DAILY CATHOLIC for November 6
Vatican II
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vol, 8
no. 25

The Eucharist
   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 first "bone to pick" with dissenters is on the Holy Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many are being persecuted and ostracised in their very own parishes because they show reverence for Jesus' true presence in the Host - Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity - by kneeling to receive Him or genuflecting before receiving Him. Detractors claim it is a distraction. As if racing up and thrusting out our hands to receive Our Lord as if he were a hand-out or a cookie is not a distraction?!? Detractors cry that the these "overly pious ones" are living in the past and are plotting to overthrow all that was accomplished at Vatican II. Again, they're in for a big surprise because Vatican II did not overthrow any of these things, but rather reinforced the reverence all should show. Below are the verifications of the documents on reception of the Holy Eucharist that state this, taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 96.

        The Church has always required from the faithful respect and reverence for the Eucharist at the moment of receiving it.

        With regard to the manner of going to Communion, the faithful can receive it either kneeling or standing, in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference. "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration. When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, coming up in procession, they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place, so that the order of people going to and from Communion is not disrupted." (21)

      (21) from the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium, 34, Cf. Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, 244 c, 246 b, 247 b;

       The Amen said by the faithful when receiving Communion is an act of personal faith in the presence of Christ.

   There are horror stories of parishes using all kinds of recipes that make up the host, from ginger to cinnamon, to other spices and flours...or priests and even bishops consecrating "loaves of leavened bread" at special masses or conferences, where crumbs of the Sacred species were left scattered everywhere. The Council was very specific in maintaining the ingredients and matter in the hosts as pointed out here:

        Matter of the Eucharist. Faithful to Christís example, the Church has constantly used bread and wine mixed with water to celebrate the Lordís Supper. The bread for the celebration of the Eucharist, in accordance with the tradition of the whole Church, must be made solely of wheat, and, in accordance with the tradition proper to the Latin Church, it must be unleavened. By reason of the sign, the matter of the Eucharist celebration "should appear as actual food". This is to be understood as linked to the consistency of the bread, and not to its form, which remains the traditional one. No other ingredients are to be added to the wheaten flour and water. The preparation of the bread requires attentive care, to ensure that the product does not detract from the dignity due to the Eucharistic bread, can be broken in a dignified way, does not give rise to excessive fragments, and does not offend the sensibilities of the faithful when they eat it. The wine for the Eucharistic celebration must be of "the fruit of the vine" (Lk 22:18) and be natural and genuine, that is to say not mixed with other substances. (19)
      (21)Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Liturgicae Instaurationes, 5; Notitiae 6, 37

    NEXT WEEK: The verifications on Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.

November 6, 1997 volume 8, no. 25
Vatican II Verifications

Visitors in '97