My response to Fr Greg

Dear Fr Greg,

Thank you for the response and the comments on the Latin liturgy for the ordination of a priest. May I ask what are the readings assigned for the liturgy?

A few comments though: the bishop’s sermon (or more precisely, the Cardinal Archbishop’s sermon) was not based on the homily which you commented on. Second, this was in context of a religious order, specifically the Dominicans. Is it possible they have their own liturgy for this occasion?

And finally, this sentence I find confusing: “By consecration [the ordinand] will be made a true priest of the New Testament, to PREACH THE GOSPEL, sustain God’s people, and celebrate the liturgy, above all, the Lord’s sacrifice.”

The words ‘above all’ entail that celebrating the Lord’s sacrifice (in the Mass) is a discrete act which can be separated from preaching the Gospel. I absolutely object to any such line of theological thought. The celebration of the holy Eucharist IS in its very essence and its most powerful form nothing else THAN the preaching of the Gospel. To divide the two has resulted in much unfortunate decline for the Roman Catholic church. The decision of Vatican II that all public masses must include a homily was a step in the right direction to redress this facile and foolish separation of the Word against the Word.

To separate the Word in the sacrament and the Word in Scripture is to divide a house against itself. The true natures of the two complement and complete each other. One is not higher than the other any more than one side of a coin is of greater value than the other.


Abu Daoud


FrGregACCA said…
I, too, AD, am enjoying this exchange. Peace be with you. Thanks for your reply to my response. I am not completely surprised that the Archbishop’s homily was original. Was it perhaps concerning the readings? Also, I am not aware that the Dominicans have a separate service for ordination. (Prior to Vatican II, the Dominicans and some other orders, as well as certain locales, had distinct rites for the celebration of Mass, but these differed from the normal Latin Rite in only minor ways, and were almost entirely abrogated with the issuance of the revised Roman Missal under Pope Paul VI.)

From the rubrics for the ordination service:

7. The readings may be taken in whole or in part from the Mass of the Day or from the texts listed in Chapter VI.

The latter texts follow:

Old Testament: Numbers 11:11b-12, 14-17, 24-25a; Isaiah 61:1-3a; Jeremiah 1:4-9
New Testament: Romans 12:4-8; II Cor. 4:1-2, 5-7; II Cor. 5:14-20; Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13; Hebrews 5:1-10; I Peter 4:7b-11; I Peter 5:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: portions of Psalm 23 or 84 or 89 or 96 or 100 or 110 or 116 or 117
Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16; 9:35-38; 10:1-5a; 20:25-28; Luke 10:1-9; 12:35-44; Luke 22:14-20, 24-30; John 10:11-16; 12:24-26; 15:9-17; 17:6, 14-19; 20:19-23; 21:15-17

If the ordination you attended was on a Sunday, I suspect the readings were those for the day. Do you recall what they were?

Finally, I don’t think the passage you question is meant to be construed in quite the way you are reading it. You are perhaps correct, I think, in seeing something of a division between the ministries of Word and of Sacrament throughout this service, but some would argue that this is more of an innovation rooted in Protestant influences, meant to re-emphasize the former, not in opposition to, but in conjunction with, the latter. The “above all, the Lord’s sacrifice” modifies only “celebrate the liturgy,” which, in Roman terms, includes not only the Mass, but also the Liturgy of the Hours. It is not so much that celebrating the Eucharist can be separated from “preaching the gospel” but that the latter can be distinguished from celebrating the Eucharist. As it is here, preaching takes pride of place as a distinct act which can, and should, occur both within and without the liturgical services, including the Eucharist. IOW, while the celebration of the Mass, with or without a homily, is certainly catechetical, preaching the gospel includes, but is broader than, presidency at the Eucharist. As Vatican II mandated, all Sunday Masses are to have a homily (they are also strongly recommended for all weekday Masses), but one, especially a priest, can and should preach and teach also outside the context of the Eucharist or the liturgy in general. Further, I think you will agree that the Eucharist is not inherently meant to be an occasion for evangelization, but rather, as a gathering and celebration of the faithful who are already evangelized and baptized: “The Holy Things are for the Holy.” I suspect that you are probably being influenced by Calvin’s “Sacraments are the Word made visible.” Indeed they are, but the converse is also true: “The Word is the Sacraments made verbal.” Another way of looking at this is to note that while the preached word feeds the cognitive faculty, the sacraments, while not completely bypassing the intellect, operate primarily at a different level in the human psychosomatic entity.
Rob said…
Thanks, Fr Greg, for your input.

I would like to further state that there is a "cultural" issue here that confuses things. I.e., for a Catholic, and I don't know about the Orthodox but I think it may be the same, the significance of Jesus' advent was not so much his "message" but rather, himself. He is the gospel, not his teachings, which were mostly reiterations and clarifications of the OT. What was new was His Incarnation, not his sermons.

I'm too unsophisticated to debate the validity of this idea with you, I just speak from a lifetime of Catholic masses: we are not there for the homily, we are there for the sacrament (actually, the Catholics I know who are "homily-centered" are usually the ones who fall away.) I understand your point about not dividing the preaching and the sacrament. I just think you and I (and most Catholics) speak different languages and it causes this sort of friction when reading each other's religious texts.

I mean, have you seen us during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? We obviously have a different opinion on this.

Again, I am not debating your point, mostly because I don't know how. As +Bartholomew of Constantinople allegedly said recently, "We are ontologically different" :-) Everything in the ordination sounded hunky-dory to me.

When I think of the Gospel, I don't think of a homily, I think of the Eucharist. I am not boasting or fighting, I am just pointing out my perspective.

Hopefully someone with a clearer head can make a better point from all this.
gsk said…
I wonder, Abu, if you had an opportunity to see the beautiful words of the Holy Father spoken in France on September 12th of this year. They are here:

It would seem to emphasise the importance of Holy Scripture for the ordained priesthood, but of course Rob has mentioned the most important point: Jesus was the Word Incarnate, and becoming icons of Our Lord, "other Christs" implies with all force of meaning that the priest is ordered to preaching/living the Word.

Blessings on your good and sincere work!
From the Middle East said…
Brother Rob,

You said:
He is the gospel, not his teachings, which were mostly reiterations and clarifications of the OT. What was new was His Incarnation, not his sermons.

I say, "AMEN!"

His peace be yours in abundance,
From the Middle East
Don said…
Abu Daoud, as Origen would put it, "some will dislike what we have to say..."

But...the "sacrifice of the Mass" is, in simple terms, "the deal" in Roman Catholicism. There's no getting around it. The concept is that, in the Mass, we consume Jesus Christ Himself. Taken as far as many Catholics do, it is considered better than the preached Word. It's not a particularly evangelistic concept, but, as the Russians would say, it is their idea.

My favourite devotional book is Bossuet's Meditations on the Gospel. But his section on the Eucharist drives this point home in no uncertain terms.

And yes, Rob, I have taken part in an all-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Also, AD and Fr. Greg, I will respond to your kind comments on my series on the Orthodox idea of the Eucharist in due course.
Rob said…
-But...the "sacrifice of the Mass" is, in simple terms, "the deal" in Roman Catholicism.-


Don summed up my point well there. The Mass is indeed "the deal". Sure, there is lots of other "stuff" in Catholicism, but the Mass is the deal.

I was probably preaching to the choir. Sorry. I work nights and drift somnolently through the days taking care of my babies and occasionally putting a coherent (or incoherent) thought together.
Abu Daoud said…
A few remarks. And thanks for all the comments.

My understanding is that the Mass properly understood contains both the liturgy of the word and the eucharist. That is, it does what I am advocating here actually: it incorporates the two together in a seamless and inseparable way.

GSK: will check out the link.

RE the adoration of the sacrament I have no foundational objections to it. In fact the Episcopal church I am attending here in Scotland has a service of benediction on Sunday evening.

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