This question is strictly referring to the Novus Ordo.

If there is a change of the wording of the mass, abuse of sign of peace (talking out loud and laughing, waving at others during mass), congregations in Orans posture for Our Father and holding hands, secular bands playing modern hymns, the faithful in immodest dress, etc...does this render the particular said mass invalid? Thanks, I am struggling with this. Having attended the Tridentine rite for many years, I am going to new parish that offers Novus Ordo. I can't seem to resign to the fact that it is the same mass spiritually! Please help!

  • 1
    It's unlikely that a church is performing an invalid mass on a regular basis. Why don't you talk to the priest about your concerns? Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 18:51
  • I could ask, but he is doing his best. The pastor has introduced the St. Michael prayer at the end of the Novus Ordo. He does not like the band that plays at times during some liturgies. Why he can't stop them, I don't know. There is no kneeling for the Eucharist, and I see people casually approaching the altar. I guess I am just disappointed. I appreciate your input.
    – user45249
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 19:02
  • Aside from #1 (changing the words), I don't see how those things qualify as "Liturgical Abuse". The rest of the things are things that people do and the priest may reluctantly allow. I know Liturgy means "work of the people" but I don't see how bad work could possibly be considered something that invalidates the whole Mass.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 21:43

4 Answers 4


Does liturgical abuse make a mass invalid?

The short answer is: It will depend on the situation.

I can feel your anguish in your present situation. However the only thing that could possibly make the Mass invalid of the abuses that you mentioned would be if the priest changed the words of the consecration at Mass. Depending on what is changed could invalidate the Mass.

What is the Effect of the Priest Changing the Words of the Mass? Is There Anything We Can Do?


Our pastor does not read from the Sacramentary and does not say all the words of the Eucharistic Prayer (omitting the word “Father” and changing “mankind” to “humankind” are just two examples). He does not say all the words of the consecration. He says “Take this all of you and eat” instead of “Take this all of you and eat it”. Does this omission affect the consecration of bread into the Body of Christ?

The Holy See’s 2004 disciplinary document, Redemptionis Sacramentum, states very emphatically:

  1. The reprobated practice by which priests, deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2002) also says:

Nevertheless, the priest must remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass. [GIRM§ 24]

The GIRM is here quoting the Vatican II Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22.3:

Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the Liturgy on his own authority.

The essentials words of the consecration must not be altered.

Generally, if the priest fails to say the essential words of consecration, the Mass is invalid and the Eucharist is not consecrated. - What if the priest messes up the words of consecration?

If you think that the abuses are serious enough you can complain to the local ordinary (bishop). If after that and only after you have complained to the local ordinary, you may lodge a complaint to the Apostolic Nuncio of your country. (I did tell the bishop in question I would go through the Apostolic Nuncio if necessary.) I myself have done this once and things do get done quite quickly.

The Rights of Catholics to Complain about Abuses

Given that the Supreme Pontiff's authority through the Church is ordinary and immediate, Redemptionis Sacramentum reminds Catholics that they have the right to appeal to the Holy See in any ecclesiastical matter. Good order and charity suggests that complaints in so far as possible be first directed to the local Bishop or to the Religious Superior as appropriate, before being referred to the Holy See. This is consistent with how Our Lord asks us to give fraternal correction (cf. Mt. 18:15-17). Certainly, when such appeals have been shown to be fruitless, direct appeal to the Holy See is justified.

184 Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.[290] It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.

290 Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution, Pastor bonus 52, CIC 1417 § 1

Pastor Bonus Art. 52 — The Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] examines offences against the faith and more serious ones both in behaviour or in the celebration of the sacraments which have been reported to it and, if need be, proceeds to the declaration or imposition of canonical sanctions in accordance with the norms of common or proper law.

Code of Canon Law 1417, 1. In virtue of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, anyone of the faithful is free to bring to or introduce before the Holy See a case either contentious or penal in any grade of judgment and at any stage of litigation. - Liturgical Abuses

  • 2
    +1, especially for the link to the blog post that explains the relevant information from De defectibus. One slight quibble with that explanation, concerning the situation where the priest intentionally changes the words of consecration but without changing the meaning, so that the sacrament is valid. The blog post says that this is a grave sin; De defectibus is even more emphatic, calling it a most grave sin ("gravissime peccaret"). Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 2:35

According to St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica volume III, there are four causes which directly affect the validity of a Mass:

  1. The proper matter is used for the bread and wine. For a valid Mass the bread must be of pure wheaten flour mixed with natural water. The wine must be made from grapes (red or white) which have been naturally fermented with no artificial additives.
  2. The proper form for the words of consecration is used.
  3. The sacred minister must be validly ordained.
  4. The sacred minister's intention must be to do what the Church intends. Secondarily, the intention of the Rite must also be to do what the Church intends.

Additional Information: Catholic Answers - Invalid Masses


secular bands playing modern hymns

He does not like the band that plays at times during some liturgies. Why he can't stop them, I don't know.

(Note: Playing music in a Catholic band myself, this part of my answer might not be unbiased.)

The first sentence actually contains two completely different statements:

The first statement is that you don't like the type of music played in the masses in that parish. However, you should keep in mind that you probably won't find any comprehensible argumentation why a certain kind of music is more suitable for being used in the mass than other kinds of music. In the Bible, we find a lot of completely different musical instruments that were used to praise God.

The second statement in your first sentence is that these bands are "secular". This would mean that these bands are playing songs whose text (!) is not related to praising God. I doubt that this is the case.

I know that a lot of very old songs that have been used in Catholic masses for centuries (here in Germany) use melodies that were taken from secular songs. So if you call some music "secular" if the melody is taken from a secular song, "secular" music was used for centuries in Tridentine masses!

Your second sentence is related to the first statement:

What would a "Tridentine priest" do, if he does not like traditional music and thinks that "modern hymns" (as you call it) are more suitable for the mass?

Would he "stop" using the traditional songs in the Tridentine masses in his parish?

If no: Why do you think the priest in your parish would act differently?

holding hands

A special form of praying I also know from some parishes.

If I understand some statements in answers to this question correctly, faithful touching one another while praying were already mentioned in the Bible and the form of praying you describe is traditionally used in other Christian denominations.

As far as I know, the Catholic mass (both the Tridentine and the new form) is full of forms of praying that have been invented by polytheistic religions and taken over by the Catholic church. (This is one reason why Jehovas Whitnesses refuse the Catholic church!)

So if you don't mind using forms of praying invented by polytheistic religions in a Tridentine mass, why do you mind using a form of praying invented by another Christian denomination in a mass?

At least this form of praying seems not to be officially forbidden - even not in a Tridentine mass!

the faithful in immodest dress

and I see people casually approaching the altar.

I doubt that such people were a rarity in Tridentine masses before the Vatican II Council.

My personal impression is that such people prefer the "mainstream" and therefore do not visit (I can't use the word "to attend" here) Tridentine masses but Novus Ordo masses.

If Tridentine masses were the mainstream, you would complain about such people attending Tridentine masses.

There is no kneeling for the Eucharist

An older priest told me years ago, that this even differed from country to country before the Vatican II Council.

If this is true, there were also Tridentine masses where no kneeling was done for the Eucharist!

However, if you think kneeling down is more respectful than standing:

I have often seen people kneeling down during the Eucharist prayer and also for receiving the sacrament of Eucharist in parishes where all other people are standing. I never saw that that that was not respected by the other faithful.

... make a mass invalid?

Thanks, I am struggling with this. Please help!

Once again your question has two completely different aspects:

The first aspect is if there is some dogma or similar written by some theologian saying if such a mass is "valid" or "invalid".

The second aspect of your question is if such a mass is "valid" in the eyes of God.

I think that the second aspect is the one that you are actually interested in.

However, there is nobody who can answer you this question.

  • I think you should check out whether the "Holding Hands" part is a liturgical abuse before saying it's just another posture, I'm pretty sure that's hippy dippy nonsense that the Baby Boomer's generation dumped on us that we'd be better off without.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 0:10
  • @PeterTurner I updated the section about "holding hands". It seems not to be a post-Vatican II invention but it seems to be taken over from other Christian denominations using this form of praying for a long time. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 5:25

Does liturgical abuse make a mass invalid? (This question is strictly referring to the Novus Ordo.)

Let's make it clear first, the Novus Ordo Missæ is not a "bastard rite" as some Rad Trads who separated themselves from the True Catholic Church is spreading 50 years ago and embracing up to now.

The Mass of St. Paul VI is the most commonly used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church, first promulgated by Pope Paul VI in the 1969 edition of the Roman Missal after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is considered the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass, as it is intended for use in most contexts.1 It is derived from the Tridentine Mass used since 1570.2

In its official documents, the Church identifies the forms of the Roman Rite Mass by the editions of the Roman Missal used in celebrating them. Thus, in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI referred to this form of the Roman Rite Mass by linking it with "the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970". The names Mass of Paul VI and Pauline Mass are equivalent to this. The term "Novus Ordo" (New Order) is often used to describe the Pauline Mass. - Mass of Paul VI

The Novus Ordo Missal is a form of ordinary Mass that was approved by the Vatican II Council composed of the more than 2000 Bishops united to the Pope. As Pope Benedict XVI in His February 2013 addressed to the Clergy had stated claerly;

"The Light of the Holy Spirit guided the Vatican II Council."

And to fully understand the history of development in the eye-witness account of Pope Benedict XVI please read this link;


Therefore, it is very clear that the Novus Ordo Missal is a Church approved form of Holy Mass and it must be followed by all Clergy and faithful who professed themselves as belonging to the Catholic Church. Those who won't accept the Novus Ordo Mass as a valid rite more so spread that it is a "bastard rite", not only violates the Canon Law but bordering on blaspheming the Holy Spirit as Pope Benedict XVI had stated clearly that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come. - (Matthew 12:32)

To answer your specific question;

If there is a change of the wording of the mass, abuse of sign of peace (talking out loud and laughing, waving at others during mass), congregations in Orans posture for Our Father and holding hands, secular bands playing modern hymns, the faithful in immodest dress, etc...does this render the particular said mass invalid?

The next question is who is the culprit on this, it maybe the Priest error or the laity introducing novelties or both.

When you say the word "abuses" it means that it deviates from the valid Novus Ordo Missal guidelines on which it clearly point out that the error does not originates from the Vatican II Church approved teachings but from external errors thru misinterpretation as St. John Paul stated it in the article below.

In this regard, the Vatican II Church had addressed the most common identified abuses in the liturgy in the Novus Ordo Missal;

Before Vatican II there weren’t any surprises when it came to the Mass. Now in many parts of the United States you’ll find priests improvising as they go along. Even archbishops issue pastoral letters directing things at odds with liturgical regulations. As Pope John Paul II noted in a 1998 ad limina address to the American bishops of the western states, not all of the changes in the liturgy “have always and everywhere been accompanied by the necessary explanation and catechesis; as a result, in some cases there has been a misunderstanding of the very nature of the liturgy, leading to abuses, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandal.”

If you question some liturgical practice at your parish, go to your nearest Catholic library or bookstore and have a look at these texts: the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM); the Code of Canon Law (its acronym, CIC, is derived from its Latin title, Codex Iuris Canonici); the Ceremonial of Bishops (CB); and the Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (CMRR). The Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979 (DOL) published by the Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minnesota, includes many kinds of regulations in a single volume; so does The Liturgy Documents: A Parish Resource by Liturgy Training Publications at the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Check the directives from popes and Vatican congregations, particularly the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship (CSDW). The Congregation publishes the answers to questions of interest in a periodical called Notitiae. These reinforcements of law are binding on all the faithful, and they go into greater detail than the laws themselves can; but mostly they repeat that the laws must be followed in this and every other instance.. Pauline Books & Media publishes many of these documents in inexpensive editions. And if you have a computer, check the Internet. You can easily find the complete texts of just about any Church document, free, including a good many articles from Notitiae.

Above all get a copy of the Order of Mass approved for use in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the Order outside of huge altar books, which are expensive, or missalettes, which aren’t always accurate. Pangaeus Press in Dallas publishes an affordable edition of the Order.

When you have the applicable laws, write to the offending priest, citing the law, chapter, and verse and quoting it in full. Be objective and charitable; if you can, phrase your concerns as questions. An errant priest simply might not know what he’s doing, but whether he’s negligent or willful he might get obstinate or try to save face when his error is pointed out. If you get no satisfaction after a reasonable exchange, repeat your concerns to the priest in writing and send a copy to your bishop. It might end up being a longer and less pleasant process than you’d think. So be prepared to repeat the process and to keep the focus on the exact issue and the exact laws that it violates. As frustrating as the process might get, never lose your sense of charity. If your complaint comes to a successful conclusion, don’t crow about it; you haven’t won anything. The law has been fulfilled. The Blessed Sacrament has won. - The Ten Most Common Liturgical Abuses

  • The Novus Ordo is the creation of a group of men called Concilium; cf. Work of Human Hands.
    – Geremia
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 3:50
  • 1
    Is the author of your link "Work of Human Hands" had a teaching authority from the Catholic Church? Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 5:19
  • Your statement that "The Novus Ordo Missal is a form of ordinary Mass that was approved by the Vatican II Council" seems incompatible with the facts that Vatican II ended in 1965 and the Novus Ordo Missal was published in 1969. It would be more correct to say that many people consider the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missal to have been justified by Vatican II's earlier intsructions (in particular "Sacrosanctum Concilium"). Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 23:27
  • As far as I can see, the fact that the Novus Ordo was composed by Consilium is not a matter of faith or doctrine but a matter of history. So I would not expect the Church's teaching authority to make a pronouncement on this, nor to be needed to support this. For a similar example, I don't need the teaching authority of the Church to tell me that Pius XII was pope when I was born (1947). Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 23:32
  • @AndreasBlass Isn't it Tridentine Mass is also composed of Consiilum in 1570? Did you not saw that both Tridentine and Novus Ordo was composed of a Council of Bishop united to the Supreme Pontiff?And have you not read CCC83 about changing tradition the small "t"? Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 14:46

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