Special Articles



Asking The Devil To Assist Him In The Sacrifice Of The Mass?

The following is an actual letter that can be modified when you see liturgical abuses in your parish and you were not satisfied by his response to your verbal comments.  You must cite paragraphs from Vatican documents to support your accusations, request an answer and copy his bishop.  Follow up with letters to his bishop and the papal nuncio. Indicate on the outside of the envelope, “To be opened by addressee only!”
Jim Fritz

Dear Father,

As you know, I have previously talked to you about placing non-religious items on a table near the altar during the celebration of All Souls Day.  These items included photos of deceased persons as well as a plastic skeleton, black candles, a grayish black skull, gourds and even images of ghosts or witches.  I have always been taught that the altar is holy.  I find it quite disturbing that you would permit this type of display containing pagan symbols to be placed near the altar and included as part of the Sacrifice of the Mass.  I find it impossible to explain this to my children.  When we talked, you told me it is something that I would just need to accept.  What next? Are we to have the altar decorated with stuffed bunnies, colored eggs and Easter baskets on Easter? At least they would not be pagan symbols.

I understand that we have a small Latin community in our parish and this may have been an acceptable (but not authorized) custom in some Hispanic African communities; however, it is not a custom in Pennsylvania, and it is not acceptable.  It appears to be more of a whim of yours to implement this innovation. 

Under Redemptionis Sacramentum, it states, “The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured. On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free reign to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved.” (11). “Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium.” (12). “Finally, it is strictly to be considered an abuse to introduce into the celebration of Holy Mass elements that are contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books and taken from the rites of other religions.” (79).

Canon Law states that the laity has a right and duty to bring liturgical inconsistencies to a pastor’s attention.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this in Paragraph 907.  Due to the requirements placed upon me by Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canon Law I request that you provide me and other concerned parishioners, some assurance this practice shall not continue. 

Should the practice continue I have no recourse other than to appeal to my bishop to act according to Redemptionis Sacramentum.  Should he refuse to act I have no other recourse than to lodge a complaint to the Apostolic See. “Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.290 It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.” (184)

I look for an immediate and charitable response to this letter.


CC:      Most Reverend Bishop Paul Bradley


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