Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Considering the GIRM II: Posture for Holy Communion

Some may think that standing for Holy Communion began with the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1970. For those of us over 50, the Novus Ordo is the "New, New Mass." We had the "New Mass" -the 1965 Roman Missal and it was then that standing began, though Holy Communion was still on the tongue and patens were still used. It was considered a vile abuse in Holland and Belgium where experimentation gave way to the almost universal dissent of commuion-in-the-hand prompting Pope Paul VI to issue Memoriale Domini which was promptly ignored and which he was too weak to enforce.
It was not long after this, and certainly even before 1970, that Communion Rails - the last remaining part of the Rood in the West, which in the Byzantine is the Iconostasis and in the Syriac the Veil, were by and large, removed and some rather sadly and unceremoniously ending up as parking curbs.

Truly, the Byzantine and Syriac manner of receiving the Eucharist is standing. In fact, they don't kneel at all in the Divine Liturgy or Qurbono as it is known in the Syriac Church.  It was in the west that kneeling became the norm as a response to heresy and doubt in the Real Presence - not so much a problem in either Eastern Churches. Along with this destruction of Communion Rails of course came the Magdalene moment of searching for the Tabernacle. It was a debate between the "dynamic" verses the "static" presence. We simple Catholics knew nothing of dynamic or static, only Real.

This debate still rages, though it is changing for the better as the generation that did all this dies off. They left few children literally or spiritually and in a decade's time they will be all be gone to their particular judgement or resting in nursing homes. It will be up to us to ensure that they are not euthanised even though they did not fight the early fight against the slaughter of the innocents as they were too busy with coke and pizza Masses. The churches will be emptier but they will be filled with Catholics who will strive for something better and they will be filled with fewer but holier and zealous young priests that are not masculine and not emasculated.

The facts are that no order from the Second Vatican Council ever provided for Communion Rails to be ripped out or Tabernacles to be displaced. This came later by "expert liturgists." Official documents referred to new constructioin and in fact, architectural or artistic significance was to be retained.

However, keeping these rails or barriers, as these experts would claim would have prevented the universal adoption of standing for Holy Communion and create a barrier to the Table. Despite this, individual Catholics chose to reject this posture and in its wisdom, Holy Mother Church issued a document called Redemptions Sacramentum in which, the Communicants right to not only receive communion kneeling was enshrined but the restating that Communion-on-the-tongue is the norm and always remains the universal law of the Church, notwithstanding what individula Ordinaries did in my town during SARS or H1N1. They were wrong, I said it then and I repeat it now, both of them.

So, what does the GIRM for Canada and other countries say?

160. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants,  who usually come up in procession.
It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. In the Dioceses of Canada, Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. When standing before the minister to receive Holy Communion, the faithful should make a simple bow of the head. When receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, they reverently join their hands; when receiving Holy Communion in the hand, they reverently open their hands placing one beneath the other, and they consume the host immediately upon receiving it.

Did you read that?

In Canada, the norm is standing as we know, but "individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling!"

A few other points in the paragraph above. "It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves." If you do this, stop. If you see it being done, file a complaint and refer to the paragraph in the GIRM.

Note this too: "When standing before the minister to receive Holy Communion, the faithful should make a simple bow of the head."

And this: "When receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, they reverently join their hands; when receiving Holy Communion in the hand, they reverently open their hands placing one beneath the other, and they consume the host immediately upon receiving it." This is so the Priest, or Deacon or EMHC if absolutely necessary knows how to approach you with the Host. But also be aware, you are to place one hand beneath the other (as a throne) and you "consume the host immediately upon receiving it" you do not walk away and pop Him in your mouth as if He is a nacho chip. You bring your hands to your mouth!

Of course, you should simply receive on the tongue and then all the EMHC would go away because they find it repulsive.

So, in the matter of kneeling for Holy Communion; unless the church has a communion rail which they promote and utilise and you are in the McDonald's line, then let common sense and charity prevail. If you choose to avail yourself of your right granted to you by Holy Mother Church do so at the end of the line anbe d humble about it.

But know this!


The priest cannot refuse you and the bishop cannot drag you to your feet nor can he have you arrested.

Now, you don't have to pay attention to me, but you might want to watch what the man who some day could be the first Pope from America has to say...or then again, it might be a bishop from Kazakhstan who has called for a new Syllabus of Errors.


Friends, every Catholic needs to read and study the GIRM.


Spread the Good News!


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

These posts are excellent! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

capebretoner

Mike said...

Click here to see the latest Pastoral Letter(s)

Mike said...

IS THERE A LACK OF REVERENCE FOR RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION AND SHOWING
REVERENCE TOWARD THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT AND IS SAYING YES TOO
JUDGEMENTAL?

http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2011/09/is-there-lack-of-reverence-for.html

Vox Cantoris said...

St. Pio kneeling for Holy Communion.

Grace Kelly (how beautiful is she) kneeling for Holy Communion.

We won't talk about the Queen of Spain...