Saturday, December 1, 2012
THE CRISIS OF FAITH AND STANDING FOR HOLY COMMUNION
This video is most important and a bombshell I suspect to many priests and unfortunately to many bishops, the laity have a right to kneel to receive Holy Communion if they so choose and the pastoral response of the clergy is to provide them the means by which they can do this comfortable, like providing either an altar railing or a kneeler! Please note the still frame prior to activating the video has the old instruction of 2002, which is now abrogated and no longer are communicants who choose to kneel made to feel uncomfortable or berated pastorally "with proper catehcesis as to why they should observe the norm" of standing because kneeling is now allowed for those who choose it!
Anyone who has been a priest for more than 10 years, are we shocked by this news:
A sociologist at the University of Nebraska has found a “tremendous decline” in the strength of American Catholics’ commitment to their faith.
Philip Schwadel found that only 35% of Catholics describe themselves as “strongly affiliated” with the Church. Among Evangelical Protestants, the number reporting that they were “strongly affiliated” was much higher, at 56%. Even among the members of mainline Protestant groups, which have experienced severe decline in recent years, the level of “strong” affiliation was higher than that for Catholics, at 39%.
I want to make clear that this is my most humble opinion, but I think there is a correlation between the casual Masses we've had in the last 40 years in general and "dogmatization" of a mere "norm" that the laity stand to receive Holy Communion and the indult to do so on the hand. These two things have led to the sad statistics found by Philip Schwadel.
Certainly there is more, such as the sex abuse scandal. However, I believe that if the traditional reverence that Catholics had at Mass and during Holy Communion had been present in the Church all theses 40 years, that not even the outcry against Humanae Vitae and the social forces in the culture in general against authority and toward anarchy would have affected the Faith of Catholics as Catholics brought up in the Pre-Vatican II Church knew that Jesus Christ was central and that the Blessed Virgin Mary was closest to Him and to us simultaneously.
Recently From the Diocese of Trenton's newspaper, The Monitor, a reporter reported the following: The beauty, reverence, splendor and awe of a traditional Latin Mass was reflected in its highest form in the Diocese of Trenton Nov. 27 as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass in St. Hedwig Church, Trenton.
Watch a video of the distribution of Holy Communion at a Mass where there is an altar railing and people kneel to receive and watch a video of the distribution of Holy Communion at a Mass where people stand to receive and in the hand.
I have watched our school children stand to receive Holy Communion at our school Masses and this year, I have watched them kneel to receive. There is a big difference and what is being conveyed to these children when they kneel is that something out of the ordinary is happening when they receive our Lord in Holy Communion and that they should fall to their knees in adoration! Isn't this what Pope Benedict is saying by insisting that people kneel when he distributes Holy Communion?
Our bishop, Bishop Gregory Hartmayer of Savannah is very concerned about what our Confirmation candidates know and don't know about the faith, especially about what they don't know and what they don't know is abysmal!
But I'd be as concerned about their piety which in many cases is abysmal too. Do they have awe and wonder in the presence of Christ in the tabernacle and recognizing Him there fall to their knees in adoration? How many youth have this kind of piety and Catholic spirituality today?
How many of our youth would feel uncomfortable kneeling to receive Holy Communion? Would they even understand its significance? Do they even know the meaning of kneeling?
I am convinced that if the Catholic Mass returned simply to mandating that Holy Communion be distributed to the Laity as they kneel in adoration, we would see a major shift toward humility in our worship and more Catholics in the future "strongly affiliated with the Church." We don't need to look to Evangelical Protestantism to keep our young in the Church, we need to look toward our traditional reverence which includes beauty, reverence, splendor and awe and in part produced by kneeling to receive Holy Communion!