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Summary of the Keynote Address The Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice in Canonical Discipline delivered by His Eminence, Raymond Leo

Cardinal Burke
Fifth Fota International Liturgy Conference Cork, 9 July 2012

Introduction Canonical discipline, especially as it is found in the 1917 Code of Canon Law and its successor the 1983 Code of Canon Law, safeguards and promotes the essentially and fundamentally sacrificial nature of the Holy Eucharist. The presentation is limited to the study of the truth of the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice in the 1917 and 1983 Code of Canon Law and theirs sources, and in the teaching of one of the great canonists of the last century, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri. It follows a simple structure: first, a look at the notion of the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice in the Pio-Benedictine or 1917 Code of Canon Law; second, a study of the same notion in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, with special attention to any differences in comparison with the 1917 Code; and, finally, a treatment of the life of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri and of his exposition of the Churchs discipline especially in what pertains to the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice. Cardinal Gasparri was the principal architect of the Pio-Benedictine or 1917 Code of Canon Law and is perhaps unmatched in his time for his comprehensive knowledge of the Churchs discipline based on a profound knowledge of the doctrine of the faith. One of the great fruits of his studies is his two volume work, Tractatus Canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia, written during his 18 years as a professor of the text of canon law at the Institut Catholique in Paris. The 1917 Code of Canon Law The 1917 Code of Canon law treats the Most Holy Eucharist in Title III of Part I,

2 regarding the Sacraments, of Book III. Title III, the Most Holy Eucharist, after a single introductory canon, is divided into two chapters: Chapter One, regarding the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and Chapter II, Regarding the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. The introductory canon, can. 801, declares succinctly the Mystery of Faith which the norms to follow safeguard and promoted: In the most holy Eucharist, under the species of bread and wine, Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered, and received. 1 The sacred reality which the canonical discipline serves is: the Real Presence of Christ, the Sacrifice by which He makes present ever anew the Sacrifice of Calvary, and the fruit of His Sacrifice, Communion in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Chapter I of Title III rightly takes up the discipline regarding the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the reality of the Holy Eucharist is made possible by Christs making sacramentally present the outpouring of His life for the salvation of all man at Calvary, which He anticipated on the night before His death by transforming the bread and wine of the Last Supper, the last meal with the Apostles during the Passover, into His Body and Blood. At the same moment, He consecrated the Apostles so that the Eucharistic Sacrifice might continue in the Church in every time and place until His Final Coming. Article I of Chapter takes up them the disciplinary questions pertaining to the priest as the celebrant of the Holy Sacrifice. Article II, on the rites and ceremonies of the Mass safeguards the matter of the Sacrament, the form of the Sacrament, namely, the Words of Institution within the Rite of the Mass, and the rubrics of the Mass as handed down through the centuries in the Roman Missal and the other liturgical books. Can. 818 reads: While any contrary custom is reprobated, the priest celebrant accurately and devoutly observes the rubrics of his ritual books, and must beware lest he add by his own judgment other ceremonies or prayers.2 Article III takes up the question of the time and place of the Mass to be celebrated. Article IV is on Mass offerings or stipends, for the Mass offering is a particular form of participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass by the faithful which, by its nature, needs to be carefully protected and disciplined. In the post-Conciliar period the Mass offering became more and more questioned and even abandoned, in some places, because of the excessive emphasis on the Holy Eucharist as Banquet. In fact, the use of the Mass offering signifies to all of the faithful the lifting up of intentions in the offering of the Sacrifice as a participation in the suffering of Christ for our salvation. The Mass offering is a heightened expression of our call to fill up in our lives what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, not in the sense that anything could be lacking in the suffering of Christ except that we apply the grace of his
1 2

CIC-1917, can. 801. CIC-1917, can. 818.

3 suffering to our lives. Chapter II of the Title III on the Most Holy Eucharist treats the Sacrament as Holy Communion, in other words, the finality of the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, ut sumatur.3 It is comprised of the following articles: Article I, on the minister of Holy Communion; Article II, on the subject of Holy Communion; and Article III, on the time and place in which Holy Communion can be distributed. In all of the norms, one sees how the reality of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is respected and safeguarded also in attaining its finality, the communion of all men with Christ in His true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Such communion must be signified in the minister, in the disposition of the communicant, and in the manner of the communication. The 1983 Code of Canon Law The treatment of the canonical discipline regarding the Most Holy Eucharist is found in Title III of Book IV, on the sanctifying office of the Church. After two introductory canons, the canons are divided into three chapters: Chapter I, the Eucharistic Celebration; and Chapter II, the Reservation and Veneration of the Most Holy Eucharist; and Chapter III, the offering given for the celebration of the Mass. As is clear, the division of the norms of the law lacks the doctrinal character of the division in the 1917 Code. The emphasis of the division is very much on the Sacrament as Communion with the Lord. The first introductory canon repeats the substance of the introductory canon in the 1917 Code and then, drawing upon the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, amplifies the description of the Mystery of Faith. The amplification is centered upon the Eucharist as Sacrifice but stresses very much the effect of the Sacrifice in the life of the Church and of the individual members of the Church. The amplification is essentially direct quotations taken from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The second introductory canon reflects the emphasis of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the participatio actuosa of the faithful. It draws upon no. 48 of Sacrosanctum Concilium. It associates the notion of participatio actuosa with the highest honor in which the faithful are to hold the Most Holy Eucharist, the frequent reception of Holy Communion and the worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament with the greatest adoration. The notion of the Most Holy Eucharist as sacrifice appears in the canons which

4 follow. At the same time, there is an emphasis on the participation of the faithful and their frequent reception of Holy Communion. Differences between the 1917 and 1983 Code of Canon Law A few differences between the two editions of the Code of Canon Law are noted. In can. 904 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, in the article on the minister of the Most Holy Eucharist, the notion of sacrifice is implicit in a striking way in the earnest recommendation that the priest offer the Holy Mass every day, even if the faithful cannot be present for it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principal function. 4 Clearly, it is the sacrifice of Christ which is to be offered daily by the priest for the salvation of souls, which is the highest expression of his priestly identity and mission. Can. 902 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law reflects a significant change in the norm regarding concelebration. It is important to place the treatment of the discipline regarding concelebration within the context of the essentially and fundamentally sacrificial nature of the Holy Eucharist. One notes the absence of canon in the 1917 Code of Canon Law regarding the priest in the state of mortal sin. The norm on the need to celebrate in a sacred place using a consecrated altar is somewhat changed in can. 932, 1-2, of the 1983 Code. Also, the canons on Mass offerings are separated from the canons on the Eucharist as sacrifice. Cardinal Pietro Gasparri Cardinal Pietro Gasparri was born in Capovallazza in the comune of Ussita near Macerata in Italy on May 5, 1852 and died in Rome on November 1934, at 82 years of age. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on March 31, 1977. By the time of his ordination, he had earned the doctorate in philosophy, theology, and the two laws (civil and canon). After his ordination he began immediately teaching the Sacraments and the Churchs discipline at the Roman Seminary and at the Propaganda Fide. At the request of Pope Leo XIII, in 1880, he accepted the newly established chair in Canon Law at the Institut Catholique in Paris and taught until 1888. The years of his teaching at the Institute Catholique were in fact the period of his scientific maturation and of his greatest personal scientific work. During this time he produced the still classic canonical commentaries: Tractatus canonicus de matrimonio (2 vols., 1892); Tractatus canonicus de sacra Ordinatione (2 vols., 1893-1894); Tractatus canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia (2 vols., 1897); and a monograph, De la valeur des

CIC-1983, can. 904.

5 ordinations anglicanes (1895). Regarding the work on Anglican orders, while he had, at first, favored their validity, he reflected a modified view. From 1898 to 1901, he served as apostolic delegate to Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. He was consecrated Titular Archbishop of Caesarea on March 6, 1898. He returned to Rome in 1901 to take up the service of secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. In his first audience with Pope Saint Pius X, he suggested the idea of a code of canon law and became secretary of the cardinalitial commission for codification. He was also the presiding officer of the two groups of scholars who did the research and actual formulation of the canons. He began the work on November 13, 1904, and it was to occupy the next 14 years of his life. These years have to be considered his most productive years as a canonist. The work of codification was predicted to take up to 25 years, but on December 4, 1916, the then Cardinal Gasparri handed over to Pope Benedict XV the first printed copy of the new Code of Canon Law which was promulgated on Pentecost Sunday, June 18, 1917. The Code of Canon Law went into effect on May 19, 1918 He was elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals on December 16, 1907, and on October 13, 1914, he became Cardinal Secretary of State to Pope Benedict XV who was profoundly engaged in trying to end the hostilities and the severe human suffering caused by World War I. Notwithstanding his many other responsibilities, he dedicated himself to carrying forward all of the Roman Pontiffs peace works. Pope Pius XI pleaded with him to continue as Secretary of State. Under Pope Pius XI, he became the principal architect of the Lateran Pacts which were signed on February 11, 1929. When Benito Mussolini, representing the government of Italy, and he, representing the Holy See by delegation of the Supreme Pontiff, signed the Lateran Pacts, the long-standing and difficult Roman question was at least reconciled. Having completed his work on the Lateran Pacts, he pleaded with Pope Pius XI to permit him to retire, which he did on February 7, 1930. In 1930, he published his Catechismus Catholicus. He lived to see the publication of the first six volumes of his 9 volume Fontes Iuris Canonici, a remarkable instrument for the study of the sources of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. He is also the author of the extraordinary preface of the Code of Canon Law which narrates the history of ecclesiastical discipline and legislation. On November 14, 1934, he presented what was considered a brilliant lecture to an assembly of international jurists to commemorate the 14th centenary of the Code of Justinian. Immediately following the lecture, he suffered a heart attack and died four days later. He is buried in his native Ussita. To the present, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no definitive study of the

6 life of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, especially of his extraordinarily rich and varied service to the universal Church. Of great assistance in such a study would be the publication of his Diary which yet remains unedited. Studying the 1917 Code of Canon Law and his Tractatus canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia, the breadth of his knowledge of the Churchs plurisecular canonical discipline and the depth of his faithful reading of the Churchs discipline in the key of her Magisterium is truly striking. When the definitive study of his life is completed, I am confident that he will be judged to be one of the greatest canonists of the contemporary period. Tractatus canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia The approach of Cardinal Gasparri in the treatment of any canonical question is immediately evident in his Tractatus canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia. Chapter I of volume I of the magisterial work immediately takes up the dogmatic notions underlying the Churchs laws regarding the Holy Eucharist. After a brief historical excursus on the Churchs Eucharistic discipline, he immediately takes up the central notion of the Holy Eucharist, namely that the Most Holy Eucharist is a true sacrifice. Taking start from the teaching of the Ecumenical Council of Trent, he first presents sacrifice as a fundamental institute of all law, beginning with the natural law. He then takes up the divine revelation regarding sacrifice, especially as a figure or type of Christs sacrifice and its participation by Christian sacrifice. He places the revelation within the proper context of the entire history of salvation. He shows how Christs sacrifice on the Cross is the only one sacrifice by which eternal salvation is won for man, by which the price of our redemption has been paid, making special reference to the Letter to the Hebrews. He shows then how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is necessary, in order that the fruits of the Sacrifice of Calvary might be present always in the Church. Having established that the Holy Mass is a true and proper sacrifice, he studies the elements common to every sacrifice as they are present in the Holy Eucharist, that is, the victim, the priest and the sacrificial action. Finally he provides a comparison of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with other sacrifices. Regarding the victim, following carefully the teaching of the Council of Trent, he shows how Christ is the victim according to His human nature united hypostatically to his divine nature. The species of bread and win are not what per se are offered in the Sacrifice of the Mass by through which and by which Christ is offered.

7 Regarding the priest, it is clear that, first of all, Christ is the priest who is at the same time the victim. The priesthood of the Mass is, however, multiple, for Christ offers Himself through the action of the ordained priest, and, at the same time, He associates the Church, His Mystical Body to his priestly offering. Regarding the sacrificial action, Gasparri presents the many principal actions which are part of the Holy Mass. He asks which of these actions are true and proper sacrifice, in which of them is the true and proper sacrifice offered in Mass. After reviewing some of the positions of the various theologians, he concludes: We think that the Eucharistic Sacrifice that is offered by the consecration alone and the Communion of the priest under both species consecrated in the Mass, prescribed by divine law, to be the only integral element. 5 It is clear that the heart of the sacrifice is its offering by Christ through the ministry of the priest, which reaches its completion with the reception of Holy Communion. Finally, regarding the effects or fruits of the offering of the Holy Mass, Gasparri lists several, indicating that all point to the profession of our absolute dependence upon God and include the act of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and satisfaction or expiation. In the third section of chapter I, Cardinal Gasparri takes up the subject of the Most Holy Eucharist as a true sacrament. He begins the section, noting: The Most Holy Eucharist, having the nature of true sacrifice in relation to God whom it honors, as described above, has at one and the same time the nature of a true sacrament in relation to men whom it sanctifies. The Eucharistic sacrifice signifies the supreme excellence of God and our absolute dependence; the sacrament signifies the spiritual nourishment through the grace which it confers. Conclusion These brief reflections give some small idea of the rich doctrinal exposition with which Cardinal Gasparri prepares the reader for his detailed treatment of the Churchs canonical discipline regarding the Holy Eucharist. Above all, they show how the understanding of the very being of the Holy Eucharist as sacrifice has ontological priority over its sacramental character by which the sacrifice is essentially ordered to Holy Communion. Gasparris text helps us to see the essential unity of the discipline contained in the

Tractatus canonicus de Sanctissima Eucharistia, p. 17.

8 1917 and 1983 Code of Canon Law. In a particular way, it helps us to understand the various norms regarding the Holy Eucharist in terms of its essential and fundamental sacrificial nature, and the finality of the Sacrifice of the Mass in Holy Communion.