Card. Canizares: the “entire Church” should receive Communion kneeling. Fr. Z rants.

The overriding reason for why we belong to Holy Church and why we receive the sacraments and why we go to Holy Mass is the fact that one day we are going to die.

The sin of our first parents, at the prompting of the Enemy, was to think that we could be “as gods”.  That sin brought suffering and death into the world.  It required a Savior, both God and man, to repair the breach we opened between the human race and God.  We are redeemed by Christ’s Sacrifice and raised in hope at the victory over death in Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension.  We are given mighty gifts through Christ’s merits by means of the Church He found and by the sacraments He instituted and by the teaching He extends down through His Apostles and their successors to our own time and places.

As a consequence, when we meet with Him in the context of our sacred worship, while we stand at times as adopted children emboldened by Christ’s proximity to us in our human nature, we also abase ourselves before Him, before the MYSTERY we encounter, as we remember that we are so very small and so very dependent and so very much not gods.

From CNA with my emphases and comments.

Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue

Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2011 / 01:56 pm (CNA).- Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.

“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.

The cardinal’s remarks came in response to a question on whether Catholics should receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue[OOH-RAH!]

He recommended that Catholics “receive Communion on the tongue and while kneeling.[Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.” [Get that?  “entire Church”.  And he means the Latin Church, of course.]

“In fact,” he added, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”  [Wounded human nature being what it is.]

“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves, as we sing in a hymn in Spanish.”

In response to a question about the liturgical abuses that often occur, Cardinal Canizares said they must be “corrected, especially through proper formation: formation for seminarians, for priests, for catechists, for all the Christian faithful.”

Such a formation should ensure that liturgical celebrations take place “in accord with the demands and dignity of the celebration, in accord with the norms of the Church, which is the only way we can authentically celebrate the Eucharist,” he added.

Bishops have a unique responsibility” in the task of liturgical formation and the correction of abuses, the cardinal said, “and we must not fail to fulfill it, because everything we do to ensure that the Eucharist is celebrated properly will ensure proper participation in the Eucharist.”

No renewal of the Church can take place without a revitalization of our Catholic identity.  No revitalization of our Catholic identity can take place without a renewal of our liturgical worship.

Without a renewal of our Church, our identity, our worship, we as Catholics cannot have an effective impact on the world around us.  We cannot fulfill Christ’s great command before His Ascension.

In the presence of God we must adopt the posture of creatures, and for just a few seconds… just a few seconds of our oh so busy lives… make ourselves lowly.

Aside from those because of physical reasons cannot kneel, for those of you think think you have to stand when receiving Communion, I invite you to rethink your “position”.

Do not be afraid to bend yourself and lower yourself before the coming of the Most High God, in the mystery which envelops you during Holy Mass.

Don’t think you mustn’t and can’t kneel to GOD.

I have been concerned and less than sanguine about many things I have seen going on these days, but this story and the words of Card. Canizares, are a sign of hope.   This sort of article, with this recommendation for the whole Church, would have been unthinkable even, say, ten years ago, from a Prefect of the CDW.

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76 Responses to Card. Canizares: the “entire Church” should receive Communion kneeling. Fr. Z rants.

  1. Legisperitus says:

    The ball is in our court! Dare to kneel, even when no one else is doing it.

  2. Mike says:

    I think the profound bow, while in line to receive standing, has some problems. It’s awkward to bow when immediately in front of you is another person receiving Our Lord. Some profound bowers (?) look like they’re about to dive off a cliff. Some people stick out their behinds in a way that is anything but dignified–at least to me.

    I usually receive standing, on the tongue, before giving a bow of the head in recognition of the Lord.

    Of course, altar rails–used–would solve this quickly.

  3. Paul says:

    “No- this is all just talk.”

    Agreed. Let the Holy Father and loyal bishops issue the directions and let the loyal priests and laity obey. Will it make evident the split which took place 40+ years ago? Yes. Will it result in a much smaller, visible Church? Yes.

    Let the visible Church be smaller, yet true to Her Master. Then can we start rebuilding that which satan tried to destroy.

  4. flyfree432 says:

    I just started to kneel to receive communion for the first time in my 6 years as a Catholic at my NO parish where I work (about 2 weeks ago). I will never go back again despite the possible backlash from parishioners being an employee and the only one in the parish kneeling.

  5. Johnny Domer says:

    @flyfree432, God bless ya. I made “the switch” a few years ago, and I’m glad I did. I’ve never gotten any flack about it, aside from a few slightly-miffed looks from very few priests (and some very appreciative smiles/encouragement from others).

  6. DFWShook says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding was that “Communion in the hand” was originally allowed if that was currently the custom. Obviously, in the US atleast, this was never the custom. When in the US has bowing ever been a custom (in or outside the Church)? This bowing prior to receiving the Body of Christ in the hand is just an attempt to make this practice appear reverent. All it does is add more confusion to the reception – one usually bows to the person in front of them not to the Body of Christ.

    A friend who is a movie-buff once told me that a good film is one that you could watch without the sound and still follow the story and understand the message being conveyed through the film. If one were to do this with the NO Mass (watch it without sound or understanding) I’m afraid that the NO Mass with its “Communion in the hand”, the use of the “table altar”, the common place use of “Eucharistic Ministers” and the distribution of both species, the message being conveyed is that it is just a reenactment of the Last Supper and not the actual Sacrifice that it is. As one sitting in the pews, this is the problem of the NO Mass; its actions do not correspond or reflect the reality of the Mass.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    I cannot agree with you more, Father Z. However, in my church, built in 2004, there are no prie-dieus, no rails, and only a slippery stone floor. I, at my age and with a bad knee, would not be able to kneel without being helped up by someone. I would also hold up the line. The newer churches do not allow for such as myself. However, this can change and needs to. At least, one can at least take the Host on the tongue more and more.

  8. wmeyer says:

    At my uber-liberal parish, I bow. It would be problematic to genuflect — both from concerns of space, and because since my hips were replaced, getting down is easier then getting up. ;)

    I see quite a few bow (most here bow in preference to genuflection on entering a pew), but I see few cross themselves after receiving.

    And sadly, it is routine that we have 9 or 10 EMHCs with a congregation of about 800.

  9. Ezra says:

    I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.

    What a lovely idea! If only we could get someone with the power to do something about it on side…

    Oh.

  10. anilwang says:

    DFWShook, I don’t know the history, but I’d just like to point out, if you kneel, you are already genuflecting before the Lord. So if you stand, genuflecting will at least preserve one aspect of kneeling and is an act of piety. You don’t need permission to be more pious than is required. If you want to do a two full rosaries every day, that’s between you and God and one should not be rebuked “because they’re doing it wrong”.

    WRT to genuflecting behind someone who is receiving the Body of Christ, at my parish, when the priest says “this is my body” more than a few parishioners bow their heads while they are kneeling as the priest genuflects. There is a lot more than “one person” between the individual and the Body of Christ, but this is irrelevant. God knows the heart, distance has little meaning for God, and honor given is honor given.

  11. Martial Artist says:

    I thank the good Cardinal, and those of you who have written in support of kneeling, or genuflecting, for reception of the Host. I think I will look into acquiring a sturdy cane (or equivalent) so that I may genuflect to receive on the tongue, which latter I always do, and be able both to maintain my balance going down and up, and also to rise speedily after receiving so as not to “hold up” those behind me. I appreciate the encouragement. And I will continue to pray that my parish considers reintroducing the use of the altar rails, which is already done the several Domincan Rite Masses during the year.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  12. Maria says:

    How True, How Good, How Absolutely Correct.
    Our God bowed before us on His Sacred Cross.

    Is it too much to show Him a little Respect.

  13. RobertK says:

    Until it’s mandated, it’s just the opinion of a Cardinal, and that’s all. Words without actions. and many of the Churches being built today do not accommodate those who prefer to kneel. Example latest Church built in the “Archdiocese of Philadelphia”. Show where there are any altar rails. Maybe +Chaput will make changes, but I highly doubt it. Show me where Roman Catholics can kneel, in this church.

    http://www.olguadalupe.org/photobanner.htm

  14. MichaelJ says:

    anilwang,
    If the discussion were about school grades, and one of my sons offered explanations and excuses for his poor (but passing) grades similar to the ones you gave regarding kneeling before the Lord, he would be on restriction until he moved out.

  15. Father,

    Thanks for this post! I truly hope this means that soon my blog can go ‘off the air’. A teenager whom I know quiet well says she never quite knows how to explain herself when her friends ask her why she kneels. If she says ‘it’s more reverent’ she worries that her friends will think she is judging them. I told her the best thing is just to say: ‘the Holy Father wants us to’ and leave it at that.

    Now she can say ‘the Holy Father and the Prefect of the CDW want us to’. I’m convinced that if we could just get this one thing right, if everyone who is able, voluntarily, would kneel before the One who loves us and gave His Life for us-not because of a grand fiat-but out of gratitude and love, everything that plagues our Church would quickly evaporate.

    I got this idea from Jack Palance!
    http://kneelingcatholic.blogspot.com/search?q=palance

  16. TNCath says:

    The dear cardinal is certainly right. I truly believe that the two most destructive changes in liturgical practice after Vatican II were the change in liturgical posture from Mass ad orientem to Mass facing the people and receiving Holy Communion standing.

  17. Thanks be to God! And God bless him!

  18. anilwang says:

    MichaelJ, why the friendly fire?

    I kneel and I wish this were the norm in the US and Canada, but it’s not (yet), mostly due to poor catechesis (as a child I was never taught that kneeling or reception on the tongue was even an option and only observed that some elderly people seem to do it).

    I was merely pointing out that if you stand, genuflecting is a proper response whether or not mandated. Yes, standing and taking communion in the hand is not an appropriate response to the Eucharist, but given the poor catechesis, we should not scold people who are trying to be as faithful as they can to the knowledge they have been given.

  19. Geoffrey says:

    “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”

    I have always bowed. I am tempted to genuflect, but I fear I might hit the person behind me with my foot, etc. Is the “norm” in the dioceses of the USA to bow?

  20. DFWShook says:

    anilwang, why the friendly fire?

    I wasn’t scolding anyone in the pews for receiving “Communion in the hand” or standing when they received it. I was trying to point out that this and other “innovations” over the years have lessened reverence of the Eucharist and the understanding of the Mass among those in the pews. If there was any scolding on my part (and I assure you that you would know that I was scolding) it was aimed at those who spread this particular innovation.

  21. Praise God! I agree with Fr. Z that this would have been almost unthinkable ten years ago. Brick by brick…

    However, the sad thing is, should a Catholic take the good Cardinal’s words to heart, the GIRM for the United States actually calls for him to receive “proper catechesis on the reasons” why he should not (GIRM 160). Imagine that! Our current GIRM discourages faithful from obeying the wishes of the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments!

    Thank God for the new translation, and with it, the revised English GIRM.

  22. iudicame says:

    As the person in front of me receives The Host, I genuflect. It works well as one maintains one’s own space while posturing – no backwards movements to slip up the guy behind you. The Eucharistic minister also get the heads-up that you’ll very likely be receiving on the tongue. m

  23. Brian2 says:

    I hope that this is a trial balloon or sneak preview of some forthcoming legislation. If it is, then this will lead to great things. If not, not.

  24. JoAnna says:

    I always bow before receiving the Body and/or Blood. I was taught to do so in RCIA.

    Kneeling is a bit difficult for me right now — I’m 20 weeks pregnant and am usually carrying a toddler in my arms, and right now we just have a concrete floor (our church was just built 2 years ago, and we haven’t yet raised enough for floor tiles). But I do bow.

  25. Sorry to post again, but to my friends who bow before receiving, may it’s just me, but the gesture of bowing “in our culture” does not carry an unambigous meaning of reverence. the online dictionary says:

    Verb, 1. take a bow – acknowledge praise or accept credit;

    This is why I personally see bowing as an inadequate gesture ‘in our culture’ to express adoration. It just is way too ambiguous.

    No, we don’t ‘take a bow’, we ‘bow.’ NTL the gesture is the same.

  26. jfk03 says:

    The Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition is to receive communion while standing. The communicant receives the Holy Mysteries on a spoon, directly from the priest, who is holding a chalice in which both species are mixed. The communicant crosses one’s arms over one’s chest in the sign of the cross, then bows and touches the floor with the right hand before approaching the priest. The priest addresses the communicant by name and says the following: “The servant of God, [name], partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of [his/her] sins and life everlasting. Amen.” The communicant does not respond with an “Amen” as in the new Latin rite.

    The point is that the Church allows more than one way of administering the Holy Mysteries. (Children and infants are given communion in the Orthodox tradition; confirmation immediately follows Holy Baptism, unlike the Western church.)

    My problem with the way Communion is received in the Western church of today is that it seems so very casual and ho-hum. I agree that Latin rite catholics should receive the Body and Blood of the Lord on their knees because that was and is the traditional practice. I would follow that practice if I were to visit a Latin rite parish. Reverence should be the bottom line, whatever the tradition.

  27. RobertK says:

    Quote: “Thank God for the new translation, and with it, the revised English GIRM.”

    None of this will be worth anything if it not taught properly. And so far it doesn’t look good, for most in the Church. Example: USCCB videos don’t speak much on chant or ad-orientum or receiving on the tongue. Just everything the same as it was after the V2 council, but new translation. Check out how the Diocese of Orlando is preparing. http://www.orlandoliturgicalconference.org/
    “Ever New, Ever Ancient: Contemporary Music and Classic Texts

    Personally I will be looking at how the Ordinariates will worship. If there is any continuity, it may be with their Liturgy. The Book of Divine Worship, or whatever they decide on. Sorry for my ranting, but this is very important to me.

    — Wm. Glenn Osborne
    Many traditional classics of the Church are automatically tossed aside by contemporary music ensembles as too stodgy or boring. Come learn how classic texts and melodies written 50, 100, or even 1000 years ago can have new life with piano, guitar and/or percussion. “Guitar”

    Catechesis for Preparing Children for the New Translation of the Roman Missal
    — Sr. Linda Gaupin
    The Constitution on the Liturgy directs that full, conscious, and active participation is the aim to be considered before all else for the promotion of the liturgy [CSL, #14]. The occasion of the new translation of the Roman Missal challenges catechists to seek ways to fulfill this mandate in light of the “new words” at Mass. This workshop will focus on practical catechetical techniques for use with children to prepare them to fully participate at Mass and at the same time grow in their understanding of the Eucharistic liturgy. “In other words Teen Masses, and Childrens Masses will still go on. with Guitar, clapping, and Drums”.

  28. Gail F says:

    Geoffrey: The norm in the US is to make a slight bow, not a profound bow. There has been clarification about people being allowed to kneel, but as far as I know this part is as is:

    From GIRM 160: When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

    I would like the norm to be returned to kneeling, but I do not kneel. I have no problem with anyone doing so but I don’t.

  29. Joseph says:

    Why not just make it obligatory? Does the good Cardinal not have the authority?

  30. liongules says:

    Thanks to reading WDTPRS, I’ve starting going to confession after more than 25 years of not going, and when our pastor is giving communion I now take it on the tongue. I’m physically unable to knee on the floor, since we have no altar rail, so I just bow (after the person in front of me has moved on). If I receive from a communion minister I still receive in the hand, I’m not comfortable with receiving from them on the tongue.

  31. Andrew says:

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider a couple of years ago wrote a book entitled “Dominus Est” where he addovcated that those receiving Holy Communion, should do so on the tongue and in a kneeling posture.

    The impact of the book has been small, but there has been an impact, not the least of which is Cardinal Cazinarez-Llovera’s latest statement that communicants should in fact adopt those postures.

    I recently received the roll call from Bishop Schneider himself! All the dioceses of Kazakhstan have communion on the tongue only in addition to San Luis, Argentina (which had this before the book was written), Lima, Peru (Fr Z draws attention to Cardinal Cipriani above), and Bologna in Italy, headed by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who used to be John Paul’s moral theologian.

    We of course see communion on the tongue and kneeling in papal Masses now too, and also recently at Prince Albert of Monaco’s wedding.

    Slowly, the liturgical culture of the Church, is changing. All that is required from our perspective is patience.

  32. Andrew says:

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider a couple of years ago wrote a book entitled “Dominus Est” where he advocated that those receiving Holy Communion, should do so on the tongue and in a kneeling posture.

    The impact of the book has been small, but there has been an impact, not the least of which is Cardinal Cazinarez-Llovera’s latest statement that communicants should in fact adopt those postures.

    I recently received the roll call from Bishop Schneider himself! All the dioceses of Kazakhstan have communion on the tongue only in addition to San Luis, Argentina (which had this before the book was written), Lima, Peru (Fr Z draws attention to Cardinal Cipriani above), and Bologna in Italy, headed by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who used to be John Paul’s moral theologian.

    We of course see communion on the tongue and kneeling in papal Masses now too, and also recently at Prince Albert of Monaco’s wedding.

    Slowly, the liturgical culture of the Church, is changing. All that is required from our perspective is patience.

  33. americangirl says:

    Nothing else makes any sense to me then to kneel while receiving Our Lord. Unfortunately, that is not always possible especially when some of our bones are getting older then we would like to admit. However in the Spirit of Vatican II, why is kneeling not offered to those who choose to receive Our Lord in this manner? After all I have lived through some really gross in-fractures of the liturgy. Some novel ideas the liturgy committee was certain the Holy Spirit was prompting, such as : The washing of each other hands on Holy Thursday or how about lets all hold hands during the Our Father and clap when we like a selection performed by the rock band during Mass. Oh the list goes on and on, yet a simple request to have a prie dieu present for reception of Holy Communion is met with rejection and disdain. God Bless this Bishop who has the courage to speak up for the proper disposition one should be exhibiting when receiving the Lord. He is the King of the Universe. Our Lord and God he deserves nothing less then his people kneeling to receive the great gift of His Body and Blood! It is now time to return to the respect and reverence due to such an awesome God!

  34. Geoffrey says:

    “Why not just make it obligatory? Does the good Cardinal not have the authority?”

    He has whatever authority His Holiness the Pope gives him, who said in “Light of the World”:

    “I am not opposed in principle to Communion in the hand; I have both administered and received Communion in this way myself…

    “The idea behind my current practice of having people kneel to receive Communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the Real Presence with an exclamation point. One important reason is that there is a great danger of superficiality precisely in the kinds of Mass events we hold at Saint Peter’s, both in the Basilica and in the Square. I have heard of people who, after receiving Communion, stick the Host in their wallet to take home as a kind of souvenir…

    “In this context, where people think that everyone is just automatically supposed to receive Communion—everyone else is going up, so I will, too—I wanted to send a clear signal. I wanted it to be clear: Something quite special is going on here! He is here, the One before whom we fall on our knees! Pay attention!”

    No doubt the Holy Father does not mandate kneeling to receive Holy Communion for the same reason he does not mandate ‘ad orientem’ and more Latin and chant. Remember the last time something was mandated? I wasn’t born yet, but I am told people fled when the “Novus Ordo” was introduced. The Holy Father would prefer to change by example, as well as allow the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite influence the Ordinary Form.

  35. redselchie says:

    I always smile a little when I read about how we must renew our Catholic identity by going back to receiving communion on the tongue, while kneeling. I asked to be able to kneel to receive communion when I was confirmed into the Catholic Church, only to be told that “We don’t do that here.” My response was – “You mean to tell me that I could kneel to receive communion as a METHODIST, but I can’t as a CATHOLIC?” In the Methodist Church where I was raised, we had an altar rail, we all knelt for communion, and we all received on the tongue. It’s not “just” a Catholic identity thing, after all. Perhaps we should start a rumor that “ALL the Protestant Churches are kneeling and receiving on the tongue now,” and everyone will rush to catch up.

  36. Central Valley says:

    Diocese of Fresno please take note!!!

  37. Joeski5651 says:

    Granted I’m like #37 making a comment which most likely will not be read. In my parish there are a few( a family) that literally thrown themselves down on their kness to receive the Lord. There is no reguard for the person behind them and the dramatic action can leave you gapeing, Mind you, I have no problem with the way a person receives the Lord, however… well you have to see it to know wjhat I am speaking about. Without an altar rail or a predieu, kneeling is more of a problem for the congregation than one would expect/

  38. At the very least, I believe that a situation should be brought about to allow a Catholic to worship and adore in the manner Catholics have done for centuries without constantly apparently having to lay themselves open to charges of creating drama and disruption.

  39. Because the situation we have now many places is absurd. Nothing less than absurd.

  40. pjsandstrom says:

    Though I know well the history and practice concerning the Latin/Western Church for the reception of the Eucharist (Communion), I still wonder why the celebrating clergy normally receives in the ‘original way’ standing and taking or receiving the host in the hand and drinking from the cup directly — and the laity — as the Cardinal would like again — are to receive kneeling and with the host placed on the tongue. Are we not all equal members of the Body of the Christ? What is the profound meaning of this difference of physical attitude and gesture expressed in the reception of the Holy Eucharist (Communion in the Body of the Christ)?

  41. Augustin57 says:

    How hard would it be to bring back the altar railings? (Maybe in some “modernistic” churches it might be, but if there’s a will, there’s a way!)

  42. Glen M says:

    Every Catholic ought to know the history of Communion in the hand. They need to know why the early Church banned it, why some Protestants encorporated it, why the Dutch bishops re-introduced it in the 1960’s and how Archbishop Bernardin got it passed for the US. The results speak for themselves: we are in a modern crisis, only half of Catholics believe in the Real Presence, only one in five make their Sunday obligation.

    http://www.communion-in-the-hand.org

  43. “Are we not all equal members of the Body of the Christ?”

    Not in the liturgy. The celebrating priest is acting in persona Christi in completing the sacrifice. Whereas the rest of us “merely” share in its fruits when we receive Holy Communion.

    It might be mentioned that, at a TLM, all the other priests (including any bishops or cardinals who are present) kneel to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, just as do the laymen who are present.

  44. fxkelli says:

    There is definitely an an enhanced visible reverence, which is a wonderful thing. The problem is going from “could” to “ought”.

    A question though; if we’re emulating the last supper (are we?), why aren’t we doing it as it was done then?

  45. pjsandstrom says:

    I am not so sure that somehow the celebrating priest — even if acting ” in persona Christi” — during the Eucharistic Prayer and even perhaps in receiving the Resurrected Lord in the Eucharist (Communion in the Body of Christ) himself is any more or less a member of the Body of Christ than any member of the laity.
    In the Eastern Churches everyone habitually receives standing and in both species — though the laity now by intinction — [and the Melkites for one do give the Eucharistic species separately even to the laity].
    Is not the practice in the West mainly a question of ‘historical habit’? From well before IV Lateran till into the 20th century the laity did not receive Communion or only very rarely — a fact which produced the rulings of IV Lateran on Easter Communion and Confession and the growth of the practice of ‘spiritual communion’ and the starting of the ‘new Solemnity’ of Corpus Christi. We tend to forget that the rite for communion by the laity was inserted into the text of the Missal post Trent to provide for the possibility that some laity might want to go to Communion during the Mass celebration itself — that ceremony when used still has the ‘confiteors’ etc taken from the rite for Communion outside of Mass — and when the Extraordinary Form of Mass is used there seems to be some dispute as to whether those ‘confiteors’ etc from the ritual for Communion outside of Mass should be maintained.

  46. pfreddys says:

    I had no idea the head of the CDW was so fantastic! I read this in the wikipedia article on His Eminence: “On Summorum Pontificum and Tridentine MassIn regard to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, Cañizares Llovera has stated, “[The] intention of the Pope has not only been to satisfy the followers of Monsignor Lefevbre, nor to confine himself to respond to the just wishes of the faithful who feel attached…to the liturgical heritage represented by the Roman Rite, but also, and in a special way, to open the liturgical richness of the Church to all the faithful, thus making possible the discovery of the treasures of the liturgical patrimony of the Church to those who still do not know it…even if there were not a single ‘traditionalist’ whom to satisfy, this ‘discovery’ would have been enough to justify the provisions of the Pope.”
    I just have to say: wow…..simply, WOW!!!

  47. if we’re emulating the last supper (are we?), why aren’t we doing it as it was done then?

    Why? Might we now, after two thousand years of understanding developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, understand more about the Real Presence than the disciples did (whom we know from Scripture had difficulty comprehending what was involved or happening, even in the physical presence of Our Lord).

  48. “I am not so sure that somehow the celebrating priest — even if acting ” in persona Christi” — during the Eucharistic Prayer and even perhaps in receiving the Resurrected Lord in the Eucharist (Communion in the Body of Christ) himself is any more or less a member of the Body of Christ than any member of the laity.”

    Nor am I. But in the liturgy, the difference is one of function rather than status. The celebrating priest has a different function in Holy Mass than anyone else present (whether lay or clerical).

  49. robtbrown says:

    pjsandstrom,

    1. By Baptism a person is made a member of the Body of Christ. There is, however, a hierarchy within that membership. Those having been Confirmed are obviously in a higher state than those not yet Confirmed. The same is true for the priesthood, which, like Confirmation, imprints a character on the soul. Anyone who has been ordained a priest has been ontologically changed. It is not merely a matter of function.

    2. It is true that the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics receive Communion in both species while standing. But if we’re going to imitate those rites, we need to keep in mind that the Eucharist is celebrated behind the iconostasis, with the celebrant seldom being seen by the people. And so if the West wants to imitate the East, it would mean bringing back the Western version of the iconostasis, the Rood Screen.

    3. It is true that more frequent Communion has been encouraged, but it corresponds with a gradual decrease of asceticism.

  50. lucy says:

    Thanks be to God for Cardinal Canizares!! As we await our new bishop in Fresno, I am hopeful that he will repair the damages that have been done here. We need to restore proper respect for Our Lord and Savior.

  51. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Two thoughts: we are not really emulating the Last Supper, we are celebrating Catholic Mass, which is not a Passover seder, it is supposed to be first and foremost a re-representation of the supreme sacrifice that Christ made on Calvary.

    Jesus’ disciples “received under both kinds” because they were having a Passover seder, which is a meal. Imagine if one of them had refused one of the foods, saying, “No thank you, I have had enough of you for one sitting, I am full.” Not just rude but dumb. We would be today talking about Judas the one who betrayed Him and the other guy who was really unspeakably rude.

  52. pjsandstrom says:

    The priest (celebrating minister) does have a particular function for the community celebrating given him within the Sacrament of Holy Orders. But he still is a member of the Body of the Christ (cf Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12) and we baptized and confirmed are all equal in that status. I still find it at least a question why he should be ‘entitled’ somehow by his function to meet the Resurrected Lord in the Holy Eucharist in a different stance or way than any other faith-full Catholic. The only explanation that comes to mind is the one I already mentioned — ‘historical habit’ — one built up over a number of centuries of concentration on clerics and the clerical state (and private Masses) to the detriment of the education and evangelization and celebrations of the ordinary folks (the laity). The celebrating priest is not only a ‘minister of the Lord’ bringing down things from on high; he is also the minister/servant of the celebrating congregation (the whole Body of the Christ) present at this particular celebration of the Sacrifice of the Christ wherein we meet the Resurrected Lord and enter into Communion with Him — and the Holy Trinity entire.

  53. Banjo pickin girl says:

    The difference between a priest and laity is not simply one of function, there is an ontological change to the soul upon ordination that does not occur with baptism or confirmation.

  54. BJP: I suggested that lay and non-celebrating priests may receive different.y from celebrating priests because of difference in function in the liturgy, not because of difference in ontology. While of course priests are ontologically different from lay, I believe this particular difference is irrelevant to the manner in which one or the other receives communion. My understanding being, instead, that difference in function (in a particular Mass) is why the celebrating priest may receive one way and other priests (and bishops) another way.

  55. Midwest Girl says:

    While I love to receive kneeling and try to go to a parish with the altar rail in use whenever possible, I think it’s important to note the USCCB’s standing on this point.

    They request the “norm” in parishes is to receive standing, although INDIVIDUALS cannot be refused Communion because they kneel.

    While I personally prefer to kneel with an altar rail, I choose to follow the norms of the parish whose Mass I am attending in their “norm” to receive Communion – either kneeling or standing.

    Neither pastors or bishops have the right to “over rule” the USCCB’s norms by ENCOURAGING parishioners to kneel to receive Communion (see GIRM 390).

    While I respect those who INDIVIDUALLY choose to kneel to receive Communion, I also think there is a beauty in following the norms established by the USCCB of standing to receive Communion. As Catholics, we can’t just “pick and choose” the teachings we agree with. I see this as a form of obedience – sometimes I don’t agree with spiritual advice I get from a priest, but if I’m to grow in faith, I need to be obedient. Since even bishops are not allowed to change this by canon law, I choose to respect this.

    Both kneeling and standing are legitimate options for INDIVIDUALS, and if we wish to change the norms, we should go through the proper channels – our Bishops – to change the norms for the United States.

  56. Warren says:

    If we truly believe that the bread and wine have become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ the Lord, it should send us to our knees as we contemplate His inestimable gift of salvation. We kneel at the feet of the Master, washing His feet with our tears of joy at His Presence among us. Our posture reduces us to the height of the children present at Mass (Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.). After our Amen to the Lord, our tongue is silent so that the Word-Made-Flesh may dwell within us and transform our little word to more perfectly resemble Christ the perfect image of the Father. It should be difficult to rise again before the living God. Though, because He commands us to go and make disciples of all the nations, and He the One Who is sent dwells within us, we do rise to fulfill that mission in the Holy Spirit.

    It seems entirely fitting to kneel and receive on the tongue.

  57. fxkelli says:

    Henry Edwards says:

    We might have gained from the past 2000 years, but given the changes we’ve gone through in that time it’s hard to say who’s cornered the market in discernment. Besides, the disciples may not have understood, but Jesus was standing right there. It’s hard to argue we have a better resource now than they did then.

  58. Jason says:

    I’m with Warren in that I don’t understand all the back and forth. Is He there, or not?

    On the day of personal judgment as you find yourself before Him, are you just going to stand there or drop to your knees in adoration, fear, and trembling? Then why the different posture before His Eucharistic presence?

    And what I find even more puzzling than the fact that there is actually debate surrounding the issue if kneeling before Him is the notion that at some point the Church decided it was ok NOT to do that, such that it has become the norm.

    Thank God that I have regular availability of the TLM. May it one day be that way for all the faithful (as it used to be).

  59. APX says:

    @Catholicofthule
    I believe that a situation should be brought about to allow a Catholic to worship and adore in the manner Catholics have done for centuries without constantly apparently having to lay themselves open to charges of creating drama and disruption.

    Rest assured that, at least in Canada, no one can be criminally charged with disrupting a religious service by choosing to kneel to receive communion. After a group of people in Nova Scotia were charged with “wilfully doing an act that disturbed the order or solemnity of an assemblage of persons met for religious worship” because they chose to kneel for communion, it was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (Canada’s top court), and the charges were withdrawn. (I’m not making this up! http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1985/1985canlii60/1985canlii60.html)

    Anyway, since I recently started to kneel to receive communion at my uber liberal parish, things interestingly enough started getting slightly more reverent. The priest was starting to get lazy and casual in distributing communion, and by kneeling to receive it actually helps him. It forces him to slow down, and to think about what he’s doing. I will admit that there’s always that fear in me that I might not be able to get back up off the ground in the most dignified manner, but I haven’t had any issues yet. As far as I’m concerned, I’m supposed to show a sign of reverence before receiving, so I can’t see myself doing anything wrong.

  60. Ellen says:

    I go to the Fathers of Mercy chapel where there is an altar rail and I receive on the tongue. My parish has no altar rails, but I receive on the tongue anyway. I’d love to kneel, but I’m too old to get up quick enough. Maybe one day……

  61. Joan A. says:

    Let me say I do realize it’s courtesy and consideration that make SO MANY of us worry about “holding up the line,” “slowing down the line,” “making the priest wait while I get up,” etc. But hey, are we talking 3, maybe 5 seconds?!? Probably a grand total of five minutes to the entire distribution of Communion!

    We aren’t grabbing a burger at McDonald’s; speed is not the name of the game. Maybe slowing down that line would have an effect on both priest and parishioners of producing a more reverent approach as people slowly move forward. Sometimes I get the feeling at Communion like I’m about to hear, “Want fries with that?”

  62. Zavodny Margarett RBC says:

    I think the problem lies in the lack of catechesis. We need to hear it from the PULPIT!!! I do believe Holy Communion can be received reverently in the hand. I would like to see Communion rails again, or at the very least, a prie-dieu at the head of the line. I bow before I receive each species. I am slow and reverent when I am serving as an EMHC. People do need to be reminded, however, of the proper “motions” (for lack of a better term) when receiving the Eucharist. There is a huge group of people aside from those who have recently received First Holy Communion (2nd graders & new RCIA graduates) who need a “refresher” course, IMHO.

  63. The Cobbler says:

    “Neither pastors or bishops have the right to “over rule” the USCCB’s norms by ENCOURAGING parishioners to kneel to receive Communion (see GIRM 390).”
    Really? The conferences now bind their members to obedience as a substep in the hierarchy between Bishop or Archbishop and Papacy? I had been under the impression that what the USCCB puts forth was authoritative by virtue of its being the rule of the Bishops, who, by virtue of being Bishop under the Pope whether there’s a converence or not, could always decide to do things differently wherever Rome allows the Bishops to decide on such particulars in the first place.

    Also, I forget if it was Fr. Z or Dr. Peters who noted that the “norm” (which apparently isn’t real enough to be said without quotation marks) is not said with a single word of requirement or even recommendation, but simply as if it were a fact people “norm-ally” receive this way. Ambiguous? You betcha. That’s the almighty USCCB for ya. Give me a pastor, his Bishop and the Pope and I’ll be more than happy to leave the rest.

  64. The Cobbler says:

    “Besides, the disciples may not have understood, but Jesus was standing right there. It’s hard to argue we have a better resource now than they did then.”
    No it isn’t. He made quite the fuss over sending His Spirit to give us better understanding of Himself. And on top of that we still have him right here every Mass. Now, the Apostles certainly got a lot more from the Spirit than any of us — they were not merely infallible, as the Pope is from time to time (very specific times, actually), but inspired. But that was after Christ went and poured out His life for them and us. The first time, they spent half the meal arguing about which of them was most important — which does, of course, sound like quite a few of us when we choose to overlook that Christ poured out His life for us, but the difference is now His grace is poured forth so that we _can_ be better even if we aren’t always!

  65. APX: Rest assured that, at least in Canada, no one can be criminally charged with disrupting a religious service by choosing to kneel to receive communion.

    Well, that’s a relief! :-)

  66. MichaelJ says:

    The first time, they spent half the meal arguing about which of them was most important

    Cobbler, it appears that we have learned nothing.

  67. robtbrown says:

    Henry Edwards,

    The difference between the celebrant and the laity in function is a consequence of the ontological difference.

  68. robtbrown says:

    pjsandstrom says:
    29 July 2011 at 11:07 am

    The priest (celebrating minister) does have a particular function for the community celebrating given him within the Sacrament of Holy Orders. But he still is a member of the Body of the Christ (cf Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12) and we baptized and confirmed are all equal in that status.

    In so far as they’re all Baptised, they’re all equal. In so far as ordination causes an ontological change in the priest, they’re not all equal. See my comments above to you and Dr Edwards re the ontological difference.

  69. pjsandstrom says:

    There is still a problem at least in concerning how one views the ‘ontological difference’ between the deacon, priest, and bishop and the ‘ordinary folk’ (the laity). Every one of the Eastern Christian Churches (Catholic and Orthodox) has the same understanding of the Sacrament of Orders and ministry as the Latin/Western Church. Yet every one of these Churches — though they distinguish the men in Orders by their function(s) for the whole Church — yet do understand that before the Holy Trinity each one saves their soul as an ‘ordinary Christian’ — not by the public ministry one does for the Church. [There is the famous quote from St. John Chrysostom that the ‘road to Hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops.’] The idea that those in Holy Orders somehow by their ‘function’ in and for the whole Church are necessarily to be distinguished for their redemption and salvation from the rest of Christians is the heresy of the Donatists which was rejected by the Church (by among others Saint Augustine) back in the IV/V century. I again recall that it is important to ponder I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 wherein Saint Paul insists on our equality in the Body of the Christ — no matter what special vocation or function we are called to in that Body of the Christ.

  70. robtbrown says:

    pjsandstrom,

    1. Once again: The distinction of function follows from the ontological distinction. The particular Sacramental function of the priest follows from the ontological change effected by ordination. Further, there are priestly obligations (some directly Sacramental, some not) not had by the laity.

    2. All the Baptised are obligated to the same basic morality. Priests, however, are bound to a higher morality because of obligations to spiritual matters (cf. #3). For example, a laicus can say the Divine Office, but a priest is morally obligated to it. Ditto for mass attendance: It is good for a laicus to attend daily mass. A pastor, however, is morally obligated to provide the Eucharist for his flock. And for a priest living a contemplative life, e.g., Trappist or Carthusian, daily celebration of the Eucharist is considered intrinsic to that life. The same is also true for the accumulation of goods. Although a parish priest has no vow of poverty, nevertheless, he has a moral obligation to a simplicity of life that a laicus does not have: Consider the difference between a priest driving a new Ferrari and a member of the parish driving one.

    3. The quote from Chrysostom proves my point: That the road to hell is lined with miters is an example of corruptio optimi est pessima.

  71. Banjo pickin girl says:

    robt, thank you for explaining in detail what I was trying to get at. If we believe that priests and the laity are equal in all respects then what good is ordination at all and if we believed that then why not ordain everybody? It would all be a house of cards without our belief in this ontological change. Maybe people see or hear the word ontological and don’t really know what it means.

    It is this effect of ordination that is the reason for the belief, among others, that to say anything against a priest is a mortal sin (granted that has changed somewhat now given what has happened lately).

    Anyhoo, thank you.

  72. pjsandstrom says:

    There are lots of ‘moral obligations’ that books and people over the years have accumulated for deacons, priests, and bishops to have in regard to their ‘functions for the whole Church’ — but even the faithful fulfillment of these obligations does not make them holy necessarily. The ‘ontological change’ brought upon them by the Sacrament of Orders does not preserve them from fault and sin. That is where the Donatists were wrong in their ideas. The ‘clerical state’ and ‘clerical culture’ gives no special privileges leading to salvation before God or our fellow Christians — or our neighbors in general. By all reports the recently resigned Bishop of Bruges in Belgium did his ‘functioning as Bishop’ very faithfully and well for his diocese during 25 years — but the news reports and his own words have revealed that he did not live an ‘ideal Christian life’ before or even during those 25 years. He is doing his penance now as an individual Christian before the Holy Trinity, his own family, and his friends and neighbors. We should pray for him and all those in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

  73. robtbrown says:

    pjsandstrom says:

    There are lots of ‘moral obligations’ that books and people over the years have accumulated for deacons, priests, and bishops to have in regard to their ‘functions for the whole Church’ — but even the faithful fulfillment of these obligations does not make them holy necessarily.

    Are you saying that a priest or religious is not sanctified by fidelity to the Divine Office? If so, you are at odds with entire tradition not only of Monasticism but also of the entire Church.

    The ‘ontological change’ brought upon them by the Sacrament of Orders does not preserve them from fault and sin.

    I never said it did. In fact, I explicitly said it didn’t.

    Once again: See point #3: Corruptio optimi est pessima.

    That is where the Donatists were wrong in their ideas. The ‘clerical state’ and ‘clerical culture’ gives no special privileges leading to salvation before God or our fellow Christians — or our neighbors in general.

    It was St Augustine’s response against the Donatists that produced the theology of the Indelible Character in certain Sacraments, incl Holy Orders. This Sacramental Character obligates the recipient to a state of life more concerned with spiritual than material goods and gives him the grace to live such a life. If the priest does not fulfill that obligation toward spiritual goods, then he is more culpable than a laicus in a similar situation.

    Once again: Corruptio optimi est pessima.

    By all reports the recently resigned Bishop of Bruges in Belgium did his ‘functioning as Bishop’ very faithfully and well for his diocese during 25 years — but the news reports and his own words have revealed that he did not live an ‘ideal Christian life’ before or even during those 25 years.

    Why would you think that a bishop who had abused boys (or committed any sexual sin) was functioning faithfully? That is obviously not functioning faithfully.

    Once again: Corruptio optimi est pessima.

    He is doing his penance now as an individual Christian before the Holy Trinity, his own family, and his friends and neighbors.

    In fact, that is not only incorrect but is heresy. What the bishop of Bruges did is worse because he is in episcopal orders.

    Once again: Corruptio optimi est pessima.

    We should pray for him and all those in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

    Agree.

  74. pjsandstrom says:

    robtbrown

    The answer to most of these comments is that of the old Gershwin Song: “T’aint necessarily so.” Among other things – fidelity to the Divine Office, though it can and should be ‘formative’ of piety and lead to holiness’ — most of the monastic literature and commentaries on the Rules will say that there is no such guarantee. The Sacramental Character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is for basically ‘functional service’ to the Body of Christ. It does not of itself oblige one to a particular ‘way of life’ any different from any other faithful Christian — though ‘seminary piety and spirituality’ would tend to emphasize a tendency to understand it in that way. Do not get me wrong — all diocesan clergy should strive to live the ‘perfect Christian life’ (as should every other faithful Christian) but they are not obliged to differentiate or distinguish themselves in ‘poverty, chastity and obedience’ more than any other ordinary Christian (laity). On the other hand, religious order members vow to do just that.

    As to the situation of the resigned Bishop of Bruges, I can make no judgement. His reported offenses in fact did not effect his public work in his diocese, by all reports. His offenses are his personal doing. There are some reports that he is not only now ‘resigned’ but that he is to be ‘removed from the clerical state’ — but that is just ‘newspaper reports of rumors’. Your assertion of ‘heresy’ is too lightly made, and strictly speaking incorrect. The Latin adage you quote does not apply easily here.

    We should pray for the man who was the Bishop of Bruges and for all those in the Sacrament of Orders.

  75. robtbrown says:

    pjsandstrom wrote:

    The answer to most of these comments is that of the old Gershwin Song: “T’aint necessarily so.” Among other things – fidelity to the Divine Office, though it can and should be ‘formative’ of piety and lead to holiness’

    Incorrect. Everyone knows that St Benedict’s Rule says that the life concerns Ora et Labora, and that this Ora refers primarily to the Divine Office. If you ever visit Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, you will see his famous phrase Nihil praeponatur operi Dei (“Let nothing be preferred to ­the Work of God”, which Benedict says refers to the Divine Office).

    most of the monastic literature and commentaries on the Rules will say that there is no such guarantee.

    Anyone who says that is not familiar the Holy Rule. I refer you to Dom Paul Delatte’s commentary on the Rule and Mme Cécile Bruyère’s La vie spirituelle et l’oraison, d’après la Sainte Ecriture et la tradition monastique

    Is there a guarantee? Yes, because by definition fidelity to the Divine Office refers to both exterior and interior participation.

    The Sacramental Character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is for basically ‘functional service’ to the Body of Christ. It does not of itself oblige one to a particular ‘way of life’ any different from any other faithful Christian — though ‘seminary piety and spirituality’ would tend to emphasize a tendency to understand it in that way

    ­That opinion is opposed to the teaching of the Church, according to which the priest by virtue or ordination is ontologically conformed to Christ the Priest. That is why that act of the priest celebrating mass is the same as Christ offering His Suffering and Death. As I noted earlier, by virtue of ordination (also called consecration) the priest is morally obligated to certain spiritual goods.

    Ontologically considered, the Sacramental Character is a power. By definition, every power is in act in some way and in potency in another. That is why it is incorrect to reduce the Character to merely a function.

    Do not get me wrong — all diocesan clergy should strive to live the ‘perfect Christian life’ (as should every other faithful Christian) but they are not obliged to differentiate or distinguish themselves in ‘poverty, chastity and obedience’ more than any other ordinary Christian (laity). On the other hand, religious order members vow to do just that.

    It’s too bad you didn’t get the message to JPII before he promulgated Pastores Dabo Vobis because he contradicts you. He is explicit about the clerical obligation to the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Is that obligation the same as that of a religious who has taken vows? No, but it is certainly more extensive than that of a laicus.

    As to the situation of the resigned Bishop of Bruges, I can make no judgement.

    You raised the example—not me.

    His reported offenses in fact did not effect his public work in his diocese, by all reports. His offenses are his personal doing. There are some reports that he is not only now ‘resigned’ but that he is to be ‘removed from the clerical state’ — but that is just ‘newspaper reports of rumors’.

    Nonsense. By definition, his reported abused of a boy is in fact a public act.

    Were there some public acts that he performed well? Perhaps.

    Your assertion of ‘heresy’ is too lightly made, and strictly speaking incorrect.

    Also incorrect. It is heresy to deny the essence of the Sacramental Character of the priesthood

    The Latin adage you quote does not apply easily here.

    It can be applied easily by anyone who understands the nature of Holy Orders and a bit of Latin.

  76. pjsandstrom says:

    Enough said!