Sunday, June 22, 2014

DEACON GREG KENDRA YOU ARE NOT TELLING THE WHOLE STORY, BUT A GOOD REMINDER ANYWAY



Deacon Greg Kendra has a very good blog. Today being the Solemnity of Corpus Christi he shared an article he wrote in his parish bulletin about receiving Holy Communion. You can read the complete blog post by press HERE.

This is an excerpt with my comments in red in the text:

The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions. (This is uniformity to the extreme. There are times in the Mass that the congregation can individualize their acts of reverence. Certainly this is the case in most Ordinary Form Parishes. Some make the Sign of the Cross before receiving, some afterward and as indicated, some receive on the tongue and others in the hand. Some bow, some don't and some actually kneel. Some receive from the Chalice if present but many do not. The difference between those receiving from the chalice and those who don't would seem to me to be even more divisive than those who choose to kneel! But more importantly the Congregation for Divine Worship clarified the communicants' right to kneel if they so choose, similar to receiving on the tongue or in the hand or from the chalice or not:

The Congregation (in 2002!) in fact is concerned at the number of similar complaints that it has received in recent months from various places, and considers any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful, namely that of being assisted by their Pastors by means of the Sacraments (Codex Iuris Canonici, canon 213). In view of the law that "sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them" (canon 843 §1), there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person's unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared. Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institution Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds.

In fact, as His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has recently emphasized, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species.


Given the importance of this matter, the Congregation would request that Your Excellency inquire specifically whether this priest in fact has a regular practice of refusing Holy Communion to any member of the faithful in the circumstances described above and - if the complaint is verified - that you also firmly instruct him and any other priests who may have had such a practice to refrain from acting thus in the future. Priests should understand that the Congregation will regard future complaints of this nature with great seriousness, and if they are verified, it intends to seek disciplinary action consonant with the gravity of the pastoral abuse.)

 Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right-handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.

The person distributing Communion says audibly to each person approaching, “The Body of Christ.” This formula should not be altered, as it is a proclamation which calls for a response of faith on the part of the one who receives. The communicant should audibly respond, “Amen,” indicating by that response his or her belief that this small wafer of bread [is] in reality the body of Christ the Lord.

My final comment: Why are some liturgists obsessed with making people stand for Holy Communion and refusing to provide a means by which they can comfortably kneel if they so choose? Our Catholic Faith is what unites us, but there are many options, devotional options, that the laity can express during Mass which can be individual. There is a unity in diversity if we believe the same thing about Holy Communion. What we believe is the problem, not how we receive although how we receive might contribute to a loss of the sense of the sacred and our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. 

14 comments:

Gene said...

We should not even be having this discussion...

JBS said...

I don't understand how this article can be worthy of sharing, when this deacon clearly ignores the various points that you make in red. The norm in the USA is a bow and standing, but genuflecting and kneeling are practices protected by Church law and promoted by the Pope Emeritus. This legal reality may require some adjustment on the part of blogger in question, who seems to have succumbed to clericalism.

Luke said...

The Church will not begin to seriously improve until men ordained priests after around 2000 become bishops. The lack of proper formation of priests and deacons is astonishing. Even those seemingly orthodox reflect the poor formation they received.

Anonymous said...

I have never, personally, seen or heard of anyone being refused Communion because they chose to kneel.

Have you?

Carol H. said...

I'm glad you posted this, Father, because I have seen this before.

When I lived in Ohio, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament was removed in steps.

First, we were told, in the same manner as this Deacon describes, that we all were supposed to receive standing. We were also told that we were not supposed to genuflect, but to give a small bow.

Next, the pews were reconfigured in a more circular form because we "need to be able to see our neighbor during Mass." The tabernacle was moved behind a wall and out of sight at this time.

Finally, we were told that after communion, when we returned to our seats, that we were to remain standing until the last communicant received, and that we were to sit down together.

I agree with Gene that this discussion should not be necessary, but I am afraid that this discussion has become necessary because now step one has been proposed in a new location. The results are catastrophic. I don't personally know RCG, but I believe we attended the same parish while this was going on and he can attest to the truth of it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In my first assignment in the very early 80's I did and I suspect many priests my age and older did! Today the problem is passive aggressive in the sense that those who do kneel must do so directly to the hard dirty floor with out a prop to help them rise!

Joe Potillor said...

With the issues with my legs, it's certainly a lot easier to kneel with a kneeler or at an altar rail.

Anon, I have seen people denied Communion because they knelt, in fact in Bp. Brown's former diocese, kneeling was declared a mortal sin.

Anonymous said...

Joe P....Surely nobody paid any attention to that. did they? We do have brains...

JBS said...

Anonymous,

Very few people kneel in the first place, due in part to the fact that they've been told they shouldn't or mayn't. Of those who do, I know priests who delay Communion for them, or insist that they receive from a layman. There are also YouTube videos both of this denial and of on-the-spot reprimands.

rcg said...

I had a friend denied communion because he wanted to kneel. He said OK and opened his mouth and the priest refused to place it on the tongue. In our parish there are folks who can't kneel and there is no big deal made.

Carol, I think I know you. If you come back to visit Dayton, let know and I will take you to Holy Family.

Carol H. said...

Thank you, RCG! Have a blessed week!

Joe Potillor said...

Anon, I'd love to tell you otherwise, but the diocese of Orange has a rather infamous history.

Katalina said...

News Flash People. The Faithful in the US are not supposed to be receiving the Host in the Hand AT ALL. Guess who said so The soon to be Blessed Paul VI. He said back in a 1969 Instruction that in places where this was not already done it should not be started. Joseph Bernadine forced this abuse on us in June 1977. Look at New Liturgical Movement article on this. Church Militant also mentions this in Sleight of Hand. Bernadine lied to Paul VI.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Father and Anonymous,

I was denied Communion for kneeling on Saturday, 04 OCT 2014. I emailed the priest, a very nice man...who explained that he was bound by the regulation quoted here.

This does indeed come from the USCCB website, but it dates from Nov 2002, [see here....http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00AgSy] pre-Benedict, pre-2012 GIRM which banned priests from refusing Communion to kneelers. Why the link is still functioning is a good question.