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Chapter Four Part Six


D. The New Form of Consecration
second part

1. The Epiclesis and the Form of Consecration

    In order to concentrate on the words in question, I am taking no notice of the many gestures of too-poor reverence, the purposeful silence, the ineffable intimacy, the awe-inspiring deliberateness, that the Missale Romanum requires of the tremulous celebrant, all of which are regarded as archaic, anti-social, and in bad taste by the "desacralizers."

    Before all else, it must be understood that the Qui Pridie and the Form of Consecration in the True Mass are, neither singly nor taken together, a mere narration of the event of the Last Supper. The Qui Pridie is the setting and the preparation for pronouncement of the Consecration formula, as well as the prayer wherein the celebrant bears witness to the essential unity of the institution of the Sacrament with the Sacrifice of the Cross. Fr. Joseph Jungmann points out that all liturgies do the same:

    It is in the very nature of the Christian liturgy of the Mass that the account Of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament should not be recited as a merely Historical record, as are other portions of the Gospels. Indeed, the words of The account are spoken over the bread and a chalice, and, in accord With Our Lord's word, are uttered precisely in order to repeat Christ's Action. This repetition, is, in fact, accomplished in all its essentials by Rehearsing the words of the account of the institution.43 (43. The Mass Of the Roman Rite-Its Origins and Development. Rev. Joseph A Jungmann, S.J. Benziger Brothers, Inc. New York, 1955 Vol. 2. p. 201).
    In the Qui Pridie, the Last Supper is mentioned to remind us of the priest's intention of repeating that act by which Christ transubstantiated the bread and wine, so that He might give His Apostles His Body and Blood. When He accomplished this marvelous miracle, the Sacrifice of Calvary was made sacramentally present there in the Upper Room. When the priest at Mass accomplished the same ineffable wonder, the Body and Blood of Christ become present on the altar. If no transubstantiation took place during the Mass, it would be nothing more than a sentimental memorial of the Last Supper, and imply that the Last Supper itself was nothing more than a dramatic and sorrowful going-away banquet which Christ ate with the Twelve.

    The Form of Consecration is not considered to be a prayer of the priest. Rather, it is the evocation of a direct and most glorious act from God Himself. Through his pronunciation of the Consecration Form, the priest's humanity and individuality become identified with the infinite power and redemptive intention of Christ on the Cross. At this point, the priest speaks as if he were Christ Himself, and Christ acts through the priest's will and words both as the Consecrator and the Oblation, the Eternal High-Priest and the Saving Victim, the supreme Mediator and the mutual Gift.

    In the Epiclesis of the True Mass (again, I remind you, this is the prayer which beings, "Qui Pridie"), the obvious emphasis is on the fact that the priest intends to do what Christ did at the Last Supper, namely, consecrate the offerings, change them into the Body and Blood of the Savior. In the "Epiclesis" of the "New Mass" the emphasis has been obviously and unmistakably shifted, even though the words used are generally the same. Here there is nothing left to indicate that the "president" is actually consecrating, or intends to. Traditional-minded Catholics presume he is doing so; perhaps he also presumes he is doing so - although, again, perhaps he does not; you cannot be certain. While everyone is doing all this presuming, what is really happening is that the "president" is merely telling what happened at the Last Supper. Nor is he telling of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord; he is telling of the eating and drinking of bread and wine.

    Let us look closely at the English of the "New Mass": The Latin test of the "Narratio" (in the "New Mass) has three sentences; its faulty translation has six. (Keep in mind that during a vernacular "mass," it makes no difference what the Latin has!) The simple device of dividing the text into shorter sentences not only reduces it to nothing more than a narrative, but also, changes the meaning of the words, as we shall see. The first sentence contains a reference to the suffering of Christ (the Latin words "gratias agens," let me mention in passing, do not mean "he gave…thanks and praise," but, "giving thanks"). Then the second sentence is entirely new: "He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you." Perhaps you do not see the ambiguity. In the True Mass, the priest says, "Take and eat ye all of this, FOR THIS IS MY BODY." The omission of the word, "for" (in Latin, "enim") and the stopping of the sentence with the colon, make the words this and it of the faulty translation refer to their antecedent, bread. This ambiguity does not exist in the Latin of the "Novus Ordo" because "hoc" is both neuter and singular and can refer only to the neuter, singular noun, "Corpus" ("Body").

    The identical distortion is committed in the fourth sentence with reference to the wine. This sentence reads: "Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant." Here again the Latin word "enim" ("for") is not translated; a colon is put in its place. The result is that the clauses of the sentence are separated completely. The words this and it refer to the wine, not to the "cup of my blood."

    Now consider how the "Narratio" in the "Novus Ordo" is printed. (We are referring to the Latin test.) The words "ACIPITE ET MANDUCATE EX HOC OMNES" ("Take this, all of you, and eat it") are given the same bold capitalization as the words of consecration, "HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM," ("this is my body…"). It is the same with the words "ACCIPITE ET BIBITE EX EO OMNES:" ("Take this, all of you, and drink from it:"), as also with the words which in liturgical terms are called the Anamnesis: "HOC FACITE IN MEAM COMMEMORATIONEM." ("Do this is memory of me."). The reason for the bold and enlarged capitals is the Missale Romanum of St. Pius V is the need to separate them from the Epiclesis and the Anamnesis, and to indicate that they are the Form of Consecration. This very purpose is undeniably negated in the "Novus Ordo;" instead, and this is most important, the capitalization of the words which speak of taking and eating, taking and drinking have the double effect of fusing the words of consecration into the "Narratio," or Narration, and, at the same time, of heightening the importance of the idea of eating and drinking of-not, mind you-the Body and Blood of Christ, but of the bread and wine, which the demonstratives and pronouns logically and grammatically refer to. As we shall see when we discuss the apparently innocuous change of the words of the Anamnesis, "Haec Quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis" ("As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me") to "HOC FACITE IN MEAM COMMEMORATIONEM" ("Do this in memory of me"), the effect is the very same. And that effect is the complete eradication of the Form of Consecration.

    This typography is truly radical. Nor can it be the result of the printer's caprice or oversight; it corresponds exactly with the "wishes" of Pope Paul VI himself as he expressed them in his "decree" Missale Romanum. Allow me to quote them in their context:

    However, for pastoral reasons, and in order to facilitate con- celebration, we have ordered that the words of the Lord ought to be identical in each formulary of the Canon. Thus, in each Eucharistic Prayer, we wish that the words be pronounced thus: over the bread: Accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes: Hoc est enim Corpus meum, quod pro vobis treadetur; over the chalice: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: Hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hoc facite in meam commemorationem. (The Pope's italics). (Appendix II, par. 6).
    The reader will observe that the Pope is careful not to refer to the words quoted above as the "Form of Consecration," instead, they are described as "the words of the Lord," which must mean the words of the Lord as they are quoted in the "Narratio", the account of the Lord's Supper. Neither here nor anywhere else in his Apostolic Constitution does the Pontiff refer to the mystery of Transubstantiation. From beginning to end, his main emphasis is on the "readings" of the new "missal," with which the people will "nourish themselves day by day.

    Pope Paul says: "We have ordered that the words of the Lord ought to be, etc." How is that the Pope may order what the "words of the Lord ought to be?"

    Few seem to have noticed the two main reasons the Pope gives for so radical an alteration in the very center of the "mass," but they are there, big as life, "for pastoral reasons, and in order to facilitate concelebration." How many people know to this day what these "pastoral reasons" are, and how the complete emasculation of the Form of Consecration serves to "facilitate concelebration?" Perhaps it will help if they recall that the word "pastoral" in the code language of the Revolution means, "for the people," that is, "for the sake of the 'Renewal" or the Revolution itself." Again, the abandonment of the Form of Consecration and its reduction to a mere narrative can only be understood by realizing that, in many "concelebrated 'masses'" many of the "concelebrants," both "Catholic" and Protestant, certainly do not believe in the power of Transubstantiation. Thanks to this "slight" adjustment, they may use any of the four "Eucharistic Prayers" without the risk of such a marvel occurring.

Next Issue: Chapter Four - part seven The New Forms of Consecration - third part: 2. Mysterium Fidei

For installments to date, see Archives of The Great Sacrilege

See INTRODUCTION for an explanation of this work.

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by Fr. James F. Wathen, O.S.J.
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