Our Right to Attend the Traditional Catholic Mass
From time to time, some over-zealous official of the Novus Ordo church will issue a pronouncement to Catholics, stating that they are forbidden to attend the centuries old rite of Mass. Priests and other officials of the same diocese may advocate attendance at non-Catholic and/or "ecumenical" worship services. They may even teach heresy in their own churches. Such things matter little to them. But the traditional Mass, they say, is "divisive," polarizing the "people of God." It matters less that nothing can change in the official teaching of the Church: The old Mass is too dogmatic, teaching, as it does, an unchanging Faith in an immutable God. Nothing is a greater affront to the human(istic) spirit than dogma.
Catholics should be aware that there is nothing in the authentic policies of the Church which prohibits attendance at the Traditional Mass. The Church has long recognized that the faithful have the right to the sacraments instituted by Christ for their salvation. Only in the most extreme circumstances does the Church stand between the Catholic faithful and the Sacraments. If anything, the Church has become more liberal in this connection in recent years.
While some might erroneously claim that the Pope could deny faithful Catholics the right to receive the Sacraments , the fact is that he has not. We must distinguish between the laws properly enforced by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, and those thrust upon us by his inferiors. During the post-Vatican II revolution many of these have been teaching a faith quite foreign to that of Holy Mother Church. We can only judge them by the standard proposed by our Lord: "By their fruits you shall know them." And, their fruits have been unusually sour in recent years!
The law of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Pope John Paul II's revision of the Code of Canon Law is as follows:
Canon 1247: On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to abstain from work or business....
Canon 1248: The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a Catholic rite, either on the holy day itself, or on the evening of the previous day.
Canon 844§2: Whenever necessity requires, or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided that danger of error and indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful, for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may legally receive the Sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion, and Extreme Unction from non-Catholic priests, in whose churches the Sacraments are validly administered.
Canon 1335: If a censure [suspension or excommunication] prohibits the celebration of the Sacraments, or the use of jurisdiction, this prohibition is lifted in danger of death of one of the faithful. If sentence has not been declared, it is also lifted whenever one of the faithful requests Sacraments, sacramentals, or an act of jurisdiction, for any just reason.
A fortiori, the Church's most generous laws must apply to those remaining faithful to Her timeless magisterium, celebrating the immemorial Mass for the edification of Christ's faithful. The authority and the laws of the Church are not intended by God to lead the faithful into the errors of Modernism or to deprive them of the Sacraments.
Modernism to the contrary notwithstanding, we have right to the Sacraments!