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Archive for the ‘The Mass’ Category

It is a bedrock Catholic truth, taught by the Church since the time of the Apostles, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Council of Trent defined dogmatically that Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in every part of the Blessed Sacrament. The Council taught infallibly:

“If anyone denieth that, in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.”
This means that Our Lord is present even in the smallest particle of the Host, and in the smallest particle that may fall to the ground. Thus the reverence that we owe to the Blessed Sacrament demands that we take every precaution that no particle of the Host — not even the smallest — is left open for desecration in any way.

First of all, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.” Thus, he said the sacred vessels of the altar are consecrated for this holy purpose, but also, the priest’s hands are consecrated for touching this Sacrament. And St. Thomas said that it is therefore not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except to save it from desecration. (Summa, III, Q. 82. Art. 3)

This reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and even for the smallest particles, was incorporated into the traditional Mass — the Old Latin Mass — which contained strict rubrics on this point:

1) From the moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the Sacred Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together on each hand. Whether he elevates the chalice, or turns the pages of the missal, or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and his forefinger on each hand are closed. The thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host;

2) During Holy Communion, the altar boy holds the paten under the chin of those receiving Communion, so that the slightest particle does not fall to the ground. This paten is cleaned into the chalice afterwards;

3) After Holy Communion is distributed, the priest scrapes the corporal (the small linen cloth on the altar) with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle is left, it is collected and consumed by the priest;

4) Then, the priest washes his thumb and forefinger over the chalice with water and wine, and this water and wine is reverently consumed to insure that the smallest particle of the Sacred Host is not susceptible to desecration.

Communion in the hand and so-called Eucharist lay-ministers make a mockery of the Divine Truth that Our Lord is truly present in every particle of the Eucharist, and make a mockery of the holy rubrics used by the Church for centuries as a safeguard against desecration.

Because what happens with Communion in the hand?

The Host is placed in the hand, which is not consecrated. The communicant picks It up with his own fingers, which are not consecrated. The sacred particles fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated.

Likewise with so-called Eucharistic lay-ministers, their hands are not consecrated; they should not be touching the Sacred Host. The sacred particles of the Host fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated. The fingers of “lay-Eucharistic ministers” are not washed, so any particle remaining will also be desecrated.

No authority in the Church, not even the highest, can dispense a Catholic from the duty of preserving the necessary reverence owed to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Any Church leader who does so labors under the “diabolic disorientation of the upper hierarchy” warned against by Sister Lucy of Fatima, and is derelict in his duty.

Only forty-five years ago, Communion in the hand was unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is. Only forty-five years ago, Eucharistic lay-ministers were unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is.

But now, these abuses are permitted and promoted by a liberal hierarchy who — in this area and in many other areas — suddenly approve what the Church always rightly condemned. This “suddenly blessing what the Church always condemned” is the hallmark of the Vatican II reforms.

The truth, however, is that God does not change, and man’s duty of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament does not change, even if we have many leaders who in their destructive liberalization of the Catholic Church, seem to care little or nothing for the true reverence we owe to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Thus, anyone who receives Communion in the hand, or who receives Communion from a Eucharistic lay-minister, or who is a Eucharistic lay-minister himself or herself — in the objective order — is committing a sacrilege. It is a misuse of a holy thing. It is a mockery of what the Church has taught and practiced. It is a desecration of the greatest gift that God has given us: the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Need for Reparation

In 1916, a year before Our Lady’s visitations at Fatima, the “Angel of the Eucharist” appeared with Chalice and Host to the children. He administered the Sacred species to the three children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Our Lord, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel left the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself before It. The children imitated him. The Angel then prayed repeatedly this act of reparation:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

Let us commit to memory this prayer and say it throughout the day as often as possible. The “outrages, sacrileges and indifference” toward the Blessed Sacrament. Sacrilege is so commonplace that it is no longer recognized as sacrilege. The need for reparation is colossal.

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Allowing the Old Latin Mass is just “a first step” according to Kurt Cardinal Koch, an official of the Roman Curia. The time is however not yet ripe for the next steps Koch said on the Weekend in Freiburg. Liturgical questions are overshadowed by ideology especially in Germany. Rome will only be able to act further when Catholics show more readiness to think about a new liturgical reform “for the good of the Church.” The Cardinal spoke at a conference on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, which also considered Ratzinger’s pontificate as Pope Benedict XVI. In July 2007 Pope Benedict decreed that Tridentine Rite Masses according to the Missal of 1962 may once again be celebrated world wide. The Missal of 1970 is however still the “normal form” of the Eucharistic Celebration in the Roman Church. Koch is the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. He tried to refute the charge that Pope Benedict is going against the Council [i.e. Vatican II] in liturgical questions: “the Pope suffers from this accusation.” On the contrary, the Holy Father’s intention is rather to implement conciliar teachings on the liturgy which have been ignored up till now. Present day liturgical practice does not always have any real basis in the Council. For example, celebration versus populum (towards the people) was never mandated by the Council, says the Cardinal. A renewal of the form of divine worship is necessary for the interior renewal of the Church: “Since the crisis of the Church today is above all a crisis of the liturgy, it is necessary to begin the renewal of the Church today with a renewal of the Liturgy.

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ROME, September 13, 2010 – The image below is a partial panorama of the immense mosaic that covers the floor of the cathedral of Otranto, on the southeast coast of Italy.

Floor mosaic

Walking across it from the entrance to the sanctuary, the faithful have as a guide the tree of salvation history, a history that is sacred and profane at once, with episodes from the Old Testament, from the Gospels, from the chronicle of Alexander the Great and the cycle of King Arthur.

The mosaic is from the twelfth century, an era in which the churches had no chairs or pews, and the faithful were able to see the entire floor. Even when they were not adorned with figurative art, the floors of churches incorporated expensive materials and elaborate designs. They were walked upon. Prayed upon. Knelt upon in adoration.

Today kneeling – especially on a bare floor – has fallen into disuse. So much so that Benedict XVI’s desire to give communion to the faithful on the tongue, and kneeling, is cause for amazement.

Kneeling for communion is one of the innovations that pope Benedict XVI has introduced when he celebrates the Eucharist.

But rather than an innovation, this is a return to tradition. The others are placing the crucifix at the center of the altar, “so that at the Mass we are all looking at Christ, and not at each other,” and the frequent use of Latin “to emphasize the universality of the faith and the continuity of the Church.”

In an interview with the English weekly “The Catholic Herald,” master of pontifical ceremonies Guido Marini has confirmed that the pope will stick with this style of celebration during his upcoming trip to the United Kingdom.

In particular, Marini has announced that Benedict XVI will recite the entire preface and canon in Latin, while for the other texts of the Mass he will adopt the new English translation that will enter into use in the entire English-speaking world on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011: this because the new translation “is more faithful to the original Latin and of a more elevated style” compared with the current one.

The attraction that the Church of Rome exercised over many illustrious English converts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – from Newman to Chesterton to Benson – was in part the universalism of the Latin liturgy. An attraction to a solid and ancient faith that today is moving many Anglican communities to ask for admission to Catholicism.

The “reform of the reform” attributed to pope  Benedict in the liturgical field is taking place partly in this way: simply, and with the example given by him when he celebrates.

But among the standard-setting practices of Benedict XVI, the one least understood – so far – is perhaps that of having the faithful kneel for communion.

This is almost never done, in any of the churches all over the world. In part because the communion rails at which one knelt to receive communion have been abandoned or dismantled almost everywhere.

But the sense of church flooring has also been lost. Traditionally, the floors were very ornate precisely in order to act as a foundation and guide to the greatness and profundity of the mysteries celebrated.

Few today realize that these beautiful and expensive floors were also made for the knees of the faithful: a carpet of stones on which to prostrate oneself before the splendor of the divine epiphany.

The following text was written precisely to reawaken this sensibility.

Its author is Monsignor Marco Agostini, an official in the second section of the secretariat of state, assistant master of pontifical ceremonies and a scholar of liturgy and sacred art, already known to the readers of http://www.chiesa for his enlightening commentary on the “Transfiguration” by Raphael.

The article was published in “L’Osservatore Romano” on August 20, 2010.

KNEELERS OF STONE

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Here is a good resource for those looking for further info on this subject!

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Catholics are called to honour the Lord’s day by attending  Sunday Mass. Failing to do so, except where Mass is not available or due to a grave reason, is actually considered a sin according to the Catholic Catechism, because  God commanded us to observe the Sabbath.

But how much do we know about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Here is a brief overview of the holy Mass to guide those who would like to gain a better understanding of the Catholic worship, The Holy Mass:

The two main parts of the Mass are called the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of the Word, God’s Word is read and preached. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is when the Eucharist is consecrated and Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful. These two parts make the core of the Mass, but there are other Rites that happen before and after them. Therefore,  the Mass is composed of a four-part structure: Introductory Rites, The Liturgy of the Word, The Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites.

  1. Introductory Rites –  The purpose of this part is to prepare for the Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. This tradition expresses the fact that the parish/community has come together to worship God and the we need to be purified for worship by remembering our sins and asking for forgiveness. In this part we also show that we want to give glory to God and ask Him to bless our worship. There are seven parts to the Introductory Rites:
  • Entrance (Introit – ‘He enters’ in Latin) : Mass begins when the priest who will celebrate it enters the Church and approaches the altar. He is often accompanied by the deacon, the altar servers and the lector. If there is a choir, at this point we usually sing.

  • Veneration of the Altar: When the priest arrives at the altar (or the Sacrificial Table) he kisses it as a sign of reverence to God for the place where Jesus will become present in the Eucharist. At certain occasions the priest incense the altar to symbolize prayer and reverence.
  • Greeting: The Priest greets the congregation, they all make the sign of the Cross as the Priest calls upon God ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’, to what all answer Amen. This is a reminder of baptism and help us consecrate our actions to God. The Priest then wish all God’s Grace by saying ‘The Lord be with you’, to which the Church responds ‘And also with you’.
  • Penitential Rite: The Priest exhorts people to prepare to worship God by recalling their sins, repent of them and ask for God’s mercy. There is a brief silence so people can think of their sins, and they pray together: « I confess to the Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault…» See full prayer here
  • Kyrie, Eleison – Lord, Have Mercy:  The acknowledgement of our sins is concluded by asking God for his forgiveness. At this point the people pray to the Lord Jesus, «Lord, have Mercy. Christ, have Mercy. Lord, have Mercy. We ask for Mercy three times in acknowledgement of the Holy Trinity, Three in One God. This can be either sung or said in Greek: ‘Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.’

  • Blessing and Sprinkling: At some masses the rite of Sprinkling is performed instead of the Penitential Rite. The Priest asks God to bless the water, which he sprinkles on the congregation. Again, this is a reminder of baptism, which washes us from our sins.
  • Gloria in Excelsis Deo – Glory to God in the Highest: After having purified our heart by recalling our sins and asking God’s mercy, it is a moment to praise God. The opening verse is the song of the angels at the birth of Jesus. (Luke 2:14) – « Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to his people on earth…»  This is the most commonly sung version of this ancient catholic hymn:

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to His people on earth. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, Heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us; You take away the sin of the world, receive our prayer; You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are the Lord. You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God, the Father. Amen –

  • Collect – Opening Prayer: The Priest brings the opening prayers to an end and invites all to pray: ‘Let us Pray’. There are different collects for different Masses and occasions. Collects to thank God, ask his blessings and so on. This often introduces the theme that will be part of the Mass that day. All respond ‘Amen’ and the Liturgy of the Word begins.

The Liturgy of the Word

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Funny how sometimes  we take things for granted to a point that something as wonderful as the Holy Mass can seem so  trivial that we don’t fully appreciate it, isn’t it?

 

The celebration of Mass

We hear the sad news of how many Parish churches are being ‘consolidated’ or even closed down permanently, as attendance to Holy Mass decreases in many parts of the Catholic world. I believe the neglect in the faith formation of modern Catholics, especially after the II Vatican council, might just have a big part  to do with this problem. Many Catholics these days are in need to re-learn about their faith in order to fully embrace their Catholic  heritage and thus become true Catholics and Christians. (more…)

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