We now pass on to the essence of the Sacrifice.
The mystery of the Cross is no longer explicitly expressed. It is only there obscurely, veiled, imperceptible for the people. And for
The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called “prex Eucharistica” is: “that the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to
Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in offering sacrifice” (No. 54. the end)
Which sacrifice is referred to? Who is the offerer? No answer is given to either of these questions. The initial definition of the “prex
Eucharistica” is as follows: “The centre and culminating point of the whole celebration now has a beginning, namely the Eucharistic
Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and of sanctification” (No. 54, pr.). The effects thus replace the causes, of which not one single word
is said. The explicit mention of the object of the offering, which was found in the “Suscipe”, has not been replaced by anything. The
change in formulation reveals the change in doctrine.
The reason for this non-explicitness concerning the Sacrifice is quite simply that the Real Presence has been removed from the central
position which it occupied so resplendently in the former Eucharistic liturgy. There is but a single reference to the Real Presence, (a
quotation - a footnote - from the Council of Trent) and again the context is that of “nourishment” (no. 241, note 63)
The Real and permanent Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the transubstantiated Species is never alluded to. The very
word transubstantiation is totally ignored.
The suppression of the invocation to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity (“Veni Sanctificator”) that He may descend upon the
oblations, as once before into the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin to accomplish the miracle of the divine Presence, is yet one more
instance of the systematic and tacit negation of the Real Presence.
Note, too, the suppressions:
- of the genuflections (no more than three remain to the priest, and one, with certain exceptions, to the people, at the Consecration;
- of the purification of the priest’s fingers in the chalice;
- of the preservation from all profane contact of the priest’s fingers after the Consecration; of the purification of the vessels, which need not be immediate, nor made on the corporal;
- of the pall protecting the chalice;
- of the internal gilding of sacred vessels;
- of the consecration of movable altars;
- of the sacred stone and relics in the movable altar or upon the “table” - “when celebration does not occur in sacred precincts” (this distinction leads straight to “Eucharistic suppers” in private houses);
- of the three altar-cloths, reduced to one only;
- of thanksgiving kneeling (replaced by a thanksgiving, seated, on the part of the priest and people, a logical enough complement to Communion standing);
- of all the former prescriptions in the case of the consecrated Host falling, which are now reduced to a single, casual direction: “reventur accipiatur” (no. 239)
All these things only serve to emphasise how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.
The function assigned to the altar (no. 262). The altar is almost always called ’table’, “The altar or table of the Lord, which is the
centre of the whole Eucharistic liturgy” (no. 49, cf. 262). It is laid down that the altar must be detached from the walls so that it is
possible to walk round it and celebration may be facing the people (no. 262); also that the altar must be the centre of the assembly of
the faithful so that their attention is drawn spontaneously towards it (ibid). But a comparison of no. 262 and 276 would seem to suggest
that the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on this altar is excluded. This will mark an irreparable dichotomy between the presence, in
the celebrant, of the eternal High Priest and that same presence brought about sacramentally. Before, they were ‘one and the same