Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Queens Protest?

Outside gay activists kissed as the Pope arrived, inside the Sagreda Familia Queen Sophia defied the Pope's instruction about the reception of Holy Communion. Not for Her Catholic Majesty to kneel and receive her Lord and God on the tongue. One rule for a Queen another for the rest?


Edward P. Walton said...

Perhaps the Queen of Spain has a physical problem that might have compromised other recipents.

tubbs said...

Still Orthodox at heart?

Pablo the Mexican said...

Napolean Bonapart did something like this didn't he?

I wonder what will happen to her?


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Well I follow the Bridgittines these days & stand & receive in the hand..(in one church I will kneel as it's the norm) but in all 3 Bridgittine convents in England they ALL stand & receive on the hand. They don't allow differences as it is more awkward..they receive perfectly reverently as is permissable..I used to drop down on my knees but the person following can trip..they receive under both kinds though I don't receive the Precious Blood..

Michael Petek said...

The fact that she's Greek Orthodox is another point you could have made, Father.

Paul, Bedfordshire said...

This is imho as damaging to the Spanish monarchy as Queen Elizabeth II kneeling and receiving communion on the tongue from Pope Benedict would be.

Republicanism is much stronger in Spain, Traditionally minded catholics are the royals strongest supporters, or at least they were until yesterday.

Left-footer said...

And not for her husband refusal to sign the Spanish abortion law, eh?


Richard Collins said...

And not even a mantilla! Such arrogance, sadly, typifies the attitudes of many today.Perhaps we need a course in 'Humility for Dummies'.

BJR said...

Good for Her Majesty.

Perhaps her understanding of liturgical history and canon law is more coherent than that of this pope?

Ma Tucker said...

It just looks so stupid and silly not to mention embarassing that someone whose whole position depends upon respect for Tradition and proper authority should behave in this way. If the Queen of Spain cannot kneel to receive the King of Kings in the traditional manner then her crown has as much meaning as a crown of tinsel.

Jackie, surely it is more reverent to receive kneeling and on the tongue. Why limit oneself for the sake of unity to a less reverent practice (permissible though it be) that was born in the first instance from an abuse. It is better to do what is best surely. As regard the Brigittines behaviour I think it a sad reflection on their part that when they have the choice, they choose less and not more.

RJ said...

@BJR: that seems unlikely but perhaps too much is being made of this?
Father: is there a definite instruction about this or is it more of an implicit understanding, and how is this affected when the Pope travels to a country to which an indult for reception in the hand has been given?

Michelle Therese said...

If people behind us pay attention they won't trip on our feet when we kneel to take communion. As with driving cars, we should keep a bit of distance between ourselves and the person taking communion ~ what's the rush? If there's a bit of a "traffic jam" oh well ~ they shouldn't have taken the communion rails away and created this log-jam problem! I keep hoping and praying that the communion rails come back: notice how they have been removed so we that wish to kneel end up "causing a problem" and look like silly fools?

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Richard..she didn't look arrogant to me..& we don't have to wear mantillas..do we?

louella said...

Hmmm.....I wonder how her Majesty would feel if someone were to fail to bow to her....or showed disrespect to her office. I can't see why people don't like to bow before Christ! They will have to some day.

videomaker said...

She's bowing, which is more than happens in 99.9% of Catholic parishes around the world, where communion is received on the hand. While I think people should kneel to receive communion (whether from the Pope or from Fr Rustic), perhaps a reminder of what is going on in the vast majority of parishes will serve to increase momentum towards a "clarification" of the Church's discipline in this area.

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

"Good for Her Majesty.
Perhaps her understanding of liturgical history and canon law is more coherent than that of this pope?


But I take it you put yourself in that category. In which case, my sympathies.
It must be very trying indeed for you to know that you have a more coherent grasp of liturgical history and canon law than our silver haired intellectual Pope who has made the study of these matters his life work.

It's hard BJR.I hear your pain(((hugs)))

pelerin said...

With all due respect, Father, isn't your title a bit harsh? We don't know her reasons. Nobody seems to have mentioned that the King did not receive at all - all criticism seems to be focussed on the Queen. Should not their reasons for either abstaining or the manner of receiving remain between them and God?

Richard Collins said...

Jackie - believe that, in this instance, it was arrogant of her to receive Holy Communion in this fashion. She would know that the Holy Father prefers us to receive kneeling and on the tongue if possible.
As a role model she should have displayed humility towards Our Lord.
When it comes to lay people receiving standing I would not describe it as arrogant. I do believe that it is sad, however, that Pope Benedict'as message is not getting through to the laity. At EF Masses. it is, of course, customary to kneel when receiving.
My remark regarding the mantilla was made tongue in cheek as it is the national headdress of women in Spain.
Again, I believe that it adds something to the Mass to see women sacrificing the glory of their hair in deference to Almighty God; not essential, just good practice and one that men are barred from indulging in.

BJR said...


Please spare me your sarcasm and the hugs.

What is the point of making a tiny handful of people go through a display when receiving from the pope when the vast majority of people at such papal masses receive communion standing? One would have thought communion was the important factor, not who one received it from.

Standing is the universal and ancient position for receiving communion. The notable group who knelt for communion were Anglicans following the rubrics of the BCP. Kneeling for communion has far more to do with the ease of distribution of Eucharistic elements than reverence.

Fr. Ray states "... Her Catholic Majesty to kneel and receive her Lord and God on the tongue."

If kneeling to receive is so important surely the pope, and other celebrants would do so too.

parepidemos said...

Father, With respect, your comments regarding Queen Sofia are completely unjustified, betraying your own preferences rather than following the norms laid down by the Church.

May I draw attention to the following 5 passages from Redemptionis Sacramentum (which you very recently said was a document we should follow)?

"The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined” (90) The Spanish Bishops' Conference has authorised the reception of Communion whilst standing. I question whether the Holy Father (or was it his MC?) has the right to demand otherwise when on Spanish soil; surely even the pope cannot ignore ecclesiastical instructions simply because of a (presumed) preference.

"However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament"(90). From the photo it is clear that her Majesty made a profound bow - and such a reverence is only recommended, not mandated.

"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”. (91) One must presume that the Queen was properly disposed and not prohibited by law.

"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." (91) This speaks for itself.

"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." (92). Reception of Communion in the hand has been authorised by the Bishops' Conference of Spain and the Apostolic See gave its recongitio.

So, the Queen was excercising her right to receive the Lord standing and in her hand in accordance with the norms. She even made a profound bow which was not required. Therefore, no one can justifiably accuse her of disrepect.

Ma Tucker: remember that our Catholic brothers and sisters in the Eastern Rites may receive on the tongue (because of intinction) but they would never contemplate kneeling for Communion. I do hope you are not accusing them of being less reverent than yourself.

Iouella: It is not the practice in Spain to bow to royalty. And please note that, in spite of what you wrote, she DID bow.

I know that it sticks in the throat of some people that the Church permits reception of Communion standing and in the hand, but that's the law. It seems that some self-proclaimed 'traditional' Catholics are as guilty as any 'liberal' about picking and choosing what laws to uphold.

canon lawyer said...

“When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament
as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister...the priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed and if the communicant so chooses, in the hand.”

General Instruction on the Roman Missal nn. 169 and 161 2002

“...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.”

Instruction Redemptionis sacramentum 2004

Presuming that the Spanish Episcopal Conference has allowed this practice by establishing norms, and noting that the Holy See would have approved these norms before they were promulgated, the queen acted lawfully in receiving on the hand.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Parepidemos/Canon Lawyer,
Of course you are right but the Pope's express will is reception "kneeling on the tongue". As he has Universal Ordinary jurisdiction he is not bound by local Law, but my reason for posting this was really to illustrate that the "Pope's will" is really quite fragile in the presence of a willful Queen, who insists on her "rights".

Left-footer said...

And my first thought, when I read the headline "The Queens Protest", minus apostrophe, was that the blog would be about the Spanish homosexualists' 'kiss-in'.

georgem said...

The point is not who one receives Holy Communion from, but Whom one is receiving. The Pope is not asking people to kneel to him but to Christ present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. If we are going to cite ancient practice, prostrating oneself in worship and adoration is mentioned many times in The Bible.
There may be a good reason why the Queen did not kneel. She is getting on a bit.
As to celibrants kneeling to receive, they have already genuflected in worship to Our Lord after the Consecration. In practical terms it would be almost impossible for the celebrant to kneel while transferring the Host and chalice from the altar to his mouth without losing some of the Sacred Species.
A mark of respect for the Pope, were you to use a capital letter for the proper noun, would be much appreciated. It would also be grammatically correct.

Adulio said...

You'd never see General Franco treating the Blessed Sacrament with such disrespect. Spain was much better off under him.

Gladiatrix said...

With respect Father, you don't know that Queen Sophia was insisting on anything. Perhaps she has arthritic knees, or perhaps being a good royal consort she realised that everyone else was standing and didn't want to cause delay to the other communicants by taking time to kneel and time to stand up again.

BJR said...

A very interesting and pertinent comment from the 'Zed Blog':

"Just a ‘thought question’ — I know the arguments about receiving communion kneeling or standing — but why do the laity receive differently than the clergy in the Western Church? Are the clergy ‘better Christians/Catholics than the laity which would somehow give them the ‘right’ to receive standing? The whole rest of the Church (the Eastern half) in all its varieties receives the Holy Eucharist standing — why should the Roman/Latin Church do differently?"

What we are really seeing here is yet more clerical arrogance, specifically papal arrogance. Her Catholic Majesty Queen Sofia acted within Her rights and the norms of Canon Law to receive the sacrament standing, the ancient norm.

So anyone who follows the norms of Canon Law is a dissident yet when a pope makes things up as he wants such whims have the force of law?

The criticisms of Her Majesty Queen Sofia are most unjust. If She chooses to receive standing from one of Her chaplains she has every right to do so.

georgem said...

Well, I see that the Queen of Spain, an earthly monarch, merits capitals all the way but the Vicar of Christ is not accorded the same courtesy.
And one quote plucked from the Zed blog - actually it's Zee - by which I assume you mean Father Z's blog, does not make the case. (It sounds remarkably similar to one already made here.) There are many other posts on this topic though some, unfortunately, are pretty uncharitable.
The Pope, by the way, is not the Queen's chaplain. That's Reformation talk.
What I find hard to fathom is why this incident, which is a legitimate subject for discussion and disagreement, has fuelled such anger and given rise to the gratuitous insults directed at the Holy Father.

The Flying Dutchman said...

Father Ray,

I think your interpretation is tendentious, to say the least. You have no way of knowing that the Queen made a "protest" or that she insisted on "her rights." We only know what she did, not her motives. It seems to me that you have committed a basic logical fallacy.

You just lost some of my sympathy and support, as did Fr. Z. Thankfully, His Hermeneuticalness hasn't fallen into the same stupid trap.

Edward P. Walton said...

Their Catholic Majesties, by their attire and seating arrangements,seem to be reflecting Spain's new austerity program.

Will HRH be doing the same during Britons current austerity program?

PP said...

Just look at the photograph:
The Queen is almost bent double. If she had knelt on the kneeler provided on the dais the Holy Father would have had difficulty reaching to the height of her mouth to place the host on her tongue.

The poor woman was in a very awkward situation and I would suggest that the fault is on the part of those who organised the Mass - did they give a moment's thought as to how Her Majesty might be able to receive in the Holy Father's preferred manner if he took Holy Communion to her in her place?
If she had received on the tongue she would have had to get on all fours!

Perhaps a canopy should have been employed to veil her reception of Her Lord from the vulgar gaze of cameras - and critics (as was at our Dear Queen's Coronation)

Slow to bless and quick to chide....

RJ said...

BJR: rather untoward to call the Pope arrogant. Do you know him personally?

On the other hand, there seems to be an overreaction to the Queen's action. We don't know her motives.

I am also wondering whether the Pope has an express preference for reception kneeling and on the tongue or is this being attributed to him?

It is a separate question as to whether receiving on the tongue is actually more reverent.

Ma Tucker said...

Yes, I do think the Orthodox practice is less reverent. No, I'm not saying that I am more reverent than the Orthodox. I suspect that this confusion between the distinction of practice and the internal disposition of the soul is the reason why people become a little sore talking about the matter.

The facts remain however. We all can agree in the main that receiving on the tongue kneeling is a reverent practice. We all cannot agree that standing and receiving in the hand is as reverent a practice. This difference in level of agreement should give pause for thought. I would propose that we all know the truth of the matter. There is one practice that we can all accept to be reverent, kneeling and receiving on the tongue. The fact that the Pope has indicated his guidance on the matter is another important factor.

Anonymous said...

PP: I couldn't agree with you more, both on the first points about Her Majesty's reception of Holy Communion and also about the glare of the cameras!

I am surprised more people are not making the point about how difficult it would have been for the Queen and for the Holy Father, even if Her Majesty were kneeling. It would certainly have been very short of "reverent".

At any rate surely it is better to be circumspect in such a situation and to assume the best rather than the worst?

Augustina said...

My first question I had was, "Why did the Pope cave in to her actions?" Then again, she can offer the argument that communion in the hand in permissable in all the churches. This abomination to the Lord will only continue UNTIL, the Holy Father puts his foot down and says in PUBLIC..."Communion MUST,...MUST, be recieved on the TONGUE while KNEELING."

georgem said...

As I understand it, the 2nd Vatican Council never abrogated kneeling and reception of Holy Communion on the tongue. The practice of reception in the hand by standing communicants was, I think, started in Holland in the 1960s and quickly followed by other northern European countries, then went worldwide. As far as I am aware this has remained an indult from the time of Pope Paul VI rather than the norm.

To that extent the present Pope is acceding to the spirit of Vatican 2 which did not change the norm. He has stated nothing explicitly in public, but since he tends not to issue orders and prefers to lead by example, it has been left to his MC in media interviews to translate the Pope's wishes that when he distributes Holy Communion communicants should kneel in reverence to Our Lord and receive on the tongue.

Several cardinals have iterated this. I think, therefore, it is safe to take it that the Pope speaks through them.
Some scholars trace reception of Holy Communion in the hand back to the 4th century Arian heresy which denied that Jesus is consubstantial with God the Father. I stand to be shot down.

RJ said...

Sorry, this sounds a bit confrontational. I hope it won't be taken that way:

I don't think it is sound practice for people to interpret unstated wishes of the Holy Father and make them into an obligation (if that is what is happening).

If the indult should be revoked, let it be revoked. I have no problem with that.

It is arguably more reverent to kneel (at least in our culture and maybe even in most).

Moreover, reception in the hand seems to me to be a bit like administering communion to oneself, as is receiving the chalice, I suppose, whereas I would have thought that it is for the ministers (usually the ordinary) to minister. However, perhaps I am just being scrupulous.
No doubt some proper theologian could make a better contribution.

gemoftheocean said...

Richard, why should the queen be interested in swathing herself in a burqa, lace or otherwise?

Savonarola said...

From the number of comments one would think this to be the most important issue under the sun.
In Thomas Hardy's 'Jude the Obscure' Jude hears two Oxford clerics heatedly debating eastward vs. westward position. Hardy/Jude's comment is: 'Good God, the eastward position! And all creation groaning in travail.' Get real, all you Catholics!

Jacqueline Y. said...

I agree with those who've said that we shouldn't over-react to this incident, or judge the Queen's motives. And Gem, I know you're allergic to mantillas, but they have nothing in common with burquas, for heaven's sake. And no, I don't wear one myself, but I owned two lovely ones as a new convert in the late 1960s.

Yianni said...

Michael - Queen Sophia is no longer Greek Orthodox. She formally converted to Roman Catholicism at the time of her wedding in the early 1960s. Receiving the Holy Eucharist in the hand would be unthinkable for Eastern Orthodox faithful, of whom I am one.

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