Saturday, August 22, 2009

Morality and Liturgy; The Pope the Eucharist: "Enough with the Host on the Hand" (Il Giornale's title)

The relationship between the Holy Eucharist and Morality is a major concern of this blog. Previous posts, however, have looked at the question regarding public sinners and the responsibilities of the minister.

This was a story published today. As the title of the article indicates, one point is the question of communion in the hand. For those who are not Italian readers, it speaks of a plenary meeting (all the cardinals and bishops on the Congregation) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and this part seems to be the meat of the article (my translation follows). :

Quasi all’unanimità i cardinali e vescovi membri della Congregazione hanno votato in favore di una maggiore sacralità del rito, di un recupero del senso dell’adorazione eucaristica, di un recupero della lingua latina nella celebrazione e del rifacimento delle parti introduttive del messale per porre un freno ad abusi, sperimentazioni selvagge e inopportune creatività. Si sono anche detti favorevoli a ribadire che il modo usuale di ricevere la comunione secondo le norme non è sulla mano, ma in bocca. C’è, è vero, un indulto che permette, su richiesta degli episcopati, di distribuire l’ostia anche sul palmo della mano, ma questo deve rimanere un fatto straordinario. Il «ministro della liturgia» di Papa Ratzinger, Cañizares, sta anche facendo studiare la possibilità di recuperare l’orientamento verso Oriente del celebrante almeno al momento della consacrazione eucaristica, come accadeva di prassi prima della riforma, quando sia i fedeli che il prete guardavano verso la Croce e il sacerdote dava dunque le spalle all’assemblea.

My translation: "Almost unanimously, the cardinals and bishops members of the Congregation voted in favor of a greater sacredness of the rite, of a recovery of the sense of eucharistic adoration, of a recovery of the latin language in the celebration and of a reform (remaking) of the introductory parts of the mass to put the brakes on abuses, wild experimentation and inappropriate creatvity. They also favored reaffirming that the usual mode of receiving communion according to the norms is not in the hand, but in the mouth. There is, it is true, an indult that allows, on the request of the episcopate, for distribution of the host also in the palm of the hand, but this must remain an exception (lit. an extraordinary deed or act; I am not sure what the precise meaning of this is, but I believe that it means that even with the indult communion on the hand is not to be generally done but is allowed in exceptional cases or for particular reasons). The 'minister of the liturgy' (the reference is to civil officials) of Pope Ratzinger, Canizares, is also causing to be studied the possibility of recovering the orientation toward the East of the celebrant, at least at the moment of eucharistic consecration, as it was practiced prior to the reform, when both the faithful and the priest looked toward the Cross and the priest, therefore, had his back toward the assembly."

The article goes on to say that there is a desire to return to the intention of the reform in the VII document on the liturgy before it was superceded by the post-conciliar reform, which the cardinals and bishops see as a rupture rather than an organic development. The use of latin seems to be much in the mind of the congregation, especially in solemn celebrations. Apparently, the propositions were approved by the Pope. However, the article gives no indication about what action is intended at this point. There is mention that the Pope is of the mind that the "reform of the reform" will take many years and that it will not suffice simply to issue directives. He prefers example.

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