Some Brief Remarks: Fr. Smith’s Mutual Enrichment Recipe

I thought I’d try a new strategy in modifying my writing style to be much more “Strunk and White,” as my graduate advisor always, yet vainly exhorted me to try. So, succinct and cogent are my goals here.

As Fr. Christopher Smith provided us all a template for one of the stipulated goals of the Holy Father’s Summorum Pontificum, just today Fr. Cody Unterseher provided the readership at PrayTell with the opportunity to state their positive vision as to what constitutes worthy worship at Mass.

We have synchronicity, at long last.

So I will just give bottom line reactions as a pragmatist first, philosopher second to Fr. Smith’s items.

First Stage of Mutual Enrichment-(Fr. Smith’s “preamble.”)

“In this first stage, I see that there are many things that can be done now with no mixing of or change to the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite as currently found in the liturgical books. I also envision some guidance from the Magisterium to point this mutual enrichment in the right direction so as to avoid arbitrariness and to give those priests who respond to the call to mutual enrichment support.”

An interesting observation in the PT article combox cited above, from Scott Pluff , might be appropriate here as a counter-preamble from PT:

“The best quality of architecture, art and environment that the community can muster. Great music, preaching and presiding can still limp in a church that looks and sounds like a 1970s living room.”

This is a church building. Hat Tip to The Crescat.

Well, one must admit that Fr. Smith’s first stage seems premised upon a “tabula rasa” platform, whereas Mr. Pluff does advance a frighteningly real, practical scenario. But now we press on. My remarks to select portions of Fr. Smith’s comments will be in “bleu italics,” as in “sacre bleu!”

Enrichment of the Ordinary Form by the Extraordinary Form

– Bishops in Cathedrals and Pastors in their churches spontaneously adopting the ad orientem position at Mass as implicit in the OF after sustained catechesis of the faithful.
Not a problem for me, personally. But, it bypasses both the Benedictine arrangement and/or the altar crucifix adornment that could be said to be EF enrichments, but more in keeping with the notion of progressive solemnity, or “brick by brick.”

– Reconstruction of altar rails in churches and the spontaneous use of the communion rail as a place from which to distribute Holy Communion.
Problematic on multiple levels for likely many folks, not the least of which pastors burdened with “Mr. Pluff” Rambusch-like buildings, but with pastors who would have to present the simple realities of cost for design, fabrication and installation to even fiscally stable parishes in this era. I won’t restate the obvious about external attributes of mutual enrichment being sold, er….catechized among the laity who will foot the bills.

– Catechesis from the pulpit about the Church’s preference for Holy Communion on the tongue and under one species.
Not “going there” at odds with Fr. Smith on this one. I assume the presumption of the communion rail and a minimalist need for EMHC’s is concomitant here.

– Move towards singing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin at OF Masses.
I think Fr. Smith likely would polish that a bit more, as technically a Latin Ordinary could be set to metrical styles such as, say “calypso” or “conjunto.” So, I presume the extraordinary efforts of many of our CMAA and religious ordered colleagues to finally provide “new, gregorian-inspired chant and actual psalm tone settings, even in a vernacular, pass his muster, depending upon local conditions and personnel.

– Priests, on their own, choosing the options of the OF which are analogous to the EF, and leaving aside those which are not. No comment due to no competence here.

– The spontaneous and consistent use by the clergy of the maniple, biretta, amice.
Why does Fr. Smith add “spontaneous” to consistent as a criteria of enrichment? For many celebrants, donning a short sleeve BLACK clerical blouse with the collar piece before the alb, stole and chasuble is an austere act of obedience in their opinion. How about asking our clerics to don cassocks on Sundays as the “first stage” and be consistent with that under the local deans’ and bishops’ supervision?

– Singing of the Propers according to the Graduale Romanum at Sung Masses.
B-I-N-G-O! But pastors and musicians must also be totally familiar with the hierarchy of musical disciplines, and take great care in their introduction and consistent usage in the clearly stated goals of Tra le sollecitudini” and all subsequent authoritative documents that clearly define the singing roles of congregations, cantors/psalmists, celebrants and scholas/choirs.

– Enforcement of the ecclesiastical discipline on extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
No problem here, theoretically. But we’re going to need a lot of permanent deacons ordained in a couple of decades to be consistent with this demand and the other enrichments Father states above.

I’m sure much of this is a rehash of the many combox reflections in Fr. Smith’s original post. But I offer my practical “take” here on these specific, initial items. End of this commentary of Fr. Smith’s prescriptions, part one.

12 Replies to “Some Brief Remarks: Fr. Smith’s Mutual Enrichment Recipe”

  1. Catechesis from the pulpit about the Church’s preference for Holy Communion on the tongue and under one species.

    At least according to GIRM 281-2, the latter part of this statement is simply not true. Even if one wants to make a historical argument in favor of communion under one species, it is a practice that only arises in the second millennium, and then only in one part of the Church (i.e. the West). So I don't think one can really say that the Church has a "preference" for it.

  2. Hi Deacon, nice to see you cross-fertilizing here!
    Just confirming that you "got" the point that Fr. Smith, in his original post, advances his understanding, vision and propositions under the umbrella of Summorum Pontificum. That's an important distinction as communicants, in my experience at an EF/TLM, receive HC exclusively on the tongue. So, it's quite logical for him to propose that as an enrichment to the OF. It was, as I understood it, positing not pronouncing.

  3. I guess I'm uncomfortable about a priest "catechizing" people from the pulpit in a way that is misleading about what the Church in fact prefers. It would be somewhat like catechizing the people about the Church's preference for Latin over Gothic vestments — though worse, since there seems to be, all other things being equal, a preference for communion under both species in the OF. One might encourage communion under one species, but unless the GIRM is changed I don't think one should catechize that the Church prefers it.

    But maybe I'm misunderstanding something (it wouldn't be the first time).

  4. Very helpful points. My understanding has always been that, even today, the norm for the reception of Communion is on the tongue: the fact that an indult is necessary for Communion in the hand infers the preference for Communion on the tongue. Of course, if this were an academic paper, I would cite some references to Church documents. Perhaps we can look for those.

    As for Communion under both species, what I intended (and admittedly did not express clearly here) is the teaching of the Council of Trent that Holy Communion is received whole and entire under either species. I have had numerous encounters in pastoral ministry where, after the introduction of Communion under both species, not a small number of the faithful would continue to refer to the Precious Blood as wine and then say that they did not really receive Communion if they did not receive from the chalice. Also, I have never seen anywhere but the US the widespread practice of Communion under both species. I do feel that a disconnect has developed between the theology of the Mass as enunciated by Trent (and still valid) and what many of our people believe now about Holy Communion. Or maybe that is just in my experience.

    Perhaps the line should be amended to, "Catechesis from the pulpit about the Church's teaching and canonical regulations concerning Communion under both species and the mode of reception."

  5. I kneel to receive communion on the tongue at OF Mass. And I will continually do so until I can't physically kneel. How can I receive both species in kneeling? The celebrant takes both species. Isn't that enough? Often times I have seen that it gets very sloppy in the hands of lay people.

  6. Last Sunday I saw a young man almost walked away with a consecrated host hiding under his hand. Luckily the priest saw it and chased him down. He calmly made him consume the Host. Taking communion in the hands should have never been allowed, especially in our time. (I know there was a time when it was allowed with a special care. But I don't think certain practices in some particular places and time can't be applied to our time. What we have inherited in the Traditional Mass in Latin rite is what we follow as a norm. (Eastern churches have their own way of celebrating the liturgy. And certain practices cannot be taken out of the context and adopted to Latin rite as a norm.

  7. Last Sunday I saw a young man almost walked away with a consecrated host hiding under his hand. Luckily the priest saw it and chased him down

    I've seen communicants take the host out of their mouths and throw it on the floor. So, what's the point? As to the earlier reference to communion under both speices, I've traveled extensively throughout South America, lived there, and in Europe. People do indeed take communion under both species. It is NOT simply a U.S. custom.

  8. Of course, Deacon Bauerschmidt you're right about communion under both species. I think Fr. Smith could use some catechesis from the folks in the pews on the usefulness of communion under both species. Even at the celebration of the TLM someday.

    There's no reason why the TLM can't provide it with a slight adjustment to the formula for distribution of the host and chalice.

    As for the comment how communion could be administered while kneeling? Anglicans and Lutherans have no difficulty. So, why should Catholics?

  9. Of course there can be lots of abuse can be done at the communion. But we need to reduce the chance of the risk. I attend both OF and EF, and there's much less chance of abuse in EF in kneeling and tongue than OF Mass.

    "There's no reason why the TLM can't provide it with a slight adjustment to the formula for distribution of the host and chalice."

    Why it needs to change?

    "As for the comment how communion could be administered while kneeling? Anglicans and Lutherans have no difficulty. So, why should Catholics?"
    could you describe how?
    We don't need to follow Protestant practices without our 'why'?

  10. I don't understand why people think we are entitled to both species? Really? We are sinners and beggars. Beggars don't choose. Just be thankful that we can even receive the communion. One is more than enough. I attend daily Mass, and sometimes I feel that I'm taking it for granted everyday. It might be a good practice that I do a spritual communion only on Fridays.

  11. if you read carefully my original article on mutual enrichment, you will see that there is foreseen Communion under both species in the EF in the third phase. The point is that the EF can legitimately integrate Vatican II's restoration of the chalice, and that it is important that in the OF, the Church's teaching that Christ is received whole and entire under either species is still upheld. It need not be either/or, it can be both/and.

    Also, I have never presumed that because I have not seen the use of the chalice outside of the US that it doesn't happen anywhere else. In fact, I rather forgot that in the seminary, we received by intinction every day, but did not receive directly from the chalice. My principal concern here is that the distribution of Holy Communion under both species via the chalice (and not by intinction) tends to necessitate the proliferation of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

    The reception of Holy Communion under both kinds does not in itself entail a lack of proper understanding of the CHurch's teaching on the Eucharist, but it has been in our time accompanied by just that in some people. Likewise, the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion does not in itself mean an obfuscation of the distinction between the ministerial and the common priesthood, but it has in our time been accompanied by just that in some people.

    In reality, I see no reason for the EF to change, either in its rites, ceremonies or its protocol for the distribution. The article was an exercise in exploring how the two forms of the same Roman Rite can be brought closer to another in a way which respects the legitimate gift of each rite. As such, everyone is free to agree or disagree.

    Surely no one can quibble with a priest wanting to catechize his flock, given that it is part of his mission?

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