Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anaphora of Addai and Mari

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting with a number of other parishioners to listens and take part in a broadcast of Catholic Answers. Jerry Usher just happened to be in the area to visit a friend and offered to do the broadcast and to share his thoughts with us on how to promote Catholic radio on our area. If you haven't met Jerry before, he's as genial in person as on air. It was a pleaser having him here.

Anyway, there was a question on the words of institution, and Tim Staples had mentioned the requirement of these words for a valid consecration. I posed a question at the very end that sort of stumped hi, I'd heard that the Assyrian Church (formerly referred to unflatteringly as Nestorian) had a eucharistic prayer that did not include the words of institution, yet was still considered validby the Holy See. I say "sort of" stumped Tim because he really didn't get the answer wrong. First, he correctly identified the church in question. (I wasn't sure it was the Assyrian Church, so referred to them as "the Church formerly known as the Nestorians.") Next, he was familiar with the controversy in question, even though he wasn't certain that the Holy See had come to the conclusion I had mentioned. He promised to get back with an answer. Since I'm only sometimes able to listen to the show, I don't know if he has or not.

However, I did shoot an email to Mike Aquilina and asked him about the matter (since he tends to know these sorts of things). Certainly enough, he shot me two articles and copies of the official curial documents confirming that the anaphora of Addai and Mari (as its known) is both an ancient eucharistic prayer and considered valid for the consecration. The same curial documents also allowed intercommunion for Chaldean Catholics who could not otherwise celebrate the eucharist.

What Mike did not mention is that he covers this very subject in his book Mass of the Early Christians on page 188. Guess he didn't want to ruin the surprise. Did I mention that Mike's the guy to go to for these kind of things?
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