Reader D-2 says he just read C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and “got the impression that community is . . . different [from] exchanging peace signs, holding hands during the Pater Noster or nodding graciously to familiar faces in the vestibule.”

He read in Mere C. “something about unity with Christ is more important than ‘being nice.’ Either way, [he’s] not in a mood for being nice to people who ‘disrespect’ the commUNITY by showing up in torn jeans.

“Then again, it’s been a long time since [he’s] been in church with any regularity, so the changes appear to [him] even more stark. And dismaying.”

“Never mind me,” he adds. “I’m just getting old and cranky.”

To which I respond: None of that stuff. With age comes wisdom. Say that after me: With age comes wisdom . . .

MODEST SUGGESTION . . . . There ought to be a special room in church, for people who want to chat during mass

We’ve had crying rooms for people with babies. Was it time now for chat rooms?

It would be a way of recognizing that some people worship, ah differently from others.

Not better or worse, you know, just differently.

Vatican in 2003 about Communion in hand . . .

. . . where permitted but some prefer on tongue, then what?

Of course, says Congreg. of Divine Worship in February.


. . . let all remember that the time-honored tradition is to receive the host on the tongue. The celebrant priest, if there is a present danger of sacrilege, should not give the faithful communion in the hand, and he should make them aware of the reason for way of proceeding. [Emphasis added]

Note the concern. Note also that this is the Vatican before Francis.

a minor friar blog: In Defense of the Novus Ordo Missae

This friar takes a closer look:

For the fortieth anniversary of the Novus Ordo Missae this past weekend I have read many stern evaluations of its legacy and reception in the blogosphere and even in the secular press. So I thought that perhaps it would be a good and healthy thing to make a post in its defense.

My apology for the modern Roman liturgy has two parts. First, I shall suggest some areas in which I think we need to discipline our speech and make sure we avoid unfair criticisms. Second, I will describe those elements of the Mass of Paul VI that are–to me–an improvement over the traditional form of Mass.


The elements he chooses are interesting, each a case of what has happened since 1969, when Novus Ordo was introduced. These are facing the people, use of vernacular, music at mass — what has gone wrong — and improvements which are far less obvious to pew-sitters. Thoughtful guy.

THE OTTAVIANI INTERVENTION II — Summary dismissal in 1969 of the New Order of the Mass

Objections summarized:

Among other points, the Study [by theologians convened by Vatican’s chief doctrinal guardian as Secretary of the Holy Office] maintains that the faithful “never, absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to make it easier to understand.”

“On many points,” the study says, “it has much to gladden the heart of even the most modernist Protestant.”

Furthermore, “the definition of the Mass is thus reduced to a ‘supper’.” “The altar is nearly always called the table.”

“The instruction recommends that the Blessed Sacrament now be kept in a place apart …as though it were some sort of relic.”

“The people themselves appear as possessing autonomous priestly powers.” “He [the priest] now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.”

For these and many other reasons, the Critical Study concludes that to abandon our liturgical tradition in favor of a liturgy “which teems with insinuations or manifests errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith is . . . an incalculable error.”

Knowing these matters “will help Catholics keep their feet on the ground in the midst of the jubilation prompted by the recently released Liturgiam authenticam [on use of the vernacular].”

The “intervention,” or instruction, was intended to make Catholics think twice about all this, actually to reject it completely.

More to come . . .

How the mass has changed theologically, a thumbnail sketch

Was going to put this up one segment at a time. Instead, here’s the whole thing.

A lot to swallow but food for thought. In any case, demonstrates how big the change was.

A Liturgical Rupture
The Traditional Mass The New Mass
A sacrifice linked to the sacrifice of the Cross, expressed in:

1. Offertory = oblation of the victim

2. Double consecration = immolation of victim

3. Communion = consummation of victim

The entire Mass is directed toward the sacrificial act. Sacrifice is the primary end; thanksgiving is one among other secondary, subordinate ends.

A meal linked to the Last Supper, expressed in:

1. Presentation of the gifts = berakah or blessing of the food, leading up to the Offertory, wherein the Jewish grace before meals is the main prayer

2. Eucharistic prayer = canon of the New Mass; it is primarily a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts received; it is in this context that the consecration is performed

3. IG n.48 = breaking and partaking of the bread instead of consummation of the victim

The Mass is a memorial meal, which makes the mysteries of Redemption present, among them the sacrifice of the Cross and the Resurrection, which have at least equal footing.

The Communion Rite
Partaking of the Victim

a) The Victim is sufficiently symbolized under one species

b) Only the priest consumes the main Host

c) The priest asks for the salvation of those to whom he gives Communion

A meal

a) Both eating and drinking must take place;

b) Brotherly sharing: the main Host must be large enough to give some to the faithful;

c) Friendship: the aspect of personal sanctification is relativized; priest says nothing when distributing communion

Presence of Christ at Mass

Dual presence:

W As Priest – in the person of His minister

W As Victim – in the Eucharistic species

Christ as Victim is the center of the liturgy, being offered to God and given to men.


Spiritual presence: He is given to the faithful in His Word and His Body and these presences are placed on the same level.

The New Mass devalues Our Lord’s presence as Victim, reducing it to the level of His presence in the readings, and His presence as Priest, by putting the common priesthood of the faithful on the same level as the ministerial priesthood of the celebrant.


W 14 genuflections

W Canonical fingers held together and fingers purified

W Only the priest distributes Communion

W Communion kneeling, on the tongue

W Church is a quiet place of reverence where God dwells in the tabernacle in the center of the main altar. This makes the place intrinsically holy, regardless who is there

W Signs of cross over the Victim (these identify the oblations with Our Lord) – three times in Offertory, 26 times in Canon, three times before Communion and once when receiving


Three genuflections, and these three are related to the people (two after elevation, one just before distribution)

No holding of canonical fingers together nor purification of fingers

Any and all distribute Communion

Communion standing, in the hand

Church more a house of the people than of God; tabernacle separated from the main altar. The building only has meaning when the community is gathered

Signs of the cross over the Victim = once only during the Canon

The Presence of Christ in His Word

The Bible actively becomes revelation when it is proclaimed by the Magisterium of the Church; ordained ministers act in the authority of Christ by transmitting this Revelation.


Christ in present in His Word (Scripture) through the gathering of the community; this presence is on the same footing as the Real Presence, as both presences are the table of the Lord because both give us the spiritual sustenance unique to the Paschal banquet.


a) The reading of Scripture only by ordained ministers shows the necessity of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in transmitting Revelation.

b) Scripture is not a celebration in itself, but rather directed to the central mystery of the Mass, to which it directs the faithful. It enkindles the fervor of the faithful for the sacrifice.


Scripture is celebrated in itself; by itself, and not by the minister’s teachings, Christ is present è No need for an ordained minister to proclaim it; any layperson can do it.

The Presence of Christ in the Priest and the People

Christ is present under the Eucharistic species and in His minister. The former presence is made possible by the words of consecration and it nourishes the faithful, being the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.

The priest alone can confect the Eucharist and Mass takes place through him alone, with or without the cooperation of the faithful.

Mass = a true and proper Sacrifice in which the bloody sacrifice once accomplished on the Cross is represented, in which the same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, and offers His own Body and Blood, through the ministry of the priest, under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father, the manner alone of offering being different (Trent)


Christ is present spiritually through the gathering of the community and this presence is made tangible firstly as “Word” in the Liturgy of the Word and secondly as oblation through the memorial of His acts, which are made present once again. The people are fed at both these “tables” with a spiritual food.

The “People of God” are the only agent recognized. Christ is present in the assembly, which performs the Mass under Him.

Mass = The Lord’s Supper or Mass is the sacred assembly or congregation of the people of God gathering together, with a priest presiding, in order to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason Christ’s promise applies supremely to such a local gathering together of the Church: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Institutio Generalis, 1969)


W There is a clear distinction between the unbloody immolation of the consecration (ex opere operato, performed by priest alone; it alone qualifies as a sacrament) and the sacrificial offering of the participants through union with the priest in intention (ex opere operantis).

W The priest clearly acts in a unique role in the person of Christ, alone mediating with God. The faithful can only unite with his actions by their intention; they cannot perform the visible rite to confect the sacrament.

W The prayers of sacramental oblation are either in the first person, as being offered by the priest alone, or they make a clear distinction between the offerings of priest and faithful.


The assembly is a “new sacrament” because, as a sign of the universal Church, it has the power to make Christ present. This is most clearly manifested when the bishop presides over his priests and the faithful take active part è concelebration is preferable; the Confiteor is an act of the community and there is no separate confession of sins.

In the Liturgy of the Word – Once Christ is spiritually present by the assembling of the people, the liturgy becomes a dialogue between God and His people without need of a priest. Christ is present in His Word and the people perform a “priestly function” in their prayer and singing, appropriating the divine word.

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist – i) The sacrifice is always described as an act of both the priest and the faithful. ii) The prayers of oblation put the offering as belonging to the assembled people, not the celebrant. iii) The priest is only described in the prayers of the New Mass and the IGMR in the context of his relation to the people of God as their “president” and never in terms of the power that he alone possesses to act in persona Christi, consecrating and making the sacrificial offering.

From Propitiation to Thanksgiving

Man has offended God and continues to do so. He deserves punishment for these sins and must make up for them. This unremitted punishment due to man’s sins is always in view. The Mass an application of the merits of Redemption to sinful souls.


God has an undying love for man, regardless of man’s crimes. Man is seen as reconciled with God, no matter what state his soul is in. The Mass is a liturgy of the saved, a celebration with thanks-giving of a Redemption already released in full, without any propitiatory dimension. This follows from diminution of the Mass as sacrifice and the priest as sacrificing agent & mediator with God.


The Offering and Sorrow for Sin

W Prayers of compunction for sin return again and again, e.g. Confiteor, Aufer a nobis, Oramus te, Munda cor meum, Per evangelica dicta, In spiritu humilitatis, Incensum istud, Lavabo.

W The unworthiness of the minister is always in view, because of the unremitted punishment due to his sins. He asks for the approval of his offering in 10 separate prayers in the Offertory and Canon.

W Intercession of Our Lord – Mediators are placed between the minister and God, because of his deficiency, firstly Our Lord Jesus Christ, then the saints.

W Intercession of the saints – There are at least four prayers during the Mass that call upon the merits and intercession of the saints and 200 collects throughout the year.

The Satisfaction Due for Sin – the traditional missal tries to obtain the remission of punishment due for sin by the merits of Our Lord and the saints.

W Frequent requests in the collects to be “purified from the stains of sin.”

W Requiem: Frequent reference to judgment, punishment due to sins, and the need to be loosed from them.


The Offering and Sorrow for Sin

Only the “Per evangelica dicta,” the “In spiritu humilitatis,” and the “Lava me,” an abbreviated freestyle version of psalm 25, remain. These prayers, moreover, are often translated in the vernacular so as to remove all trace of contrition.

No requests for the approval of the offering.

Intercession of Our Lord – almost complete suppression of all mention of Our Lord’s mediation in the offering of the sac-rifice. The one “through Christ our Lord” etc. left in Eucharistic prayers II-IV refers to the heavenly liturgy hereafter.

Intercession of the saints – Prayers during the Mass are gone and the 200 collects have been reduced to only three obligatory ones.

The Satisfaction Due for Sin – no thought of the unworthiness of the human ministers è the consequences of sin are no obstacle to the approval of the sacrifice è no need for intercession of Our Lord or the saints.

All references to divine justice in any part of the propers have been considerably reduced. Only a few ferial Masses in Lent have request to be purified from sin.

Requiem: No mention of the punishment due to sin or the pains of purgatory; the propers emphasize the happiness of heaven and the resurrection while omitting the traditional Tract, the Dies Irae, and Offertory prayer.

The Principle behind the Liturgical Reform: “The Paschal Mystery”
Classic Theology New Theology
The Passover of the Lord
Redemption = a propitiatory offering to divine justice offended by sin

Emphasis: the satisfaction of justice, the cooperation of man, and the pains of Our Lord’s Passion

Redemption = a pure work of love, where God reveals His infinite charity for all men; justice is disregarded

Emphasis: the great importance of love, the initiative of God, and the new life of the Resurrection


W Sin is an offense against the honor of God, and is measured by the majesty of the Person offended, not the harm to the one offending. Man has a duty to honor God.

W God is a jealous defender of His own honor and damns to hell those who do not respect it.

W God’s justice needs to be satisfied for the sins of men. This was done ultimately by the sacrifice of the God-man’s life on the cross and is renewed in the sacrifice of the Mass. But every man has an individual obligation to make satisfaction on his own for sin.


Sin only harms man and society, as it can take nothing away from God’s nature. It does not offend the justice of God, but only His love insofar as it is a refusal of that love.

There is never any difference in God’s love for us, whether we be full of sin or of virtue. It is contrary to God’s goodness to punish us for our faults, as His justice demands no satis-faction and His love is enduring. Men only go to hell by excl-uding themselves from God’s love, not by God’s punishment

Nothing needs to be made up to God. Satisfaction only enters in as a corrective punishment to help man straighten himself out with respect to God and society, to recover his spiritual health and capacity to love.


W It is a work of love to appease divine justice, providing the infinite satisfaction required by the sins of mankind. It re-establishes the friendship between God and man, which was lost through sin.

W Author = Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the redemptive work is making satisfaction for sins

W Principal act = the death of Our Lord on the Cross, as by this act Our Lord satisfied for our sins and opened the gates of Heaven


It is the revelation of God’s unchanging love toward man, in spite of sin, an eternal Covenant which never has been destroyed. It gives nothing back to God, but gives God back to man, showing him that God always loved him and did not cast him off, even after sin.

Author = God the Father rather than Our Lord, as the redemptive work is revealing the love of the Father for men.

Principal acts = Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, because they are the fullness of the revelation for which Christ became incarnate, i.e. to show us the unconditional love of the Father for us

The Traditional Mass

W Frequent references to punishment due to sin or need to appease God’s anger

W Ends of thanksgiving and petition subordinate to those of a-doration and propitiation; frequent reference is made to the vicarious satisfaction of Christ and His mediation in prayer

W Celebration of first class Feast of the Precious Blood, which was instituted to profess belief in the classic truths regarding Redemption

The New Mass

No references to punishment due to sin or need to appease God’s anger

Ends of Mass are solely thanksgiving and petition; no reference made to the vicarious satisfaction of Christ and His mediation in prayer

Initial removal of the feast of the Precious Blood, then later it was put back as a votive Mass with substantial changes following the theology of the Paschal Mystery

The Sacrament as Mystery
Sacrament = an efficacious sign of grace

Range of sacraments – three things are required to make a sacrament: a) institution by Christ; b) an outward sign; c) power to give grace

Sacrament = a symbol that contains what it signifies, making the sacred hidden thing visible and objectively present

New “sacraments”

a) Christ, because He reveals God, the sacrament par excellence, to man, is the “primordial sacrament”

b) The Church – Christ represents God to men and the Church represents Christ to men, making the Church a sacrament where men can meet Christ and God in Christ

c) The liturgy itself – the liturgy, “mystery of worship,” makes the glorified Christ really present

d) The assembled faithful – they manifest the Church and make it present

W Revelation – it was given to the Church by the visit of God to His people, but that visit was limited to a narrow historical time. From there, revelation is transmitted by preaching and it requires belief in the mediation of the Church and her infallibility in matters of Faith. This notion is based in a realist philosophy that recognizes the value of speculative knowledge.

W Tradition – it is guaranteed by the Magisterium of the Church. A Christian’s faith develops by learning the catechism.

Revelation – it is not merely a series of abstract statements forming a doctrinal system, but also living contact with the mystery of divinity through divine actions making God present to man. The jump from mystical phenomenon to a divine absolute is made possible by presenting the phenomenon as a “symbol” lining up with schools of modern symbolist thought, which allow man to go from an objective contact to a non-experiential reality.

Tradition – it is guaranteed by a living contact with God; hence Tradition itself is living. A Christian’s faith develops by being brought into contact with the Word through the celebration of the Paschal Mystery. The liturgy is the arena of Revelation.

The Traditional Mass

W Sacraments – Focus is on power over meaning. The sacraments derive their efficacy from Christ, and not from the persons administering them or receiving them. They give grace of themselves (ex opere operato), even when the priest or person administering them is unworthy. Faith is needed on the part of the recipient of a sacrament that it be received fruitfully, but that faith only need go so far as to bring the soul to submit itself to the action of the Church. The sacraments receive their power to give grace from God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

W Scripture – Focus is on meaning over power. Biblical readings are meant firstly to provide the concepts of faith with their intellectual content.

W The Real Presence has value in itself, being Our Lord Himself, present to be offered as an infinite sacrifice to God and to nourish the souls of the faithful.

W The priest alone has the power to confect the sacrament; this is the source of his elevation above the faithful and his indispensable role at Mass. The faithful are a dispensable accessory to Mass.

The New Mass

Sacraments – Focus is on meaning over power. An act of faith on the part of the faithful is needed to make the reality signified by the sacrament present to the participants. Faith and attainment of the mystery are inseparable.As a sacrament is primarily an actuation of faith, then the priest’s action offering Our Lord, which only requires only habitual faith, being a physical act, is subordinate to the act requiring an attitude of faith, i.e. the offering of the assembly. The sacraments are said to work ex opere operato only based on the efficacious faith that accompanies them. They represent deeds which bring about our salvation through a contact provided by an efficacious faith. Their power is subordinated to their nourishment of faith and actuation by it.

Scripture – Focus is on power over meaning. We must go beyond the sign of faith to what is signified, i.e. Christ Himself, Who is the definitive Word of God. Scripture in this way itself becomes a sacrament. Hence both the “Liturgy of the Word” and the Eucharistic Liturgy make Christ present, for our nourishment. The Catechism even gives primacy to the former in saying that it determines the meaning of the other sacramental symbols.

The Real Presence is not recognized firstly in itself, but firstly insofar as it nourishes faith.

The common priesthood of the faithful is practically elevated to the level of the sacramental priesthood of the priest, as the sacrificial oblation is considered as being confected by the faith of the assembly

The Memorial
Doctrine of Redemptive Sacrifice: a) The most important action of Christ was His death on the cross saving mankind from Hell è b) sacraments are most important as imparting the saving grace of the Cross to our sinful souls è c) Mass is most important as offering an infinite sacrifice of propitiation to a just God. Doctrine of Paschal Mystery: a) the actions of Christ as revelation are more important than His sacrificial action è b) sacraments are most important as means of making the actions of Christ present è c) Mass is most important as making present the reality it commemorates. Christ’s mission of salvation was one in “words and deeds” and it is in making this present that the Mass has value.
The Mass is a Sacrifice

W Christ’s mission was to render to God the glory that man had refused to give. He became incarnate for the love of the Father. Now, it was His obedient death on the cross that showed the greatest love, as it was a laying down of His life, and it was the most perfect act of the virtue of religion: sacrifice. Even insofar as His Incarnation benefits men, His death is the most important of actions, as only it has meritorious and satisfactory value. Hence, the Mass, greatest act of religion, must be a true sacrifice, wherein Our Lord is offered on the altar.

W Our Lord’s death was most important again in that it was the only action in which He merited something for Himself, i.e. the glorification of His physical body and the sanctification unto glory of His Mystical Body. By His death, He merited in a new way what He had previously merited from the first moment of His earthly existence.

W The Mass is firstly a true, ritual sacrifice, and secondly a memorial insofar as it is an image representing the sacrifice of the Cross. It is a true sacrifice, not because it is a memorial, but because transubstantiation makes Our Lord truly present.

W Mediator Dei:the mysteries of Redemption are present and operative, but do not operate in the obscure manner as given by the new theology. The Mass renews the sacrifice of the Cross, but is not a memorial making the historical sacrifice present again.

W The Mass is a sacrifice in its own right. By the double consecration of the separate species, an unbloody immolation takes place. The sacrifice is a memorial, but only insofar as it represents the death of Our Lord; it does not make the mysteries of the life of Our Lord actually present.

W The Mass has objective meaning through the sacramental immolation of Our Lord accomplished by the double consecration, accompanied with the offering and consummation of this Victim by the ordained priest. The faithful enter this picture only incidentally.

The Mass is a Memorial

Revealed mysteries are to be considered from an historical point of view è NT is to be analyzed in light of the OT è the essential nature of the Eucharist is tied up in the essence of the Jewish Passover. The Passover was three things: a) a memorial of the deed which saved them; b) the declaration and celebration of the present Covenant; c) a prophecy of the future fulfillment of God’s promises. Therefore, the Mass must do the same.

The focus is more on Christ’s mysteries than Christ Himself, Priest and Victim. And, of these mysteries, His death certainly finds a place, but foremost are His Resurrection and Ascension, since His central mission is to reveal the unchanged love of the Father (in the new scheme of Redemption) and the Resurrection and Ascension are accomplished by the Father’s power.

As Our Lord used the rite of the old Passover when instituting the Eucharist, so the Mass is primarily the memorial of the Lord, since only the memorial aspect of this rite is described.

As the Jewish memorial was able to make God present again and renew the effects of His salvation, so too the Eucharist is not a simple remembrance but makes present the deeds by which Christ wrought salvation. While the old Passover simply made present to the memory of the believers events of the past, the new Passover makes Our Lord’s death and Resurrection present, as well as future mysteries yet to happen. In short, it encompasses the whole work of salvation in a dynamic and invisible unity.

The Mass is not a sacrifice in its own right, but rather the actual sacrifice of the Cross brought from history into the present moment. The sacrifice is in this re-presenting of Christ’s mysteries, not in an exterior rite.

The Eucharist conveys an objective memory by means of an action, but for this action to constitute an objective one, it must be a social action, one of the community è this communal action is a meal, the Jewish ritual meal of the Passover during which Our Lord instituted the Eucharist.

Does the Liturgical Reform Constitute a Dogmatic Rupture with Tradition?
Traditional Dogma New Theology
Redemption – A Truth of Faith Refused
Principle: Christ died on the Cross in order to satisfy the debt of punishment demanded by divine justice offended by sin.

Arguments of authority

W Trent: The doctrine that Our Lord’s death on the Cross made vicarious satisfaction for sin is part of the deposit of the Faith, as is the propitiatory end of the Mass.

W Roman Catechism: teaches that Our Lord made the highest satisfaction or compensation possible to God by His death on the Cross.

W The dogma of Our Lord’s vicarious satisfaction has always been defended by the Church, and especially recently to protect against liberal Protestantism, as seen in the prepared canons of Vatican I, Humani Generis of Pius XII, and a preparatory schema of Vatican II.

Principle: There is no debt to be paid to satisfy divine justice offended by sin è no propitiatory aspect in the New Mass. Redemption is the revelation of the eternal covenant that God has made with man. It is the revelation of God’s unchanging love toward man, in spite of sin, an eternal Covenant which never has been destroyed. It gives nothing back to God, but gives God back to man, showing him that God always loved him and did not cast him off, even after sin.
The Mass as Sacrifice – A Truth of Faith Put in Doubt
Trent: the Mass is a) a true sacrifice, real and visible; b) it represents, commemorates and applies the sacrifice of the Cross; c) it is not merely a commemoration.

W A Visible Sacrifice: a) the sacrifice is represented visibly, which can only be done through the species of bread and wine; b) the Mass is linked with the Passover because the latter ceremony was the visible sacrificing of a victim. Conclusion: repraesentare is used to mean an image resembling the thing represented

W A True and Proper Sacrifice – Mass is truly and properly a sacrifice, which is only possible if there be a true victim and real immolation

W Not a mere commemoration – Trent condemns calling the Mass a purely conceptual reminder of the Cross, i.e. only referring to the Mass as a sacrifice in a figurative way.

Paschal Mystery: The Mass a memorial meal, but it is also a sacrifice in that it is an objective memorial.

An Invisible Sacrifice – The Mass is only a sacrifice insofar as it makes the sacrifice of the Cross present. And this sacrifice is incomplete without the Resurrection and Ascension; therefore a mere sacramental representation of Calvary is not sufficient to include all the mysteries of salvation, which the memorial sacrifice does. Repraesentare means making really present what is remembered. This is the objective aspect of the Liturgy.

An Analogical Sacrifice – Mass is a sacrifice, only as an objective memorial containing the sacrifice of Christ è no true victim or real immolation

A Figurative Sacrifice – the notion of a memorial, whether objective in terms of the Paschal Mystery or subjective in terms of Protestant theology, never admits a literal application of the term “sacrifice” to the Mass

The Notion of Sacrament – A Danger for the Faith
W All of the sacraments work ex opere operato. There are seven and only seven sacraments instituted by Christ. Trent condemns those who say that sacraments were only to nourish the faith.

W Trent: the Eucharist is present truly, really and substantially.

W Clarity of symbols – A sign must be a distinct and separate entity from the thing signified. This is clearly the case for all of the seven sacraments.

W Pascendi: condemnation of the identification of formulae of the faith with the sacraments.

The distinctions of efficacy ex opere operato and ex opere operantis can no longer be applied, as the entire body of the liturgy is a sacrament. The efficacy of the sacraments is wholly dependent on the faith of the recipients interpreting the symbol of the sacrament; this makes the sacraments efficacious.

The divine presence depends on the interpretation of its symbols (bread and wine) given by man, as in the Old Testament natural blessings were seen under the same symbols.

Blurring of symbols – Christ is separated from His divinity which He signifies, and the Catholic Church is made distinct from the Church of Christ which it signifies.

The new sacramental theology seems to identify the formulae of faith with the sacraments.

Short and to the point, all things considered.

THE OTTAVIANI INTERVENTION — The battle was joined

Gauntlet laid down in Vatican 2 struggle over liturgy:

Editor’s Note: The New Order of Mass was introduced on April 4, 1969. On June 5, 1969 Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani of the Holy Office, and Antonio Cardinal Bacci, along with a group of Roman theologians, presented Pope Paul VI with a Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass.

The Study contained a cover letter signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, which warned that the Novus Ordo “represents both as a whole, and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent”.

Overturning a major precedent. One of a series.

A Doctrinal Comparison – The Traditional Mass vs. New Mass, Sacrifice vs. Meal

A liturgical rupture:

The Traditional Mass The New Mass
A sacrifice linked to the sacrifice of the Cross, expressed in:

1. Offertory = oblation of the victim

2. Double consecration = immolation of victim

3. Communion = consummation of victim

The entire Mass is directed toward the sacrificial act. Sacrifice is the primary end; thanksgiving is one among other secondary, subordinate ends.

A meal linked to the Last Supper, expressed in:

1. Presentation of the gifts = berakah or blessing of the food, leading up to the Offertory, wherein the Jewish grace before meals is the main prayer

2. Eucharistic prayer = canon of the New Mass; it is primarily a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts received; it is in this context that the consecration is performed

3. IG n.48 = breaking and partaking of the bread instead of consummation of the victim

The Mass is a memorial meal, which makes the mysteries of Redemption present, among them the sacrifice of the Cross and the Resurrection, which have at least equal footing

First of a series.

Jansenists, strictest of the strict, promoted liturgical reform a la Vatican 2 . . .

. . . in the 18th century, according to a “non-Tridentine [non-Trent] model,” say scholars who researched Jansenist liturgical reform. (As cited by Brian Van Hove, S.J. in the American Benedictine Review, “Jansenism and Liturgical Reform,” in 1993.)

An American, F. Ellen Weaver, noted these changes which are familiar to us today:

. . . introduction of the vernacular, a greater role for laity in worship, active participation by all, recovery of the notion of the eucharistic meal and the community, communion under both kinds, emphasis on biblical and also patristic formation, clearer preaching and teaching, less cluttered calendars and fewer devotions which might distract from the centrality of the Eucharist.

Even the “kiss of peace” was practiced at [Jansenist center] Port-Royal, and a sort of offertory procession was found there and elsewhere among Jansenist liturgical reformers.

Their liturgy was to serve the reform which they had in mind. Prayer would be a way to teach, “lex docendi, lex orandi,” Weaver said. Jansenists would use liturgy to change how people thought and presumably for most to reinforce what they believed.

Indeed, the Italian Jansenists of Tuscany and Pistoia put liturgy at the center of their goals in the 1780’s.

Weaver on their requirements:

Inside the parish church the service must be made congregational. And here doctrine entered.

The liturgy was not an act done by priest for the people, it was ‘a common act of priest and people’. Therefore all the liturgy, even the prayer of consecration which was said secretly, should be said in a loud voice, and the congregation was to be encouraged to share.

Ah, a communal act of consecration. In which case, why not vernacular?

Not quite. They “plainly” believed in that, but they knew it would never be accepted by their people or “the Church at large,” so “radical a departure” would it be “from hallowed tradition.”

So they did the next best thing, calling for translations of the mass (missals) and reading of the gospel in the vernacular after the priest read it in Latin.

Which had become standard practice by the 20th century, as many of us remember.

Protestant communitarianism etc. revisited: Not so fast there, pardner . . .

The man, Steve Shiffrin, wrote and this blogger commended him, for his in-general observation about entering a Protestant church at service time and being “barraged” with greetings vs. entering a Catholic church at mass time and being ignored, the latter because for Catholics a church is for praying, not greeting.

I liked his wording —

I do not mean to criticize Catholics or Protestants here (I aim to describe general patterns).  . . .

I believe that the reason Catholics are not as social when they gather for Mass is that there is a sense of the sacred in church, and a sense that the right thing to do is to quietly pray. There is surely no intention to make visitors feel unwelcome. [Emphasis

Similarly, Protestants are not trying to make visitors feel uncomfortable. Quite to the contrary, they are simply making clear that visitors are welcome.

General patterns yes. And that’s the way it used to be in Catholic churches. Things have changed. The “sense of the sacred” has slipped away, imperceptibly. When is a church not a church? I have asked, answering, Before and after mass, when it’s a social hall.

I’ll take his “general patterns,” allowing for Catholic experience that’s as it used to be, even in Chicago and environs. but as for Chicago and environs, my before-and-after mass description holds as a general pattern. Which is what got me writing this little book.

I must hold back from endorsement of his wondering “whether the sense of the sacred works against community bonding in Catholic congregations.” Not now, certainly, and not in any parish I grew up in or experienced as an adult.

Activity, thy name is Catholic, I must say, as it’s Protestant and Jewish in my extended experience as a newspaper reporter covering churches and synagogues, including the latter on weekends, including Sundays, based on my researching religious-education classes some years back for a book that never got written.

I include also the Latin-mass congregation in Oak Park, where church mice could not be quieter during mass and in the worship area at any time, but in the vestibule after mass it was wall-to-wall family-to-family major helloing and chatting.