From a reader…
I was told by a reverent, well-formed priest who celebrates the old Mass well and often that the formula for distribution for communion is not specified in the missal. [Ooops!]
He showed me that in the altar missal itself, there IS no ritual for distribution of communion to the faithful and said that when it became common practice for people to receive communion during Mass the rite from the Ritual was adapted, some using the same formula the priest uses himself, and some using the response “Corpus Christi” which appears in the old Rituale as well as the new rite. [Ooops! No.]
It is therefore “perfectly correct”, he says, to say “Corpus Christi” when distributing communion in the old Mass. [No. Sorry.]
Is he correct? Or is there some sort of rubric or governing legislation specifying what the priest should say to communicants?
Father is to be commended for celebrating the Extraordinary Form often! I hope that often is public and growing in frequency.
No and Yes.
Father, God bless him, is not correct on this point. There are rubrics that govern this in the 1962 Missale Romanum.
The manner of distribution of Holy Communion in the Extraordinary Form is described in the 1962 Missale Romanum. Look in the front sections (the rubrics and calendar and so forth), in the section called “The Rite to be observed in the celebration of Mass”, the Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae, X, 6. The formula Corpus Domini nostri… etc. is to be spoken for each (unicuique) communicant. Here is the text with my emphases.
6 Si qui sunt communicandi in Missa, …. […. Skipping up to the point where Communion is distributed….] Quibus verbis tertio repetitis, accedit ad eorum dexteram, hoc est, ad latus Epistolae, [NB] et unicuique porrigit Sacramentum faciens cum eo signum crucis super Pyxidem vel Patenam, et simul dicens: Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. Omnibus communicatis, revertitur ad Altare, nihil dicens: et non dat eis benedictionem, quia illam daturus est in fine Missae. Si particulae positae erant super Corporale, extergit illud cum Patena, et si qua in eo fuerint fragmenta, in Calicem immittit. Deinde dicit secreto: Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, etc., et se purificat, dicens: Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, etc., et alia facit ut supra. Minister autem dextera manu tenens vas cum vino et aqua, sinistra vero mappulam, aliquanto post Sacerdotem eis porrigit purificationem, et mappulam ad os abstergendum.
Take note of uniquique. This is dative of unusquisque (unus + quisque – both elements are declined), meaning “to each one/communicant”.
“… and to each one he presents the Sacrament making with It the sign of the Cross over the ciborium or paten, also saying at the same time: Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam.”
Here is a shot from my hand 1962 Missale Romanum. Note that we have a reversal of red and black for rubrics and texts to be spoken! In this case, Father, Say The Red – Do The Black!
Father is correct that in the Ordinary of the Mass in the Missale Romanum the manner of Communion for the faithful isn’t described. But it is in the Ritus servandus!
It is also correct that the method of distribution of Communion to the faithful, perceived as a separate rite, in its own right as it were, was incorporated in the rites of Holy Mass. There is a separate rite for distribution of Communion outside of Mass, found in the Rituale Romanum. This is useful for when, for example, the choir could not come down for Communion during Communion time in the Mass, but they would like to receive. After Mass they come to the rail and Father (or a deacon) can give them Communion using the rite in the Rituale.
Therefore, Father should correct his practice right away. The whole form is to be spoken for each communicant.