The ‘Una Cum’ Mass

[Taken from the January issue of the MHT Seminary Newsletter]

I am sure that most are familiar with our strict stance on attendance at the una cum Mass. We, the clergy of the Roman Catholic Institute, hold that it is objectively sacrilegious to actively participate in a Mass in which Bergoglio (or the local N.O. bishop) is mentioned in the canon.

Let me review the reasons. In order that a Mass be a Catholic Mass, it is not sufficient that it be merely valid, but it must also be offered in union with and in submission and obedience to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Just as you cannot divorce Catholicism from the Catholic hierarchy, so you cannot divorce the Mass, the central act of worship, from the Catholic hierarchy.

When a true pope is reigning, the Mass must contain the name of the true pope in the first prayer of the Canon, the Te igitur. If the bishop of the diocese is living, his name must also be pronounced in the same place. This is a profession of communion with the Roman Pontiff and with his representative, the bishop of the diocese, and therefore of submission and obedience to them as well. This small but very important gesture is what distinguishes a Catholic Mass from a schismatic Mass.

The Greek schismatics (so called “Orthodox”) have a liturgy which is entirely Catholic inasmuch as it is the ancient liturgy used before the break from Rome. But by the simple fact of leaving out the name of the pope, their Mass, although valid, is not Catholic and is sacrilegious. Why sacrilegious? Because it is to use a sacred thing, the Holy Eucharist, in an improper manner.

How is a Mass Catholic, then, when there is a vacancy in the Roman See? In order that the Mass be Catholic in the Roman vacancy, it is necessary that no name of a pope be mentioned in the Canon for as long as the see is vacant. There is still a profession of communion, submission, and obedience to the Roman Pontiff inasmuch as the faithful are awaiting the election of a new pope, to whom they will be duly submitted.

These things said, now let us look at the case of Bergoglio. Bergoglio is necessarily not the true Roman Pontiff. The reason is that he has promulgated to the Church heresies and condemned doctrines in his magisterium. The Church’s gift of indefectibility, doctrine, worship, and discipline, makes it impossible that a true pope deceive the faithful by false doctrines and evil liturgy. Indefectibility pertains to faith, and consequently we must conclude, directly from the Faith, that it is impossible that Bergoglio be pope, and therefore necessary that his name not appear in the Canon. Only in this way would the Mass be a Catholic Mass. For to place the name of a false pope in the Canon makes the Mass schismatic.

I should say here that I am sure that nearly all those who attend the una cum Mass do so in good conscience. They are ignorant of these principles, and attend only with some vague idea of remaining faithful to the pope. If such is the case, they are excused from sin.

An excusing cause, however, is not a justifying cause. This is a principle of moral theology which means that ignorance excuses from guilt, but it does not justify the act. If a man shoots something moving in the woods, thinking it is a deer, and is actually a man, he is excused from guilt, but his act is not thereby justified. In itself it is a bad act.

What goes hand-in-hand with the una cum Mass, which in most cases is that of the Society of Saint Pius X, is the doctrine of recognize and resist, which necessarily flows from their position. For on the one hand they profess submission to Bergoglio, but on the other hand they resist him in practically all things, as if he did not exist.

Recognize and resist is schismatic. Pope Pius IX said so. In the encyclical Quartus supra, of January 6, 1873, he said to a group of Armenians who were claiming to be Catholic, yet felt that they did not have to obey the pope:

In fact, it is as contrary to the divine constitution of the Church as it is to perpetual and constant tradition for anyone to attempt to prove the catholicity of his faith and truly call himself a Catholic when he fails in obedience to the Apostolic See.

For the Catholic Church has always considered schismatic all those who obstinately resist the authority of her legitimate prelates, and especially her supreme pastor, and any who refuses to execute their orders and even to recognize their authority. The members of the Armenian faction of Constantinople having followed this line of conduct, no one, under any pretext, can believe them innocent of the sin of schism, even if they had not been denounced as schismatic by apostolic authority. [emphasis added]

The same Pope Pius IX, in the encyclical Quæ in patriarchatu, of September 1st, 1876, addressed this time to some Chaldeans who were claiming submission to the pope, but who were ignoring his orders:

What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered
all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which we have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic faith?

In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, it is a question of recognizing the power [of this See], even over your Churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema. [emphasis added]

The point is that the Society of Saint Pius X’s position, recognizing Bergoglio as pope, but acting at the same time as if he does not exist, falls under these severe condemnations of Pope Pius IX. Attendance at their una cum Mass, therefore, is an open profession of what is precisely condemned by Pope Pius IX.

The SSPX is on the horns of a dilemma. For Bergoglio is either pope or not pope. If he is pope, the SSPX una cum Mass is schismatic, since it is not authorized by him. If he is not pope, then the SSPX una cum Mass is schismatic, since it is offered in union with a false pope. For despite whatever concessions have been granted to the SSPX, their priests remain suspended, their apostolate is not authorized, and if Bergoglio is pope, it is a mortal sin every time they say Mass.

In either case, therefore, their Mass is schismatic, and those who actively participate in it are objectively committing a mortal sin.

I review these explanations with our faithful, since they should understand the underpinning of our position. There is a temptation among many to say, “Well, it is justified to go to the una cum Mass if you are in need of the sacraments, and you have nothing else.”

This is false, because one may never, under any circumstances, posit an act which is schismatic.