The Meal Obsession

 Since the Second Vatican Council a movement to transform the Catholic Mass into a Protestant Lord's Supper has been gaining strength within the Church. The sacrificial nature of the Mass is expressed in very muted tones in even the papally approved text of the new Mass when celebrated with Eucharistic Prayer No. II. The meal is emphasized to the detriment of the sacrifice in almost all the episcopally approved catechetical texts which have appeared since the Council; in some cases the Mass is presented as nothing more than a jolly party. Altars have been replaced by tables. And now the innovation of Communion in the hand is being used to promote the meal concept to an even greater extent than before.

The official booklet-----The Body of Christ-----provides ample evidence of this. It has been well analyzed by Frank Morris in a series of excellent articles in The Wanderer. [This was before the paper became anti-traditionalist and an apologist for whatever nonsense the Vatican issues in the name of upholding the non-dogmatic statements of Vatican II as if they were dogma by ceasing any criticism of imprudent actions of the Holy See-----The Web master.] He noted, for example, that the booklet contains about 13 references to the sacrificial nature of the Mass and about 41 to the meal aspect. 25 A careful examination of The Body of Christ reveals that lip service is paid to orthodoxy, in the form of brief reiterations of traditional teaching [even transubstantiation gets a mention], and expressions of concern to maintain reverence, while its clear objective is to promote attitudes and practices which will undermine reverence and traditional belief. This is precisely what has happened in the majority of the official, papally-approved documents concerned with the Liturgical Reform-----beginning with the Liturgy Constitution itself. Lack of space precludes any discussion of this question in detail here. I have dealt with the Liturgy Constitution in my book Pope John's Council, and will deal with the subsequent documents in its sequel, Pope Paul's New Mass. In order to discover the true intent of these documents the reader must ignore the padding and look for what each document permits that wasn't permitted before. Sadly, when Memoriale Domini is examined in this light, it will be discovered that, while most of it is devoted to extolling the merits of the traditional practice, its practical effect is to legalize the abuse. This is something to which such columnists as Frank Morris could well devote some research. There are still conservative Catholics who resolutely close their eyes to the fact that the source of liturgical abuses lies in the official reforms, and are no more than a logical extension of these official reforms. Those who maintain that anything approved by the Pope is ipso facto beyond criticism are living in a fantasy world which renders their no doubt sincere attempts to defend the Faith ineffective. Frank Morris took a welcome step in the right direction in his January 12, 1978 article when he criticized the instruction forbidding us to make a double genuflection when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. He comments that this instruction is disturbing, "no matter what its origin". Its origin is an official decree of the Congregation for Worship approved by Pope Paul VI. The same instruction forbids exposition for the purpose of Benediction!

    "The Body of Christ is provided with a veneer of scholarship by a large number of references-----there are 142 references for 40 pages of text. In a book devoted to the Eucharist it might have been expected that there would be frequent citations from three key sources on this subject-----The Summa Theologica, The Council of Trent, and Mediator Dei. The first two are not even mentioned and the third is referred to in one note [No. 44], which only concerns an exhortation to promote singing during the Mass. Approximately 75% of the references are to the post-conciliar instructions-----the very documents which have been instrumental in destroying the Roman Rite. The picture which emerges from the text and the sources of this booklet is of a group determined to cut itself off from its past-----the liturgical traditions of a millennium are cast aside and the teaching which these traditions enshrined is ignored in favour of the sociological jargon of the post-conciliar bureaucracy.

25) The Wanderer, January 12,1978.