During my retreat the subject of Communion in the hand while standing came up. We were told that we need to instill reverence. Our Lord is so mistreated today.
One of the priests said there is only so much we – as priests can do. Were he a Bishop, he said, he would rescind the indult for Communion in the hand in his diocese.
May a bishop – of his own authority – rescind the indult?
Someone said he can’t, because it is “enshrined” in the GIRM. I disagree.
I’m sure many priests would like to know the answer to this question. It would be good for bishops to know also, and take action without fear of the political consequences.
Francis doesn’t want us to be careerists. Here is the opportunity for a bishop to show that he isn’t interested in moving up to a fancier post.
As laudable as your sentiment is, Reverend and Dear Father, this is beyond the authority of the diocesan bishop.
The General Instruction (in fact it is a General Institution, not and “instruction”) of the Roman Missal mandates (GIRM 390) that it’s up to the Conferences of Bishops to propose adaptations to the “gestures and posture of the faithful” and “the manner of receiving Holy Communion.” If these adaptations are given the recognitio of the Apostolic See (and that’s the key), then they become law for the territory of that Conference.
A bishop of a diocese could not “opt out” of the norms promulgated for the Conference without specific permission from the Holy See. The Church desires, as much as possible, to establish uniform liturgical norms within a country, lest the faithful be confused.
Aside: I would like someone to tell me what the faithful are certain about right now.
In any event, I suspect that now is not the most opportune time – indeed, the most prudent time – to ask for a dispensation from this norm.
That caution having been added, it is probably within diocesan bishop’s authority to issue particular law requiring that Holy Communion, when distributed under both species, be given by intinction. Intinction would oblige reception directly on the tongue only. This has been used by some priests to break the Communion in the hand stranglehold. Intinction could be a good way of “re-training” the faithful to receive in this fashion and to continue to do so even when both species are not distributed.
Another helpful tactic would be to mandate the use of patens by servers during the distribution of Holy Communion. Patens could also probably steer the faithful toward reception on the tongue.
There are three other things that could help get people back on their knees with folded hands. They are, in no special order:
- Catechisis, and
Constant preaching and teaching from the pulpit, in the bulletin, in parish talks, etc., what Holy Mass is, who Communion is (hint: it includes the King of Fearful Majesty), the importance of coherence between outward and interior participation, and the Four Last Things, could drive people to their knees again before their encounter with mystery.
Finally, there is the nuclear option (read: the best option).