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New DDF document: for validity of sacraments, form and matter cannot be changed

February 05, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has published Gestis Verbisque [By Deeds and Words], a doctrinal note on the validity of the sacraments.

The document, currently published only in Italian, emphasizes that “observance of both matter and form has always been required for the validity of the celebration.”

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the dicastery’s prefect, said that members of the dicastery have been concerned about “the multiplication of situations in which they were forced to note the invalidity of the Sacraments celebrated.”

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 05, 2024 10:59 AM ET USA

    A fully orthodox archbishop once explained to me that a Mass is valid, if not licit, when the words of institution are said properly and with the intent of the Church. Thus, clown Masses, Masses with inserted or deleted words, Masses in which the readings and prayers are radically altered, Masses where the priest sits in a chair while women administer the sacred Eucharist, Masses that in other ways violate the spirit and rubrics of the sacrament; all of these are illicit, but possibly valid.