Sunday, May 10, 2009

De Deféctibus – Part 3 of 4

Tridentine Community News (May 10, 2009):
We continue our presentation of the 1962 Roman Missal instruction, De Deféctibus (On Defects Occurring in the Celebration of Mass), which displays the Church’s concern for the Blessed Sacrament and the validity of the Eucharist that the faithful may receive.

IX. Defects of the Disposition of Body (con’t.)

30. Priests who can do so are earnestly invited to observe the ancient and venerable form of the Eucharistic fast before Mass.

X. Defects Occurring in the Celebration of the Rite Itself

31. Defects may occur also in the performance of the rite itself, if any of the required elements is lacking, as in the following cases: if the Mass is celebrated in a place that is not sacred, or not lawfully approved, or on an altar not consecrated, or not covered with three cloths; if there are no wax candles; if it is not the proper time for celebrating Mass, which is from one hour before dawn until one hour after noon under ordinary circumstances, unless some other time is established or permitted for certain Masses; if the priest fails to wear some one of the priestly vestments; if the priestly vestments and the altar cloths have not been blessed; if there is no cleric present nor any other man or boy serving the Mass; if there is not a chalice, with a cup of gold, or of silver with the inside gold-plated; if the paten is not gold-plated; if both chalice and paten are not consecrated by a bishop; if the corporal is not clean (and the corporal should be of linen, not decorated in the middle with silk or gold; and both corporal and pall should be blessed); if the priest celebrates Mass with his head covered, without a dispensation to do so; if there is no missal present, even though the priest may know by heart the Mass he intends to say.

32. If, while the priest is celebrating Mass, the church is violated before he has reached the Canon, the Mass is to be discontinued; if after the Canon, it is not to be discontinued. If there is fear of an attack by enemies, or of a flood or of the collapse of the building where the Mass is being celebrated, the Mass is to be discontinued if it is before the Consecration; if this fear arises after the Consecration, however, the priest may omit everything else and go on at once to the reception of the Sacrament.

33. If before the Consecration the priest becomes seriously ill, or faints, or dies, the Mass is discontinued. If this happens after the consecration of the Body only and before the consecration of the Blood, or after both have been consecrated, the Mass is to be completed by another priest from the place where the first priest stopped, and in case of necessity even by a priest who is not fasting. If the first priest has not died but has become ill and is still able to receive Communion, and there is no other consecrated Host at hand, the priest who is completing the Mass should divide the Host, give one part to the sick priest and consume the other part himself. If the priest has died after half-saying the formula for the consecration of the Body, then there is no Consecration and no need for another priest to complete the Mass. If, on the other hand, the priest has died after half-saying the formula for the consecration of the Blood, then another priest is to complete the Mass, repeating the whole formula over the same chalice from the words Símili modo, postquam cenátum est; or he may say the whole formula over another chalice which has been prepared, and consume the first priest's Host and the Blood consecrated by himself, and then the chalice which was left half-consecrated.

34. If anyone fails to consume the whole Sacrament aside from cases of necessity of this kind, he is guilty of very grave sin.

35. If before the Consecration a fly or spider or anything else falls into the chalice, the priest is to pour out the wine in a suitable place, put other wine into the chalice, add a little water, offer it, as above, and continue the Mass. If after the Consecration a fly or something of the kind falls into the chalice, he is to take it out, wash it with wine, burn it after the Mass is over, and throw the ashes and the wine which was used for washing into the sacrarium.

36. If something poisonous falls into the chalice after the Consecration, or something that would cause vomiting, the consecrated wine is to be poured into another chalice, with water added until the chalice is full, so that the species of wine will be dissolved; and this water is to be poured out into the sacrarium. Other wine, together with water, is to be brought and consecrated.

37. If anything poisonous touches the consecrated Host, the priest is to consecrate another and consume it in the way that has been explained, while the first Host is to be put into a chalice full of water and disposed of as was explained regarding the Blood in paragraph 36 above.

38. If the Particle of the Host remains in the chalice when he consumes the Blood, he is to bring it to the edge of the cup with his finger and consume it before the purification, or else he is to pour water in and consume it with the water.

39. If before the Consecration the host is found to be broken, it is to be consecrated anyway, unless the people can see plainly that it is broken. But if there may be scandal for the people, another host is to be taken and offered. If the broken host has already been offered, the priest is to consume it after the ablution. If the host is seen to be broken before the offerings however, another complete host is to be taken, if this can be done without scandal and without a long delay.

40. If the consecrated Host falls into the chalice, nothing is to be repeated on that account, but the priest is to continue the Mass, performing the ceremonies and making the usual signs of the Cross with the part of the Host that is not moistened with the Blood, if he can conveniently do so. But if the entire Host has become wet, he is not to take it out; he is to say everything as usual, omitting the signs of the Cross that pertain to the Host alone, and he is to consume the Body and the Blood together, signing himself with the chalice and saying: Corpus et Sánguis Dómini nostri, etc.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for May 10, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]