Sunday, January 24, 2010

My advice to the Pope's MC

I do not normally criticise the Vicar of Christ but ...

When I was in Rome I had lunch with a couple of priests who were going to see Mgr Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies. I was very tempted to get them to suggest that at Papal liturgies, at the very least, not only the Pope but everyone should distribute Holy Communion to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue. The Holy Father's present practice is absurd and nonsensical, he gives Holy Communion in this way and every other bishop, priest, deacon and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion around him gives the Lord to people standing and however the recipient wishes. The Pope's current practice seems to be about reverence for his distribution of Holy Communion rather than Holy Communion itself. As the Pope constantly reminds us, the liturgy is not about us, it is about God.

I must confess, I always feel angry at Christmas and Easter, often at funerals too, when so many people come to receive the Most Holy with apparently no outward understanding whatsoever. I feel on those occassions I am obliged to take part in a mass act of sacrilege and profanation. To be honest it scandalises me and shakes my faith.

In England and Wales, the rules of our bishops, ratified by the Holy See, are that people should form a queue and receive Holy Communion standing, there is no reference in the bishop's instructions to show the sign of reverence that is called for in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, indeed the GIRM doesn't identify what thisn of reverence is.

I know that some places have restored altar rails and some priests "invite" people to kneel, but this actually contrary to local law. Obviously the people may choose to receive in this way, the norm in the Universal Church is to receive kneeling and on the tongue, but in England and Wales the priest has no right to require them to do so.

My problem is that a lack of external reverence both indicates and causes a lack of interior reverence. I was pleased that the parents of our First Communion children asked, unprompted by me, for their children to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, despite their peers at our school receiving in the hand, the children prepared by us still receive with reverence on the tongue.

That really brings me to my main point, if we loose a sense of reverence for Holy Communion then we rob the Lord of His power to "... only say the word and my soul shall be healed".

Returning to Papal Liturgies, I pray that none of the huge jambourees happens near me, I dread the prospect of some priest, or possibly nowadays an EMHC, turning up on my front door asking me to take a polythene sack full of consecrated hosts. That happened during Pope John Paul's visit here.

Below is a link to a video of Bishop Schneider speaking about reverence in receiving Holy Communion from a post on Te Deum Laudamus.


PatterNoster said...

At Vatican litugies, those distributing the host are told that it must be given only on the tongue. This has been in place since at least Easter last year. I think it would be absolutely impractical to have everyone knell to receive at a Mass in S. Pietro or even in the Basilica.

Michael Petek said...

Probably the minimum necessary sign of reverence is the act of kneeling during the consecration.

Mark said...

Regarding the Holy Father, I think he's taking slow cautious steps. Once we are familiar with him and the prié-dieu, the next step will be at least the others to distribute on the tongue, if not kneeling.

georgem said...

It could be that the Pope is concentrating so deeply on administering the Sacrament reverently that he doesn’t notice what anyone else around him is doing. It could also be that he wants to lead by example rather than by edict. But there are those who will be determined not to “get it”.

I am sure that countless times pps have nudged parishioners towards more reverence by hints and example but some don’t “get it” either. Sometimes the message is a bit too subtle and it needs a mallet on the head. One wishes that it could be applied during the E&W bishops upcoming ad limina visit to Rome. I was once told that when the UK is mentioned the Pope rolls his eyes heavenwards and mutters “Aaah, the English”. But malleting is not the Pope’s way and it is not your way either.

The Pope is in the forefront of trying to dismantle the liturgical errors and irreverence which have grown up over the last 40 years. We are now into the third generation of the “spirit“ of V2. He knows that time is not on his side, and it may not be on yours either, to effect the change overnight, as it were. You may have to be content with standing in the ditch, laying the foundations.

Those who started to build the great cathedrals of the mediaeval age did not live to see their completion. But there they stand, a testament to faith and trust in the Divine purpose. So it is with restoring the sense of the numinous. It will come. Forty years in 2,000 is not so great. Christus vincit.

Matthew Hazell said...

Obviously the people may choose to receive in this way, the norm in the Universal Church is to receive kneeling and on the tongue, but in England and Wales the priest has no right to require them to do so.

You have more options than you think you do, Father.

Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 says that "[i]f there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful." Notitiae 35 is referenced, and that says that "[t]he celebrant priest, if there is a present danger of sacrilege, should not give the faithful communion in the hand, and he should make them aware of the reason for way of proceeding."

Given some of your previous posts (I think particularly of this one), such an option is legitimately open to you.

And there is always intinction, for which, of course, there is no tongue/hand option (Redemp. Sac. 103; see also GIRM 287). Our Bishops' Conference doesn't like it, it seems (Celebrating the Mass 211 makes that clear!), but intinction is not forbidden by them. Moreover, it cannot be: "the option of administering Communion by intinction always remains" (Redemp. Sac. 103).

Fr Ray Blake said...

PN. This is the first time I have heard this.

MP. The minimum is a heart free from sin.

MH. There will be so many squeals of protest, so many denunciations from other priests, letters flying around too.

Tom said...

I understand that the 2003 GIRM also insists on the use of a Communion Plate but that requirement too is omitted from the document of the Bishops' Conference. I no longer have a copy of that document but I remember reading it when it was published and thought it was rather selective in what it said - though it it gave one the impression of being an accurate reflection of the new GIRM. Agenda-driven, perhaps? Who knows.

When the GIRM came into effect, our then PP began the use of the Communion Plate. The practice was abandoned under his successor.

The Bones said...

You could insist on kneeling for the altar servers as it makes more sense. Then, people may follow suit, say if you had a rail.

me said...

'take a polythene sack full of consecrated hosts. That happened during Pope John Paul's visit here.'

I can't believe that, who the heck organised it. Unbelievable!

I always bow, just before receiving Holy Communion. I didn't make a decision to do that. It just automatically happens, to be frank.

Dominic Mary said...

'Dominus Est' is right; there can be nothing more important than ensuring reverence for the Most Holy - because there can BE nothing more important, more precious, than the Most Holy.

(That reverence used, of course, to be the hallmark of the Catholic . . . O Tempora, O Mores !)

Sorry if other priests squeal; but Matthew H has it right; the danger of profanation or sacrilege is sufficient ground for a Priest to insist on administration only onto the tongue - and as it would appear that in these degenerate days such danger is always present, so by extension you are always entitled so to insist - as several of the Fathers of the London Oratory invariably do, after the unfortunate episode there eighten months ago.

You are in the right about this, Father, and Our Lady loves you for it - so stick to your guns !

nickbris said...

This is exactly what we were taught before Confirmation.A few years later I went to Sea and lost track of most of the changes and Vatican 2 went right over my head,it seems to have changed beyond recognition.

Thank God we are gradually getting back to normal,to something we remember from our schooldays.

SPQRatae said...

Thank you for linking to this clip. I rarely watch videos of more than a couple of minutes on the internet, but this was very interesting.
I'm a child of Vatican II, but I have always instinctively received on the tongue, after Confession. Badly catechised, lukewarm faith, etc etc (like most children of Vatican II), I have nevertheless never touched the blessed eucharist with my hands in my whole life. And I'm now 40. Funny how I can instinctively 'get it' from the earliest age, while others persist in looking for (false) justifications for receiving in the hand.

fidelisjoff said...

Father, I have moved over time from communion on the tongue kneeling when I first received the Lord, to communion standing in the hand back to receivin on the tongue and finally kneeling on the tongue. The reason being the example of Poles in their devotion at Mass.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

...kneeling and on the tongue. The Holy Father's present practice is absurd and nonsensical, he gives Holy Communion in this way and every other bishop, priest, deacon and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion around him gives the Lord to people standing and however the recipient wishes.

All the Bridgittines stand & receive reverently on the is required of them. I asked the Mothers of 3 Communities in England & Wales who said it was their practice..I look a pratt dropping to my knees & receiving on the tongue in the middle of them..but what can we do?

Matthew Hazell said...

And we need these squeals of protest, letters, denunciations, etc., if only to start to get all this into the open.

Why should (e.g.) the threat/inconvenience of protest stop one from doing the right thing, or increasing devotion to Our Lord?

Fr Ray Blake said...

MH. Forgive me, I don't want to become an enclave of one standing out against the "customs" of E & W.
The liturgy itself is sigb of communion.
Using a Communion plate helps create a sense of reverence but I suspect it will be repressed under my successor.

Independent said...

"We do not presume to come to this Thy table trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great mercies, we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs from under Thy table" is not this the spirit in which to receive the Body of the Lord? or "Dominus non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum; sed tantum dic verbo sanibutur anima meum"? Are either congruent with standing as in a supermarket check-out queue?

Thank God for Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanus Coetibus which both point to a greater sense of the Divine Presence.

epsilon said...

When Benedict became Pope I saw him distribution Holy Communion on the tongue so I immediately took guidance by this and from then on have always motioned to take Communion this way. What I notice is that priests who say Mass in Latin place the Communion in such a beautiful and gentle way that it increases the sense of reverence. Other priests however in varying ways seem to show distain for the practice.

I wouldn't be surprised if some people would like to change to communion on the tongue but are shy of taking the lead on this and they would welcome the priest saying some words of encouragement maybe before the beginning of Mass and/or on the parish newsletter. Priests could also have a special mention of it on their parish website.

johnf said...

Father, there is extra confusion since E&W Bishops decided to do their bit to prevent the spread of swine flu by forbidding the Host to be given on the tongue.

At the same time, it was also forbidden to share the Chalice.

Now the latter restriction has been rescinded, there has been no announcement of allowing the receiving of the Host on the tongue.

To put a charitable gloss on this, it could be an oversight.

But even if so, it indicates the low priority that the Bishop puts on the distribution of communion on the tongue.

David Joyce said...

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta certainly had a thing about Holy Communion being received in the hand:

This was the practice that drove me to the traditional Latin Mass in the first place - a liturgy with its rubrics and customs that all make sense!

Anagnostis said...

Kneeling, communion plates, altar rails, all very good; useless in the absence of a Eucharistic fast.

The Apostolic tradition is a fast from midnight, minimum. Its restoration is unquestionably the absolute sine qua non of any permanent restoration of reverence.

olovemj said...

I gave up going to the conciliar church the Sunday the Parish Priest informed the congregation that they could only receive communion standing. I knelt down to receive Our Blessed Lord (on the tongue of course). After the PP had replaced the ciborium in the tabernacle, he went straight to the lectern and re-iterated that communion could only be received standing and he apologised to the congregation on behalf of the person who disobeyed his instruction and knelt down.

B Wright. said...

".....In England and Wales, the rules of our bishops, ratified by the Holy See, are that people should form a queue and receive Holy Communion standing,...."

The same thing happened in the USA where the American bishops came out with the same diktat. A number of people who were denied the right to receive while kneeling wrote to the Congregation for Divine Worship. The then Prefect, Cardinal Medina Estevez, wrote to the American bishops and informed them that he:

“ considers any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful, namely that of being assisted by their Pastors by means of the Sacraments (Codex Iuris Canonici, canon 213). In view of the law that "sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”(canon 843, 1), there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person's unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared. Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds. In fact, as His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has recently emphasized, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species”

What is crystal clear is that canon law takes precedence over whatever whim overtakes any bishop, whether acting individually or within a bishops' conference. In issuing their instruction on standing to receive holy Communion our bishops appear to have forgotten, or no longer listen, to words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? In the gospels the constantly recurring references to personal encounters with Jesus reveal that the people invariably fell to their knees in supplication before Him. The three wise men 'fell down to worship Jesus.' Even Jesus Himself, in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed to His Father fell on his face in prayer. What better example than this could we have?

What it needs, Father, is for all like-minded priests to take their courage in their hands, do what they know is right, and restore altar rails or place a couple of prie dieu at the edge of the sanctuary for those who wish to kneel. I am convinced that the great majority would adopt this practice in pretty short time.

Anonymous said...

Father I am very pleased you brought this up. I've watched Papal Masses and watched distribution of Holy Communion and what a fiasco it is really people going and coming in every direction reaching over others for the ALL HOLY. Something really needsd to be done about this. I purposely drive almost 50 miles in order to receive holy communion kneeling with everyone else. When I go to parishes where this is not done and see the lack of reverence, decorum and respect for the ALL HOLY I too am as you say, "I feel on those occassions I am obliged to take part in a mass act of sacrilege and profanation. To be honest it scandalises me and shakes my faith."

Thomasso said...

JohnF said "Father, there is extra confusion since E&W Bishops decided to do their bit to prevent the spread of swine flu by forbidding the Host to be given on the tongue".

While bishops certainly did say this, they were acting outisde of their canonical competance. No bishop can alter a universal law of their own initiative. The universal law is reception on the tongue; reception in the hand is an indult that can be rescinded any time the pope wishes to.

Unfortunately, many bishops think they are pope within their own dioceses and act outside their levels of competance.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Several parishes here in the metro Detroit area use intiction (Ordinary Form), which does not allow for reception in the Hand.

I don't know if this is universal or local.

Also, I did a series on kneeling at GIRM 160. In the US, some priests were refusing Communion to those who went to their knees, or admonished them for being disobedient.

That series can be found in the blogpost to which Fr. Ray linked to at the bottom of his post. It's in the combox about the 4th comment down - you can't miss the links. Go through them sequentially to see how this developed, and how many different times the Vatican had to intervene.

Bottom line: CDW was very clear to US bishops through many communiques that while we have a local norm for standing, people are free to kneel as it is the universal norm. If they are denied Communion on the basis that they are kneeling, the priest will be disciplined. The communications went on to say that such people MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED DISOBEDIENT (another maneuver that didn't work) if their sensibilities prompted them to kneel.

No one should kneel to make a point.

Jana said...

As a teenager I used to kneel down when there was my turn in the queue. Other girls did the same. We got accused of being "proud", of showing that we are "better" than the rest of the queue. So we stopped with kneeling. Last year, in age of 35, I went back to kneeling - tired of others telling me when I am proud and when not.
Kneeling as a gesture of pride is ridiculous, anyway.
There are many who would like to kneel, but they do not dare.

Richard said...

Are there really extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at Papal Masses. I know there can be a lot of people, but surely there are also a lot of priests?

gemoftheocean said...

Buzha moi, Batushko. Yesho raz?

You know where I stand regards guarding the Eucharist...(my proof is me resigning on the spot when instructed by the pastor to do the WRONG thing as far as letting people waltz off with the Eucharist)

But it STILL remains that it's been shown that evil people have recieved kneeling, on the tongue, from a priest and STILL walked away with it and took the Host out of their mouths to abuse it. So "fake" piety can be outwardly achieved, nor does someone forgetting to say "amen" or bow the head necessarily mean that the person is not interiorly preparded. [Perhaps they are in awe.)

I do agree re: people who casually one hand it -- and walk a few steps before they put the Host in their mouths (it's these people I always wanted to boot up the rear end the most.) A reminder from the priest at the end of a sermon would help, frankly, if these happens too often.

As far as standing/kneeling -- please try and tell me that Eastern rite people (who have ALWAYS stood "aright and in awe') don't have a sense of the mystery -

And I guess it will be "fun" for all the reverent, infirm to be refused at papal masses for NOT kneeling -- and quite young people can have bad knees. You know what "ass-u-ming" does, presumably.

the communion rail is rather a late invention, frankly. That said, I think people SHOULD be afforded the opportunity to kneel.

With the crush at St. PEter's Square etc. it's not out of line to ask people to recieve on the tongue, as it can be hard to have enough people watching to make sure the person consumes -- but even then don't bet the farm re: someone feigning reverence with evil intent. Those people one would be lucky to catch.

But you're right. IT's STUPID of the pope to demand HIS communicants recieve kneeling on the tongue while everyone else does "whatever." He should be consistent.

One of the bloggers has mentioned on his own blog somewhere that it seems where Eucharistic adoration is REGULARLY practised, a greater reverence is shown all around, no matter if the parish is a TLM parish or a NO parish.

Have the children in the parish school attend at least once a week if not more.

And frankly, the pope gives Communion to a relative handful - they have TIME to kneel. Such is not the case logistically for the huge mass of people in St. Peter's inside OR especially outside.

As for someone asking for a bag of Hosts, NO, NO, NO, a thousand times NO -- unless the person is known to you and you know them to be trustworth in the matter of distributing to the sick. Tell them to blow off.

Michael Clifton said...

OLIFEMJI You should write to your Bishop and inform him of what happened. what that priest did was an utter disgrace.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Richard, Yes, I understand it hqas happened outside of Rome.

Jacobi said...

I have "reverted" to receiving the Host on the tongue, in part due to the influence of occasionally attending an EF Mass, but also because I have long had reservations about handling the Host with my unconsecrated hands.

Having reached the stage in life of being able to kneel, but not readily get up, without the support of the altar rail, (long since gone in our parish), the compromise of a deep reverent bow before receiving on the tongue, (copied from a younger parishioner I might add), is my particular compromise - but it is a compromise!

On the positive side, reception of Communion on the tongue or on the hand, while kneeling at the altar rails (still in place), at my cathedral, is increasing.

This matter is of crucial importance. Liturgical practice both expresses belief, and can be used to change it. The adoption of Communion in the hand has
co-incided with a marked decline in belief in the Real Presence.

This must be reversed!

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

It's back to Holy Father. He needs to issue a clear rebuttal of the nonsense that the communion queue is a "solemn procession" that must not be interrupted by people stopping and kneeling. This whole "procession" concept is the loopy theologo-liturgical justification for keeping communicants on their feet instead of where they should be -- on their knees. Most of the top liturgical advisers in the Archdiocese where I live seem wedded to this (Schillebeekxian?) notion. Only Pope Benedict can break the spell. But it will take more than having a dedicated prie-dieu at papal Masses and hoping to preach by example. John Paul II spent a quarter of a century trying to preach by example!

Norah said...

The fact that , at this time, there are 33 comments testifies to the importance that the Real Presence and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has in the lives of some Catholics. I would like to know from where this knowledge of the importance came: from the family, from the pulpit, from Catholic schooling, other? For me, the knowledge came firstly from my orthodox Catholic schooling and as an adult from my reading.

My problem is that a lack of external reverence both indicates and causes a lack of interior reverence.

I dread the prospect of some priest, or possibly nowadays an EMHC, turning up on my front door asking me to take a polythene sack full of consecrated hosts. That happened during Pope John Paul's visit here.

Lack of catechesis from the pulpit and in the schools and seminaries produces the above. I have heard of consecrated hosts being conveyed ‘in an old biscuit tin’ in Papua New Guinea.

Of course it does. I have seen in my own parish that once an assistant priest told the readers and EMHCs not to genuflect as they approached the sanctuary (we have the tabernacle behind the altar) to read etc the number of parishioners who stopped genuflecting increased.

I must confess, I always feel angry at Christmas and Easter, often at funerals too, when so many people come to receive the Most Holy with apparently no outward understanding whatsoever.

Could you not have printed either in the newsletter, in a permanent notice in the vestibule, in funeral and marriage booklets (I know people often produce their own but could you not give them a prepared notice which must be included?), of provide catechesis from the pulpit at an appropriate time?

Sixupman said...

Over Christmas at The Holy Name Manchester, as a visitor, I was gratifed to be able to hear three Solemn sung Masses - Latin and vernacular balance. All Ad Orientem; everyone knelt for Communion; as far as I could ascertain the greater part received on the tongue. Daily Confessions here, but on Christmas Eve, three benches queueing facilitated by three clergy. On another visit weekday early morning and evening Masses celebrated at side altars Ad Orientem - with good attendance. TLM each Sunday afternoon. Catholicism alive and well there!

Basil said...

Surely kneeling to receive Holy Communion is precisely what traditional Anglicans who uses the Book of Common Prayer 1662 service? The rubric runs: 'all meekly kneeling'.

In the Orthodox and Oriental Churches the Holy Mysteries are received standing.

Jane said...


Yes, absolutely correct. I was a 'confirmed' middle of the road Anglican until I was fourteen. I'd neve heard of 'the Real Presence until receing instruction to be received into the Catholic Church, and yet, in that Anglican parish, a strict fast was kept from midnight until after the 8am Communion service. I'm 66 now, and speak of the time before the C. of E. virtually abandoned the BCP.

Dilly said...

Having been to an EF Mass on Friday, I would like to comment on the logistics.
1.Older people need discreet help (from ushers, or other communicants) to get up - especially if the rail is a makeshift arrangement with kneelers.
2.While a long altar rail allows older people to take their time to kneel and rise, without "getting in the way" of the next batch - a small altar rail serving about 8 people, tends to pressurise people into getting up and down too quickly, before the priest comes back along the line. This does worry older people, as they "don't like to be a nuisance". With legs everywhere, and all the comings and goings - there is a danger of tripping.

As a rather clumsy person with bad knees - I know whereof I speak.

Nothing insoluble (and nothing which is a problem in a daily EF with 10-25 people)- just stuff I have observed. I don't have a background in Elfin Safety - but I do have some training in time and motion study!

Richard Collins said...

A St James' Spanish Place the priest has always announced at the sermon that Holy Communion is only to be received on the tongue.
All kneel who can kneel and that is the right way.
I have suffered with priests who only wish to give to those standing and in the hand. The answer is to kneel regardless or go to an EF Mass.
We need to do it for Our Lord's sake!

Unknown said...

Which is why it is always good at Masses at Easter and Christmas to teach about the Blessed Sacrament, and indeed encourage Confession in Lent and Advent.

Basil said...


Of course there were Anglicans who objected to the practice of 'Evening Communion' - there sails were rather shredded by Pius XII in 1953.

How ironic that the BCP 1662 service is now much harder to find in England than a 1962 Mass.

Kind regards,

Chris said...

Whilst I completely respect the wishes of those Latin Rite Catholics who wish to kneel to receive Communion during the Divine Liturgy, it is false to say that kneeling is the only proper way of showing reverence.

Those of us who belong to the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church do not kneel; we stand to receive - as do all Eastern Rite Catholics (and our brethern in the Orthodox Churches). The idea of kneeling is as foreign and strange to us as the Latin Rite concept of a "private" Mass.

Those who say that Catholics should kneel imply that standing is disrespectful - and that is an insult to all of us Eastern Rite Catholics. I dare any of the previous posters to question the reverence we show. Sorry Father, but the arrogance of some in the Latin Rite is galling and makes my blood boil.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Kneeling is proper to the Latin Rite, I have re-read the comments, non imply oriental Christians show disrespect by not kneeling, on the contrary but the implication seems to be that we Latins do; it is our nature to kneel as it yours to stand! Neither is more worthy but I would suggest kneeling is proper to us Latins.

gemoftheocean said...

A-HEM, Father. Just so. The pope is pope of ALL Catholics, is he not? All Catholics are alledgedly [so the Romans" keep telling us.] part of the same church NONE being superior to the other. ERGO, Catholics should be allowed to do AS IS THEIR OWN CUSTOM.

The "Latin way" is NO BETTER, NO WORSE" than any other way.

Peter said...

Kneeling for the reception of communion is not an ancient practice of the West. Its origin is practical in that is easier to place a wafer on the communicant's tongue when they are kneeling in a row rather than standing.

Crux Fidelis said...

Morertben said: "The Apostolic tradition is a fast from midnight, minimum"

So, what about afternoon or evening masses? It's in nobody's interest to have people fainting all over the place.

Anagnostis said...


Put an end to them. Keeping them is not important, as restoring the fast is important. Getting rid of Apostolic traditions in order to maintain a recent novelty is completely back-to-front. Restore the fast AND the celebration of the Hours.

Father John Boyle said...

Dear Father Ray
I guess I would suggest that this pertains to Divine Law, so the reduction of the risk of profanation to the absolute minimum trumps other considerations. Since the faithful always have the right to receive kneeling and on the tongue, they should be both advised of this and every facility should be given for the exercise of that right. The only practical way is the communion rail, so that people have time to kneel, receive and rise without undue haste, and so that the elderly and infirm who wish may do so in safety. In my parish there is complete freedom for people to receive as the Church permits, although I have had occasion to let them know the reasons for my own preference, especially after chasing someone half way up the church to reclaim the Host he had secreted away - this was before I installed altar rails. Now most receive kneeling, and it's probably over 50% receive on the tongue, but with complete freedom and no comment from me. The atmosphere or reverence is remarkable. 1st Holy Communion is always administered on the tongue and then it's up to the parents to decide. Hope this helps. You already stand out from the other clergy, I think!

gemoftheocean said...

Moretben -- are you really sure you want to go there re: "Apostolic tradition" -- -because according to my new Testament, and hopefully, yours too....the FIRST Mass was at NIGHT -- you know that "last supper" thingie? A quick glance should remind anyone with a two second memory that Mass in the "apostolic tradition" was said IN THE EVENING, and during the context of the meal.

While it is true that the agape was eventually abandoned, particularly when you move away from the "house Masses" the early Christians had, the fast was not there from the beginning -- in fact the BEGINNING of the day was considered to be what we would call sundown of the night before!

Kind of hard to fast when you have the phrase "...while they were at supper...." And then you have JEsus saying things like "I have ardently desired to have this supper with you...."

So actually fasting and taking away Mass at night was an "innovation."

WHy pick on Mass in the evening? There are many people such as firefighters, doctors, service personnel who do NOT always have the luxury of having Sunday morning off.

Would you rather them not be able to attend Mass at all?

Paul Knight said...


The Eucharist never was celebrated as a carbon copy of the Last Supper. I happen to agree quite strongly with Moretben on this one. The current law is a joke, to say the least, and contrary to almost two thousand years of tradition, and has done more than anything else to encourage the people to receive the Holy Communion sacrilegiously.

George said...

Fr Tim over at Hermeneutic of Continuity has the same interview video with Bishop Schneider and I wrote a comment which with your permission Fr Ray you may wish to add to the already long list of good comments on this important blog topic:

'Thank you Fr Tim for bringing this to our attention (and Diane of Te Deum Laudamus) - and Fr Ray.

This is one of the most profound issues for our times. Bishop Shneider comes across so gently and eloquently yet with words that cut deep into the heart. His many wise words and what amounts to 'good spiritual counsel' should make anyone who receives Our Blessed Lord in their hands give up this practice immediately and on the next occassion fall to their knees (or stand if physical health prevents) and receive on the tongue.

The good Bishop recounts how in his youth he was fore-warned about going back to Germany and finding this practice widespread. He was so shocked to hear it. In his town there were four Catholic Churches and his family went to each in turn only to find that all four had adopted the new way!

On returning home after attending Holy Mass in the 4th he remembers his mother began to weep (this is about 3 minutes in to the video).

On hearing Bishop Shneider recalling this vivid memory from his youth, the image of Our Blessed Mother came to my mind with tears in her eyes - weeping for the 'lukewarmness', the lack of respect, reverence and love with which we receive her Son when we accept the most Holy Lord, King and Creator of the Universe in our hands with a cursory nod toward the altar, Our Blessed Lord Jesus, who died that agonising death on the cross for each and every single one of us that we should be saved to share eternal life with Him.

Is it too much to ask that we heed His words 'unless ye become like little children...', as Bishop Shneider puts it quite emphatically - that is the whole point, that we receive God as little, trusting children, trusting in Our Father to nourish us as babies and little ones trust their mothers and fathers to feed them.

It's that old 'sin' of course, pride! Humility and being of humble heart are words not found in the modern liberal dictionary.

gemoftheocean said...

Uh, George...I guess it's lucky the Bishop's mother didn't recieve Communion within the first 900 years or so of the Church...because that's how they received it. A quick check of Jungmann's will tell you that when you have a warning to women that they should wear GLOVES and not recieve Communion in the bare hands should give a slight clue. [Men were still permitted to recieve in the BARE HAND.]

Fr Ray Blake said...

Goto, I think it was a corporal covering the hand.

georgem said...

Re fasting, my memory may be playing tricks but the only evening Masses I can remember in my childhood were at Christmas and Easter.
For those Masses the requirement was that you abstain from food and drink, except for water, for a minimum of three hours before reception. I don't think this requirement was ever abrogated, was it? It certainly obtained when the Missa cum populo came in.
I can't remember a Saturday evening Mass at all - at least not in smaller parishes. We went in the morning with the first Mass starting at 6.30am and the last at midday. No-one fainted.
The big advantage of going to the earliest Mass on Easter Sunday morning was that, traditionally, there was no sermon/homily.

Father John Boyle said...

As a post-Vatican II priest, I cannot see the lack of a sermon on Easter Sunday as an "advantage". Surely, to have the priest exercise his teaching office is a plus, not a minus? Oh, but you were joking of course. Must work on my sense of humour. :) And the 3 hour fast has been abrogated by the new law which states that the fast for Holy Communion is one hour.

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