Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXXV

Pray Tell continues its series on the liturgical history of Collegeville. The sub-series “From the Archives” reprints some of the Liturgy Committee meeting minutes from 1963 to 1969. This sub-series is a behind-the-scenes look at liturgy in Collegeville during and immediately after the Second Vatican Council.

The next record from the Liturgy Committee:

Minutes of the Liturgy Committee

September 19, 1966

Present: Fathers Daniel, Michael, Gerard, Emeric, Brice, Kieran, Aelred, Simon, Bruce and Bros. Gerard, Dominic.

This brief meeting was called to discuss the present horarium. Can we come up with a solution viable to our times? This pertinent question was posited early in the meeting, but evoked little discussion, since some felt we could and should do nothing in regard to changing the present schedule until Father Abbot returns from Rome.

It was suggested that the hour of Mass be 7:30 p.m. to accommodate some who find it difficult to make the present 5:00 Mass, since there was a 7:30 alternate proposed originally. It was also hoped that Sext could begin at 12:00 noon to permit more to be present at its beginning. No decision to change either was passed.

The “problem” of Matins received some consideration. A suggestion to join Vespers with Mass was voiced, but responded to by the observation “if we just want to get it in, what’s the use of reform?”

The committee received a “communication” regarding unnecessary mastication of the host. Response: see Last Supper account.

Respectfully submitted,

Bruce, osb



  1. Oh, ha ha ha…..”see Last Supper Account”.

    I love to see that early condescending attitude toward anyone who had any concerns. It surely reminds one of someone who filled with the love of Christ……

    A concern was raised about the transmission of flu from the cup: see Last Supper Account

    Translation: Suck it.

  2. In my years of hobbyist computer programming I’ve observed that certain conceptual ideas are not transportable between different operating systems. I can understand the concepts of many systems, but have chosen one for my personal use. I work best within its environment.

    Traditionalists are generally horrified by the idea of “chewing the Host”. I am likewise horrified, and don’t do so. However, Host mastication and the common cup are aspects of a total liturgical ideology which is not unlike the way various programmed levels form an operating system. Remove one layer, and the entire ideology collapses. The notion that the eucharistic banquet should be an “actual banquet” of communion that looks like quotidian food is not new to the post/modern liturgical movement. However, it is integral to ressourcement and a projected late antique view of liturgy and participation. We traditionalists view the sacrificial banquet in more abstract terms, so far as that it does not matter that the Host does not look like everyday food. Then again, traditionalism also rejects liturgical ressourcement on principle anyway.

    I don’t like using Windows, but I understand how it ticks and can troubleshoot accordingly. All my computers run Linux, but only 2% of the PC market uses this system. Similarly, ressourcement is the dominant liturgical model, as Windows is the dominant operating system. I must attempt to understand this liturgical system. Otherwise my intellectual circles are quite narrow in diameter indeed.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #2:
      I think your analysis risks falling into too simple a binary: sacrificial banquet vs. actual banquet with quotidian food. Inasmuch as the Eucharist has some sort of tie with the Last Supper (which I realize is a view that some liturgical scholars consider quaintly simplistic), it was from the outset a ritualized meal with sacrificial meaning. Yet it was also celebrated with real food and drink. Indeed, many ancient sacrifices involved the feasting on actual animal flesh. So I don’t think that, e.g., thicker hosts or communion from the cup is going to diminish the sacrificial symbolism of the Eucharist per se, simply by connecting it to ordinary life. Indeed, I’d argue that the more closely our sacrificial rituals are connected to ordinary life, which still remaining clearly sacrificial, the more powerful they are.

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #3:

        I apologize for my earlier failed metaphor.

        Deacon Fritz: Indeed, I’d argue that the more closely our sacrificial rituals are connected to ordinary life, which still remaining clearly sacrificial, the more powerful they are.

        I agree with you to a degree, Deacon Fritz. If the crafting of altar breads so that they look like everyday bread rather than wafers strengthens a believer’s understanding of the Eucharist, then perhaps it is worth it. I once bitterly railed against anything but hosts on my suspicion that alternative altar breads were “usually adulterated” (honey, flours other than wheat, chemical leaven such as baking soda or powder, etc.) and often crumbly. Once, I adamantly insisted that altar breads which crumbled easily significantly decreased belief in the Real Presence by reducing attention to particles. I would still be extremely wary to receive communion at a Mass where hosts are not consecrated. sensuum defectui, I suppose.

        Mass has always been a balance between the quotidian and stylized ritual drama. I find it very difficult to comprehend a style of worship which attempts to immanentize the abstract and all which is not encompassed by concrete human experience. The question at hand is not about a conscious attempt to re-create late antique Mediterranean meal practices, or rehabilitate Mass so that it resembles modern meal practices. Rather, the question is the degree of abstraction of the Mass.

        I am attracted to Tridentine worship precisely because it has evolved over time into an abstract and stylized ritual which is minimally dependent on the antique or quotidian to express belief and faith. We do not need to interject ourselves into the EF Mass; in fact, it is designed to operate by itself as if it were an algorithm unfolding. By contrast, the greatest threat to the Ordinary Form is a turn towards the psychotherapeutic.

  3. Jordan, how do you translate manduco, as in accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes? In Latin it is hardly abstract — it means to eat, devour, chew, masticate. It isn’t in the least a delicate term.

    If “Traditionalists are generally horrified by the idea of ‘chewing the Host'”, then what do they think the Lord said to his disciples?

  4. Jonathan Day : Jordan, how do you translate manduco, as in accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes? In Latin it is hardly abstract — it means to eat, devour, chew, masticate. It isn’t in the least a delicate term. If “Traditionalists are generally horrified by the idea of ‘chewing the Host’”, then what do they think the Lord said to his disciples?

    I accept your translation of manduco. It’s accurate. However, our cultural norms are not necessarily those of first century semites. With that said, some of us also believe that over time an appreciation for the great gift the Eucharist is also demands more sensitive approach to it.

    With that said, I do not have a problem with one chewing the host personally. I do. However, it’s the approach to the conversation.

    It sounds to me what you are saying is, “Your concerns really are not valid.” Whether this is true or not, I wonder how effective this approach would be in an ecumenical or interfaith conversation?

    Actually, it sounds to me like exactly what the minutes said…. In other words:

    Translation: Suck it.

  5. Todd, if I gave the impression that Jordan’s concerns are not valid, I apologise. I respect Jordan’s thoughtfulness and his views.

    I also know that he is a scholar of Latin, at an advanced level, so I was curious about his reading of manduco.

    I chose Latin, by the way, rather than Greek or some other language, not only because I have some background in Latin but also because it’s the language that the Catholic Church has continued to use right through the centuries. So I hope that this takes away from any concerns about archaeologism (“first century semites”).

    Perhaps a resolution is that the Mass has relatively little to do with the Last Supper, so that Christ’s instructions to his disciples don’t really apply to us.

    I am genuinely curious about this issue. I hope I understand the need for reverence, concerns about crumbs, etc. The Eucharist is far more than a communal meal. But, in my view, it is not less than that, either.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #7:

      I don’t disagree with anything you just said. And I don’t question your belief or thoughtfulness. I was simply questioning the way in which certain comments can be perceived by people.

      I had 14 years of latin, have been instructed in it, and it is the stable language of liturgy. So, I agree with your usage, and translation of it.

      It’s just that it seemed dismissive in some ways. I’ll take it for granted that you did not intend it that way.

    2. @Jonathan Day – comment #7:

      In this case Jonathan, I do think that a reference to the synoptics is a good start.

      […] λάβετε φάγετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου. [Mt. 26:26 NA 28]

      The first principle part of the aorist φαγόν (the source of the imperative φάγετε) is ἐσθίω, in turn etymologically related to the Latin edo [sv. LSJ ἔδω]. Both ἐσθίω and edo are more generic terms for “eat”. In the case of edo, eating may both be literal and metaphorical (ie. “devoured a book”). Both the imperative φάγετε of Matthew and the general Latin headword edo are quite far from the specificity of manduco, which quite clearly denotes a literal digestion.

      […] accipite, et comedite: hoc est corpus meum. [Mt. 26:26 Clementine Vulgate]

      comedo, which is a later Latin word, is closer but not exactly the same as manduco. Unlike the generic edo, comedo specifically refers to chewing and digestion. The meaning of comedo and manduco are quite similar. The question now is not etymology but semantics: why would the Canon evolve towards manduco, while Jerome’s semantic stream moved towards comedo?

      Christine Mohrmann (the subject of my diss. refutation, should I ever finish the thesis) might well claim that manduco is a higher register of comedo or even edo.[1] manduco, per a reading of the Mohrmann school, represents a desire of the early Canon redactors to significantly elevate the semantic register of the institution narrative. This position on semantic elevation hinges on the presumption that the proto-Canon was pronounced aloud and with tonal emphases.

      I would counter that manduco is similar to the use of sēsē in Caesar. Caesar reduplicates almost as an italicization of an important point, such as the reason for the subjugation of a Celtic chieftain. Similarly, manduco perhaps underscores the (perceived?) sanctity of the qui pridie.

      [1] cf. Christine Mohrmann. Liturgical Latin: its Origins and Character: Three Lectures (Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 1957) for an introduction to her understanding of sacral semantics.

  6. Can someone please tell me what unnecessary mastication is? It may be unnessecary to masticate water but bread? The issue of mastication and Latin and Greek roots is suffocatiing what the Last Supper was…unless (#7) “the Mass has relatively little to do with the Last Supper, so that Christ’s instructions to his disciples don’t really apply to us.”

    I believe that the Christ will ask us one day…”so what part of take and eat did you not understand?” Maybe He already has.

  7. I seem to remember from my early youth in the 60s and 70s that quite often a celebrant would place the entire large priest’s host in his mouth and crunch it, and of course we could all hear it through the newfangled public-address system. Previously in the pre-Vatican II rite, the host would be in three parts by then: two halves minus the bit that went into the chalice. Not sure what’s being done these days, but maybe the whole-host crunch practice was widespread when the minutes were taken at St. John’s Abbey?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *