Monday, November 26, 2007

LAMP: Liturgical Abuse Mending Package

And Judas said, "Gird yourselves and be valiant. Be ready early in the morning to fight with these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. It is better for us to die in battle than to see the misfortunes of our nation and of the sanctuary." (1 Macc 3:58-59)

When did Judas say that, you ask? Different Judas. This is Judas Maccabeus. And he spoke important words to the Jews of his time, and they still ring true today.

"In order that a remedy may be applied to such abuses, 'there is a pressing need for the biblical and liturgical formation of the people of God, both pastors and faithful', so that the Church’s faith and discipline concerning the sacred Liturgy may be accurately presented and understood." (Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 170) For this reason, I am assembling LAMP, the "Liturgical Abuse Mending Package". It is a group of documents that will assist you in identifying and correcting liturgical abuses at Mass. The documents are listed in order of necessity. MS Word documents are from my blog's Vox Ecclesiae page unless otherwise noted.
  1. Sacramentary - This is the book that contains the Ordinary, Propers, and rubrics for the Mass. It is indispensable! I bought a chapel-sized Sacramentary for $55.
  2. General Instruction of the Roman Missal (HTML) - The Sacramentary has its own copy of the GIRM inside, but it will be an older edition (unless you have the 2002 Sacramentary, in which case you are truly blessed). Get the most up-to-date edition from March of 2002. EWTN has the original Latin version online, since in most countries, the GIRM is not only translated but also amended with the particular customs and practices of the country.
  3. Redemptionis Sacramentum (MS Word) (HTML) - This is the 2004 Instruction from the Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum "On Certain Matters to be Observed or Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist". It is not exhaustive, but it covers a lot of ground. You can find this in on this blog as well.
  4. Ecclesia de mysterio (MS Word) (HTML) - This is an Instruction from 1997, co-authored by six Congregations and two Pontifical Councils, which lays out guidelines for the collaboration of non-ordained faithful with the ministerial priesthood. This document sets forth, among other things, the term "Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion", which is the official and proper name for those laypersons who are entrusted with the duty of assisting the Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, during the distribution of Communion.
  5. Norms for the Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds (MS Word) (HTML) - This is a USCCB document from 2001 (and subsequently updated in regard to the purification of the sacred vessels) which explains the norms and procedures for administering Communion to the faithful under both species of bread and wine. It makes copious references to the Sacramentary and GIRM, so it's really a summary document (but a rather thorough one).
  6. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass (HTML) - This is a USCCB document that briefly summarizes the responsibilities and limitations of EMHCs. It is a condensed version of the NDHC document listed above.
  7. Sacrosanctum Concilium (MS Word) (HTML) - This is the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council. Read it yourself! See what the Council actually wrote on the need for liturgical reform.
  8. Sacerdotium ministeriale (MS Word) - This is a Curial Letter (sent to Bishops) from 1983, authored by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (whose prefect at the time was none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). It is a brief letter about the importance and necessity of the ministerial priesthood. It describes a few erroneous opinions about the priesthood and the Eucharist, and then explains the Church's traditional teaching on the matter, and exhorts the bishops to root out false teaching in their dioceses. Its primary use for LAMP is for the reinforcement of true teaching regarding the priesthood.
  9. Memoriale Domini and En réponse à la demande (MS Word) (HTML 1, 2) - These two documents, from the Congregation for Divine Worship from 1969, outline the granting of permission (by indult) for the reception of Communion in the hand by laity. The first document explains the traditional practice of receiving on the tongue, and reminds that it will remain the universal norm; it then goes on to explain the polling results from the Bishops on the question of receiving in the hand, and finally what Pope Paul VI decided to do about the situation. The second document is the first form of the "norms" for receiving in the hand. Note that n. 4 of En réponse suggests the possibility of "allowing the faithful themselves to take the host from the ciborium or paten", a practice which has since been reprobated and forbidden.
  10. Immensae Caritatis (MS Word) (HTML) - This Instruction from the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments from 1973 permitted for the first time "Special Ministers of the Eucharist" (in Part 1). It explains why they were permitted, for what purpose, and who should be admitted to such service; note that it does not mention "active participation" as a reason. Parts 2 and 3 are of less interest to LAMP. Part 4 is entitled "Devotion and Reverence Toward the Eucharist in the Case of Communion in the Hand"; it is a reminder of the catechesis that must accompany this permission, and that the practice must be done with extreme caution.
So "gird yourselves and be valiant"! Equip yourselves with knowledge of the liturgy and help inform your priests (and bishops). Be charitable but firm. Do not stand idly by as the sanctuary of the Lord is profaned by abuses. Light the way for yourself and others with this LAMP.

As I discover more and more helpful resources, I will add them to this list. I am considering books such as Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite and Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, but I'll only know for sure once I've read them through. Please suggest resources that I've missed!

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