ASK FATHER: Only half-way decent parish near us is still not good. What to do?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

When my wife and I attend Mass at our regular parish, we have always made it a point to receive Communion from the priest. Recently, when we did so, the priest stopped my wife, looked her in the eye, and in a stern voice loud enough for those around us to hear, said, “Go to the next available Eucharistic minister. You don’t have to come to me. Do you understand? Do you understand?[Oh dear.]

We attend Mass there weekly, and I’m sure he recognized us. We always stay after Mass and pray for a few minutes, so he could’ve easily talked with us about this after Mass. I’m not sure why he felt the need to make a minor scene about this at the front of the church.

We are not sure what to do at this point. We live in a diocese that has notoriously bad liturgy. The Mass at this parish seems to be the least worst of those around us, and I have doubt that there is a parish within an hour that has a priest who would agree to allow us to receive from him rather than a layman every week. We would attend the Latin Mass, but the nearest one is an SSPX Mass an hour away.

Can you please offer any thoughts about what we should do? I think it may not be worth the trouble to try to work this out with the priest who made the scene at the front of the church. If we can’t find a parish that’s any better than this one nearby, would it be rash to start attending the SSPX Mass or even move to another diocese out of interest for our spiritual well-being?

Regardless of one’s inclinations, theological or liturgical opinions, everyone can agree that what the priest did was bad form.  It’s improper to use the moment of the reception of Holy Communion as a weapon.  Let’s be clear: a different situation would be that of someone who is egregiously, manifestly sinning (e.g. attempting to receive Holy Communion whilst remaining in a notoriously sinful state) or causing grave scandal (attempting to receive Holy Communion whilst wearing a blasphemous t-shirt or rainbow sash).  In that case the priest is obliged to say something, though this is for him the third rail and it could bring the world down on his head.  It is sad that priests are crucified by bishops for following the Church’s teachings and Canon Law, but I digress.  The Communion rail (or conga line, as it sadly is in many churches) is not the place for this sort of antic on the part of the priest.

While it’s unlikely that you will change the pastor’s mind, it could still be helpful to talk to him face-to-face.  Obviously, you know more about his character and the fruitfulness or futility of such a conversation.

No one can be forced to receive Holy Communion from an extraordinary minister. For that matter, no one can be forced to receive from an ordinary minister!   No one can be forced to go to Communion at all.

The modern practice of row-by-row Communion leads not only to psycological pressure for those who shouldn’t go forward, but also to certain “traffic” pattern.  “Raus aus dieser Bank! Eile! Raus mit euch!”   There is a strong expectation that one stays in one’s line and receive in the proper order.  There’s nothing in the law mandating this.  In Italy, people get up and go when and if they desire.  That seems a little chaotic at first, but it works.  We should seriously talk about alleviating this row by row Communion thing, if not eliminating it, coupled with deeper preaching and catechesis about the proper disposition to receive.

If Father wants to attempt to enforce some silly parish “policy” as law, let him try.  If he makes a scene again, just know he’s the one who is looking petty and ridiculous, not you.

Moderation queue is ON.

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67 Responses to ASK FATHER: Only half-way decent parish near us is still not good. What to do?

  1. greenlight says:

    On a related topic, what about receiving on the tongue from an extraordinary minister if you can’t get in the priest’s line? A good way to show reverence? Don’t bother since it’s not the priest? The EMs often seem a bit flustered at having to do the unexpected and I worry that they might actually drop it.

  2. Back pew sitter says:

    Once, when at a Church I attended infrequently, I was loudly confronted by an EMHC after Mass (though still in the Church) who objected to the fact that, like several other people who were among the last to receive, I did not cross over to her side of the aisle to receive Holy Communion from her. I was told that she has the same authority as the priest to give Holy Communion, etc. etc. I said nothing in reply as I was so stunned by the onslaught. As it happens, I never receive from an EMHC. I did a few times, some years ago, when it was impossible to receive from the priest, but it just seems so wrong that I can no longer do so.

    Abolish EMHCs. Abolish Communion under both kinds. Abolish Communion in the hand. Abolish regimented row by row coralling. Bring back the altar rail and kneeling for Holy Communion. Please.

  3. michael de cupertino says:

    Priests sometimes use this sacred moment of Holy Communion to provide other “advice”, too — one told my sister to stand up when she attempted to receive kneeling; another told me in an admonishing tone to “say amen.” This left me flustered and in a poor state for proper thanksgiving. (In this latter case I technically violated the rubrics; attending Latin Masses often, I had sometimes forgotten the “Amen”.)

    either way, an inopportune time for a corrective!

  4. Elly says:

    How can one eliminate row by row communion? Even the churches without ushers seem to go row by row, at least from what I’ve seen. If people are in the habit of being orderly and waiting their turn, what steps could be taken to have them break that habit?

  5. Spade says:

    “Go to the next available Eucharistic minister. You don’t have to come to me. Do you understand? Do you understand?”

    Response: I don’t have to, but I want to and you’re just going to have to deal with it I guess.

  6. Akita says:

    Given the “soft” persecution experienced, and in light of the Holy Year of Mercy privileges given to the SSPX I would attend Mass one hour away at the SSPX parish. I would go confession there as long as I’m making the trip. I would support them monetarily.

    I would seek resolution with the diocesan priest as well.

  7. JohnRoss says:

    Finding a good Eastern Catholic parish would be a good alternative if a decent Roman rite parish isn’t nearby.

  8. jmvm says:

    Very jarring the first time I saw it, but the directors of the Opus Dei retreats often intentionally disrupt the row by row flow by “cutting” in line. It would be great if that was the job of the “ushers” in parishes to disrupt flow rather than enforcing it. :)

  9. rmichaelj says:

    For Consideration-

    One factor that may influence what you decide to do is if there are children involved. The Church recognizes that parents are the primary educators of children, and you are responsible for their upbringing in the faith. If you are reasonably certain that what is going on in your diocese is damaging to the formation of your child’s faith- then you have a greater responsibility to them before God than going to a local parish.

  10. Bender says:

    In my experience, the row-by-row practice is not a (parish) rule anywhere I have been, ushers backing down the aisle notwithstanding, but merely a social convention (which admittedly can solidify in rule-like expectations). That and the likelihood that people do not want to climb over others who have not yet gone up, or who have already gone up, and are kneeling in prayer (nor should they be expected to stop their prayer and get up to let the person pass).

  11. maryclare says:

    There is a film which I think you linked to “Jesus is on the floor” about how when one receives ‘communion in the hand’ particles of Our Lord’s body end up on the floor….my issue with communion in the hand is just that, but also that extraordinary ministers in my parish seem unable (?unwilling) to allow one to receive in the mouth, and that is why I invariably head for the Priest.
    No-one should be forced to receive from an EM as opposed to the Priest…

  12. TWF says:

    It always amazes me that liberal leaning clergy have infinite patience for all manner of sinners. They insist we show compassion and mercy and understanding to adulterers, heretics, etc. When faced with a faithful traditionalist Catholic? That patience magically vanishes and the iron hammer comes down. Even Rome seems to have this attitude at times (FFI vs LCWR). I was once at a Mass where a female usher patrolled behind the communion lines tapping people on the shoulder and gesturing to the left or right if this or that line was moving too slow…..

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. gracie says:

    If it were me, I’d call the priest’s bluff and continue going to him. Most bullies are cowards and I doubt he’ll pursue the matter any further once you do that.

  14. tzard says:

    One parish we attended disapproved of “changing lanes” – our solution was to sit in the section of the Church where father was distributing to (right foward). Until he decided to start moving around….
    Well, it worked for a while.

    The other solution takes longer – invite him to dinner, Bring him good beer and share it with him. Volunteer at the parish a lot. Eventually, he’ll see your going to him for communion as being because you’re his friend and there will most likely be no objection.

  15. To the correspondent who told this story: I’m really sorry that happened. I cringe when I see these things, shaking my head at what some people do. Maybe he was having a really bad day. He may regret what he did.

    So, I agree with our genial host, and suggest you talk to him. I realize that may be something you really don’t want to do, and I don’t blame you; I’m not saying you have to. However, if you are going to face him in the communion line, it may work to your advantage to face him and explain yourself.

    I would add this: if he makes a scene again, then I would suggest writing a polite letter, explaining your ardent desire to receive the Eucharist from a priest, and beg (I would use the word) him to allow it. Ask: “Father, I am sure I misunderstood, so I want to ask: were you forbidding me to come to you for holy communion, when I come to Mass at St. So-and-So Parish? I would be most grateful if you could give me a clear answer on this matter, thank you so much…” Work over the letter so there’s no trace of snark or threat or anything else, just humble entreaty.

    If tongue-lashings continue after that, I would not hesitate to write the bishop.

  16. TimG says:

    This reminds me of the time a local pastor pulled me aside after Mass and told me not to kneel while receiving Communion…that I was trying to draw attention to myself. And to top it off, that one shouldn’t break the homeowners (in this case, the pastor) rules. [homeowner = plantation owner?]

  17. asburyfox says:

    For the reader: the 1983 code of canon law states the your Sunday obligation is fulfilled by attending a valid Latin rite Mass. The SSPX celebrate valid Latin rite Masses. The law of the Church is very liberal and generous when it comes to attending Mass. The SSPX also has valid confessions this year and probably beyond. [maybe beyond… but there is, now, an end date: the end of the Year of Mercy.]

  18. Benedict Joseph says:

    The imperial clericalism demonstrated in this gross violation of common sense and simple respect is symptomatic of much that is wrong in the post-conciliar church. Any individual that would comport themselves in such a manner in this situation has at least a personality disorder. The need to exhibit ones power with public humiliation of another in front of an audience presents a seriously fractured psyche. Really, there is little leeway here.
    And this, in the age of “psychological” screening. It appears there have been more than a few vocation directors who find this sort of individual up to snuff.
    What are we living through?

  19. djc says:

    I usher at Sunday Mass and we have to count the number of people at each Mass. We do this by starting at the front and counting the people in the pews who don’t go up for communion while two ushers in the front of the church count those on either side who partake of the Eucharist. I then tally the numbers for Father.

    After reading this and thinking about the corralling problem I’ve made it a point to always stand three or four rows behind each pew so no one feels pressured to go to communion.

    I honestly never thought about possible corralling so I’m glad I check in here.

  20. Mar Chabel says:

    EMs haven’t liturgically purified their hands and their hands aren’t consecrated, which is a good enough reason. The priest has unlawfully denied you receive communion while in a state of grace. [We don’t know that. The questioner didn’t say that anyone was denied Communion.] He should be reminded of this with subsequent letters to the diocese to this effect. Why should devout Catholics be persecuted like this?

  21. momoften says:

    I recently had a “run in” with a local pastor. It was at the most possibly down moment that it could be, planning a funeral while I had other dramas unfolding at the same moment. I like this priest, I have done some really nice things for him~though I don’t go to his parish. He used other people to put me in my place if you want to call it that. I am sure he feels threatened by my traditional views. We had talked in the past and he was always nice to me and vice versa. But~as I see it, he had a
    bad human day. I think it is important to realize all of us have bad moments. The priest you encountered is afraid of tradition through bad formation. He was wrong to have done that to you.
    But mostly we need to pray for these priests. . . good and bad. I think talking to him if it is possible is a good thing, if he is receptive to talking. At least you will know where he stands. I pray this has
    a positive resolution. It is painful.

  22. Gabriel Syme says:

    TimG,

    I was trying to draw attention to myself.

    Our former Ordinary tried to deny us the mass because he said “there is no call for it”. Our current Ordinary describes the traditional mass as an “affectation” seeing it as ostentatious / attention-seeking.

    So, from a situation where supposedly no-one wanted the traditional mass, there are now people who do want it, but they are all pretentious attention-seekers. What a soap opera, eh?

    The Bishops will run out of excuses in the end.

  23. Gabriel Syme says:

    greenlight,

    what about receiving on the tongue from an extraordinary minister

    I (a man in his 30s) once received communion on the tongue from a uniformed school girl of about 13. I don’t know which of us wanted to die the most. Probably me, but then I did get to see the look on her face. She didn’t even say “Body of Christ”. Horrible.

    The parish had taken a rush of blood to the head, (either that or they had been on the LSD again), and decided that a group of uniformed school children would distribute communion one sunday. Horrible.

    I started going to the SSPX after that.

  24. slainewe says:

    I want to tell this couple to please stand their ground. It is a great blessing to receive His Majesty from His priest. In Heaven, when we look back on those receptions, we will not see Father Smith communicating us, but Christ Himself (to our joy or our shame). On the other hand, when we look back on receiving from EMHC Tom, Dick, or Harriet, we will see just that: receiving from Tom, Dick, or Harriet. (Although I like to believe an angel takes the Host from female EMHC’s and communicates the receiver in order to lessen this outrage against Our Lady.)

    Learn to ignore the stupid things people say, even priests. Chalk everything up to your need for humility, their having a bad day, and the devil hating you. If it comes to the point that Father refuses you, humbly return to your pew and offer it for your and his conversion. Ignore laymen with uncalled for advice; just smile pleasantly and thank them for their concern. (Including me. ;-) )

    Then pack up and move to a Traditional Latin Mass community. Bad worship thrives when good men support it.

  25. acardnal says:

    I drive 50 minutes each way every Sunday to attend the TLM/EF Mass. Just do it.

  26. Sword40 says:

    I kind of like what Gracie said. I would “politely” continue receiving on the tongue from the priest only. If that fails, I’d talk with him. If that fails, I’d write the Bishop.

  27. How many priests who pull this kind of stunt — which makes a political football out of the Eucharist — are the same ones who will not deny Communion to obstinate public sinners on the grounds that that would make a political football out of the Eucharist?

  28. pfreddys says:

    It is a shame that these fine people are being persecuted for taking that priest’s priesthood more seriously than apparently he does.

  29. Matt R says:

    This is the behavior which pushes people to the Byzantine liturgy (which is somewhat infuriating to the Byzantine clergy), the SSPX, or out of the church. Well, maybe not the latter in this case, but clerical rudeness leaves a deep wound.

    I would go to the SSPX for Mass & Confession (the latter until Nov. 20 inclusive or perhaps later), and I would find a parish where the priest always uses the form and has a screen for busier days and for after the Jubilee Year ends. I never thought I would advocate such a solution, but I’m not sure the fight is worth it. Shaking the dust off one’s shoes is legitimate. I would pray, however, for a diocesan or Ecclesia Dei TLM and for regularization of the Society.

  30. Matthew Gaul says:

    Perhaps find an Eastern Catholic church?

    Or attend your current parish for your Sunday obligation, but only commune at the most tolerable local daily Mass?

  31. Boniface says:

    Canon 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

  32. Matt R says:

    I would add that outside of the Northeast, big Midwestern cities, and the Rust Belt, you’re more likely to find the TLM than an Eastern Catholic parish. In some places, the reverse may well be true, but if the SSPX is an hour away, I can’t imagine an Eastern Catholic parish being closer.

  33. spock says:

    I would echo johnross’s point. Go to the Eastern Church if you can. In my experience, they are very welcoming. The challenge will be attenditng a liturgy at a time that you are able and at the same time, attending when the liturgy offered is one in which there is language that you and your kids can contend with at some level. If this is not practical, then go to sspx for Mass and Byzantine for confession. Usually, in my experience, people don’t want their parish priest to be their confessor anyway. Going to the Byzantine when you can will give your kids a much broader understanding do the Church.

  34. benedetta says:

    Perhaps it can be located somewhere in the mission statement for this particular Catholic community: * all are welcomed, except those deemed by prayer habits, gesture, or some other identifiable or arbitrary characteristic, as needful of public humiliation and shaming.

  35. Tantum Ergo says:

    Liberal bullies: They have no qualms about publicly humiliating people, but don’t you dare cross them.
    I’d make a effort to talk this over with the priest, but fully expect that a letter to the bishop would have to be drawn up following the meeting.

  36. PTK_70 says:

    In the absence of any indication that the questioner attends Mass at an Eastern Catholic parish, I should like to point out that he and his wife are in fact attending a Latin Mass, which is no doubt a Roman Rite Mass in the ordinary form.

    As for the confrontation between the priest and the woman, even if the reverend father had a legitimate bone to pick, would it not be more politic/chivalrous for him to take up the matter with the woman’s husband?

  37. Sonshine135 says:

    This always makes me roll my eyes. In a similar way to the dear writer, I was chastised by the Priest at a church that had “doors of mercy” and had a program to welcome back “lost Catholics”, because I kneeled to receive on the tongue. To make matters worse Father placed such a large host in my mouth I could not help but touch it. Father finally finished chastising me by saying, “We don’t kneel in this church, because a lot of old people can trip and fall and it is hazardous.” Eucharist as a weapon indeed! Pray for Priests like this that Christ have mercy on them.

  38. nine man morris says:

    I signed up to comment on this after reading for years …

    I was baptized and chrismated as a Byzantine Catholic because my father was. My mother was Roman Catholic. Because Byzantine churches used to be clustered around a few immigrant towns only, and because I went to Catholic University, I got married and spent most of my life in the Roman Catholic church. Because of my background, I prefer a traditional liturgy. My wife covers her head, and we both take communion on the tongue. St. John Chrysostom once said that an uncovered woman in the pews “scares away the angels,” so I can only imagine his reaction to an uncovered 14-year girl in streetwalker clothes tossing around the Body and Blood of our Lord like she’s playing frisbee golf. As such, we only will take communion from the priest. My wife probably feels more strongly than do I on this, since, as I lean towards SSPX, I figure one more sacrilege can probably not make a mathematically significant increment in degradation at this point.

    At the church we go to now, as someone said above, which is Cardinal-Burke-level conservative (which is not too bad in my opinion!), the priest always gives communion in the upper right quadrant. So there’s a little right quadrant with a handful of families age 20-50 with covered heads, beards, and communion on the tongue, like the “devout section”. Come to the right quadrant (pun intended) if your church allows, that is, if the priest isn’t dancing around. On the rare chance, like Christmas, when Catholics precipitate out of thin air apparently, and we can’t make it to the magic quadrant, we just skip communion, that is, don’t take it from an ECM. I figure it’s possibly a spiritual work of mercy to remind subtly so many receiving unworthy communions of the possibility that they may abstain. You didn’t say, but I find it highly doubtful the priest would say this, unless he were mentally ill, if you didn’t “cross over” to go to him. Maybe just avoid “crossing over” if possible. Maybe he thought you were making someone “feel bad,” which is the greatest sin in the Novus Ordo church apparently.

    But if this happened to my wife, I probably would have said, since I’m right behind my wife in the conga line always, “Cannon Law 910 says that the ordinary minister of holy Communion is a bishop, presbyter, or deacon. Canon Law 230 says that only in extraordinary circumstances of necessity can laypeople assist in the distribution of the Eucharistic. Those conditions, set out in Immensae Caritatis, are not even being met here. So yes, according to our Catholic Church, she does have to get it from you.” There’s a book Canon Law Made Easy that I used in case I got grief from Novus Ordo types for certain Orthodox tendencies. I would be happy to finish a scene that he started. After all, the interchange might be the most catechesis parishioners get all year!

    I don’t understand how hyper-liberal types justify a Catholic identity, which as everyone knows (ask a Protestant), depends on the idea that the Son of God started an actual church with seven sacraments of a precise form, a sacred liturgy, and unchanging dogmas. How can they not see that they are no longer Catholic when they talk about changing sacraments, liturgy or Church teachings? Protestantism is the belief that a strong internal feeling saves you, and that the worship, liturgy, and music can all be tweaked on an experimental basis to maximize that “effect”. Liberal or flexible Catholicism is not true Catholicism, and there are innumerable other Christians sects with this ecclesiology – a virtual supermarket of options! – available to them. Are they so mean and narrow-minded that they have to destroy someone else’s faith, culture, and church when there’s so much space in the world? That such bullies as this priest can lack charity so strikingly and be in denial of that shows a rather frightening level of cognitive dissonance.

  39. Nan says:

    I’m thankful for living in an area where people receive how they receive and nobody seems bent out of shape, even if everyone at the parish receives in the hand, if someone kneels, wears a veil or receives on the tongue. Conversely, I wore pants and had an uncovered head at the FSSP parish and God has yet to smite me for it.

  40. Fr Sean Coyle says:

    I’m really taken aback by comments above that indicate that in many parishes, I presume in the USA, row-by-row Communions are the norm. I remember being told in Ireland many years ago, whether in primary school or in the seminary I can’t recall, that this is forbidden by the Church. I have never encountered it here in the Philippines, in Ireland or in Britain. Years ago while supplying in a parish in the USA for a few weeks I caused consternation by insisting at the only Sunday Mass where they had row-by-row Communions – the Mass with the largest congregation – that it not be done.

    I don’t usually have EMHCs as I’m not in a parish. But during the pre-Christmas novena of pre-dawn Masses, the Misa de Gallo, we usually have two of them in the chapel where I celebrate Mass at the request of the parish priest. They themselves receive Holy Communion on the tongue. And in my experience only men are allowed to be EMHCs in the Philippines, the only exceptions being religious Sisters.

  41. I would highly recommend Fr Z’s advice in hard times he has constantly said to this family: BE THE MAQUIS!!!

  42. Geoffrey says:

    “On a related topic, what about receiving on the tongue from an extraordinary minister if you can’t get in the priest’s line? A good way to show reverence? Don’t bother since it’s not the priest? The EMs often seem a bit flustered at having to do the unexpected and I worry that they might actually drop it.”

    Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, regardless of whether the minister of Holy Communion is an ordinary minister or an extraordinary minister. They way we receive Him should be the same in call cases.

    As an instituted acolyte and therefore an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, I can speak from experience. The only thing that flusters ME is when a communicant does something improper, such as self-intinction or “grabbing” the Host from me. I rarely if ever have an issue with distributing to those receiving on the tongue (and that is how I myself receive). The only tricky part is when a person does not open their mouth wide enough or stick out their tongue at all, etc.

    Regarding “row-by-row Communion”: What is the alternative? I’ve seen this even at Masses in the Extraordinary Form. If people do not go up for Communion, they just remain in the pew (or cross their arms for a blessing, but that’s another can of worms).

  43. Absit invidia says:

    I was visiting a parish while on fire assignment and the 60 some year old priest did something similar after I genuflected before receiving exclaiming loudly “will you just BOW?!”

    I didn’t go back the following Sunday.

  44. Filipino Catholic says:

    Re Fr. Coyle, there are churches in the Philippines where the congregation receives communion row by row (presumably to avoid the chaos of frequent line-cutting seen often in the larger congregations), though I have only been to exactly one so far and it was an oratory meant for a more affluent sort of folk. That one had only men as EHMCs (some were in gray habits, which order is this?), but then I can barely recall having seen female EHMCs in my life.

  45. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Nine Man Morris,

    Welcome.

    You wrote:

    “But if this happened to my wife, I probably would have said, since I’m right behind my wife in the conga line always, “Cannon Law 910 says that the ordinary minister of holy Communion is a bishop, presbyter, or deacon. Canon Law 230 says that only in extraordinary circumstances of necessity can laypeople assist in the distribution of the Eucharistic. Those conditions, set out in Immensae Caritatis, are not even being met here. So yes, according to our Catholic Church, she does have to get it from you.” There’s a book Canon Law Made Easy that I used in case I got grief from Novus Ordo types for certain Orthodox tendencies. I would be happy to finish a scene that he started. After all, the interchange might be the most catechesis parishioners get all year!”

    One has to be careful about the appropriate conditions to give fraternal correction. Doing this in the Communion line during Mass is, while understandable due to the emotions raise, basically, uncharitable, because there is no time to really calmly reason with the priest, only a few people would hear and understand the exchange (certainly not those more than a few people behind you), and because there may be people behind you with health conditions, unknown to you, who are having a hard time standing in line. Arguing with the priest at this moment is not a case of necessity, as would be the case if the Blessed Sacrament were being desecrated.

    While I don’t like EMHC anymore than you, prudence can, sometimes, tolerate an evil for a short time, if the possibility of correction exists in the future due to the tolerance. In this case, tolerating the EMCH for that day would allow you to receive the Blessed Sacrament and talk to the priest in a calmer setting. Also, if you are new to a parish, ask why EMHC are bring used. There might be some condition that you do not know about.

    The priest in the anecdote was wrong and I hope the couple understood that this humiliation will bring them merit for their piety.

    The Chicken

  46. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    If the priest in question was the only celebrant, and no other priests were assisting with communion, then Father was the ONLY available “Eucharistic minister,” let alone the next available.

    Words matter.

  47. sparks1093 says:

    I underwent surgery on the 6th of June to have part of my lung removed to get rid of lung cancer. I was in the hospital for 5 days and received viaticum daily from 5 different EMHCs. I was thankful for this blessing. I am an EMHC in my parish and every now and then someone will cross over to receive from the priest. I do not mind. I do note that this the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord regardless of who gives it to you, an EMHC or the Holy Father himself.

  48. APX says:

    At the risk of getting lynch mobbed for what I’m about say, I will say two things (more or less).

    1. While not preferred or ideal, it is not sinful to receive communion from an EMHC. One will gain more merit through humble obedience to the priest’s request, even if he may be wrong.

    2. The SSPX doesn’t have permission from the Church to offer Mass. As such, objectively speaking, at this time, their Masses lack the merit the Church supplies. While one still receives our Lord, and may receive Actual grace, the SSPX’s Masses are still less meritorious than these other Masses that have the Church’s permission.

    Jesus didn’t come down from cross and neither should we. Suffer the abuses and offer up your suffering for the priests’ sanctification and in reparation for their sins…and go to confession.

  49. benedetta says:

    And yet when people receiving in the line rushing flip or pop the Eucharist towards their mouths and, miss, or the EMHC fumbles and drops, which one sees fairly regularly these days, with the Eucharist falling to the floor, there is never any public shaming but only awkward smiles…? And the same with the spilling of the poured Precious Blood from flagons, and the same from the neglect of purification….obviously when you get the big “I’m Father BadClericalist and I’m here to scold you about the manner in which you are receiving”, from Father Bad Clericalist, it’s all about how HE wants YOU to receive, from HIM, and never about how we all should receive Him.

  50. Kerry says:

    One wonders if the versus populum , putting the Priest at the focus of attention contributes to this silliness. Away from whom, or from “Whom” is attention being drawn ?

  51. I guess I’m just lucky to live in northern Virginia. Sometimes I believe the Almighty destined me to be here to preserve what faith I had, as Cincinnati was still ruled by the late then-Archbishop Bernardin (and may God have mercy on him). On Sundays I attend either a TLM (which does involve some travel, if under an hour), or Divine Liturgy at the Byzantine Rite parish where I’ve been registered for many years (and that’s a long story).

    Masses offered by the SSPX are valid, but not licit (that is, unlawful), and one cannot use an unlawful means for a lawful end. (Yes, I’ve read the letters from Rome, including the parts that aren’t cherry picked to prove a point.) That said, their confessions are both valid and licit in this Year of Mercy. The Society has very little in the way of a presence here, although if they ever were reconciled, I’d be tempted to join them (if only because I hear they really know how to party).

    Meanwhile, one-eighth of the parishes in the Arlington Diocese offer the TLM every Sunday (and less than one percent of the faithful attend, for what it’s worth). As for any experiences with the “ordinary form,” in all my travels, when I cannot avoid attending that form of the Mass, I focus on the Mass itself with the aid of a hand missal, and have never had a problem genuflecting and receiving Communion on the tongue.

    I don’t know where the madness comes from, except from a generation that isn’t getting any younger.

  52. WYMiriam says:

    Absit invidia: “I was visiting a parish while on fire assignment and the 60 some year old priest did something similar after I genuflected before receiving exclaiming loudly “will you just BOW?!””

    “Well, Father, I’m just doing what I read in the Bible: “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God that Jesus Christ is Lord” — so, begging your pardon and with no disrespect, how is that working for you?”

  53. aliceinstpaul says:

    I don’t wonder at all. Of course it does. How can young people learn profound reverence for the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ when they don’t see the priests acting like they believe it? When girls are serving at the altar? When ladies touch kids’ heads and give blessings in the communion line?

  54. Scotthayward says:

    I would suggest implementing Father’s recommendations of speaking to the pastor one-on-one. If nothing comes of that, perhaps writing to the chancery will improve things. If nothing comes from the chancery (which from what the reader said, sounds like would be the most probably case), then I would suggest finding an Eastern Catholic parish in the area.

    While I’m not a fan of treating our Eastern brethren as little places of refuge and my heart lies in the Latin Church, I have used this option since we have many Ukrainian Greek Catholic parishes in my little corner of the world.

    I found it to be an enriching experience. I was able to learn new devotionals (such as the Jesus Prayer and various molebyn’s), received excellent homilizing at their Divine Liturgies and gain a new appreciation for the “catholicity” of the Catholic Church.

    It also did not go unnoticed by the parish council at my Latin parish that a good number of the most devoted (and tithing) faithful were taking their time, talent and treasure (along with their prayers) to the beautiful, little and often-forgotten Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish across town.

  55. New Sister says:

    I would DEFINITELY go SSPX. (I often do when away from my diocese, Arlington). SSPX priests are learned and devoted to prayer, exactly what St Teresa of Avila said one’s confessor ought to be. And, as would naturally follow, they are gentlemen. Their parishes are weird-free zones. I would send my children to their schools. I am profoundly grateful that the shred of doubt I still had regarding validity of their Confessions is now gone, thanks to Pope Francis.

  56. New Sister says:

    P.S. a one-hour drive for a good parish is not only worth it, but the drive can be a treat, too. I feel more prepared for Holy Mass when it costs me something to get there. Pray the Rosary en route. Find a special breakfast place to take the kids afterward.

  57. ocsousn says:

    Thinking back to my childhood in the 1950’s I recall that people went to Holy Communion in spurts from all different direction. Yet, it was very orderly. Folks would begin to approach the altar rail as soon as the three bells of the of the priest’s “Domine, non sum dignus” were rung. When he turned around for the “Ecce Agnus Dei” the communion rail was already full and there was full row of people lined up behind those kneeling to take their places. Everyone standing would kneel in place for the “Ecce Anus Dei” and threefold response. Distribution of Holy Communion moved along reverently but expeditiously. Pre First Communion Children remained in the pews. Parents would tag team when necessary. Upon returning to the pew we would kneel and cover our faces with our hands to ward off distraction while making a thanksgiving. All remained kneeling until the priest went to the side of the altar for the second ablution. The strict Eucharistic Fast (nothing but water after midnight) was a big factor in limiting the number of communions, especially at Masses celebrated later in the morning.

    There was also the widespread abuse of distribution Communion without reference to the Mass being celebrated. One or more priests would go to the tabernacle immediately after the consecration (or, sometimes, from the beginning of Mass) and begin to distribute Communion. Meanwhile, the priest at the altar would continue with the Mass and not distribute Communion. This became more widespread when the fast was reduced to three hours. Thank God, this aberration has not, to my knowledge, reappeared.

    As a frequent celebrant of the Extraordinary Form I notice that these days folks at the EF tend to come up row by row, with all the children in tow and often expect a blessing when not receiving. They also wait until after the “Ecce Agnus Dei” before moving from their pews. This slows down the distribution of communion in larger churches, especially when several priests are distributing Holy Communion. In this, as in many other things, we have more of a mixture of the two forms than we realize – if mostly on the periphery. Folks either carry over post 1962 practices unwittingly or rebel against legitimate Extraordinary Form rubrics and customs that they consider “novus ordo”. For example, congregational singing of the responses and ordinary or standing at certain points during a sung or solemn Mass.

  58. Thomas Sweeney says:

    Perhaps I am just old and cranky, but we do seem to have lost a sense of the sacred. Touching consecrated vessels with unconsecrated hands was once a terrible sacrilege, now people handle the Holy Eucharist, in such a way, that we seem to lose the reverence for such an awesome sacrament. I strongly believe that only the priest should have the responsibility of distributing Holy Communion, there are other jobs for lay people, and one of the most important, is teaching what is in the catechism.

  59. APX says:

    SSPX priests are learned and devoted to prayer, exactly what St Teresa of Avila said one’s confessor ought to be.
    St. Teresa of Avila also had much to say about the virtue of obedience…

    Yes, the SSPX can validly give absolution for now until the end of the Year of Mercy in a few months. After that, as it is right now, everything will go back to how it was before, and people will have to go to different priests for confession. Let me just say, as someone who has lost their confessor recently, it’s really hard to simply go to another confessor. It’s going to be very difficult to give up going to the SSPX when they no longer can give valid absolution.

  60. Ann Malley says:

    “… It’s going to be very difficult to give up going to the SSPX when they no longer can give valid absolution.”

    The virtue of obedience is important, yes, but so too is true obedience. Perhaps now that there is some clarity with regard to Vatican II and what is “not” binding, there will be legitimate movement forward to regularize that which should be.

    [Interesting. However, if you are insinuating that one will still be able go to SSPX priests after the Year of Mercy for valid absolution (outside of danger of death), you are mistaken.]

  61. Ann Malley says:

    …at the risk of being gobsmacked, I’d posit that attending an SSPX mass for the purpose of desiring that Our Lord be given due reverence and that one’s children proper example, outside ignoring fill-in-the-blank, could very well gain one the additional merit for being unjustly persecuted.

    It is not necessarily more meritorious to suffer one’s family to be regularly scandalized. Grace builds upon nature. And whereas many adults may be able to rationalize the suffer-through-it, others have been called to do what needs must to seek out a reverent and valid mass. Thank God!

    While many may perceive only the mercy of granting a more regular authority for the Society to hear confessions, there is also the mercy of an increasingly honest discussion about Vatican II not being as binding in all her documents as those who would use them to persecute the faithful would have us believe. I suppose the real meaning of pastoral is coming to the table.

  62. Gaz says:

    So, I was travelling one weekend (a chess tournament) and headed to the local parish Church for Sunday Mass. Did what I normally did and sat near the middle so that I could receive Our Lord from the priest. The purist headed off to some far distant corner of the Church for Holy Communion so I headed up to one of the laity extraordinarily deputised for feeding the flock. Imagine my shock when she refused me Holy Communion when I presented my tongue (we don’t do that here). I returned to my pew.

  63. Gaz says:

    What to do? Hmmm. Pray Sunday Terce before Mass. Meditate upon “Hoc est solacium meum in afflictione mea, quod eloquium tuum largitur mighI vitam”. (My comfort in my affliction is that your promise gives me life).

  64. Gerhard says:

    Write to the Bishop? It is one of the greatest mysteries of the Church why there are so many dud Bishops. One just wants to scream. But, as GK Chesterton said, all this is unfolding before the awful eyes of Our Lady, whose picture continues to hang straight upon the ever more crooked wall.

  65. leftycbd says:

    Reading the comments here about row-by-row communion reminds me of my childhood parish in the 70s, where we approached as we pleased, with no usher-enforced row by row flow. I wondered why we did that as the row by row herding seemed much more ‘sane’, but I now suspect the way we did it then was just due to a holdover from he way things were before the reform.

  66. St-Polycarp says:

    The ushers at our parish have the annoying habit of shaking everybody’s hand as they exit their pews to go forward to receive communion. I always try to keep my hands together, look down, and not make eye contact. Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind shaking the hands of my fellow parishioners, and greeting them. But on our way to receive the Body and Blood of Christ is not the right time for that.

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