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 facilius aliis locis minime 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 Reverendo domino Danieli Gill, domino Radosław Gosiewski, et domino Abram Córdova y Muenzberg, qui nonnullas ex responsionibus transcripserunt, gratias refero, item etiam domino Ioanni Oliveire dominaeque Cristae Mootz, qui in linguam anglicam responsiones quasdam verteri adiuvaverunt. 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 Rev. Daniel Gill, Mr. Radosław Gosiewski, and Mr. Abram Córdova y Muenzberg in transcribing some of these responses and also to Mr. Johan Oliveire and 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 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