How to Do the Consecration

The liturgical reform emphasizes that the Eucharistic Prayer as a whole is the high point of the liturgy (culminating in the communal sharing in Holy Communion). What some still call the “consecration” is called the “Institution Narrative and Consecration” in the GIRM. It is best seen as an integral part of a prayer which is consecratory as a whole.

I observe various ways priests celebrate the Institution Narrative. For example:

The Well-Intentioned Populist eyeballs the congregation. But the Eucharistic Prayer, though it certainly involves the congregation through their baptism into Christ’s priesthood, is not addressed to the congregation, it is addressed to the Father. To act out the Institution Narrative – “I’ll be Jesus and you all be the disciples” – is to misunderstand this prayer. The priest’s role is to draw the people into his (and ultimately, Jesus’) offering to the Father. The people are not addressees, they are co-actors. Mass facing the people is not at odds with this dynamic, and in fact it probably better serves it for the people of our day. Father, just dial back your extroverted personality a bit. And think about whether your misplaced creativity isn’t maybe fueling the fires of some of today’s traditionalism. To which we now turn. 

The Holier-Than-Thou Traditionalist senses that some things have gone south in the implementation of the reform (to understate his sometimes polemical position) but overreacts. He wants the liturgy to be more reverent and serious, which is laudable. But he’s finding his solution in the wrong places. By using a markedly different tone of voice, he rips the Institution Narrative from its larger context and gives the impression that only the magic words (‘hocus pocus’) matter. By staring only at the host, as if to shut out everyone and everything around him, he gives the impression that Christ’s presence is localized there and does not involve the rest of the congregation (not to say all of redeemed creation). He should check out the meaning in Latin of ‘ostendit’ vs. ‘elevat’ and show rather than elevate the host. All of this would require him to accept inwardly the spirit of the liturgical reform and to learn from the writings of the reformers who gave it to us.

 

There is a better way, the Third Way, which the reformed liturgical books allow and suggest. The priest ‘bows slightly,’ as the Missal states, with humble (i.e. understated) reverence. The rubric preserves the objectivity and directionality of this action, without furthering the worst of medieval sacramental misunderstandings which the reforms sought to correct. The showing of the host does not treat it as an isolated relic, but as a strong sign of Christ’s presence among his people. The priest’s manner neither manipulates nor ignores the people.

This is the way of reconciliation, unity, and peace – something the church could use right now, and something the liturgy is very much about at all times.

Thanks to Fr. Michael Peterson, OSB, celebrant, and Br. Simon-Hoa Phan, OSB, video technician. 

 

 

62 comments

  1. The Institution Narrative does have a proper place of honor within the Eucharistic Prayer. Accent “proper place”.
    I’ve found that a change in the presider’s tone of voice at that moment does more to underscore the importance of the Narrative than the eyeballing of the Populist or the Macbeth-like dramatics of the Traditionalist.
    The right tone of voice can wonderfully convey reverence and loving respect without implying that which follows is simply anticlimactic.

  2. I think that some parts of this (excellent) post could have been worded a little more diplomatically. The characterization of “Well intentioned” for the Populist and (much more so) “Holier than Thou” for the Traditionalist can come across as a little patronizing and judgmental. The postures, and the explanation (e.g. ostendit vs. elevat) could have easily been described without the monikers, or attributing ideas to ministers who adopt them.

    I think at times we could take a leaf out of the Anglican book where there is unity in diversity, and not everything someone wears or does has to be interpreted as a polemic about something. A more irenic attitude: some ministers might like to bow more, some might like to bow less, some might have a more scholastic understanding and some might not.

    This is not to say that critique or correction is not possible – but different understandings/interpretations and viewpoints aren’t always best captured by a convenient moniker.

    1. @Joshua Vas:
      Hi Joshua,

      Very true! Thanks for this perspective. Oh, this is the danger of labels. You think you need them to make a point, but the danger is that…. what you just said.

      Anthony

  3. I would just like to commend the attention to detail in the videos—particularly the external stole on the populist and the amice on the traditionalist (though the latter really should have also had a large stand for the Missal).

  4. The traditionalist should also spaced out the words of Institution: “This —— is —— my —— body”, etc. Many also put their forearms and even elbows on the altar and crouch over the host.

  5. My preferred method is mostly # 3, but I do “elevate” the host. The rubric is ostendere —to show, but it does not prescribe the manner of the showing.

  6. I kind of wish I had not read this post. Now I am sure to be distracted for the next few Masses, looking at how the presider does the Institution Narrative and wondering whether he fits the first, second or third type!

  7. A priest I know shows the host all around during the first part, and then goes into a full-stretch elevation, held for a good 10 seconds, after the words of institution.

  8. Our Bishop, His Excellency Thomas J. Olmsted, comes quite close to the example given in #3. https://youtu.be/ywm6XIXQYk8?t=53m11s

    I see no particular problems with the style in example 2. In some buildings a high elevation actually allows more people to actually see our Lord – thus the priest is “showing” them rather than elevating.

  9. Ah, the 30+ yr pastor of the parish I grew up in…to this day, my family remembers his nose almost in the chalice, and the stentorian:

    Thisss….is the Cupp(ə) … of_My_B(ə)loodd(ə)…

  10. Of course the folks assembled at Sacra Liturgia in NYC would have a thing or two to say about a “Third Way”, as they are of the belief that “it’s their way or no way”. The photos posted at Crux are worth a thousand words!

    1. @George Niles Mekeel:
      Then again, I’ve known more than my share of progressive clergy and ministers who believe it’s their way or no way, too. Commonalities in this regard can be more striking than differences.

  11. We had a Sunday assistant whose genuflection was so prolonged and so deep that the first time he did it the people thought he died. They started calling him “the disappearing priest”. A bit too dramatic from my point of view.

  12. Sorry, but I have to ask where the rest of the bread to be consecrated is? And why is any priest still using that little host? How will it be broken into pieces that can be distributed among the ciboria from which the priestly people will take and eat? Or will they be fed from a phalanx of vessels stored in the tabernacle? Does anyone know of a traditionalist who doesn’t disregard Aquinas’s teaching on the Presence not being localized?

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily:
      Hi Fr. Jack –

      I wondered when someone would ask! This was a simulation, and in order to avoid even a hint of confusion or anyone being scandalized, I made one big host out of cardboard rather than use one of bread. It was a bit of a job tracing the circle and cutting it out with a scissors. I thought of cutting out 50 little circles but decided that wasn’t worth it. At the filming I told myself that this could have been a Mass for 4 people (that happens too, however rarely) and this big host could have been broken into 4 parts. But that’s kind of lame, I know.

      On another point, we have several plates at the abbey for the other ministers and don’t use ciboria. A ciborium is a cup and one doesn’t usually eat bread from a cup. I think they went that route shortly after the Council.

      Anthony

  13. This post prompted memories of graduate school back in the early ’90s at the University of Notre Dame, where one could experience vast array of presidential styles. My favorite memory of the “consecration” was the great Fr. Regis Duffy, OFM, preempting the usual fraction by breaking the host at during the Words of Institution…causing simultaneous consternation and delight among those of us in the choir. (Just offering a little comic relief; not suggesting a fourth way!)

    1. @Joshua Vas:
      I have never seen a priest actually put his nose in the chalice before. Remarkable.

      @Kevin Vogt:
      I was thinking that breaking the host during the institution narrative might enhance the verisimilitude of the Fr. Populist video, but then thought that I hadn’t actually seen that for over a decade, so it is probably dying out as a practice.

  14. I’m fine with #2 and #3, although with the caveat (assuming #2 is in an air conditioned church) that he really should put on a long-sleeved shirt! 🙂

  15. Joshua Vas – That style and garbled Canon in the video of Cardinal Cushing reportedly (from priests who were there) prompted Martin Luther King Jr. to remark that he thought Cushing was drunk, Jacqueline Kennedy heard it and was not pleased by King’s observation.

  16. What’s the story with priests who dramatically over-enunciate EV–ER–Y SIN–GLE SYL–LA–BLE of the institution narrative? Do they think that if they leave out one letter the magic won’t work? I have noticed this among several young priests, along with staring intensely into the chalice and dramatic, prolonged elevations. I heard one such elevation described as if the priest’s favorite NFL team had just scored a touchdown. Is this what the seminaries are teaching these days?

  17. I will put my hand up as a moderated version of the well-intentioned populist, and am grateful for how this fine post has made me think. I shall certainly use it for teaching purposes. But I don’t think I’m going to change.

    Criticizing the extreme version of this style, Anthony says:
    ‘the Eucharistic Prayer … it is addressed to the Father. To act out the Institution Narrative – “I’ll be Jesus and you all be the disciples” – is to misunderstand this prayer.’

    Of course that’s right as a matter of the syntax and structure of the whole EP. But these considerations would seem ultimately to suggest we shouldn’t do any gesture at all, and instead in every way we can subordinate the institution narrative to the Spirit coming down on the elements (“like the dewfall”!). Which is (probably) absurd. Though the EP is basically addressed to the Father, the institution narrative seems to break out of that structure (the ambiguity of the Latin relative qui clouds the relationship between the ideas ).

    Though I deplore the holier-than-thou and traditionalist excesses, they are responding in different ways to a reality in the prayer, and particularly in the history through which we receive it, of the priest representing Jesus and effecting a change through saying sacred words. Yes I know: much enlightened liturgical theology is unhappy with this idea, in my book for good reasons. But the idea of such change is too deeply rooted in people’s consciousness, and in the text of the prayers, for us to be able to lose it.

    In short, I don’t think the issues here are just about liturgical style. There’s an underlying theological question here about whether there is a ‘moment of consecration’, and if so when.

    Catherine Pickstock made her name by insisting that the theological untidiness of EP1 indicates something intrinsic to good eucharistic praying, and that the Conciliar impulse to tidy things up theologically was just wrong-headed. Certainly, the Reform maintained, even in the new EPs, a certain theological shapelessness. When we think about ‘how to do the consecration’, it’s the handling of that reality in lived liturgical practice, with the prayers now being proclaimed rather than mumbled, that is at stake.

  18. If we’re really being attentive to detail, what is the traditionalist doing using EP II?

    More seriously, though, is there some authoritative source out there directing that the “ostendit” of the post-conciliar Missals must be interpreted in rupture with the pre-conciliar? This “shows-not-elevates” critique seems to be a recurrent theme, but I don’t really see any basis for it within the liturgical books themselves. After all, when the 1962 Missal’s rubric also says “ostendit;” you have to check back into the Ritus servandus to find out that this showing takes place while the host is elevated. So why may one not act as if when the reformed Missals use the same verb, they mean to do the same thing? On its face the ignorant party to this dispute is the one who thinks the two verbs (ostendit and elevat) must be held in some sort of opposition – unless, that is, there was some clarification that in using the same verb ostendit the Consilium intended to mandate a different action.

    MR 1962: Quibus verbis prolatis, statim hostiam consecratam
    genuflexus adorat: surgit, ostendit populo,
    reponit super corporate, et genuflexus
    iterum adorat:

    MR 2002: Hostiam consecratam ostendit populo, reponit super patenam,et genuflexus adorat.

    One less genuflection? Yes. Now placing the host on the paten instead of corporal? Yes. Dissimili ostendens modo? Non necessarie. By removing the explicit instruction to elevate from the RS/GIRM, the newer Missals certainly allow a broader variety in ostensionibus, but establish no preference for such a departure from the traditional manner of performing the ostensiones.

    1. @Aaron Sanders:

      On its face the ignorant party to this dispute is the one who thinks the two verbs (ostendit and elevat) must be held in some sort of opposition – unless, that is, there was some clarification that in using the same verb ostendit the Consilium intended to mandate a different action.

      The thing is, both the preconciliar Roman Canon and the postconciliar Eucharistic Prayers make a clear distinction between “show” during the Institution Narrative and “elevate” during the Doxology. Presumably this is for a purpose, otherwise they would all have used the same word throughout. So it’s not about ignorant parties but rather about analysing and interpreting the evidence of the rubrics.

    2. @Aaron Sanders:
      Dear Aaron,

      The Institution Narrative is identically worded in all four Eucharistic Prayers, and since that is the only text in these videos, how did you conclude that this is EP II??

      As to you other comment about what ‘ostendit’ means, I think we see the real limits here of the continuity agenda and of suggesting that the preconciliar way is some sort of default norm. My response would be what I said in the post: “All of this [in the preceding paragraph] would require him [the priest] to accept inwardly the spirit of the liturgical reform and to learn from the writings of the reformers who gave it to us.” It’s a very different starting point, what I’m suggesting, but the correct one for celebrating the Missal of Paul VI.

      And don’t anyone ask me to cite which reformers and which books and which articles – it’s all there for anyone who wants it and is open to it.

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB:
        “At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion…” is unique to EP II. The omission of other phrases characteristic of the Narrative section of the other EPs also indicates that this is II.

        On the “elevat” vs. “ostendit”, it is interesting that the first editions of the IGMR did use the term “elevationem” to describe the action is several places (cf. 109, 174, 180, 184, 188, and others, in the 1969/70 IGMR). These were uniformly changed to “ostensionem” in 1975 (though curiously, the new English translation has reverted to the “elevation” language)

      2. @Joshua Vas:

        Yes, you are right that IGMR has varied in its terminology. What has not varied are the rubrics in the body of the Missal itself.

    3. @Aaron Sanders:
      Aaron — And why wouldn’t a traditionalist use EP2? Is there something innately wrong with that idea? As far as I know EP2 is as valid as the other dozen or more.

  19. Paul – that is the way I was taught in *presidential style* class but the vast majority of my classmates had no presidential style class – rather, they practiced one on one the rubrics – nothing else. No one asked them while they practiced key questions such as – who are you praying to? what does that action, hand gesture, look, etc. say about what you are praying?
    Without that, you get folks who are just winging it and have never spent the time to be videod and then have folks ask why you did or proclaimed in that manner. Ask priests – how many have actually seen a video of their saying the eucharist? Doubt it would even be 50%.

    Fr. Anthony – WHAT ABOUT THE BELLS? Can see and hear them in #2 – what about the others? To pick up on what Fr. Endean said, would guess that for so many catholics, an institution narrative without bells means that *transubstantiation* did not happen. Reminds me of the earlier post on Corpus Christi processions and how a new pastor may just come in and change, eliminate, or start something – the same pattern happens with bell ringing at the institution narrative.

    Real story – we had students at our high school from different states and dioceses. We had a visiting priest say mass one day in 1980 – he said the Eucharistic prayer in latin and at the institution, he lifted up his cowl and hood, covered his head; leaned over the bread with his arms protecting from both sides, and then proceeded to *stage whisper* each word distinctly – Hoc est enim corpus meum, etc. and, of course, the stage whisper was loud enough to be heard at the back of church. That mass alone caused and created at least a week’s discussion in theology class.

  20. So tonight at our parish, we celebrated Confirmation. 70 were confirmed with the Archbishop as the principle presider. We had a combined music ministry – 48 of us including youth and adults, a variety of instrumentation (handbells, piano, guitar, bass, drums, cello)… and the music was varied from All Creatures of Our God and King to Ricky Manalo (By the Waking of our Hearts) and David Kauffman (Come Into My House) and Matt Maher (Remembrance, Burning in My Soul)… our Church is 15 years old, and the altar is in the middle of a round church… literally. And we have a bread making ministry… hosts are only available as a last resort and we had plenty of fresh bread just for this Mass. We have been singing the Kauffman/Gokelman Mass of Renewal, and it’s wonderful when the pastor (who is also the Archdiocesan Vicar General) and the Archbishop know the presider parts. More importantly, I’d say that Archbishop Gustavo gravitates to the 3rd version… However, I think it’s valid to note that “show” – especially in a space such as ours, surrounded by about 1300 people – literally means “elevate.” And yet, the style is extremely reverent…. I have seen all manners from various priests who have presided in this space: some make it a point to literally make a 360-degree circle! But Archbishop Gustavo simply raises it above his head… and holds the Bread or the Chalice for a few moments. It is very powerful and that simple act makes a statement. Tonight, we were graced with the attendance of some of seminarians. One, from our parish, was emcee, and will be ordained a deacon in the fall. We spoke afterwards about the example of the Archbishop and I was told that many of their teachers point to him as an example of how to pray the EP properly… Fortunately, he is a Bishop who “gets it.”

  21. Out of town on Sunday, so we visited a parish where the priest elevated the host and chalice for 20 to 30 seconds each. Maybe this was because of the solemnity of Corpus Christi, but it received no mention or particular attention, so I doubt it. He also disappeared in genuflection both times for 5 to 10 seconds.

  22. Thought experiment. The rubrics of the Prayer Book 1662 (and variants) instruct the priest to place his hands over the bread and cup while pronouncing the verba, without an elevation or genflection (the reason for the omission of elevations and genuflections should be clear from Reformed theology). Anglo-Catholic priests often add elevations and genuflections. However, in more broad church celebrations ostendit is very modest (i.e. little more than a slight hovering of the consecrated bread over the paten). No genuflections are made.

    Some might say that Anglican eucharistic theology is commingled with Reformed theology, and that the Prayer Book practices are unsuitable for Mass. Certainly, the Prayer Book instruction to break the bread during the verba is forbidden in Catholic theology and liturgical practice. Roman celebrants must also genuflect. Still, other interpretations of ostendit, such as the celebrant placing hands over the offerings, might be suitable at smaller Masses. I doubt the Prayer Book ostendit would ever pass muster at the CDW, so for then this practice will forever be without imprimatur.

    Personally, I find option #3 difficult. I respect that many do not want elevat in the medieval sense. Still, many Catholics still make pious prayers at the consecration, and want to see the host and chalice when they are consecrated. I understand that saying prayers at the showing of the host and blood strikes many avant-garde Catholics as silly superstition. Perhaps for this reason many churches which celebrate the Ordinary Form have dispensed with bells, especially at the hanc igitur or epiclesis (the “warning bell”). If I am out of sight from the priest (not uncommon in older churches with view-obstructing pillars) I might miss adoration of the body and blood if the bells are ommitted and ostendit is not elevat. Progressive priests, please keep the latter in mind.

  23. Re: the amice mentioned in Comment #4, I also noticed that each of the three had something different underneath the alb – the amice in #2, yes, but also a very prominent clerical collar in #1, and what I’m guessing is the monk’s habit in #3.

  24. Unfortunately this version is still too common:
    “Onthenighthewasbetrayedhetookbread . . .”
    Why, why, why do priests continue to rush through the liturgy?

  25. In my youth (!) there was a legend going around among colleagues that an elderly Irish (they always are!) priest used to genuflect very slowly at the words of institution after he ‘showed’ the bread and cup to the people. He was frequently heard to whisper ‘Oooh! Sweet Jesus!’ and people thought he must be very holy. In fact, his knees were bad. Genuflecting caused him great discomfort.

    I go for option 3. But I have no idea exactly how I look when I’m doing it …

    AG.

  26. Just because #1 makes eye contact with the people during the EP doesn’t mean he thinks of himself as Jesus and the rest of the assembly as the disciples. It’s just that eye contact is a good thing to do when in dialogue with people.

      1. @Fritz BauerschmidtWhere else is the presider supposed to look? “Up” to heaven? Down into the book? To a spot on the back wall? The presider prays the EP for and with the people, and rest of the assembly makes responses through acclamations. The question of where “to look” is a tough one, I admit. When the presider faces the people where is he to “look?” (I am not advocating ad orientem, by the way). I personally find myself looking at the elements during the Last Supper story, but at the people during other parts of the EP. I have always found the principle the the liturgical assembly is the primary locus of the presence of Christ in liturgical worship (Art and Environment in Catholic Worship) to be a guiding principle for all liturgical celebration and style.

  27. I don’t believe anyone has mentioned the original reason for elevating the consecrated elements high above the priest’s head. When facing the tabernacle (yes, right there smack dab in the middle of the altar), he had to lift it high so that the people could see and adore. There is no longer any obstacle to sight and adoration when priests hold the elements around eye level while facing Christ’s faithful. I’m sorry but I also have no sympathy for bells unless, of course, we ring them prior to the first reading or even before each of the readings since The Lord is truly present in his word proclaimed. There is still no mention of them in the rubrics, though the GIRM allows for their possibility without providing any reasoning for the practice. And as for priests who pray the EP (or any of the prayers of the Mass) at a rapid pace, may God have mercy on them.

  28. There’s obviously been some very substantive discussion here. I probably tend somewhere between two and three myself, and vary my ars celebrandi considerably depending upon the environment and the sensibilities of the assembly. That being said, there are a few practical concerns which effect all of this and which seem to have gone unnoticed:

    1) The height of the priest (esp. relative to the altar). I’m 5’3” with my shoes on. Most altars hit me rather high, which makes it look like I’m bowing a lot, even when (from my perspective) I’m only bowing a little. Conversely, I’m short enough that if I don’t lift the host above eye level even those close to me have a hard time seeing it. I live with a priest who is 6’7”. He has the opposite problem. If he raised the host over his head, even at the proper elevation, he’d be liable to hit a light fixture.

    2) Distance from the people–This should be obvious, but in bigger churches you need both bigger hosts and higher “showings”, no matter how tall the priest.

    3) Acoustics–If the words are to be heard then they have to be said in such a way that they can be heard. The Words of Institution are distinctive for many reasons, not the least of which that a ritual action/pause immediately follows. That seems to demand more attentiveness then a list of saints or a memento for the clergy.

    4) Concelebrants–As a newly ordained priest I lived for a time in our assisted living center and was typically the celebrant for twenty or thirty octogenarian priests. Invariably I would find myself slowing down at the Words of Institution, and probably enunciating those words more than some of the others, mostly because there were people trying to say them with me. Now it’s true that they were sayingi the epicleses too, and those seem to me to run a touch slower as well. As a concelebrant I’ve experienced the same thing from most celebrants. I’m curious about the experience of other priests on this score.

    Any other thoughts rooted in more practical…

  29. Paul Inwood : The thing is, both the preconciliar Roman Canon and the postconciliar Eucharistic Prayers make a clear distinction between “show” during the Institution Narrative and “elevate” during the Doxology. Presumably this is for a purpose, otherwise they would all have used the same word throughout. So it’s not about ignorant parties but rather about analysing and interpreting the evidence of the rubrics.

    I regret the term “ignorant” as being sharply polemical where I did not intend it; I only wanted to convey “the one lacking the necessary information”, such as what the two verbs respectively mean. But as to those verbs in situ, the distinction could only be clear if one ignored the Ritus servandus:

    VIII.5-7: Tunc se erigens, quantum commode potest, elevat in altum hostiam, et intentis in eam oculis (quod et in elevatione calicis facit)
    populo reverenter ostendit adorandam […] Tunc se erigit, et accipiens calicem discoopertum cum Sanguine ambabus manibus, ut prius, elevat eum, et erectum quantum commode potest, ostendit populo adorandum:

    So where the rubrics within the Canon say “ostendit” they clearly mean to show the host…by elevating it…as much as can comfortably/fittingly be done. At the Per ipsum, on the other hand, the intra-Canon rubrics don’t say “elevat”, but we do know:

    IX.3: Deinde tenens manu dextera hostiam super calicem, sinistra calicem, elevat eum aliquantulum simul cum hostia, dicens…

    Here elevat loses its maximizing force, requiring only “a little”, and we might guess this is because it is unnecessary to “show” the people who are behind one’s back at this point. When “showing” requires “elevating” higher than elevation alone demands, it hardly seems a “clear distinction” – that distinction may indeed be intended in MR’70-’02, but not on basis of MR1962.

    1. @Aaron Sanders:

      At the Per ipsum, on the other hand, the intra-Canon rubrics don’t say “elevat”,

      Excuse me?

      Per ip ✠ sum, et cum ip-
      ✠ so, et in ip ✠ so, Cum ipsa
      Hostia signat bis inter se et Calicem,
      dicens:
      est tibi Deo Patri
      ✠ omnipotenti, in unitáte
      Spíritus ✠ Sancti, Elevans
      parum Calicem cum Hostia, dicit:

      omnis honor, et glória.

  30. Anthony Ruff, OSB : And don’t anyone ask me to cite which reformers and which books and which articles – it’s all there for anyone who wants it and is open to it. awr

    The reason I ask for “official”, by which I mean magisterial or legally authoritative sources, is that the intentions of the actual builders/writers don’t govern what the supreme authority chooses to do with the laws/rites/documents. Oswald von Nell-Breuning ghostwrote Quadragesimo anno but demurred when asked to explicate his own phrasing – the document was promulgated per the pope’s authority, so it meant what *he* said it meant, not what von Nell-Breuning intended. Did Paul VI eventually give the reformers much of what they wanted even over his own initial objections? Yes. But does that mean he conceded it as forcefully/prescriptively as they had hoped? That is a separate question, and when in doubt I am inclined – in what is at the very least the proper spirit of ecclesiastical law in general – to concede liberty.

    IIRC, the SCR/CDW responded that we are *not* to assume continuity in ceremonial actions (at least, incensation, the specific issue at hand) where the Missal is now underspecified compared to before; this would be the *beginning* of a case for the new rites by force of spirit requiring different “showing”. Be that as it may, one would hope for more explicitly new instructions rather than substantial facial continuity if the intention were pointedly to abolish previous practice in favor of new.

  31. My sloppy mistake – I scanned for the rubrics in an all-black text and missed that one. Yet I wasn’t trying to dispute that the Eucharist is “elevated” at that point – which seems to be the one thing agreed upon – I just mistakenly thought we had to substantiate that elsewhere. Mea culpa, but let’s redirect to the substantive point:

    We’ve seen what MR1962 says about “showing” and “elevating” at these two different moments – which one of them involves lifting the host higher?

  32. None of this helps the millions of faithful who find that the mass has become a somnambulistic routine.

  33. Somnambulistic? Perhaps in parishes where the priest acts as if he’s merely fulfilling ritual proscriptions…..and in which readers fail to proclaim texts which they truly believe…..and where music is dull, boring, or lifeless….and homilies are brief but uninspiring….and the EP is rattled off like a stock report. Dare I mention the giant book holder into which the priest gazes so as to read with precision words many of which he should know by heart?

  34. I’ve gone through most of the responses and noticed that no one commented on “over-enunciating EV–ER–Y SIN–GLE SYL–LA–BLE of the institution narrative.” This would include the bending over the elements with arms on the altar. I have worked with 2 or 3 priests who did this as a rule. After asking why, they reminded me that the rubrics said they were to breathe on the bread and the wine in the chalice as they pronounced the words.
    Flashback to my memory of the latin mass as a youth… I seem to remember every priest doing it this way for that reason. Anyone else remember this?
    As a side note, one pastor I worked for would blow on the waters of baptism during the blessing of the waters. He said he learned that tradition from the orthodox rite. All of this is calling the Holy Spirit to blow life into the action taking place.

    1. @Ron Jones:
      Blowing on the water was also a part of the blessing of water on Holy Saturday in the traditional rite I believe. I saw it done this past Holy Saturday as well, at a parish that is definitely not an EF parish.

  35. The mass will remain somnambulistic as long as it is celebrated according to a mechanical schedule — we need a collective prayer life first, into which the eucharist can be inserted at discreet intervals. Our current regime is a holdover from the middle ages and is not reflected.

  36. We scoffed at generation upon generation of young people who found the mass boring and meaningless — we cultivated a Mass-obsession, fretting about the words of consecration — instead of creating vibrant, dialogal and biblically prayerful community. The entire regime of translations, as Bp Quinn pointed out a few days ago, is very oblique to what the eucharist was ever intended to be, and the fact that the church has become engulfed in it is testimony to our ineffectuality.

  37. “But the Eucharistic Prayer, though it certainly involves the congregation through their baptism into Christ’s priesthood, is not addressed to the congregation, it is addressed to the Father.”

    Though the Eucharistic Prayer as a whole is addressed to the Father, the institution narrative itself is not. It reads more like a proclamation of the gospel. ‘The Third Way’ does not seem to take this into account.

  38. The Institution narrative is not addressed to the Father? Then why these words? I’d say that it’s pretty clear that all the prayer is addressed to the Father.

    “and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks, he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying:”

    “he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying:”

      1. @Graham Revens:
        Isn’t this backwards? In the Eucharistic prayer we are telling the Father something that Jesus said to his disciples. Of course, we’re not really “telling” the Father anything that he doesn’t already know, but that’s an issue with all prayer.

      2. @Graham Revens:
        In the passage I quote, from the Roman Canon, this is what the priest is praying: “and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks.” The priest is praying to the Father, is he not?
        Once again, it’s pretty clear, even with the “bad English,” that the Father is being addressed, even if it is, as Fr. Deacon Fritz says, “telling the Father something that he doesn’t already know.”

  39. “and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks.”
    Again we are recalling what Jesus did; it is a narrative. His eyes are raised to his almighty Father.
    The accompanying rubric (‘He raises his eyes’) could indicate that the words are addressed to the Father but it seems too closely coupled to the text. Each section of this Eucharistic prayer is overtly addressed to the Father; this is missing from the institution narrative. Furthermore the rubric does not appear in the other Eucharistic prayers.

    1. @Graham Revens: One more time. “And with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks.” “He took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying:” Who is the “you” that is in the text that the priest is praying? Is it not God the Father? It certainly is not the congregation. Yes, in a sense we are recalling, but the priest is also bringing this recollection before the Father, speaking to him. The priest is addressing the Father, just like in the rest of the Canon.

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