Saturday, June 5, 2010


I just coined that word, I think. I use it to refer to the idea that the only thing that matters in worship is the Eucharist, and that any other liturgy becomes measured by this. Thus, Vespers and Matins vanish, because "I can't go to communion." The sanctification of time which is so characteristic of Christianity throughout the ages is lost, because we want to get ourselves that sacrament.

Schmemann, an Orthodox theologian, writes: "The receiving of communion is becomingc [for the faithful] the 'one thing needful,' the self-sufficient goal and content of all their churchly life." This is a bad thing, and can lead us even to reducing the sacrament to some sort of magic pill that we need weekly, rather than the participation in the once-forever redemptive act of Christ, which we also participate in through the hourly prayers of the Church.

My suggestion? Ban the Saturday vigil mass, except for feast days.


Throwback said...

I'm not sure. This might be putting the cart before the horse a bit. Where I am, almost nobody goes to the vigil, except on feast days. Ditto for daily Mass.

As you touched on, the main issue is folks thinking that the primary end of the Mass is getting them communion. They don't see any value in it outside of that, when the Holy Sacrifice itself is far more significant.

I don't know how to fix this. Do most people even know what the Liturgy of the Hours is?

Karl said...

Most don't know what the LOH is, certainly, although some parishes, I have heard, are restoring it.

I just think that the Saturday vigil institutionalized the neglect of Vespers. In my own church, our canon law says that the faithful have an obligation either to attend the Divine Liturgy (Mass), Matins, or Vespers. I think that's the key. Don't multiply masses, but rather multiply celebrations of the hours, and make the obligation less specific.

Throwback said...

If you coupled it with obligations to recite the Hours, that I think might work.

I think another part of this that makes it worse is lax discipline for stuff like the feast days. Why can't Ascension Thursday be on a Thursday?