Objections to "Vatican II, The Pope, and The Mass."
December 2000

These notes are in the form of interjections inserted in the relevant paragraphs of Fr. Sanborn's article, "Vatican II, The Pope, and The Mass."

They were written rapidly, and exclusively for a good friend of mine some time ago. This friend had challenged me by saying, "Surely you agree with most of what Fr. Sanborn has said," and my frank response was that I did not think there was very much at all with which I concurred. "Distinguo" was constantly on my lips as I read through his paper. In support of my conclusion I thought the only fair thing to do was a sentence-by-sentence commentary, which is what these notes amount to.

I had no intention of publishing these originally, but to my great surprise Fr. Sanborn's article has had the effect of frightening some Catholics away from sacraments offered by Catholic clergy. It is my hope that these notes will at least show people that Fr. Sanborn's logic is not anywhere near as sound as his confident tone would suggest.

Each interjection is prefaced by the word "Comment" and bolded. Anything not bolded is Fr. Sanborn's text. The whole of the text of his article beginning at paragraph 23 and ending at paragraph 37, has been included.

23. What is wrong with the una cum Mass?
The una cum Mass is wrong because John Paul II is not a true pope. The mentioning of the pope in this part of the Mass is to profess communion with him as head of the Church.

Comment: The answer given does not appear to be an answer to the question asked. Fr. Sanborn did not ask, "Why?" He asked "What?"

Who is professing communion? The priest? He shouldn't say JPII's name, I agree. But I would distinguish that the priest's innocence is relevant, because otherwise this could be an act of schism, and it probably isn't (and we know that schism is going to be raised later). As we shall see further on, Fr. Sanborn also wants the reader to agree that those who assist are necessarily professing communion with JPII, and that I deny also.

24. Isn't the priest merely praying for him, as you would for anyone, even your enemies?
Not at all. To mention his name is to state that the Mass is offered in union with him as head of the Church. But as we have seen, he is not the head of the Church, and it is the duty of Catholics to reject him as such. Hence to mention him in the canon of the Mass is to tell a lie in a serious matter.

No, it is to tell a lie if the priest knows that JPII is not pope. Otherwise, it is a mistake. The way Fr. Sanborn has constructed his sentence clearly implies guilt on the part of the priest offering the Mass. At best, it ignores an important distinction. He admits the distinction later, but by then the false impression has done its work. Admit it at this point and the whole thing comes apart at the seams.

If a priest wanted to pray for John Paul II, he would mention this intention silently in the Memento of the Living, which is the second prayer of the canon. But to mention him or anyone else here is not to declare communion with him as head of the Church.
To mention his name in the Te Igitur (the first prayer) is not to pray for him, but with him, in union with him as head of the Church.

Comment: This assertion is denied by St. Thomas and all of the other authorities that I can uncover. It is completely unsupported and therefore falls with a denial.

25. Why is it so bad to mention the name of John Paul II in the canon?         
It is to say that the offering of the Mass is the act of a public heretic. For we know that Christ is the principal offerer of every Mass.

This juxtaposition of sentences is plainly tendentious. It produces a gut reaction by paralleling the words "public heretic" and "Christ."

Similarly the pope, since he is the Vicar of Christ, is the principal offerer of the Mass, since the pope has the plenitude of jurisdiction over the whole Church. This means that all of the Church's liturgical actions are under his domain, and that the action of the simple priest in saying Mass is merely the extension of the act of the pope.

Comment: Denied. Too many distinctions are glossed over here. How can "THE principal offerer" be the pope, and also Christ? Either the Church is the principal offerer, or Christ is. To say that "the pope" is, and then say that "Christ" is, is merely to hash the whole difficult and disputed matter. In private correspondence Fr. Sanborn said that the pope and Christ are "one hierarchical person," but that too is a novelty, I think. Certainly he made no attempt to prove it. The pope says "We" when acting officially because there are two persons speaking. He is Christ's Vicar, not Christ. A priest acts in the person of Christ when confecting sacraments, but so does a Jew who baptises, in the sense that it is Christ who really acts. Fr. Sanborn's assertion must simply be wrong, as far as I can tell. Certainly the pope is not an "alter Christus" by virtue of being pope, and he does not form "one person" with the pope. This is not logic. This is a series of assertions, with carefully placed adjectives, mixed with logical terms. And it is utterly without the quotations from theologians which are needed to justify such statements.

For this reason, if the pope does not approve of the Mass which a priest says, it is not a Catholic Mass, but a schismatic Mass.

Comment: Denied. St. Vincent Ferrer falls afoul of this assertion, since he is commonly believed to have offered his Masses una cum an anti-pope. Also, de la Taille says the direct opposite. And, obviously, during an interregnum no Mass is "approved" by the Pope, except perhaps tacitly. In any case, the Pope doesn't approve most Masses anyway. He approves bishops, who approve priests.

This is the case of the Greek Orthodox.

Comment: There is more to the case of a schismatic than the mere lack of approval of a pope. The Masses of the Greek orthodox are "schismatic" because they are celebrated by schismatics. Here we have the implication that Greek Orthodox Masses are also (or instead?) schismatic for a quite different reason - absence of approval by the pope. No authority is quoted for this view and I suspect that none exists. A comparison is clearly implied between every Una Cum traditional priest and the Eastern Orthodox. But the Eastern Orthodox are outside the Church and their errors concern matters which have been directly judged by the Magisterium. Fr Sanborn needs to prove that these distinctions have no relevance to the issue. Instead he simply glosses over them, effectively denying them.

Therefore if the Mass is offered in union with a false head of the Church, it is not offered in union with the true head of the Church, which in this case is Christ Himself.

This is mere assertion. It certainly hasn't been proved, and it conflicts with de la Taille's view. It also runs into the problem already mentioned regarding the Masses offered by St. Vincent Ferrer. It is just plain false, in my opinion. If a minister offers his Mass in union with Christ and with John-Paul II, a conflict of intentions is present. By every analogy it is the weaker intention which yields to the stronger. If Fr Sanborn wishes to maintain that in this one case the stronger must yield to the weaker, he must prove it, not merely allege it. Plainly no Catholic priest intends to offer with JP2 even contrary to the wishes of Christ.

26. What is necessary in order that a Mass be considered a Catholic Mass?
In order that a Mass be Catholic it must (1) contain rites and ceremonies which express the integral Catholic doctrine, and contain no error; (2) it must be offered in union with the true Roman Pontiff, and with his approval and the approval of the bishop of the diocese.

Implicit approval is sufficient. This is glossed over and effectively denied. What Fr. Sanborn must show is that a priest who is mistaken about who the pope is, cannot offer a Mass which is approved, at least implicitly, by the pope. Ad Evitanda would indicate that Fr. Sanborn is going to have serious difficulty in showing this. Of course, once again, he does not even attempt to prove it, he merely asserts it. And, once again, St. Vincent Ferrer falls afoul of Fr. Sanborn's criteria here. Finally, again we have the concept of a Mass being "Catholic" or "non-Catholic" in accordance with some other criterion than whether the celebrant is a member of the Catholic Church. We have yet to see a single theologian who made this distinction prior to Fr Sanborn.

Therefore the Novus Ordo is not a Catholic Mass for it fails to meet the first criterion. The traditional Latin Mass meets the first criterion, but would fail to meet the second if it were offered in union with a false pope.

Denied. Begging the question.

The Mass of the Greek Orthodox is valid and is Catholic in its content, since it is the liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, but fails to be Catholic because it is offered in union with a schismatic patriarch. It is a schismatic Mass.

It is a "schismatic Mass" (if the term is reasonable) because it is offered by a man not united to the Church. Its status is determined by that of its offerer, according to the theologians.

Theologians explain it in this way: in order for a Mass to be Catholic, the priest offering it must be acting in the person of the Church. In order to act in the person of the Church, the priest must be an authorized representative of the Catholic Church. Now if John Paul II is a false pope, which we have shown, then it is clearly impossible that he [i.e. the priest] be an authorized representative of the Catholic Church.

That last sentence is an ipse dixit. It amounts to begging the question, as he has not proved it and does not do so at any point. Furthermore, in this point Fr. Sanborn is in direct conflict with de la Taille. It seems reasonable to demand an authority, most especially for those points upon which Fr. Sanborn can be shown to contradict known authorities.

To the contrary, he offers his Mass as a false representative, with a false priesthood, that is, he offers it with no right to represent the Church before God. Hence to offer the Mass in union with — una cum — this false priesthood of John Paul II is to place one's own Mass in the same category as his.

Once again, this is a question at issue. Repeatedly asserting something is not proving it.

Some una cum priests were expressly authorised by the Church to offer Mass many years ago. Fr Sanborn is claiming (a) that this authorisation was conditional on their never making mistakes about such issues as who is pope, and (b) that if they failed to fulfil this condition the Church's will to offer Mass concomitantly with them would be withdrawn. (a) is unproved and improbable, while de la Taille (and others whom he quotes) flatly denies that (b) is correct - i.e. that even when someone offers Mass against the will of the Church, she (unless he explicitly excludes same) continues to offer through him.

27. Is the una cum Mass, then, a schismatic Mass?
Yes. Because no matter which way you slice it, it is schismatic. Either John Paul II is the Pope or he is not. If he is, then the una cum Mass is schismatic, since it is said outside of and against his authority. It is altar against altar.

Apart from being irrelevant, since JPII is not the pope, I think this is argument is actually the fallacy of the accident. Putting Fr. Sanborn's argument in logical form: Schismatics set altar against altar. Lefebvrites set altar against altar. Ergo, Lefebvrites are schismatics.

Is their setting altar against altar rooted in the same motive as that of schismatics? No. And they don't, in fact, set altar against altar - they set altar against table. That is, they are not doing what a schismatic does. They accidentally agree with a schismatic, in a sense, but they do not essentially do so. Their opposition is not to the pope on some matter in which the pope has true authority - for no pope can validly command sin. Much less is their refusal of obedience a rebellion against the office of the pope, in which consists the true essence of schism. I don't like what they do any more than Fr. Sanborn does, but it isn't schism.

If he is not the pope, then the una cum Mass is also schismatic, since it is offered outside the Church, in union with a false pope.

Once again, assuming what must be proved, but which simply cannot be proved, apparently.

In other words, either the altar of the traditional priest is the true altar of God, or John Paul II's altar is the true altar of God. Because the traditional priest erects his altar and carries on his apostolate against the apostolate of Novus Ordo — which is that of John Paul II — it is obvious that both altars cannot be at the same time legitimate Catholic altars, and that both apostolates cannot be at the same time true Catholic apostolates. Christ could not authorize both the Novus Ordo altar and the traditional altar. One is legitimate and one is illegitimate.
Because we say that our altar is legitimate, we are logically bound to say that the altar of the Novus Ordo, and therefore its priesthood and apostolate, are illegitimate.
But if the priest unites himself to the illegitimate altar, priesthood, and apostolate of John Paul II and the Novus Ordo, he makes his own altar, priesthood, and apostolate illegitimate.

Comment: If he unites himself to JPII formally, conceded. If he unites himself to JPII accidentally, denied. Fr Sanborn succeeds in proving that the position of priests offering the true Mass “una cum JP2” is illogical and inconsistent. This is not what he needs to prove. There have always been illogical and inconsistent people in the Church. De la Taille refers to "that perverse facility, deep-rooted in our imperfect minds, for inconsistency and self-contradiction, and showing itself not rarely but quite often, by what may be called 'a want of logic in practice.'" I think that perfectly sums up many traditional Catholics, including very many sedevacantists.

28. Is it wrong to attend the una cum Mass?
Yes. It is wrong for many reasons: (1) it is to lie in the Holy Mass, since it asserts that John Paul II is the head of the Church even though he is not;

Comment: If I do not pronounce, or accede to the pronunciation of, JPII's name, where is my lie? This "reason" of Fr. Sanborn's is no more than another assertion of what is meant to be at issue. Furthermore, why has he chosen the impersonal form, "it is"? People lie. People act. To lie is to speak against one's mind. Does the priest speak against his mind? No. Fr. Sanborn admits that they are, largely at least, innocent in their error. Having prescinded from the whole question of culpability, he simply has to avoid a personal form. But if one prescinds from culpability, there is no lie at all. There is merely a mistake. Calling it a lie is suggesting culpability while explicitly denying that one is forming a judgement of culpability. This is just false and tendentious terminology. More on this below.

(2) it is to declare communion with the heretics in the supreme act of worship;

Comment: Assistance at such a Mass is an act of communion with the priest who offers it, I concede. Assistance at such a Mass is necessarily an expression of communion with whoever is named in the Canon, I deny. We are at the heart of the matter. Can Fr. Sanborn find an authority which supports him? Apparently not. Does history support him? No. Do the authorities we can identify say exactly the opposite? Yes.

(3) it is to unite the action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a heretic and false pope, as the principal offerer;

Comment: I deny that the Pope is the principal offerer of the Mass, as a principle of theology. It is not what is asserted by either side of the debate about this matter which has been carried on by theologians over the years. The debate is between those who say the Church is the principal offerer (the Scotists), and those who assert that Christ is (the Thomists). Fr. Sanborn relies upon one side (the Scotists) in a disputed matter, and then modifies their doctrine to suit his purpose. Is that a valid method of proof? Furthermore, unless the faithful assisting are formally co-operating with the mention of JPII, the whole point falls anyway.

(4) it is to lump John Paul II, who has publicly manifested his adherence to heresy and apostasy, in with “all true believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith;”

Comment: Once again, conceded with respect to the priest (at least materially), denied with respect to the faithful. More begging of the question.

(5) it is to sully the most sacred action of the Mass with the name of a heretic and apostate.

Comment: Ditto.

It is impossible to conceive that assistance at such a Mass could be pleasing to God.

Comment: This is a rhetorical device which cannot replace a real proof. Many good and erudite men, clergy and laity, conceive precisely that. Fr. Sanborn himself conceived precisely that for many years.

29. Is it seriously wrong to attend the una cum Mass?
Yes, because (1) falsehood in religious matters is grave matter;

Comment: If formal co-operation with naming of JPII is involved, conceded. If material, for a proportionate grave reason, denied. If no co-operation is involved, which at present I think is the case, denied.

(2) if John Paul II is a false pope, it is clearly schismatic to offer the Mass in union with him;

Comment: This has not been proved. In any case, Fr. Sanborn is not even attempting to show that what applies to the priest applies equally to the faithful. He merely assumes it.

(3) it is certainly seriously wrong to declare that John Paul II, a public heretic and false pope is in communion with “all true believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.”

Comment: On the part of the priest and the faithful: If one knows that he is not a Catholic, conceded. If one does not know, denied. On the part of the faithful: If one co-operates formally whilst knowing that he is not pope, conceded. If one co-operates materially only, denied. And once again, if one does not co-operate at all, denied.

30. Are you claiming, then, that all the people who go to the una cum Mass are in mortal sin?
No, because in nearly all cases they are not aware of the sinful nature of it. Nonetheless it is objectively a mortal sin, and those who are aware of the principles which I have explained here are committing mortal sins when they attend these Masses.

Comment: Denied. His principles have not been proved, but merely asserted, and supported (sometimes) by defective proofs. But what can he mean when he refers to "those who are aware of the principles which I have explained here"? This seems to suggest that his case is so patent that all must certainly agree with him, unless they are in bad faith. This is not the attitude of the approved theologians to those who differ with them on legitimately disputed matters. Is he suggesting that Catholics may not prefer the teaching of de la Taille, who directly contradicts him on the central plank of his main argument?

31. Don't you think that your position is extreme?
Extreme or not, it is the truth. It boils down to a single question: Is it pleasing to God to declare ourselves in communion with John Paul II as pope, and with the modernist hierarchy? There is a simple yes or no answer to this question.

Comment: At the risk of giving Fr Sanborn apoplexy it must be said that the "simple answer" to the question is "yes", for anyone who is innocently convinced that they are the true hierarchy of the Church. Just as the canonists and theologians say that if a man is taught a heresy by his priest, and thinks it orthodox, his adherence to that heresy is meritorious, not sinful.

If the answer to that question is “yes,” then there is a single thing to do: to submit to John Paul II and the modernist hierarchy, to accept the Vatican II reforms, and to abandon the traditional movement.

Comment: Denied. No man, even a pope, can command what is sinful. If one recognises that V2 is heretical then one is bound to reject it, irrespective of who one thinks has authorised it.

For if John Paul II is the head of the Church, and if the modernist hierarchy with him rules the Church, then we have the assurance from Christ that their doctrines are sound and their laws are conducive to heaven.

Comment: That this is conclusion is true and follows logically from certain premises, conceded. That all sin who do not see the logical conclusion to these principles, denied.

If the answer to that question is “no,” then the obvious conclusion is what I am telling you here: that it is a sin, a serious sin, to declare that you are in communion with them, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Comment: The answer is not "no" for all men. But in any case, where is the proof that the faithful who assist at such a Mass are necessarily professing communion with JPII, either formally or materially?

In fact, if the answer is “yes,” our salvation would depend on our submission to them. But if the answer is “no,” then our salvation would depend on our refusal to submit to them.
Hence the question of una cum boils down to a profession of faith.

Comment: "Boils down to." I don't see where the boiling has been done.

32. But what if you have no other Mass to go to?
It would not change the immorality of the una cum Mass. Our inconvenience does not make good what is objectively evil. For example, Catholics in Greece, even before Vatican II, had great difficulty in finding a true Catholic Mass offered in union with the pope, but very easily found schismatic Masses, which did not differ in any way from the Catholic Mass, except in that they were offered in union with the schismatics, and not in union with the true pope.

Which is just not true. They were not available to Catholics because they involved communicatio in sacris cum acatholicis, which is worship in common with non-Catholics. Fr. Sanborn is here trying to make a case against common worship with Catholics.

Yet they could not attend these schismatic Masses.
If you have only an una cum Mass to go to, it would be better to stay home and say your Rosary.

Comment: "It would be better…"??? We have a choice? I can't see how Fr. Sanborn avoids saying that "You are obliged to avoid it under pain of mortal sin." He does say that, above, so why not here? He effectively asserts that innocent mistakes are "offensive to God" in one place; and then fails to say that what would be truly offensive to God (according to his assertions) must, at all costs, be avoided. Where is the consistency here?

33. What if the priest means well, that is, does not intend to be schismatic?
The fact that he “means well” underscores the fact that what he is doing is objectively wrong.

Comment: Denied. The fact that he means well undermines any basis for an allegation of moral evil. There is no moral evil in the absence of culpability.

And if we know that it is objectively wrong, we cannot do it.

Comment: Conceded, if what is happening is truly evil. But he has not identified a true moral evil, and he has not shown that we would "do it" by assisting at such a Mass while not consenting to the naming of JPII.

If he means well, i.e., he has a good intention and does not know that he is doing wrong, then he commits no personal sin. But objectively it is a sinful act.

34. What if we attend the una cum Mass, but do not agree with it internally?
It is still wrong, since you are consenting to make your central act of worship something which is offered in union with a false pope and a public heretic.

Comment: If one consents formally to the naming, conceded. If not, denied. If there were an argument here it would lead to many conclusions. Is it wrong to go to the Mass of a priest who is in the state of sin because you consent to make your central act of worship something which is offered by a sacrilegious act? No. All the authorities say otherwise.

Faith is what unites you to Christ as head of the Church, and heresy is what divides you from Him. If you are connected to heretics in your act of worship, you are divided from Christ.

Comment: If formally in communion with heretics, conceded (I am concerned about that novelty, "connected." What exactly does it mean?). But it still misses the point, which is that he must show that assisting at such a Mass necessarily involves expressing communion with JPII.

Your active participation in the una cum Mass is a statement of consent to it.

Comment: Fr. Sanborn knows that this statement has to be true, or the whole house of cards collapses. But where is his proof of it? I don't even see an attempt to prove it. He just keeps saying it is "obvious." It is astonishing how something which is "obvious." managed to escape almost all sedevacantists for decades, including Fr. Sanborn, only to be discovered by Guerard des Lauriers in the early 'eighties (as an adjunct to his theory of the Material Pope).

35. Are the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X an option for us?
No. Their Mass is an una cum Mass, and although they certainly “mean well,” their Mass nonetheless remains in union with a public heretic and false pope, and cannot be attended.
The Society of Saint Pius X does not offer a Catholic solution,

Comment: Beside the point. We are not considering adopting their "solution," we are receiving sacraments from them.

since on the one hand they recognize John Paul II as a true Catholic pope, but on the other hand they completely ignore him. In this they are like the Jansenists, Gallicans, Feeneyites and other sects who have acted similarly.

Comment: Fallacy of the accident. Does Fr. Sanborn agree with the SSPX that the things they refuse to do are indeed sinful? Yes. Does he think there is a real parallel with the Jansenists etc.? Surely not. Reason proves this allegation false quite spectacularly, but we don't even need reason. The SSPX have St. Thomas, St. Robert Bellarmine, and everybody else, not to mention Holy Scripture (we must obey God rather than men). This type of parallel is a good and useful way to prompt SSPXers (and others) to re-think their position, but to try and convict them of being "non-Catholic" on this basis is just not possible. If, instead, Fr. Sanborn is trying to say that assisting at their Masses is necessarily accepting their position, then is there any need for an answer? Would I necessarily be accepting the Cassiciacum Thesis if I assisted at Fr. Sanborn's Mass? If so, then I could not do so in good conscience.

If John Paul II is the Pope, then he must be obeyed. His teachings and his disciplines must be accepted. It is hypocritical to accept his authority but to obey him in virtually nothing.

Comment: That word "virtually" is interesting. JPII does virtually nothing with which a Catholic could co-operate without sin. And the SSPXers go along with those few things which do not involve sin. Fr. Sanborn's honesty has destroyed his own argument.

The only Catholic solution is to reject Vatican II and its changes as contrary to the previous teaching of the Catholic Church, and to reject as non-Catholic and as non-popes those who have given us these poisonous changes.

Comment: The only true solution, I concede. The only solution one may propose and remain a Catholic, I deny.

Only in this way does the Catholic preserve both the indefectibility of the Catholic Church and the identity of faith, discipline, and worship with its glorious past. The only Catholic solution to the intruding heretic who has penetrated into an apparent position of authority is to declare him anathema.

Comment: St. Thomas, in his "Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians," has the following to say, with respect to Chapter 1, verse 9. "But whether he [St. Paul] was then and there passing sentence on heretics by these words is open to question, since sentence was later passed against heretics in the Councils. Yet it can be said that perhaps he was showing that they deserved to be excommunicated." I submit that it is not absolutely clear from what the theologians say that all may judge a man a heretic prior to the judgement of Holy Church. I hold that one certainly may do so, but that the contrary view is at least slightly probable. It would be wonderful if this was not the case, and I'd rather believe otherwise, but I cannot honestly say that the SSPX position is per se heretical. It isn't.

36. What if the priest is privately not una cum, as is the case with many priests of the Society of Saint Pius X?
It is true that many priests of the Society of Saint Pius X hold the position which I have expounded here, but are unwilling to quit that group.
But their secret adherence to our position does not alleviate the problem. For they do not publicly declare their position, and therefore are publicly presumed to profess the position of the Society to which they belong. Think of a Greek Orthodox priest who secretly was submitted to the pope but who continued to function in an organization which repudiated the pope. One could not attend his Mass for the same reason, for it would be a public adherence to the Greek Orthodox position. The same is true for the secret sedevacantists of the Society of Saint Pius X.

Comment: Denied. This is another example of the false and really offensive parallel drawn earlier between schismatics and mistaken Catholics.

Furthermore, is it not a hypocrisy to publicly profess communion with John Paul II, but to secretly repudiate him? Could God be pleased with such a hypocrisy? “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these is of evil.” (Matthew 5: 37) “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: that you may not fall under judgement.” (James 5: 12)

Spectacularly beside the point, and unnecessarily judging one's neighbour.

37. Are you not aware that many traditional priests, who themselves are not una cum, think that it is all right to attend these Masses?
Yes, I am aware of this fact, but the only reasons I have heard them give is either (1) that the people have no other place to go; (2) that the priest means well; (3) that the people do not know that the Mass is una cum. But obviously none of these reasons really addresses the issue. I have never heard them give a reason why the una cum Mass would not be displeasing to God

Comment: The onus is clearly not on them. The onus is on Fr. Sanborn, and he has failed to prove his point. In any case, here is the "reason" for which he asks: It has not been shown, by anybody, that assistance at an Una Cum Mass necessarily involves an act of communion with whoever is named in the Canon.

One final point, arising from Footnote #1. The footnote reads, "Communicatio in sacris is active participation by Catholics in the worship of non-Catholic religions." This is simply wrong. Fr. Sanborn has departed from the correct definition, which makes non-Catholics the object, rather than the "worship of" their "religions" (which is a separate issue, forbidden whether in common or not). This is interesting because it sheds light on his thinking.

If he understood communicatio in sacris acatholicorum correctly, the focus would be back on the offerer of the Mass, and his ecclesiastical status, which wrecks Fr. Sanborn's anti-una cum case.

Fr. Sanborn's definition is also false because it omits to mention the participation of non-Catholics in Catholic services, which is also communicatio in sacris acatholicorum.

By definition, the co-operation in sacred things of Catholics with other Catholics would not be communicatio in sacris acatholicorum, even if the rite itself were heretical.

There is a great irony in this penchant for novelty and this -- surely conscious -- departure from the proper forumlae of sacred theology and canon law, in an attempt to deprive fellow Catholics of regular access to the sacraments, in the name of Tradition!

John Lane
December 2000