The next several paragraphs deal with the division of the Roman Canon, now called Eucharistic Prayer I. These divisions are, once more, totally novel, as are the other Eucharistic Prayers. Thus, I will simply list the paragraphs associated with each of the four universal Eucharistic Prayers, offering commentary on a few of the passages that are deemed deserving of a closer examination. (GIRM does not discuss how the other Eucharistic Prayers, such as those for Masses for Reconciliation and Peace and for Children, among others, are to be divided in a concelebrated Mass. I guess there is a limit to what the authors of GIRM can concoct in their meetings.)
Paragraph 219 to 225 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:
219: "In Eucharist Prayer I, or the Roman Canon, the prayer, All merciful Father is said by the presiding celebrant alone, with hands outstretched."
220: "It is appropriate that the intercessions Remember, Lord, your faithful people and We pray in communion with the whole Church, be assigned to one or another of the priest concelebrants, who offers the prayer alone, with hands outstretched."
221: "The prayer Lord, accept this offering is said by the presiding celebrant alone, with hands outstretched."
222: "From Bless and approve our offering to Almighty God, command that your angel inclusive, the principal celebrant makes gestures as follows, while all the concelebrants recite everything together in this manner: (a) They say: Bless and approve our offering with hands outstretched toward the offerings; (b) They say: The day before he suffered and When supper was ended with hands joined; (c) While saying the words of the Lord, each extends his right hand toward the bread and toward the chalice, if this seems appropriate; they look at the Eucharistic bread and the chalice as these are shown and afterward bow low; (d) They say: And so, Lord God, we celebrate the memory of Christ and Look with favor with hands outstretched; (e) from Almighty God, command that your angel to the sacred body and blood of your Son inclusive, they bow with hands joined; then they stand upright and cross themselves at the words let us be filled with every grace and blessing."
223: It is appropriate that the intercessions Remember, Lord your servants who have died and For ourselves, too may be assigned to one or other of the concelebrants; he alone offers these prayers in a loud voice and with hands outstretched."
224: "At the words sinners who trust in your mercy and love all the concelebrants strike their breast."
225: "The prayer Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts is said by the presiding celebrant alone."
Comment and Analysis: Ignoring for the moment that the English translation of GIRM is an concoction of the soon to be defunct International Committee for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which relies upon ICEL's defective and ideological translation of the Latin editio typica into the English, the most interesting part of this unprecedented division of the Roman Canon is found in Paragraph 222. Apart from the fact that the words of consecration have been changed in the English translation of the Roman Canon (they remain the same in Latin), GIRM prefers to refer to the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the "Eucharistic bread" and the "chalice," respectively. This is a recurring theme in GIRM. Note also the option given in Paragraph 222 stating that the concelebrants may extend their right hands "toward the bread and toward the chalice, if this seems appropriate." Excuse me? If each of the priests is an actual concelebrant whose hands do not actually touch the un-consecrated host and the chalice containing the wine before it is consecrated, then how do they symbolize their own participation the consecration if not by a gesture of some sort? Words alone? Such are the questions that arise as a result of a process which was full of contradictions, as so many good scholars have noted.
One final point about the Roman Canon as it is to be "performed" during concelebration: the Novus Ordo eliminated all but four Signs of the Cross in the Sacrifice of the Mass. There used to be thirty-three, one for each year of Our Lord's life. As was pointed out in The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture recently, it was the desire of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the general secretary of the Consilium that planned the synthetic liturgy of Pope Paul VI, to eliminate the Sign of the Cross from the beginning of Mass entirely. Words and gestures matter. The fact that the gestures of the new Mass have been simplified speaks volumes about its theological and ideological bent. This lack of respect for the reverence that should be displayed during the Mass is, therefore, also signified by the fact that the concelebrants may or may not extend their hands at the consecration-and that they are to "bow low," not genuflect as the principal celebrant is supposed to do at the consecration of the host and the wine in the chalice. If they are concelebrants who are participating in the consecration of the host and the wine in the chalice, why don't they genuflect?
Paragraphs 226-236 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:
226: "In Eucharistic Prayer II the Lord, you are holy indeed is said by the presiding celebrant, with hands outstretched."
227: "From Send down your Spirit to We pray that all of us who are inclusive, all the concelebrants together say the prayers in this manner: (a) They say: Send down your Spirit with hands outstretched toward the offers; (b) They say: Before he was given up to death and When supper was ended with hands joined; (c) While saying the words of the Lord, each extends his right hand toward the bread and toward the chalice, if this seems appropriate; they look at the Eucharistic bread and the chalice as these are shown and afterward bow low; (d) They say Remember therefore his death and We pray that all of us who share with hands outstretched.."
228: "It is fitting that the intercessions for the living be assigned to one or other of the concelebrants; he alone says these prayers, with hands outstretched."
229: "In Eucharistic Prayer III, the prayer Lord, you are holy indeed is said by the presiding celebrant, with hands outstretched."
230: "From And so, Lord God, we humbly pray to Look with favor inclusive, all the concelebrants together say the prayer in this manner: (a) They say: And so, Lord God, we humbly pray with hands outstretched toward the offerings; (b) They say: On the night he was handed over to death and When supper was ended with hands joined; (c) While saying the words of the Lord, each extends his right hand toward the bread and toward the chalice, if this seems appropriate; they look at the Eucharistic bread and the chalice as these are shown and afterward bow low; (d) They say Calling to mind, Lord God and Look with favor with hands outstretched."
231: "It is fitting that the intercessions Let him make us an everlasting gift and Lord, may this sacrifice be assigned to one or other of the concelebrants; who offers the prayer alone, with hands outstretched."
232: "In Eucharistic Prayer IV, the words Father most holy, we proclaim are said by the presiding celebrant alone, with hands outstretched." 233: "From Lord God, we pray that to Lord, look upon the sacrifice inclusive, all the concelebrants together say the prayer in this manner: (a) They say: Lord God, we pray that with hands outstretched toward the offerings; (b) They say: When the hour had come and In the same way with hands joined; (c) While saying the words of the Lord, each extends his right hand toward the bread and toward the chalice, if this seems appropriate; they look at the Eucharistic bread and the chalice as these are shown and afterward bow low; (d) They say: And so, Lord God, we celebrate and Lord, look upon the sacrifice with hands outstretched."
234: "It is fitting that the intercessions Lord, remember those may be assigned to one or other of the concelebrants; he alone says them, with hands outstretched."
235: "With respect to other Eucharistic Prayers approved by the Holy See, the usual norms for each one are to be observed." 236: "the concluding doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer is said solely by the principal priest celebrant together with the other concelebrants, but not by the faithful."
Comment and Analysis: Apart from the fact that the "Eucharistic Prayers" concocted by the Consilium and thereafter less fully express the sacrificial nature of the Mass than the Roman Canon (a subject addressed earlier in this analysis), the directions GIRM provides for the participation of concelebrating priests in these synthetic Eucharistic prayers suffer from the same sort of theological problems I raised in my commentary about the Roman Canon above. Especially important to note, however, is the fact that Eucharistic Prayers II through IV do not contain the "words of our Lord" at the moment of consecration. The words of consecration used for over a thousand years in the Roman Rite have been obliterated in these concoctions, raising theological issues beyond my own competency to address. And does anyone really think that GIRM's reiteration that the final doxology in each of the Eucharistic Prayers will be said only by the celebrant and concelebrating priests and not the faithful with them in those places where this egregious abuse has been permitted to fester unchecked?
Paragraph 237-238 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:
237: "Next, with hands joined, the presiding celebrant introduces the Lord's Prayer together with the other concelebrants who also extend their hands. He then says this prayer himself with the other concelebrants and the congregation."
238: "The embolism Deliver us is said by the presiding celebrant alone, with hands outstretched. All the concelebrants together with the congregation make the final acclamation For the kingdom."
Comment and Analysis: As noted in an earlier segment of this analysis, it has been the consistent tradition in the Roman Rite that the priest offers the Pater noster by himself for himself and the entire Church, not only for the congregation assembled at a particular point in time. As the priest is the alter Christus, he is the one who is addressing God the Father in our behalf. We unite ourselves with the priest as he does so. In the new order of things, however, the Protestant spirit of egalitarianism prevails. The Libera nos prayer has been altered radically and placed after the completion of the Pater noster and before the doxology ("For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever"), yet another concession to the Eastern liturgies and to Protestantism, obliterating our wonderful Catholic tradition of the West.
Consider, for example, the traditional text of the Libera nos is: "Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, praetertitis, praesentibus et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi."
("Deliver us, Lord, we beg thee, from evils past, present and future: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and Andrew, and of all the Saints (he signs himself with the paten), grant peace in our days: (he kisses the paten), so that helped by the workings of thy mercy we may be always free from sin and unshaken by any disturbance.")
This is quite a difference from that which appears in the Novus Ordo after the Pater noster and before the doxology adapted from Eastern rites and, more proximately, Protestantism. There are no references to the Blessed Mother or the Apostles Peter and Paul in the new Libera nos, which is indicative of the radicality of a synthetic liturgy concocted arbitrarily by a Mason, in full consultation with at least six Protestants.
Paragraph 239 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"After a deacon, or in his absence, one of the concelebrants, says the invitation Let us offer one another a sign of peace, all exchange the sign of peace with each other. The concelebrants who are nearer the presiding celebrant receive the sign of peace from him ahead of the deacon."
Comment and Analysis: I have commented on the atrocity known as the Sign of Peace, as it is practiced in the new liturgy, ad nauseum. This spectacle is irreverent. It distracts our attention from preparing ourselves for the reverent and recollect reception of Holy Communion. A Mass featuring more than a handful of concelebrants is necessarily delayed interminably so that the concelebrants can "greet" each other in a display of maudlin sentimentality.
Paragraph 240 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"During the Lamb of God, the deacons or some of the concelebrants may help the presiding celebrant break the Eucharistic bread for communion, both for the concelebrants and for the people."
Comment and Analysis: Once again, this particular translation of GIRM refers to the consecrated Host as "the Eucharistic bread." Of course, there are lots of large hosts used in a concelebrated Mass. In other instances, however, actual loves of baked bread are used, resulting in horrible sacrileges. Assuming the validity of the matter of said bread, any particle of valid matter validly consecrated is the entire Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know a man, now a priest, who was thrown out of Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, in 1979 because he went down on his hands and knees after a Mass at the chapel there to consume particles of what he presumed to have been Our Lord's Body and Blood on the floor. He was told by one of the priests that the floor would be vacuumed later that day. He was expelled for what the rector told him was "Eucharistic scrupulosity." All of these problems are the direct result of a novelty, concelebrant, which brings with it sacrilegious abuses that help to desacralize a Mass already profaned by its reconciliation with the spirit of this passing world.
Paragraphs 241-242 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "After the commingling, the presiding celebrant alone inaudibly says: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, or Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy."
242: "After this prayer, the presiding celebrant genuflects and steps back a little. One by one the concelebrants come to the middle of the altar, genuflect, and reverently take the body of Christ from the altar. Then holding the Eucharistic bread in the right hand, with the left hand under it, they return to their places. The concelebrants may, however, remain in their places and take the body of Christ from the paten presented to them by the presiding celebrant, or by one or more of the concelebrants, or even from the paten as it is passed from one to another."
Comment and Analysis: Again, as noted in an earlier segment of this analysis, the pre-Communion prayers recited by a priest have been altered and "simplified." Some have been eliminated entirely in the name of "simplification." It is interesting, though, that this supposedly "simplified" rite, which, we are told, "restores" the "purity" of a mythical Roman rite that never existed, that it contains complex directions and options at every turn. This is especially so in the case of concelebration. Concelebrating priests may receive a consecrated Host from the altar. They can receive It from the principal celebrant himself. Or they can take It from paten that they pass amongst themselves. It sort of reminds you of the old commercial, "My name is Raymond J. Johnson. Now, you can call be Ray or you can call me Raymond or you can call me Ray J. . . ." Enough. Stop. This "simplified" liturgy is not so simple, is it? If you want to find simplicity at the moment the unbloody sacrifice offered a priest is completed by his reception of the Body and the Blood of Our Lord and Savior, look no farther than the Traditional Latin Mass. One priest simply receives Communion before offering It to the people. Quite simple, communicating within itself the hierarchy of the ordained priest over the priesthood of the faithful they have by means of their baptism.
Here are the prayers said by the priest after the Agnus Dei and before his own Communion in the Traditional Latin Mass: "Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiae tuae: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare et coadunare digneris: Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen."
("Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said to Thine Apostles: I leave you with peace, it is my peace I give you: turn not Thy gave upon my sins but upon the faith of Thy Church, and because it is Thy will, grant her that peace and gather her together in unity: who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.")
"Domine Jesus Christi, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntatae Patris, cooperante Spiritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis et universis malis: et fac me tuis semper inhaerere mandatis, et a te numquam separari permittas: Qui cum eodem Deo Patre, et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus in saecula saeculorum. Amen."
("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, in fulfillment of the Father's will, in a common work with the Holy Spirit, hast by thy death brought life to the world, deliver me by this thine infinitely holy Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil. Make me always cleave to they commandments and never let me become separated from thee: who are God, living and reigning with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.")
"Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere praesumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen."
(Unworthy as I am, Lord Jesus Christ, I dare to receive thy Body: do not let that bring down upon me thy judgment and condemnation; through thy loving kindness let it be a safeguard and a healing remedy for my soul and body: who with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God for ever and ever. Amen.")
We have lost a lot in translation, folks.
Paragraph 243 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"Then the presiding celebrant takes the host consecrated at the same Mass, holds it slightly raised above the paten or the chalice, facing the people, says: This is the Lamb of God. With the concelebrants and the people he continues: Lord, I am not worthy."
Comment and Analysis: Gone is the Confiteor prior to the faithful's reception of Holy Communion, abolished in the 1962 Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII and kept out of the Ordo Missae of 1965 and the Novus Ordo of Pope Paul VI in 1969. Gone is the triple Domine, non sum dignus, although the current version is supposed to be translated properly into English once the entire Missal is re-translated. Gone is the distinction, as noted before, between the priest's communion and that of the faithful. Once again, the Protestant spirit of egalitarianism prevails in the new Mass, bewildering the faithful and contributing to the loss of belief in the sacerdotal nature of the Mass and belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in Holy Communion.
Here are the Latin and English versions of the Domine, non sum dignus: "Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea." ("Lord, I am not worthy, that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.")
Again, this is supposed to be translated properly into English sometime before the end of the world. However, gone forever is the triple recitation of the Domine, non sum dignus. After all, only Saint Peter had to affirm his love for Our Lord triply. We're much better than he was, right?
Paragraph 244 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"Then the presiding celebrant, facing the altar, says inaudibly: May the body of Christ bring me to everlasting life and reverently consumes the body of Christ. The concelebrants communicate themselves. After them the deacon receives the body of Christ from the presiding celebrant."
Comment and Analysis: Once again, the prayer said by the priest as he consumes the Host has been changed significantly from the prayer found in the Traditional Latin Mass. Words count. Words matter. The "simplification" of the prayers said by a priest before he consumes the Host and drinks from the chalice containing Our Lord's Most Precious Blood is very important.
Neoconservatives will claim that this paragraph of GIRM contains a major victory for the right ordering of the Mass. It is all too common for a deacon, as well as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, to be given a consecrated Host before the celebrant himself consumes It. The deacon, if present, and the extraordinary ministers all self-communicate at the same time with the priest. Once again, does anyone really think that the bishops who have allowed one liturgical abuse after another to continued uncorrected for nearly thirty-five years are going to pay attention to Paragraph 244? To do so would be to offend the egalitarian sensibilities of those who participate actively in the sanctuary by the exercise of the "ministry appropriate to them."
Here is the traditional formula for the priest's reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord (concelebrating priests do not say anything as they receive the Sacred Species in the new liturgy): "Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen." ("The Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ be my soul's protection for life eternal. Amen.")
"Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen." ("May the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ be my soul's protection for life eternal. Amen.")
In the next installment we will delve into abuses of the Sacred Blood that continue unabated.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives