Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Pope Francis distributing Holy Communion to First Communicants by way of intinction. He also does it this way for the deacons at Mass. Also at the Vatican concelebrating cardinals and other deacons intinct themselves and do not drink after one another from the chalice. It makes perfect sense and does not offend anyone's sense of proper hygiene.

This past weekend we eliminated the common chalice for the congregation. I had/have mixed feelings. Let me explain.

I have no problem with the laity being allowed to received our Lord's Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under either the Sign of Bread or Wine or both together.

What most Catholics in the 1970's did mind (and I would include myself) was drinking after others from a common chalice. For a brief period of time, intinction was the prelude to the common chalice, but liturgists didn't like the idea of intinction. They disparaged it as "dunking donuts" and no one eats and drinks like that. How silly, especially for this Italian who loved to dunk bread in to pasta sauce, toast and pastries into coffee and yes bread into wine!

The problem with these darn liturgists is that they wanted the fuller sign of eating and drinking, not eating and dunking and they wanted more extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to be present at Mass as a sign of full, conscious and active participation during the Mass of both men and women, women especially. They were not worried about being unscrupulous about the handling of the Body and Blood of our Lord, contamination of the Precious Blood by gum, germs and deadly viruses. All that mattered to them was the sign of eating and drinking and the "many" helping out with this.

I don't trust liturgists as they have singlehandedly caused our revised Mass, known by some as the Ordinary Form, to become banal and horizontal. It did not have to be this way if the Ordinary Form had simply been allowed to be celebrated in continuity with the Mass from which it came.

The other ideological agenda of these liturgists was that there was to be no distinction between priests and laity at Mass. If the priest stood to receive Holy Communion, so should the laity. If the priest received the Precious Blood, so should the laity.

In fact, when EMC's were first introduced, liturgists insisted that they approach the altar, stand by it or around it and that EMC's receive Holy Communion as con-celebrants do meaning they would place the Host in their mouth to consume it (eat it) when the celebrant did and all would receive from the chalice at the same time too!

I do not recall being taught in the seminary (although I believe it is in the Baltimore Catechism) that the celebrant is the one who completes the Sacrifice of the Mass by consuming both the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood of our Lord. He has no option, both must be consumed, the Holocaust must be consumed to complete the Sacrifice. And the celebrant must consumed what He has consecrated at that Mass, not from the tabernacle.

This privilege of ordination was considered by some  liturgists as clericalism, not dogma, but it is dogma and required of the priest to complete the Sacrifice of Christ. 

And while the current GIRM of the revised Mass states that the laity "should" receive Holy Communion consecrated at the Mass in which they are attending (not from the tabernacle) it is only a "should" not a "must" as it isn't required that they receive Holy Communion from the Sacrifice they are present for Holy Communion to be valid for them.

On top of that, while eating and drinking are important sacramental signs, these are not the most important. Receiving our Lord is. And if one only receives a tiny speck of Holy Communion, no one is shortchanged in anyway whatsoever from receiving our Lord completely and all the graces that come from a worthy reception of our Savior. They might be shortchanged in external signs, but NOT interior spiritual value!

Liturgists for the most part were concerned with the signs and actions of the liturgy, what the bread looked like, what the wine tasted like, who baked and procured these, the eating and drinking. In doing so the element of Faith in the One who saves us was omitted. Jesus was neglected!

But with that said, I hope our bishops who have ideologies from the 1970's concerning intinction will have a change of heart and allow it. I have no problem with intinction and allowing the laity to receive under this method. Receiving in the hand, from an EMC and allowing to "eat and drink" should not trump Who it is we receive in either Form (Species) of the Holy Eucharist.

Protecting the health of communicants at Mass as well as protecting the Sacred Species should be what is paramount.


Jdj said...

Great post, Father!
Not to mention that Eastern Rite Catholics (at least those rites I have been exposed to, as there are 21 such) have ALWAYS received by intinction. This was allowed to continue by Vatican II:

"All members of the Eastern Rite should know and be convinced that they can and should preserve their legitimate liturgical rite and their established way of life, and that these may not be altered except to obtain for themselves an organic improvement."

Anonymous said...

"I do not recall being taught in the seminary (although I believe it is in the Baltimore Catechism) that the celebrant is the one who completes the Sacrifice of the Mass by consuming both the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood of our Lord."

What WERE you taught about the liturgy in the seminary? Anything at all worth knowing?

Was yours the seminary where the only liturgy course was a single semester with its only text a thin paperback written by a Methodist laywoman, and taught by a bitter ex-nun who didn't think ordination has any sacramental effect?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, not exactly but kind of and yes it was quite progressive, many liturgical abuses some more egregious than others depending on priest who celebrated the Mass.

No to devotions, God forbid we wanted Benediction, rosaries, stations and the like

We served ourselves to Holy communion and only austere vessels and vestments were used.

Scripture professor felt the Liturgy of the Word was so important that we shouldn't waste time with the Sign of the Cross, Penitential Act or Gloria--After the processional hymn all he would say is "The Lord be with you...Let us pray and onto the collect and Scriptures.

Most of the priest would not genuflect at the consecrations or only do it once after both had been consecrated.

One insisted the entire EP consecrated the Eucharist not just the magic words, so he wouldn't genuflect until after the Per Ipsum!

Jdj said...

Sorry, I should have given the source for that quote:
It is from Orientalium Ecclesiarum, the fourth document issued by the Second Vatican Council.

Joseph Johnson said...

'Last time I checked, I believe the Church worships the Triune God in the Mass---not liturgists and their wishes. Scrupulous handling of the Sacred Species (which is the Real Presence of Jesus, Who is True God and True Man) is consistent with worship and utmost reverence directed to God. This should be paramount--period.

By the way, Father, when I read your account of the Scripture professor who wanted to eliminate the penitential rite and go straight to the readings it reminded me of another practice which continues to take place each week within the boundaries of this diocese--the ad lib abbreviation of the offertory prayers to combine the bread and wine in one prayer rather than offering each separately as the Missal prescribes (the priest is saying, "for we have this bread and wine to offer" rather than "for we have this bread to offer"etc.) If this combination of the offertory is prescribed, I haven't seen it in the missalette we use. What gives?

Gene said...

Why is it such a big deal? Receiving in one kind is an efficacious Communion. Just take the Body and be done. I never take the Chalice.

Joseph Johnson said...

You got it! That's the reason I haven't been very vocal in this discussion---I rarely receive from the chalice (maybe on Easter or on Corpus Christi). To me, if it is done at all it should be a rare exception for special feast days (which is what I think was originally intended when this practice was re-introduced).

Anonymous said...

I wonder, Fr. McDonald, whether many priests of your malformed generation swallowed that sort of heretical stuff hook, line, and sinker in the seminary, and know no better until this day. If so, no wonder they have little or no respect for or sense of themselves as priests mediating between God and man.

Or were many of them like the what we hear of as the typical seminarian today in a progressive seminary, who keeps his head low and his faith firm whatever whatever garbage his professors ladle out, until safely after his ordination.

rcg said...

I wonder if the chalice became a sort of symbol of the elevation of the laity to essentially coequal with the preist? I always get squeamish when someone wants everyone to raise their hands in blessing "because we have all been given that authority". The issue for me is preparation and I might consider doing such a thing is someone is in danger of dying with out Baptism, e.g., but I am not reliably in a state of Grace such that a blessing from me would be done without some preparation.

BTW, this is the same situation I see for divorced and remarried Catholics for communion. The '62 missal offers the advice to enter into spiritual communion when you cannot actually take communion. I always thought this would apply to Mass too soon after a meal, but it would be a similar situation to remarried Catholics, no?