Thursday, June 21, 2012



These first two images are absolutely essential for the completion of the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ at every Catholic Mass--it must occur:

The Holy Communion of the Laity is important, but not necessary for the completion of the Holy Sacrifice which belongs to the priest alone to complete.

Did you know that in the pre-Vatican II Liturgy, especially with its stringent fast from midnight to the time of Mass and fasting from food and water, that often Holy Communion wasn't even offered to the laity present. Yes, only the priest received. And in doing so both the Sacrifice and the Banquet of the Body and Blood of Christ who is the Sacrificial Victim or Holocaust were completed.

It is absolutely necessary according to orthodox Catholic Eucharistic doctrine for the priest who celebrates any EF or OF Mass and in the Ordinary Form for all con-celebrants to receive the Sacrificial Victim's Body and Blood consecrated at that particular Mass (meaning not from the tabernacle) in order to complete the Sacrificial action of the Mass. And they must receive both the consecrated Bread and Wine, the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.

Then the laity are offered a portion of that same Sacrifice. In fact the GIRM of the 2012 missal states that the laity should receive Holy Communion consecrated at the Mass they are attending rather than routinely given hosts from the tabernacle consecrated at a previous Mass. The simplified fast helps to facilitate this and I do believe that it is not permitted in the Ordinary Form to deny anyone to receive Holy Communion who is free to do so, meaning having observed the one hour fast and being in a state of grace. The reception of the Sacrificial Victim is a sign of the eternal banquet of the perfectly redeemed in heaven. Unforgiven sinners are not in heaven and thus for an unforgiven sinner to receive Holy Communion corrupts the heavenly sacramental symbolism of the Banquet aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

While the norm for the laity to receive Holy Communion consecrated at the Mass they are assisting, it is not mandatory for the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass, for their reception of Holy Communion is not essential for the "completion of the Sacrifice" as it is for the priest who celebrates the Mass. On top of that, the laity are not mandated to receive from the Chalice the Precious Blood of Christ as the priest-celebrant is required to do.

But how many Catholic know what I just described? I doubt that the majority of of my parishioners know. In fact I didn't really know this until about a few years ago myself. It just has not be emphasized in post-Vatican II theology on the Mass. Can it be because the meal aspect has been overemphasized to the detriment of the Sacrifice and its completion by the ordained priest. I report, you decide.

In a "spirit" of post-Vatican II Eucharistic theology, the communion of the priest has completely been obscured by a theology that all eat and consume the meal (note that it isn't called the "Sacrificial Victim or Holocaust.")

The very clear theology of the Sacrifice of the Mass prior to the Council was that the priest consume the sacrifice first in order to complete the Sacrifice. This truth is still paramount to the Ordinary Form of the Mass but never taught because many feel that it denigrates the Laity's Communion and their baptismal priesthood which is viewed on par with the ordained priesthood.

In fact, in some places trendy priests allowed the laity to receive first and then the priest receives what is left over at the end of the laity's communion! On top of that a similar abuse, but not entirely as egregious, which I was taught to do in the seminary and which we did the first five years of my ordination was to have the Eucharistic Ministers come up at the Sign of Peace. The priest would give each EMCH their host in the hand and then all, including the priest would receive together as though the EMCH's were concelebrants. Then they would approach the altar for their particular chalice and the priest and laity would drink at the same time and then each would go to their station.

You can see the corrupt theology at work here that progressive liturgists were shoving down the throat of the Church collective. The ordained priest is only a leader and the priesthood of the laity is no different than that of the ordained. That is not the theology, doctrine or dogma of the Mass in either form or any recognized rite of the Catholic Church but how many priests and laity know that today?

The blurring of the role of the ordained priest with the role of the common priesthood of all the baptized has been the single biggest culprit in the corruption of the Church and her sacramental system and has led to the diminution of the role of the ordained priest in the life of the Church and compromised priestly vocations. Of course, progressives like this because then they can have their way and open up the priesthood to married men and women.

The progressives knew what they were doing and were/are gleeful for the confusion of the various degrees of the priesthood in the Church today and for the decline in vocations. It fits their agenda rather nicely.


Marc said...

Good post. I'd love to hear a homily on this topic at St. Joseph (I've heard it recently from an FSSP priest given an exposition on the Real Presence). I think your homily last week approached some related issues as well.

I was discussing the nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass with a friend of mine at lunch (who happens to be Mormon). He was wondering after I explained everything why there appear to be so many objectively sacreligious Communions (he went to Catholic High School). I explained that probably a small number of Catholics have even a rudimentary understanding of the Sacrficial nature of the Mass and believe in the Real Presence.

Marc said...

"Then they would approach the altar for their particular chalice and the priest and laity would drink at the same time and then each would go to their station."

Doesn't self-Communing of the laity incur excommunication latae sententiae? This always confuses me when laity take the Chalice in hand to receive from either priest or EMHC... seems like a fine line to me.

I have seen it happen where a priest essentially "stands guard" beside a Chalice on a small table while the people approach, pick up the Chalice, and self-Communicate. I really think that is objectively an automatic excommunication. But, I will stand to be corrected by the clerics who know better about these things.

Henry Edwards said...

"... liturgists were shoving down the throat of the Church ..."

I've come to think the word "liturgist" should be banned from Catholic usage. Not only because it falsely implies some particular competence, but because to say that "liturgists did this (or that)" is an circumlocution or obfuscation that hides the truth. Which is that they are protestants, protesting against the Faith, but staying today within the Church (and usually feeding at its trough) to fight it from within, whereas protestants of another time at least had the decency to leave the Church to fight it from without.

And of course the word "protestant" was itself an obfuscation originally, since objectively they were simply heretics, as are many or most of those called liturgists today.

rcg said...

This is an important post and demonstrates the problem we have had with participation in Mass being misunderstood and the even more general failure of Mass as catechisis. We must take communion, we must hold hands during the Pater Noster, and lift our hands in unison during the minor doxology.

If we go back to the basics, I think we will probably experience a decrease in attendance, then the Nave will fill with thirsty souls.

ytc said...

No, Marc, there is no excommunication, latae or ferendae sententiae, for self-communicating. Even I think that would be a little harsh since, yes it is very wrong, but the Species is not desecrated or anything.

Edward, I agree. I've been saying it for a while, "liturgist" should be suppressed/abrogated/recommended against. At least for now.

Marc said...

ytc, it appears you are correct about the lack of excommunication (although I intend to look into it more thoroughly). Self-communication of the laity is forbidden, though, in the GIRM.

I disagree that the Sacred Species are not desecrated by self-communication. But, then again, I would argue that EMHCs themselves are a desecration of the Sacred Species because their use involves the touching of the sacred by the unconsecrated. So, you get where I am coming from on this topic.

But, I understand what you mean by "desecration" as something a bit "worse" in scale - like it's not a Black Mass or anything. To that extent, I agree with you!

ytc said...

Well yes, I abhor the thought of self-communicating as well.

Andy Milam said...

This is a great post, Father. I've long been an advocate of the midnight fast and I have practiced it since the early 1990s.

I think that in today's Church Communion has been cheapened to a degree. Cheapened because of the meal concept of which you speak. Prior to the reforms after the Council, the reception of Holy Communion was important, to be sure, but not absolutely necessary every Sunday. That mentality has changed. Changed so much that if one doesn't receive Holy Communion every time he goes to Mass, the immediate thought is...he must be in mortal sin. OMG!!

The sad truth is that prior to the reforms, there was an out to help lessen the burden, that was the fast. Because the fast helped to cover the embarrassment of mortal sin, one could simply say, "I broke fast" until he had a chance or worked up the courage to make a good confession. Let's not forget that even before the Council, Confession was a tough thing to do.

But since the theological reasoning has move from sacrifice to meal, in a practical sense, the gravity of mortal sins has been lessened. The "peer pressure" to receive every time has gone up and Holy Communion has been cheapened, in a practical application.

Father, you're spot on in saying that the faithful should be offered Holy Communion, but that doesn't mean that the faithful have to take it. The obligation is to hear Mass, the obligation (save Easter duty) is not to receive Holy Communion. I think that priests should be preaching on just what you commented on and also preaching on that which I just responded.

But, sadly it won't happen, because the theology since the Council has shifted to lessen the sacrifice and to lift up the meal. And that is the travesty. While the meal aspect of the Mass certainly exists, it is always secondary to the unbloody Sacrifice at Calvary represented by the celebrant.