Okay… this is going to be hard.
From a seminarian:
I am currently a ___ year seminarian attending ___ .
antecently, a new ‘policy’ was adopted here: all must receive Holy Communion standing.
The Holy See has made it absolutely clear that we all have the right to receive the Blessed Sacrament kneeling and on the tongue.
Some of my brothers are afraid to kneel due to being labeled “traditionalist”… and eventual grounds for seminary dismissal.
I want to humbly ask, what is the best response to this situation?
Your best response?
Shut up. Smile. Stand for Communion.
And the next day?
Shut up. Smile. Stand for Communion … until you get ordained.
I am not going to get into the merits of standing or kneeling. That is irrelevant where you are. You have to live in the real world, the here and now.
Standing for Communion in seminary is not your battle.
You men could fight this, with your bishops or with the Congregation in Rome. You might… might… win the battle. The victory would be Pyrrhic.
You men are now experiencing a smidgen of what it was like for us in the 80’s, when a man could be expelled for kneeling, wearing black pants, having a statue of Mary in his room, not condoning homosexual sex, saying that women can’t be ordained. Receiving on the tongue? You’re toast.
As you contemplate your bitter lot, young padawan, consider that we were forbidden from using the word “priest”, to which we referred as “the P Word”. There were only “ministers”, ordained or non-ordained. Everyone’s a “minister”.
Ahhh… those were the days.
Many of our seminaries were entirely staffed by liberals, aging hippies, modernists, even deviants. They were able to hang on in sufficient numbers for a few decades. Also, there are now some staff around who weren’t around before, of another generation. But they are weak-willed, their identity is thin gruel, they go with what they perceive is prevailing trend. They are ambitious. Right now the prevailing trend is “eradicate tradition”.
Hunting season is open, my young friends, and you’re the prey.
It is time to toughen up. Get seriously tough, spiritually tough.
You need to develop a prayer life that will keep you calm in the face of injustice and profound stupidity. You will need that anyway in your lives as priests, especially in the times to come. You may as well learn now. Burnish your spiritual armor now.
Also, you must quietly – discreetly – read the right books, learn the “rite” stuff. Form strong friendships among your brethren and agree together to smile and shut up and get ordained. Find support among faithful priests who are also savvy, discreet, even who have bled in the past and who have their scars.
Finally, and this comes in part from a priest friend with whom I shared this, don’t become cynical. That’s the kiss of death for a (future) priest.
Rejoice that you are not being asked to deny the faith (as we were in the 80’s). If you were, there would be no choice but to stand and fight.
Use this as an occasion to grow in empathy. Resolve never to bully people into giving up the legitimate exercise of their freedom.
Meanwhile, use your God-given brains to figure out what is important in the big picture, the long run. If they tell you to stand, do it and shut up. Offer the whole mess to God as an act of reparation, of self-abnegation, of humility, and then don’t complain, even among your friends unless you are at least 300 miles from the seminary and under the influence of a good cigar and adult beverages in moderation.
The moderation queue is ON, but I doubt that I will let any comments through that aren’t expressions of support in prayer and wise advice from priests.