Friday, September 30, 2011

Jerome: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ"

(Reposted from two years ago...)

I've heard that quote of St. Jerome's many times. But I wanted to know its context. It comes from his introduction to the book of the Prophet Isaiah. It's written in Latin, of course, but it didn't take me long to find a decent English translation of it.
[I obey] the precepts of Christ who says "examine the Scriptures" (John 5:39) and "seek and you will find." (Matt 7:7)  Let me not hear with the Jews: "you are wrong because you do not know scriptures nor the power of God." (Matt. 22:29)  For if, according to the apostle Paul, Christ is "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24) and who does not know Scripture does not know the power or the wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On Communion under both kinds

The diocese of Phoenix has been making news lately, because of the decision of Bishop Olmsted to implement the new edition of the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States (old edition here, new edition not online yet), abbreviated NDRHC.  The diocese has decided, for numerous reasons, to reduce the frequency of Communion under both kinds.  The diocese made the announcement through a news release and a Q&A.  While both of the diocese's documents have some flaws (typos, poorly worded phrases, important words being omitted), they are certainly worth reading in their entirety.

I'd like to take this opportunity to step back to look at some history and the documentation on Communion under both kinds.

Communion under the form of bread alone for the laity (and for any non-celebrating priest) became customary in the 11th century.  At the Council of Constance in 1415 it was decreed that the laity were not to receive from the chalice, under pain of sin!
Certain people, in some parts of the world, have rashly dared to assert that the christian people ought to receive the holy sacrament of the eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine. They communicate the laity everywhere not only under the form of bread but also under that of wine, and they stubbornly assert that they should communicate even after a meal, or else without the need of a fast, contrary to the church's custom which has been laudably and sensibly approved, from the church's head downwards, but which they damnably try to repudiate as sacrilegious.

Therefore this present general council of Constance, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, wishing to provide for the safety of the faithful against this error, after long deliberation by many persons learned in divine and human law, declares, decrees and defines that, although Christ instituted this venerable sacrament after a meal and ministered it to his apostles under the forms of both bread and wine, nevertheless and notwithstanding this, the praiseworthy authority of the sacred canons and the approved custom of the church have and do retain that this sacrament ought not to be celebrated after a meal nor received by the faithful without fasting, except in cases of sickness or some other necessity as permitted by law or by the church.

Moreover, just as this custom was sensibly introduced in order to avoid various dangers and scandals, so with similar or even greater reason was it possible to introduce and sensibly observe the custom that, although this sacrament was received by the faithful under both kinds in the early church, nevertheless later it was received under both kinds only by those confecting it, and by the laity only under the form of bread. For it should be very firmly believed, and in no way doubted, that the whole body and blood of Christ are truly contained under both the form of bread and the form of wine.

Therefore, since this custom was introduced for good reasons by the church and holy fathers, and has been observed for a very long time, it should be held as a law which nobody may repudiate or alter at will without the church's permission. To say that the observance of this custom or law is sacrilegious or illicit must be regarded as erroneous. Those who stubbornly assert the opposite of the aforesaid are to be confined as heretics and severely punished by the local bishops or their officials or the inquisitors of heresy in the kingdoms or provinces in which anything is attempted or presumed against this decree, according to the canonical and legitimate sanctions that have been wisely established in favour of the catholic faith against heretics and their supporters. (Session 13)
This was, in my opinion, a rather severe reaction to a rather reasonable request, that all the faithful should be permitted to receive Communion under both kinds.  Now, perhaps this needn't be done all the time, and the Church firmly believes that Communion under a single kind is not an incomplete Communion, but to forbid the laity from receiving under the form of wine seems unreasonable to me.  (To be fair, the "request" was a demand that the faithful ought (always) to receive under both kinds, which was deemed unreasonable.)

Less than 150 years later, the Council of Trent reconsidered the question of Communion under both kinds in Session 21, but merely affirmed doctrines concerning concomitance and the lack of necessity for one (other than the celebrating priest) to receive Communion specifically under both kinds:
The two articles proposed on another occasion but not yet discussed, namely,
  1. whether the reasons which moved the holy Catholic Church to decree that laymen and priests not celebrating are to communicate under the one species of bread only, are so stringent that under no circumstances is the use of the chalice to be permitted to anyone; and
  2. whether, in case it appears advisable and consonant with Christian charity that the use of the chalice be conceded to a person, nation or kingdom, it is to be conceded under certain conditions, and what are those conditions,
the same holy council reserves for examination and definition to another time, at the earliest opportunity that shall present itself.
The matter of the concession of the chalice was brought up in the next session, with the following result:
Moreover, since the same holy council in the preceding session reserved to another and more convenient time the examination and definition of two articles which had been proposed on another occasion and had then not yet been discussed, namely,
  1. whether the reasons which induced the holy Catholic Church to decide that lay people and also priests when not celebrating are to communicate under the one species of bread, are so to be retained that under no condition is the use of the chalice to be permitted to anyone; and
  2. whether in case, for reasons befitting and consonant with Christian charity, it appears that the use of the chalice is to be conceded to any nation or kingdom, it is to be conceded under certain conditions, and what are those conditions;
it has now, in its desire to provide for the salvation of those on whose behalf the petition is made, decreed that the entire matter be referred to our most holy Lord [the Pope], as in the present decree it does refer it, who in accordance with his singular prudence will do what he shall judge beneficial for the Christian commonwealth and salutary for those who petition for the use of the chalice.
In other words:  the Council of Trent left the decision up to the Pope, who at that time decided not to change the discipline.  Whether individuals were permitted to receive from the chalice by making a petition, I do not know.

Fast forward to the Second Vatican Council.  The first document, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, opened the door to Communion under both kinds:
55. [...] The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact, communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.
By 1970, a list of specific instances when Communion under both kinds would be permitted was devised.  Another document from 1970 permits bishops to allow Communion under both kinds on other occasions, but under the following conditions: "Ordinaries are not to grant blanket permission but, within the limits set by the conference of bishops, are to specify the instances and celebrations for this form of communion. To be excluded are occasions when the number of communicants is great. The permission should be for specific, structured, and homogeneous assemblies."

The GIRM from 1975 gives similar instructions:
242. [...] [C]onferences of bishops have the power to decide to what extent and under what considerations and conditions Ordinaries may allow communion under both kinds in other instances that are of special significance in the spiritual life of any community or group of the faithful. Within such limits, Ordinaries may designate the particular instances, but on condition that they grant permission not indiscriminately but for clearly defined celebrations and that they point out matters for caution. They are also to exclude occasions when there will be a large number of communicants. The groups receiving this permission must also be specific, well-ordered, and homogeneous.
However, the US adaptation of the GIRM included "weekday Masses" in the list of occasions at which the chalice could be conceded, and in 1978, the US Bishops extended this to all holy days of obligation (Sundays included).

That this exceeded the intentions of the Holy See was made clear in 1980 in the document Inaestimabile Donum:
With regard to Communion under both kinds, the norms laid down by the Church must be observed [...] Episcopal conferences and ordinaries also are not to go beyond what is laid down in the present discipline: the granting of permission for Communion under both kinds is not to be indiscriminate, and the celebrations in question are to be specified precisely; the groups that use this faculty are to be clearly defined, well disciplined, and homogeneous.
Permission for Communion under both kinds on weekday and Sunday Masses does not fit that description. It was not until 1984 that Rome officially permitted the diocese of the US to distribute Communion under both kinds under their own conditions, and this is now reflected in the Latin GIRM:
283. Communio sub utraque specie permittitur, praeter casus in libris ritualibus expositos:
  1. sacerdotibus qui sacrum celebrare vel concelebrare non possunt;
  2. diacono et ceteris qui aliquod officium in Missa implent;
  3. sodalibus communitatum in Missa conventuali vel in illa quae «communitatis» dicitur, alumnis seminariorum, omnibus qui exercitiis spiritualibus vacant vel conventum spiritualem aut pastoralem participant.
Episcopus dioecesanus normas circa Communionem sub utraque specie pro sua dioecesi definire potest, etiam in ecclesiis religiosorum et in parvis coetibus servandas. Eidem Episcopo facultas datur Communionem sub utraque specie permittendi, quoties id sacerdoti celebranti opportunum videatur, dummodo fideles bene instructi sint et absit omne periculum profanationis Sacramenti vel ritus difficilior evadat, ob multitudinem participantium aliamve causam.

Quod autem ad modum distribuendi fidelibus sacram Communionem sub utraque specie, et ad facultatis extensionem Conferentiae Episcoporum normas edere possunt, actis a Sede Apostolica recognitis.
In the English translation of the GIRM (with US adaptations), this reads as follows:
283. In addition to those cases given in the ritual books, Communion under both kinds is permitted for:
  1. Priests who are not able to celebrate or concelebrate Mass;
  2. the Deacon and others who perform some duty at the Mass;
  3. members of communities at the Conventual Mass or the “community” Mass, along with seminarians, and all those engaged in a retreat or taking part in a spiritual or pastoral gathering.
The Diocesan Bishop may establish norms for Communion under both kinds for his own diocese, which are also to be observed in churches of religious and at celebrations with small groups. The Diocesan Bishop is also given the faculty to permit Communion under both kinds whenever it may seem appropriate to the Priest to whom a community has been entrusted as its own shepherd, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and that there is no danger of profanation of the Sacrament or of the rite’s becoming difficult because of the large number of participants or for some other cause.

In all that pertains to Communion under both kinds, the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America are to be followed (particularly nos. 27-54).
This brings us, finally, to these US Norms for Holy Communion.  After an introductory section on Holy Communion in general, the norms recapitulate what the GIRM says about specific occasions on which Communion under both kind may be offered, and about the bishop drawing up norms for his diocese and even permitting pastors of individual parishes to allow Communion under both species as they see fit (NDRHC 22-24).

The norms stress the need for proper formation (catechesis) on the Eucharist (25):
  1. the ecclesial nature of the Eucharist as the common possession of the whole Church;
  2. the Eucharist as the memorial of Christ's sacrifice, his death and resurrection, and as the sacred banquet;
  3. the real presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements, whole and entire--in each element of consecrated bread and wine (the doctrine of concomitance);
  4. the kinds of reverence due at all times to the sacrament, whether within the eucharistic Liturgy or outside the celebration; and
  5. the role that ordinary and, if necessary, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are assigned in the eucharistic assembly
The norms then address the matter of the ministers (ordinary and extraordinary) of Holy Communion (26-28).  Also mentioned are reverence (29), proper planning (30-31), preparations (32-35), and then liturgical directives starting with the Preparation of the Gifts through to the purification of the sacred vessels (36-55); the document ends with a concluding paragraph (56).

But back in paragraph 24, after quoting the GIRM, the US norms state this:
In practice, the need to avoid obscuring the role of the priest and the deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion by an excessive use of extraordinary minister[s] might in some circumstances constitute a reason either for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species or for using intinction instead of distributing the Precious Blood from the chalice.
This part of paragraph 24 intersects with the list of reasons given by the diocese of Phoenix for limiting Holy Communion under both forms to certain times and under certain conditions (Q&A #4):
  1. To protect the Sacred Species from profanation (careless treatment, spillage, swilling, etc.);
  2. The practice is not in any way necessary for salvation — it is a fuller sign of Holy Communion, but not a fuller reality of Christ Himself than what is received under the form of bread alone;
  3. The practice is used to emphasize special feast days and other special moments in the lives of the faithful;
  4. The unity of the practice throughout the world is an act of solidarity in the universal Church — rich and poor countries alike; and
  5. In normal circumstances, only priests and deacons are to distribute Holy Communion; when both forms of Communion are used frequently, "extraordinary" ministers of Holy Communion are disproportionately multiplied.
I want to close by pointing out that members of the faithful who are homebound or in hospitals routinely receive Communion under a single species, and that at non-eucharistic liturgies where Communion is distributed (e.g. Good Friday) it is distributed under the form of bread alone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How would you teach third-graders about the Church?

In two weeks' time I will be a catechist for third-graders at my parish, St. Hedwig's in Trenton.  The curriculum for the year (using the Sadlier series) is "We are the Church".  So I get to teach these third-graders about the Catholic Church: the who, the what, the how, the why.

On the first day, I'm going to ask them a few easy questions to get their brains working: what is the Church, who started it, who belongs to it?  But then I'm going to step back and ask them a more basic question: what does the word "church" mean?

How would you talk to the third-graders about the Church?  What language would you use (or avoid)?  What points of history and theology would you make (or pass over)?  And, most importantly, how would you relate it to them so that it's not a bunch of head-knowledge, but helps them grow as individual Catholics in that Church?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Approaching the altar

The faithful [...] understood well that they all partook both in the offering of the Mass and in the receiving of the Eucharist, both in sacrifice-oblation and sacrifice-banquet. The ancient ceremonial brought this out very plainly. The faithful approached the altar at the Offertory and at the Communion, first to give and later to receive. The Mass was both their gift to God through Christ and God's gift to them through Christ.

Fr. Busch, Orate Fratres vol. II, no. 5
quoted in Fr. Martin Hellriegel's The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, p. 41 (1944)

The Gospel at Mass

When, for example, on the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost we hear the Gospel of the "Widow of Naim" we must take it not only historically (as it occurred 1900 years ago) but also liturgically (as it is happening now). Today Mother Church brings her dead (or crippled) children back to the compassionate Jesus who by His life-restoring, life-perfecting mysteries will heal these sons and daughters and given them back to their Mother, the Church, turning her sadness into gladness. Weep not, good Woman, here is your son, your daughter, restored to life!

The Gospel (chanted or read in Holy Mass) is not only instruction, it is also revelation. In human form the divine becomes present. As often as the holy Gospel is announced, Christ the Lord steps into our midst. "Jesus in the midst of His disciples!" If the Gospel were instruction only, the frequent repetition of certain Gospel-portions might be considered unnecessary. But because it is an appearance of Christ, a revelation of the Lord, an "epiphany" of our God-King, it is as refreshing as the daily rising sun, old yet ever new. No matter how often a passage be read (liturgically, not just privately), no matter how well we might know its contents, it is for us another opportunity to say: Gloria tibi! Laus tibi! to Christ our Lord again becoming present in our midst.

Fr. Martin Hellriegel, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, p. 34 (1944)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Different methods of translation

These texts come from various translations of the Roman Missal, courtesy Fr. Z. They are the collect for September 9, the memorial of St. Peter Claver.

Latin (2002 Missale Romanum)
Deus, qui beatum Petrum servorum servum effecisti
eumque mira in eis iuvandis caritate et patientia roborasti,
eius nobis intercessione concede,
ut, qua Iesu Christi sunt, quaerentes,
proximos opere et veritate diligamus.

English (1973 English translation)
God of mercy and love,
you offer all peoples
the dignity of sharing in your life.
By the example and prayers of Saint Peter Claver,
strengthen us to overcome all racial hatreds
and to love each other as brothers and sisters.

English (2011 English translation)
O God, who made Saint Peter Claver a slave of slaves
and strengthened him with wonderful charity and patience
as he came to their help,
grant, through his intercession,
that, seeking the things of Jesus Christ,
we may love our neighbor in deeds and in truth.

Quite a difference in method of translation, eh?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

"And with your spirit" and the new Gloria

Thursday morning at 8:10 AM (Eastern) tune into your local EWTN radio affiliate to hear me speaking with Brian Patrick of the Son Rise Morning Show about the new English translation of the Mass, specifically our response "And with your spirit" and the changes to the Gloria.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce

It's slow-going at The Cross Reference.  It's been over a month since I posted here... but I've got a lot going on, between work, home, book-research, earthquakes, hurricanes, and roast pork tenderloins with plum barbecue sauce.

Yes, delicious pork with delicious plum sauce.  Check out the recipe at my wife's blog, The Pursuit of Vegetables.