Tradition and Paying Attention to Basics

This morning I went to Mass at what I would describe as a “moderate reform-of-the-reform” parish — e.g. six candles on the free-standing, versus populum altar, but only a small crucifix that the celebrant could see, so not the full-on “caged celebrant” effect of the so-called “Benedictine” arrangement of the altar. Clearly this is a parish where some thought has been put into the liturgy and how to make it more “traditional” in feel. The question is, have they been thinking about the right things?

Most striking to me, as trivial as it might seem at first, was how the Eucharistic species were handled in the liturgy. On the positive side, communion under both species was offered. But the two chalices for the communion of the assembly were placed at one end of the altar and, once they were filled, seemed to be ignored by the celebrant. I trust he had the intention of consecrating them, but there was nothing in his ritual activity that would give any indication of this; the only chalice that seemed to receive any attention, ritually speaking, was the chalice at the center of the altar, which was clearly the “priest’s chalice,” since he alone received from it. Likewise, the priest consecrated only the priest’s host; the laity received from ciboria taken from the tabernacle during the Agnus Dei.

The net effect was that we had a priest’s host and a priest’s chalice that were the ritual focus of the celebration, and then, ritually an afterthought, the chalices and hosts that the laity received.

I don’t mean to be a back-pew celebrant. But I could not help but be struck by the fact that what was being communicated ritually was that this was the priest’s Mass and the communion of the laity was an addition to that Mass and not an integral part of it. This, of course, was in fact the case before the liturgical reforms following Vatican II. The communion of the laity was a distinct rite that was on occasion incorporated into the Mass (thus the additional Confetior and Domine, non sum dignus), and not an actual part of the rite of Mass itself. The reforms following the Council were quite deliberate in changing this, and for excellent theological reasons. It is our sharing in the one sacrifice of Christ by receiving the gifts that have been offered that is the sign and cause of the unity of the mystical body of Christ. This is, I would say, better signified by ritual acts that underscore the unity of the assembly and the priest — such as all receiving from elements consecrated at that Mass and no artificial distinction being made between what the priest receives and what the assembly receives.

If we are going to put thought into the liturgy (and I think we should) and if we desire a liturgy that is a vehicle that conveys the Church’s tradition (and I think we should), then shouldn’t we be thinking about fundamentals before we turn our thoughts to styles of vestments or altar decorations or other secondary elements? If we want to be traditional, then should we simply content ourselves with trying to look like Fulton Sheen in the book This is the Mass? If we want to be traditional, shouldn’t we rather begin our efforts by attending to that which is at the roots of our tradition, such a Paul’s words, “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread”?

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122 comments

  1. Bravo, Fritz! Only wished you said you offered Mass rather than went to Mass since both the baptized and the ordained participate in the one offering of Christ our pasch. The efforts to make the reformed Roman rite look more like the unreformed rite are doomed to failure although I predict that there will always be a statistically small number of aesthetes drawn to that sort of thing.

    The reform was not all about moving the furniture but some of that was necessary to help bring about it’s primary purpose: the renewal of the hearts and minds of those who offered the church’s perfect sacrifice of praise in holy communion with The One who laid down his life for us. Christ is not seeking our reverence and acts of piety much less the smell of incense and the sound of bells. He is seeking our hearts so that we can be his witnesses in the world through our love for one another and for the least of his brothers and sisters. This demands a liturgical rite that includes both cognitive and affective dimensions. Yes, the Mass ought to be clearly focused on the Triune God, but there is no inconsistency between that and the fact that the rite takes into account the real presence of God in the assembled worshippers, in the word proclaimed and in the ministry of the priest. The heightened focus in the EF (a misnomer if there ever was one) on what happens on the altar at the consecration to the exclusion of what is and has been happening around the altar needed to be reformed. Otherwise the Mass will be perceived as a sort of solemn high Benediction service.

    The size of the consecrated host, how the cups are placed, and how the people receive communion are all very important unless, of course, the Mass is only about the priest. Because he is an alter Christus should never eclipse the fact that receiving communion makes all alter Christi. I regard the use of that little 2 inch host which some priests break and then artfully patch back together is a liturgical abuse.

    1. Nice summary, Jack. Deacon Fritz – enjoyed your comments. I see a lot of connection between what you describe and the prior blog from Bishop Art Seratelli and his tabernacle focus. In both cases the eccelesiology, theology, and liturgy of Vatican II is lost and the focus moves from communal action to an object handled by a priest.

    2. If that were the case, Jack, there would have been no revivals in the Church until Vatican II! I can think of a number of western saints who used the ‘old Mass’ over the centuries: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bernard, St. Ignatius, St.Rose of Lima, and a few others. Sorry they were so benighted as the Mass was not in their native languages and not contemporary for them.

      I’m not Catholic (I’m Eastern Orthodox) but I think your argument is rather specious.

      Rdr. James

  2. Allow me to go out on a limb and say that the “net effect” you described is not part-and-parcel of the RotR movement. I share your discomfort in the impact of that ritual body-language.

  3. This abuse ranks right up there with nourishing the people with week old Hosts. I’m sorry, I do realize we should strive to perfect our worship of God. I believe in external acts of reverence and piety. But everything we do needs to serve the end of humble and contrite hearts giving thankful praise to the Living God who loves us with a love beyond all telling.

    1. Jack, not to hijack this thread to retrod a path recently covered, but is the end of the Mass really to give praise?

      What about receiving Scriptural and Eucharistic nourishment as the primary end and giving thanks as our appropriate human response.

      I suspect that you did not intend to imply what I have detected, but I continue to urge all to be careful of using accustomed terminology which limits the liturgy to narrow interpretations, even accidentally.

  4. I am fortunate enough to attend a parish which is traditional-looking and aesthetically pleasing (other than the broken altar rails still in place and the patched-up reredos with non-matching marble from where they tore the altar off the wall). All of that’s fine, but the one thing that gets in the way of focusing on worship and being an active participant is the horrible 1970’s Haugen music with the guitar/flute/tambourine thing. I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but I would have them rip out the altar rail altogether and move the tabernacle if it meant no more ridiculous Lord of the Rings sounding musc.

    The Haugen stuff is not so bad when we have an organist, but all I can do during these guitar masses is close my eyes and remind myself that He must increase, but I must decrease. As a musician myself, who grew up well after the singer-songwriter genre had fallen out of style, it grates my ears. Since my son was born and I’ve started taking him to Mass, I’ve realized that all this music sounds like baby music covered by a drugged-up hippie band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu_rItLPTXc&feature=related

    I wonder how those folks older than me would appreciate Mass with the music of Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana & Pearl Jam-the music of my generation. Right now, it’s merely all out of tune. I wonder how they would deal with guitar amp feedback, phaser pedals and guttural screaming? Or maybe the Holy Spirit likes the current generation’s 30 Seconds to Mars, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha? Did the Holy Spirit stop infusing popular music with spirituality in the ’70s?

    It’d be great if people just stopped imposing pop music on the Mass and started using sacred music. All the vestments and lace and other things that traditionalists are accused of obsessing about are so far down on my list it’s not even funny. I just want Mass not to feel ridiculous & dumbed down. I want to not have to close my eyes to escape from Mass…

    1. De gustibus non diputandum est.

      It is impossible to argue against your subjective tastes.

      It is also conceited of you to dictate your taste and make condemnations of music for liturgy just because it does not suit your tastes.

      There is no such thing as “sacred music” by the way, except as an adertisement for certain kinds of concert performances.

      “Liturgical music” on the other hand is approptiate to the local culture and encourages unified participation of all present in noble simplicity. Vernacular chants frequently meet these criteria, but no form of music is excluded, despite your personal tastes.

      1. Thanks for making my point for me. The folks from the VII generation have turned the Mass into an outlet for their personal tastes in music. That alienates me, and I’m not the one getting to do any dictating–trust me.

        If–taking your premise that there is no such thing as sacred music for granted–liturgical music is simply music that is appropriate to the culture and encourages unified participation, then I call 99% of current liturgical music a dismal failure. Tambourines, the peace movement, and John Denver have absolutely nothing to do with my local culture, and from observation, I’d estimate 1/4 or less of laity at my parish sing along to the stuff.

        I’d give anything for simple vernacular chants. But the question remains: are you okay with guitar amp feedback, guttural screaming, synth-pop, grunge and metal distortion guitar pedals? That’s part of my culture. and trust me, when Smashing Pumpkins or Pearl Jam comes on the radio, I crank it up and sing along with great participation. I want to know whether you’d encourage that genre for Mass.

        If not, who’s being dictatorial?

      2. Don,

        “But the question remains: are you okay with guitar amp feedback, guttural screaming, synth-pop, grunge and metal distortion guitar pedals? ”

        I can’t speak for Tom, but yes, I’m okay with that. It’s not my taste, but it might be exactly right for some community or other, on this or that occasion. Or a subset of a particular community. I wouldn’t reject any work based _solely_ on its style.

        What works here and now is different from what works in some other time or place. Why put such narrow limits on what form of worship could possibly please God?

  5. Feeding the people using ‘refrigerated’ hosts would be like holding up a glass to toast the happy couple at a wedding, speaking the words, then, instead of drinking from the glass, putting it down again, and taking up a glass with wine from a few days earlier, and drinking from that. The act would lose all of its ritual significance. People would rightly be appalled.

    1. Sometimes the priest simply runs out of just-consecrated hosts, though, no? In your analogy, wouldn’t it be okay to fill others glasses with wine from a few days earlier if there wasn’t enough in the glass you just toasted with to go around? No strong feelings one way or the other about this, just asking.

      1. Not okay.
        Bad planning on part of priest.
        Lets break what we have and share among ourselves.
        It is supposed to be a communal event.

        I have been at weddings where there was not enough wine to go around. Everyone realizes that it is better for each one to just have a drop from the same bottle than for something else to be substituted for some in order for a few to have a full glass.

        We are dealing in ritual and symbolism here. The sign is one table, one bread, one cup shared by all as members of one body. No second class citizens under the reign of God.

        BTW, get rid of the visibly different “priest’s chalice”. Father can use his personal dinnerware when there are few enough to eat from the one plate and drink from the single cupful. Otherwise, lets try to set the table the same for all and not give any impression that one is privileged over others.

    2. My analogy is carving the Thanksgiving turkey and then serving the guests chopped, pressed, sliced turkey product from the refrigerator.

      This usually results in further turkey leftovers to be served as leftovers later.

    3. True story: In seminary college (early ’90’s) we were using a thick homemade, well-scored flatbread for Mass. Most of these would come straight from the baker into the sacristy freezer, and wait to be thawed – by microwave – before Mass began. One student sacristan put a little too much time on the Defrost cycle and when we ultimately received the chewy, cube-shaped consecrated bread many thought, “Man! Father ——-‘s ordination really took!
      Lord help me, but as much as I favor many of the RotR changes in style and music, I’d love to have that bread again, as opposed to the Traditional Tiddlywinks commonly in use.

  6. … what was being communicated ritually was … the sign and cause of the unity of the mystical body of Christ. This is, I would say, better signified by ritual acts that underscore the unity of the assembly and the priest … no artificial distinction being made between what the priest receives and what the assembly receives.

    If we are going to put thought into the liturgy (and I think we should) and if we desire a liturgy that is a vehicle that conveys the Church’s tradition (and I think we should), then shouldn’t we be thinking about fundamentals before we turn our thoughts to styles of vestments or altar decorations or other secondary elements? … If we want to be traditional, shouldn’t we rather begin our efforts by attending to that which is at the roots of our tradition, such a Paul’s words, “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread”?

    Target acquisition is excellent.

    Every good theatrical director and actor knows that much more is communicated than what words mean. It is even possible to make it clear that the words are wrong through communication by setting, costume, positioning in the scene, gesture, posture. Similarly, it is possible to distract hearers from the words through such means. Visual messages and distractions can be very effective. That is why actors complain about all sorts of ways of being “upstaged” such as W. C. Fields not wanting to work with dogs or children. He worked hard on the timing and delivery of his lines and did not want that ruined by some cuteness or other.

    Yes, turn to the fundamentals of liturgy, not some particular set of words or other but to what is the source and purpose of liturgy? What distinguishes liturgy from other forms of prayer? What things support or interrupt the flow of a service? Are the words supported or obscured by the setting, postures, gestures, manner of delivery? What sustains or interrupts the flow of liturgies?

  7. Certainly the action on the altar should be attentively carried out. But isn’t the sacrifice one, whether it is at today’s Mass, or yesterday’s, or tomorrow’s, or on Calvary? How can it matter if the host was consecrated today or a week ago, if we really understand that it is one sacrifice re-presented?

    1. This question demonstrates a vending machine attitude toward sacraments and grace. So long as the advertised product is dispensed, all else is irrelevant.

      This shows a complete lack of understanding of how prayer in general and liturgical prayer in particular serve human needs through ritual and signs and symbols and participation rather than mere reception.

      1. JD seems to think that as long as something is dispensed which is technically and theologically Eucharist, then it does not “matter” how the liturgy is done, how effectively the signs are communicated. It seems that to him the only concern is what is the matter and form result rather than how well the liturgy conveys an entire communal experience among the people of God.

        It is like saying I will just get the needed calories from the vending machine rather than sharing a meal with all of you.

        The extreme of this is the attitude which treats sacraments as mere sanctifying grace vending machines ex opere operato for the benefit of personal accounts rather than seeing any actual grace benefit in FCAP or communal experience.

        Put the matter and form in here and the sacrament goes round and round and the grace comes out there.

    2. Prayer is not about understanding.

      Theology is about understanding.

      Do not confuse the two.

      Theology can be applied to liturgy.
      Theology is not the standard for preparing or participating in liturgy.

      The only role for theology in the preparation of liturgy is to avoid making or implying any theologically erroneous statement.

      1. Tom, then go to the eastern rites where communion is not given at Liturgy EVER from the reserved Gifts. If there are many communicants, they get tiny tiny slivers, and a little spoonful of the precious Blood.

  8. “Feeding the people using ‘refrigerated’ hosts”

    Yes, effort should be made to consecrate as few extra hosts as possible so as to minimize the number of reserved Hosts. But they are still the Body and Blood of Christ as long as the appearances of bread remain. Your reference to “refrigerated Hosts” is therefore quite disrespectful to the Eucharist.

    1. No it is not.
      It is the routine disrespectful use of them which is being emphasized. The presider is using them as if they were mere refrigerated leftovers. That is the point you miss. The description by analogy is of the practice disrespectful to the assembly.

      1. Nah, we save the refrigerated leftovers for the sick, the dying, and the homebound.

        Centuries ago, refrigerated leftovers were saved for priests around Rome, and for the bishop of Rome himself.

      2. I never had an issue if I was at the end of the communion procession and received a “refrigerated leftover” instead of the “freshly consecrated” host. Jesus is present in both, whether He came from the altar or the tabernacle. I can’t and will not buy the idea that Jesus is more Jesus-y in newly consecrated host than in the tabernacle.

        We grossly undererstimated the number of Catholics at our Nuptial Mass, and the priest had to go back to the tabernacle to refill. Those who received from that “batch” did not receive any less Jesus than my wife or me.

        If this priest’s tabernacle was full of hosts, than he must have consecrated an overabundance at another mass. Seems to me the real issue here is just that the priest is not very good at estimating.

      3. The problem with using refrigerated hosts is that the ritual significnce of the act is thereby undermined, if not destroyed. The consumption of the food and drink, over which the blessing has been said, is the ritual way of saying, ‘Yes. I stand over the words of the blessing.(i.e. the anaphora).’

        This is similar to the act of consuming the drink when the words of a toast have been pronounced. The act of consuming, under these circumstances, is as important as the object that is consumed. In that sense the act carries out the same function as saying the amen, at the end of the eucharistic prayer.

      4. Gerard: The consumption of the food and drink, over which the blessing has been said, is the ritual way of saying, ‘Yes. I stand over the words of the blessing.(i.e. the anaphora).’

        But the same blessing has been said over yesterday’s bread and wine as has been said over today’s. The unity of eucharist throughout time (the symbolism of the sancta) means that the “toast” to God that we made yesterday is the same “toast” we’ll make today and tomorrow.

      5. Gerard: “The problem with using refrigerated hosts is that the ritual significnce of the act is thereby undermined, if not destroyed. ”

        So what does this say about the infirmed and homebound? Is it impossible for them to get the full significance of the ritual act since they can only receive “leftovers?” If so, I hope I’m never in that situation.

      6. Jeffrey “But the same blessing has been said over yesterday’s bread and wine as has been said over today’s.”

        Today’s consuming of the drink at the toast is ritually related to the words spoken immediately beforehand. The amen at the end of today’s anaphora is ritually related to today’s pronouncing of the eucharist prayer.

        As Shakespeare put it so well:
        What is love? ’tis not hereafter.
        Present mirth hath present laughter.
        What’s to come is still unsure.
        In delay there lies no plenty.
        Then come and kiss me, sweet and twenty.
        Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

      7. Couple thoughts on this thread:

        1) Yes it’s the same blessing yesterday or today. But if I’m at today’s liturgy, and not yesterday’s, then I’m uniting myself with Christ’s one sacrifice in today’s offering; today’s communion is the sign that I’ve been received and receive back the fruits of that self-offering. Same Christ, same sacrifice present in that host: but there is a subjective element of self-oblation that can’t be denied. I’m not united to yesterday’s offering in the same way that I’m united to today’s.

        2) With regard to the sick and imprisoned, it’s important that they receive communion that has been consecrated at this Sunday’s liturgy. One of my major pet peeves is when communion is taken to those who could not be present at the Sunday liturgy on weekdays, without regard for when the hosts were consecrated: it is the Sunday liturgy above all that is the self-expression of the church, and it is from the Sunday liturgy that both Word and Holy Communion are sent. This is only an assertion of the primacy and normativity of the Sunday liturgy, not a statement about the validity or purpose of daily mass: if you have sick or imprisoned people who receive apart from mass every day — as is the case in some hospitals and prisons — then they should be communicating with hosts consecrated that day.

        The idea is to extend the “fruits of this mass,” this assembly of the faithful, to those who belong to the assembly but are legitimately hindered from being there.

        In both cases, a narrow sense of what Holy Communion is, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, serves to undermine the significance of the liturgy and to deprive the Sacrament of part of its legitimate range of meaning.

      8. I would hope that no one has an issue if the communion bread has all been consumed and THEN the communion minister goes to the tabernacle to provide for the rest of the congregation.

        The problem is when such a response to a true emergency is used to explain or justify the communion minister going directly to the tabernacle for “hosts” rather than taking the elements from the altar table to the assembly.

        If a communion minister maintains an awareness of the situation, then it is frequently possible to serve each communicant a broken, smaller piece instead of going to the tabernacle.

        This is similar to all being offered at least a drop of wine for a toast rather than some having to do with a substitute.

        For your nuptial Mass, I suggest that a brief delay to get more bread at the time of the preparation of the gifts would have been preferable to serving the community from the tabernacle instead of from the table.

        It is a matter of personal preference and interpretation, but if a sacristan, master of ceremonies, communion minister known to the presider, or server could not be sent, the presider could even go himself.

  9. While agreeing with the original post, and not defending the presider (or perhaps the sacristan who prepares everything for the liturgy… a not insignificant position) I’d guess there are more than a few occasions in which primary symbols – such as bread, wine, cup, etc. etc. – are given very little thought or attention, while other, much more secondary things – such as candle placement on the altar, bells, etc. etc. – are major decisions… or declarations. As always, first things first.

    1. dismas, don’t fret. Just because some would (and should!) be concerned about the bells, candles, etc., does not mean they are any less concerned about the “primary symbols”. One concern does not exclude another. Attention to detail is important in most aspects of life…and liturgy.

      1. But we should be able to see in action that they take first things first.

        Personally, I can get very OCD when preparing, but setting communion cups on the side of the table or going to the tabernacle are both inattentive to primary symbolism.

  10. Nice turn of semantics there, from tradition-as-throwbackism to tradition-as-scripture via the implicit undertones of what I believe is the best and truest meaning of tradition, as a living process. Only in the Catholic Church (and I say this with a mix of bemusement and endearment).

  11. Was this your first and only time attending Mass at this particular parish? If so I think you would need to go several times to determine if this was the norm or the exception. My parish very rarely “goes to the tabernacle” for Mass. We have an excellent sacristan who can tell you exactly how many people have attended every Sunday Mass for years and has developed a pretty good system for determining how many hosts to put out for Mass. (This is a 5000 family parish so it can be done in a large parish). However, occasionally for whatever reason (perhaps a fill in sacristan, perhaps a funeral or wedding where not many receive), more hosts end up in the Tabernacle than we would use for Communion of the Sick. On these occasions at one of the morning weekday Masses I would only consecrate one host and then use the hosts in the Tabernacle. If many of you happened to walk into Mass that one day, I guess you could be on here judging that I am theologically and liturgically backward. Or you could come everyday for a week and see the whole picture.

    Sounds like the “Temple police” work both sides of the aisle.

    1. Fr. Christopher,

      You are correct that there might have been a good practical reason for this, and I did not intend to indict this particular priest, but simply to say that this particular Mass occasioned a certain train of thought concerning “tradition.” I should add, however, that I have a have a tougher time coming up with a practical excuse for the separate “priest’s chalice” (though maybe the priest had an infectious disease).

      1. There can be many reasons for using a separate chalice. In Ireland we have about 10% of the population suffer from Coeliac disease. Most have some tolerance to small amount of glutton but for some glutton less hosts still cause a reaction. as does a chalice which has had a particle put into it. For these people we have to consecrate a separate Chalice.
        It could also be that Father is an alcoholic and so is using mustum. Therefore he will have a chalice for himself and another which contains wine for the people

      2. The common chalice is appreciated by a goodly number of laity. Until our bishop banned it during the H1N1 flu hysteria a couple of years ago, the custom of each parish I’ve been assigned for over 30 years was to have the common chalice for everyone at every Mass and that included sending the “priest’s” chalice to the congregation with the other smaller ones.
        Just as you voice concern about Coeliac disease, many are now concerned about what disease they could contract from the common chalice if a person with a communicable disease disregards common sense and drinks from it. It has now been made clear that one could contract H1N1 from the common chalice, thus the elimination of it during flu season.
        I no longer allow the chalice I drink from to go to the congregation and we have not returned to the common cup although I have experimented with intinction and it has been very well received even by people (almost 90% in my parish receive the Host in their hand) who receive the host in the their hand. I might add that now neither I nor the deacons any longer have to drink the dregs and ablutions from chalices that have been used by upwards to 20 or more people, that none of us have had as many cold viruses as we normally did. I would average three or four colds a year. In the last two years without the common chalice I have had none–anecdotal I know!

    2. He reported the impression the service left.

      Deal with that rather than creating diversions.

      You have jumped to a conclusion that he was judging and in turn judged him for that. Get that beam out of your own eye.

      Was he not correct about the bad impression it created? What about the communion cups pushed aside?

      1. I was not commenting that he was judging anyone. However, many of the comments certainly were judging that priest and/or prairs.

    3. Sounds like the “Temple police” work both sides of the
      aisle.
      ——————————————–
      Good point Father. If I may play “Temple policeman” for
      a moment. Nothing detracts more from the sign value
      of the eucharistic banquet than seeing the altar (often one
      of the cube-style types) with all the ciboria lined up on one
      side and a large number of chalices lined up on the other
      side. While the celebrant focuses his attention on his own
      chalice and paten.
      I’ve found this often makes the altar look like a bar and the celebrant as bartender. I think Rome goofed when it outlawed consecrating additional wine in a flagon. The Lutherans and Anglicans usually use the flagon rather than multiple chalices. If the pastor has done his job and counted the number of communicants accurately, he or the sacristan should be able to ascertain the volume of wine needed without all these additional chalices. Even in a very large church with a number of communicants.
      We know the early Roman popes used large chalices with the handles from which the Precious Blood was poured into
      smaller chalices. In this case, the chalice seems to have functioned very well as did the flagon later on for the reform churches.

  12. Facing the people, the priest’s communion certainly does take on an air that it doesn’t have when facing ad orientem. While it is true that the EF Mass has a separate “Lord, I am not worthy” for the congregation (the additional confiteor was removed in the 1962 missal) the communion of the people today isn’t that far removed from the reformed Mass and everyone normally receives. The priest’s communion is obscured in the EF and one isn’t distracted by the OF’s emphasis on his communion or the position of additional chalices on the altar. And in the Ordinary Form of the Mass haven’t we so emphasized that people should be singing as they come to Holy Communion that that has also distracted from the primary symbol?

    1. Fr. Allan – do you really know what you sound like? Your contorted explanations are mind-numbing. Now we have singing that detracts from eucharist? Really?

    2. Thank you Father, I do not share Bill’s view of what you write.
      If a hymn is being sung as one advances to Communion then one may draw focus away from the other.

      1. It is both/and – they work together. That is why the music/chant at the eucharistic procession is usually about the eucharistic action.

        Your opinions reveal your liturgical sensibility. In the history of liturgy, processions are usually accompanied with music or chant – in essence, you can’t have one without the other. You appear to focus on one “object” versus the communal action and what it means.

        Beyond that, my response to Fr. Allan is his continued comparison of EF and OF and trying to re-invent what Vatican II and developments since then. Appears that no matter what the subject matter – he jerks to EF and OF. One is the liturgy of the church; the other is an exception and should be treated as such.

      2. Bill it is obvious that you missed my point. The original post has the person distracted by things on the altar that are necessry for the communion of the priest and the congregation. How that can become a distraction betrays the bias of the person who is distracted. The same for communion and singing, obviosuly that is even required by the GIRM and as soon as the celebratn receives Holy Communion, but some are biased against that,does it make it right? Also the cavalier comparison of the EF to the OF is suspect too. In the EF, the person who wrote the post wouldn’t be distracted by any of the things that distracted him in that parish’s OF, like the priest’s chalice, the other chalices to the side of the altar, etc…

  13. I will echo Tom’s concern for “Father’s chalice” and its symbolic role. I suppose I can live with the “laudable-ness” of a slightly larger “main chalice” in addition to others, when needed due to large numbers of Communicants. Although, even here, I’m not sure if having a larger “main chalice” is really necessary…if we’re not all going to drink from the one same cup anyway, I have no problem with all the many cups being the same size. (Or perhaps different shapes, sizes, with an aged knight who requires tests, like the Indiana Jones movie… 🙂 )

    However, I’m uncomfortable with the symbolic language being employed when that main chalice is reserved for only one person, or perhaps the deacon along with him, but not used for the Communion of the liturgical assembly.

    (I sometimes wonder if this is one of my “nitpicky” hangups, and if I need some liturgical therapy – and surely there are more important things to worry about – but as long as we’re on this topic…)

    If “Father’s chalice” is too precious/fragile to be used for distribution to the People of God, then I would question whether it is functionally an appropriate vessel.

    1. EF devotees always have a simple solution to all those extra
      chalices. No need for extraordinary ministers if you have one small chalice and paten for the celebrant, intinction, and distribution of the chalice are probhibited by the GIRM, and other priestsand deacons can always be on hand to raid the tabernacle for the leftovers to be distributed to people.

  14. My own parish has a bread baking ministry. The bread, for the most part, is broken ahead of time, with the exception of a couple of the small loaves. These are broken during the Lamb of God and added to the larger “basket” as they are separated into the various plates for distribution. The chalices all match, so “Father’s Chalice” is indistinguishable from the others and is also used for the people.

    We use hosts for the most part during the week, with the exception of days when the deacons lead a Liturgy of the Word & Eucharist. Then we use what is in the tabernacle, which might be the leftover “fresh” bread…

    We DO have some of that bread in the freezer. There are people who request something that looks like bread for weddings/funerals.

    I personally lead the music at Padua Place, which is the retirement home for priests and religious who require medical attention. There are times when the ciborium is brought from the tabernacle, however, that is to ensure that there is enough left for distribution of those in their rooms and also if we have more in attendance than what was planned. We have only one chalice – and we ALL share from that one chalice – both Bishops as well as all the priests, religious and laity…

    I have a very real problem with priests who think that “their” chalice or “their communion” should be somehow distinct. I had a discussion with a visiting priest who asked what I was doing there one day. I responded “we just did Mass”… he pointed to one of the Bishops and the other clergy and said “He just did Mass” or “He Just did Mass” or “I do Mass” – YOU do not do Mass… I simply reminded him of the 4 Presences of Christ in the Eucharist that “On Sacred Liturgy” speaks about, and that, without any one presence, Mass does not take place. The Bishop present (94 years young), looked at the priest and said “he got you” and walked out!

  15. While I do not partake of the cup when it is offered (for personal reasons), I have no issue with parishes offering the cup to communicants when it is feasible.

    I’ve heard of parishes using adulterated wine for Mass, particularly boxed wines. These wines are not pure grape; many boxed wines contain added flavorings and preservatives. I would hope that parishes which cannot afford acceptable wine for the eucharist would administer only the Host until suitable sacramental wine can be bought or donated. I would not agree with those who insist that the cup must be administered at every Mass despite questions about the purity of the wine to be consecrated. The administration of the cup is certainly desirable, but sacramental validity is required.

    Intinction appears to be the best method as it helps to prevent profanation and does not require the consecration of large volumes of wine. With intinction, more people can receive under both forms. I am sensitive to those who would not prefer intinction for ideological or personal reasons (e.g. the necessity to receive on the tongue.) Also, I strongly suspect that only priests and deacons may intinct Hosts.

    1. Jordan, every now and then you astound me.

      This concern over adulterated wines and using it as a reason [excuse?] to withhold the cup from the assembly reminds me of the non-problem of spilling wined when distributing to many cups and the further restriction of handling “sacred vessels” to clergy. A non-problem excuse for further clericalization and unnecessary restriction of lay ministries.

      What does intinction have to do with reducing profanation?

      I prefer avoiding communion on the tongue for health reasons because of the proximity to successive oral cavities and bodily fluids of the minister’s fingers.

      When serving as EM, I hate the snappers who want communion on the tongue but won’t leave their mouths open long enough for me to get my fingers entirely clear. Yuck!

      Whence this suspicion of intinction being restricted to clerics? Is this part of the reason you prefer it? Does only apply to that strange form of communion bread called “hosts”? How much more accurate to refer to the Eucharistic bread or the Body of Jesus!

      1. Mass without valid matter is fraudulent. The use of adulterated bread (leavening, sweetener) and adulterated wine acts against the mens, the received tradition of the Roman Rite on the Holy Sacrifice. A priest who attempts to consecrate adulterated or visibly invalid matter not only displays disregard for the Church’s command but also proclaims that Christ’s saving act is meaningless and trivial. Symbolism not substitute for the very Son who, in an unbloody manner on the altar, has perpetually released us from the bonds of death and at the same time continuously renews His own creation through intimate participation. If both priests and laity refuse to consider sacramental validity to be important, you will find me at the ethical culture lecture or brunch on Sunday. That is all that will be left. I fear that this is all that is left in our day.

        Intinction reduces the chance that foreign particles will fall into the Precious Blood. There are egregious, and rarer, examples of profanation, such as chewing gum falling into the cup. An intinction ciborium further reduces the risk of more commonplace profanation, such as the risk of spills and drops of Blood on the floor. The use of altar rails further reduces contact with the lips and tongue, as the Host, intincted or not, is easily dropped down into the mouth of a communicant without contact with the priest’s digits (despite today’s conventional wisdom, the medieval Church knew better.) The restriction of the administration to a priest ensures that the hands that have handled Our Lord will receive ablution, as is not the case with EMHCs.

        Our observant Jewish brothers and sisters’ adherence to the 613 mitzvot might appear scrupulous. Why use bright lamps to inspect each lettuce leaf for tiny aphids? God has commanded this! Kashrut is a beautiful expression of God’s intimacy in the lives of his children Israel. The intimacy of the Holy Sacrifice requires similar attention.

      2. What does intinction have to do with reducing profanation?
        ——————————————
        or kneeling and receiving on the tongue will somehow restore a greater reverence for the eucharist and reduce acts of profanation? As if stealing the host and performing acts of devil worship didn’t occur before the host was placed
        in one’s hand?. Just a few old canards perpetuated by the SSPX and their sympathizers to stomp out yet another dangerous liberal innovation.

    2. In my parish the chalice was recently dropped and intinction adopted. After the sacristan had discovered bubble gum and
      other matter at the bottom of the chalice. A cause for
      considerable concern by a lot of the parishoners.

    3. Intinction is not the best method of reception of the blood of Christ. The reason many dioceses have forbid its use is that it takes away the symbolic value of communicating from the cup. Jesus did not say “Take this all of you and INTINCT from it” rather he said “Take this all of you and DRINK from it”. There are also issues that have arisen from pastoral practice: communicants doing their own intinction and the sacred species falling on the floor, eucharistic ministers not knowing how to do intinction, etc.

      1. I agree intinction is not THE best method of reception, but it is lawful and recommended by the Church in certain
        cirmstances. Better intinction than no drinking period.
        Eastern Christians who’ve been receiving via intinction since the 8th century would resent, and rightly so, your
        supposed admonition from Christ.

        Jesus also said “eat” and “drink”. Absent from his discussion was any length scholastic discourse pertaining to concomitance.

        and “drink” too

  16. No one mentioned something else that distracts from the Communion Rite–the “solemn extended rite of communion of the extraordinary ministers of holy communion.” I was in a parish one time where an entire five verse with refrain “communion song” was sung completely through and this was still going on! The rest of the people processed up to the organ filler music.

    1. I use the sarcastic term “ceremonial feeding of the waiters”.

      I have taken to using a stop watch to time how long goes by from when the assembly is invited to communion and the first person not a minister receives communion. Last week it was over two minutes.

      This is made worse when the musicians also want to receive before the assembly.

      No one seems to pay any attention the GIRM direction that the presider is to receive and the communion song begin at the same time.

      Below is a suggestion I have offered previously no PTB with no further editorial comment.

      The entire communion delay problem can be resolved if the fraction rite and the Litany of the Lamb of God are used correctly. The litany is there for the explicit purpose of covering the time needed for the real breaking of a real loaf or loaves.
      There is nothing in the rubrics to prevent immediately giving to the communion ministers the vessels with the broken bread and poured wine and sending them to their stations for distributions and continuing the litany throughout all this activity.

      The call to communion is given, the distribution begins at all stations, the song begins simultaneously, and the presider self-communicates. The music ministers get a slightly shorter private meditation time after communion because they receive as that silence begins.

      Nobody does anything else until all of the communion service actions are complete and the presider stands at the chair and invites the assembly to begin the post-communion prayer. Simple, clean, direct, entirely within the rubrics [nothing forbidden is proposed] and even faster overall.

      Try it. You’ll like it.

      1. In Response to Tom Poelker, #41

        l like this idea because it provides a natural timing for the silence after communion. We once had a pastor who seemed to have been trained as a broadcaster – something had to be going on every second during Mass with no silence whatsoever.

        Kind of an aside, but I think there is a natural symmetry to three verses of the Litany of the Lamb of God. If an unplanned minute of silence happens, what’s wrong with some pre-Communion silent prayer? I find it irritating and distracting when additional verses are added.

      2. We have as many as 14 communion ministers. They come to the altar at the greeting of peace and a deacon and I offer them the bread of life after we receive at the appropriate time. After that each of us hands the vessels to each minister and the proceed to their stations. The communion song begins as I take communion. Following communion the ministers proceed to the chapel where the ministers of the cups offer each of the others the blood of Christ. It’s orderly, reverent, and effective.

      3. The extraordinary ministers can either serve communion to each other after the assembly and choir have all received or they can return to the altar with the vessels and receive communion there either from the presider or someone else as part of the gathering and consumption of the remnants before taking the vessels to the sacrarium in the sacristy for purification. I do not have an opinion as to which might be better or if there is still another and better way.

  17. John Drake :

    No one I know stores refrigerated leftovers in a gold tabernacle.

    Good, that would be sacrilegious, but you are still missing the point.

    It makes no difference if leftovers are served on platinum platters. All the assembly are participants at the one table, the one loaf, the one cup.

    It is disrespectful to feed God’s people leftovers instead of feeding them from the table of the feast. Speaking of refrigeration is analogy. Providing food at the feast from the Viaticum reserves is always a mistake. If the Viaticum stock is to be restored, the priest can reverently consume the few hosts involved in any reasonably sized stock. It is like the old FHB code. Family hold back, let the guests have first choice and full servings. The priest is servant and host to the assembly and should seek to serve the congregation rather than his own convenience.

    Maybe the problem is related to too often seeing Portion Controlled [that is what restaurants call ketchup packets] wafers instead of sharing in one unleavened loaf which requires actual breaking to share as Jesus did.

      1. This whole conversation is ridiculous. “leftovers” Makes it sound like we are having last nights meat loaf. There should be rare circumstances for taking your so called “leftovers” from the tabernacle. Communion should be from hosts consecrated at that liturgical celelbration.

  18. Intinction – Jordan, you are re-inventing the wheel. Intinction is not encouraged or permitted in liturgies and it has nothing to do with ideology or personal reasons. Priests/deacons do not intinct.

    There are many reasons for this – it diminishes the sign of giving and eating; it diminishes the signs of cup/blood and bread/body; it is focused on the person giving himself communion.

    Per the archdiocese of Milwaukee:

    :The communicant may never be allowed to self-communicate, even by means of intinction, or dipping the consecrated host into the wine cup. Communion under bread or wine must always be given by an ordinary or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

    1. Bill deHaas: Intinction is not encouraged or permitted in liturgies and it has nothing to do with ideology or personal reasons. Priests/deacons do not intinct.

      Eastern Catholic priests have administered by intinction from before Brest. Certainly, intinction is never heterodox. I do not sense diminution of the Holy Eucharist at Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Quite the opposite — an Eastern priest’s kissing of the chalice demonstrates the extreme reverence inherent in Byzantine intinction.

      According to Redemptionis Sacramentum 4.4.103, intinction is always permissible in the Roman rite [manente tamen semper optione Communionis per intinctionem ministrandae.]. Only a priest can administer Holy Communion by intinction. The Host must be received on the tongue. The hosts must be “neither too thin nor too small”.

      RS 4.4.104 forbids lay self-intinction, the placing of an intincted Host in a hand, and the use of invalid matter.

      I wonder if a deacon could be given an episcopal indult to administer Holy Communion by intinction. I would not be surprised if this permission has been given in the past.

      In my view, If a parish does not have the resources to consecrate indubitably valid wine for an entire congregation, then the clergy should administer only Hosts or provide intinction. I would certainly avoid a parish that has repeatedly attempted to consecrate invalid matter. The parishes I attend only use unquestionably valid matter, even if that might mean that the cup is infrequently administered. One parish avoids the question of providing valid matter by withholding the cup. Another administers the cup at one Sunday Mass only. Regardless of reason for withholding the cup, the integrity of the Mass must be preserved even if withholding the cup is an affront to liturgical sensibilities.

      1. Jordan – you confirm in expanded form what I was saying. We are the western rite; not the eastern. Intinction is still a diminishment of the eucharistic action – now you have added that only a priest can do this; added diminishment of the communal action.

        Parishes do withhold the cup – only shows their inability to implement fully the liturgy of Vatican II. Yes, I know well a local monsignor who refused throughout his life to implement the cup (his excuses varied but primarily it had to do with time and parking lots – give me a break). Sorry, this parish had the resources and people to do this. Your fixation on valid and invalid matter is very Trentan. “….unquestionably valid matter” – means what? how do you know? And if the presider is in the state of sin – well, it is valid ex opere operato. Haven’t we moved past some of this Thomistic structures.

      2. Bill, validity of the sacraments is a pretty serious issue. It it certainly much more important than how vessels are positioned on the altar. It doesn’t matter what the priest or people do or receive if there was no Mass.

      3. A general theme I am seeing throughout these comments is that is becomes more important for the assembled to feel good and “communal” than for the sacraments to be validly celebrated.

      4. Brad,

        Let me assure you that I care more about validity than about my feelings and I am a great believer in the working of the sacraments ex opere operato. But the sign-value of the liturgy is not the same thing as “how it makes me feel.” In this particular case, the sign-value of how the priest dealt with the chalices offered to the assembly did not convey clearly that they were even a part of the Eucharistic action.

      5. Fritz,

        I never doubted your original intent, nor do I think you necessarily care more about feelings than validity. I should have clarified…my comment was geared more towards others who are commenting about your original post. My apologies if it seemed like I was accusing you of something unfounded.

    2. Bill, the traditional layperson’s acclamation at the Elevations, “my Lord and my God!” is taken directly from St. Thomas the Apostle’s doubt in the risen Christ (John 20:28). Jesus reminds us the blessed are the “unseeing and believing” (20:29). The unseeing but believing faithful trust in the reality of the Lord substantially present in his Body and Blood. Doubters see only appearances. We sing at Benediction, praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui.. St. Thomas Aquinas, whose wisdom you needlessly insult, knew well that Christ commands us to trust in the Eucharist despite the contradictions of human sense. Our intellects hinder absolute trust in the Sacrament.

      Given the clarity of our Lord’s command, why look for Christ in the accidents of the Eucharist? Will holding, tasting and touching, and distribution of the Eucharist from one’s own hands offer any salvific gain? Christ has promised us that the joy of the Eucharist is in His very presence, and not in a clergyman’s or layperson’s ritual self-aggrandizement.

      1. Jordan – not sure what set you off. Not sure how I insulted Thomas Aquinas – you must have a direct link to him,; care to share?

        Holding, tasting, touching, distributing, receiving Eucharist are all sacred actions of the community (these are not accidents and they can bring salvation). Eucharist is not benediction. Then, again, not sure I would use words such as salvific gain to describe the communal eucharist? Yes, that happens but is it the sole purpose? I don’t participate in the eucharist and keep score.

        Why don’t you scroll down to #96 and read Fr. Komonchak’s homily on eucharist:

        http://jakomonchak.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/our-sacred-banquet/#more-316

        Highlights:
        – “….This feast enables us to spend a few moments reflecting on the central element of our Catholic faith and life, the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord. For that purpose, I would like to make use of a traditional Latin eucharistic hymn, written in the 13th century by St. Thomas Aquinas as part of the liturgy for today’s feast. It is a wonderfully concise and poetic evocation of the theology of the Holy Eucharist that St. Thomas developed at length in his great work, the Summa theologica. Here is how it goes: O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur, recolitur memoria passionis ejus, mens impletur gratia, et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. “Oh sacred banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”
        This is, first of all, a sacred banquet, a convivium, the Latin word from which our English word “conviviality” comes. The Eucharist is something we do with others; it is a social event, an event within our life together. We are not alone–I don’t think we would use the word “banquet” to describe a meal that someone eats alone.

        Read the rest.

      2. Bill, I apologize for not making myself clearer. Providing just a hyperlink is not a substitute for quotation.

        At #74, you criticize an insistence on valid matter for Mass as a “Thomistic structure” that must be “moved past”. A disparagement of intinction as a diminution of “communal action” obscures the substantial through an overemphasis on the accidental. This is contrary to Aquinas in both o sacrum convivium (especially mens impletur gratia) and the tantum ergo. Jn. 20:28-29 portrays not only Thomas’s doubt, but leads us to the trust that precedes and exceeds communal action. Why, then, should we prioritize “communal action” when intinction adequately conveys the accidental/symbolic veil of substantial reality? What more must we know about the Sacrament that is not already contained in the Mass?

        In his Corpus Christi sermon, Fr. Komonchak states: In any case, the Mass is not something that anyone of us is doing alone. We are here with others, enjoying what they enjoy, with the joy greater, not lesser, for being shared with others, receiving what they receive. Listen to the prayers of the Mass and note that all the major ones are in the first-person plural.

        Quite true Father. Which plurals, however? The first two verbs in the Roman Canon are rogamus, “we beg” and petimus, “we seek”. The sharing, the communal action of the Eucharist, derives directly from the trust that the sacrifice of the Son to the Father will grant us grace. expectamus “we expect” and contendimus, “we demand”, would’ve been better choices for a Eucharist based solely on human sharing of the Eucharist as a vehicle for grace.

        Instead, we are Thomases, led from disbelief to belief through petition and submission. Only then can symbolic interplay take place.

  19. Tom – just wanted to commend you on this string of comments. Your articulation of the theology of eucharist and our eucharistic liturgy is excellent; to the point; clear; and concise. Thanks. (we used to use a version of your communion minister suggestion – and the ministers/priest received last)

    1. Thanks, Deacon Fritz. To my point above. Even knowing our parish priests well, etc.; it boggles my mind that I would even think that the parish Sunday eucharists may not be valid – and how would I really ascertain that?

      My point – focusing on that tells me a whole lot about a person’s approach to liturgy. “The Sabbath is made for man; not man for the Sabbath”.

  20. Fr. Christopher Costigan :

    I was not commenting that he was judging anyone. However, many of the comments certainly were judging that priest and/or prairs.

    How is it that what you say is not judgmental but you are so certain that what he says is judgmental.

    Once again, first get the beam out of your own eye.

    1. I was saying that it was not Deacon Fritz that was being judgmental. But very quickly the comments (not from the original article) go to “this abuse” and “refrigerated hosts” without any thought that this may be a rare thing for that particular priest. So yes some of those commenting seemed to be drawing some conclusions, perhaps even judging, this priest based on the anecdote given here by Deacon Fritz.

  21. Whatever valid bread and wine that’s on the corporal is validly consecrated. I use a large corporal so that I can place “the one bread and the one cup” in the center rather than cluttered together with other vessels. I have no idea what some bishops and priest are thinking when they do the latter.

  22. Rosemary – Burke advocates steps that fail to embrace both Vatican II and its ecclesiology and liturgy. He is very clear about this. This article (from EWTN) only increrase polarizations and reveals his ideology rather than any pastoral sense much less liturgical knowledge or sensitivity. Ask anyone from the archdiocese of St. Louis about his comments.

    1. Just an added thought – predict that B16 will moved Burke to some place where he can little impact the people of God.

  23. Rosemary – here is a link to an excellent homily on the recent Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. From Fr. Komonchak, history of theology expert –

    http://jakomonchak.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/our-sacred-banquet/#more-316

    Highlights which do a much better job than Burke:
    – “….This feast enables us to spend a few moments reflecting on the central element of our Catholic faith and life, the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord. For that purpose, I would like to make use of a traditional Latin eucharistic hymn, written in the 13th century by St. Thomas Aquinas as part of the liturgy for today’s feast. It is a wonderfully concise and poetic evocation of the theology of the Holy Eucharist that St. Thomas developed at length in his great work, the Summa theologica. Here is how it goes: O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur, recolitur memoria passionis ejus, mens impletur gratia, et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. “Oh sacred banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”
    This is, first of all, a sacred banquet, a convivium, the Latin word from which our English word “conviviality” comes. The Eucharist is something we do with others; it is a social event, an event within our life together. We are not alone–I don’t think we would use the word “banquet” to describe a meal that someone eats alone.
    – “Three dimensions of what we are doing and what we are receiving here are then set out in the hymn. The first is that “the memory of Christ’s passion is renewed.”
    – In all these ways, the Eucharist is indeed the “sacred banquet in which Christ is received.” He is received in his Word; he is received in memory and in hope; he is received in the Body that was broken for us and in the Blood that was poured out for us; he is received in the love that this all evokes in us.

    1. I confess to having a problem with the word ‘banquet’. The Americans seem to use it to describe anything more formal than a drive-thru McDonalds, whereas an Englishman might dine in state off gold plates at Buckingham Palace and still refer to it as ‘supper’.

  24. “Now we have singing that detracts from eucharist? Really?”

    I am very jealous of anyone who has never attended a Mass in which the people were either performed “at” with, or urged to produce themselves, music of a decidedly “distracting” nature.

    “the full-on ‘caged celebrant’ effect”
    Wow.
    Tell us how you really feel.

    “I’d give anything for simple vernacular chants. ”
    You should look at this:
    http://musicasacra.com/simple-propers-of-the-mass-ordinary-form/

    Half the price of the (mostly) useless hymnals I’ve seen in Church, or even free for download.
    I doubt I can talk our musicians into even looking at it, though.

      1. The two guys behind do have expressions as if they are on guard duty.

        I count 18 candles. The perspective on this which creates the prison bars effect by making all the candles visible is great.

        Is that an old altar card leaning against the reredos underneath the kneeling angel beneath the Redemptorist picture? How far can one get from noble simplicity without a rood screen? Any other nominees?

      2. Deacon Bauerschmidt, You mean you aren’t wild
        about the “Benedictine” altar ?? I’m not either.
        Far too many candles creating a very crowded
        appearance, especially for a small or medium altar. Then if you add the three altar cards for the EF to give an even more crowded appearance, propped up against the candles, and the altar looks even worse.

        Two three-branched candelabra with the cross between them, in most cases, or simply two single candlesticks would be much better.

  25. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    But the same blessing has been said over yesterday’s bread and wine as has been said over today’s. The unity of eucharist throughout time (the symbolism of the sancta) means that the “toast” to God that we made yesterday is the same “toast” we’ll make today and tomorrow.

    This is a theologically correct statement which has nothing to do with deciding what is good liturgical practice.

    The entire thread has been about what is conveyed by how we celebrate the Eucharist. There are overt messages and subliminal messages and non-verbal messages. All these messages should support each other.

  26. Brad Wilson :

    So what does this say about the infirmed and homebound? Is it impossible for them to get the full significance of the ritual act since they can only receive “leftovers?”

    Exactly, it is impossible for them to get the full sign value [significance, sign made] of the ritual if they are not present. This is completely unrelated to the full sharing in the Body and Blood of Jesus. The entirety of the ritual is different from having a share in the meal. It is a Charitable act to take a share of the meal to those unable to participate in the fullness of the ritual. It does not mean that one puts any less effort into doing the ritual well for those actually present.

    I have greatly appreciated having some turkey and dressing and especially home made cranberry sauce sent to me when unable to participate in the family Thanksgiving Dinner. It is meat from the same bird and cranberries from the same bowl made by my relatives. It is good. It is not the same as having dinner with them, but I do not expect anyone to put in less effort toward preparing the Thanksgiving Dinner just because I can not be there and will only experience the food.

  27. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :

    And in the [OF] … haven’t we so emphasized that people should be singing as they come to Holy Communion that that has also distracted from the primary symbol?

    The introduction of the term “primary symbol” is another diversion from discussing how to do liturgy well.

    The entire communion rite is one action with multiple internal symbols and references to elements of Scripture and multiple expressions of Christian faith.

    Communion song is part of the ritual, not a distraction from it. The entire rite is an expression of how we are one-with:
    Jesus,
    all present,
    the communion of saints. Singing, in unison, even if refrains only, is an expression that we are doing something together, not just in line to do something individually.

    If we are more interested in ritual consistency than in canonical correctness, the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist would be better expressed by all standing from the invitation to participation by “The Lord be with you” until all have shared in the one meal.

    We stand around one altar as one priestly people. We remain standing and process to share in one loaf and one cup. We remain standing as all share equally. While all share, all sing. The standing, singing, sharing are all part of the being one-with each other in this ritual.

    Starting communion singing too late or stopping it too early gives a subconscious message of division among the assembly. The ritual calls for unity and continuity and the same treatment for all…

  28. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :

    The original post has the person distracted by things on the altar that are necessry for the communion of the priest and the congregation.

    This is an incorrect re-statement of the case. The distraction was not by the things but by the idiosyncratic placement of them.

    The rest of the argument depends on this inaccuracy for its logic.

  29. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jack Feehily :

    We have as many as 14 communion ministers. They come to the altar at the greeting of peace and a deacon and I offer them the bread of life after we receive at the appropriate time. After that each of us hands the vessels to each minister and the proceed to their stations. The communion song begins as I take communion. Following communion the ministers proceed to the chapel where the ministers of the cups offer each of the others the blood of Christ. It’s orderly, reverent, and effective.

    Do you have a specific reason for offering communion to the ministers while the assembly waits?

    1. The CM’s are also part of the assembly that is waiting. Some people have to be among the first to receive. It doesn’t take but a minute before they are ready to move to their stations. In places where the CM’s also receive from the cup, the process is unduly prolonged.

      1. Why would the EMEs not receive from the cup?

        It does take a minute, I have frequently put a stop watch on this and get two to three minutes, which seems much longer if one is in the assembly with nothing else to do except watch the ministers take precedence.

        Again, “Do you have a specific reason for offering communion to the ministers while the assembly waits,” besides a desire to associate the EMs with the priest?

  30. The ministers are part of the assembly. They have to receive at some point, and that is going to take a certain amount of time, whether at the beginning of the end of the community’s reception of communion. From a “serve the guests first” mentality, I recall being in one parish where it was decided that the ministers would receive at the end of communion. It didn’t take long for the liturgy police to report an admittedly mistaken sense of hospitality. It makes sense that the ministers – having been “ministered to” by the presider, then share what they themselves have received. I’ve also seen instances of where the choir receives communion AFTER Mass, because it would drag communion out unnecessarily to have them receive at the end of the communion song(s). What a wonderful problem to have… that an assembly is so large and its members/ministers so varied that it actually takes a little time to time to do the rites right and well.

    1. There is nothing in GIRM which requires or even suggests that anyone other than the presiding priest receive before anyone else.

      Some things do “make sense” while they are still not best practice. There may be more than one kind of sense to be made.

      Ministering to the EMs first has the effect of associating them more with the clerical presider than with their membership in the assembly.

      I am in agreement with your remarks about going the wrong way to have the choir receive communion after Mass. This disenfranchises them as members of the assembly. Besides, I do not think sacramental celebrations should be subject to time limitations. How we use the time, though, and what is implied by how we use the time, is very important.

  31. When I coined the phrase “Ceremonial Feeding of the Waiters”, it was based on the many political rituals I have attended in the Khorassan Room in St. Louis.

    Political dinners are a very particular kind of breaking bread together. After early drinking [many options on what and how to serve in this tradition, some involving cash] there is the progression to the tables and some introductory formalities. Usually there is an Invocation from the High Table facing the lesser tables, themselves in hierarchical order according to donees.

    The KR was always arranged according to the proper manner for celebrating partisanship. The Main Table on the bema at the east end of the room might be supplemented with additional length or another, higher, or even a third and lower table, depending on the number of hierarchs attending and whether the seating allowed for acolytes from the Secret Service.

    Along the north wall, near to the west end of the room were double wide double doors for the procession of the food by the waiters. Valid matter was rubber chicken in some vaguely flavored sauce with a deceptive name involving at least one word not in the vernacular.

    There was a strict requirement, possibly to insure that the chicken bounced, that the servers on every occasion prove their ability to balance large trays for at least 30 minutes after receiving the proper matter for the feast. This wait was enforced by the Emcee and by the extended Introductions and expression of the Invocation of exaggerated length.

    In accord with Tradition, the waiters responded to The Great Amen [and emotional outlet of breath at the end of the invocation] by rushing through the double doors and serving the head table(s) in a ratio of about four to one and then the rest of the assembly in the ratio of 10 or even 20 to one.

  32. The political ritual involved self-ordained Porters [even some from the high table where they were meant to be seen for the worship of all] to abstain from the feast and be seen to join as many tables as possible at a walking pace in a ritual designated as “hopping”.

    [The cognitive dissonance of the pace and terminology has not been fully explained by the ritualists.]

    If sufficient numbers were self-ordained, this “hopping” would take the form of a procession in strict hierarchical order. The involvement of “hoppers” from the High Table could result in the delay of the remainder of the Service.

    An important part of the rite was the Purification of the Tables. The General Instructions then in force required that no beverage be left on the tables during the partisan proclamation of doctrine. Servers were assiduous in this duty.

    In contrast to most churches, there was never a rush for the parking lot [where vehicles had been festooned with circulars and ballots in the colors of the day by the designated ministers] following the final blessing and exhalation of the spirit. In hierarchical order, sub-assemblies always met either in the KR itself or in previously designated and supplied private rooms in order to revive spirits which had subsided since the Purification of the Tables.

  33. The Ceremonial Feeding of the Waiters image is based on the political ritual of the Khorassan Room. It requires the preparation of an additional table clearly visible between the Head Table(s) and the tables of the assembly. In order to distinguish this long table from the hierarchical Head Table, there shall be seating on all sides. It is also necessary that there be sufficient Tray Stands for each waiter to have one.

    Up to the Great Amen following the Interminable Invocation, the waiters shall proceed through the Double Doors as normal and place their individual trays on their Tray Stands and eat.

    After all have witnessed the Procession of the Food at the usual swift pace from the Double Doors toward the tables and the Ceremonial Feeding of the Waiters, then the Serving of the Assembly, Hopping of Tables, and Purification of the Tables proceed in the normal Order of Service.
    ———————-
    The totally ridiculous image of tray-laden waiters rushing through the Khorassan Room double doors to their own table at the front of the room and eating before serving tends to return to mind whenever there is a particularly large number of communion ministers for a Mass.

    There is no further point to this other than sharing the inside humor of speaking of a political ritual in the way we liturgist tend to converse.

    Of course, if you can retain and find it appropriate to occasionally recall the image of the Ceremonial Feeding of the Waiters as you plan communion services, I would be grateful.

  34. I think Tom is pointing to the phenomenon of what are perceived as several elite groups (the ministers of Communion, then the servers, then the choir) being fed and watered before anyone else, and whether this is anthropologically desirable.

    When you have guests to dinner, you do not wolf down your food and then offer them theirs. You wait until all have been served and then you have yours. How much more true this should be at the Lord’s table! So runs the argument in favour of a more anthropological view of what we are doing in liturgy.

    And the waiters do not eat at all in real life. They will either have eaten before anyone else arrives, or will eat afterwards when everyone has gone. I don’t think we want to see that happening, because the ministers are in fact more than waiters: they are also members of the “dining body”. But it is legitimate to question when is the most appropriate time for ministers (of whatever kind — of Communion, of the sanctuary, of music) to eat and drink.

    Some will no doubt say that GIRM says nothing about any of this, but it’s worth remembering that GIRM derives from a period when Ministers of Communion did not even exist. The 1969 Ordo Missae and GIRM predate Immensae caritatis by four years. And in Rome, lay ministers of Communion are virtually unknown. There is no need for them because the place is riddled with priests and deacons; so updates to GIRM do not take into account what is happening at parish level around the world.

  35. To Don Johnson, in 7 and 9: a couple of responses… I find it offensive to refer to a genre of liturgical music as “Haugen stuff…” first of all, it is not the music of the 70’s since Marty’s music was first published in the ’80’s…
    Secondly , Marty is a person, not “stuff” to ridicule. If you do not like a particular genre or style of music…do not get personal about it,and secondly, please be sure that you know the history and the aspects of the genre that you are talking about, since most of what you said in these two posts were untrue.
    Finally – we all have our different views about music and style, and that is fine. O We do not have to “like” all styles that are incorporated in our public prayer. But we should be respectful at a minimum, and recognize when we are being totally subjective about what makes music “sacred.” We can express our opinions better than this. This is not good form.

  36. James Morgan :

    Tom, then go to the eastern rites where communion is not given at Liturgy EVER from the reserved Gifts. If there are many communicants, they get tiny tiny slivers, and a little spoonful of the precious Blood.

    What does this have to do with my immediately previous posting?

  37. Rather a lot of hot air over Fritz’s eminently sensible post. Even traditionally minded Catholics like myself recognize where the Novus Ordo gets it right, and the association of the priest’s and people’s Communion was a good reform. In the EF the celebrant uncovers the ciborium before he pronounces the words of consecration and if the ciborium were to be placed (say) away to the Gospel side of the altar, this would count as a serious abuse. If more than one chalice is to be consecrated they must surely be placed centrally, although only one of them needs to be handled by the priest. I think the symbolism is better communicated if all the chalices are of the same design, but it’s not vitally important.

    1. I think the symbolism is better communicated if all the chalices are of the same design, but it’s not vitally
      important.
      ———————————————
      I’ve never understood why during concelebrated liturgies the concelebrants aren’t encouraged to take a chalice and/or a ciborium into their hands just before the words of consecration. All the other vessels on the altar always seem to be ignored completely while we and the co-celebrants are fixated on the celebrant’s chalice and paten.

      1. Being picky in the extreme, all the baptized present are co-celebrants. Additional priests to the principal celebrant are called con-celebrants. Both terms showed up in this post, perhaps by accident, but they are not synonymous.

        Maybe only once, I saw a parish use many of the chalices from their vault which had belonged to former pastors. Of course, none of them matched, but I would like to see this more often. It seemed so appropriate for a major feast. The vessels were visually “more worthy” than the simple matched sets most parishes use. It made no difference that the presider had a fancy cup of his own when all got to use fancy cups.

        It might even have been less expensive for many parishes to have followed this practice from the beginning instead of buying matched sets for distributing communion to the faithful.

        CYNICISM POSSIBILITY ALERT
        What negative clericalist reason could I posit as to why parishes having multiple nice chalices do not use them for communion of the assembly? Even if they get damaged or lose stones, they do the parish more good in use than sitting in the vault, unless they are collateral.

  38. Bill, #96

    I don’t think your prediction regarding Cardinal Burke, will come to fruitation. For example I noted that during the Palm Sunday liturgy at St. Peter’s. Besides the MC’s, there were two Cardinal Deacons, directly assisting BXVI, one I did not recognize, and the other was…..In places like the Vatican where these things, amoung others matter, would a man whose on his way out to pasture, be given the honor?

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