Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Sacraments of Initiation and the Eucharist

A point linked to participatio actuosa, but I decided to put this as a separate post.

Fr. Robert Skeris writes:

Membership in the Church, which is brought about by valid baptism, makes one a part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Priest, to whose priesthood one is interiorly conformed1 through the baptismal character.

In comparison with the high priesthood of Christ Himself, this priesthood of the baptized is analogous, by an analogy of proper proportionality.2 And since confirmation is related to baptism as growth is related to birth, it is clear that the so-called universal priesthood of all believers is ontologically based upon baptism, and not upon the sacrament of confirmation.3 As St. Jerome aptly phrased it, "Sacerdotium laici, id est baptisma."4
This is a point made by Sacrosanctum Concilium and repeated by many who use that document as a reference for explaining participatio actuosa.
Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.
It should be baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, whether by imposition of the hands or by the anointing by oil, that together lead to the third sacrament of initiation, the Eucharist. But given the historic separation of the first two sacraments of initiation by the Latins, they are stuck claiming that it is baptism alone. 

If they were to return to the usage of scripture, baptism by water AND the Holy Spirit, with individual sacraments being returned as parts of the same ceremony as the norm, there could be some wiggle room for reinterpreting baptism in Latin documents in this way. But it would be better to admit that a mistake was made in their sacramental theology.

Participatio Actuosa

LSN: Catholics have a ‘right’ to good liturgy in accordance with Church’s ‘tradition and discipline’ by Peter Kwasniewski
The Catholic Church teaches that there is such a thing as a 'right to liturgy.'

[T]he generic concern for “active participation” in the liturgy eclipses the centrality of the specific and infinitely greater good of the Eucharistic sacrifice enacted by the priest on behalf of the people. Just as the right to life is unequivocally and primordially located in the right of each baby human to be born, so too the right to liturgy refers most of all to the right to “offer the holy oblation in peace” (as our Byzantine brethren say), to see and to experience the liturgy as the work of Christ in and for His Church, not as my or anyone else’s product.
There is no worship without people worshipping.
In the Catholic world, the “sign of peace,” the proliferation of lay ministers invading the sanctuary and handling the precious gifts, and execrably bad post-Communion songs, conspire to distract us from the miracle that has just occurred and prevent us from praying most fruitfully in union with Our Lord and with all the other members of His Mystical Body.

Maybe some progressives cite those as being examples of active patricipation, but they're not.It's rather a straw man argument.

We are given our natural life in order to acquire supernatural life, and this we are given for the sake of rising up to God in prayer and divine praise.

This is active participation.

[B]eing pro-liturgy does not mean getting as many lay people involved in as many ministries as possible.
Again, this is not what is generally meant by active participation among the proponents of the Latin liturgical movement of the 20th ce. Kwasniewski should be writing better than this.

This article by a Latin traditionalist is slightly better:
Participatio Activa & Participatio Actuosa by Andy Milam

But whether it's of the readings during the readings service or of the singing by the scholar or choir, listening without comprehension is not listening -- it's hearing. Intelligibility is important for both prayer and listening.Conscious activity that is without comprehension of the prayers or texts may be piety or devotion, but it's not participation in the liturgy. Participation dependent upon a lay missal with a translation into the vernacular may be possible for a few, but it probably isn't possible for all, and it won't be possible once the extra resources that enable the printing and purchase of such missals begins to dwindle.

The above essay does cite Msgr. Richard Schuler as an authority on actuosa participatio, as does Fr. Peter Stravinskas in a guest essay for NLM in 2016 (part 2).

Authorities  like Colman E. O’Neill, O.P. equate participation [in the liturgy] with offering the Sacrifice of the Mass and receiving the Sacrament[s]:
(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized; that is, their power to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that, concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand, the Liturgy of the Word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the impact of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized.
While O'Neill does say that the laity should join vocally in the parts which are intended for them (but should they understand to what they are responding, and their own responses), and even concedes that they should understand the Liturgy of the Word, he does identify participation with the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized, and it would be easy on the basis of that identification alone one could say that comprehension is not at all necessary, as some Latin traditionalists may do. Does one need to understand the texts of the Mass in order to offer it and to receive the Sacraments? Not at all. I think O'Neill's equating of the two is problematic for another reason, that he misunderstands what the common priesthood of the faithful is, as it is dependent upon the dominant Latin opinion of what makes the Eucharist a sacrifice. But more on that in another post.

Defending Their Signatures


WTC 2020 Figel Lecture