jump to navigation

The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ March 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, scandals, Tradition.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently gave an address on “The Extraordinary Form and the New Evangelization”In that address, he commented on what he terms the five practices in the New Mass that constitute a rupture with the liturgical tradition.  I haven’t much time, so no commentary:

There is a certain number of concrete aspects of the currently prevailing liturgical practice in the ordinary rite that represent a veritable rupture with a constant and millennium-old liturgical practice. By this I mean the five liturgical practices I shall mention shortly; they may be termed the five wounds of the liturgical mystical body of Christ. These are wounds, for they amount to a violent break with the past since they deemphasize the sacrificial character (which is actually the central and essential character of the Mass) and put forward the notion of banquet. All of this diminishes

Ecce Agnus Dei, Ecce Qui Tolis Peccata Mundi

the exterior signs of divine adoration, for it brings out the heavenly and eternal dimension of the mystery to a far lesser degree. Now the five wounds (except for the new Offertory prayers) are those that are not envisaged in the ordinary form of the rite of Mass but were brought into it through the practice of a deplorable fashion. 

A) The first and most obvious wound is the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass in which the priest celebrates with his face turned towards the faithful, especially during the Eucharistic prayer and the consecration, the highest and most sacred moment of the worship that is God’s due. This exterior form corresponds, by its very nature, more to the way in which one teaches a class or shares a meal. We are in a closed circle. And this form absolutely does not conform to the moment of the prayer, less yet to that of adoration. And yet Vatican II did not want this form by any means; nor has it ever been recommended by the Magisterium of the Popes since the Council. Pope Benedict wrote in the preface to the first volume of his collected works: “[t]he idea that the priest and the people in prayer must look at one another reciprocally was born only in the modern age and is completely foreign to ancient Christianity. In fact, the priest and the people do not address their prayer to one another, but together they address it to the one Lord. For this reason they look in the same direction in prayer: either towards the East as the cosmic symbol of the Lord’s return, or where this in not possible, towards an image of Christ in the apse, towards a cross, or simply upwards.”

The form of celebration in which all turn their gaze in the same direction (conversi ad orientem, ad Crucem, ad Dominum) is even mentioned in the rubrics of the new rite of the Mass (see Ordo Missae, 25, 133, 134). The so-called “versus populum” celebration certainly does not correspond to the idea of the Holy Liturgy as mentioned in the declaration of Sacrosanctum Concilium, 2 and 8. [So, the change, ostensibly inspired by Vatican II, is nowhere recommended in Vatican II]

B) The second wound is communion in the hand, which is now spread nearly throughout the entire world. Not only was this manner of receiving communion in no way mentioned by the Vatican II Council Fathers, but it was in fact introduced by a certain number of bishops in disobedience to the Holy See and in spite of the negative majority vote by bishops in 1968. [I’ve stated this here many times myself.  Communion in the hand started as an abuse, was ‘regularized’ under threat of schism, and remains only an indult – a special permission – today] Pope Paul VI legitimized it only later, reluctantly, and under specific conditions. Pope Benedict XVI, since Corpus Christi 2008, distributes Communion to the faithful kneeling and on their tongue only, both in Rome and also in all the local churches he visits. He thus is showing the entire Church a clear example of practical Magisterium in a liturgical matter. Since the qualified majority of the bishops refused Communion in the hand as something harmful three years after the Council, how much more the Council Fathers would have done so! 

C) The third wound is the new Offertory prayers. They are an entirely new creation and had never been used in the Church. They do less to express the mystery of the sacrifice of the Cross than that of a banquet; thus they recall the prayers of the Jewish Sabbath meal. In the more than thousand-year tradition of the Church in both East and West, the Offertory prayers have always been expressly oriented to the mystery of the sacrifice of the Cross (see e.g. Paul Tirot, Histoire des prières d’offertoire dans la liturgie romaine du VIIème au XVIème siècle [Rome, 1985]). There is no doubt that such an absolutely new creation contradicts the clear formulation of Vatican II that states: “Innovationes ne fiant . . . novae formae ex formis iam exstantibus organice crescant” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23). 

D) The fourth wound is the total disappearance of Latin in the huge majority of Eucharistic celebrations in the Ordinary Form in all Catholic countries. This is a direct infraction against the decisions of Vatican II

E) The fifth wound is the exercise of the liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women as well as the exercise of these same services in lay clothing while entering into the choir during Holy Mass directly from the space reserved to the faithful. This custom has never existed in the Church, or at least has never been welcome. It confers to the celebration of the Catholic Mass the exterior character of informality, the character and style of a rather profane assembly. The second council of Nicaea, already in 787, forbad such practices when it lay down the following canon: “If someone is not ordained, it is not permitted for him to do the reading from the ambo during the holy liturgy“ (can. 14). This norm has been constantly followed in the Church. Only subdeacons and lectors were allowed to give the reading during the liturgy of the Mass. If lectors and acolytes are missing, men or boys in liturgical vestments may do so, not women, since the male sex symbolically represents the last link to minor orders from the point of view of the non-sacramental ordination of lectors and acolytes. The texts of Vatican II never mention the suppression of the minor orders and of the subdiaconate or the introduction of new ministries. In Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 28, the Council distinguishes “minister” from “fidelis” during the liturgical celebration, and it stipulates that each may do only what pertains to him by the nature of the liturgy. Number 29 mentions the “ministrantes”, that is the altar servers who have not been ordained. In contrast to them, there are, in keeping with the juridical terms in use at that time, the “ministri,” that is to say those who have received an order, be it major or minor.
As concerns the new Offertory prayers, it would be desirable for the Holy See to replace them with the corresponding prayers of the extraordinary form, or at least to allow for the use of the latter ad libitum. In this way the rupture between the two forms would be avoided not only externally but also internally. Rupture in the liturgy is precisely what the Council Fathers did not what. [By the documents of Vatican II themselves, this is true.  But there was hardly a massive resistance to the Missal of 1969 or 1970.  Bugnini, the freemason with the utmost support of Pope Paul VI, got his way, and few balked.  The flood gates were thus opened] The Council’s minutes attest to this, because throughout the two thousand years of the liturgy’s history, there has never been a liturgical rupture and, therefore, there never can be. On the other hand there must be continuity, just as it is fitting for the Magisterium to be in continuity.  

 The five wounds of the Church’s liturgical body I have mentioned are crying out for healing. They represent a rupture that one may compare to the exile in Avignon. [Excellent point. I agree.] The situation of so sharp a break in an expression of the Church’s life is far from unimportant—back then the absence of the popes from Rome, today the visible break between the liturgy before and after the Council. This situation indeed cries out for healing.  

For this reason we need new saints today, one or several Saint Catherines of Sienna. [Or, a Saint Priscilla of Plano] We  need the “vox populi fidelis” demanding the suppression of this liturgical rupture. [I’ve got your back, Bishop Schneider.  I shall redouble my efforts]The tragedy in all of this is that, today as back in the time of the Avignon exile, a great majority of the clergy, especially in its higher ranks, is content with this rupture.

I hereby nominate Bishop Athanasius Schneider as the next Prefect for Divine Worship or Doctrine of the Faith. Levada is retiring.  The proposed favorite is scary.  Let us have Burke for one and Schneider for the other! 

I shall pray for this.


1. Terry Carroll - March 21, 2012

I don’t know why no one else seems to have noticed this but, to the bishop’s list of wounds, I would like to add “the replacement of sermons with homilies.”

It’s almost considered bad form, today, to preach on anything not directly related to the day’s readings, and this hamper’s a priest’s ability to engage directly in catechesis.

I only recently became aware that the Council of Trent outlined “sermon topics” for the entire year so that the faithful would hear, every year, TEACHING on the sacraments, the Mass, central doctrines of the creed, etc.

Now (unless you’re fortunate enough to participate in a traditional parish) the priest is limited to whatever topics might be suggested by the day’s readings. That’s what homilies do. Sermons can be on ANYTHING that relates to the Faith. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that one never hears a sermon about contraception, or abortion, because we don’t have readings that are obviously related to this topic (not to mention that it’s considered a virtue to have a two or three year cycle so that any pertinent readings won’t reappear for … a long time!). There’s only a chance to hear about homosexuality IF the relevant readings happen to fall within the “cycle.”

I think the catastrophe of catechesis over the past four decades is, at least in part, directly related to the disappearance of catechesis from the pulpit, and this can be attributed to homilies rather than sermons.

So make that “six” liturgical wounds!

It’s astounding, the more you pay attention, to notice how EVERYTHING has been touched by these well intentioned “reformers,” and there’s not a single thing that they have made better. I guess all these “reforms” seemed “reasonable” at the time, but the unintended and unanticipated consequences have been disastrous. Even the seemingly “good” introduction of all that Scripture into the liturgies has served, in its own way, to undermine the teaching authority of the Church, as we imitate Protestant primacy of Scripture without even realizing it.

tantamergo - March 22, 2012

It’s a fair point. I think the sermon/homily, however, is a bit distinct from the liturgy, formatically speaking. You can have a Mass without a sermon or homily. I totally agree with your argument, I, too, would very much like to hear real, actual sermons and not just watered down homilies going over the same tired, basic ground over and over. But I think Schneider was focused on the main liturgical aspects of the Mass, and less the teaching aspect.

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: