Yes, Virginia, the world is
December AD 1994
The new rite, a service preparatory to the congregation
receiving the communion was, as far as the Creed, identical with the Mass.
Then, after a sermon, the service resumed, but at the Preface [i.e. no
Offertory]. The Canon of the Mass was omitted, the words of consecration being
said, or rather sung, by the celebrant immediately after the Preface. The
elevation of the consecrated bread and wine was retained, "for the sake
of the weaker brethren." Then was sung the Pater Noster. The
celebrant communicated himself and next the congregation, under both kinds.
The Latin language continued to be used at first, but within a year....
From what survived of the ancient rite, every expression referring to what was
being done as a sacrifice was cut out.
No, Virginia, it is not "Eucharistic Prayer #2,"
but a description of Martin Luther's Christmas 1524 communion service. (Philip
Hughes, A Popular History of the Reformation, 121-122.) They didn't yet have
Communion in the hand or altar girls, but Luther was a gradualist just like his
That the Mass must go because the Mass was blasphemy was
one certain first principle. But since "the world is so much attached to
the Mass that it seems impossible to wrest people from it," Luther wished
that the outward appearance of the service should be as little changed as
possible. In this way the common people would never become aware that there
was any change, said Luther, and all would be accomplished "without
scandal." "There is no need to preach about this to the laity."
Even the communion was to be given under one species only to those who would
otherwise cease to receive the Sacrament. Luther could say, "Thank God
our churches are so arranged that a layman, an Italian say or a Spaniard, who
cannot understand our preaching, seeing our Mass, choir, organs, bells, etc.,
would surely say there was no difference between it and his own."