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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roman Missile

As the above photo shows, publishing houses are vying for our business with the new edition of the Roman Missal that will replace the soon-to-be-suppressed Sacramentary starting this Advent. Maryknollers are invited to check out the nine samples on display in the Spellman Room and select which version they like best. Editions vary from the very elaborate and ornate tomes going for $500+ to the humbler, no frills versions for $89. And several in between. The liturgy committee will then buy several copies for the many chapels in our Center. Individual Maryknollers may also order a personal copy for retreats and private home Masses (assuming these will still be allowed).

You laugh? Have you checked out what the diocese of Phoenix is implementing in the not-yet-determined future? They are curtailing the number of times Communion under both species may be offered to the laity. You may read their official document here: as well as read their reasoning, among which is that too frequent Communion under both species risks the Sacrament becoming "commonplace." Google it for yourself, and read the blogosphere which is all abuzz with not-so-positive reactions.

You may read one such blog here:

One blogger speculated that by drastically decreasing the number of times the laity receive the Precious Blood, they effectively eliminate the need for so many Extraordinary Ministers cluttering up the aisles. First came the return of kneeling during the consecration; can altar rails be far behind?

To be fair, I don't know of many parishes that offered Communion under both kinds on a regular, let alone weekly basis. And special occasions (weddings, funerals, retreats) are exempt, as are religious houses.

Coincidentally (?), Eucharistic Adoration is enjoying a come-back. This succeeds in putting the pesky laity back in their place in the bleachers, as the Eucharist once again becomes a passive spectator sport. Surely somewhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls, (now available online!) Jesus must have actually said, "Take and stare at this; this is my Body. And don't even think of drinking my Blood except on rare occasions outlined in your diocesan directory." Of course, Jesus said all this in Aramaic and God only knows what Jesus really meant.

On a sadly tangential note: last week at a meeting of Directors of Religious Education in the diocese of Brooklyn, auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano mentioned how one of the oldest extant chalices in the Vatican museum is made of glass and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The bishop was visibly moved by the theology that maintained the vessel was secondary to its precious contents. As Mary let the divine presence shine through her flesh into that of her Son, so too did this transparent chalice focus attention on its most holy contents. Then he added, almost wistfully, "Of course, nowadays this wouldn't be allowed."

I suggested to Fr. Leo Shea, Coordinator for All Centenary Committees, that among the artifacts we are considering putting into the Centenary Time Capsule, we might include the Sacramentary which passes into oblivion this November. Wouldn't that be divine justice if, in 50+ years, the people open the capsule and see how Mass was done in the later half of the 20th Century? They might rise up and demand that their female bishops return to the Traditional Vatican II Mass in English and forgo praying the liturgy in Latin.

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