Feast of Corpus Christi…

Feast of Corpus Christi…

Happy Feast Day everyone!  This thread provides an opportunity to reflect on the great gift of God to His Church – the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Yet, how many lay people will receive Holy Communion in the hand on this wonderful Feast of Corpus Christi? How many (not so – they’re everywhere!) Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will handle the Sacred Species on this day? Which begs the question…

What, exactly, do the laity (not to mention the clergy) actually believe about the Blessed Sacrament these days? Would they, for example, believe the miracle of Lanciano or do they hide behind the term “sacramental” in explaining the Real Presence?

Today’s glorious Feast provides an opportunity to reflect on one of the central Mysteries of our Faith, while, at the same time, urging those non-ordained who justify handling the Blessed Sacrament to think again –

For the apostles had not as yet received the Eucharist from the hand of the Lord, when nevertheless Himself affirmed with truth that to be His own body which He presented (to them). And this faith has ever been in the Church of God, that, immediately after the consecration, the veritable Body of our Lord, and His veritable Blood, together with His soul and divinity, are under the species of bread and wine; but the Body indeed under the species of bread, and the Blood under the species of wine, by the force of the words; but the body itself under the species of wine, and the blood under the species of bread, and the soul under both, by the force of that natural connexion and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who hath now risen from the dead, to die no more, are united together; and the divinity, furthermore, on account of the admirable hypostatical union thereof with His body and soul. Wherefore it is most true, that as much is contained under either species as under both; for Christ whole and entire is under the species of bread, and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole (Christ) is under the species of wine, and under the parts thereof.
(First Decree, Council of Trent)

Comments (58)

  • Josephine

    Happy Feast of Corpus Christi!

    I’ve got a question I keep meaning to ask and I think this is the place to ask.

    It bothers me that priests discourage praying the Rosary at Mass or when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.

    The reason they give is that it’s not “liturgical”.

    I cannot see this, since the Rosary is really all about the Life of Christ.

    I’m hoping to get this straight in my mind now, thanks to this thread.

    Is it really “unliturgical” to pray the Rosary during Mass and Exposition?

    May 30, 2013 at 12:31 am
    • editor

      In one of his excellent books on Fatima, (Sr Lucia – Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart) Mark Fellowes quotes Sr Lucia challenging the “campaign” against the Rosary and saying that it “forms part of the Sacred Liturgy”:

      After remarking about the blindness ins “so many people who occupy positions of responsibility!…” Sr Lucia writes: “As much as possible, we have to seek to make reparation by a union with the Lord that is ever more intimate, identifying ourselves with Him, so that He may be, in us, the light of this world which is immersed in the darkness of error, immorality and pride. It hurts me to learn about what you say, of what already is also happening there!…It is because the devil has been able to infiltrate evil under the guise of good, and they act as the blind leading the blind, as Our Lord tells us in His Gospel; and souls go on allowing themselves to be deceived. Voluntarily I sacrifice myself and offer my life to God, for peace in His Church, for priests and for all consecrated souls, above all for those who carry on so erroneously and so deceived!…This is why the devil has made such war against it (the Rosary). And what is worse is that he has succeeded in deluding and deceiving souls who have much responsibility because of the positions they occupy!…They are the blind leading the blind!…We pray, work, sacrifice ourselves and trust that — In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!”

      In a letter to a nephew who was a priest, Sister Lucia wrote:

      “That which some disoriented people have published against the prayer of the Rosary is false. More ancient than the prayer of the Rosary is the light of the sun,and they do not want to lose the benefit of its brilliance and heat. More ancient are the Psalms, and they, as with the prayers that constitute the Rosary, form part of the Sacred Liturgy. The repetition of the Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be is the chain that elevates us to God and takes us to Him, giving us participation in His divine Life in us, — like the repetition of the morsels of bread with which we feed ourselves and sustain natural life; and we don’t call that outdated! The disorientation is diabolical! Don’t let yourself be deceived.”

      To another priest-nephew Lucia wrote:

      “It is necessary, therefore, to not let yourself be drawn away by the doctrines of disorientated contradictors…The campaign is diabolical. We need to confront it, without getting into conflicts: Say, to souls, that now more than ever we need to pray for ourselves and for those who are against us! Source here

      May 30, 2013 at 9:35 am
      • Josephine

        That is a very helpful quote from Sister Lucia. I don’t think many people think that the Rosary is part of the Sacred Liturgy.

        May 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm
    • Eileenanne

      The Feast of Corpus Christi is not celebrated till Sunday in Scotland but Happy Feast Day when it comes anyhow.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:47 am
      • editor

        Those of us who attend SSPX chapels keep the Feasts on the original day and then we enjoy the jokes of those who tell us their priests make announcements such as “Ascension Thursday is next Sunday”!

        But note: our priests have made clear to us that there is no obligation under pain of sin to attend on the weekday. Unless a Feast is kept in the diocese, there is no obligation. Most of us do try to keep the original Feasts, though, and, please God, I’ll make it to our Corpus Christi Mass this evening.

        May 30, 2013 at 11:04 am
      • Athanasius


        Pope Francis celebrates it today, the Traditional Feast Day (even in Scotland). That’s good enough for us. So happy Feast Day TODAY!

        May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am
      • Eileenanne

        You are not always so ready to side with the Pope!

        May 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm
      • Athanasius


        That’s because I am not a sycophant. I do however give credit where it is due, and the Holy Father deserves credit for highlighting the Traditional day of Corpus Christi, the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

        May 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm
    • Athanasius


      Any priest who calls the Rosary “unliturgical” and discourages its recitation should seriously be in fear for his salvation. Take that priest’s words and just imagine them coming from Lucifer’s mouth. There’s really no difference!

      The Rosary is based on Sacred Scripture and Vatican II’s document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, insisted that the Liturgy must be more Scriptural. So it seems to me that priests who come up with opposition to the Rosary on the grounds that it’s not Liturgical are really just liars. It’s quite obvious to me who these priest serve as their true master, and it’s not Our Lord.

      May 30, 2013 at 11:22 am
      • Josephine

        I agree completely. Any priest who dismisses the Rosary, in any way, is not a good priest.

        May 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm
  • Crossraguel

    I posted over on the other thread about Pope Francis calling upon the dioceses of the world to join him for an hour before the blessed sacrament at 4pm on Sunday. That will round off nicely a day starting with a procession through the city centre, the first I’ll have witnessed in Scotland.

    As editor said, there will be much liturgical practice on the day too, which will threaten belief in the real presence, as we have come to expect. Please God Pope Francis addresses this without delay.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:22 am
    • editor


      Has this call from the Pope for processions and devotions on Corpus Christi brought a good widespread response? In your diocese, for example, is every parish going to comply with the Pope’s wishes?

      And I agree with you that the Pope should address the issue of the liturgical abuse of Communion in the hand without delay. It really has to be a priority of his pontificate.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:44 am
      • Crossraguel


        Afraid I don’t know what’s happening elsewhere in the diocese – I presume the central procession is for the city deanery and am pretty sure Inverness, Elgin and some of the more rural places such as Keith will similarly observe. Unfortunately quite a few parishes share priests so exposition would either be limited to wherever the priest is in the afternoon, or would involve laymen. I’d imagine we’d both opt for the former if given the choice.

        May 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm
    • Eileenanne


      The procession from St Patrick’s to St Paul’s could indeed be a terrific event – if enough people turn up. IMHO, the route is too long and, as it is a deanery event, a series of smaller processions converging on a more central church might have been preferable. It has been suggested that people who cannot manage the whole walk can dip in and out where they choose, but my fear is that by the end, more might have dipped out than in!. I really hope I am wrong. I would love to see a huge turn out for the whole route. People from anywhere are more than welcome to come along.

      There are at least two other processions taking place on Sunday, one in Clydebank and the traditional one on Croy. That is a good spread of locations across west central Scotland, so many people will have one within striking distance. Details of times and locations here: http://www.rcag.org.uk/

      May 30, 2013 at 9:59 am
      • editor

        Thank you for that information, Eileenanne.

        May 30, 2013 at 11:05 am
      • Crossraguel


        Good to hear they’ve various processions in Glasgow as well; I was referring to Aberdeen. No such problems with distance here – from St. Peter’s, Castlegate along Union Street to the Cathedral – less than a mile. Starts at the historic pre-emancipation/restoration chapel, past the courts, townhouse and pre-reformation St. Nicholas kirk.

        May 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm
      • Eileenanne

        How did yours go Crossraguel? (Sorry for forgetting there are cities other than Glasgow!)
        My fear that the West End of Glasgow procession might fizzle out were unfounded. It was very well attended right along the route. If anything, more folk finished it than started. A good variety of ages was represented too. I still think it was rather too long though. I would love to see this become an annual event, but maybe half the distance. Otherwise it was great.

        June 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm
    • Athanasius


      I watched a video of Pope Francis the other day, celebrating Mass for First Communicants in one of the parishes of Rome. It was a sorrowful sight, I have to say, completely the opposite to what Pope Benedict XVI tried to restore.

      In the first place, I noticed that some of the First Communicants were a lot older than seven years, which is utterly disgraceful and typical of the loss of Catechetics for children. But the Pope just stood there placing Holy Communion on the tongues of the children as they filed past without any requirement for them to kneel. He even intincted the each Host into the precious blood before administering, which the Protestants insisted must be done if one is to receive the full body and blood of Christ. Trent dismissed this practice for precisely the reason that it would add credence to the error of the Protestants.

      But the worst thing of all is that the Pope did not use a Paten while administering the Sacred Species. Imagine all those particles, not to mention possible drops of the precious blood, that dropped to the ground from the hands of this careless Pope. God help the Church if even the successor of St. Peter has become so irreverent with His Lord. I was also quite disturbed when an elderly man went for Holy Communion but decided to share a few words and a laugh with the Pope before receiving. What has happened to the Faith of Catholics?

      May 30, 2013 at 11:35 am
      • Eileenanne

        But at least Pope Francis celebrates Corpus Christi on the “right” day – or at least the same day as you do, so he’s not all bad.

        May 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm
      • Athanasius


        Yours is too flippant a response to a very serious matter. Just another example of the diminution in faith and reverence in our time.

        What I reported should have appalled you, but it would appear that irreverence for the Blessed Sacrament at that level in the Church doesn’t trouble you in the slightest. That’s why the Church is in such crisis.

        May 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm
      • Eileenanne

        But at least Pope Francis celebrates Corpus Christi on the “right” day – or at least the same day as you do – so he’s not all bad.

        May 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm
  • Thurifer

    When I was a child in 2nd grade (and going to the Novus Ordo), we learned that when you received on the hand that your hand was “like a throne for Christ”. We were instructed to cup the right hand under the left so as to allow the Host to be placed on the left. The right hand would be used to pick up the Host and place it in the mouth. Then we were told to bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross afterwards.

    A thought occurred to me some months ago about how many sins one can commit just with one’s own hands!!

    May 30, 2013 at 7:19 am
    • editor

      In case you missed it on our Mass page, here is a very interesting interview on video with a Bishop speaking about Communion in the hand.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:40 am
    • Eileenanne

      About as many as you can commit with your tongue!

      May 30, 2013 at 9:45 am
      • Eileenanne

        I thought if I clicked “Reply” under a comment, mine would appear there. Either it doesn’t or I clicked the wrong place, but my comment was meant to follow Thurifer’s.

        May 30, 2013 at 10:02 am
      • editor

        Yes, I thought the same. But what seems to be happening is that the first person to click “reply” goes underneath the comment (in this case, it was my reply to Thurifer) and then further replies to Thurifer (or whoever) go underneath the reply to the reply, if you get my drift. It’s a bit of a pain, but we’ll get used to it, I suppose.

        May 30, 2013 at 11:09 am
      • editor

        As soon as I read Thurifer’s post I thought “Eileenanne will come on to remark that we also commit many sins with our tongue…”

        Moot point. If we receive on the tongue, we do not risk dropping even a single particle of the Host, and, remember, Our Lord is present, whole and entire, in every single particle of the Blessed Sacrament.

        May 30, 2013 at 11:10 am
      • Eileenanne

        I bet you have also numbered the hairs on my head.:-)

        May 30, 2013 at 11:21 am
      • Athanasius


        I suppose, as a woman, you will be grateful that you have hairs on your head to number. Just be thankful that you don’t have a beard and moustache!

        May 30, 2013 at 11:57 am
    • Athanasius


      That teaching you received about cupping the hands “like a throne for Christ” came from dubious document ascribed to St. Cyril in the 3rd century. What they didn’t tell you is that the same document goes on to admonish communicants that they must be extremely careful that no particle of the Sacred Host falls to the ground, lest they be guilty of irreverence by their negligence.

      At any rate, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in his book, Dominus Est says that it would have been absolutely abhorrent to the early Christians to receive Holy Communion in the left hand. Nor did they touch the Blessed Sacrament with their fingers. They bowed and consumed Holy Communion directly from the palm of the right hand and then repeated the proces to ensure that they had lifted every particle from the hand. Bishop Schneider is a expert in Patristics, so he knows his liturgical Church history.

      The modern practice of Communion in the hand, including intinction, is based not on the model of the early Christians, as we are led to believe, but rather on the model of the Protestant Reformers, who introduced left handed reception, touching the Host and standing to show their unbelief in the Real Presence. Catholics have been utterly fooled by their bishops on this point.

      May 30, 2013 at 11:53 am
      • Thurifer

        Athanasius, I had no idea it came from an obscure document. I thought they were just making that part up! We were never told about the particles or having much reverence.

        May 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm
      • Athanasius


        I know you probably weren’t told about these things, even though Pope Paul VI insisted that extensive Catechetical instruction must be given as a prerequisite for the validity of the “Indult” of administering Communion in the hand.

        I take it you were informed that communion in the hand is an indult granted by the Holy See under strict conditions to local or national Bishops’ Conferences? The official method for reception of Holy Communion throughout the universal Church remains that of kneeling and receiving on the tongue. I’ll bet your parish priest didn’t tell you that little shocker!

        Imagine all those millions of particles that fall to the ground and are trodden under foot at all the Masses offered throughout the world every week, each particle being the full body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord and Saviour. It’s horrifying, is it not? I hope you will refrain from the practice from now on, now that you know. Besides, the Popes never wanted or ordered this new practice. It was illicitly introduced, which means it was rebelliously introduced by Cardinal Suenens, I believe, in Holland. He should have been defrocked but instead his fellow rebel bishops followed his Protestant example and forced the practice on the unsuspecting faithful, who they considered to be ignorant sheep anyway. And so it has proved for four decades!

        May 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm
      • Thurifer

        Athanasius, I normally go to a diocesan TLM, but sometimes I can make it to a Society Mass that’s two and a half hours away (which is what I would prefer). I haven’t received on the hand in years!

        May 31, 2013 at 2:37 am
    • honestbroker

      Yes, but how many sins does one commit with one’s tongue! Read the letter of James!

      June 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm
  • editor

    Off Topic

    N O T I C E . . .

    This is a message for the person (David) who emailed me alleged information about Cardinal O’Brien this morning. When I replied to acknowledge this message, it was immediately returned by Mail Delivery Service, suggesting a possible fake email address. So, David, whether the information is true or false, I won’t be repeating it.

    Please note, we publish NOTHING which comes to us without verification and without knowing our source. Don’t waste your time. If you’re trying to catch us out, forget it. If you’re afraid of divulging your identity to us, then there’s no point contacting us. We never divulge our sources, but we need to know who they are; in the, hopefully unlikely, event of facing a judge in a court I need to be able to swear on oath that I trust the source of the given information, but would refuse to divulge any names. Call me a martyr if you will, but that’s the well rehearsed drill. Can’t do that, if I don’t know the source myself.

    Apologies for this off topic intervention – please don’t bother commenting anyone, I have nothing further to add to this notice.

    On Topic…

    One of my happiest childhood/youth memories is of Panis Angelicus being played on the organ/sung by choir during distribution of Holy Communion at the old rite Mass. .

    May 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm
    • Athanasius


      One of your childhood/youth memories? That must have been around the time St. Thomas Aquinas first penned that wonderful prayer/hymn! Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s worth the loss of all privileges.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm
      • editor

        I hope you still think so when you can’t log in here!

        May 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm
  • Athanasius

    Have you been taking hints from Fr. Z?

    May 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm
    • editor

      As if. I mean, would I ?

      I’ve just been indulging in a wee bout of wishful thinking!

      May 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm
  • gloria

    Happy Feast Day everyone.

    It saddens me that priests would claim that the Rosary is “unliturgical”. Diabolical disorientation is behind that idea.
    At the SSPX Chapel I go to, five decades of the Rosary are recited prior to Mass beginning. And yes I and others recite the Rosary during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Just think back to the aftermath of World War II. Austria has been the only country that Russia communist troops upped and left, the majority of the population along with Bishops and priests prayed the Rosary. It had never been known for communists to leave a country without imposing communist ideals

    There is also the Battle of Lepanto, where the Pope of the time asked that the Rosary be prayed, the result was the defeat of the Moslelms. This at a time when Islam had conquered a great part of Europe. Apparently the Pope had some kind of vision when the battle had been won.

    I heard from a family member, the story a Belgian Jesuit priest had told him in the 1950s. I cannot rememer if it happened in Belgium or Holland.

    A priest had been out on a sick call and was returning home. He had a sudden urge to go to a particular door in the street he was passing. The woman who opened the door, was so glad to see him, as there was a lady dying in one of the rooms upstairs, and she showed up to it. He was able to hear her confession and ensure she had the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. The thing was no one had sent for a priest.

    This woman had lived a not very good life, possibly being as the saying “a woman of the night”. One thing she had done since she was a small child, learnt from her mother, was to pray one decade of the Rosary on a daily basis. A custom which she had continued no matter the life she lead. Our Lady answered those prayers by making sure that she had time for repentance before she died.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm
  • Sanctus

    As a young Catholic I have been brought up in a parish where there was Exposition every day from after morning Mass until evening Benediction. This tended to be well attended by parishioners and those from further afield. Of course you also had those few old people who never seemed to leave as though they had no home but anyway. Sadly the Priest who encouraged this devotion (who also had a great devotion to Our Lady and widely encouraged the Rosary in the Parish) retired due to age and ill health. The new Priest who is alot younger however in most ways seems to be very traditional and very devote to Our Lady and traditional practices despite seeming very shy on the Altar. Disappointingly one of the things he has done away with is the Exposition (It had already stopped for a few months before he arrived due to the then priests ill health). He always preaches about us spending more time with the Blessed Sacrament and in prayer and devotion and yet he has never made an attempt to restore Exposition or Benediction. We had exposition for a short time during Lent and I hoped this was the start of something however nothing came of it. It is a real shame and he has often said to me that he plans to have more devotions, Benediction and Exposition etc. however nothing ever happens. I just really wish our clergy would encourage and allow us the opportunity to spend more time in prayer and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. P.S. As far as I know we are not celebrating anything for Corpus Christi other than our normal Sunday Masses. He is a very busy Priest with many chaplaincies and has not arranged anything which is very sad. The fact he is so busy is the reason put down to there being no exposition anymore which if it is the case is very sad.

    May 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm
    • Sanctus

      After posting I realise I dont seem to have made a main point rather just a rant. My point is as above who todays Church lacks a serious devotion and care for the Blessed Sacrament and that apart from Mass, many of our parishes celebrate nothing else and the faith is dead until the sacristy bell rings for Mass tomorrow.

      May 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm
      • Athanasius


        I sympathise with you, especially since your old parish priest seems to have been one of a rare few these days who has the slightest interest in Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

        Part of the problem appears to be the huge loss of priests and vocations since Vatican II. There were, on average, 3 – 4 priests per parish in Glasgow before the Council. That gives you some indication of the spiritual devastation that has been visisted on the Church since the liberals took control and banished Sacred Tradition, including the Rosary and Benediction, sometimes even tabernacles.

        It’s hard to believe sometimes that before Vatican II there were three Masses on Sunday mornings in almost every parish. In Glasgow, the people for the second and third Masses were lined all the way down the street waiting for to enter the Church. I wonder what happened to all those Catholics.

        Additionally, there were in most parishes weekday devotions of all kinds; the men’s Sacred Heart, the women’s Sacred Heart, the Rosary and Benediction, 40 hours adoration, Third Orders of various kinds, Novena’s to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, missions, etc., etc., and parish priests regularly visited their parishioners in their homes. That’s mostly gone now and the Church is just a shadow of its former self. Even the seminaries, all five of them, have been shut down in Scotland, as have numerous beautiful churches that were once alive and thriving. Many such churches, some of them listed buildings, were demolished or sold on for profane purposes. Yes, the destruction of conciliar reform is there for all to see.

        But there is another aspect to this problem you describe, which is that today priests simply can’t be bothered. They want regular holidays and days off, not to mention a wee bit of telly time at night, not at all like such priests as St. Padre Pio and St. John Vianney. Many priests are just not that dedicated to the sanctification of souls any more, while some others are just dispirited by all they’ve seen. It’s a tragic situation. You won’t find many martyr priests around now who are prepared to wear themselves out for their flock. That’s what made lay involvement such an attractive proposition to them. Why do yourself what you can get a lay person to do for you? That’s the mentality among many of today’s clergy.

        I also have to say that where there is still Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, I have been shocked to see how plain the Monstrances have become, and how dull and drab the altar upon which the Monstrance stands. There is no beauty surrounding Our Lord any more. The Monstrance used to be surrounded by flowers and candles to enhance the Churches teaching that this is God before us. These were great acts of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament and great helps to people’s devotion. But that too has gone and it makes one wonder what has become of their faith. These are truly sad times for Catholics.

        My advice to you, and this will win for your soul very great graces, is to console Our Lord for all of these negligences today by offering a Holy Hour of Reparation to the Blessed Sacrament in your home once a week, or once a month. There is a book of prayer you can get for this purpose. Just think of Our Lord’s gratitude to you for so kind an act.

        May 31, 2013 at 7:20 pm
      • editor


        No need to apologise – your post isn’t a “rant” – it’s very good and very thoughtful.

        The first thing that sprang to my mind was the question have you asked your PP to organise more Benediction/Exposition?

        The second thing that sprang to my mind is, have you studied our Mass page ?

        I think you would LOVE the Traditional Latin Mass – it sometimes takes a few consecutive weeks in attendance, but there’s no question that if you attend the TLM, it will change you. Big time.

        May 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm
  • Sanctus

    Thank you very much Editor and Athanasius for your fascinating responses. In response to how plain the Altar for Adoration is I found a Church in a neighboring town recently which had an hour of exposition in a side chapel with a simple monstrance and only two candles. Although it was very nice to find the Blessed Sacrament exposed and I found it a very spiritual time of prayer it was very sad to see how little effort had been put into the preparation for the adoration. One point which I missed in my last post is that our new Priest has spend money on a lovely new monstrance and thabor (I think thats the right word) from Rome. As far as I am aware, it has been used for one week for a mission and that is all.

    As you mentioned I find many priests in the area are all about themselves and not about the serve to God and his people. My last parish Priest was in his 80’s when he retired and suffered from Alzheimers. He gave everyday of his ministry to his people. IN a neighboring parish bulletin I read the Priests notice which said do not contact me on a certain day as this is my day off and I do not want to be annoyed, I need my rest. I dont know why he needs rest he does nothing to deserve it, but this is sadly the attitude of many of todays priests. If this is how our Priests are is it any wonder Catholics arent coming to Mass anymore.

    May 31, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    • Athanasius


      Some very good points made by you. I can’t believe the priest who wrote in the newsletter that no one was to contact him on his day off. I wonder if that included the dying! It really does beggar belief, unheard of in the Church.

      As for the two candle affair at the monstrance on Exposition, that’s the standard today. That’s what they think of their Divine Redeemer who is there present before them. There has to be something seriously wrong with their Eucharistic spirituality to reduce the King of kings to a single candle either side of the Monstrance. I wonder what lengths they would go to if the Queen Elizabeth announced a visit to their chapel house? I’ll bet there would be no expense spared!

      May 31, 2013 at 8:59 pm
      • Eileenanne

        I have never been to Exposition where there were only two candles. More and more Athanasius, I think you are extremely unlucky with the experiences you have at whatever churches you attend.

        If I did see the Blessed Sacrament exposed with only two candles, my first thought might be that it was to reduce the fire risk. If people want exposition – with or without multiple candles – they need to be able to organise a system whereby it is absolutely guaranteed that the Blessed Sacrament is never left unattended. That would mean several people volunteering for each hour of the day, in case one or two are unavoidably detained. Not always easy to arrange.

        June 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm
      • editor

        Just curious, Eileenanne – but I notice you take Athanasius to task about the candles, not Sanctus who actually raised the issue. And the reason is…. ?

        June 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm
      • Eileenanne

        Because Sanctus claimed to have seen it once. Athanasius said it was “…standard today”. I believe Sanctus, but I Athanasius’s experience has not been mine.

        June 4, 2013 at 8:17 am
  • Christina

    Editor, Athanasius, Gloria (sorry if I’ve missed any), I was interested in the reaction to the contention that the Rosary is not liturgical. I’m no expert, but as I understand it ‘the liturgy’ is contained in the Church’s liurgical books, and so as it touches me in my daily life liturgical prayer is limited to the Holy Mass and the Divine Office. If Sister Lucia is quoted in full above she did not say that the Rosary is ‘liturgical’ in the same way as the Mass or Divine Office are – she said More ancient are the Psalms, and they, as with the prayers that constitute the Rosary, form part of the Sacred Liturgy. In other words prayers that are contained in the Rosary (Pater noster, Gloria and Salve Regina) are found in the liturgy just as the psalms are found in the Office.

    What is diabolical is for anyone to say (as many priests do) that because the Rosary is not ‘liturgical’, as are the Mass and Office, it should be banished. Catholicism is distinguished for its many devotions which go hand in hand with liturgical prayer. The Rosary is the greatest Catholic devotion and it actually mirrors the Divine Office in that the 150 Hail Marys correspond to the 150 psalms of the entire cursus of the Office – hence the grave wrong of adding the ‘luminous mysteries’ to Our Lady’s perfect prescription). The acceptance of ‘liturgy’ and rejection of devotions is complete protestantism, but then that goes hand in hand with many other protestantising trends in the modern Church.

    June 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm
    • honestbroker

      I have lived in several parishes and have never heard any priest say this of the Rosary and if I were to then I’d challenge him, believe me. Priests like this need to be confronted!

      June 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm
      • editor

        I heard not too long ago about a Glasgow priest who objected to the Rosary being prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. He’d obviously missed the bit where Mother Teresa said this brought special graces…

        June 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm
      • honestbroker

        I hope his parishioners complained to the Archbishop. I don’t care what prayer a person says in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament it is just so wonderful to see people there at all.

        June 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm
  • Athanasius


    I think perhaps you misunderstand what we are saying about the liturgical nature of the Rosary.

    Pope Paul VI said: “Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [i.e. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof.”

    These words of the Pope chime with the quote of Sister Lucy, who said: “More ancient are the Psalms, and they, as with the prayers that constitute the Rosary, form part of the Sacred Liturgy.”

    The contention we made to begin with was that the priest who said that the Rosary was unliturgical was quite simply wrong, as is clear from the two statements above. The Rosary is intimately woven into the Sacred Liturgy both by its various Scripturally-based prayers and by the contemplation of its Mysteries, most notably the Sorrowful ones. What are the Sorrowful Mysteries, for example, if not a contemplation of the Sacrifice of Our Lord, which is the heart of the Mass?

    So the point is not whether or not the Rosary is a formal part of the liturgical books of the Church, but rather that it is not “unliturgical.” It could only be called unliturgical if it did not reflect in essence prayers and meditations contained in the Sacred Liturgy. It is clearly ridiculous, then, for any priest to try to disuade the faithful from reciting the rosary during Mass.

    Remember the story of the Catholic faithful in Japan (can’t recall the name of the place) who were deprived of the Mass for 200 years, but whose Catholic Faith was sustained throughout that long period by means of assiduous recitation of the Rosary. These people clearly maintained their link with the Mass by meditation on the liturgical aspect of that Marian devotion, every prayer and mystery of which is found somewhere in the Church’s liturgical books.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:23 am
  • Christina

    With respect (as always) Athanasius, I did not misunderstand what was said in the posts in question. However, I may not have made my own response to those posts sufficiently clear – either that, or you have misunderstood me! Perhaps I am being pedantic, but I want to remove confusion that I see here by defining terms and making a very important distinction between the Sacred Liturgy and other devotions, which include the Holy Rosary.

    What moved me to respond was the following quotation: Mark Fellowes quotes Sister Lucia…saying that (the Rosary) “forms part of the Sacred Liturgy”. Sister Lucia was wrong. The Rosary does not form part of the Sacred Liturgy correctly defined and understood. Other bloggers went along with the confusion, one saying that Sister Lucia’s statement was ‘helpful’, and another, as if to further legitimise the Rosary’s ‘status’ as part of the Sacred Liturgy, said that it is said in Benediction – which isn’t part of the Sacred Liturgy either!

    The Sacred Liturgy is precisely the work of Christ present in the Church as manifested by 1. the Sacrifice of the Mass, 2. the Sacraments, 3. the Divine Office.

    The liturgy, then, is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man’s sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members.

    From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the Priest and of his Body, which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7).

    And again:

    In obedience, therefore to her Founder’s behest, the Church prolongs the priestly mission of Jesus Christ mainly by means of the Sacred Liturgy. She does this in the first place at the altar, where constantly the Sacrifice of the Cross is re-presented…….She does it next by by means of the Sacraments….She does it finally by offering to God…the daily tribute of her prayer and praise. “What a spectacle for heaven and earth”, observes Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, “is the Church at prayer! For centuries without interruption, from midnight to midnight, the divine psalmody of the inspired canticles is repeated on earth; there is no hour of the day that is not hallowed by its special liturgy, there is no stage of human life that has not its part in the thanksgiving, praise, supplication and reparation of this common prayer of the Mystical Body of Christ which is His Church. (Mediator Dei, 3).

    In Mediator Dei, 29 Pope Pius XII referring to devotional practices (such as the recitation of the Rosary) points to the errors of some priests as we have been discussing them on this thread, and says: From these profound considerations (regarding the Sacred Liturgy) some are led to conclude that all Christian piety must be centred in the Mystical Body of Christ, with no regard for what is ‘personal’ or ‘subjective’, as they would have it. As a result they feel that all other religious exercises not directly connected with the sacred Liturgy and performed outside public worship should be omitted.

    He then condemns these errors in addressing bishops and priests directly: In keeping with your pastoral solicitude, Venerable Brethren, do not cease to recommend and encourage these exercises of piety from which the faithful, entrusted to your care, cannot but derive salutary fruit. Above all do not allow….that only liturgical rites are of any real value or dignity – that churches be closed during the hours not appointed for public functions….where the adoration of the august Sacrament and visits to Our Lord in the tabernacle are neglected: where confession of devotion is discouraged, and devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, a sign of ‘predestination’ according to the opinion of holy men, is so neglected,especially among the young as to fade away and gradually vanish.

    And finally, listing some of the devotions outside the Sacred Liturgy he says:

    When dealing with genuine and solid piety We stated that there could be no real opposition between the Sacred Liturgy and other religious practices, provided they be kept within legitimate bounds and performed for a legitimate purpose. In fact there are certain exercises of piety which rhe Church recommends very much to clergy and religious.

    It is Our wish also that the faithful, as well, should take part in these practices. The chief of these are: meditation on spiritual things, diligent examination of conscience, enclosed retreats, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and those special prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary among which the Rosary, as all know, has pride of place. (Mediator Dei, 173, 174).

    Finally, it is perfectly correct to use the adjective ‘liturgical’ to describe the Rosary and other devotions because it is fully in keeping with norms given in Sacrosanctum Concilium, 13 that …. such devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonise with the liturgical seasons, accord with the Sacred Liturgy, and are in some way derived from it, and lead the people to it, since the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them. What is not correct is to call the rosary ‘part of the Sacred Liturgy’. It is a priceless devotion, derived from the sacred Liturgy and leading souls to it.

    June 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm
    • editor


      I think Sister Lucy’s remark (written to her nephew, in a letter, remember, she wasn’t writing an academic study paper) about the Rosary “being part of the Sacred Liturgy” is to be understood as Athanasius has clarified it, in the context of the original point being made:

      The contention we made to begin with was that the priest who said that the Rosary was unliturgical was quite simply wrong, as is clear from the two statements above. The Rosary is intimately woven into the Sacred Liturgy both by its various Scripturally-based prayers and by the contemplation of its Mysteries, most notably the Sorrowful ones.

      If we omit “Sacred” and consider that the Rosary is a part of the liturgy of the Church, that the Rosary is liturgical, then there should not be any confusion, taking the meaning of the term at its simplest, as communal ‘service’ (or worship). However, it’s good that you have highlighted the possibility of confusion – much appreciated.

      I think it was Pope Paul VI who said it was wrong to pray the Rosary during Mass. Makes you laugh, doesn’t it, when you think of what goes on in novus ordo Masses. Routinely, children are removed from the body of the congregation to play games and have a fun time with the readings before being brought in to perform, to show the adults how much they’ve learned (I know this priest-led charade doesn’t take place in all parishes, but it HAS taken place in all the parishes I’ve ever had the misfortune to attend) and of course it’s perfectly OK to have a Protestant “bishop” or minister preaching at Catholic congregations – anything but the Rosary.


      June 4, 2013 at 12:20 am
  • Christina

    Editor, thank you for summing up and appreciating the possible confusion. The quotations I gave from Mediator Dei should be all that is needed to confound protestantised clergy who would cut out all devotions not contained in the ‘Sacred Liturgy’ strictly so defined. But I forgot – silly me! Mediator Dei came before Vat.II, and the the couple of paragraphs of the latter’s Sacrosanctum Concilium mentioning ‘popular devotions’ typically lack the unambiguous clarity of Pius XII’s encyclical.

    Re your last paragraph. I was up in your fair land on holiday at Whitsuntide, and, already having missed Mass because of lack of access to the true Mass the week before, I crept into the back of an NO church for the only Mass celebrated on the feast of Pentecost, hoping to read my missal in peace (I don’t want any miss(ile)s, please, I know this is a contentious thing for a traditional Catholic to do but my conscience usually comes down in favour of doing it after a struggle). Well, if the goings-on were typical, I am very, very sorry for you poor things north of the border. The racket of mutual greetings and conversation before Father came in (not a nod to the Blessed Sacrament) was unbelievable. ‘Music’ was a deafening racket from a big children’s ‘band’ and ‘choir’ with guitars, tambourines, cymbals and heaven knows what else, belting out some pop ‘Mass’ with the Peruvian Gloria’s ‘clap, clap, clap’ replaced by the crashing of every available instrument. There was no sermon, and instead a large crowd of small children dashed up the aisle and clamoured (hands up and pushing each other) for the attention of the seated priest, so that they could individually regale him and the congregation with tales of where they’d been and what exciting things they’d been doing during the week – to most of which his response was “WOW!”. I thought this was the Offertory procession, but no, after the children had run back to their places the long line of ‘gift bearers’ advanced, and so it went on, through the din of the ‘music’ which only faltered when the ‘band leader’ struck up one real hymn tune at Communion, Breathe on me breath of God and the choristers gave up the attempt, straggling off after the first half line. Then there was a cringeworty and prolonged ‘sign of peace’, universal reception of Communion (except for yours truly), and I staggered out wondering if I’d merited or sinned. What a dreadful, dreadful position we find ourselves in in this nightmare world of liturgical ‘renewal’.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:48 am
  • editor


    That was an horrendous experience.

    However, this morning’s post brought me a letter from a man who enclosed a copy of a Mass booklet containing the prayers/hymns for a Mass he’d recently attended at a school in his neck of Scotland. He described himself as a long time reader of our newsletter and blog, and asked me to give credit where credit is due.

    It certainly was great to see some of the old hymns there and a restoration of “Lord I am not worthy… enter under my roof” etc. so I will publish his letter and acknowledge the credit where it’s due. Must check out that school, too, but I will also remind readers of the issues surrounding the new Mass, “reverent” or not.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

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