Sunday, August 24, 2008

US priests refuse to give communion to kneeling communicants

Briefing. We've never heard of this happening in the UK, since the bishops here have not - as the US bishops have - directed that receiving communion standing should be 'the norm'. But it is worth knowing that even if a Bishops' Conference should decide this, let alone a parish priest, a Catholic retains the right to receive communion kneeling.

Fr Zuhlsdorf discusses this (see his full post), and the matter turns on a passage in Redemptionis Sacramentum, Section 91: it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

The same goes for receiving on the tongue. Incidentally, at the Traditional Mass (usus antiquior), communion MUST be received kneeling and on the tongue (although naturally priests will not always wish to enforce this on the spot).

Interestingly, since actions speak louder than words, the Holy Father has instituted a practice by which he ONLY administers communion to communicants kneeling and on the tongue. He clearly wants to re-establish this as the normal and preferred form of receiving communion.

Finally, it is important for priests to note that Redemptoris Sacramentum Section 92 adds: If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen