Discussion of BCL Newsletter 26 July 2001

Current liturgical law on purifications

US Bishops November 2001 discussion on modifying purification laws




Purifications - I was wrong

In my search of the legislation on who could do the purifications I did not find the following from Notitiae 14 (1978). This seems to say that other extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion can do purifications. Therefore I was wrong -- in saying that those doing the purifications were disobedient and that the proposed changes by the U.S. Bishops to This Holy and Living Sacrifice was "rewarding disobedience".

Here is the text from Notitiae 14 (1978) 593-594, no. 15:

Query: After the distribution of communion the priest is observed purifying the vessels (chalice, paten, ciborium) at the middle of the altar. Cannot a better place and time be chosen to do this? May another minister purify the vessels?

Reply: a. The directives in the GIRM are to be observed. There is a general principle in no. 238: "The vessels are purified by the priest or else by the deacon or acolyte after the communion or after Mass, if possible at a side table. Wine and water or water alone are used for the purification of the chalice, then drunk by the one who purifies it. The paten is usually to be wiped with the purificator."

The directive as to time (whether after communion or after Mass) is completed in no. 229 with one regarding place (at the side of the altar). It is implicit in this regulation that the celebrant never stands in the middle of the altar as he purifies the vessels (see also no. 120).

b. Other particulars are found elsewhere in the GIRM: As to the priest, no. 120:

After communion the priest returns to the altar and collects any remaining particles. Then standing at the side of the altar or at a side table, he purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice, then purifies the chalice, saying inaudibly: Lord may I receive these gifts, etc. , and dries it with a purificator. If this is done at the altar, the vessels are taken to a side table by a minister. It is also permitted, especially if there are several vessels to be purified, to leave them, properly covered and on a corporal, either at the altar or at a side table and purify them after Mass when the people have left.

As to the deacon, no. 138:

After communion, the deacon returns to the altar with the priest and collects any remaining fragments. He then takes the chalice and other vessels to the side table, where he purifies them and arranges them in the usual way; the priest returns to the chair. But it is permissible to leave the vessels to be purified, properly covered and on a corporal, at a side table and to purify them after Mass, when the people have left.

As to the acolyte, no. 147:

After communion, the acolyte helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the vessels. If no deacon is present, the acolyte takes the vessels to the side table, where he purifies and arranges them.

The remarks on the priest, deacon, and acolyte are applicable to a special minister who lawfully distributes communion (see SCDS, Instruction Immensae caritatis, nos.; RR, Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, no. 17). See also GIRM no. 229 on a priest celebrating without a congregation; nos. 202-206 on a concelebrated Mass. [From Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, 1982, page 512, Footnote R42].

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 9 June 2001. Last Modified 16 February 2002.

Links to other websites on the U.S. Bishops Meeting in Atlanta and changes to "This Holy and Living Sacrifice":

US Bishops asked to revisit adaptions - 13 Nov 2001 report

Adoremus report

BCL Newsletter June-July 2001 - Describes another meeting on 12-13 June and gives details of the vote. There is more information on what is proposed "granting to diocesan Bishops in the dioceses of the United States of America the faculty of permitting extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion ...".

Bishops Approve Revised Guidelines in Atlanta, 15 June 2001, NCCBUSCC

BCL Newsletter, January-February 2001

Media Release of 29 May 2001 on Meeting in Atlanta from NCCBUSCC

Media Advisory of 11 June 2001 on Meeting in Atlanta from NCCBUSCC

Draft Revision of "This Holy and Living Sacrifice" on www.webelieve.cc

Adoremus report on proposed liturgy changes at Atlanta meeting

National Catholic Reporter editorial of 25 May 2001