Joseph Martos
Part Three of the Course, Second Assignment, Question 2
by Dr. Joe Martos - Friday, 17 February 2012, 1:56 AM
Reflect on the changes in the mass and the developments in eucharistic theology since the Second Vatican Council, explaining why you believe that some of these have been positive or negative.
Picture of arnetta sims
Re: Part Three of the Course, Second Assignment, Question 2
by arnetta sims - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:00 PM

The developments in eucharistic theology since Vatican II revived communal worship. The changes empowered the laity to be apart of the sacrifical meal celebration. The vernacular embraced all cultures to express worship in a language to make the real presence of Christ personal.

The position of the priest allows the people to see him has a director. The priest now leads and invites the Christian faithful to witness and participate in this Eucharistic meal.

In the liturgy all of the Christian faithful experience unity in prayers and the Eucharistic meal. Lectors, ushers and greeters warm the worship space to demostrate the paricipation of the people.

I do not believe that Vatican II went far enough to expand the depth of Eucharistic theology. I believe that modern theologians are rethinking and examining ways to fine tune eucharistic liturgy. As an example we recently experienced the revision to the Roman Missal and there should be more to come.

GRADE 1 (Shorter than required length. Shortcomings in spelling. Little evaluation.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Tuesday, 24 July 2012, 07:37 PM)

Picture of Eileen Rettig
Re: Part Three of the Course, Second Assignment, Question 2
by Eileen Rettig - Monday, 6 August 2012, 5:57 PM

Change is always difficult. Having lived through the changes instituted by Vatican II, I still have vivid memories of the Latin Mass, the change to English, and moving the altar so it faced the people. I have very mixed feelings about some of the changes. I will focus first on the positive aspects of the revisions of the Mass and then will discuss what I feel is negative about some of the changes.

The change in language was a very positive move on the part of the Council fathers. While I was diligent in using my missal with its English/Latin format not everybody in the parish availed themselves of these books. Finally it was possible to hear what the priest was saying during Mass. I was also fortunate that the Sister who taught the school choir made sure we knew what the Latin words meant and the general meaning of the hymns.

A second positive improvement was permitting women inside the altar rail to do more than just clean the Sanctuary. Without that particular change I would not be a Lector or a Lay Eucharistic Minister, both of these roles bring me great satisfaction, although I generally do not feel worthy to do either. This particular change has also allowed me the great privilege of bringing Eucharist to the sick and homebound. Several of my closest moments to Jesus have come in bringing Jesus to a woman in her nineties who was wiped out in Hurricane Katrina and was forced to restart her life away from the small home on Mobile Bay she had lived in for more years than I had been alive.

For me the most serious negative aspect of the changes is the push by some in certain theological circles to demean private devotions that began in the Middle Ages. The frequent reception of Communion is important in Catholic life, but encouraging the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is still a vital part of Catholic spirituality. Yes, Sunday Mass with the community of fellow believers is a necessary and critical part of parish life. But the sense of community is only part of an understanding of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. The use of what I consider “weasel words” like transignification to describe what happens at the Consecration denies the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

In my mind the word “signify” means to stand for something it is not really. A flag signifies the country it stands for but it is not the country. To me it would mean the Eucharist is a symbol for the Body and Blood of Jesus. That is a Protestant view of Eucharist. To quote the American short story writer Flannery O’Connor, “If it is just a symbol, to hell with it.” Is it not possible that something happens that we cannot see with human senses?

Many of the post Vatican II church buildings that I have seen do not appear to instill a sense of the holy. A return to Gothic architecture is not needed but a church should not look like a movie theater or an auditorium. While some new church buildings do an admirable job of instilling a sense of the sacred many fall far short of this ideal. My particular parish church does not do much to instill a sense of the sacred, but the community I have become involved in has helped fill that need. But if I need a quiet place to pray, I will go to a neighboring parish that has a somewhat more traditional architecture.

It seems to me that those contemporary theologians who seek to redefine what happens at the Consecration are doing a great disservice to future generations. I would tell these theologians to encourage the sense of community, the sense of service to others that is the active portion of Christianity but also encourage the continuation of the older private devotions to the Blessed Sacrament that provide the spiritual nourishment to perform the community work. The Gospels themselves include instances when Jesus left his followers for a time to be alone to pray. Contemporary Catholics should be encouraged in both community worship and service and a private time with Jesus to give the strength to their mission.

Grade 4 (Full descriptions, thoughtful evaluations.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Sunday, 29 July 2012, 02:05 PM)

Picture of Marvin Fitchett
Re: Part Three of the Course, Second Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 5:54 PM

History has demonstrated that as times change, so do people, environments and situations. As these changes occur, a re-interpretation of those people, environments and situations have to be performed. The same principle is true in regards to the Catholic liturgy and Eucharist celebrations. The Second Vatican Council recognized there were certain aspects of the liturgy and Eucharis were mechanical, archaic or too complicated and required changing. The Council endorsed changes to both the liturgy and eucharis, and their vision was to update the liturgy and sacramental theology.

In the liturgy, the most notable need was for the mass to be updated to meet the requirements of the contemporary church. There were many responses to the appeal to update the mass, but the most significant was the translation of the mass from Latin into the language of the people. This one change to the liturgy had many effects to the Catholic Church and it people. It opened the participants’ eyes and understanding of the liturgy because they could understand it, and it encouraged active participation of the congregation. Furthermore, it reconnected the liturgy and congregation to the communal concept of the celebration, the sharing a sacred meal.

Next, the established sacramental theological doctrine was revised with the goal to increase mass participation. The Catholic Church hierarchy had to release their grip on their traditional theologies to make way for an advanced Eucharistic theology. The contemporary theologians renewed the theology of the Blessed Sacraments. A protestant theologian, Leehardt, posed a new theory of transfinalization, his idea explained how the consecrated elements reach their final reality. Leehardt’s theory was considered but not accepted by the council. Then, three catholic theologians, Schillebeeckx, Rahner, and Cook offered the theory of transignification, their theory showed the reality of the consecrated elements in a symbolic nature. This refreshing theory was introduced in the right atmosphere for the updating the old Eucharistic theology into the new Eucharistic theology. The change to the Eucharistic theology resulted in increased attendance in the mass. I would like to point out, that transignification sounds like the theory from the reformer, Ulrich Zwingli. In his theory, he eluded to Jesus “Christ’s words at the Last Supper as meaning that the bread and wine signified his body and blood” (250).

The Second Vatican Councils implementation of the change to the liturgy and sacramental theology are commendable, however more has to be considered in light of the cultural and ethnic plurality present in our global society.

Grade 2 (Shorter than required length. Little evaluation.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 30 July 2012, 08:00 AM)