Thursday, December 6, 2018


FRMJK has only celebrated Mass facing the congregation since his ordination and he can correct me if he has ever gone ad orientem on his congregation. Therefore his comment about the Eucharistic Prayer being directed toward the congregation is quite understandable but surely a sad commentary of what facing the congregation while praying to God has done to the orthodox theology and dogma of Catholic prayer in general and the Eucharistic prayer in particular not only for the congregation but for the priest!

This is his comment:

Well, when Jesus says "Take this, drink this" he is speaking to the congregation AS WELL AS to His disciples. 

My comments:

No! No! No! During the priestly prayer, the High Priest’s prayer, the sacramental priest who is the sacramental sign of the High Priest, Jesus Christ, is offering His prayer on our behalf to God His Father and reminding or remembering before His Heavenly Father the Memorial and Anemesis of what He instituted on Holy Thursday as a means to perpetuate His Holy Sacrifice of Good Friday, albeit in the gloriously Risen unbloody way. The Father of course receives and accepts this one Sacrifice both the bloody one and the unbloody sacramental one offered on every Catholic altar.  In the Eucharistic Prayer all its words including the consecration are directed to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit as is all Christian prayer.

In the Mass, the consecrated Species of Bread and Wine are offered to the congregation only after the priest has completed this unbloody Sacrifice by consuming the Holocaust and then turns from the altar to the congregation following the Our Father and Lamb of God and declares to them “Behold the Lamb of God....Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb!”

At this point the congregation on earth, in heaven and in purgatory are kneeling before the Crucified and Risen Lamb not in the Upper Room of Holy Thursday, not on the Hill of Calvary but in Heaven, the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the Sacrificial Banquet. 


 Thus, orthodox Catholics know that the Last Supper of Holy Thursday and the words of institution that Jesus offers over the bread and wine of the Jewish Passover Meal to reinterpret its meaning, is the bridge to the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ after Jesus has instituted the Ordained Priesthood (Episcopate) and then given the ordained Apostles the means by which to remember Good Friday and Easter Sunday in a Sacramental Way, in a gloriously unbloody Sacrificial Banquet. It is their eating and drinking (not the congregation's) that completes the Sacramental Sacrifice of the Altar--their consumption of the Holocaust already anticipated on Holy Thursday as it is eternal and not bound by human time and place.  


Thus, the erogenous theology that has developed in the Church, post Vatican II and symbolized in the Mass facing the people, is that at the Last Supper Jesus offered the consecrated Bread and Wine to everyone. NO HE DID NOT! He offered it to the Apostles the first priests and only after they had consumed the Holocaust and after the Resurrection would they continue to do what Jesus commanded and then after they had consumed the Holocaust, they would offer the congregation a share in the Body and Blood of Christ as in the Old Testament Sacrifices after the Jewish High Priest had consumed his portion of the Sacrifice to conclude it.


 It is  the theology of the Gospel of John which does not have the Holy Thursday's words of institution that emphasizes that the congregation or all must eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood if they are to have eternal life. This is pre-Holy Thursday.

Now we see what facing the congregation in Prayer at Mass has done to corrupt the theology and doctrine, the dogma if you will, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  The way you pray is what you believe!


ByzRus said...

Agree. And, perhaps our answer lies within the TLM. In the traditional liturgy, "Dominus Vobiscum" is directed towards the people then, the priest faces the altar "Our Lord for the Sanctus and Canon.

ByzRus said...

I'm reading commenting via my phone so, apologies if my comment is duplicative of Fr. AJM's post.

That said, I also share your understanding of that the meal was shared with the apostles, not all. They, not all, were left with a simple instruction, "Do this in memory of me"!

Henry said...

'Well, when Jesus says "Take this, drink this" he is speaking to the congregation AS WELL AS to His disciples.'

When pastors spout stuff like this, who can blame pew sitters who believe that if it looks like merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper, and sounds like merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper—with the presider facing them across what looks like a table, and audibly addressing his remarks to them, perhaps even making eye contact with them—then it surely IS merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper?

Rather than a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, with the Body and Blood of Christ, after being confected on the altar, immolated and offered to God in propitiation for the sins of men.

And when these pew-sitters never hear (in catechetics or homiletics) anything about this propitiatory sacrifice, who can blame them for assuming that the “sacrifice of the Mass” (if they ever hear this phrase) refers only to something vague or wishy-washy like whatever unspecified personal sacrifice they want to offer?

And if they have no conscious sense of the propitiatory sacrifice of the real Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass, who can blame a majority for responding in surveys with no belief in the Real Presence?

This eradication of Catholic belief is what the 16th century Protestant reformers explicitly intended. Why would anyone assume any different intent on the part of the post-Vatican II reformers, whose liturgical program mirrored in so many details that of their 16th century predecessors?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"'Well, when Jesus says "Take this, drink this" he is speaking to the congregation AS WELL AS to His disciples.'

When pastors spout stuff like this, who can blame pew sitters who believe that if it looks like merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper, and sounds like merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper—with the presider facing them across what looks like a table, and audibly addressing his remarks to them, perhaps even making eye contact with them—then it surely IS merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper?"

Henry, when my post shows up, you will see that Fr. McDonald omitted the portion of my post. What I wrote: "Well, when Jesus says "Take this, drink this" he is speaking to the congregation AS WELL AS to His disciples. Also, it is a prayer offered to the Father AS WELL AS a prayerful representation (reenactment) of the Last Supper and of the sacrifice of Calvary in, as we say, an unbloody manner."

Victor said...

Fr. McD:

" offering His prayer on our behalf to God..."

No! No! No! Not only is that clericalism, but it goes against the entire project of the liturgical movement that the Holy Spirit revealed as the idea of active participation of the faithful in the liturgy. The so-called priest is merely the presider, a word used in the first and subsequent editions of the Novus Ordo. A presider is precisely that, one who presides for the priesthood of all believers which are all those people in the pews. All the people should be reciting every word of the Eucharistic prayer with the presider as the holy Bugnini and his companions of saintly expert advisers would have originally intended if they were faithful to the project of active participation, but who were stopped by the ignorant traditionalists who gave them and Paul VI such a hard time. But but like so many other elements of the reform, the project is not dead, just dormant for now.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But Father, but Father, the Eucharistic Prayer is not a representation of the Last Supper whatsoever. It is a prayer that recalls the words Jesus offered at the Last Supper over the bread and wine that brings about the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord who then, during the same Eucharistic Prayer is offered as Henry so aptly and eloquently states.

The Eucharistic Prayer is offered at the altar of Sacrifice. Holy Communion to the laity is offered from the Table of the Sacrificial Banquet and the altar railing is an extension of that table, sadly removed after Vatican II! But take note, this is a different part of the Mass, not the Eucharistic Prayer.

TJM said...

When two priests disagree on the theology of the Mass, we know the Church is in big trouble. Another one of the fruits of Vatican Disaster II!

Dan said...

Dont worry, soon it wont matter because a "consecration free" service is coming. It'll be more inviting and affirming of our protestant attendees.

ByzRus said...

May I kindly inquire as to next steps to resolve this difference in understanding? Ideally, such disagreements should not exist however, to the extent that they do, it would seem best, for the sake of clarity particularly in matters such as this, to provide a conclusion that is not confusing to the non-clergy readers/commenters here.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

BrzRC aren't my post and my subsequent comments exceptionally clear and non confusing or muddled but rather crystal clear as the ice water pouring from the peaks of the alps of Switzerland?

ByzRus said...

Fr. AJM -

To me, your posts and subsequent comments are exceptionally clear and non-confusing or muddled however, the parish across town from you (or, whatever its proximity actually is) seems to be operating with a different theology despite being part of the aggregate Catholic Communion. My concern is the tribalism that you have mentioned on more than one occasion. We are either a unified communion or, we have devolved into protestant style churches with different liturgical practices and theology that is likely guiding those practices. To just go off from this discussion with what I perceive as orthodoxy on one side of town, and perhaps something different on the other, is troubling.

ByzRus said...

If, I'm not expressing myself well, my point: In the Eastern Churches (perhaps not the end-all and be-all), liturgical confusion seems to revolve around where to stand and how to move during some of the more complicated liturgies (which is why there is an MC who serves to provide clarity on such matters when needed and, ensure that it happens when such liturgies occur), not what to believe.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I can't speak for the rhetoric or the reality of the parish north east of me about 25 miles or so but I would say my clarity is the exception rather than the rule and prior to Summorum Pontificum and the freeing of the Tridentine Mass from the dungeon of the Vatican Museums, I and my parish would have understood the Mass as FRMJK describes it and I would say that about 99.9% of our parishes do.

The theology and orientation of the EF Mass and the orientation speaks volumes is what has brought me to the truth about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This would take place in ad orientem OF Masses too.

When you have a table and the priest acting as though he is Jesus at the Last Supper and those in front of the priest are the 12 apostles even though there are more than 12 and they aren't apostles, you get the theology of the Meal loud and clear through the orientation of the priest and his gestures which would include eye contact with the congregation as he prays the Eucharistic Prayer.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

You nailed it!

ByzRus said...

Fr AJM -

Thank you for your response.

Carol H. said...

LOL Victor! I am enjoying your sarcasm, but feel the need to point it out as such for those who don't realize your comment as such. Many foreigners read this blog.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"'The Church is awakening within souls'. [Romano] Guardini's expression had been wisely formulated, since it finally recognized and experienced the Church as something within us—not as an institution outside us but something that lives within us."

Thus begins then Cardinal Ratzinger's "The Ecclesiology of Vatican Two" of 15 September 2001. Thus begins a description of the development and evolution of the Eucharistic Ecclesiology that began with the Last Supper and continues up to the present.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Holy Thursday is critical for without it we would lack two Sacraments for our worship, Catholic priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and conclude it by their consumption of the Holocaust and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and Blessed Sacrament. And without Jesus ‘ Bread of Life Discourse in the Gospel of John there would be no necessity for the laity to receive Holy Communion during the Rite of Holy Communion since they were not offered the Body and Blood of our Lord on Holy Thursdayo, only the apostles were.

TJM said...

Novus Ordo - killing off the Faith each year for millions, but to “progressive” priests this spells success

David Burkovich said...

I was an altar boy in the 50's prior to Vatican 2. When vatican 2 occured, because I was in my late teens, our priest made me the commentator of the new Mass as it was called then which I did for about a year. At 17 I then went into the service and on to Vietnam. Came back a changed man. Did not go to Church or maybe sporadically for the next 25 yrs. Had a conversion experience in the mid 90's and started going to Church. In essence I missed all that went on with the changes to the new Mass. I really only remembered the theology of the Latin Mass. The Mass might have been different, but my idea of what was happening was from what I learned as a boy. What I was taught was that the Mass was a remembrance to God the Father of the sacrifice of Jesus in a non bloody way. The priest stood in for Jesus as He offered this sacrifice to God the Father. We the people participated by offering our prayers and sacrifices in union with Jesus' sacrifice as God would hear our prayers etc. because He was being reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus had made in love. Thus, it was the highest form of prayer. Communion was received as a sacramental gift to us from Jesus who gives us His body and blood for strengthening us on our journey to the Father. It was considered anathema to receive Communion in a state of mortal sin. Communion was not received by all. When I came back to the Church I was shocked to see everyone going to Communion and no lines for confession. I said to myself that all these people must be really holy as no one ever sins and everyone gets Communion. I now know otherwise. Bad things have happened to the Faith, the Church and what Catholic people believe. The smoke of Satin has entered the Church, but I feel in my heart God will not let this continue. I have had to answer questions from my children who told me they were told such and such by a priest in confession. I told them if they thought it was wrong to ask me anything and I will tell them the truth, not the watered down answers and advice they were given. My children are married with grown children of their own, but they still come to me for answers about the Faith.

ByzRus said...

Carol H -

In part, and excluding Victor's very funny thoughts, my commentary for this posting has that in mind. I wasn't being critical of Fr. AJM for as I said earlier, he writes with clarity. I do wonder what others, particularly persons within the Church, those considering the Church and those who live overseas and might be members of another church (e.g. the Orthodox) who are both readers and non-posters must think when they read disagreement over what seems fundamental - disagreement that exists for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

The Church had an ordained priesthood from its beginning. They were present when Jesus spoke those words. The Mass requires that the Priest consumes the Eucharist for the Mass to be valid, not the parishioners.

John Nolan said...

When in the classical Roman Rite the priest turns to the people, he keeps his eyes downcast so there is no 'eyeballing' of the congregation. When preaching the sermon/homily no such restrictions apply, and some preachers were quite histrionic. But the sermon was not part of the Mass; if the celebrant preached he would at least remove the maniple.

The idea of the homily as being integral to a 'Liturgy of the Word' is a late 20th-century conceit, along with versus populum, the priest as being primarily a 'presider', the 'Great Amen' (shades of Arthur Sullivan's 'Lost Chord') and the absurd idea of the 'Communion procession'. Of course the reformers could always come up with some quasi-historical justification for what were in effect novelties, just as their 16th-century Protestant counterparts did.

With the weight of papal authority behind them they were able to convince (or hoodwink) nearly everybody.

Fr Martin Fox said...

There is absolutely no need for the priest to face the assembled faithful during the Eucharistic Prayer. Emphasis on the word, "need." The prayer is not in any way addressed to the faithful; it is offered for and with the faithful. This goes to the heart of what a priest is. He is a mediator (Letter to the Hebrews, anyone?); and in the eucharistic prayer, this is most fully expressed.

Now, if you want to say that the people are obviously there, and obviously edified by the recalling of Christ's saving action, well yes of course. But the essential focus and purpose of the prayer is not to communicate to the faithful, but for them, on their behalf.

TJM said...

Father Fox,

You comments are always spot on and helpful. Thank you

ByzRus said...

I wish those priests who are inclined to make that engaging 180 degree sweeping gesture with the host during the words of institution would read Fr. Fox's remarks.

John Nolan said...


That gesture was normal for papal Masses, but priests tended to copy it, which is probably why Francis doesn't do it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I might add (although this thread is probably near-death) the observation that celebrants infantilize the faithful so often at Mass. They seem to say, "oh, you little things, you can't keep engaged unless I am looking right at you, and waving things at you, all the time! It is so condescending.

By the way, this happens almost literally at times: priests will use the Eucharistic Prayers that were meant for children with adults. And I think of a priest who was in a nearby parish who decorated the church with red balloons for Pentecost. And he talked to people constantly as if they were children. He wasn't a bad guy, but his conversational style was maddening.