Sunday 16th January 2011: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ordinary Form Mass at Auckland’s Cathedral of St Patrick and St Joseph, 4.30 pm.
The music was quite decent, the congregation filled the cathedral, the use of the new words for the Ordinary of the Mass was pleasing, but some elements of the service!
To begin with, the servers wore green monklike scapulars over their albs; one suspects that these are changed to match the liturgical colour of the day. How ridiculous.
Secondly, the responsorial psalm sung did not appear to be the correct one, nor was it taken from the approved Grail Version, but was in a transparently “neutered” paraphrase, omitting any male pronoun referring to God (how stupid, given that the new words for the Mass employ such pronouns).
I pass over the earnest, chatty, smiling banter of the celebrant. As one Dominican used to say in booming tones, “He means well”.
Betraying a distorted view of the Mass, the altar candles were not lit until the Preparation of the Gifts began.
More serious still, two glass carafes of wine were placed on the altar alongside the chalice, and were consecrated in due course. This is a reprobated abuse, according to Redemptionis sacramentum, n. 106 (quoted below). I will be complaining of this scandal to the priest, the Bishop, the Nuncio and the Congregation for Divine Worship.
As I saw also in Wellington, the priest did not make any act of reverence after consecrating and elevating the Host (at least he genuflected after consecrating and elevating the Chalice). This is either liturgical minimalism gone too far, or an outward manifestation of a distorted view of the consecration. He ought obey the rubrics which specify that he must “genuflect in adoration”. Who is this who refuses to bend the knee in worship of his Saviour?
Most scandalously – the grossest sacrilege – at communion time, a layperson poured out the Most Precious Blood from the carafes into a half-dozen or so chalices. This surely is another reprobated abuse about which I plan to complain.
Both these abuses are condemned in Redemptionis sacramentum, n. 106:
However, the pouring of the Blood of Christ after the consecration from one vessel to another is completely to be avoided, lest anything should happen that would be to the detriment of so great a mystery. Never to be used for containing the Blood of the Lord are flagons, bowls, or other vessels that are not fully in accord with the established norms.Indeed, glass vessels are in and of themselves explicitly reprobated in n. 117 (my underlining):
... Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. ...
Indeed, according to n. 173, these two abuses are in and of themselves grave matters (as I underline below):
Although the gravity of a matter is to be judged in accordance with the common teaching of the Church and the norms established by her, objectively to be considered among grave matters is anything that puts at risk the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist: namely, anything that contravenes what is set out above in nn. 48-52, 56, 76-77, 79, 91-92, 94, 96, 101-102, 104, 106, 109, 111, 115, 117, 126, 131-133, 138, 153 and 168. Moreover, attention should be given to the other prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law, and especially what is laid down by canons 1364, 1369, 1373, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1385, 1386, and 1398.
This document was promulgated in 2004: I think after seven years some obedience ought be given it.
Another strange thing: the Prayer after Communion was read while the priest and congregation remained seated.
What a pity I missed the Mass I intended to attend, where such abuses would have been absent; however, in God’s Providence I am called to act now so as to try and avert further mischief of this sorry sort.
For the record, I do not attribute malice or deliberate dissent to the priest and so forth! No doubt they love Our Lord and would be shocked to think they were acting improperly. This sort of strange carrying-on has flourished because of much misguidedness and lack of proper oversight. Hopefully they will take to heart what the Church requires of her ministers when offering the sacred liturgy, once their attention is drawn to their mistakes.