something supernatural. T
hen we have a positive law of the Church which is like a Father commanding us. How do you keep the Sunday holy? You keep it holy by going to Mass. You must go to Mass specifically because it is a law of the Church between the Offertory Prayer - the Dominus vobiscum/ the Dominus vobiscum - so after the sermon, you can leave during the sermon. If you do not like it you come back after the sermon, and you need to be there from the Dominus Vobiscum till the Dominus vobiscum, that's the rule. After the Credo there's a Dominus vobiscum the next Dominus vobiscum is going to be after the Communion Antiphon - not when receiving Holy Communion - but the Communion Antiphon and if you are missing between Dominus vobiscum and Dominus vobiscum you have not fulfilled your Sunday obligation. Unless of course there is a grave reason. This law was very well known before Vatican II - Father Hanovan (Hannafin) used to tell me that the men would always stand outside the Church and they would wait till that Credo was finished. Then they would come pouring in at Dominus vobiscum and once the second Dominus vobiscum happened they were gone before 'Ite missa est'.
So they knew they had to be there from Dominus vobiscum to Dominus vobiscum and not one second before and not one second after in the holy days before Vatican II when everybody were saints. There are two commandments coming together here - the third commandment which is keep the Lord's day holy and the fourth commandment honour thy father and mother. Our principle Father is the Holy Mother Church - is the Pope and the Church's rules. These two commandments come together to tell us that the way to fulfill the third commandment is to keep the day holy by especially attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is a positive command. Being a positive command the principle applies. A positive law does not oblige in grave inconvenience. So I am obliged to keep the day holy but if I am dying of cancer, or dying of some grave sickness and I am not able, for example in a very grave sickness you may not even be able to say the Rosary. You may not be able to pray, only hold the Crucifix and that's all. So if you are in a great sickness and not able to pray then you hold on to the Crucifix but you are not obliged to do something holy because of the sickness.
There also can be physical reasons why you don't go to Mass on Sunday. The physical impossibility due to sickness; due to distance; due to some other reason that makes it truly impossible for you to get to the Mass on Sunday. Then there are the moral reasons to not go. When we say 'moral reasons' we do not mean holy and unholy, but because of circumstances, you're not able to go. Physically it might be possible but morally it's not possible. That is according to circumstances it is not possible. So some of the moral reasons why you would not go to Mass on Sunday would be if there was a necessity of charity. For instance I remember a case when I was a kid - one of the men was driving to Mass on Sunday to our Chapel and there was a car accident in which someone was killed and another person gravely injured. Things took a long time in those days - no cell phones in those days and so on. It took a long time for the police, for the ambulance to show up and so on. So the man who was going to Mass on Sunday, he got out of the car. he took the people out of the car and when he finally came to Mass it was over. He came the time of the 'Ita Missa est' with blood all over his suit. So he missed the Mass. He came at the very end. Obviously there was a moral necessity. It was an act of charity to save someone's life so he didn't make it to Mass on time. There was no need to go to Confession because there was no sin. So there can be a moral necessity because of charity.
There can be a moral necessity because of justice. So according to justice a soldier is obliged to guard the forte on Sunday. The police has to be a cop on Sunday. The priest has to fulfill his duty on Sunday but even a priest can miss Mass on Sunday because maybe he has to go and anoint all the soldiers on the battlefield. There can be the obligation of justice according to our duties of state which would prevent us from being able to go to Mass even though physically it might be possible.
Then there is the situation that applies to us. These other situations in which you may also miss Mass on Sunday when it is morally impossible to go and that will be when there is no Mass in union with the Pope and in union with the Holy Roman Catholic faith to attend. So there is a physical Mass to go to - for instance in the Eastern church many many Churches are orthodox and they all have valid Masses. They all have valid priests and they celebrate the exact same rite that we celebrate in the Catholic church - the eastern rites - not the western rite but they celebrate same rite; the same Mass and they're valid Masses. Christ is truly present but they are not united to the Church. So it is considered a moral impossibility to go to a Mass in which the priest and the church - even though it has a valid Mass, even though it has a valid priest; valid ceremony - it is not united to Holy Mother Church. It cannot be united by schism; it cannot be united by heresy.
So heresy can cut it off from the Church; schism cuts it off from the Church. St. Thomas says that schism is usually very theoretical because schism means you are only cut off by charity and there's no error. But most schismatics are also heretics. They are not usually just schismatics. For instance, the Eastern schismatics are heretics because they reject the primacy of the Pope. They do not just cut themselves off from the Pope because they refuse to have communion with the Pope; because they hate the Pope which would be a sin against charity but they believe the Pope has no authority of jurisdiction over all the souls in the Church including the ones in the east; including the Emperor; including the Bishop of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Moscow and so on. They don't believe he has authority and therefore there is error and that is a heresy - that God made our Lord, Jesus Christ, when he founded the Church, he made Him Pope - head of every single member of the Church including Bishops; including Patriarchs; including Emperors and not just the regular people nor only over the western church. Because the Pope is not only the Pope of the whole church he is also the Patriarch of the western church. There are many Patriarchs in the Church - the Pope is one of the Patriarchs but he is not just a Patriarch. He is also the head of the other Patriarchs. He is not equal to them as Patriarchs - he is above them. Eastern Catholics believe that of course but eastern orthodox who are not Catholic they reject that. Therefore, you cannot go to an orthodox Mass. You cannot go to an Orthodox Mass because they are in heresy. They reject the authority of the Pope. So even if there is a Mass available; it's a valid Mass; there are the Sacraments - you cannot go. It's a moral impossibility. Furthermore, in that case, if you DO go it will be a sin. The same can also be the same in regard to justice. Supposing you are obliged under justice to guard Fort Knox - Fort Knox is near us in Kentucky, so you're obliged to guard the gold that is there, and you say I don't want to guard the gold at Fort Knox I have to go to Mass - you will commit a mortal sin by going to Mass because it's your obligation to guard the gold. And by going to Mass you commit a mortal sin because you are doing it in violation of an obligation of justice.
In regard to not going to Mass there is the situation of heresy. When we consider the situation of heresy or grave error in the faith this is something that is independent of the personal state of the soul of the priest. We assume, for instance that the Orthodox priests mean well and they truly believe they are members of the Church or maybe they're not malicious or wicked in their heresy. But even if they're not malicious or wicked in their heresy they are truly not under the Pope and they reject the Pope. Therefore we cannot go to their Masses. In the case of the Orthodox they belong to a visible false church.
We have the problem now in regard to the last fifty years. Over the last fifty years we now have a problem of the moral impossibility to attend some of the Masses of Catholics who are baptised ordained priests in the Catholic church who are true members of the Church at least in their hearts and yet we cannot attend their Masses because of the the same reason why we should not go to an Orthodox Mass or a heretical Mass. When we normally say a truly heretical Mass it would mean like the Mass of a valid priest saying an Anglican Mass. Remember there are many priests in the Anglican Church that got themselves re-ordained. I have met many of them. They say, they were re-ordained because they believe that [...] was correct, and they got themselves ordained validly, and they say the Anglican Mass of Common Prayer - the Book of Common Prayer. So that when they say Mass it's valid. They will not allow a priest who is not re-ordained to say "Mass" in their church. They believe in the Real Presence; they say the Mass in English; there is no doubt about the validity of their Mass unlike the new Mass - it has the correct form in it, the correct matter in it and they believe in the Real Presence. If you go to that Mass you're guilty of a most grave sin against the Faith because it is a heretical Mass. The Mass is valid because they only allow valid priests and valid Bishops to say Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Walsingham. It is a mortal sin for you to attend that Mass even though it's valid because it is a Protestant rite. It's not a Catholic rite. The rite is the Book of Common Prayer; it's not a Catholic rite; it's a Protestant rite and even though the priests are validly ordained and believe in the Real Presence and make Christ truly present it's a sacrilegious presence. When you attend that Mass you are approving of their public state. St. Thomas points out and the Fathers tell us is that Mass is a public act of worship. We must worship God privately - for instance you get out of bed in the morning and you say the Morning Offering. That is private worship. You worship God when you say the Rosary; you worship God in your private prayers. You worship God when you pray mentally. But we must also worship God publicly. The public worship is the obligation referred to in the third commandment. The public act of worship. This public act of worship is done by participating in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass that's validly celebrated
in union with the Pope -
in union with the Church
in union with the true faith.
These are the three conditions. And if one of these conditions is missing then we should not attend that Mass. So, with regard to the Anglicans it is very clear they are a false church and they're a heretical Mass even if it might be valid when they have validly ordained priests. Most Anglican priests are invalid as Pope Leo XIII pointed out in his Encyclical Apostolicae Curae. But some were re-ordained and made themselves valid in the 100 years since Apostolicae Curae in 1896. In any case now we have the problem of other Masses.
What about the sedevacantists? What about the Indult priests such as the priests of Society of St. Peter and Society of Christ the King? The priests of the diocese are celebrating valid Masses and they are in union with the Pope saying valid Masses here in the heart of the diocese of Connecticut and all throughout the world. Why is it that we say you should not attend their Masses? The reason is because of the public expression of the Faith.
What is the public expression of the Faith? The public expression of the Faith is what they stand for officially. Not what they stand for personally. You could not know what I stand for personally. I tell you that I believe in God; I tell you I believe in all the teachings of the Church and it's possible that I am not telling the truth. How do you know? Only God knows. Only God knows what's inside the heart. Only God knows what's inside the soul. You don't know what's inside the heart and soul. You cannot judge the heart and soul.
So you have to judge what is the public stance. That is determined by the Order. For example, in our case it is the SSPX; the Institute of Christ the King; the Fraternity of St. Peter. The indult priests most of them are diocesan priests - what does the diocese stand for? What does the Institute of Christ the King stand for? What about the sedevacantist chapels? What do they stand for? What is their official position? You can't check every single priest that comes and says the Mass.
We know, for instance, in the SSPX that there are multiple priests who are sedevacantists - they are secret sedevacantists. Some less secret than others. There are secret sedevacantists which means they don't pray for the Pope during the Mass. But when you go to the Mass of the SSPX in an SSPX chapel - you go to St. Lawrence Chapel here [in Connecticut] where I used to be pastor - it's only a few miles down the road. You go to St. Lawrence Chapel and there's a priest there who is a secret sedevacantist what do you do? You go to Mass. He represents the SSPX. He represents that the Pope is the Pope; he represents the position of the SSPX and if he is not saying the name of the Pope in the Canon strictly speaking he is committing the sin of dishonesty because he knows what he represents. He represents the SSPX. He knows what the SSPX position is. He is not mysterious about it. He then chooses to leave out the name of the Pope in the Canon which is the wrong thing for him to do, and not honest. Therefore he commits a sin - a personal sin. You're not responsible for that sin. He represents the SSPX so you know that he represents the SSPX position. You don't have to check and say, 'Father did you say the Pope's name in the Canon?' Now they're going to say which Pope? Francis, Michael, Peter, Ralph, Ted, Benedict - there are a lot of options out there. There's a whole bunch of options so which Pope? Well the Pope is Pope Francis, the one who is in Rome right now - you can't check into every single one - Mondays I take Francis, Tuesday I take Peter, Wednesday is Benedict - I got them all covered so that one of the days its got to be right. NO! What's the official position? The official position is going to be publicised by what is publicly taught. What is PUBLICLY taught! We're not talking about who's in sin and who's not in sin. We're not accusing people of being in sin. We're saying, this is the case, we're in a time of great confusion of the Church but one thing we do know for sure if you hold an error, if you profess an error and that is publicly professed it is going to harm souls and its going to harm the faith. The practice of our Catholic faithful down the last 2,000 years by their sensus catholicus - the Catholic sense we call it - by the sensus catholicus is to stay away from heretical Masses; stay away from erroneous Masses; stay away from those Masses which don't profess the Faith.
So we have the profession of the Faith - what is the profession of the Faith? In our case, do you know the problem we're dealing with? New Mass! What is the situation of the new Mass? The new Mass is a Protestant rite just like the Anglican rite is a Protestant rite. Just like an Anglican priest can be validly ordained and celebrate the Anglican Mass and make it valid so it is possible that a Catholic priest celebrate the new Mass and perhaps it's valid. We can only say 'perhaps' in that case because we're not sure if its valid due to the changes made in the Consecration. But it MIGHT be valid. If we assume therefore that it is valid, and if we assume it IS valid it's still sacrilegious. It is a Protestant rite. You should not attend a Protestant rite. Objectively speaking it is gravely wrong to attend a Protestant rite. The-new-Mass-IS-a-Protestant-rite! It is NOT a Catholic rite. As Fr. Hesse says - the least you can say about it is, at least it is a schismatic rite. It does not express the Catholic doctrine; it goes AGAINST the Catholic doctrine ; it leads away from Catholic doctrine and the Missal has heresies contained in it such as the opening prayer of February 22nd - of the Chair of St. Peter. So there are other heresies contained in it therefore it is to be avoided. One should never go to a new Mass to fulfill the Sunday obligation. Why not? It is not a Catholic rite; it expresses a faith other than the one Christ gave us and therefore it doesn't matter about the priest.
Many, many priests who celebrate the new Mass are Orthodox. They truly believe in all the teachings of the catholic church - they themselves PERSONALLY do. Many of the priests are doing their best to be holy. Many of the priests are trying to preach Catholic sermons; many of the priests are trying to lead souls to God and get them to go to Confession, and get them to be anointed and it is very honourable and good for those priests to do that. We say 'many' as in one percent! Not 'many' as in many many. Many is a very few, but great number compared to us traditional Catholics who are good priests in the Novus Ordo; who are really trying their best. They are wearing their cassocks; they are preaching the faith and they make some mistakes sometimes. They make some erroneous statements even perhaps heretical statements but they do it ignorantly and not intentionally and they want souls to come to God. But what's the problem? They're celebrating a Protestant rite. They're trying to make it as Catholic as possible by wearing nice vestments; by using nice chalice; by singing the Kyrie in Latin; by holding the thumb and forefinger together; by using Roman Canon no. 1 which is not a Catholic Canon. We're told that Roman Canon No. 1 is the same as the old Canon. All you have to do is to take the Canon from THAT Missal (points to Missal on altar) and take the Roman Canon No. 1 and compare the words. They ARE NOT the same! If it's not the same what does that men? It means they are not the same!
We're not going to worry about a theological argument now concerning that. The words are not the same therefore it's not the same - end of problem. What are the most important words? Consecration words - they're not the same. We've got a problem, they are not the same. So Roman Canon No. 1 is not correct. It is not the same as in the Mass of the Roman Canon - of the true Mass, the traditional Mass. Therefore, the Novus Ordo Mass should never be attended.
Now what about the Latin Mass? We have Latin Masses that are approved. Now what is the problem of the Latin Mass that's approved? Latin Masses are approved by the Bishop and by Pope Benedict and now by Pope Francis - they are very clearly approved 'sub conditione' - under a condition. Without this condition they are not approved. The condition is - the acceptance of Vatican II and the new Mass. Wrapped up in one. Vatican II and the new Mass! The new Mass is simply the expression of the liturgy of Vatican II - the acceptance of Vatican II and its liturgical expression which is the new Mass. As a Catholic, when you accept Vatican II and the new Mass you reject Vatican I, and the nineteen councils that came before that. You reject the gospel which we read in the holy Missal; you reject the teachings of the saints down the last 2,000 years; you reject the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. Therefore you cannot do that. Objectively speaking of course it's very grave. We can't accept that. I cannot celebrate the old Mass with the acceptance of the new. I celebrate the old Mass by REJECTING the new. Just as St. Paul said, 'if an angel from heaven teach you something different '- that is something NEW! Something that wasn't there before. Therefore something new. If it's a new Mass it's to be rejected; if its a new teaching it's to be rejected. We do not have to say it's a bad teaching. It only has to be new. Now what are going to be the effects of this false teaching? We're going to discover after fifty years - even less than that - after five years, one year, two years - that this Mass and the new teaching is going to lead souls away from Christ. It's going to lead souls away from the Gospel's teaching, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church; the teaching of the Church for the last 2,000 years and the moral practice of the Catholic life.
Now let's look over the last fifty years. What do we see? There are about one billion Catholics on earth right now - approximately one billion. Out of these one billion Catholics more than ninety-nine percent of them no longer believe all the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Bishops, the Priests and the faithful no longer believe these things. They no longer practice the Catholic life. For instance, many children staying with only one wife and one husband; going to Mass every Sunday even if it is a false Mass. The simple teachings of the Faith are gone. And the knowledge of the Faith is absent. The average Catholic does not know and cannot tell you the ten commandments or the seven sacraments - including priests. We have a big loss of faith globally because of this new Vatican II teaching and because of the new Mass. Therefore a Catholic, in order to remain faithful, he must reject these things. We have a Latin Tridentine Mass which is given on the condition of the acceptance of the new Mass; on the acceptance of Vatican II therefore this Mass should also be avoided. Archbishop Lefebvre said, 'they have betrayed us, they have betrayed us, they have betrayed us. The people must make up their minds.'
What do we see happens? We have now 25 years of the Indult. Thirty years of it now, since 1988. Thirty years of the Indult Mass. During these thirty years what has happened? During the course of these thirty years the Latin Mass has increased in number in various dioceses and some religious orders throughout the world. What bout the Faith? In the last thirty years we now discover that those who go to the Latin Tridentine Mass do not necessarily believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church. They used to believe that necessarily before 1988. They do not believe, necessarily that Vatican II is straight from Hell and offensive to God. They do not necessarily reject ecumenism. They do not accept the twelve articles of the Creed as they have been handed down to us down the last 2,000 years. And this is the case of great numbers of people who with a clear conscience attend the Latin Mass in the novus ordo setting. Therefore, we see in practice, that the Latin Mass in the novus ordo setting leads to a loss of faith as was warned by Archbishop Lefebvre thirty years ago. No Catholic should attend these Masses.
What about the sedevacantists? Sedevacantists are baptised Catholics. They are in error. They are not personal heretics but they're in error. They are in error because they don't want to be bad. They want to be good. But the problem is they are rejecting the truth of the faith which is we need a head of our Church, Vicar of Christ on earth. We cannot do without the Vicar for fifty years; we can't go without the vicar for sixty years and this Vicar is still the representative of God. He can be weak and he can be sinful. He can have all kinds of weaknesses and troubles yet the Church still remains holy and we still pray for him as the head of Holy Church and he is in grave error. One should not attend sedevacantist Masses. They are good people; they mean well, but what's the problem? They have an error regarding the Holy Roman Catholic Faith. This error is expressed by them. Your personal opinions when you attend the Mass don't matter. Remember it is a public act of worship. When you go to Mass it is a public act not a private act. You participate in a public act. This is the original meaning of the word Communion. When St. John the Almsgiver says never take communion with a heretic he doesn't mean receiving Holy Communion. Although that is one of the things you do at Mass often. He means don't pray in public with them. Don't be in communion - that means 'in union' 'along with'. Communion means along with 'communione' along with union. You would be in union along with them in the expression of the heresy = accepting the heresy. What happens if you continue to be in union with them. You will become a heretic. Proof - England. Proof! Twenty-five years of the Indult Mass. Proof! the last fifty years of the new Mass. It has changed the faith of one billion Catholics - not all of them - only 99%. And it has changed the faith of those going to the Latin Mass, and they accept the Mass only because it is given with the permission of Pope Francis; given permission by Pope Benedict and not because it is the Mass of all time. Therefore they are in error with regard to matters touching the Faith It is a grave danger to souls. One should not attend. So there are many reasons why we don't attend the Mass. Some can be physical, some can be personal.
Then there is another reason to not attend Mass and that is attending the Mass of the sinful priest. There is a moral reason mentioned by St. Thomas Aquinas - what is the rule about attending the Mass of a sinful priest? So, the priest is NOT a heretic; the priest is teaching the Catholic faith; the priest is in union with the Church and so on. But he is a sinful priest. The rule of St. Thomas is if the priest is a public sinner- so in the olden times this would come up with priests living with women, or women living priests in the rectory, and priests having children and so on. So the woman would live with the priest in the rectory - so you do not have a mystery - there is priest, there is a woman, there is a rectory. I remember a case in the Philippines where I was visiting an old priest about ninety years old. I said what are these pictures? That's my kids, that's my grandkids. Another priest in the Philippines couldn't show up because he had to go to his son's graduation. I was going to visit the priest about the Latin Mass but he's left out the details, like he's got a girl at home and his son's graduation. Minor details they didn't tell me. So the fact is those aren't secret matters. There is the Catholic priest WITH his son's graduation; there is a woman living in the rectory and there's no mystery about it; there are the children of the priest. One priest that I know of also in the Philippines, he had at least that we know of, he had thirteen children. Even the children told me, they know for sure that there are other ones, they are not sure just who they are. But they are aware of thirteen. So there is the case of the priest living in sin with multiple women - that is public sin.
A priest living in the state of public sin, you should not attend his Mass. One of the arguments that is happening now is because there is so much crisis in the Church - another example would be priests who have been convicted of the sin of pedophilia - convicted of a crime or another moral crime who are thereby suspended from the practice of their Order. So priests who are convicted of pedophilia or of a moral crime and who have been suspended from their Order - it would be sinful to attend their Mass. So this is actually the case of Fr. Abraham in England who has been punished by Bishop Fellay justly for his particular crime. He admits the guilt and so on - it's wrong to go to his Mass. He can do many things but he cannot be functioning properly as a priest. If however, someone is accused of a crime and the crime or sin is not public - St. Thomas says, that supposing there is a priest who is immoral but the people don't know about it, or only a few people know about it. If the priest is immoral and it's not known by all the people, then you can still attend his Mass. If there is a doubt to immorality then you can still attend his Mass. There must be a certitude of immorality; it must be public immorality.
The usual case is a priest living with a woman. Public and certain immorality then you don't attend his Mass. Why the Church has this law is that very often, priests just like anyone else, can be very easily falsely accused. Father is guilty of this, Father is guilty of that and Father is guilty of the other thing. If he is accused of a crime you don't avoid his Mass. You continue to go to Mass. You go to the Mass until there is proof of a public crime. That is pertinacious and so on. You have cases of some priests, like St. Augustine before he became a priest, he lived in sin but then he repented of his sin and he was ordained Priest and Bishop. He had children. He lived in sin, but he repented of it and left behind the life of sin and then he functioned as a Priest and Bishop - one of the holiest Bishops of the first 400 years of the Church. There are personal physical reasons why you do not go to Mass because of a physical impossibility; there are moral reasons not to attend Mass because of the moral impossibility due to the practice of virtue or it can be because of a moral impossibility to attend Mass because of the wickedness, or because of the heresy, or because of sin of a sin of faith on the part of the priest.
First, the sin of faith. That's the main thing. When you get to the moral level then you must be more careful. When you get to the moral level, you must be certain is this a case of calumny? Is this a case of attraction? Is it a case of a real sin? If there is a true, public, proven sin then you avoid that priest's Mass. If not, then you don't. Because it is a positive law - the third commandment there can be many reasons to not attend the Mass. There can be no reason to the exception of the first commandment. We must ALWAYS believe in the faith. We must ALWAYS profess the faith; we cannot ever spit on the faith, or to do something that is a denial of the faith, or make an actual denial of the faith. These things we cannot do. So there is no exception to the first commandment obligation; there are many exceptions to the third commandment's principle obligation which is by going to Mass on Sunday. These are some of the rules, some of the principles about the Mass on Sunday and why we should avoid or not avoid the Masses on Sunday.