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Gen'l. Info. Regarding the Holy Eucharist (4)

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The Holy Eucharist (At Traditional Latin 'Tridentine' Mass)

The Holy Eucharist (Cont.) (4)

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* Although in the early days of the Church Holy Communion was given to the laity under both species (bread & wine), the Church - "influenced by numerous and weighty reasons" - instituted the practice of communion under one species (bread). She further anathematized any who condemned this practice.

"If any one saith that the precept of God or by necessity of salvation all and each of the faithful of Christ ought to receive both species of the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one denieth that in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one denieth, that Christ whole and entire - the fountain and author of all graces -is received under the one species of bread; because that - as some falsely assert - He is not received, according to the institution of Christ himself, under both species; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If anyone says that the holy Catholic Church has not been influenced by just causes and reasons to give communion under the form of bread only to layman and even to clerics when not consecrating, or that she has erred in this: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"The holy council, guided by the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of godliness (see Isa. 11:2), and following the custom and the judgment of the Church itself, teaches and declares that they laity and clerics who are not celebrating are not bound by any divine command to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species. And faith leaves no possibility of doubting that Communion under one species is sufficient for salvation." (Council of Trent)

"As to the rite to be observed in communicating, pastors should teach that the law of the holy Church forbids Communion under both kinds to anyone but the officiating priests, without the authority of the Church itself. Christ the Lord, it is true, as has been explained by the Council of Trent, instituted and delivered to His Apostles at His Last Supper this most sublime Sacrament under the species of bread and wine; but it does not follow that by doing so our Lord and Savior established a law ordering its administration to all the faithful under both species. For speaking of this Sacrament, He Himself frequently mentions it under one kind only, as, for instance, when He says: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and: The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world, and: He that eateth this bread shall live for ever." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The most Holy Eucharist is to be given only under the form of bread." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord's blood is present under the appearance of bread also." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Christ is so contained, whole and entire, under either species, that, as under the species of bread are contained not only the body, but also the blood and Christ entire; so in like manner, under the species of wine are truly contained not only the blood, but also the body and Christ entire." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Augustine says in a sermon (Gregory, Sacramentarium): 'Each receives Christ the Lord, Who is entire under every morsel, nor is He less in each portion, but bestows Himself entire under each.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Jesus Christ is whole and entire under both the form of bread and under the form of wine." (Baltimore Catechism)

"We know that under the appearance of bread we receive also Christ's blood and under the appearance of wine we receive also Christ's body; because in the Holy Eucharist we receive the living body of Our Lord, and a living body cannot exist without blood, nor can living blood exist without a body." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Both under the species of the bread and under the species of the wine the living Jesus Christ is all present, with His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"[T]he Sacrifice of the Mass represents in a sensible way the shedding of the Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross, because, in virtue of the words of consecration, only the Body of our Savior is made present under the species of the bread and only His Blood under the species of the wine; although by natural concomitance and by the hypostatic union, the living and real Jesus Christ is present under each of the species." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"The most holy Eucharist has indeed this in common with the rest of the sacraments, that it is a symbol of a sacred thing, and is a visible form of an invisible grace; but there is found in the Eucharist this excellent and peculiar thing, that the other sacraments have then first the power of sanctifying when one uses them, whereas in the Eucharist, before being used, there is the Author Himself of sanctity. For the apostles had not as yet received the Eucharist from the hand of the Lord, when nevertheless Himself affirmed with truth that to be His own body which He presented (to them). And this faith has ever been in the Church of God, that, immediately after the consecration, the veritable Body of our Lord, and His veritable Blood, together with His soul and divinity, are under the species of bread and wine; but the Body indeed under the species of bread, and the Blood under the species of wine, by the force of the words; but the body itself under the species of wine, and the blood under the species of bread, and the soul under both, by the force of that natural connexion and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who hath now risen from the dead, to die no more, are united together; and the divinity, furthermore, on account of the admirable hypostatical union thereof with His body and soul. Wherefore it is most true, that as much is contained under either species as under both; for Christ whole and entire is under the species of bread, and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole (Christ) is under the species of wine, and under the parts thereof." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"It is clear that the Church was influenced by numerous and most cogent reasons, not only to approve, but also to confirm by authority of its decree, the general practice of communicating under one species. In the first place, the greatest caution was necessary to avoid spilling the blood of the Lord on the ground, a thing that seemed not easily to be avoided, if the chalice were administered in a large assemblage of the people. In the next place, whereas the Holy Eucharist ought to be in readiness for the sick, it was very much to be apprehended, were the species of wine to remain long unconsumed, that it might turn acid. Besides, there are many who cannot at all bear the taste or even the smell of wine. Lest, therefore, what is intended for the spiritual health should prove hurtful to the health of the body, it has been most prudently provided by the Church that it should be administered to the people under the species of bread only. We may also further observe that in many countries wine is extremely scarce; nor can it, moreover, be brought from elsewhere without incurring very heavy expenses and encountering very tedious and difficult journeys. Finally, a most important reason was the necessity of opposing the heresy of those who denied that Christ, whole and entire, is contained under either species, and asserted that the body is contained under the species of bread without the blood, and the blood under the species of wine without the body. In order, therefore, to place more clearly before the eyes of all the truth of the Catholic faith, Communion under one kind, that is, under the species of bread, was most wisely introduced. There are also other reasons, collected by those who have treated on this subject, and which, if it shall appear necessary, can be brought forward by pastors." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Two points should be observed regarding the use of this sacrament, one on the part of the sacrament, the other on the part of the recipients; on the part of the sacrament it is proper for both the body and the blood to be received, since the perfection of the sacrament lies in both, and consequently, since it is the priest's duty both to consecrate and finish the sacrament, he ought on no account to receive Christ's body without the blood. But on the part of the recipient the greatest reverence and caution are called for, lest anything happen which is unworthy of so great a mystery. Now this could especially happen in receiving the blood, for, if incautiously handled, it might easily be spilt. And because the multitude of the Christian people increased, in which there are old, young, and children, some of whom have not enough discretion to observe due caution in using this sacrament, on that account it is a prudent custom...for the blood not to be offered to the reception of the people, but to be received by the priest alone... The perfection of this sacrament does not lie in the use of the faithful, but in the consecration of the matter. And hence there is nothing derogatory to the perfection of this sacrament; if the people receive the body without the blood, provided that the priest who consecrates receive both...Our Lord's Passion is represented in the very consecration of this sacrament, in which the body ought not to be consecrated without the blood. But the body can be received by the people without the blood: nor is this detrimental to the sacrament. Because the priest both offers and consumes the blood on behalf of all; and Christ is fully contained under either species, as was shown above (Q76,A2)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Certain people, in some parts of the world, have rashly dared to assert that the Christian people ought to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine... Therefore this present general council of Constance, legitimately assembled in the Holy Spirit, wishing to provide for the safety of the faithful against this error, after long deliberation by many persons learned in divine and human law, declares, decrees and defines... that this Sacrament ought not to be celebrated after a meal nor received by the faithful without fasting, except in cases of sickness or some other necessity as permitted by law or by the Church. Moreover, just as this custom was sensibly introduced in order to avoid various dangers and scandals, so with similar or even greater reason was it possible to introduce and sensibly observe the custom that, although this sacrament was received by the faithful under both kinds in the early Church, nevertheless later it was received under both kinds only by those confecting it, and by the laity only under the form of bread. For it should be very firmly believed, and in no way doubted, that the whole body and blood of Christ are truly contained under both the form of bread and the form of wine. Therefore, since this custom was introduced for good reasons by the church and holy fathers, and has been observed for a very long time, it should be held as a law which nobody may repudiate or alter at will... Those who stubbornly assert the opposite of the aforesaid are [considered heretics]...This holy synod also decrees and declares, regarding this matter, that instructions are to be sent to the most reverend fathers and lords in Christ, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and their vicars in spirituals, wherever they may be, in which they are to be commissioned and ordered on the authority of this sacred council and under pain of excommunication, to punish effectively those who err against this decree." (Council of Constance)

"Wherefore, this holy Synod, - instructed by the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of godliness, and following the judgment and usage of the Church itself, - declares and teaches, that laymen, and clerics when not consecrating, are not obliged, by any divine precept, to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species; and that neither can it by any means be doubted, without injury to faith, that communion under either species is sufficient for them unto salvation. For, although Christ, the Lord, in the last supper, instituted and delivered to the apostles, this venerable sacrament in the species of bread and wine; not therefore do that institution and delivery tend thereunto, that all the faithful of Church be bound, by the institution of the Lord, to receive both species. But neither is it rightly gathered, from that discourse which is in the sixth of John - however according to the various interpretations of holy Fathers and Doctors it be understood - that the communion of both species was enjoined by the Lord: for He who said; Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you (v. 54), also said; He that eateth this bread shall live for ever (v. 59); and He who said, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life (v. 55), also said; The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (v. 52); and, in fine,- He who said; He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him (v. 57), said, nevertheless; He that eateth this bread shall live for ever (v. 59.)... It furthermore declares, that this power has ever been in the Church, that, in the dispensation of the sacraments, their substance being untouched, it may ordain, or change, what things soever it may judge most expedient, for the profit of those who receive, or for the veneration of the said sacraments, according to the difference of circumstances, times, and places. And this the Apostle seems not obscurely to have intimated, when he says; Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. And indeed it is sufficiently manifest that he himself exercised this power,- as in many other things, so in regard of this very sacrament; when, after having ordained certain things touching the use thereof, he says; The rest I will set in order when I come. Wherefore, holy Mother Church, knowing this her authority in the administration of the sacraments, although the use of both species has, from the beginning of the Christian religion, not been infrequent, yet, in progress of time, that custom having been already very widely changed, she, induced by weighty and just reasons, has approved of this custom of communicating under one species, and decreed that it was to be held as a law; which it is not lawful to reprobate, or to change at pleasure, without the authority of the Church itself... It moreover declares, that although, as hath been already said, our Redeemer, in that last supper, instituted, and delivered to the apostles, this sacrament in two species, yet is to be acknowledged, that Christ whole and entire and a true sacrament are received under either species alone; and that therefore, as regards the fruit thereof, they, who receive one species alone, are not defrauded of any grace necessary to salvation." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

Unfortunately, despite the anathemas issued and promised excommunication of those who argue against Communion under one species, modernists in the wake of the Second Vatican Council have attempted - by calculated disobedience to papal authority - to restore the practice of Communion under both species in the Church. [It should be noted that the Second Vatican Council never commanded this practice.] This has left some Catholics to erroneously (and heretically) believe that it is necessary to Communicate under both species or that they receive Christ "more fully" if they receive Holy Communion under both species. Although the practice of communicating under both species is not in itself theologically objectionable, its actual practice has led to many and serious problems and abuses [e.g. confusion of teaching regarding the Real Presence in one species (e.g. thinking Christ is not received full and entire under one species alone), danger of spillage / profanation / unsanitary conditions (including remnants of lipstick, saliva, etc. which may remain in the Chalice), distribution by lay persons (a practice always forbidden by the Church), confusion of priestly roles, danger of infection/spread of disease (potentially including AIDS and other untreatable conditions), interference with medications, inability of some (including children) to use with due caution, high expense, etc.]. Reintroduction of the practice also has the effect of confirming Protestants in their accusations against the Church and disparaging the Church's various rulings regarding Communion under one species. As a direct result of the disobedience perpetrated by the modernists in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the practice of Communicating under both species may be tolerated by the Church ("the Vatican reluctantly surrendered on this point due to widespread and blatant disobedience"), but only under limited circumstances and under certain conditions. Even where it is tolerated, however, it is not required - that is, the faithful are never required to Communicate under both species. [Note: For more information on this topic, try here.]

* Note that the administration of the Holy Eucharist has always been reserved to priests alone: 

"To safeguard in every possible way the dignity of so august a Sacrament, not only is the power of its administration entrusted exclusively to priests, but the Church has also prohibited by law any but consecrated persons, unless some case of great necessity intervene, to dare handle or touch the sacred vessels, the linen, or other instruments necessary to its completion. Priests themselves and the rest of the faithful may hence understand how great should be the piety and holiness of those who approach to consecrate, administer or receive the Eucharist." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained" (Pope John Paul II, 1980 A.D.)

"For just as temple, altar, vessels, and vestments need to be consecrated, so do the ministers who are ordained for the Eucharist; and this consecration is the sacrament of Order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"There is nothing which belongs more to the Church and there is nothing Jesus Christ wanted more closely reserved for its shepherds than the dispensation of the sacraments He instituted." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

"[L]aymen are officially incompetent to dispense any sacrament: and that they can baptize in cases of necessity, is due to the Divine dispensation, in order that no one may be deprived of spiritual regeneration." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[A]lthough those [in minor] Orders are entrusted with certain spiritualities, they are not admitted to the immediate handling of sacred things, as those are who are in sacred Orders." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1306 Care should be taken lest a chalice, paten, or, before cleansing, purificators, palls, and corporals that were used in the sacrifice of the Mass are touched by any other than by clerics or those who have custody of these things. § Purificators, palls, and corporals used in the sacrifice of the Mass shall not be put into the hands of the laity, even religious, unless they have first been washed by a cleric constituted in major orders; and the water from this first washing shall be put into a sacrarium or, in its absence, into a fire." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The dispensing of Christ's body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because...he consecrates as in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His body at the supper, so also He gave it to others to be partaken of by them. Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ's body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people; hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"We must also visit churches frequently and venerate and show respect for the clergy, not so much for them personally if they are sinners, but by reason of their office and their administration of the most holy Body and Blood of Christ which they sacrifice upon the altar and receive and administer to others. And let all of us firmly realize that no one can be saved except without the holy words and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which the clergy pronounce, proclaim and minister. And they alone must administer [them], and not others." (St. Francis of Assisi, emphasis added)

 "One must not forget the primary office of priests, who have been consecrated by their ordination to represent Christ the Priest: for this reason their hands, like their words and their will, have become the direct instruments of Christ. Through this fact, that is, as ministers of the Holy Eucharist, they have a primary responsibility for the sacred species, because it is a total responsibility." (Pope John Paul II, 1980 A.D.)

According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, this practice is traced to Apostolic times: "It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church, that the faithful should receive the Sacrament from the priests, and that the officiating priests should communicate themselves, has been explained by the holy Council of Trent, which has also shown that this practice, as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained, particularly as Christ the Lord has left us an illustrious example thereof, having consecrated His own most sacred body, and given it to the Apostles with His own hands." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Breaking with all tradition, modernists in the wake of the Second Vatican Council have - again, by calculated disobedience to papal authority - sought to push so-called 'Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist'+ (lay persons - even women - distributing Holy Communion) upon the faithful. Such persons may also wrongly attempt to usurp the priest's very title of "Eucharistic Minister" - an abuse of the title which may only rightly be applied to priests. [It is an abuse to call a lay person distributing Holy Communion a 'Eucharistic Minister'. Those who apply this title to a lay person (and those who repeatedly refer to them as 'Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist' without any qualification) should be corrected. +Note that the proper term for such persons is "Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" - NOT "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist" and NOT "Eucharistic Ministers".] Once again, this is a practice that was never solicited by the Second Vatican Council. 

Those lay persons who dare to participate in distributing Holy Communion should consider the following: 

* When Uzzah touched something holy that he wasn't supposed to touch, he was struck dead (cf. 2 Sam. 6:6-7).

* David and his men weren't allowed to take the holy bread unless they had abstained from women (see 1 Sam 21:5).

* "It should never be forgotten that the Sacraments, although they cannot lose the divine efficacy inherent in them, bring eternal death and perdition to him who dares administer them unworthily." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* "Listen, my brothers: If the blessed Virgin is so honored, as it is right, since she carried Him in [her] most holy womb; if the blessed Baptist trembled and did not dare to touch the holy head of God; if the tomb in which He lay for some time is so venerated, how holy, just, and worthy must be the person who touches [the Lord] with his hands, receives [Him] in his heart and mouth, and offers [Him] to others to be received" (St. Francis of Assisi)

* "[W]hosoever handles and administers holy things, while blameworthy in his life, profanes them and is guilty of sacrilege: 'They who are not holy ought not to handle holy things.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

Although those lay persons who distribute Holy Communion may feel they are living holy lives, they should consider that the practice of lay persons - even if they are celibate - by touching distributing the sacred species, usurp the priest's role, may contribute to profanation / abuse of the Holy Eucharist, and may cause a loss of belief in the Real Presence. They should carefully consider the words of St. Paul in Holy Scripture:

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:27-30)

This practice - fraught with danger - leads to additional handling of the Holy Eucharist (two people may now touch It) and 'self-communication' (the recipient may actually put the sacred species in their own mouth). It also tends to diminish respect for the priesthood and for the Holy Eucharist. Further, it is a manifest rejection of tradition, and is also traced to acts of disobedience to the Pope and has been condemned by popes and saints. It may also show pride and lack of concern for God's will ("What makes you think God wants your hands touching Christ's body? Even though you are not consecrated, not celibate, and possibly not even living a life of holiness?"). Sadly, the role is often used as a "reward" for certain members of the "in group" in a parish, regardless of their apparent sanctity (or lack thereof), many of which may receive an "ego boost" (or feel they now have some special "status") rather than display the profound humility so praised in Scripture. Sadly - despite the fact that those who administer Holy Communion unworthily merit "a great punishment" - it is not uncommon for such lay persons even to display objectionable behavior (and dress) while administering the sacred species. This sets a bad example for the other parishioners and causes scandal. Further, the practice of 'lay administered Communion' ["reluctantly tolerated (on a limited basis and under certain conditions) by the Vatican due to widespread and blatant disobedience"], when allowed, was only to be permitted in extraordinary situations. Instead - against the pope's wishes and repeated lamentations regarding abuses - lay persons distributing Holy Communion is very often an 'every day' or 'every week' occurrence. In many cases, it is prohibited - and is therefore an abuse. Women should especially consider that this is used as a tool to advance a feminist agenda, which is contrary to the will of God [Click here for 'Top Reasons Why Women Can't Be Priests'. Click here for 'Proper Role & Behavior of Women' (Priests & Vocations Reflections)]. Once again - against the express command of the Pope and against all tradition - this practice resulted from disobedience. When all is considered, the faithful should realize that the practice of 'lay administered' Communion is a result of the disobedience of the faithful and the ignoring of the popes' wishes. It is also tied to the disobedience regarding Communion under both species (see above - laity are usually required specifically to handle communion under the species of wine). It leads to abuse, sacrilege, lessening of respect for the priesthood, disbelief in the Real Presence, and otherwise causes great harm to the Church. The practice of 'lay administered Communion' has no historical precedent whatsoever (remember that even if the apostles 'self-communicated' they were bishops - not lay persons). Even where it is tolerated, it is a reluctant consent brought on by disobedience. Finally, the faithful should remember that they have the right to receive Holy Communion only from the consecrated hands of a priest. [Note: For more information on this topic, try here.]

* Holy Communion is supposed to be denied to those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin.

"Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 855 § 1 All those publicly unworthy are to be barred from the Eucharist, such as excommunicates, those interdicted, and those manifestly infamous, unless their penitence and emendation are shown and they have satisfied beforehand the public scandal [they have caused]. § 2 But occult [secret] sinners, if they ask secretly and the minister knows they are unrepentant, should be refused; but not, however, if they ask publicly and they cannot be passed over without scandal." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"A distinction must be made among sinners: some are secret; others are notorious, either from evidence of the fact, as public usurers, or public robbers, or from being denounced as evil men by some ecclesiastical or civil tribunal. Therefore Holy Communion ought not to be given to open sinners when they ask for it. Hence Cyprian writes to someone (Ep. 61): 'You were so kind as to consider that I ought to be consulted regarding actors, end that magician who continues to practice his disgraceful arts among you; as to whether I thought that Holy Communion ought to be given to such with the other Christians. I think that it is beseeming neither the Divine majesty, nor Christian discipline, for the Church's modesty and honor to be defiled by such shameful and infamous contagion.' But if they be not open sinners, but occult [secret], the Holy Communion should not be denied them if they ask for it. For since every Christian, from the fact that he is baptized, is admitted to the Lord's table, he may not be robbed of his right, except from some open cause. Hence on 1 Corinthians 5:11, 'If he who is called a brother among you,' etc., Augustine's gloss remarks: 'We cannot inhibit any person from Communion, except he has openly confessed, or has been named and convicted by some ecclesiastical or lay tribunal.' Nevertheless a priest who has knowledge of the crime can privately warn the secret sinner, or warn all openly in public, from approaching the Lord's table, until they have repented of their sins and have been reconciled to the Church; because after repentance and reconciliation, Communion must not be refused even to public sinners, especially in the hour of death. Hence in the (3rd) Council of Carthage (Canon 35) we read: 'Reconciliation is not to be denied to stage-players or actors, or others of the sort, or to apostates, after their conversion to God.'... But the secret sinner ought rather to prefer infamy than approach the Lord's table unworthily." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* It is acceptable that those who attend a particular Mass request to receive hosts consecrated during that Mass:

"Benedict XIV, wishing to emphasize and throw fuller light upon the truth that the faithful by receiving the Holy Eucharist become partakers of the divine [Eucharistic] Sacrifice itself, praises the devotion of those who, when attending Mass, not only elicit a desire to receive Holy Communion but also want to be nourished by hosts consecrated during the Mass, even though, as he himself states, they really and truly take part in the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice should they receive a host which has been duly consecrated at a previous Mass. He writes as follows: 'And although in addition to those to whom the celebrant gives a portion of the Victim [that is, Christ] he himself has offered in the Mass, they also participate in the same [Eucharistic] Sacrifice to whom a priest distributes the Blessed Sacrament that has been reserved; however, the Church has not for this reason ever forbidden, nor does she now forbid, a celebrant to satisfy the piety and just request of those who, when present at Mass, want to become partakers of the same [Eucharistic] Sacrifice, because they likewise offer it after their own manner, nay more, she approves of it and desires that it should not be omitted and would reprehend those priests through whose fault and negligence this participation would be denied to the faithful.'...Now it is very fitting, as the liturgy otherwise lays down, that the people receive Holy Communion after the priest has partaken of the divine repast upon the altar; and, as we have written above, they should be commended who, when present at Mass, receive hosts consecrated at the same Mass, so that it is actually verified, 'that as many of us, as, at this altar, shall partake of and receive the most holy Body and Blood of thy Son, may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

* After Holy Communion, one should make a proper thanksgiving, even staying after Mass.

"Thanksgiving after communion is also necessary. The prayer we make after communion is the most acceptable to God, and the most profitable to us." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"After Mass we should give God thanks for having allowed us to assist at this great Sacrifice, and we should ask pardon for All the faults we may have committed while assisting at it." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need." (Baltimore Catechism)

"We should spend sufficient time in thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains." (Baltimore Catechism)

"[T]he divine Redeemer is most closely united...with each and every one of the faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially after Holy Communion" (Pope Pius XII)

"Thanksgiving after Communion consists in keeping ourselves recollected in order to honor the Lord who is within us; renewing our acts of faith, of hope, of charity, of adoration, of thanksgiving, of offerings, and of requests, especially for those graces which are most necessary for ourselves and for those for whom we are bound to pray." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"After Holy Communion Jesus Christ abides within us by His grace as long as we commit no mortal sin; and He abides within us by His Real Presence until the sacramental species are consumed." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"The body of Christ remains in this sacrament...so long as the sacramental species remain" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When the Mass, which is subject to special rules of the liturgy, is over, the person who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of thanksgiving; rather, it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate union with the divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence they have departed from the straight way of truth, who, adhering to the letter rather than the sense, assert and teach that, when Mass has ended, no such thanksgiving should be added, not only because the Mass itself is a thanksgiving, but also because this pertains to a private and personal act of piety and not to the good of the community. But, on the contrary, the very nature of the sacrament demands that its reception should produce rich fruits of Christian sanctity." (Pope Pius XII)

"Wherefore, if there is no time when we must not offer God thanks, and if we must never cease from praising Him, who would dare to reprehend or find fault with the Church, because she advises her priests and faithful to converse with the divine Redeemer for at least a short while after Holy Communion, and inserts in her liturgical books, fitting prayers, enriched with indulgences, by which the sacred ministers may make suitable preparation before Mass and Holy Communion or may return thanks afterwards? So far is the sacred liturgy from restricting the interior devotion of individual Christians, that it actually fosters and promotes it so that they may be rendered like to Jesus Christ and through Him be brought to the heavenly Father; wherefore this same discipline of the liturgy demands that whoever has partaken of the Sacrifice of the altar should return fitting praise to God. For it is the good pleasure of the divine Redeemer to hearken to us when we pray, to converse with us intimately and to offer us a refuge in His loving Heart." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei")

Although there is a community aspect to Mass, in the Eucharist, Christ enters into communion with each of us individually. As Pope Pius XII states: "There are others who deny any impetratory power to our prayers, or who endeavor to insinuate into men's minds the idea that prayers offered to God in private should be considered of little worth, whereas public prayers which are made in the name of the Church are those which really matter, since they proceed from the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. This opinion is false; for the divine Redeemer is most closely united not only with His Church, which is His beloved Spouse, but also with each and every one of the faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially after Holy Communion...how highly all should esteem mental prayer is proved not only by ecclesiastical documents but also by the custom and practice of the saints."

Note: Try here for Mass prayers

* There are three ways of receiving the Sacrament: "That the faithful may learn to be zealous for the better gifts, they must be shown who can obtain these abundant fruits from the Holy Eucharist, must be reminded that there is not only one way of communicating. Wisely and rightly, then, did our predecessors in the faith, as we read in the Council of Trent, distinguish three ways of receiving this Sacrament. Some receive it sacramentally only. Such are those sinners who do not fear to approach the holy mysteries with polluted lips and heart, who, as the Apostle says, eat and drink the Lord's body unworthily. Of this class of communicants St. Augustine says: He who dwells not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwells not, most certainly does not eat spiritually His flesh, although carnally and visibly he press with his teeth the Sacrament of His flesh and blood. Those, therefore, who receive the sacred mysteries with such a disposition, not only obtain no fruit therefrom, but, as the Apostle himself testifies, eat and drink judgment to themselves. Others are said to receive the Eucharist in spirit only. They are those who, inflamed with a lively faith which worketh by charity, partake in wish and desire of that celestial bread offered to them, from which they receive, if not the entire, at least very great fruits. Lastly, there are some who receive the Holy Eucharist both sacramentally and spiritually, those who, according to the teaching of the Apostle, having first proved themselves and having approached this divine banquet adorned with the nuptial garment, derive from the Eucharist those most abundant fruits which we have already described. Hence it is clear that those who, having it in their power to receive with fitting preparation the Sacrament of the body of the Lord, are yet satisfied with a spiritual Communion only, deprive themselves of the greatest and most heavenly advantages." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* Although the Holy Eucharist is necessary for salvation, not all who receive the Holy Eucharist will be saved: "[It is asserted that since] it is written (John 6:55): 'He that eateth My body and drinketh My blood hath eternal life.'..., all Christians will be saved at length. [Response:] The saying of our Lord refers not to those who partake only sacramentally, and who sometimes by receiving unworthily 'eat and drink judgment' to themselves (1 Corinthians 11:29), but to those who eat spiritually and are incorporated with Him by charity, which incorporation is the effect of the sacramental eating, in those who approach worthily. Wherefore, so far as the power of the sacrament is concerned, it brings us to eternal life, although sin may deprive us of that fruit, even after we have received worthily." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* The Eucharist should be adored by all. Since It is the Body & Blood of Christ, the highest worship ("latria") should be paid.

"[E]ucharistic worship constitutes the soul of all Christian life" (Pope John Paul II)

"The Eucharist ought to be adored by all, because it contains really, truly, and substantially, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"If any one saith that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship, even external, of latria; and is consequently neither to be venerated with a special festive solemnity nor to be solemnly borne about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rite and custom of holy Church; or is not to be proposed publicly to the people to be adored, and that the adorers thereof are idolaters; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Wherefore, there is no room left for doubt, that all the faithful of Christ may, according to the custom ever received in the Catholic Church, render in veneration the worship of latria, which is due to the true God, to this most holy sacrament. For not therefore is it the less to be adored on this account, that it was instituted by Christ, the Lord, in order to be received: for we believe that same God to be present therein, of whom the eternal Father, when introducing him into the world, says; And let all the angels of God adore him; whom the Magi falling down, adored; who, in fine, as the Scripture testifies, was adored by the apostles in Galilee." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

* The Eucharist perpetually with us. Outside of Mass, It is kept in the tabernacle. When displayed for veneration, It is housed in a monstrance. As recommended by the popes & saints, all Catholics should have a special devotion to the Holy Eucharist and should visit the Lord often in the Blessed Sacrament (e.g. by making special visits to the Church, participating in a 40 hours devotion or in perpetual adoration, making a holy hour, etc.)

"The Most Blessed Eucharist is preserved in our churches that It may be adored by the faithful, and brought to the sick when necessary." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him seldom." (St. John Bosco)

"A thousand years of glory in palaces of men cannot be worth the sweetness of one hour spent before the tabernacle." (St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother)

"Happier than those who lived during his mortal life, when he was only in one place, we find Jesus Christ today in every corner of the world, in the Blessed Sacrament." (St. John Vianney)

"For it is quite true, and history is rich in bearing testimony to the fact, 'that an age is more or less glorious, according to its devotion towards the adorable Eucharist.'" (Liturgical Year)

"The Ostensorium or Monstrance is the beautiful wheel-like vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and kept during Benediction." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church.... This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of many saints." (Pope John Paul II)

"Can. 937 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, the church in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be open to the faithful for at least some hours every day so that they can pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is an act of divine worship in which the Blessed Sacrament, placed in the ostensorium, is exposed for the adoration of the people and is lifted up to bless them. The vestments used at Benediction are: A cope or large silk cloak and a humeral or shoulder veil." (Baltimore Catechism)

"In the course of the day the faithful should not omit visiting the Blessed Sacrament, which in accordance with liturgical law must be reserved in churches with great reverence in a prominent place. Such visits are a sign of gratitude, an expression of love and an acknowledgment of the Lord's presence" (Pope Paul VI,1965 A.D.)

"[Traditionally, the] Tabernacle is the house-shaped part of the altar where the sacred vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament are kept. The Ciborium is the large silver or gold vessel which contains the Blessed Sacrament while in the Tabernacle, and from which the priest gives Holy Communion to the people." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Can. 934 §1 The blessed Eucharist: 1° must be reserved in the cathedral church or its equivalent, in every parish church, and in the church or oratory attached to the house of a religious institute or society of apostolic life 2° may be reserved in a Bishop's chapel and, by permission of the local Ordinary, in other churches, oratories and chapels. §2 In sacred places where the blessed Eucharist is reserved there must always be someone who is responsible for it, and as far as possible a priest is to celebrate Mass there at least twice a month." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The custom of reserving the holy Eucharist in the sacrarium is so ancient, that even the age of the Council of Nicaea recognized that usage. Moreover, as to carrying the sacred Eucharist itself to the sick, and carefully reserving it for this purpose in churches, besides that it is exceedingly conformable to equity and reason, it is also found enjoined in numerous councils, and is a very ancient observance of the Catholic Church. Wherefore, this holy Synod ordains, that this salutary and necessary custom is to be by all means retained." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"Our Lord is hidden there, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our request to Him. See how good He is! He accommodates Himself to our weakness. In Heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself, like a person in a prison, who might say to us, 'You do not see me, but that is no matter; ask of me all you wish and I will grant it.' He is there in the Sacrament of His love, sighing and interceding incessantly with His Father for sinners. To what outrages does He not expose Himself, that He may remain in the midst of us! He is there to console us; and therefore we ought often to visit Him. How pleasing to Him is the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our occupations, from something of no use, to come and pray to Him, to visit Him, to console Him for all the outrages He receives!" (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

* Since Christ remains present in the Tabernacle, faithful Catholics should make the sign of the cross when passing Catholic churches.

* The Holy Eucharist should not to be kept in one's personal custody (although a priest may lawfully carry the Blessed Sacrament for distribution to the sick).

"Can. 1265 § 3 It is not permitted to anyone to retain on his person or to carry on a trip the most Holy Eucharist." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Of course, this does not apply to priests distributing holy Viaticum.]

"Can. 935 It is not lawful for anyone to keep the blessed Eucharist in personal custody or to carry it around, unless there is an urgent pastoral need and the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop are observed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

* When the Holy Eucharist is given to the dying, it is called 'Viaticum' (from the Latin, meaning "provision for a journey"). 

"Can. 865 Holy Viaticum for the infirm is not to be deferred too much; those who take care of souls should be sedulously watchful that the infirm in full command of their senses partake in it." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 850 It belongs to the pastor in accord with Canon 848, with due regard for the prescription of Canons 397, n. 3 and 517, § 1-3, to bring Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum to the sick, wither publicly or privately." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 867 § 1 The most holy Eucharist is licitly distributed on any day... § 4 Holy Communion can be distributed at any hour at which Mass could be celebrated, unless a reasonable cause persuades otherwise. § 5 But holy Viaticum can be administered at whatever hour of the day or night." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 921 §1 Christ's faithful who are in danger of death from whatever cause are to be strengthened by Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum. §2 Even if they have already received Holy Communion that same day, it is nevertheless strongly suggested that in danger of death they should communicate again. §3 While the danger of death persists, it is recommended that Holy Communion be administered often, but on separate days." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 849 § 1 Any priest can bring private Communion to the infirm with at least the presumed permission of the priest to whom custody of the most Holy Sacrament is committed. § 2 Whenever Holy Communion is privately administered to the infirm, the reverence and decency that is due to such a holy Sacrament is to be carefully observed, according to the prescriptive norms of the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 864 § 1 In danger of death, from whatever cause it arises, the faithful are bound by the precept of receiving Holy Communion. § 2 Even if on that same day they have already partaken of Holy Communion, it is nevertheless greatly to be recommended that they be led to communicate again in a life crisis. § 3 For as long as danger of death remains, it is licit and decent that holy Viaticum be administered many times on distinct days according to the prudent council of the confessor." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Note that (except in grave cases - e.g. danger of death without Viaticum) the Church has always reserved the handling of the Blessed Sacrament to the consecrated hands of priests (see above). Unfortunately, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the modernists promote the concept of lay persons (even women) administering Holy Communion in the Church. Besides the thorough inappropriateness of lay persons handling the Holy Eucharist (see above), such practices contribute to abuse & profanation of the Sacrament, usurp the priestly role, and may even endanger the eternal salvation of the sick person. And, sadly, this practice occurs at a time when the sick person is most in need of (and possibly most receptive to) a priest. Not only does the sick person encounter a lay person (that they might not even know) daring to handle Holy Communion, but his (or her) presence there serves to deprive him of the comfort of the priest (if the priest sends a lay person, the sick person will probably not see a priest unless specifically requested - something which the sick may not have presence of mind to do or might be to embarrassed to ask) and may lead his mind to various negative thoughts (e.g. "I'm not important enough for the priest", "the priest doesn't have time for me", etc.). Also, if lay persons bring the Sacrament, how can anyone ever be certain it is actually a real Eucharist? Anyone - for whatever reason - could bring a wafer of bread and act as if it was the true Eucharist. Clearly, the priest alone is the most likely person to ensure the Sacrament is the true Eucharist. Further, the lay person's administration of Holy Communion may also make it difficult for the sick person to distinguish the Real Presence ("since it is given by a lay person, how can I be sure it is really the Blessed Sacrament"?) - and thereby the sick person may make a sacrilegious Communion, leading to his damnation ["For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:29-30)]. And if that wasn't bad enough, it should be noted that the sick person who is "passed off to a lay person" may be deprived of the other sacraments (e.g. Anointing, Penance) - which may be validly received only from the hands of a priest - when they are most necessary to his salvation. Further, even if the lay person distributing Holy Communion is in a religious order, he or she (even brothers and nuns) may be improperly catechized with regard to the Holy Eucharist, leading to profanation and sacrilege [In one relatively recent case, a lay person gave Holy Communion to an atheist, after being told that the person was a non-believer]. If one claims to love God and their brother, why participate in a practice fraught with danger to the Body and Blood of Christ and potentially deadly to the soul of his brother? Rather, if lay persons sincerely desire to assist priests, they should find ways to assist which don't involve handling the Holy Eucharist. Rather, they can find areas to assist the priest which will free his time so that he may perform the duties which are proper to his office. 

"Let the priest always have the Eucharist ready, so that, when anyone fall sick, he may take Communion to him at once, lest he die without it." (Pope St. Clement I)

"Can. 911 §1 The duty and right to bring the blessed Eucharist to the sick as Viaticum belongs to the parish priest, to assistant priests, to chaplains and, in respect of all who are in the house, to the community Superior in clerical religious institutes or societies of apostolic life." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It is written (De Consecratione, distinction 12): 'It has come to our knowledge that some priests deliver the Lord's body to a layman or to a woman to carry it to the sick: The synod therefore forbids such presumption to continue; and let the priest himself communicate the sick.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* The Altar is the center of all worship: "The Church which Christ founded has not only preserved the Word He spoke, and the wonders He wrought; it has also taken Him seriously when He said: 'Do this for a commemoration of me.' And that action whereby we re-enact His Death on the Cross is the Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we do as a memorial what He did at the Last Supper as a prefiguration of His Passion. Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and it is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar, and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of all worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us in Him, the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Note that when the above was written, the author took it for granted that the Tabernacle was on the altar ["To separate the Tabernacle from the Altar is tantamount to separating two things which, of their very nature, must remain together." (Pope Pius XII)]. In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, modernists have sought to separate the two and relegate the Tabernacle - which should be on the altar - to the side of the church or even outside the church ["A church without the Eucharistic Presence is somehow dead." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI)]. Obviously, the Tabernacle (or more properly, the Sacred Species in the Tabernacle) is also the "center of all worship". 

* From earliest times, martyrs tombs were used as altars for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Traditionally, altars have been required to contain relics.

"From the practice of using martyrs' tombs for altars we learn the inconvenience, sufferings and dangers the early Christians willingly underwent for the sake of hearing Mass... [And we learn that] we should suffer every inconvenience rather than be absent from Mass on Sundays or holy days." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The altar stone is that part of the altar upon which the priest [traditionally] rests the Chalice during Mass. This stone contains some holy relics sealed up in it by the bishop, and if the altar is of wood this stone is inserted just in front of the Tabernacle. The altar stone reminds us of the early history of the Church, when the martyrs' tombs were used for altars by the persecuted Christians." (Baltimore Catechism)

* Traditionally, Masses may be distinguished as follows: "Masses are distinguished thus: (1) When the Mass is sung by a bishop, assisted by a deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Pontifical Mass; (2) When it is sung by a priest, assisted by a deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Solemn Mass; (3) When sung by a priest without deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Missa Cantata or High Mass; (4) When the Mass is only read in a low tone, it is called a low or private Mass." (Baltimore Catechism)

* Traditionally, Masses for the dead have been called Requiem Masses, Masses at the marriage of Catholics have been called Nuptial Masses, and special Masses in honor of saints have been called Votive Masses: "A Requiem Mass is one said in black vestments and with special prayers for the dead. A Nuptial Mass is one said at the marriage of two Catholics, and it has special prayers for their benefit. A Votive Mass is one said in honor of some particular mystery or saint, on a day not set apart by the Church for the honor of that mystery or saint." (Baltimore Catechism)

* The wafer of bread used at Mass may be called a 'host' (from the Latin 'Hostia', for 'Victim'): "The host is the name given to the thin wafer of bread used at Mass. This name is generally applied before and after Consecration of the large particle of bread used by the priest, through the small particles given to the people are also called by the same name." (Baltimore Catechism)

* During Mass, it is believed that the Sanctuary is filled with angels: "When Mass is being celebrated, the Sanctuary is filled with countless angels, who adore the Divine Victim [Christ] immolated on the altar." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

* The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass alone gives God the honor He is due. Remember that there is nothing more precious to God than the offering of His Son.

* Mass is the most efficacious and profitable time to pray (especially after one has worthily received Holy Communion).

* Considering all the advantages of Mass, one should attend as many as possible. The benefits received from Mass far outweigh the slight inconveniences involved in attending additional Masses.

* Mass should never be celebrated in the temples of heretics or schismatics: "Can. 823 § 1 It is not permitted to celebrate Mass in the temples of heretics or schismatics, even if at one time [they were] duly consecrated or blessed. § 2 In the absence of an altar of his own rite, it is fundamental that a priest can celebrate his own rite on an altar consecrated in another [approved] Catholic rite, but not on the antimensiis [altar cloths] of the Greeks. § No one shall celebrate on papal altars without Apostolic indult." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

* As Scripture declares and as the Catholic Church has always held, Catholics should not 'worship' in Common with heretics and schismatics.

"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10-11)

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works." [St. John (the 'apostle of love'), 2 Jn. 1:10-11]

"Can. 1365 One who is guilty of prohibited participation in religious rites is to be punished with a just penalty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[B]y the very fact that a person communicates in the sacraments with a heretic who is cut off from the Church, he sins" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whomsoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergymen or laic, let him be excommunicated." (Council of Carthage)

"Can. 2316 Whoever in any manner willingly and knowingly helps in the promulgation of heresy, or who communicates in things divine with heretics against the prescriptions of Canon 1258, is suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Common participation in worship (communicatio in sacris) which harms the unity of the Church or involves formal acceptance of error or the danger of aberration in the faith, of scandal and indifferentism, is forbidden by divine law." (Second Vatican Council) 

"The holy universal Church proclaims that God cannot truly be worshiped save within herself and asserts that all they who are without her pale shall never be saved." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"I have learned however, that certain persons from elsewhere, who have evil doctrine, have stayed with you; but you did not allow them to sow it among you, and you stopped your ears so that you would not receive what they sow...Do not err, my brethren: the corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil teaching the faith of God, for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire; and so also will anyone who listens to him." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, hearer of St. John the Apostle, c. 110 A.D.)

"Pan-Christians who strive for the union of the churches would appear to pursue the noblest of ideals in promoting charity among all Christians. But how should charity tend to the detriment of the faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems in his Gospel to have revealed the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and who never ceased to impress upon the memory of his disciples the new commandment 'to love one another', nevertheless strictly forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt form of Christ's teaching: 'If any man comes to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God speed you.' (2 John 1:10)" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos")

"[N]ot without sorrow we can hear people - whom we wish to believe are well-intentioned but who are certainly misguided in their attitude - continually claiming to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church. The absurdity of this dichotomy is clearly evident in this phrase of the Gospel: 'Anyone who rejects you rejects me.' And how can one wish to love Christ without loving the Church, if the finest witness to Christ is that of St. Paul: 'Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her'?" (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Fly from them and from their doctrines; do not go near them, for you know that whoever is found in a place where outrage has been offered to the king has to come into court to be questioned according to law. Even if he can prove he was not guilty he will be condemned for want of zeal. Do not sit with heretics nor associate with apostates. It would be better to dwell with a demon than with a renegade. For if you abjure the demon he will flee, for he cannot stand before the name of Jesus, but even were you to exorcise the apostate ten thousand times he would not cease from his wickedness or renounce his folly. It would be better to teach demons than to try to convince heretics." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

Note: For more on this topic, try:

Heresy / Schism (Coming Home Reflections) 

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Coming Home Reflections)

Those Outside the Church (Coming Home Reflections)

The Importance of Being Catholic: Combating Religious Indifferentism

* To avoid confusion and hold oneself as a Catholic, the faithful should always prefer terminology that is obviously Catholic rather than terminology that is regularly used by heretics (e.g. "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" rather than "Lord's Supper"; "Celebration of the Mass" rather than "Celebration of the Eucharist" or "Liturgy"; "going to Mass" rather than "going to church", etc.).

* Holy Communion has always been forbidden to heretics and schismatics: "Can. 731 § 2 It is forbidden that the Sacraments of the Church be ministered to heretics and schismatics, even if they ask for them and are in good faith, unless beforehand, rejecting their errors, they are reconciled with the Church." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

* The liturgical year (beginning with Advent) follows the life of the Lord from birth to His resurrection: "Hence, the liturgical year, devotedly fostered and accompanied by the Church, is not a cold and lifeless representation of the events of the past, or a simple and bare record of a former age. It is rather Christ Himself who is ever living in His Church. Here He continues that journey of immense mercy which He lovingly began in His mortal life, going about doing good, with the design of bringing men to know His mysteries and in a way live by them. These mysteries are ever present and active not in a vague and uncertain way as some modern writers hold, but in the way that Catholic doctrine teaches us. According to the Doctors of the Church, they are shining examples of Christian perfection, as well as sources of divine grace, due to the merit and prayers of Christ; they still influence us because each mystery brings its own special grace for our salvation. Moreover, our holy Mother the Church, while proposing for our contemplation the mysteries of our Redeemer, asks in her prayers for those gifts which would give her children the greatest possible share in the spirit of these mysteries through the merits of Christ. By means of His inspiration and help and through the cooperation of our wills we can receive from Him living vitality as branches do from the tree and members from the head; thus slowly and laboriously we can transform ourselves 'unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

* Technically, the species of bread and wine are "truly and strictly" designated by the name of Sacrament: "But pastors should carefully observe that in this mystery there are many things to which sacred writers have from time to time attributed the name of Sacrament. For, sometimes, both the consecration and the Communion; nay, frequently also the body and blood itself of our Lord, which is contained in the Eucharist, used to be called a Sacrament. Thus St. Augustine says that this Sacrament consists of two things - the visible species of the elements, and the invisible flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And it is in the same sense that we say that this Sacrament is to be adored, meaning the body and blood of our Lord. Now it is plain that all these are less properly called Sacraments. The species of bread and wine themselves are truly and strictly designated by this name." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* If it is uncertain that a valid consecration has occurred at a particular Mass (e.g. because the priest seemed to use an invalid form or matter, appears to reject the Real Presence, etc.), persons receiving Communion should profess faith in a qualified way (e.g. "if there was a valid consecration, I believe..."). Obviously, if it is certain there was no consecration, one should not receive Communion (and should instead attend a valid Mass). One should not attend parishes where consecrations are unsure or obviously invalid. The situation should be reported without delay to the proper Church authorities (e.g. the Bishop, the Pope).

* The Church has traditionally surrounded the Mass with solemn rites and ceremonies to display the majesty of the Sacrifice and excite the faithful to contemplation of divine things. Although these elements are not strictly necessary for a valid Mass, they greatly contribute to the Church's well-being and the well-being of souls.

"The Sacrifice (of the Mass) is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august Sacrifice, and to excite the faithful when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine things which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"In a word this Sacrament is, as it were, the very soul of the Church; and to it the grace of the priesthood is ordered and directed in all its fullness and in each of its successive grades. From the same source the Church draws and has all her strength, all her glory, her every supernatural endowment and adornment, every good thing that is here; wherefore she makes it the chiefest of all her cares to prepare the hearts of the faithful for an intimate union with Christ through the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and to draw them thereto. And to this end she strives to promote the veneration of the august mystery by surrounding it with holy ceremonies." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"Pastors, aware of the warning of the Apostle that those who discern not the body of the Lord are guilty of a most grave crime, should first of all impress on the minds of the faithful the necessity of detaching, as much as possible, their mind and understanding from the dominion of the senses; for if they believe that this Sacrament contains only what the senses disclose, they will of necessity fall into enormous impiety. Consulting the sight, the touch, the smell, the taste and finding nothing but the appearances of bread and wine, they will naturally judge that this Sacrament contains nothing more than bread and wine. Their minds, therefore, are as much as possible to be withdrawn from subjection to the senses and excited to the contemplation of the stupendous might and power of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

We can further see that ceremonies are in keeping with God's revelation in the Old Testament, where He gave exact specifications regarding worship and promised severe punishment for the failure to observe His regulations.

"There are other reason for the use of ceremonies: (1) God commanded ceremonies to be used in the old law, and (2) Our Blessed Lord Himself made use of ceremonies in performing some of His miracles." (Baltimore Catechism)

Even civilly, we can see that various ceremonies have been instituted, in keeping with the respect due certain persons.

"We show that the ceremonies of the Church are reasonable and proper from the fact that all persons in authority, rulers, judges, and masters, require certain acts of respect from their subjects, and as we know Our Lord is present on the altar, the Church requires definite acts of reverence and respect at the services held in His honor and in His presence." (Baltimore Catechism)

Considering that the Mass is the most holy of all things and our greatest treasure, it should be treated in the most holy, reverent manner possible. Not even priests should tamper with the Mass.

"Holy things must be treated in a holy way and this sacrifice is the most holy of all things." (Council of Trent)

"There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for 'in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation'" (Pope John Paul II, 2003 A.D.)

"Let everything be done with due order and dignity, and let no one, not even a priest, make use of the sacred edifices according to his whim to try out experiments." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei")

"Nothing is greater or holier than the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, in which the body and blood of Christ are offered to God for the salvation of all. Holy Mother the Church has always been careful and diligent in order that the Mass be celebrated by priests with clean and pure hearts. It should be celebrated with the proper splendor of sacred ceremonies and rites so that the greatness of this mystery will shine forth all the more even from external appearances. This will also arouse the faithful to the contemplation of divine things hidden in such an admirable and venerable sacrifice. And with like solicitude and devotion, the same most holy Mother has never ceased to urge, exhort, and influence her faithful sons to frequently attend this divine sacrifice with due piety, veneration and devotion. She teaches that they must at all cost be present at it on all holy days of obligation, with their minds and eyes religiously intent on that from which the divine mercy and an abundance of all good things might be acquired." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

The traditional Latin Mass - in use for most of the Church's history (referred to as the 'Tridentine' Mass and called "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven") - wonderfully reflects these truths. In the 1960's however, the Novus Ordo (New Order) Mass was imposed on the faithful - a practice unheard of in the 2,000 year history of the Church. Elements of this Mass have been widely criticized - in fact, the Cardinal in charge of protecting the Catholic faith at the time called the New Mass "a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was (traditionally) formulated". Even popes have criticized various elements of the New Mass. Many of the changes incorporated in the New Mass (of the 1960's) parallel those changes made by the Protestant 'Reformers' - changes which were made by persons who passionately hated the Mass and which were purposely calculated to destroy the faith of Catholics. Many of the changes incorporated in the New Mass (of the 1960's) fly in the face of previous condemnations by the popes, saints, and councils. For example...

"If any one saith, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue [that is, the English language or other language spoken by the people] only; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

Some changes introduced into the Novus Ordo Mass seem to call into question the very nature of Catholic truths (e.g. saying that Christ "will come again" right after He becomes present in the Holy Eucharist seems to deny that He is actually present).

Note that many of the changes seem to be made (or have been admitted to be made) specifically to please Protestants - heretics who reject the Church. In fact, it has been reported that various Protestants - who had always maintained an intense hated of the Traditional Mass (as the devil does) - are pleased with the Novus Ordo Mass. In fact, some even use the texts for their 'worship services'!

In addition to changing the altars, removing Tabernacles, eliminating genuflections, having the priest face the people (rather than face Eastward, representing Christ), etc., various other important elements were changed. For example, a new calendar was implemented (eliminating many of the saints' feast days), readings were changed, prayers were changed, there are fewer requests for the intercession of the angels & saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary is less frequently invoked, etc. The new prayers and readings have resulted in the near elimination of "negative" topics (e.g. sin, judgment, hell, purgatory). In fact, some Scripture readings have been so carefully selected, that "negative" topics are carved out of them (e.g. the positive parts are read and the negative parts are simply skipped over). There has been an attempt to turn the Mass from a Sacrifice (the Catholic truth) into a community meal (a Protestant concept). Active external participation is pushed and active internal participation is discouraged. Reflection on God and eternal truths is exchanged for focus on our neighbor and social issues. Rather than focus on God, we are urged to consider our neighbor - even as Christ lays alone on the altar.

Since these changes were implemented, scores of people have left the Catholic faith, many priests have abandoned their ministry, belief in the Real Presence may be as low as 25%, many consecrations have been invalid or at least questionable, sacrilege and abuse are common occurrences, dissention is high, the priestly roles are confused, Catholics are poorly educated in the faith, vocations are in crisis, disobedience is widespread, etc. Although some try to argue that the changes are the work of the Holy Spirit, we know that God doesn't change and the fruits speak for themselves. Even popes have had to admit that the "new springtime" has some characteristics of the "dead of winter" (e.g. Pope Paul VI's famous lamentation that the "smoke of Satan" had entered the Church).

Faithful Catholics asks themselves "Is this how we should treat the greatest treasure on earth?" Even honest Protestants have admitted that if they believed in the Real Presence their behavior would not be like that of the majority of Catholics - behavior that is scandalous and must certainly be offensive to God.

Fortunately, Catholics should note that the highly reverent Traditional Latin Mass is still validly said in Catholic parishes today (with the Pope's and Bishop's approval). The faithful should also realize that we can still do our best to behave as traditional Catholics (even if one must attend the Novus Ordo Mass) - e.g. by choosing one's parish carefully, by receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue from a priest, by observing a respectful silence, by rejecting offensive practices, by dressing properly (including the wearing of veils by women), by receiving Holy Communion properly and worthily, by embracing all of the Church's teachings, etc. In fact, we must do this regardless of what erring brethren may be doing.

"Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For this is our God, whose people we are, God's well-tended flock." (Ps. 95:6-7)

"[B]ow down to the LORD, splendid in holiness. Tremble before God, all the earth; say among the nations: The LORD is king. The world will surely stand fast, never to be moved. God rules the peoples with fairness." (Ps. 96:9-10)  

"Serve the LORD with fear; with trembling bow down in homage" (Ps. 2:11)

"Give to the LORD the glory due God's name. Bow down before the LORD'S holy splendor!" (Ps. 29:2)

"My hand made all these things when all of them came to be, says the LORD. This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word." (Isa. 66:2) 

"Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe." (St. Paul, Heb. 12:28)

For more information regarding Traditional Latin Mass and the difference between it and the Novus Ordo Mass, try the Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section.

Return to Previous Page For More...  

Pg. 1 | Pg. 2 | Pg. 3

Did You Know? 

You can still attend the Traditional Latin Mass - the highly reverent "Mass of the Saints". It is NOT the same as the Mass said in most Catholic parishes today. 

The Mass celebrated in most Catholic parishes since the 1960's is called the "Novus Ordo" (New Order) Mass. It was concocted by men after the Second Vatican Council. There are numerous and significant differences between the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (The "Tridentine" Mass)Happily, the Traditional Latin Mass - in use for most of the life of the Church - is still validly said in Catholic parishes today. Contact your diocese for the nearest location of this incomparable Mass. 

If this Mass is not available in your parish, petition your pastor!

Click Here for More Information Regarding this Mass

Important Notice: Information herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not comprehensive. All applicable items herein are subject to variation / change and may be based on traditional practices. Items herein may be limited to traditional wording and may vary by rite. Certain items herein, if applicable, may be relaxed by the Church in danger of death or in other special cases. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. We are not liable for any occurrence which may result from using this site. Use of site is at your own risk and is subject to our terms of use. Not an official / scholarly summary. Contact appropriate Church authorities for current information, additional detail, etc. By using this site you indicate agreement to all terms. For more terms information, click here.

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