This is true regardless of the number of people who are physically present for the Mass, he said.
"Every Mass has an infinite, spiritual value to it, because it's the exact same value of the cross of Jesus Christ, which it represents."
Fr. Bradley characterized the Mass as something very different from Protestant worship services, because Mass is "our participation in the offering of God the Son to God the Father in God, the Holy Spirit," not just "a kind of horizontal relationship where we stand before God and we offer worship or we offer sorrow for our sins."
While there are aspects of worship and contrition in the Eucharistic liturgy, Bradley said the Church's sacramental participation in the life of Christ is the key differing factor.
"So, for Catholics, not being able to participate in the Mass, it's serious," Bradley said, "because they can't just simply sit at home and do what they would otherwise do in church, the way Protestants would see that worship in church as being something which is them presenting something to God, either sorrow or joy or thanksgiving."
Those things, said Bradley, "can be offered anywhere at any time," but "in the Mass, we do something greater than that."
Petri agreed, telling CNA that Catholics should never consider Mass a performance, as it is not about them.
"The Mass is efficacious and powerful," he said. "If you celebrate it according to the ritual that the Church has laid down, the Mass isn't a show because it's not something we have invented. It's not meant to be entertainment. Even though in the 21st century we all like to be entertained."
Instead, Mass should be viewed as worshipping God "the very way he wants to be worshipped, the way he wants to be adored; which is to say through the suffering, death, and resurrection--the sacrifice--of His Son, Jesus Christ."
"We do not have a right to expect to be entertained at Mass," said Petri. "You don't have a right to in fact worship God the way we want to worship God. In the Bible and in tradition, God always tells us how we are to worship Him. And the Mass is how he wants to be worshiped."
Both Petri and Bradley expressed sorrow and dismay at the widespread suspension of Masses, but both priests said they understood why the actions were taken, even if they are upsetting for many Catholics.
(Story continues below)
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"First of all, the Church always wants to take care of her flock. And that means that sometimes she has to do things which she wouldn't want to do, but which are necessary," Bradley told CNA. He characterized the suspension of publicly celebrated Mass as "ultimately an act of solicitude" and "a kindness of the bishop."
"He's trying to protect his flock, and it's an extraordinary circumstance," he said. "It's not a giving in, it's not a concession to civil society. It's the bishop acting responsibly on the advice of civil society when it's offered, when it presents a reasonable law."