From a reader…
QUAERUNTUR (I generally take ONE question at a time, but I am feeling benign this afternoon… a rare occurance):
Your recent post this afternoon about validity around a Priest using “for all” instead of “for many” made me think of my own questions regarding validity based upon recent experience.
1) is it valid if the priest pours too much water into the chalice causing the wine to become diluted?
2) An older priest that says daily Mass regularly at a parish I attend does not break off a fraction of the host and place in the chalice before the “Lamb of God”. Does this render the Mass invalid?
Ad 1m. If the priest adds too much water to the wine in the chalice, he “breaks” the substance of the wine. At that point, there is no wine to consecrate and, hence, there can be no consecration. That means that Mass was not celebrated. However, it is possible that the Host was consecrated. That means that the priest, technically, consecrated the Eucharist outside of Mass, which is a serious sin and crime. Mind you, it can happen that an older fellow or a priest who isn’t tracking very well might do this by accident. If that happens more than once, someone should be with him to correct the situation. More wine must be added, for example. Another way to avoid this is the use of the so-called “scruple spoon”. I have a photo of one of these great gizmos among the headers for this blog. With the “scruple spoon”, Father is able to dip up a tiny bit of water and add it to the chalice. Easy.
For this we, being good Unreconstructed Ossified Manualists, refer to our old manuals. In the manual of dogmatic theology by Tanquerey, that tonic for the soul, I found the opinion that “quinta pars aquae ad vinum corrumpendum non sufficiat … a fifth part of water isn’t enough to break [the substance of] the wine”, and thus render it invalid matter for consecration.
Think about it. One fifth of the volume of the wine usually isn’t very much. So, priests should be very careful about this. FATHERS! DEACONS! SEMINARIANS! PAY ATTENTION!
Ad 2m. No. Not putting the particle of Host into the Precious Blood does NOT invalidate the Mass. At this point the priest has the Body and Blood of the Lord on the altar. Now the critical thing is that he must consume them both to complete the Sacrifice. Putting the particle into the chalice is highly significant, but it is not an element which is absolutely essential for Mass to have been celebrated. This element could have developed from the ancient practice of the Bishop of Rome breaking pieces from his Host and sending them out to all the tituli (“parishes”) of the City to show their unity. At last, some saw the mingling of the Body with the Blood as a sign of the Resurrection. If the two-fold consecration is the separation of the Blood from the Body, and therefore the death of the Lord, then their rejoining is like His resurrection. Thus, when we receive Communion we have been given then sign that what we receive is truly the Lord gloriously risen. This commingling should also give us a great sense of peace. In the older form of Mass the priest makes the sign of the Cross thrice with the particle from rim to rim of the chalice saying, “May the peace of the Lord be with you always”.