April 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 116

The Germs of GIRM

Part Eleven: Communitarian collaborationism and Calvinism

    Chapter One of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is entitled, "Importance and Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration." After an introduction to the nature of the Mass as "the action of Christ and the people of God arrayed hierarchically for the Church universal and local as well as for each of the faithful the center of the Christian life," GIRM launches into several paragraphs which wittingly or unwittingly pave the way for the destruction of reverence in the Mass.

Paragraph 17 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that the celebration of the Mass, the Lord's Supper, be so arranged that the sacred ministers and the faithful who take their own proper part in it may more fully receive its good effects. This is the reason why Christ the Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his body and blood and entrusted it to the Church, his beloved Bride, as the memorial of his passion and resurrection."

Comment and Analysis:

    Pope Saint Pius X described Modernism as the admixture of truth and error. There is true mixed in with subtle error in Paragraph 17. Yes, our Lord entrusted the "Sacrifice of His body and blood" to the Church, His beloved Bride. However, the Mass is not merely the memorial of the Lord's Supper. It is the unbloody representation of His one Sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on Calvary.

    While Paragraph 2 of GIRM quotes the Council of Trent's definition that the Mass is the perpetuation of our Lord's Sacrifice on Calvary, almost every other reference to the "Eucharistic liturgy" after that in the new GIRM makes reference to the Lord's Supper, a term which is used by Calvinists to describe their own liturgy.

    Additionally, the repeated references to the "Liturgy" and/or to the "celebration of the Eucharist" (rather than to the celebration of the Mass) is telling. All of this stands in stark contrast to the words used by Pope Pius XII to describe the Mass in Mediator Dei in 1947.

    Paragraph 17 also contains the subtext that runs throughout the new GIRM: that it is up to the priest and others to "arrange" the "Liturgy" in order for the "sacred ministers and the faithful who take their own part in it may more fully receive its good effects." This makes the Mass dependent on the arrangements chosen by the "presider" and liturgists. Among the "arrangements" which may be made are: various adaptations of greetings and penitential rites, the choice of one from among at least nine Eucharistic prayers, the General Intercessions of the Faithful, running commentaries which can be given during Mass, and other measures to encourage the "full and active" participation of the faithful.

    In other words, as will be demonstrated in the analysis of the remainder of Chapter One of the new GIRM, the Novus Ordo has a shell of a structure which admits of so many legitimate adaptations and norms as to do exactly what GIRM is supposed to prevent: to make the celebration of the "Liturgy" an exercise in personal idiosyncracy and communitarian collaborationism.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

Tomorrow: Part Twelve: Participatory plans of planned participation

For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives

April 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 116
CHRIST or chaos
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