Re-Reading Sacrosanctum Concilium: Article 48

Jonathan Day has kindly agreed to provide the “slavishly literal translation” for our article-by-article reading of Chapter Two the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and we welcome his contribution starting with today’s installment.

Vatican website translation:

The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God’s word and be nourished at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator [38], they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

Latin text:

48. Itaque Ecclesia sollicitas curas eo intendit ne christifideles huic fidei mysterio tamquam extranei vel muti spectatores intersint, sed per ritus et preces id bene intellegentes, sacram actionem conscie, pie et actuose participent, verbo Dei instituantur, mensa Corporis Domini reficiantur, gratias Deo agant, immaculatam hostiam, non tantum per sacerdotis manus, sed etiam una cum ipso offerentes, seipsos offerre discant, et de die in diem consummentur, Christo Mediatore, in unitatem cum Deo et inter se (38), ut sit tandem Deus omnia in omnibus.
(38) Cf. S. CYRILLUS ALEX., Commentarium in Ioannis Evangelium, lib. XI, capp. XI-XII: PG 74, 557-565, praesertim 564-565.

Slavishly literal translation [Jonathan Day]:

48. Therefore, the Church exerts anxious pains to this end, lest the Christian faithful be present in this mystery of faith as strangers or as mute spectators; [she seeks] rather that, thoroughly understanding the rites and prayers, they should participate in the sacred action, aware of what they are doing, devotedly and actively; that they should be instructed by the word of God, nourished at the table of the Body of the Lord; that they should give thanks to God, offering the immaculate Victim not only through the priest’s hands but also as one with him; that they should learn to offer themselves, and that day by day they should be brought to perfection, through Christ the Mediator, and into unity with God and among themselves [38], so that in the end God may be all in all.

[38] Cf. Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book IX, chapters 11 – 12: Patrologia Greca volume 74, columns 557-565, especially 564-565.

The Council Fathers continue their teaching on the mystery of the Eucharist as a foundation for the practical decrees appearing in SC 50-58. They emphasize the participation of the faithful in the liturgical action: negatively, by quoting Pius XI’s 20 December 1928 document Divini cultus (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 21 [1929] 40) that they are not to be present at the liturgy as “strangers or mute spectators”; and then positively, in a series of prescriptions of what actions and attitudes the faithful should bring to the liturgy. It seems to me that these prescriptions fall into two great categories: cognitive (understanding the liturgy) and spiritual (praying the liturgy), although these categories are not set in opposition to each other. Cognitively, the faithful should have a good/thorough understanding (bene intellegentes) of the actions and texts (ritus et preces) of the liturgy; their participation should be conscious/aware (conscie), devoted (pie), and collaborative/active (actuose); and (although this engagement will be more than simply an intellectual encounter) they should be taught by the word of God, presumably in the context of the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Word. Spiritually, the faithful should give thanks to God, a recovery of the etymological meaning of “Eucharist”; they should offer the Christ’s sacrifice actualized in the Eucharistic liturgy through and with the ordained priest presiding (a specification of how the Eucharistic Sacrifice has been consigned to the Church as noted in art. 47); and that the spiritual consequences of participation in the Eucharistic liturgy should be deepened self-sacrifice leading to union with God and with the other members of the Eucharistic community in anticipation of the eschaton.

I think the importance of this article for the reform of the celebrational structures of Roman Rite Eucharist (and by implication for the other Catholic rites) cannot be overestimated.

From the distance of fifty years, it now seems clear that the Council Fathers could have chosen to enact these aims without calling for changes in celebrational structures or the use of the vernacular in Roman Rite Eucharist. The focus of the works of Gueranger and Parsch was not so much to CHANGE the celebrational structures of the rites as to make them INTELLIGIBLE to their participants, whether monastic/clerical or lay. By the mid-twentieth century the liturgical movement encouraged concerted efforts by the faithful to UNDERSTAND the rites as they appeared in the liturgical books, but also to PARTICIPATE in the rites in new ways by: 1) following the texts of the Mass by means of hand missals; and 2) reciting aloud or chanting the responses of the Mass along with the servers or choir; and 3) more frequent reception of holy communion (from the time of Pius X on). The reforms of the Roman Rite Holy Week liturgies in the 1950s moved beyond UNDERSTANDING the rites to actual CHANGES in the rites themselves, with these changes articulated in liturgical books still standardized in Latin.

But as we will see, the Council Fathers authorized the extension of the use of the vernacular and changes in the celebrational structures of the rites in Roman Rite liturgical worship, so that the faithful “would not be present as mute or silent spectators” but would have a “good/thorough understanding of the actions and texts of the liturgy,” in which they would participate “consciously, devotedly, and actively.”

It may be of interest to Pray Tell readers to try to identify the various stances people have taken toward the Council Fathers’ initiative over the past fifty years: from those who hold that even the 1950s Holy Week liturgical changes are illegitimate and will only celebrate with the 1954 Latin Missale Romanum; through those who hold that the reforms authorized by the Council Fathers are illegitimate and will only celebrate with the 1962 Latin Missale Romanum; through those who hold that the liturgical reforms authorized by the Council Fathers are legitimate but judge that the Fathers were mistaken in authorizing these reforms, holding that the cognitive and spiritual values articulated by the Fathers are better served with a return to a non-vernacular Latin-language liturgy without any change in celebrational style; through those who hold that the liturgical reforms authorized by the Council Fathers are legitimate and by means of a vernacular liturgy with changes in celebrational style better serve the cognitive and spiritual values articulated by the Fathers; to those who hold that the liturgical reforms authorized by the Council Fathers are legitimate but that the values of cognitive and spiritual participation by the faithful in Roman Rite liturgy have been undercut if not betrayed by documents such as Varietates legitimae and Liturgiam authenticam, the change in the competence of territorial bishops’ conferences with reference to vernacular liturgical translations, and ill-advised extensions of the use of the unreformed Roman Rite.

At the level of pastoral practice, Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss what responses they would make to those of the faithful who claim that it is their right to be present at the liturgy as “mute and silent spectators,” that their personal prayer is disturbed by the demands that the liturgy makes upon their understanding and action, that knowing about the liturgy conflicts with praying the liturgy for them.

21 comments

  1. I was struck, while studying the Latin, at the poetic, almost singing tone of this chapter. You could imagine it set to music, as a hymn.

  2. ” Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss what responses they would make to those of the faithful who claim that it is their right to be present at the liturgy as “mute and silent spectators,” that their personal prayer is disturbed ….”

    Pastorally, it can be difficult. But without a real person face to face …

    First, I think that the reference to “rights” is itself a modernism. The Church has always paired duties and responsibilities with rights. An individual certainly can make an occasional informed choice to be “silent” at liturgy, as an exception to optimal practice: illness, emotional upset, or even protest.

    But as a consistent practice, people do have rubrics to follow. The assembly in active prayer is part of the expression of Christ’s worship of the Father. Members of the assembly engage in a spiritually supportive role for one another. It is a dereliction of duty to neglect this role of support for one’s sister and brother believers.

    And second, private prayer is a laudable practice. But the Christian has the prescription of the Lord in Matthew 6: to go to one’s inner room and pray to the Father in private. There are other liturgical prayers as well as devotional opportunities for the individual who wishes to pray in her or his own way. Why would a serious, committed believer wish to be a deadweight on Christian worship and the spiritual life of the entire community.

    Now obviously, that sort of testimony isn’t designed for persuasion. But it does set out the situation accurately. How a believer approaches such a person depends on how well we know the person and what means of interpretation we can bring to the discussion.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #2:
      “Now obviously, that sort of testimony isn’t designed for persuasion. But it does set out the situation accurately.”

      I think you’ve set out the situation perfectly, Todd.

      The great divide between many “traditionalists” and many “progressives” is that the former never considered themselves mere “spectators” at Mass, “mute and silent” though they may have been. They see the sort of attitude that Todd has enunciated as attempting to conscript them and their prayer-life into another venture; one that they, personally, find barren.

      Fundamentally a large number of people do not consider the forms of exterior “participation” conducive to their own participation in the mysteries presented to them at Mass and don’t consider themselves to be “dead weight” just because they aren’t engaged by mutilating psalms or singing songs.

  3. “At the level of pastoral practice, Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss what responses they would make to those of the faithful who claim that it is their right to be present at the liturgy as “mute and silent spectators,” that their personal prayer is disturbed by the demands that the liturgy makes upon their understanding and action, that knowing about the liturgy conflicts with praying the liturgy for them.”

    I might change the question slightly since I think that the characterizing/phrasing of personal prayer vs. liturgical prayer usually presents an answer along the lines of Todd’s above.

    I would be interested in how people approach those who are of a more introverted personality, and for whom, therefore, certain forms of communitarian worship are difficult to embrace. Such people do appreciate the value of communitarian worship but are uncomfortable with the form that it commonly takes.

    For example, for a long time I found it very hard even while appreciating the communitarian aspect of liturgy and the role of the community, to do things like greet-your-neighbour before Mass (admittedly, that is not a part of the Mass, but I think it could be extended to aspects of liturgical worship that are fairly common in many parishes).

    1. @Joshua Vas – comment #3:

      Joshua: I would be interested in how people approach those who are of a more introverted personality, and for whom, therefore, certain forms of communitarian worship are difficult to embrace. Such people do appreciate the value of communitarian worship but are uncomfortable with the form that it commonly takes.

      I am profoundly introverted at worship. The sung ordinary form Mass as typically practiced in many parishes is a trial, to say the least. At the Sunday ordinary form Mass as typically celebrated in North America spares precious little time for silence. Both celebrant and music are amplified, many times overly so. I, and my thoughts, have precious few places to hide away and contemplate. For similar reasons I am not exactly fond of EF sung Mass or solemn Mass, although in these latter instances amplification is not overused.

      The reformed Mass, as celebrated in many places, greatly suppresses the interior and contemplative life by filling every second with prayer and singing. I understand that most persons are extroverted. Extroversion is an independent variable irrespective of intelligence. Even so, should those who are introverted find no escape from the incessant sound? Put more bluntly, should the introverted be forsaken for the extroverted majority? Most importantly, is the reformed Mass designed to suppress individual contemplation and theological contemplation in favor of a uniform expression of “community”? The final point scares me quite a bit, if indeed it is true.

      I heard EF low Mass this Trinity Sunday. All parts of the Mass melded into a continuous action of contemplation, both in the priest’s prayer and my contemplation of the theology of Trinity Sunday. What more is needed than to encounter Mass as a single entity of quietly said prayer by the celebrant, rather than a series of alternating loud prayers? I departed low Mass energized and full of thought. Often after Sunday OF I find myself drained of energy and absent in mind.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #5:
        Jordan, I am having trouble following you here, for three reasons.

        First, is the Mass the only liturgical setting for contemplative prayer? What about times of Eucharistic adoration, benediction/exposition, holy hours, rosary hours? Perhaps more important, what about the Divine Office?

        Second, even in its fuller and more solemn forms, the new rite not only allows for but demands periods of silence. These are not always appropriately observed, but that is a fault of those celebrating rather than of the rite. You can clutter up a celebration of the older form of Mass with processions of Knights and other dignitaries, elaborate rituals with pontifical vestments, and a choir and even an orchestra playing Haydn or Mozart. Does this mean that the Tridentine Mass is “less contemplative”? I don’t think so.

        Third, as we will soon see in these article-by-article discussions, SC focuses on ‘Sundays and feasts of obligation’ (praesertim diebus dominicis et festis de praecepto) as the place and time in which the assembly is to join most actively in the celebration. That still allows for quiet, contemplative “low Masses” during the week. It sets aside the community celebration (including the conventual Mass of cathedrals, religious houses and collegiate churches) for a more participative, “extrovert” celebration, involving not only the clergy but also laity and religious. I don’t see how that takes away from times for more private worship (cf. Matt 6.6). And it seems entirely aligned with Jewish, apostolic and patristic tradition.

        I first encountered the Latin Novus Ordo in a university setting, with an amazing choir led by Bill Mahrt. It was a very “participative” Sunday Mass, in a fairly small chapel. Little room for private devotion. But on Sunday afternoons, a group, also under Bill’s leadership, assembled for Latin vespers; altogether a different experience. Together, they made for Sundays that still live in memory after decades away from that university.

        It seems to me that the two modalities of worship can not only coexist but support one another.

        What am I missing here?

      2. @Jonathan Day – comment #7:

        Jonathan, while I agree with you so far as Mass is one, but not the only setting for contemplation, I’d like to explore SC 48 more closely as an intermediary step towards a greater introversion or introspection at Mass.

        The syntactic scaffolding of SC 48 is interesting and telling. First, consider this excerpt from the first sentence […] ne christifideles huic fidei mysterio tamquam extranei vel muti spectatores intersint. Jonathan’s translation of ne+subjunctive as “lest […] as mute spectators” represents a “fearing clause”. This technical name is somewhat misleading, as fearing does not mean “terror” in the context of SC. Rather a ne construction represents the Council’s admonition that if the following conditions are not met the liturgical reform of the Mass for the laity will remain deficient..

        The ne clause must be kept in mind when reviewing the list of reforms in SC 48. Consider […] immaculatam hostiam, non tantum per sacerdotis manus, sed etiam una cum ipso offerentes […] [my ellipses], which Jonathan succinctly translates as “offering the immaculate Victim not only through the priest’s hands but also as one with him”. The subtext of immaculatam hostiam is the Roman Canon anamnesis unde et memores, which contains this very phrase. SC 48 calls the laity to actively participate in a yet unspecified manner with the paschal mystery realized in the Mass.

        SC 48’s emphatic link between the lay faithful (christifideles) and the very heart of eucharistic prayer certainly points to a renewal of participation in and understanding of the paschal mystery as a cornerstone of conciliar and post-conciliar liturgy. Even so, SC 48 alone does not distinguish between or place a higher value on either interior participation or external participation in eucharistic prayer, but only admonishes against an uncritical lay participation. This, I am convinced, is still quite open for discussion.

  4. my contemplation of the theology of Trinity Sunday. What more is needed than to encounter Mass as a single entity of quietly said prayer by the celebrant, rather than a series of alternating loud prayers?

    A trinity of persons communing with one another?

  5. The quality of a celebration of Mass is a vitally important issue, but one separate from the laity being invited deeper into the liturgy through music, but also through responses, gestures, processions, and other human gestures. (Cf. SC 30)

    There might be many things at liturgy that I personally do not care for or occasionally (or even regularly) find distasteful. But we all realize that the effectiveness of the worship of God is detached from the state of sin of the ministers, let alone their own (in)abilities to engage people–on whatever level.

    In a “poor” worship situation I might be asked to sing or respond “constantly.” It remains the celebration of Mass, and I am obliged, spiritually, to find something–anything–to take away from that.

    As for the “introverted” experience of the Eucharist (caveat: I don’t buy into the psychological distinction.) Roman Catholicism offers numerous options, as Jonathan suggests. The brevity of the pre-conciliar Low Mass does not seem to be what the council bishops had in mind in SC 48. More often the post-conciliar complaints I hear are from people who object to the time commitment, not that of the voice.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #8:
      FWIW, and I defer to Jordan on this, but my understanding of his use of “introverted” is not so much psychological but as sensory in nature: more Myers-Briggs than Jung. That is, an introversion where too many external sensory inputs is a drain on energy, rather than a source of energy. This is particularly salient in the context of people on the autism spectrum, but hardly them alone. I manifest as an extrovert in my dealings with people (in the psychological sense) but am an introvert in the sensory sense (for me, this is exacerbated by my synaethesia, which is wonderful but also compounds the tiring effects of sensory inputs…).

      And also, FWIW, introverts are not a small minority, but a fairly large one.

      1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #9:
        Fair enough. And I consider myself an MB introvert. A rather strong one.

        It does make the discipline of silence vitally important for good liturgy. Those who neglect it are as much offenders against “liturgical time” as those who prefer a 50, 40, or even 20-minute Mass.

  6. Maybe there’s a problem of timing. The call to more active participation in the liturgy came at the same time our culture was changing from more active participation to a passive receptiveness in all kinds of activities: listening to music on the radio rather than gathering around the piano to sing; watching TV rather than playing games with family and friends; going to the movies instead of community presentations of drama, poetry, music, etc. We, as an American people, are more apt to want to watch someone do something rather than do it ourselves. And we’ve been exposed to such high levels of professionalism in music and oratory that many of us are intimidated at singing or declaiming – feeling we don’t measure up.

    I see that most of the people who come to Sunday Mass are content to sit back and watch. As much as I try to teach them “there’s no audience in church,” they are, in fact, acting like an audience in many ways. And don’t try to tell me that they’re actually in quiet contemplation: I’ve talked with them and taught them, and that’s not the experience they communicate to me. A lot of their response to the Mass is around “it’s boring.” This reaction, in itself, reflects an expectation of entertainment, or, at least, a passivity – it’s up to the priest/choir/ministers to make Mass interesting for us.

    I’m not saying this in an accusatory way — but trying to point out that “active participation” has become difficult for us in our culture.

    1. @Terri Miyamoto – comment #12:
      It is rather telling that active participation has become a badge counter to the prevailing culture, and that the audience mode of many Catholics is not really far afield from watching MTV music videos.

      It really is lamentable on many levels that we’ve moved from singing around a piano to listening to hi-fi records to being plugged in to Walkmans and now earbuds–not to mention that music is more a visual event than a concert these days.

      Traditionalist Catholics professing “contemplation” may indeed be “participating” behind the bored faces. But it strikes me as more of a nod to modernism than an appeal to tradition.

  7. I suppose one way to cast the narrative (and perhaps a source of tension with the “traditionalist” crowd) is that at Vatican II the Church finally lost faith in the faithful. After 75 or so years of trying to get the faithful to follow along in vernacular hand missals, understand the rite, sing more, and so forth, the Church attempted to force the faithful’s hand. This was by creating a liturgy that was almost impossible not to participate in (in the sense of following along and understanding, at least): a vernacular liturgy in which each ritual action follows the last in sequence. A liturgy in which the entire gathered community is presented with one thing at a time, for everyone to focus on together. I wonder if a lot of the tension comes, not from introversion, but from stubbornness or a natural contrarian streak in people – people who are resistant to being told “conform – focus on this with all of us, and then the next thing.” Triumphal entrance hymn, now informal greeting, now penitence for 10 seconds of the Kyrie, now rejoicing again in the Gloria. I am reminded of Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, in which the message of the TV medium is characterized as “Now this…” – a series of disconnected pieces of information for consumption. Resistance to this constant switching of focus (and the ability to concentrate on one thing) is a healthy thing.

    I am playing Devil’s Advocate here, to some extent. One argument against the above is the cultural context discussed by Todd and Terri above – Liturgy is a participation in a greater reality, not a stream of information to be processed or ignored.

    However, I am more concerned with a misunderstanding that exacerbates the problem, and the tension between liturgical “camps”:
    The assumption that actual participation= external participation in everything that can possibly be participated in externally.
    Silence, or the regular interjection of choral works can create space for more contemplation within the liturgy.

    1. @Jared Ostermann – comment #14:
      “The assumption that actual participation= external participation in everything that can possibly be participated in externally.”

      Yes, and I’m not sure how this misconception has popped up. I recognize it, but I certainly don’t advocate the position as stated here. In fact, most of my parish critics think my sensibility is too monastic: too much silence, too much “space” for contemplation within the liturgy.

      I see it as a nod to American busy-ness, the culture’s notion that unless a body is productive, it is wasting space and time.

      I prefer both external participation as SC30 and the rubrics suggest, but with healthy opportunities for silence. This involves a good degree of trust, naturally. Trust the priest. Trust the musicians and liturgist. Trust the people will swallow it. Occasionally, I get the second lector who misinterprets the “silence” as “Oops; the lector forgot or didn’t show up.” C’est la vie.

  8. I’m now profoundly deaf. Does anyone really think that because I’m not actually physically singing I cannot ‘participate’ in a hymn or whatever?

    Isn’t *intending* to adore the Lord with the rest of those at Mass the main part what we should be doing at Mass? And isn’t intending, which is an act of the will, always done in the silence of the self even though the intention is directed outward?

    I grant you, there’s a difference between “active” — i.e. physical — participation and so-called contemplation during Mass (it’s possible for someone to go on her merry way contemplating the mysteries of the Rosary during Mass). But I think a better distinction would be between overt physical participation and silent mental participation. Acts of understanding (grasping what’s going on) and of the will (acts of intending and loving) are indeed mental and therefore silent acts, but that doesn’t mean they are not regularly involved with the world outside the inner self. So even when someone has to be pushed in a wheelchair up to Communion, or someone cannot for some reason sing the music, everyone can still participate in the Mass with our fellow worshipers by our interior actions. In fact, no interior actions no participation at all.

  9. Jordan, I don’t think that christifideles on its own means “lay faithful” — see, e.g. CIC 207 §1, “Ex divina institutione, inter christifideles sunt in Ecclesia ministri sacri, qui in iure et clerici vocantur; ceteri autem et laici nuncupantur.”

    “The lay faithful” is christifideles laici. And this is true even in the context of article 48, where the sense is of community participation: priests, religious and laypeople celebrating the Mass together. This chapter, after all, is the one in which the Council will call for wider use of concelebration.

    Does this mean that everyone has to be carrying something, or walking in procession, or reading or singing or even saying the responses? Certainly not. Following the liturgical action silently seems consistent with the wishes of the Council fathers in this article.

    What doesn’t seem consistent with it is viewing the community Mass as something “the priest does”, a ritual action in which the assembly is involved, at best, as spectators. Or at which people are saying their rosaries, or absorbed in private prayer.

    And by “community Mass” I mean celebrations such as conventual Masses, Sunday Masses and Masses on days of obligation. SC seems to draw a distinction between these Masses and other celebrations, where the faithful other than the celebrant might take a more passive role.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #17:

      Jordan, I don’t think that christifideles on its own means “lay faithful”

      Thanks Jonathan for the correction and quotation. I’ll take your lead in the later translations.

      What doesn’t seem consistent with it is viewing the community Mass as something “the priest does”, a ritual action in which the assembly is involved, at best, as spectators.

      Certainly, the core of SC is the vexing ne, the Council’s demand that those who attend Mass not be extranei vel muti spectatores, as you write, “strangers or as mute spectators”. As you note, silence is not incompatible with SC 48. Even vel (“or”) in the quotation above suggests that estrangement from Mass and silence are exclusive. The extraneus, or “stranger”, to the Mass truly does not participate.

      SC 48 offers a tall summit for conscious participation — participation in the paschal mystery. This participation is difficult to quantify. Also, it is difficult to explain how each participant in the Mass characterizes his or her intellectual or affective understanding of the concept.

      Not infrequently I am “a stranger” to the Mass. In fact, I would say that at times a degree of detachment is common or even desirable. A difference exists between “Father’s Mass” and focusing on actions in the Mass while not participating in the moment’s words or song. I will easily concede that EF low Mass is not an ideal liturgy (compromise never begets an ideal). Still, even at low Mass I often find that if I read the missal first and meditate on the propers while the Mass proceeds, then I am often better prepared to listen to the sermon. Sometimes, more participatory liturgies in either form distract a person from subtle nuances in gesture worth observing.

      SC 48 offers little nuance on the activity of silence. I find this absence frustrating, but also liberating.

  10. This discussion seems very individualistic, not incorporating St Pauk’s comments on the Church as the body of Christ:
    “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”

    The problem with the spectator is that she is not acting as part of the Body. If one is silenced by God given qualities, by deafness or even introversion, that may determine how one participates. I certainly do not think the Council meant to censure the mute, as if they could not be Catholic! But that is not the same as someone who stands apart intentionally, not discerning the Body.

    It is a question of the Spirit ultimately. Does one Spirit move through the community or are we just an aggregate of individuals? Do we breathe in the Spirit so we can sing with one voice?

    If we don’t have some sense of the Body and of the Spirit, what is the point of Trinity Sunday?

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #19:
      Jim – agree; would suggest that some put a very individualistic spin on our shared witness as the body of Christ at the eucharist.

      Some interesting thoughts from a new book on Robert Mcafee Brown:

      http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/reliving-robert-mcafee-browns-biblical-theology

      One interesting statement:

      – Jesus Christ. “I say Yes to Jesus, a Jew from Nazareth, who embodies the present reality of God’s Kingdom as Christ; I say No to a deified Jesus whose humanity is thereby negated. I say Yes to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection not only as sources for our own individual transformation, but as points of decisive confrontation between the power of God and the power of human society that tried to destroy Jesus on the cross. God reversed all expectations by the resurrection, and Jesus’ followers became citizens of a totally new order. I say No to interpretations of Jesus that reduce these events to an individualistic meaning.”

  11. In view of the reference to “Christifideles . . . immaculatam hostiam, non tantum per sacerdotis manus, sed etiam una cum ipso offerentes,” I would like to know what defense can be made of having the congregation continue to kneel after the consecration, during the offering portion of the Eucharistic prayer.

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