Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Friday, July 16, 2004

Liturgical Abuse of the Week (TM) 

For our Liturgical Abuse of this week, we'll examine Redemptionis Sacramentum, paragraph 38: 

"The constant teaching of the Church on the nature of the Eucharist not only as a meal, but also and pre-eminently as a Sacrifice, is therefore rightly understood to be one of the principal keys to the full participation of all the faithful in so great a Sacrament. For when 'stripped of its sacrificial meaning, the mystery is understood as if its meaning and importance were simply that of a fraternal banquet.'"

Relevant also here is a selection from the Catechism:  

"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us" (CCC 1323). 

The twin themes of Paschal banquet and atoning sacrifice come up in Eucharistic theology from the earliest days of the Church.  In St. Paul's day the Eucharistic celebration was closely associated with communal meals (though never was the former reduced to, or collapsed into, the latter), and yet at the same time the early Church regularly used sacrificial imagery, carried over to a large extent from the Hebrew cult, to describe Christian worship.  At the risk of oversimplification, the former theme gives emphasis to the 'horizontal' or 'communal' aspect of worship, and the latter the 'vertical' or 'cultic' aspect.  We frequently think in terms of finding a 'balance' between these two aspects, as if proper worship simply meant settling down someplace towards the middle of a spectrum. 
In fact, that approach has it all wrong.  The solution is not to find a balance, but an integration.  In other words, the 'communal' element must be integrated into the 'cultic,' which is why, incidentally, the 'communal' element always remains secondary.  The congregation, to the extent that it steps outside of the office of the adoration of God, ceases to be meaningful.  If any aspect or portion of the community refuses to be caught up in the adoration of the Trinity, they forfeit their right to be participants in that worshipping community, properly speaking.  On the other hand, neither is the communal element entirely subsumed by the cultic, lest the worship become privatized and lose its subjective dimension (unless appropriated by the individual, the Mass - though it retains its objective value as worship - bears no fruit in the lives of men). 
It is frequently claimed, in historical surveys of the Church's Eucharistic teaching, that the early Church taught that the Eucharist was a communal mean, and that the Medieval Church distorted this understanding by emphasizing its value as a cultic sacrifice.  It is then claimed that Vatican II 'recovered' this patristic understanding, by moving beyond the Tridentine theology of the Mass and focusing on the active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic banquet.  Interestingly, here is what Vatican II has to say about the participation of the lay faithful:  
"The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator (38), they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 48). 
Interestingly, the participation of the faithful is not in some free-for-all sacramental potluck, but in the sacrificial 'offering [of] the Immaculate Victim' with and through the cultic office of the priest.  When the legitimate understanding of the Eucharistic meal as a table banquet is separated and cut off from the cultic act of worship, worship itself becomes distorted and twisted into some sort of therapeutic pseudo-spiritual self-help.  Similarly, an over-emphasis on the communal dimension of Eucharistic worship, usually for the purposes of emphasizing the inclusivity (cf. the recent calls for 'open communion,' represents a refusal of this communal element to be integrated and caught up in the cultic dimension, apart from which it can only wither up and die, like a branch severed from its vine.  

# posted by Jamie : 12:45 PM


Under the Patronage of
St. Augustine of Hippo

Contact me:

Ad Limina Apostolorum: An ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchres of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome, i.e., to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles and to the Basilica of St. Paul "outside the walls".

"Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic"
(illuminated manuscript,
13th century)

"Jamie . . .
I could kill you in three seconds.
-Bishop Sheridan

Books Recently Read or Currently Reading

John Milbank's Theology & Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (next in stack)

Colson Whitehead's Zone One (reading)

Michael Wyschogrod's Body of Faith: God and the People Israel (reading)

J. B. Schneewind's Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (reading)

Paul Hacker's Ego in Faith: Martin Luther and the Origins of Anthopocentric Religion (finished: 3 stars)

Edward Peter's Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering this Often-Ministerpreted Teaching (finished: 1 star)

Blogs I Read

Blogroll Me!


Missale Romanum
Parallel Text of Latin Mass
Order of the Mass
Today's Mass Readings
Collect of the Day
Mass Times
Liturgical Calendar
Liturgical Year
Catholic Calendar Page
Liturgy of the Hours (Universalis)
Liturgy of the Hours (Apostolate)
Parallel Latin/English Psalter
Psalms in Metre
Pope's Commentary on Psalter
Gregorian Chant
More Gregorian Chant
Schola Cantorum Bogotensis
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music
Monks of Adoration
Catholic Liturgical Library
Treasury of Latin Prayers
Thesaurus Precum Latinarum
Litany Collection
Novena Prayers
Real Presence Association
Liturgy Q&A (Zenit)


Bible Gateway
Unbound Bible
New Testament Gateway
NT Gateway (Greek)
Latin Vulgate
More Vulgate Resources
Nova Vulgata


Patron Saints Index
Doctors of the Church
St. Thomas More (Litany)
Saint Bonaventure
St. Josemaria Escriva
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Saint Padre Pio
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Queen Isabella of Spain
John Henry Newman


Catholic Answers
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (Dave Armstrong)
Cor ad cor loquitur (Blog)
Nazareth Resource Library (Akin)
Surprised by Truth (Madrid)
Catholic Outlook (Hoge)
Scripture Catholic (Salza)
Defenders of the Faith (Ray)
Envoy Encore (Blog)
Peter Kreeft
Mark Shea
Catholic Apologetics Bible Concordance


Holy See
Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club Catholic Hierarchy
Bishops of the United States
Diocese of Arlington


Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ecumenical Councils and Decrees
Papal Encyclicals
Church Documents (New Advent)
Code of Canon Law
Academic Theology Links (Georgetown)
Modern Theologians (Wabash Center)


03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012

Buy my Wife's Cabbage Patch Kids!

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

St. Blog's Parish Hall

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

This site is certified 61% GOOD by the Gematriculator

This page designed by Christopher Blosser
© 2003-2004 Jamie