Is it required that a communicant say “Amen” in order to receive Holy Communion at the Novus Ordo?
I ask because we normally attend the Extraordinary Form, but last weekend we were traveling and attended the Novus Ordo. My 10-year-old went up the Communion and put out his tongue. The priest stopped, told him to say “Amen”, but my son did not hear/understand, and thought the priest was telling him to put out his hands to receive. This went back and forth a bit and my son finally realized what he was being told, in line, and said “Amen.” He was a little embarrassed, as the line was held up as he was being publicly corrected.
Obviously “Amen” is not said in the EF, and my son was not used to it. Should the priest have done this?
Hmmm. “Should the priest have done this?”
That’s one way to frame this. I’ll track back to that.
Let’s first look at the rubric in the new, corrected English translation of the Missale Romanum:
134. After this, he takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants. The Priest raises a host slightly and shows it to each of the communicants, saying:
The Body of Christ.
The communicant replies:
And receives Holy Communion.
Say the black and do the red, right?
Yes, the proper thing to do is to say “Amen” and then receive. And yes, that is not how we do it in the Extraordinary Form. Parents who take their kids to the Extraordinary Form exclusively might want to run through this with kids in case they do go to the Ordinary Form sometimes.
I think it is good to do this according to the book. One reason is that, if you don’t say anything during the Ordinary Form, you might give the priest (or … who knows who) the impression that you don’t know what to do because you aren’t a Catholic. In that case, the minister of Communion might hesitate to give you Communion.
Also, “Amen” is an entirely appropriate response, since it expresses belief in and consent to what has been said: “Corpus Christi“.
Should the priest have done what he did in that moment?
I can’t say for sure, but it seems to me that he had some justification. I am supposing that virtually all the people presenting themselves in his Communion line are Catholics who attend exclusively the Ordinary Form and, therefore, they know to say “Amen”…. unless they are not Catholic, as happens during weddings, funerals, etc. It strikes me that the priest was making sure the communicant in front of him was a Catholic who could receive.
So, should the priest have done what he did?
Let’s think about this.
10-year-olds who have only been to the Extraordinary Form shouldn’t be expected to be psychic or have infused knowledge about what to do at the Ordinary Form any more than 10-year-olds who have never been to the Extraordinary Form should know when brought for the first time. And the priest doesn’t usually have psychic powers about 10-year-olds who only go to the Extraordinary Form. Perhaps writing on their foreheads would give him clue.
Parents must see to it that their children know how to receive the sacraments to which they are admitted. This includes both sides of the Roman Rite.
It also includes knowing a regular formula for how to make a good confession.
Parents should make sure that their children know what to do so that they are not uncertain or overly nervous or put off so that they next time they might not want to do it.