Oct 12, 2005

Does 'for all' Invalidate the Consecration?

Quaestio Unus

Whether Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum (this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven) is a valid form for consecration?

Obj. 1. It seems that the aforesaid form of the consecration is not a valid form, for as St. Thomas says, “the words which follow (of the New and Eternal Testament, the Mystery of Faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins) are determinations of the predicate, that is of Christ’s blood. Consequently they belong to the integrity of the expression” [ST III Q78 Art. 3]. Further, St. Pius V expressly declares, “defects on the part of the form may arise if anything is missing from the complete wording required for the act of consecrating” [De Defectibus, V]. It is apparent that the words mysterium fidei (mystery of faith) are omitted. Therefore, the preceding words are not a valid form of consecration.

Obj 2. Further, Pope Leo XIII writes, “All know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought to both signify the grace which they effect and effect the grace which they signify” [Apostolicae Curae, 24]. The words “mystery of faith” signify justifying grace, which is by faith (Rom 3:25, 26) [ST III Q78 Art. 3]. Therefore, the form that omits these words fails to signify justifying grace. The same holds true for the omission of any part of the following words.

Obj. 3. Further, St. Pius V declares, “If any omission or alteration is made in the formula of consecration of the Body and Blood, involving a change of meaning, the consecration is invalid” [De Defectibus, V]. We have already spoken of the omitted word above. The ICEL translation changes the meaning of pro multis (for many) to for all. This change of wording changes the meaning and therefore invalidates the form.

Obj. 4. Further, the Roman Catechism says, “with reason, therefore, were the words for all not used, as in this place the fruits of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation” [Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini, p. 277]. Therefore, the form is invalid.

Obj. 5. Further, the reality of this sacrament is the union of the Mystical Body [ST III Q73 Art. 3]. Now the effect (res tantum/res sacramenti) must be signified in the form since Pope Leo XIII says, “it still pertains chiefly to the "form"; since the "matter" is the part which is not determined by itself, but which is determined by the "form"” [Apostolicae Curae, 24]. However, for all does not signify the union of the mystical body and therefore the form is invalid.

Sed contra, the Church, which is both indefectible and infallible, uses this form.

Respondeo dicendum, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith made it clear that all translations are to be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church expressed in the original Latin text [Instauratio Liturgica, SCDF: AAS, 66[1974] 661]. Further, all sacramental formulas are presented personally to the Holy Father for his approval [SCDW: AAS 66[1973] 98-99; SCDW: Notitiae 12 [1976] 300-302]. Since it is well known that the Church is the sacrament of salvation, it is contrary to Catholic faith to hold that she could positively teach or hold up for the belief of the faithful an invalid sacrament. The abhorrence of such an accusation is increased in great measure when we consider that were the form invalid then the Church encourages the adoration of an empty sign, thereby positively regulating idolatry. It is impossible for this to be the case for then the Church would not be indefectible.

Reply Obj. 1. St. Thomas does indeed teach that the words that follow are of the integrity or substance of the form. In the first article, St. Thomas seems to say that the short form (excluding the words that follow) is the form of the sacrament. This is why many theologians (Fr. Doronzo, S.J., St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, et al.) consider that the opinion of the Angelic Doctor is unclear [Theologia Moralis, VI, Tract. 3, Ch. 1, Nos. 220-221]. More to the point, St. Pius V was dealing with a peculiar time in Church history and wished to make clear that every priest was under the obligation to pronounce each word. For that reason we assume the proper intent of the priest who follows the lawful form(s) of the sacraments. Since the Church lawfully obligates the revised form, it is validly and lawfully used for consecration.

Reply Obj. 2. The Byzantine Rites omit the words “Mystery of Faith” from the form of consecration yet their priests validly consecrate the sacrament. This is aptly explained according to Pope Benedict XIV when he declared, “For it would of course be unjust, mistaken, and opposed to the peace and unity of the Church to make judgments concerning the Greek Rites solely on the basis of a knowledge of the Latin Rituals,” a problem not uncommon for those who “are uninstructed in Greek customs, and do not know how the Apostolic See has always regarded them” [Ex Quo, 7]. It must also be noted that St. Thomas was entirely familiar with the Greek Rites, and did not admonish them in any way, as to defects in validity of their rites of celebration. Furthermore, when we consider that in the first article St. Thomas quotes St. Ambrose from his work De Sacramentis, wherein the form of the consecration for the Chalice is simply: “For this is My Blood” (Hic est enim Sanguis Meus), we have additional evidences against this objection. Since Pope Leo XIII in his many overtures towards reunion with the Eastern Churches never once admonished them for lack of sacramental validity in their ancient rites, the arguments from Apsotolicae Curae cannot be legitimately applied to the moving of the phrase mysterium fidei.

Reply Obj. 3. The change from for many to for all does not change the meaning in the sense that St. Pius V teaches a change in meaning invalidates the consecration. The meaning of efficacy (for many) is not contrary to that of sufficiency (for all), rather these meanings are complementary [Trent Sess. VI, Ch 2; Leo XIII, Annum Sacrum, 5]. Thus the orthodoxy of for all cannot invalidate the consecration (objections to the accuracy of the words so translated not withstanding). De Defectibus teaches the invalidation of the consecration on the basis that the “change of words does not signify the same thing.” But the form here accepted by the Church signifies the same reality and therefore is valid.

Reply Obj. 4. It is with good reason that the fruits of the Passion were spoken of in the Latin expression for unto (in) denotes actuality. Hence, in speaking of the fruits or efficacy of the Passion one should say many and not all. Likewise, when speaking of the sufficiency aspect of the Passion, it is still to the Precious Blood to which we refer for as St. Thomas says, “This is denoted by the blood being consecrated apart from the body; because it was by the Passion that the blood was separated from the body” [ST III Q78 Art. 3]. In the English the expression is in the subjunctive: so that...may be. This denotes not actuality but wish/desire. Therefore, the construction of the English properly expresses for all and not for many, because the sufficiency of the Passion is spoken of and not the efficacy.

Reply Obj. 5. St. Thomas does teach that the res sacramenti is the union of the mystical body (res sacramenti est unitas coporis mystici) [ST III Q73 Art 3]. Elsewhere he establishes that the res sacramenti is charity (res autem huius sacramenti est caritas) [ST III Q79 Art 4]. The increase of charity in the soul has the effect of bringing about the increase of the unity of the mystical body. St. Denis, the Aeropagite, says that love always tends towards union with the object beloved. And because food becomes one thing with him who eats it, therefore our Lord would reduce himself to food, in order that, receiving him in Holy Communion, we might become of one substance with him: Take ye and eat, said Jesus; this is My body [The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ, St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, Reflections Ch V]. Thus the res sacramenti is signified in the form of consecration: Hoc est enim corpus meum…et Hic est enim calix sanguinis meis.

The res sacramenti need not be explicitly signified in the form but it does need to be signified in some manner according to Pope Leo XIII [Apostolicae Curae, 24]. For instance, the res sacramenti/res tantum of Baptism is interior justification (…interioris iustificationis. Quae est res tantum huius sacramenti…) [ST III Q66 A1]. The signification of the res sacramenti is with the sacrament of baptism done by a single word: baptizo. Hence the grace of justification is signified both in the water (matter) and in the word baptize (form), but in neither explicitly as in delineating all of the effects of baptism. By corollary extension, this principle applies to all of the sacraments in like manner. (Cf. Reply Obj. 3 on De Defectibus.)

Crossposted over at The Lidless Eye Inquisition

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