Yes, Fr. Anthony makes some good liturgical points. He’s a Benedictine after all. But the bad points are so bad and so cliche that I wince for him when I read them. It’s as though he hasn’t reflected on the lived and unlived experience of the Mass in the years since July 7, 2007. It’s a time warped article. Press the title for the article. I have a quote below the title that will make you wince:
The Bishops’ Document on Eucharist: A Teaching Moment
Here are the winceable quotes:
The end point [of the reformed Mass] is that worshipers are transformed to be the Body of Christ, to offer themselves to one another, to live sacrificial lives for the sake of the world, to be Christ’s presence in the world, to witness to the coming Kingdom which is already present in transformed lives of Christian disciples.
Only with this starting point and end point do Catholic teaching on the Real Presence and eucharist as sacrifice come into their own. Such teachings flesh out, at a second-order level of intellectual reflection, how to think correctly (and not say anything false) about transformation of bread and wine and about the relationship between Christ’s action on Calvary and in the Mass.
If one were to start instead with abstract doctrine, and to see the liturgy as merely a production machine to effect a liturgical sacrifice and the transformation of bread and wine, the form of the liturgy wouldn’t matter that much. But the Second Vatican Council saw a need to reform the liturgy so that it would better express the nature of the true Church (SC 2) and more readily draw participants into the mysteries celebrated. The form matters.
The liturgy is more sacrificial when the community participates actively, when the peace is exchanged before Communion, when Communion is offered under both forms, when the congregation sings during the reception of Communion. These better enable worshippers to share in Christ’s sacrifice by their communal piety, so that the liturgy embodies worshipers’ intention to give their lives in self-offering.
Maybe part of the problem is St. Paul VI as he wrote the following in Mysterium Fidei:
” Who would ever tolerate that the dogmatic formulas used by the ecumenical councils for the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation be judged as no longer appropriate for men of our times, and let others be rashly substituted for them? In the same way, it cannot be tolerated that any individual should on his own authority take something away from the formulas which were used by the Council of Trent to propose the Eucharistic Mystery for our belief. These formulas—like the others that the Church used to propose the dogmas of faith—express concepts that are not tied to a certain specific form of human culture, or to a certain level of scientific progress, or to one or another theological school. Instead they set forth what the human mind grasps of reality through necessary and universal experience and what it expresses in apt and exact words, whether it be in ordinary or more refined language. For this reason, these formulas are adapted to all men of all times and all places.”
and then later on in Credo of the People of God:
“This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine, as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body.”
It certainly sounds like transubstantiation is church teaching full stop from the words of Paul VI.
As everyone knows I love both forms of the one Latin Rite and I love the various rites of the Latin Rite and also what the Eastern Rite offers as Divine Liturgy, not to mention the Ordinariate’s Divine Worship, the Missal. Today as ecumenism in the one Latin Rite must be promoted (And here I am speaking about those in the Catholic Church united to the Pope, not Protestant sects) we must respect all our liturgies and the communities that celebrate them when these are celebrated according to the norms of the Church found in the general instructions and the rubrics.
It also means that ecumenism has to flow to those closest to us, such as the FSSXP and the Eastern Orthodox. So many love ecumenism with Protestant sects far from us were there is no hope of reunion whatsoever due to how far these Protestant sects are from Catholic core dogmas and doctrines in Faith and Morals. But not so with the FSSXP or the Eastern Orthodox or some branches of Anglicanism and Lutheranism.
I advocate for more actual participation for both forms of the one Latin Rite. Those in the pews at the EF Mass should be encouraged to chant or say that which pertains to them, not to be praying other private devotions during Mass and have a pew missal that allows them to see what the vernacular translation is of the Latin parts, especially the changing parts.
In the Ordinary Form, there needs to be more internal participation that goes to the core of the Mass which IS NOT The liturgy is more sacrificial when the community participates actively, when the peace is exchanged before Communion, when Communion is offered under both forms, when the congregation sings during the reception of Communion. These better enable worshippers to share in Christ’s sacrifice by their communal piety, so that the liturgy embodies worshipers’ intention to give their lives in self-offering.
No matter which form of the liturgy that is celebrated, if that liturgy is universal and acting as a dragnet to gather as many sinners and saints and everyone in between, the parish liturgy will not necessarily transform everyone into an elite group of do-good-doers, but if celebrated according to the norms of the Church, the Mass will be valid, the one Sacrifice of Christ will have been brought forward in a glorious and risen bloodless way and the Lord is present transubstantially in the Bread and Wine the priest consumes to ratify and make valid the one Sacrifice celebrated at that Mass. It is not certain though, that those who receive the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Crucified and Risen Lord will be transformed. That is a work in process for the many but not for all!