The Novus Ordo Missae and Extreme Spiritual Necessity

In the May/June 2017 issue of the Recusant, there is a letter dated June 14, 2017 written to the editor by a Mr. Dennis Whiting in which he writes the following:


“You direct me to the Bishop’s conference at Emmett, Kansas on 18th September, 2016 where you claim that he contradicts his normal stance by saying that Traditional Catholics may attend the New Mass whenever they wish. So I toil through the one hour and three-quarter video to within 20 minutes of the end to find that the Bishop does not say that at all! Only that there could be some cases of extreme necessity where it might be acceptable for a Traditional Catholic to attend a reverently conducted NOM. This was in answer to a question from the floor which I found inaudible but which may have envisaged some circumstance of ‘extreme necessity’.


“Bishop Williamson’s position here is consonant with that of Archbishop Lefebvre’s in 1980 according to the Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre of Michael Davies.  The relevant excerpt can be found on the TradCat website.”


I have demonstrated in a paper I published in October 2016 that Archbishop Lefebvre taught in the early 1980s that a priest of the SSPX was to never advise anyone in a positive manner to take an active part in the Novus Ordo Rite of Mass because the Novus Ordo Rite is in itself bad.  Those who have argued otherwise have allowed for certain circumstances to morally permit one to actively attend it.  One of these individuals was Mr. Sean Johnson in a paper he wrote defending Bishop Williamson’s comments to a lady in Mahopac, New York in June 2015.  One of these circumstances was “extreme spiritual necessity”.  In my paper mentioned above, I challenged the “extreme spiritual necessity” circumstance stating that the Church has never taught that to actively attend Mass, even a legitimate one, when one hasn’t done so in a long time is of “extreme spiritual necessity”.  I invite the reader to read my paper for a more detailed argument.


To date, as far as I am aware, Mr. Sean Johnson has not publicly provided evidence from the teaching of the Church for his “extreme spiritual necessity” claim.  Now we have Mr. Dennis Whiting following suit with the same “extreme spiritual necessity” claim.  I therefore challenge both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Whiting to provide the evidence from the teaching of the Church to support their claim.  If they cannot do so, then they ought to do the right thing and make a retraction.

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