In my previous question Are Catholics allowed to believe that the EF or OF is objectively more reverent than the other? someone mentioned two terms reverence and imparting grace. I had to ask a new question.

How can something be less reverent but impart the same graces? A Sacrament can be done/celebrated in a less reverent way but still impart the same grace(s). This confuses me. It seems to make Sacraments something that has nothing to do with what the faithful do and how they participate. Some have even said that in order to be forgiven of your mortal sins outside of Confession you need perfect contrition but in the Sacrament itself imperfect contrition is enough. I confuses me. I am only talking about cases in which a person cannot attend Confession eg. being either a non-Catholic or not being able to find a Priest.

Catholic Dictionary say this about reverence: "The virtue that inclines a person to show honor and respect for persons who possess some dignity."

Wiktionary: "1. Veneration; profound awe and respect, normally in a sacred context."

catholic.org says this about imparting grace: "The sacraments impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them disposes the faithful most effectively to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God rightly, and to practice charity."

  • Can you elaborate what you understand by reverence and imparting grace? Or why those two are connected?
    – eques
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


It may be more accurate to say God dispenses the same graces to you regardless of how you worship Him (that is, God imparts the same graces at every valid mass, even if these are not the same graces as the graces at confession, and imparts the same graces at every valid confession, even if these are not the same graces as the graces at the mass), whereas, you may actually be receptive to more or less of that grace depending on your disposition at the moment (reverent reception of the eucharist might cause you to receive more graces than a simple act of spiritual communion, prayer after communion may make you even more receptive than simple reverent reception, even if God is imparting the same graces in all of these cases). To be sure, one receives more graces through the valid celebration of the Sacraments than through any other acts, and when it comes to sanctifying grace, the Sacraments are all but necessary. The requirements to have perfect contrition and/or a baptism of desire are actually quite burdensome. It is incredibly difficult for one to have perfect contrition, and one who has a baptism of desire will get validly baptized as soon as they can. The one who makes a good confession and amends is life is like the one who is told "well done my good and faithful servant," whereas the one who manages to make a perfect act of contrition just before death is like the man whose works were all burned up. "[H]e himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

  • +1 Can we say that one should go to his/her preferred EF or OF so that one has more inducement to go to church and receive the sacraments which impart the same graces? Therefore, the preference is tied to frequency to go rather than the efficacy of the sacrament. Maybe the same thing can be said to go to a confessor that we prefer, so that we go to confession more often and during confession we are able to confess more sins to him. Commented May 5, 2022 at 17:25
  • @GratefulDisciple I would certainly agree that it would be better to offer faithful Catholics access to the Sacraments in a way that will motivate the most Catholics to take advantage of those Sacraments. It's odd to me that some of our bishops seem to be "cracking down" on the EF, since it seems like this will only push those who find their spirituality in the EF away from licit Masses, and thus cause them to be likely less disposed to receive the grace offered by the Sacrament.
    – jaredad7
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 17:48
  • Yes, it DOES seem odd. From what I read, the only concern is that in some schismatic groups EF is tied to refusal to accept the canons of Vatican II. But there are many groups promoting EF that do accept the canons of Vatican II. So the restriction to EF is too broad-based. BTW, I saw this Feb 2022 decree given to FSSP, after a personal visit asking for clarification from Pope Francis a week earlier, giving all FSSP priests permission to use 1962 forms. Looks like a good sign? Commented May 5, 2022 at 17:54
  • @GratefulDisciple I am happy to see that the FSSP does not need to abandon the traditional rite of their own order. It would be a grave injustice, in my view, to forbid a religious order in good standing from celebrating their traditional rite. I do wish that diocesan priests could offer the EF without Vatican oversight (oversight of the local bishop seems good enough) so that the faithful who do not live near an FSSP church could still attend the rite that speaks to them. Involving the Vatican directly in every decision seems contrary to solidarity.
    – jaredad7
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 18:00
  • Are you saying that a diocesan bishop (not a religious order like FSSP) cannot apply for a similar exemption to the Vatican? Commented May 5, 2022 at 18:08

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