Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Traditional Catholic pastoral theology: The bread and wine for Mass

This is the first post in a series setting out excerpts from Fr Frederick Schulze's Manual of Pastoral Theology (1914), a traditional seminary textbook used for training would-be priests in their pastoral duties. 

In this extract, Fr Schulze is discussing the bread and wine to be used for Mass.  Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, so Fr Schulze recommends that some care be taken in procuring the genuine article.

83. Nothing deserves greater attention and more careful vigilance than the "materia sacrificii." The sole matter allowed and prescribed "jure divino" for the Sacrifice of the Mass are bread and wine. The bread must have been prepared of wheat flour, it must be of round shape (forma orbiculari), it must be unleavened, at least according to the Latin Rite. The best way to get the flour is to buy it at the mill and not in a store, for then you may rest assured, to obtain a genuine and unadulterated article. Do not buy too much at once and have it stored up well in a dry place. In baking the bread nothing but water ought to be mixed with the flour; no milk, butter, grease, etc. The priest should previously instruct those who have charge of the work. The hosts must be cut well and fragments adhering be removed as far as possible. It will serve much to the purpose to let the plates of bread, after they are baked, first stay for a few days in a place neither too dry nor too damp. Hosts which are older than two or three weeks, are unfit for Mass....

The second matter used for the Holy Sacrifice is wine. This wine must be perfectly natural.... In order to deserve this name it must have been made from ripe grapes, it must have gone through a natural process of fermentation, and it must not contain any artificial and foreign ingredients. Only for sweet wines a little allowance has been made lately.... Everybody knows that in the manufacture of wine a great amount of adulteration takes place nowadays. Perhaps fifty per cent, of what is sold under the name of wine is either no wine at all, only an extract of black berries, lemons and other fruit, or it contains not enough ''succus vitis" to render it fit for sacramental purpose. It is not easy to discover whether wine has been adulterated. Indications of adulteration are an unnatural sweetness and burning taste, and with red wine a strongly colored froth on top. The only sure way, however, to detect falsification is a chemical analysis, and even this may fail when the fault lies not in the ingredients, but in the process of extracting the juice. To obviate the danger of ever using a product for Mass which is "materia illicita'' or even "invalida," it is proper to make the wine yourself; viz; to buy or raise the grapes and have the manufacturing done by an expert according to your instructions. Of course not everyone may feel inclined to do this, and in small parishes, where only a limited quantity of Mass wine is used annually, it will hardly pay. Hence ordinarily rectors of churches will be compelled to procure their Mass wine from public dealers. There is no objection to this, provided the necessary precautions be taken.... Here we feel inclined to make the following suggestions:

1. Never get your wine from a merchant who is no practical Catholic, nor from a Protestant or Jew. Do not trust their promises or the references of priests and bishops forwarded by them.

2. Do not take for Mass such wine as is not sold for that purpose, but only for table use, and hence do not buy the wine from a common liquor-dealer or saloon-keeper.

3. Do not send your orders to some obscure firm in a distant place, especially in the East, in California, etc.

4. Do not take for Mass any foreign wines, nor, if you can get other sorts, red or sweet wines; the latter are liable to be adulterated in a manner which is hard to discover....

5. Do not use wine which is either very cheap or very expensive. If quite cheap, it is probably too fresh, or not substantial enough; if expensive, it may not be genuine.

6. The safest procedure is to buy the wine for Mass either from a monastery or ecclesiastical institution which is manufacturing it, or from a reliable Catholic firm, which either manufactures the wine itself or gets it from another Catholic firm as the original producer. To make sure of this, you must inquire beforehand by asking disinterested parties....

By observing such little rules all danger of celebrating Mass with a "materia invalida" or "illicita," as far as the wine is concerned, will be avoided and the propriety due to the Holy Sacrifice be observed.