God has created gold, silver, diamonds and jewels. Since we appreciate who God is and what He has generously given to us, we want to use the Best for Him. Rich people have the best jewelry and things. Queen Elizabeth has a great deal of gold and jewelry. Should we not show our love and respect for God by also using the best materials for Him.
When we use the best materials for the Chalice, Paten, Ciborium and Pyx, we show our respect for Jesus (God) truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. But since Vatican II, we Catholics have began to use cheap material such as pewter, glass, wood and stone for Chalices and Patens, and therefore we see the respect for God diminishing.
It seems like an insignificant and unimportant matter. But again, as we become cheap and careless in the surroundings of the Blessed Sacrament, we appreciate it less and less.
Before Vatican II all chalices and patens were made of Gold or Silver that was Gold plated. If in the case of emergency (war, persecution) or extreme poverty, they were allowed to be made of a cheaper metal, as long as they had a good Gold plating on them. The cup part of the Chalice was usually Gold or Silver with Gold plating. The stem could be other metal as long as it was Gold plated. It was forbidden to use glass, wood, copper or brass.
Before the Chalice and Paten could be used in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they had to be consecrated by the bishop who also anointed them with the Holy Chrism. If they were used in any profane way (as a cup to drink something else, heretics used them), became deformed like in a fire or accident, have become cracked so that the Precious Blood may leak out (Chalice) or the particles of the Host could fall through (Paten), were sold, they automatically lost their consecration.
From the Canon Law of 1917 we find these rules concerning the mere touching of the sacred things.
1149. Care must be taken that the chalice and paten, and unwashed purificators, palls and corporals, are not touched except by clerics or those who have the custody of these utensils. (Sacristans were given permission by the priests to handle the paten and chalice with a cloth so that their hands did not come in contact with the consecrated items).
The purificators, palls and corporals used in the Holy Mass shall not be given to lay persons, even religious, to be washed until they have first been washed by a cleric in major orders; the water of the first washing shall be poured into the sacrarium, or, if there is none, into the fire. (Canon 1306.)
When it came to the Ciborium and Pyx, that held the Blessed Sacrament after the Holy Mass, they were to be made of Gold or Silver, but could also be of copper, but always gold plated where the Sacred Host would be in contact with the metal. These two items had to be blessed and not consecrated by a bishop. They could never be made out of glass or Ivory. These item were not used in the Sacred Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.
The Ciborium (when the Host were present) was to be covered by a white veil made from precious material.
Here is the Present Norms for Here in the United States found on the USCCB Web Site:
III. Sacred Vessels
327. Among the requisites for the celebration of Mass, the sacred vessels are held in special honor, and among these especially the chalice and paten, in which the bread and wine are offered and consecrated and from which they are consumed.
328. Sacred vessels should be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, they should generally be gilded on the inside.
329. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials which in the common estimation in each region are considered precious or noble, for example, ebony or other harder woods, provided that such materials are suitable for sacred use. In this case, preference is always to be given to materials that do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels that are intended to hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and others of this kind.
330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have a bowl of material that does not absorb liquids. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.
331. For the Consecration of hosts, a large paten may fittingly be used, on which is placed the bread both for the Priest and the Deacon and also for the other ministers and for the faithful.
332. As regards the form of the sacred vessels, it is for the artist to fashion them in a manner that is more particularly in keeping with the customs of each region, provided the individual vessels are suitable for their intended liturgical use and are clearly distinguishable from vessels intended for everyday use.
333. As for the blessing of sacred vessels, the rites prescribed in the liturgical books should be followed.
334. The practice should be kept of building in the sacristy a sacrarium into which is poured the water from the washing of sacred vessels and linens
(cf. no. 280).
As you can clearly see, it starts with what came before Vatican II and then allows a great variety of materials to be used. And even though this is the rule, many bishops and priests do what ever they want.
So again, simple little things make a difference. May we traditional Catholics do the extra, out of respect for who God is. He gave us all these beautiful materials for our enjoyment and pleasure. It is only right that we give back a small token of gratitude for Him by using the best possible for Him. And the noble dignity reminds us of who is the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Since the Catholic Church is 2000 years old, we have also learned that Gold never tarnishes and keeps its purity. Other metals tend to tarnish or rust. So when we have Gold or gold plated sacred vessels, they maintain their dignity and beauty.
Lovers give very expensive gifts to each other. We Love God So We Give Him The Best Too.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.