UPDATE 19 Nov 15:10 GMT
The Recovering Dissident Catholic has something to add:
People ask me, often, what brought me around. This is it. Right here. It is THE LORD. Communion is not just some communal parish meal like having coffee and cookies before or after Mass. Holy Communion is receiving THE LORD. You are not a Protestant! Quit believing like one!
I have on more than one occasion quipped that while many parishes have coffee and donuts on Sundays after Mass, St. Joan of Arc in my home town of Minneapolis was the only place I had ever seen coffee and donuts during Mass.
Now comes this from Fr. Jim DeBruycker, the pastor, writing to his flock in the Sunday bulletin of 16 Nov 2008.
Please read this while giving Father the benefit of the doubt, imagining what he has to contend with there, after all the years of looniness:
1. Using the Egan room as a hospitality room for coffee and cookies has become quite successful, too much so I fear. A number of people are bringing coffee and cookies to mass, which is not polite and is often messy, it makes it hard to sing and makes a mockery of the communion fast. Please no refreshments during the liturgy.
2. Intinction, dipping the host, is not part of the Latin rite. But what is bothering the communion distributors even more are people dipping their fingers in as well. I am ordering new chalices with wider brims. Please be careful and, when at all possible, drink from the cup.
3. Finally, the communion ministers who stand in front of the gym exit to the school building are complaining that they have to wrestle with parishioners leaving mass early. Communicants are being jostled out of line as early leavers try to reach the school doors. If you are leaving early, please leave by the parking lot doors. Thanks for your courtesy! – JRD
Where to begin…?
1. The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum states:
[92.] … [S]pecial care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
[103.] … If [intinction] is employed, however, hosts should be used which are neither too thin nor too small, and the communicant should receive the Sacrament from the Priest only on the tongue.
[104.] The communicant must not be permitted to intinct the host himself in the chalice, nor to receive the intincted host in the hand. As for the host to be used for the intinction, it should be made of valid matter, also consecrated; it is altogether forbidden to use non-consecrated bread or other matter.
The reason one cannot receive an intincted Host in the hand is because of the Precious Blood and how it starts to dissolve the Host. There is risk of profanation. Redemptionis Sacramentum mentions profanation several times. It is a serious concern.
Also, the Eucharistic fast is law there both the dispose the communicant and protect the Sacrament from profanation. And Fr. DeBruycker is right: it is rude. But it beyond rude, isn’t it? Isn’t it sacrilegious?
2. "dipping the Host is not part of the Latin rite". Well. It is permitted by law in the Latin Rite but it is to be controlled very carefully. Reinstituting Communion on the tongue would really help solve this problem of people a) self intincting which they are not to do, and then doing it wrong. Ironically, people cite St. Cyril of Jerusalem as a way to defend the very imprudent practice of Communion in the hand. We hear forever blah blah that St. Cyril of Jerusalem said: "When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.". (Myst. cat. 5.1)
Let’s read this more closely:
In Lecture XXIII in On the Mysteries 5, Cyril describes the communicants actions. Follow along now with my emphases:
21. In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hallowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, [they touched it to their eyes] partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Wilt thou not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from thee of what is more precious than gold and precious stones? [For good reason Holy Church grew in her understanding of the Sacrament and moved away from this practice in both East and West.]
22. Then after thou hast partaken of the Body of Christ, draw near also to the Cup of His Blood; not stretching forth thine hands, but bending, and saying with an air of worship and reverence, Amen, hallow thyself by partaking also of the Blood of Christ. And while the moisture is still upon thy lips, touch it with thine hands, and hallow thine eyes and brow and the other organs of sense. [They touched their eyes and ears and nose with the Precious Blood.] Then wait for the prayer, and give thanks unto God, who hath accounted thee worthy of so great mysteries.
So, if we are going to be liturgical archeologists, what about the Precious Blood! But if we can’t do that with the Precious Blood, then why should we be able to touch it at all unless consuming it? Why should lay people touch the Host? Are a priest’s hands not consecrated for this?
Frankly, I don’t think new chalices are going to solve the problem. Getting rid of the practice altogher will solve the problem.
And just how do they tell the difference between the donut crumbs and the spills of coffee, anyway?
3. Picture the scrum at the doorways. I am sure that Fr. DeBruycker is concerned that some decorum be preserved in church. But could he have mentioned that leaving church before Mass is over is, shall I say it, wrong?
I dunno, folks. I know that Fr. DeBruycker has a real job on his hands there. If you want a priest to pray for, he would be a good choice. I am sure there are a lot of things to clean up at St. Joan’s and it will take time.
But … whew… what to do? Close it? Reform it? I am glad it’s not I there.