Tuesday, February 1, 2011
THIS LETTER FROM A CATHEDRAL RECTOR ON RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION IS ASTONISHING!
The letter below is from the Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit, Rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral. The bishop of this rector is the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of The Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.
This letter is from the Cathedral's bulletin. I cannot imagine that the rector would write a letter like this without his bishop's approval. Keep in mind the rector of a Cathedral is called the rector because the bishop is the pastor. In the Episcopal Church, all pastors are called rectors as they see their bishop as the actual pastor of each parish. We do too, but have not adopted the term rector except for cathedrals. My comments follow this letter:
A Letter from Our Cathedral Rector
I want to thank all of you who have recently started receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, not to mention those of you who
already had been. This subject has generated a lot of buzz over the past few weeks, the vast majority of which has been
While my main objective in encouraging reception on the tongue is to deepen appreciation for the Eucharist, I also have a
pastoral responsibility to eliminate abuses common to receiving in the hand. Such abuses are no doubt unintentional.
Nevertheless, what I witness troubles me. And I’m not alone.
In 2004, responding to the problem of Eucharistic profanation, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline
of the Sacrament released an official instruction entitled REDEMPTIONIS SACRAMENTUM:
On certain matters to be
observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist. Regarding Holy Communion, the document states:
“[S]pecial care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the
minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation,
then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (Paragraph #92).
Here are just a few examples of profanation that I see all too frequently:
• Blessing oneself with the host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction” and is
reserved to clergy).
• Receiving the host in the palm of the hand, contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers, then
consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear” magic trick)
• Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.
• Attempting to receive with only one hand.
• Attempting to receive with other items in the hands, like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.
• Receiving the host with dirty hands.
• Receiving the host, closing the hand around it, then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while
walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.
• Walking away without consuming the host.
• Giving the host to someone else after receiving…yes, it happens!
We would never treat a piece of GOLD with such casualness—especially in this economy!! Yet many treat this Eucharistic
“piece” of GOD with casualness at best, indifference and irreverence at worst. Of course, much abuse is due to ignorance, owing
to poor catechesis, which is precisely why I have written about this issue for four consecutive weeks.
Yet we have another great incentive…
When Holy Communion is received on the tongue…every single one of these abuses is instantly eliminated!
The way we treat another person says more about our relationship with that person than any words we might say. This is
especially true of our relationship with the Divine Person, Jesus Christ. So let us continually seek to increase our reverence for
our Eucharistic Savior, and to eliminate anything that degrades the respect He deserves.
The graces we receive will surely be greater than anything we can imagine!
God’s Blessings… my prayers…
Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit
Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral
The exact same problems that Fr. Lankeit points out in his letter, every Catholic pastor in America could write the same thing. Hosts are taken out of the Church; disposed of in the pew or on the floor; there is the one handed flip of the host into one's mouth; hosts are grabbed; people break off a part of the host and give it to their underage child or someone else in the pew or at home; children take it as though it is popcorn and on and on and on.
In terms of the common cup, I recently distributed it at a funeral. I watched children receive from me and their saliva slide into the chalice, one person took an almost full chalice from me so quickly that it "sloshed" from the chalice to it outside base and on my shoes and I presume the carpet. I had about 30 people drink from the same chalice. I wiped the rim each time, the purificator was stained with lipstick and I doubt that the hygiene and germlessness of the chalice after the last person drank a combination of mostly saliva mixed with Precious Blood could be verified in a clinical analysis.
Of course, I've had EMs tell me on numerous occasions that one person will consume the entire chalice which is full; that someone's chewing gum fell into the chalice as they drank from it or the host they just placed in their mouth and partially chewed fell from their mouth into the chalice. Numerous people self intinct even when the EM tried to prevent it. While holding the host in one hand and prying the hand of an EM that the EM had placed over the chalice to prevent self-intinction, the communicant called the EM a name!
What will it take for us to return to the over 1000 tradition of kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue. I think recovering this tradition will do more for the reverence due to Holy Communion than even ad orientem worship.