Monday, 29 April 2013

The Benedictine legacy: the right to kneel and receive on the tongue recognised!

The new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) with application for Australia was released a week or so back.

The GIRM is important, because it sets out not only the rubrics which priests are people are obligated (well in theory at least!) to follow, but also articulates the theology around the various norms and pastoral directions contained in it.

You might recall that an interim version was put out in 2008 - this is the final as approved by the Holy See.

And there do seem to be a few important changes in it, including a recognition of the right to kneel to receive communion.


In the previous version, you might recall, kneeling was strongly discouraged:

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

The new version, however, is much more permissive.  It omits the second sentence above, and instead says:

"In the dioceses of Australia standing is the most common posture for receiving Holy Communion, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive communion while kneeling."

This is good news indeed for all those who have struggled to assert this right.

It is worth noting that the US version of GIRM has also been revised to the same effect. 

***Receiving on the tongue

Since comments have raised the problems some priests put in front of those who wish to receive on the tongue, and the flu season is coming up again and likely to provoke once again claims about the medical aspects of reception methods, I thought I'd add the relevant provisions on this subject:

161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the Priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, The Body of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes the whole of it.

The provision reflects Redemptionis Sacramentum, which states that:

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.


Joshua said...

Just try to do so at, say, the Church of St Francis in the Melbourne CBD - one day a few years ago, after being at a Latin Mass the day before, I went to Mass there and knelt to receive: at the end of Mass, the priest gave a special sermon just for me, which was the best example of passive aggression I've ever come across, on the topic of why kneeling was not done there!

And in Tasmania, receiving the Host on the tongue can get you into similar trouble...

The Loon said...

A PDF of the new GIRM with OZ, UK/Wales and Scottish adaptions can be found at the link below.

St Paul of course says that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend (we have 2 knees!): how much more in his actual presence.

Kate Edwards said...

Joshua - Isn't St Francis' the home of that predator priest on young women, and sometime head of the order resident there, Fr Knowles? No surprise that an order that attempted to restore him to ministry despite fourteen years of living a lie preys on the laity in other days as well, denying them their rights.

Antonia Romanesca said...

That is shocking, Joshua - even worse is the way he sermonized at the end of Mass, quite obviously directing it at you. We are shocked at the malice of this - the Church is evidently "all about" him and his associates. How far has the Church sunk in Australia?

Joshua said...

Frankly that's why I keep my head down and don't complain about things, except on blogs! And they wonder why even practising Catholics give up and drop off, while the faithful get more and more alienated... they haven't the wit to see the harm their brother pedo priests have caused, wring their hands about that helplessly and carelessly, then start attacking the faithful themselves: they are shitten shepherds who care nothing for the sheep.