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.