Crystal Chalice?


#1

Is it wrong for a priest to use a crystal chalice for Mass? It looked beautiful but it seems I remember someone saying you cannot use a clear crystal chalice for Mass.

Lorrie


#2

Yes. From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[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.[205]The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region,[206]so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. 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 which 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.


#3

You’re probably thinking of Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[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. The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. 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 which 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.

Some people get very excited, bent out of shape and insist that RS 117 makes it “illicit” for a priest to use a crystal chalice. When you ask them why, they will point to RS 117. When you ask for a logical reason, something other than their interpretation of RS 117 they’ll either go mute or they will suggest that a crystal chalice would profane the Precious Blood “even worse” than a metal chalice, if dropped. I’m not at all sure that’s true. :confused: I’m especially not sure when I actually consider how the priest’s chalice is handled (or should be handled) at Mass which is very carefully and usually right over the altar.

In the end I think it all depends on the local ordinary. Even though some will strenuously suggest that a bishop “does not have the authority to go against the Church” I suspect that in reality a bishop can give one of his priests the OK to use that Steuben Glass chalice that he inherited from his priestly great uncle. That no doubt bothers some who believe they know more than the Church Herself but I certainly won’t get upset if a priest used a Waterford Crystal chalice.

I might get very upset if a priest used a piece of cheap stemware as a tacit way of denigrating the Blessed Sacrament which I have experienced. That might bother me a great deal. But a “beautiful” chalice? Not so much.


#4

My understanding, and IANAPJAS, is that glass chalices may not be used owing to their fragility. Not only would it's breakage potentially spill His Blood, the pieces would remain holy and must be reverently disposed. Better to avoid these issues.

ICXC NIKA


#5

[quote="Laetus, post:3, topic:287580"]
I might get very upset if a priest used a piece of cheap stemware as a tacit way of denigrating the Blessed Sacrament which I have experienced. That might bother me a great deal. But a "beautiful" chalice? Not so much.

[/quote]

I've only been to Mass in two places where they had glass 'chalices' and there was nothing beautiful about them. They might have been made like chalices, what with the knob on the stem, but they were heavy duty glassware, as close to 'crystal' as cafeteria dishes are to 'fine bone china'. The same parishes used glass bowls for the Body of Christ instead of ciboria.

I don't think it was done as a way to denigrate the Blessed Sacrament and both times was in Cathedral parishes, which means the Bishop was regularly using these vessels.

One parish acquired the vessels not long before Redemptionis Sacramentum was promulgated and would not stop using them.

In the other parish I saw the Bishop break the Host at the Consecration rather than at the Fraction rite, something I'd never even heard of until I read RS and something I'd only seen once before since RS was promulgated. I figure if their Bishop is doing something so blatantly wrong, there isn't much hope that he'll urge/order them to stop using glass vessels.


#6

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:287580"]
I've only been to Mass in two places where they had glass 'chalices' and there was nothing beautiful about them. They might have been made like chalices, what with the knob on the stem, but they were heavy duty glassware, as close to 'crystal' as cafeteria dishes are to 'fine bone china'. The same parishes used glass bowls for the Body of Christ instead of ciboria.

I don't think it was done as a way to denigrate the Blessed Sacrament and both times was in Cathedral parishes, which means the Bishop was regularly using these vessels.

One parish acquired the vessels not long before Redemptionis Sacramentum was promulgated and would not stop using them.

**In the other parish I saw the Bishop break the Host at the Consecration rather than at the Fraction rite, **something I'd never even heard of until I read RS and something I'd only seen once before since RS was promulgated. I figure if their Bishop is doing something so blatantly wrong, there isn't much hope that he'll urge/order them to stop using glass vessels.

[/quote]

I believe that in the "olden days" the bread was broken at the consecration, at the words "Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples..." 'cos I remember as an altar boy hearing the host break and then wondering why the host looked like a butterfly all of a sudden. I thought that was part of the transubstantiation.:D


#7

[quote="triumphguy, post:6, topic:287580"]
I believe that in the "olden days" the bread was broken at the consecration, at the words "Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples..." 'cos I remember as an altar boy hearing the host break and then wondering why the host looked like a butterfly all of a sudden. I thought that was part of the transubstantiation.:D

[/quote]

Ha! My childhood priest used to hold the two halves over one another and I always thought it looked like the outline of an owl. I too thought it was part of the transubstantiation!! :thumbsup: Kids. :)


#8

[quote="Laetus, post:3, topic:287580"]
You're probably thinking of Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[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. The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. **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 which 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.

Some people get very excited, bent out of shape and insist that RS 117 makes it "illicit" for a priest to use a crystal chalice. When you ask them why, they will point to RS 117. When you ask for a logical reason, something other than their interpretation of RS 117 they'll either go mute or they will suggest that a crystal chalice would profane the Precious Blood "even worse" than a metal chalice, if dropped. I'm not at all sure that's true. :confused: I'm especially not sure when I actually consider how the priest's chalice is handled (or should be handled) at Mass which is very carefully and usually right over the altar.

In the end I think it all depends on the local ordinary. Even though some will strenuously suggest that a bishop "does not have the authority to go against the Church" I suspect that in reality a bishop can give one of his priests the OK to use that Steuben Glass chalice that he inherited from his priestly great uncle. That no doubt bothers some who believe they know more than the Church Herself but I certainly won't get upset if a priest used a Waterford Crystal chalice.

I might get very upset if a priest used a piece of cheap stemware as a tacit way of denigrating the Blessed Sacrament which I have experienced. That might bother me a great deal. But a "beautiful" chalice? Not so much.

[/quote]

Translation: The church says one thing, and I know what she says, but perfectly I'm ok if priests blatantly disobey.

Why do we need to get into "why" RS 117 said what it said? If we don't know why, are we allowed to disregard it? Heck no! The fact that it is there should be enough for us.


#9

LOL, it took me a long time to figure out that the priest had broken the host in half and tucked them back together crookedly. I used to think he’d taken a perfect triangle out, and I couldn’t figure where the triangle got to and how he’d do that without scissors…and I’m an adult. :o


#10

[quote="superamazingman, post:8, topic:287580"]
Translation: The church says one thing, and I know what she says, but perfectly I'm ok if priests blatantly disobey.

Why do we need to get into "why" RS 117 said what it said? If we don't know why, are we allowed to disregard it? Heck no! The fact that it is there should be enough for us.

[/quote]

Things are not as cut-n-dried as you would like to believe. * The local bishop is also "the Church."* The fact is there really is no logical reason to preclude a beautiful Stueben Glass chalice from use at Mass and if the local bishop gave permission for its use (he has that authority) then that's that, no matter what some would think who have no idea where authority rests for such matters. This isn't a matter of "it's in RS and the bishop has no choice but to follow it!" Such views are naive at best.


#11

He has the authority? Do you have something to back that up? A bishop can disregard the Pope? Redemptionis Sacramentum can be ignored? Just as a Bishop cannot decide how the Mass is said he does not have the authority to say that glass can be used. That belongs to the Pope. Who says that there is no logical reason not to use glass? I think that breakage is a great concern. :mad:


#12

[quote="adrift, post:11, topic:287580"]
He has the authority? Do you have something to back that up? A bishop can disregard the Pope? Redemptionis Sacramentum can be ignored? Just as a Bishop cannot decide how the Mass is said he does not have the authority to say that glass can be used. That belongs to the Pope. Who says that there is no logical reason not to use glass? I think that breakage is a great concern. :mad:

[/quote]

Also, there's no such thing as unbreakable crystal, even if it's advertised as that. A priest I know found that out by experience.


#13

Ok, now this is just silly. We all have an obligation to obey binding documents, such as RS, and also obey the holy father. We do know where the authority rests: with the holy father, and the documents he approves, such as RS.

You are grossly misinformed concerning the governing structure of the church.

Actually, that’s exactly how it is.


#14

Actually that’s not the case. You might not realize that a local bishop has the authority to grant himself (or a priest in his charge) permission to use a crystal chalice but he most certainly does. It may not be a wise thing for a bishop to do that (a different question altogether) but he certainly has the authority to do so, RS or not. Not understanding where authority rests in the Church causes confusion, anger, hand-wringing and often times a loss of charity.

Accepting that authority isn’t easy either. Roger Cardinal Mahony formally gave priests in the LA Archdiocese permission to continue pouring the Precious Blood from flagons into chalices after RS was released. That caused a great deal of consternation and rightly so in my mind. I personally don’t think it was right or wise for Mahony to do that but I’m certain he had the authority to do so. His orthodox replacement Archbishop Jose Gomez continues to allow the practice – at least at the cathedral. While I still don’t like the practice I have attended Masses at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral and I have watched the practice first hand. They use 24 chalices to distribute the Precious Blood at Sunday Mass in a military precise manner. I suspect the process they use actually guards the Precious Blood and they certainly treat the flagons like sacred vessels. That has helped me to understand why Gomez continues to allow the practice – a practice which I still don’t care for but one I’m sure Gomez has the authority to allow.

The local bishop indeed has the authority and that alone is sufficient. But in this case it’s also interesting to discuss the logic behind banning glass chalices per RS? The belief that a shattered chalice would “more greatly” profane the Precious Blood if dropped is weak at best. Why else would “break easy” chalices be banned in RS? I suspect it might be an attempt to get rid of cheap stemware and porous earthenware but that’s just a guess on my part.


#15

Redemptionis Sacramentum lists the use of glass chalices as being a grave abuse

  1. Grave Matters

[173.] Although the gravity of a matter is to be judged in accordance with the common teaching of the Church and the norms established by her, objectively to be considered among grave matters is anything that puts at risk the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist: namely, anything that contravenes what is set out above in nn. 48-52, 56, 76-77, 79, 91-92, 94, 96, 101-102, 104, 106, 109, 111, 115, 117, 126, 131-133, 138, 153 and 168. Moreover, attention should be given to the other prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law, and especially what is laid down by canons 1364, 1369, 1373, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1385, 1386, and 1398.

So if a bishop has the authority to authorize grave abuses, where, exactly, does the bishop get this authority?

Does the Church grant the authority to commit grave abuses to bishops, or anyone else for that matter.

If so, could you please site the document that grants such authority.

The example of Cardinal Mahony is not really a good one. As he also ‘authorize’ the use of EMHC’s to continue to purifiy vessels after Pope Benedict specifically denied that right to the US bishops.

Bishops commit error in judgement too, that is why we have a Magisterium and that is why they promulgate documents such as Redemptionis Sacramentum


#16

[quote="triumphguy, post:6, topic:287580"]
I believe that in the "olden days" the bread was broken at the consecration, at the words "Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples..." 'cos I remember as an altar boy hearing the host break and then wondering why the host looked like a butterfly all of a sudden. I thought that was part of the transubstantiation.:D

[/quote]

You remember the fraction, but it was at the pax. It has been that way for many centuries.


#17

I have given up on the war of the glass chalices locally. I just pretend now that my area of the US has a special Indult that gives our local Parishes permission to use glass chalices, glass dishware and the total suppression of white Altar cloths. :mad:


#18

This priest has been a priest for well over 20 years so I was shocked.


#19

[quote="Kevin812, post:17, topic:287580"]
I have given up on the war of the glass chalices locally. I just pretend now that my area of the US has a special Indult that gives our local Parishes permission to use glass chalices, glass dishware and the total suppression of white Altar cloths. :mad:

[/quote]

You should try writing a simple letter to your bishop like this:

Hello Your Excellency Bishop X,

I am writing to inquire if glass is now allowed for sacred vessels. I seem to recall it being not allowed, but I see it frequently.

Cordially,
Kevin [Smith]

cc: CDW in Rome

Send a copy to your bishop, and to Rome. This is what Fr. Z recently reccemended. He's an insider, of sorts, and he mentioned this will probably get corrective action.

I can get you the address and correct name if you PM me.

Please, just give it a shot. For our Lord's sake. Give it one last shot to correct these grave abuses.


#20

I wouldn’t jump straight to that. First speak to the priest. Then speak to the bishop (no need to cc the CDW). Only after one has not gotten an answer from the bishop should one begin ccing the CDW.


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