Saturday, March 19, 2016

WHEN DOCTRINE AND THEOLOGY ARE UNDERMINED BY THE SIGNS USED IN THE LITURGY


Recently Father MJK wrote this comment concerning ad orientem verses the closed circle:

Facing the congregation forms a "circle," if you will, but that does not automatically create a "closed circle" that, by it's nature, excludes God.

The notion of a "closed" circle is something of an oddity it itself, since circles, by definition, are "closed." Other wise you have an arc, not a circle. One might attempt to cast aspersions on a square by calling it a "four-sided square," but, again, that's what a square is. But I digress...

If Christ is the center of the circle - and in our "versus populum" worship, He is - then there is no exclusion of God from the act of worship. When a worshipper looks across the circle, through Christ, he/she sees, first Christ, then the "other." This is, some would say, an overly immanent perception of God, but I would disagree.

In this orientation, I do not see salvation as coming from others, from the community, or from the works we might do, and I don't think others perceive that, either.  


I responded with my own comment:

Frmjk, what you say is doctrinally and theologically correct, but it is the sign value of appearances that works against the doctrine or theology, especially with the OF Mass, not so much with the EF Mass (when celebrated facing the congregation). The OF Mass in and of itself needs a reform. I don't suggest that we can ever go back exclusively to the EF Mass, but we can in terms of its vertical experience even if facing the congregation. Pope Benedict and Pope Francis show the way with the central crucifix and traditional altar arrangement. Saying the black and doing the red and not improvising on the words of the Sacred Liturgy is another powerful reform without touching the missal at all. It would be novel for priests to set aside their pride and do what is printed even if they think they have a better way.

I continue to emphasize that the Ordinariate's new missal is what Pope Benedict envisioned for a reform of the current OF Missal. I pray we will get their options from the EF liturgy (not the Anglican additions though). This would be very simple even with the (new and glorious English) translation of the Mass we have (now with the help of God and Pope Benedict). 


My ongoing comments: When we celebrate the OF Mass as it is designed to be celebrated, following carefully its GIRM and Rubrics, not to mention its words, we have the same doctrine and dogmas of the Mass as there is in the EF Mass although ceremony and words may differ as well as language and orientation.

Just as Vatican II initiated what the Council Fathers thought would be a minor reform of the 1962 Missal because they felt this reform was necessary, so too can we say that the 2002 Roman Missal needs reform too, not in doctrine or dogma, but in the orientation of the Mass which can be misinterpreted by those who celebrated a "closed circle" Ordinary Form Mass thus misdirecting in "sign" what the emphasis of the Mass in either form is meant to be.

Pope Francis following the lead of his predecessor., Pope Benedict, celebrates the Mass even when facing the congregation in an "ad orientem" sort of way. As well, he has maintained the traditional altar arrangement that Pope Benedict recovered with the six candlesticks and central crucifix. In fact, Pope Francis uses the central crucifix in a more deliberate way than Pope Benedict did. With the lower or smaller crucifix which is more to the eye level of the Holy Father, we see His Holiness actually looking at the crucifix during the Mass, more so than Pope Benedict did.  This is very EF!

Thus when Mass actually is celebrated ad orientem or in an ad orientem sort of way when facing the congregation, one knows where prayer is directed (to God not to the congregation) and that the priest and congregation together celebrate the Mass that the Church has given them, not one that they have creatively constructed for their own edification of sorts.

Even concelebrated Mass misplace the emphasis of the Mass onto the concelebrants rather than Christ who is central, not them or their unity or their unity with the bishop when he is the main celebrant.

Look at these two photos. One is a concelebrated Mass with the priests and their bishop. That's nice, but the point of the Mass is not to focus on the role of the various priests to their bishop, as important as that is for a proper ecclesiology, but rather to celebrate the one Sacrifice of Christ in an unbloody way for our salvation. Why be distracted by other things less important, such as the relationship of priests and bishop during the Mass? 

Clearly this photo is about Christ and His Sacrifice and our worship of Him, not about the priest or the concelebrants or the ecclesiology of the Church, which while important, are not the emphasis of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
While the next Mass celebrates the exact same reality as the Mass above, the emphasis isn't on what we see above, but rather on the bishop and his priests. Is this what the Mass is meant to be an act of clericalism exalting the bishops with his priests in some sort of ideological or theological statement about the relationship of the two?  I think not, although that relationship is important but when touted during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass it detracts from that Sacrifice and misplaces the proper emphasis through the use of "sign" not the dogma or doctrine of the Mass:

27 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father, I think you are mistaken if you think the congregation is not watching the priest when he is celebrating "ad orientem."

Even when priests alter the troubled syntax of the "glorious" new translation of the Roman Missal, the people hear "same doctrine and dogmas of the Mass." Alterations of syntax do not necessarily result in changing doctrine. In some cases, I suggest, better syntax makes the Truth contained in thw words more available/understandable to/by them.

Any orientation, versus populum or ad orientem, can be "misinterpreted." I don't think either is more susceptible to this.

Dan said...

If the people see he priest deep in prayer while saying Mass, they will pray better.

gob said...

Good Fathers....the personal, school yard pi**ing contest between you two gets very, very wearisome.

(I'm standing by to hear how everything I say gets wearisome.)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When facing the people Dan, yes! But how reficulous as some priests who are most devout internally when facing the people do not exhibit it outwardly because they can't act. That's the problem with facing each other, facial qualities during the Liturgy take on an importance it should not have!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"...facial qualities during the Liturgy take on an importance it should not have!"

Noses, eyes, cheeks, chins...? Which "facial qualities" take on an importance they should not have? Where do you get the notion that facial qualities are an impediment to proper celebration of the liturgy?

John Nolan said...

Actually, both snapshots tell a story. They are both of the same rite (viz. the Novus Ordo). The first would be recognizable to Catholics fifty, a hundred, five hundred or indeed a thousand or more years ago. The second would not. Who are all these people dressed as druids assembling in a horseshoe shape and extending their right arms in what resembles the fascist salute? Why the multiplicity of chalices on the altar (if indeed it can be so called)?

The second, single, still image emphasizes rupture. And we haven't heard a word spoken, in any language, nor a single note of music. C'est magnifique, la nouvelle ecclĂ©siologie, n'est-ce pas? Permettez-moi d'ĂȘtre d'un autre avis.

Victor said...

I am sorry that the impression I get in the second picture is that all those clerics are stage performers in a Broadway play. Can those clerics fully devote themselves to praying to God when they face the people who are staring at them? Worse still is how the laity watching them is supposed to pray to God when they see in front of them those distacting clerics facing them? That is to say, when someone faces you and says something, you naturally think they are speaking to you.

Anonymous said...

As a 2009 initiate to the faith, I have gotten very weary of the endless back and forth between those who hold a traditional view of the Mass and those who hold a "progressive" view of the Mass. It seems to me, based on my own experience, that the traditional position is generally "correct," although it isn't quite as simple as reducing the issue to right versus wrong in any monolithic sense.

Even more frustrating is, no one is going to really influence anyone to consider an alternate view from their own, let alone ever come to any kind of consensus. We basically have two camps, with considerable variation within them centered about a mean. The traditionalists and the anti-traditionalists. Isn't this obvious by now? It is increasingly becoming clear to me that we live in an age where many want, many need, many crave, to defend what, to a great extent, is their own view, based on whatever it is personally and idiosyncratically based on, rather than to look outside themselves to what the tradition has given to us. The modern age is an age of me-first, what do I want -- tradition be damned. What are the rest of us, trying our best to be faithful and true through all this incessant turmoil, to do? You should receive communion in the hand. You should receive communion on the tongue. You must not receive on the tongue. I won't let you receive on the tongue. Says a priest or a bishop. I find myself wanting to completely withdraw from community, worship God and put all the arguing behind me. Maybe I'm not the only one.

Jan said...

I had the uncomfortable experience of attending an EF Mass with the priest facing us due to the crib being set in front of the altar. It did break my concentration and I'm sure the celebrant was distracted as well. Quite often at the OF of the Mass during their sermons priests mention things that happened earlier in the Mass, about lay people being late, etc. and so it is obvious that facing the people must break the concentration of the priest, otherwise they wouldn't notice what the lay people were doing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

At the papal Mass outdoors this morning for Palm Sunday, the concelbrating bishops and priests are to the sides of the altar and not facing the congregation confrontationally as is the case with so many cathedral con celebrations and the bishops remain at the chairs and do not gather behind the altar or in front of it depending on your perspective.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

I would suggest that the "incessant turmoil" that concerns you is only to be found among a very particular group of Catholics, who engage in these discussions at very particular places and times. You should find these discussions easy enough to avoid, if they upset you.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Would you grant that the "facing the people" Mass bears more on the "presider" to enhance his "presiding" skills by making himself "more alive", by his "affectuations", his "eye contact", his "stage presence", and his "rapport" with the people so as to make the "liturgy" become "more alive" and "relevant" to the captive "audience" ehrr... laity?

Would you also grant that the "affectuations", the "cutie" style of "presiding" are greatly diminished in an ad orientem Mass because for goodness' sake the priest "presiding" does not look at the people and the people don't bear pressure on him as "boring" or "ineffective" or just plainly "unskilled" to "preside" at such a "wonderful gathering around the table of the Lord for a happy meal"?

Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous Fr. de la Cruz:

No. The presider is human, and this is a good thing. It is not only a good thing, but it is an essential and necessary thing.

We are not clones of Jesus, not merely imitators of Jesus, but men acting "in the person of Christ." It is not necessary to eliminate any and all aspects of the person of the priest. Nor is it desirable for the priest to "disappear." For if the priest disappears, then Christ, who is present in and thru him, also disappears.

I would also not refer to the Eucharist as a "happy meal."

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

I asked: Would you grant that the "facing the people" Mass bears more on the "presider" to enhance his "presiding" skills... so as to make the "liturgy" become "more alive" and "relevant"...?

You said: No. The presider is human, and this is a good thing. It is not only a good thing, but it is an essential and necessary thing.

I say: Good Father, I think you are not answering my question. Let me rephrase what I am asking. Does Mass versus populum pressure (or at least tempt) the priest celebrant more to become a stage-man, a some sort of cute-game-show-host?

------------------------

You said: The presider is human, and this is a good thing. It is not only a good thing, but it is an essential and necessary thing... It is not necessary to eliminate any and all aspects of the person of the priest. Nor is it desirable for the priest to "disappear." For if the priest disappears, then Christ, who is present in and thru him, also disappears.

I say and ask: Yes, and it is indeed IMPOSSIBLE to eliminate all aspects of our personality at the altar even when we celebrate ad apsidem/ad orientem. But do you imply by such a statement such as "it is not necessary to eliminate any and all aspects of the person of the priest" that a priest celebrant should not desist from eye contact with the Mass goers especially during the presidential prayers of the Collect and the Eucharistic Prayer? Should the priest celebrant not lessen if not completely desist from imposing his "style" of "showmanship" in the affectation in his tone of voice, his mannerisms, his ad-libbing, and his disobedience of the rubrics to make the liturgy become more alive according to his judgment?

-------------------------

You said: I would also not refer to the Eucharist as a "happy meal."

I say: Kudos and congratulations Father! I think we are on the same league. I survived through my seminary and theology days with formators and theology professors on the watch constantly inculcating upon us the Mass-as-happy-meal of the people of God. And I hope even if the modifier "happy" is dropped, you wouldn't say that the Mass is just a plain meal either.


Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Let me add another thing.

You said: if the priest disappears, then Christ, who is present in and thru him, also disappears.

I say: I think we are not meeting on the same level on how the sacramentality of the priest celebrant operates at Mass. Does the priest become effective as a sacrament of the headship of Christ (as he stands in persona Christi Capitis) when he becomes the Allan, Patrick, or Mike that he is at the altar? Or does he become more effective at his calling when his physical being, the materiality and personality of his person all points to the hidden and invisible Christ who is the main protagonist of the Sacrifice of the Altar?

I read it somewhere (although I cannot find the link for it anymore) that the post-conciliar liturgical expert Archbishop Rembert Weakland once remarked that we have successfully so emphasized the signs of the bread and the wine, the eating and the drinking; but the question is have we successfully facilitated the encounter of the people with the ones to which these signs point to? How far have we failed in properly administering the sacraments can be gauged when people do not really encounter the hidden realities to which the material signs of the sacraments point to, when people become fixated with the signs instead of the invisible realities of the sacraments.

Father, are not sacraments "visible signs that point to invisible realities"? I think that that is the whole point why a priest becomes less effective at Mass when more of his personality greatly diminishes the precedence of the hidden Christ, the sole Leitourgos of the Church. I agree with you that yes the presider is human (therefore it is impossible to totally let go of his personality at the altar). But to say that the priest's personality is "not only a good thing, but it is an essential and necessary thing" strays from what a sacrament should be... No, it is the priest's male humanity that is essential to his sacramental function, to lend his hands, voice, mind, and heart to Christ the Priest whom he makes present in his role as Head. But a priest's own personality dominating the liturgy? I think the sign instead of bringing the people to where it points to has become the end point to which the people are drawn and to where they should not go.


Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Patrick - There is no separation between Allen the priest at the altar and Allen the man shopping for wine at Fresh Market. His ordination, as you know, effected an ontological change. In his whole being, substance and accidents, he is a priest. It is not necessary nor desirable for his human accidents to disappear for the presence of Christ to be revealed. It is not necessary for the accidents of bread and wine to disappear for the Real Presence of Christ to be revealed in the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, when the accidents of bread and wine disappear - when the natural elements that make them bread and wine are no longer present - there is no longer the Real Presence of Christ.

Your suggestion that the personality of the priest obscures the presence of Christ is, I believe, incorrect. Did not Christ have a personality? Did He not laugh and cry, smile and frown, joke with his friends, react with pleased surprise when tasting some new food? If he was True God and True Man, the answer has to be, and is, yes.

The priest's personality is an essential, inseparable part of his "male humanity." It is as essential to his nature as starch, fat, fibre, protein are essential to the nature of bread, and water, ethanol, glycerol, tannins and phenolics, acids, and a few other compounds are essential to the nature of wine.

It is not in spite of these natural materials that Christ is present in the consecrated bread and wine, but in and through them that He is present.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

You say: It is not necessary nor desirable for his human accidents to disappear for the presence of Christ to be revealed. It is not necessary for the accidents of bread and wine to disappear for the Real Presence of Christ to be revealed in the Blessed Sacrament.

I say: Really, Mike? Did you get the point of what I was saying? I said that it is IMPOSSIBLE to let go of the priest's personality at the altar. And for that matter, even the accidents of bread and wine to disappear with regard to the Lord's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. What I was saying is that these signs SHOULD POINT to the realities that they are meant to be sacraments of. And for that matter, I am saying that the focus on the "accidents" of these sacraments should be lessened. Most especially with regard to the priest at the altar. The same is true with fixation on the bread and wine, eating and drinking of the Eucharist.

How a sordid and bad theology it is when you see people gnawing at the baked bread (from the local bakery) and the cup of grape juice with people gathered around the happy table because such they say is the real Eucharist -- the fellowship is all that there is to it and the warmth and the fuzzy brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. And before you say that that is fiction Fr. Mike, I tell you, I had to endure such liturgical nonsense from seminary formators themselves complete with sofa and pillows and pitchers and all that stuff... Because they are into the eating and the drinking and hence, they have that great emphasis in the bread and wine, and the supposedly warm albeit corny and endless adlibbing of the presiding priest who thinks that the celebration relies on his presiding skills and his personality. And I ask, after all these eating and drinking, and the "sharing" of the broken bread however it may scatter wherever, and the joking and the cajoling of people from the "table" to be warm and fuzzy with one another, do people really come to the encounter and to the faith of what this sacrament was really meant to be? Fixation, dear friend, on the signs is something very close to replacing the worship of the true God hidden under the accidents of the bread and wine and it seems to come very close to idolatry, and to the stupid cult of (the priest's) personality.

And Father, we know our theology well: the accidents are integral to the sacraments. The sacraments are sacraments because they are material, visible, tangible signs. Hence, they have accidents which the Lord has instituted and the Church uses to mediate the realities of Sanctifying Grace, of the Real Presence, of Christ's Headship (as in Holy Orders). But to be fixated to these accidents shows that one doesn't get the real point of the sacraments. It is to be contented with the road signs instead of going to the real destination.

Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

As an added clarification,

You said: when the accidents of bread and wine disappear - when the natural elements that make them bread and wine are no longer present - there is no longer the Real Presence of Christ. Your suggestion that the personality of the priest obscures the presence of Christ is, I believe, incorrect. Did not Christ have a personality?

I do not mean by disappear that the bread and wine should come to non-existence. You know that sacraments need the natural elements in order for them to become sacraments. That is the whole point of sacraments! Visible signs of invisible realities! The same is true with the person of the priest. But what I am saying with regard to making the priest's personality 'disappear' is not about bringing it to non-existence. It is rather to let himself be used at the altar so that it is Christ alone who should come to the fore.

And what about your question about Christ having a personality because of His being human? I find it amusing that you would bring this up to support your position about not letting go of the priest's personality at the altar. The point Father is not whether Christ has a personality so that the priest should also have his. The point Father is that if the people would just end up with the priest's personality, with his jokes, and his cajoling, with his corny adlibs, his idiosyncracies and even his tantrums at the altar, then Christ DEFINITELY disappears from the liturgy. And he strays greatly and should I say gravely sins against his ordination: not to draw people to himself but to Christ whom He should be making present and whose instrument he is.

Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Since the point of Fr. Allan's article was about Ad Orientem against versus Populum celebrations,

I ask you again the same question which you still have not answered and which even if you do not answer I glean that you would reflect on in our ministry as Priests...

Does Mass versus populum pressure (or at least tempt) the priest celebrant more to become a stage-man, a some sort of cute-game-show-host?

Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz

TJM said...

As generally celebrated the Novus Ordo has been an unmitigated disaster but left-wing loon priests simply cannot accept that it has contributed to a tremendous drop off in Sunday Mass attendance. Many are sick and tired of the group hug Mass (versus populum) and "Father Edutainer" with his mistranslations and other silly antics.

Jusadbellum said...

Fr. K, this closing line of yours "It is not in spite of these natural materials that Christ is present in the consecrated bread and wine, but in and through them that He is present." is marvelous.

Really the whole post is great - both in terms of metaphysics and in how it 'flows'. Your erudition shows.

If our unique personality didn't matter, why would we be diverse? It matters that there are distinct nations to be 'made disciples'. It matters that in the New Jerusalem there will peoples of every language group. Grace builds on nature - it doesn't compete with it!

So the priest brings his entire self to the Lord and together they accomplish unique things together that no one else could. No two priests have the same ministry. No two laity either. No two saints are equally holy or in the same way. It matters that Dominic and Francis were different.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh, in my reading of him, is absolutely correct here, and his critics are attributing things to him that he did not say and as far as I can infer from his postings does not adhere to. He won't appreciate my endorsement of his words, but fair's fair.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I would agree that father Kavanaugh is correct but I would say also that in the EF mass that the homily is where the priest's personality is allowed to stand or fall but the homily technically is not a part of the EF mass although it is in the OF mass.I would also say that in the OF mass the priest personality is too prevalent and overpowers itwhereas in the EF mass it can enhance it but not diminish it in an irreparable way.

Jusabellum said...

Yes. that's the perfect bookend comment Fr. A.

The Latin Mass's focus is on the actual prayers and Presence.... we see the priest's vestment, the candles, the silent Baroque flourishes. The acolytes and are thus focused on the literature and silent beauty. Though, if not careful, our mind can wander too - and most definitely will in a physical church without beauty, without religion icons to give our imagination something to chew on or focus our attention on...

Then in the Homily precisely because it is in the vernacular and we are seeing the celebrant's face, we are focused on what he has to say.

There's the interplay between silence and speech that is stark in the Latin rite while confused and jumbled in the new.

It's becoming more and more clear to me that the Latin was jettisoned from the top down, not demanded from the bottom up. So too, most of the 'reforms' have all been started at the top with the possible exception of the Church's reaction to the sexual revolution which began in the 1950s and was not effectively challenged by the hierarchy or religious orders such that by the time it erupted in the mid-1960s, there was no organized defense from the top for those stalwarts among the laity - they were largely on their own in the 1970s onward.

It's from the laity that there's this enduring "market" for the Latin rite but more than that, from the laity there's hunger for quality Catholicism as opposed to the trite and superficial SJW (Social Justice warrior) fluff whereby we're essentially to vote Socialist and then feel absolved of all personal responsibility inasmuch as we delegate everything to the benevolent mercies of an all powerful centralized state. If pastors only tapped into this hunger for authentic counter-cultural Catholicism.... and not in a negative doom and gloom fashion but in a confident and zealous "let's convert the world" fashion that comes from simple faith in the Lord's enduring presence in our lives...

We are sheep waiting for shepherds to blow the trumpet and call for a fast or call to arms or call to action...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I do appreciate your appreciation, really.

Jus - Thank you, too. I know this will raise many "un sourcil," but my earliest introduction to Christology/Echatology (and French!) came from The Singing Nun. Her wonderful "Resurrection" includes the line, "Le bienheureux Dominique et Saint-Francois retrouve / Boiront la Benedictine pour feter leur amitie!" (Saint Dominic and Saint Francis find the Bendictine and drink to celebrate their friendship.) Vive la difference!

Patrick - You ask: "Would you grant that the "facing the people" Mass bears more on the "presider" to enhance his "presiding" skills... so as to make the "liturgy" become "more alive" and "relevant"...?"

I answer: No. The presider, being himself, is all that is required. And the liturgy is relevant, whether celebrated in Latin or English, whether ad orientem or versus populum.

You ask: "But do you imply by such a statement such as "it is not necessary to eliminate any and all aspects of the person of the priest" that a priest celebrant should not desist from eye contact with the Mass goers especially during the presidential prayers of the Collect and the Eucharistic Prayer?"

I answer: No. The "male human" cannot eliminate any and all aspects of his person, nor should he try, nor would he remain human if he were to accomplish such a thing.

You ask: "Should the priest celebrant not lessen if not completely desist from imposing his "style" of "showmanship" in the affectation in his tone of voice, his mannerisms, his ad-libbing, and his disobedience of the rubrics to make the liturgy become more alive according to his judgment?"

I answer: No. I don't know any priests who engage in "showmanship." I, and many others, celebrate the mass with dignity, with attention to detail, with a deep appreciation of the ebb and flow of the overall liturgical action, and with a sense of how my actions are designed to serve the People of God in a particular place at a particular time.

I suspect the EAXACT SAME THING (dignity, attention, appreciation, sense of service) can be said of priests who celebrate the EF. At any rate, I would hope that that is the case.

I suspect that, for better or for worse, we are not in the same league. I did not survive seminary, I loved almost every minute of it. I never heard anything approaching "Mass-as-happy-meal" unless I was with my cohort and we were out enjoying pizza and beer at Stavros in downtown Emmitsburg and we were joking around.

You say: "The sacraments are sacraments because they are material, visible, tangible signs. Hence, they have accidents which the Lord has instituted and the Church uses to mediate the realities of Sanctifying Grace, of the Real Presence, of Christ's Headship (as in Holy Orders)."

Here we agree. And among the accidents of Holy Orders is the personality of the priest.

You ask: "Does Mass versus populum pressure (or at least tempt) the priest celebrant more to become a stage-man, a some sort of cute-game-show-host?"

I answer: No. If a priest thinks he is Game-Showing it, the problem is not with the form of the mass, but with his 1) immaturity and 2) his formation.






George said...


The mystery of the Eucharist

When the bread and wine are consecrated with the necessary intention and correct form (the valid words of consecration) ,then the bread and wine are no longer such, but are now the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Christ. The accidents of the bread and wine then become the perceivable indications to us of Christ's presence and that presence is in a state we can consume without distaste and in accord with our sensibilities. When we consume the Eucharist our taste perceives the material substance of bread, and/ or wine even though in substance these do not remain. It is a mystery and a miracle which cannot be truly knowable and understood by the human intellect. Church teaching alone cannot make it understandable and knowable to our rational mind and it is by faith that we accept the transubstantiation of material substances into Christ Himself. What the Church can tell us is what it is not. It is not the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Christ while at the same time remaining bread and wine(consubstantiation) The Living God does not become in an inseparable unity with inert, non-living physical matter as some denominations have taught and believed. This cannot happen. Some Lutherans have understandably rejected this theology because the Eucharist transcends mere metaphysical explanation. This is true of anything where the supernatural is involved.

George said...

Fr. Patrick B. de la Cruz:
'Does Mass versus populum pressure (or at least tempt) the priest celebrant more to become a stage-man, a some sort of cute-game-show-host?"

I don't know about pressure to do so, but for some who are so inclined, or of a certain personality type, the temptation (or opportunity if you will), is more present in "versus populum" orientation. Priests are human beings and as human beings come in all different types, and as Father Kavanaugh stated "If a priest thinks he is Game-Showing it, the problem is not with the form of the mass, but with his 1) immaturity and 2) his formation".

There are circumstances where some fraternal and charitable corrective action by the local bishop is necessary.

I have heard horror stories from some I know who have attended Mass in other parts of the country. Let me say though that someone I know who recently attended Mass at Holy Spirit (Father Kavanaugh's parish) told me that the Mass was properly and reverently celebrated and that the homily was well done and orthodox. I find that to be the case at St Joseph as well with Fr. McDonald and Fr Vernon, so I think we are well blessed in Macon.