QUAERITUR: New Zealand – a Maori chant instead of consecration bells

From a reader:

I was reading in the local Archdiocesan paper about a new development in the liturgy here in New Zealand.

Instead of the use of bells at the time of consecration in some parishes (I know two) a maori call ( the maori are the native people of New Zealand) will be used. The caller rises to proclaim "Haere mai e Hehu e…ou inana e noho ehuna nei i roto i tenei taro e" which the rest of the congregation responds "Nau mai haera mai"

It must be noted that the rest of the liturgy is in English.

I can tell that this is an abuse and is not allowed. What should I do to stop this?

I have no idea what that Maori "call" means, but its meaning is irrelevant.

Be so kind, dear readers, as to open your editions of the "Sacramentary" in whatever English edition you have, or the Missale Romanum, in any edition, and please point out where in the rubrics anyone is directed to say ANYTHING during the elevation, much less a Maori call.

I think it would be interesting to ask by what authority the people implementing this liturgical abuse are adding unauthorized texts to the liturgy… nay, rather, to the most solemn moment of Holy Church’s liturgy.

Also, I did a rapid search for what those Maori phrases, apparently called the "karanga", might mean.  I found this and this:

‘Welcome Christ, your body concealed within this bread’. The priest then replies, followed by the caller then singing: ‘Haere mai e Hehu e. ou toto e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei waina e.’ (Welcome Christ, your blood concealed within this wine) and the congregation answers as before."

I am sure you astute readers have spotted yet another problem.

After the consecration of the bread and the wine as the Body and Blood of Christ, the sacred species are the Body and Body of Christ.  Christ’s presence is not "concealed within" the bread, as if Christ and the bread are together.  That is a heresy condemned by the Council of Trent, to wit:

If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the Blood, the species (appearance) of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation: let him be anathema." [DS 884]

This was reaffirmed clearly by Pope Paul VI in 1965 in Mysterium fidei 46, et alibi, and other citations can be multiplied.

The translation of that Maori phrase, if accurate, does not explicitly deny the doctrine of transubstantiation.  However, is this the sort of thing any Catholic should ever say?  If you are going to say something, say something clear and correct.

Furthermore, apart from the issue of what it says – and that is a serious problem – where do they get off making changes to the Church’s liturgy?  What this approved by a bishop?  By a bishops conference?  What it approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship?  If it was, I hope someone will correct me rapidly so that I can add that information and clarify the situation.

It may be that the local bishop doesn’t know that this is going on.  Clipping articles and sending them to him, with a question about his approval might help you get some clarity.  Even a sound or video recording of this might help the bishop understand what is happening.

If the local bishop is unresponsive, which happens from time to time because of the many burdens they bear, you could send your concrete information to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, where I am sure it would be studied with great interest.

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  1. Hamburglar says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “body concealed within this bread” basically consubstantiation, which would be Lutheran?

  2. medievalist says:

    Putting aside the theological problems of the exclamation, which are solved by simply changing the words, I’m going to be somewhat provocative and cautiously suggest that there are actually few problems with this action.

    Yes, inculturation should not be taken too far; and yes, the liturgy should not be changed without reference to appropriate authority; and yes, this should not be imposed or obligatory upon any member of the congregation; and yes, a call-response is not appropriate. However, these matters having been addressed, how far is this from private devotions at the elevation so frequently encouraged in modern (and medieval) missals? Are not private exclamations (“My Lord and My God”, for example) keeping with long tradition? Are not these exclamations most often in the vernacular? True, this instance appears to be public but, as I mentioned, as long as it is not imposed it seems no great crime to exclaim with joy at the presence of our Lord on the altar. We might reach back to the time when the “Benedictus qui venit” was separated from the “Sanctus” and delayed until after the Consecration, whereupon it was publicly sung.

    In its current form this practice appears to have several problems, but its root intent does not seem inherently worthy of condemnation.

  3. Mitchell NY says:

    I hope and pray the writer does not let this go..All too often that is exactly what happens and change and abuse becomes the norm, not because it is best for the people, but because people are too complacent. It should be halted before it spreads…….

  4. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Can anything be added to the liturgy? I know a pastor who prefaces each of the Sunday readings by getting up and reading a introduction to the first reading and the Gospel. The introductions are by the St. Louis Jesuits, and they “explain” what we are about to hear. Is this also an abuse (sometimes the “explanations” seem a bit wobbly theologically speaking) as well? Or is it only when something novel is added at the time of consecration?

  5. medievalist: We are not here talking about private devotions or exclamations, but directives to the congregation to do X.

    I think this is very far indeed from the example you brought up.

    I don’t know their “intent” is, my psychic powers not having yet recharged under the influence of this planet’s yellow sun.

    I can, however, see a violation of liturgical law with something that is at the least male sonans and very probably formal heresy.

    And if the response asked for from the congregation is not in keeping with the teaching of the Church, much less its liturgical law, then – yes – I think it is (in your phrase) “worthy of condemnation”.

  6. MargaretMN says:

    The person who describes this seems to think that this call/response thing is being used in place of bells. Bells are pretty much a product of developed civilizations (since they are used in the West and East, where you find metallurgy) and this call/response thing is native, and so they substituted one for the other. The problem is that bells are a sound used to express joy, exultation, etc. (The reason we muffle them or use clappers during Holy Week when that’s not appropriate). There are plenty of ways we express that joy (Alleluia! being one) in words but not at that moment because words dilute it and are too open to confusion, thus the reason for the rubrics. If they were using a native instrument that conveyed a similar meaning to the sound of bells, it would be more appropriate. I will leave it to others whether it should be permitted.

    My Dad once told me that back when he was a kid in Venezuela, (he lived near the national cathedral)for police and military feast day masses they had a police or military band that would do some kind of fanfare at the elevation instead of using the bells. In the case of the military one, I think the fanfare chosen had to do with the highest military rank possible or something. Odd, yes, but some bishop had signed off on it apparently.

  7. medievalist says:

    Dear Fr Zuhlsdorf,

    I entirely take your point about the distinction between directive and private devotion. Thus, although I dislike it, there is nothing inherently wrong with holding hands at the Our Father so long as it is not imposed. And certainly, if any approved liturgy calls for a response then it should be (though if approved, we should hope it would be) in keeping with the Church’s law and teaching.

    I remain curious, however, putting this particular instance aside, whether a public act of duly approved exclamation at the Consecration is always wrong. I am thinking along the lines of MargaretMN’s above story. In a way, I suppose that the OF’s ‘Mystery of Faith’ may also address my curiosity.

    I’m not advocating liturgical change, or even suggesting the appropriation and incorporation of this particular example. My interest is simply piqued.

    With prayers for you and your brother priests in the Year of the Priest.

  8. MikeJ9919 says:

    I agree that this is a liturgical abuse, but I think the argument that this is some sort of heresy is uncharitable. The Eucharist, while completely transformed into the Body and Blood, undeniably retains the appearance of bread and wine. Had the call and response been translated “your body concealed within the appearance of bread” and “your blood concealed within the appearance of wine” there would be no complaints about accuracy, at least (again, liturgical abuse is another question.) Given the always-questionable accuracy of translations, especially into little-used languages, I am inclined to assume that this was the intended meaning.

  9. Dear Medievalist,

    My interest was piqued, as well. I wondered, for a moment, whether the “call” and the “response” might be a tolerable substitute for bells.

    The books, however, are clear and entirely unambiguous.

    If one consults the books, one sees that the practice is abusive.

    If Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s translations are accurate, then the formula is, at the very least, problematic.

    Given these considerations, it seems to me that a possible course of action might be to suspend the abusive practice, and then consult the appropriate authority (CDW in Rome, I believe), regarding the possibility of an ad experimentum indult, but only after a theologically correct liturgical formulation should have been found.

    The abuse, in any case, must cease, and as soon as possible.

    Playing “fast and loose” with the liturgy can only be detrimental to the faith of the faithful


  10. Joshua08 says:

    Probably not strictly applicable, but the then Sacred Congregation of Rites forbade the saying aloud of an exclamation, even “My Lord and my God” at the elevation (SRC 4397) Unless there is reason to indicate a change, that shows the attitude taken by the Church in such a matter in general

    Father, I don´t think it is accurate to say that the species of bread and wine are Christ either. The accidental species remain without a substance to inhere in- the Roman Catechism, following Aquinas, names that as one of the three miracles in the Eucharist [Read again what I wrote. I didn’t say that the “species of bread and wine” are Christ.]

  11. Clinton says:

    I remember my undergrad years — our student parish was run by a liturgist who never met a rite she couldn’t “improve”. It takes a
    lot of riffing on the rubrics to astonish a group of twentysomethings, but she managed. My last time in that church was during a Mass
    so deformed a stranger next to me turned to me and whispered “Excuse me, what the hell is this?”.

    I understand that there are folks who feel that the Novus Ordo Mass more accurately reflects the Church’s understanding of Herself
    since Vatican II blah blah. But if that Rite truly does usher in the Age of Aquarius, why must it continually be tweaked and “improved”
    by every Sr. Pantsuit and her ilk? Why must the minimal rubrics be ignored, and all of the multitudes of options bypassed on favor of
    some new one invented by the parish liturgy committee? Why is it so freaking rare to see a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in accordance with the documents of Vatican II? If the Ordinary Form fixed everything that was wrong with the Extraordinary Form, why is it
    continually being treated as if it were, well, broken?

  12. JFrater says:

    I feel it should also be pointed out that at least one (but probably many more due to the politically correct climate in New Zealand) parish in the diocese of Wellington intersperses Maori through the Mass in place of English. The priest who does this also told my sister that it would be okay for her son to go to “communion” at an Anglican church. This is also the priest who is the head of an ethics committee for the diocese. A few years ago (in 2009), the Bishop of the diocese stated on the radio (and this is a quote):

    “In fact, the statement that you made at the beginning was quite inaccurate – that it’s only through the Catholic Church that people can be saved. That is a heresy that has been attacked by the Church: ‘Outside the Church, no salvation’.”

    The Church in New Zealand is a wreck – it isn’t heading that way – it already arrived.

  13. Roland de Chanson says:

    Well, I am going to go out on a limb here and attempt a translation. Be advised that I know no Maori at all. Well, that’s a lie. I know the words to Hine e hine. But if a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, none must be lethal. So here goes (using an online Maori dictionary).

    Haere mai e Hehu e… ou tinana e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei taro e.

    Haere mai = Welcome
    e = O! (sort of a vocative particle I guess)
    Hehe = undoubtedly Jesus.
    ou = your
    tinana body
    noho = a verb (or the Maori equivalent) sit, stay, remain, settle, dwell, live, inhabit, reside, located
    huna = conceal, hide, destroy, lay waste
    nei = here (I think)
    i = a very very short word, a particle, left untranslated
    roto = inside
    tênei = this
    taro = bread

    So putting it all together: Welcome Jesus, your body dwelling hidden inside this bread

    I am taking “hidden” as a past adverbial participle even though I haven’t a clue whether Maori has one.

    Now this is certainly theologically unobjectionable. For “transubstantiation” is an Aristotelian conceit denoting the substance is concealed by the accidents. It seems to me that, if my translation is accurate, both substance and accidents are accounted for. For in fact, post consecration, the accidents have not changed though the substance has, the substance is in fact concealed.

    Incidentally, the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) use the verb metaballo which means “change”. The Greeks know better than to overdefine.

    Let us not be too quick to graft poor Aristotle onto a language without the requisite vocabulary. Even Cicero complained of the dearth of Latin philosophical vocabulary. He probably would have looked askance at “transubstantiatio”; it might strike him as a bureaucratic term for “taxation” or “theft”.

    I am more concerned whether the Maori translators of the Words of Institution got “pro multis” right. The ICEL imbeciles certainly did not. But I suppose I ought not to criticise them too harshly. After all, the Church of Christ only subsists in the Catholic Church. Like Clinton, it depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

    Well, I haven’t worked so hard since first year Latin or Theology 101. I need a break. A little Maori song, perhaps? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSPt3jNk0ek)

  14. Roland de Chanson says:

    An additional point: it seems the particle “e” can be used with verbs and indicates action in progress.

    So, “e noho e huna” might conceivable mean “dwelling and concealed.”

    I am beginning to think that Maori is at least as sophisticated as classical Greek in its use of particles.

  15. drea916 says:

    Why can’t people just do the Mass? Why must they tweak, tweak, tweak it. That’s why I don’t mind the daily NO Mass, but must go to the EF on Sundays. People feel they have to be “creative.” I’m talking to God here, can we leave the stuff for later? Please.

  16. MargaretMN says:

    This discussion reminds me of the discussion in Shisako Endo’s novel Deep River. Must you know Aristotle or at least have be a product of a western education and language to be a good catholic or to have a proper understanding of the faith? The obvious answer would seem to be no, but if you don’t have it, these problems seem to crop up. Of course they can crop up even if you are western, but the source of the problem is different…

  17. Papabile says:


    I post this to challenge no ddogma or doctrine. I accept all that the Church teaches.

    Putting aside the obvious abuse of the exclamatory prayer, it does seem permissible to refer to the consecrated species as bread and wine AFTER the consecration.

    This is from the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

    Why The Eucharist Is Called Bread After Consecration

    Here pastors should observe that we should not at all be surprised, if, even after consecration, the Eucharist is sometimes called bread. It is so called, first because it retains the appearance of bread, and secondly because it keeps the natural quality of bread, which is to support and nourish the body.

    Moreover, such phraseology is in perfect accordance with the usage of the Holy Scriptures, which call things by what they appear to be, as may be seen from the words of Genesis which say that Abraham saw three men, when in reality he saw three Angels. In like manner the two Angels who appeared to the Apostles after the Ascension of Christ the Lord into heaven, are called not Angels, but men.

  18. Emilio III says:

    It is (or at least was) common in Spain and some of her former colonies to play the Royal March, and servicemen to present arms, at the consecration. I assume this is the source of what Margaret’s Dad saw in Venezuela. It would be played by the organ (or band in a military setting) and nobody would say anything. So it would be a more straightforward substitution for the bells than a Maori call and response, and I don’t think it open to the same objections.

  19. Greg Smisek says:

    Emilio III:
    Interesting. Knights of Columbus also present swords at the consecration.

  20. Greg Smisek says:

    RdC: Welcome Jesus, your body dwelling hidden inside this bread
    …It seems to me that…both substance and accidents are accounted for. For in fact, post consecration, the accidents have not changed though the substance has, the substance is in fact concealed.

    It’s not the concealment that is a problem (see “Godhead here in hiding“), but rather that “this bread” conceals it. If “this bread” is every bit as substantive in Maori as in English, we’ve got a problem. There is no more “this bread” after the consecration — the bread-substance has been completely changed into Christ-substance.

    The “this” before us after the consecration, the “this” of “This is my Body” is the substance of Christ’s body. Before consecration we have “this bread” and not “this Body”; after consecration we have “this Body” and not “this bread.”

  21. Clinton says:

    Exactly, drea916. Why is it that the folks that declare themselves to be the biggest supporters of the Spirit of Vatican II and of the
    superiority of the Ordinary Form of the Mass are also first in line to ignore the documents and rubrics? Why is their first impulse to
    “improve” it? Isn’t that impulse an admission that they believe the Mass as it exists today is inadequate?

    The liturgical tweakers will remind us that slavish adherence to rubrics is the sign of an immature faith, that legalism is the sign
    of a Pharisee blah blah. We who “do Church” are beyond all that. The Spirit of Vatican II liberated the POG (that’s “People of God”, folks)
    from their shackles of passivity and unthinking clericalism, etc. ad nauseum. Now get back into your seat with the rest of the “pew meat”
    and do as you’re told.

  22. MargaretMN says:

    Emilio, yes, except that now that you mention it, I recall he said the fanfare was the first few bars of the Venezuelan National Anthem. (Probably a post independence substitution).

  23. Federico says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and risk the flames of blog.

    I think New Zealand is still considered a mission land.

    If this is true, there may be valid permission, approved by the competent Roman congregation, to “enculturate” the liturgy in specific ways (such as the addition of native calls at specified times). I know of some approvals, provided ad experimentum for the Congo, which would clearly qualify as abuse anywhere else in the world. There are other cases.

    Do we know, for a fact, that this is not the case here?

    I will not comment on the words themselves because I know nothing of Maori. It would be interesting to hear from an authoritative Maori linguist to clarify whether, in fact, WHAT THE MAORI PRAYER REALLY SAYS is heretical or not.

  24. robtbrown says:

    Now this is certainly theologically unobjectionable. For “transubstantiation” is an Aristotelian conceit denoting the substance is concealed by the accidents. It seems to me that, if my translation is accurate, both substance and accidents are accounted for. For in fact, post consecration, the accidents have not changed though the substance has, the substance is in fact concealed.

    Incidentally, the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) use the verb metaballo which means “change”. The Greeks know better than to overdefine.

    Let us not be too quick to graft poor Aristotle onto a language without the requisite vocabulary. Even Cicero complained of the dearth of Latin philosophical vocabulary. He probably would have looked askance at “transubstantiatio”; it might strike him as a bureaucratic term for “taxation” or “theft”.
    Comment by Roland de Chanson —

    Transsubstantiatio entered Ecclesiastical lexicon before the arrival of Aristotle. It is found in Lateran IV 10 years before the birth of St Thomas. Its theological use was even earlier–in the middle of the 12th century.

    It is true that the substance/accidents concept has been used to explain how Christ exists in the Eucharist, but I don’t think the Church has ever gone beyond referring to transubstantiation and the appearances of bread and wine.

  25. Clinton says:

    Federico, it is possible that such is the case, but the sense I get from JFrater’s 4:30 post is that the Diocese of Wellington does not
    ordinarily include Maori calls in the liturgy. Perhaps WDTPRS has kiwi readers who can shed some light on the situation.

  26. paulmac says:

    Allthough I am a Kiwi by birth, I haven’t lived in NZ for 50 years. However, the karanga is a call performed as part of a welcoming ceremony (powhiri) to a Maori sacred ground – and it is performed only by women. Moreover it is a welcome to strangers – hardly appropriate in the context of the gathering of the faithful at Mass. And the phrase “tenei taro” – “this bread” – certainly asserts that what is being elevated is bread. It is not, so this is clearly heretical.

  27. ALL: Consider the moments where this “call” is being used, and then think about the text.

  28. Charivari Rob says:

    Roland, thank you for posting the song link. My wife especially enjoyed it – she’s heard Kiri before, but not in quite some time.

  29. paulmac says:

    Here’s the link to the Wellington archdiocese website regarding the introduction of the “karanga” into Masses in Lower Hutt – http://welcom.org.nz/?sid=1141.

  30. Roland de Chanson says:

    Greg Smisek, paulmac: As I said I don’t know any Maori so I cannot say what metaphorical sense “teine taro” may have. Further, I am not a theologian, not even a combox one, so I will refrain from raining down anathemas upon hapless souls who are only seeking to worship God. Non sono che un traduttore e quindi un traditore. But I suspect that if the Catholics and Lutherans can achieve a measure of agreement on Justification, then I would not be astonished to learn that they will have agreed on trans- / consubstantiation. Typically these things are resolved by some equivocal formula such as: consubstantiation sees the change from the point of view of the accidents, transubstantiation from the point of view of the substance. Neither word explains or defines the mystery of the change. The Greeks not only don’t use either word, but rejected the Greek calque explicitly. This is no impediment to the validity of the Orthodox liturgy. I suspect that if JP2 could deep-six the filioque (sua sponte), Old and New Rome will find a via media. The Third Rome will kick against the pricks, as usual.

    Another point worth mentioning is that in the Byzantine liturgies, the “change” is considered to have occurred during the anaphora, including the epiklesis, not instantaneously with the recital of the Words of Institution. Those words contain the phrase “for many” by the way. Again the Greek reluctance to define the indefinable.

    As to the “call”, it may well be inappropriate, but is there anything worse than the droning dirge-like Christ has died, Christ is riz’n, Christ will come again thrice inflicted upon anyone not tone-deaf. Or the displacement of the “mysterium fidei” from the Words of Institution? I probably would find the call distracting, but then again the entire novus ordo is a distraction. Inculturation is a double-edged sword and its Cranmerian blade has gutted the liturgy.

    Chivari Rob, you’re welcome. There are a few other good renditions of Hine e hine as well, including some by native Maoris. A search on Kiri Te Kanawa will keep you listening for hours.

  31. sekman says:

    I once experienced this in Hawaii while at a strange outdoor mass where some kids blew through some strange shell/horn things that made a strange noise.

  32. Supertradmom says:

    I think that a music expert from St. John Cantius told us as a Latin schola that there was to be absolutely no singing during the consecration, and no instrumental music. Clarification?

  33. Supertradmom says:

    By the way, the fact of Christ “hiding” in the Eucharist is language used by the Anglican Church shortly after the Reformation in England, as some sort of compromise between those who believed in the Real Presence and the Lutherans who did not. Again, any historians of liturgy out there to help pin this down? I know that the Anglican, once Catholic, minister and poet John Dunne used the term “hidden”.

  34. Supertradmom says:

    sorry Donne is the correct spelling-was trying to cook Sunday dinner and type.

  35. Greg Smisek says:

    Roland de Chanson:
    We aren’t talking about an Orthodox Divine Liturgy or even a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy, but a Roman Rite Mass in a parish church of a Latin Rite diocese. Transubstantiation is the dogmatic term for the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord. How exactly is one to hold that this is substantial change, yet not instantaneous? The fact that various liturgical traditions have identified various moments or chose not to identify a moment, does not invalidate our liturgical tradition of identifying the words of consecration as the moment of change. In fact, St. John Chrysostom, the namesake of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, seems to agree with us here (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1375):

    It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.

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