Thursday, April 25, 2019


I would call this narrow minded on the part of the bishop, arrogant on the part of the bishop, rigid on the part of the bishop and just tone deaf on the part of the bishop, given who he replaced and what is happening in the Church of Chile.

It leaves you scratching your head!

Chilean prelate denies communion to faithful who kneel down

Inés San Martín CRUX

ROME - Though far away from the center of the action in Rome, Bishop Celestino Aos, the temporary head of the embattled Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile, has a tough job. He’s replacing a cardinal being investigated for cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, whose predecessor is also being questioned by local prosecutors.

During the Easter season, Aos might have made his own job even harder when on Holy Thursday during the Chrism Mass he was filmed denying communion to at least two faithful who were kneeling down.

Holy Thursday during the Chrism Mass he was filmed denying communion to at least two faithful who were kneeling down.

Crux received two different videos showing Aos refusing the sacrament to kneelers in a celebration that made several Mass-goers uncomfortable from the beginning. The Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn liturgies of the year, and is often the largest annual gathering of clergy and faithful held in most dioceses. Among other things, it’s during this liturgy that the oils that will be used for various sacraments throughout the year are blessed.

The entrance procession included Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who’s being investigated by civil authorities for cover-up and who’s been named in a complaint for failing to report a rape of an adult man that allegedly took place in Santiago’s cathedral. This led to several priests walking out of the service, with Crux identifying at least two.

One of those priests forwarded the videos shown below, taken by a local TV network.

Video Player

Aos’s decision Thursday to deny Communion to some of the faithful and to allow Ezzati to participate in the procession at the beginning of the Chrism Mass enraged many in Chile.

Crux requested comments from the Archdiocese regarding the videos and Aos’s attitude toward the reception of communion, but did not receive an immediate response.

The Roman missal, the official set of norms for celebration of the Mass, establishes that Catholics who receive Holy Communion can do so either standing or kneeling. The Vatican-approved Missal for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay clearly states that both options are possible, unless a bishops’ conference decrees differently, something the Chilean conference hasn’t done.

As a matter of fact, the Chilean guidelines advise that faithful who don’t kneel make another sign of reverence before receiving Communion.

The English version of the Missal adapted for the United States says that the norm for reception of Communion in the U.S. is standing, but no one should be denied the sacrament because they kneel.
“Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm,” the American guidelines state.

Pope Francis has said that both options are valid, according to “the ecclesial practice.”

Speaking at a general audience on a Wednesday last year reflecting on the Mass, the Argentine pontiff said: “the faithful approach the Eucharist normally in a processional form, as we have said, and, standing with devotion or kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference, receive the sacrament in the mouth or, where permitted, in the hand, as preferred.”

Both Ezzati and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz were once powerful and influential within the Chilean Church, with Errazuriz, 85, even being a member of the pope’s council of cardinals that advises him on the reform of the Catholic Church’s government.

RELATED: Presence of disgraced bishops in Holy Week reopens Chile’s wounds
Today, Chilean lawmakers are trying to take Ezzati’s Chilean citizenship away. Born in Italy, in 2006 Chile granted him citizenship as a recognition for the “fruitful and valuable work” he’d done in the country.

Aos, a member of the Capuchin order, was tapped by Francis to be the apostolic administrator of Santiago on March 23.

RELATED: Pope accepts resignation of Chilean cardinal who faces abuse cover-up probe
Since taking office, Aos has reached out to clerical abuse survivors as well as to a group of priests who suffered the sexual abuses and the abuses of power of former priests Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most infamous pedophile cleric. He’s come to Rome to meet with Pope Francis and the heads of various Vatican offices. He’s met with those who are in the outskirts of society and with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera.

Regarding Ezzati’s participation in the Mass, Aos told Chilean journalists that “the Mass is always a liturgical act, a reunion in front of the altar of the Lord and we’re there to celebrate what the Lord sent us to celebrate, and he sent all of us, and we all begin the Eucharist saying ‘I have sin in one way or the other’.”


TJM said...

This "bishop" should be removed because he obviously has no respect for the Faithful and he is violating ecclesiastical rules and regulations. The Office of Divine Worship has confirmed many times that a communicant cannot be denied Holy Communion either in the hand or while they are kneeling. This is clericalism on steroids. I wonder if PF would think this "bishop" is being merciful?

Victor said...

Almost as bad is hearing the non Catholic hymn tune (Winchester Old) being banged away on a piano somewhere there. Makes one want to join the SPPX...

Anonymous 2 said...

Unless there is some special impediment or issue arising from the particular context (for example, some “political” statement being made directed at particular clergy?), then it seems quite unjust and wrong to deny communion to someone who kneels.

At St. Joseph’s in Macon I always kneel (and receive in the hand) and appreciate Father McDonald providing these options for communicants. I have moved to Holy Spirit now and receive standing because there are no kneelers or altar rail that would make kneeling possible (without these I would likely be unable to get up again very quickly without assistance).

But even at Holy Spirit I recall one occasion (the only one I have ever witnessed) when a person in front of me knelt on the floor and Father Kavanaugh distributed the host to him without hesitation (this was before the Bishop moved Father K to Savannah). Surely, this is the way to handle things. Sheesh!

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

I am struggling with the term "political." What could be political about someone seeking Holy Communion in the traditional manner? If the bishop suspected some ulterior motive, whatever that could possibly be, the communicant is entitled to receive Holy Communion in this manner and he should have done what Father Kavanaugh did. I recall when this practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand was not permitted and a communicant 's hands were slapped by the priest, who was well within in rights at the time, to distribute Holy Communion only in the permitted manner. Of course, disobedience was rewarded by the Holy See.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Oh my! To not be allowed to receive Our Lord because you kneel before Him, and show Him reverence?

Just hearing such a report hurts my heart....

God bless.

Anonymous 2 said...


I am struggling with it too, which is why I put a question mark after it. I was trying be careful by allowing for a possible qualification and trying to imagine potential qualifying circumstances. Perhaps I was reaching for some sort of analogy with a known and very public supporter of abortion who engages in public defiance by presenting himself or herself for communion as a “political” statement about Church teaching, but I really don’t know.

As for receiving in the hand, in my experience this has been the predominant manner of receiving in the post Vatican II Church I joined at almost all parishes I have attended or visited. And I have always personally been uncomfortable receiving on the tongue. This may be a throwback to British school day admonitions against “sticking your tongue out” at people, but again I really don’t know. Perhaps I need to work on issues with my ego/false self that may be fueling the sense of discomfort and embarrassment. I probably need to discuss the matter with a priest.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

Thanks, I can see what you are saying. I grew up in the pre-Vatican II church and was scandalized by the change, but it is now a licit option. My opinion is that this change further weakened belief in the Real Presence. I have never received Holy Communion in the hand. I view receiving on the tongue as an act of humility. I find your practice interesting of receiving in the hand while kneeling. Quite honestly I have never seen that but it strikes me as preferential to standing while receiving in the hand

John Nolan said...

Anonymous 2

I would recommend a little book to you, published twelve years ago by Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Called 'Dominus est!' it is a trenchant critique of Communion in the hand and was highly praised by Benedict XVI and Cardinals Arinze and Ranjith, among others.

In 2010 I met Bishop Schneider at Downside Abbey and in a post-lunch address he expanded on this theme. Kazakhstan is a predominantly Muslim country, and one of his Muslim friends expressed surprise that while he would never take the Koran in his left hand, Catholics were prepared to do this to what they regarded as the Body of Christ.

The evidence for CITH in the early church makes it clear that the Sacrament was taken in the palm of the right hand and transferred directly to the mouth, not picked up with the fingers. The current method is innovative and amounts to self-communication (as does the way the common Chalice is offered).

When I attend the OF Mass at the Oxford Oratory Communion is given kneeling at the rail. Nine people out of ten receive on the tongue. In the Byzantine Rite Communion is given standing but never in the hand - it is intincted and administered with a spoon.

I have received in the hand only once: in Germany in 1967 when I was 16. I thought it was a local custom. By the time it made its way to England in 1976 (I think it was 1977 in the US) I realized that it was an abuse only legitimized by the Holy See afterwards, for reasons that smack of cowardice. It was only the first of many such.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you for the recommendation, John.