Sunday, October 30, 2005

Half-Lies from Parish Priests

From a local parish bulletin:

"The bishops (sic) of your nation have decided that at this time, many people seem to feel the need of some soft of reverence during the communion procession. They have voted, and decided, that this reverence should be a simple, devout, Head (sic) bow. They expect that everyone will follow these liturgical and pastoral directives. The importance is this: it is not just a private devotion, but communal worship and a sacrament; the same rites draw us together, much like no meat on Friday during Lent; and we experience a holy solidarity with rich and poor, young and old, powerful and ordinary alike. And, may I point out there is a certain holy obedience in moving on from what your mother or sister/teacher or catechism taught you half a century ago.

This would mean a simple, generous, Head (sic) bow, no rosary, no genuflections, no stops at side altar shrines, no reverences to a crucifix or the tabernacle, and no signs of the cross (sic) before, during, or after. These very worthy private devotions are more appropriately observed outside of the prescribed public worship.

Yeah, sorta. First, here's the official language and a paragraph which is important (at the end):

As adapted for the United States, IGMR 160 now reads:

The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.

When receiving Holy Communion standing, 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 consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

NOTE: Before giving the required "recognitio" to this adaptation of the US bishops' conference, the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments required that "communicants who choose to kneel are not be denied Communion on these grounds". The same letter stated, "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". (see CDW letter dated July 2002, in AB Dec 02-Jan 03 - p 15)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a few items on the Eucharist, too:

1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:"

1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded.

The plain meaning of #1285 is clear: these three sacraments are received INDIVIDUALLY.

Thus, Father X's scrivening, while persuasive, is not accurate. The Eucharist is most assuredly the "sacrament of unity," but it is not so by virtue of its method of reception, as Father X would have it.

The "individuality" of reception is buttressed further:

1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin.

Certainly, the 'congregation' is not preserved from mortal sin--rather, individuals are.

Oh, yes, there's more:

1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

"Corporate" wiping away of venial sins? Not likely.

It is notable that Father X's parish has about 75 people present for one of its two Sunday Masses, on average. Reliable reports are that the other Mass has a few more people present.
There's a cause-and-effect here...

Finally, as to "moving on from......the catechism...of 50 years ago"--well, let's just say that Fr. X opened his word-processor and removed any doubt. Not one jot, nor tittle, from a "50-year-old" catechism has changed. Not one. Never will, either.


Anonymous said...

Why not name the local parish?

Dad29 said...

That's not the point.

The point is the theological twist he writes about (it's not restricted to just this priest)--which should be seen and understood correctly.

Secondly, naming the parish also identifies the priest; not necessary, really...