October AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
Pius XI on Christ the King
Reception Under Both Forms?
Moving the Book?
Words from the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and
Pope Pius XI on the Kingship of Christ
17. It would be a grave error ... to say that Christ has no authority
whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all
creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.
Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of
such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for
earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who
possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia. [He takes
no earthly realms away who gives the crown that lasts for aye. (Hymn at
Vespers of the Epiphany)]
18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of
Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only
Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging
to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her
by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that
truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ."
[Encyclical Annum Sacrum, May 25, 1899] Nor is there any difference
in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all
men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ.
In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of
society. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other
name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved." [Acts iv, 12] He
is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every
nation. "For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a
nation but a number of men living in concord?" [Saint Augustine of Hippo,
Bishop, ad Macedonium, c. iii.] If, therefore, the rulers of nations
wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of
their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and
obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our
Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of
respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God
and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life,
with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that
authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction
between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that
human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure
and solid foundation." [Encyclical Ubi Arcano]
Question: I was meditating on
this and would like your opinion. I think both the Traditional Church and
the Novus Ordo are not following one important command of Jesus. Let
me explain: Neither of the churches are following the command of “drink
this cup.” In the traditional church the words of the consecration are
exact, but with the excuse of saying that the whole Body and Blood of Jesus
is in the host, both the Traditional church and the Novus Ordo take
for granted that Jesus did not care if the faithful actually drank the cup
of His Blood in His memory. In my opinion, it is not enough to be very
careful to follow the words of the consecration. To be totally obedient to
the Lord in such an important sacrament, it is necessary in my opinion to
also give the Cup of His Blood along with the Host during Communion. We are
all disobeying Him in this command. What is your opinion? (L.M., Miami)
Answer: At the Last Supper, the
Apostles did more than attend Mass. They were also made priests; given the
power to renew the Sacrifice of the Cross by doing what Jesus did at the
Supper. The commands to "take and eat" and "take and drink" are commands to
priests who are renewing the Sacrifice. Theologians speak of the Sacrifice
being accomplished by the separate consecration of the Host and Chalice,
followed by the reception of both—sometimes called a “mystical sword,” an
outward sign of the separation of our Lord's lifeblood from His body. This
“outward sign” produces the effect which it signifies, as do all of the
sacramental outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace.
For those who attend Mass
but who are not Its principal celebrant, it is adequate to receive Communion
under either form, Host or Chalice, for they are receiving the body and
blood of the living Christ, which cannot be separated and still be living.
This is much like the case of the loan shark in Shakespeare's Merchant of
Venice, who is foiled by the judge's ruling that he must take his pound
of flesh only if he can do so without taking a drop of blood, which of
course he cannot do with a living body.
Even the con-celebrating
priests—apart from the principal celebrant—can receive under one form. They
have truly offered the Sacrifice by participating in the separate
consecration of Host and Chalice, and the principal celebrant will “complete
the Sacrifice” by consuming the contents of the chalice which together they
One still might ask,
“what reason is there for the communicants not to receive both forms?”
There are several answers:
a) If the Blessed
Sacrament is to be reserved for the veneration of the faithful, for the
Communion of the sick, or for benediction, it is far easier and more prudent
to reserve and carry the consecrated Host alone. The danger of spilling the
Precious Blood on a sick call should make any priest shudder. Intincting
the Hosts with a drop of consecrated wine would probably turn them to mush
or mold in a short period of time.
b) Even within the
church, some danger of spilling the Precious Blood remains, together with
the possibility that someone might sneeze or slobber into the chalice. In
modern times we have become aware that germs can be passed on the chalice,
and know that the alcoholic appearances of the Precious Blood are inadequate
to kill those germs.
c) As Catholics we know
that the Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is real, extending to
every fragment and drop of the two forms. Unlike the Protestant, to whom
the symbolism of bread and wine as representing our Lord's Body and Blood is
the only reality of the Holy Eucharist, the Catholic knows he can and should
treat the Blessed Sacrament with all possible reverence, even if the
symbolic value is slightly diminished.
While we know L.M. to be
orthodox in her beliefs, the following definition by the Council of
Constance in 1545 should be mentioned. After explaining why reception under
both forms is unnecessary, the Council went on to write:
Therefore, to say that to observe this custom or law is a sacrilege
or illicit must be considered erroneous, and those pertinaciously
asserting the opposite of the above mentioned must be avoided as
heretics and should be severely punished, either by the local
diocesan officials or by the inquisitors of heretical depravity.
III Q76 a.2 www.newadvent.org/summa/4076.htm#article2
Continued from last month:
The month before last we mentioned the newly appointed Prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller,
and the strange notions he has expressed in print:
Acceptance of so-called
Denial of the perpetual
virginity of the Blessed Mother.
Denial of transubstantiation.
Acceptance of at least some
Protestants as members in full Communion with the Catholic Church.
We have discussed the
Marxist leanings of “liberation theology,” and the perpetual virginity of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is time to examine the Church’s teaching on the
As part of the
magnificent office written for the feast of Corpus Christi around 1264,
Saint Thomas gave us the Sequence Lauda Sion, containing the
following verses, indicative of the Church’s belief:
thus strong the Christian hears:
very Flesh as bread appears,
wine His precious Blood,
feel it not, nor see it,
faith does so decree it,
defects of sense makes good.
beneath the species dual
not things), is hid a jewel
beyond creation's reach!
food His Flesh He hides,
the wine His Blood abides--
Contrast Saint Thomas’
(and the Church’s) understanding with that of the new Prefect for the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
The essential definition of bread and wine has to be conceived in an
anthropological way. The natural essence of these offerings [bread
and wine] as the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands, as
the unity of natural and cultural products consists in clarifying
the nourishment and sustenance of man and the communion of the
people in the sign of a common meal [...]. This natural essence of
bread and wine is transfigured by God in the sense that the essence
of bread and wine is made to consist exclusively in showing and
realizing the salvific communion with God.
In reality, the body and blood of Christ do not mean the material
components of the human person of Jesus during his lifetime or in
his transfigured corporality. Here, body and blood mean the
presence of Christ in the signs of the medium of bread and wine.
It is difficult to
impossible to reconcile this talk of anthropology, culture, “sign of a
common meal,” “showing” and transfiguration of essence with the real
Presence as defined by the Council of Trent against the Protestant
If anyone says that the Body and Blood together with His whole
Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore the whole
Christ, is truly, really and substantially contained in the
Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, but says that Christ is
present in the Sacrament only as in a sign or figure or by His
power, let him be anathema."
It is, perhaps, even more
disturbing to find a similar anti-Tridentine explanation of the Eucharistic
presence of Christ advanced by an earlier Prefect of the same Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith:
But this is not a statement of physics. It has never been asserted
that, so to say, nature in a physical sense is being changed. The
transformation reaches down to a more profound level. Tradition has
it that this is a metaphysical process. Christ lays hold upon what
is, from a purely physical viewpoint, bread and wine, in its inmost
being, so that it is changed from within and Christ truly gives
himself in them.
The transformation happens, which affects the gifts we bring by
taking them up into a higher order and changes them, even if we
cannot measure what happens. When material things are taken into our
body as nourishment, or for that matter whenever any material
becomes part of a living organism, it remains the same, and yet as
part of a new whole it is itself changed. Something similar happens
here. The Lord takes possession of the bread and the wine; he lifts
them up, as it were, out of the setting of their normal existence
into a new order; even if, from a purely physical point of view,
they remain the same , they have become profoundly different.
No change “in a physical
sense”? “From a purely physical point of view, they remain the same”?
Amazing! It would seem that the Holy See is trying desperately to make
Itself irrelevant to the Catholic Faith!
“Tradition has it that
this is a metaphysical process.” Aha! Perhaps this is the root of the
problem. Of course it is a metaphysical process, for metaphysics deals with
the very question of being and existence. In this sense, physics, which
deals with a certain order of being, is a part of metaphysics. But as it
is, so to speak, a “sword with a sharper edge,” metaphysics is capable of
distinguishing between substance and accident. It doesn’t depend on the
microscopic, the molecular, the subatomic, or even the quantum
appearances of bread and wine, but looks to a change of substance
alone. Of course It still looks like, smells, like, tastes like, weighs
like, measures like, and feels like bread and wine, but those are mere
accidents—it is the substance that has been changed. Bread and
wine are not “transformed” as that mindless rendition
of Tantum ergo would have us sing—rather the bread and wine are “transubstantiated,”
their substance becoming the substance of our Lord’s body and blood,
soul and divinity.
Too many modern people
equate metaphysics with magic or the occult—a magic wand with a core of
phoenix feather, dragon heartstring, or unicorn hair, capable of making what
is not into what is, with utter disregard to reality. But magic and the
occult are a poor substitute for the omnipotence of Almighty God, Who makes
the laws of creation, and sets them aside when it is His will. (We will
come back to the question of miracles as actual suspensions of the laws of
nature—and not mere delusions of the observers—at a later time.
As Saint Thomas wrote: “Signis
tantum, et non rebus—signs, not things” are what we perceive with the
senses. It is “living faith” ... that “all defects of sense makes good.”
We know that in Holy Communion we receive the body and blood of Christ
because He—Truth Himself—told us that He would give it to us, that if we did
not receive It we would not have life in us, and then gave It to us at the
God, the Son of God, has so told us. And faith, after all is the “Divine
virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed.”
Faith would far better be served if the Prefects concerned with its doctrine
would refrain from explaining it away.
[To be continued.]
Why is the missal moved from one
side of the altar to the other, and then back again? Who determined which
side is the “Gospel side,” and which is the “Epistle side.”
The places for reading the
Epistle and Gospel are more or less standardized in the Roman Mass since
Pope Saint Pius V. In earlier times there was considerable variation. The
earliest establishment of direction in churches was the placement of the
altar at the eastern end of the church, although some earlier churches
placed it at the western end. In many churches an elevated reading desk or
podium was provided for the lector and subdeacon to read the Old Testament
and non-Gospel passages from the New Testament. As the Gospel is considered
more important, a separate and often more elaborate podium was provided for
the deacon to read or sing the it. The movement of the book at low Mass is
in imitation of the shift from one podium to another.
The placement of the lecterns seems to have
depended upon the orientation of the church, and the location of the
bishop’s throne within the church. There was also a measure of symbolism in
that the early church flourished in southern latitudes where people often
lived in fear of the “barbarians” from the north. North became associated
with evil, and the Gospel was often read while facing in that direction to
give the power of the Gospel the greatest opportunity to combat that evil.
In the Mass of Saint Pius the deacon faces north, while the subdeacon holds
the book for him in place of a lectern. At low Mass the priest reads the
Gospel on a north-east angle so the book can remain on the altar and not
require someone or something at the west end to hold the book.
The book remains at the Gospel side for the
Offertory and Canon of the Mass, both because of the importance of these
prayers and to facilitate making the sign of the cross over the offerings
with the right hand while being able to turn pages with the left. After
Holy Communion, the Canon is over and the book is returned to the Epistle
side. Only if a proper last Gospel is read is the book moved again to the
northern end of the altar.