On November 24 you published a letter from Mr Burroughs purporting to reply to mine of November 10. I find it very unconvincing -mainly a protestation that he did not mean what he said, but meant something else.
In his first letter (October 20) he said: "The fundamental reason for retaining the old Mass was to pre serve the Faith." In his second (November 24) he says he did not mean "the Faith", but "belief in the sacrifice of the Mass." In October he speaks of comparing "two rites" in November it becomes clear that that is not what he meant, for what he compares are not two rites, but two Eucharistic Prayers. In October he said: "The aim of the new rite was ecumenism; to produce a form able to be interpreted by our separated brethren and by ourselves in two different ways.' (Such a form would thus be ambiguous, on purpose.) But, as I pointed out, the Pope had said: "The aim was to associate the assembly more closely and more effectively with the official rite which constitutes the Mass." These are quite different aims; one is to produce
an ambiguous rite for the satisfaction or Protestants; the other is to
improve the "Tridentine Rite" by elminating its anomalies for the benefit of Catholics.
How the first aim can be construed as not contradicting the second 1 fail to see. And how can anybody maintain that to "produce a form able to be interpreted in two ways" is not to concoct and ambiguous rite calculated to deceive the faithful? That, in effect, is what Mr Burroughs said; that, he now says, is what he did not mean. He meant something else. But what?
He tells of an Anglican bishop who "happily uses the three new Eucharistic Prayers but shuns the old Roman Canon". The bishop's reason cannot be that the Roman Canon refers to sacrifice.
For he can "happily" say: "We offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup ... the Body and Blood of Christ' (EP II), and "we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice" (EP HI) and "we offer you his Body and Blood, the acceptable sacrifice ..." (EP IV).
More probably the bishop's reason is that he shares the opinion of many Catholic scholars that, because it contains so many deviations from the form, shown by comparative liturgy to exemplify the ideal qualities of a Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon is considered to be somewhat inferior to the other three.
Does not Mr Burroughs know that the study-group appointed to consider what should be done about reforming the Canon of the Mass quite seriously considered dropping the Roman Canon altogether? If he will read "The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform," by Cyprian Yagaggini, OSB, he will learn a lot about Eucharistic Prayers. (Chapmans published an English translation in 1967.) There are other points in Mr Burroughs's letter that I could deal with, but I will refrain. To refute them would require more space than the editor is likely to grant to me, and more time than I can spare, But I would like to make just one new point myself: Not all Catholics have carefully studied the Council's Liturgy Con stitution (CTS Do 386) or the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (CTS Do 455), or even read pamphlets or books explaining liturgical changes. Many, however, will have observed criticisms of the reforms appearing in the letters columns of Catholic papers.
Again and again these criticisms have already been refuted, yet malcontents persist in repeating them. Such letters are dangerous, for they can implant in the minds of less well-instructed Catholics doubts and suspicions about the new Rite of the Mass.
They are upset, begin to feel insecure and to wonder whether the new Rite is really orthodox, or is it perhaps tainted by camouflaged Protestantism deliberately injected by scheming ecumenists? Letters of that kind do no good to anybody, forment discord and discontent, and make it harder than ever for people who have not yet outgrown their pre-Conciliar outlook to accept the reforms and give the "prompt assent" demanded by Christ's Vicar on Earth.
It is therefore important that when such letters appear, someone who has studied the history and theology of liturgy and is familiar with papal pronouncements and authoritative Roman documents should reply to the objections, reassure the anxious, and discredit the writers of these disturbing letters.
That is my motive in writing this and my previous letter. I hope it will not be necessary to write any more.
(Fr) Clifford Howell,-SJ
The relation between the Cross and the Mass and the Last Supper is not so simple and clear as Mrs Pantcheff (November 24) thinks. It is a subject to which many great and holy minds have given much prayerful thought. The excellent programme on the BBC of "Hymns of Praise" is a sacrifice of thanksgiving, but not a sacrifice in the proper sense of the word like the Mass.
The oneness of the Cross is stated clearly before and after the Communion words ... in the Book of Common Prayer:
"Jesus Christ suffered death ... thereby made one oblation of Himself and once offered a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice ..." and after ... "accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving".
The Council, under Cramner, stated why altars should be taken down. "The use of an altar is to make sacrifice up on it" ... and a "table is to serve men with meat upon it". And again, the Communion Table is of praise and thanksgiving "for there is offered the same sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving".
Ridley, Bishop of London, stated in his Instructions: "A table is used to turn the simple from the old opinions of the Popish Mass to the right use of the Lord's Supper".
The Council of Trent and St Pius V answered these dangerous, incomplete ideas: "Whosoever says that in the Mass a proper and true Sacrifice is not offered to God let him be anathema", and ad is "and that if they hold that there is nothing more than a bare communion in the Mass the same censure is incurred."
Moreover, it states: "Whosoever holds that the Sacrifice of the Mass is only of praise and thanksgiving" and clearly if it is only a bare commemmoration of the Cross and is not for propitiation, for the living and the dead and for our necessities again" let him be anathema.
What, then, is the solution? St Thomas asks these same questions and places the solution in the whole conception of a sacrament, which we remember is a sensible sign, instituted by Christ, which signifies and produces graces in the soul. The greatness of the Eucharist is that Christ is present substantially, whereas in the other it is by power. and virtue.
Then to the Mass. It is a true Immolation of Christ and so is the Sacrament of the Passion by which Christ is immolated on Calvary.
As on the Cross at the moment when Christ gave his life for the expiation of our sins, his Body and Blood were separated, so by the act of the Sacrament that is done which separates sacramentally the Body of Christ and his Blood and by the fact there is a separate consecration for the bread and the wine.
In the Mass there is not the same violent form, but it is under the form of a sacrament. There is the same state of separation which constitutes the Immolation of the Victim, the same Body and Blood of.lesus Christ which were really separated on Calvary.
It is this mode of sacramental being which constitutes the reality of a true Sacrifice. It was this faith which made the visitor wonder at the devotion of the English to the Passion and the Mass. Along the altar facing the celebrant was often, in painting, wood or stone of the Sufferings of Christ and of the Crucifixion, These were destroyed at the Reformation. There is one in Northumberland which is in stone from a small village which was sawn in two right through Our Lord on the Cross.
Mrs PantchefT would find much joy and satisfaction at Mass and Holy Communion if she can realise that Our Lord is the sacramental Victim as on the Cross "which makes Jesus Christ really present in the same state, under sacramental form, as the victim immolated on Calvary. These quotations can be found in the Summa and in the "History of the Reformation" by Fr Philip Hughes, and in the wonderful "Key to the Eucharist" by Dom Anscar Vonier, OSB.
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