We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Priests are tools

No, not in the sense satirized here (H/t: Liturgiae Causa). I mean rather that they are pure instrumentalities: they are of no interest in themselves but only arouse our gaze in so far as they fulfil a unique, representative function.

Over at NLM, they are on and on about some new book that seems to have pillaged a cartload of traditional pamphlets. But is this teaching the Catholic faith or propagandizing a new generation of unknowers? Take this image (click to enlarge), for just one example:

Under "Adoration," the text reads: "The sacrifice of God's only Son is the only truly worthy gift we can offer Him in honor and adoration." Um, cart before horse? Shouldn't that read: "Because we have no gift to give that is truly worthy of God, his Son had to offer himself for our redemption and that of the whole world"? It is this offering -- not ours -- that is recapitulated in the Eucharist.

I don't know if the following has any real standing but I can roundly affirm the main points in the excerpt, given below:

St. Thomas insists on another capital point of doctrine: The principal priest who actually offers the Mass is Christ Himself, of whom the celebrant is but the instrumental minister [my emphases], a minister who at the moment of consecration does not speak in his own name, nor even precisely in the name of the Church, [942] but in the name of the Savior "always living to intercede for us." [943].

Let us hear some further texts of St. Thomas. This sacrament is so elevated that it must be accomplished by Christ in person. [944] And again: In the prayers of the Mass the priest indeed speaks in the person of the Church, which is the Eucharistic unity; but in the sacramental consecration he speaks in the person of Christ, whom by the power of ordination he represents. [945] When he baptizes, he says "I baptize thee": when he absolves, he says "I absolve thee"; but when he consecrates, he says, not "I consecrate this bread," but, "This is My body." [946] And when he says "Hoc est corpus meum," he does not say these words as mere historical statement, but as efficient formula which produces what it signifies, transubstantiation, namely, and the Real Presence. But it is Christ Himself who, by the voice and ministry of the celebrant, performs this substantiating consecration, which is always valid, however personally unworthy the celebrant may be. [947] ...

Substantially, then, the Sacrifice of the Mass does not differ from the sacrifice of the cross, since in each we have, not only the same victim, but also the same priest who does the actual offering, though the mode of the immolation differs, one being bloody and physical, the other non-bloody and sacramental. Hence Christ's act of offering the Mass, while it is neither dolorous nor meritorious (since He is no longer viator): is still an act of reparative adoration, of intercession, of thanksgiving, is still the ever-loving action of His heart, is still the soul of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

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