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 Post subject: "Shadows in the Celebration of the Eucharist",
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:39 pm 
Sons of Thunder
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“Shadows in the Celebration of the Eucharist”

is the headline in a section of the instrumentum laboris that was just recently published by the Vatican for the preparation of the Eucharistic Synod that will take place in Rome this October. Really, it is more than a "section", it continues throughout the rest of the document.

The section, which begins in sec. 26, begins by stating that:

Regrettably, the lineamenta responces [the lineamenta was the inquiry to bishops worldwide that prepared for the instrumentum laboris] also indicated that the ecclesial community is seriously concerned about and affected by shadows in the celebration of the Eucharist. John Paul II already touched upon the subject in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments treated the matter more extensively in its Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, which is an invitation to consider in an attentive, calm but nonetheless critical fashion, the way the Church celebrates this Sacrament, the source and summit of her life and mission.

It continues to prepare the reader for the “shadows” currently running rampant in liturgies worldwide by stating that

The following text describes various shadows which came to light in analyzing the Lineamenta responces. These observations should not be seen as merely transgressions of the rubrics or violations in liturgical pratice, but rather as indications of deep-rooted attitudes…Some liturgical celebrations suffer from an improper balance, ranging from a passive following of rituals to an excessive creativity which sometimes draws too much attention to the celebrant of the Eucharist. The latter is often characterized by lengthy commentaries which do not allow the Eucharistic mystery to speak for itself through liturgical signs and formulas.

All of these “shadows” are “occurring more often in the Latin Liturgy than the Liturgies of the Eastern Churches”. The should

“spur serious reflection on how to eliminate them and to ensure that the Eucharistic liturgies are places of praise, prayer, communion, listening, silence and adoration, out of deep reverence for the mystery of God, who is revealed in Christ under the elements of bread and wine, and out of the utter joy of feeling oneself a member of a community of the faithful reconciled with God the Father through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is the most sacred and highest form of prayer. It is the Great Prayer.”

The following “shadows” I will simply summarize. The reader can refer to the text for a more in-depth analysis.


Discusses both dress on the part of the faithful and that of the priest, criticizing priests for improper liturgical vestments, and the faithful for “lack of befitting dress for Mass”.


“the use of profane music in Church”

Traditional Liturgical Gestures

“The tacit consent to eliminate certain liturgical gestures thought to be too traditional, such as genuflexion before the Blessed Sacrament”


“An inadequate catechesis for Communion in the hand and its improper distribution”



“A lack of reverence before, during and after the celebration of Holy Mass, not only by the laity but also by the celebrant;


“The scant architextural and artistic quality of sacred buildings and sacred vessels”


“Instances of syncretism in integrating elements from other religions in the inculturation of liturgical forms”


The use of ordinary bread at mass
Bread made with other ingredients


“improvisation during the Eucharistic Prayer”


“the recitation of certain parts of the Eucharistic Prayer by the people at the insistence of the celebrant and the fractio panis at the moment of concecration”


A “certain way of acting indicates that transubstantiation and the Real Presence are understood in a symbolic sense only.”


“some celebrants at the liturgy seem more like showmen, who must draw people’s attention to themselves, instead of servants of Christ, called to conduct the faithful to union with him. Obviously, such a way of acting has negative repercussions on the people who run the risk of being confused in both their faith in and understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament”


Lack of preparation on the part of ministers (bishop, priest, deacon) and laity for the Eucharist


Only Catholics should receive the Eucharist


“Lectors need to improve their skills in their service of transmitting to the faithful the beauty of the content and the form of the Word which God addresses to his people.”


Some places eliminating readings, no, no.


“More emphasis should be given to the importance of the grace of the Sacrament as a good never to be denied to anyone who is properly disposed”


If sign of peace is done, it shouldn’t deflect from the Eucharist.


“the faithful are funning the risk of gradually losing a sense of the difference between Eucharistic celebrations and other kinds of celebrations”.


Addresses the excessive number of Liturgies of the Word that are being celebrated in place of Holy Mass, which “risks reducing Christian worship to a service of the assembly.”


Pastoral assistants are not to take over the supervision of parishes or preside at the Eucharist. This “leaves minimal involvement to the priest to guarantee validity”.


Laity preaching homilies.


Extraordinary ministers distributing the Eucharist while ordinary ministers, above all the priest, remain seated. Also, some extraordinary ministers are taking the Eucharist home first before taking it to the sick.


Some people, with disdain for following the rubrics, are adopting liturgies which come from movements and groups seeking changes in the liturgy.


“In using the vernacular, the rite’s structure needs to be respected. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO EMPHASIZE, IN A VISIBLE FASHION, THE UNITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE WESTERN TRADITION. The faithful show a particular sensitivity to arbitrary changes in the rite. In some cases, too much inventiveness leads to a manipulation of the Mass and the use of extraneous texts in place of the ones specified. Such an attitude often creates conflict between the clergy and the laity and even within the prsbyterate itself.”


“The faithful need to know the standard Gregorian chants, which have been composed to meet the needs of people of all times and places, in virtue of their simplicity, refinement and agility in form and rhythm. As a result THE SONGS AND HYMNS IN USE NEED TO BE RECONSIDERED. To enter into sacred or religious usage, instrumental or vocal music is to have a sense of prayer, dignity, and beauty. This requires an integrity of form, expressing true artistry, corresponding to the various rites and capable of adaptation to the legitimate demands of inculturation. Gregorian Chant fulfills these needs and can therefore serve as a model, according to Pope John Paul II.”


Preference of Gregorian Chant, of the Organ. Critiques youth masses with “profane music”.


“The dignity of what pertains to the celebration of the Eucharist expresses faith in the sacred mysteries and effectively contributes to nourishing the faith of both the sacred ministers and the faithful. This attitude is seen in the proper arrangement of the sacred space, in an appropriate placement of the tabernacle and chair and also in the special care given to particulars, such as cleaning, furniture and fresh flowers. Indeed, the faithful’s formation in the Eucharistic doctrine greatly depends not only on what they hear, but also what they see. NEGLECTING THESE POINTS IS A SIGN OF WEAK FAITH.”


Critiques the improper use of the church for “profane events” such as concerts and theatrical events which are not always religious in nature. “The liturgy of the dedication of a Church recalls that the community offers the Church building entirely to the Lord. Therefore, it cannot be used for any other purpose apart from its consecration.”


Basically discusses the traditional preference of the alter facing East.


People are to kneel during the consecration.


Everything discussed above are "negative" things... "shadows". The text does get into positive recommendations on certain things... but that will be another post...

The shadows continue, as well... I will keep adding them...


J. Nickelsen

Visit my Website: http://nouvelletheologie.blogspot.com/

 Post subject: Re: "Shadows in the Celebration of the Eucharist",
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:59 pm 
Jedi Master
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resourcement wrote:

“An inadequate catechesis for Communion in the hand and its improper distribution”


At a guess, this refers to self-communion by the laity.

Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

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