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DEFECTS WHICH MAY OCCUR IN

CELEBRATING MASS
INTRODUCTION
THE priest who is about to celebrate Mass should take every precaution to ensure
that none of the requisites for the consecration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist shall be
wanting.
Defects may arise in respect of the materials to be consecrated, in respect of the
formula to be used, and in respect of the consecrating minister. If any one of these,
namely, right materials, right formula and intention, and priestly ordination of the-
Celebrant , is lacking, then there is no Sacrament. When these are forthcoming, whatever
other defects there may be, the Sacrament is truly present.
Other defects which may occur in celebrating Mass, although they will not
invalidate the Sacrament, may nevertheless give rise to sin or scandal.

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CHAPTER I
DEFECTIVE MATERIALS
II. DEFECTS may arise in respect of the materials if any requisite is lacking. It is
requisite that the bread shall be wheaten, and the wine made from the juice of the grape.
For such materials to be consecrated, they must be in the Celebrant's presence at the time
of consecration.

(A) DEFECTIVE BREAD

III. 1. IF the bread is not wheaten; or if so much other grain is mixed with the
wheat that the bread is no longer wheaten; or if it is otherwise adulterated, the Sacrament
is not consecrated.
III. 2. If it has been made with rose-water, or other distillation, it is doubtful
whether it is consecrated.
III. 3. If it has begun to go mouldy,. but is not yet bad; also if it is not unleavened,
according to the practice of the Latin Church, it is consecrated, but the Celebrant commits
a mortal sin.
III. 4. If the Celebrant discovers before the consecration that the host is corrupt or
not wheaten, he should put aside that host, take another, and after offering it, at least
mentally, continue from the place where he left off.
III. 5. if he makes the discovery after consecration, even though not until he has
consumed that host, he should take another, offer it, and begin again from the
consecration, that is, from the words: Qui pridie quam pateretur. If he has not yet
consumed the former host, he should do so after receiving the Body and Blood, or give it
to some one else to consume, or reverently reserve it somewhere. If he has consumed it,
he should nevertheless consume the consecrated one as well; for the rule that the
Sacrament must be completed is of more importance than the rule that it must be received
fasting.
III. 6. If he makes this discovery after receiving the Blood, he must again take
fresh bread, and wine with water. After offering them, the priest should consecrate,
beginning at the words: Qui pridie, etc. He should then immediately consume both, and
go on with the Mass, so that the Sacrament may not remain incomplete, and that due
order may he kept.
III. 7. If the consecrated host should disappear, either from some chance cause
such as wind, or by a miracle, or from being consumed by some animal, and cannot be
recovered; then another must be consecrated, after first being offered, beginning at the
passage: Qui pridie quam pateretur.

(B) DEFECTIVE WINE

IV. I. If the wine has become mere vinegar, or wholly had, or has been made from
sour or unripe grapes, or has been mixed with so much water that the wine is adulterated;
the Sacrament is not consecrated.

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IV. 2. If the wine has begun to go sour, or bad, or is to a marked extent acid, or is
unfermented grape-juice, or has been mixed with rose-water or some other distillation;
the Sacrament is consecrated, but the Celebrant commits a mortal sin.
IV. 3. If the Celebrant discovers before the consecration of the Blood, even
though he has already consecrated the Body, that the wine or water or both are not in the
chalice, he must immediately take wine and water, and after offering them, proceed to
consecrate, beginning at the words: Simili modo, etc.
IV. 4. If he discovers after the words of consecration that water and not wine has
been put into the chalice, he must put the water into some other vessel, then put wine
with water into the chalice, and consecrate it, beginning at the words: Simili modo, etc.
IV. 5. If he makes this discovery after receiving the Body, or the unmixed water,
he must again take another host to consecrate, and also wine and water in the chalice,
offer both, consecrate them, and receive them, not with-. standing that he will have
broken his fast. Or, if the Mass is being celebrated in a public place, where a number of
people are present, he may, to avoid scandal, take only the wine mixed with water, offer
it, consecrate it, and immediately consume it, thereafter continuing the Mass.
IV. 6. If he discovers, either before or after the consecration, that all the wine is
sour, or otherwise had, the same rule will hold good; he must proceed as if he had
discovered that no wine, or only water, had been put into the chalice.
IV. 7. If the Celebrant remembers that he has put no water in: then if the chalice
has not yet been consecrated, he must immediately put water in., and say the words of
consecration; but if the chalice has been consecrated, he is not to do so, for the water is
not essential to the Sacrament.
IV. 8. If by reason of defective bread or wine the requisite materials are altogether
unobtainable; then, if the Body has not yet been consecrated, he must proceed no further.
If after the consecration of the Body, or even of the wine, he discovers that one element is
defective, even though already consecrated; then, if the requisite material is absolutely
unobtainable, he must proceed and finish the Mass, omitting however all words and
actions relating to the defective element; but if it can be had by waiting awhile, he should
wait, so that the sacrifice may not be left incomplete.

CHAPTER II
DEFECTIVE FORMULA
V. 1. DEFECTS may arise in respect of the formula, if anything is wanting to
complete the actual words of consecration. The words of consecration, which are the
formative principle of this Sacrament, are as follows: Hoc est enim Corpus meum; and:
Hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti; mysterium fidei, qui pro
vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. If any omission or alteration is
made in the formula of consecration of the Body and Blood, involving a change of
meaning, the consecration is invalid. An addition made without altering the meaning does
not invalidate the consecration, but the Celebrant commits a mortal sin.
V. 2. If the Celebrant cannot remember whether he has said the usual words of
consecration, he is not on that account to be disturbed. But if he knows for certain that he
has omitted something essential to the Sacrament, i.e. the formula of consecration, or part

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of it, he must repeat the formula, and go on with the Mass from that point. If he is
doubtful, and yet thinks that very probably he has omitted something essential, he should
repeat the formula conditionally, though the condition need not be expressed. But if it
was something inessential, he need not repeat it, but should go on with the Mass.

CHAPTER III
DEFECTS IN THE CELEBRANT
VI. DEFECTS may arise in respect of those things requisite in the Celebrant.
These are: first, intention; then spiritual disposition; bodily disposition; proper dress; and
due performance of the actual ministry.

(A). DEFECTIVE INTENTION

VII. 1. Since intention is required, in the following cases there is no consecration:


(a) if the Celebrant does not intend to consecrate, but only to make a pretence of doing
so; (b) if any hosts remain forgotten on the altar, or part of the wine or a host is out of
sight, when he intends to consecrate only what he sees; (c) if the Celebrant, with eleven
hosts before him, intends to consecrate only ten, without deciding which ten he means to
consecrate. The case is different if he thinks there are ten, and means to consecrate all
that he has before him; in that case all are consecrated. Accordingly, every priest should
always have this intention, namely, to consecrate all the hosts which are before him for
consecration.
VII. 2. If the priest thinks that he is holding one host, but after the consecration
discovers that two were stuck together, he should consume both together at the
Communion. If he discovers, after receiving the Body and Blood, or even after the
ablution, some other consecrated fragments, large or small, he should consume them, for
they belong to the same sacrifice.
VII. 3. If an entire consecrated host is left over, he should put it with the others in
the tabernacle. If he cannot do this, he should leave it lying on the corporal, suitably
covered, for the priest who follows him to consume with the other host which he will
consecrate. If neither of these courses is possible, he should reserve it suitably in the
chalice or on the paten until it can be put into the tabernacle, or consumed by some one
else. If it cannot be suitably reserved, he may consume it himself.
VII. 4. If the priest is distracted at the moment of consecration, so that his
intention ceases to be actual, nevertheless, so long as he came to the altar with a virtual
intention, that is, an intention of doing what the Church does, the Sacrament is
consecrated. He should, however, take care to make his intention actual as well as virtual.

(B) DEFECTIVE SPIRITUAL DISPOSITION

VIII. 1. If a priest celebrates who is suspended, excommunicated, unfrocked,


irregular, or otherwise canonically impeded, his consecration of the Sacrament is valid,
but he commits a mortal sin, both by receiving Communion unworthily, and also by
exercising priestly functions, which have been forbidden to him.

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VIII. 2. Any priest who, having access to a suitable confessor, celebrates in mortal
sin, commits a grave sin.
VIII. 3. If a priest who, in case of necessity, not having access to a suitable
confessor, celebrates in mortal sin, without contrition, he commits a grave sin. Not,
however, if he is contrite; but even so, he must confess as soon as possible.
VIII. 4. If the priest remembers during the actual celebration of Mass that he is in
mortal sin, he should make an act of contrition, at the same time resolving to confess and
make satisfaction.
VIII. 5. Similarly, if he remembers that he is excommunicate, or suspended, or
that the place is under interdict, he should make an act of contrition, and resolve to seek
absolution. If, however, in the above cases, the consecration has not yet taken place, and
there is no danger of scandal, he must discontinue the Mass he has begun.

(C) DEFECTIVE BODILY DISPOSITION

IX. 1. No one who has not fasted from midnight, even if he has taken only water,
or other drink or food, and that by way of medicine, and in the smallest quantity, may
communicate or celebrate.
IX. 2. If food or drink has been taken before midnight, there is no sin, even
though sleep has not followed, or the food remains undigested. It is, however, sometimes
advisable to abstain on account of the mental disturbance, which takes away devotion.
IX. 3. If particles of food remaining in the mouth are swallowed, they do not
impede Communion, since they are swallowed not as food, but as saliva. The same
principle holds good if in washing the mouth a drop of w ater is unintentionally
swallowed.
IX. 4. If several Masses are celebrated in one day, as at Christmas, the Celebrant
should wash his fingers at each Mass in a clean vessel, but drink the ablution at the last
Mass only.
IX. 5, If an emission has occurred during the night, either as a result of previous
thought which was a mortal sin, or because of over-indulgence in food or drink, the priest
must abstain from Communion and celebration, unless his confessor thinks otherwise. In
case of doubt whether there was mortal sin in the preceding thought, it is advisable to
abstain from celebrating, except in case of necessity. If it is certain that there was no
mortal sin in the thought, or that there was no thought at all, but the trouble was due to a
natural cause or to a diabolic illusion, the priest may communicate and celebrate; unless
he is so troubled in mind on account of the bodily disturbance that it seems better to
abstain.

CHAPTER IV
DEFECTS ARISING IN THE ACTUAL MINISTRY

X. 1. DEFECTS may also arise in the actual ministry, if any of its requisites are
wanting, as in the following cases: if the celebration takes place in an unblessed place, or
one not approved by the bishop, or on an unconsecrated altar, or on one not covered with
the three cloths; if no wax candles are lit; if it is not the proper time for celebrating,
which is commonly from dawn to noon; if the Celebrant has not said at least Matins and

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Lauds; if any of the priestly vestments are lacking; if the priestly vestments and the altar
cloths have not been blessed by a bishop, or by some one else having the authority to
bless them; if there is no cleric or other man to serve the Mass, or if some one serves who
should not, such as a woman; if there is no proper chalice and paten (the chalice should
have a cup of gold or silver or tin, and not of brass or glass); if the corporals are not clean
(they should also be of linen, not decorated in the middle with silk, and blessed by a
bishop or by someone else having the authority to bless them); if the priest celebrates
with covered head, without a dispensation; if there is no Missal, even though he may
know by heart the Mass he intends to say.
X. 2. If the church is violated while the priest is celebrating, and before he reaches
the Canon, the Mass should cease; but not if he has already passed the Canon. If there is
danger of an invasion by the enemy, or of flooding, or of the collapse of the building
where Mass is being celebrated, before the consecration the Mass should cease; after
consecration the priest may hasten to receive the Sacrament, leaving out everything else.
X. 3. If the priest becomes gravely ill, or faints, or dies, before the consecration,
the Mass is left. If the Body only has been consecrated, not the Blood, or if both have
been consecrated, another priest should continue the Mass from the point where it was
interrupted, and in case of necessity a priest who is not fasting. If the first Celebrant does
not die, but is ill, and yet able to communicate, and there is no other consecrated host, the
priest who takes over the Mass should divide the host, and give one part to the sick priest,
receiving the other half himself. If the priest dies when the formula of the consecration of
the host has been half-said, the Mass need not be continued, since no consecration has
taken place. If he dies when the formula of the consecration of the Blood has been half-
said, another priest should continue the Mass, and repeat over the same chalice the
complete formula from the words: Simili modo postquam coenatum est; or he may
pronounce the complete formula over another prepared chalice, and receive the host of
the first priest, and the Blood consecrated by himself, and then the remaining half-
consecrated chalice.
X. 4. Anyone who, apart from such cases of necessity, does not receive the entire
Sacrament, commits a mortal sin.
X. 5. If a fly, or spider, or anything else falls into the chalice before the
consecration, the priest should throw the wine into a suitable place, and put other wine,
mixed with a little water, into the chalice, offer it, and continue the Mass. If a fly or
anything of the kind falls in after the consecration, and it is an occasion of nausea to the
priest, be should take it out and wash it with wine, and after Mass burn it, and put the
ashes and wine into the `sacrarium'. But if it is not an occasion of nausea, and involves no
other risk, he should drink it with the Blood.
X. 6. If anything poisonous, or likely to cause vomiting, falls into the chalice, the
consecrated wine must be put aside in another chalice, and other wine and water taken
and consecrated afresh. After Mass, the Blood should be kept, placed on linen cloth or
cotton wool until the wine has dried up; then the cotton wool should be burnt, and the
ashes thrown into the sacrarium.
X. 7. If anything poisonous touches the consecrated host, the priest should
consecrate another, and receive it in the manner prescribed. The first one should be kept
in the tabernacle apart, until the element is decayed, when it should be put into the
sacrarium.

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X. 8. If in receiving the Blood the fragment of the host remains in the chalice, the
priest should draw it with his finger to the brim of the chalice, and consume it before
washing his fingers; or he may pour in wine and so consume it.
X. 9. If the priest makes the discovery before consecration that the host is broken,
but not so as to be evident to the people, he should consecrate that host; but if it would
cause scandal to the people, he should take another and offer it; and if the host had
already been offered, he should consume it after the ablution. If it is discovered before
the offering that the host is broken, he should take another that is unbroken, if this can be
done without scandal or overmuch delay.
X. 10. If through cold or through carelessness the consecrated host falls into the
chalice, nothing need be repeated on that account; the priest should go on with the Mass,
perform the ceremonies and usual crosses with the rest of the host, which is not wet with
the Blood, if he can do so conveniently. But if the whole host has become wet, he should
not take it out, but say everything omitting the crosses, and receive the Body and Blood
together, crossing himself with the chalice, and saying: Corpus et Sanguis Domini nostri,
etc.
X. 11. If in winter-time the Blood should become congealed in the chalice, the
chalice should be wrapped in hot cloths. If this is of no avail, it should be placed in
boiling water near the altar, until it liquifies, but no water must be allowed to get into the
chalice.
X. 12. If through negligence any of the Blood of Christ is spilt, and it falls on the
ground or on the table of the altar, it should be licked up with the tongue, and the place
itself scraped as much as necessary, and the scraping burnt, and the ashes thrown into the
sacrarium. If it falls on the altar-stone, the priest should mop up the spot, and the spot
should be well washed, and the ablution thrown into the sacrarium. If on the altar linen,
and it soaks through to the second or third cloths, the cloths should be thrice washed
where the drop fell, with the chalice underneath, and the water of the washing thrown
into the sacrarium. If on the corporal alone, or on the priest's vestments, they must be
washed in the same way, and the ablutoin thrown into the sacrarium. I ion the cloth or
carpet: underfoot, that too must be well washed in the manner just described.
X. 13. If it should happen that all the Blood is spilt after the consecration: any that
remains, however little, should be swallowed, and the priest should deal with the rest in
accordance with the above directions. If none at all remains, he should take wine and
water again, and consecrate them, from the words: Simili modo, postquam coenatum est,
etc., after first offering the chalice.
X. 14. If the priest vomits the Eucharist, and the elements appear in their entirety,
he should reverently shallow them, unless to do so will provoke nausea; in which case,
the consecrated elements should be carefully separated, put in some place until they art
decayed, and afterwards thrown into the sacrarium the elements are not apparent, the
vomit should be burnt, and the ashes thrown into the sacrarium.
X. 15. If the consecrated host, or any particle of it, falls on the ground, it should
be reverently taken up, and the place where it fell washed and slightly scraped, the dot or
scraping being put into the sacrarium. If it falls outside the corporal on the altar cloth, or
otherwise on any linen, such cloth or linen should be carefully washed, and the water
used for washing thrown into the sacrarium.

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X. 16. Finally, defects may arise in the actual ministry, if the priest is ignorant of
the rites and ceremonies to be observed therein, all of which have been fully described in
the above Rubrics.

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