Monday, August 31, 2009
Tridentine Mass Begins at Five Wounds Portuguese National Church

Another Traditional Latin Mass location is being added in the Diocese of San Jose, California. The new Mass schedule has been announced in this week's (August 30, 2009) bulletin of the Five Wounds Portuguese National Church.

Five Wounds Portuguese National Church
1375 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, California 95116

Every Sunday at 9:15 a.m. starting September 6, 2009

Reverend Father Jean-Marie Moreau, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Rector, Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
1298 Homestead Road
Santa Clara, CA 95050

According to Bay Area Catholic, "
After spending 14 years in Africa, Canon Moreau went to Greenbay, Wisconsin where he spent several more years before being transferred to St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland, California."

Source: Angelqueen Poster
Image Source: Bay Area Catholic
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Traditional Funeral Rites for the Supreme Pontiffs

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to examine the progression in the Liturgy in the Funeral Rite for the Supreme Pontiffs throughout the 20th century up until the Second Vatican Council. For a list of the sources used in this post please scroll down to the links at the bottom of the post

Pope Leo XIII:

Pope Leo XIII
2 March 1810 - 20 July 1903
Assumed the Papacy: 20 February 1878

His Holiness Pope Leo XIII died on July 20, 1903 at the Apostolic Palace in Rome, Italy at the age of 93, making his pontificate the longest in history after that of St. Peter, Pius IX, and John Paul II.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem. Exaudi orationem meam; ad te omnis caro veniet. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them. A hymn becometh thee, O God, in Zion, and unto thee a vow shall be repaid in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer; unto thee all flesh shall come."

Prayer for a Deceased PopeSource: Baltimore Book of Prayers, 1889.

O God, by whose inscrutable appointment Thy servant N. was numbered among the Chief Bishops: grant, we beseech Thee, that he, who was Vicar of thine Only-begotten Son on earth, may receive a place among Thy holy Pontiffs who have entered into everlasting blessedness. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

The liturgical colour used during these older papal Funerals up until the Second Vatican Council would have been black. The use of red is an introduction of Paul VI who produced an order for papal funerals. However, a dead pope is always vested in red vestments but the pontifical Requiem Masses are, as normal, celebrated in black vestments.

The missal gives a collect for a deceased pope. The Office of the Dead would certainly have been sung as well as Vespers the night prior with Matins and Lauds on the day of the funeral.

Source: Angelqueen

Pope St. Pius X:

Pope St. Pius X
June 2, 1835 – August 20, 1914
Assumed the Papacy: August 5, 1903
Canonized: May 29, 1954

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda: Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra. Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem. Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo, dum discussio venerit, atque ventura ira. Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra. Dies illa, dies irae, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde. Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved, when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire. I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved. That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness, when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

The transferring of the body to St. Peters Basilica

Absolve Domine animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omno vinculo delictorum et gratia tua illis succurente mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis, et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.

Forgive, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from all the chains of their sins and may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge by your fostering grace, and enjoy the everlasting blessedness of light.
Following his death on August 20, 1914 - brought upon him by the horror of World War I and a heart attack - Pope St. Pius X was buried in an unadorned tomb in the crypt below St. Peter's Basilica, another expression of his radical humility.

Of note, papal physicians had been in the habit of removing organs to aid the embalming process; however, St. Pius X expressly prohibited this and none of his successors have allowed the practice to be re-instituted. Today the body of Pope St. Pius X is incorruptible.

Pope Benedict XV:

Pope Benedict XV
21 November 1854 – 22 January 1922
Assumed the Papacy: September 3, 1914

The body of His Holiness lies in State

As stated on Wikipedia, "Benedict XV was unique in his humane approach in the world of 1914–1918, which starkly contrasts with that of the other great monarchs and leaders of the time. His worth is reflected in the tribute engraved at the foot of the statue that the Turks, a non-Catholic, non-Christian people, erected of him in Istanbul: "The great Pope of the world tragedy...the benefactor of all people, irrespective of nationality or religion." This monument stands in the courtyard of the St. Esprit Cathedral."

The transferring of the body to St. Peters Basilica

As stated from a poster on Fish Eaters:
Since at most the Liturgical rites would be Solemn Pontifical rites said by the Cardinal Dean (the most senior Cardinal Bishop in the College). When the Cardinal Dean would celebrate the Solemn Requiem Mass it would be done no differently than any bishop celebrating a Solemn Requiem. There would very likely be the Solemn Pontifical Absolution given after the Mass as well. The Office including Vespers of the dead on the night before the funeral and Matins and Lauds of the dead on the morning of the Funeral would almost certainly have been celebrated.

Textually and rubrically, aside from the color oddity the Mass would seem to have traditionally been identical to a typical Pontifical Requiem. The prayers used throughout the rite depend on the person for whom the rites are offered. Without looking, I think there is a particular prayer for deceased Popes which would be used.

There is also the Novemdiales, the nine day period following the death of the Pope during which Masses are celebrated for the repose of the soul of the Pope by various cardinals.
Pope Pius XI:

Image: Pope Pius XI enthronement

Pope Pius XI
31 May 1857 - 10 February 1939
Assumed the Papacy: February 6, 1922

On 25 November 1938, the Holy Father suffered two serious heart attacks and he began to deteriorate from that point. His last words to those near him were spoken with clarity and firmness: My soul parts from you all in peace. Pope Pius XI died at 5:31 a.m. (Rome Time) of a third heart attack on 10 February 1939, aged 81. He was buried in the crypt at St. Peter's Basilica, in the main chapel, close to the Tomb of St. Peter.

Pope Pius XII:

Venerable Pope Pius XII
2 March 1876 – 9 October 1958
Assumed the Papacy: March 2, 1939

Domine, Iesu Christe, Rex gloriæ, libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni et de profundo lacu. Libera eas de ore leonis, ne absorbeat eas tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum; sed signifer sanctus Michael repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam, quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, free the souls of all the faithful departed from infernal punishment and the deep pit. Free them from the mouth of the lion; do not let Tartarus swallow them, nor let them fall into darkness; but may the sign-bearer, St Michael, lead them into the holy light which you promised to Abraham and his seed.

As seen in other images already in this post, this is the catafalque, which is used to support the casket of the deceased. Catafalques are certainly not exclusive to papal funerals as they should even be used in a regular parish on All Soul's Day. Following the Requiem Mass, the a catafalque may be used to stand in place of the body at the Absolution of the dead.

The absolution of the dead is only performed in context of the Tridentine Mass. Following the Second Vatican Council, the absolution of the dead was removed from the funeral liturgy of the Mass of Paul VI. The following information is on the Absolution of the Dead in general and is not the exact format used at a Solemn High Liturgy.
After the Requiem Mass has concluded, the celebrant removes the chasuble and puts on the black cope. The subdeacon, bearing the processional cross and accompanied by the acolytes, goes to the head of the coffin (i.e. facing the altar in the case of a layman, but between the coffin and the altar in the case of a priest), while the celebrant stands opposite at the foot. The assisting clergy are grouped around and the celebrant, who at once to begins the prayer Non intres in judicium cum servo tuo, praying that the deceased "may deserve to escape the avenging judgment, who, whilst he lived, was marked with the seal of the holy Trinity". This is followed by the responsory Libera me Domine, which is sung by the choir. 

Then the celebrant says the Kyrie eleison aloud followed by the Our Father. While the Our Father is repeated in silence by all, the celebrant walks around the coffin, sprinkling it with holy water and bowing profoundly before the processional cross when he passes it. He then takes the thurible and incenses the coffin. Finally after finishing the Our Father and repeating one or two short versicles to which answer is made by the clergy, the celebrant pronounces the prayer of absolution, most commonly in the following form:
"O God, Whose attribute it is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly present our prayers to Thee for the soul of Thy servant N. which Thou has this day called out of this world, beseeching Thee not to deliver it into the hands of the enemy, nor to forget it for ever, but to command Thy holy angels to receive it, and to bear it into paradise; that as it has believed and hoped in Thee it may be delivered from the pains of hell and inherit eternal life through Christ our Lord. Amen."[2]
Following the absolution, the body is taken out of the church while the choir sings the In paradisum.
If the body is not present, or on other occasions such as All Souls' Day or Requiem Masses on the anniversary of death, a catafalque or bier covered by a black pall may stand in the place of the body for the absolution. If a catafalque is not available, a black pall may be laid on the floor to stand in place the body.
Wikipedia: Absolution of the Dead

Prayer for the Church during times of vacancy of the Holy See.Source: Fr Lasance's New Roman Missal, 1945.

We most humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that Thy boundless goodness may grant as bishop to the most holy Roman Church one who shall ever be both pleasing to Thee by his loving zeal in our regard, and, by his beneficient rule, deeply revered by Thy people to the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

A deceased pope is always vested in red vestments but the pontifical Requiem Masses are, as normal, celebrated in black vestments (see the following photos of Cardinal Tisserant, the Dean of the College of Cardinals at the time, who said the Funeral Mass of Pope Pius XII). Source: Angelqueen

Propers for a Deceased Pope.Source: Fr Lasance's New Roman Missal, 1945


Deus, qui inter summos Sacerdotes famulum tuum N. ineffabili tua dispositione connumerari voluisti: praesta quaesumus; ut qui unigeniti Filii tui vices in terris gerebat, sanctorum tuorum Pontificum consortio perpetuo aggregetur. Per eumdem Dominum.
God, Who, in Thine ineffable providence, didst will that Thy servant N. should be numbered among the high priests, grant, we beseech Thee, that he, who on earth held the place of Thine only-begotten Son, may be joined forevermore to the fellowship of Thy holy pontiffs. Through the same.


Suscipe, Domine, quaesumus, pro anima famuli tui N. dummi Pontificis, quas offerimus hostias: ut cui in hoc saeculo pontificale donasti meritum, in coelesti regno Sanctorum tuorum jubeas jungi consortio. Per Dominum.
Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice which we offer for the soul of Thy servant N., supreme pontiff, that Thou mayest command him, whom on earth Thou didst invest with the pontifical dignity, to be joined to the fellowship of Thy saints in the kingdom of heaven. Through our Lord.


Prosit, quaesumus, Domine, animae famuli tui N. summi Pontificis misericordiae tuae implorata clementia: ut ejus, in quo speravit et credidit, aeternum capiat, te miserante, consortium. Per Dominum.
May Thy clemency, which we implore, O Lord, benefit the soul of Thy servant, N., supreme pontiff, that he may by Thy mercy attain to everlasting fellowship with Him in Whom he hoped and believed. Through our Lord.

Also from Angelqueen, "a pope celebrating a requiem would have worn red as Benedict XIII revived the custom of the pope only wearing white and red, not the other liturgical colours. Hence on Good Friday for the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified in the Sistine Chapel whilst the Cardinal Penitentiary wore black vestments the pope presided at the throne wearing a red cope and a 'peony' coloured stole (according to the Italian authors)."

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest eternal

Pius XII died on 9 October 1958 of acute heart failure brought on by a sudden myocardial infarction. According to his doctor, Venerable Pope Pius XII died because he had overworked himself.

Pope John XXIII:

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and. with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Dona eis requiem sempiternam.

O sweet Lord Jesus, grant them rest; grant them everlasting rest.


Throughout the 20th century up until the Second Vatican Council, the Funeral Rite for a Deceased Pope was virtually identical. As succinctly stated, the Funeral Rite of Pope Leo XIII would have looked nearly identical to the Funeral Rite of Pope John XXIII. According to a Fish eaters poster, "Rubrical changes in 1955 had no affect on the text or rubrics of the Requiem itself. The rubrical changes of 1960 had no affect on the actual Mass itself, only when certain Masses could be said and which and how many collects would be said at these." The poster from Angelqueen - The Saint Lawrence Press - goes further by stating that each Funeral Mass would have slight alternations (e.g. prelatial mourning dress, simplification of pontifical ceremonies, and changes to the Ordo Missae such as tones of voice). However, these minimal changes are nothing in comparison to the shattering changes caused by the Funeral Liturgy created by Pope Paul VI.

Pope Benedict XVI prays before the tomb of Pope Pius XII
Image Source: REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Let us take a moment and pray through the intercession of St. Pius X, for the blessed repose and canonization of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, and Pope John XXIII. Let us pray in a more earnest way for the process of canonization of Pope Pius XII to proceed ever more quickly.


To the best of my knowledge, these photographs are all correctly labeled and do not infringe upon the copyright of any individual, institution, or entity as they are either in the public domain or are under fair use. If you notice a problem with any of the used photographs, please contact me.


The Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Annointing of the Sick)

This post is a continuation of the series of posts on each of the Seven Sacraments.

This Sacrament, most often the very last Sacrament a person receives before death, is intended to bring spiritual and sometimes physical help to a dying person. Yet, it is very often misunderstood.  Extreme Unction, also called Last Rites or in modern times “Anointing of the Sick,” is a Sacrament which was instituted by Christ Himself and which confers actual graces.  It is not a blessing, as some have erroneously believed. It is as real a Sacrament as Baptism, Confession, or the Holy Eucharist. 
The Rite of Extreme Unction

How is Extreme Unction performed? 

While the priest anoints the forehead of the sick person, he says the prayers prescribed in the Roman Rite. Let's read The Rite of Extreme Unction (1962)

Who May Receive the Sacrament?

For reception of the Sacrament, a person must be a baptized Catholic who has reached the age of reasoning. It should also only be given to a person is "in extremis" (i.e. in imminent danger of dying) and not simply one who is elderly or ill with a non life-threatening disease. This is an error that has really affected the modern reception of this Sacrament which now often goes by the term “Anointing of the Sick,” which gives the false view that any illness warrants this Sacrament. 

As explicitly stated in the Baltimore Catechism, "Extreme Unction may be given to all Christians dangerously ill, who have ever been capable of committing sin after baptism and who have the right dispositions for the Sacrament. Hence it is never given to children who have not reached the use of reason, nor to persons who have always been insane" (Q. 959). With the dispositions of a resignation to the will of God in regards to recovery, being in the state of grace (with feeling contrition for sins at a minimum), and a general desire to receive the Sacrament, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is never given to heretics "because they cannot be supposed to have the intention necessary for receiving it, nor the desire to make use of the Sacrament of Penance in putting themselves in a state of grace" (Q. 960). For that reason, Protestants may not receive the Sacrament.

The effects of the Sacrament are also clear (Q. 969): 1st. To comfort us in the pains of sickness and to strengthen us against temptations; 2nd. To remit venial sins and to cleanse our soul from the remains of sin; 3rd. To restore us to health, when God sees fit. Archbishop Lefebvre has said: "It is common for sick people to experience a real renewal of health after the sacrament of Extreme Unction. Many of those who have received it are still in good health today. But even if that state does not last, it is a way for God to allow a person who is dying truly to offer up his life, courageously and fully conscious."

The rubrics also implicitly reveal that the Sacrament may only be given to the living, not to those who have passed on to Judgment. 

Modern Errors on Extreme Unction

Funerals have in recent decades turned almost into celebrations when they should instead be times of great mourning and prayer for the salvation of the deceased — we do not know if a person is in heaven unless they are a validly canonized saint. For this reason, pray for the salvation of the deceased and dying — do not assume that they are in heaven (unless they are a baptized young child who died before the age of reason). To assume that the deceased is in heaven and not pray for their salvation is a serious neglect, one in which could cause your loved one to suffer in Purgatory.

And for those of us who continue to fight the good fight as members of the Church Militant on earth, let us make it clear to our family that we wish to receive the traditional form of Extreme Unction should we fall into sudden illness or injury.  

By reading the Rite of Extreme Unction, we should be inspired to have our own eventual death before our eyes. And when we die, will we be in God’s grace or lost for all eternity?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Fr. Demetrius: Mass in the Archdiocese of Niterói

The blog Dominius Vobiscum provides these photos from a Mass early this summer said by Fr. Demetrius in the Archdiocese of Niterói (Brazil).

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Today is the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist and the commemoration of Saint Sabina. See my previous post for more information for this holy day. Remember, it was only a few weeks ago - June 24th that we remember the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.


May the holy festival of Thy Forerunner and Martyr, St. John the Baptist, we beseech Thee, O Lord, afford us help unto salvation: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
SSPX Wallpapers

The District of France SSPX has several good choices for desktop backgrounds worth considering.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Vatican approves US Catechism Revision on Jewish Covenant with God

Vatican approves US catechism revision on Jewish covenant with God

August 27, 2009

Link to original

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Vatican Congregation for Clergy has approved a small change in the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults clarifying Catholic teaching about God's covenant with the Jewish people. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Aug. 27 that the Vatican had granted its "recognitio" to a one-sentence revision of the catechism that was approved by the U.S. bishops at their June 2008 meeting. The revised sentence, in a section that explains relations between the Catholic Church and Jews, reads: "To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, 'belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ'" (Rom 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, No. 839). The original sentence read: "Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them."
So it seems that the US bishops are alluding to the serious error in the original wording of the Catechism. After all, if the covenant with the Jews "remains eternally valid for them," then there is no reason for evangelization of the Jewish people. And such a logical conclusion is in conflict with the infallible teachings of the Church.

Pope Eugene IV: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." (Cantate Domino, 1441.)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Consecration of a Paten and Chalice in the Traditional Rite of 1962


(From the new Roman Pontifical of 1962)

{The consecration of a paten and of a chalice may be delegated to a priest, who follows the same rite given here for a bishop, omitting, however, the directions that do not pertain to a priest.

The consecration of a paten and chalice may take place on any day and at any convenient place.

The following are prepared: holy chrism and whatever materials are necessary for cleansing and wiping the chalice and paten as well as the bishop's hands. The chalice and paten should be placed on a table covered with a white-linen cloth or on the altar.

If several chalices and patens are to be consecrated the bishop performs the anointings successively on each of them, but he says the orations only once and in the plural form.

The bishop, standing and wearing the rochet, white stole, and gold-embroidered mitre, says:

Celebrant: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

C: Let us pray, my dear brethren, that by the help of God's grace this paten (these patens) may be consecrated and hallowed for the purpose of breaking over it (them) the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered death on the cross for the salvation of us all.

Then, removing the mitre, he says:

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, who instituted the laws of sacrifice, and ordered among other things that the sprinkled wheaten flour should be carried to the altar on plates of gold and silver; be pleased to bless, hallow, + and consecrate this paten (these patens), destined for the administration of the Eucharist of Jesus Christ, your Son, who for our salvation and that of all mankind chose to immolate Himself on the gibbet of the cross to you, God the Father, with whom He lives and reigns, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Having put on the mitre, he dips the thumb of his right hand into the holy chrism, anoints the paten from rim to rim in the form of a cross, and then rubs the holy chrism all over the upper side of the paten, while saying the following formula:

Lord God, may you deign to consecrate and to hallow this paten by this anointing and our blessing, + in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Then (still standing and wearing the mitre) he proceeds to the blessing of the chalice, saying:

Let us pray, my dear brethren, that our Lord and God, by His heavenly grace and inspiration, may hallow this chalice (these chalices), about to be consecrated for use in His ministry, and that He may add the fulness of His divine favor to the consecration performed by us; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Then, removing the mitre, he says:

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

O Lord our God, be pleased to bless + this chalice (these chalices), made by your devout people for your holy service. Bestow that same blessing which you bestowed on the hallowed chalice of your servant, Melchisedech. And what we cannot make worthy of your altars by our craft and metals, do you nonetheless make worthy by your blessing; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Having put on the mitre, he dips the thumb of his right hand into the holy chrism and anoints each chalice on the inside from rim to rim In the form of a cross, while saying the following formula: Lord God, may it please you to consecrate and to hallow this chalice by this anointing and our blessing, + in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Then, removing the mitre, he says the following over the chalice and paten (chalices and patens):

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, we beg you to impart to our hands the virtue of your blessing, so that by our blessing + this vessel and paten (these vessels and patens) may be hallowed and become, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, a new sepulchre for the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

When the consecration is over a priest cleans the chalice and paten with crumbs of bread and purifies them thoroughly. These cleansing materials are put into the sacrarium.

Special Notice to Servers:

An altar server should never touch anything that is Consecrated such as the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Eucharist (no one except a priest should touch the Eucharist). However, a server should also never touch a consecrated Chalice, Paten, or the altar itself as these three items were all consecrated in the traditional form.

I highly encourage all servers and those aspiring to serve at the Altar of God, to see my post on the History and Graces from Altar Serving for more information.

Blessings vs. Consecrations

Fr. Z from WDTPRS has a good piece on this particular matter:
We speak about the consecration of certain places, things and people. People to be consecrated, for example, include bishops and some women who are virgins. An abbot, however, is blessed. A corner-stone of a church is blessed, but the stone of an altar is consecrated. Priests can bless, but generally only bishops consecrate.

A distinction can be made about church buildings which are consecrated in a very special way called a "dedication". Also, while confirmation and ordination are also consecrations, in a sense, they are really separate sacraments. There is a lot of debate about just what the consecration of a bishop really does, since they are already priests and priests, by their priesthood, can pretty much everything bishops can do. Once upon a time, priests were permitted to ordain! Some theologians think episcopal consecration really just extends the sacramental character already present, etc. But I digress.

By constitutive blessings (blessings which make something a blessed thing) and by consecrations objects and people are, as it were, removed from the secular, temporal realm and given over instead to God exclusively. It is as if they are extracted from the world under the domination of its diabolical "prince" and given exclusively to the King. Before, they were "profane". After, they are "sacred". Thus, a consecration is a once for all time act. Once something is consecrated, it is forever consecrated. Blessings can be repeated. Thus, harming or doing wrong to or with something or someone who is consecrated is thus its own kind of sin: sacrilege.


When considered from the older, pre-Conciliar rites, which we happily can use today, it is usually a bishop who consecrates chalices and patens. It was/is possible to delegate a priest to consecrate these things. The consecration makes these things suitable for the worship of God and being vessels for the Most Holy.

In the old days, chalices and patens (as well as ciboria for Hosts and monstrances or ostensoria for Exposition) had to be consecrated before they could be used at the altar. In the new way of doing things, vessels can be consecrated (though I think in the new rites they just bless them in a sort of vague and good natured way) or they become consecrated automatically the first time they are used. That is a real loss of a teaching moment, I think, but there it is.


Back to work… once vessels are consecrated they stay consecrated until something major is done to alter them. For example, if the chalice and paten are worn and sent off to be regilded or repaired, they have to be consecrated again.

The consecration of these vessels also calls to mind the extremely ancient practice going back to the time of Pope Sixtus I (+c. 127) that only priests, whose hands were also anointed with chrism, could handle chalices and patens. Remember also the good custom of kissing the priests hand, which is anointed and is raised in blessing and in absolution and which hold the Eucharist.

Constitutive blessings and consecrations are very important. Blessing and consecrating solemnly could help people understand better the distinction of profane and sacred and how blessed and consecrated things can help us in our spiritual lives and our constant fight against the enemy of the soul.

Image Sources for Images of the Ceremony: His Excellency Bishop Williamson/True Restoration Photos
Blessing Source: Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum
Fr. Z Source: Consecration of a Paten and a Chalice

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