Home > Archives > 02/03 - 2010 > The consecration is prayer
from issue no. 02/03 - 2010

Archive of 30Giorni

The consecration is prayer

by Lorenzo Cappelletti

Benedict XVI during the Mass <I>In Coena Domini</I> on Holy Thursday in St John Lateran, 9 April 2009

Benedict XVI during the Mass In Coena Domini on Holy Thursday in St John Lateran, 9 April 2009

We republish an article that appeared exactly ten years ago in our magazine, in which the history of the composition of the Decree on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of the dogmatic Council of Trent , approved in September 1562, is briefly reviewed.
The process of the decree’s composition showed that the so-called Roman Canon (the current Eucharistic Prayer I) was declared free from all error, in the face of the reformers’ protests, in that it brings together nothing but the very words themselves of the Lord, of the apostolic and patristic tradition.
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI, in the homily of the Mass “In Coena Domini” on Holy Thursday, commenting on the Roman Canon made an important point about it when he said that in all its parts it is prayer. Let’s listen to his words again, as always clearer than any comment: “The institution narrative is not an independent phrase, but it starts with a relative pronoun: “Quipridie. This “Qui” connects the entire narrative to the preceding section of the prayer: “… let it become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your only beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ” [… ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi. Qui pridie…]. In this way, the institution narrative is linked to the preceding prayer, to the entire Canon, and it too becomes a prayer. By no means is it merely an interpolated narrative, nor is it a case of an authoritative self-standing text that actually interrupts the prayer. It is a prayer. And only in the prayer is the priestly act of consecration accomplished, which becomes transformation, transubstantiation of our gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ”.
One wonders whether this criterion cannot and should not be extended, namely whether in the Church there can be another way of implementing any kind of potestas (including potestas iurisdictionis) that would not be prayer.
In that article – written in the troubled period between the first and second Gulf Wars and in circumstances that among other things made known to all the existence of the very ancient Catholic community in Iraq – is was also said that, in the face of so many protests from “neighbors”, the confirmation of the apostolicity of the faith contained in the Roman Canon had come to Trent in summer 1562 through a bishop from Iraq (the land of the Chaldeans). I found and still find it striking that an ancient predecessor of the Chaldean Patriarch Raphaël Bidawid, who died in 2003, and the current Emmanuel Delly – who in pages of this issue makes the voice of that small and defenseless community heard again – had expressed such immediate unity in the faith and prayer as to overcome at one go any foreignness of language and culture. And even then the article also mentioned China, even more distant than Iraq and yet already so close.

Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português