Aug 6, 2005

'Redemptionis Sacramentum' for dummies (and dissidents)

This photograph has generated a very lively discussion over at The Curt Jester.

What is clear from all the discussion is that a lot of people, priests and laity alike, are unclear about what has been made manifestly clear in the document, Redemptionis Sacramentum.

The issues raised, namely, glass "chalices" and the pouring of the Precious Blood (not to mention still other problems that the photograph suggests) are neither trivial nor inconsequential.

According to Redemptionis Sacramentum, paragraph 173, these specific abuses are objectively "grave." A "grave" abuse is anything that "puts at risk the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist."

In the case at hand, I do not see evidence of anything that would call into question the validity of the Mass, but certainly the "pouring" of the Precious Blood from vessels that resemble Kool aid pitchers into oversized wine goblets is demeaning of the dignity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.

The language of Redemptionis Sacramentum is unambiguous.

Paragraph 117 states that the use of "common vessels" is "reprobated." This means, with all due respect, dear Cardinal Mahony, the Kool Aid pitchers and wine goblets have to go. This is the universal law of the Church which allows for no exceptions, not even for you, Your Eminence. Moreover, this same paragraph explicitly proscribes the use of vessels made of "glass" or of any vessel that appears to be a "mere container."

Paragraph 106 states that "flagons" (a word that has never before appeared in any official liturgical document, if I am not mistaken) are never to be used to contain the Precious Blood. Now that flagons are explicitly proscribed, the liturgical anarchists, at least in L.A., use the word "carafe" instead. You may call them what you like, but you may not use them for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Paragraph 106 also states that "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." At Mahony's cathedral, even after the promulgation of Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Precious Blood is routinely poured from the various flagons into a large number of wine glasses. In the very few Masses that I have attended there, a deacon, assisted by a nun and a host of other non-ordained people, mostly women, perform this task even when, as I have seen for myself, there is an ample number of concelebrating priests present. This, of course, is yet another liturgical abuse, but I digress.

I have found that sometimes even good Catholics are not in the least bothered by liturgical abuses. They say, "So what's the big deal? Flagon or no flagon, glass chalice or gold chalice, who cares? What's important is that we worship God." I must admit that I am personally weary of this constant battling over the Sacred Liturgy, but I could not disagree more with those who maintain that these "details" are not that big a deal. They are a big deal. We are talking about the worship of God Himself. We are talking about the greatest gift that God has given us, the Holy Mass. We are talking about the handling of the very Body and Blood of the Lord. What could be a bigger deal? What could be more important than this?

No, these matters are by no means trivial or unimportant. On the contrary, they speak to the very core of our faith.

Cardinal Mahony ought to prayerfully re-read Redemptionis Sacramentum, but especially paragraph 11. That paragraph begins with the sentence:

"The Mystery of the Eucharist 'is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured'".

When a priest, bishop or even a cardinal does "his own thing," liturgically speaking, instead of what the Church clearly mandates, he is guilty of another and perhaps even worse kind of "clergy abuse" that causes scandal and can lead to a weakening or even a loss of faith on the part of the lay faithful.

Paragraph 11 states:

"In the end, [those who disregard the Church's liturgical norms] introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God. The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ's faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of "secularization" as well."


Blogger Clayton said...


I think some people do not understand how common the abuses are here in Los Angeles, or how severe. They are not limited only to the Cathedral.

On my blog today, I've posted the story of a friend in the San Fernando Valley who has recently encountered not only abuses, but also a smugness on the part of those committing them when challenged about the matter.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Non Sum Dignus said...

After reading paragraph 11, I can think of no greater reasoning to bring back The Mass of Pius V sans that silly "indult".

Make it universal. After all, any serious, thinking Catholic is more drawn to absolute vice ambiguity.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Clayton said...

By the way, I have an easy-to-print study version of Redemptionis Sacramentum available on my blog. The big advantage of this version is that it uses footnotes, not endnotes. You can find it here.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous +Roger said...

"Most of the abuses mentioned in Redemptionis Sacramentum do not pertain to the celebration of the Eucharist in our Archdiocese because of our many efforts to provide intensive and extensive training in proper liturgical norms and practice."

10:47 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I don't like this stuff, but may I play devil's advocate? Just to get it clear in my mind.

Is it possible that a bishop might say, for example, that there is a difference between "fine crystal" and "ordinary glass" such that a certain amount of ambiguity is created? Could it be that some people might honestly feel that ornate things are not always to be equated with fine things? Or that "plain-in-style" need not always equal "common"?

Might some people genuinely think that crystal has the property of allowing the faithful to SEE the Most Precious Blood and thereby INCREASE devotion to it?

And, anyway, might an Archbishop Levada think it the better part of charity and discretion to proceed with Mass even if rubrics are violated, rather than scandalizing the Faithful by refusing to participate?

I only ask, so please don't come down on top of me like a ton of bricks. But I ask in this spirit: let's make sure we are not condemning out of hand that which may be defensible on some grounds.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


Thanks for posting the questions which I think are legitimate and deserve an answer.

The easiest question to answer is the one concerning Archbishop Levada. Your point is well taken, I think, that in order to avoid a public scandal, the former SF Archbishop might have overlooked the obvious non-compliance with RS on that occasion.

As to the question of glass vs. crystal, I personally think one runs the risk of hair splitting. I presume that crystal would come under the category of glass and hence would be equally proscribed for two reasons: (1) its "breakabilty" and (2) its "ordinariness".

It would be helpful to look at the Latin text of RS.

The other real problem here is that pouring of the consecrated wine is to be completely avoided and yet Mahony continues to disobey this indication and obviously encourages others to do the same.

Very sad.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thank you, Mr. Quintero, for your measured and respectful answer.

Here's what I wonder. Does Card. Mahoney think, somehow, that he has a case, however unlikely it might look at first glance?

What would a canonist say? Or an expert in liturgical law, rather than liturgy per se?

Is there a non-tendentious answer? It looks to me that you have conceded that at least PERHAPS a case might be made for crystal. Law you know is not always an obvious thing, and a regulation that seems to mean one thing to the lay reader may mean something else when construed in light of some other statute by an expert.

Rocco of Whispers in the Loggia--no expert himself, of course!--got me thinking along these lines. I wonder if you've ever asked an expert in the legal aspects, "Is there a case to be made by Mahoney?"

Note: This is NOT exactly the same question as, "What do you, Mr. Canonist, think is the best/most honest answer." It's: "Is there a clearcut and absolute answer; or is there any ambiguity." I think this approach is useful to frame the debate. And I think the debate needs to be framed with care.

It's one thing to say, "I don't like the new Cathedral; I believe it is manifestly opposed to traditional Catholic architectural spirituality." That allows for disagreement, however much one may be convinced.

It's another to say, "Mahoney is clearly breaking the law." In civil law, one wants to consult a lawyer to make sure one has an airtight case. Shouldn't the same be done with questions of the liturgy?

Thanks and hope I'm not seeming too troublesome. And don't misunderstand--I'm mostly in sympathy with you here and am I great fan of your blog.

6:03 PM  
Blogger contratimes said...


Please forgive me for butting in, as I am an outsider of the Roman Catholic Church. But I have a few thoughts that might be helpful or which may move the discussion.

I agree that the Mass needs to be hallowed, including all its vessels and accoutrements. And I am certain that some vessels used for the Holy Cup would not be appropriate: A Budweiser glass with a Dale Earnhardt Jr. logo would not be in compliance with Redemptionis Sacramentum, (unless it was the last vessel on earth).

But the FIRST Lord's Supper, rooted as it was in the Jewish Passover (either essentially or tangentially) might very well have included cups that were utterly common to the utterly common people with whom Jesus dined. I have always suspected the first cup was made entirely of clay, shaped by hand, like the very dust of the First Adam (imagine such a cup, filled as it was with the yet unshed blood of the Second Adam, held by that sacred, redemptive, soon-to-be-pierced hand).

Irrespective of all this, I found this interesting passage in the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the earliest chalices used by the early Church:

' ... meanwhile we may be content to quote the words of St. Chrysostom (Hom. l in Matt.): in Matt.): "The table was not of silver, the chalice was not of gold in which Christ gave His blood to His disciples to drink, and yet everything there was precious and truly fit to inspire awe." So far as it is possible to collect any scraps of information regarding the chalices in use among early Christians, the evidence seems to favour the prevalence of glass, though cups of the precious and of baser metals, of ivory, wood, and even clay were also in use. (See Hefele, Beiträge, II, 323-5.) A passage of St. Irenæus (Hær., I, c. xiii) describing a pretended miracle wrought by Mark the Gnostic who poured white wine into his chalice and then after prayer showed the contents to be red, almost necessarily supposes a vessel of glass, and the glass patens (patenas vitreas) mentioned in the "Liber Pontificalis" under Zephyrinus (202-19) as well as certain passages in Tertullian and St. Jerome, entirely favour the same conclusion. But the tendency to use by preference the precious metals developed early. St. Augustine speaks of two golden and six silver chalices dug up at Cirta in Africa, (Contra Crescon., III, c. xxix), and St. Chrysostom of a golden chalice set with gems (Hom. 1 in Matt.).'

To me, I wonder what Jesus thinks of glass vessels. I am, as a conservative Episcopalian, a stickler for details. Sacraments, it seems to me, demand our best. But if Jesus was willing to wear earthly, mortal flesh, and even be a servant unto death, then perhaps Our Savior is not offended when His Blood is poured out of earthly glass.

BUT, if GLASS is forbidden in Church law and teaching, then it is to be forbidden indeed: There is no exception. A healthy Church is a disciplined Church.

Peace to you all,


PS. I am glad you are back, Mr. Quintero. Thanks BTW, for this post, as it was very helpful re: Redemptionis Sacramentum .

7:36 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


Thank you for your kind words.

As I have said, I hate liturgy wars. Too often, the discussion of liturgical matters does become politicized and tendentious. This is most unfortunate.

This is why I contend that if clergy would simply "follow the book," as it were, and offer the Mass as indicated by the rubrics of the Missal and the attendant authorized liturgical documents, 99 per cent of the Mass confusion and liturgical strife would come to an end. The problem is many clergy, even bishops, are either not aware of how to correctly offer the Mass or simply flippantly reject the Church's liturgical norms as silly and unimportant.

Regarding the use of crystal for liturgical vessels, I think you have misunderstood me. I do not think the case can be made for the use of such material for the two-fold reason already mentioned: breakability and ordinariness. The key here, once again, is to avoid the use of vessels which are common, ordinary and mundane. The Kool Aid type pitchers and the wine goblets used at the L.A. cathedral fail on both counts: they are more or less fragile and they look so commonplace. “It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honor will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided.” [RS, 117]

Regarding the specific instance of Archbishop Levada offering Mass at Mahony's cathedral where liturgical abuses abound, it is plausible to assume that Levada overlooked the irregularities in order to avoid scandal. He was, after all, a guest of the Cardinal.

Finally, I think it is good to keep in mind what RS has to say about how the norms should be implemented. I'll leave you with a quotation from paragraph 5:

"The observance of the norms published by the authority of the Church requires conformity of thought and of word, of external action and of the application of the heart. A merely external observation of norms would obviously be contrary to the nature of the Sacred Liturgy, in which Christ himself wishes to gather his Church, so that together with himself she will be “one body and one spirit”.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

So here is my suggestion then. Address a dubitum to the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. Ask them, "Is it ever permissible to use glass or crystal containers in the liturgy? Is it ever permissible to use pouring vessels to contain the wine to be consecrated in the Sacred Liturgy? Can a bishop in some circumstances dispense from the general rules in these cases?" And see what they say.

Ask a canonist to review the question for you. You make a persuasive argument. It seems clear. BUT...what seems clear in the law is often NOT as clear as it seems. Laypeople CAN'T be sure that they know what the law prescribes because even when it seems completely obvious, often enough it isn't.

This is the basic point that I don't see you engaging. Argument from the text is fine. It convinces me on its own terms. But I don't think that's enough. In other words, both of us are entitled to make a judgment, but we are not qualified to make a definitive judgment.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...


No need to send a DUBIUM to Rome. I think RS is "crystal" clear (pardon the pun). In virtually every other diocese in the world, flagons are no longer in use. Pouring of the Precious Blood has stopped. Everyone else (except apparently Mahony) seems to understand the plain and simple sense of the text which you are failing to engage. It really isn't all that complicated. No glass. Don't pour. What part of "no" do you not understand?

Why are you searching so diligently for loopholes? With the issuance of Redemptionis Sacramentum, "Roma locuta est; causa finita est."

In Spanish, we put it this way: Ya!

Thanks for the discussion.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Look, I'm saying something perfectly simple. I'M CONVINCED BY YOUR ARGUMENT. I AGREE WITH IT. But that's not the same as saying the other side has no argument. You're a very bright guy and that distinction shouldn't be impossible for you to make.

In law school, one of the first things you learn is that there's no such thing as a "crystal clear" law. There's lots to know. What seems obvious and clear to a layman may not be clear in fact. This isn't something that only "liberal" professors think; "conservatives" and "strict constructionists" agree. Do you really dispute this?

Here's one canonical argument I've been given, by a canonist who thinks you are RIGHT, mind you.

RS 117 says, in paraphrase, that the keynote is nobility in the common estimation of the region. Then it says that the reason for nobility in regional estimation is to protect the doctrine of the Eucharist. Then (key point) it says THEREFORE, glass and breakable materials are reprobated. The breakability of the materials is not reprobated as such, but because such breakability relates to a lack of nobility in the estimation of a particular region.

Par 118 says the determination of nobility should be left up to the Bishop.

So, the canonist argues thus. 1. Mahoney can argue that the law says, breakability of the container diminishes nobility, but in America fine crystal carries a nobility on a par with say silver or gemstones, raising it sufficiently high in local estimation that any presumption that breakability equals lack of nobility is overcome. And he further can argue that he, the Bishop, gets to make that call, which is permissible under RS.

Is he wrong? The canonist thinks the argument ultimately wrong. Is the argument canonically meritless? That's a different question. He argues that it is NOT canonically meritless: Mahoney has a CASE.

These are distinctions that you ought to be able to grasp. Why am I quibbling? If you say, you believe Mahoney is doing a disservice and ought not to do it, I agree. If you say, Mahoney is clearly breaking the law and you know it, I say, No, you don't know it. You're not qualified to make that judgment, you don't know enough.

I don't know how old you are, but you may remember the old dispute about communion under both kinds. Rome had said, Okay for special occasions. The American bishops said, Sunday is one special occasion. Then they said, weekdays are another.

The response from laypeople and many canonists was, That's not a special occasion, that's every occasion. This is a clear abuse. Made perfect, crystalline sense to me. How can every occasion be the same as special occasions only?

The ultimate response from Rome? No violation by the bishops. They were within their rights and their interpetation was allowable.

Crystal clear was WRONG. As it often is.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


I understand the point you are making. And I do admit that the liturgical texts are sometimes ambiguous.

In an earlier reply I suggested that it would be helpful to consult the Latin text of RS for further clarification.

Maybe you're right. Maybe a dubium should be sent to Cardinal Arinze of the CDW.

However, even if the CDW were to even more emphatically disallow the use of crystal, this would very likely have no impact on L.A. Keep in mind that RS expressly forbids the pouring of the Blood of Christ and, frankly, I cannot imagine any other way that that proscription could be parsed. Nonetheless, Mahony brazenly continues this condemned practice in his cathedral church and allows for its continuance throughout his Archdiocese.

I have a hunch that more often than not, those who pick apart the texts of certain liturgical indications are really looking for a way to "do their own thing" instead of what Holy Mother Church plainly calls for. Would you not agree?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I WOULD agree. But when the question is, What is ALLOWABLE, we have to let bishops do their own interpreting, even if they are bad guys.

And the principle works both ways, you know.

I had heard and dismissed arguments from traditionalists such as Michael Davies over the years that the celebration of the old mass had never been forbidden and therefore was allowed. Pope Paul revised (radically, yes, but revised) the Mass and put out revised books. Of course, there was no permission to use the old versions. Surely when Pius XII revised the Easter Vigil celebrations, no one thought they had the right to go on celebrating mass according to the old books? The vast majority of canonists seemed to agree with me. You have to understand, though, I wished I were wrong.

Well, imagine my surprise at hearing (then) Cardinal Ratzinger say in an interview that the old mass has NEVER been forbidden! Not an authoritative source, in the strict sense, but an impressive one. Enough wiggle room is there, I suppose, to allow significant wiggling! People wiggle for good and wiggle for ill, but if they have a position of authority, we can't condemn them for illegality as such unless they have no case.

I agree with you; one should try and think with the mind of the Church and be properly submissive to authority in mind and will. What is the INTENT of the law? should be the question, not, What can I get away with to further my own agenda?

But mind you, we conservatives have difficulty with this stuff sometimes, even in doctrinal areas. I'm conservative politically, but I notice that we tend to read the Social Doctrine of the Church to minimize its significance and make it fit with our preconceived political ideas. I do that too! But it makes me mighty uncomfortable, to tell you the truth.

Look at all the "conservative" Catholics arguing on Amy Wellborn's recent post about Hiroshima for consequentialism, for heaven's sake. And none of them even asking, Am I thinking with the mind of the Church on this? Could I have missed something? Nope. Just justifications of preconceived ideas of military necessity.

Lest you think I'm unsympathetic to you still, take a look at my several comments defending critics of Cardinal Mahoney and liturgical madness on Curt Jester's reposting of your photograph with his own comments.

And now I'll quit ragging on you. Chin up and God bless!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


You write: " ... when the question is, What is ALLOWABLE, we have to let bishops do their own interpreting, even if they are bad guys."

Not so.

It is not within the purview of the bishops' authority to interpret liturgical norms. If there are dubia, they must be resolved by the Cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

By way of explanation, I will allow RS to have the last word:

[14.] "The regulation of the Sacred Liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, which rests specifically with the Apostolic See and, according to the norms of law, with the Bishop".34

[15.] The Roman Pontiff, "the Vicar of Christ and the Pastor of the universal Church on earth, by virtue of his supreme office enjoys full, immediate and universal ordinary power, which he may always freely exercise",35 also by means of communication with the pastors and with the members of the flock.

[16.] "It pertains to the Apostolic See to regulate the Sacred Liturgy of the universal Church, to publish the liturgical books and to grant the recognitio for their translation into vernacular languages, as well as to ensure that the liturgical regulations, especially those governing the celebration of the most exalted celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, are everywhere faithfully observed".36

[17.] "The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments attends to those matters that pertain to the Apostolic See as regards the regulation and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, and especially the Sacraments, with due regard for the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It fosters and enforces sacramental discipline, especially as regards their validity and their licit celebration". Finally, it "carefully seeks to ensure that the liturgical regulations are observed with precision, and that abuses are prevented or eliminated whenever they are detected".37 In this regard, according to the tradition of the universal Church, pre-eminent solicitude is accorded the celebration of Holy Mass, and also to the worship that is given to the Holy Eucharist even outside Mass.

[18.] Christ's faithful have the right that ecclesiastical authority should fully and efficaciously regulate the Sacred Liturgy lest it should ever seem to be "anyone's private property, whether of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated".38

1:45 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

No, you misunderstood me.

I didn't say, We have to let the bishops determine what is allowable. I said, WHEN something IS allowable, even if it is a question of "taking advantage" of an ambiguity, we have to let the bishops decide what to do. IF it's arguably allowable.

For example, the Tridentine indult asks for wide and generous application. But no canonist would claim that it FORCES a bishop to allow the Tridentine mass in his diocese. My own bishop won't allow it at all. I think his decision is contrary to the manifest spirit and intent of the indult and outrageous. It infuriates me. But he's ALLOWED to make that decision. I hate it. But there it is. Whatever his reason, good or nefarious, he gets to make the call.

So, IF a legitimate argument, even if strained or ultimately wrong, can be made for using crystal, Mahoney gets to make the call. Even if it's for a bad reason. He also gets to build Our Lady of the Angels, right? We don't say he violated canon or liturgical law, though, of course, we can make a good argument that he violates the spirit and intent of it. Nevertheless, canonically, he gets to build that Cathedral. Yuck! Outrageous! But there it is.

Some things are clear. For example, in the Latin Mass, Mahoney can't use leavened bread. No canonist would argue anything else. Leavened bread is ABSOLUTELY forbidden in the Latin rite. But an ARGUMENT--even if I think it's a bad one--can be made for crystal. I don't see how cruets are allowable. But I'd like to ask somebody who understands the law before taking what's crystal clear as obvious. Sometimes, as I say, the obvious isn't true, it just seems that way.

You DO realize you're making a legal argument, don't you? And you DO realize that law is an area of expertise? Lay people find things clear that just aren't always as clear as they seem. That's why they use lawyers.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


You're mixing apples and oranges, cathedrals and indult Masses. You are all over the place. Try to focus.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I refer you once again to paragraph 117 of RS. The parameters for what materials are suitable for liturgical vessels are laid down therein. Anything that falls outside of those parameters (e.g., crystal, which is merely a high-quality, colorless glass) may at a future time be determined suitable by the Bishops' Conference. However, that decision would have no force without the approval (recognitio) of the Holy See.

To my knowledge, the US Bishops' Conference has not ruled on the use of liturgical vessels made of glass nor, needless to say, has a recognitio for such been granted by the Holy See.

Simple. Get rid of the wine goblets and the Kool Aid pitchers until further notice.

Virtually every other bishop in the US has done so, except you-know-who.


3:11 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You've referred me to the document. I've read it at least as carefully as you. I've had an orthodox, indeed conservative, canonist look at it. He says your "crystal clear" interpretation is not the only one.

You seem to say, Lawyers aren't need to interpret Law. Any well educated layman can figure out what it means. What's clear is clear.

This is obvious nonsense. This is the point you refuse to acknowledge, although you did acknowledge it in a previous reply. Reading legal documents requires legal expertise. Laymen who try to argue cases before judges on the basis of clear and obvious interpretations LOSE because they don't know what they are talking about.

You say, Read the document. I say, I don't know how to do that definitively and unambiguously and neither do you. We don't have the expertise. THERE ARE NO CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS LAWS such that laymen can read and understand them without checking. They are written within systems of interpretation and within a complex of other laws and you just can't say, Look, it says right here. It doesn't work that way. That's why you don't go to court by yourself.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Quintero said...

You may have the last word in this debate. Perhaps there are other bloggers who might want to contribute something new to the discussion.

I've had enough.


4:54 PM  
Anonymous Ian said...


As the Protestants who have "the Sacrament" diminish (ie Lutherans, Episcopalians), their liturgical abuse must be replaced from somewhere else. Otherwise, there would be an increase in "order" with respect to the Divine Luturgy. Since order must decrease in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, expect no abatement of the problem of liturgical abuse. ;)

Very "Deepak" huh? :)

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm waiting for Rome to say something about the stationing of the tabernacle away from the altar instead of behind it. If the Eucharist is Christ, and we worship Christ, and the tabernacle contains Christ, then what the blazes is the tabernacle doing away from the focal point of worship?

3:50 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Quoting our esteemed host ..
As to the question of glass vs. crystal, I personally think one runs the risk of hair splitting.

I actually think that this entire thread (and perhaps this entire line of thought) borders on the splitting of hairs and the picking of nits. There is lots to talk about; this seems like pretty low on the priority list.

Now, about the idea of not pouring, because (oh my heavens) there might be spillage. My home parish has been pouring from an ornate crystal carafe into chalices after the consecration for roughly 10 years, with never a spill other than a drop onto the purificator. Given the need for communion under both species, how should it be done?

More importantly ... is my reception of the Holy Eucharist invalid and am I excluded from eternal life until I go to mass in the Orange County where it is (apparently) done properly?

3:57 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...


My esteemed guest, you state, "Given the need for communion under both species ..."

Point of doctrine: Strictly speaking, there is no "need" to receive communion under both species since one receives the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity when he receives only the Sacred Host.

As to the question of how communion under both kinds may be administered, the GIRM (which you have obviously not read) makes the following provisions:

"The Blood of the Lord may be received either by drinking from the chalice directly, or by intinction, or by means of a tube or a spoon. (GIRM §245)

You ask, rhetorically, "... is my reception of the Holy Eucharist invalid and am I excluded from eternal life until I go to mass in the Orange County where it is (apparently) done properly?

Answer: Invalidity is not an issue here. The use of vessels made of glass as well as the pouring of the Blood of Christ constitutes an objectively "grave" abuse, but validity is not affected.

Why don't you get your own blog where you can spout out all you want? You could call it, "O.C. Catholic."

11:15 PM  
Blogger Barry Cuba said...

Vatican Presents Redemptoris Sacramentum

Keep up the good fight, Mr. Quintero. I happen to agree with your "crystal clear" pun. The reason these documents are written are to help clear things up, not to create an impetus for argument. I think when someone lays something down on a sheet of paper trying to explain something, the reader shouldn't try to read into anything else but what they plainly said.

"In opening remarks Cardinal Arinze spoke of both the positive and negative developments on the liturgy that had occurred since Vatican Council II, stating, however, that abuses in liturgy have occurred over the years and "have been a motive of anguish for everyone." He said "there has been a temptation to think that paying attention to abuses is a loss of time, that they have always existed and will always exist. This can lead us into error. Abuses relative to the Holy Eucharist do not all have the same weight. Some threaten to make the sacrament invalid. Others show a lack of eucharistic faith. Others yet contribute to spreading confusion among the people of God and to taking the sacred out of Eucharistic celebrations. Abuses are not to be taken lightly."

Archbishop Sorrentino underscored that "the Instruction does none other than reiterate existing norms." He said that "the request for the observance (of these norms) does not involve any ban to study more deeply and to propose, as happened in the history of the 'liturgical movement' and still today normally occurs within the sphere of theological, liturgical and pastoral studies. What is absolutely excluded is making liturgy a free zone for experimentation and personal choices, not justified by any good intentions."

4:23 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Thanks, Barry, for the support and for the Arinze quote.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Mr. Q ...

My apologies if my flipness offended you, it was intended to be light-hearted rather than offensive.

You answered my questions, but didn't really address the point, so how about if I try again. As you so pointedly remarked, I am not as well-read on these issues as some of the posters.

I recall hearing from the pulpit a number of years ago, fairly shortly after I was converted, that the Cardinal had directed the parishes to make changes to more regularly distribute communion under both species.

My question is, glass.crystal/etc. aside, how should a parish implement that directive without pouring from a large container into smaller ones?

Again, I don't ask to be flip. I have attended mass at 20 or so parishes in several dioceses since my conversion, and have not seen it done other ways.

As to the remark ...
>4 Why don't you get your own blog where you can spout out all you want?
> You could call it, "O.C. Catholic."

Again, I apologize if I offended you. I realize that my questions had some attitude, but they were questions nonetheless. I do appreciate your clarification that the Eucharist received is "valid".

Can you expand on the what a "grave" abuse is and what it means to a layman?

And, because I live in Long Beach, which is in the LA archdiocese.

Thanks .. peace be with you.

1:12 PM  

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