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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Redundancy and Noble Simplicity?

In my ongoing dialogue with friends, peers, and sometimes adversaries, the conversation has continued.  Here is some of the latest which I would like to share with you and ask for your views and feedback.  This conversation is based upon a priest sharing with us that he used parts of the TLM in the Novus Ordo.  And the fact that he continues to offer both the Sacred Host and Precious Blood at every Mass, regardless the solemnity and offers kneelers for reception of the Sacred Host (which is laudable).

ME:  I find there something problematic about substituting EF propers for OF propers. While the feast may be the same, the liturgical action is not. The TLM should remain with the TLM and the Novus Ordo should remain with the Novus Ordo.

Here is a logistical question, which is not intended to be malicious, but one that I have been pondering....IF the precious blood is also the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, just as the Sacred Host is, should not kneelers be present for reception from the cup, as well? Why must we (the faithful) be forced to receive from the cup standing? It seems to be a major inconsistency.

Response #1:  Receiving the Blessed Sacrament under the species of Wine is not something any Catholic should need or desire.

Why? Because it was introduced to facilitate and justify the Laity standing to receive, since receipt kneeling (unless by intinction) is just too awkward and therefore a risk. The Laity have no need of the Precious Blood as a separate and distinct article.

Response #2:  I agree with both Andy and with [Responder #1]. Holy Communion under either form is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ and kneeling should be done if one chooses to receive under both forms, if offered. 

However, because reception of either form is just as completely Christ as under both forms the reception of both forms separately (as two separate receptions) is redundant, except for the external aspect (sign value?). We should simply go back to receiving the Host only while kneeling and on the tongue (with a paten under the chin) or by intinction while kneeling (and on the tongue only by necessity in this case).

ME:  I am absolutely on board with the continuation of this thought.  Redundancy is the key.  IF the Novus Ordo is to be "nobly simple" as has been preached, and teached, and kicked down our throats for the last 50 years, then why are we making it so much more complex in everything that is done?  A couple of key thoughts;

1.  The priest was the main minister.  Now he presides over a veritable cornucopia of so-called lay ministers.

a.  Lay song leaders
b.  Lay readers
c.  Lay gift bearers
d.  Lay Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
e.  Lay greeters
f.  Altar girls or boys, or both

2.  The Lectionary cycle has become invariably complex, to the point where the average layman is so confused by it that he must rely on a hand missal for the readings, EVEN though it is in his native tongue.

3.  The introduction of multiple options for the various "Rites" of the Mass itself.

a.  Multiple forms of antiphons
b.  Multiple forms of introductory rites
c.  Multiple forms of the Eucharistic Prayers
d.  Hundreds of songs

There is nothing "simple" about the Mass.  There is only complexity on a scale which is very hard to catechize, because there is no consistency in how the Mass will be presented.  From parish to parish; or even priest to priest inside the parish, there are differences which make the "experience" of Mass so different that trying to teach it requires....well, Redundancy.


  1. The OF is complex when compared to the EF? I disagree. The multiplicity of options may be undesirable, but it does not necessarily equate to complexity. You could compare the OF and the EF to a trip from A to B: the OF provides multiple paths for certain legs of the trip, while the EF provides only one and it has a LOT of turns.

    The sometimes-3-year, sometimes-2-year, sometimes-1-year Lectionary is confusing, but only as a whole. Its format does not demand a person have a hand missal in order to hear and understand the readings.

    As for the cornucopia of ministers, the EF has its own: priests, deacons, subdeacons, torchbearers, etc.

    There are some Anglican communities that offer the chalice to kneeling recipients, so standing is not absolutely required.

    I think the notion that "receiving the Blessed Sacrament under the species of Wine is not something any Catholic should ... desire" is ludicrous. First, R1 was referring to LATIN Rite LAY Catholics only, since priests receive (and desire to, I suspect) the Precious Blood with regularity, and Eastern lay Catholics do as well. And this, despite the doctrine of concomitance!

    Did Jesus institute the Sacrament under two forms to be redundant, or for the external aspect only? Is the priest at Mass making two separate receptions? Does the priest at Mass only receive under both species because he HAS to? Do we wish that God would permit us to do away with the wine and water and have, instead, utterly "dry" Masses?

  2. "You could compare the OF and the EF to a trip from A to B: the OF provides multiple paths for certain legs of the trip, while the EF provides only one and it has a LOT of turns."

    I couldn't disagree more....there are very few "turns" in the TLM. The celebration of the TLM is very clear and concise.

    We agree that the Lectionary is confusing, but it is needlessly so. The use of the Lectionary was streamlined and there was continuity, that no longer exists.

    The ministers in the TLM are ORDAINED to do that, they are not laity misunderstanding their priestly role. And the ministers are fewer. At most you'll have 13 servers for a solemn Mass, plus 3 ministers. For most Masses, there are 3 servers and a priest.

    As for Protestant practices, I am not concerned. They are simply drinking wine and spillage while messy is not sacrilegious.

    Priests don't receive the Precious Blood from Sacramental necessity, but rather to complete the sign and provide liturgical clarity. The extension to the faithful is again an over extension/abuse of the priestly role. As far as the actions of the East, they have their Traditions which are distinct and separate. That truly is apples to oranges.

    No Jesus didn't institute the Sacrament to be Redundant, but then again He is God. No, the priest isn't making two separate receptions. Yes, the priest is receiving under both species because he HAS to. No, we don't wish that, but it is not necessary to receive under both species, due to fact that we do, in fact, receive the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Sacred Host. For the faithful it is redundant.

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