Paragraphs 245-246 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "The blood of the Lord may be taken by drinking from the chalice directly, by intinction, through a tube or with a spoon."
246: "If communion is received directly from the chalice, either of two procedures may be followed: (a) The presiding celebrant takes the chalice and says inaudibly: May the blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life. He drinks a little and hands the chalice to the deacon or a concelebrant. The deacon distributes the chalice to the faithful (see nos. 160-162). The concelebrants approach the altar one by one or, if two chalices are used, two by two. They genuflect, drink the blood of Christ, wipe the rime of the chalice and return to their seats; (b) The presiding celebrant stands at the middle of the altar and drinks the blood of Christ in the usual manner. But the concelebrants may receive the blood of the Lord while remaining in their places. They drink from the chalice presented by the deacon or by one of the concelebrants, or else passed from one to the other. Either the one who drinks from the chalice or the one who presents it always wipes it off. After communicating, each one returns to his seat."
Comment and Analysis: Obviously, as there is no concelebration in the Mass of tradition in the Roman Rite (except when newly ordained priests do so at their Mass of Ordination with their ordaining bishop) , there is no sharing of the chalice with other priests. Not even a deacon consumes the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord in the Traditional Latin Mass. Novelties, though, beget novel instructions to deal with their practical realization. One of the very practical reasons the Church has forbidden anyone other than the priest to consume the Most Precious Blood, apart from the theological reasons noted above (the completion of the sacrifice by the priest), is that the possibility of sacrilege increases exponentially as more and more people handle a chalice. This has indeed turned out to be the case in one parish after another. A needless exercise, said to be indicative of the "fullness of the reception of Holy Communion, has resulted in untold instances of grave sacrilege committed against the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer.
Apart from this, these two paragraphs are quite interesting in what they do not say. While they provide copious instructions for the distribution of the Sacred Species to concelebrating priests, there is not one blessed word about even the possibility of the concelebrating priests distributing Holy Communion to the faithful. GIRM instructs them to return to their seats after receiving Our Lord's Most Precious Blood. Very interesting.
A priest who has reviewed this manuscript wrote, "A priest friend of mine said he decided to wait until an accident happened before he ended offering the chalice to the lay faithful. Well, one day it happened. An elderly extraordinary minister of Holy Communion was coming down the altar steps, holding the chalice in the one hand and the purificator in the other, when, Ooops! The Precious Blood of Our Lord went everywhere. That ended offering the chalice and no one said a word."
Paragraph 247 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"At the altar, the deacon reverently consumes any of the Blood of Christ which remains. If necessary, he is assisted by some of the concelebrants, and then takes the chalice to the side table. There he or a formally instituted acolyte cleanses and wipes the chalice and arranges it in the usual way (see n. 183)."
Comment and Analysis: Primacy of place for the consumption of any of the Blood of Our Lord left over after the concelebrating priests have finished self-communicating belongs to the deacon, not a priest. Oh, one or more of the concelebrants may assist the deacon. However, the deacon has primacy of place. It appears as though concelebrants are potted plants after they receive Holy Communion.
Paragraph 248 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"The concelebrants may also receive the blood of the Lord at the altar immediately after receiving the body of the Lord. In this case the presiding celebrant receives communion under both kinds in the usual way, but for the communion from the chalice he follows the rite that in each instances has been decided upon for the concelebrants. After the presiding celebrant's communion, the chalice is placed on another corporal at the side of the altar. The concelebrants come forward to the middle of the altar one by one, genuflect, and receive the body of the Lord; then they go to the side of the altar and rink the blood of the Lord, following the rite decided upon, as has just been said. The communion of the deacon and the cleansing of the chalice take place as already described."
Comment and Analysis: Decisions, decisions, decisions. What happens? Is a vote taken in the sacristy or other vesting place before Mass? Does a liturgy committee decide how the concelebrants are to receive the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord? Is there a conference call at some point prior to an extravaganza Mass? Once again, a novelty for a "simplified liturgy" results in complexities beyond description.
Paragraph 249 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"If the concelebrants receive communion by intinction, the presiding celebrant receives the body and bloody of the Lord in the usual way, making sure that enough of the precious blood remains in the chalice for the communion of the concelebrants. Then the deacon or one of the concelebrants arranges the chalice conveniently in the center of the altar or at the right side on another corporal together with the Eucharistic bread. The concelebrants approach the altar one by one, genuflect, and take a particle, dip part of it into the chalice, and holding a paten under their chin, communicate. Afterward they return to their places as at the beginning of Mass. The deacon receives communion also by intinction and to the concelebrant's words The body and blood of Christ makes the response Amen. At the altar the deacon drinks what remains in the chalice, and if need dictates, assisted by some of the concelebrants, then takes the chalice to the side table. There, he or a formally instituted acolyte cleanses, wipes and arranges it in the customary way."
Comment and Analysis: Communion by intinction is a feature of the Eastern liturgies, where it is the usual method for the distribution and reception of Holy Communion. It is a novelty in the Roman Rite, leading to practical problems and the panoply of possibilities for sacrilege as mentioned earlier.
Paragraphs 250-251 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: 250:
"The presiding celebrant does everything else until the end of Mass in the usual way; the other concelebrants remain at their seats."
251: "Before leaving, they make a profound bow to the altar; as a rule, the presiding celebrant kisses the altar."
Comment and Analysis: Once again, what is omitted is more interesting than what is included in GIRM. Do the concelebrating priests give their blessing with the celebrant? Do they genuflect as they leave the sanctuary if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the sanctuary? Well, as we know, the recessional for a concelebrated Mass can take forever. Waves are exchanged. Hoots and hollers are heard. Handshakes abound. In the lion's share of cases, a concelebrated Mass is a show that needs careful orchestration to keep it from becoming more of a circus than it is of its nature.
Paragraph 252 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows: "In Mass which is celebrated by a priest with only one minister to assist him and to make the responses, the rite of Mass with a congregation is observed. The minister recites the people's parts as appropriate."
Comment and Analysis: Typical conciliar and postconciliar ambiguity. Who is being referred to as a "minister" here? An altar server? An acolyte? A reader? An extraordinary minister of the Eucharist? It appears to be the case that the phrase "minister" is being used very loosely. And it appears as though this part of GIRM is referring to a priest celebrated by a priest and attended by only one person, who happens to assist him at the altar in the sanctuary. (if there is a sanctuary, that is; we know only too well that many newer churches feature a sort of coffee table in the middle of the nave. A priest who has reviewed this manuscript noted that the altar in the Novus Ordo looks "more like a butcher block" than a coffee table.)
Paragraph 253 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:"Nevertheless, if the minister is a deacon, he performs his proper duties (see nos. 171-186) and likewise assumes other parts for the people."
Comment and Analysis: This merely states the obvious. However, what is obvious to a person with common sense is not always so obvious in the Mass of endless options.
Paragraph 254 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"Mass should not be celebrated without a minister or at least some of the faithful except for a just and reasonable cause. In this case, the greetings, instructions and blessing at the end of Mass are omitted."
Comment and Analysis: As noted in an earlier segment of this analysis, GIRM's bias against a priest celebrating Mass by himself is a major theological statement. It contradicts Pope Pius XII, who, writing in Mediator Dei in 1947, noted that a priest should celebrate Mass every day of his priesthood regardless of the presence of a congregation. All of the angels and saints are present at every Mass. The souls of the Church Suffering, who profit so handsomely from every Mass, are present. Glory is denied to the Blessed Trinity and grace is denied to the world when a priest does not celebrate Holy Mass. Actual graces flow out into the world from every Mass. A priest may not discover until eternity the good for souls produced as a result of his fidelity to the celebration of daily Mass, with or without a congregation. Is GIRM saying here that a hermitic priest in a remote part of the world is acting individualistically by celebrating Mass by himself? The reiteration of this bias at this point in GIRM is part of the new theology and the new religion enshrined in the new Mass.
A priest who has reviewed this manuscript said that even the new Code of Canon Law is confused on this point. Canon 904: "The celebration of the Mas is the priest's principal function so he ought to say Mass daily even if no one is present." Yet Canon 906 says he shouldn't say Mass "without the presence of the faithful unless a serious reason" exists. Even the Code of Canon Law contradicts itself, a typical postconciliar phenomenon.
Paragraph 255 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"The chalice is prepared before Mass, either on a side table near the altar, or on the right side of the altar, while the missal may be suitably arranged on the left side."
Comment and Analysis: Nothing of tradition can be left untouched, not even in a Mass where only one "minister" is assisting a priest. The chalice cannot be placed in the center of the altar, can it? No. The Missal cannot be anywhere near its place in the Traditional Latin Mass. Everything must be different, which is one of the characteristics of revolutionaries and revolutions as they flush the past down the memory hole.
Paragraphs 256-259 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "After he reverences the altar with a profound bow, standing before the altar, the priest makes the sign of the cross, saying: In the name of the Father. He turns and greets the minister, using one of the formulas of greeting. For the penitential rite the priest stands at the foot of the altar."
257: "The priest then goes up to the altar and venerates it with a kiss; then turns to the missal at the left side of the altar, and remains there until the end of the general intercessions."
258: "He reads the opening antiphon and says the Kyrie and Gloria, in keeping with the rubrics." 259: "Then, with hands joined, the priest says: Let us pray. After a suitable pause, he says the opening prayer, with hands outstretched. At the end the minister makes the acclamation Amen."
Comment and Analysis: Foot of the altar? My word, heavens to Betsy, an actual phrase from our living liturgical tradition? Is this to mean that the priest is facing the altar and not in the direction where the congregation would be if there were one present? Who knows? However, it is interesting that in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican there are scores of priests who celebrate the new Mass at side altars in the traditional manner, that is, facing the altar and not the people who may have congregated at that side altar for that particular Mass. The ambiguity of GIRM, which exists side by side with painstaking and tedious specificity at various points, is simply indicative of the ambiguity of the new rite and the new religion. One final point on these four paragraphs: do there have to be general intercessions with only "one minister" present? Amazing.
Paragraphs 260-264 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "As often as possible, the readings should be delivered from the ambo or a lectern."
261: "After the opening prayer, the minister or the priest himself reads the first reading and psalm, the second reading, when it is to be said, and the Alleluia verse or other chant."
262: "The priest remains in the same place, bows and says: Almighty God. He then reads the gospel and at the conclusion says: The Gospel of the Lord, to which the minister reponds: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. The priest then venerates the book with a kiss, saying inaudibly: Through the words of the gospel."
263: "The priest then says the profession of faith with the minister if the rubrics call for it."
264: "The general intercessions may be said even in this form of Mass; the priest gives the intentions and the minister makes the response."
Comment and Analysis: Perhaps this part of GIRM could be entitled, "From Ambiguity to Minute Specificity." Heaven forfend if readings are actually done from the altar rather than the ambo or lectern. Once more, after what might be a slight concession to actual tradition in a reference to "the foot of the altar," GIRM reverts back to form, virtually forbidding what had been the case for well over fifteen hundred years: readings done by the priest alone from the altar of sacrifice. Well, at least the priest gets the privilege of doing in this Mass what belongs to the reader (or procession of readers or proclaimers) in other Masses, that is, proclaiming the silly and needless general intercessions (a subject of an earlier part of this analysis).
Paragraph 265 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"In the Eucharistic liturgy, everything is done as at Mass with the People, except the following."
Comment and Analysis: Mass with the People? Every Mass is for the people. It is for the entirety of the Church Militant and Church Suffering, attended by every member of the Church Triumphant. Oh, yes, only the new liturgy is one by, with, and for the "people," a veritable "People's Liturgy."
Paragraph 266 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"After the acclamation, at the end of the embolism which follows the Lord's Prayer, the priest says: Lord Jesus Christ, you said. He then adds: The peace of the Lord be with you always, and the minister answers: And also with you. The priest may give the sign of peace to the minister."
Comment and Analysis: As noted in an earlier segment of this analysis, this is yet another corruption of the Traditional Latin Mass. At the Sign of Peace in the Mass of our fathers, the following is said by the priest: "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum." ("The peace of the Lord be with you always.") The server responds in Low Mass (and the people and the schola in High Mass): "Et cum spiritu tuo." ("And also with your spirit.") Obviously, ICEL has mistranslated the text from the Novus Ordo's Latin editio typica. The whole notion, though, of a maudlin display of sentimentality at a time when those at Mass should be concentrating on a worthy reception of Holy Communion is novel and destructive of reverence in the Mass. A priest bows in the direction of a deacon at High Mass. The deacon does so with the sub-deacon. That's it. No backslapping and glad-handling as occurs as a rule in the Novus Ordo, even at Masses where only one "minister" is present."
Paragraph 267 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"Then, while he says the Lamb of God with the minister, the priest breaks the Eucharistic bread over the paten. After the Lamb of God, he places a particle in the chalice, saying inaudibly: May this mingling."
Comment and Analysis: Once again, the schizophrenia of GIRM. Which is it, Eucharistic bread or the Host? A Mass described in this part of GIRM is equivalent to a Low Mass in the traditional rite where a priest is assisted by one server. It is the case in the traditional rite that only the priest said the Agnus Dei. As is the case with practically everything associated with the new liturgy, almost every single constituent element of the Mass which was celebrated or heard by almost every canonized saint of the West has to be replaced with novelties (and intricate sets of directions for all of the various permutations engendered by them).
Paragraph 268 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"After the commingling, the priest says inaudibly: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God or Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy. Then he genuflects and takes the Eucharistic bread. If the minister is to receive communion, the priest turns to the minister and, holding the Eucharistic bread a little above the chalice, says: This is the Lamb of God, adding once with the minister: Lord, I am not worthy. Facing the altar, the priest then receives the body of Christ. If the minister, however, does not receive Communion, the priest, after making a genuflection, takes the Eucharistic bread and, facing the altar, says once inaudibly: Lord, I am not worthy, and then eats the body of Christ. Then he takes the chalice and says inaudibly: May the blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life, and then he drinks the blood."
Comment and Analysis: Once again, the phrase "Eucharistic bread" is used rather than the word "Host." This paragraph of GIRM, eager to distance itself from tradition and reiterate the arbitrary rules of a synthetic liturgy, mandates that the Domine, non sum dignus is said only once. None of this triple recitation. In essence, GIRM is saying, You will not do anything that smacks of the past at the reception of Holy Communion."
Paragraphs 269-271 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "Before giving communion to the minister, the priest says the communion antiphon."
270: "The priest cleanses the chalice at the side of the altar or at the side table. If the chalice is cleansed at the altar, it may be carried to the side table by a minister, or may be replaced on the altar at the side."
271: "After the cleansing of the chalice, it is recommended that the priest observe some period of silence. Then he says the Prayer after Communion."
272: "The concluding rite is carried out as at Mass with a congregation. The dismissal is omitted. The priest venerates the altar with a kiss in the usual way, makes a profound bow with the minister and then leaves."
Comment and Analysis: What is now called the "communion antiphon" is called in the Mass of tradition the Communion Prayer. It is said after the priest has cleansed the vessels. And in the Mass of tradition, the priest cleansed the vessels at the middle of the altar, not on the side. The new Mass, in its mania for "simplicity," wants the chalice and corporal and paten removed from view. Their presence on the altar is a reminder of the sacrifice that has just been offered in an unbloody manner at the hands of the priest. Finally, what is called the Postcommunion Prayer in the Traditional Latin Mass, some of which are simply beautiful expressions of the Faith (as I explained in "A Mere Matter of Preference?"), has been replaced by the Prayer After Communion, most of which cannot even be compared to the traditional Postcommunions insofar as their theological depth and beauty. And, again, what happens to the genuflection as the priest leaves the altar? Well, that is a subject to explored in the context of Paragraph 274 in the next installment.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives