Saturday, July 18, 2009

Liturgical abuses: Pottery Chalices

Taking a (sadly) rare break from engaging in pointless arguments with Catholic Traditionalists, James Preece has put a very interesting post about the attitude of Bishop Terrence Drainey of Middlesbrough to pottery chalices (and ciboria, pattens etc.). As he points out, they are forbidden - illicit, ruled out, contrary to the laws of the Church, you get it? - by Redemptoris Sacramentum.

Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.

[Redemptionis Sacramentum 117]

But here they are, being used by the Bishop himself. Note the clingfilm over them. A nice touch that. Presumably it is felt to be necessary because these ghastly objects are liable to fall over.
James points out that Bishop Drainey has actually criticised a parish for using them, but continues to use them himself. As Our Lord said,"The teachers of the law (the scribes) and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So, you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matt. 23:2-3)


JamesP said...

I'm pretty sure the cling film is because it was raining and it was an outdoor Mass.

As for my pointless arguments with Catholic traditionalists... I have to say, at least they argue back. Good on them, hopefully I will learn something.

Hercules said...

That's interesting about the clingfilm. But the chalices don't have it - perhaps his lordship didn't think that a bit of rain in the Precious Blood mattered.

As for the arguments with Trads... This blog has made quite a speciality of criticising fellow Catholics, but we have never sought to imply some kind of infidelity to the Church on the basis of a single, isolated quotation. These things require care and restraint.

But please keep up the good work!

Don Johnstone said...

In the scale of things, is this really such a big deal? The use of earthware such as this is understandable, many feel that using authentic pottery similar to that used by our Lord at the Last Supper brings us even closer to the Christ. In addtion to this, using familiar domestic, objects does not lessen the Mass but instead helps sanctify or normal meals at home thus bringing Christ into the whole of our lives. As oppossed to such rigid traditionalism which seeks to put Christ away trapped, only in the tabernacle, kept inside the church so you can’t bring Christ’s merciful judgment to your daily affairs.
You see this as letting in modernity, but that is not the case, it is part some peoples quest to become more holy.

Furthermore, a quick scan of your friends who inhabit the same blogsphere shows a Priest more interested in eating in bourgeoisie luxury at the horrific Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and Lady who seems very excited about Land Rovers and mobile phones. No wonder you lot felt the need mock "Live Simply"

Contrast that with the use of an earthware chalice and ask which is the most christ like?

Blessed are the meek

Don Johnstone

Hercules said...

Oh, priceless! Thank you Don for your defence of pottery chalices.

Remember, Don, that it's not the 'rigid traditionalism' of this or any other blog you are attacking, but the 'rigid traditionalism' (if that is what it is) of Pope John-Paul II, who is reiterating the teaching and practice of all of his predecessors who expressed an opinion on the subject. In a word, it is the Church you are attacking.

The Church wants us to use precious metals for the sacred vessels because the liturgy lifts us out of our everyday lives, enacting before our eyes the liturgy of the heavenly court. This is why it can have an effect on the humdrum - because it is not humdrum itself. If you make it exactly like the rest of life, it's not going to transform the rest of life.

Isn't that obvious? Probably not for you, because you appear to be trapped in an ideology based on Protestant and Modernist principles. What you can't claim, however, is that what you believe about the liturgy is Catholic.

Don Johnstone said...

Are you kidding? So all the V2 reforms and teachings of Pope JP you don't like are bad but you are happy to wheel out a quote from him when it suites you? This is just the typical type of double standards that makes me laugh. It's the same type of Catholicism which is quick to cheer on the Church's opposition to the evils of Socialism and but has no harsh words for the evils of free market capitalism.

Things do change in the Church, one Pope can have the Creed engraved on two of your precious "silver" plates. The next Pope can change that very same Creed. It is not I who is holding a Protestant position, try and understand the point I am making about wrong priorities. Look again at my statement on Christ in the world then consider which is the authentic Catholic position?

"For Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also"
Matthew 6:21

Don Johnstone

Hercules said...

Er, so which Pope has told us to use pottery chalices, then Don?

Can't think of any, eh?

The Church changes, and it's up to you to tell the rest of us how it changes.

So you are the Pope, right? Or have we missed something?

Pope Don I said...

Yeah whatever, at the end of the day this is just yet another excuse to attack the Bishops.

If I am a self appointed Pope you must be the anti-pope since you spend at least half your time attacking our OWN Bishops.

And as for changes, well are you familiar with Summorum Pontificum. You all seem very pleased about that and one and that was quite a big change that could only take place after the passing of JPII.

In reality JP II's guidelines on Chalices (and that's what they are, not cannon law) (God alone knows you lot bend guidelines enough with regards to disrespect and scandalizing)show nothing which explicitly prove that a continued use of well made, glazed, earthware is not justified on some occasions...

In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate.

330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.

332. As to the form of the sacred vessels, the artist may fashion them in a manner that is more in keeping with the ***customs of each region***.

*****In this sphere judgment belongs to the Episcopal Conference of the individual regions.****

If you ever get the chance you should visit the remnants of the poor Catholic base communities in El Salvador and other places in South America. There they have Eucharist present in abundance and not a sliver of gold in site.

Pope Don I
Patriarch of Berwick upon Tweed

Hercules said...

Last time I checked Middlesbrough was not a diocese of the United States of America.

But since you can change the teaching of the Church at will, Your Holiness, why not the laws of geography as well?

Hercules said...

Oh and by the Redemptoris Sacramentum has the force of law. Stop kidding yourself. The Church is not a free-for-all. Read the Preamble, section 2:

"It is not at all the intention here to prepare a compendium of the norms regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, but rather, to take up within this Instruction some elements of liturgical norms that have been previously expounded or laid down and even today remain in force in order to assure a deeper appreciation of the liturgical norms;[9] to establish certain norms by which those earlier ones are explained and complemented; and also to set forth for Bishops, as well as for Priests, Deacons and all the lay Christian faithful, how each should carry them out in accordance with his own responsibilities and the means at his disposal."

John Kearney said...

A number of years ago in my parish one of the chalices was a pottery one. It was removed after a few months because the rim caused the precious blood to spill when being drunk. Don seems to be into liturghy and making it simple etc, but the point is not a luturgical one. How much respect do we have for the blood of Christ? That is the question. The fact Christ used pottery is not a sufficent answer nor does it put us more into contact with Him. What puts us more in touch with Him is our love and adoration and what value we place on his precious Blood. Just ot put it into an eathenware pot is showing we do not value it. Stay with the teachings of the fChurch Don, the practices have been drawn up by people with more knowledge than you have.

Hercules said...

And who says Christ used a pottery chalice, for heaven's sake? We don't know that. Don's just making up 'facts' to bolser his position.

John said...

Off-topic, but it would be good to know what on earth is going on with Fr Michael Seed, whose most recent book was launched in Stringfellows:

Photographs of Fr Seed in the club can be seen on Stringfellow's website:

Stringfellow's disgusting blog uses the visit and book launch as a means by which to promote his club. This is all a matter of public record. Is anyone paying attention?

Anonymous said...

"What puts us more in touch with Him...Just ot put it into an eathenware pot is showing we do not value it"

The answer to that is simple and it is found in the Church's teaching..."according to the common estimation in each region, in keeping with the customs of each region"

Therefore, in the culture of many in 21st Century Western society it is almost insulting to put the precious blood into silver or "Gold". Gold, that modern symbol of greed, exploitation, trade and wealth.
We can truly say that to many modern Catholics "common estimation and culture" has changed so that the value of Gold and silver has gone down while the beauty of other materials have risen to the point where it is more honourable to hold the Eucharist.
This is especially true if we are speaking about things such as conflict diamonds and precious metals which has been mined through exploitation and fund war (and the vast majority are) This brings no glory to God.

If they are antiques then it is ok but not if a Parish is expected to fork out for a solid Gold Chalice at the expense of the Church roof.

There is no break from Church teachings by using such vessels.

Like the debates on Church art it is more a question of culture. In this sense those who are able to adapt to each culture and time are to be considered truly "Catholic" in a real sense of the word.

Hercules said...

People's greed for gold shows the value they place on it - in today's culture.

In sacred vessels we put what is considered valuable to God's service. We shouldn't serve God with what is cheap and disposable. That is a fundamental principle of religious art, reiterated by the Church through the ages.

Anonymous said...

Here, here Hercules!

In my opinion, if you try to bypass Redemptionis Sacramentum, perhaps you'd be better off in a Methodist chapel?

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen