Your Sunday Sermon Notes – 10th after Pentecost (NO: 19th Ordinary) 2020

Was there a GOOD point made in the sermon you heard at the Mass for your Sunday, either live or on the internet? Let us know what it was.

Also, are you churches opening up? What was attendance like?

For my part,

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#ASonnetADay – SONNET 02

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9 August – LIVE VIDEO Traditional Latin Mass – 1200h CDT (GMT/UTC -5): 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Daily, I live-stream a Traditional Latin Mass at NOON Central Daylight Time (= GMT/UTC -5 and ROME 1900h).

Today: 10th Sunday after Pentecost
Prayers Added:
After Mass: Exorcism against Satan and Fallen Angels

Will you please tell others about these Masses?  Will you please subscribe to my channel? HERE Use the notification Bell!

  • NB: You can usually find an English translation of the Mass formulary HERE.  Scroll down. Use the 1960 setting.
  • We can say the Angelus together since the bells are usually ringing when the live stream starts.
  • I will say a Spiritual Communion prayer at the very beginning for those of you who cannot make a Eucharistic Communion. 
  • I will also recite in Latin the traditional  “Statement of Intention” (…a hint to priests).
  • After Mass and the Leonine Prayers, I will recite a prayer in Latin “In time of pandemic” followed by a blessing with a fragment of the Cross
    For texts of Prayers before Mass for each day of the week, in versions for laypeople and for priests: HERE


THANK YOU to my flower donors!

Click HERE to donate.

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Wherein Fr. Z is challenged to record a Shakespeare #ASonnetADay

From a reader…

Father Z you used to make podcasts where you read poetry but you havent done that for a long time now.  I used to like those. I just found on Facebook something the actor Patrick Steward (Captain Picard!) has done. He’s read one of Shakespeare’s sonnets every day. He wants to do all of them. Why don’t you do that?  You have a great voice.  And I know you can do videos because of your Masses.  I’ll donate a $1 a  day if you do!

LOL!  Yes, it’s true that I used to do poetry podcasts. It’s true that I working now also with video.

What an interesting idea. This is the first I’ve heard of Patrick Stewart doing that. I found that he does indeed have a short video every day.  He has recorded over 100 of them at the time of this writing.  They are posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (which I have but I’ve never used).   They are posted with the hashtag #asonnetaday

I’ve always like Shakespeare.  He played an enormously important role in my early youth, such that I credit him with an important role in my eventual conversion.  To this day I render him tribute with my little “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” scenes.   This year’s homage was Two Gentlemen of Corona.  It may go viral.  I’ve also been been taking a stab at Christopher Marlowe and his newly “discovered” Tragikal History of Doctor Fauci“.    I digress.

Once upon a long time ago, I was quite familiar with the sonnets. I knew many of them by heart and probably still (mostly) do. It would be interesting to see how my view of their content has changed with age. My age, that is. I’ve been subjected to the never-resting time that Shakespeare warns his friend about and describes working upon himself as well. It is valuable to revisit the greats. The words on our pages don’t change… but we do. And as the adage runs, quidquid recipitur, in modo recipientis recipitur.

I like what Stewart does in his little videos. He is in a different place each time. Sometimes he adds a touch of whimsy or makes brief comment, on the text or on life in general. They are informal and not overly polished. They are just fun.

So, yeah. I’ll do this.  And – hey! – After all these years I’d be a paid actor again!  Anyone else want to do the $1 a day thing?  I have a subscription option for that!

And maybe when I’ve done with the Sonnets, I’ll do the Psalms.

UPDATE

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8 August – LIVE VIDEO Traditional NUPTIAL Mass – 1330h CDT (GMT/UTC -5): Wedding

I have a wedding Mass this after noon at 1:30PM CDT.

I believe it will be live streamed HERE. (If you go to that site early, it might default to the video of last Sunday’s Mass.)

I don’t know if it will have a live feed on YouTube or not.

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Wherein Fr. Hunwicke made me laugh.

Fr. Hunwicke has, at his indispensable blog, an informative piece which literally made me laugh.

Father immediately drew my attentive reading through his title: “Papa Lambertini’s conundrum”.

Papa Lambertini is, as you know, one of my favorites favourites among the Successors of Peter, Benedict XIV.

Fr. Hunwicke begins:

Pope Benedict XIV pointed out (1) that we are obliged to venerate an exposed Host (cultum negari non posse hostiae ad venerationem expositae). But (2): although it is de fide that consecrated Hosts have been transubstantiated, (3) it is not de fide that this particular host actually was, as a matter of History, certainly consecrated (licet de fide non sit esse consecratam).

You see what he means in part (3) of that.

[…]

He goes on to explain, making distinctions.

I only wish that you had the opportunity to read the rest of his post while drinking your coffee, tea, or lemon barley water from a properly disposed mug, such as…

>>HERE<<

Behold…
B14_mug_BackB14_mug_Front

And… wear him with pride!

What’s on the back?  The text of his prohibition is on the back of these shirts (with two exceptions – one economy shirt for men and one for women which don’t have texts, so check carefully):

B14_shirt_Back

B14_shirt_Front

 

 

 

 

What’s on the back?

The text in Latin and English of Papa Lambertini’s Allatae sunt of 26 July 1755, in which he slams the door on women serving Mass, including: “Mulieres autem servire ad Altare non audeant, sed ab illius ministerio repellantur omnino…Women must not dare to serve at the Altar, but they should be altogether repulsed from this ministry.”

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7 August – LIVE VIDEO Traditional Latin Mass – 1200h CDT (GMT/UTC -5): St. Cajetan

Daily, I live-stream a Traditional Latin Mass at NOON Central Daylight Time (= GMT/UTC -5 and ROME 1900h).

Today: St. Cajetan, Confessor
Prayers Added: For patience
After Mass: In time of Pandemic

Will you please tell others about these Masses?  Will you please subscribe to my channel? HERE Use the notification Bell!

  • NB: You can usually find an English translation of the Mass formulary HERE.  Scroll down. Use the 1960 setting.
  • We can say the Angelus together since the bells are usually ringing when the live stream starts.
  • I will say a Spiritual Communion prayer at the very beginning for those of you who cannot make a Eucharistic Communion. 
  • I will also recite in Latin the traditional  “Statement of Intention” (…a hint to priests).
  • After Mass and the Leonine Prayers, I will recite a prayer in Latin “In time of pandemic” followed by a blessing with a fragment of the Cross
    For texts of Prayers before Mass for each day of the week, in versions for laypeople and for priests: HERE

THANK YOU to my flower donors!

Click HERE to donate.

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Nun TikTok

Lighter fare for Friday.

PEOPLE: Please try not to freak out.  This was on TWITTER.   TWITTER!!!  Not TikTok.

Since I posted about nuns today….

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LCWR and CMSWR: compare and contrast

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is going to hold a virtual “assembly” this year, rather than gather physically. Understandable. Indeed, virtually all of them are vulnerable to the worst results of COVID, given their average age. The LCWR claims that their conference has 1350 members which are 80% of the the roughly 44000 women religious in these USA. These are, in the main, the orders and congregations who are slinging to life now, after they went down the progressivist to chase the spirit of Vatican II. They, for the most part, abandoned their habits and much of their founding vision, and adapted to the world. Their vocations numbers are low. The are dying out. They are, sadly, struggling for relevancy and air.

On the other side of things, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), smaller but far more vital, have communities which are growing, even bursting at the seams. At a glimpse you can get a feel of the differences:

LCWR website screenshots:

CMSWR website screenshots:

The LCWR 2020 Assembly (12-14 August):  “God’s Infinite Vision: Our Journey to the Borders and Beyond”.  Their “Assembly Resolution” reminds me of that paper title generator: “Creating Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration & Climate Crisis”.   Their Assemblies are open only to members and certain hand-picked media.

I didn’t see a title or fancy resolution for the CMSWR meeting in September.  But I did notice they are having a Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in October and their flyer says: “Jesus in the Eucharist: Increase Our Faith”.  The congress is open to everyone.

At Fishwrap there is a story about the upcoming LCWR Assembly.   I liked this part.

To streamline part of the virtual process, LCWR members have already voted on a new president-elect: Sr. Jane Herb of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, Michigan, will join the triumvirate presidency at the end of the assembly.

She will join the “triumvirate”.  The trium-VIR-ate.

It’s melancholy business reading the site of the LCWR.

Meanwhile, back at the CMSWR there’s this trailer for a film about vocations to the religious life for women…

The demographic sink hole that is opening under the Church, accelerated by COVID-1984, is going to hit religious life.

Which group, of the above, has the best chance of weathering the storm?

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Posted in The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Women Religious | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

More love from @AustenI

Ladies and gentlemen, Austen Ivereigh!

Here’s what obvious: his thinly veiled contempt for people who simply want traditional Catholic worship… the single most marginalized group in the Church today.

 

 

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A great piece about St. Damien of Molokai and a couple thoughts about AOC

Not long ago, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14 – aka AOC), said that a statue in the US Capitol of St. Damien of Molokai, was part of a “white supremecist culture”.

What a foolishly ignorant thing to say.    AOC didn’t have the slightest clue about the person of St. Damien or the person who made the statue.   At least I hope she just stuffed her foot in her mouth out of sheer ignorance.  If she really did have the slightest clue that would be worse.

After pro-abort AOC’s idiotic remarks Fishwrap had a longing puff piece about her, dreaming about the day when the Church will be just like her.  “AOC is the future of the Catholic Church“!

She also dislikes St. Junipero Serra, which suggests that she doesn’t know anything about him, either.

Today Chad Pecknold has a piece at First Things about St. Damien.  HERE   It is worth your time.

I think that everyone who happens to run into AOC in person should simply say to her first off, “St. Damien of Molokai sends his best regards!”

Meanwhile, please, NY-14, I implore you.  Vote for an expired Metro card before of this one!

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JUST TOO COOL: Feast of the Transfiguration – special blessing of grapes!

Go buy some grapes and take them to the priest  for the Feast of the Transfiguration (tomorrow, 6 August), with a page from the Rituale Romanum (HERE).

The Roman calendar has many little treasures which remind us of how our Faith and the Church’s calendar, the rhythm of temporal and spiritual life, are integrated in our seasons.

At the beginning of August we Romans remember the martyrs Pope Saint Sixtus and his four deacon companions.  This is the time of year with the first grapes of the harvest are blessed.  Together with the Transfiguration of our Lord, the blessing of grapes – an eschatological symbol – shows that Holy Church is already in the end time, though we wait for its completion.

Here is the translation for the blessing of grapes, for those who don’t have Latin:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this fresh fruit of the vine,
which Thou hast graciously brought to full ripeness
with the dew of heaven, abundant rain, and calm and fair weather.
Thou hast given them for our use;
grant that we may receive them with thanksgiving
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Vine,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
God for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

(And they are sprinkled with holy water.)

I was delighted by the reference to “dew of heaven… rore caeli“.  You might recall the controversy over the reference to “dew” when the new, corrected translation was being prepared.

The cultivation of certain types of grapes requires special conditions.  In a contrast to the benefits of dew lauded in the prayer of the blessing, however, dew isn’t always good for grapes.  Dew helps fungus to get hold, through in the case of some grapes, certain fungi are welcome, as in the case of the “noble rot” in a very late harvest which produces wines of a spectacular sweetness and depth.  Also, it is important to harvest grapes after dissipation of dew.  But certainly the evocation of dew in the prayer refers to the necessary moisture grapes need for their proper development.  And of course, dew is a Scriptural image for the descent of God with graces.

The coming of and effects of the Holy Spirit, in Scripture and in the Fathers of the Church, are often described not by fire imagery, but rather by water images and, indeed, dew.

First, ros can come from above like rain.  Second, ros is dew which forms nearly imperceptibly.  In one case, rain flows across a thing and washes it.  Dew slowly dampens.  In both cases there results a penetrating soaking.  Arid ground yields to planting.  Seeds germinate and sprout.   The ros Spiritus in the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer can be both the cleansing and the moistening.

Our Catholic doctrine of sanctification teaches us that at baptism a person is both justified and sanctified by the washing/indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  That sanctification can be deepened through the course of one’s life.  It comes suddenly.  It comes gradually.

In Scripture the psalmist sings about the “King of Justice”. “May he be like rain (Vulgate ros) that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!” (Ps 72:6 RSV).

In the Song of Songs, we hear, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew (ros), my locks with the drops of the night. By night I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them” (Cant 5:2-3).  St. Augustine (+430) saw in the lover and beloved an image of Christ calling His ministerial Church to service.

From Isaiah we have an image which has come into the Latin Church’s liturgy, namely, “Rorate caeli desuper … Shower (rorate), O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it” (Is 45:8 Vulgate and RSV – Introit 4th Sunday of Advent).

The Fathers made much of ros through an allegorical technique of interpretation.  Origen (+254), via Rufinus’ translation of the Homilies on the Book of Judges (8.5) says: “But we also, if only we might offer our feet, the Lord Jesus is ready to wash the feet of our soul and cleanse them with a heavenly washing (rore caelesti), by the grace of the Holy Spirit, by the word of sacred doctrine.”

Saint Ambrose of Milan (+397), who drew much upon Origen’s writings as a starting point, in his work on the Holy Spirit wrote: “The Holy Scriptures were promising to us this rainfall (pluvia) of the whole world, which watered the orb under the coming of the Lord, in the falling dew of the divine Spirit (Spiritus rore divini)” (De spiritu sancto 1.8).

The imagery of grapes is also Scriptural.  The immediate association for Catholics is the Eucharist.  But grapes symbolize the end times.  They have an eschatological import.   In Revelation 14:19-20 we have an image of the end times and judgment when the grapes of wrath are pressed in the winepress:

And the angel thrust in his sharp sickle into the earth and gathered the vineyard of the earth and cast it into the great press of the wrath of God: And the press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Of course the image of grapes is a happy one as well… obviously.  From the ancient Roman Church grapes are found in carvings in the catacombs and on sarcophagus reliefs.  Bunches of ripe grapes are symbols of completion, that the season has finally brought things to fruition.  Grapes remind us that Christ is the Vine, whence all our life and hope flows out to us, His branches and tendrils.

In those ancient depictions we sometimes see the harvest of grapes, which is the happy completion of life.  For example there is the relief of the famous 4th c. sarcophagus with the Good Shepherd from the Catacombs of Praetextatus which shows a harvest.  In the Catacomb of Priscilla there is a 4th century carving of a dove eating grapes, the dove being a symbol of the Christian soul and grapes the happy attainment of the goal of fullness in due time, heaven.  Remember that reference, above, to the dove from the Song of Songs?  It all fits together.  You can click on that image of the Good Shepherd for a larger view.

Grapes remind us that we shall be known from the fruits we both bear and we generate for the benefit of others.

Grapes remind us that we should not be sour grapes for others.

Grapes remind us that, if we do not live our vocations as the Lord’s branches well, then the grapes may be those of wrath, though mercy and forgiveness is what the Lord offers those who fall.

So, get your grapes and get them blessed if you can.

When you eat them consider:

  • how good God has been to you, even if some of the grapes are bitter;
  • whether or not, through the dew of God’s graces and the light He shines on you, you are developing well for your own eternal salvation;
  • whether or not you are producing fruits for the benefit of others, hopefully sweet fruits and not sour.
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6 August – LIVE VIDEO Traditional Latin Mass – 1200h CDT (GMT/UTC -5): Transfiguration of the Lord

Daily, I live-stream a Traditional Latin Mass at NOON Central Daylight Time (= GMT/UTC -5 and ROME 1900h).

Today: Transfiguration of the Lord
Prayers Added: Sixtus II et al., For the tried and tempted
After Mass: In time of Pandemic

Will you please tell others about these Masses?  Will you please subscribe to my channel? HERE Use the notification Bell!

  • NB: You can usually find an English translation of the Mass formulary HERE.  Scroll down. Use the 1960 setting.
  • We can say the Angelus together since the bells are usually ringing when the live stream starts.
  • I will say a Spiritual Communion prayer at the very beginning for those of you who cannot make a Eucharistic Communion. 
  • I will also recite in Latin the traditional  “Statement of Intention” (…a hint to priests).
  • After Mass and the Leonine Prayers, I will recite a prayer in Latin “In time of pandemic” followed by a blessing with a fragment of the Cross
    For texts of Prayers before Mass for each day of the week, in versions for laypeople and for priests: HERE

THANK YOU to my flower donors!

Click HERE to donate.

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Sun Daggars!

This is super cool.

I’ve always been interested in how people track time, during the day and across the seasons. I’ve posted about the sundial of Augustus in Rome and the obelisk of St. Peter’s, the sunclocks of St. Sulpice in Paris and in Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome. I think I may have posted about the astrolabe I have tucked away somewhere. Etc.

From APOD:

Explanation: Ancient sun daggers will not hurt you, but they may tell you the time. A sun dagger is a dagger-shaped gap in a shadow created by sunlight streaming through a crevice in a nearby rock. Starting over a thousand year ago, native people of the American southwest carved spiral petroglyphs into rocks that became illuminated by sun daggers in different ways as the Sun shifts in the sky. A type of sundial, where the end of the sundagger points in the spiral at high noon (for example) indicates a time of year, possibly illuminating a solstice or equinox. Sun daggers are thought to have been used by Sun Priests during lone vigils with prayers and offerings. Of the few known, the featured video discusses the historic Picture Rocks Sun Dagger near Tucson, Arizona, USA, likely created by a Hohokam Sun Priest around 1000 AD.

For the links in that piece, go over to APOD.

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URGENT: CDF responds to ‘dubia’ about the baptismal formula, “WE baptize you….”

I have to issue an important correction.

Back in 2009, I answered a question about the validity of the form for baptism: “We baptize you…”.  I wrote at the time that my first inclination was that that was invalid.  Then I considered the possibility of the “royal we”.

Of course I firmly stated at the time that priests should stick to the form as it is so that there is no doubt about validity.

In 2009 I raised the point that the Trinitarian form seems to be the most important element, given the in the Greek East the form is, “The servant of God is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Also, the Bull Exsultate Deo of Eugene IV in 1439 states: “Se exprimitur actus, qui per ipsum exercetur ministrum, cum Sanctae Trinitatis invocatione, perficitur sacramentum… If the act which is exercised through the minister is expressed with the invocation of the Holy Trinity, then the sacrament is effected.”  (Cf. DS 696).

So, in 2009, I concluded that “We baptize you…” was illicit but probably valid.

Also, in 2009, I concluded my post with:

If anyone who hears something like is concerned enough to want to raise questions, he should approach the local bishop right away.  If no clear answer is obtained, then the proper dicastery of the Holy See to write to for a clarification would be the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, send exact details about what was said and done in that instance leaving aside speculations or rambling irrelevancies.

TODAY, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a RESPONSE to dubia proposed about this very formula, “We baptize you….”.

The CDF said that “We baptize you…” is INVALID!

NB: That said, the response, posted in full below, does NOT address the issue of the “royal we” which I brought up in 2009.  That is a lacuna in the response.

And…. this is hugely important…

Anyone baptized with that formula (“We baptize…”) MUST BE BAPTIZED ABSOLUTELY and not conditionally.


RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS PROPOSED
on the validity of Baptism conferred with the formula
«We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit»

QUESTIONS

First question: Whether the Baptism conferred with the formula «We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit» is valid?

Second question: Whether those persons for whom baptism was celebrated with this formula must be baptized in forma absoluta?

RESPONSES

To the first questionNegative.

To the second question: Affirmative.

The Supreme Pontiff Francis, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On June 8, 2020, approved these Responses and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 2020, on the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.
Prefect

+Giacomo Morandi
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri
Secretary

* * *

DOCTRINAL NOTE
on the modification of the sacramental formula of Baptism

Recently there have been celebrations of the Sacrament of Baptism administered with the words: “In the name of the father and of the mother, of the godfather and of the godmother, of the grandparents, of the family members, of the friends, in the name of the community we baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Apparently, the deliberate modification of the sacramental formula was introduced to emphasize the communitarian significance of Baptism, in order to express the participation of the family and of those present, and to avoid the idea of the concentration of a sacred power in the priest to the detriment of the parents and the community that the formula in the Rituale Romano might seem to imply[1]. With debatable pastoral motives[2], here resurfaces the ancient temptation to substitute for the formula handed down by Tradition other texts judged more suitable. In this regard, St. Thomas Aquinas had already asked himself the question “utrum plures possint simul baptizare unum et eundem” to which he had replied negatively, insofar as this practice is contrary to the nature of the minister[3].

The Second Vatican Council states that: “when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes”[4]. The affirmation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, inspired by a text of Saint Augustine[5], wants to return the sacramental celebration to the presence of Christ, not only in the sense that he infuses his virtus to give it efficacy, but above all to indicate that the Lord has the principal role in the event being celebrated.

When celebrating a Sacrament, the Church in fact functions as the Body that acts inseparably from its Head, since it is Christ the Head who acts in the ecclesial Body generated by him in the Paschal mystery[6]. The doctrine of the divine institution of the Sacraments, solemnly affirmed by the Council of Trent[7], thus sees its natural development and authentic interpretation in the above-mentioned affirmation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. The two Councils are therefore in harmony in declaring that they do not have the authority to subject the seven sacraments to the action of the Church. The Sacraments, in fact, inasmuch as they were instituted by Jesus Christ, are entrusted to the Church to be preserved by her. It is evident here that although the Church is constituted by the Holy Spirit, who is the interpreter of the Word of God, and can, to a certain extent, determine the rites which express the sacramental grace offered by Christ, does not establish the very foundations of her existence: the Word of God and the saving acts of Christ.

It is therefore understandable that in the course of the centuries the Church has safeguarded the form of the celebration of the Sacraments, above all in those elements to which Scripture attests and that make it possible to recognize with absolute clarity the gesture of Christ in the ritual action of the Church. The Second Vatican Council has likewise established that no one “even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority”[8]. Modifying on one’s own initiative the form of the celebration of a Sacrament does not constitute simply a liturgical abuse, like the transgression of a positive norm, but a vulnus inflicted upon the ecclesial communion and the identifiability of Christ’s action, and in the most grave cases rendering invalid the Sacrament itself, because the nature of the ministerial action requires the transmission with fidelity of that which has been received (cf. 1 Cor 15:3).

In the celebration of the Sacraments, in fact, the subject is the Church, the Body of Christ together with its Head, that manifests itself in the concrete gathered assembly[9]. Such an assembly therefore acts ministerially – not collegially – because no group can make itself Church, but becomes Church in virtue of a call that cannot arise from within the assembly itself. The minister is therefore the sign-presence of Him who gathers, and is at the same time the locus of the communion of every liturgical assembly with the whole Church. In other words the minister is the visible sign that the Sacrament is not subject to an arbitrary action of individuals or of the community, and that it pertains to the Universal Church.

In this light must be understood the tridentine injunction concerning the necessity of the minister to at least have the intention to do that which the Church does[10]. The intention therefore cannot remain only at the interior level, with the risk of subjective distractions, but must be expressed in the exterior action constituted by the use of the matter and form of the Sacrament. Such an action cannot but manifest the communion between that which the minister accomplishes in the celebration of each individual sacrament with that which the Church enacts in communion with the action of Christ himself: It is therefore fundamental that the sacramental action may not be achieved in its own name, but in the person of Christ who acts in his Church, and in the name of the Church.

Therefore, in the specific case of the Sacrament of Baptism, not only does the minister not have the authority to modify the sacramental formula to his own liking, for the reasons of a christological and ecclesiological nature already articulated, but neither can he even declare that he is acting on behalf of the parents, godparents, relatives or friends, nor in the name of the assembly gathered for the celebration, because he acts insofar as he is the sign-presence of the same Christ that is enacted in the ritual gesture of the Church. When the minister says “I baptize you…” he does not speak as a functionary who carries out a role entrusted to him, but he enacts ministerially the sign-presence of Christ, who acts in his Body to give his grace and to make the concrete liturgical assembly a manifestation of “the real nature of the true Church”[11], insofar as “liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the ‘sacrament of unity,’ namely the holy people united and ordered under their bishops”[12].

Moreover, to modify the sacramental formula implies a lack of an understanding of the very nature of the ecclesial ministry that is always at the service of God and his people and not the exercise of a power that goes so far as to manipulate what has been entrusted to the Church in an act that pertains to the Tradition. Therefore, in every minister of Baptism, there must not only be a deeply rooted knowledge of the obligation to act in ecclesial communion, but also the same conviction that Saint Augustine attributes to the Precursor, which “was to be a certain peculiarity in Christ, such that, although many ministers, be they righteous or unrighteous, should baptize, the virtue of Baptism would be attributed to Him alone on whom the dove descended, and of whom it was said: ‘It is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’ (Jn 1:33)”. Therefore, Augustine comments: “Peter may baptize, but this is He that baptizes; Paul may baptize, yet this is He that baptizes; Judas may baptize, still this is He that baptizes»[13].

_____________________

[1] In reality, a careful analysis of the Rite of Baptism of Children shows that in the celebration the parents, godparents and the entire community are called to play an active role, a true liturgical office (cf. Rituale Romanum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II instauratum auctoritate Pauli PP. VI promulgatumOrdo Baptismi ParvulorumPraenotanda, nn. 4-7), which according to the conciliar provisions, however, requires that “each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 28).

[2] Often the recourse to pastoral motivation masks, even unconsciously, a subjective deviation and a manipulative will. Already in the last century Romano Guardini recalled that if in personal prayer the believer can follow the impulse of the heart, in liturgical action “he must open himself to a different kind of impulse which comes from a more powerful source: namely, the heart of the Church which beats through the ages. Here it does not matter what personal tastes are, what wants he may have, or what particular cares occupy his mind…” (R. Guardini, Vorschule des Betens, Einsiedeln/Zürich, 19482, p. 258; Eng. trans.: The Art of Praying, Manchester, NH, 1985, 176).

[3] Summa Theologiae, III, q. 67, a. 6 c.

[4] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7.

[5] S. Augustinus, In Evangelium Ioannis tractatus, VI, 7.

[6] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 5.

[7] Cf. DH 1601.

[8] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22 § 3.

[9] Cf. Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae, n. 1140: “Tota communitas, corpus Christi suo Capiti unitum, celebrat” and 1141: “Celebrans congregatio communitas est baptizatorum”.

[10] Cf. DH 1611.

[11] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 2.

[12] Ibid., 26.

[13] S. Augustinus, In Evangelium Ioannis tractatus, VI, 7.

[00923-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

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