Thesaurus responsorum ex « Notitiae » - Notitiae Response Database
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Hoc in situ interretiali ordinantur responsiones, explanationes, et decreta ex « Notitiae » aliisque interdum fontibus (ut AAS) desumpta, quae aliis locis modo promptiore haud inveniuntur. Finis est praestare textum originalem, versionem anglicam, et exemplar PDF paginarum pertinentium ex « Notitiae » vel alio fonte. Presens igitur labor opusculum « Ordo Missae locis correspondentibus illustratus » aliquatenus extendit. Est enim labor imperfectus quem, cum operae mihi est, suscipio. Denique domino Daniel Gill, domino Radosław Gosiewski, et domino Abram Córdova y Muenzberg, qui nonnullas ex responsionibus transcripserunt, gratias refero, item etiam dominae Crista Mootz, quae in linguam anglicam responsiones quasdam verteri adiuvavit. Exemplaria PDF exstant etiam textuum nondum transcriptorum. This website organizes responses, explanations, and decrees from Notitiae and sometimes from other sources (such as AAS) that are not readily available in other places. The goal is to provide the original text, an English translation, and a PDF scan of the relevant pages from Notitiae or other source. In some ways, the project is a further development of my Cross-Referenced Ordo Missae. This is an ongoing prject which I work on in my spare time. I am also grateful for the help of Mr. Daniel Gill, Mr. Radosław Gosiewski, and Mr. Abram Córdova y Muenzberg in transcribing some of these responses and also to Miss Crista Mootz for helping to translate certain responses into English. PDFs are available even for texts that have not yet been transcribed.
Fac Patrem Dylanum Schrader certiorem si habes proposita vel corrigenda. Contact Father Dylan Schrader with suggestions and corrections.
N.B. In « Notitiae » 1 (1965) et 2 (1966), supra responsa, invenitur monitio: Solutio quae proponitur nullam induit vestem officialem. Solummodo habet valorem orientativum: solutiones enim ex officio publici iuris fient, si casus fert, a competenti Auctoritate in « Acta Apostolicae Sedis ». N.B. In Notitiae 1 (1965) and 2 (1966), this notice appears above the responses: The solution which is proposed takes on no official character. It has only an orientative force; solutions will be published officially, if the case warrants, by the competent Authority in « Acta Apostolicae Sedis ».

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TextUnofficial English TranslationCitationTagsPDF of the original document

Utrum deceat primam Communionem celebrare Quinta feria Hebdomadae Sanctae intra Missam « In Cena Domini »?

℟. Negative.

Sane quidem a Sacramento Baptismatis et Confirmationis seiuncta, prima plena participatio Eucharistiae cum sacrae Communionis receptione est Sacramentum quoddam initiationis christiane, theologice cum Pascha sociatum et sub specie celebrationis intra Vigiliam Paschalem constitutum (cf. Ordo initiationis christianae adultorum, Praenotanda, nn. 49, 58), alveus naturalis trium sacramentorum, quae, inter se intime coniuncta, « ad plenam staturam perducant christifideles, qui missionem totius populi christiani in Ecclesia et in mundo exercent » (Ordo baptismi parvulorum, De initiatione christiana, Praenotanda generalia, n. 2). Cum vero radix et nucleus omnium celebrationum diei dominici per circulum anni liturgici sit Vigilia Paschalis, statuitur, ut, quantum potest, sacramenta initiationis christianae celebrentur, nisi per Vigiliam, nempe « die dominico » (cf. Ordo initiationis christianae adultorum, Praenotanda, n. 59).

Non decet, igitur, primam plena participatio Eucharistiae, seu « prima Communio » [sic] in Missa « In Cena Domini » celebrare, non modo ratione mere theologica habita, sed etiam pastorali, cum populum a medio evento historico-salvifico celebratio haec distrahat eo tridui sacri die commemorato: « Tota animi attentio verti debet ad mysteria quae in Missa potissimum recoluntur: scilicet institutio Eucharistiae, Ordinis sacerdotalis institutio et mandatum Domini de caritate fraterna: quae quidem in homilia illustrentur » (Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, Litt. Circ. De festiis paschalibus praeparandis et celebrandis, n. 45).

Progrediente evolutione anni liturgici, exorta est autem celebratio quae, licet propriis peculiaritatibus, elementa tamen quaedam Missae « In Cena Domini » reduplicat, scilicet sollemnitas SS.mi Corporis et Sanguinis Christi. Haec sollemnitas, sicut et Dominicarum Paschae et Temporis « per annum » celebrationes, aptiora praeberent adiuncta celebrationi primae participationis Eucharistiae.

Whether it is fitting to celebrate first Communion on Thursday of Holy Week within the Mass « of the Lord's Supper »?

℟. In the negative.

Though it is separated from the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation, the first full participation in the Eucharist with the reception of holy Communion is a certain Sacrament of Christian initiation, theologically connected with Easter and under the aspect of celebration included in the Easter Vigil (cf. Ordo initiationis christianae adultorum, Praenotanda, nn. 49, 58), the natural channel of the three sacraments, which, intimately connected among themselves « lead to full stature the faithful who exercise the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world » (Ordo baptismi parvulorum, De initiatione christiana, Praenotanda generalia, n. 2). Since, then, the Easter Vigil is the root and nucleus of all Sunday celebrations throughout the course of the liturgical year, it is established that insofar as possible the sacraments of Christian initiation are celebrated, except during the Vigil, on « Sunday » (cf. Ordo initiationis christianae adultorum, Praenotanda, n. 59).

It is not fitting, therefore, to celebrate first full participation in the Eucharist, or « first Communion » at the Mass « of the Lord's Supper », not only for a merely theological reason, but also a pastoral one, since this celebration would distract the people from the historico-salvific event commemorated as part of the sacred Triduum on that day: « All the attention of the mind should be turned to the mysteries which are most of all recalled in this Mass, namely, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priestly Order, and the commandment of the Lord regarding fraternal charity; these should also be illustrated in the homily » (Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, Litt. Circ. De festiis paschalibus praeparandis et celebrandis, n. 45).

As the evolution of the liturgical year progressed, there did arise a celebration that, granted it has its own characteristics, nevertheless reduplicates certain elements of the Mass « of the Lord's Supper », namely the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This solemnity, like the Sunday celebrations of Easter and of « Ordinary Time » would offer a more fitting venue for the celebration of first participation in the Eucharist.

Notitiae 38 (2002), 491first communion, holy thursday, lord's supperPDF of Notitiae 38 (2002), 491

Utrum liceat disponere in medio spatio ecclesiae mensam cum pane et vino prope altare vel in presbyterio occasione Missae « In Cena Domini » aut primae plenae participationis Eucharisticae, « primae Communionis » ut aiunt?

℟. Negative.

Normae ad hoc vigentes debitum momentum altaris explicate asseverant, cuius locus attentum sibi universum populum faciat oportet: « Expedit in omni ecclesia altare fixum inesse, quod Christum Iesum, Lapidem vivum (1 Petr 2, 4; cf. Eph 2, 20) clarius et permanenter significat; ceteris vero locis, sacris celebrationibus dicatis, altare potest esse mobile. Altare fixum dicitur, si ita exstruatur ut cum pavimento cohaereat ideoque amoveri nequeat; mobile vero si transferri possit » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 298). Inde fit ut unum necesse exstet altare, sedes praecipuissima presbyterii totiusque ecclesiae, quia participationem christifidelium singularitas eius foveret: « In novis ecclesiis exstruendis praestat unum altare erigi, quod in fidelium coetu unum Christum unamque Ecclesiae Eucharistiam significet. In ecclesiis vero iam exstructis, quando altare vetus ita situm est, ut difficilem reddat participationem populi nec transferri possit sine detrimento valoris artis, aliud altare fixum, arte confectum et rite dedicandum, exstruatur; et tantum super illud sacrae celebrationes peragantur. Ne fidelium attentio a novo altari distrahatur, altare antiquum ne sit peculiari modo ornatum » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 303).

Mos ergo mensam cum pane et vino disponendi ad Novissimam Cenam Iesu revocandam vel ad pueros collocandos in prima participatione eucharistica est symbolice iteratio, paedagogice distractio et pastoraliter inanis, cum populum ab altari distrahat, intellectum ponderis singulorum elementorum architecturae Ecclesiae confundat et minime participationem christifidelium foveat.

Whether it is permitted to set up in the middle of the church a table with bread and wine near the altar or in the sanctuary on the occasion of the Mass « of the Lord's Supper » or of the first full participation in the Eucharist, so-called « first Communion »?

℟. In the negative.

The norms in force regarding this have explicitly asserted the due importance of the altar, whose place should be recognized by all the people: « It is preferable that there be a fixed altar in every church, which more clearly and permanently signifies Jesus Christ, the living Stone (1 Petr 2, 4; cf. Eph 2, 20); in other places destined for sacred celebrations, the altar can be movable. An altar is called fixed if it constructed such that it is attached to the floor and therefore cannot be removed; it is movable if it can be moved elsewhere » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 298). Thus there arises the need to have one altar, the most important feature of the sanctuary and of the whole church, because the fact that there is only one fosters the participation of Christ's faithful: « In building new churches it is better that one altar be constructed to signify the one Christ and the one Eucharist of the Church in the gathering of the faithful. In churches that have already been built, however, when the old altar is situated such that it makes the participation of the people difficult and it cannot be moved without detriment to its artistic value, another fixed altar, artfully made and properly dedicated, should be set up, and only on it should the sacred celebrations be carried out. So that the attention of the faithful will not be distracted from the new altar, the old altar should not be decorated in any special manner » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 303).

The custom, therefore, of setting up a table with bread and wine to recall the Last Supper of Jesus or to gather children for their first participation in the Eucharist is symbolically a repetition, pedagogically a distraction, and pastorally inane, since it distracts people from the altar, confuses the understanding of the importance of the individual elements of Church architecture and does not at all foster the participation of Christ's faithful.

Notitiae 38 (2002), 492altar, bread, first communion, holy thursday, lord's supper, table, winePDF of Notitiae 38 (2002), 492