The Australian: Latin and Communion kneeling for WYD Papal Mass

I tip my biretta   o{]:¬)   to Kevin D. Dello Iacono who tagged me on Facebook with an article from The Australian.

Let’s have a quick look with my emphases and comments.

Pope resurrects old rituals for mass

   
Sian Powell | July 19, 2008

IN a return to tradition, the Pope will tomorrow offer communion to kneeling Catholics, and preferably on the tongue rather than in the hand.

The final World Youth Day mass at Sydney’s Randwick racecourse will attract up to half a million worshippers and will be beamed to as many as a billion viewers around the world.

A firm believer in the importance and beauty of liturgical traditions, the Pope will seek to set an example to a massive audience with his return to pre-1960s ritual[Notice a couple things.  First, memory is short… or the writer is too young to have known anything other than Communion in the hand, standing.  This practice was introduced against the Church’s law well after the Council.  Also, it remains the exception (in law) to the rule (in law) that Communion should be (even now) received on the tongue.  Furthermore, the law protects Catholics who want to receive in the proper way.]

"The Holy Father has requested that those whom he gives communion to will kneel, and his preference is that they receive communion on the tongue," said Father Mark Podesta, an official World Youth Day spokesman.

However, these preferences will not apply to the crowds at the racecourse, who could be pressed for kneeling space.

"His request is not a mandate for the church, it’s merely an indicator," Father Podesta said. [Give it time, Father.]

"He is concerned with the question of reverence. [If it is a matter of reverence, then perhaps it goes beyond an "indicator".]

"(Standing and receiving the host in the hand) could be open to irreverence. It’s a reminder for those who watch it that this is very special."

The mass will also include a recital in Latin of the Our Father prayer, and a few other words in Latin, [Oooo… a few words…] Father Podesta added. World Youth Day was an international event, he said, and the language of the church was [is] Latin.

"World Youth Day is about communicating with youth," he said. "The Pope’s message will be made in a way that youth can most easily identify with."  [Yes… but some things are communicated in better in a language that is different from what we speak daily.]

Latin was largely lost to Catholic churches after the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican that began in 1962 – which the Pope attended as a young theological adviser.

It permitted [yes] masses to be celebrated in the vernacular, much to the horror of traditional Catholics such as the writer Evelyn Waugh, [and others] who said the changes made going to church "a bitter trial".

According to a report in the Inside the Vatican magazine, Australia will be one of the first places in the world outside Italy where these changed customs will be used in a papal liturgy. [Good point.]

"Australia is a country well known for lax liturgical practices following in the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and this was particularly evident during liturgies celebrated by John Paul II on visits there in 1986 and 1995," the report said.

"After criticism of liturgical music at a recent mass celebrated by Pope Benedict in Washington DC, there was much debate over whether, despite an evident return to older customs in the Holy See, liturgical committees would follow a similar pattern in a country like Australia."

In July last year, the Pope issued an apostolic letter announcing greater use of the Tridentine or Latin mass.  [We are talking about Summorum Pontificum of course.]

World Youth Day director of evangelisation Stephen Lawrence said Vatican II had never demanded the removal of all Latin – it only said that priests could use the vernacular.

"We don’t want Latin completely removed," he said. "I think he’s keen to make sure the Vatican II implementation actually happens. The common practice up until now is there hasn’t been much use of Latin." [I think it is great that the a WDY official said this.  Excellent.  Could we have imagined that a few years ago?]

 

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37 Responses to The Australian: Latin and Communion kneeling for WYD Papal Mass

  1. Geoffrey says:

    I would think more Latin at WYD Masses would make sense. So many people from all over the world. What would make more sense than to use the official language of the Universal Church? A language that could unite everyone, no matter where they came from? The Lord’s Prayer this year, and in three years, perhaps the entire ordinary? ;-)

  2. TNCath says:

    Brick by brick. Start teaching the youth Latin responses and chants, implement kneeling at Holy Communion, start having the WYD Masses ad orientem, and, in time, well???

  3. Kradcliffe says:

    That does sound promising!

    I agree with Geoffrey: WYD is the perfect opportunity to introduce Latin into the liturgy. Those young people would be pretty enthusiastic about it, I think.

  4. josephus muris saliensis says:

    superbly positive commentary. As you say, who would have thought a few years ago!!!

  5. Monica says:

    Does anyone know if any U.S. bishops have commented on the Pope’s practice making kneeling for communion the norm at papal liturgies? It appears the U.S. Bishops and the Holy Father are on opposite ends of the liturgical spectrum considering the fact that the USCCB made standing for communion the norm in the U.S. Why is it so important to the U.S. bishops that we be uniform in our posture for communion but not uniform in the way in which we receive? Some people receive on the tongue while others take it in the hand, yet the USCCB seems to be concerned only with the posture. This doesn’t make sense when they consider it “privitizing the liturgy” when one decides to kneel instead of stand for communion. Isn’t the personal choice of receiving on the tongue or taking in the hand a form of “privitizing the liturgy”? There seems to be a lack of consistency in their thought-process. If they can make standing the norm, then why not just make receiving on the tongue the norm as well?

  6. Geoffrey says:

    “Does anyone know if any U.S. bishops have commented on the Pope’s practice making kneeling for communion the norm at papal liturgies?”

    I know one bishop adopted the practice on Corpus Christi Sunday right after the Holy Father had done it on Corpus Christi Thursday. I believe Fr. Z reported on it. I cannot recall the bishop’s name or his diocese… perhaps someone else can?

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    “I think he’s keen to make sure the Vatican II implementation actually happens.”

    That man has the right idea. (The Pope does too.)

  8. John Enright says:

    Fr. Z said “Also, it remains the exception (in law) to the rule (in law) that Communion should be (even now) received on the tongue. Furthermore, the law protects Catholics who want to receive in the proper way.”

    I agree with Father completely. Some of our bishops, however, do not. This is a video of Bishop Tod Brown denying the Eucharist to a woman who was kneeling. Bishop Tod Brown Refuses Holy Communion To A Kneeling Woman

  9. Joe says:

    Hi Father Z,
    Thought you would find this interesting. It is about Don Bosco’s Dream which may indicate the Holy Father, Pope Benedict is steering us back to the Eucharist and Mary. Here’s the link:
    http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2008/07/don-boscos-dream-and-pope-benedict.html

  10. Mitch says:

    Why would the US Bishops make standing for communion the norm in the US against the desires of Rome? Do we not have one of the largest populations of Catholics? It would not seem to make much sense to make something a norm in let’s say Europe, where Catholicism is in such rapid decline and hardly anyone goes to Mass. And those are not my statistics. Doesn’t it sound more logical to make things normal practice in the largest influential, and visible Catholic populations, whether the US or somewhere else in the world? It is appalling sometimes what US Bishops allow here..I think so much of reforming the reform and bringing the Tridentine Mass into the mainstream has to start with stopping these “allowances”. If we all can be on the same page, maybe we can turn it.

  11. Doug says:

    john,

    i’m not sure whether to thank you for posting the link to bishop brown’s terrible exhibition of insensitivity and irreverence or not. i’ve rarely been so angry at clergy. however, i will go against my natural instincts to post many uncharitable words and instead pray that the good bishop learns that he should be working very hard to ENCOURAGE the kind of devotion exhibited by the most admirable woman he so callously rejected.

    worst of all, the bishop intruded on the most precious moment experienced on this earth between one of the faithful and Our Lord. what a clumsy blunder on the part of one tasked with facilitating just those sorts of moments.

  12. John Enright says:

    Doug:

    I thank you for your comments. I can’t possibly say anything better than what you’ve expressed. Deo Gratias.

  13. Owen says:

    I should have been reading this blog a long time ago. I probably wasn’t “red”y for until now. ::thrive! O

  14. “A firm believer in the importance and beauty of liturgical traditions, the Pope will seek to set an example to a massive audience with his return to pre-1960s ritual.”

    What exactly is this writer on?

  15. Pater, OSB says:

    Was it just me or was the commentary on the Papal Mass and Dedication of the new altar of the Cathedral written by the former Papal MC. I don’t know how many times I heard things like “in a former age the priest said Mass facing the wall.” Or “In times past…” and 10,000,000 references to the role of “the People of God” in the reformed Mass. If the Pope had heard the commentary as we did – I wonder if he might not have tapped the microphone and said, “Excuse me, could you please stop blathering on.” Of course he would be too kind to say it that way (which is a good thing).
    PAX,
    Pater, OSB

  16. Pater, OSB says:

    Of course I meant the Aussie commentary on EWTN not yours Fr Z.
    PAX

  17. vox borealis says:

    Pater, OSB–

    The commentators were indeed very slack.

  18. Matt Q says:

    The article is rank with smarmy innuendos.

  19. Hoka2_99 says:

    I would love to return to receiving the Host on the tongue, but our parish priest comes towards you with the Host if you don’t “hurry up”, so I still receive in the hand, as it prevents problems.
    Also, if I were to kneel, the person behind me would probably fall over me.
    No altar rails! High altar long gone!

    Surely I am not the only one with these difficulties??? Anyone else from a certain part of England on this blog?

  20. RBrown says:

    Was it just me or was the commentary on the Papal Mass and Dedication of the new altar of the Cathedral written by the former Papal MC. I don’t know how many times I heard things like “in a former age the priest said Mass facing the wall.” Or “In times past…” and 10,000,000 references to the role of “the People of God” in the reformed Mass. If the Pope had heard the commentary as we did – I wonder if he might not have tapped the microphone and said, “Excuse me, could you please stop blathering on.” Of course he would be too kind to say it that way (which is a good thing).
    PAX,
    Pater, OSB

    It has been the company line for at least 35 years.

  21. Andrew says:

    I went to the Mass in St Mary\’s Cathedral this morning for the priests and seminarians, and a good omen for the final Mass what that here to the communicants receiving it from the Pope, did this on the tongue.

    WYD has been a marvellous phenomenon. I have heard some veteram journalists of previous WYD\’s say the Stations of the Cross were the best they had ever seen.

    But the Holy Spirit is yet to crown his work.

    PS Juventutem went very well as well. The vespers conducted by Cardinal Pell at St Aloysiu’, Balmain were awesome. US musician Scott Turkington, played the organ.

  22. Pater, OSB: No, it wasn\’t just you. I thought the high point of their trapped-in-the-1970s commentary came when they went into ecstasy at the sign of peace, explaining how the handshakes and expressions of good will symbolized the \”people of God\” coming together in the active participation that Vatican II had called for, the people having been merely passive spectators in the pre-Vatican II liturgy. Though, in fact, it seemed to me that the Aussies in the cathedral were quite subdued in comparison with the aisle-crossing melee that frequently breaks out at this point in U.S. parishes.

    However, in contrast to the sophomoric commentary by Monsignor and his sidekick — and their chatter, incessant even when not particularly offensive — I thought the Mass itself was exemplary, with the chant and polyphony a glorious model for U.S. cathedral emulation. Indeed, we can only hope that the Sistine Choir in St. Peter’s can sometime reach this level.

  23. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Pater, OSB and vox borealis,

    Yes, the commentary on the Papal Mass and Dedication of the new altar of the Cathedral at Sydney was very strange.

    He kept saying how the Mass used to be celebrated with the priest “facing the wall” (not facing the Lord?) and how Vatican II mandated a “free standing altar” so the “people of God” can be “gathered around the Altar,” and now the Mass is celebrated “in the vernacular” etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    No mention of Summorum Pontificum or of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s “Spirit of the Liturgy” at all. I was stunned and saddened by the commentary. It could have been taken right out of a copy of U.S. Catholic Magazine.

    I kept thinking to myself, “I hope Fr. Z. and his readers are hearing this so they can refute it.”

  24. Woody Jones says:

    Reverend Pater OSB, I noticed the same thing as did you and others here. I kept waiting for the commentators to say something (good) about the candle arrangements on the altar, and the communion kneeling, those being cutting edge developments, as folks who read this blog know, but nary a word — maybe since they seem to be of the “old” persuasion, it was just as well.

    Once again I note: it just goes to show how deeply entrenched the “rupture” school really is.

    Hopefully the altar with the Christ the Suffering Servant (as I believe the Holy Father referred to it) on its face will be a visual teacher of the faithful there for a very long time.

  25. vox borealis says:

    Woody,

    We also have to consider how “national sentiment” seems to shine through a little too brightly at these big papal events. It’s like the Olympics, where the host country gives a nod to universality, but in fact tries very hard to show off and validate its own national story.

    Thus, during the entire distribution of communion there was, as you say, nary word about kneeling. Instead, we got very long and detailed lecture on the early colonial history of Australia. At least they focused on the various convict priests who brought Catholicism to the colony. That said, it would have been nice to hear nothing, or at least hear a little about the ceremony that we were witnessing.

    Now, the commentators did make a BIG point of how the early Catholic community of Sydney thrived without a priests, with the lay people carrying the torch. This *could* be construed as a subtle ideological statement. However, I think that much of the commentary was driven not so much by the “party line” as it was carried away by the national spirit.

    In any case, the commentary was distracting and at times simply in error factually (“at the *cathedral* of St. Peter’s in Rome…”).

  26. laurazim says:

    In answer to Geoffry’s question, Bishop Robert Morlino, diocese of Madison, WI, spoke about Eucharistic Reverence in his homily on Corpus Christi and had kneelers brought out for Communion (for those able to kneel). It was VERY well-received. Not only that, but we appreciated it greatly. Check the Cathedral Parish webpage to hear this (and other) homilies by Bishop Morlino. www dot isthmuscatholic dot org . Click on the “Isthmus Audio” link, then on Homilies of Bishop Morlino. (You’ll have to then click on the date that you want to hear.)

    Who knew, in “The People’s Republic of Madison” that the Latin Mass (every Sunday at 7:00) would be so warmly welcomed, or that statements about reverence would actually be taken to heart–even by the children? Alas, not by all, but by those who were there to hear them….

  27. In my opinion, these liturgical moves by the Pope are in response to the widespread loss of belief among Catholics in the Real Presence. It’s not about tradition simply for the sake of tradition or about an alleged “turning back the clock.” It is much bigger than that. It’s about re-evangelizing Catholics themselves. The emphasis on a New Pentecost at WYD 2008 is the key to that “re-evangelization” and renewal of Catholics. A new outpouring of the Holy Spirit inevitably draws people to recognize Who is really present in the Eucharist. That’s why all the Catholic charismatics whom I have met put great emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration. Once re-evangelized, then Catholics can go and witness in the power of the Holy Spirit to the entire world with joy and agape. A key part of that witness is letting the world literally see in our liturgies that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. That’s why Eucharistic Adoration was part of the prayer vigil the Holy Father held in Australia.

  28. Monica says:

    Along with many of the other cliches the commentator used during the papal mass at the cathedral, he said “the gathered congregation/assembly” when referring to the congregation. Could someone tell me the difference between a “gathered congregation” and a “congregation”? What is the infatuation with the word “gather”? Does it carry some kind of gravitas in liturgical circles?

  29. Tim Mccarthy ( Podesta ) says:

    Way, way, off the message but of real interest to me, is Fr. Mark Podesta realted to me? Father Z. may realize that the name Podesta is not very common in Italy where it originates.
    Hmm. Makes me curious.

  30. PATER, O.S.B. says:

    HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

    I’M PATER, O.S.B.! Who are YOU? I am from Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. Well goodness! It makes me very happy to see that I am not the ONLY Benedictine who enjoys Fr. Z’s wonderful blog! Many blessings to you in our Holy Father Saint Benedict.

    Pax,

    PATER, O.S.B. (ALL CAPITALS)

  31. Monica: Could someone tell me the difference between a “gathered congregation” and a “congregation”?

    I assume a gathered congregation is one that began their assembly by singing a “gathering song” — such as the classic crowd-pleaser Gather Us In (Gather us in – the lost and forsaken, gather us in – the blind and the lame. … Gather us in – the rich and the haughty, gather us in – the proud and the strong). They will end with a “sending song”.

    If you still think these are called processional and recessional hymns, then you need to loosen up so you can be a active participant in the assembly, the people of God gathered around the table of plenty.

  32. vox borealis says:

    Henry Edwards,

    Don’t you mean “table of fellowship”?

  33. mpm says:

    Vox borealis,

    I also picked up the “national history” flavor that you speak of.
    The anecdotes about the convict-priests were edifying, but in
    context I agree with your insights. On the other hand, “Msgr” had
    no idea whose relics were being placed in the altar, which was a
    a pretty good “tell” about his personal concerns.

  34. mpm says:

    “It appears the U.S. Bishops and the Holy Father are on opposite
    ends of the liturgical spectrum…
    Comment by Monica — 18 July 2008 @ 4:34 pm”

    Not all the U.S. Bishops, by a long shot.

    The USCCB is a buracracy created to support the Episcopal Conference
    of the U.S. As with most burocracies, there are employees and
    committee staffs, etc.

    Some (theologians, apostates?) starting in the ’60s tried to sell the
    Episcopal Conference as an authoritative body, even though Vatican II
    and the Code of Canon Law of 1983 vest “authority” in the individual
    bishops, who have their calling directly from Christ. The
    “committecrats” also would like to see what they view as the “American
    Catholic Church”, with its own rites and customs, and they have been
    in the ascendancy until the last decade or so. The Popes have been
    clear that there is no such thing as the “American Catholic Church”;
    what there is the Catholic Church in the United States.

    In the Catholic Church, Latin Rite, the supreme authority for all
    matters liturgical is the Roman Pontiff. Many “liturgical terrorists”
    and their episcopal disciples chafe at this idea, and have resisted it
    to the best of their ability. Some (like Bishop Trautman of Erie)
    continue to play politics in the meetings of the Episcopal Conference
    to delay, for example, the new English translations (cf. Bishop
    Trautman’s “parliamentary maneuver” in Adoremus Bulletin: http://www.adoremus.org/0708USCCBMeeting.html ).

    One can envision Cardinal George and Bishop Serratelli raising their
    eyes to heaven: “how long, Oh Lord, how long?” And they are not the
    only bishops, so I don’t mean to imply there are only two.

    We need to pray for all the bishops, but especially that those bishops
    who would like to do the right thing find the way to make it happen.

  35. mpm says:

    Andrew @ 8:22 am,

    The Mass for the consecration of the altar at St. Mary’s was beautiful,
    in every aspect. Australia is no longer, after the Pope’s visit,
    (if it ever was) the “end of the earth”, but front and center.
    You all have your work cut out for you now!

  36. Lucy says:

    It’s wonderful that the Holy Father is showing everyone how he wishes us to receive Holy Communion, however, a problem remains. All the other priests appeared to be giving Communion in the hand and standing. It looks as though one should receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue only when one approaches the Holy Father to receive. Even my 11 year old daughter said something to this effect. I think it would make a larger statement to our bishops at large to have all the priests offer Communion to people kneeling and on the tongue. Our bishops in the U.S. need strong statements, as we all know.

  37. subdjoe says:

    As a former Roman Catholic, now an Easter Orthodox, I hope my comments will be accepted. I grew up hearing the full Latin Mass, and what I call the half and half transition Mass. I pretty much left the RCC when the guitars and group hugs came in.

    The Divine Liturgy is a work of the People of God, not just the priest. Everyone present is an active particiapnt. The reason that the priest faced the Holy Altar, with his back to the people, is that is role his to LEAD the people, in the Liturgy. He is not, in the protestant fashion, talking AT the people, nor is he putting on a show. As an act of worship, and as an actual Bloodless Sacrifice, it deserves the best we can offer. At,and after, the Epiclisis we are in the Very Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ. Should we not do all we can to make the Liturgy truely something apart?

    I do agree with having the Liturgy in the common language. We have the example of Pentecost – everyone hearing the invitation in his own language. And, as the Holy Apostles went out into the world, they and thier disciples used the language of the people. yes, there is a certain grandure to Latin, but done properly, the Divine Liturgy can be just as meaningful in English, or Spanish, Welsh, Tlingit, or whatever the local language is.

    I do hope I have not offended anyone by my comments. Thank you for your time.