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Q&A  April AD 2014
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Validity of Eastern Masses?
Mass too ritualistic; too exclusive?
An eye for an eye?
Forty Days of Lent?
The Silly Season
Q&A Archives

Our Lady of the Rosary
Validity of Eastern Masses?

Question:  While on vacation I attended a traditional Mass offered in a meeting room in my hotel.  I was rather surprised to hear the priest warn people that they must not attend Mass in the Eastern Rite.  He claimed that their consecration of the bread was invalid because they inserted a phrase about our Lord’s bones being broken.  Can this be right?

Answer:  There is no single “Eastern Rite.”  Rather the Church has a number of non-Western rites, all of which are considered valid by the Holy See, and were so considered for many years before the modernist crisis.  The exact words of consecration vary somewhat from one rite to another.   I can only guess that your priest was referring to the various uses (Greek, Ukrainian, Melkite, etc.), of the Byzantine rite which base their form of consecration on Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. [1]



Prijmite, yadite, SIYE YEST TILO MOYE, yezhe za vy lomymoye vo ostavlenie hrikhov.


Consecration of the bread in the
ancient Slavonic of the Ukrainians[2]

Some early Greek texts and some editions of the Vulgate place no verb to indicate what will be done with the body of the Lord on behalf of His people—they seem to ignore  a blank space and are translated as:

[He] broke it and said this is my body  _____  for you: this do in remembrance of me[3]

Some Vulgate editions place the Latin word “tradetur” in the blank space, which the Douay Rheims translates as “delivered.”  The Missale Romanum includes “tradetur” whenever Saint Paul’s epistle is read. Some of the Greek texts fill the same blank with “κλωμενον—broken.”  The verb (will be) “broken” is found not only in the Byzantine rite, but also in the Apostolic Constitutions[4], the Liturgy of Saint James,[5] and the de Sacramentis of Saint Ambrose of Milan (340-397)[6]:  It is consistent  with the fact that the bread that is to become the body of Christ is broken. 

None of this contradicts Sacred Scripture about the fact that our Lord’s bones were not broken.

For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him.[7]

Yet, the “broken” body of Christ did hang on the Cross.  Perhaps not His bones, but everything else.  He had been beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, and any number of things that would have “broken” a mortal man.   The systems of His human body no longer worked together to keep human life alive.   Human brain, human heart, human kidneys, and every other human thing failed!  The folks who wrote Startrek might have used the word “disrupted” instead of “broken,” but there is not really much difference.  Our Lord died the death common to His human creatures when the composite being of His human body broke down and He gave up His ghost.

It must be remembered that when Our Lord spoke the words of consecration at the Last Supper, they referred to an event in the (near) future—but an event which lies in our past.   No claim is made that by speaking the words Our Lord’s body is broken in the present.  The reference is strictly to what happened on the Cross roughly 2,000 years ago.  At holy Mass the sacrificial action of the cross is made present in the here and now, but our Lord’s glorified body, now in heaven, cannot be damaged.[8]

So what is wrong with this form of consecration?  It is not an attempt to pass off the heresy of universal salvation, like the “for you and for all (men).”   It does not contradict the Scripture, for it makes no mention of Our Lord’s bones.  It reflects a time honored tradition in the Church.  Remember that the Church enjoys the charism of indirect infallibility when it carefully crafts its holy rituals in accordance with Scripture and Tradition.[9]

Some “traditionalist” priests seem to feel that they must be at odds with all other Catholics—an “us versus them” mentality.  Some are further motivated by the desire to have “the only game in town” in order to be able to afford being flown in from somewhere else every Sunday.  It is a scandal that one might attempt to keep Catholics away from Holy Mass offered in an Eastern Church.  Many Eastern Catholics have suffered under political Communism, so they understand the need to resist religious modernism.  Their Mass can be quite beautiful, and converys the same graces as the traditional Roman Mass.


Our Lady of the Rosary
Too much ritual;  too exclusive?

Question:  A the end of an Internet video on the traditional Mass, someone posted a comment that there is too much ritual in the Catholic Mass—the Eucharist of the early Church was more like a Sunday afternoon dinner with friends, that Communion was given to anyone who wanted It, and that the Real Presence is a medieval doctrine..  What is the truth here?

Answer:  Whoever made the comment is likely from a Protestant or modernist Catholic background, and making the mistake that whatever he is familiar with has been the case throughout history.

The first description of the early Mass is contained in the First Apology of Saint Justin Martyr, composed about 155 AD.   Like all early descriptions it gives only a general picture, for the Mass was considered too sacred to even discuss with pagans—writers exercised what is called a disciplina arcana, not quoting the rite verbatim.  Nonetheless, Justin’s description is clearly one of a ritualized ceremony.[10]  In chapter 66, Justin describes those who are admitted to Holy Communion:

And this food is called among us “εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist],” of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.  [Emphasis supplied][11]

If Saint Justin’s testimony is not early enough, we have the writings of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.[12]  Paul criticized them precisely because they were too casual—some of them even getting drunk!  Paul reminds them of the connection of the Eucharist with our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross, tells them that in the appearances of bread and wine they must discern the Body [and Blood] of Christ, and that they are not to eat and drink unworthily lest they become guilty of our Lord’s Body and Blood.

The Mass developed from two earlier Jewish rituals, from the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb with the attendant unleavened bread and wine, and from the Scripture reading service of the local synagogue.  Both of these rituals were well ordered—incidentally, both were conducted in a liturgical language (Hebrew) which was no longer the language of the people by the time of Christ.  Given these antecedents it would be surprising if the Mass did not develop along ritual lines.

The truth, then, is that Mass has always been ritualistic in nature; that Holy Communion was restricted to baptized Catholics, expected to be practicing their Faith, and that It was always known to be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.


Our Lady of the Rosary
An eye for an eye?

Question:  Matthew 5:38:  “You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other.”  Father, why is the Word of God different in the New Testament? Why was our Lord sent to preach a gospel that differed from his Father's words?

Answer:  God is unchanging, but mankind has undergone important development since the fall of Adam and Eve.  In the Old Testament we see man coming to recognize that there is but one God, and that His wishes are to be obeyed.  This took some time, and during the Exodus we witness the nominally monotheistic Jews occasionally turning their backs on God and worshipping the false gods they encountered along the way.  But ultimately, the Jews come to recognize God as unique, and the knowledge of His Law as a blessing.  The concept of “an eye for an eye” conveys the idea that no one should be victimized by another—that under God’s Law society will punish evil—even the evil committed by the strong against the weak.. Yet, man’s relationship with God had not yet fully developed.

The coming of Christ in the New Testament ushers in the era of grace.  Under the Christian dispensation, man becomes more like God, and is capable of mercy without displaying weakness.  Under grace, the desire for revenge is wholly to be overcome.  Note that the admonition to “turn the other cheek” is not always obligatory.  Self defense and defense of the weak is always permissible against an unjust aggressor.  We see this in Saint Paul, and to a lesser extent in Our Lord Himself when unjustly accused by the Jews before the Roman authorities.[13]


Our Lady of the Rosary
Number of Days in Lent?

Question:  You said that Sundays are not fast days during Lent.  Doesn’t that make Lent less than the biblical forty days?

Answer:  No.  Lent extends from Ash Wednesday until the Easter Vigil ends on Holy Saturday.  That is four days (Wednesday-Saturday) at the beginning, plus six full weeks, for a total of forty-six days.  (6 X 7 = 42 + 4 = 46).  During that period there are six Sundays (four of Lent, two of Passiontide).  Not observing the Sundays makes the biblical forty days.












Ash Wed




1 Lent







2 Lent







3 Lent







4 Lent




























The Forty Fast Days of Lent


Our Lady of the Rosary
From last Month’s “Reruns of the silly season”:


Pontifical Mass for Children Buenos Aires, Argentina AD 2011

Pope Francis on Islam

253. In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved…. Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.

“Suitable training” would have been a very good idea!  Apparently, the Holy Father is unaware that Allah of the Moslems is a “deity” with a changeable mind.  The surahs of the Koran written in Medina (where Mohammad was powerful) trump the surahs written in Mecca (where Mohammad was relatively weak).[14]  Surah 9 represents Allah’s most current thinking (at Medina)—non-Moslems are to be taxed, subjugated, and must acknowledge the superiority of Islam:

[9.29] Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.[15]

Not much room for “dialogue” there!


Pope Francis on Catholic Truth

Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others “by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013). We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death. We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert. To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.[16]

Is there no objective reality?  Is everything as subjective as this?  We are going to dialogue about the relative validity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Truth incarnate? ! ?  Then, perhaps, we can join in a little jihad?



[8]   Cf. Summa Theologica III Q.77 a.7

[9]   Catholic Encyclopedia s.v. “Infallibility”

[14]   Chart of Meccan vs. Medinan surahs:

[16]  Message Of Pope Francis for the 48th World Communications Day “Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter”


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