Can glass vessels and flagons be used at Mass

I have recently subscribed to a magazine called “The Catholic Answer”, which is a publication of “Our Sunday Visitor”.
In the September/October edition, (my first copy of the magazine)there is an article entitled “Awe at the Alter”.
In the article, it states (page 16) that the recent Vatican instruction Redemptionist Sacramentum states:
“Flagons are not to be used for containing the Blood of the Lord” during the sacrifice of the Mass, and “It is prohibited to use vessels made of glass, earthenware, clay or other material that can break easily in the celebration of the Mass”.
In every church I have attended, and in every Mass, there is a glass pitcher, or flagon, full of wine, which is consecrated, and then poured into smaller glass “chalices”, used by the lay ministers of the Eucharist.
Is the article leaving something out, or are our parishes exempted from this instruction?
This is so commom place that I have a hard time thinking every priest and parish is blatantly disregarding the Vatican instructions.
What am I missing?

Prohibited: Sacred vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily [RS 117].

Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[106] Never to be used for containing the Blood of the Lord are flagons, bowls, or other vessels that are not fully in accord with the established norms.

[117] “Sacred vessels for containing the body and blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books. . . . Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or that are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.”

General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Inaestimabile Donum

  1. Particular respect and care are due to the sacred vessels, both the chalice and paten for the celebration of the Eucharist, and the ciboria for the Communion of the faithful. The form of the vessels must be appropriate for the liturgical use for which they are meant. The material must be noble, durable, and in every case adapted to sacred use. In this sphere, judgment belongs to the episcopal conference of the individual regions.

Use is not to be made of simple baskets or other recipients meant for ordinary use outside the sacred celebrations, nor are the sacred vessels to be of poor quality or lacking any artistic style."

Answer continued below…

Do individual parishes have the authority to add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy?

Answer: No

Canon 846 states:

The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore, no one on personal authority may add, remove, or change anything in them.

Sacrosantum Concilium:

“No other person, not even if he is a priest, may on his own initiative add, remove, or change anything in the Liturgy”. [SC 22] (§37)

Dominicae Cenae [12]

A priest …. “cannot consider himself a “proprietor” who can make free use of the liturgical text and of the sacred rite as if it were his own property, in such a way as to stamp it with his own arbitrary personal style. At times this latter might seem more effective, and it may better correspond to subjective piety; nevertheless, objectively it is always a betrayal of that union which should find its proper expression in the sacrament of unity.

Every priest who offers the holy Sacrifice should recall that during this Sacrifice it is not only he with his community that is praying but the whole Church, which is thus expressing in this sacrament her spiritual unity, among other ways by the use of the approved liturgical text. To call this position “mere insistence on uniformity” would only show ignorance of the objective requirements of authentic unity, and would be a symptom of harmful individualism.”

Sacrosantum Concilium:

[33.] Finally, all “Priests should go to the trouble of properly cultivating their liturgical knowledge and ability, so that through their liturgical ministry, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be praised in an ever more excellent manner by the Christian communities entrusted to them”.

[169.] Whenever an abuse is committed in the celebration of the sacred Liturgy, it is to be seen as a real falsification of Catholic Liturgy. St Thomas wrote, “the vice of falsehood is perpetrated by anyone who offers worship to God on behalf of the Church in a manner contrary to that which is established by the Church with divine authority, and to which the Church is accustomed”.[278]

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.

Finally, it is the Catholic community’s right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out for it in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church.[32]

Lastly, you say that since the use of glass vessels is so common place that you have a hard time thinking every priest and parish is blatantly disregarding the Vatican instructions. Perhaps then you should speak privately with your priest about this issue.

In his book, Mass Confusion (pg. 219), Jimmy Akin suggests that when you approach the priest, bring with you “specific documentation showing where in the Church’s liturgical law the abuse is prohibited. One should not say, “What you are doing is wrong.” It would be better to say “Here (in this quotation from an official text), it says that the practice is not allowed. Is there a more recent ruling you can show me, and, it not, could we do it this way?”

Jimmy goes on to say that “if he does not respond to the request to have the abuse corrected, one should then take a few others from the congregation to ask for it to be corrected. This will make him aware that the matter is of concern to more than one person in the congregation and should be taken more seriously.” To order a copy of *Mass Confusion * click here.

God bless you!

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