Monday, 18 August 2008

Don't mind me — talk among yourselves.

I hope you've had a chance to read the 'Cardinal's' fascinating comment on the last post. He makes a number of very interesting observations, particularly regarding the fact that the text of the Mass posted on the US Bishops' website is still, very probably, going to undergo further revision. In some cases, I think this is a good thing; it isn't perfect yet, though it is an improvement on the last, erm, leaked, version. I was, for instance, very glad to see disappear:

Let our hearts be lifted high
We hold them before the Lord.

His Eminence mentions that there is a strong possibility that Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again will be restored to the post-Consecration acclamations. I do profoundly hope not. I have known quite traditional priests, who say nothing but the first Eucharistic Prayer, also use nothing but this acclamation. It was introduced, I suspect, for ecumenical purposes, because it is used by several other Christian communions at the same position (without, however the same alternatives that we have). And yet we are proposing to abandon the ecumenical principle in our texts now—why retain this one?

I personally think there is a very important reason to abandon this acclamation. It is the only one of the four acclamations currently in use which addresses Christ as if he were not present. The other three are based upon scripture and address our Lord in the second person, for he is now present on the altar. It is indeed the proclamation of the mystery of our faith, and the acknowledgement of the mystery of our faith present among us. The facts of Christ's death, resurrection and second coming are acknowledged in the creed; in the acclamation we directly address the Christ who has died, risen and will come again. Speaking of him as though not present seems to me well, simply, rude.

'Oh, don't mind me; talk among yourselves.'

3 comments:

bobd said...

I don't understand the need for any acclamation. In Latin the priest says
'Mysterium Fidei". Which means mystery of faith. What Is? and the answere is: what has just taken place. The changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. THAT IS the mystery of faith. And the only possible reply is our own non-verbal internal assent of "Amen" because what we believe to have just taken place is UNBELIEVABLE.

David said...

I quite agree! "Christ has died etc..." has no Latin equivalent as far as I know and it is written entirely in the third person. It is not in any sense "prayed." I once heard tht it originated in one of the New England States.

.P.S. RE. bobd, I don't think that the Mystery of Faith refers to transubstantiation.

The Cardinal said...

bobd - The Roman Canon originally had a whole set of acclamations, the vestiges of which are the Amens (now optional) which punctuate the prayer.

I hope you realise that it's the whole prayer that is consecratory, not just the words of institution. We must not fall into the temptation of treating those words as a quasi-magic formula.

david - There are many stories about the origin of this text. The latest is that it was invented by a professor at a meeting at Maynooth. However, this text was being used by the Anglicans for a number of years before ICEL got hold of it.

Some liturgists believe that "Christ has died...." is in fact the only correct acclamation. The Eucharistic Prayer as a whole is addressed to the Father, and to change in the middle to addressing the Son in an acclamation and then back again to addressing the Father does not make liturgical sense, runs the argument. In other words, those who produced the texts of the 1969 Order of Mass called on one particular tradition in which Christ is addressed directly at this point, but it was perhaps not the best tradition to have used. They could just as easily have put "Mortem suam annuntiamus, Domine, et resurrectionem suam confitemur, donec veniat".