Friday, July 29, 2011
WHY DOES THIS DRIVE LITURGICAL PROGESSIVES WILD?
First a disclaimer; I was trained prior to entering the seminary in 1976 that standing for Holy Communion was "more adult" "more ancient" and "a resurrection stance" that was much better than kneeling in a subservient way before the priest which was also described as being "juvenile." This was taught to St.Joseph parishioners in Augusta, Georgia at that time. We were probably one of the last parishes, apart from Tybee Island, who continued to kneel for Holy Communion until about 1975.
I have taught religiously that standing for Holy Communion was more ancient than kneeling and more importantly it was a sign of "being raised up with Christ in His resurrection." I truly like that imagery.
However I am old enough to remember kneeling at the altar railing (in 1975 I was 21 years old) and remembering how nice it was to be waiting for the priest to come to me and having the ability to wait a moment after receiving before getting up and returning to the pew. It was nice kneeling with others around the "table," I mean, altar and it really seemed to me that we were participating in a meal at the altar, with the railing as an extension of the the altar-table.
Many people also felt that kneeling was a "more" reverent way to receive Holy Communion. Evidently they are in good company. Read on:
Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue
Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2011 / 01:56 pm (CNA).- Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.
“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.
The cardinal’s remarks came in response to a question on whether Catholics should receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue.
He recommended that Catholics “receive Communion on the tongue and while kneeling.”
Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.” [Get that? "entire Church". And he means the Latin Church, of course.]
“In fact,” he added, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”
“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves, as we sing in a hymn in Spanish.”
In response to a question about the liturgical abuses that often occur, Cardinal Canizares said they must be “corrected, especially through proper formation: formation for seminarians, for priests, for catechists, for all the Christian faithful.”
Such a formation should ensure that liturgical celebrations take place “in accord with the demands and dignity of the celebration, in accord with the norms of the Church, which is the only way we can authentically celebrate the Eucharist,” he added.
“Bishops have a unique responsibility” in the task of liturgical formation and the correction of abuses, the cardinal said, “and we must not fail to fulfill it, because everything we do to ensure that the Eucharist is celebrated properly will ensure proper participation in the Eucharist.”
My final comments: As for receiving Holy Communion in the hand, I have seen many people do so in the most reverent way. But I have seen many unintended abuses: walking off with the host and consuming it on the "run"; children moving their small, almost cupped hands to quickly and receiving unthinkingly as though putting pop corn in their mouths, and people taking the host and leaving it in the pew, in their pockets or giving it away to others.
The good Cardinal is also a prefect for the Vatican's Congregation of Divine Worship. Floating statements of this type indicates to me that we will soon be seeing a "mandate" of some sort to return to this pious practice of distributing and receiving Holy Communion. How long has the Holy Father been doing it as a model for other bishops to help them to see how it is done and to prepare them for this change?