Italian journalist and Vatican expert Marco Tosatti has reported that Pope Francis has formed a top-secret commission tasked with implementing a new kind of “mass” that is acceptable to Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans.
The commission consists of representatives from all three denominations, all bound to secrecy.
The journalist, who is well known in Italy for his accurate reporting of all things happening in the Vatican, has said that while this news is merely a “rumor” at this point, his “sources are usually good.”
According to his sources, the commission is finding little difficulty in finding common ground in the “liturgy of the word”. Tosatti reports: “After the confession of sins, asking for forgiveness, and reciting the Gloria, there would be the readings and the Gospel.”
He also said that the commission is allegedly studying the problem of the Creed. Protestant churches prefer to pray the Apostles’ Creed, although they do recognize the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church alternates between them. So not even this point should be a major problem.
The presentation of the gifts likewise does not present a major obstacle to the project.
According to Tosatti, the central issue lies in the Eucharist, since the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly different from that of the Lutherans or of other Protestant denominations. Catholics believe in Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, while Protestants believe that it is merely a memorial.
But how can a common liturgy be celebrated that clearly differs in the wording right at the most important point of the event?
Tosatti reports that a possible “solution” being proposed is that the words of Consecration be replaced by silence. It would mean that after the Sanctus, at the moment in which normally during the Mass the priest would say the words: “Father, you are holy indeed…” the different celebrants would keep silent, everyone mentally repeating “his own” formula.
The silence is broken in the congregation with the recitation of the Our Father. It is still not clear how the lines for Communion would be formed.
In light of this well-founded rumor, we should take heed of the remarks of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, a close collaborator of Pope Francis and currently the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The Vatican cardinal has suggested that we stop thinking of sacraments so rigidly as only either valid or invalid. For the sake of ecumenism, he opined that we should start looking into sacraments perhaps having “imperfect” or “partial” validity. Below are his exact words, as published in his exclusive interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register:
We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion [between Catholics and Protestants] even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection. ∎
by John Supplers, Veritas Vincit