November 26-December 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 158

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar

Part Twenty: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Mass of the Faithful part four

From After the Consecration to the Minor Elevation

    With the Consecration of the bread and wine the Transubstantiation has taken place where the bread and wine, remaining such are confected into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificing Himself for us anew in an unbloody manner on the altar through the offering of the priest. With this Mystery of Faith completed, the priest has made to God the Father an act of offering of His Divine Son. We, the faithful at Holy Mass, have a worthy gift to offer to God Himself.

    Here, too, is one of the great consternations in the Mass of Paul VI for it veers from legality of the Mass by taking out of the consecration the words 'mysterium fidei' and placing them after the Consecration, something that Pope Pius XII strongly warned against in his Acta Apostolicae Sedis on July 24, 1958 that, "they should be closely watchful that no one dare to introduce even the slightest change in the matter and form of the Sacraments." Yet, it was changed drastically, specifically with the "Mystery of Faith" which in the Novus Ordo is proclaimed by priest and people equally, thus implying that all share in the priesthood at Mass. This, in the Missale Romanum from Trent, set in stone by Pope Saint Pius V clearly says in Chapter Five of De Defectibus that, "If anyone adds or takes away [from the form of Consecration] even if he does not change the meaning of the form, he does confect [the Sacrament], but he sins grievously."

    Ouch! "He sins grievously." That is a serious deduction. St. Pius V, in paragraph one goes even further, however by declaring: "If anyone removes or changes anything in the Form of Consecration of the Body and Blood, and by this change of words does not signify the same thing as these words do, he does not confect the Sacrament." Many have argued this point, saying it still makes the Mass valid. But without a Sacrament being confected, how valid can it be? Considering the abuses and change of the meaning from 'Sacrifice' to 'Communal Meal', it also calls into question the licitness of the New Mass as many theologians have pointed out. Even the Novus Ordo Canon calls into question the validity of the Mass. Here we do not challenge the validity per se, but the altering of the meaning of the Holy Sacrifice.

    In addition, in the Novus Ordo the people proclaim with the priest "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" or "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory" or "When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory." First of all, all of these refrains ignore one undeniable fact: Jesus is already present on the altar. The people do not have to 'wait' for Him, they do not have to be concerned about when He 'will come again' when He is already there. It begins to erode belief in the True Presence. That is the greatest danger and we have seen, over the past 30 years how this has occurred just as Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and other wise men of the Church warned. There are many other vagaries in the so-called acclamation "Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith", but it shows how so much of the Faith has been watered down, many absolutes made into ambiguities. the essence of the Holy Mass has been so diluted.

    In the True Mass of all ages, the priest immediately offers to God the sacrificed Victim, calling to mind that it is the same Victim Who sacrificed Himself on the Cross, now risen and glorious in Heaven. The Oblation Haec Quotiescumque is said here: Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis. - "As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me." He then prays Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri, tam beatae Passionis, nec non et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in coelos gloriosae Ascensionis: offerimus praeclarae majestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis, hostiam + puram, hostiam + sanctam, hostiam + immaculatam, Panem + sanctum vitae aeternae, et calicem + salutis perpetuae - "Wherefore, O Lord, we, Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, His Resurrection from the grave, and His glorious Ascension into heaven, offer up to Thy most excellent Majesty, of Thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a Victim + which is pure, a Victim + which is holy, a Victim + which is stainless, the holy bread + of life eternal and the Chalice + of eternal salvation." During this prayer the priest again bows low, calling to mind that Christ, sacrificed as the Victim on the altar, is the Lamb in Heaven 'sacrificed' and by which He displays His glorious wounds on the altar. In reverence the priest makes the sign of the Cross five times over the Body and Blood just as he did over the Bread and Wine prior to the Consecration in the Quam Oblationem, representing the five glorious wounds of Christ.

    This prayer is followed by the Supra quae propitio which asks God to look upon this sacrifice as worthy. A sacrifice can only obtain its effects provided it is accepted by the One to Whom it is offered. Just as the sacrifices in the Old Covenant of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech, which all preceded the Ultimate Sacrifice on Golgotha, were totally acceptable to God, so also the unbloody Sacrifice on the altar is most pleasing to the Father. This prayer is: Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris, et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam - "Deign to regard with gracious and kindly attention and hold acceptable, as Thou deigned to accept the offerings of Abel, Thy just servant, and the sacrifice of Abraham our Patriarch, and that which Thy high priest Melchisedech offered to Thee, a holy Sacrifice and a spotless victim."

    The next prayer is the Supplices te rogamus where the priest blesses the Body and Blood again with the Sign of the Cross. This prayer, which makes our offering most acceptable to God, is thus: Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus, jube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinae majestatis tuae: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Cor +pus, et San +guinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione coelesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen - "Most humbly we implore Thee, Almighty God, bid these offerings to be brought by the hands of Thy Holy Angel to Thine altar on high, before the face of Thy Divine Majesty; that as many of us as shall receive the most Sacred + Body and + Blood of Thy Son by partaking thereof from this altar, may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."

    Following this comes the Reading of the Dyptychs of the Dead, just as before the Consecration the Reading of the Dyptychs of the Living. This is noticeably an interruption of the Canon where the priest prays for the soul in Purgatory and offers the Blood of Christ on their behalf. The great Saint Jerome affirmed that those in Purgatory "are relieved when the sacrifice is being offered in their behalf." Here the priest adds the names of those he has been asked to pray for with the prayer Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis - "Remember also, Lord, Your servants and handmaids (name) and (name) who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace." The priest then resumes with the prayer for all: Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen - "To these, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, grant we beseech Thee a place of refreshment, light, and peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

    The priest then strikes his breast and prays for the Church Militant in the Invocation of the Saints, recalling saints who have fought the good fight and earned their place among the Church Triumphant. The priest proclaims aloud: Nobis quoque peccatoribus and then returns to saying silently: famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam, et societatem donare digneris, cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Matthia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Caecilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis: intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum - "To us sinners also, Thy servants, trusting in the greatness of Your mercy, deign to grant some part and fellowship with Thy Holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all Thy Saints. Into their company we implore You to admit us, not weighing our merits, but freely granting us pardon. Through Christ our Lord."

    Now compare these meaningful prayers with the abridged version in the Novus Ordo where, after the acclamation with the people, the priest goes right to prayers for the dead and then prayers petitioning God to make us worthy to be worthy of Heaven. Lost is the entire sacrificial nature of the Mass. The alternate second 'acclimation' is even shorter, streamlined so to speak, leaving out any reference to particular saints save for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    We now arrive at the Minor Elevation, the end of the Canon of the Mass in which the priest makes the sign of the Cross three times for the Triune Divinity during the prayer: Per quem haec omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sancti +ficas, vivi +ficas, bene +dicis, et praestas nobis - "Through Whom, Lord, Thou dost always create, sanctify +, fill with life +, bless +, and bestow upon us all good things." He then blesses five times again the Body and Blood saying: Per ip+sum, et cum ip+so, et in ip+so, est tibi Deo Patri + omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus + Sancti, omnis honor et gloria - "Through Him, + and with Him, + and in Him, + is to Thee, God the Father + Almighty, in the unity of the Holy + Ghost, all honor and glory, world without end. Amen." He then holds up the paten and the chalice in each hand for the Minor Elevation saying: Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen - "world without end. Amen."

    In the Traditional Tridentine Mass, the Minor Elevation is performed solely by the priest on behalf of the people, however in the Novus Ordo this is the time when the congregation gets ready to celebrate themselves with an over-emphasis of the Minor Elevation over the Major Elevation and a greater priority on the Our Father followed by the social elements of the Kiss of Peace where celebration of self seems to take priority over reverence for the True Presence on the altar as we shall see in the next installment.

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November 26-December 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 159
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