DAILY CATHOLIC for November 21-23
Vatican II
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vol, 8
no. 36

The Sacred Vessels
     There have many misconceptions that Vatican II changed many things in the Church and "we don't do it that way anymore" has become the refrain in all too many parishes throughout the world. However, surprise! It hasn't changed that much! To prove this, we go to the source: the Vatican Council Postconciliar Documents, expertly compiled by the revered Dominican Austin P. Flannery in two volumes.

      Our third "bone to pick" with dissenters is on the role of Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist and the regulations governing both species and purification of the sacred vessels. So many of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (not "Eucharistic Ministers" - the modern moniker they have been given unofficially, but not officially by the Church) seem to treat the chalices and cups, or whatever containers pass for chalices these days - from glass to coffee-like cups - like nothing more than dirty dishes, merely wiping them out after Holy Communion and leaving them on a table. Are they properly purified after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by the priest or sacristan? That is a good question for no one knows for sure, most of this being done away from the gaze of the congregation. After Holy Communion the celebrant purifies the main chalice, and he should purify all the chalices used to contain Christ's precious blood in the form of wine and the empty ciboriums that held His precious body in the form of bread. Any holy hosts left over are to reverently be put immediately into the tabernacle. If there is not a tabernacle per se, such as an outdoor Mass or a Mass away from the Church, then all hosts are to be consumed with no particles left over. Note we have said "particles" for there crumbs translate to particles. The composition of most unleavened hosts are such that crumbs are seldom. Holy Mother Church in her wisdom, decreed such in following Christ's example of using unleavened bread at the Last Supper. However, many liberal bishops and priests today authorize the use of leavened bread to emphasize the "banquet" aspect of the Mass, claiming Vatican II changed that. Wrong! Also, Vatican II did not advocate altar girls nor did they encourage the congregation to leave their pews immediately after Mass to "communicate with each other as 'other Christs' outside or, worse still in the main body of the church. Rather they advocated staying after and praying as part of the thanksgiving prayer process after Holy Communion.

     Below are the verifications of the documents on purification of the sacred vessels for Holy Communion and the proper ingredients to be used, taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 97 and 98 on the Instruction on Certain Norms concerning the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery (S.C.S.D.W., Inaestimabile Donum 3, April 1980.

    13. Even after Communion the Lord remains present under the species. Accordingly, when Communion has been distributed, the sacred particles remaining are to be consumed or taken by the competent minister to the place where the Eucharist is reserved.

    14. On the other hand, the consecrated wine is to be consumed immediately after Communion and may not be kept. Care must be taken to consecrate only the amount of wine needed for Communion.

    15. The rules laid down for the purification of the chalice and the other sacred vessels that have contained the Eucharistic species must be observed. (24).

      (24: Cf. Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, 238)

    16. Particular respect and care are due to the sacred vessels, both the chalice and paten for the celebration of the Eucharist, and the ciboria for the Communion of the faithful. The form of the vessels must be appropriate for the liturgical use for which they are meant. The material must be noble, durable and in ever case adapted to sacred use. In this sphere judgment belongs to the Episcopal Conference of the individual regions. Use is not to be made of simple baskets or other receptacles meant for ordinary use outside the sacred celebrations, nor are the sacred vessels to be of poor quality or lacking any artistic style. Before being used, chalices and patens must be blessed by the Bishop or by a priest. (25)

      (25: Cf. Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, nos. 288,289, 292, 295; Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Liturgicae Instaurationes, 8; Pontificale Romanum, Ordo Dedicationis Ecclesiae et Altaris, p.125, no. 3).
    17. The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration, with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, (26) or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time.
      (26: Cf. Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, 56 j.)
    18. There are of course various roles that women can perform in the liturgical assembly; these include reading the word of God and proclaiming the intentions of the prayer of the faithful. Women are not however permitted to act as altar servers (27).
      (27: Cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruchtion Liturgicae Instaurationes, 7.)
    19. Particular vigilance and special care are recommended with regard to Masses transmitted by the audiovisual media. Given their very wide diffusion, their celebration must be of exemplary quality. (28)
      (28: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 20; Pontifical Commission for Social Communications, Instruction Communio et Progressio, 23 May 1971: AAS 63 (1971), pp. 593-656, no. 151.)
    In the case of celebrations that are held in private houses, the norms of the Instruction Actio Pastoralis of 15 May 1969 are to be observed. (29)
      (AAS 61 (1969) pp. 806-811.)

    NEXT WEEK: Clarification of the Liturgy of the Word in relationship with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

November 21, 1997 volume 8, no. 36
Vatican II Verifications

Visitors in '97