The new issue of Canon Law Abstracts arrived in the post this week. I don`t think I`m a natural canon lawyer but I do give a quick browse to see if there is anything that interests me and as always I went first for the section on the Eucharist to see what there was.
There were three responses by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2009 two of which I don`t remember seeing before.
The first regards a priest either choosing to receive Holy Communion after all the congregation have received or distributing the host so that he can receive simultaneously with the congregation. Both these practices are reprobated and the comment is made:" It is not a question of human dignity but expressing his role as presiding minister acting in the person of Christ."
The next considers whether it is correct for a bishop to act as a concelebrant at a priest`s jubilee Mass so that the jubilarian can be main celebrant. I must admit I`ve always been uneasy with bishops concelebrating at a Mass where the main celebrant is a priest. The comment is made: " Theologically the bishop must always preside, even if he does so in choir dress and presides over the Liturgy of the Word but does not concelebrate. This is provided in Caerimoniale Episcoporum no.18."
This was new to me. I looked up the Caerimoniale no. 18 which says:
When a bishop presides at the eucharist but is not the celebrant, he does everything in the liturgy of the word that belongs to the celebrant and he concludes the Mass with the rite of dismissal, following the provisions given in nos 176-185.
176-185 say the bishop is to vest in alb, stole, cope and mitre so this seems to extend the possibility to him presiding over the liturgy of the Word in choir dress.
The third response concerns whether it is correct for concelebrants to elevate chalices at the end of the Eucharistic prayer. This too is reprobated. The comment is : "The purpose of this elevation is not to show the consecrated elements to the people but to express the giving of glory to God. Only the celebrant with the assistance of a deacon for the chalice should do this."
I was under the impression that this`little` elevation in the OF was meant to show the elements to the people and so wondered why very often the ciborium bowl is elevated without the people being able to see the host. However I shall adjust things accordingly. Concelebrants nearest the celebrant are normally invited to elevate the chalice but this is no longer to be done.
Small points of liturgical law for the OF but I thought they might be of interest.