Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Vatican Newspaper: Receive Communion on Tongue, Kneeling

As readers will remember from my past post, Mission: Restore Eucharistic Reverence, I encourage the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue as opposed to Communion in the Hand. My comments on this article are in the red brackets.

For those that are refused the ability to receive Communion on the Tongue while kneeling, I highly encourage you to write a formal letter of complaint to your bishop and/or Vatican officials. Some helpful pages may include Contacting Vatican Officials as well as Addressing Clergy.

Vatican Newspaper Article Says Catholics Should Receive Communion Kneeling and on the Tongue

Editorial by John-Henry Westen

Although it may seem a little strange, there is a definite battle being waged within the Catholic Church. It is the same "culture war" being waged by secular moderns against those who uphold traditional morality, it is pro-life vs. pro-choice. But within the Catholic Church the same battle is fought along liturgical lines, and the publication in the Vatican newspaper of an article calling for Catholics to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue is telling.

"If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would 'fall down and worship God, declaring, God is really in your midst,'" explained Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan in the pages of L'Osservatore Romano. [Exactly - kneeling is a symbol for the whole world to help non-believers see that we believe the Eucharist truly is our God]

The Catholic News Service reports that in the January 8 edition of the Vatican paper, Bishop Schneider noted that the reverence and awe of Catholics who truly believe they are receiving Jesus in the Eucharist should lead them to kneel and receive Communion on their tongues. "The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received," the bishop wrote. [Bishop Schneider's comments are well needed in an area when people continue to embrace heresies like consubstantiation]

Although in all likelihood most Catholics are oblivious to it, the decision to receive communion on the tongue, versus in the hand and the decision to receive communion standing rather than kneeling is a significant fault line in the culture war.

Modernizers who relentlessly work to have the Catholic Church move away from so-called 'archaic' positions on sexuality , (forbidding contraception, pre-marital sexual activity, homosexuality etc.) [Such actions are heresy] also rail against 'archaic' piety in worship.

However, the culture war at least in terms of liturgical issues was nearly lost in the West until the advent of Pope Benedict [Deo Gratias. Please remember to pray for the Holy Father daily. Thank God often for Summorum Pontificum].

In the United States for instance, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on the Liturgy wrote in its July 2002 newsletter: "Kneeling is not a licit posture for receiving Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States of America unless the bishop of a particular diocese has derogated from this norm in an individual and extraordinary circumstance."

The majority of the faithful have since adopted the practice of standing and receiving communion on the hand.

However, some traditional Catholics, often derisively referred to as "pre-Vatican II" Catholics have held to the practice of communion kneeling and on the tongue. Those same Catholics are often the most vociferous defenders of life and family within and without the Church.

While many valiant Catholic activists who work in the pro-life and pro-family battles receive communion in the common fashion, they nonetheless respect the right of those who wish to receive communion kneeling and on the tongue.

Not so for those within the Church seeking to get the Church in line with the times.

Certain Church leaders, priests and even bishops who are zealous in their attempts to modernize the Church have gone so far as to attempt to enforce modernism by refusing communion to those who kneel for communion. [Modernism has been declared the Synthesis of All Heresies by Pope St. Pius X]

One prominent example of such was Orange County Florida Bishop Tod Brown who was caught on video last year refusing communion to a woman who was kneeling. Brown is also known for refusing in 1994 to back an Idaho measure to deny homosexuals special privileges. Explaining his actions he said the law "would contribute to attitudes of intolerance and hostility in Idaho directed at homosexual citizens and is potentially discriminatory."

In Brown's diocese there has been considerable intolerance toward Catholics who kneel for communion and some traditional Catholics have been asked to leave the diocese.

Another prominent example was the denial of communion to Virginia House of Delegate member Richard Black by Arlington's St. Thomas More Cathedral Rector, Fr. Dominic Irace in 2002. Black was one of the strongest defenders of life in the legislature. As Delegate Black left the Cathedral, Fr. Irace loudly called him a "conservative idiot." (see coverage)

These types of situations caused the Vatican to react rather strongly in 2002. Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which addresses liturgical matters, wrote a bishop about reports received of a priest denying communion to faithful because they were kneeling.

The Cardinal called such denial "a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful," and directed the bishop to investigate the case. The letter said that the Vatican regards such abuses of the faithful as very grave. The letter said, the Congregation, if such actions are verified, "will regard future complaints of this nature with great seriousness, and if they are verified, it intends to seek disciplinary action consonant with the gravity of the pastoral abuse."
(see the letter)

Despite this letter from the Vatican, the suppression of kneeling remains strong.

The article in the Vatican newspaper advocating kneeling however signals a sea change.

Those who kneel have a champion in Pope Benedict who prior to his elevation to the pontificate wrote of kneeling and its tie to culture in his book 'The Spirit of the Liturgy" (Ignatius Press, 2000) "There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling," wrote then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. "'It doesn't suit our culture', they say (which culture?) 'It's not right for a grown man to do this -- he should face God on his feet'."

Cardinal Ratzinger continued: "The kneeling of Christians is not a form of inculturation into existing customs. It is quite the opposite, an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God.

Kneeling does not come from any culture -- it comes from the Bible and its knowledge of God . . . The Christian Liturgy is a cosmic Liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture - the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of life of the cosmos." [Excellent words on which to meditate]

Source: LifeSiteNews

17 comment(s):

del_button January 12, 2008 at 7:53 PM
Heather Barrett said...

At my parish, we kneel at the altar rails to receive Communion, and many receive Communion on their tongue (myself included). We are the only church I've been to in the diocese where we kneel for Communion. At first (a couple of years ago), I wondered if we were being somehow disobedient to do so, but as far as I know, there has never been any objection from the bishop.

I can't believe anyone would object to kneeling! If the angels in Heaven prostrate themselves before God, the least we can do is kneel!

Hopefully, receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling will become more common... or at least not punished!

del_button February 11, 2008 at 7:17 PM
Anonymous said...

At our parish, there is a divide. As our parish's population ages, it is losing its progressiveness. As a young and 'progressive' Catholic, I stand throughout the entire eucharist, until all parishoners recieve communion. I don't get kneeling at all. Kneeling is a sign of individualism, whereas standing repestents community - communion (i.e. sharing as a community) in the receiving of the sacred Body of Christ.

Kneeling didn't even exist in the church until the church's radical shift to the right happened in the middle ages when barring married priests, women priests and all the other changes that led to the Lutheran reformation occurred.

If kneeling is supposedly 'the way' then what at Catholic Church headquarters in the Vatican (i.e. St. Peter's) don't we kneel? Oh wait, maybe it's because there aren't any pews. Having said all that, if certain parishes (which in some locales is the majority) want to kneel that's fine with me, but please don't impose this on all of us or say it's the only way. That's not the 'brand' of Catholicism I want to subscribe to.

Just because I like the Vatican II style of liturgy, does not mean I'm pro-choice/murder or pro-gay marriage like the recently published article would imply.

del_button February 11, 2008 at 7:51 PM
Matthew said...

On a side note: Women were never allowed to be priests. Please provide sources if you want to make such outrageous claims.

Standing is symbolic not of community but rather of an equal. We are not equal to God. So, we kneel before Him - as a sign of penitence that we are sinners and need His Sacrifice to make us whole. The community is not the ultimate end but rather, Christ, is the ultimate end. The community's goal is Christ, who is sacrificed at each Mass in the world.

PS: Luther was a heretic.

Re: Kneeling in the Early Church

St. Justin the Martyr (148 AD) describes the Mass as following:

"...Then we all rise together and give thanks". Since there were no chairs, it is clear that the people knelt through the Mass!

I suggest you purchase the 3 volume Faith of the Early Church Fathers Series by William Jurgens.

Honestly, what you are currently believing is not Catholicism - you are believing in a protestant (heretical) version of the One True Church. You should pray about your actions and read the suggested 3 volume series.

del_button March 11, 2008 at 2:31 PM
Anonymous said...

Matthew the opinion of the Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda does not represent the Magisterium of the catholic Church nor does John-Henry Western. It is OK to recieve communion in the hand until the Magisterium changes it. By insulting faithful & pious Catholics by insinuating (in the article) that Catholics who recieve communion in the hand also support abortion,contraception, pre-marital sexual activity, & homosexuality etc will not win anyone over to your side of the argument. I understand your wish for more eucharist reverence but you are going about it the wrong way. It is also psiible to quote Saints of the Catholic Church who recieved communion in the hand.
Your no salvation out side the Catholic Church in your "about me"is a little misleading,here is what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches:

CCC846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?(335) Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

CCC847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

335 Cf. Cyprian, Ep. 73.21:PL 3,1169; De unit.:PL 4,509-536.
336 LG 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5.
337 LG 16; cf. DS 3866-3872.


del_button March 18, 2008 at 2:59 PM
Matthew said...

Bruce, I appreciate your comments but I will continue to hold to the long-enduring teachings of the Church (Communion in the Hand is wrong, there is no salvation outside of the Church). For my full examination of each of these separate issues, please see these links:

Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?

Communion in the Hand

del_button March 24, 2008 at 4:27 AM
Anonymous said...

Matthew this means that you are putting your own private opinions above the Magisterium and Teachings of the Catholic Church.(Sounds like Protestant thinking ). The Catholic Church does not think communion in the hand is wrong, in fact many Saints of the past recieved the Sacrament this way. And as for salvation outside the Church again you are going against Church teaching and you are putting your own private opinion above the Church's Teaching. A bad sign for a future Priest.

del_button March 24, 2008 at 4:28 AM
Anonymous said...

The previous comment is mine by the way.

del_button March 24, 2008 at 4:47 AM
Anonymous said...

I have read your post on "Communion in the Hand". That is the post where you misquoted a Saint of the Church and initially you got your info from a Ultra-Traditionalist schismatic website. Which proves my point that your research and private opinions are sloppy and misguided. Catholics faithful to the Pope and Magisterium should listen to the authoritative Teachings of the Church and not a first year seminarian.


del_button March 24, 2008 at 8:27 AM
Matthew said...

I use quotations from official Church documents. Modern-day Church officials do teach error, but the Church throughout the centuries does teach correctly - Communion in the hand is WRONG and should NEVER be done. This is the long held teaching of the Church, not my private matter; Church officials today, if they teach otherwise, are wrong because it is not what the Church has always taught.

del_button March 25, 2008 at 10:24 AM
Anonymous said...

"Modern-day Church officials do teach error"

If I understand you correctly you are saying that Catholics who are recieving communion in the hand today are receiving it in error and that the Pope and the Magisterium are letting Catholics do this without doing anything about it?

"Church officials today, if they teach otherwise, are wrong "

They do teach otherwise, and you are asking us to listen to you over the Pope and the Magisterium! Sorry but I will listen to the teaching authority of the Church.

"Communion in the hand is WRONG and should NEVER be done. This is the long held teaching of the Church, not my private matter."

"SACRED CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter "En reponse a la demande," to presidents of those conferences of bishops petitioning the indult for communion in the hand, 29 May 1969: AAS 61 (1969) 546-547; Not 5 (1969) 351-353.

In reply to the request of your conference of bishops regarding permission to give communion by placing the host on the hand of the faithful, I wish to communicate the following. Pope Paul Vl calls attention to the purpose of the Instruction Memoriale Domini of 29 May 1969, on retaining the traditional practice in use. At the same time he has taken into account the reasons given to support your request and the outcome of the vote taken on this matter. The Pope grants that throughout the territory of your conference, each bishop may, according to his prudent judgment and conscience, authorize in his diocese the introduction of the new rite for giving communion."

It was done by Catholics & Saints before the Middle ages:

"It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy Body and Blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life. I, indeed, communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any Saint. It is needless to point out that for anyone in times of persecution to be compelled to take the communion in his own hand without the presence of a priest or minister is not a serious offence, as long custom sanctions this practice from the facts themselves. All the solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, take the communion themselves, keeping communion at home. And at Alexandria and in Egypt, each one of the laity, for the most part, keeps the communion, at his own house, and participates in it when he likes. For when once the priest has completed the offering, and given it, the recipient, participating in it each time as entire, is bound to believe that he properly takes and receives it from the giver.And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, the recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand. It has the same validity whether one portion or several portions are received from the priest at the same time."

St. Basil the Great: Letter 93 (Cæsaria, concerning Communion) in its entirety (c. 378 AD


del_button March 25, 2008 at 10:41 AM
Anonymous said...

More Patristic evidence that communion in the hand is not in error:

“When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: "Fifth Mystagogical Catechesis", 21: PG 33. col 1125 (350 AD)

“Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts “
St. John Damascus: "De Fide Orthodoxa" Book IV, ch. XIII (circa 730 AD)

Dominus Vobiscum

del_button March 25, 2008 at 12:24 PM
Matthew said...

You twist the writings of the Patristics. The reception of Communion was a natural evolution to the state that it was in during the 1940s. The regression to Communion in the Hand is wrong. It is sacrilege.

I encourage all people not to listen to your twisting of history.

del_button March 25, 2008 at 1:48 PM
Anonymous said...

All I did was quote the patristic sources ,I didn't twist anything.
I noticed you avoided my question. By calling communion in the hand a
sacrilege you are saying that the Pope and the magisterium of the Church is allowing the faithful to participate in a violation of a sacred object. Which means you think the Pope and the Magisterium are involved in scandal (scandal is a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another's spiritual ruin) Matthew I think you should be careful what you are saying about our Pope and Church .

I encourage all people to listen to The Catholic Church on this issue, as all faithful Catholics should.

PS. I think you have some fidelity & hostility issues you need to deal with before you become a Priest.


del_button March 25, 2008 at 1:59 PM
Anonymous said...

"I encourage all people not to listen to your twisting of history."
What are you talking about Matthew? I don't see any twisting in the quoting of original sources. You seem to disagree with ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM & ST. JOHN DAMASCUS , not Bruce.

del_button March 25, 2008 at 2:07 PM
Anonymous said...

del_button March 25, 2008 at 2:55 PM
Anonymous said...

"While people still have the RIGHT by law to receive this way(communion in the hand), we must respect the practice.

But we must also teach teach teach about this important issue so that, even while the practice remains LICIT, fewer and fewer will opt to receive in the hand"
Fr. Z at W D T P R S

As you can see Fr. Z believes that communion in the hand is licit and Catholics have the right to recieve it this way. You can disagree and try to bring about a change to increase eucharist reverence but it is harmful and does injury to the Catholic Church to say that it is a sacrilege. Matthew by showing disrespect and insulting faithful Catholics you are doing the opposite of what you intend.

del_button March 25, 2008 at 4:37 PM
Matthew said...

St. Thomas Aquinas: "Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but when it is consecrated" - Summa, Pt III Q, Q2 Art. 3

Fr. John Hardon, S.J.: Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.” (November 1st, 1997 Call to Holiness Conference, Detroit, Michigan, panel discussion.)

Council of Saragozza (380 AD) and of Toledo (400 AD): Declared that the Eucharist host must be consumed before the communicant left the Church. It was a practice in the early Church to have Holy Communion taken to the sick, but the practice was corrected because of the abuses that resulted from it. Similarly, abuses are occuring to the Holy Eucharist.

Council of Rouen (650 AD): "Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layperson, but only in their mouths"

Council of Constantinople (695 AD): The council prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themelves. It decreed an excommunication of one week's duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.

Council of Trent: "To priests alone have been given power to consecrate and administer the Holy Eucharist. That the unvarying practice of the Church has also been, that the faithful receive the Sacrament from the hand of the priest" (Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter 8)

As much as I respect Fr. Z, he is not the Magesterium! I see that we are going no where.

As Fr. Tim Finigan appropriately states: There is a much-quoted text of Cyril of Jerusalem (d.387) speaking of the left hand as a throne for the right etc. (Mystagogical catechesis 5.21; PG 33.1125) This is often used as a justification for communion in the hand. The contemporary evidence of the correction of abuses shows that the text could equally be seen as an indication of the obvious need for a change in practice to ensure reverence. The insistence on Communion on the tongue was a natural next step.

We are going no where. Pray about this issue. Discussion closed.

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