Saturday, July 27, 2013

"This" and "that"

The words of consecration "This is my body", "This is my blood" suggest an intimacy between the consecrator and that which consecrated, an intimacy necessary in other sacrament where touching and laying on of hands is necessary.
When that intimacy breaks down the distance between the priest and the bread and wine is no longer within touching distance, then more correctly "this" actually should be replaced with "that", which are not Jesus' words. But what when, for example at WYD with a million attendees, there are concelebrating priest who are unable to see the bread and wine and the priest has to take it on trust that there is bread and wine on the altar, is he really saying Mass, if not what is he doing?


George said...

I was once talking with a young, highly educated, European Jesuit about the Real Presence. It didn't seem he believed in the Real Presence in the strict sense of the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

Then again this man also told me that if no one shows up for daily Mass, he doesn't offer Mass. "I don't really see the point," he said.

Long-Skirts said...


To the Nuclear
Plant I went
With wafered host
I was hell-bent.

Exposing wafered un-
Consecrated host
To radiation
Now nuked toast.

Offered heretic
"Taste and see."
"Oh no!" He cried
"That's not for me!"

"But look," I said,
"Nothings changed...
A still white wafered
Host arranged."

"Though looks the same
Could do much harm!"
The heretic knew
Exclaiming alarm.

As Catholics know
A spiritual radiation --
Daily at Mass

Anonymous said...

Fr. Ray ,
Blind priests can validly celebrate. So seeing the bread and wine is not a sine qua non for validity

George said...

As I read more about what the Holy Father is talking about I am happy to see "conservatism" (i.e. Americanism) being challenged.

Fr Ray Blake said...

EF Pastor,
Blind priests? Yes but they have to be in contact with elements, know one would believe you can say Mass from your bedroom for people in Church.

GOR said...

I am not in favor of concelebrated Masses. If it is the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, that’s one thing - the fraternity of priests with the father of the diocese, their bishop. Otherwise, it just seems to me to be a ‘convenience’, an ‘easy way out’ or ‘minimal effort for maximum return’.

I understand that, when multiple priests concelebrate, it is considered the same as if each one celebrated Mass individually - and each can take a stipend for the Mass.

In my old community, all the priests in one house - eight to ten of them - concelebrate daily. While it is probably justified as a ‘fraternal act’ – the sacerdotal community coming together, I see it as taking the easy way out. “We can take 8 – 10 stipends and all be done in an hour.” No one has to assist at anyone else’s Mass and we can all go to breakfast together. Isn’t concelebration great!

That may seem cold and judgmental to some - and Frank and Tom would probably protest vigorously. But I’m not naïve and I know a little about human nature. I feel the people who offered the stipends for these Masses are being short-changed. They expected a priest to offer an individual Mass for their intentions and they get a single Mass with multiple celebrants (OK, maybe technically it is 8-10 Masses, but I’m not persuaded).

And as to the concelebrations at WYDs and Eucharistic Congresses, I have the same feelings. I was irate that at the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland recently, despite the fact that hundreds of priests and bishops concelebrated, Holy Communion was distributed by a plethora of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

What were the Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion thinking? Do your job! Fulfill the function for which you were ordained! Don’t abdicate your responsibility and role in the cause of some wrong-headed ‘active participation’.

Thank you ‘spirit of Vat II’.

John Nolan said...

As I understand it, concelebrants must be seated in a distinct area (the presbyterium). They cannot concelebrate if they are mingled with the lay faithful, laypeople should not be between them and the altar (unless of course they are laymen acting as acolytes), and they must appear as a visibly united group. They must be vested at least in alb and stole from the beginning of Mass.

Cathy said...

Father, isn't it the case that transubstantiation occurs when the priest says the words "this is my body..." and "this is my blood..." In which case if one of the concelebrating priests says those words before the other priests, isn't he responsible for the transubstantiation of all the hosts and the other priests' words are redundant? So are they really making present the sacrifice of Christ which is the Mass?

Fr Ray Blake said...

But if you are so far from the altar, is your Mass valid (not the celebration itself) but individual priests offering of Mass.

Matthew Roth said...

Father Blake, yes, there has to be some contact with the elements. In fact, I recently saw a picture of the first modern concelebration in St. Peter's. It was limited to those who could fit around the altar, one row only. Each had a paten and chalice. It demonstrates the ridiculousness of the whole thing, because in order to allow for it on a bigger scale, one must lessen the sacramental understanding. Fr. Z. recently posted on the issue of priests being in the nave and not the sanctuary. Although IIRC it involved priests who were not vested, I wonder how close it comes to consecrating the Eucharist outside of Mass.

gemoftheocean said...

I'm amused in a way, because a lot of the so-called "trad" leaning priests are so insistent that the congregation has "no need" to see what's going on on the altar.

I do like the TLM, but personally always try and sit where I can see the most.

A very elderly priest friend of mine said (of his days when his back was to the congregation) "I could have been sacrificing a goat up there and most people would not have known." [BTW, this priest always was extremely careful to look only at what he was attending to at the altar - in that respect his priestly formation in the 40-50s stood by him well, in that he was never "Father showmanship."]

George said...


In what sense do you have a "need" to see what is going on at the altar?

Please explain.

I think it's unfair for you to criticize priests for stating the obvious: the laity have "no need" to see the action taking place at the altar. This seems to be a true statement. Need you help to understand otherwise...

The Holy Sacrifice takes place whether or not you are visually connected to the altar or not. And the real essence of what's happening takes place beyond this visual world. One could argue then that seeing the priest and the altar could distract you from contemplating the true supernatural events taking place out of bounds of human senses.

nickbris said...

For once I have to agree a bit with Karen,I want to know what is going on and I can't be doing with the long silences.

We do not have to be so miserable all the time,we should be joyful and showing the World that we are happy to be Catholics.

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