Wednesday, August 04, 2010

England and Wales has a Todd Brown

I had an email and a phone call asking about the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, apparently one of our bishops - let's not mention names - refused to give some servers communion in this way. Rather than assuming he deliberately refused the communicants their right to receive in this way let us be charitable and presume he was confused.
Of course he was wrong. There was similar event with Bishop Todd Brown of Orange County, Florida in 2006 which was caught on video. He forced a woman to stand.
Whilst it is true that the normal way of receiving Holy Communion in England and Wales is standing, having formed a queue; this was approved by the CDW for our Episcopal Conference some years ago, and of course everyone has the right to receive Holy Communion in the hand in our Bishops' jurisdiction. Nevertheless the faithful, even on the sanctuary, have the right to receive Holy Communion kneeling if they wish, although this is not the norm and they also have the right to receive on the tongue, which is the universaal norm, throughout the Church.

Redemptionis Sacramentum says:
91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

It seems very churlish that a particular bishop might contradict the practice and teaching of the Bishop of Rome.


Paul Mallinder said...

I also had the same situation where I was told to stand up to receive Holy Communion a few years ago (not in the U.K.). This awful situation for me has played many games within my soul.

universal doctor said...

The more I see (and hear) about reception in the hand, the worse I think it is. Certainly amongst children it encourages the notion that the sacred species is just a piece of bread/ sweet/ whatever else they usually put in their mouths. And even when observing adults one can perceive a lack of focus and reverence- eyes all over the place, turning aside from the priest before consuming etc...
The mystery of Christ's real presence will always be beyond our intellect to grasp- it remains a mystery, the most beautiful, sublime mystery. This is the sense which we should be inculcating in our children (and forming adults correctly also). When we lose the sense of mystery, of reverence and submission to what is utterly beyond us, then indeed there seems little difference between the sacred species and a piece of bread.
BTW- some may have spotted the debacle recently over the canadian Anglican priestess who gave the "wafer" to a dog...

Jacobi said...

Thank you for that clarification, Father.

Does this apply equally to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, or is there then a requirement to receive kneeling, assuming no disability, and on the tongue?

Volpius Leonius said...

Just another sign that we have Bishops who are in schism.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think it is a sign of "schism". That would be a terrible thing.
I think is sign of either / or ignorance, confusion or arrogance.

Fr Z, I think, would say, "yes" that the law applies.
But I think that there is good reason to dispute Episcopal Conference's authority does not apply. However it would be wrong for a priest to create a scene at Holy Communion.

Antonio said...

I really cannot get around my head why we can't call a spade a spade in these situations and instead we must be "charitable". The bishop was plain wrong and chances are he knew what he was doing to be wrong too. But since most bishops are inebriated on the post conciliar drunkenness, they probably believe what they are doing to be right. When a traditional Catholic cries out against these abuses and campaigns for a repeal of disastrous policies of the last 40 years, they are termed 'disobedient' or 'schismatic'. But when a bishop carries out blatant disobedience to the that which he is bound, then we have priests asking us to be "charitable" and defend his actions till high noon.

These priests are not helping the church but co-operate in the 'auto demolition' as Paul VI aptly termed (and started) it.

Volpius Leonius said...

Well Father a Bishop who is ignorant of what the Church teaches is a terrible thing, they may not be guilty of schism but they are acting in a schismatic way and still damage the souls of hte faithful and the Church.

Whether they know it or not they will have to answer for such culpable ignorance some day as will all those who allow such ignorance to continue without making an attempt to instruct such persons as is our duty out of love for the ignorant one.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please bring back Altar rails!

God Bless you Father.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

There's only one 'd' in Bishop Tod Brown's name and the official name of his diocese is 'Orange in California'[].

I am more and more convinced that belief in the Real Presence has largely disappeared and that many Catholics don't know what they are doing at Holy Communion. I constantly remind people, young and old, that what we receive is the Body of Christ, not a symbol.

I would be very happy if the Church abolished Holy Communion in the hand. However, I would never tell a person to receive Holy Communion on the hand or on the tongue since it is the person's right to make that decision where both froms are allowed. But on occasion I remind people that Communion on the tonuge is the 'default' way.

Physiocrat said...

Until the mid-1980s, the people received communion kneeling, on the tongue. Who pushed through the change? What was their motivation? What pressing need was there for this change?

gemoftheocean said...

This creep, Brown, refuses to allow the ringing of bells in his diocese during the consecration.

David Joyce said...

Blessed Mother's Teresa's secret:

Reception of Holy Communion clarification from the Holy See in traditional Masses:

which states:

In reference to your letter of June 15, this Pontifical Commission would like to point out that the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form envisages the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling, as the Sacred Host is laid directly on the tongue of the communicant. There is no provision for the distribution of Holy Communion on the hand in this Form of the Holy Mass.

young_catholic said...

Antonio's hit the nail on the head. Smacks of vanity on the bishop's part.

Independent said...

Anne Roche Muggeridge in her book "The Desolate City - the Catholic Church in Ruins"(1986) tells ( p 129)how in Nova Scotia several people who knelt for Communion were arrested and the Bishop of Antigonish , William Power,appeared in a civil court to testify against them. He saw the difference in custom of which he approved as reflecting a different in perception of the eucharist and said so in his evidence.

Mrs Muggeridge comments elsewhere that "With shepherds like these who needs wolves?"

Robert said...

Father, it is a sign of "schism". Let's be honest about this. They know the rules, their not ignorant. If this were the SSPX, than everyone would be crying schism. But they are not the SSPX, they are worse. They are deliberately, setting their own agenda. and that's to change the traditions of the Church to meet the secular world they live in. So they can "fit in". They look at the horizontal and not the vertical.

1569 Rising said...

My daughter lives in a small village in the Austrian Alps. She is organist at three churches there. On a visit to her, I attended Mass at one of the village churches - Novus Ordo, but with great dignity and devotion on the part of priest and people. At Communion, I joined the queue, and received the Host on the tongue (standing). I was the only person to receive in this way.

After Mass, I introduced myself to the priest who, in broken English made me very welcome, and assumed I was Polish. When I said, "No, Father, English", he said, "Ah, Anglican" We did get my Catholicism sorted out eventually.

The next time a service from York Minster is televised with the Archbishop officiating, notice that Communion is distributed kneeling, and most receiving on the tongue.

Chris said...

Hi gemoftheocean

I was interested in what you said about bishop Brown down in Orange County and emailed a priest friend who is in that diocese. Fr Bill got back to me to say that his parish is one of those that rings bells during the epiclesis and consecration and has had no trouble from the bishop.

Seems that a while time ago complaints were made about a pastor who didn't have bells rung and the person wanted to the bishop make him do it. The bishop clarified that liturgical law doesn't require bells and that he personally didn't care for them. But what he didn't do was ban them inspite of the rumors (which have a way of having arms and legs added.)

RJ said...

What does the Instruction mean by "in a reasonable manner" and how much leeway would a priest have in interpreting that?
Could one envisage a situation where it might not be reasonable to receive Communion on the hand/on the tongue?

RJ said...

Sorry, in that last post, I should have included "kneeling/standing" as altenatives.

Kneeling Catholic said...


Thanks for keeping this topic 'front and center'. It is an excellent way to prepare for Bishop Schneider's visit!

Please let His Excellency know that we (Corpus Christians) love him!


btw, gemoftheocean, we are waiting to hear your explanation about why all the 5th century splinter groups only distribute Holy Communion directly on the tongue!

gemoftheocean said...

Hi Chris, well..I guess we are hearing two things. Another blogger, digihairshirt lives in Santa Ana, and THEIR parish priest, Fr. J., said the bishop has hassled priests for doing so.

But I will make sure digi sees this post.
[Tod is creep enough without that anyway.[

Independent said...

I gather that in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, a Lady Vicar gave communion to the dog which accompanied a man to the altar rail.She was rebuked by the Anglican bishop but still remains in office. Even with a strictly Zwinglian view of the eucharist such profanation is shocking. One wonders if she has imitators in the Catholic Church?

Jacobi said...

The Consecrated Host looks like a piece of bread, therefore if you call it bread,or a "meal", treat it like bread, i.e.,take it by hand, standing, and walk away popping it in your mouth, while smiling at your friends in the audience, sorry congregation, then sooner or later, as Fr Coyle has noticed, you will believe it to be bread.

That was the intention of the post Vatican 11 (neo-) Modernists, and how successful they have been.

The answer is to go back to treating it as the Body and Blood of Christ. Reception kneeling, and by mouth, at the altar rails, by an ordained priest, or deacon, in reverent silence, and, properly prepared - even if that means going to Confession.

Oh yes Confession, sorry about that!

GOR said...

I agree with Fr. Coyle and others who have linked the casual reception of Holy Communion with a loss of belief – or realization – of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. One of the differences in going into a Protestant church and a Catholic one was always the realization that in a Catholic church you would find the Real Presence – not so in a Protestant one. You could almost ‘feel’ the difference! But it was a feeling born of belief. I believe He is always present here sacramentally and that belief colors how I will behave in His presence.

Since Vat II – through deficient catechesis and de-sacralization of Catholic churches – people have lost the sense of Who is present when they go to church. With churches being turned into meeting halls and the Sacrifice of the Mass turned into a social meal, should be we surprised?

Proper disposition for receiving Holy Communion begins with a return to emphasis on the Real Presence, plus acknowledgment of our sinfulness and unworthiness - which in turn emphasizes the need for proper preparation and worthy reception. This then leads to the need for Confession if we are conscious of serious sin and not just receiving unthinkingly or merely ‘following the crowd’.

And all of it begins with the example of the priest and the ministers at the altar. If their attitude is casual, the congregation will follow suit. If reverent, that will not be lost on the congregation either.

Dominic Mary said...

One should not make a scene during Holy Communion, of course; but I know that any priest who refused to give me Holy Communion on the tongue would have the experience of a brief discussion after Mass, at which the provision of Redemptionis Sacramentum would be highlighted, and the simple observation made that if it ever happened again a formal complaint would be made to the Bishop . . . and that if the Bishop didn't care to deal properly with it, the matter would be referred to Rome . . . who undoubtedly would !