Ecumenical Mass, a work in progress?
The consecration makes the Protestants uncomfortable. The ploy of silence…
[At this point, the matter has been reported by mainstream Vaticanist Marco Tosatti, albeit as a rumor. As the journalist himself says, however, “My sources are usually good”, and he surely has no interest in hurting his own credibility. – Novus Ordo Watch]
By Marco Tosatti
Translation by Novus Ordo Watch in A new “New Mass”? Vatican reportedly working on “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” for joint Worship with Protestants of Messa Ecumenica, Lavori in Corso? La Consacrazione Imbarazza I Riformati. L’escamotage Del Silenzio…, Stilum Curiae, Mar. 1, 2017
These are only rumors, so we should only take them with a grain or even two or three of salt. But the mere fact that these allegations are circulating is a signal; and my sources are usually good.
We will write everything in the conditional. A mixed commission of Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans, bound to secrecy, is working on implementing a kind of rite of mass that can be attended by people from all three [of these] Christian denominations. There is no mention of the Orthodox. There is no written document yet, it’s all by verbal [i.e. oral] communication.
The hypothesis regards a first part with a “liturgy of the word”, which does not pose any problem; after the confession of sins, asking God for forgiveness, and reciting the Gloria, there would be the readings and the Gospel.
The commission is allegedly studying the problem of the Creed. Protestant churches prefer to pray the Apostles’ Creed, although they do recognize the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church alternates between them. So not even this point should be a major problem.
Even the presentation of the gifts, although it must be studied with care, does not appear to present a major obstacle to the project.
The central issue is that of the Eucharist. The Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly different from that of the Lutherans or of other Protestant denominations. And of course at this crucial moment, when for Catholics (but not for Protestants) transubstantiation takes place, the liturgy cannot be different for the various celebrants.
But how can a common liturgy be celebrated that clearly differs in the wording right at the most important point of the event?
One of the proposed possible solutions would be silence. It would mean that after the Sanctus, at the moment in which normally during the Mass the priest would say the words: “Father, you are holy indeed…” the different celebrants would keep silent, everyone mentally repeating “his own” formula.
The silence is broken in the congregation with the recitation of the Our Father. It is still not clear how the lines for Communion would be formed.
This is the information we got, and we pass it on. A partial confirmation that these works are in progress comes from an article by Luisella Scrosati in Bussola Quotidiana, in which she presents a stratagem “found” by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, then headed by Cardinal [Walter] Kasper. This stratagem acknowledged the validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (eucharistic prayer of the Oriental Assyrian Church, aka the Nestorian Church). This is a prayer that does not contain any words of consecration, “except ‘in a dispersed euchological way’, i.e. not in an explicit way (‘This is my Body… This is the chalice of my Blood’), as a [Vatican] document from 2001 says. This could therefore be extremely useful as a justifying principle for a new eucharistic prayer without any words of consecration that could upset the Protestant brethren”. That liturgy was exclusive to the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church, in case there were pastoral problems. But just imagine if such a minor detail could turn out to have great significance in the present ecumenical climate. De minimis non curat praetor [“The chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles”]…