Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pre-Vatican II Voices...

From Pius Parsch:
The Mass came to be less and less appreciated as the sacrifice of Christ. Instead, the adoration of the Eucharist was greatly developed, and thereby the spiritual energies of the faithful were in the course of centuries turned away from the sacrifice itself.

We must try to keep in mind that,
during the Mass and in particular at the consecration, the primary and essential thing is the offering of the sacrifice; the adoration of the Species is entirely secondary. We should strive to impress ourselves and those committed to our care with a deep understanding and appreciation of the sacrificial action. The Mass is not a “devotion,” it is not the adoration of the Eucharist: it is the sacrifice offered by Christ, and in this offering we are actually participating since it is also our sacrifice. We come to Mass, not so much to adore Christ in His divinity as to offer the body and blood of the divine Lamb to our heavenly Father.   [July 1938 issue of Orate Fratres]

Though it has been the complaint of some that the sacrificial character of the Roman Mass was obscured in Vatican II and the decline of the Latin Mass, Parsch is suggesting that the adoration or veneration of Christ in the host had begun this turn away from the sacrificial long before Vatican II, even centuries before.  Interestingly absent in this discussion is the sacramental nature of the Sacrament.  For this reason the continuing witness of the Lutheran Confessions needs to be heard and its corrective voice remains to address the Roman Catholic Church.  Neither the offering of the sacrifice nor the adoration of the Species are the foremost or central focus of the sacrament but "given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" and received by faith as the gift of God and the richest treasure of His grace.

8 comments:

christl242 said...

The mass in the Catholic Church will continue to emphasize the Sacrifice of Calvary sacramentally re-presented in space and time and the merits of that Sacrifice will be pleaded before the Father for the forgiveness of sins.

Many Catholic parishes have moved the tabernacle out of the sanctuary so that the laity would indeed focus on the Sacrifice. And yet "on the books" every Catholic is expected to assist" at Mass and be present for the sacrifice even if he/she doesn't receive Communion.

At the same time, Pius is a bit off kilter as more and more Catholic parishes are building Eucharistic chapels and re-instituting perpetual Eucharistic adoration.

These are still major differences between Lutherans and Catholics and I doubt they will change any time soon. Lutherans are not "Catholic lite."

Janis Williams said...

Right Christine. Until and unless (and a snowball's chance) Rome renounces Trent, it doesn't matter what the outward attitude of parishioners may be.

Rome anathematized the Gospel at Trent, and Lutherans may be "light" on doctrine in some cases (see next post), but they are not "Catholic lite."

christl242 said...

Janis, Rome cannot renounce Trent and I guess I could have been a bit more clear about what I was saying. It's not that Lutherans are light on "doctrine", it's that Catholics and Lutherans don't understand certain doctrines the same way. Actually, Rome also teaches justification by faith but with a different nuance.

Roman devotional practices are connected to the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament and its centrality in the life of the Catholic church.

Christine

Terry Maher said...

Gott hilf mir seitlich!

Orate fratres and Pius Parsch are in no way but chronologically pre-Vatican II voices. The journal, now called Worship, was in fact one of the leading channels of the thought that effected the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, and its editor, the altogether magnificent Godfrey Diekmann OSB was a peritus at the council and a catalyst for the change he called "the Cause" of incalculable significance.

And The Cause is exactly this: to reform the Mass to make better the fulfillment of the prayer "Orate fratres", which is. Orate, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem -- Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours be acceptable to God the Father Almighty, and whose response is, Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae -- May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy church.

For which reason, among other things, foci of adoration such as the tabernacle were removed from the main altar, that nothing distract from the people's participation in "my sacrifice and yours". The sacramental nature here is precisely in the sacrifice; that is the sacramentum, the mysterion, in which the sacrifice of Christ is present though what is seen is bread and wine and a guy in funny clothes saying stuff.

Trent did not invent or even make final Rome's errors and Vatican II did not remove them. The Lutheranism of the Confessions -- as distinct from the Lutheranism of the many Protestant contributors to Orate fratres -- was the real reform, not Trent and not Vatican II, either of which and neither of which has a single bleeding thing to inspire us as to worship.

Godfrey must be having a good laugh somewhere to see me speaking on behalf of The Cause. Well dear brother, I may not have believed it in spite of all you said to me and sent to me about it, but I know what it is, and though for different reasons share the lament of your later years at what was made of it.

Unknown said...

Maybe I misunderstood, but when you write, “Neither the offering of the sacrifice nor the adoration of the Species are the foremost or central focus of the sacrament but ‘given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins’ and received by faith as the gift of God and the richest treasure of His grace,” my reaction is that the “offering of the sacrifice” or “the adoration of the Species” are not only not foremost, but are not part of the Sacrament at all. At least not the way our Lord instituted it, or St. Paul commented on it.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Pastor Peters said...

Terry, the complaint that I cited was from many within Rome who say that Vatican II obscured the sacrifical in favor of the communion and adoration. It is not my judgment and you can find ample evidence of this complaint on the internet. I am not here to argue with them but to report the complaint and to acknowledge that long before Vatican II the work was beginning to direct the Roman Mass to another theological center and focus.

In my comment I mentioned how conspicuously absent was any discussion of the reception of the Sacrament as the primary focus and to suggest that this was one of the most urgent causes and needs for the corrective of the Lutheran Reformation.

christl242 said...

In my comment I mentioned how conspicuously absent was any discussion of the reception of the Sacrament as the primary focus and to suggest that this was one of the most urgent causes and needs for the corrective of the Lutheran Reformation.

A very valid point of view from a Lutheran perspective.

First comes the Sacrifice, then Communion and even there, a mass said privately by a priest is just as valid as one where lay communicants are present.

Catholics are now "warmly encouraged" to receive "frequently" but that, of course, presupposes that they are in a state of grace, at the least free from mortal sin and Rome, too, has been dealing with the fruits of poor catechesis over the past several decades. The sacrificial language is still there.

I don't think there will ever be any convergence between Lutherans and Catholics on these points.

Terry Maher said...

Indeed it's not your judgement. It was mine too when I was RC and Vatican II hit. But it does not mean what Lutherans often take it to mean.

The Roman Mass has no other theological centre and focus than it has always had. Communion is communion in the sacrifice re-presented on the altar. No sacrifice, no communion. (Which is also why our Divine Service is not recognised as a valid Eucharist.) The push of The Cause was not in the least to diminish the sacrifice, but to invigourate the participation in communion with it.

Which is why the treatment of the Eucharist in Babylonian Captivity could correctly state the nature of the Mass, of Communion, before either the Tridentine Rite or the novus ordo even existed.