Jul 15, 2004

How did the abuses get started?

Online Edition – July-August 2004
Vol. X, No. 5

How did the abuses get started?

Selected quotes from the past on specific problems raised in Redemptionis Sacramentum


Redemptionis Sacramentum §25 exhorts bishops to look into the working and membership of diocesan worship commissions, who should "be chosen from among those whose soundness in the Catholic faith and knowledge of theological and cultural matters are evident". A survey of books and articles on the Liturgy reveals that many practices condemned as abuses began as recommendations from influential liturgical experts. (Most experts quoted are members of liturgical organizations and/or are academics who have shaped liturgical practice since the Second Vatican Council.)

[RS 42.] … Nor is the Eucharistic Sacrifice to be considered a "concelebration"… Accordingly, terms such as "celebrating community" or "celebrating assembly" … and similar terms should not be used injudiciously.

  • Acclamations are more than mere "responses"…. They are in fact a mode of co-celebration…. The introduction of lay co-celebration effectively shatters the old ritual pattern, and hence the images that it generated. (p. 58, 59)

Ralph Keifer, (d. 1987) Acting General Secretary of ICEL; editor of the 1973 ICEL Sacramentary; co-founder of the "Charismatic renewal" movement.
The Mass in Time of Doubt (National Association of Pastoral Musicians 1983)

  • It would, however, be preferable to understand the eucharistic action (sacrifice) as the act of the entire assembly…. Given the importance of language for forming our attitudes … the assembly’s attitude toward its own participation in the eucharistic action will remain passive as long as the language of "celebrant" for the presider predominates. (p. 124)

Father John F. Baldovin, SJ, Professor of Liturgy, Weston School of Theology
"The Language of Ministry in Contemporary Roman Catholicism", Finding Voice to Give God Praise (Liturgical Press 1998)

  • … The associate used to say Mass, but now this redefined parochial vicar and member of the parish ministry staff presides at the eucharist at which the assembly is the principal celebrant. (p. 75)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap, Chicago Theological Union, Founder of "We Believe!", "Liturgical Factions and Violent Reactions: Evolution or Revolution?" Traditions and Transitions (LTP 1998)

  • Acclamations are at the heart and center of our worship structure, giving the weight necessary for the primary liturgical moments; they help empower and form the assembly as co-celebrants in the liturgy. (p. 55)

David Haas, composer-musician, The Ministry and Mission of Sung Prayer (St. Anthony Messenger Press 2002)

  • The entire parish assembly, therefore, is celebrant of the eucharist. The presider is simply the leader of the assembly. As leader, his task is to engage the assembly in the eucharistic prayer…. (pp. 74-75)

Father Eugene A. Walsh, SS, (d. 1989) St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore; principal author of "The Place of Music in Eucharistic Celebrations"
Giving Life: Ministry of the Parish Sunday Assembly (Leader’s Guide) (OCP 1993 reprint)

  • I have deferred to suggestions and have employed the word "presider", rather than "celebrant", "president", or priest, to denote the one who presides over the Eucharist and proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer…. It is hoped that this usage will enable us even more to realize that the entire assembly celebrates the Eucharist, that each person present is truly a con-celebrant, and the role of the priest is to preside over a communal act of worship. (p. 2)

Father Dennis C. Smolarski, SJ, Santa Clara University, author GIRM 1969-2002 [Liturgical Press, 2003], Eucharistia: A Study of the Eucharistic Prayer (Paulist Press 1982)


The Matter of the Most Holy Eucharist

[RS 48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition…. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.

  • It seems to me that the controversy this past decade-and-a-half over ensuring that eucharistic breads are unleavened has had the unfortunate effect of diminishing any significant involvement of the community in preparing its own eucharistic bread and wine. (p. 71)

Monsignor Kevin Irwin, Professor of Liturgical and Sacramental Theology, Catholic University of America, "The Critical Task of Liturgical Theology: Prospects and Proposals" in Eucharist: Toward the Third Millennium (Liturgy Training Publications 1997)

  • Furthermore, the Western bias for hosts and grape wine as the only acceptable materials for Eucharist symbolizes not only the dominance of a specific culture but also of a specific ecosystem. (p. 24)

Sister Kathleen Hughes, Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap., Father Gilbert Ostdiek (Chicago Theological Union; ICEL, Sr. Hughes and Fr. Ostdiek are former advisors to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy)
"The Preparatory Rites: A Case Study in Liturgical Ecology" Worship Jan. 1993


[RS 49.] By reason of the sign, it is appropriate that at least some parts of the Eucharistic Bread coming from the fraction should be distributed to at least some of the faithful in Communion indeed small hosts requiring no further fraction ought customarily to be used for the most part.

  • Ritual sacrifices are the ultimate act of scapegoating and foundational for many of the world’s religions. Could it be that our neutralization of bread by transforming it into otherworldly hosts gave us the implicit permission to sacrifice not only the host but also the physical world in order to satisfy our violent tendencies? (p. 23)

Sister Kathleen Hughes, Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap., Father Gilbert Ostdiek,"The Preparatory Rites: A Case Study in Liturgical Ecology" Worship Jan. 1993

  • If we persist in using lily-white little mass-produced hosts pressed flat by professionals, and antique, highly stylized vessels, the assembly will be hard-pressed to see the gifts as their own, as symbols of themselves, of the goodness of creation and the dignity of the human action required to bake bread and make wine. The gifts become so fossilized that their purpose and natural symbolism of God can no longer shine forth. (p. 119)

Richard McCarron, Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, The Eucharistic Prayer at Sunday Mass (LTP 1997)

  • One cannot build an orchestra with kazoos. Nor can one build a celebration of the breaking of the bread with prefabricated and predivided, machine punched little round wafers. It is very difficult for some of us to fully comprehend this unless we have experienced something else, something more real and genuine…. (p. 24)

Father Robert W. Hovda, (d. 1992) Chairman of The Liturgical Conference; columnist for Worship, "Pastoral Guidelines" in It is Your Own Mystery: a Guide to the Communion Rite (The Liturgical Conference 1977)


The Eucharistic Prayer

[RS 52.] The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full.

  • The people’s singing of the doxology ["through Him, with Him, in Him… " ­ ed.] …is a minor abuse, perhaps unavoidable if the priest does not sing the whole prayer or a larger portion leading up to the doxology. The brevity of the doxology should make it sound like an acclamation, and perhaps people should not be troubled too much if they assume it is. (p. 165)

Ralph Keifer, To Give Thanks and Praise: General Instruction of the Roman Missal With Commentary for Musicians and Priests (Pastoral Press 1993, orig. pub. 1980)

  • It is a pity that there is fussing over whether the entire assembly should sing this doxology or only the Amen. The fuss is ridiculous. From both a ritual and celebration point of view, the entire assembly should sing the entire doxology. This is the only way that we can make an effective acclamation. Trying to tack on a triumphant Amen to a limp recitation of the doxology is the poorest kind of ritual activity. (p. 81)

Father Eugene A. Walsh, SS, Giving Life: Ministry of the Parish Sunday Assembly (Leader’s Guide) (OCP 1993 reprint)


[RS 53.] While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer "there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent", except for the people’s acclamations that have been duly approved….

  • [T]he Eucharistic prayers for Children’s assemblies show noticeable progress toward the development of a thanksgiving expressed by the entire assembly…. The transition from the spoken word to song and vice versa, always a delicate task if you want to avoid a break in the action, is resolved if the music continues to accompany the spoken word. (p. 14)

Father Joseph Gélineau, SJ, Member of Coetus X, Consilium for the implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, author "The Psalms ­ Singing Version", The Eucharistic Prayer: Praise of the Whole Assembly (Pastoral Press 1985)

  • On cue, all through the eucharistic prayer, we sang extra hosannas…. We do this at archdiocesan events such as ordinations to show people that such additional acclamations are allowed. (p. 21)

Frank Brownstead, then Coordinator for Music, Office for Worship, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, "Preparing Music for Priestly Ordination" Pastoral Music August-September 1999

  • It is possible to say a very long text prayerfully and attentively. It is well-nigh impossible to listen to one with the same kind of attention. There is a simple solution to the problem…. There is nothing at all to forbid it and everything in the world to recommend it. Intersperse the prayer with acclamations. (p. 164)

Ralph Keifer, To Give Thanks and Praise

  • Even without new music, parishes can exercise creativity in devising ways to help everyone experience the unified nature of the entire prayer. For example, starting with the preface dialogue and continuing through to the final amen, the prayer could be accompanied softly (by a lute, guitar, piano, organ), providing a single musical fabric that links all of the sections of the prayer. (p. 164)

Father Robert D. Duggan, Gaithersberg, Maryland, RCIA, author, lecturer.
Parish Liturgy: A handbook for Renewal A CHURCH book, National Pastoral Life Center (Sheed & Ward 1996)


[RS 57.] It is the right of the community of Christ’s faithful that especially in the Sunday celebration there should customarily be true and suitable sacred music…

  • For those who use the term ritual music to describe worship music, the issue of sacred/secular is muted. Ritual music functions within a specific culture as ritual music. If music from the secular culture can function within the ritual as ritual music then it is no longer secular music but ritual music. Likewise, if music such as chant and music from the sacred treasury can function within the ritual as ritual music, then they are no longer sacred music but ritual music. Functional use determines the appropriateness of the music in worship. (pp. 50-51)

Father Virgil C. Funk, founder of National Association of Pastoral Musicians
"Secular Music in the Liturgy: Are There Any Rules?" Finding Voice to Give God Praise (Liturgical Press 1998)

  • Rather than speak about sacred music, today it is preferable to speak about "ritual or service music" or "music of the Christian liturgy". This is the music that fulfills its ministerial function for which it was arranged. (pp. 26-27)

Father Lucien Deiss, CSSp., Former member of Consilium, writer, composer, former professor of Scripture and Theology in Paris, The Mass (Liturgical Press 1992, published in French 1989)

  • With the ministerial function of music as a first principle, a completely different set of standards for judging the effectiveness of music for worship arose. (p. 158)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap, From Age to Age


[RS 59.] The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease.

  • I used to love to stand next to [Father] Virgil Funk…. Virgil stands at the head of the Communion procession: "The Bread of Life", "The Food of the Angels", "The Medicine for Immortality", "The healing for your soul", "The Body of Christ", "The Bread of Heaven". Every person who comes up receives the same Eucharist, with a slightly different thing. Sometimes, if you need help thinking of tropes for the Agnus Dei, remember Virgil. [Laughter] Go and ask him for a list. Stand next to him at Communion. I assume he still does it. I assume he still does it.

Father Jerome Hall, SJ, Department of Word and Worship, Washington Theological Union; Theological College, National Seminary of the Catholic University of America
"The Impact of Liturgiam Authenticam on Musical Texts", address to the 2003 National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention


[RS 60.] In the celebration of Mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are intimately connected to one another, and form one single act of worship. For this reason it is not licit to separate one of these parts from the other and celebrate them at different times or places. Nor is it licit to carry out the individual parts of Holy Mass at different times of the same day.

  • I won’t ask how many of us have never celebrated a Liturgy of the Word in one place and a Liturgy of the Eucharist in another place, but I bet there are two or three of us in this room who haven’t done that. At Theological College last Holy Saturday the liturgy of the fire was celebrated outside in the garden; the Liturgy of the Word was celebrated on the second floor in a big room that’s used for the rector’s conferences and other big meetings, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist was celebrated upstairs in the chapel. They’ve been doing that since the 1960’s. The 1970 Instruction didn’t affect the way that they celebrated. It’s still been going on.

Father Jerome Hall, SJ, "The Impact of Liturgiam Authenticam on Musical Texts"


[RS 64.] The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself, "should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson".

  • …the Instruction rightly holds up the norm and the Directory allows for exceptions. This I would call pastoral compassion. The rationale is that the hearing of the word of God by the people is more important than the status of the person preaching. (p. 108)

Father Dennis J. Geaney, OSA, and Dolly Sokol
Father Geaney, Catholic Theological Union, writes on women’s ordination, lay ministry; Dolly Sokol, Director of Office of Worship, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, board of directors, Southwest Liturgical Conference, Parish Celebration: A Reflective Guide for Liturgy Planning (Twenty-Third Publications 1983)

  • Here, clearly, a lay ministry of preaching needs to be developed. In every other area of the eucharistic liturgy, co-celebration is the rule rather than the exception…. The homily might well come to life (and touch "ordinary life") if it were co-celebrated – shared by the priest and one or two other ministers. (p. 95)

Ralph Keifer,To Hear and Proclaim: Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass with Commentary for Musicians and Priests, (Pastoral Press 1993)


[RS 88.] … It is the Priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other Priests or Deacons. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law.

  • …the ritual practice of the church in the United Sates for the past 30 years suggests that the service of lay ministers is quite ordinary. At issue, and subject to further negotiation, of course, is the role of the baptized within the corporate body of Christ. (p. 30)

Sister Margaret Mary Kelleher, OSU, School of Theology and Religious Studies, CUA, "Ministers of Communion", part 8 of "Good Liturgy", America April 19-26, 2004


[RS 101.] …Holy Communion under both kinds… is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned…

[RS 102.] The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist… or where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated.

  • There is a certain violence done at each Mass in solemnly recalling the Lord’s command: "all of you take and drink of it" and then not following his command. (p. 42)

Father Joseph Gélineau, SJ, Learning to Celebrate (Pastoral Press 1985)

  • Receiving the cup is not a duplication of bread reception in the communion act, not a holy double whammy, because the cup imagery is wholly different from that of the bread…. Simply put, the "body" of Jesus’ whole self mediated through bread is what we are to become; drinking the cup of the covenant in his blood shows how that is done … drinking from the cup is accepting a way of being in the world, of sacrificial living…. (p. 6)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap, "Communion in the liturgy of the World: Distinguishing between the Fruits of the Mass and the Fruits of Communion"
Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, FDLC Newsletter Feb.-Mar. 2003


Communion under Both Kinds
[RS 106.] However, the pouring of the Blood of Christ after the consecration from one vessel to another is completely to be avoided… 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.

  • While reverence for the eucharistic species is indispensable, it must not turn into a scrupulous obsession, for example, with avoiding dropping of a crumb of the consecrated bread or spilling a drop of the consecrated wine… The focus is on the communion with Christ made possible by this meal we share, it is not on the eucharistic elements themselves. (p. 23)

Richard Gaillardetz, Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo (Ohio), author and lecturer, Broken and Poured Out: A Spirituality for Eucharistic Ministers (Ligouri Publications 2002)

  • How does the very appearance of the sacred altar — the plate of bread that is bread to all the senses, the cup of wine and the flagon full of wine for the whole assembly — center us? (p. 69)

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles
Gather Faithfully Together (Liturgy Training Publications 1997)

  • [We need] a public, poetic, palpable fraction rite in which the fissures in the body of Christ are revealed, the blood letting and blood pouring refract a broken communion nailed to a body broken for a broken world, and we manifest our many-though oneness as music of mercy in the Lamb fills the air… Let the bread be broken, let the wine be poured… (p. 7)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap
"Communion in the liturgy of the World: Distinguishing between the Fruits of the Mass and the Fruits of Communion"
FDLC Newsletter Feb.-Mar. 2003

  • Another consequence of returning the cup to the laity was the introduction of the flagon into the Roman Catholic eucharist. Because the symbolism of a single cup does not allow more than one chalice on the table, the rest of the wine should be held in another vessel, such as the flagon, until it is poured into other cups during the fraction before communion. (p. 172)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap
From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist (LTP 1991)


[RS 134.] …Therefore both public and private devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist even outside Mass should be vigorously promoted, for by means of it the faithful give adoration to Christ, truly and really present, the "High Priest of the good things to come" and Redeemer of the whole world. "It is the responsibility of sacred Pastors, even by the witness of their life, to support the practice of Eucharistic worship and especially exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the eucharistic species."

  • … The resurgent interest in benediction and the new developments around perpetual adoration are clear challenges to developments in sacramental theology that explain the various modes of the real presence of Christ more in symbol-sacramental terms, rather than in metaphysical, substantial and corporeal ones. (pp. 78-79)

Father Edward Foley, OFM Cap
"Liturgical Factions and Violent Reactions"

  • WHEREAS the Church in the United States faces practices that threaten the integrity of eucharistic celebrations, i.e., … perpetual exposition of the eucharist in parish churches; and related devotional eucharistic practices that contradict the celebration of the eucharist as the "origin and goal" of the worship which is shown to the eucharist outside Mass….

Position Statement on the Need for a Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist 1996 FDLC national meeting


[RS 165.] … Nor is it ever appropriate to refer to any member of the lay faithful as "presiding" over the celebration.

  • The practice of reserving presiding to the priestly minister can no longer be retained in many dioceses outside major urban areas, as increasing numbers of career lay ministers preside as part of their pastoral responsibilities…. (p. 142) The lay presider is a person of stature in the community. (p. 143)

Leonard Doohan, Professor emeritus of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Grass Roots Pastors: A Handbook for Career Lay Ministers (Harper & Row 1989)

  • In the United States there are 11% of US parishes that do not have a resident priest … a good number of them have a circuit rider, somebody who serves them on Sundays. But what they also have in many of these instances is a layman or a laywomen or a deacon who regularly leads them in prayer, and who regularly presides, and who is doing so officially. And that is slowly changing the sacramental imagination of the community.

Sister Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ
Eucharist Without Walls: Reimagining the Lord’s Supper, Mary Byles Lecture in Leadership and Values, Maryville University, September 9, 1999

  • Lay presiders bring a new set of questions, some of them raised by Christian feminists looking for new ways of praying…. Lay presiders prompt a new look at the way we structure our prayer, the way we appropriate the traditional symbols, and the way we acknowledge the presence of the Holy One in our midst. (p. 3)

Sister Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ
Lay Presiding: The Art of Leading Prayer (Liturgical Press 1988)


Under the heading of Graviora delicta (grave matters) RS §172 forbids several actions, including "taking away or retaining the consecrated species for sacrilegious ends, or throwing them away".

  • Only after the liturgy is over should the remaining sacramental elements be reserved, consumed, or poured out upon the earth…. (p. 17) any sacramental elements that remain [are] to be consumed or poured on the earth after the liturgy is over. (p. 31)

Father Robert Hovda,"Pastoral Guidelines" in It is Your Own Mystery



The Editors