Does this method of distributing Holy Communion create more reverence and true belief in the Real Presence of Christ?
The bottom line is that only 12% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass regularly in that Archdiocese. One can't maintain all the parishes with that number of Catholics attending. Put another way, 88% of the Catholics in the Archdiocese of New York DON'T attend Mass!
I continue to wonder if there is a way to poll Catholics who no longer practice as to the reasons why. We know of some anecdotal evidence mostly based upon disagreement with the Church's sexual morality teachings, especially artificial birth control. But is there more to it than just poor preaching and insensitive priests who don't have pastoral skills?
Any survey has to take into account what Vatican II did to strong Catholics and Catholic families in the 1960's and 70's and the deleterious effect of experimentation with the liturgy and loss of a strong Catholic identity as well as authoritativeness of the Magisterium of that period.
This part will be more difficult because the current generation of ambivalent Catholics came from strongly unambiguous Catholic families in the 1950's and early 60's, but now this is the third generation and for some 4th generation!
The old saying which I think is true is "Fix the Liturgy, Fix the Church."
I wonder for those who don't attend Mass, apart from moral disagreements with official Church teachings, if there isn't more. IS THERE SIMPLY A LOSS OF CATHOLIC FAITH IN THE VERY FOUNDATION OF WHAT MAKES US CATHOLIC, OUR SACRAMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR?
How many Catholics actually believe they receive the Risen Lord, His glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion. If they don't believe in this outright (I am sure many wonder but strive to believe and actually do) why is it they don't believe?
My intuition tells me that we have destroyed for the most part the supports to this Faith Reality which can never be proven in any other way than how we treat the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.
These are my hunches for the loss of Catholic Faith in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar:
1. Communion Standing, receiving on the run and in the hand! It has become a casual object and everyone comes forward and receives. Some receive in the hand very reverently, but many, many don't and seem clueless about Who they are receiving.
2. The loss of the traditional piety and reverence associated with the pre-Vatican II Mass which is illustrated in #1 in terms of the manner in which Catholics receive today but beyond that too.
3. Allowing anyone to handle the Sacred. Indiscriminate selection of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who may or may not witness to their Catholic Faith in their daily lives or simply don't believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist and no real "seminary" program to screen and train these extraordinary ministers.
A year or so ago I met with a young gentleman who went to 12 years of Catholic school, Mass every Sunday, was an altar boy until 12th grade who said to me at the age of 21 that he didn't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion as the Church teaches it! How common is this with today's Millennial generation?
I had ingrained in me as a pre-Vatican II child that no matter how horribly the Mass was celebrated, how terrible the homily, how corrupt the priest, how awful the music, that if the Mass was valid, Christ's sacrifice was made present and His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity could be received worthily by Catholics. That was the bottom line.
Do modern Catholics have this same conviction. If so, why so and if not, why not?
Just one more anecdotal item from my glorious life: when I was child and prior to Vatican II, receiving Holy Communion was always a big deal to me. I went to the altar railing with fear and trembling, made sure that if I had any doubt about the advisability that I should receive, like maybe accidentally swallowing toothpaste or a particle of food between my teeth from three hours earlier I swallowed or maybe I should have gone to confession first but wasn't sure I had actually had an unforgiven mortal sins, that I said a good act of contrition prior to receiving.
And then when I knelt to receive and received on the tongue, I prayed "my Lord and my God!" and was conscious not to chew but also not to allow the Host to dissolve completely but at just the right time I would swallow and consume the Host and God forbid it the Sacred Host got caught on the roof of my mouth and I couldn't dislodge it before our Lord was completely dissolved and gone! My heart would race in fact if this happened.
When I watch our school children today come forward, receive in the hand, pop the Host in their mouth as they depart I really wonder what their feelings and sentiments are at this most sacred time. I doubt that they have the sense of awe and reverence I had at their age or that they approach Holy Communion with the same sense of holy fear and trembling!