I’ve been reading the Celebration of Mass by J.B. o Connell and at the section concerning the consecration of the Host O’Connell writes that a priest should not say a vocal prayer at the elevation, obviously, but the annotation on the bottom of the page continues to say that the priest should not even say “my lord and my God” in a low voice (and implied even saying it mentally) as to be in accordance with the (old) canon law (818, to be exact). So my question(s) are bit of a tricky one. Can a priest say the ejaculation now that we don’t follow the old code? Is the old code still valid? Does it affect the Mass if it is?
The old Code is not in force now. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain good guidance in many matters.
If you flip open the pages of the Missale Romanum to the consecration you will not find any indication that the priest must, can, should, could, may add his own prayers during the elevation. Unless you are a Fishwrap reader, most would agree that the two-fold consecration and elevation is a pretty important part of Mass. As such it deserves precision and restraint. Father shouldn’t impose his own devotional practices on everyone present when the rubrics themselves give indications of what he should do in favor of the devotion of the faithful. This is a greater danger in, I think, the Novus Ordo, which has an inherent looseness born of optionitis and which is mostly celebrated versus populum, which can lead a priest to drift into exhibitionism.
That said, there are a lot of things that are left undescribed in the Missale Romanum, such as how long an elevation ought to be. There is a bit of room for personal choices even at this moment. I admit to varying the length of elevations, depending on the occasion and mood and my sense of how Mass is proceeding.
It seems to me that if Holy Mass is celebrated ad orientem, where there is little chance that the congregation will see that the priest is saying something during the elevation – which could lead to distraction, confusion, questions, speculation, imitation, etc. – not much harm is done were a priest to say or mouth the words, “My Lord and my God!” Just why he would think it so important to utter them aloud at that moment is not clear to me. I would like to think that most priests are capable of thinking something without actually having to say it aloud.
Over the years I’ve been able to summon the self-control to think “My Lord and my God!” during the elevation, and ponder the weight of the moment and reality, without saying anything aloud. Yes, yes… it strains credulity. We all know clerics who suffer from a version of ecclesiastical Tourette’s.
The wisdom of our forebears should inform our choices in these matters. They were experts on humanity, after all. If they said DON’T do this, there are good reasons.
So, in this case, Say The Black, Don’t Say The Stuff That’s Not There, Do The Red.