Edward J. Kilmartin, S.J. The Eucharist in the West: History and Theology. Edited by Robert J. Daly, S.J. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, A Pueblo Book. 1998. ISBN 0-8146-6172-6. 422 pp. In his posthumously published account of The Eucharist in the West, Edward Kilmartin asserts that "what can be described as the modern average Catholic theology of eucharistic sacrifice is, in general, a weak synthesis without a future." I heard Father Kilmartin deliver various chapters of this book at the international meetings of the Societas Liturgica and followed the editorial work of Father Daly through the meetings of the North American Academy of Liturgy after Kilmartin's death. In both of these professional societies, the book was received with great enthusiasm.
Before Reading Kilmartin
After Reading Kilmartin
|Christ's "body"||Christ has three "bodies": 1) the historical body (born of Mary, died on the cross, etc); 2); the eucharistic body; and 3) the Mystical Body the Church.||Christ has one body: the eternal Word took flesh by the Holy Sprit and became truly human; he opened his arms on the cross for love of us and through this act of perfect union with the Father, passed through death and his body was glorified. We are grafted onto this body through Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist. The eucharistic meal is the repeatable sacrament of divine encounter.|
|Eucharistic prayer||The words of consecration, "This is my body ... This is my blood" with (private) prayers (of the priest) before and after.||The story which gives meaning to the meal (a sacrament is a worded sign). The story/prayer is a berakah in which Christ 1) invokes God and 2) asks God to remember (αναμνεςιισ anamnesis) the divine plan (μυςτεπων mysterion) especially the paschal mystery of Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection; and as we become present to that once and for all event we, with Christ, 3) invoke (επικλεςισ epiclesis) the Spirit to transform the Church which partakes of the holy meal in which Christ is consumed.|
|Eucharistic elements||bread and wine||the community celebrating the eucharistic meal with food and drink|
|Sacrifice of the Mass||Calvary repeated in an unbloody manner.||The eucharist is the sacrament of the sacrifice of Christ; anamnesis makes us present to the once and for all event. (Remembering, in an oral culture, makes present.)|
|Holy Thursday / Good Friday / Easter Sunday||The Mass is the sacrifice of the cross.... (see below note #1)||Meal (Thursday) is the sign of the Sacrifice (Friday)|
|Ontologically Changed into Christ so that he can say "This is my body" and "I absolve you." Receives priestly power at Ordination.||One of the faithful (initiated) who is authorized to do certain things in the name of the community (e.g. to say a prayer to which they can say "Amen." Receives priestly power at Baptism - Confirmation - Eucharist|
|Priest||One set apart. Orders is the key sacrament; some Orders are holy and some are not.||One "in the midst of" the faithful. Baptism is the key sacrament. The Church has 5 orders and all are "holy."|
|Priest||If he is dismissed from the priesthood he is defrocked and reduced to the lay state.||If he is "dismissed from the priesthood" he is no longer authorized to function as spokesperson for the community at prayer. He remains in the Order of Presbyter.|
|Clergy/Laity||This distinction is of divine origin and the priesthood of the Ordained and the priest of the Faithful are essentially different.||This distinction is one made by the Roman Church at a certain historical period. While the Vatican Council said that the priesthood of the Ordained and the priest of the faithful are essentially different, the point of their statement was not to emphasize the difference but to affirm that the Faithful exercise a true priesthood.|
|Subject of the Eucharist||Only the priest celebrates the Mass.||The ordered community celebrates the Eucharist.|
Note 1. There is a fear that the "meal" aspect of eucharist will make us all "protestant." For example Google search "Richstatter"
Before we end this course and go our separate ways, I would like to pose one final discussion question: If (a)what Kilmartin says in his book about the theology of The Eucharist in the West is true and (b) if you were the patriarch of the Western Rite and could celebrate the eucharist without anyone telling you what rubrics to follow and what prayers to say, etc, what would the celebration of the Eucharist look like? What shape would the celebration of the Lord's Supper have if the theology proposed by Edward Kilmartin were to be incorporated into the Roman Rite? Tentative answers follow:
1. ASSEMBLY: As the Eucharist is performed by the Church, the assembly of the baptized led by an authorized minister, it should be obvious that the assembly has the primary role and the minister functions as the leader of the assembly. The assembly celebrates (and not merely "attends," "hears," or "goes to" Mass). I think that this would imply a very active role for the assembly in the readings and prayers, the homily and intercessions, the preparation of the food and drink and the setting of the table, and the sharing of the food and drink. This would imply a real procession with identifiable food and drink; and eating bread and drinking wine (not just receiving a small host and a tiny sip of wine). The primacy of the assembly would imply a unity in posture (the presiding minister stands when the assembly stands, the presiding minister sits when the assembly sits, and the assembly kneels when the leader kneels). The primacy of the assembly implies a unity in clothing, vesture, and placement.
2. MEAL: As the shape of the sacrifice is that of a meal, everything possible should be done to make the celebration more "meal-like." Bread should look and taste like real bread. The wine should be good wine. And there should be lots of both! Important symbols are the one loaf of bread and the one cup of wine. It is important that each communicant experience the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the one loaf.
[These elements are not only a part of our tradition, they are embodied in the current legislation, but exegeted and interpreted out of the rubrics.] Didache #9 "As this broken bread, once dispersed over the hills, was brought together and became one loaf, so may thy Church be brought together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom.
General Instruction on the Roman Missal (1975) #240. The sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the eucharistic meal appears more clearly. The intention of Christ that the new and eternal covenant be ratified in his blood is better expressed, as is the relation of the eucharistic banquet to the heavenly banquet.
#283. The nature of the sign demands that the material for the eucharistic celebration appear as actual food. The eucharistic bread, even though unleavened and traditional in form, should therefore be made in such a way that the priest can break it and distribute the parts to at least some of the faithful. When the number of communicants is large or other pastoral needs require it, small hosts may be used. The gesture of breaking of the bread, as the eucharist was called in apostolic times, will more clearly show the eucharist as a sign of unity and charity, since the one bread is being distributed among the members of one family.
3. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER. Whereas the eucharistic prayer is the embodiment of the meaning and theology of the Eucharist (lex orandi ... ), it is desirable that the participants hear the prayer -- not only so that they can respond to it with a meaningful "Amen" but also so that their awareness of the meaning of the Eucharist is enhanced. When the same prayer is offered repeatedly, the mind has a tendency to wander and think about other things. I would hope for the day when the leader of the assembly is trained, encouraged, and permitted to compose the Eucharistic prayer at each eucharist, just as he/she is trained, encouraged, and permitted to compose the homily at each eucharist.
4. ONE UNIFIED PRAYER. Moving away from a theology of "magic moment" and "words of consecration" the berakah shape of the Eucharistic Prayer would be more evident if the remembering (anamnesis) preceded the petitioning (epiclesis); that is, the if epiclesis were not split as it is currently in the approved prayers for the Roman Rite. A unified epiclesis would also help remove the exaggerated emphasis on the narrative of the institution. This would also imply that the Presider use no manual gestures during the remembrance of the institution and emphasize (in word and gesture) the epiclesis, especially the epiclesis for communion. [The current genuflections and elevations are remnant of 1) a theology of the moment of consecration and 2) a theology of ocular communion rather than meal sharing.] The true place for the elevation is at the conclusion of the prayer in the great "toast" to the Father through, with, and in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Note on Kilmartin's use of the word "passed": I received the following letter from Robert Daly. Dear Tom: You're the first ones to have noticed this, or, at least to the point of asking me about it. The answer is, basically, I don't know. English style was never Ed's strong point; and in addition, he was hastily typing this stuff into his computer as he was approaching death. I spent a lot of time reworking what he wrote into better English, but only to the extent that I was absolutely sure that I was preserving both his meaning and his nuance. I am fairly sure, but not absolutely sure that it should be "past" rather then "passed." But I couldn't fully resolve the doubt, so I left this one the way Ed did. I'm absolutely delighted that people are reading Ed's stuff so closely. I've been doing that for about seven years now, and am still learning from it. Blessings Bob Daly, S.J.
What is your own pastoral plan for catechizing about the Eucharist in your future ministry during the electronic age?
Copyright: Tom Richstatter. All Rights Reserved. This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own. Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it. This site was updated on 03/13/14. Your comments on this site are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org