From ChurchPop comes a video and article about a priest who, clearly reacting to some act(s) of irreverence in regard to the Blessed Sacrament, had enough of the sacrilege. There is a video of him literally weeping and then explaining in Spanish that from now on Communion would be distributed on the tongue, while kneeling.
I have little doubt that this priest was immediately attacked by some parishioners who then probably complained to the chancery. I have little doubt that great pressure and even threats were applied to get him to change his mind and back down.
Different factors have to be balanced here.
First, as far as the Novus Ordo is concerned, there is an indult that people can ignore the perennial and still normative way to receive and opt to receive in the sub-optimal modernist way, on the hand. It’s a terrible law, but it’s the law.
That said, Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 says: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Dubium: Notitiae 35 (1999) pp. 160-161.)
As far as the first point is concerned, one way to deal with the indult is to switch some Masses from the Novus Ordo to the Traditional Latin Mass. Communion may not, must not, be distributed on the hand during the TLM or Communion outside of Mass using the older, traditional rite. Pastors can implement Summorum Pontificum in their parishes at will. Of course there should be some preparation and catechesis so that things go smoothly. Tradition should be revitalized with charity, unlike the brutality of despotic liberal innovation.
Another factor these days is media induced COVID-1984 paranoia. We have to start making more strong coffee for people to smell. Properly distributed, and this takes some care and instruction, Communion on the tongue is not going to spread the Wuhan Devil. That said, it remains a factor right now.
That Pew Research survey – which found that only about a third of self-identifying Catholics believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist – should haunt every one of us. It should haunt us all, since we are all in this together. We have a collective responsibility. All these years, parents – let me stress – PARENTS were responsible to teach their children our Faith. They didn’t. Those parents, however, picked up as if by an inexorable knock on effect, from their priests and bishops that the Eucharist, Communion, is hardly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather is that white thing we give you so you’ll feel good about yourself while we sing one of those self-affirming songs.
The Pew Survey should haunt us all but it should be as a daily waking nightmare for priests and bishops, lashing them to do something about it.
It should be like that glimpse of the T-Rex in the rear view mirror in Jurassic Park. Talk about disaster being closer than we think!
What to do?
- Preach about the Eucharist and other sacraments.
- Celebrate Holy Mass in a more reverent and traditional way (hint: Latin, chant, TLM)
- Turn our altars ad orientem
- Gently promote Communion on the tongue (hint: have altar boys with patens)
- Put in altar rails and promote their use (hint: put housling cloths on them).
- Eliminate lay ministers of Communion
Put these things into action in parishes and that Pew study will disappear in the rearview mirror.
Some people, Fathers, will be outraged that they can’t have the white thing in the way they want. They will bully you and/or leave for Father “Just call me Bruce” Hagalot’s parish over in Idealia, the “Engendering Togetherness Community of Welcome” and you will be rid of them and their mostly gray hair. Meanwhile, you’ll pick up a lot of new families, with children.
Yes, it is admittedly sad that parishes will become more specialized and distinguished by different styles, choices, etc. But that is reality. It has been going on for a long time now and the polarization is strong. People will drive across town or to another city for a parish that suits their tastes. Too bad that has to be the way it is, but that’s the way it is. People have cars and they are free to go where they want. There are no address checks at the doors of churches to see if you live within the parochial boundary. The geographical, territorial parish is still the norm, still on the books as it were, but in a lot of places those boundaries are fictions and eventually the law is going to catch up. As a matter of fact, it already has, in a way, a hint that parishes will have more fluid definitions. The 1983 Code of Canon Law from the onset describes a parish as a stable community associated with a particular church. Only some canons latter does the the issue of territories or personal parishes come up. I digress.
Things are changing.
But that T-Rex is still there and we had better figure something out fast.