Monday, 26 May 2008

Kneeling for Communion

I got this over at Fr Tim's blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity.

This is excellent news that these musings are now happening in the Vatican and a real sign of hope for the future. Yet I want to say one thing and one thing only. Just because we start kneeling, it wont mean we are converted... These practices if introduced should start a renewal of orthodox catechisis in our country which is badly needed. Just because something looks nice, doesn't make it holy.

(AGI) – Vatican City, 22 May – Benedict XVI gave communion this evening to the faithful who knelt in front of him, following the tradition, that is, not giving the consecrated particles into the hands but putting them directly into the mouth. Both ways are allowed in the present liturgical norms but this way underlines more greatly the meaning of the Eucharist as the renewed sacrifice of Jesus, while the other is more in line with the protestant conception which emphasises more the dimension of the meal.

The Church of Papa Ratzinger is worried about the lack of respect for the Eucharist, evident from the ever increasing number of liturgical abuses which are committed in the course of celebrations. Recently, L’Osservatore Romano dedicated a whole page to this problem, giving space to a study of the theologian Inos Biffi, who denounced a crisis of faith in the mystery of “transubstantiation” that is, of the real presence of Christ in the consecrated host, as the cause of this phenomenon.

In an interview with “”, Mgr Albert Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, condemned the “inexplicable extravagances” committed by some priests in the liturgy, emphasising that it is “not their property but that of the Church”. “The Mass”, he affirmed, “is not a spectacle, but sacrifice, gift and mystery.” Regarding communion in the hand: “ I just believe” affirmed the Archbishop, “that it is necessary to review this practice: I speak personally, but I am convinced of the urgency of returning to giving the particle to the faithful directly into the mouth, without them touching it, emphasising in this way that in the Eucharist there is really Jesus and that all should welcome him with devotion, love, and respect.”

For Mgr Ranjith, further, “It would be a case also of returning to kneeling at the moment in which one communicates” as “an act of respect towards the gift and the mystery of the Eucharist.” “Beyond the role which I have in the Vatican, as a catholic” he concluded, “I ask and question: why be embarrassed by God? Kneeling at the moment of communion would be an act of humility and of recognition of our nature as sons of God.”

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