Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reverence During Worship

One thing that stood out to me right away upon joining the Catholic Church was the reverence for the worship of our Lord. Mass was a time of worship in which everyone participated in and there was an overall sense of respect and seriousness about the activities we were about to participate in. Specifically, the Eucharist is engaged with extreme reverence as opposed to a much more casual approach in the Protestant church. (This could be said of several things but the Eucharist in particular stood out to me).

Even when I was a Protestant, long before I considered becoming Catholic, I was offended each time they offered grape juice instead of wine and pre-cut crackers instead of broken bread. I thought, ‘how dare we use elements other than what Christ commanded. Are we better than Christ? Are we too holy to drink wine whereas Christ wasn’t?’ Of course, it turns out that this isn’t a new heresy.

If any bishop or presbyter offer any other things at the altar, besides that which the Lord ordained for the sacrifice, as honey, or milk, or strong-made drink instead of wine or birds, or any living things, or vegetables, besides that which is ordained, let him be deposed.1

If we’re going to be sacrilegious and use what ever our preference is, why not have milk and cookies for the Eucharist? Of course to a Protestant there is no real physical importance of the Sacrament. Remember everything is purely symbolic. They believe the only things of real eternal value are internal. So in this light, I see no reason that we couldn’t use whatever we wanted. Say chips & soda, tofu & tea or pie & chocolate milk.

What does the Catholic Church believe? Is it important what is used at the Eucharist? Catholics take it seriously so yes it is very important what we use.

For valid and licit consecration vinum de vite, i.e. the pure juice of the grape naturally and properly fermented, is to be used.2

And of course, the breaking of the bread, which symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body has been eliminated from many Protestant churches as well. This is to mention nothing of the denial of the real presence. I will post on that later.


1 - Apostolic Canons III - Translated by Henry R. Percival in 1899

2 -


Anonymous said...

I'm a little puzzled: isn't what the Catholic church uses as bread also pre-cut?


TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Good point David - in order to be practical, most wafers are pre cut. The difference is that not all are. The priest always breaks bread which is the inherent symbolism I was insisting has been lost.

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

I realize, that some Protestant churches break bread, Ive been to services where they did. I think its great when they do, I wish all of them would.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification. Just wondering--and granted, kinda straining out gnats! :)


George Weis said...

Hey man, I just skimmed this very quickly. You are right there is a sense of awe in a mass, and yet... what do those folks do during the week. My mother in Law once said I was the walking Eucharist... she also said I'm more Catholic than she is. My thought... no I just follow my Lord, and in my eyes I am still way far off from where I ought to be. By the way, hard not to be solemn in that environment. You should check out the creepiness of the Cathedral in Mexico City.

Love ya dude!