How should people receive Communion? Pope Benedict sets example… again

Pope Benedict has not only given us Summorum Pontificum to derestrict the Traditional pre-Conciliar Mass, not only given his own Diocese of Rome a personal parish, not only begun a movement to rethink ad orientem worship and the use of older forms of vestments. 

He is now drilling into the physical posture of our reception of Holy Communion.

Do you remember how on Corpuse Christi His Holiness distributed Holy Communion exclusively on the tongue to people kneeling

Here is how that looked:

Some people mildly suggested that this was an odd case, that it didn’t signal anything special. 

Some of us were more optimistic.

The Holy Father just concluded a brief Apostolic Visit to Brindisi, Italy, down toward the "heel" of the Italian "boot".

Here is an image of His Holiness distributing Holy Communion in Brindisi this weekend:

But wait… there’s more!

The next day in Santa Maria di Leuca:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mary Rose says:

    Hey…that’s near the hometown of my great-grandmother, who was from Bari!

    I think it’s awesome. Once again, another act of a loving Holy Father nudging his children toward proper respect and adoration for Our Lord.

  2. Tom S. says:

    Now that is a picture TRULY worth a thousand words!

    The pattern is getting harder and harder to miss, isn’t it? I personally love His Holiness’ way of operating. Let people know what you think, then kindly show them how it’s done. Wait a while, watch the reaction, and it will be easy to tell the sheep from the goats. Then you can deal with each in the appropriate fashion.

  3. GSP says:

    Prince of Peace in Greenville, SC is blessed to have Msgr. Brovery, a good and holy priest, as her pastor. Two weeks ago, he preached on the significance of kneeling. He later followed this with an insert in the weekly bulletin:

    Dear Friends in Christ:

    I want to thank all those who helped our parish celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with such devotion, awe, and reverence. The Corpus Christi Procession on May 22 was a beautiful act of devotion, love and adoration of Our Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Many thanks to the Guild of Saint Thomas Aquinas under the leadership of Nancy Mohlman, those who so beautifully decorated the Corpus Christi altars, our altar boys who serve with great reverence and those who provided the reception. Grazie mille to Alan Reed and our choir for the magnificent music at the Sunday morning Masses…indeed, the 9AM and 11AM Masses were celebrations filled with great rejoicing at the incredible gift of Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

    On Sunday I had mentioned in my sermon how our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI taught in his Corpus Christi homily that kneeling is one of the constitutive elements of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Our beloved Holy Father taught us:

    “To adore the God of Jesus Christ, who, out of love, became bread to be broken, is the most valid and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday as well as of today. To kneel in front of the Eucharist is a profession of freedom: whoever bows before Jesus cannot and should not prostrate himself before any earthly power, no matter how strong.

    We Christians only kneel before God, before the Most Blessed Sacrament, because we believe and know that the one true God is present, who created the world and loved man so much that for his sake, He gave His only begotten Son.

    We prostrate ourselves before God who was the first to kneel down to man, like the Good Samaritan, to help him and give him back life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet.

    To adore the Body of Christ means to believe that He is truly present in that piece of bread, Christ who gives sense to life…to the immense universe as to its littlest creature, to the entire human history as to the briefest of existence.

    Adoration is a prayer that prolongs Eucharistic celebration and communion, during which the soul continues to nourish itself: it feeds on love, on truth, on peace. It feeds on hope, because He before whom we bow, does not judge us, does not crush us, but frees and transforms us.”

    Currently in the United States it is the national norm to receive Holy Communion standing. However, the Holy See has made it very clear that this permission should not be interrupted as banning the traditional posture of kneeling during Holy Mass. The Holy See has also made it very clear that no one may refuse to administer Holy Communion to those who kneel in adoration to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. At all of the weekend Masses I had announced that since many parishioners kneel (or have expressed to me a desire to kneel) for Holy Communion that I had decided to reserve one of the front pews on the Nave for this purpose. It would serve as a “Communion Rail.”

    Well, I must say that the response to our single “communion rail” was much more positive and worked better than I had expected. Many expressed to me over the weekend that they indeed would prefer to receive kneeling but that they sit in the transepts…”Father, couldn’t there be front pews designated in the transepts to kneel in adoration to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist?” Given the requests and the numbers who chose to kneel at the one front pew this past weekend, I have decided to reserve both front pews in the Nave and one front pew in each of the transepts to facilitate this preference. It is also safer for a communicant to kneel at a railing than attempting to kneel on a hard floor. (I might also add that it is much easier to administer Holy Communion to a person kneeling at a “communion rail.”).

    The procedure to receive Holy Communion at Prince of Peace Catholic Church will be as follows:

    – If you wish to receive Holy Communion standing, please approach the altar as you have currently been doing. As you approach the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister, make the proscribed act of reverence (bow of the head, sign of the cross, or genuflection) before receiving the Sacrament.

    – If, however, you would prefer to kneel in adoration to receive Holy Communion, simply enter the designated front pews (marked with the gold bows), proceed to the end of the railing, kneel and Holy Communion will be brought to you. Kneeling is the most profound act of reverence one can make so there is no need to duplicate it by a “bow of the head” or some other gesture. Once you have received the Sacrament, please return to your pew so that another may take your place at the communion rail. There is no need to remain until all who are kneeling at the communion rail have received before departing.

    We will continue this practice through the summer months and then evaluate things in the fall.

    In Domino,

    Msgr. Steven L. Brovey, V. F.


  4. Bill Haley says:

    Is this the return of the paten too? Deo gratias!

  5. Le Renard says:

    I am reminded once again one of the primary reasons why I love this blog!

    Hopefully, we’ll finally recover our Catholic identity by recovering those very things which are indeed part of our Catholic Heritage!

    At long last, may the reign of protestant Catholicism in these here lands be banished once and for all!

  6. Lurker says:

    Since the release of the GIRM, wasn’t the issue settled?
    I’ve seen people receive from standing, to kneeling, to genuflecting and charismatically falling back in the Spirit..sometimes in one Mass.
    Nothing to see here folks. [Yah riiight…. nothing at all. Uh huh. – Fr. Z]

    Another worthy recipient of the WDTPRS Sour Grapes Award!

  7. Fabrizio says:

    Fr. Z,

    I think we have just found this week’s Sour Grapes Award with here. I was kinda worried. Monday almost gone and no one being happy of being unhappy in sight.

    But wait! There’s MORE! Post other light-spirited musings of this kind and you’ll get the original, framed Super-Sized Grapes of Wrath certificate for the same price!! WDTPRS exclusive!! Post now!! Help the Church in a constructive way! Spread the gloom!

  8. peretti says:

    Cindy Wooden over at USCAB-Pravda, aka USCCB Catholic News Service, assures me that “Receiving Eucharist kneeling may not be permanent change.” Well, that is the jist I took away from her May 23, 2008 article describing how communicants received the Holy Eucharist from Pope Benedict XVI on the feast of Corpus Christi this year. My impression from the article was “don’t worry, folks, this may not be a permanent change.” But then came Brindisi. DOH!!!

  9. Faith says:

    There is a concern that people who take Communion in the hand, will pocket the Host and sell it on eBay. (or other abuses) To eliminate the possibility of this happening, it would be advisable to require that when one receives from the Pope, it will always be on the tongue.
    How do you answer the obsessive compulsive sanitary who say if Communion is given on the tongue then the priest should be wearing rubber gloves? In this age of “aids” and other infectious diseases spread by body fluids, they worry about infectious salivary touching.

  10. James Drake III says:

    Nothing to see my foot! God bless Pope Benedict.

  11. James Drake III says:

    Yes, I’ve encountered the germ-a-phobes who
    say receiving on the tongue is unsanitary.
    Funny thing is, these clowns have no problem
    with everyone drinking from the same cup.

    Only time I encountered real consistency was
    in Lincoln where the Precious Blood was distributed
    in little cough medicine type cups to each communicant
    who then tossed them into a basket as he returned to
    his pew. What happened to them after that is anyone’s
    guess. But that was 6 years ago and no one there thought
    we’d have Pope Benedict!


  12. Habemus Papam says:

    Faith: the fact is you would need to ingest bucket-fulls of salivia to contract HIV. Tell the obsessives to do some serious research.

  13. Gerry says:

    So, just who started this receiving while standing atrocity?

  14. Skip Schmidt says:


    I doubt we’ll find that one out. But the bigger indictment
    is the fact that all the rest fell in line like Dominoes.


  15. Roger Van Der Windt says:

    None of this stuff–altars turned-railings torn down-felt banners etc– came
    to us top down. That’s why Benedict’s initiative is so promising.

    Awsome video there James. My belly will hurt for a while. It may be funny looking back, but it stunk to live thru!

  16. Maria Luisa Fatima Nebrida says:

    I feel happy that our Holy Father is promoting deep reverence in Holy Communion. My group has been doing this act of kneeling when receiving Our Lord Jesus since 1997. I have suggested this gesture to our Beloved President of the Philippines, Madam Gloria Arroyo and till now she receives Jesus kneeling down. We feel that people should bend their knees and show decency in their clothes when receiving the Holy Eucharist. It is our hope that this will be imposed worldwide. As people now do not have the sense of sin and the sense of GOD, they also have lost the sense of guilt and the sense of reverence to our Lord and Savior, we hope the Pope will promote this. Our Lady would be so honored if her son is revered and worshipped properly. I hope the Vatican will make a strict rule on his proper expression of love and respect to our Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Redeemer. Confession should also be propagated.

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