Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The GIRM and the Calgarian Catholic Church

Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary has recently announced certain norms for the implemntation of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, the GIRM.

I have no doubt that Bishop Henry means well, he must be terribly decieved by those around him who have adivsed him in this matter.

Those who have advised the bishop and published this under his name have also taken a public stand against the well-known practice of Pope Benedict XVI and what had become known as the "Benectine Arrangement" which has been recently implemented in Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral with beautiful new medieval style candlesticks. It is simply unacceptable that professional Catholics and chancery officials would mislead a bishop to publish something that simply contradicts not only the GIRM but Redemptionis Sacramentum. He is clearly not being well-served. These are the same bureaucrats who advised the bishop to ban communion on the tongue and to suspend the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The bishop is not being well-served.

Here is the link to the PDF document at the Dicocese of Calgary.

Implementation Directives FOR THE DIOCESE OF CALGARY
The purpose of this document is to call attention to certain paragraphs in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) 2011 that require a change of practice for some if not all of our parishes. It also presents the decisions that I have made as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary
on certain aspects of the same.
The General Instruction of Roman Missal speaks of the Bishop's role in paragraph #22.
One cannot act outside the actual GIRM.
GIRM #117 The altar is to be covered with at least one white cloth. In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles: at least two in any celebration ... Likewise, on the altar or close to it, there is to be a cross adorned with a figure of Christ crucified. The candles and the cross with the figure of Christ crucified may also be carried in the procession at the Entrance. On the altar itself may be placed a Book of the Gospels distinct from the book of other readings, unless it [the Book of the Gospels] is carried in the
Entrance Procession.
DIRECTIVE The general practice in the Diocese of Calgary is to place the cross and candles next to the altar rather than on the altar. If placed on the altar, the cross and candles should be positioned so as to avoid creating a barrier between the priest and the people.
Those of you who have read The Spirit of the Liturgy will know that then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about what has become known as the "Benedictine Arrangement" of six candles across the front of the Altar with the Crucified Christ in the middle. He is re-focussing our attention and the Priest Celebrant's. The GIRM does not specify this, yet, but wait for the Fourth Edition of the Roman Missal. This is a re-orientation of our focus away from the personality of the priest and in turn, his distraction by the people to Christ. What must follow is legislated return to "ad orientem" posture.
The practice of placing the processional candles at the ambo may continue. For those who follow the practice of lighting the candles at the altar during the offertory, this may also continue.
This is a liturgical error. The Processional Candles are to be only at the Ambo during the reading of the Gospel as they represent the presence of Christ. When it is not that time, Christ is not present at the Ambo. The candles are not "lit" at this time, whatever that is, it is a silly and trite innovation. The Processional Candles should be placed near the Credence Table or some other are of the sanctuary.
Entrance Procession with the Book of the Gospels
The following paragraphs from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal make reference to the Book of the Gospels: #117, #120, #122, #173, #194, #195.
DIRECTIVE 1. When the reader carries the Book of the Gospels a simple bow of the head is sufficient.
2. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal the lectionary should not be carried in the entrance procession, but rather the Book of the Gospels. Currently Canada does not have a Book of the Gospels. Processing even with the lectionary has created a deep respect for the scripture, the Word of God, and has increased the awareness of the Word as a mode of Christ's presence among us. We will continue to use the lectionary in procession until the Book of the Gospels is available. At that time the lectionary will no longer be carried in procession, only the Book of the Gospels. #90 makes no mention of the Book of the Gospels being carried in the closing procession. Therefore the Book of the Gospels (or lectionary) will be left in place at the end of the liturgy.
It appears that in Calgary the bereaucrats have poorly advised the bishop. The "Lectionary" is not be held aloft in procession, only the Book of Gospels.
Presentation of the Gifts
From Redemptionis Sacramentum #106 However, the pouring of the Blood of Christ after the consecration
from one vessel to another is completely to be avoided, lest anything should happen that would be to the detriment of so great a mystery.
DIRECTIVE Wine may be presented to the priest in a flagon, but then it must be poured into the chalices prior to the Consecration. This is best done while the chalice is being prepared.
A little picking and choosing what to obey.
Posture - General Article on Posture
#43 The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the Priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer; and from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the Prayer over the Offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated here below. The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, during the period of sacred silence after Communion.
In the dioceses of Canada, the faithful should kneel at the Consecration, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration. Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the Priest says Ecce Agnus Dei (This is the Lamb of God), it is laudable for this practice to be retained.
Posture During the Preparation Rite
Specific to this moment in the liturgy, paragraph #43 states: The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, during the period of sacred silence after Communion.
DIRECTIVE To establish this posture as a common practice throughout the Diocese, a change is required. The people will sit through the Preparation Rite, rising in time to respond to the invitation Pray my sisters and brothers. The ritual gesture of standing is a treasured posture in the Church's prayer and is the desired posture when we offer prayer to God. At this point in the Preparation Rite we stand in readiness to offer our prayer through the voice of the priest as he prays the presidential prayer over the gifts.
This is a change to take place everywhere.
Posture During the Eucharistic Prayer
DIRECTIVE Although it has been the practice in this Diocese to stand during the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the priest says This is the Lamb of God, the posture to be assumed by the faithful for the Consecration is kneeling. Therefore, in all the churches in the Diocese of Calgary the faithful are to kneel at the conclusion of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) and to stand when the priest announces The Mystery of Faith. Those who may not be able to kneel for such reasons as infirmity are invited to make a profound bow when the celebrant genuflects at the Consecration of the bread and again at the Consecration of the wine. For your information, this same directive will be given by the other Latin Rite Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories to their faithful. This directive applies only to churches and exceptions would be chapels in institutions, halls, outdoor mass sites, gymnasiums, etc. Churches in our diocese that do not currently have kneelers have until the first Sunday in Advent 2012 to submit to the Bishop’s Office a plan for how they will modify their facilities to comply with the Diocesan application ofthe norm in the GIRM.
Sadly in Calgary, there is no "laudable practice." But where did the kneelers go?
Posture for the Deacon During the Eucharistic Prayer
#179 During the Eucharistic Prayer, the Deacon stands near the Priest, but slightly behind him, so that when necessary he may assist the Priest with the chalice or the Missal. From the epiclesis until the Priest shows the chalice, the Deacon usually remains kneeling.
DIRECTIVE Generally the deacon will kneel as required, unless he is not able because of health or lack of space. In this circumstance the rule as found in #43 is applied: Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration.
Health factors and inability to kneel goes without saying. Obviously this is being addressed because the current GIRM specifying this is being ignored.
The Rite of Peace
#154 Priest may give the sign of Peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted. He may do the same if, for a reasonable cause, he wishes to offer the sign of Peace to a small number of the faithful.
When May Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion Come to the Altar?
#162 In the distribution of Communion the Priest may be assisted by other Priests who happen to be present. If such Priests are not present and there is a truly large number of communicants, the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, that is, duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been duly deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion. These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and then they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful.
DIRECTIVE In the Diocese of Calgary, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may enter the sanctuary at the Sign of Peace, and stand away from the altar. After the priest consumes the Eucharistic Species, the extraordinary ministers approach the altar. They may receive Communion from the Priest, the deacon, or one of the other extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who has been the first of the laity to receive Communion. However, the Priest must present the Communion vessels to the extraordinary ministers.
This is clearly not permitted. The GIRM is clear on when the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are to enter the sanctuary. I am very impressed by the good pastor at the parish in Toronto where I am Cantor on Saturday evening. Upon reading this in the new GIRM, he immediately corrected it!
Posture During the Communion Rite
#43 Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the Priest says Ecce Agnus Dei (This is the Lamb of God), itis laudable for this practice to be retained.
DIRECTIVE In the Diocese of Calgary we will continue the practice of standing during the acclamation This is the Lamb of God.
Sadly, there is no "laudable practice" to maintain.
The Communion Song
Um, I think the GIRM refers to the Communion "Chant"
#86 While the Priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion Chant is begun, its purpose being to express the spiritual union of the communicants bymeans of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the "communitarian"character of the procession to receive the Eucharist. The singing is prolonged for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful.
DIRECTIVE The common posture of standing continues during the Communion procession and singing of the Communion song. This practice teaches us that Communion is a corporate action in which we together are drawn into the Eucharistic mystery and the life of the Trinity. Singing together helps us realize our communion together in the Risen Lord. We will catechize on the importance of communal song during the
Communion Procession. The bond of unity is expressed by joining in the congregational song before receiving Communion and after consuming the sacred elements. Personal prayer takes place during the silence after the Communion procession is finished. At that time while the priest or other designated extraordinary ministers are purifying the vessels, we should also enter into communal silence together.
Posture for Receiving Communion
#160 The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession. It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. In the Dioceses of Canada, Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. When standing before the minister to receive Holy Communion, the faithful should make a simple bow of the head. When receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, they reverently join their hands; when receiving Holy Communion in the hand, they reverently open their hands placing one beneath the other, and they consume the host immediately upon receiving it.
DIRECTIVE The more common posture is for the people to stand to receive Communion, but we need to be aware that kneeling is permitted. A prie-dieu should not be provided for this latter posture. It is important to convey to the people that paragraph #160 is not an indication that one posture is more holy than the other.
formation is also needed on:
a) How to receive on the tongue: tilt the head back and extend the tongue in order that the hand of the minister does not contact the mouth of the communicant.
b) How to receive in the hand: place one hand beneath the other, then take the lower hand and lift the host to one's mouth. NO, ONE SHOULD BRING THEIR HAND TO THEIR MOUTHS OR BETTER STILL, STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE AND PUT AN END TO THIS ABOMINATION!
c) No sign of the cross or genuflection is required after receiving Communion.
New Required Sign of Reverence at Communion
#160 When standing before the minister to receive Holy Communion, the faithful should make a simple bow of the head.
DIRECTIVE The bow of the head is a sign of reverence for the sacred presence of the Risen Lord in the Communion elements. This is a bow of the head and not a deep bow.In order that it be a gesture of integrity and not rote motion the whole Communion procession will need to take on a slightly slower pace.Each communicant will make the bow of the head while standing before the sacred elements, not while the person ahead is receiving Communion. The bow will occur in a timely manner while the previous communicant is
moving away. The minister will wait for the communicant to make the bow, then raise his or her face toward the minister in order to respond appropriately. Once the communicant raises the head, the minister holds the
host and proclaims The Body of Christ. The communicant responds Amen. The consecrated host is placed with care upon the hand of the communicant, or on the tongue. The communicant then moves to the station to receive the Blood of Christ in the same manner. In the Diocese of Calgary the bow is encouraged before both elements: the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ.
Communion from the Elements Consecrated at the Same Mass
#85 It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the Priest himself is bound to do, receive the Lord's Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the cases where this is foreseen, they partake of the chalice (cf. #283), so that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.
DIRECTIVE Recognizing the practical challenges of #85, we should strongly encourage the participation of the faithful in the fullness of the paschal sacrifice by receiving elements consecrated at that same liturgy.
Communion from the Chalice
#245 The Blood of the Lord may be consumed either by drinking from the chalice directly, or by intinction, or by means of a tube or a spoon.
DIRECTIVE In the Diocese of Calgary, the Blood of the Lord may be consumed only by
drinking from the chalice. 
Who May Place Remaining Consecrated Hosts in the Tabernacle?
#163 When the distribution of Communion is over, the Priest himself immediately and completely consumes at the altar any consecrated wine that happens to remain; as for any consecrated hosts that are left, he either consumes them at the altar or carries them to the place designated for the reservation of the Eucharist.
DIRECTIVE #63 states that only the deacon or priest may go to the tabernacle. This applies also to retrieving previously consecrated hosts from the tabernacle. In the Diocese of Calgary, formally installed extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may also go to the tabernacle. From a practical viewpoint it is fitting therefore to have sufficient hosts consecrated at the liturgy to provide for the entire assembly in so far as this  is possible.
Who May Purify the vessels?
#163 Upon returning to the altar, the Priest collects the fragments, should any remain, and he stands at the altar or at the credence table and purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice, and after this purifies the chalice, saying quietly the formula Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine (What has passed our lips), and dries the chalice with a purificator. If the vessels are purified at the altar, they are carried to the credence table by a minister.Nevertheless, it is also permitted to leave vessels needing to be purified, especially if there are several, on a corporal, suitably covered, either on the altar or on the credence table, and to purify them immediately after Mass, after the Dismissal of the people.
#192 Likewise, after the distribution of Communion is complete, a duly instituted acolyte helps the Priest or Deacon to purify and arrange the sacred vessels. In the absence of a Deacon, a duly instituted acolyte carries the sacred vessels to the credence table and there purifies them, wipes them and arranges them as usual.
DIRECTIVE In the Diocese of Calgary, a priest, deacon, instituted acolyte, or formally installed extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may purify the vessels. The principle here is that if you can do the greater, then you can do the lesser.
The purification may be done after the Communion procession at the credence table but not in the sacristry.
It may also occur immediately after the liturgy, however the purification of the vessels should not delay the priest from greeting the people.
#166 When the Prayer after Communion is concluded, brief announcements should be made to the people, if there are any. #168, 185 Immediately after the Blessing ... Ite missa est (Go forth the Mass is ended).
And all reply Thanks be to God.
DIRECTIVE Only dismissals contained in the Missal are to be used.

I said previously, it will take more than a correct translation. 


Gabby said...

Re. the ministers of Communion entering the sanctuary. Since the EMHCs may be in the sanctuary for the entire Mass and shake hands with the priest at the Rite of Peace but remain away from the altar until after he's received Communion, why can't they enter the sanctuary at the Sign of Peace and do the same?

Anonymous said...

A very well written post. Hopefully the errors prescribed by the bureaucracy will be corrected by the Bishop. How I long for a communion rail to make a comeback :)


Anonymous said...

Shameful. A bishop who directs that the crucifix be "put to the side" is a bishop afraid to put God first in the Liturgy. Shame. DN

Gabby said...

This morning our liturgy coordinator stood up and mentioned that from Nov. 26 everyone who was able to was to kneel for the Consecration, from immediately after the Sanctus until the Memorial Acclamation, and that those who couldn't kneel were to make a profound bow at the Elevation (if she'd said 'when the priest genuflects after the elevation' nobody would ever bow since the priest refuses to genuflect). She also mentioned maintaining silence for the last 5 minutes before Mass (a massive change for our chatty parish), the EMHCs not coming to the sanctuary until after the priest receives Communion, of silence before Mass to prepare ourselves.

After she was through speaking and had returned to her pew, the priest who is presently overseeing our parish while we are between pastors came to the microphone and said "These things B. spoke of are just suggestions. We should keep being the friendly parish we've always been and socialize with our neighbours when we come in. I don't agree that we've done anything wrong in the last 30 years and I totally disagree with these changes. I haven't seen what the new words are since I don't normally celebrate Mass in English but I don't think they are very different." (BOY, IS HE IN FOR A SHOCK WHEN HE CELEBRATES HIS FIRST ENGLISH MASS IN 2 WEEKS!)

SW said...

Are all dioceses in Canada directing their people to stand after receiving communion until all have received?

Victoria Catholic said...


No. Here in the Diocese of Victoria, our Bishop (Richard Gagnon) has sent out a pastoral letter on the new translation and postures, stating the following:

It is not necessary for all the Faithful to remain standing throughout the entire Communion rite until all have received. Paragraph 43 [of the GIRM] is intended to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, but this is not to be interpreted so rigidly that people wishing to sit or kneel immediately after receiving the Lord in Holy Communion are not free to do so. [Emphasis added.]

Otherwise, the news is mixed over here. The good news is that all parishes on Vancouver Island are to kneel from the Sanctus to the Memorial Acclamation. Parishes without kneelers are permitted to make a profound bow during the Consecration instead of kneeling, but they have been instructed to install kneelers in the near future. Some of our less orthodox parishes have been standing throughout (even those with kneelers!) and I expect this will be a difficult adjustment for them.

The not-so-good news? Well, we had previously been told that we would be kneeling throughout the Eucharistic Prayer and after the Agnus Dei, but apparently the BC Bishops decided a couple of weeks ago that, for the sake of uniformity, all parishes will kneel from the Sanctus to the Memorial Acclamation, and remain standing through the Agnus Dei until Communion. For most Victoria parishes, the only change will be that we stand during the Agnus Dei, since we have been kneeling up till now. This will feel awkward--especially saying "Lord, I am not worthy ..." while standing--but I expect we'll get used to it.

These changes apparently apply to all Catholic Parishes in BC--with the huge exception of Vancouver. They will kneel throughout the Eucharistic Prayer and presumably after the Agnus Dei as they have been accustomed to doing. This kind of makes a mockery of the BC Bishops' call for "uniformity", but there's no helping it, I guess.

Gabby said...

SW said...

Are all dioceses in Canada directing their people to stand after receiving communion until all have received?
Not as far as I know.

Vox Cantoris said...

We are fortunate in Toronto and much of Ontario that we have "laudable practice" though I suppose that has become less traditional in London and Ottawa and maybe the north over the years.

In Toronto, we currently kneel from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Doxology and from after the Agnus Dei though some parishes have regimented "sitting" after the Domine non sum dignus.

The Bishop to watch in Canada is +Miller of Vancouver. A Red Hat is due to Canada soon, it does not necessarily have to go to Toronto. There is much to watch with this good man. He had mandated tabernacles back to the middle. Good too for the Bishop of Victoria, quite the change from the Enneagram, Call to Action, horse-player, land-developer, diocese bankrupting predecessor.

Please visit this post and watch what Cardinal Arinze has to say about this matter.

Just leave people alone...

Vox Cantoris said...

It is important to remember that no bishop is a slave to the provincial or national conference.

The Archbishop of Vancouver is within his right to have a different posture. The CCCB has no right to "dictate." The bishop reports to the Pope not the CCCB or BCCCB or whatever it is called.

Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln long ago acted independently.

In fact, in Lincoln, Ascension Thursday is on THURSDAY!

Victoria Catholic said...

Thanks, Vox. I understand that a bishop is not beholden to his local conference, but it seems like the push for "uniformity" is the current vogue among our shepherds.

All Victoria priests were instructed to preach on Bishop Gagnon's pastoral letter this weekend, and our priest made a big point of stressing that the Mass is not a private devotion, and that therefore we should adopt a common set of postures. I understand where he's coming from, and I will (of course) obey our bishop's directives.

I do, however, lament the new standing posture after the Agnus Dei. As far as I'm concerned, when the Host is exposed, I should be on my knees pronto. It's what we do during the Consecration and during Adoration, so why should we stand for "Ecce Agnus Dei", one of the most solemn moments in our lives?

Plus, in a large church like ours, there are a bunch of practical implications: Those at the front will receive first, and will be on their knees within moments, while those at the back will be standing (shuffling, fidgeting, staring into space, often chatting with their neighbours) for quite a long while. I can't imagine how this will make us more reverent and focused.

Oh, and Bishop Gagnon is our second after De Roo; Bishop Roussin came immediately after, and yes, the poor man had a huge mess to deal with!

SW said...

Here we are being instructed by our bishop to remain standing when we return to our pew and remain standing until all have received. I know that the Mass is not a private devotion and a common posture is good, but I am wondering, can this be interpreted in the same way as the direction for receiving communion? While that direction is to stand and receive on the hand, we all have a right to receive on the tongue while kneeling. But then again, just because we have a right doesn't necessarily mean we should exercise that right. I do not know what I am going to do!

Anonymous said...

I myself will be kneeling after receiving, upon arrival at the pew. We have also heard we are to stand until all receive, but I will be following Cardinal Arinze on this one.


Gabby said...

When are you being instructed to kneel for the Consecration? I had thought that we were to kneel after the epiclesis but the CCCB's website says before, so right after the Sanctus. What's everyone doing?