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[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] The Mass in Slow Motion The Celebrant Goes to the Chair
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 4/25/2009 | Msgr Charles Pope

Posted on 08/22/2010 10:15:48 AM PDT by markomalley

istanbul06-40          After reverencing the altar the celebrant goes to the chair. Now perhaps a word or two on the chair is called for. Some one may wonder why the priest has a chair of some prominence. Why does he not simply sit among the faithful and come forward as necessary? Here again, there is a history to know.

In the ancient world, the Chair was a symbol of authority and office. We still have something of this today in the concept of the Judge’s Bench. The chair was also a symbol in the ancient world of teaching authority. It is our usual experience in the modern world that teachers stand when they teach or give lectures. But in the ancient world a teacher sat as they taught. Now they didn’t just sit in some casual way with their legs corssed and sipping coffee. Rather they were seated formally and in a prominent place in the room. You may remember that Scriptures usually record that when Jesus taught, he would sit (Mat 5:1; Luke 4:20; Mark 13:3; John 8:2; and dozens of other examples). It is my experience that many people find this fact surprising since they always imagine Jesus standing to preach but, it is almost never the case that he does that. He, like every ancient Rabbi and teacher sat to teach. So, the Chair has an ancient history of governance and teaching authority.

Now the Bishop’s Chair is especially imbued with this meaning and the priest’s chair only in a sense that is subordinate to the local Ordinary (i.e. chief Bishop). It is interesting to note that a bishop is given the special prerogative to sit in the sanctuary to preach. Most of them I notice do not use this option except at very formal times like ordinations. As a general rule, priests are expected to stand today at the pulpit or ambo when they preach. Despite this the priest’s chair continues to carry these ancient meanings already mentioned.

There is also a more modern notion given to the meaning of the chair in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal: The chair of the priest celebrant must signify his office of presiding over the gathering and of directing the prayer. …Any appearance of a throne, however, is to be avoided. (G.I.R.M # 310). Thus the Chair of the Priest also indicates a role of presiding over the Liturgical Assembly.

Now, in the end though, all three of these roles (governing, teaching and presiding) really refer to Christ. The priest, through his reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders in configured to Christ and acts in persona Christi In the person of Christ). Thus the prominence of his chair is really a way to honor Christ who is the true High Priest of every liturgy. The priest’s chair is Jesus’ chair. It is ultimately He who governs, teaches and presides over us and He ministers through his priest. Pray for the grace to see beyond “Father Smith” and to see Jesus presiding over and ministering to you. In this sense the chair of the priest should have a very special place in your mind and a prominent place in our sanctuary. Surely the tabernacle and altar should be in the central axis but also prominent should be the Chair of the Priest, the Chair of Christ. 

The following video shows the Pope preaching at National’s Stadium in Washington DC. He preaches from the seated position, the more anciet way of teaching.

 

(link to YouTube video)


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: bishop; bishopschair; mass; msgrcharlespope; priest
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] The Mass in Slow Motion – The Procession and Entrance Song

[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] The Mass in Slow Motion – The Altar is Reverenced

[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] The Mass in Slow Motion – The Incensing of the Altar

1 posted on 08/22/2010 10:15:51 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Interesting - thanks for posting


2 posted on 08/22/2010 10:46:54 AM PDT by NCjim ("You can't pick up a turd by the clean end", Bob Lonsberry on Obamacare)
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To: markomalley

Is there a difference is the form between the Traditional and Novus Ordo, or is just the language different?


3 posted on 08/22/2010 11:37:08 AM PDT by Excellence ("A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.")
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To: markomalley
In the ancient world, the Chair was a symbol of authority and office.

As in "chairman"? As in "president" -- from Latin pre- "before" + sedere "to sit"?

4 posted on 08/22/2010 11:58:22 AM PDT by omega4412
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To: Excellence
Is there a difference is the form between the Traditional and Novus Ordo, or is just the language different?

The essential elements are in both(Liturgy-of-the-Word / Mass of Catechumens // Liturgy-of-the-Eucharist / Mass of the Faithful), but the order is significantly different.

The Novus Ordo, IMHO, focuses far more on the communal meal aspect at the expense of the re-presentation of the sacrifice at Calvary and oblation of that Victim to God...which is far more so emphasized in the Extraordinary Form (a/k/a Traditional a/k/a Tridentine).

5 posted on 08/22/2010 2:14:34 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

You say that the Novus Ordo does not focus on the consecration/presentation of the sacrifice as you put it. Is this added verbiage in the Tridentine Mass?

Our priest in saying a Novus Ordo does focus on the Consecration. It is the center of the Mass for him.


6 posted on 08/22/2010 2:31:04 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley

One of my pet peeves is when the chair is in the center. To me, the crucifix and/or tabernacle should be in the center.

Hopefully this will be addressed in the new rubrics. Our current priest disdained the centered chair and moved it off the platform and to the side.


7 posted on 08/22/2010 2:33:02 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley

Do you think the new translation will restore the proper order?


8 posted on 08/22/2010 3:08:48 PM PDT by Excellence ("A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.")
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9 posted on 08/22/2010 3:10:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
You say that the Novus Ordo does not focus on the consecration/presentation of the sacrifice as you put it. Is this added verbiage in the Tridentine Mass?

Well, I didn't use the word "Consecration" -- you did. Yes, there is a consecration.

However, the oblation of the Victim to God barely exists in the NO.

Here is an English translation of that part of the Roman Canon for the Tridentine Mass:

P. Mindful, therefore, Lord, we, Your ministers, as also Your holy people, of the same Christ, Your Son, our Lord, remember His blessed passion, and also of His Resurrection from the dead, and finally of His glorious Ascension into heaven, offer to Your supreme Majesty, of the gifts bestowed upon us, the pure + Victim, the holy + Victim, the all-perfect + Victim: the holy + Bread of life eternal and the Chalice + of perpetual salvation.

P. Deign to regard with gracious and kindly attention and hold acceptable, as You deigned to accept the offerings of Abel, Your just servant, and the sacrifice of Abraham our Patriarch, and that which Your chief priest Melchisedech offered to You, a holy Sacrifice and a spotless victim.

P. Most humbly we implore You, Almighty God, bid these offerings to be brought by the hands of Your Holy Angel to Your altar above, before the face of Your Divine Majesty. And may those of us who by sharing in the Sacrifice of this altar shall receive the Most Sacred + Body and + Blood of Your Son, be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing, Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here is the corresponding part from the EP I from the NO Mass:

Father, we celebrate the memory of Christ, your Son. We, your people and your ministers, recall his passion, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into glory; and from the many gifts you have given us we offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.

Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son,

let us be filled with every grace and blessing. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

You will note that EP 1 maintains the same basic structure, although the translation is faulty. (This should be largely corrected on 11/26/2010) The reason why it is the same structure is that it is, essentially, the same prayer.

Unfortunately, around these parts, EP 1 is not used very often.

Here is what passes for the oblation in EP 2:

In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.

Pretty minimal on the subject of oblation, isn't it? (BTW, the new translation helps, but not very much)

Here's the problem: EP 2 is the Eucharistic Prayer most often used for the consecration. At least around these parts. Not just for weekday Masses, but for Holy Days as well.

EP 3 is a little better...

Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.

Look with favor on your Church's offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself. Grant that we, who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ.

Better than EP 2 (IMHO) but not nearly as good as EP 1 (particularly after 11/26/2011).

Fortunately EP 3 is used...but not nearly as often as EP 2.

Finally, we have EP 4:

Father, we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. We recall Christ's death, his descent among the dead, his resurrection, and his ascension to your right hand; and, looking forward to his coming in glory, we offer you his body and blood, the acceptable sacrifice which brings salvation to the whole world.

Lord, look upon this sacrifice which you have given to your Church; and by your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this bread and wine into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise.

Now, you will note some definite oblative language in EP 4, as well as EP 3.

But there is a problem with both of these Eucharistic Prayers (in my humble opinion...which, along with $5, will buy you a cup of Starbucks): both EP 3 and EP 4 mix confusing language in with the oblation that masks what is happening. Both of them talk about the resurrection and ascension.

Nothing wrong with talking about the resurrection and the ascension: in fact during the Communicates, the topic is brought up. BUT...that is the communicates and this is the oblation. There is a difference.

To catch this, you must remember that the Mass is a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ the Victim by Christ the High Priest. It was pre-figured by the Old Testament blood sacrifices. And it is also played out in Heaven.

During the OT sacrifices, the victim was immolated and then was offered to God. And the priest pleaded with God to accept the offering of that victim. Not really any other discussion.

But in EP 3 & 4, this purpose gets all confused. In the Roman Canon (EP 1)...it is very, very clear. Particularly when the priest is facing the high altar.

FWIW

10 posted on 08/22/2010 6:55:55 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: Excellence
Do you think the new translation will restore the proper order?

The order won't be changed. Just the translation of the words (and hopefully the music).

11 posted on 08/22/2010 6:56:52 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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