Saturday, February 1, 2014
IS THERE AN "ONCTOLOGICAL" DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLERGY AND LAITY? IN ONE WORD YES! DO COLORING BOOK CATHOLICS KNOW THIS?
To many conservative moderate Catholics, not just progressive ones, what Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of the blog WDTPRS writes about his clericalism and the distribution of Holy Communion would seem to be too right wing. But is it really and would there be a recovery of the sacred and a recovery of those who would want to be priests, meaning an increase in vocations to the priesthood?
Keep in mind that traditionalist communities, even those that celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass exclusively, are the ones providing vocations to the priesthood today. And those communities that are primarily Extraordinary Form are providing more, percentage wise, than most Ordinary Form parishes.
This is what Fr. Z writes in one of his posts (my comments follow):
"And, yes, I am a clericalist. I think that priests are special. I think that priests have their proper role in the Church. I think that priests are ontologically changed by the Sacrament of Orders. I think that we should not blur the roles of priests and lay people.
And, yes, yes, I include deacons too. One of the things deacons are ordained to do, is to distribute the Eucharist. Operative word in that last bit? Ordained.
Moreover, bishops could install men to the ministry of Acolyte, which would help solve this difficulty. But that’s another pot of borscht.
Also, if we really want to speed up Communion in a reverent way, then install Communion rails and distribute Communion on the tongue to people who are kneeling. Communion distribution goes much more efficiently that way and it is more reverent by far."
MY COMMENTS: Prior to going in the seminary, when I was an early teenager and into my first couple of years of the 20's, my family's parish in Augusta, Georgia, St.Joseph, which at that time was a wonderful multi-cultural parish primarily with many Europeans, directly from Europe, war brides, but also Asians from Korea and Vietnam, Panama, not to mention those from the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, and all this due to the U.S. Army post nearby, was a relatively traditional parish, but one that had implemented most of the liturgical changes after Vatican II.
Where our parish lagged, in comparison to many other parishes in Augusta and our diocese, but not all at that time, was standing for Holy Communion, Communion under both kinds and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We continued to kneel for Holy Communion well into 1975 I believe, if my memory serves me correctly. We didn't think any of this was "backwards pre-Vatican II crap" because our parish had a profound reverence and respect for the sacred.
I think it was around 1975 or 76, prior to my entrance into the seminary, that a new pastor required us to stand for Holy Communion, encouraged Communion in the hand and then provided on some occasions Holy Communion under both forms, first by intinction then later with the common chalice. Eventually Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion began to be commissioned. Prior to that, one of the other priests would pop out to assist with Holy Communion at the rail and then when standing. The church building wasn't big.
I do remember grumbling from my parents and others in the parish when we were forced to stand for Holy Communion and told that it was childish to kneel and receive on the tongue. We were told our faith was incomplete in the Most Holy Eucharist if we preferred a priest to distribute Holy Communion to us rather than a lay person. We were told that we were being silly if we didn't want to drink from a common chalice because it was culturally inimical to us and unsanitary. In other words, those who preferred priests to distribute Holy Communion while the laity knelt at the altar railing and received on the tongue were marginalized and ridiculed as being backwards and so pre-Vatican II!
But what has happened in most parishes today concerning reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist and vocations to the priesthood? Both have declined if we measure these two things as they existed for almost 2000 years in the Church prior to the novelties that developed in the immediate post-Vatican II period, true novelties disconnected from the majority of the Latin Rite Church's tradition for 2000 years, the vast, vast majority, despite any archeologist's attributions to these novelties.
So I would agree with Fr. Z and I would classify myself as a "clericalist" but not in the derogatory, elitist sense of that word that leads to pride and lack of accountability for truly aberrant behavior and attitudes including those behaviors that are immoral and illegal of the ordained.
So yes, as the Church teaches over the centuries in our Sacred Tradition, there is a difference between the ordained and the laity, there is an ontological difference as Fr. Z states it.
It would do us well to recover the sense of the sacred as this sense was understood in the Latin Rite prior to some of the more useless and unhelpful changes in the liturgy concerning the distribution of Holy Communion. We must recover the devotional reverence we once had at Mass but within the context of interior and exterior full, conscious and actual participation (even in the EF Mass, not just the OF Mass).
So, I would pray that one day the norms for the distribution of Holy Communion throughout the world would return to the previous pre-Vatican II practice. This alone will enhance the road to recovery and the reform of the reform as it concerns reverence and proper popular piety at Mass and at the time of receiving Holy Communion.
My only change or disagreement with Fr Z's argument would be the following:
I would advocate that the "ministry of Acolyte" be the formal one that requires a bishop to install the person. This ministry would be a "permanent" ministry, not one leading to Holy Orders necessarily.
It would require a in-diocese seminary program lasting one to two years, with vigorous screening of candidates, where the program is one of spiritual, doctrinal and pastoral development of the person. The candidate would be trained in what it means to be an acolyte, appropriate Eucharistic piety and personal prayer and the example that is to be given in terms of Christian witness and service. Most of all the pastoral dimension of this ministry would be emphasized, that of bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound.
The Liturgical dress of this ministry would be the alb. Those who distribute Holy Communion as officially installed acolytes would wear the alb, be in the procession and sit in the sanctuary. Candidates for this "permanent" ministry can be male or female.
In addition, the same preparation and "seminary program" but one cleared for those to be readers would occur with the same screening process and pastoral formation and for both men and women.
Finally, to all those who say, but Father, but Father, why don't you do this now?
My answer is that the bishop of every local diocese is the primary liturgist of the diocese and can legislate or approve of various practices even the return to the pre-Vatican II model . But if he doesn't desire to do this or sees it as opposed to his own vision of liturgical practice and renewal, he can ask a priest to simply follow the norms of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal for the Distribution of Holy Communion in the USA approved by the proper ecclesiastical authorities and ultimately by the competent Roman Congregation.
What so many heterodox progressives and traditionalists seem to agree on is disobedience to one's bishop if what one's bishop goes against their particular ideologies. In other words, these Catholics of two extremes are cut from the same altar cloth.