Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Priests at Amazon Synod: Stop Using Gold in Liturgy

If the drama surrounding the Amazonian figures that were thrown into the Tiber yesterday was not enough, during the synod presser in Rome, priests made suggestions surrounding the use of gold in the liturgy.

Father Thomas Reese of the Jesuit order said, "the Catholic Church continues to use gold in it's Sacred vessels, it would send an educational message if the Church banned gold in the liturgy." This was affirmed and followed by Fr. Dario Bossi, a Comboni Missionary in Brazil who is also a member of REPAM, the organization behind the Amazon Synod. Bossi said, "Yes, it would be a very strong message if the Church could avoid using gold in the liturgy and the sacraments." Here are the video clips:

GIRM states:

327. Among the requisites for the celebration of Mass, the sacred vessels are held in special honor, especially the chalice and paten, in which the bread and wine are offered and consecrated, and from which they are consumed.
328. Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.
329. In the dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for example, ebony or other hard woods, provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels which hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and other things of this kind.
330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.
- http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20030317_ordinamento-messale_en.html

It seems that the reasoning behind this suggestion is to present a "poor" Church to the world. Pope Francis has stressed his desire for the Church to be poor and not the wealthy and indifferent institution the world believe it is. While the idea is noble and I agree that the Church can be seen as too "worldly" with her riches, we need to put things into perspective. The gold used in sacred vessels is to show the importance of whom they contain: Jesus Christ, His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. These vessels are not dining utensils or dinnerware for priests or anyone else. That being stated, it is one thing for a priest or bishop to live lavishly in a mansion, with expensive cars, spending on clothing, liquor and even inappropriate sexual encounters and it is another thing to use the best to worship the Lord.

Pope Francis himself has modeled his papacy after St. Francis of Assisi, the saint of poverty, the poverello. St. Francis stressed the idea of not having possessions. He took to heart the Gospel where Christ commanded that we should not have riches stored and that we should not worry where our food or clothing would come from. St. Francis even banned his friars from owning books! Despite this, the seraphic holy father stressed the importance of using the best for Christ in the Sacred Species. He wrote this letter to the Custodians of his friars minor:

To all the custodians of the Friars Minor to whom this letter is sent, Brother Francis, your servant and little one in the Lord God, sends a greeting with new signs of heaven and earth, which are great and extraordinary in the sight of God and yet are regarded as of little importance by many religious and other people. I beg you, with all that is in me and more, that, when it is appropriate and you judge it profitable, you humbly beg the clergy to revere above everything else the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His written words which consecrate His Body. The chalices, corporals, appointments of the altar, and everything which pertains to the sacrifice must be of precious material..." (Francis and Clare: The Complete Works.)

So as you can see, even St. Francis said to his friars that they must use "precious material" for anything related to the Mass; chalices, corporals etc. This is why the late Mother Angelica spared no expense with items related to the Blessed Sacrament. Many criticized the use of expensive vestments and vessels on the EWTN Mass citing her Franciscan way of life. However, as you can see here, the founder of the order was okay with it and ordered it.

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