Nov 15, 2004

News and Views

Online Edition – November 2004
Vol. X No. 8


International Eucharistic Congress: Seven Conclusions | ICEL Update | Liturgists Still Push for Standing, More "EMs" | USCCB to Vote on Additions to Marriage Ritual, New Spanish Texts

International Eucharistic Congress: Seven Conclusions

Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Pope John Paul II’s legate to the International Eucharistic Congress held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October, presented seven conclusions of the Congress.

The proposals for action summarized the ideas that arose from the theological pastoral symposium held earlier, and reflections of the various linguistic groups approved at the end of the Congress on October 16, 2004.

The seven conclusions are:

1. It is urgent to emphasize the importance of Sunday Mass, central part of the congress.

2. The feast and procession of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ) must be emphasized again.

3. Eucharistic adoration in all its forms must be revalued, including nocturnal adoration.

4. Emphasize the importance of frequent and worthy Communion, coupled with the sacrament of reconciliation.

5. Encourage the spirit of mission, which stems from the Eucharist.

6. Share one’s table and Mass with the poor, in the service of charity. Combine spiritual commitment with the need of the poor.

7. Renew faith, sacrifice, communion and service in the Eucharist, as a sign for the Catholic Church and the world.

Source: VIS, Zenit, 10-19-04


ICEL Update

The Episcopal Board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy met in Washington, DC on July 26-28, 2004 to consider the comments received from the member Conferences on the draft translation of the Order of Mass. After an extended discussion of the recommendations of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, the matter was deferred for action until the January 2005 meeting of the mixed commission.

The four officers of ICEL were each re-elected to a second two-year term. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England serves as President, while Bishop Douglas Crosby of St George’s, Newfoundland, Canada is vice-president. Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, Ireland is secretary, and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, USCCB representative to ICEL, continues as treasurer.

Source: BCL Newsletter September 2004


Liturgists Still Push for Standing, More "EMs"

Undeterred by the Holy See’s responses and recent documents on the subject of posture of the people during Communion, liturgists continue to urge bishops to change the long-standing custom of congregational kneeling after receiving Holy Communion.

A case in point is an article in Today’s Liturgy (Oregon Catholic Press, Sept-Nov 2004), "Let us STAND and give thanks: The Importance of a Common Posture during the Reception of Communion". The author, Sherri Vallee, is resident liturgist at a nursing home in Ottawa, Canada, and teaches courses in Liturgy at St. Paul University, Ottawa.

"Contrary to what many of us were taught as children, it is not ideal to come back to one’s pew, kneel down, and immediately offer one’s own prayers of thanks to God after receiving Communion", she writes. "Liturgical prayer gives primacy to the assembly".

The congregation must stand, Miss Vallee thinks, to express greater unity, participation, respect for one another, and "a shift away from the idea that receiving Communion is a private affair". She advises "careful attentiveness to preparing for the change" to overcome parishioners’ "discomfort".

These are standard "pro-standing" arguments, and the author cites as support liturgist Gabe Huck (former head of Chicago’s Liturgy Training Publications) and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony’s "Communion processions", during which the standing congregation sings a Communion chant until all have received and returned to their pews.

The reason why people don’t sing during Communion is likely because they aren’t standing, Miss Vallee thinks: "unless people are invited to sing a Communion chant, they may not fully appreciate their reason for standing. Once the common posture is adopted, the level of participation in singing will increase".

She admits that "people’s patience may wear thin if the procession lasts too long, especially while they are standing", but this has an easy solution: "Therefore before encouraging a common posture of standing, it would be worthwhile to assess the … number of ordinary and extraordinary ministers of Communion". This will help "avoid excessive congestion".

"It is especially important to assure the elderly or disabled that they should feel comfortable sitting", Miss Vallee writes, "they might choose to stand and join the community after they have rested" (original emphasis).

The author footnotes Cardinal Francis Arinze’s response to Cardinal Francis George, that kneeling immediately after Communion must not be forbidden (see AB July-Aug 2003). However, liturgists of Miss Valle’s persuasion are absolutely convinced that there must be a common posture — and that posture can only be standing. And the pressure on bishops to change continues unabated.

Source: Today’s Liturgy, Ordinary Time 2, Sept-Nov 2004, p 26ff


USCCB to Vote on Additions to Marriage Ritual, New Spanish Texts

At their November meeting in Washington, the US bishops will be asked to vote on bilingual Spanish-English translations, and additions to the Marriage ritual that would incorporate customs popular mostly in Mexico, Central America and Puerto Rico, according to a Catholic News Service report October 21.

The Rite of Marriage was revised by the Holy See in 1990, but ICEL’s English translation of the revised Marriage rite was never voted on by the bishops.

At present, there is no approved English version of the new Rite of Marriage.

The CNS report noted that there are marriage rituals used by Hispanics in US liturgical services that have no standardized texts. Spanish-language texts are often borrowed from Latin American countries where these customs are officially incorporated into liturgical services.

"Including these Hispanic traditions in the U.S. Liturgy is an acknowledgment by the bishops of what is already happening in the Hispanic Catholic community", said Father Juan Sosa, president of the National Hispanic Institute for the Liturgy and member of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Liturgy, which helped draft the Spanish texts.

The October newsletter of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, reported that the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee met September 17-20 to discuss new Spanish translations. The meeting was hosted by Bishop James A. Tamayo, of Laredo, a subcommittee member. Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J., of Yakima, is chairman.

Bishop Sevilla reviewed the Bendición al Cumplir los Quince Años, incorporated suggestions made at the September meeting of the Administrative Committee of the USCCB, and added an English language translation under the title: "Order for the Blessing on the Fifteenth Birthday".

The group discussed the Texto Único in response to a request from Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, concerning the Spanish language translation of the Mass from the new Roman Missal.

The Subcommittee also discussed the Spanish text of the Ritual para la Confirmación in preparation for a forthcoming bilingual edition of the Rite of Confirmation, and progress on the finalization of texts of the patronal feasts of Spanish-speaking countries. They also reviewed the completed text of the Bendicional (Book of Blessings) undertaken by the subcommittee.

Selected texts of Liturgiam authenticam were discussed, along with a proposal to produce guidelines for the translation of liturgical texts into Spanish.

Sources: Catholic News Service (10-21-04), BCL Newsletter (Sept-Oct 2004)



The Editors