Traditionally, Catholics have held the sacred vessels for the Body and Blood of Our Lord in high esteem and there were customs and regulations in place not only for the materials out of which they were made, but for the ways they were to be handled. I would be interested in experiences you have had about this; I recall being told we (the laity) could not touch them directly.
Well, we shouldn’t. But we can. The Vatican does have guidelines in place as to their makeup, but they are ambiguous about how they are to be handled. I asked my priest if he was planning on using a veil and he said “No. That’s old fashioned. No one does that anymore.”
And forget about the sacred vessels anyway. What about the host? Anyone can touch that. Sacred vessels? They are treated more like paper plates and styrofoam cups in some churches…
Traditionally, the sacred vessels may only be touched by the Priest and Deacon- even the Subdeacon would have to wear the humeral veil to handle the vessels during Mass- although outside of Mass, some laity could touch the vessels if necessary (ie. it was generally assumed that the Sacristan would handle them during the course of his duties).
Would this be a good reason for altar servers to wear gloves while serving?
Respectful handling of the sacred vessels by lay persons is not a problem. There was a time in the past when it was prohibited, but no longer.
Unless you are preparing everything and at the “Extraordinary Rite”. This is not a matter of “what used to be” anymore.
As of Sept 14, if the TLM comes to your parish- and you are a lay person- and involved in the “Extraordinary Rite” you had better wear a cassock whenever in the Sanctuary, and better not touch the chalice or ciboria unless you are the Sacristan- and even then it is proper for the Sacristan to wear gloves.
There were times when I was serving the TLM as an altar server and I needed to place a full ciborium on the credence table- and I had to place a finger towel between my hands and the ciborium to carry it to the credence table from the sacristy.
When I was an altar server, 60 or so years ago, we would occasionally move one of the sacred vessels before or after mass. We were always required to hold it with a finger towel. It may have been required.
However, I suspect it may have just been that sister didn’t want our grubby fingerprints on what she had just spent time polishing.
raditionally, Catholics have held the sacred vessels for the Body and Blood of Our Lord in high esteem and there were customs and regulations in place not only for the materials out of which they were made, but for the ways they were to be handled. I would be interested in experiences you have had about this; I recall being told we (the laity) could not touch them directly.
In fact it was his Holiness Pope St Sixtus pontiff between 114-128 who decreed that ‘None but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels!’
Thank you all for your response. This appears to be one of the things in the 1917 Canon Law that was left out when the Code was replaced in 1983, so while there is now no regulation against anyone touching the sacred vessels, there is a custom in traditional circles for them to be treated with respect. My impetus for asking this question was the short response of a priest in an earlier thread on this who skipped over the history of the issue and did not appear to answer the original poster’s question thoroughly.