When I come across a news item online about parish life in Novus Ordo Land, I typically ignore it. I already know the punchline, and the joke is on those poor parishioners who sincerely want to be Catholic but have no idea just how Protestant they’ve become.
Moving on, I always gratefully recall how there but for the grace of God do I remain.
This morning, however, I saw a headline that I just couldn’t resist:
The reason this particular story caught my eye is that it sounded awfully familiar.
During the swine flu outbreak in 2009, I was regularly going to a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin (yeah, the lipstick meets pig variety, but for me, praise God, a stepping stone to the Mass of Ages) at the Basilica of the Assumption in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
One Sunday in May, while en route to the Basilica, a friend who had just attended an earlier Mass at a different parish called to tell me that the pastor had made an announcement. The archbishop, he said, had ordered Communion under both kinds to be temporarily suspended due to the flu.
She told me that the priest made it a point to say that parishioners were free to continue receiving the Eucharist on the tongue, but he was asking those who normally do so to consider receiving in the hand just for the time being. My friend’s father was an “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” that day, and he relayed that many people still received on the tongue, but not as many as usual.
When Communion time arrived at the Basilica, I expected to hear a similar announcement, but our priest made it sound as if the archbishop had instituted an “in-the-hand only” policy; something I have never done and had no intention of doing.
It was confusing to say the least, but I approached the priest for Holy Communion as I always did; prepared to receive on the tongue. He refused to give it to me.
The following day, I reached out to the Communications Director of the Archdiocese and was informed that Archbishop O’Brien was leaving it up to individual pastors to decide whether or not to offer Communion on the tongue until the flu outbreak passed.
Long story short, after some back and forth the pastor ultimately agreed to let me receive on the tongue moving forward, but asked that I come up last so the guy behind me wouldn’t have to worry about getting infected.
The takeaway from all of this for me was simple; these people don’t really believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Fast forward to the story linked above, which comes to us from the official monthly newspaper of the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT:
Precautions the Norwich Diocese has taken were outlined in a letter read to parishioners at Masses Jan. 13 and 14. The diocese is suspending the sign of peace along with the distribution of consecrated wine, which represents the blood of Christ, according to the letter.
Holy Communion will continue in the Norwich Diocese, however people are encouraged to receive the sacramental bread, which represents the body of Christ, in their hands instead of on the tongue …
Leaders of the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Bridgeport have not gone to the same lengths as in Norwich but are discouraging handshakes during the sign of peace, the distribution of the wine and other rituals that involve physical contact …
Brian Wallace, a spokesman for the Bridgeport Diocese, said many of the parishes have suspended the distribution of wine …
“People may choose to receive the host but not the wine during Communion, they make their own judgment,” Wallace said.
Bread represents the body of Christ… Wine represents the blood of Christ.
What is this?
Let’s allow Dan Cozart, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church to explain:
The Representative View is held by most Protestants and all Baptists. The bread and wine are both symbols in this view. The bread represents the body of Christ, while the wine represents His blood. There is no holiness in the elements themselves. Nor does one acquire righteousness by eating the bread and drinking the cup. The purpose is to show forth the death of Christ until He comes again.
Get it? No?
Ok, let’s see if the Presbyterian Church USA can explain it just a little better:
Christ’s perfect sacrifice of love and service is not re-enacted or reactualized at the Lord’s Supper; rather, in the joyful feast of eucharistic celebration, we offer our praise and thanksgiving to God for this amazing gift. Furthermore, the sacrament that Christ instituted for the remembrance of him takes the form of a simple meal — a sharing of bread and wine. Therefore, it is Presbyterian practice to refer to the Lord’s table rather than an altar.
Still not clear?
Maybe the Novus Ordo missal currently in use can connect the dots:
The Church is called to the table the Lord has prepared for his people, the memorial of his Death and Resurrection until he comes again. (Third Edition of the Roman Missal, pg. 341)
As we adore you, O God, who alone are holy and wonderful in all your Saints, we implore your grace, so that, coming to perfect holiness in the fullness of your love, we may pass from this pilgrim table to the banquet of our heavenly homeland. (“Mystery of faith,” ibid., pg. 980)
O Lord, who have renewed us with the one Bread and the one Chalice, grant that in sincerity of heart we may show true compassion toward strangers and the abandoned and that all of us may deserve to be gathered together at last in the land of the living. Through Christ our Lord. (“Prayer after Communion,” ibid., pg. 1299)
Based on all of this, it should be perfectly plain to even our conservative readers that the “Brief Critical Study of the New Order of Mass” written by Cardinal Ottaviani, et al. is entirely correct in its conclusion:
All these things [changes in the rite] only serve to emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.
This is the same rite that formed nearly all of our priests and bishops (including the one presently dressed up like a pope); it’s the only rite the overwhelming majority of them have ever celebrated.
As such, one must surely wonder: During the consecration at a Novus Ordo Mass, does the priest really intend to do what the Church does?
At the very least, there is reason for grave doubt.