UPDATE 19 Nov. 1948: GMT
I received this statement from Erich Leitenberger, the spokesman for His Eminence Christoph Card. Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna.
Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
regarding Your blog on the celebration of His Eminence in Wolfsthal I would like to beg you to publish my communiqué of yesterday for the orientation of your public.
Spokesperson for H.E. Card. Schönborn
The statement, sent to me in English. I touched up the spelling slightly:
Some people have taken serious offense in the Holy Mass for young people which was celebrated by the Viennese Cardinal Christoph Schönborn on the 16th of November in Wolfsthal, a village close to the Austrian-Slovakian border.
In contrast to the presumption, due to the in many ways amateurish und unrealistic recorded broadcasting by Gloria TV, it must be clearly stated that in this celebration in no way any kind of liturgical specifications have been violated.
The Eucharistic bread was unleavened and its shape strictly followed the shape which has been used in the Middle East since the 1st century. The “flat cake” is similar to that form used in Mossul in these days – this is the metropolis located at river Tigris where Christians still testify the truth of Jesus with their own blood.
Werner Pirkner, the spiritual councilor for the Holy Mass in Wolfsthal, and Stephan Bazalka, coordinator of the Catholic Youth, paid highest attention to the fact that when breaking the bread no tiny little piece of bread ever touched the floor.
Those who have dared, tempted by a fragmentary news coverage, to bring forward accusations against the archbishop of Vienna, may contemplate, repent and ask God for his forgiveness. Let us pray all together for the Holy Church!
I am grateful for the statement from the spokeman for the Cardinal.
A few points.
First, we all want to give the young people and the Cardinal Archbishop the benefit of doubt. The video production values may not have been the highest, but they were certainly of sufficient quality to show some of the things which happened. That said, it is sometimes hard to tell what was happening when.
For example, while the spokesperson said that no liturgical specifications were violated, that is rubrics, etc., I am unfamiliar with the rubrics which directs us to write petitions on balloons. Perhaps that was before Mass. I don’t know.
Also, I am not sure what material the vessels were made from. Perhaps those were, in fact, the very best that community had available. But I believe that it may have been some kind of glazed pottery or glass.
I am sure that at the altar, the greatest care was taken when breaking the Eucharist in its substantial form. However, the video shows young people holding in their hands large pieces of the Eucharist and eating from them bit by bit. It seems to me that this creates a great risk for profanation of the Eucharist.
It am not sure why it is in any way relevant, in the Archdiocese of Vienna, what sort of bread is being used in Mossul on the Tigris. That Christians are still suffering in Mossul doesn’t constitute a good reason for using their style of bread for the Eucharist. It might be a good reason to share that bread together at a reception after Mass, but not during Mass. That is just my opinion.
Finally, I cannot in my wildest imagination that the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna was involved in the planning of what we saw in the video. Surely this is what he discovered on his arrival. I recall His Eminence from many years ago in Rome when the Catechism was in preparation. He was very kind. Surely, this is one of those situations wherein a visting bishop is surprised to find all sorts of well-meaning people doing objectively absurd things and, being very kind, not wanting to hurt them.
Let this be a lesson to us all.
Rivaling everything ridiculous done during the three days of darkness in LA, Vienna [actually Wolfsthal] has thrown its miter into the ring for sheer liturgical dopiness.
Behold a video of Card. Schoenborn’s Mass in Wolfsthal for a gathering of young people.
I think his use of the pallium makes it all that much more solemn, don’t you?