Card. Cipriani again! Communion on the tongue, kneeling. “Our souls are at stake.”

Remember the story from 23 August about Cardinal Cipriani in Lima, Peru?

Cardinal Cipriani wants

  • a communion plate or paten to be used
  • reception on the tongue
  • kneeling

Now comes this 30 September from a reader in Peru:

Dear Father Z,
This is wonderful news, and yet it is a logical consequence: Holy Communion at the Cathedral of Lima, Perú, now is distributed only to the faithful kneeling.

For that purpose, two kneelers were put before the steps of the high altar at the moment of Communion, just like the Pope does at his Masses. This can be seen in the attached picture.
Here is the link.
And here is my translation of some important remarks the Cardinal made during his homily precisely about this:
"The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our christian lives. Our souls are at stake."

The whole piece from the Archdiocese of Lima:

At Sunday Mass on September 20, at the Cathedral Basilica of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani exhorted the faithful to adore Holy Eucharist at the more than 70 adoration chapels that were build throughout the Archdiocese of Lima on occasion of the Year of the Eucharist and the Continental Mission, thus making Perú’s capital city a "Eucharistic city".
‘Lima is a Eucharistic city with more than 70 adoration chapels, where the Lord is exposed, where you can visit Him, because He hears you and helps you. We must adore Him and let your heart be filled with joy and the beauty of his wisdom’ the Cardinal mentioned during his homily.
The Archbishop explained that the most solemn and recommended way of receiving Communion is kneeling and on the tongue. In this sense, the faithful who participated at Mass at the Cathedral received Communion under these indications.
‘The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our christian lives. Our souls are at stake.’ he mentioned.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JoeGarcia says:

    Cdl. Cipriani’s comment was even more forceful than the above translation indicates. The phrase “te juegas el alma” really means “you’re playing [as in gambling] with your soul.”


  2. Briangar21 says:

    faith without works…

  3. ejcmartin says:

    The other day a visiting priest at a NO announced at the end of the Mass the “evils” of Communion on the tongue to the spectre of swine flu. Our normal priest does not have a problem with it.

    The funny thing is that at a NO Mass just this morning I witnessed one of the Extraordinary Ministers dutifully cleanse her hands with santizer, immediately blew her nose afterwards, and then headed up to serve at the Altar.

  4. Briangar: faith without works…

    Please explain this right away.

  5. Briangar21 says:

    Have you ever been to Lima? It’s offensive that the Bishop of such a place would seemingly concern himself more on the posture of one receiving communion rather than the thousands who are dying outside of the cathedral’s doors. This, my friend, is why the so-called leftists are disillusioned with the Church. I don’t recall in Matthew 25 Jesus speaking about revering him in the Eucharist, but in the “least of these.” Faith without works. To paraphrase, What good is it to provide beautiful, reverential liturgies while the people in the pews are literally starving? Faith without works. Where on your blog are you extolling the virtue of service to the poor? So, you’ll have your “lavishly” correct liturgies while the poor are dying because you are more concerned with whether amices are worn or if a dog is at Mass.

  6. Sam Schmitt says:

    Matt. 26:11

  7. Sam Schmitt says:

    Have you ever been to [fill in diocese here]? It’s offensive that the Bishop of such a place would seemingly concern himself more with the feeding of the poor rather than the Lord of heaven and earth who is being offered on the altar inside of the cathedral’s doors. This, my friend, is why the so-called right-wingers are disillusioned with the Church. I don’t recall in I Corinthians 11 of Paul speaking about feeding the poor. Works without faith. To paraphrase, What good is it to serve the poor while the people in the pews are spiritually starving? Works without faith. Where on your blog are you extolling the virtue of beautiful, nourishing liturgies? So, you’ll have your “lavishly” prominent soup kitchens while the souls of the poor are dying because you are more concerned with feeding their bodies.

  8. ejcmartin says:

    Why just the other day my wife and I were going to organize a small fundraiser for St. Vincent de Paul, continue to assist a woman recently assaulted by her boyfriend, start a parish project to help the poor overseas, not to mention having Ed, the local empty bottle collector, over for dinner but now we can forget all about that because we care about our liturgy. As Briangar21 knows we can’t care about the “least” and about our “lavishly correct liturgies” too!

    I don’t know what I am going to do with all this spare time on my hands. ;)

  9. Athelstan says:

    Hello Briangar,

    1. Why is it mutually incompatible that one could work to make the liturgy more beautiful and reverent and also help the poor?

    2. For centuries, the Church was the chief salve and channel of charity for the poor of Latin America – all this while for all but the last few decades of that time, it also celebrated the traditional Gregorian rite. Clearly, tradition and charity are not incompatible.

    3. I Corinthians II can’t be taken as a prooftext in isolation. Many Protestants might reason in this way, but Catholics do not.

  10. Briangar21 says:

    Just for clarification, we’re talking James, not Paul, and not in isolation. Here it is from two weekends ago:

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
    if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
    Can that faith save him?
    If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
    and has no food for the day,
    and one of you says to them,
    “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
    but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
    what good is it?
    So also faith of itself,
    if it does not have works, is dead.

    Indeed someone might say,
    “You have faith and I have works.”
    Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
    and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

  11. Briangar: It is offensive that you think the readers here are so simple as to think that attending to how people receive Communion and and concern for the poor are mutually exclusive.

    I suggest an apology to the readers here.

  12. Briangar21 says:

    With all due respect, my comment was directed to you, not your readers.

  13. Athelstan says:

    I think we’re headed down the rabbit hole with “Briangar21.” This thread is at risk to become a debate on…well, I’m not sure what Briangar is waving the flag for, but it’s not really about mode of reception of the Eucharist. And Lord only knows what the Epistle of James has to do with any of this.

    Cardinal Cipriani is not a stranger to controversy, especially where the war between the Peruvian government and the Shining Path guerrilla movement is concerned – and its resulting deep cleavage in the Peruvian Church. But whatever else is true of him, it is hard to argue with Cardinal Cipriani’s views on reception of communion, which rightly target irreverence in reception with not just disbelief in the Real Presence, but other forms of dissent and drift from the faith – lethal threats to the flock he is sworn to protect.

    “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.” How we pray determines what we believe. And for the Church, that includes the complete package, not just the peace and social justice stuff that’s allowed too many liberation theology types in Peru (for all their understandable sympathy for the desperately poor of Peru) to become dupes of brutal Maoists who have no use at all for human rights. We can best help the poor by fostering the true faith.

    All of which I hope gets us back to the subject at hand.

  14. Briangar: Is that so? Best wishes to you.

  15. Inkstain says:

    Briangar21 wrote “Where on your blog are you extolling the virtue of service to the poor? So, you’ll have your “lavishly” correct liturgies while the poor are dying…”

    With all due respect to the poor and the proper concern for them, does it cost much for people to kneel down and open their mouths to reverence and receive our Lord?

  16. ALL: Brian won’t be joining us for a while.

  17. shoofoolatte says:

    Well, I’m a little nervous about Brian not joining us for awhile, because, like Brian, I have some different slants on things than most of the comments that I read. [People can argue their positions. Brian aimed a cheap shot at me and so he won’t be joining us for a while. Until he did that, he could speak his piece.]

    I sort of agree and disagree at the same time. I am very drawn toward the symbolism and power (dare I say that word?) of sacrament. There is something very sacred going on here that needs to be protected and celebrated, and though I don’t necessarily believe that we have to follow the letter of law, I think that is what Fr. Z is all about- protecting and celebrating sacrament.

    On the other hand, I am a passionate advocate for the poor, especially those who are imprisoned (talk about poor).

    Last week a man in Ohio survived an execution. He was a poor man who did not want to live anymore and he accepted his fate. (You can read about it on one of my blogs, if you are interested – ) … According to the reports, Mr. Broom didn’t expect special treatment, refusing a lavish “last meal”. He was given a final phone call, but he couldn’t reach his father. He was given extended visiting hours, but no one came. Mr. Broom must have thought he wasn’t meant to live, and he was ready to die: he helped the executioner, he sobbed.

    We play God when we go behind closed doors and decide if a fellow human being lives or dies. It seems to me that God has spoken, and Romell Broom is meant to live.

    It saddens me greatly that pro-life Catholics do not respond to situations like this.

    I understand that a blog (and a person) must focus their energy and attention, and cannot cover everything, even though it all goes together. But I haven’t seen any mention of Mr. Broom on any Catholic site, anywhere. [Well THIS entry is not about capital punishment in Ohio. Right?]

    That may have been part of Brian’s frustration.

  18. MichaelJ says:

    Perhaps Mr. Broom accepted his fate out of remorse because he was … guilty? Honestly, it frustrates me to no end when confronted with the accusation that in order to be Catholic one must believe in the abolishment of the death penalty.

    For thousands of years, Catholics understood that the just application of the death penalty was actually pro-life. Its only been in the past 20 years ago, that Catholics began to get all squishy.

  19. shoofoolatte says:

    MichaelJ – I’m absolutely sure that Romell Broom felt that he deserved to die. The question is, do we have the right to kill him?

  20. Sid says:

    Brian has forgotten that if we wish to have a better social order, we first must have better people.

    And if wish to have better people, we need grace.

    And if we wish grace, we need channels of grace.

    And if we wish channels of grace, we need (among other things) the sacraments, worthily received.

    Experience has taught that he who will not bend the knee to the Almighty likely has another god, one who bears a striking resemblance to himself. Such a soul is not likely to be a humanitarian.

  21. MrTipsNZ says:

    Fr Z. has done Briangar21 a great service. Now he/she has the time to go to Lima in person and serve the poor they so loudly “protested” for, instead of annoying us and wasting electrons. And also receive communion in the manner befitting the urgent surgery that soul needs. One can be charitable, but that doesn’t include tolerating poppycock. :-)

  22. NLucas says:


    I wouldn’t worry too much about Brian’s being booted. I’ve been reading your comments across the blog, and your posts certainly look like you’re approaching things with good will. In my experience, that will keep you here, regardless of which side of the issues from which your commenting. You also avoid the ad hominem, which I thank you for.

    Here’s my opinion–I frequent this blog because I have an interest in things liturgical and in things having to do with the restoration of Catholic identity in the wake of a huge upheaval in the Church over the past forty years. I also have a strong interest in opposing abortion. I really believe that the restoration of the Church’s liturgy to its proper focus, clearly teaching the Truth of the Catholic Faith, will go far to right so many injustices both in and out of the Church. Why? Because the Traditional Mass, empirically, fosters holiness and helps God to raise saints.

    If, as humans with a fallen nature, our holiness increases and the number of saints increases, then the Church will be better able to counter all sorts of human injustices, from abortion to poverty to cruelty in executions (whatever the tactics–outright elimination of the death penalty to mercy to the condemned).

    We focus on the liturgical because a number of us suffered through injustice as well at the hands of those who, often without thinking, treated those who dared question the latest liturgical tomfoolery as pariahs or fools. We left those situations convinced that we were being fed stones instead of bread, and that the center of our lives–the Holy Mass–was being systematically taken away from us. And, because of the endless innovation, we also were convinced that we were the victims of something profoundly anti-democratic–deprived of the same way of worshipping God that countless numbers of the dead in Christ had been allowed.

    That said, I personally enjoy your ability to point out some of our Trad foibles and get WDTPRS-ers to think through positions.

    In Christ,

  23. Sid says:

    The Holy in its aspect of tremendum is “absolute unapproachabilty”, daunting, uncanny. Its presence is “absolute overpoweringness”, a feeling of one’s nothingness in its presence, Abraham’s “I am but dust and ashes”. (Rudolf Otto’s categories)

    Or to make it simple: One doesn’t touch holy things, without purification (consecration) or some protection (gloves with sacred vessels). Even rabbinical students wash their hands before touching the Torah. And it is doubtful if the Holiest Thing may be touched at all, as Uzzah and St. Mary Magdaline found out (2nd Samuel 6:1-8 and Our Lord’s nolo me tangere).

    One doesn’t even draw near to holy things in holy places without purification: The High Priest’s bath on the Day of “Atonement”, and the stoup.

  24. shoofoolatte says:

    Thanks for that, NLucas. I agree with much of what you say, especially that the Mass fosters holiness and helps God to raise saints. Look at Dorothy Day! She never would have become the person that she is without her devotion to the sacraments and daily Mass.

  25. o.h. says:

    A word of support for both shoofoolatte and NLucas. As someone whose politics leans pretty far to the left, and who mourns the illiberal Democratic party position on abortion, I do get annoyed by many of this blog’s commenters (not Fr. Z!) who make a quick equation between “liberal” and “heterodox.” There is nothing about Catholic orthodoxy that requires conservatives to be right on the death penalty, or war in Iraq, or immigration, or gun control, or a single-payer health plan; and plenty in Catholic teaching for us lefties to lean on.

    But I despise the maneuver of “You have no concern for the poor; if you did, you wouldn’t be obsessed with liturgical orthopraxy.” When I was more heavily involved in death penalty abolition work, it was the most common move of the pro-death folks to say “You don’t care about the victims of crime; because I don’t hear you saying anything about what they’ve suffered.”

    This is a blog about Catholic liturgy. There are plenty of places on the internet I can go to discuss social justice and its causes. And when I do, I don’t assume the people talking about peace issues don’t care about receiving Jesus reverently in Communion, just because the subject isn’t ever discussed.

    Shoofoolatte, thanks for the Dorothy Day reference. In fact, it was photos of Day that finally convinced me to take up wearing a head covering at Mass. I couldn’t help noticing that she never looked particularly oppressed in hers.

  26. I am reminded, in this discussion, of the way Mother Theresa of Calcutta thought of Holy Communion.

    When asked what made her sad, she said: “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”

    Anyone want to criticize her position? After all, you can’t possibly be interested in how people receive Communion and also be interested in the poor.

  27. John654 says:

    I’m all for communion on the tounge kneeling. I’m all for taking care of the poor, especially if we are teaching them to fish and not just giving them a fish although there is a time and place for both.

    Not having been to Lima Peru I can’t speak to the physical nature of many of its residents. But living in the USA I can’t speak to our own countries spiritual poorness which I think is partially attributed to our lack of respect to our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist.

    I hope some day we have a Bishop in the United States require as much of his flock as the Cardinal in Lima. If that day ever does happen his diocease will flourish.

  28. John the Convert says:

    Powerful quotation from Mother Theresa, Fr Z, thanks. I’ve half a mind to buy a little ad space on the back of our parish bulletin and put it there.

  29. Frank H says:

    John, that is a great idea!

  30. irishgirl says:

    Thanks for booting Brian, Fr. Z-that was not nice of him to take a shot at you!

    Kudos to the Cardinal of Lima! He’s got SEVENTY Adoration chapels in his archdiocese? Wow…

  31. Jordanes says:

    Sid said: Brian has forgotten that if we wish to have a better social order, we first must have better people. And if wish to have better people, we need grace. And if we wish grace, we need channels of grace. And if we wish channels of grace, we need (among other things) the sacraments, worthily received.

    This reminds me of something I read recently in an old issue of our diocesan newspaper. Back in 1959, Giacomo Cardinal Lercaro, Archbishop of Bologna, visited Notre Dame, Ind., as principal speaker for the North American Liturgical Week. Although he was better known for his strong anti-Communist campaign and broad program of social action, Cardinal Lercaro was also a liturgical expert and enthusiast, one of the promoter of The Liturgical Review. At the conference in Notre Dame, Cardinal Lercaro emphasised that “true social awareness” is a result of participation in the liturgy. For Cardinal Lercaro, bad liturgy undercuts social awareness.

    (And note that he was talking about the pre-Vatican II liturgy . . . .)

    My other observation regarding Brian’s “Faith without works is dead” snark is that only a few days ago, Brian posted a comment here in which he denied the dogma of original sin, which is “de fide,” a matter of the Faith. Works without faith is as dead as faith without works.

  32. dimsum says:

    I grew up in a post-Vatican II environment, yet my preference has alway been to receive communion on the tongue. The few times when I have received on the hand has been when the priest has asked (ordered) me to extend my hand to receive communion.

    Bravo to Cardinal Cipriani. He makes me proud to be from Lima.

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