Monday, January 21, 2008

Why do they do that?

The new Jesuit Superior General Father Adolfo Nicolas celebrates a mass at the Gesu after his election as the Black Pope. I am not really knocking him, and yes this is another of those things of mine, and yes John Paul II started doing it after he has shot and couldn't raise both arms. But why when both arms seem to work do they elevated the Sacred Host one handed?

I know the General Instruction of the Roman Missal merely says, He shows the host to the people, but this one handed elevation seems to trivialise the elevation, likle most people who do it, when it comes to the elevation of the chalice they use both hands.

When I was 15 and had a Saturday job selling posh pens, I was ticked off by the manager for just grabbing one of the more expensive ones and putting it on the velvet for the customers inspection. "If it's over 15 quid use both hands, lad, it shows it has value", I was told.
I can't help thinking that both chalice host should be handled with the same dignity and as today's GIRM is so vague about it then we must rely on the best of general custom or that which was done in the previious ritual.
But I press the point, why do they do it?


Anonymous said...

What inpresses me is the recollection shown in his expression. He is clearly adoring Christ in the Host and chalice.

Berolinensis said...


one possible explanation is that he is doing what my parish priest does - with the other hand he is - slightly - elevating the Ciborium with the small Hosts. While it is an innovation, I think at least the intention is good - they, too, have become the Body of Christ.

pelerin said...

On the website of the newspaper 'La Croix' the new leader of the Jesuits has been described as 'neither a progressive nor a conservative.' I'm still trying to work that one out!

It is interesting to learn that apart from his native language, he is also fluent in English, French, Japanese and Italian.

Ben said...

Anonymous: I agree. Everything about these pictures says, 'Adoro te devote' - except the way he's holding the Host. I have seen other priests doing this, including perfectly orthodox and reverent priests. Was it something they were taught at seminary? I think we should be told.

NC said...

One handed elevations after one handedly wafting the host about at the congregation/assembly/gathering "Take...this ..all" (said with 'real' meaning and meaningful looks, aerial fractions...blessings for the non-commincants which ramble on and on when Holy Communion is being given - and that's just the bishop in our diocese. I once witnessed a priest who broke pieces off a plate size Sacred Host when giving Holy Communion, as if he were feeding ducks on the lake...Ciboriums handled with less reverence than a chip pan...
Rant over.

la mamma said...

Maybe a shoulder injury? Stiff neck? I know what you mean, though. I always use two hands for offertory procession and that's before any miracles occur.

gemoftheocean said...

Well, anon, Berolinensis and Ben have their points (I'd especially like to know if Berolinensis's speculation would prove correct if viewed from a longer angeled shot.)

But my first thought on seeing him elevate the Host this way is:

"Don't be a star use both hands...."

Which is something a softball or baseball coach yells to a youngster in practice if the youth in question catches a ball in the outfield with one hand if there was plenty of time and ability to put the other hand firmly anchored behind the glove for better stability and less chance of dropping the ball.

Too bad the guy's not American. After Mass someone could say that simple phrase and he'd "get the picture!"

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I was going to comment :

In charity, I presume the priest has got arthritis in his left shoulder.

But I see La Mamma has got in first .

Anonymous said...

My parish priest here in Lancashire (in his 30s and in no way disabled) does the one handed elevation, holding what appears to be a ceramic plate under the host at the same time in the same hand! WHY! Extremely annoying.

Anonymous said...

It does look sloppy..