MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28

The Germs of G.I.R.M.

Part Seventy-two: The Facade of the Massquerade

    "Diversity, diversity, diversity. The clericalization of the laity has resulted in the laicization of the clergy. Priests and deacons and sub-deacons were the only ones in the Mass of tradition who were vested in liturgical vestments. Altar servers were dressed, typically, in cassock and surplice. It is almost as though the Mass has been turned into a costume party or gigantic Masquerade Party"

Paragraphs 319-320 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    319: "Following the example of Christ, the Church has always used bread and wine with water to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

    320: "The bread for celebrating the Eucharist must be solely from wheat, recently baked, and, according to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, it must be unleavened."

Comment and Analysis: The Lord's Supper? Again, GIRM goes back and forth. It does so quite deliberately. Traditional phrases find their way into its text now and then. However, the principal focus of GIRM is to emphasize the Mass as the "memorial of the Lord's Supper," de-emphasizing the Mass as the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary. To be sure, there are references to the "sacrifice of the Cross." However, they are few and far between. As will be discovered in this section, the emphasis on the Mass as a "banquet" or "meal" results in GIRM's bias in favor of Eucharistic bread that actually looks like loaves of bread, something that need not be the case at all.

Paragraph 321 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The nature of the sign demands that the material for the Eucharistic celebration truly have the appearance of food. Accordingly, even though unleavened and baked in the traditional shape, the Eucharistic bread should be made in such a way that in Mass with a congregation the priest is able actually to break it into parts and distribute them to at least some of the faithful. (When, however, the number of communications is large or other pastoral needs require it, small breads are in no way ruled out.) The action of the breaking of the bread, the simple term for the Eucharist in apostolic times, will more clearly bring out the force and meaning of the sign of the unity of all in one bread and of their charity, since the one bread is being distributed among the members of one family."

Comment and Analysis: GIRM reverts back to its radical ideological form in this paragraph. Not once is the traditional phrase "host" used to describe the matter to be consecrated at Mass and distributed to the faithful in Holy Communion after that consecration. GIRM states that the bread may be "unleavened and baked in the traditional shape," but expresses the preference that "the Eucharistic bread should be made in such a way that in Mass with a congregation the priest is able actually to break it into parts and distribute them to at least some of the faithful." Oh, yeah, says who? What is the difference between receiving a validly consecrated small host in Holy Communion and a part of larger Host broken by the priest, something that has not been the tradition of the Roman Rite for a thousand years or so, if not longer? We do not need to partake of one actual "loaf" of bread to understand the meaning of the reception of Holy Communion. Second graders used to be taught the fullness of the meaning of Holy Communion in preparation for receiving Our Lord for the first time in their First Holy Communion. Although the Eucharist is indeed the bond of charity, we receive Our Lord individually on our tongues. We will be judged individually. There do not need to be foreign symbols of unity forced upon Catholics in order for them to understand that they are united to the entire Mystical Body of Christ in Mass and that the reception of Holy Communion is indeed a foretaste of the perfect unity that will belong to all of the elect on the Last Day.

   Finally, there is no recognition at all in this paragraph that actual loaves of bread are prone to lead to profanation and sacrilege by the ease with which they break into fragments. Oh, well, who cares about that when the emphasis is on the community?

Paragraphs 322-324 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:

    322: "The wine for the eucharist must be from the fruit of the vine (see Luke 22:18), natural, and pure, that is not mixed with any foreign substance."

    323: "Care must be taken to ensure that the bread and wine for the eucharist are kept in good condition; that the wine does not sour or the bread spoil or become too hard to be broken easily."

    324: "If the priest notices after the consecration or as he receives communion that water instead of wine was poured into the chalice, he pours the water into another container, then pours wine with water into the chalice and consecrates it. He says only part of the institution narrative related to the consecration of the chalice, without being obliged to consecrate bread again."

Comment and Analysis: These three paragraphs contain mostly true principles. The only thing that needs to be pointed out at this juncture is that Paragraph 323 assumes that the bread is going to be "broken," something that might be necessary only if a priest notices that he is running out of consecrated Hosts during the distribution of Holy Communion. GIRM, however, assumes that Eucharistic bread will look something like loaves, which are then broken for distribution to the faithful. The traditional thin, white communion wafer is easily broken.

   Additionally, Paragraph 324, while stating what is indeed quite true (that a priest consecrates only the chalice if he notices that wine instead of water has been poured into it), uses the novel phrase "institution narrative" to refer to the words of consecration. It is no "narrative" that is being offered by the priest; it is the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary.

   It should also be noted here that a priest who consecrates one species validly but not the other has not celebrated Mass. There is the valid consecration of the one species. However, both species need to be consecrated for there to be a Mass. This can happen if a priest repeats the words of consecration over the chalice that he had pronounced over the host. I have seen this happen on more than one occasion. The thing to do in that instance is to proceed as is indicated in Paragraph 324, that is, to do the consecration properly.

   However, GIRM's predilection is in the direction of the new religion, which requires a new language quite distinct from that of authentic Catholic theology.

Paragraph 325 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "As in the case of the building of churches, the Church welcomes the artistic style of every region for all sacred furnishings and accepts adaptations in keeping with the genius and traditions of each people, provided they fit the purpose for which the sacred furnishings are intended. In this matter as well, the concern is to be for the noble simplicity that is the perfect companion of genuine art."

Comment and Analysis: Back to the full bore revolutionary agenda, thank you. In other words, Catholicity, both large "C" and small "c" in nature, is to be replaced by congregationalism and regionalism and provincialism and tribalism and ethnic pride. Pagan symbols and furnishings are more than welcomed if they reflect the "genius and traditions" of various people. Don't worry yourselves about the need to "fit the purpose for which the sacred furnishings are intended. Ipso facto, the spirit of ecclesiastical and liturgical positivism will accomplish that quite nicely. If something is said to be fit for liturgical use, then it is because it has been asserted as being appropriate. And, once more, GIRM emphasizes the "noble simplicity" that is the goal of the antiquarians, stating quite positivistically that "simple simplicity is the perfect companion of genuine art." Pagan art is not genuine art.

Paragraph 326 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    In the choice of materials for sacred furnishings, others besides the traditional are acceptable that by contemporary standards are considered to be of high quality, are durable, and well suited to sacred uses. The Conference of Bishops is to make the decisions for each region."

Comment and Analysis: Who sets "these contemporary standards? Who else? Revolutionaries violently opposed to all that is associated with our living liturgical tradition, that's who. National episcopal conferences, therefore, have complete license to do as they please in the name of multiculturalism and diversity and the "inculturation" of the Gospel. Don't even bother writing to Rome to complain. The bishops will prevail.

Paragraphs 327-329 read as follows:

    327: "Among the requisites for the celebration of Mass, the sacred vessels hold a place of honor, especially the chalice and plate, in which the bread and wine are offered, consecrated and consumed."

    328: "Sacred vessels are to be made from noble metal. If they are fabricated from metal which produces rust, or from a metal less noble than gold, then generally they shall be gold-plated on the inside."

    329: "In accord with the judgment of the Conference of Bishops, in acts confirmed by the Apostolic See, sacred vessels may be made even from other solid materials which, in the common estimation of the region are regarded as noble e.g., ebony or other hard woods as long as such materials are suited to sacred use. In such cases, preference is always to be given to materials that do not break easily or deteriorate. Materials intended for all vessels which hold the Eucharistic bread such as the plate, ciborium, theca, monstrance or others of this kind should be likewise suitable to sacred use."

Comment and Analysis: In other words, sure, go ahead and use gold or silver or gold-plated metal. However, the national episcopal conferences can authorize almost anything if they claim it is being done to honor some local custom or the "genius" of some local group of tribal pagans. It doesn't hurt the cause of these bishops if they grease the skids for the approval of the Apostolic See by sending over bags full of money to receive the perfunctory approbation noted in Paragraph 329. And even though GIRM says preference is to be given to materials that do not break easily, it doesn't forbid them. Thus, glass vessels are not forbidden. This is even a change from some earlier Novus Ordo documents, such as Inaestimabile Donum. Pope St. Zephyrinus specifically forbade wood chalices for obvious reasons: wood aborbs liquid, which is why salad bowls smell like vinegar and oil over the course of time.

Paragraphs 330-334 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:

    330: "As to chalices and other vessels that serve as receptacles for the blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base may be of any other solid and worthy material."

    331: "One large plate may properly be used for the consecration of the Eucharistic bread; on it is placed the bread for the priest and the deacon as well as for the other ministers and the faithful."

    332: "The artist fashion the sacred vessels in a shape that is in keeping with the culture of each region, provided each type of vessel is suited to the intended liturgical use and is clearly distinguished from those designed for everyday use."

    333: "For the blessing of vessels the rites prescribed in the liturgical books are to be followed."

    334: "The custom of building a sacrarium in the sacristy into which water from the cleansing of sacred vessels and linens is poured should be observed (see n. 280)."

Comment and Analysis: Once again, there are no standards for the sacred vessels used in the new Mass. Everything is fungible. Nothing is fixed. Why should anything be fixed? The "rite" itself is not fixed. Thus, why should anything that makes it up be fixed?

   Well, contained in Paragraph 331 is the novelty that it is to be considered the norm to consecrate all of the hosts to be distributed during Mass on one plate. While priests can place a few hosts on the paten with the large host in the Mass of tradition in the case of a private Mass attended by only a few people, it has not been the tradition of the West that the paten used for the priest's host is also supposed to accommodate all of the hosts to be consecrated and distributed at one particular Mass.

   Finally, there is in Paragraph 332 something approaching a mandate to require that artists design vessels "in keeping with the culture of each region," once again undermining the universality of the Church Militant on earth.

Paragraph 335 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "In the Church, the body of Christ, not all members have the same function. This variety of functions in the celebration of the Eucharist is shown outwardly by the diversity of vestments. These should therefore symbolize the function proper to each ministry. But at the same time the vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the rite. It is fitting that the vestments worn by priests and deacons, as well as those worn by lay ministers, be blessed."

Comment and Analysis: Who wrote this? Hillary Clinton? Diversity, diversity, diversity. The clericalization of the laity has resulted in the laicization of the clergy. Priests and deacons and sub-deacons were the only ones in the Mass of tradition who were vested in liturgical vestments. Altar servers were dressed, typically, in cassock and surplice. It is almost as though the Mass has been turned into a costume party or gigantic Masquerade Party (gee, wasn't that the name of an old television show; I remember one program in which George Reeves was hoisted away out of a gigantic box of Kent cigarettes via wires as his alter ego, Superman). Lay people should not be vested. They should not be in a sanctuary. While members of the schola cantorum wear choir robes or cassock and surplice, they are not confused with the vestments of the priest or deacon.

Paragraph 336 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The vestment common to minister of every rank, ordained and lay, is the alb, tied at the waist with a cincture, unless it is made to fit without a cincture. An amice should be put on first if the alb does not completely cover the street clothing at the neck. A surplice may not be substituted for an alb even when worn over a cassock, either when a chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn, or according to the norms, when only stole without a chasuble or dalmatic must be worn."

Comment and Analysis: Ah, yes, everybody gets to wear an alb, which can have a cincture or not have a cincture. Well, I commented at length in an earlier part of this analysis about the various vestments worn by the priest, noting that the cincture is optional for him. Let's face facts: this is an exercise once more in rank egalitarianism. Despite GIRM's protestations that everyone has different ministries, the wearing of liturgical vestments by the non-ordained leads the average Catholic into thinking that those so vested have functions to perform that the priest cannot do without. This damages the ecclesial sense and the nature of the Mass as a sacrifice offered by an alter Christus.

   An astute observation by a priest who has reviewed this analysis, "I hadn't notice this before: the absolute prohibition of the traditional surplice! You can have the cassock apparently, but not the surplice. Amazing!"

Paragraphs 337-341 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:

    337: "Unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other rites directly connected with Mass."

    338: "The dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment proper to the deacon. Nevertheless, the dalmatic may be omitted for some necessity or on account of a lesser grade or solemnity."

    339: "Acolytes, readers and other lay ministers wear the alb or other vestment that is lawfully approved in each region by the Conference of Bishops."

    340: "The priest wears the stole around his neck and hanging down in front. The deacon wears it over his left shoulder and drawn diagonally across the chest to the right side, where it is fastened."

    341: "The cope is worn by the priest in processions and other services, in keeping with the rubrics proper to each rite."

Comment and Analysis: Again, there has been extensive analysis of the vestments worn by the priest and deacon in the Mass of tradition earlier in this series. The net effect of Paragraph 339, though, is to, as noted earlier, clericalize the laity and to further blur the distinction between the ordained priest and those who exercise novel "ministries" in the sanctuary.

Paragraph 342 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Regarding the design of vestments, Conferences of Bishops may determine and propose to the Apostolic See adaptations that correspond to the needs and usages of their regions."

Comment and Analysis: Forget about tradition and reverence. Originality and innovation are the prevailing standards of the day. Indeed, Adam Cardinal Maida, the Archbishop of Detroit, has said nothing about Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton's wearing of a miter with an inverted pink triangle, symbolic of solidarity with practicing homosexuals and lesbians.Yes, that might be an aberration even in the Novus Ordo. I know that. However, rainbow colored vestments are not an uncommon sight. A liturgy begotten of a radical rejection of the past continues to find new ways to give expression to the worldly and the profane in every aspect of the Mass, including vestments. Although GIRM indicates in Paragraph 344 that "anything out of keeping with the sacred is to be avoided" on vestments, it is an open question as to what is sacred and what is profane. Appeals can be made to diversity and inculturation to consider the profane and expression of sacredness. After all, if we say something is so, then it is so, right?

Paragraph 343 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "In addition to the traditional materials, natural fabrics proper to the region may be used for making vestments; artificial fabrics that are in keeping with the dignity of the liturgical service and the person wearing them may also be used. The Conference of Bishops will be the judge in this matter."

Comment and Analysis: Polyester is in, as long as it is in keeping with the "dignity of the liturgical service and the person wearing them." Once again, though, it is plain to see GIRM's delegation of decision-making to the national episcopal conferences, one of the worst features of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Paragraph 344 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The beauty and nobility of a vestment should derive from its material and design rather than from lavish ornamentation. Representations on vestments should consist only of symbols, images, or pictures portraying the sacred. Anything out of keeping with the sacred is to be avoided."

Comment and Analysis: Ah, but GIRM does not answer what is considered to be sacred. Does respect for a region's customs and traditions sacralize that which is profane of its nature? GIRM provides no answer, other than to assert a most correct principle about the fact that vestments should portray sacred images. However, the anti-triumphalistic mindset is quite apparent in this paragraph's firm admonition against lavish ornamentation. This means to consign to the waste basket those vestments reflective of a preconciliar theology and an "unreformed" liturgy.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives

MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28
The Germs of G.I.R.M.

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