The neoliberal “We are Church” movement anounces its launch of liturgical celebrations led by laypeople
A lay Mass in Austria. This has become the cause for an open clash between Austrian Catholic dissidents and the Holy See after the announcement by the ultra-progressive movement “We are Church” that it intends to promote in the country liturgical ceremonies in which laypeople act as priests.
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Jesus invited all to the table to "do this in memory of me", the gathered assembly is the celebrant of the Eucharist, not the priest alone!
The Austrial "Do it Yourself" Mass obviously is rooted in a Vatican II understanding of Eucharist that is rooted in a earlier understand of Eucharist. The Dutch Dominicans affirmed this view.
(From Introduction to New Inclusive Worship Aids by Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, 11 Inclusive Liturgies available from Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests)
"In his book The Future Of Eucharist, Bernard Cooke observes that a new understanding of the resurrection in the Vatican II church has broadened the church's understanding of "real presence" and helped people to appreciate Christ's loving presence in the believing community. According to Cooke, while individuals may have specific functions within the gathered assembly, the entire community performs the eucharistic action (p. 32). If this is so, then the gathered assembly is the celebrant of Eucharist. It is the community that "does" the Eucharist, not the presider alone. A community encamps, wherever it happens to rest for this moment in time, around the Christ Presence that infuses our communion, vivifying our One Body. Some apply a “both/and” theology and say that the Body of Christ is on the table, at the table and around the table.
Historical scholarship supports this conclusion and goes even farther. Gary Macy, chairperson of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego, concludes from his research in Middle Ages manuscripts that, in the understanding of the medieval mind, regardless of who spoke the words of consecration - man or woman, ordained or community - the Christ presence became reality in the midst of the assembly. Contrary to the mindset of many contemporary Catholics who think that the way the Church is now was the way it was from the beginning, Dr. Macy observes that the theology of the Middle Ages was very broad in application. It was far less rigid than has usually been imagined and more open to different liturgical practices than we have realized. In other words, people were not declared heretics or thrown into prison for not following the norms. (National Catholic Reporter. Jan. 9, 1998 p.5)
Small faith communities are gatherings of spiritual pilgrims from different backgrounds who reflect this profound shift in perception toward Eucharist. Here, we remember that eucharists with the “small e” are those celebrated without the presence of an ordained presider and Eucharistic celebrations (Capital E) usually have an ordained presider, who, in the case of women priests, will share the prayer of consecration with the whole community. Both celebrations are genuine Eucharistic celebrations."
The Dutch Dominicans in their groundbreaking work, “The Church and the Ministry” addressed the pastoral dilemma many Catholics face today:
“ With some emphasis we urge our faith communities, the parishes, to realize what is at stake in the present emergency situation of the shortage of ordained celibate priests and to be allowed to take the extent of freedom which is theologically justified to choose their own leader or team of leaders from their own midst. …If a bishop should refuse such a confirmation or `ordination' on the basis of arguments not involving the essence of the Eucharist, such as obligatory celibacy, parishes may be confident that they are able to celebrate a real and genuine Eucharist when they are together in prayer and share bread and wine.”
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP