What Was the Question?

Brother Juniper

Q. What does the Church teach as the essential form (words) for the valid consecration of the bread and wine at the Sacrifice of the Mass?

B.J., Los Angeles,CA

A. There is much confusion in the use of the term `essential.' The Church is a living supernatural organism. She requires not only that which is `essential' to Her existence, but also that which is `integral' to her existence.

For example: The `essence' of man is that he is a `rational animal.' That is his `essence.' If you take a man's heart out, is he still a `rational animal'? If you say `Yes,' then you have a problem: This essentially `human being' will be a dead `human being.'

As a matter of fact, this `essentially human nature' will cease being what it was because now it will be two distinct things: a. The once-animated body will now be a corpse; and b. the soul will be a disembodied spirit. Neither of which is any longer a `human being.'

Like the word `validity,' the isolated use of the word `essential' leads to logical absurdities and moral turpitude.

Knowing all this _ and more _ the Church officially teaches that the form to be used in the consecration of the bread is as follows:

For this is my body

And the form for the consecration of the wine is as follows:

This is the chalice of my blood, of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.

Do not be misled by those who tell you that it is sufficient for the valid consecration to simply use the words "This is my body' and "This is my blood."

Every approved book on Moral Theology clearly states that although these few words are essential, all the other words must be used under pain of grave sin.

Fr.Henricus Benedictus Merkelbach, O.P. states in his "Summa Theologiae Moralis": The words "This is my body, this is the chalice of my blood" are more probably the only essential words so that the subsequent words in the consecration of the chalice may pertain only to the integrity (of the consecration).

It is necessary to examine the meaning of `integrity' and how it applies to the consecration. The word `integrity' means "The state or quality of being complete, unbroken, undivided; entirety." Now, if all the other words are required under pain of mortal sin for the integrity of the consecration, then this must mean that these other words may not be omitted. As a matter of fact, practically every respectable theologian holds that whatever the controversy may be, all the disputed words must be used under pain of mortal sin, unless some supreme danger would ensue because of delay.

Conclusion: The consecration of the wine is not complete unless all the words as prescribed by the Council of Trent are used. The practice of the Church requires that if any words are omitted, the entire consecration must be repeated.

Observation: Imagine the absurdity and moral turpitude that would result from a `valid' consecration using only the `essential' words: At the very moment when the bread and wine are transubstantially changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the priest commits a mortal sin because he has not used the words assuring the integrity of the consecration! Do you really believe that God is honored by such nonsense?

I don't.

By the way, did you know that there are many `valid' priests who are administering the Sacrament of Penance which has no value? The Sacrament is `valid' but it has no effect. Would you prefer a Sacrament that is both `valid' and `fruitful,' or would you be content with just `validity'?

Perhaps some readers might like to learn about this common error that deprives souls of the effects of an `integral' reception of the Sacrament of Penance?

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