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Should I Assist at a Mass that Names “Pope Francis” in the Canon?

OK to put it here?

No problem here?

Sedevacantists should be consistent, especially since the advent of Bergoglio.

by Rev. Anthony Cekada

ONE HOT TOPIC endlessly discussed on traditionalist forums over the past few years is whether traditional Catholics should assist at a traditional Latin Mass in which the priest would mention the name of a false pope (like John Paul II, Benedict XVI or, currently, Francis) in the first prayer of the Canon.

These Masses are sometimes referred to as “una cum Masses,” because the Latin phrase into which the name of a reigning pope is inserted reads: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. (together with Thy servant N., our Pope)

Now, those of us who have arrived at a correct understanding of the actual situation in the Church — so-called “sedevacantists” — affirm that Bergoglio/Francis is a heretic (if not an apostate) and therefore no true pope. So, on the face of it, it makes no sense whatsoever for us to participate in a Mass where, a few moments before the consecration, the priest proclaims that Bergoglio is Papa nostro — “our pope.”

In many parts of the world, however, the only traditional Latin Mass available may be one offered by a priest (Motu Proprio, FSSP, Society of St. Pius X or independent) who puts the false pope’s name in the Canon. Faced with choosing this or nothing, a sedevacantist layman is sometimes tempted to assist at the Mass anyway. Why could he not simply overlook the name, and “just go for the Mass”?

To answer this question, I turned to the writings of pre-Vatican II liturgists, canonists and theologians, as well as to various papal pronouncements and decrees. This is where we priests are supposed to look for answers, rather than just relying on gut, personal opinion and shooting from the hip.

Based on that research, I wrote a lengthy study entitled “The Grain of Incense: Sedevacantists and Una Cum Masses” and published it in 2007.

My answer (roughly) was this: No, you can’t just “overlook” a false pope’s name in the Canon of a traditional Mass if you are a sedevacantist. His name there affirms that he is a true pope, and by actively assisting at such a Mass, you participate in that false affirmation. Since you know he’s not the pope, this is sinful.

I provided all the theological documentation for that answer in “Grain of Incense.” But since reading a long article is not every traditionalist’s cup of tea (even if I did manage to slide a few wisecracks into the footnotes…), I decided to write a short resumé of my arguments which was published in 2008.

Since then, of course, the supposedly “traditional” Ratzinger has been replaced by Bergoglio, and his crazy antics have started to make the previously unthinkable thought of sedevacantism quite thinkable for a lot of people. I thought it would be a good idea to update the original article here, in order to help these Catholics reason out the practical conclusions that flow from an understanding that the post-Vatican II popes are no true popes at all.

Una cum Francisco!

Might as well wear THIS!

I. What Does the “Una Cum” Prayer Mean?

There are two ways of looking at this phrase: its linguistic meaning (What do the grammar, terms and context mean?) and its theological meaning (What doctrines does it express?).

(a) Linguistically. From this perspective, putting Bergoglio’s name into the una cum in the Canon affirms that he is a true pope (“our pope”). Obviously, sedevacantists reject that.

It also affirms that Bergoglio is a member of the true Church, because his name is mentioned in the prayer for the Church.

Sedevacantists reject this too. For the very basis of our position is the teaching of canonists and theologians that loss of membership in the Church effects the automatic loss of the pontificate in a heretical pope. Heresy in a pope puts him outside the Church and thus out of office.

(b) Theologically (Doctrinally). In “Grain of Incense” I summarized the standard theological meanings that various theologians, canonists and liturgists assigned to the una cum phrase in the Canon.

When we plug Bergoglio’s name into the prayer and apply these meanings to that phrase, here is what results:

  • The heretic/false pope Bergoglio is “the head of the Church, the vicar of Christ, and the successor of blessed Peter.”
  • The acknowledgment of the heretic/false pope Bergoglio in the Canon is “the chief and most glorious form of communion” with him, “the profession of a mind and will which firmly espouses Catholic unity.”
  • The inclusion of the name of the heretic/false pope Bergoglio in the Canon specifies him as “the principle of unity.”
  • Mentioning the name of the heretic/false pope Bergoglio in the Canon is a sign that you “are not separated from communion with the universal church.”
  • The mention of the name of the heretic/false Pope Bergoglio in the Canon “is a proof of the orthodoxy of the offerer.”
  • The heretic/false pope Bergoglio is the “ruling Pontiff, the visible pastor and the authorized intermediary with almighty God for the various members of his flock.”

Since we sedevacantists are logical about the situation in the Church — that Bergoglio is a heretic and no pope — these propositions are ridiculous.

Yet they are what results when a priest professes in the Canon that he offers the traditional Mass una cumtogether with Thy servant Francis, our Pope.

Follow the Nancy solution?

The way out?

II. Can’t I “Withhold My Consent”?

The priest at an una cum Mass, of course, is the one who utters the objectionable phrase. Couldn’t the sedevacantist in the pew who objects to it simply “withhold his consent” from that part of the Canon, but still assist at the Mass otherwise in order to fulfill his obligation or obtain sacramental graces?

Well, no. To fulfill your Sunday obligation or obtain sacramental graces at Mass requires active assistance or participation. This is an all-or-nothing proposition. You either actively assist or you don’t.

In “Grain of Incense,” I listed at least nine ways in which a Catholic actively assists at a traditional Mass when it is celebrated. Each of these is a true form of active assistance or participation, and according to Catholic teaching constitutes “cooperation or common action with another in the prayers and functions of worship.”

I quoted various popes and pre-Vatican II theologians who taught that the laity who assist actively at Mass, in so doing, manifest their consent and moral cooperation with the priest as he offers the sacrifice. Indeed, moral unity with the priest is required to fulfill the Sunday obligation.

Finally, I demonstrated that the Fathers of the Church, and indeed Pope Pius XII himself in the Encyclical Mediator Dei, teach specifically that the faithful who actively assist at Mass ratify, assent to and participate in the prayers of the Canon that the priest recites, even though they do not vocally recite these prayers themselves.

Thus there is no way for the sedevacantist to avoid it. The same active assistance at Mass required for fulfilling your Sunday obligation also inextricably joins you to the action of a priest at the altar. So, when the priest proclaims during the Canon that he offers the sacrifice together with Thy servant Francis, our Pope — the arch-heretic and false pope Bergoglio, the priest’s prayer is your prayer.

III. What is Wrong with Participating?

In “Grain of Incense,” I answered this question at great length. I demonstrated that if you have become a sedevacantist — concluded that Bergoglio is not a true pope — but actively assist at an una cum Mass nevertheless, by that fact you:

  1. Tell a pernicious lie.
  2. Profess communion with heretics.
  3. Recognize as legitimate the Ecumenical, One-World Church
  4. Implicitly profess a false religion.
  5. Condone a violation of Church law.
  6. Participate in a sin.
  7. Offer Mass in union with the heretic/false pope Bergoglio.
  8. Recognize the usurper of an ecclesiastical office.
  9. Offer an occasion for scandal
  10. In the case of Masses offered by “resistance” clergy (SSPX, its affiliates, and many independent clergy) participate in gravely illicit Masses and condone the sin of schism.

This list, I assure you, is not merely the product of my own personal whims and musings. It is based on the teachings of the various canonists, moralists, theologians, and papally-approved decrees I cited and quoted in my original article. If you are skeptical, read it.

Such acts are not ones you want to have on your conscience. A simple layman in good faith who had confused ideas about the pope question might not be subjectively culpable. But a sedevacantist who has figured out the issues?

The priest MEANS well...

But he MEANS well…

IV. Objections, Please…

In “Grain of Incense,” I listed ten (10) anticipated objections to my argument, and, based on various theological sources, responded to each.

Here, I will recap only the more common ones and offer a brief response. For a fuller explanation, once again, see the article.

(a) My Sunday obligation takes precedence? False. There are many legitimate causes that excuse from this. Active assistance at an una cum Mass implicates you in (among other things) the recognition of the false church and religion of Vatican II. Obviously, that constitutes “notable spiritual harm” — one of the conditions that excuse Catholics from the Sunday obligation.

(b) The priest “means well”? Irrelevant. This does not change what the una cum means or the fact that you participate in it. The priest may not know any better — but as a sedevacantist, you certainly know better.

(c) “Sedevacantist” priests have different opinions? These opinions are only as good as the reasons behind them, and from what I’ve seen, these are mostly off the cuff reactions. But theology, not gut, has to be the basis for addressing such an important issue.

If any priest disagrees with my conclusions in “Grain of Incense,” I invite him to research the issue in the various sources I cited, and then offer a point-by-point refutation of my arguments. In the years since “Grain of Incense” first appeared, no one has yet attempted this, so I am confident that my arguments and conclusions stand.

(d) My family and I will lose the graces of the Mass and thus the faith itself? I will be blunt: You can obtain no graces at a Mass where you knowingly and actively participate in a sacrilegious lie that affirms the legitimacy of the false hierarchy and religion of Vatican II.

And as for your children, the crypto-modernism of the Motu Mass clergy — even if you do get the “good” ciborium with the validly-consecrated hosts — or the poisonous errors of SSPX on the papacy will eventually corrupt your children’s faith. In three decades as a priest, I have seen many families that were once solidly traditionalist surrender step by step to the new religion because of a decision to go to a “convenient” una cum Mass.

Don’t take the first step on that path.

Center of unity!

In union with THIS???

V. And Now, in Union with Bergoglio?

I suspect that many souls allowed the una cum issue to slide by because of the general perception that John Paul II and Benedict XVI at least gave the appearance of being somehow more “traditional,” and that this would somehow mitigate the act of a clueless priest who named either John Paul or Benedict in the Canon.

On this point, though, the election of Bergoglio is game-changer. He is an open modernist set on a course of implementing Vatican II and destroying the very foundations of the Church’s magisterium. As I noted in a previous article in October 2013, this becomes apparent when you group together summaries of the outrageous statements Bergoglio has made on questions of faith and morals:

(a) Faith: There is no Catholic God, doctrinal security exists no more, he who claims to have all the answers does not have God within him, proselytism is nonsense, atheists can go to heaven, etc.

These declarations blow away the meaning of the Creed, the nature of God, the possibility of arriving at doctrinal truths, the divine mission to convert others to those truths, and faith as a requirement for eternal salvation.

(b) Morals: Moral teachings (on the 6th and 9th commandments) are a disjointed multitude of doctrines that cannot be imposed insistently, one must not obsess about such matters (abortion, gay “marriage” and contraception), what is objectively adultery admits of a “pastoral solution,” who am I to judge, each one has his own vision of good and evil, spiritual interference in personal life is impossible, etc.

These declarations portray mortal sins as trifles, castigate as “obsessed” those who say otherwise, trivialize adultery, reprove moral judgments, enthrone the conscience as autonomous and supreme, and effectively renounce the right of the magisterium to tell the individual conscience anything.

Since I wrote the foregoing, we have seen Bergoglio misrepresenting the contents of the (blasphemous) Koran and publicly encouraging Moslems to follow it, address a Protestant layman his “brother bishop,” characterize Protestant pentecostalism as a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, wink at contraception and “civil unions,” and most recently, praise a speech by Cardinal Walter Kaspar that paved the way for giving sacraments to Catholics in (adulterous) second marriages.

Could any sedevacantist in his right mind now defend the proposition that assisting at a Mass where such a heretic is proclaimed a true pope, and indeed offered in union with him, is not offensive to God, and simply a matter of mere indifference?

*     *     *     *     *

Martyrs Nicomed

Martyrs of Nicomedia

FOR THOSE who have not yet read our original article, its title, “Grain of Incense,” might seem a little puzzling. It alludes to the Roman practice during the persecutions of allowing a Christian to escape death if he would put but a single grain of incense into a fire set up to honor false gods. Time and again, Christians chose martyrdom rather than make this one small act of tribute to a false religion. One touching account is found in the Roman Martyrology and chanted each year on the Vigil of Christmas:

At Nicomedia, many thousand holy martyrs. Upon the feast of Christ’s birth they had come together unto the Lord’s house, and the Emperor Diocletian ordered the doors of the church to be shut, and all things made ready for fire round about it. Then he set a tripod and incense in front of the door, and sent an herald to proclaim in a loud voice that whosoever would escape burning should come forth and offer incense unto Jupiter. Whereunto they all replied with one voice, that they would far rather die for Christ’s sake; whereupon he kindled the fire and they were consumed, and were born in heaven upon that same day whereupon it had pleased Christ to be born into this world to save it.

Vatican II and the post-Conciliar “popes,” as we know, have sought to create a dogma-less, ecumenical, one-world religion — a big tent for all religions, under which each is regarded as more or less good. There is a place for you in this circus, even if you are “attached” to the traditional Latin Mass. All you have to do is recognize Bergoglio as your ringmaster

This is what you do when you actively assist at a Mass in which the priest — Motu Proprio, FSSP, SSPX, or independent — proclaims in the Canon that he offers Mass together with Thy servant, Francis, our Pope and all true believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Better to have no Mass at all, than partake in such a blasphemy. Better to die than offer this grain of incense to the ecumenical religion of the anti-Christ.

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