GIRM 72: The Liturgy of the Eucharist

GIRM 72-89 legislates for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Let’s start with an overview of the former GIRM 48 (1975 edition) which reminds us of the twin characteristics of sacrifice and meal:

72. At the Last Supper Christ instituted the Paschal Sacrifice and banquet, by which the Sacrifice of the Cross is continuously made present in the Church whenever the Priest, representing Christ the Lord, carries out what the Lord himself did and handed over to his disciples to be done in his memory.[Sacrosanctum Concilium 47; Eucharisticum Mysterium 3a, b]

For Christ took the bread and the chalice, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat and drink: this is my Body; this is the chalice of my Blood. Do this in memory of me. Hence, the Church has arranged the entire celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in parts corresponding to precisely these words and actions of Christ, namely:

a) At the Preparation of the Gifts, bread and wine with water are brought to the altar, the same elements, that is to say, which Christ took into his hands.

b) In the Eucharistic Prayer, thanks is given to God for the whole work of salvation, and the offerings become the Body and Blood of Christ.

c) Through the fraction and through Communion, the faithful, though many, receive from the one bread the Lord’s Body and from the one chalice the Lord’s Blood in the same way that the Apostles received them from the hands of Christ himself.


Let’s start with the very first sentence. The Latin phrase is sacrificium et convivium paschale, and the new translation (2011, “Paschal Sacrifice and banquet”) above alters it somewhat from the 2000: “sacrifice and paschal meal.” I leave it to readers to make what they will of that.

Note the language: chalice. It never quite made it to either the Scriptures or to the Mystery of Faith (“When we eat …”). The Latin original is calicem (calix). Again, make of that what you will.

In 72c, the 2000 wording is “receive from the one bread the Lord’s body and blood …” and note here “chalice” is an insertion not in the Latin text of this sentence. It also separates out how and what a communicant receives–Phoenix and Madison, anyone?

My intent is not primarily to parse 1975/2000/2011 renditions of the GIRM. But this one section is fairly vital. Also we see the results of some tinkering. Good or bad, do you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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