Friday, 23 May 2008

On kneeling for communion: the next step in the Benedictine reforms?

Fr Z has two interesting items up today on what might be the next step in the Holy Father's 'Marshall Plan' for the liturgy, namely encouraging people to kneel and receive on the tongue:

He reports that at the mass for Corpus Christi, the Pope gave Communion only on the tongue only, to people kneeling on a kneeler set up before him.

In Australia, of course, the bishops have just legislated in the opposite direction, with the new GIRM saying:

"In Australia, standing is the commonest posture for receiving Holy Communion. The customary manner of reception is recommended to be followed by all...".

Certainly the leaflet introducing the latest round of changes (a bow before receiving, and more standing) clearly implies that all should stand, and makes absolutely no mention of the right to receive kneeling:

Of course, it is noteworthy that the Chairman of the Bishop's Liturgy Committee, Archbishop Coleridge, has acknowledged the right of those who wish to receive kneeling in his own recent pastoral letter, albeit without much encouragement or enthusiasm for the practice:

"If it has been their custom, it is also acceptable for people to genuflect or even kneel (with due consideration for the safety of those coming behind in the procession)."

Perhaps the Holy Father's example will prompt a bit of a rethink on this?

Perhaps we should organise large groups to attend a novus ordo mass or two and set an example in the hope that others might follow?

And while we are on rethinks, those of us attached to the extraordinary form, of course celebrated Corpus Christi yesterday - along with the Pope. Those following the Ordinary Form in Australia (and many other places) have to wait until Sunday for this great feast.

Given that it was originally implemented to help reinforce reverence for the Real Presence, something so sorely lacking in our day, perhaps the bishops should think about moving the celebration of this feast at least back to its proper day, and even making it a Holy Day of Obligation?


Anthony said...

After the mess that followed the legislation of the same policy (standing communion) by our . . . um . . . bishops in the U.S., I am a bit surprised that another bishops' conference is taking the same measures. There was apparently so much noise coming from the orthodox Catholics (few though they may be) about bishops and priests denying them communion or making heavy handed threats and denouncing as "disobedient" those who would dare kneel to receive communion, that Rome had to write multiple letters to faithful apologizing for the confusion and to bishops demanding that they stop the madness.

Just in case your readers are in need of some:

It is times like these (and so many more) that I thank God that the Mass of tradition is still available.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

That is great to see :), I know that for myself, I receive kneeling and on the tongue. It'd be even better if my parish used the beautiful altar rails for tne NO along with the EF. Now I can feel better about bringing this up at my parish

David said...

In some places, the "ban" is explicit rather than implied.

Check out the St Francis Xavier Cathedral (Adelaide) newsletter for the Feast of Pentecost here:

The first item, "Changes in the Mass - This Weekend" reads in part -

"This form of reverence [the bow] is to replace other forms such as genuflecting or kneeling prior to receiving Communion"

That reflects the content of a leaflet Adelaide people were given the previous week.

It is interesting to note that this is Archbishop Wilson's diocese - and His Grace is the Chairman of the ACBC.

I'd like to see 'em try and enforce this one. Quite apart from the fact that Redemptionis Sacramentum says that they can't, I'm guessing that the kneelers have an important friend in Rome, and Anthony's link confirms my view of the matter...

David said...

And am I the only one who gets annoyed when Catholics refer to the Chalice containing the Precious Blood as a "cup"; I don't know where they get off translating "calix" as "cup", as if we were receiving some chicken soup, or maybe a caffe latte, rather than the Precious Blood of Our Lord. Sometimes one wonders whether the liturgists responsible and the ICEL actually have a clue about the Church's teaching about transubstantiation.

Terra said...

Once upon a time (not that many years ago) I actually got marked wrong for translating calix as chalice in the Australian Catholic University's Latin course.

The lecturer and I had a fairly robust exchange on this and a few other issues of this ilk (I was instructed at one point that what I had translated as 'Son of Man' should be translated 'Son of a human being'). I didn't do any further courses through them....

David said...

I just saw the Adelaide newsletter for 18 May:

The Cathedral Administrator adds a "point of clarification" - emphasizing that bowing has replaced genuflecting and kneeling. Could it be that they've been having trouble with people adhering to the ancient practices?

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

David, you're not the only that gets annyoed by the reference to calix as "cup"'s chalice. We both know that the ICEL didn't really try to translate the Latin, because had they did so, we'd have for many, chalice, consubstantial, peace to men of good will, and on and on and on.