Notes about Holy Communion

I saw a very good post at Ann Barnhardt’s blog. HERE

It is in no way polemical or political. It is, however, both timely and perennial. It is something that needs refreshing in the minds and hearts of many and introduction to even more who may never have heard things expressed with this urgency about…

… Holy Communion.

In a prayer I wrote against the Wuhan Devil (linked on the top menu and HERE) while begging for relief from the disease I ask God to forgive the countless sacrilegious Communions people have made over the last decades.  Remember also the study that shows a huge decline in belief in the Church’s teaching of the Eucharist.  Put all that together with the COVID acceleration of the demographic sinkhole that was already opening up under the Church and, well, we’ve got trouble, my friends, trouble, I say trouble right here in 2020.

Have a look at Anne’s post.   In a nutshell, she reminds everyone, quite properly, that we should treat every Holy Communion like it was our first, our last, and our only Communion.  In fact, every Communion could be our last, because we are going to die and we do NOT know when.

We don’t know when.

Also, take some time to look at the image she posted.  It has excellent details that, once upon a time, would have been understood by all but, now, we are recovering.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    With new coronavirus cases increasing, I worry prohibitions on communion on the tongue likely to continue indefinitely..

  2. What a beautiful picture she posted.

  3. teomatteo says:

    I have thought how tragic it would be to creep to my last Mass before i enter hospice and there ‘get it’. I understand what the Holy Mass is, does, means and provides. My last mass…. after 87 years.

  4. Ryan says:

    I actually ran the numbers this morning and it turns out that roughly 4.5% of the US actually believe in transubstantiation…. Both heartbreaking and a sign of hope. Only 3% of the colonialist took up arms during the revolution…

  5. bohemian says:

    Similar to what I observed 40 years ago in the sacristy while my wife was waiting to be baptized. Msgr. Nugent, an old-school pastor (born in 1907) had a sign on the wall that read
    Priest of God
    Say this Mass as if it is your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.

  6. ajf1984 says:

    A prayer after Communion which I memorized years ago and which I recite after each reception contains the line, “If I am to die today, or suddenly at any time, I wish to receive this Holy Communion as my Viaticum…” Admittedly, I often pray this prayer in a rote manner, so thank you Father (and Ann) for a kick in the pants to really mean what I pray!

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Ryan: That’s the spirit.

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Ryan,

    How did you arrive at your conclusion? You are mixing populations, it seems. Although Pew Research has been wonky, reporting 1/3 of Catholics got the following version of the question correct:
    “Which best describes Catholic teaching about the bread and wine used for Communion:
    a. They actually become the body and blood of Jesus
    b. They are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus”

    When Latin Americans were asked the question in the form:

    % of Catholics who believe/do not believe that “in Mass, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ”

    they got the following results:

    Country %Believe %Do not believe
    Guatemala 93 5
    Honduras 93 6
    US Hispanics. 76 18

    “Catholic Beliefs About Holy Communion

    Catholics’ Belief in Transubstantiation

    The vast majority of Catholics in Latin America say that they believe in transubstantiation – that the bread and wine used during Holy Communion become the actual body and blood of Christ.

    In nearly every country surveyed, plus Puerto Rico, more than three-quarters of Catholics say they believe in transubstantiation.”

    Unless U. S. Catholics are so contaminated by Protestantism that they can’t tell their faith (symbol) from ours (actual) – which, sadly, is possible, thus, rendering Ecumenism to be a great problem – then one must think that if the question were asked in an outright manner, the percentage would have been higher.

    In any case, since Catholics make up 22% of the U. S., but not counting children below the age of reason skews the result a little, then even using the Pew results of 1/3, that still comes to 7.3% of U. S. citizens. This is really irrelevant, because 78% are not required to believe in this, since they are not Catholic. In Latin America, the figure is so high because they are Catholics. What did you expect in the U. S.? These figures mean nothing, other than this is a Protestant country.

    The Chicken

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    The Revolutionary War was fought by a whole people (or, mostly whole), so the 3% is not comparable to the 7.3% of Catholics who understand transubstantiation, since that comes from a sub-population.. Statistics only mean something when the populations are comparable. I know it sounds good, but there is a bit more to the story.

    The Chicken

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Ryan: That’s the spirit.

    Masked Chicken: You missed the point. Note “took up arms.”

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Um, “they actually become” is incorrect. The bread and wine are completely replaced by Christ’s Body and Blood, with only the appearance or accidents of the bread and wine. “They actually become” would be consubstantiation instead of transubstantiation, right?

    All the Pew polls on this subject have provided only incorrect answers. People obviously had trouble determining a “best answer,” because nothing was said in the wordings that we learned in school or at CCD. And I believe questions are given orally, which would make it even harder to determine whether one should pick one heresy or the other.

  12. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Masked Chicken,

    As a priest who has pastored nine parishes, I strongly agree with your premise of “transubstantiation surveys.” They simply do not fathom the catechetical and cultural differences in the U.S. Catholic population.

    A parish where little catechesis takes place in the home because the family’s priority is to be in pursuit of secular and materialistic activities, is not going to compare to a parish where passing on the Catholic faith is the priority at home.

    Having led ethnic parishes where Hispanic and Asian families emphasize the centrality of the Eucharist, I can also say that little of the Pew Research surveys applies to them. The immigrants involved in the charismatic movement are especially fervent in Eucharistic faith and devotion.

    And when you factor the difference between rural parishes and city parishes, you find stark differences also between the receptivity of the faithful to Catholic tradition. The city parishes are often more permeated with a secularist mentality. They seem to emphasize “sacred meals of fellowship” as opposed to the Sacrifice of Calvary made present on the altar.

    Finally, parishes that are led by devout pastors with Eucharistic devotion in both the liturgy and catechesis are not at all the same where the priest pushes “Catholicism lite.”

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Ryan: “Only 3% of the colonialist took up arms during the revolution…” Good point.

  14. TonyO says:

    “Only 3% of the colonialist took up arms during the revolution…”

    “took up arms” is a very limited subset of those who supported the revolution. There were also:
    (a) those who actively helped by obstruction and by reporting news (such as troop movements);
    (b) those who actively helped by taking care of the wounded and ill soldiers;
    (c) those who actively helped by sending supplies or donating money or making their homes available;
    (d) those who indirectly helped by voting in favor of pro-Revolutionary representatives and measures;
    (e) those who indirectly helped by words spoken in favor of the Revolution (such as newspaper editors and reporters, but also those who helped with words in private).

    The total must have been not less than 25%, but most likely was WELL above 50% of those old enough to act.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    TonyO: Logistics, logistics, logistics.

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