Validity question

As bread can be consecrated in a ciborium without being touched, could a priest consecrate the Eucharist without touching ANY of the bread? (E.g. just holding the paten or just gesturing by holding his open hands towards the bread.)

Or must the priest hold the bread (for VALIDITY that is, not LICAITY - as it would, I think, be illicit/against the rubrics for a priest not to hold the bread).

(This is purely hypothetical)

[quote=Trevelyan]As bread can be consecrated in a ciborium without being touched, could a priest consecrate the Eucharist without touching ANY of the bread? (E.g. just holding the paten or just gesturing by holding his open hands towards the bread.)

Or must the priest hold the bread (for VALIDITY that is, not LICAITY - as it would, I think, be illicit/against the rubrics for a priest not to hold the bread).

(This is purely hypothetical)
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I think it would be valid. Say the priest had an accident and his hands were amputated. I think he could still consecrate the Eucharist, even though he could not hold the host. But I think the priest needs to be present. I do not think he could consecrate a host in another city – by telephone, video-conferencing, radio etc.

Yes, think about it this way. On the altar just about every mass there are plenty of hosts that are consecrated without the priest ever touching them. It is only one host that the priest physically holds.

[quote=John Lilburne]I think it would be valid. Say the priest had an accident and his hands were amputated. I think he could still consecrate the Eucharist, even though he could not hold the host. But I think the priest needs to be present. I do not think he could consecrate a host in another city – by telephone, video-conferencing, radio etc.
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or like if the priest was deaf and was signing the prayer (can he do that? cuz i have seen it done. on video, not in person)

[quote=John Lilburne]I think it would be valid. Say the priest had an accident and his hands were amputated. I think he could still consecrate the Eucharist, even though he could not hold the host.
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I’m not so sure about this. It is considered an impediment to priestly ordination if a person is unable to hold the Host. However, I don’t know if this affects the ability of a priest who is already ordained to consecrate.

Is there a canon that says the impediements to reception of orders also impede a man already ordained from exercizing his office?

It is considered an impediment to priestly ordination if a person is unable to hold the Host.

I am unable to find a source in the present canon law for this assertion, but perhaps someone else can provide it.

By tradition and prior law, such a bodily defect was an impediment. Dispensation from the Holy See was needed for the ordination of persons with a variety of bodily defects.

Certainly for the licit conferral of presbyteral or diaconal orders, the legitimate superior (the bishop or competent major superior of the candidate) must judge that the person is useful for the ministry of the Church (canon 1025). If a person could not hold even the host, he might just be physically incapable of being useful.

However, canon 1040 of the present code confines impediments to receiving orders to those listed in the canons that follow it (canon 1041-1049). I do not see this listed there as an irregularity or other impediment, unless the man cut off his own hands maliciously (canon 1041, n. 5).

As to touching the bread as a necessity, I think we only need to remember that the priest does not touch the wine at consecration, only the chalice. I see no basis in law requiring touching the bread for validity.

[quote=Brain]Is there a canon that says the impediements to reception of orders also impede a man already ordained from exercizing his office?
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I just saw this. See the canons I referenced above.

[quote=Brain]or like if the priest was deaf and was signing the prayer (can he do that? cuz i have seen it done. on video, not in person)
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Yes, a deaf priest (or a hearing priest celebrating a Mass for the deaf) need only sign the Eucharistic prayer for it to be efficacious. Having served the deaf community for over 10 years, I have seen many Masses where the priest signed and an interpreter voiced – perfectly licit!

Deacon Ed

No, he doesnt need to touch anything, any more than he touches the wine (which he doesnt, its in a chalice)…

Amputations and such certainly have been impediments in the past and even now. But this is not because of any invalidity issue…its because they couldnt preform the rite as the Church specified. Theyd be able to do it validly, but not licitly (because the rubrics do require elevation of the chalice, etc)

Yes, he needs to be morally present to consecrate (or absolve, etc). It cannot be done by phone, radio, etc (although blessings can be because they are simply a prayer, a canonical declaration setting something apart for sacred use, not a sacrament)

“Morally present” is rather vague, it means generally considered truly present. Usually this is defined as within a range of unassisted sensory perception to the matter of the sacrament (he doesn’t have to actually see the matter, it could be inside a box or ciborium, it just has to be within the range where he COULD reasonable percieve it if no obstacles were in the way). A priest could probably absolve someone, as long as he could hear the confession by unassisted screaming, across a field (or across an expanse of water, etc) Ive heard Aquinas says the distance for eucharistic consecration is about 20 ft (I dunno how he got this)…I dunno if, based on the sensory perception definition, a REALLY big host could be consecrated from farther away or not…the priest has to just generally be considered to be in its presence…its a “you’ll know it when you see it” sort of thing.

As for signing the words, or writing them out, or drumming them in morse code…I dont think so. I think he has to verbally speak a true human language that really conveys meaning (“word” and “voice” being important symbols in Christianity) As for languages that no one speaks, like “elvish” or “klingon” or in some sort of code…Im not sure, probably not…it probably has to be a real spoken language. As for something like Esperanto, spoken by some (even a handful as the native language they were raised in as a baby) but which was constructed artificially…Im not sure, maybe.

[quote=batteddy]As for signing the words, or writing them out, or drumming them in morse code…I dont think so. I think he has to verbally speak a true human language that really conveys meaning (“word” and “voice” being important symbols in Christianity) As for languages that no one speaks, like “elvish” or “klingon” or in some sort of code…Im not sure, probably not…it probably has to be a real spoken language. As for something like Esperanto, spoken by some (even a handful as the native language they were raised in as a baby) but which was constructed artificially…Im not sure, maybe.
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Very interesting points you bring up. Obviously the most literal interpretation of your second sentence has been disproven by Deacon Ed. But I think it is probably true except for those kind of extraordinary circumstances. However, I don’t see any problem with “constructed” languages, whether they be modern Hebrew, or Esperanto, or Klingon. So long as the proper intent is there, etc. I’m hard pressed to imagine such an acceptible situation with Klingon.

Your mention of morse code brought to mind prison camps. How much of the consecration much actually be spoken? If even mouthing the words could cause problems, could consecration be done pretty much just mentally (saying the words internally, or thinking them)?

[quote=Digitonomy]Very interesting points you bring up. Obviously the most literal interpretation of your second sentence has been disproven by Deacon Ed. But I think it is probably true except for those kind of extraordinary circumstances. However, I don’t see any problem with “constructed” languages, whether they be modern Hebrew, or Esperanto, or Klingon. So long as the proper intent is there, etc. I’m hard pressed to imagine such an acceptible situation with Klingon.

Your mention of morse code brought to mind prison camps. How much of the consecration much actually be spoken? If even mouthing the words could cause problems, could consecration be done pretty much just mentally (saying the words internally, or thinking them)?
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nuq Daq ‘oH puchp"e’

[quote=Digitonomy]Your mention of morse code brought to mind prison camps. How much of the consecration much actually be spoken? If even mouthing the words could cause problems, could consecration be done pretty much just mentally (saying the words internally, or thinking them)?
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This reminds me of the late Holy Father John Paul II, who, at a number of celebrations of the Eucharist (which I saw via EWTN), was extremely exausted at the time of consecration and his voice could not be heard (But it’s a different matter, because there were concelebrating priests - at some papal Masses I recall Card. Ratzinger or another Card. raising his voice somewhat to compensate for the Pope.)

Anyway,

I personally don’t think sign language could be used.

Where would you draw the line? Could the priest invent some kind of ‘facial language’ and consecrate by winks, blinks, grimaces and eyebrow twitches?

“He took the bread, gave it to his disciples and said:”(?)

[quote=”batteddy”]Amputations and such certainly have been impediments in the past and even now. But this is not because of any invalidity issue…its because they couldnt preform the rite as the Church specified. Theyd be able to do it validly, but not licitly (because the rubrics do require elevation of the chalice, etc)
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You have of course identified the crux of the matter in this, although we are using the word impediment in two different ways. (From a technical view, an amputee under the former code would have suffered an irregularity ex defectu rather than an impediment per se. An irregularity, though, is a perpetual impediment.)

Amputations and such are not irregularites in current Church law although they can raise the problem you mention. Remember though, that the Holy See can give individuals permissions or indults to do things that would otherwise be a violation of the rubrics.

Here we have a right to present oneself for orders and to submit to the superior’s judgement about one’s usefulness for ministry (which is his right to judge). This is different from any absolute right to be ordained. Since laws that restrict rights must be interpreted strictly, we must read canon 1040 narrowly, and not extend what it says. It says, “the only impediments incurred, however, are those contained in the following canons.” This would include the rest of the canons in Article 3.

The Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments prior to the present code permitted the ordination of an amputee who had been fitted with an artificial right hand (1 July 1918, Acta Ap. Sedis, XIII, 436). The provision was that he be able to perform the sacred functions with safety and becoming dignity.

That line of reasoning, I think, is consistent with yours, though slightly different.

[quote=Deacon Ed]Yes, a deaf priest (or a hearing priest celebrating a Mass for the deaf) need only sign the Eucharistic prayer for it to be efficacious. Having served the deaf community for over 10 years, I have seen many Masses where the priest signed and an interpreter voiced – perfectly licit!

Deacon Ed
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I was under the impression that the words must ascutally be vocalized because it is the actual speaking of the words of institution that make up the form of the Sacrament. However, if this is otherwise I would be very interested to see the relavent texts that allow for the use of sign language without the actual vocalization of the words.

[quote=cameron_lansing]Amputations and such are not irregularites in current Church law although they can raise the problem you mention. Remember though, that the Holy See can give individuals permissions or indults to do things that would otherwise be a violation of the rubrics.
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My favorite case of this is St. Isaac Jogues, who received a dispensation from the pope to say Mass despite having had many (possibly most?) of his fingers bitten off by his Iroquois captors.

As many have already pointed out that most of what is consecrated does not get touched by the priest, I thought I would chime in with the flip side that, because the priest must intend to consecrate the elements, he could intend to consecrate only some of the matter to which he was “morally present.” So one can’t can’t know with certainty just based on the priest’s proximity or lack thereof whether certain elements are consecrated, although one can make reasonable, secure presumptions as to his intent.

[quote=cameron_lansing]Since laws that restrict rights must be interpreted strictly, we must read canon 1040 narrowly, and not extend what it says.
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Since you brought this up, there was a discussion some time back whether this principle, explicit in canon law, also applies to liturgical or other law. Is that an accepted principle throughout Church law of all types?

[quote=Andreas Hofer]because the priest must intend to consecrate the elements, he could intend to consecrate only some of the matter to which he was “morally present.”
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Could a particularly scrupulous priest consider himself not worthy of the Eucharist, and consecrate all the matter present except that which he held in his hand, so that he would not consume any of the body or blood?

A priest in mortal sin should not be saying mass, and the priest’s communion is an important part of the rite of mass.

But a priest in mortal sin can - and perhaps should depending on the circumstances - celebrate Mass if he makes an act of perfect contrition. It does not effect the sacrament in any way.

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