A Second Look at Weapons of Mass Destruction

Wednesday, May 19, AD 2010

Last year I posted a column title, Weapons of Mass Destruction.  In it I lampooned many of the abuses that arose out of the Second Vatican Council.

I revisit that post only to shed some light on how the abuses came about referencing Church documents, councils, and prelates.

Holy Communion in the Hand is allowed only as an indult, ie, a concession.  In May 29, 1969 the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a document allowing for, but not to displace the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.

Unfortunately this has become the norm which has resulted in the desacrelization of the Eucharist.

Ad Populum, or facing the congregation during Mass was recently allowed in Pope Paul VI’s Missale Romanum in 1969 (fully released in 1970).  Meaning it was not mandatory to face the congregation in all parts of the Mass, but only in certain instances.

Altar Girls, were allowed to serve in Mass by the Congregation for Divine Worship in a letter by Cardinal Ortas on March 15, 1994.

Basically there was a “reinterpretation” of Canon 230 that allowed a loophole for female altar servers.

So each national conference can decide to allow this, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to.  Meaning that each diocese can decide for itself whether or not to allow female altar servers.

It is important to note that the Bishop is in line with apostolic succession and has the final say for liturgical practices in the diocese concerning female altar servers.

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23 Responses to A Second Look at Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • “The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant.” – GIRM 160

    You have a source for the idea that altar rails are required?

  • Can you prove there is no God?

  • The existence of a altar rail mandate is a matter of faith?

  • I agree with most everything here, but there is one statement that isn’t completely true.

    “The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.”

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, writing his Catechetical Lectures back in the middle of the 4th century, clearly explains that Holy Communion was to be received on the palm. See paragraph 21 of Catechetical Lecture 23:


  • “The correct reception of Holy Communion has always been and still is on the tongue.”

    Cyril was obviously a heretic, as was that poseur Leonardo for painting the Eucharist as a meal. Good to know that Moses got it wrong in Exodus for neglecting to mention that the roast lamb also had to be fed on the tongue. The things you learn on AC!

  • Maybe in the 4th century, Christians were holy enough to take communion into their hands.

    Today, it done for the sole reason of egalitarianism, to wipe out hierarchy and distinctions between man and man, and man and God.

    Today, more than in other periods, we ought to kneel and take it on the tongue, as a sign of submission and reverence. That’s my opinion. I don’t want to stand up to God in some defiant gesture, and get handed a communion wafer by some smug eucharistic minister. I don’t want a “community meal”, I want a sacrament.

    “It must be further noted that the relevant legislation “strongly urges and exhorts” us all to receive Communion in the traditional manner, which is officially described as “more reverent.””


    Officially! Take that relativists.

  • Personally I’d like to see everyone follow the same tack as St. Paul did in Romans, with regard to a non-doctrinal issue like eating meat that had possibly been leftover from pagan sacrifices (which Paul made clear was NOT a sin): if you personally think it’s OK, fine, but avoid doing it in front of people who think it’s wrong and will be scandalized by it; if you personally think it’s wrong, try not to pass judgment on the people whom you see doing it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if people who are accustomed to communion in the hand out of habit (like me) started recieving on the tongue simply to show greater respect, while those who already receive on the tongue didn’t assume that those who don’t are being “smug” or “defiant” in their attitude.

    Again, as much as we may dislike communion in the hand/standing up — as of right now, it is still an option permitted by Church law in the U.S. and elsewhere, and one does NOT commit a sin by doing it.

  • After all, aren’t we all our own Pope! Rules, Rules, that is so, so, Catholic!

  • I understand this particular American Catholic to be in the Patriarchate of Rome, not Jerusalem, as also those of us who are participating in the discussion. At any rate, since you think the Jerusalem rite manner of reception of the Eucharist applies in the Roman rite also, do be sure to touch the sacred species to your eyes before consuming it – but don’t lose even the smallest particle! – and then intinct your eyes, ears and nose with the Precious Blood as well as your lips.

    Or do we get to pick and choose among St. Cyril’s instructions also?

  • Ouch.
    I find the lack of charity in these responses (at least in tone) to actually be rather painful.

    I think that it would be a great thing for the laity to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. I only wanted to point out that it hasn’t apparently been done that way throughout the entire Church for all of history, as was stated.

    It seems that the operating assumption here is that all of the laity is educated about the differences between the two methods of receiving and is largely receiving on the palm out of spite toward tradition.

    I was born in the 80’s, and never ran across anybody receiving the host on the tongue until the past few years when I moved and had to change parishes. I didn’t even know that it was an option before that time.

    My experience with people receiving on the tongue here has been a handful of people who make quite a show out of it and make sure that others see them being oh-so-pious, and treat others in a “Holier than Thou” fashion about not receiving in the same way. Talk about a turn-off. I didn’t want to be seen as one of those people.

    This is also the feeling I get from some of these comments above.

    Obviously the laity in general needs to be informed about the different methods of reception, but if their only education comes from a “Hey heretic, be like me or you aren’t holy” approach, why would they have any inclination to move away from what is now the status-quo in many places?

    The people need to be better informed, but it needs to be out of love and charity.

    Honestly, the mean-spiritedness of some of these responses leaves me with no will to participate in discussions here again.

  • Rhen,
    I agree that these conversations are all too often more “chippy” than the need to be. I think one thing that rankles traditionalists (like me) is the way so many liturgical changes were forced in through the back door. Accomodations were made in order to normalize abuses; idiosyncratic preferences give rise to innovations that are encouraged as though licit; and legitimate options intended as accomodations become normalized via agenda driven deceit. It does make folks angry. Examples include the treatment of Latin in the Mass, the use of altar girls, and the disappearance of communion rails and even statues.

  • I can’t help but reflect on the title ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Does reception of the Eucharist on the palm instead of on the tongue DESTROY the Mass? I serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and have seen many people come forward with their tongue extended and muttering ‘Amen’ with little visible reverence. I have also seen people come forward to receive the Eucharist in their hand with a respectful bow and a deliberate “Amen”.

    I also know several young women who are altar servers and they sometimes serve with more reverence and precision than the young men. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recognizes altar servers who have served for 5+ years. I know several young women who received this honor and they are great examples for other young girls.

    I agree that adherence to liturgical standards as set by the Vatican and by our local Bishop is crucial. Above all the rules, the utmost importance lies in the full, active, conscious participation in the liturgy.

  • Rhen,

    It’s ironic that you lambaste those that find reception of the Eucharist on the tongue as holier than thou.

    When these changes were forced upon the laity it was the rebellious that scandalized the faithful.

    Now you come around and yell “wolf” when you are “scandalized” by those that receive it reverently.

    Contemporary Catholic,

    What you described is relativism.

    Since the introduction of female altar servers the amount of vocations, on average, that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has produced is “0”.

    I’m sure those “commendable” female altar servers have done a good job of discouraging male youth from finding role models to pursue the vocation of the priesthood.

  • I think I was rather unclear.

    I am not against reception on the tongue. I generally find it quite reverent.
    I am against those who put themselves on a pedestal by putting on a show every time they go to communion, and put others down directly for not acting in the same way. I recognize that there are abuses like this in many other things, not just reception on the tongue at Communion, and that it is only a portion of people, not everybody who receives Communion on the tongue. Unfortunately I’ve had far too much experience with people like this, and have become a little jaded on the topic.

    I am highly in favor of a deeper reverence at Communion. I have a strong preference for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass because of this, but unfortunately the closest one to me is more than a 2 hour drive.

    I think we could take great steps toward deepening the reverence at Communion without one of the greatest travesties that popped up after Vatican II – the music. It’s tough to feel the deep prayerful-ness of the moment of communion with some folk-y rattling through the church.
    Almost all of the songs written since the second Vatican council illustrate the Eucharist as a meal, which has also served to cheapen it, at least in my experience.

  • Rhen,

    You understand that we have “free will”.

    These people who are ‘holier-than-thou’ may or may not be behaving this way, but they do recognize it is Jesus that they are receiving.

    Mother Teresa was none to happy seeing Jesus being desecrated and trampled upon because pieces of Him would fall from the hand to the floor.

    But to your point, they are not being charitable for behaving as ‘holier-than-thou’.

    It does harm the Church that there aren’t better examples of Christians, but you have Free Will.

    And if you choose to allow this to discourage you it is your choice, not theirs.

  • Rhen,

    You can read whatever motives you like into my post or anyone else’s post. If making up motives for people is how you deal with arguments, that’s your issue to work out.

    Taking communion kneeling and on the tongue is still considered the proper and most reverent form by the Church herself. I suppose Pope Benedict and the rest of the Roman curia are likewise only motivated by some base desire to out-pious all of their liberal critics by making that clear.


    The headline says it all: “Pope prefers Communion on the tongue, Msgr. Marini says”

    If it’s good enough for Benedict, it ought to be good enough for me and you.

    At any rate, this whole issue of “making a show” by taking communion one way or another is precisely the sort of thing that results when the Church is divided and politicized by subversive radicals who don’t think that the liturgy is “incluuuuusive” enough, that it isn’t sufficiently relativistic and egalitarian. So you let everyone do their own thing, and in some places people who believe in reverence and piety will continue to kneel and take it on the tongue and be singled out by such forward-thinking visionaries as “holier than thou.”

    I thank God and Pope Benedict that I can attend a TLM, where we have altar rails and EVERYONE kneels because EVERYONE has to show God the proper respect. That’s how it ought to be. And I won’t apologize for it. I don’t care if people think I am being “holier than thou” – the aim of our Christian life is to BECOME HOLY.

    If you don’t feel you have ANY holiness, then even a little in the simple people who want to show the proper reverence to God will look like a great deal, I suppose. And if you feel that way, its a problem YOU have. False humility is a heck of a lot worse in my view then false piety. At least the latter could inspire a person with genuinely pious feelings to stand up (or kneel, as the case may be) at the appropriate time. False humility just conceals a deep aversion to all things truly holy, sometimes even a hatred of them.

  • Tito, in response to
    “Since the introduction of female altar servers the amount of vocations, on average, that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has produced is “0?.

    I’m sure those “commendable” female altar servers have done a good job of discouraging male youth from finding role models to pursue the vocation of the priesthood.”

    Have you visited http://www.houstonvocations.com lately? There are 2 men to be ordained to the priesthood in July. Last year we ordained 5. Last weekend there were (I believe) 5 ordained to the transitional diaconate. What do you mean by 0?

  • If the moderator could remove me from this post or relieve me from receiving e-mails about comments, I would appreciate it.

    I either misstated my point or have been misinterpreted.

    I just wanted to point out St. Cyril’s writing, and it was taken that I hate reception on the tongue, which I do not. I essentially agree with everything in this post.

    Not a relativist, not a progressive in any way, and I LOVE our Pope. I hold very fast to the traditions of the Church, but I don’t want to be quick to cut down those who aren’t. It’s a process.
    I have a problem with show-boaters, similar to what was discussed on Patrick Madrid’s EWTN’s Open Line show last week. It’s a personal beef that has bugged me a lot over time; I apologize.

    I also apologize if I was abrasive in any way. I hope that dialogue and teaching (ESPECIALLY between fellow Catholics) can find a more reverent tone. I would hope to be politely corrected on anything I had wrong. I’ve just come to my faith, and I’m learning. Cutting down and labeling me is not instructive,and it isn’t helping me to look objectively at anything that is being said.

    Please remove me from this post, and if possible my comments. They weren’t written as well as they should have been.

  • “Cutting down and labeling me is not instructive”

    As you did to me, or should I say, to “us”, when you said,

    “I find the lack of charity in these responses (at least in tone) to actually be rather painful.”

    And proceeded to compare those comments to the mutterings of self-righteous, holier-than-thou people?

    It is a lack of charity to not state the truth, plainly and clearly, for all to hear.

  • Though let me be more clear than I was: what I said in my last post, after “at any rate” wasn’t really addressed to YOU, Rhen, specifically… I suppose I should have made that clear.

    I switch from addressing an individual to a whole range of arguments without making it clear sometimes. For that I apologize.

  • Contemporary Catholic,

    I wanted to affirm what you wrote.

    The average I am quoting was during Archbishop Fiorenza’s term.

    Cardinal DiNardo has done yeoman’s work in improving those numbers and they will continue to grow!


    We appreciate your comments and please return to reading and commenting as you have.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


    P.S. Now the comments are closed.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-16-2009

Monday, March 16, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. The Indian Catholic is reporting that Pope Benedict’s next encyclical will be on the global meltdown.

The Pope’s message fundamentally will be one of hope… …it will be filled also with truth about how false economic principles and moral ideals can lead mankind toward the abyss…”

For the link click here.

2. Communion in the hand, this recent innovation, is dissected by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on his blog.  Fr. Z wants us to consider the following:

Consider the lack of care with which many receive, how they move the Host around and handle it.

Consider that often there is a more or less properly prepared EMHC also handling the Host.

Consider the condition of the skin of the palm.

Consider the few seconds after a person transfers the Host from palm to mouth.

Consider that the Host has been in contact not only with the palm, but the fingers of the other hand.

For the link click here.

Continue reading...

44 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-16-2009

  • Speaking of March Madness, congratulations goes out to Vox Nova for making the field of the Top 64 People Destroying our Culture. They meet Linda Ronstandt in the first round.

    And potentially match up against George Clooney or Mariah Carey if they make it to the second round. Who knew that a member of the St. Blogs circle had such pop culture pull?

  • I’ll take George Clooney over Mariah Carey. He should pull it off considering that he has the most Iraq War themed movie failures.

  • Who knew that a member of the St. Blogs circle had such pop culture pull?

    If only they did; I’d take the VN contributors over anyone else on that list as making positive contributions to the culture.

  • Yeah, throwing in VN is a fit of pique.

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

  • I don’t think it’s a fair rap to accuse anyone on Vox Nova as “destroying the culture”. Honestly, if the differences between our writers and those on Vox Nova were the widest cultural and moral gaps we had in this country, we’d be in a very, very good place.

    But then, I don’t really think Mariah Carey and George Clooney are going to destroy our culture either. So I was just swinging with it as humor.

  • But then, I don’t really think Mariah Carey and George Clooney are going to destroy our culture either. So I was just swinging with it as humor.

    There’s an alternative way of looking at these things too: Without drawing any judgment on who should or shouldn’t be listed, or if a list should even be attempted (though I think this list is meant to be more of a humorous exercise), I’d say that these people are products of our culture more than they are an influence. Enough to make you weep…

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

    Honestly, there isn’t anyone in ‘that bunch’ that I see as harmful to the culture. At the end of the day, they are practicing Catholics. I’m a practicing Catholic; we agree 90%-95% of the time on issues of significance, and where we disagree I’d generally like to hear more from them rather than less. My main frustration with VN is that unnecessarily antagonistic behavior by some contributors creates an environment in which a clear exchange of views is difficult. To be fair, it’s probably a problem with the architecture of blogs and blog comment sections rather than the contributors much of the time.

  • DC & JH,

    It’s a humorous post by CMR.

    But I’m not going to defend Catholics who deliberately mislead others away from the truth.

    You guys can cut hairs, I’ll stick to the truth.

  • I think the danger of Vox Nova is not their own impact on the culture, as their lack of appropriate response to the culture…. appeasement and permissiveness.

    Concurring with Tito that’s not ALL of them but perhaps most.

    I agree with DC that if the whole range of opinions represented between here and there were the whole range of the culture we really wouldn’t have a serious problem at all (at least not culturally)… unfortunately, the liberal Catholic approach is an enabler of the liberal secular approach.

  • 😉

    Tongue in cheek.

    I have no hair! lol

  • I would have sworn that the explosive issue for this post would have been communion in the hand or communion on the tongue.

  • Matt and Tito,

    You two can and do more to damage Catholic culture in your often faulty and wanting presentation of it in one post than V-N has done in its entire history.

    The examples are aplenty.


    Oh, I am saying this tongue in cheek.

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

    It’s hard work being super cool. 🙂

  • Consider the lack of care with which many receive, how they move the Host around and handle it.

    Consider that often there is a more or less properly prepared EMHC also handling the Host.

    Consider the condition of the skin of the palm.

    Consider the few seconds after a person transfers the Host from palm to mouth.

    Consider that the Host has been in contact not only with the palm, but the fingers of the other hand.



    🙂 That’s a pretty good one!

  • Interesting article here on the reception of communion:http://www.franciscan-archive.org/apologetica/tongue.html.

    Catholic Anarchist, I believe that Christ at the Last Supper was giving communion to a room full of priests.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I believe that Christ at the Last Supper was giving communion to a room full of priests.

    I just don’t get this bizarre thinking. 1) No, Christ did not “give communion to a bunch of priests” at the Last Supper. 2) Are priests’ hands cleaner or holier or what? I don’t know what Tito is doing with his hands that makes his palms something of a threat to the host. What are you people talking about?

  • Communion in mouth recipients remind me of the “look at me, I am holier than thou” crowd…especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

  • “No, Christ did not “give communion to a bunch of priests” at the Last Supper.”

    You deny that the apostles were priests? Why am I not surprised.

    Priests hands are consecrated Catholic Anarchist and only priests are able to change the bread and wine into their body and blood. Of course this makes them different in regard to handling the body and blood.

    “with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.”

    Mr. DeFrancisis, when it comes to an efficient flowing of the communion line or allowing someone to pay traditional reverence to the Lord of the Universe, perhaps you could show some Christian charity.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    The current Mass already has its built in many practices to show reverence, as practiced in dioceses all across America.

    The insistence to go beyond the prescribed alternatives in one’s diocese is odd at best, whenever one kneels in cases in which this is not a prescribed option, and clearly works, inadvertantly or not, as a means to disrupt the communio that the Eucharistic sacrifice is to effect.

  • especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

    Maybe our expectations of how the communion line should flow (like a drive-through???) are wrong. Maybe if everyone knelt at communion, it wouldn’t feel like the holier than thou crowd is trying to set themselves apart. I don’t have strong feelings about the reception in hand/mouth debate, but sometimes I wish that the faithful could take an infinitessimally longer amount of time to show reverence and recall what is actually happening at that moment. Something about the rushed atmosphere just seems out of place.

  • I think it is a minor disruption at most Mr. DeFrancisis. I do not kneel myself, but I have only respect for those who do. I think the Pope agrees with me, judging from this:

    “Congregation de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum

    Prot. n. 1322/02/L

    Rome, 1 July 2002

    Your Excellency,

    This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has recently received reports of members of the faithful in your Diocese being refused Holy Communion unless while standing to receive, as opposed to kneeling. The reports state that such a policy has been announced to parishioners. There were possible indications that such a phenomenon might be somewhat more widespread in the Diocese, but the Congregation is unable to verify whether such is the case. This Dicastery is confident that Your Excellency will be in a position to make a more reliable determination of the matter, and these complaints in any event provide an occasion for the Congregation to communicate the manner in which it habitually addresses this matter, with a request that you make this position known to any priests who may be in need of being thus informed.

    The Congregation in fact is concerned at the number of similar complaints that it has received in recent months from various places, and 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.

    Given the importance of this matter, the Congregation would request that Your Excellency inquire specifically whether this priest in fact has a regular practice of refusing Holy Communion to any member of the faithful in the circumstances described above and — if the complaint is verified — that you also firmly instruct him and any other priests who may have had such a practice to refrain from acting thus in the future. Priests should understand that the Congregation 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.

    Thanking Your Excellency for your attention to this matter and relying on your kind collaboration in its regard,

    Sincerely yours in Christ,

    Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez

    +Francesco Pio Tamburrino
    Archbishop Secretary”

  • Michael I/Mark D.

    Did you even click on the link that Tito posted? You are apparently unfamiliar with the FACT that the universal norm in the CATHOLIC Church is that communion is to be received on the tongue. The use of communion in the hand in the modern era was out of DISOBEDIENCE and as a result of a faulty theology. Ultimately, the Holy Father granted an indult for certain places were this illicit practice had developed, in the document granting this, the universal norm was defended despite permitting limited use of the alternate practice.

    Michael, do you adhere solely to Vatican II and Sacred Scripture? You throw out nearly 2000 years of the Church’s development of theology and discipline in favor of antiquarianism, and Vatican IIism. You are PRECISELY the sort that the Holy Father is warning to reform.

    There should be no mistake by any of the moderates here that Michael and Mark’s hostility towards traditional piety and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is not a matter of personal preference but represents a serious theological flaw. They feel deeply threatened by the Holy Father’s steps towards a reform of the reform… their anger belies a deep fear.

    If Christ Himself in natural form were to stand there at the altar would not EVERY knee bend? Then why would we show any less reverence to His REAL Presence in the Sacrament?

  • Donald,

    Tamburrino? that old relic, why should Mark or Michael listen to him, isn’t he one of those hundred of year old bishops still clinging to the pre-Vatican II Church?

  • “There should be no mistake by any of the moderates here that Michael and Mark’s hostility towards traditional piety and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is not a matter of personal preference but represents a serious theological flaw. They feel deeply threatened by the Holy Father’s steps towards a reform of the reform… their anger belies a deep fear.”


    I think you may have missed a doasage of your meds, as you are clearly frothing at the mouth in your assinine accusations. They deserve no further response.

  • Mark is right, Matt. You’ve gone over the line in judging our view toward “traditional” piety and in questioning our reverence for the Eucharist. So as Donald, but you, Matt, have become a caricature of yourself and of the supposed “moderates” you claim to represent. You’re a reactionary nut case.

  • Alright that is enough. This is Tito’s thread, but I will delete the next comment that insults anyone.

  • Donald – Have an equal hand, friend. God’s watching. Are you as willing to give witness to “true christian charity” in your dealings with Matt as you are will me?

  • As I stated Catholic Anarchist, I will delete the next insulting comment made.

  • Deleted your last comment Catholic Anarchist. I’m not a policeman, merely one of the posters on this blog who does not wish to see the comboxes devolve into endless, boring flinging of insults. I blog for fun. Reading back and forth insults is not fun.

  • Communion in mouth recipients remind me of the “look at me, I am holier than thou” crowd…especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

    Such love expressed here. Rest assured Mark, God knows what’s in our hearts. If people receive Our Lord kneeling because they think they can put themselves above you, the Lord will deal with that. If they’re doing it because they’re humbled in the presence of the Lord and at the thought of receiving this great Gift, I would guess He’s quite okay with it. Really, think about what you’re saying and griping about. I mean, even if a communicant is kneeling for what you consider to be self-righteous motives. How does it really affect you? Why would you want to let something like that disturb you so? And don’t say because you have to spend a few extra minutes in the Communion line, that will sound even worse.

  • Yeah, I get kick out of this. Seeing how the VN bloggers join the other 2% of Catholics who actually follow the Church’s teachings on Sexuality in our daily lives and our commitment to pro-life work and corporal works of mercy, yeah, we are DEFINITELY destroying our Culture. If you mean destroying the American individualism and culture of death, YEP! Guilty as charged and PROUD of it!

  • Rick,

    I am only speaking from personal experience, reflecting back on whenever I received by mouth and occasionally kneeled, in settings in which communion in the hand was the dominant practice.

  • If one did study 2000 years of history and Christian tradition, one would know how common communion by the hand actually was. And one would learn of other odd practices. I am sure Matt would be horrified if he learned about St Macrina and the eucharist.

    The problem is that those who say “it is not just the modern age,” while correct in stating that, ignore the whole 2000 years, when they judge what happens in the modern age. They also act like Martin Luther, who said “Well, the modern age gets it wrong, but let me show you how I read tradition.” No, the Church reads tradition, and we must understand the modern practices in relation to that.

    “IT started as an abuse.” So did many other things Romans do. Shall we mention the filioque?

  • Ok, since I am one-quarter Irish I will give myself a dispensation from abstinence from blogging for St. Patrick’s Day 🙂

    I was about 12 or 13 years old when communion in the hand (as well as face to face confession) started, and accepted it in good faith. I do it to this day simply because it’s what I’m used to, and because I’m kind of self-conscious about subjecting the priest or EM to my potentially virus or halitosis-contaminated breath. Then again, cold viruses allegedly spread faster through your hands than your breath anyway so I guess that argument is a wash.

    I personally feel the most dignified and least potentially disruptive way to show reverence before receiving the Eucharist is to bow slightly from the waist while the person in front of you is receiving. My daughter and I both do this. This shows reverence but doesn’t hold up the line or call attention to oneself.

    My daughter (13 and mildly autistic) always receives on the tongue. When she was going through instruction for First Communion they taught her how to do it both ways and she showed a marked preference for on the tongue, and that is how she does it — perhaps because her manual dexterity leaves something to be desired and she doesn’t want to take the chance of dropping or fumbling with the Host. So there are valid reasons for people to receive both ways.

    I suggest that we approach this the way St. Paul asked the early Christians to approach the question of whether or not to eat meat (purchased in the marketplace) that had been or may have been sacrificed to idols at the time of slaughter.

    St. Paul said that while eating such meat wasn’t wrong in itself (since the false gods to which it had been “sacrificed” really didn’t exist), it was better to refrain from eating such meat in the presence of “weaker brethren” who might be offended or scandalized by it. But he also told the latter group not to be overly judgmental of those whom they saw eating such meat. His point was that he did not want to see the Body of Christ torn apart on an issue that wasn’t a matter of faith or morals, just because one side wanted to prove itself “right.”

    There is also a passage in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters that applies Paul’s approach to the differences in piety between High and Low Anglicans. Lewis (via Screwtape) says that if Anglicans took that approach, one might see “Low Church” people genuflecting and crossing themselves so their “High” bretheren won’t be tempted to irreverence, and “High Church” people abstaining from those gestures so their “Low” bretheren won’t be tempted to idolatry!

    Imagine a Church in which Catholics who prefer receiving kneeling and on the tongue instead receive standing and in the hand (perhaps offering it up as a penance) because they don’t want to distract or offend their “weaker” brethren — while, at the same time, those who normally receive in the hand decide to make the sacrifice of receiving on the tongue, or kneeling, so as not to offend or tempt to irreverence THEIR “weaker” brethren and sisteren. 🙂 Wouldn’t that be a lot better than bickering about it?

  • Thank you Elaine for your insightful comment. I am glad you gave yourself the “Saint Patrick’s blogging dispensation”. I have always loved the passage you cite from the Screwtape letter.

    My position is not to say that all Catholics should receive communion on the tongue, as I do, and kneeling, which I do not, but that they should be respected when they do so, just as no aspersions should be cast on those Catholics who receive communion in the hand, as my wife does.

    I would note that the norm at papal masses apparently is now kneeling and communion on the tongue, so I believe those Catholics who choose to receive God in that manner are in good company!


    I have a son too who is autistic. Alas, I wish I could I could state his condition was mild, although there is nothing wrong with his manual dexterity. He too receives on the tongue. I am sure he is merely copying his old man, although he very much has a mind of his own on most things. Having him worship by me at Mass has added a great dimension to my own experience of the Mass, and I thank God for it.

  • I only receive on the tongue, mostly because my tradition uses a golden spoon for the distribution of communion, and I am used to it, even when I go to a Roman liturgy. It’s just easier not to get confused and to follow one practice. But again, distribution to the hand is not an abuse (it was when it was not approved discipline, at those times it was not; but before it was an abuse, it was not an abuse, and I think people should remember that, because it points something out about the whole matter).

    Sergius Bulgakov reminds us that Christ’s blood did fall upon the earth, and the tomb shows the ground took his body; as such, if Christ was able to distribute his graces to the earth, we might also use that to reflect upon many of the things being discussed here and now. His idea that the earth itself is the holy grail has all kinds of implications, from ecology to sacramentology and even soteriology; I think a reflection on it would help everyone.

  • “at those times” should have been “at other times times it was not” should have been deleted, but I generally write comments quickly without editing them, and I sometimes don’t delete everything I intended to as I change the way I am saying something.

  • Has anyone here read the document of Paul VI that granted the indult for communion on the hand in certain places? If you are serious about your faith, regardless of your communion practice, you ought to read it.


    This method of distributing holy communion must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful’s reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that is needed for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord.[6]

  • Elaine,

    Thank you for your intervention, especially as it has affected me.

    The funny thing is, if we were to return across the board to kneelers and a communion rail at the altar and communion for everyone in such a way, I would be more than happy.

    As it is I actually regret the hodge podge of standing, kneeling, mouth and hand reception that occurs only because of the apparent discord it seems to express.

    And, yes, Donald, your examples prove that this apparent discord may be minor, in comparison to the good that the alternatives serve in individual cases.

    My bad.

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-18-2009 « The American Catholic

Obama and Consequences

Friday, November 14, AD 2008


My friend Jay Anderson over at his always well worth reading blog, has a story about Father Jay Scott Newman’s controversial decision that voters for Obama should do penance before receiving communion.  The anonymous comments are priceless.  Perhaps some of our readers would care to share their thoughts pro and con over there?  For the record, my guess is that Father Newman will quickly be taken to task by his Bishop and rightly so, but the howls of the Obamabots have to be read to be believed!

Update:  Good analysis by Ed Morrisey over at Hot Air.

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19 Responses to Obama and Consequences

  • “… my guess is that Father Newman will quickly be taken to task by his Bishop and rightly so …”

    Actually, the Diocese of Charleston is currently without a Bishop. But Rich Leonardi’s post indicates the chancery is backing up Fr. Newman, calling his comments “appropriate and in line with Church teaching“.

  • I stand corrected Jay.

  • (Preface: I have a great amount of respect for Fr Newman and the work he’s done. I’ve been a fan of his since the old Pontifications days.)

    My humble opinion as a layman: Fr Newman ought to have exhorted his parishoners to examine their conscience carefully to see if it was in line with Catholic teaching on material cooperation with evil and proportionality, or, better yet, walked them THROUGH it. (I wouldn’t be surprised if this already happened, actually)

    THEN, tell them that if they were out of line then they should confess prior to receiving.

    Just assuming that because a Catholic voted for Obama they were guilty of mortal sin was presumptuous.

    Also, saying “voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.” isn’t totally accurate, I think. If I understand correctly (I’m open to correction here) a Catholic could licitely vote for McCain, who supports ESCR (I know not 100% supports, but let’s not quibble on this for the sake of the argument) and is therefore NOT pro-life in the proper sense, due to proportionality (in order to limit the evil done by the more pro-abortion candidate). Obviously, voting third party or abstaining are defensible positions for a Catholic as well.

    Since McCain supports ESCR, those of us who voted for him are guilty of material cooperation with intrinsic evil as well, yes? Do we have to confess? Or does proportionality absolve us of that?

    If a Catholic Obama supporter was convinced (deluded, IMO) into believing that his administration would reduce abortions, were they guilty of mortal sin? Or just terribly wrong? How does Fr Newman know the difference?

  • I don’t think anyone knows what the Church’s teaching is on voting and abortion because the Bishops disagree with each other. It’s hard to hear what they are trying to say, even when you pay really close attention.

  • Perhaps Fr. Newman’s brave stand will compel some of the sorry bench of bishops to teach clearly. But pigs may take wing first.

    Good on Fr. Newman. It needs to be said.

  • Just noticed that it’s made Drudge. I agree with Chris that it is presumptuous to say voting for Obama required penance, and I think it was particularly unwise to do so in a letter. Here’s the relevant text per the AP:

    “Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president,” Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.
    “Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”

  • Reading the text, it appears Father did not say explicitly that those who voted for Obama need to do penance. One could believe, in the language of the letter, that McCain was not a ‘plausible pro-life alternative’. For instance, I thought it would be very difficult for McCain to appoint judges unsympathetic to Roe with a Democratic Senate, and that his support for ESCR meant he was not really ‘pro-life’. For these reasons, McCain may not have been a ‘plausible pro-life alternative’. However, the extreme nature of Obama’s pro-choice record should have been a serious obstacle for Catholics.

  • He jumped noggin-first into secular politics. Bad idea but great execution. Sad to say, many of our fellow RCs either don’t know about abortion as a grave sin or are too muddled to grasp it. Padre Newman’s exhortation appears after the fact. Or else he violates the unspoken rule in New Zealand- the tall poppy gets chopped off. But he didn’t get much direction from his, and our, own shepherds. The USCCB statement this week was wild, bold and way out there, compared to the usual peace and justice and blahblahblah and we still have hope. Archbishop Chaput, The Shepherd For Our Time, is the one who sets the bar on this stuff, particularly with that fine read Render Unto Caesar at bookstores somewhere. Capture the good Archbishop’s pitch and tone and you’re OK. But I do like the good Padre’s style. Hee hee.

  • [Ed. Note Deleted]

  • That priest should be disciplined.

  • It sounds like the news story is mostly a matter of Fr. Newman’s bulletin letter from the previous week having been misinterpreted by the Greenville News and then Associated Press. He’s got a piece up about the incident on the parish website:


  • The poor cleric should perform due penance for either (a) his willfull and knowledgeable abusing of his parishioners’ consciences, or, (b) his inexcusable ignorance of proper Church teahing, in the light of the special and not-to be-taken for granted teaching, pastoring and leadership charisms conferred upon him, through ordination,

    These examples make me consider going all NonConformist and Dissident, in my weaker moments…

  • Or how about the AP does penance for willfully distorting what he said?

  • I’m only a lay-woman, a trained Catechist but no “Doctor of the Church.” I have no important degrees nor have I written “scholarly papers on the subjects of Church Teaching and the finer points of Canon Law.

    I am a middle aged “Baby-Boomer,” that was too young to understand Rowe verses Wade decision. I did not go through the crisis of an unwanted pregnancy.

    Naively I supported “Planned Parenthood” as a young woman until I learned some family history and how my grandfather’s sister who had been in college to be a school teacher in the early 1930s was swayed by Communists and worked for Margaret Sanger in Detroit Michigan, and died not from influenza, but a botched abortion her “lover” insisted she have to “prove” herself to the cause.

    I have taken women I know that had abortions BACK to a medical practitioner because of complications from abortion that they were not told about at the time. And prayed for both them and the child they aborted.

    There is trauma to the process, physically, mentally and especially spiritually, to the woman or girl, and to those that participate in the action. I cannot think of a good reason to abort a child in the womb.

    But I know abortion is an intrinsic evil, and those that endorse, encourage or consent are committing a grave mortal sin. More dire because it spills over into some many other areas of life.

  • Powerful testimony Sandra.

  • Sandra,

    Thank you for sharing. Very powerful testimony indeed as Donald said.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • Poor Father got his hand slapped from above:

    Here’s the written statement from Monsignor Martin Laughlin, administrator of the Diocese of Charleston:

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) – This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion.

    As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” The Catechism goes on to state: “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.”

    Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.

    The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.

    We should all come together to support the President-elect and all elected officials with a view to influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child. Let us pray for them and ask God to guide them as they take the mantle of leadership on January 20, 2009. I ask also for your continued prayers for me and for the Diocese of Charleston

  • ” Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well”

    Well, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? Can a well formed conscience ignore every Bishop that’s spoken out and vote for the most pro-abortion senator and presidential candidate in US history?

    Anyway, yes, Fr Newman overstepped.