"Of course, you know, this means war!"

“Of course, you know, this means war!”
– Groucho Marx, Duck Soup (1933)
– Bugs Bunny, Porky’s Hare Hunt (1938)
– Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter “Battle lines in the Liturgy Wars” (2010)

Well, he’s in good company anyway. HT to Christine for alerting me to this one. What to say? Well, up to the end of the sixth paragraph, I have no argument with Mr Roberts. He says:

Liturgy, the central act of worship, embodies the genetic code of the community. It holds the key to what we think about God; about Christ’s action in human history; about our relationship to the Trinity; about our relationship to each other; about the relationship between ordained and lay, between the community and the wider world. In the big picture, a lot hinges on the way we approach liturgy.

The council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is so important, said Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley, because liturgy “is at the heart of what we do.” He considers the recent attempts to change the sense of the liturgical renewal from the top down a serious matter. “In 1985,” he said in a phone interview with NCR, “the synod of bishops said of those four constitutions [of the Second Vatican Council], those are the standards against which all the other documents are to be interpreted. Once you start to play with one of those, you’re playing with everything.”

The state of the liturgy debate can also be a leading indicator of which view is prevailing in the equally long and divisive battle over how to interpret Vatican II a half century after Pope John XXIII first conceived the idea of the council and 45 years after it ended.

He is absolutely correct, of course. But “playing with those four constitutions” is what certain theologians and liturgical experts have been doing since 1968. They have indeed been “playing eith everything”, and it is a very “serious matter” indeed. It is because the language of the liturgy “holds the key to what we think about God”, especially about Christology and Trinitarian theology, not to mention all those other issues, that the Holy Father has said “Enough is enough – no more mucking about.”

Roberts goes on to say:

How the changes in liturgy were arrived at in the four decades since the council is significant, because the process speaks a great deal about whose articulation of the elusive “spirit of the council” is in ascendancy.

Well, that isn’t quite correct, is it? Because only one bunch ever talks about “the spirit of the council”, while the other bunch bother to read what the Council actually said. This very article gives a perfect example of this perennial error:

When the assembled bishops of the world ratified the first document of the Second Vatican Council on Nov. 22, 1963, the groundbreaking Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the tone and direction of the rest of the council’s session was irrevocably set. It is not overstatement to say that with that document, the church as the modern world knew it was changed forever.

For even with the “reform of the reform” in motion, history has amply recorded what followed the council:

• Altars were turned so the priest faces the people;
• Communion rails disappeared;
• The Eucharist was distributed to standing, rather than kneeling, communicants;
• Latin was replaced the world over by languages spoken by the people;
• The liturgy was seen as intimately connected to what takes place outside the sanctuary walls, particularly regarding issues of social justice;
• In a deeper change, an understanding of Christ’s humanity took its place in a profound way in the Mass alongside reverence for the divinity of Christ, and there was a shift in emphasis from a vertical relationship with God to a more horizontal relationship to God in the community;
• Perhaps most important for average churchgoers, everyone became participants, and not simply passive observers, in the eucharistic celebration.

As described by the late Benedictine Fr. Godfrey Diekmann of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., one of 55 international liturgists who helped write the document, “It was a Magna Carta of the laity.”

“But sir, please sir!”

Yes, I know, Johnny. The Constitution on the Sacred liturgy says diddly squat on any of those issues. At least the first four are completely absent from the document, the next two are a question of gross misinterpretation, and the last is a misunderstanding of what the Council meant by “participation”, but we will let that pass. As for Sacrosanctum Concilium being the “magna carta of the laity”, there is this comment in Fred McManus’ foreword to the Kathleen Hughes’ biography of Deikman “A Monk’s Tale”:

As soon as the Constitution on the Liturgy was published in 1963, Godfrey (and I) regretted how few were its direct references to the total mission of the Church in its context of Christian communal holiness and worship. In a way, Sacrosanctum Concilium is a “churchy” document, perhaps inevitably so because of its explicity goal of Roman liturgical reform within the life of the Catholic people. It is necessary to hunt down the few mentions of the apostolic and social dimension of the celebration of the mysteries as these are part of the total life of the church, part of the liturgical committment of faith that is made in text and rite. (A Monk’s tale, page xii)

What he is saying is, effectively, that the Constitution on the Liturgy was not quite the radical document Tom Roberts wants you to believe it was.

Roberts pounces on a comment made by the the Fr Ratzinger, to the effect that the “fundamental innovation” of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was that “for the first time…the conferences of bishops [were assigned] their own canonical ahority”, a fact which “has more significance for the theology of the episcopacy and for the long-desired strengthening of episcopal power than anything in the Constitution on the Church itself”. So the argument now turns to one of Vatican centralisation vs. national conferences, where Roberts portrays Liturgiam Authenticam and the dissolution of ICEL as an attack upon American Sovereignty akin to 9/11. Poor Roberts doesn’t seem to realise or care that other people in the world speak English too – and that English speaking lay Catholics the world over have the right to have an accurate and beautiful translation of the liturgy of the Latin Rite.

But upsetting some old Yankee bishops isn’t the worst sin of “the liturgy wars”. Next, Roberts asks us to give some thought for the “the accumulated anger and disappointment among many liturgical experts”. My heart bleeds. Roberts also reports that Georgetown University professor John O’Malley complains that “they don’t listen to liturgists” and “the professional liturgists have been elbowed out”. Someone call the Church police…

Roberts says the “new translations being imposed on the English-speaking Catholic”. “Imposed”? Well, yes, I guess they are. Just as the rites and texts of the liturgy are always “imposed” upon the Church – or rather, given as a gift by the Church to the Church. And as for translations, are you telling me the 1970 translation wasn’t “imposed on the English-speaking Catholic”? Come on. Even some of us who can’t remember what happened then are still able to read the history books and hear from people who did experience the imposition. But Roberts wants you to believe that the 1970 translations were the result of “a widely consultative process that went on under the guidance of English-speaking bishops from around the world and liturgical and scriptural experts for more than 30 years” whereas “the reform of the reform” resulted from “a secret Vatican meeting in 1997”. Purrleeease. Between the end of the Council and the imposition of the 1970 translation was only five years – seven if you count from the date of the publication of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Even if we take the “Reform of the Reform” to have started in 1997 (and I think it was actually started a bit before that, but lets not quibble), that makes 14 years of consultation and scholarship, built upon 40 years of experience of vernacular liturgy (both its triumphs and its failures). And this time the translations were directly prepared and scrutinised by the all the Bishops Conferences of the English speaking world, as opposed to a handful of “experts” in a US dominated ivory tower committee.

Just as the article began with a half dozen paragraphs to which I can wholly assent, so they end with a paragraph to which we can all agree:

Can the factions that fought, sometimes bitterly, come together in the future in the kind of unity the liturgy begs? Benedictine Sr. Mary Collins, a liturgist and professor emeritus at The Catholic University of America in Washington, said, “I do think there needs to be a change of heart running through the whole ecclesial body.” A reality in the church today, she said, “is that we are still in the winners-and-losers game. I think unless the church can get beyond that, we can’t tell ourselves we’re responding to the call of the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, a change of heart is exactly what we need if “war” is to be averted.

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40 Responses to "Of course, you know, this means war!"

  1. Mary Hoerr says:

    One of the things that has bothered me most about the changes in the liturgy is the movement of the tabernacle to a side chapel, which I have always found ridiculous.

    The tabernacle contains the Real Presence of Jesus — the physical visible reality for us poor limited human beings who need such things — and we genuflect (or for folks like me with knee trouble, bow) as a sign of respect for the Host (in the Host — bad pun, sorry). And yet, when I enter, unless it’s my home parish, I don’t even know where the Host is!

    Yes, yes, I know God is everywhere, and Jesus is everywhere, not just in the tabernacle. But I’m not an angel or a pure spirit — I’m both body and spirit, which is one of the reasons Jesus gives us such a thing as the Real Presence in the physical matter of the consecrated host.

    So I end up bowing towards where I *think* the tabernacle *probably* is. And most people end up genuflecting or bowing (if they do either at all) towards the altar — as if the altar is anything more than a table without the consecrated host!

    And worst of all, if you come late to Mass, after the priest has already started (not that I ever have [taps foot, whistles into the distance]), it can actually look like you’re bowing or genuflecting to the priest!

  2. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    You are entirely right, Mary, but the “church” will continue to ignore those concerns, concerns that do not arise in a Catholic Church because the living presence of Jesus is the focal point on the altar and the focal point of the entire building, as Jesus in this among so many other ways shows his fulfillment of the Law, his very body now the shewbread marked by the perpetual lamp. Now you have a Protestant place of assembly and he is conveniently tucked away somewhere where he won’t get in the way until the action of the assembly requires it.

    David, your treatment of the NCR piece does not even address it, and I should think you know I am not an NCR fan to say the least. There is no But sir please sir or Johnny about it. Mr Roberts did not say any of the points he bullet points are from sancrosanctum concilium, he said it is what history has amply recorded what followed the Council, not what is in the spearhead document of it.

    It is utterly amazing for those who claim to follow the documents for what they say as distinct from some spirit thereof that they contradict time and again what the writers of those documents themselves say, good God they came and went continually and I heard them say, they mean, and doubly amazing that in their refutations such as this do not address what their adversaries actually say, as happened here with Mr Roberts, but impute some sort of “spirit” to it despite what was actually said.

    There is only one error in the entire article, and that is where he describes the Council as uniquely not called to address a crisis. This is crucial. The Council was most definitely called to address a crisis, which was an apparent and feared inability of the church to address Man in these times, being too bound to the conditions in Europe following the Reformation and the limitations of scholarship in those times.. Which is precisely why, as he immediately notes, the Council uniquely issued no anathemae, as such measures are themselves a part of a reactive model of church no longer relevant or speaking to these times.

    Ratzinger has been in oh-oh mode since he first looked out his window at Tuebingen and saw the student protests in the street. The genie was let out of the bottle, and he has been trying to put it back in or at least control the bottle ever since, which made him such an effective corporate hatchet man for JPII against both Catholicism and those whom they deemed took the new religion too far while totally blind that they are in fact part of that same genie.

    Now half a century later they invent yet another myth, a reform of the reform, as they try to retain Vatican II but within a Trent mentality, more distant from the documents themselves than the wildest actions of Call To Action.

    Thanks be to God for delivering me from this preposterous situation. And btw the Latin Rite needs no translations, because prior to the 1960s the Latin Rite is such because it’s in, well, um, Latin gee whizz.

    • mdhoerr says:

      “and btw the Latin Rite needs no translations, because prior to the 1960s the Latin Rite is such because it’s in, well, um, Latin gee whizz.”

      Of course it needs translations.

      When I attended Mass before the changes following Vatican II, we used a prayer book with the Latin on one side and the English on the other side. There’s *always* been a need for translation (at least since Latin stopped being a vernacular anywhere). The only questions have been: who gets the translation (priests, scholars, everybody, etc) and is the translation actually used in the Mass.

      And don’t tell me that people didn’t need translations when they were taught Latin. All that means is that individuals did their own translations.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

        A translation one uses to follow the official text used in the Mass is not the same thing as an official translation used in the Mass instead of the original text.

        It was the Roman Church which, contrary to the example of the Eastern empire’s church, which continued to use Latin in its official text for worship rather than establish official texts in the new languages of new lands (official texts which themselves are no longer in say Greek or Russian as spoken now).

        It is a problem which they have created for themselves, and continue to create as the novus ordo is itself in Latin originally, still following the old imperial idea of one official language throughout the empire with the people actually speaking something else.

        To have allowed such deficient translation to happen at all — in a rush my butt, my high school Latin class could have done better as a week-end homework assignment — and let them stand for a generation is beyond belief, and to come out now with “better” translations crosses the border into the absurd.

        • Tony says:


          I just have to say that I find it ironic that the best (or at least, the most convincing) explanation I’ve heard (up to now) re the ‘your spirit’ addition, comes from someone who is otherwise so hostile to the contemporary church.

          I mean that in the nicest possible way!

          • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

            Not a problem Tony! It is ironic indeed. They won’t give you a straight answer — love that “hermeneutic of suspicion” when you asked for one — because they don’t have one.

        • Mary Hoerr says:

          Not to mention that sticking with the Latin Mass would have rendered moot much (though not all) of the English-speaking feminist criticism of the lack of “inclusive” language, since Latin (as well a a great many other languages) does indeed have separate words for “man” as in human being and “man” as in male human being.

          Still, the problem is not with the change away from Latin in the Mass (doctrinally) so much as the change to a much inferior English translation (doctrinally). And forty-some years is a very short time span in the life of the catholic church.

          It’s not like Vatican II *required* everyone to change from Latin at all, and especially not from Latin to bad translations for English speakers. (Just because the English translation was badly done gives me no reason to assume all the others are just as bad). Yes, I know that’s what happened (at least in English speaking countries), but that doesn’t mean that’s what Vatican II required.

          And while yes, I like Latin, clearly you can’t say the Bible requires us to use Latin.

          • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

            Not even the Church says or ever said it must be in Latin. The catechism coming from Trent, which unlike the current Catechism of the Catholic Church is both a catechism and Catholic, said there is no reason not to use the vernacular, but that to do so at this time would seem to endorse the errors otherwise associated with the calls of the Reformers, therefore it is inadvisable.

            As to not being required to not use Latin, bull. Just try to get a Latin Mass going, and I mean the novus ordo. Apart from exceptional places, you will face no end of hurdles to prove you do not stand in the way of Vatican II. Not to mention that within my memory the Tridentine Mass we were taught to revere one year we were taught to ridicule the next, “when the priest faced the wall and spoke in a foreign language” as I was taught it.

            The worst novus ordo of all is the original one, in Latin. Pure parody of the Roman Mass. The only thing worse than a bad translation of that monstrosity is a better one.

            • mdhoerr says:

              Oh, I don’t question that the Mass in the vernacular was ramrodded through. When I said we weren’t “required” to abandon the Latin, I just meant it wasn’t a requirement of Vatican II. For all practical purposes, at least in the US (can’t speak for other places), it was almost impossible to find anyplace that didn’t have Mass in the vernacular.

              I don’t really understand the argument for going away from Latin in the first place. Especially in places with high literacy, there’s no problem with including a translation in the Missel so people knew what the prayers meant. And the readings and sermons have been in the vernacular for some time (at least I remember it as being that way before the Latin Mass itself was changed).

              It appears the change to the vernacular was used as a kind of excuse to mess with all sorts of other things.

            • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

              Actually, what Vatican II “required” in sacrosanctum concilium was the care be taken that the people be able to say and understand in Latin the parts of the Mass that pertain to them.

            • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

              Sorry can’t give you chapter and verse, my copy of the documents of VII is out in the garage with old oil cans, things that I haven’t gotten around to throwing out yet, and other suitable company for it.

  3. Christine says:

    Because Cleveland has a rich immigrant history most of the churches in the Diocese of Cleveland still have the tabernacle in the sanctuary and I have also seen new churches being built that are doing the same. Many of the churches have been placed on the historic register and will not be “renovated”, a good thing because Cleveland has some magnificent church buildings.

    St. Peter’s Basilica, on the other hand, has a Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

    Whenever I am in a Catholic parish where the Sacrament is reserved in a chapel (many times dedicated to perpetual adoration) I bow to the altar, I never genuflect but if the tabernacle is present behind the main altar genuflection is in order.

    I have no problem with the tabernacle being the focal point of the church building, what does seem problematic is how some Catholics fix their piety on that while forgetting that at Communion that very Presence has been taken into themselves as living and holy food. Too many times I have witnessed a parishioner stopping to reverence the empty tabernacle after they have received the Sacrament — a point of confusion, I would say.


  4. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    What’s even funnier, on those occasions when I have no choice but to endure a postconciliar RC church as when someone unforutnate enough to be in its sway dies or gets married, to watch these “Catholics” genuflect not even toward an empty tabernacle but no tabernacle at all, simply the place where it used to be pre-Revolution.

    One of these days he’s going to shout Hey, here, I’m over here, the Cromwellian bleeders put me over here!

    I would invite those with such concerns to a Lutheran Divine Service — which one may or may not find in a church with the word Lutheran somewhere in the name, as many of them are pastored by lunatics who, in the words of a now inactive fellow Lutheran blogger, seem to think worship should resemble an episode of American Idol — but wherein there is exactly and nothing more or less than the Presence given as living and holy food, after the institution of Christ, who said Take and eat, Take and drink, not Take and eat but forget the drink part except once in a while and save some of the eat to adore, hey, haul it out and walk it around the block now and again and think you’re just as pious as all hell doing it.

  5. Christine says:

    What’s even funnier, on those occasions when I have no choice but to endure a postconciliar RC church as when someone unforutnate enough to be in its sway dies or gets married, to watch these “Catholics” genuflect not even toward an empty tabernacle but no tabernacle at all, simply the place where it used to be pre-Revolution.

    No argument there, some re-catechesis is very much in order.

    As for the Lutheran Divine Service, yes, that is the rub — some of them are unfortunately pastored by lunatics who have more in common with Bob Jones than they do other Lutherans (hint: many times they won’t even use the name “Lutheran” on the church sign).

    The unfortunate lot of such as myself who had parents with the utter nerve to be Lutheran and Catholic respectively!


  6. Christine says:

    From today’s installment from NCR:

    Fr. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle for more than two decades, in December began a campaign to slow down implementation of the new translations of the missal. “For some time I’ve followed the bishops’ debates, read many of the new texts, discussed them with brother priests, and visited about them with Catholics in the pews, and I’ve become aware of how difficult it’s going to be to ‘sell’ ordinary, faithful, good Catholics on the new, Latinized translations of the Missal,” Ryan said in an earlier interview (NCR, Dec. 25).

    Difficult? No more so than when the vernacular replaced Latin.

    So far he’s garnered more than 17,000 supporters in an online campaign at whatifwejustsaidwait.org.

    17,000 signatures. Wow. Shades of Sister Maureen Fiedler.

    Don’t think it’s anything to worry about.


    • Schütz says:

      Well, the “We’ve waited long enough” petition has 4752 signatures. Only a quarter of the “What if we just said wait” mob, but then it isn’t as well publicised, is it?

    • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

      At least they get to sign something. When the first non-Latin Latin rite was laid down, it was laid down:

      Here’s your new Mass, the people want it (totalitarians always always act in the name of the “people”), the Holy Spirit is behind it, we’re collegial now so shut up and sit down if you don’t like it because that means you’re on the wrong side of the Holy Spirit and the people and a hindrance to both if you resist.

      • Schütz says:

        Yes, there is a bit of an assumption that the Spirit was behind the first translations, but not the second. Seems the Holy Spirit isn’t very good at Latin translation. Perhaps that’s where I got my own charism for Latin…

  7. Christine says:

    Assumption Parish is having a Lenten speaker series and I am going to attend Wednesday night. A talk is going to be given about the new Mass translation.

    I’ll let you know what I hear.


  8. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Given that this same teaching authority right straight from the Apostles is the one that set in motion then allowed to stand for a generation the first translations, perhaps this move nearly half a century later may carry something of a credibility gap.

    Outright laughter actually in some quarters; like mine.

    And in true Catholic Oracle of Delphi form, now that these new better and clearer translations have been made the party men have been dispatched to explain what it REALLY means.

  9. Christine says:

    Actually, I think much of the new translations will be self-explanatory. If, as Sacred Scripture states Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride, it stands to reason one does not refer to her as “it” — I’m glad to see the church referred to in the feminine again, as she was before and I have no doubt that many will remember that was precisely the case before the awful ICEL translations.

    Better late than never, says I :)


  10. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Well Tony, it isn’t at all, but since the current RCC pretty much leaves you alone to do whatever as long as you stay in the tribe, I’ll tell you.

    First thing to understand is the phrase is a response, which is said to the priest’s “Dominus vobiscum”. Literally in Lain that means Lord thou-with. Only Lord has survived intact. Latin has one person for talking to people with whom one is familiar and another for talking with people generally, which English does too but it isn’t part of present use much, and in Latin a simple cerb of existence like “be” or “is” is not stated but assumed. Also in Latin what are in English prefix words are often suffix words, like “with” which is why “cum”, with, is at the end. And there just are no article like “the”. So to sum up then, Lord thou-with is more idiomatically translated “The Lord be with thee” or dropping the intended familiarity the original denotes but following more recent English usage, “The Lord be with you”. This is only said by a priest to a congregation.

    Likewise the paired response is only said by a congregation, or its representative, to a priest. That is “et cun spiritu tuo”. Now bearing in mind what was said about the loss of the familiar person in English, this is translated either “And with thy spirit” literally or”and with your spirit”. OK isn’t that just an old-fashioned way of saying “you”, hence “and also with you”?

    No, spiritus does not mean the priest, and thy or your spirit does not refer to a “you” as in the priest at all. It is a specific reference to the spirit of God imparted at ordination, precisely that which makes it ordination rather than installment in an office. The congregation is returning the priest’s wish that the Lord be with them with a wish that the Lord be with the Holy Spirit imparted to the priest at ordination as the Mass proceeds, not to be with the priest per se.

    This is the understanding since ancient times. Of course they never ever tell you that, any more than they tell you who the “Many” is in “shed for you and for many” and why isn’t all, all men, all people or all anything, otherwise you wouldn’t have to hang around them like lapdogs as if they had just divined the meaning of the Oracle of Delphi’s message.

    That’s why it’s And with thy or your spirit. That they should have allowed it to be otherwise, and not have told the people what in the hell it means in any language, is totally reprehensible although totally typical for the RCC.

    • Schütz says:

      All Correct, PE, and thanks for that. BUT you have to admit that the Lutherans changed it to “and also with you” the same as the Catholics did (and the Anglicans). This is because no-one (Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican or whatever) had bothered to find out let alone explain why we ever said “And with thy Spirit”. This is one benefit of the new translations. At least now people are asking “why” and are getting answers.

      • Tony says:

        This is because no-one (Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican or whatever) had bothered to find …

        On what basis do you make this remark, David.

        Is it also possible that those who were behind ‘And with you’ knew the background but came to a considered decision that it was better?

        Given that it’s the expression that’s been in use for 40 years, your assessment is pretty damning.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

        The Lutherans changed it because the Catholics did and we like fools went along. Or some of us. On my home turf I am as vocal about what I call “Vatican II For Lutherans” as I am about Vatican II per se here!

  11. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Oh I forgot to mention the case of this new usher named Dominic who thoroughly embarrassed himself first time ushering when he started way early. Reason is, they didn’t tell him anything either, and he thought the priest said “Dominic go frisk ’em” and started passing the basket!

    A little preconciliar Catholic humour for you, which like pretty much everything else of Catholicism before the Revolution is no longer intelligible in the Brave New RCC of Vatican II.

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for that Terry.

      I had a conversation on a DB about this and the explanation made no sense at all. Finally, I was told that I was approaching the whole issue with a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’. Well, I never!

      Yours is by far the best explanation I’ve heard thus far but, as good as it is, it does put pay to any notion of ‘self explanatory’.

      I can readily assent to changes that make sense or that restore a tradition that has meaning. If this is sold as the congregation greeting the priest in a particular way at a particular time, then I think it has a chance of being accepted. So far — and I know it’s early days — the pitch seems to be that it’s ‘closer to the Latin’. I’m not sure folks are going to warm to that.

  12. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    It’s cool Tony, I’ve been repaid many time over with that “hermeneutic of suspicion” one! What a howler! Welcome to the Brave New Church where nothing is what it seems and there is no plain speech, just hermeneutics of everything!

    What’s so sad is, the usage And with your spirit really does restore a tradition that has meaning, they just don’t tell you what that meaning is, and really is closer to the Latin, they just don’t tell you why in the hell is the Latin that way.

    And you’re right, the phrase isn’t self-explanatory in any language, but they ain’t explaining nuttin.

  13. Christine says:

    I can readily assent to changes that make sense or that restore a tradition that has meaning. If this is sold as the congregation greeting the priest in a particular way at a particular time, then I think it has a chance of being accepted. So far — and I know it’s early days — the pitch seems to be that it’s ‘closer to the Latin’. I’m not sure folks are going to warm to that.

    Hi Tony,

    I keep forgetting that there are others out there who are younger than I am!

    Actually, growing up Lutheran we used “and with thy spirit” as well (and of course, most Lutheran parishes don’t have “priests”). In the LCMS congregation of which I was a part depending on which version of the Divine Service was used at any particular Sunday we used “and also with you”, on other Sundays it was “and with thy spirit.”

    My cradle Catholic husband, growing up before the Second Vatican Council remembers the older form, as will other Catholics who grew up at that time.

    Which leads me to the talk Father Lane gave yesterday about the new Mass translations. I seem to have missed from the get go that this would be a two-session presentation, to be concluded next Wednesday. Yesterday he focused more on the Roman Missal since Vatican II and what is coming down the road with the latest revision.

    He gave an overview of the liturgy and “why we do what we do.” One of the comments he made that really struck me was a specific period in church history where people not only shied away from the chalice because of an exaggerated sense of unworthiness but eventually only received the Host once a year during the Easter season. He mentioned that even some priests did not always receive.

    I have read similar comments from Lutheran liturgical scholars across the Lutheran spectrum. Father Lane emphasized that the return of the precious blood to the laity was to renew the Biblical mandate of Christ to eat AND drink.

    Next week he will get into the new Mass translation, which should be available in about a year. From what I’ve seen most parishes here will be conducting workshops to explain them to the laity, going beyond “it’s just a better translation of the Latin.”

  14. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Well sounds like “Father” does the usual Catholic thing of convenient forgetting or ignoring. It was the RCC which forbad the cup except to priests, to, they thought, make the point of the Real Presence and since Christ is fully present in both kinds you don’t need both (who cares of course that Christ instituted both, since the “church” is Christ it can do what it wants and it’s Christ doing it so shut up and sit down and go along). So to come along centuries later and say this church which is Christ’s true church is restoring or renewing anything when it is they who took it away in the first place is just nuts.

    Fact is, it wasn’t only Communion, it was Baptism too. People used to put that off until near death to avoid the possibility of sinning after and run afoul of the nonsense like penances and Purgatory dreamed up by this church. Hell, Constantine did it — called a council of the church and he wasn’t even a baptised Christian!

    But he was Emperor, and when it’s your state church you get to do stuff like that. So the council meets, affirms Trinitarian Christianity over Arian Christianity, and who after on his death bed does he call to baptise him but an old homie Arian bishop. Yeah there’s your visible institutional continuity, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church.

    Trouble is, it exchanges the catholic church for itself. Which is a terrible loss, otherwise the whole RCC would be a preposterous joke, moreso now than ever as an old state religion tries to find some justification for even being around long after the state which created it is gone, though they still wear their garb.

  15. Christine says:

    Wow, even Wiki has comments!

    In the early Church, the faithful received the Eucharist in the form of consecrated bread and wine. Saint Maximus explains that in the Old Law the flesh of the sacrificial victim was shared with the people, but the blood of the sacrifice was merely poured out on the altar. Under the New Law, however, Jesus’ blood was the drink shared by all of Christ’s faithful. St. Justin Martyr, an early Church father of the 2nd century, speaks of the Eucharist as the same body and blood of Christ that was present in His Incarnation.

    The tradition continued in the Church in the East to commingle the species of bread and wine, whereas in the in the West, the Church had the the practice of communion under the species of bread and wine separately was the custom, with only a small fraction of bread placed in the chalice. In the West, the communion at the chalice was made less and less efficient, as the dangers of the spread of disease and danger of spillage (which would potentially be sacrilegious) were considered enough of a reason to remove the chalice from common communion altogether, or giving it on only special occasions. However, it was always consecrated and drunk by the priest, regardless of whether or not the laity partook. The Protestant controversy turned this into one of its main issues. As a consequence, the Catholic Church first wanted to eliminate ambiguity, reaffirming that Christ was present both as body and as blood equally under both species of bread and wine. As time went on, the chalice was made more available to the laity. After the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church gave a full permission for all to receive communion from the chalice at every Mass involving a congregation, at the discretion of the priest.

    Dr. Arthur Just, an LCMS scholar traces the development in the RC as to when the laity began to shy away from receiving because of their deep reverence for the majesty of Christ. They did that themselves to the point where a new law was promulgated stating that Catholics had to at least receive during Easter.

    Yes, it’s very true that some put off baptism until they were close to death.

    Now, of course, we have some churches teaching that baptism isn’t necessary at all, being only an “ordinance.”

    Oh, and yes, Father Lane did mention the periods in the RC’s history when the chalice was not given to the laity.

    On the other hand, the RC not being rooted in sola scriptura has no obligation to follow Protestant models.

  16. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    And here I thought we Lutherans were off the mark with Communion on first and third Sundays instead of every service! Once a year. Wow. Maybe a little less attention to one’s own work, like a reverence, and a little more attention to the one supposedly reverenced might have helped.

    Nice of them to leave the institution of Christ to the “priest’s” discretion.

  17. Christine says:

    And here I thought we Lutherans were off the mark with Communion on first and third Sundays instead of every service! Once a year. Wow. Maybe a little less attention to one’s own work, like a reverence, and a little more attention to the one supposedly reverenced might have helped.

    Nice of them to leave the institution of Christ to the “priest’s” discretion.

    On a continent that saw the Black Plague and other political as well as natural calamities, without universal literacy that would have enabled the lay folk to read the Scriptures (Luther was really very fortunate come along at a time when the printing press was making its mark) it’s quite easy to judge from the standpoint of 21st Century American eyes.

    Let it be clearly noted that I have yet to be in a Catholic parish where the precious blood is not offered.

    And yes, there are still Lutheran parishes where Communion is not offered every Sunday. Especially in those that have been inflamed with the “Ablaze” mentality.


  18. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Christ didn’t say “When you do this every Sunday …” But he did say “Take and drink”.

    Much as I am in favour of Communion every Sunday, not to do so does not violate the institution of Christ. But to not take and drink does.

    Communion in both kinds remains the rare exception any place I have seen or heard of in the RCC now, and prior to the 1960s, didn’t exist anywhere in the RCC for centuries.

    • Schütz says:

      Do you know, PE, one of these days you will just have to give up and admit defeat, go to confession, and join us once again. There’s no point in you continually beating your head against this particular brick wall. It ain’t good for your soul, brother.

    • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

      No, I won’t. To put it in terms of your comment, the reason I came here was to point out that the “us” you have joined is not the “us” of the Roman Catholic Church, which in fact repudiates the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, though like any Protestant church there is some overlap, which is precisely why I left it.

      I understand the deficits you found earlier in life, and how the RCC would seem to address them. It does so not with the faith of the RCC but with something it previously condemned and warned against, and is just a better grade of Protestantism than you can find in Protestantism itself.

      Which is fine still as a Protestant answer to Protestant feeling; it is not Catholic and is nor fine for a Catholic but rather a betrayal unless one just says it can’t be so therefore it isn’t so and one launches into a Protestant style search for a parish or environment where it seems not to be so and one can groove on The Catholic Church The Catholic Church The Catholic Church just like any other Protestant who thinks his church REALLY is the “true” church the Catholic Churchh thinks it is, or rather thought it was.

      If there is a defeat in which there is no point continuing, it is in not having been able to carry that message against the delusions of Rome. It’s your blog; if you want it to stop, I will stop coming here.

      But to join an “us” I left on the basis of the “us” to which I once belonged which is in a radical disconnect with it yet claims to be the same while promoting things the real “us” condemned — out of the question. To accept that such an absurdity could be objectively true, that the postconciliar church is the same church as the one I left, is so radically absurd as to “prove” that Jesus was not the Christ as we must look for another if this then is his “true” church.

  19. Christine says:

    Communion in both kinds remains the rare exception any place I have seen or heard of in the RCC now, and prior to the 1960s, didn’t exist anywhere in the RCC for centuries.

    Rare exception??? Must be very different out your way, I have yet to see a Catholic parish here where both species are not offered.

    As for your second comment, right you are, didn’t exist in the RCC for centuries, which is why I have no nostalgia for the preconcilicar church which was so clerically top-heavy. Christians received Communion in both kinds in the early church and Vatican II was right to restore that.


  20. Christine says:

    To accept that such an absurdity could be objectively true, that the postconciliar church is the same church as the one I left, is so radically absurd as to “prove” that Jesus was not the Christ as we must look for another if this then is his “true” church.

    A burden which I thankfully do not have to deal with, having not been raised in the preconciliar church although having family members who were.

    He that believes and is baptized will be saved. Be it Catholic, Lutheran, or any other church.


    • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

      Not at all what I meant. If the postconciliar church is the RCC and wherein the fullness of Christ’s church subsists, then either contra everything in Scripture Christ’s church went into darkness for some time only to be rescued some 1500 years later or Christ’s church did quite well until the 1960s when all of a sudden what it previously warned its faithful against it now preached, and either way, for that to be so means Jesus as Christ and the New Testament mean nothing, there is nothing to believe in as far as Christianity goes and he who is baptised has simply undergone a cultural practice and nothing more be it Catholic, Lutheran or any other church, all meaningless.

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