Tuesday, September 27, 2011

LITERALISM, SCRUPULOSITY AND REVERENCE FOR THE SACRED SPECIES OF HOLY COMMUNION


THE BISHOP OF PHOENIX, THE MOST REV. THOMAS OLMSTED IS BANNING HOLY COMMUNION TO THE LAITY UNDER THE FORM OF CONSECRATED WINE. READ THE WHOLE STORY BY PRESSING THESE TWOhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif SENTENCES!

One of the numerous reasons cited for limiting the chalice to the laity (although it may be allowed under very strict circumstances and for special feasts like Corpus Christi, Holy Thursday, etc)is based on this questions and answer:

Why the practice of both forms is limited:

To protect the Sacred Species from profanation (careless treatment, spillage, swilling, etc.

Of course each bishop has the right as primary liturgist of the diocese to legislate for his diocese in things liturgical. I asked our bishop after he banned the chalice to the laity because of the H1N1 epidemic if we could use the option in the American Adaptation of the GIRM of intinction. He said no. For me that was "case closed." He made a decision and I in obedience followed, although I was not in complete agreement. But that's how the Catholic Church operates. The bishop is in union with the pope, but each bishop has authority to adapt universal and national norms on a local level. Catholic parishes are not meant to be "congregational" deciding for ourselves what we will do, but dioceses under a bishop in union with the Holy Father are congregational and bishops can make "congregational" decisions affecting the entire diocese, like Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Emeritus Boland. That's how we are structured.

Nonetheless, liturgical progressives are besides themselves and are lining up to condemn the Bishop of Phoenix for bringing his "congregation" backwards to pre-Vatican II times.

While I wonder if the Bishop o Phoenix is overreacting, I don't wonder about his role of leadership and I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude about how this will affect his diocese for better or worse when it comes to Eucharistic Reverence and liturgical practice.

Some liturgical progressives are also liturgical fundamentalists or literalistic about the manner in which the Liturgy should be celebrated. Here's two comments that I find rather amusing and disconcerting at the same time that I've lifted from a more progressive liturgical blog:

A lay person writes: "Maybe it’s not really relevant, but I can only imagine what crumbs and drops the disciples must have created during the last supper, and the amount of spillage when Jesus was cut with the spear while on the cross. No worries about profanation then."

A priest replies: "I think it’s highly relevant. This is, in fact, precisely the point. We are humans when we celebrate the sacraments, and sacraments are entries of the divine into our messy, human world with all that entails. Connections to the incarnation and the crucifixion are relevant."

My concluding comments: When I was in the seminary a Jesuit priest celebrating his first Solemn Mass after ordination used French Bread instead of the traditional wafer for his Mass. Loaves where placed in baskets with napkins or purificators to hold the consecrated bread. Rather than "break" the bread during the Agnus Dei, Communion Ministers, mostly laity even though there were enough priests available, broke the "Bread" as each individual communicant came forward. These communicants were forced to receive in the hand.

Afterward, the red carpet was littered with the crusts and crumbs of the Most Holy Eucharist. Some in the congregation were appalled and tried to clean up the mess. The priests present called these laity scrupulous for their concern!

40 comments:

qwikness said...

It seems like some of the worse stories of liberalism is about a Jesuit. Those Northeast Jesuit Universities produce some of the most Liberal minded political people in the country. Not all are Libs. Father Pacwa is great as far as I know.

pinanv525 said...

I'll bet "Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees" was the Communion hymn during this picnic, too.

Bill Meyer said...

I applaud Bp. Olmsted for his courage in this matter. I would welcome such a change in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, as it would certainly reduce the clutter of EMHCs with chalices. Each week I watch as 8 chalices are filled with wine. One might suppose that it were a very large church. But no, just a very liberal one.

Marc said...

This "debate" about Holy Communion - whether to receive under both Sacred Species, whether to have Extraordinary Ministers, whether to receive in the hand, whether a Bishop can mandate this or that - is really based in one question: "What are the rights of the laity to make demands with regard to the Church's Liturgy and Sacraments?"

For liberals in the Church (read: Modernists, let's call them what they are), this question must be resolved in favor of license. They deperately want the Church to recognize that the laity have rights to make choices in the governance of the Church. Then, they can proceed to their broader agenda of diminishing the ordained priesthood, convincing people the Real Presence is not Real or Present, etc., etc.

Hopefully, more bishops will recognize that, while they may be disputing something that is trivial in their eyes, it is part of a larger war from the Modernist perspective.

Bishop Olmsted and (very?) small group of American bishops seem to understand that. If only more American bishops would bother taking a stand, perhaps Bishop Olmsted wouldn't have to bear the brunt of the publicity all by himself.

Henry said...

You likely have seen the following recent post by Father Z:

"As I understand it, the 1975 edition of the Missale Romanum gave 14 instances when Communion could be distributed under both kinds. Since 1975 in some regions – including the USA – experimental privileges, not rights, were granted for the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds. These privileges, not rights, expired in 2005. These privileges, not rights, were not renewed by the Holy See. Therefore the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) for the 3rd edition of the Missale Roman and the 2011 Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America are now to be applied. However, diocesan bishops can to a certain extent lawfully establish other instances, such as important local feasts, etc., for Communion under both kinds. This is what Bp. Olmsted intends to do. He will implement the Church’s law."

I wonder whether the Church in the U.S. is fully licit in its Holy Communion practice. If not, it would not be the first time that our bishops have allowed illicit practices to continue unabated.

Father Shelton said...

What's puzzling to me is this line from the USCCB at the top of the page entitled "Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America": "On June 9, 2006 in an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI this indult was not extended. The Conference of Bishops was informed of this by a letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, dated October 12, 2006 (Prot, n. 468/05/L)."
Are there new norms? If so, they do not seem to be available online or in print. The Diocese of Phoenix and Father Zuhlsdorf both refer to new norms for the USA, but where are they?

Templar said...

Huzzah for Bishop Olmstead for demonstrating TRUE leadership!!

I was not aware that the experimental privledges expired in 2005, but Bishops should have been.

Frajm said...

Fr. Shelton, that is a very good question and someone has been asleep at the wheel in most dioceses in not preparing parishes for the new norms wherever they are. I suspect they will be in the GIRM of the new Missal once we get it as I understand that the GIRM that we got in 2002 as revised is further revised in the new missal, but how I don't know.

I can't imagine that Bishop Olmsted is acting totally independent of all the other bishops without having informed them of what he is doing and doing it in order to be faithful to new norms.

So if there are new norms, we need to know don't we.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - I would disagree with your assertion that the basic issue is "What are the rights of the laity to make demands...?"

While necessary, the rules and regulations (rights and responsibilities of the Catholic faithful, clergy and lay)of our liturgies are not the basic issues. Many think that by "following rules" all things will be made well. It is a fantasy, as Jesus reminded the rule-following Pharisees.

It seems to me that there are two basic questions in liturgy: 1) Does the liturgy offer praise and worship to the Triune God; and 2) Does the liturgy communicate (in its fullest meaning) the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the people of God.

There was a time when a priest could go to hell for placing his left arm into the alb sleeve before the right arm (sinister motives and all that nonsense) because he was not following the rules.

I am not a liturgical antinomian. I do think, though, that we confuse following rules with offering worship at times.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, Spoken like a true modernist...LOL! What if "following rules" is offering worship? I mean, what do you think about all those OT worship rubrics and laws..hmmmm? Certainly, reciting and following the Decalogue is offering worship. There were "rules" for medieval and Renaissance architecture and art so that the creation would glorify God. There are rules for the Liturgy...and for a reason...so that idiot post Vat II Bishops and Priests can't continue to make a mockery of God and the Church through their self-centered, narcissistic, and humanistic depradations. And, after all, we do learn from Leviticus that God appreciates rubrics.

Henry said...

PI: "There was a time when a priest could go to hell for placing his left arm into the alb sleeve before the right arm (sinister motives and all that nonsense) because he was not following the rules."

Surely, you don't really believe this! I certainly don't.

P. Ignotus said...

Pin - Since you missed it, I say again that I am not a liturgical antinomian.

The problem was that the Pharisees thought that by following the rules they were fulfilling the covenant. They weren't, and Jesus had to remind them of that.

Rules are necessary, but they get out of hand at times, such as the now defunct rule requiring the right arm to go into the right sleeve of the alb before the left into the left sleeve.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, I read what you said. I just don't trust your words.

Marc said...

Pater, I agree with to a certain extent. The real issue is certainly not what the respective rights of the clergy and laity are as this is well-defined in the Church to those who are willing to accept the definitions. I contend, however, that for Modernists, the redefining and intermingling of those distinct roles is of primary importance and is behind many of their actions and dissensions.

I also agree that the robotic application of "rules" in the context of the Liturgy does not, in itself, save anyone - I assume that is your point since you brought up the Pharisees and that was their error.

With limited reflection, I agree with you about what you consider to be the basic questions in liturgy: (1) Does the liturgy offer praise and worship to the Triune God; and (2) Does the liturgy communicate (in its fullest meaning) the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the people of God. However, I disagree that a loosening of rules is necessitated by those questions.

As others have pointed out, the orgaincally developed Liturgy of the Church developed complex rules because that is what the Church in her wisdom determined was appropriate in terms of our worship and the communication of the Mysteries to the people. To adequately communicate the Mysteries to people demands the people be somewhat confused and aloof from those Mysteries else they are by definition no longer mysterious.

Perhaps you could extend your analysis a bit and explain what you think are the logical conclusions of your thoughts. I assume it is a pro-Novus Ordo stance (and I am not insinuating that is a bad thing). I'm just curious, honestly, as to your thought process: reasons, means, and goals.

P. Ignotus said...

Since the rules for liturgy are man-made, they are, by their nature, subject to revision. God doesn't prefer Gregorian Chant to Bach or Mozart.

If a rule once required Amice / Alb / Cincture / Maniple / Stole / and Chasuble is found to be unhelpful in 1) worshipping God or 2) communicating the saving mysteries, then it should be revised.

If a rule required that candles be made of no less than 51% beeswax is found unnecessary, it should be revised.

Liturgical regulations appropriate in one era is not necessarily appropriate in another.

Anonymous said...

PI,

I agree that we should strive not to be pharisaic. But the problem of our generation of Catholicism isn't pharisaism; It's a flat-out refusal to acknowledge authority.

To elaborate, the current challenge is whether the dissenters will gracefully accept ANY rule by church authority that they disagree with. (Remember, obedience isn't very impressive if you agree with everything you're told to do.) In my experience, the dissenters haven't ever been obedient since VII. At the very least they grouse quite loudly about it. In a sense they're almost pharisaic about _dissenting_ from the rules.

I know of one parishioner, for instance, who has gone out of his way on more than one occasion to gratuitously complain to me (as if I have anything to do with it) that our use of a little Latin in the NO and the pastor's occasional offering of an EF Mass is a horrible, horrible thing, a step backward, etc., etc., etc. On the other end of the spectrum is a priest I know who describes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as "hocus pocus on the altar" and who has castigated the pope during a Sunday homily (to wild applause from the congregation) for refusing to allow the ordination of women.

In light of these things, I only wish our problem WERE pharisaism. It's easier to loosen the reins than tighten them.

Father Shelton said...

"Since the rules for liturgy are man-made, they are, by their nature, subject to revision. God doesn't prefer Gregorian Chant to Bach or Mozart."
I really think Pope Benedict is helping us see that the form of Mass is, indeed, a product of man's interaction with God, and so more than just the subject of human manipulation. The rubrics have a "spousal" element to them flowing from Christ's active love for his bride, the Church, and enlivened by the Holy Ghost.

romishgraffiti said...

While I wonder if the Bishop o Phoenix is overreacting,

Don't wonder. When the bishop clamped down on St. Joseph hospital after it procured an abortion for a patient, everyone went ballistic and said the meal ol' bishop was just throwing his weight around, and gee, just what IS an abortion anyway and who is to say?

Well, the fact was that the abortion was only the final straw in a series of offenses, and the bishop had spent years patiently trying to get the hospital out of the fog.

In other words, we should conclude that Bishop Olmsted doesn't do anything controversial without prayerfully and prudently weighing the consequences.

Marc said...

Pater, I understand your position and appreciate your candidly responding. I disagree with you, however.

First, the rules set up for the priest in the celebration of the Mass were made so strict because priest's were not willing/able to follow the rules voluntarily. Given many of our current priests, I think we can all see the problem inherent in priests exercising their "creativity" in the Liturgy. When the Church tells priests that failure to follow the rules is sinful, that is the Church's perogative in her capacity to bind and loose. Therefore, the rules have the force of law and are binding.

Second, to argue the rules should be revised when they are found to no longer be necessary is begging the question: who decides what is necessary? For me the following are not necessary: versus populum, vernacular, music other than chant (or any music at all, actually), receiving the Sacred Blood. I'm guessing in your mind it is now necessary for the laity that these things be done.

To present the argument in terms of necessity is, almost by definition, to introduce innovation with the coming of each new generation. We do not determine what is necessary as we are not the focus of the Liturgy. God determines what is necessary in how we give Him worship. He does that through the Holy Catholic Church and, up until 1969, was doing so organically by passing on the Catholic Tradition in tact and entire from generation to generation. From the time of St. Gregory the Great to 1969, that's a very long time...

Therefore, Pater, maybe you can elaborate on or provide the Church's teaching on which you base the proposition that "Liturgical regulations appropriate in one era [are] not necessarily appropriate in another."

Father Shelton said...

At the risk of beating the subject to death, I did phone the USCCB Publications office today, and the person I spoke to was equally perplexed by the status of the US norms. USCCB Publications still sells the 2001 norms with the understanding that they remain in force, despite the fact that the main USCCB website indicates they have not been since 2006. As best I can tell, apart from ritual Masses (weddings, First Communion, etc.), and the Easter Triduum, the only time Communion under both kinds is technically permitted now during Mass is for: "priests who are not able to celebrate or concelebrate Mass; the deacon and others who perform some duty at the Mass; members of [religious] communities at the conventual Mass or 'community' Mass, along with seminarians, and all who are engaged in a retreat or are taking part in a spiritual or pastoral gathering."
It may be I'm missing something and that this is no big deal, but I do think we should know what's going on.
With all due respect to them, the USCCB completely botched the whole issue of kneeling for Communion a few years ago, requiring direct intervention from Rome. I hope this will not be a repeat.

Henry said...

Fr. Shelton,

Perhaps one can guess "what's going on". I believe that, ever since the original U.S. indult was issued, the Holy See has made clear its desire that we not go beyond the specified conditions. Instead, the U.S. liturgical establishment has successfully sought to circumvent the intentions of the Holy See. Communion in the hand, in both kinds, altar girls, regular scheduled use of EMHC's, etc, etc, etc. How long before we begin to feel deja vu all over again?

P. Ignotus said...

Where do you get the idea that the rules were made strict "because the priests were not willing/able to follow them voluntarily."?

The Church decides what is necessary.

We DO determine what is necessary. God does not tell us to use candles, have a tabernacle, make vessels out of unbreakable materials, or wear maniples. These are human rukes that humans can (and have) changed over time.

How do we know this to be true? The Church has, in every age, adjusted, revised, updated, obliterated, and created norms (rubrics) for celebrating the sacraments. The "teaching" is found in the practice.

Marc said...

@ Pater:

"Where do you get the idea that the rules were made strict 'because the priests were not willing/able to follow them voluntarily.'?"

The Council of Trent and Pope St. Pius V's Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum, for example.

"We DO determine what is necessary."

Who is "we" in this sentence?

"The Church has, in every age, adjusted, revised, updated, obliterated, and created norms (rubrics) for celebrating the sacraments."

One of these words is not like the others and that word is "obliterated." Can you please provide some examples of this obliteration in the Roman Rite between the time of St. Gregory the Great and the Second Vatican Council?

I honestly haven't looked into the rubrics aspect of this question as most of the focus in this area is on the Church's inexplicable changing of the Canon of the Roman Rite following Vatican II.

(By the way, this is a good conversation. I look forward to reading your responses [although I disagree with you completely]!)

P. I. said...

Could you give the section/paragraph of QP?

"We" is humans. God does not decide what is necessary in the mass. We do.

The maniple was obliterated. The development of the liturgy did not end with the opening session of Vatican II.

Joseph Johnson said...

If the 1962 Missal was "never abrogated" (to quote Pope Benedict XVI), how was the humble little maniple ever "obliterated" (to use Pater Ignotus' terminology?

Further, how does a strip of cloth descended from a napkin or handkerchief placed on the left forearm which is properly only worn while at the altar (thereby symbolizing a priest's service in offering the unbloody renewal of the same Sacrifice of Calvary) hinder the communication of the saving Mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God (or the Church Militant, to use a different terminology)?

pinanv525 said...

Thye maniple was not "obliterated." It was no longer required and fell into disuse, but it was never proscribed.

pinanv525 said...

Thye maniple was not "obliterated." It was no longer required and fell into disuse, but it was never proscribed.

Marc said...

@ Pater:

Could you give the section/paragraph of QP?

Implicit in (what I'm counting as) paragraphs 3 and 6. You might also like to read Mediator Dei paragraphs 8, 9, and 57-58.

"We" is humans. God does not decide what is necessary in the mass. We do.

So, all humans everywhere get to decide? A select group of humans acting on behalf of other humans? Clearly you and I are humans, yet we cannot agree on what the Mass should look like. So, what are "we" to do in that case?

Paragraphs 17-22 and 58 of Mediator Dei disagree with your idea that God does not decide what is necessary in the Holy Mass.

The maniple was obliterated. The development of the liturgy did not end with the opening session of Vatican II.

The organic development of the Liturgy did end with the opening of Vatican II for all intents and purposes. And there was no precedent for that-just as there is no precedent for establishing a committee to generate a new liturgy. That is why I was hoping you would provide an example from the pre-Vatican II Church.

I did think of such an example, by the way. The Holy Week Rites were substantially changed by Pope Pius XII in 1955. This is a great example of how the Church can maintain continuity while simultaneously simplifying the Liturgy. Tradition was maintained, but those aspects that were impracticable were changed. That is the organic development of the Liturgy in action! (See MD, 50 for an explanation of the proper modification of the human elements of the Holy Mass.)

Templar said...

Obliterated: to remove or destroy all traces of; do away with; destroy completely.

Nope. I've seen maniples in use, quite regularly since 2007, and have it on very good authority they have been used continuously as far back as anyone of us has living memory at least. Of course that would be in the more Orthodox remnants of the Church, but regardless, clearly one has failed to obliterate what still exists and is used.

Anonymous 4 said...

To Marc's citations on priests being either unwilling/unable to follow the rules I will add a citation to session 21 of the Council of Basel. The council explicitly notes that certain liturgical abuses are occurring in how some priests say Mass and just as explicitly notes (Session 21, on 9 June 1435) that "These abuses are to stop and we decree that any transgressors shall be duly punished by their superiors."

In fact, one of the central concerns of the Catholic Reformation was to get all priests snd bishops on the same liturgical page because lots of priests were so caught up in doing their own thing. Also, there were so many different rites that prescribing a single liturgy would ensure that Protestant or heretical ideas wouldn't find their way into the Mass--a distinct danger that the now-superseded translation of the NO Mass has borne out (e.g. "pro multis" being translated as "for all").

For further information, see Michael Mullett's book _The Catholic Reformation_.

Joseph Johnson said...

Templar,
Indeed, how could the Church "obliterate" something (the maniple) which is a part of the prescribed vestments for a form of the Mass (1962 Missal) which Pope Benedict XVI says was never abrogated?

Templar said...

Anon 4: Well it seems what goes around comes around eh? The abuses of the Liturgy by her Clergy are not a new thing. Perhaps we need a Trent II to once again set the Barque of Peter on the right heading.

Joseph: Who knew that a small piece of cloth, symbolic of the ropes and chains which bound Christ, could cause so much concern for a Priest? Perhaps they doth protest too much precisely because of what it symbolizes and not the fact that there is a piece of cloth attached to their arm. Although I am neither for or against the use of a Maniple, I confess I rather like it's use as a tool for weeding out the Modernists in the Clergy, LOL

Templar said...

Lost in the postings, to me at least, is what seems a new "anonymous" who posted at 2:11PN on 9/27

I hope to read more from this poster. Seems to have his ducks in a row.

P. Ignotus said...

I've never heard anyone assert that rubrics are divine in origin. Were that the case, these could never be changed. In fact, they have been changed. How do we reconcile this?

If the rubrics were of divine origin, then the reform of the Holy Week liturgies of 1955 would indicate that 1) the divine revelation that gave us the former rites was wrong (and this is impossible since revelation is never wrong) or 2) the pope, assisted by a committee - yes, a committee - of expert theologians violated divine revelation by making the changes.

It doesn't work in either case.
Rubrics are of human origin. These are policy matters, not matters of revelation.

I'd like to hear Fr. McDonald's thoughts on this. Are the rubrics divinely revealed?

I'll be away for a while - see you all when I get back.

Frajm said...

Of course the form of the liturgy and the rubrics are not divine in the sense of being immutable, but are divinely inspired by the Church who gives us the Liturgy, or should I say God gives us the liturgy through the human aspect of His Son's Body the Church?
Rubrics can and do change. The GIRM was revised and so are the rubrics of the corrected English Mass slightly revised too. That's good. I'd like to see more in the way of continuity of rubrics between the EF and OF Mass so that there doesn't appear to be a grand rupture in both as celebrated. I tend to like the rubrics of the EF Mass more than the OF Mass although my knees like the rubrics of the OF Mass more than the EF Mass. The Church has a divine authority to legislate the rubrics.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, Take your time...

Marc said...

Thank you, Father McDonald. It's nice to see at least one priest has read Mediator Dei.

:-)

Pater, I apologize for not being clear in my previous post: I can see how you would think I was claiming every little thing was divinely inspired. The point I was trying to make (albeit poorly) is much closer to what Fr. McDonald has stated.

I would not, though, cite the rupture caused by the Spirit of Vatican II as evidence that the rubrics can change completely as there is no precedent in the history of the Church for the rubrics changing in that manner or degree. Any change should take place as set out in MD. Moreover, changes in the Liturgy, when they do happen, are generally the perogative of Saints - up until the Spirit of Vatican II, anyway.

Father, I think that what the Holy Father is attempting to do is to gently "force" a new organic development of the Liturgy that incorporates elements of both forms of the Holy Mass. Those traditionalists among us are rightfully skeptical of that because we don't want the Mass of the Ages to be influenced in any way by the Novus Ordo, including messing with the readings, the calendar, etc. I, for one, would welcome, however, as much influence as possible in the other direction from the Tridentine Mass to the OF!

P. Ignotus said...

But before I go . . . Yes, you SHOULD say God gives us the liturgy through the Church.

Is inspiration behind the requirement that candles be at least 51% beeswax? Certainly not. (Yes, this is an inconsequential matter, but it elucidates the principle.)

Yes, the Church has divine authority to establish the rubrics (I am not sure that rubrics are considered "legislation" in the canonical sense) but that does not imply that the rubrics themselves are inspired.

Anonymous said...

Was it abrogated?

“Mass, whether in Latin or the vernacular, may be celebrated lawfully only according to the rite of the Roman Missal promulgated 3 April 1969 by authority of Pope Paul VI.” The emphasis on the word “only” (tantummodo) is found in the original. “Ordinaries must ensure that all priests and people of the Roman Rite, “notwithstanding the pretense of any custom, even immemorial custom, duly accept the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal.”
“Conferentia Episcopalium” (Oct. 28, 1974).

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous 11:12 a.m.,
I've seen this 1974 directive before as well. On its face, it looks pretty clear but are you using this text to insist that the 1962 Missal was, in fact, abrogated and that Pope Benedict XVI doesn't know what he is talking about when he said it was never abrogated? I know it reads pretty clearly but I'll take the current Pope's word on this one.

At a minimum, the text you cited could be "Exhibit 1" to prove liturgical rupture (rather than reform or modification of an existing form of rite) after Vatican II.