Thursday, January 26, 2012

"cloaks that had covered the eucharist were removed"

Looking at my post from last Saturday and thinking about this year being the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, I was struck by something I read over on Sandro Magister's Chiesa site:

"Luther, who never doubted the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, rejected 'transubstantiation,' because it was bound to the Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of substance, which is foreign to the Church of the apostles and the Fathers . . .

"The rigidity and fixity of the Council of Trent generated a static mentality in the liturgy, which has persisted to our day, quick to be scandalized by any change or transformation. And this is an error, because the liturgy is life, a reality of the Spirit living among men. For this reason, it can never be bottled up . . .

Neo-Catechumenal liturgy

"Having emerged from a legalistic and rigid mentality, we witnessed at Vatican II a profound renewal of the liturgy. The cloaks that had covered the eucharist were removed from it. It is interesting to see that originally, the anaphora [the prayer of consecration] was not written, but was improvised by the presider . . .

This is an extract of a book written by Fr. Piergiovanni Devoto abd published in Italy in 2004- "Il neocatecumenato. Un’iniziazione cristiana per adulti, which roughly translates to The Neo-Catechumenate: A Christian Initiation for Adults. Magister notes that this book was publicly presented by Paul Josef Cordes, who was then President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development (Cor Unum means "one heart"- he is now President-emeritus), who was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in the Consistory of 2007.

I am not so much interested in the liturgical details, but in the theology of the Eucharist very partially articulated here by Fr. Devoto , even as I realize the theology and praxis cannot be separated.


  1. I don't think that what has come to pass was what was intended by Second Vatican. And I am not so sure given the closeness of certain saints to the Eucharist pre or post Reformation that what was going on could be reduced to a certain stasis. Nonetheless the term transubstantiation alone is reductive. The doctrine obviously stretches to grasp with words and terms a truth that in fact is not something we can grasp. It is a referential term and not defining.

  2. 1) where are the deacons in the neo-catechumenal liturgy? the early/primitive church would not be without a deacon at the Eucharistic liturgy;
    2) the Didache instructs that there were specific words to be prayed during the anaphora;

  3. Pilgrim:

    I am admittedly not all that familiar with the liturgy of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Hence I am not holding up their liturgy as an example to be emulated. I was very struck, however, by the theological insights of Fr. Devoto on the Eucharist as they might apply to the reform of the Roman liturgy after Vatican II. One of the liturgical reforms to, once again, make Mass with a deacon normative.


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