I witnessed the liturgical abuse which is the use of the pottery chalice at a retreat centre in the region just recently and it is not a pleasant sight.
After Mass, I approached the priest and we had a frank exchange of views.
The Congregation for Divine Worship made it crystal clear that such vessels are unworthy of the Lord.
'Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.'
Unfortunately, it is seldom required by priests that sacred vessels live up to their name in Church law. Yet, it is required by the law of the Church and there is little doubt as to why.
The Shock Factor
I'll be honest here. As the pottery chalice was raised at the elevation, my heart sank. I hadn't noticed the vessels being used because I was saying some prayers. To the one who believes that the One being elevated for worship is truly God, the pottery chalice is a shock to the system. And then some. It radically challenges your vision of the Divine and any notion of the sacred and not in a good way.
It seems to me that little destroys faith in the Divinity of Our Blessed Lord than such innovations in the Mass, the highest point of worship. Our faith is so small and so vulnerable and weak. Of course, God does not 'need' gold and silver. We do. We need to house the Lord God in vessels that will help us to believe, to adore, to worship. We give God the best that we have, because He gives us Himself. The whole theology of pottery chalices and patens is one of us imposing our own interpretation of Jesus (He was "poor", "humble", "simple", "human", "redeemer") on the liturgy that runs in complete contradiction to that which Catholics have believed 'always and everywhere' (He is also "Almighty", "Lord", "King", "God", "Judge").
|Prayer and reverence go 'hand in hand'|
Without a vision of the Divine, of the eternal and the sacred, Catholic worship descends into the imposition of human ideologies that create a Christological crisis of faith. Law is there not just to protect Jesus Christ from sacrilege, but to safeguard the Faith preserved so carefully down the ages, so that we do not fall into error, confusion and eventual apostasy in a crisis of Christological faith.
God forbid that such universal Church law should become seen as a widespread restriction on the liberty of priests to expose congregations to a 'new' understanding of the Mass and of Our Lord.
Pope Francis upholding Church law in Rome