ASK FATHER: TLM form for Communion during Novus Ordo

MassCommunionFrom a reader…


I go to both the older and newer forms of the Roman Rite at my parish church and receive Holy Communion kneeling / on the tongue at the new form.

Instead of saying “?Body of Christ” when I go up to receive, Father gives Says ” Corpus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi custódiat ánimam tuam in vitam ætérnam. Amen” JUST FOR ME!

Is this a liturgical abuse? (albeit from the best of intentions) found it odd but haven’t spoken to him about it because I’m not sure.

I’m torn.

On the one hand, this is how a “mutual enrichment” of the two Forms of the Roman Rite will eventually come about.

On the other hand, and especially at this time, I think we need to hold pretty close to the “Say the Black, Do the Red.”

Using the older distribution form in the newer form of Mass is, objective, not in keeping with the rubrics of the newer form, wherein the distribution form is spelled out pretty clearly. From that point of view it is a violation of the rubrics. Is it a liturgical abuse? Yes, and no. No one, not even a priest, has the right to change the texts. And yet, it isn’t as if the priest is making up his own form for distribution. He is using a time honored form that is presently used in the Extraordinary Form.

How serious is this as an abuse?  Not very.  And if this is a one off, that is, he has done this for one person and isn’t doing it for everyone at every Mass, I think it can be set aside.

Were I this priest’s bishop, and this were reported to me as an abuse, I would punish him by suggesting that he use blended Scotch instead of a single malt for one week.


I had a couple emails about the reverse: using the simple, Novus Ordo form, “Corpus Christi” during a TLM or, worse, the vernacular “The Body of Christ”.

It is slightly wrong for to use the older form during the newer Mass.  It is much more wrong to use the newer form during the older Mass.

Not only are the sensibilities of those who attend regularly the TLM more finely attuned, but the very nature of the rites call for this more exacting formula of distribution.  For one thing, the form is intimately tied to the form the priest says for his own Communion.  That is not the case in the Novus Ordo, where the forms are entirely different.  No solidarity there.

I have no time for the lame excuse whined up by priests that the older form for distribution is toooo haaaard.  B as in B.  S as in S.  Just. Learn. It.

Remember, according to Universae Ecclesiae 24 and 28, in the TLM we don’t have altar girls, we don’t have Communion in the hand, and we priests must stick to the older, full formula for distribution of Communion rather than use the innovation, the simple Novus Ordo form.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Elizabeth D says:

    Best liturgical abuse ever. :-)

  2. Woody79 says:

    Holy Cow, Father! Blended scotch for a week? He didn’t kill anybody, you know. Then again, is Johnny Walker Blue okay?

  3. HighMass says:

    No More Liturgical abuse than we have endured since the N.O. was set in Place! Sorry about being salty but it is true and we have all seen it!

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    May I humbly add, this seems like such a kind gesture on the part of the priest. If someone is kneeling to receive, surely the priest recognizes someone who would perhaps be lifted up by hearing those words, given that they are trying to receive in such a pious manner?
    For me, I would appreciate his kindness, cherish that and the moment, and share that information with no one, least of all the bishop. What you are experiencing, seems to me, a blessing.

  5. Dundonianski says:

    Beautifully expressed by Kathleen10, a very gracious and pastoral gesture by a priest, I for one would be joyful-why one would wish/require or expect some appalling hybrid salutation is beyond me. Surely many of us who remain tradition minded have endured many “novelties” in the NO. As an aside and Resident in Scotland I always prefer a single malt!

  6. stuart reiss says:

    1) johnny walker is not whisky
    2)priest should be reprimanded – according to a prev thread I remember following here about if the communicant were to say Amen or not when receiving in the nervous disorder..(ahh the bloody spell checker is being too clever again)

    I write this as I see a gaggle of Canada geese flying, and the thought came to me that what’s good for the goose is good for the…

  7. Jack007 says:

    Dare I say that this is the most “pastoral” approach to those “attached to the older form” that I have heard.
    Sorry, just had to point out the irony.
    Too bad many priests are nearly as “pastoral” as they claim.
    Kudos to this priest. I suspect this isn’t the only time he shows kindness and understanding to his flock.
    Jack in KC

    [I know what you mean. And I must admit that I have done this from time to time, recognizing at Mass in the Novus Ordo someone who usually attends the TLM. Yes, I have done this very thing. I am ready to be punished, as per my description above.]

  8. Wiktor says:

    I’m often a witness to the opposite.
    In Poland it is a norm that during Communion other priests come out of sacristy dressed in surplices, give communion and then exit. As if they wanted to say “no, we don’t need no EMHC’s”. [And, clearly, they don’t. Either are they needed in most places.]
    Those “Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” usually don’t bother with lengthy “custodiat animam tuam…” on EF masses, but still have the sense to say “Corpus Christi” in Latin.

  9. Giuseppe says:

    I’d cote for the priest’s saying “Corpus Christi”, thus honoring the questioner’s devotion to the Latin of the TLM while honoring the rubrics of the NO.

  10. Giuseppe says:


  11. BobP says:

    I had this exact thing (“Corpus Christi”) happen last week at the EF. It’s somewhat disruptive as one doesn’t know whether to respond “Amen” or not.

  12. frbkelly says:

    A note to all priests reading this.
    As much as we might refer the older form, this is perhaps, a bigger deal than we might tend to think it.
    In the _usus antiquior_, the Communion of the faithful is not present in the liturgy of the Mass. When there are faithful present to receive Holy Communion, we supply this rite from the distribution of Holy Communion outside of Mass. Hence the “Corpus Domini nostri …” that the priest says for his own reception of the host is a different act than the one he prays over each of the faithful who receives. He is completing the sacrifice by receiving as well as receiving the fruits of the sacrifice. They are simply receiving the fruits of the sacrifice offered. It is for this reason that the prayer is repeated for each of the faithful who receive Holy Communion.

    In the _usus recentior_, the reception of Holy Communion by the faithful is presumed and is actually incorporated into the liturgy of the Mass by being joined to that of the priest. (This is parallel to the way the two confiteors of the _usus antiquior_ are combined into the one of the _usus recentior_.) As a consequence, when the priest prays (the simplified) “Corpus domini ..” in the _usus recentior_, he is praying it in his own name and in the name of the faithful who will receive. And so, when he actually distributes, he recapitulates this prayer by saying “Corpus Christi” and allows the communicant the opportunity to join himself to it be saying “Amen.”

    As Father Z said, the two forms are quite different here, and it is not up to us priests to swap them out one for the other as though they were equivalent.

    Unless we do what the old Irish priest used to do — CORPUS domininostriJesu CHRISTI custodiatanimamtuamadvitamaeternam.amen. {|:o

  13. The funny thing is, the newer form of distribution in the Roman rite is the same form that is used in the Ambrosian rite (both traditional and non-traditional), so I wouldn’t call the newer form found in the ordinary form an “innovation” so much as it’s more of a “borrowing”. One could argue that by using the newer form of distribution in the extraordinary form, the priest is mixing rites.

  14. Michael_Thoma says:

    Slightly different situation in my case, as I attend a Syriac Tradition parish, but sometimes the less unlazy priest will say “Body of Christ” while intincting (wrong!) and avoid the actual words of the Rite of Distribution “The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is given to the true believer, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, in both worlds forever and ever.” Not exactly similar, not to mention mixing of Rites from two different Ritual Churches for no reason but laxity.

  15. Michael_Thoma says:


    “The life-giving LIVE COAL of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is given to the true believer, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, in both worlds forever and ever. Amen” (Live coal, referring to Isaiah and Revelation)

  16. Nicholas Frankovich says:

    What Wiktor describes above is all too common in my experience: The priest assisting in the distribution of Communion at an EF Mass says “Body of Christ” or “Corpus Christi.” I try not to dwell on it, but it’s a distraction. Can’t he just say the black? It’s short and easy enough. After reading and reciting it out loud to himself for a few minutes, at most, he should have it down, I would think.

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