A Communiqué from my Archbishop (updated).

Yesterday I received the directives from the Archdiocese of Baltimore regarding the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal. As I expected, Archbishop O’Brien encouraged us:

to see what is good in the new Missal, to be open to surprises, and to see in the implementation process for the new Missal more than just a time to learn new words, but a time to embrace a serious catechesis on the liturgy.

But we were also encouraged:

to take the opportunity given us by the new Missal to do a liturgical “examination of conscience” and to let go of those bad habits that have crept in over time, such as: making up our own words, failing to respect the dialogical nature of the Mass (by taking the people’s parts ourselves or running through our parts as if the people were not even there), omitting or replacing ritual actions, not allowing for silence, and making efficiency the measure of our liturgical life.

I found this encouragement encouraging. Even more encouraging were the specific directives. For example, regarding altar servers we were reminded:

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, this ministry is open to all baptized Catholics in good standing: girls and women as well as men and boys.

And this from an Archbishop who has as a top priority the encouragement of vocations.

Regarding communion under both species we were instructed:

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Holy Communion under both kinds is to be considered normative. Parishes that do not currently offer Communion under the species of wine should implement this practice. And those that stopped distributing Communion under the species of wine during the H1N1 Virus epidemic scare should now fully restore it and parishioners once again invited to share in it.

Against those who see communion under both species as some sort of concession to the Protestants, and who used the H1N1 scare as an occasion to eliminate it (along with the congregational exchange of the sign of peace), Archbishop O’Brien makes it clear that it is to be the norm in our diocese.   Particularly interesting was this additional directive:

given the large number of individuals with gluten sensitivity, the transfer of even a small amount of bread to the wine could pose a serious health risk for some. Therefore, distribution by intinction ought not be used in the Archdiocese of Baltimore; and it may never be used as the sole method of distribution. Likewise, self-intinction is never allowed.

This was encouraging, given that some have advocated using intinction as a way of eliminating communion in the hand.

Regarding what is undoubtedly the most widespread liturgical abuse (by both traditionalists and progressives), distributing communion at Mass from hosts reserved in the tabernacle, the Archbishop notes:

Thus, the gifts of creation—become symbols of our work and our lives, returned in gratitude—are given back to us, transformed, as we are transformed in this holy exchange of gifts. Routine recourse to the tabernacle negates this powerful and active exchange, and risks reducing the assembly to passive observers.

This shows a fine appreciation for theological principle over ritual convenience.

And finally, in a magnificent display of episcopal good sense, Archbishop O’Brien notes with regard to sacred vessels:

As a general rule, they are to be made of precious metal, and gilded on the inside. . . .Those currently using substantial (thick) glass vessels that are not easily breakable may continue to do so. Such vessels may not be newly acquired by parishes and other communities.

So no one has to smash those crystal chalices they purchased in good faith before the rules got changed on them.

What I find encouraging about this communiqué is that it combines fidelity to liturgical legislation with adherence to theological and liturgical principle as well as a sense of practicality.  I don’t think anyone who knows Archbishop O’Brien would ever accuse him of being a liberal. In a time when some of the loudest voices are proclaiming the ideal to be a liturgy that is as much like the pre-conciliar liturgy as possible, I was happy to hear my bishop speaking in a way that shows an appreciation of the liturgical vision enshrined in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Update: Some have asked for the whole text. It can be found here.

137 comments

  1. The Archbishop is setting himself in direct defiance of Redemptionis sacramentum 117, in which the use of glass vessels is reprobated. “Reprobated” does not mean mildly discouraged. It means definitively condemned. RS is normative for the whole Church, and was issued more recently than the GIRM. I am disappointed to see an archbishop set such a poor example.

  2. RBR, you’re misinformed. An instruction of the CDW does not trump the GIRM with US adaptations approved by BCL and CDW. Worship ran an article with a canonical analysis shortly after the instruction was issued.
    awr

    1. The GIRM though in USA adaptations does see “intinction” by a cleric or Extraordinary Ministers as an option after the common chalice. Can a bishop forbid a local parish from using a method that is approved in the adaptation, albeit not the first choice? I ask the question seriously.

    2. And if Worship says so…

      BTW, it’s pretty well known that it’s up to the pastor, and not the bishop, to allow altar girls. That’s by way of canonical analysis too.

      1. Um, not their “stated policy.” This is their “suggested guidelines” which “may be used as a basis for developing diocesan guidelines.” BTW, these “suggested guidelines” are out of date, because the CDW stated in 2001 that “In accord with the above cited instructions of the Holy See such an authorization may not, in any way, exclude men or, in particular, boys from service at the altar, nor require that priests of the diocese would make use of female altar servers.” You can find this document here: http://www.adoremus.org/CDW-AltarServers.html

    3. RS2 states that the instruction is to be read in continuity with the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

      RS4 pointedly states its purpose of correcting abuses that have become almost habitual.

      RS12 mentions the rights of the faithful to liturgical celebration according to the mind of the Church.

      RS 173 enumerates among “grave matters”, putting at risk “the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist”, the reprobation of glass vessels set forth in 117. You can’t just flick that aside.

      Nothing in the US version of the GIRM admits the possibility of glass vessels. Precious metal is mentioned first and clearly presented as the norm. Fragility is specifically mentioned as something to be avoided. The precise wording, especially that which purports to address chalices, is unhelpfully vague, but those who concern themselves with the “spirit” of Church documents know that precious metal is what’s being called for.

      Plus, what Tim Forman said.

      1. I would suggest, as I have many times, that the notion of “the mind of the Church” as mentioned in no. 12 above depends on an understanding of a universal that is above and, in some sense, apart from the particulars of the realization of the church on the local level. This ecclesiology is espoused (as is well known) by the current bishop of Rome, whose history with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has meant that such a notion is fairly represented in official statements from that past few decades. Nonetheless, such a Platonic ecclesiology is not above question, and where the church is understood to be fully realized in each local ecclesial assembly, it is to that assembly (parish, diocese) that one must look to find what the mind of the church is in that place and at that time.

      2. Unity is quite important to me as well, Robert. But unity and uniformity are not, and need not be, the same thing, even within the same juridico-liturgical rite.

        Frankly, I don’t fully understand why glass vessels are such a sticking point for so many people. I like glass; I like pottery. I also like silver and gold. I just don’t see that choice being a ditch worth dying in. Far more important things to debate about.

      3. Cody, I think there must be few organizations of any size that can survive maintaining the practice that decisions of a superior may be set aside unless they are intelligible to inferiors. Roma locuta est.

        Far more important things to debate about.

        Humility, for example, and its spiritual benefits. Greater understanding may come with time.

  3. I am particularly pleased to see those two clear amendments on the nature of communion distributed to the laity: that it should be under both species and that it should be that which the lay participants have recently helped to consecrate!

    These are indeed theologically sound and pastorally sensible principles. Thanks for sharing!

    1. +JMJ+

      that which the lay participants have recently helped to consecrate

      The bishop did not say anything about the lay participants “help[ing] to consecrate” the bread and wine. I’m not sure how I help to consecrate the Eucharist, except in the remote way of helping to pay for the bread and wine by my contribution to the parish, or perhaps by presenting them to the priest in the Offertory Procession.

    2. Hello, Jeffrey. I was alluding to the text of the Roman Canon (“Memento Domine”) which implicates the gathered assembly in the sacrifice of the mass:
      Memento, Domine, famulorum, famularumque tuarum N. et N. et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio, pro quibus tibi offerimus: vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus: pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suae: tibique reddunt vota sua aeterno Deo, vivo et vero.

      An accurate non-liturgical translation as well as the Latin text can be found at the relevant Wikipedia article: “Remember, Lord, your servant men and women (Names) and all here present. You are aware of their faith and know their devotedness. We offer for them, or they offer, this sacrifice of praise for themselves and all who are theirs, for the redemption of their souls, for the hope of their health/salvation and safety; and they present their prayers to you, the eternal, living, and true God.”

      The assembly’s participation is accomplished through prayer, of course. It is on the basis of this participation in the liturgical act of sacrifice (over which the priest presides and in which he plays a necessary and distinct role) that attending the mass is different for a Catholic than merely receiving Eucharist outside of the mass (as was often done before the Liturgical Movement).

      Jeffrey, it’s my impression from your previous posts that this is an issue on which we do not essentially disagree, but perhaps I’m wrong. I wasn’t attempting to say anything tendentious.

      1. +JMJ+

        Oh, I certainly agree that the congregation is involved in the sacrifice, and participates in its offering (“not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him”, cf. SC 48). I also agree that celebrating Mass (and receiving Holy Communion thereat) is very different from receiving Holy Communion outside of the Mass. In my liturgical catechesis, I try to draw attention to the anamnesis and offering parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, to help people see how the Eucharistic Prayer (and the Mass as a whole) is not just a factory for producing Communion for us.

        So yes, I think we agree. I just wouldn’t use language like “the congregation helps to consecrate the Eucharist.”

        So much for a “dispute on the Eucharist,” eh? 😉

      2. So much for a “dispute on the Eucharist,” eh?

        Ha! I sometimes find in teaching that such emphatic language is necessary to counteract the common misunderstanding that the faithful have no participative share in the sacred activity of the mass – that they just “show up and eat,” as it were.

        Of course, when teaching — or blogging — one has the chance to address misunderstandings and clarify. 🙂

  4. RBR,

    Are you going to foot the bill for those parishes that can’t afford to replace their glass vessels? Not a trivial concern in more than a few places, especially when there are folks at the door who need help to feed or shelter their children. I note that it’s been a tad chilly in much of the country lately, too…

    Practicality is a worthy consideration. Not the only one, and not necessarily the most important one, but a worthy one.

      1. Wonderful. It’s merely a practical matter. So if somebody designs unbreakable glass, you’ll have no objections – say, aesthetic or traditional. Assumbing you’re being honest about your reason for supporting the prohibition.

        awr

      2. There is already glass that is nearly unbreakable, and when it comes down to it, even metal vessels can be broken under the right circumstances. “Unbreakable” in the strict sense is not a reachable standard. But, we can get things that are practically unbreakable and can more than withstand the ordinary hazards of their intended use.

      3. Lynn

        Yes, canon law is not written with scientifically rigid categories in mind (and we should all be thankful for being saved thereby from scientific scrupulosity). Unbreakable would be understood through a lens of reasonableness.

      4. It’s merely a practical matter.

        Who said “merely”? Not me. You really must try to shake this unattractive habit of inventing your interlocutor’s words.

        And thanks for the exhortation to honesty. Full points for unintentional irony.

      5. Karl,

        I do indeed give thanks that we are not subject to scientific scrupulosity! Imagining the lexical [and other] wars between the scientists and liturgists is not a reassuring thought at all…

      6. The more interesting discussion is why the innovation
        to use glass chalices after 1970 got started in the first place?

        My favorite post 1970 innovation was the wooden bowl holding incense in preference to the tradition thurible.

    1. Are you going to foot the bill for those parishes that can’t afford to replace their glass vessels?

      I guarantee that any parish using glass vessels that makes a public appeal for funds to help replace them will have no trouble getting the money and that numerous groups will help them publicize their appeal.

      1. I’m not sure I’d believe in that guarantee. There are places where there just aren’t that many people available to publicize, or publicize _to_…and there are still those pesky people who need help now, tonight. Might come to that choice. Baltimore is a distressed area; if functional but glass vessels are on hand, I can find sympathy for the parish that puts what funds they have to more urgent human needs. Didn’t Jesus say something about that sort of stuff and the law? Somewhere?

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those “glass chalice” parishes have old gold chalices stashed away in the closet somewhere. Note I said “some”, not all.

      3. Lynn, you’re missing my point. If parishes are using glass vessels out of poverty, there are plenty of people across the United States that would be willing to donate money (or unused vessels) so that they have ones more worthy of the sacrament. Folks like Fr. Z and others would, I’m sure, be happy to publicize such replacement campaigns. Chalices can be very expensive, but simple gold-plated ones are not that pricey.

      4. I was thinking the same thing as John – some parishes using glass do so even though they have gold or silver sitting in a closet.

        In older areas where there are a lot of parishes closing, there should be no excuse for parishes using glass vessels. What is exactly is happening to all the vessels from these closed parishes? Most people, in my experience, like it far more when the things their parents and grandparents bought for worship reappear in a local parish after theirs closes than to hear it was sold off to some salvaged goods place.

  5. I’m not in principle opposed to the common chalice, but with the H1N1 scare and our bishop banning the common chalice and sign of peace during the scare last year, it was the first time anyone in the Church actually acknowledged that one could get serious germs or a disease from drinking after someone. But more seriously since only clerics can cleanse the chalices after Mass, meaning, drinking what remains and then drinking the ablutions, the chance of catching something is even greater. In fact one of our deacons in our diocese who is a gastrointestinal doctor almost died from an intestinal bug which he believes he got from cleaning chalices used by multiple people. So are we opening ourselves to future lawsuits in this regard. If we were a restaurant under local or state law, the health department would shut us down for our common chalice practices. I prefer intinction with communion stations where intinction is not included. Again, my issue isn’t allowing the people to have the chalice, it is health related.

    1. Yeah but imagine dying from receiving Holy Communion. What a way to go! I go to Mass sometimes at the Ukrainian Catholic church right near us and the priest gives us communion with a spoon. Haven’t heard of any deaths from Communion there either.

      1. I have received that way in Eastern Churches and the priest has it down to an art and the people too, not to touch the spoon with their mouth. And yes I’d be martyred if there was no way out because someone wanted to kill me for being Catholic, not for cleansing chalices that 30 people used.

      2. A very young friend of mine, who is Ukrainian Catholic, describes communion in the following terms: “the priest takes a piece of bread dipped in the wine, then uses the spoon like a ballista to throw it into my mouth.”

    2. Fr. Allan – have gone thru the “germ” scare numerous times since the late 1970’s. The NCCB asked the Federal CDC to do a study and tests on this issue. The CDC study revealed that sharing a communion cup is no more risk than working in joint cubicles.

      Can’t find the link to the study just yet.

      Here is another link to an article about some of the items being discussed here; references to GIRM, etc.
      http://www.paulturner.org/germ_of_the_girm.htm

      Highlight: “Unfortunately, the GIRM will be used as a hammer to clobber a wide range of liturgical practices, both liberal and conservative. The same fate befell the Catechism of the Catholic Church – as it befell the scriptures. People obsessed with making a point will cite chapter and verse of whatever document appears to back them up. At its worst, the GIRM is an invitation to people who suffer obsessive-compulsive disorder to fret over minutiae and fail at the responsibility of communal worship. Does it really matter whether the deacon pours a few drops of water into a carafe of wine or into a chalice? Whether a concelebrant places his left hand under his right (and not vice versa) when taking up the body of Christ for his communion? Whether the celebrant places his left hand on his breast while blessing with the right hand? (I’m not going to give you those paragraph numbers because I don’t want YOU obsessed over those details.)”

      Another insertion from Rev. Robert Taft, SJ:
      “In the last analysis, the solution to Roman Catholic liturgical problems lies not in an idealization of the Council of Trent or the East. Western Catholics, largely ignorant of the riches of their own living tradition, mistakenly look elsewhere for what they already have. I am disappointed at the failure of contemporary Catholics to understand, appreciate and market the riches of their own Latin tradition. Stuck in the aridity of late-medieval theology, the Catholic West has stalled the great movement of…

      1. Bill, maybe a communicant taking a sip one after the other isn’t a big deal for them, although last year’s H1N1 scare seem to cajole us into some commons sense about it. But a priest, deacon or installed acolyte who has to cleanse a cup that has been used by upwards of 30 people, by first drinking what remains of the Precious Blood and then the ablutions following, needs a separate study.
        As well, I ministered to a 18 year old girl who contracted meningitis drinking from a coke can after her boy friend. Before she died she was in isolation, the doctors feared going into her room because the contagion was so dangerous and her skin turned black. And yes, I did go in and anoint her. I would die for that cause but not for poor hygiene when it comes to the common cup and common sense.

      2. Fr. Cody, you’ve just given ammunition to those opposed to glass! Only gold will do. I really wonder what type of cup most parishes use. Ours are pewter with a thin gold plate which has worn off inside the cup. I’ve seen glass which we used prior to its supposed suppression, ceramic and the like. I had a personal chalice that I purchased in England at Canterbury Cathedral some years ago made out of ceramic which I found out some years later also contained lead. Maybe you Anglicans are trying to kill Catholic priests? I don’t use that one anymore, long before it was suppressed. I also wonder how meticulous parish priests and or sacristans are about really washing these cups with hot water and soap after the ablutions have been completed. I really think the state needs to step in and place us under the same common sense laws that apply to food establishments. I wonder what the health department would say in that context. Placing the Church under state law has precedence in terms of now acknowledging we should come under state and federal law in the sex abuse crisis. And finally, I don’t trust those who go against my mother’s common sense about not drinking after anyone, this includes the bishops and the CDC!

      3. No attempted murder, Fr. Allan. One presumes that either the dregs of the chalice, which most of us dilute and pour into the piscina (though I prefer to consume what remains), or the higher alcohol levels will be one’s undoing long before the lead.

        I have four chalices in my possession that I regularly use: one is cut lead crystal — same risk, I guess — one is thick blown glass (a work of art in its own right), one is pottery, and one pewter. All were gifts, and I find different occasions for using them all. I declined the gift of a pricey chalice at ordination. . . maybe someday I’ll find something to my tastes on Ebay?

  6. Bishops may dispense from a host of liturgical regulations, including the minor issue of glass vessels. Priests of the Archdiocese of LA, I believe, are dispensed from the rule about pouring consecrated wine from flagons. and other bishops allow for standing rather than kneeling during the eucharistic prayer. It’s good to see bishops making such pastoral decisions, and who take seriously the principal that unity does not mean uniformity.

    1. +JMJ+

      pouring consecrated wine from flagons

      I wish priests and bishops would find ways to distribute the Precious Blood to the faithful that do not require It to be poured from a flagon into cups/chalices. At my former parish, the priest simply poured the wine into the cups at the Offertory. I don’t think anyone’s sign-sense was offended by there being more than one drinking vessel on the altar.

      allow for standing rather than kneeling during the eucharistic prayer

      Is there an enumeration somewhere of what bishops do and do not have the authority to regulate in the liturgy? I assume a bishop cannot, for example, require a priest to receive Communion only after everyone else; or allow EMHCs to receive in the manner of concelebrants.

      Certainly, a bishop can allow standing instead of kneeling for the Eucharistic Prayer for individuals for good pastoral reasons (cf. GIRM 43), but he certainly would not (could not?) mandate it, right?

      1. A couple years ago i was stunned to see the priest pour the wine right from the bottle into the various metal EMHC chalices right at the altar, and the g.d bottle sat there empty on the altar all during Holy Communion.

    2. RS 106: “pouring of the Blood of Christ after the consecration from one vessel to another is completely to be avoided, lest anything should happen that would be to the detriment of so great a mystery. Never to be used for containing the Blood of the Lord are flagons, bowls, or other vessels that are not fully in accord with the established norms.”

      This too — like the use of glass vessels — is deemed “grave matter”. So Jan, I would like to know why you think this is minor, and why you think bishops can lawfully dispense from this.

    3. I’m not sure this is true. Reprobate practices are no longer eligible to accrue the status of custom. Looking over the debate in the USCCB, we can see that the bishops agreed to the kneeling norm precisely to avoid variations from diocese to diocese. It is a universal norm to kneel for the consecration, however. US bishops were only discussing the US norm about kneeling after the Sanctus.

  7. Almost all of those I know who are advocating the reform of the reform–including those favoring “a liturgy that is as much like the pre-conciliar liturgy as possible”–are doing so precisely with the goal of a fuller and more faithful implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium than we have seen heretofore.

    This includes Pope Benedict–who I understand originated the term “reform of the reform” and is surely its most important advocate–as well as many who attend an EF Mass which they believe to be more faithful to SC than the local OF Mass available to them. (Which in some cases may be true of the highly participative EF Missa Cantata that is typical nowadays–the people singing all the responses and the Ordinary including the Pater Noster–though not of the silent low Mass that may have been the norm for many at one time.)

      1. Do I understand you correctly? You think Pope Benedict is making things up about in seeking a fuller and more faithful implementation of SC?

      2. CHE – Yes.

        I recall when his first book on Jesus came out, he said he’s writing as a theologian, not in exercise of the magisterium, and any scholars are free to disagree with his scholarly views. Surely it’s the same about his liturgical views . “Hermeneutic of continuity” and the alleged errors of the “spirit of the Council” are not defined Catholic teaching. They are his scholarly theories, and I think they’re dead wrong. I think my post on “second spirit” should have made this clear to you.

        Do you believe that one must agree with every opinion and scholarly position of the Pope? That belief has no basis whatsoever in our tradition, was never held by Popes or theologians in the first millennium, or the second, or the third.

        awr

      3. I recall when his first book on Jesus came out, he said he’s writing as a theologian, not in exercise of the magisterium, and any scholars are free to disagree with his scholarly views. Surely it’s the same about his liturgical views.

        It’s not “sure” at all. The very fact that the Pope put the disclaimer in the book points out that this is not ordinarily the case or he wouldn’t have needed to say anything at all. There are of course levels of authority, but a post-synodal exhortation is “surely” above the level of the teaching of a private theologian (as the book was) not “surely” the same.

      4. Fr. Ruff: I think they’re dead wrong. I think my post on “second spirit” should have made this clear to you.

        Indeed, it did. And, of course, I think you are dead wrong. And am glad that this will be decided not by you or me, but by the pendulum of history that now is swinging in the right direction—toward the long delayed and obstructed implementation of the liturgical vision of Vatican II.

      5. The more traditional references in SC that you cite are highly specific, leaving little to no room for nuance. The progressive references you cite are generalizations that can easily be interpreted in a highly traditional way.

        The best evidence is the 1965 RM, which was the Church’s first implementation of SC.

      6. The 1985 Synod of the Bishops should be binding since that is an act of the magisterium. They clearly agreed that the liturgical reform needs some tweaking along traditional lines.

    1. I really do tire of this sort of wishful and contrived history regarding the interpretation and implementation of Vatican II, which makes Orwell’s 1984 look tame.

      Very simply put, the Fathers were there; the Fathers acted. The Fathers went home. The Fathers implemented. If what was happening wasn’t their vision, their intent, their goal, they would have and could have put a stop to it.

      They did not, because it was in fact what they intended, or rather what the Holy Spirit intended through them. (Sorry, inveterate Conciliarist here!) No, not the extreme abuses (of course not!), but the clear updating of the church and its liturgy, bringing it into the cultural forms of the current century, rather than playing as if it belongs to another time and is an island unto itself.

  8. I had never considered the implications of using the reserved sacrament during mass, very good point indeed. I wonder then what ought to happen to consecrated hosts which remain after home and hospital visitations. Are they meant to be consumed by the priest at some time during the week or disposed of in some other way?

    1. There is an art to this — a good sacristan, attention to the patterns of Mass attendance, openness to dividing a few hosts if necessary. The goal is to have only a small number of hosts in the tabernacle — enough for sick calls. Then occasionally, maybe one Sunday Mass, the tabernacle will be used, but not as a habit.

      I would like to say we’ve gotten there. We haven’t. But this is our goal. And I’m sure it would be much harder in a parish with more variable patterns of how many people to expect at each Mass.

      1. Terri is correct. The Mass count at most parishes is pretty stable, and skilled sacristans can easily add or remove hosts with no problems.

        We have it down to a pretty good science. And if there are less than 3 or so hosts remaining (yes: it’s that exact of science: it helps we count attandance at every Mass), we just consume them, as we do our leftover wine. Or divide the few remaining hosts.

        But what about the hosts in the tabernacle? Never on a Sunday, but we’ll allow a deacon on one designated weekday to “parade” to our tabernacle. Sadly, the good Archbishop is correct. The walk to and from the Reservation Chapel is a distraction form the Mass and makes the presider and the assembly passive observers of a very obvious procession.

        I didn’t see a link. Is there a copy of the directives? Could it be emailed to me?

      2. +JMJ+

        Chuck, when does the “parade” to the tabernacle take place? In my previous parish, the tabernacle is in the sanctuary; at my current parish, it’s on the high altar, directly behind the free-standing altar. Thus, it is immediately accessible if needed. When recourse is made to it, it takes place during the Sign of Peace and the Agnus Dei, when other liturgical actions “cover up” the distraction.

      3. Jeffrey

        Why would the recourse to the tabernacle happen *before* Communion? It should normally only happen if there is a shortage discovered during Communion. I mean, someone ought to ordinarily be tasked with topping off the supply of hosts before the Offertory in the event of a sudden change in congregant numbers after Mass begins (in parishes I’ve been in, it’s either the sacristan on duty or an altar server who, during the homily, double checks things visually and then adjusts before Offertory), so I would like to know what community has a rush of congregants show up between the Offertory and Communion that would justify recourse to the tabernacle before Communion?

      4. John

        In Jeffrey’s parish, the tabernacle is in the center of the sanctuary, so that does not explain the timing here. In my parish, the tabernacle is in the transept. Sacristans handle things fine, albeit not instantaneously.

        I suspect the issue is that American Catholics have long developed a practical culture that to hold up the Communion line in any noticeable way is an offense against the Ten Commandments.

      5. +JMJ+

        Karl, as best I can tell, at these two parishes, the number of hosts is determined ahead of time, based on a rolling average, rather tha during the Mass based on a head-count.

        Not to sound old-fashioned, but using the head-count to determine the number of hosts to consecrate could (but does not necessarily) imply that everyone who comes to Mass is receiving Holy Communion, which is not always the case.

        Oh, at daily Mass at the chapel at Princeton, communicants transfer a host from one plate to another as they enter, thus enabling an almost 1-to-1 number of hosts being consecrated. Sometimes someone forgets, so I think there are a few hosts already on the plate, in addition to the priest’s host. The priest then consumes the remaining ones (rarely more than two or three, I think) as he performs the ablutions.

        (The practice I have seen from some priests, to eat the remaining hosts as they’re walking back to the altar, seems a bit crude.)

      6. Jeffrey,

        Our sacristans don’t assume 100% participation. Years of observation have honed their skills of discounting. Again, how anyone can suddenly decide between Offertory and Communion that there’s a problem is mystifying.

      7. While I completely agree that it shouldn’t be that difficult to give Holy Communion almost entirely from Hosts consecrated at a particular Mass, I don’t find it to be the case at my parish (where I’m the one that does the counting) that the number of attendees is pretty stable. We regularly go up and down 40+ attendees from week to week at our main Mass and 20+ at the other Mass where I count.

      8. In the Episcopal Church, a count is requires of attendees and communicants every Sunday (reported annually to the diocese and the national church). The ushers do this, and place a card with the number of attendees on the top of the collection when it comes forward with the gifts. With that information, we can adjust the amount of bread and wine we consecrate.

        So, if there are 150 hosts in the ciborium (based on last year’s attendance) and the count for this year is 182, then I know I need to add 40-50 hosts to the ciborium. Most Episcopal churches keep a vessel — a box or tin — with a stable number of additional hosts on the credence table; also an extra flagon or cruet of wine.

        If the number of hosts in the ciborium is way off — for instance, if there are clearly 200+ in church, and only 50 hosts because last year we had a blizzard on this Sunday — the Altar Guild usually rectifies the situation before the Preparation of the Altar and the Gifts.

        A bit of creative mathematics, preparedness in the sanctuary, and attentive sacristans can overcome most problems.

    2. +JMJ+

      To my knowledge, a consecrated Host is never “disposed of” unless it has become corrupted. It would seem to me that a pastoral and reverent solution would be to make recourse to the tabernacle on occasion.

      By the way, here’s what Pius XII (and Benedict XIV) and Vatican II had to say about this:

      Mediator Dei 118: […] Benedict XIV, wishing to emphasize and throw fuller light upon the truth that the faithful by receiving the Holy Eucharist become partakers of the divine sacrifice itself, praises the devotion of those who, when attending Mass, not only elicit a desire to receive holy communion but also want to be nourished by hosts consecrated during the Mass, even though, as he himself states, they really and truly take part in the sacrifice should they receive a host which has been duly consecrated at a previous Mass. He writes as follows: “And although in addition to those to whom the celebrant gives a portion of the Victim he himself has offered in the Mass, they also participate in the same sacrifice to whom a priest distributes the Blessed Sacrament that has been reserved; however, the Church has not for this reason ever forbidden, nor does she now forbid, a celebrant to satisfy the piety and just request of those who, when present at Mass, want to become partakers of the same sacrifice, because they likewise offer it after their own manner, nay more, she approves of it and desires that it should not be omitted and would reprehend those priests through whose fault and negligence this participation would be denied to the faithful.”

      Sacrosanctum Concilium 55. That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion, receive the Lord’s body from the same sacrifice, is strongly commended. […]

      1. Sorry, Jeffrey, I posted above before I read this comment. This seems to confirm my sense that we are in agreement. Hopefully the clarification will still benefit someone.

    3. I find the whole concept of distributing reserved hosts a non-issue. They are no less the Body of Christ than are the ones just consecrated. At least for Catholics. I thought the faithful participated by joining their sacrifice to that of the priest in persona Christi.

      1. I knew “parade” would get me in trouble. I was referring to the style the deacon carries the elements, raised high in the air, after communion.

        Thus make to my original point: our (rather successful goal) of zero remaining hosts.

        It doesn’t matter where the tabernacle is located.

        It is an “issue” in that more closely ties the Eucharistic Prayer and the sacrifice of the Mass to the communion that is being received.

      2. A non-issue? Good heavens, read some sacramental theology. And the GIRM. And the Council of Trent.
        awr

  9. CHE – given your already stated lack of knowledge about the prior ICEL, its process, and its very good 1998 MR approved by all english speaking bishops’ conferences, what continues to surprise me and what must be frustrating to those who supported and worked for the ICEL, are repeated attempts by many on this blog to rewrite history; to re-interpret based on partial and in some cases incorrect information; continuing to completely miss the point of SC and over 2,000 bishops with expertise/education. So, are we going to continue this fantasy that every ten years uninformed groups are going to try to refashion our liturgy; argue about which quote, document, announcement is currently in vogue, etc.

    Just amazed at the lack of both pastoral and historical knowledge – and yet, the misguided opinions just continue.

    Have posted a number of times on the danger of picking out one quote or even statement by a pope – yes, a pope can do whatever he wants but is it pastorally or even liturgically sound?

    B16 has created lots of chaos by his liturgical decisions and wonder if eventually he will provide some clarity on the damage that has been done.

    1. Well, Bill, I think I’d better just rely on Pope Benedict’s understanding of SC rather than that of secondary sources, even those so well qualified as you. Of course, since my personal opinion is of no account, it’s incidental that the totality of his liturgical thought and praxis agrees with my own modest study of SC and the liturgical vision of Vatican II. Evidently he is moving–after 40 years of cherry picking of the documents of Vatican II by people who disagree with the firm grounding of the Fathers of the Council in tradition—to actually implement SC and its distillation the fruit of a half-century liturgical movement preceding the Council.

      1. In response and allow me to add your 12/10 comment to Fr. Anthony at 2.22PM: “Do I understand you correctly? You think Pope Benedict is making things up about in seeking a fuller and more faithful implementation of SC?”

        Like many of the posts on this blog – B16 is quoted repeatedly. Please understand that popes have opinions and interpretations. That neither makes their pronouncements correct or even pastorally good…they are merely opinions. We have seen the history of B16’s own personal liturgical journey; the fact that he voted with the majority at VII but then quickly changed direction.

        We can debate until the cows come home but who is really cherry picking here in terms of documents; rewriting history; rewriting liturgical practice and development. Why, just recently on another post, you guys were arguing that SP was really a “radical” liturgical change. So, which is it – you seem to be all over the place.

        Sorry – your statement that this pope is moving past those who “cherry picked” Vatican II so he can actually implement SC and its distillation – the fruit of a half-century liturgical movement preceding the Council. Do you really believe that? Have you ever read, studied, or listened to those early 20th century liturgical experts – do you think that Congar, Jungmann, Parsch, etc. would really align themselves with what has been going on for the last 10 years?

      2. “We have seen the history of B16’s own personal liturgical journey; the fact that he voted with the majority at VII but then quickly changed direction.”

        I have not seen any change in his direction. He has always supported faithful implementation of the liturgical vision of the Council.

        I was here before Vatican II, when many or most parishes had made little progress in implementing the liturgical reform urged since Pius X by all the 20th century popes preceding the Council.

        I was here during and after the Council itself. My archbishop was a key player in the liturgy during Vatican II and on the post-conciliar commission to implement SC. As a liturgy leader in his “liturgical lab” parish, I felt I had a ringside view of the excitement.

        The Observatore Romano article reporting the Dec. 4, 1963 final approval of SC (by a vote of 2,147 to 4) concluded with the words

        ”When St. Peter’s Basilica resounded with these great words [of Sacrosanctum Concilium], the bones of St. Pius X exulted. The Constitution on the Liturgy is nothing but the precious fruit of a small seed sown by him [in his 1903 instruction with its emphasis on actuosa participation]. It is also the beginning of a new era in the liturgical life of the Church.”

        [ continued below ]

      3. This prospect of a glorious reinvigoration of the liturgy was exhilarating to all of us who had been waiting in excitement and anticipation. But now, 40 years later, we’re still waiting. Instead of a gloriously renewed Mass, we see in too many places a tawdry offense to Our Lord whose Holy Sacrifice and Sacred Banquet it is. Not the worst is that, instead of the people joining in singing the Mass itself, as the Fathers of the Council anticipated, in many or most parishes they are asked to sing along to puerile ditties that a self-respecting camper would find embarrassing to sing around the fire before bedtime.

        Evidently, Pope Benedict believes that what has happened is a massive betrayal of Vatican II by much of the Church. But liturgical hijackers can no longer claim ownership of SC. It is time for the Council’s reform to be implemented fully and faithfully. I may not see the true reform finished, but I thank God that I lived long enough to see it begun.

      4. “Instead of a gloriously renewed Mass, we see in too many places a tawdry offense to Our Lord whose Holy Sacrifice and Sacred Banquet it is.”

        CHE, how do you know that the Lord is offended? Clearly you are offended, but is the Lord?

  10. Gregg – would suggest that this bishop reframed and focused on good pastoral issues. In the process, he managed to skirt the primary reason for this change – a new missal based on a new translation that followed new rules. In some ways, his reframing meets all of the points that a public relations firm would suggest when introducing change that folks know will meet resistance. Not exactly the best way to proceed in an adult church with educated catholics. What happens when the new translation creates questions, problems? Did he really address that?

  11. Deacon Fritz, I had forgotten you were from Baltimore, a great city and a great Archdiocese! And despite its liberality, a great seminary at St. Mary’s, best years of my life there. This past September, Archbishop O’Brien was the main celebrant for the 200th anniversary of my former parish in Augusta which when established in 1810 was done so by Bishop Carroll of Baltimore as Georgia was a part of that see at the time.
    Archbishop O’Brien was also stationed at Augusta’s Fort Gordon in the early 70’s as an army chaplain. Also, my pastoral field placement was at St. Isaac Jogues in 1978/79 with the late, great Fr. J. J. Cronin.

  12. I’ll start off by saying that I think the Archbishop’s statement is good: not over the top, quietly putting across some good points. Now for other comments here…

    First, Jeffrey Pinyan:
    I wish priests and bishops would find ways to distribute the Precious Blood to the faithful that do not require It to be poured from a flagon into cups/chalices. iAt my former parish, the priest simply poured the wine into the cups at the Offertory. I don’t think anyone’s sign-sense was offended by there being more than one drinking vessel on the altar.

    Jeffrey, you obviously have no knowledge of Ordo Romanus I in which not only was the pouring from one chalice into another at the Fraction normative but carried a high symbolic meaning and was very important in the rite. This was what the earlier Christian Church did, and they had no problem with it. Your scruples are misplaced, I fear.

    Here’s Jeffrey again:
    To my knowledge, a consecrated Host is never “disposed of” unless it has become corrupted. It would seem to me that a pastoral and reverent solution would be to make recourse to the tabernacle on occasion.

    I fear this only shows how little you know about Communion to the Sick, and the (comparatively short) history of the tabernacle, which arose as a functional receptacle for Communion to the sick and housebound and not as a “parking place” for consecrated hosts (what an insult!), let alone a focus for devotion.

    Regarding Communion from the tabernacle, here’s GIRM:
    85. It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the priest himself is bound to do, receive the Lord’s Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the instances when it is permitted, they partake of the chalice (cf. no. 283), so that even by means of the signs Communion will stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.

    And the Bishops of England and Wales, commenting on this in their document….

    1. Celebrating the Mass 206:

      The faithful are not ordinarily to be given Communion from the tabernacle. When, for genuine pastoral reasons, for example, the late arrival of unexpected numbers, the bread consecrated at the Mass must be supplemented with the Body of the Lord consecrated and reserved in the tabernacle after a previous Mass, this may be brought reverently but without ceremony from the tabernacle to the altar at the Breaking of the Bread.

      Allan says:

      The GIRM though in USA adaptations does see “intinction” by a cleric or Extraordinary Ministers as an option after the common chalice. Can a bishop forbid a local parish from using a method that is approved in the adaptation, albeit not the first choice? I ask the question seriously.

      I take it, Allan, that you do not subscribe to the notion that a Bishop is the Chief Liturgist in his diocese. He can make, and indeed has in this case made, particular law which takes precedence in his diocese over universal laws, in the same way that the conference of bishops can do the same thing.

      And talking about intinction, this is a total breach of liturgical law in England and Wales. It should quite simply never be happening. The rationale behind this ought, in my opinion, be applied to all countries with thinking episcopal conferences.

      1. Paul, please see my comment #31 above, for a reminder that the Precious Blood is not to be poured.

        As for practices of old recorded in Ordo Romanus I — isn’t it past time we retired this quaint hobby of archaeologizing the Mass?

      2. Paul, I’m glad you are calling for obedience to bishops when making particular law in a diocese. This of course will hold true for all when the new translation is implemented and all will do it in the spirit of obedience you require for not using intinction. And yes, it is in our USA adaptation by the American bishops. So as a group they can be unthinking but as individuals liturgical thinking is primary.

      3. Robert, my point is that the current prohibition on pouring in RS — a document whose history is more than somewhat notorious — shows ignorance of the earlier tradition of the Church.

      4. The GIRM is very specific about those few places where a bishop can make modifications in the sacred liturgy. Following Paul’s logic there would be no need to request an indult for anything. The history of the liturgy since the council is replete with requested indults and replies either favorable or not. In the USA, for example, the laity no longer purify the vessels. I recall a few instances where
        local ordinary approved abuses re. general absolution and 1st communion before 1st confession had to be curtailed by Rome after 1970.

      5. “Intinction” is listed as one of the favorable ways to administer holy communion. I know it is extremely unpopular to progressive liturgists but restricting what the liturgy allows, and even favors, is extremely unjust, IMHO. It is the imposition of one’s personal piety and favored practices on the faithful at large. It is another post-conciliar example of the “pray, pay, and obey” model of leadership.
        The possibility of diocesan bishops forbiding intinction came up at the USCCB meeting in 11/2002. The bishops
        acknowledged that they cannot forbid something the Church allows. US Norms for distributing holy communion even remind bishops that intinction is preferable to the common chalice at times (“Norms for the Celebration and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America-2002 #24). Additionally, Sacramentali Communione (1970) also lists occasions where intinction is preferable to the common chalice. Restricting intinction seems, therefore,
        to obstruct progress made at Vatican II.

      6. As far as I know, intinction is one instance of of something completely novel introduced into the Roma Rite after Vatican II. Perhaps someone knows of a precedent, and I’m willing to be corrected on this, but to my knowledge the only way of of receiving communion in the West is either directly from the chalice or via a fistula. Which is why it is puzzling that it seems favored by some traditionalists, given that it is not a part of the tradition.

      7. Fritz, the rationale behind standing for Holy Communion is that it is the earlier tradition of the Church, but really is mostly associated with the Eastern Church. Yes it is a sign of being raised up with Christ. So if no one is complaining about using an Eastern Practice that goes to the early Church of the East when it comes to promoting standing for Holy Communion, what is wrong with intinction in progressive eyes? I don’t get it.

      8. I think the problem with intinction is that it’s not the earliest tradition of the Church, East or West. Drinking from the chalice is. I think the latter is a much better expression of the meaning of communion (with the Lord, and with one another). Robert Taft has written on this point.

        BTW, I don’t think the principle for liturgists is “If the East does it, it’s OK,” nor is it ‘If we can borrow one thing, we can borrow anything.” Rather, I think the traditions of the churches East and West present great possibilities which we examine critically to see if they are suitable for our use, based on our current (limited) understanding of worship.

        awr

      9. Fr. McDonald,

        I guess my point is that intinction was never a Western practice (as standing for communion was), so it is curious that traditionalists — who loathe standing for communion — seem to prefer intinction to receiving directly from the chalice. I guess it just strikes me as inconsistent.

        I suppose a similar instance is the inclusion of an explicitly pneumatological epiclesis on the elements in the canon. As far as we know, the Roman rite never had one, and its presence in our Rite seems to be purely an importation from the East. I happen to think that in this case it is a good importation (given liturgical expression to what has been a part of our theological tradition: the view that it is the Spirit who is the agent of consecration), but then I’m not a traditionalist (most of whom seem to loathe the new epiclesis-including EPs), at least in that sense.

      10. I think traditionalists like intinction because it allows us to retain the tradition of kneeling for communion while still effectively accomplishing the ideal of receiving Jesus under the appearance of both bread and wine. It also helps reduce the number of people needed to distribute communion, allowing more people to receive from the priest (another ideal).

        I receive communion standing on a regular basis (and almost always receive from the chalice) and have no problem with the practice apart from the universal way in which it seemed to be imposed with no regard for inculturation or living tradition. I also dislike the insensitive, wasteful, and often unnecessary way Churches have been remodeled to supposedly accommodate it

      11. And I here I thought that traditionalists liked intinction (clergy dips host into chalice, places on communicant’s tongue) because it pretty much rules out communion in the hand, or a layperson grasping the chalice.

      12. I’ve only done intinction one time and that was this past Corpus Christi while the ban on the common cup was was still in place. I explained to people that if they chose to receive in the hand they would not receive an “intincted” host and that we would have two host stations with EMs that would not be intincting. In my line, everyone except for about ten people received by intinction and many for the first time receiving on the tongue. I asked for feed back from those receiving after Mass and they said it was fine, no one complained.
        While some traditionalist might be rigid about things, I do think the hermeneutic of flexibility is built into our reformed Missal and in the USA adaptations for the GIRM. If it is allowed by law, why say it is liturgically incorrect? When I was in Vienna I attended a Mass where people received Holy Communion at the altar railing. Some stood, some kneeled, no one blinked an eye at that diversity. As already stated my me ad nauseam, my opposition to the common cup concerns hygiene, and that has little to do with theology or what Fr. Anthony says about the common cup as a better sign of being “in communion” with the Lord.

      13. Paul,

        You wrote: “He [the diocesan bishop] can make … particular law which takes precedence in his diocese over universal laws, in the same way that the conference of bishops can do the same thing.”

        I wonder if you could substantiate this statement, please. (I’m not trying to be contentious — just to learn.) I have wrestled with this matter on several occasions. Can. 381 grants all “ordinary, proper, and immediate power” to the diocesan bishop, but this power is not absolute, as is made clear by the exception stated “for cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority or to another ecclesiastical authority” (Can. 381).

        In his book, Liturgy and Law (Wilson & Lafleur, 2006), John Huels writes, ” …. the bishop’s power in universal law to adapt the liturgy for his diocese — in the sense of introducing a variation in the Roman Rite — is virtually non-existent, much in contrast with the broad authority he possessed prior to Trent. Making liturgical adaptations by particular law — in the strict sense of a variation from the Roman norm — is nearly exclusively the competence of the conference of bishops and the Holy See” (p. 123).

        Are there other sources to which I should refer?
        Thanks,
        Pat

    2. +JMJ+

      Jeffrey, you obviously have no knowledge…

      Paul, I do have knowledge of the Ordo Romanus I, I just don’t know as much about it as you do. I only found out about it a few months ago. Could you give a person the benefit of the doubt?

      I do know something about the various rites which took place around the Fraction in the O.R. I (e.g. the fermentum and the sancta), but I was not aware of the pouring from the chalice. (After a quick look, it appears to be mentioned in one of the appendices of the Atchley text which I had not read through.)

      how little you know about Communion to the Sick, and the (comparatively short) history of the tabernacle, which arose as a functional receptacle for Communion to the sick and housebound

      Again, you assume things about me instead of simply asking me. I did a bit of research on the history of the tabernacle for a talk I gave at my parish on Eucharistic adoration a couple of years ago. Yes, I do know about the original use of the tabernacle as a place of reservation of the Sacrament for the sick and homebound.

      Is the “Eucharistic dove” (the tabernacle/pyx in the form of a dove suspended above the altar) actually much newer than I had read? (I thought St. Basil had one.)

      What an insult!

      You have such a condescending tone with me and a few others here and it really makes me want to just stop commenting altogether. (Cue Chris Grady…)

  13. Jeffrey: I’m not trying to be condescending, just asking for a more rigorous application of historical accuracy before people post.

    In the instance you mention, you had given the impression that you thought of the tabernacle as a sort of parking place for the Blessed Sacrament. I accept that this was not your intention and that my interpretation was incorrect.

    1. +JMJ+

      In addition to reserving the Blessed Sacrament for distributing to the sick and homebound, is it such a bad thing that the tabernacle has developed into a focus of devotion in the Western tradition?

  14. Yes, Jeffrey for all the reasons stated by Vatican II; by theologians and liturgists that were supported by the church. It impacts ecclesiology; our theological understanding of ourselves; etc.

    Loosely, what developed from the late middle ages was seen as an accretion (not a logical development) via ressourcement.

    1. I guess some folks just can’t get the message.

      The First International Conference on Eucharistic Adoration will be held in Rome (Italy) from June 20 to June 23, 2011.

      * Cardinal Francis ARINZE, Emeritus Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship
      * Cardinal Raymond BURKE, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Vatican City
      * Cardinal Antonio CAÑIZARES LLOVERA, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship
      * Cardinal Malcolm RANJITH, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, former Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship
      * Cardinal Mauro PIACENZA, President of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican City
      * Cardinal Peter TURKSON, President of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace, Vatican City
      * Bishop Giovanni D’ERCOLE, Auxiliary Bishop of L’Aquila, Italy
      * Bishop D. José Ignacio MUNILLA – Bishop of San Sebastian, Spain
      * Bishop Dominique REY, Bishop of the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon, France
      * Bishop Athanasius SCHNEIDER, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan Fr Nicolas BUTTET, Founder of the Eucharistein Community, St-Maurice, Switzerland
      * Fr Mark KIRBY, Prior of the Diocesan Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa, Oklahoma
      * Fr Florian RACINE , Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, Sanary, France
      * Mother Adela GALINDO, Foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, USA
      * Sr. Joseph, Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta, India

      1. What message can’t we get, and what does this list of people help us get? I’m no opponent of reservation or Benediction (I do the latter every year with the kids in the National Catholic Youth Choir). I ask sincerely.
        awr

        awr

      2. It occurred to me that this might be an interesting list of notables who had not gotten Bill’s message (in reply to Jeffrey) that reservation and focus on the tabernacle was a bad thing.

      3. Like Fr Ruff I am no opponent of eucharistic adoration; we have daily Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and frequent Benediction and Exposition during retreats and at various times of the year. Some years ago I asked the parish priest of one of the more dynamic London parishes to explain the the secret of their amazing social action programme — a real source of benefit to the urban homeless. “It’s simple,” he said: “eucharistic adoration.” And I believe that.

        As for the notables at the Rome conference, I am sure they will all agree with one another. No doubt they will commend one anothers’ erudition and insight. I look forward to enthusiastic reports on any number of well-known blogs.

        However, will any of these notables raise critical questions about eucharistic adoration? Take seriously the questions that people like Bill have raised and engage with them? I hope so, but given that list I’m not at all optimistic.

      4. +JMJ+

        CHE’s tongue-in-cheek reply was that the attendees of that conference had not gotten word that the development of the tabernacle as a focus of devotion was a bad idea.

        Jonathan: will any of these notables raise critical questions about eucharistic adoration? Take seriously the questions that people like Bill have raised and engage with them?

        What questions has Bill raised here? His reply to me was a bit vague… I’ll follow up with Bill at his reply.

    2. +JMJ+

      Bill, I assume you’re responding to my question about the development of the tabernacle, but I think you’re conflating the distribution of previously consecrated Hosts (the “parking place” concept, as Paul put it) with Eucharistic devotion in general (which I was referring to). I already know what Vatican II (and Benedict XIV and Pius XII) wrote about receiving Hosts consecrated at the Mass being celebrated, and I agree with it.

      Regardless of the purpose for which the Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle, Its presence there is worthy of our attention and devotion. I don’t see how that negatively impacts our ecclesiology or our theological understanding of ourselves. And I don’t see it as an illogical development or accretion.

      If you could go into more detail in your answer (as you usually do!), I’d appreciate it.

  15. Mr Howard,

    Perhaps you’re right, but I’m still of the opinion that it’s probably better to make do with what one has, that is serviceable, than expend the resources required to obtain new ones when resources are limited. It’s doesn’t quite amount to getting ‘new’ for new’s sake, but it seems to come uncomfortably close. For me, anyway.

    I kind of wonder how St. Benedict would view it, actually. I can imagine a couple of possible responses from him based on things I read in his Rule, but it’s of course not possible to be sure how he would stack the competing values at hand.

    Samuel J. Howard :

    Lynn, you’re missing my point. If parishes are using glass vessels out of poverty, there are plenty of people across the United States that would be willing to donate money (or unused vessels) so that they have ones more worthy of the sacrament. Folks like Fr. Z and others would, I’m sure, be happy to publicize such replacement campaigns. Chalices can be very expensive, but simple gold-plated ones are not that pricey.

  16. Jeffrey – thanks. It would be too long to try to explain but allow me to start with one of the key goals that the bishops had at Vatican II – it was support Christian unity. From that goal came many others via documents on religious freedom, ecumenism, and even SC on liturgy. Will grant that Trent was a “reform” council but, per historical/liturgical ressourcement, we also know that Trent was a reaction to Protestantism and this carried over in many of its delinations including at times an over-emphasis on some eucharistic practices that continued through the 20th century. Vatican II attempted to reframe eucharistic theology and how our liturgical practices support that theology – more of a both/and rather than a reaction.

    CHE – with Fr. Anthony, what message? Your list contains the heart of the “reform of the reform”; great sympathizers with Ottaviani with little understanding of liturgy. Arinze, Ranjith, Burke – please, they only created chaos in liturgy ….truly practice the hermeneutic of rupture. Notice how many of these have had to be moved; put in positions where they no longer impact the worldwide church.

    Talk to the folks in the STL archdiocese – celebrated with the departure of Burke; Kirby in Tulsa (home of Slattery); it could go on and on….

    Note that there are very few “ordinary” bishops in this list? Do you see any prominent US bishops? Any bishops who are noted for their pastoral sense, writings, experience?

    1. +JMJ+

      Bill, I hope I’m not misunderstanding you.

      one of the key goals that the bishops had at Vatican II was Christian unity

      And Eucharistic adoration, which seems to me to be a strictly Western devotion, is opposed to Christian unity? It’s a turn-off to other Christians, perhaps?

      Trent [had] at times an over-emphasis on some eucharistic practices that continued through the 20th century

      Like Eucharistic exposition, benediction, processions, etc.

      Vatican II attempted to reframe eucharistic theology and how our liturgical practices support that theology – more of a both/and rather than a reaction.

      I’m sorry, but I don’t see where Vatican II’s reframing of Eucharistic theology affects the validity or worth or desirability of adoring the Eucharist even in the tabernacle. Would not taking a “both/and” approach be favorable to continuing the practice? Cultivation of Eucharistic devotion is a good thing, no? Adoration is one of the avenues to that devotion.

      And besides, we have documents like Mysterium Fidei of Paul VI Eucharisticum Mysterium of the Sac. Cong. of Rites.

      1. Jeffrey – again, space limits an adequate response but many liturgists at Vatican II ressourced both ecclesiology and liturgical theology and recommended that an over-emphasis on the tabernacle; adoration, etc. was misplaced. The center of our worship, our community, and our sacraments is the Eucharist – not the tabernacle; and not even adoration. Eucharist is at heart the action of the community. Tabernacles, in some ways, were an accretion and not even a major part of the church’s worship and yet they had moved to the center in many settings. This was the point of moving away for an over-emphasis – towards early church understandings of eucharist; of the liturgy of the hours; etc. rather than what had happened (in some ways as a Trentan reform action to Protestant liturgy).

        Allow me to link to Ratzinger’s comments about this: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=935

        Highlight: “the return to Christian origins and the pruning of certain accretions that often enough concealed the original liturgical nucleus; examples: priority of Sunday over saints’ days; of mystery over devotion, of “simple structure over the rank growth of forms”; “defrosting’ of ritual rigidity; restoration of the liturgy of the Word…..”
        ”a more active participation of the laity, the inclusion of the whole table-fellowship of God in the holy action”.
        “in the late Middle Ages, when “awareness of the real essence of Christian worship increasingly vanished. Great importance was attached to externals, and these choked out the whole.” Trent’s reaction to Reformation challenges was inadequate, even if it eliminated a number of abuses. It did not sufficiently deal with Reformation difficulties with the notions of adoration and sacrifice. It did cut back the medieval overgrowth and took measures to prevent it in the future.”

      2. +JMJ+

        Bill: The center of our worship, our community, and our sacraments is the Eucharist – not the tabernacle; and not even adoration.

        I don’t know anyone who seriously believes that the tabernacle or adoration are “the center of our worship [and] community.” Of course the Eucharist is the center! It just so happens that the tabernacle is related to the Eucharist, and adoration is a way of expressing the centrality of the Eucharist in our lives.

        Tabernacles may be an “accretion”, but I think they have shown themselves to be a necessary one. The sign value of having our Lord substantially present in His churches at all times — except for those few precious and solemn hours when the tabernacle is deliberately emptied! — is very important.

        I would not say the “centrality” of the tabernacle is about the tabernacle itself, but about the fact that it contains the Eucharist (potentially) at all times. As John Paul II wrote in Redemptor Hominis, the Eucharist is a three-fold sacrament: sacrifice, communion, and presence. Even at Mass, when the Eucharist has not yet been consecrated, Jesus is present in the Eucharist in the tabernacle. This is not a bad thing or a conflicting sign. If you recall, only a few days ago it was pointed out on this blog that Advent is not just about the previous coming and future coming of Christ, but also about His present coming every day. Well… the Mass is the same way, vis a vis the Eucharistic presence of the Lord.

  17. Father R>>Do you believe that one must agree with every opinion and scholarly position of the Pope? That belief has no basis whatsoever in our tradition, was never held by Popes or theologians in the first millennium, or the second, or the third.<<

    I think when you have doubts about a pope's direction, those who have taken a vow of obedience do owe the Holy Father the benefit of a doubt. I do believe pope's can act wrong and lead wrong,(but not Teach wrong!) and that is where the Church must be acted upon by the Sensus Fidelium which is also guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Newman points out how, when world of "bishops' conferences" had tried to rob Our Lord of his Divinity, it was the faithful who pressured the Church away from Arianism. I don't think it is the roll of priests and religious to second guess the Holy Father's liturgical inititiatives. Their vows preclude mutiny.

    1. Here’s Newman on the problems of an old pope, written when Pius IX was in office:

      “He becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it.”

      The Pope can’t teach wrong? Really? We’ve been over this ground so many times on Pray Tell. Popes defended slavery, persecution of Jews, the natural inferiority of women, and condemned freedom of press, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, democracy, separation of Church and state.

      I’m not a Jesuit – remember, Benedictines don’t take a vow of obedience to the Pope.

      I really want to hear and respect conservative views – but all sides, including conservatives, need to face up to the difficult facts of history.

      awr

      1. I do think you lump many things which the pope can err, i.e. which king/regime to support, whether a people would be better off under a particular democracy or monarchy, whether immediate manumission or gradual is better, whether house bill #### will be prudent, (whether a public endorsement of 'lesser evils' will clarify things or muddy them), …..in together with things on which he cannot err.

        there are two issues here, 1.what is papal infallibilty? and 2. What loyalty is the pope owed from priests and religious? [even when he might be wrong] I mentioned both so I accept responsible for the confusion. Sorry.

        My point, made badly, is I think it is sinful for priests and/or religious to campaign and stir rebellion against a pope. period. If a priest/deacon/religious has a problem, then they must go thru their own channels and communicate with the Holy Father himself- if need be.

        If the hoped for 'pitchfork' rebellion against Benedict XVI 's liturgical reforms never materializes…. I think you must accept them …and move on.

      2. Re. Fr. Anthony’s quote from Newman, that was one of Archbishop Lefebvre’s points too, a pope can err in his pastoral judgment. Pope Benedict XVI made the same point in a different way. He explains that the pope is the servant of tradition, not its master. That is one of the reasons why his pastoral sensitivity included the SP and the Extraordinary Form. It is also why he could never authorize the ordination of women.

      3. Jack Nolan,

        Help me understand your point – I don’t follow what you wrote. It sounds like you’re saying that Popes can err, which is why the Pope can’t ordain women because then he would err. ??

        awr

      4. A pope can err in his pastoral judgment. Newman, Archbishop Lefebvre, and seemingly, at least one Benedictine agree on this. The pope is the servant of tradition. The popes cannot ordain women because that action would presume that the popes are the masters of our tradition, not the servants of it.

      5. Thanks, that helps.

        I’m not sure, though, that a neat distinction between “servant” and “master” really works. The Popes all taught for ages that women are naturally inferior, and that’s the reason they can’t be ordained. Women aren’t meant for leadership – in society, in the home, or in the Church. When the Popes reversed that teaching (I believe with Paul VI, I’m not aware of J23 speaking to this), weren’t they acting as master of tradition? That looks like a pretty massive change to me, perhaps bigger than the change to ordaining women would be.

        I don’t advocate the ordination of women or reject the Church’s current (and changing!) teachings on the topic. I admit that I do favor opening up the discussion, and it seems likely to me that someday, probably very far off, the teaching would develop to allow for it. (But I don’t know that either.) Given how doctrinal traditions are by nature evolutionary, given how our traditions have developed over the centuries, it seems to me that the Popes, by trying to shut down all discussion on the question, are very much acting as masters of the tradition. They’re trying to control its development, even for their successors.

        awr

      6. I’m not certain how accepting that the Church’s doctrine on holy orders will develop one day to allow for the ordination of women differs from rejecting the Church’s existing teaching that she does not have the authority to ordain women. After all, if she can one day develop her doctrine to do so, she must have the authority to do so today.
        Accepting that our authority to reshape Church beliefs and practices is limited is a challenge for many but to me it remains one of the most consoling aspects of Catholic Christianity.

  18. Jack,

    A fair point, or two of them. Most parishes _should_ be able to obtain metal vessels. But, for the sake of having a good rule, or at least knowing what exceptions are proper, what of the situation when no other vessels are available at an affordable price? It may be rare, but ‘rare’ is not ‘cannot possibly occur’. It’s always worth checking against the extreme, hopefully in a thought experiment, before that situation arises and bites someone.

    Jack Wayne :

    I was thinking the same thing as John – some parishes using glass do so even though they have gold or silver sitting in a closet.
    In older areas where there are a lot of parishes closing, there should be no excuse for parishes using glass vessels. What is exactly is happening to all the vessels from these closed parishes? Most people, in my experience, like it far more when the things their parents and grandparents bought for worship reappear in a local parish after theirs closes than to hear it was sold off to some salvaged goods place.

  19. Jack Nolan said The possibility of diocesan bishops forbiding intinction came up at the USCCB meeting in 11/2002. The bishops
    acknowledged that they cannot forbid something the Church allows. US Norms for distributing holy communion even remind bishops that intinction is preferable to the common chalice at times (”Norms for the Celebration and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America-2002 #24). Additionally, Sacramentali Communione (1970) also lists occasions where intinction is preferable to the common chalice. Restricting intinction seems, therefore,
    to obstruct progress made at Vatican II.

    This is not quite correct. It is not necessary for a bishops’ conference to forbid intinction for it to be impossible to administer; and there are situations (see below) where intinction is quite simply undesirable.

    Inaestimabile Donum and other pronouncements make it clear that a communicant may never dip. This counts as self-service Communion, which is forbidden. I think everyone here is in agreement with this.

    But In England and Wales the minister of Communion may not dip either without breaching liturgical law. This is because in these countries the choice of whether to receive in the hand or on the tongue is the communicant’s choice, not the minister’s, according to the regulations established by the Conference years ago for the reception of Communion in the hand.

    Therefore a minister who dips a host into a chalice is illegally removing that choice and forcing a communicant to receive on the tongue. Not only that, but someone who is unable to receive under the form of wine, whether for medical or other reasons, is thereby denied the possibility of receiving Communion at all. That is not a good situation for the Church to be in.

    So, to sum up, the E&W bishops have not forbidden anything, but their sensible legislation has the same effect.

    1. If a station is set up that is dedicated to ministration via intinction, without forcing communicants to go to that station, it would seem to eliminate the problem.

  20. What Paul Inwood said was also the case in the USA until the illogical change in 2002. It still remains true that whether a communicant receives in the hand or on the tongue is the choice of the communicant, not the minister. Also, whether a communicant wishes to receive under both kinds when it is offered is also the choice of the communicant.

    Karl’s suggestion is a possibility as long as the chalice is offered to communicants who choose to receive the Body of Christ in the hand. A traddie pastor will reveal his true intentions if he offers communion under both kinds to communicants who wish to receive on the tongue but not to those who choose to receive in the hand.

  21. I honestly did not want to take the time to read through all of the above comments. I only wanted to say that I found Archbishop O’Brien’s guidelines very positive and hopefully can be followed by anyone regardless of whether you find yourself in a traditional or more progressive place regarding the sacred liturgy.

  22. The only one who can administer Holy Communion via intinction is the priest and/or bishop, not an EMHC and not a deacon. That is what the CDWDS told me when I presented them with the issue. Furthermore, intinction is also meant to eliminate the usage of EMHCs, whose over-usage has been rather problematic.

    Furthermore, regarding the use of glassware, RS is not merely some instruction. It was promulgated by the venerable Pope John Paul II for release to curb liturgical abuse. Incidentally, the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger also had a hand in writing this. In addition, the use of glassware is reprobate and is listed as a grave matter in RS.

    1. Why a deacon, who is an ordinary minister of the Eucharist, could not administer communion by intinction is beyond me.

      Do the rule have to have a rationale, or is the only thing that matters is that they are rules?

      1. RS 154. “As has already been recalled, ‘the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest’. Hence the name ‘minister of the Eucharist’ belongs properly to the Priest alone.

      2. “Can. 910 sec. 1: The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon.”

        I guess if one wants to distinguish a minister of the Eucharist from a minister of communion. . . but I think my initial remark was pretty obviously referring to the ministering communion.

  23. @Ramirez #126

    You conveniently left out the next line from your quotation of RS 154: “Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ’s faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.”

    So, Fritz’s question still stands.

  24. The mingling of the Body and Blood of Christ is a priestly action. At the Fraction Rite, the deacon is not the one who mingles the Body and Blood of Christ; it is the celebrant who does this.

    1. Well, at least that is a reason. Not a terribly convincing one, based as it is in one of the more speculative corners of Baroque scholasticism. But it’s an attempt, and that has to count for something.

  25. Beware of people without a background in ecclesiastical law, including officials of the CDWDS, saying what “the law” is. Concerning what Michaelle says about what such an official of CDWDS told her about ministers of holy communion, there is no law whatsoever to back up what she claims he (or she?) said.

    The case of female altar servers is highly instructive. There has been no law banning female altar servers since the revised Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983, because that code compeletely replaced the 1917 CIC, which DID contain such a ban, while the 1983 Code did not retain that law from the 1917 Code.

    For a decade or so (until 1994) a number of bishops in the USA followed the new Code and permitted female altar servers. These bishops were lambasted in the press, reported to the Vatican, and CDWDS officials (both secretaries AND prefects) sent them some of the most threatening letters I have ever seen from the Apostolic See. Finally, an authentic intempretation came from the Vatican in 1994, saying in effect that there HAS BEEN no ban on female altar servers since 1983. The law was NOT changed in 1994; the ruling was saying the law HAD BEEN changed in 1983. As far as I know, apologies were never sent to the “errant” bishops (who had, in fact, been acting within the law) by the CDWDS or The Wanderer.

  26. Actually, I trust what the CDWDS states because it is the supreme body here. It acts with and in the name of the Holy Father. Thus, caution against them is unwarranted and, with all due respect, shows very little respect for the Congregation. If we were to examine RS and the GIRM it specifically uses the word “sacerdos” and not “minister” in the sections dealing with intinction. Even in the Norms for Distribution of Holy Communion in the United States, only the priest is specifically mentioned when it comes to intinction.

    If Fr. Krisman disagrees with the CDWDS, perhaps he would not mind contacting them directly. As for me, I trust the answers that were given to me by the two priests that I spoke to from that Congregation. In fact, they have been most helpful on other issues as well. Rather than cast stones at the CDWDS, these should be respected. After all, the policy does come from the CDWDS and who better than they to interpret what has already been put forth?

    The calls for caution, in my opinion, are unwarranted and unfounded.

    1. Michelle Romani,
      If you think the CDWDS is the supreme body, you need to study the basics of liturgical law. Your claim is simply false.
      awr

  27. Then, Fr. with all due respect, please enlighten me as to what is. It seems that there is a trend here in this blog to try and discredit the CDWDS. I trust their interpretation of the matter of intinction since they are the liturgical authority here, not those who would encouraging discrediting the Congregation.

    1. There have been several articles in Worship, eg. soon after RS came out, and other journals, on the levels of authority of the liturgical books, the GIRM, canon law, and the CDW instruction. You might want to look at those, and also the various books on liturgical law eg by John Huels. Introductory liturgiology books sometimes have a section on liturgical law, or you might look at the entries on liturgical law in lexicons like the New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, with the bibliographies found there. See also either edition of the code by the Canon Law Society with their excellent commentary. Alas, I don’t think a blog commbox is the place to try to summarize or convey all this. I hope this is at least somewhat helpful.
      awr

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