Communion in the hand, the Pope recalls that it is possible

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Communion in the hand, the Pope recalls that it is possible

Communion in the hand, the Pope recalls that it is possible

By Andrea Tornielli/ lastampa.it

Pope Francis has reaffirmed that it is the episcopal conferences’ responsibility to authorize the ways of receiving communion. Cardinal Sarah criticized today’s widespread practice denouncing is as a diabolical attack.

Just a few, yet very significant lines. Continuing the catechesis on the mass, during the general audience on Wednesday 21 March 2018 Pope Francis recalled the various ways of receiving the Eucharist, among which is that of receiving the consecrated Host in one’s hands. An emphasis that comes after the strong words with which Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, criticized in recent weeks the use of communion in the hand.

This is what Francis said: “The Church strongly desires that the faithful also receive the Body of the Lord with consecrated hosts in the same Mass; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is made in the two forms, even though Catholic doctrine teaches that one whole Christ is received in one form (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 85; 281-282)”.

“According to the ecclesial practice -Bergoglio continued - the faithful approach the Eucharist normally in a processional form, as we have said, and, standing with devotion or kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference, receive the sacrament in the mouth or, where permitted, in the hand, as preferred (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 160-161). After Communion, to keep the gift received in our hearts, we are helped by silence, silent prayer”.

In just a few lines the Pontiff recalls therefore that the communion received by the faithful in their hand does not represent at all an abuse, but a modality provided for by the General Ordinance of the Roman Missal. That is exactly what paragraphs 160 and 161 of the document prescribe. “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. Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood”.

“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.”

That “ where this is allowed” means in the places where the Episcopal Conference has expressed itself in favor of communion in the hand, allowing this use. That therefore cannot be considered an abuse, being contemplated in the order of the Missal and having been explicitly authorized by the local bishops.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (appointed by Pope Francis), in the preface to the book by Federico Bortoli The Distribution of Communion in Hand. Historical, juridical and pastoral profiles (Edizioni Cantagalli), had recently denounced a multiple diabolical attack on the Eucharist. Identifying in the use of receiving communion in the hand an open door to these attacks and remembering that Communion shall be received on the tongue, on the knees.

“Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand? Cardinal Sarah asked in the preface - Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? He then admonishes, “May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue’.

Sarah claimed that receiving the Eucharist on the hand has become praxis for the “liturgical reform that should have been homogeneous with the previous rites, a special concession has become the picklock to force and empty the safe of the Church’s liturgical treasures.”

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 09:54
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