(What follows is an exchange with a faithful reader, having his own qualms about ‘virtual’ Masses – I thought our dialogue, slightly adapted, might help others. The reader’s questions are in italics, and my own replies, such as they are, follow. Editor)
I read your recent Catholic Insight essay on virtual Masses. Couldn’t agree more! I haven’t watched one since last April and won’t ever again. Christians have no idea what it is like to suffer for their faith — the Church (institution) folded without a fight.
But, I am disturbed by the notion of the sacraments working ex opere operato. Seen in the best way, this means that that the sacraments have power to bless because it is God who is acting. But the perversion of this is a notion I’ve come across and which I suspect has been behind the lightning quick shut-down of Masses — as long as the clergy say the Mass, Christ’s work continues to work. No masses needed for the Masses! Am I completely wrong in this?