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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Comments

Fernando

Beeline,

I will decide when this conversation is over. Your true colors come to life. Should I list the number of things that you have said about other people on this blog? Using the f word when engaging others, refering to the Hispanic parishioners at Saint Joaquin in Costa Mesa in a demeaner way as a "bunch of Mexican", making statements impliying that you are supperior to the rest of us? Do you think your respect gives me the motivation to wake up in the morning? Should I be concerned on whether or not I have the respect from someone like you? From a coward who hides behind the anonimy of the internet? Oh Beeline, your are an excuse for a human being, but not because I say to, but because your behavior has prove it. You complain about the way I have treated you, but do not care to consider the way you have treated others in this blog. Patetic! Now this conversation is over. You now have become a zero to the left: irrelevant.

Fernando Guido
(With the courage to use my my real name, therefore the next time you post a comment under your nickname you will demostrate the opposite to courage)

Beeline

bump

Nate Wildermuth

Hi guys,

I kind of feel like you haven't read my posts. I've said that obedience to a bishop only goes so far (and my own life reflects that), and I've applaued efforts at removing bishops by contacting the Vatican, and I've also said over and over again that I was wrong for misjudging Carol's actions (I thought she had ambushed the bishop because the video seemed to be coordinated with her kneeling).

Fernando, you have called me a 'lost cause', 'hopeless', and have suggest that I'm on some sort of drug. Come on, Fernando. How am I supposed to debate name calling?

Michael, I think we have more in common in our disappointment with the bishops and the declining faith in our Church than you think, though perhaps our disappointment centers on different issues. It appears you are very troubled by liturgical problems, whereas I am simply happy to see Jesus made real in the eucharist every time. Nothing can stain that miracle, for me. Or maybe, everything stains it. I think about how sinful we all are going up to receive Christ, and know that no matter how nice our liturgy, how proper it might seem, somehow (in my opinion), it just all falls short. There's that last prayer before communion:

'Lord, I am not worthy to receive you' that no sort of correct liturgical standards, music, or prayer postures can seem to remedy. So - this is just where I'm coming from - I just don't *get* all the fuss over liturgical stuff. I mean, I wish we would all kneel. I think that would be really really great. I'd love to have a three hour mass. I try to pray the rosary everday. Adoration just rocks! Mass is the only thing keeping me afloat - meeting and becoming one with Christ and with one another. I'd love to have great and inspiring hymns of worship, rather than the sort of lame stuff I often hear (though my current parish' music is actually pretty good). More than this, the homilies could be much more substantial as well. It could dig into our lives, really asking us - are we trying to live out the Gospel? And though the Capuchins at my parish are great, there's still that *something* missing. Still, when we say that last prayer, ("I am not worthy to receive you"), it feels like I've made the most genuine and honest prayer of my life.

So all of that is why it is hard for me to understand why kneeling vs. standing is being made into an all out attack on the bishop, or at least, that this attack is a public attack. Send off the videos and letters to the Vatican, approach the bishop personally (God knows that I've approached bishops, plural, personally and very forcefully about other issues), and do all we can to get heterodox bishops sent back for training.

But the public nature of this is what kills me. Not only that, but I've seen how disgust for the bishops has ruined faith. I've seen it in my neocon father, whose stand on war broke his faith with the bishops who demanded . I've seen it with peace activist friends who've let their disgust with bishops turn into disgust for the faith.

I'm not saying everyone in here is like that. I'm only saying that these are the reasons I react like I do against public and personal attacks on any bishop, especially when these attacks come from liturgical issues. It is probably important for me to understand why the liturgy is seen as something that is very fragile, and open to becoming entirely broken or fractured or desescrated, or ... I'm not sure what word to use. But there is this feeling that any error in the liturgy is the most important issue we face in our struggle against evil.

Maybe I'm exaggerating how people feel, but I honestly don't understand the emotions behind it. I don't see why it is so important to kneel when receiving communion when standing has been accepted as a pious form of receiving the eucharist. I think it would be great if we all knelt, but that's something for someone above me to decide, right? I would love it if someone started an organization devoted to dialoguing with parish priests to ask them if we could ALL kneel at communion. Whatever we do, I would want to do together. The one thing that *does* bother me about liturgy (now that I think about it more), is feeling like we're all on different pages. Some people are holding hands at the Our Father, some arren't. Some people bow during the Mary part of the creed (like me and my fiance) and others don't. It would be great if we all were actually in this together.

So I know I've written a lot, but I hope that you've read it, and I hope my spirit of honesty and openness has come through it. I think we've probably got a lot more in common than we think. And perhaps the source of all of this centers around the liturgy and why so much controversy surrounds it.

God bless it! :)

Michelle

Nate, You need to read The Spirit of The Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Now Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. You can get it through Ignatius Press, they have a website. This book might help you! I'm sorry about your father. For reference we aren't supposed to hold hands. We have to bow , as for kneeling The Holy See, says we can kneel and we aren't disobedient if we do! I believe it is very simple! It is just certain Bishops and priests get all worked up, over for some reason. These Bishops and priests need to get worked up over politicians who claim to be Catholic and vote for abortion, homosexual marriage, embronic stem cell research, and euthanasia! I could bet yea that if one of these politicians received Holy Communion kneeling. They wouldn't care. But I doubt if these politicians would kneel. That is just my opinion! Nate, I mean no offence here, but do you tend to runaway from confrontational situtations? Sometimes our comfort zones get rocked a bit and we run. We all have, but with the state of the Church at least I could speak for southern California, we don't have the luxury anymore. Nate we shouldn't have to go outside our parish boundaries to have a Holy Mass said without any liturgical abuses and orthodox teachings. This is in itself a scandal and we the laity are enabling Bishops and priests to conduct these abuses and false teachings! For too long people went with the flow and look where it as gotten us! Iam not saying there is no good happening! there is but in small pockets.But Nate, Good priests are being persecuted in the dioceses of Orange and Los Angeles. these priests need our prayers and support. They are counting on us to put pressure for a change back to orthodox liturgical practices and teachings. We need to wake up, and take a Holy stand for them, because without them we don't have The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Nate , I don't know if you are aware of Lay parstoral ministers running parishes, with no Ordained priest. Cardinal Mahony announced it in his Tiddings newspaper this past week. Well, it is comming, some parishes already have it. Bishop Brown and Cardinal Mahony are getting ready to do this. See it was planned that way, discourage men you follow The Holy Father from being priests and persecute the priests who follow the Holy Father. (You have to read Goodbye Goodmen by Michael Rose this book explains what I am talking about.) Then they use the laity or should I say teach false teachings to them , they get it away with it because most of the laity are indifferent to the Faith, practice artifical birth control,vote for proabortion politicians, etc... But Nate for those of us that know better, we sit back and make excuses. It is not our problem it is the bishops, oh! this has happen before in the Church look at the Arian heresy and all.... Nate, frankly I can't say that to St.Athanius and all those who stood against these heresies, let alone Jesus who I will be face to face with! Jesus Christ has a misison of Love for all of us, I think it is pretty clear. We must take this Holy stand! Nate, it is Love for God and then your neighbor as yourself. We do this by prayer,fasting,writing,email,calling, The Holy Seeand PapalNuncio, participating in public prayer vigils. I know of one such prayer vigil that is comming up in 2007 out in front Cardinal Mahonys Religious Education Congress. The bishops need to see us physical present at these vigils. Maybe by a grace of God , they will have a conversion! Because that is why we are doing it! Love and God Bless!

Michelle

OH! I also want to say if those who get offended by blogs like this one. So sorry ! but that is how we inform the laity and get people to take a Holy stand! I wish we didn't need blogs and such to do this but, it seems to be the fastest way to reach people. Anyways Love and God Bless.

Nate Wildermuth

Thanks for the reply, Michelle.

Fernando

Nate,

Where do I even start?

“I kind of feel like you haven't read my posts.”

For the last comments that you have posted I directly quote your comments and then wrote a response. The same way I did with this particular comment. I am the one who fells that you do not read my comments because you continue to ask questions that I have already responded. That is why I get frustrated and I call you a “lost cause” or “hopeless.” I mean, how many times can I write a response and then have you ask the same question as if I never responded? At the same time, I believe those comments are not name calling; they are opinions based on the fact that you do not care to acknowledge some of my responses. Hello! Is this mic on?!

“I just don't *get* all the fuss over liturgical stuff. I mean, I wish we would all kneel. I think that would be really really great. I'd love to have a three hour mass. I try to pray the rosary everday. Adoration just rocks! Mass is the only thing keeping me afloat - meeting and becoming one with Christ and with one another. I'd love to have great and inspiring hymns of worship, rather than the sort of lame stuff I often hear (though my current parish' music is actually pretty good).”

Let me put it you to this way, have you ever played a sports match with someone who does not know how to play that particular sport? I like playing volleyball, specially beach volleyball. I love the excitement of getting the ball just in the right position and then spike it on the other team’s court. I like trying to do everything possible to prevent the ball from not falling on my side of the court. It’s exciting when you have a match were neither side gives in and the ball goes from one side to the other for the longest time possible. But then again this is only possible if the players know how to play the game and want to play the game. I remember how frustrating it was to play volleyball at my High School during P. E. classes and have people involved who did not know how to play or did not wanted to play because they did not care for the sport. Imagine this same thing happening during any other sport, such as a football game. You are a football fan watching your favorite team play and the quarterback is doesn’t know what he is doing. He’s never played that position, but the coach wants him there. He does not know how to throw passes, he is clumsy, and he gets tackle numerous times. I can guarantee you, you would be filled with frustration.

We have a similar situation going on right now with the liturgy: there are priests who have lost their faith and since this is now boring for them, they try gimmicks to spice things up. But the problem is, this is not a football game, nor a volleyball match, it is the celebrating of the Mass! This is the reenactment of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross! Therefore when you have music that make you want to get your lighter and wave your hands up in the air because it sounds like the band Chicago is playing, we have a problem. When you have women who dress more like prostitutes when they go to Mass therefore causing you to sin by looking at them, we have a problem. That is the fuss over liturgical stuff that we have. Do you think we are over reacting? Do you think a properly celebrated liturgy is not important? Have you ever experienced a liturgy properly celebrated? I mean your heart beats faster because your mind and soul are able to swim in the beauty of a properly celebrated Mass. I get goosebumps when I listen to Gregorian Chant during a Mass, I am able to come to the realization that heaven and earth come together and that I am standing next to an angel or a saint during these moments and that together we are rendering honor and glory to the Lamb of God. Do you think it is not worth it to make a fuss over something like that? Have you ever heard the term, “lex orandi, lex credendi” This means that how a person worships not only shows what the person really believes, but that how a person worships can ultimately decide what that person really believes. If we place more emphasis on making the sign of peace than acknowledging that we are before the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the word, we are going to eventually forget that we are before the Lamb of God and we will behave accordantly. Case and point Communion in the Hand. Back in 93 Gallop did a survey and they found that around 30 % of Catholics believed in transubstantiation. I wander why, but then I don’t because when you consider that the leaders of the Protestant Reformation made it a point to have the communicants receive Communion in the hand so that they would stop believing in such nonsense, you can make sense out of the statistics.

Have you heard of Martin Bucer? He was originally a Dominica priest, who later became an early advocate of the “reform” in Germany. He lived in Strasbourg and actively agitated for the protestantization of the Church in that area. His mindset against Catholic doctrine can very well be illustrated with comments such as these, "Every superstition of the Roman Antichrist is detested... I have no doubt that this usage of not putting these sacraments in the hands of the faithful has been introduced out double superstition; firstly, the false honor they wished to show this sacrament, and secondly, the wicked arrogance priests claiming greater holiness than that of the people of Christ, by virtue of the oil of consecration. I should wish pastors and teachers of the people should be commanded that each is faithfully to teach the people that it is superstitious wicked to think...that the hands of the ministers are holier than the hands of the laity; so that it would be wicked, or less fitting, was formerly wrongly believed by the ordinary folk, for the laity to receive these sacraments in the hand: and therefore that indications of this wicked belief be removed—as that the ministers may handle the sacraments, but not allow the laity to and instead put the sacraments into the mouth—which is not only foreign to what was instituted by the Lord but offensive human reason. In that way, good men will be easily brought to the point of all receiving the sacred symbols in the hand..."

When the Book of Common Prayers for the Church of England was revised in 1552 –thanks to Bucer’s direct input- it was extremely radical. Bucer intended by the new rite to deny any difference between the minister and the people. He also wanted to deny the sacrificial nature of the Eucharistic rite, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic Species. To those ends, several things were done. Altars were replaced with free standing tables. The minister faced the congregation over the table during the entire ceremony. He was not a priest mediating between the people and God but the leader of the congregation leading them in a rite that proceeded from the authority of the community as a whole. Kneeling was held to a minimum because this was a sign of difference between minister and people and because it implied worship of the Eucharistic elements. The congregation stood during the "consecration" of the eucharistic elements, just as the minister did. Reception of Communion was done standing, into the hand, and under both species for everyone, both minister and laity. The Eucharist was not reserved. What was not consumed was often deliberately used later for regular eating and drinking in order to scoff at the scruples of the Catholics.

Can you say Dejá Vu?

Fernando

Nate Wildermuth

Fernando, thank you for the detailed and heartfelt reply.

I wonder how many of those 70% who deny transubstantiation actually know what transubstantiation is, and how many of those actually go to mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

I'm genuinly interested in trying to understand your point of view. I think this sentence may sum up your perspective: "how a person worships can ultimately decide what that person really believes."

I will give this some more thought. My initial impressions are that what goes on in our hearts is the foundation of what happens with our hands, and not the other way around.

While protestants may have had such schemes as you describe, I don't see how believing in transubstantiation and receiving communion in the hand are at odds.

Ratzinger has something good to say about communion in the hand: "we should not forget that not only our hands are impure but also our tongue and also our heart and that we often sin more with the tongue than the hands."

This site also has me thinking more clearly about these issues, and how little we ought to trust before reading things with our own eyes:

Communion in Hand is a red herring

In the end, all these swirling opions just make the case for the Catholic Church's teaching authority. Without our Church's guidance, where would we be? We'd be split into thousands of separate denomination, all headed right into the abyss. God have mercy! :)

Nate Wildermuth

THIS is a great discussion about standing/kneeling/communion in hand, and the discussion is very friendly, very informative. We should try to model that sort of passion for truth, rather than our own opinions. How do they do it??? :)

Fernando

Nate,
I am game for a good discussing as long as we do not get nasty about things because I can accept disagreement but not arrogance and insults, just see how I handle Beeline.

First off, I believe I did not explain myself regarding the Gallop poll. They did not ask to the participants if they believe in transubstantiation per say, what they asked them was if they believe in the Real Presence. Although these two terms are related, they are not the same. A regular Catholic with basic catechism classes might not know what transubstantiation is per say. We need to keep in mind that the word is the description of the even which results in what we know as the Real Presence and this is what they were asked about.

“Ratzinger has something good to say about communion in the hand: "we should not forget that not only our hands are impure but also our tongue and also our heart and that we often sin more with the tongue than the hands."”

Moving to the comment by then Cardina Ratizinger I can only say that it was taken out of the context and use as a supportive comment for something that is does not support. Let me explain: some people think that those of us who are against Communion in the Hand hold said position because we believe that our hands are less worthy than our tongues. But that is not the case. It is not an issue between the worthiness of our hands vs. the worthiness of our tongue. We believe that only the hands of the priest are worthy of holding the sacred species, but not because of their merit, but because they have been consecrated through ordination. John Paul II said, “But one must not forget the primary office of priests, who have been consecrated by their ordination to represent Christ the Priest: FOR THIS REASON THEIR HANDS, like their words and their will, have become the direct instruments of Christ.” Then he adds, “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them WITH THEIR OWN HANDS IS A PRIVILEGE OF THE ORDAINED,…” Dominicae Cenae, On The Mystery And Worship Of The Eucharist. In his letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2000 he says, “It is to them that Jesus hands on the action which he has just performed—changing bread into his Body and wine into his Blood—the action in which he appears as Priest and Victim. It is the will of Christ that henceforth his action should also become sacramentally the action of the Church THROUGH THE HANDS OF PRIESTS. My hands are not less worthy than my tongue, but my hands are not consecrated like the ones of a priest.

“This site also has me thinking more clearly about these issues, and how little we ought to trust before reading things with our own eyes: Communion in Hand is a red herring.”

The problem with this site is that they do not give you the whole enchilada. It is true that during the first centuries of Christianity Communion in the hand was the norm. But then we need to ask ourselves, why did things change? Was it because of we were becoming more superstitious? It was the complete opposite, theologians where gaining a deeper understanding about the essence of the mystery of the Real Presence. After the forth century, there is hardly any mentioned about this practice in the history of the Church. It was not only until the Reformation that this became a topic of discussion. And like I said it before, the leaders of the Reformation had an agenda when they introduce this practice, and the sad thing was that it worked. Fortunately the Church stood firm and the only way this issue surface again was because in some European countries some Catholics began to practice it again, this against direct orders from Pope Paul VI.

The authors of the document that you refereed to mention the letter authored by Pope Paul VI, Memoriale Domini, but they do not mention how the letter came about, they do not mention the events that led to the letter being written in the first place. They do not mention that receiving Communion in the tongue is the law of the Church and they do not explain what an indult is. All these things are important because the give you a better picture about this topic.

First of all, as I mentioned it before, the topic of Communion the hand was discussed again for the first time in the Church after more than 400 years during the 60s, when in some European countries the practice was reintroduced. After numerous fail attempts to stop the practice and the pressure from some bishops of these European countries, Pope Paul VI decides to deal with the issue. He sends a questioner to all the bishops of the world to ask them for their opinion as to whether or not to allow for the practice of Communion in the hand to be reintroduced. This fact can only lead us to conclude that Communion in the tongue was the norm and the not the other way around. And the results of the questioner speak volumes about the attitude of the Church in general to this issue.

1. Do you think that attention should be paid to the desire that, over and above the traditional manner, the rite of receiving holy communion on the hand should be admitted?

Yes: 597
No: 1,233
Yes, but with reservations: 315

2. Is it your wish that this new rite be first tried in small communities, with the consent of the bishop?

Yes: 751
No: 1,215
Invalid votes, 70

3. Do you think that the faithful will receive this new rite gladly, after a proper catechetical preparation?
Yes: 835
No: 1,185
Invalid votes: 128

After examining the results of the ballots Pope Paul VI states, “From the returns it is clear that the vast majority of bishops believe that the present discipline should not be changed, and that if it were, the change would be offensive to the sentiments and the spiritual culture of these bishops and of many of the faithful.

Therefore, taking into account the remarks and the advice of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule over" the Churches,[11] in view of the gravity of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the HOLY FATHER HAS DECIDED NOT TO CHANGE THE EXISTING WAY OF ADMINISTERING HOLY COMMUNION TO THE FAITHFUL.

THE APOSTOLIC SEE THEREFORE EMPHATICALLY URGES BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND LAITY TO OBEY CAREFULLY THE LAW WHICH IS STILL VALID AND WHICH HAS AGAIN BEEN CONFIRMED. It urges them to take account of the judgment given by the majority of Catholic bishops, of the rite now in use in the liturgy, of the common good of the Church.”

But here is were things get hairy and this where I think that the Holy Spirit was asked to leave the room. After stating that “the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering holy communion to the faithful.” He goes on to say that “Where a contrary usage, that of placing holy communion on the hand, prevails, the Holy See—wishing to help them fulfill their task, often difficult as it is nowadays—lays on those conferences the task of weighing carefully whatever special circumstances may exist there, taking care to avoid any risk of lack of respect or of false opinions with regard to the Blessed Eucharist, and to avoid any other ill effects that may follow.

In such cases, episcopal conferences should examine matters carefully and should make whatever decisions, by a secret vote and with a two-thirds majority, are needed to regulate matters. Their decisions should be sent to Rome to receive the necessary confirmation,[12] accompanied with a detailed account of the reasons which led them to take those decisions. The Holy See will examine each case carefully, taking into account the links between the different local churches and between each of them and the Universal Church, in order to promote the common good and the edification of all, and that mutual good example may increase faith and piety.

I personally think this decision was a mistake, but I believe that the Pope acted this way because he was afraid there would be a schism in those parts of the world where the practice was already introduced.

And this is how the indult came about. If the Pope says that, “THE APOSTOLIC SEE THEREFORE EMPHATICALLY URGES BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND LAITY TO OBEY CAREFULLY THE LAW WHICH IS STILL VALID AND WHICH HAS AGAIN BEEN CONFIRMED” but then says that permission would be grated in those countries where the practice is already taking place, then what he is doing is giving permission to a group of people to do something that goes against a particular law of the Church, then he is giving an indult.

At the same time you need to consider that it is a small percentage of countries in relation to the Universal Church that have been given the indult. The list has grown, but still it is small in comparison. By the way there have been countries were the indult was requested, but then the Bishops changes their minds and put things back to the way they were. Such is the case in the Philippines.

Oh and wait until I tell you about Argentina, this was a unique situation. But its getting late and I have other things to do such as sleeping. Stay tune for the next episode of Communion in the hand, same bat-time, same bat-channel!

Beeline

Fernando, I try not to personalize things with
people. Its usually my number 1 rule. However,
what I notice from you is that you hate me and will do anything to hurt me, including slander.
You need to seriously see where Christianity intersects with your behaviour.

Fernando

One thing that the supporters of Communion in the hand do not mention when discussing this topic is that Pope Paul VI only allowed the indult for countries were the practice was already taking place. This was not the case with the United States, and many other countries. This is a list of the first countries which were granted the indult; the list has grown, but not that much. South Africa, 3 February 1970, Canada, 12 February 1970, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), 2 October 1971, Zambia, 11 March 1974, New Zealand, 24 April 1974, Australia, 26 September 1975, England and Wales, 6 March 1976, Papua and New Guinea, 28 April 1976, Ireland, 4 September 1976, Pakistan, 29 October 1976, United States, 17 June 1977, Scotland, 7 July 1977, Malaysia and Singapore, 3 October 1977. I know for a fact that Argentina got the indult back in 1996. This list is relative small, especially in the American continent when you consider that out of around 38 countries that make up the American continent, only three, the United States, Canada and Argentina, have the indult.

Another thing that you need to consider is that when a country is granted the indult, a local bishop has the authority to decide whether or not in his diocese he will implement the indult. I bet you did not know that one. This is why like the way things turned out in Argentina when this country was granted the indult. This incident let to a much needed teaching moment regarding the issues that surround the practice of Communion in the hand.

When the Argentinean bishops requested the indult and it was granted everybody assumed that the practice was suppose to be allowed all over the country automatically. But there was a bishop who was holding back, his name is Monsignor Juan Rodolfo Laise, Bishop of San Luis. Then a controversy rose because the other bishops were saying that the Argentinean conference of bishop had the ultimate authority over the manner. Bishop Laise was accused of fostering division and other nonsense. So Bishop Laise decided to contact the Vatican and ask them about who had the last word on the matter, the conference of bishops or the local bishop? Guess what happened? The Vatican responded by telling him that he, as the head of his diocese had the last word on the matter, “This Dicastery has received your kind letters of 22 August and 16 September, regarding the recent permission granted by the Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to the Dioceses of Argentina, to distribute Eucharistic Communion also in the hands of the faithful. Since you have judged unnecessary the application of the said permission for the territory of the Diocese of San Luis, Your Excellency has wished to consult this Congregation on whether by this decision you have acted in derogation of ecclesial communion with the dioceses that have received the indult. As to this, you are informed by this Dicastery that an attentive study of the documents of the Holy See in this matter shows clearly that you, in deciding to maintain immutable the tradition of distributing Holy Communion in the mouth, have acted in conformity with the law and therefore have not broken with ecclesial communion. In truth, Your Excellency has done no more than fulfill the duty demanded of every bishop by the instruction De Modo Sanctam Communionem Ministrandi (cf. Enchiridion Vaticanum III, 1284) of exercising discernment with regard to the consequences that an alternative to the current Eucharistic practice may occasion in the sacramental life of the faithful.”
This incident resulted in the writing of a book, Communion In The Hand, Documents and History by Bishop Laise in which he gives background and details of the events that surrounded that controversy, but most important, he gives a historical background of the practice of Communion in the hand and why is not the best option when receiving Holy Communion. The book is in Spanish, but there is website that has an English translation of the book. Being myself bilingual I consider the translation a very good one. By the way, when I found out about this book I went throw a lot in order to get a copy. When I finis reading it I got 20 more books and I give them out for Christmas to closed friends who are interested in the topic.

http://www.tldm.org/News4/BishopLaise.htm#LETTER

Fernando

Slander: words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another.

Mmm, let’s see now. I am typing these words against my better judgment. I think it is a waist of time, since I believe I am dealing with a drive-by blogger: one who writes only to instigate the crowd and immediately leaves.

This is a blog that deals with topics of Christian nature, therefore when I see someone that uses profane language such as the f word when engaging other on this blog and refers to Catholic Hispanics in a derogatory manner as “a bunch of Mexican” I find it extremely troubling. Are you going to deny that you have done this? I do not know who you are, therefore, why would I even care to make up something like this?

Again, that is what I do not get about you: you complain about the way I have treated you, but do not care to consider the way you have treated others in this blog. Give me a break. Have you noticed that you are the only one that I deal with in this manner? Why do you think that is? Also, there was a time when I tried to smoke the pipe of peace with you and what did you do? You said that you do not have much respect for me and that was the end of it.

By the way, in the words of the Governardor Arnold you sound like a girly man, “you hate me and will do anything to hurt me.” Auuuu! Please, spear me from the opportunity to think even less of you and ridicule you even further.

You can think what you want about me, that I hate you and such, I know what goes inside my heart. But if you want for me to be civil about things, you should be civil first. If not, get out of here and be a girly man at Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

Nate Wildermuth

Fernando, I want to read what you've got to say, and to think about it, but it's hard when you speak write about people in such a personaly insulting way (I speak of Beeline). Maybe it's the difference in language and culture, but what you are writing is really over the top - not just impolite and rude. It's not offensive (calling a person a 'girly' man isn't much of an insult), but it really convey's an intense feeling of disdain. That's the best word I can come up with. Again, with language and cultural differences, maybe you don't realize how you sound. It really sounds like you detest beeline, or at least think of him as inferior.

So anyways, I liked what you wrote before that and find it interesting, but when you finish up with an entire post whose aim is to insult beeline (whether he deserves it or not), then it's hard for me to take you seriously. If Christian love is behind your words, I'd expect something different. My hope is that English isn't your first language, and that maybe there is some cultural difference here - that you don't see your words as rude or impolite, when they come across (to me, at least) as pretty agressively personal.

Peace, my friends! :)

Maury Reyerson

Just read the material and wondering how to enter the discussion. Will attempt to post this and, if successful, will add my thoughts and experiences.

Maury Reyerson

Successful!

My wife and I have retired and are "on the road" most of the year. This usually takes us to a new Catholic parish for a weekend Mass. We have been "struck" by several observations:
1) Church is often half-full and these individuals are usually those over age 50;
2) Signs as one enters requesting silence;
3) Very non-inspiring homilies. I recall hearing, one time, that a homily should consist of three "legs." One that relates to the readings; one that relates to the homilist; one that applies to the community. Seldom, in our experience does a homily stand on these three;
4) The congregation we worship with hardly even seems to worship as a community but usually as individuals. While there may be greeters at the door, most seem to be talking to friends and often do not acknowledge us;
I could add more but will, instead, summarize my need to engage this blog. We have attended 4 liturgies (in three plus years) in which we felt spiritually nourished. I suspect we are far from alone in feeling this way. Our frustration has little to do with standing/kneeling but, rather, an awareness that those who lead the weekend liturgies care so little for our needs (a challenging homily; a joyous liturgy; a community of celebrating). Our faith in God is not in danger but attending and supporting our Church is.
Thank you for "listening" and for your (I hope) respectful input.

CoffeeMugPhilosopher

As regards nourishment:


My Aunt who is a Catholic Nun of some good note in Los Angeles. She made a statement to me regarding my choice of Colleges. Its not the College you choose but what you put into it that determines the outcome and experience.
She was most pointedly correct!


Likewise, there is so much to Catholicism that you are not limited by Sunday Homilies as to the richness and vastness of the experience. Moreover, giving homilies is a deep talent that not all priests can cultivate to a high level. There are some priests who are very good at it and others will certainly be lacking. I am amazed at the ones that are very good at it!

There is also much to be said for the argument that a book has much more life altering richness to offer than a solitary 10-20 minute talk. Actually the format of a 10-20 minute talk is very limiting and you cannot actually talk deeply on any one subject and transcend that talk over into the next Sunday homily...and for most pointed topics this would be a necessity! Most certainly, you would lose the audience(their interest) transcending into the next Sunday as alot of people dont attend the same hour service each week.
So, in effect, although you miss good homilies, by their very nature and structure
they are not as life inspiring as other more
expanded , time consuming, and time-requiring(on your part) formats.

However,Churches do offer extracuriccular(sp) talks, Bible studies for just such purpose. For instance the "Pastoral Epistles of St Paul" is being offered as a free 48 week course at one of the close parishes in my diocese as well as other less demanding studies in local parishes in the diocese.
This is nourishment!

As to books:
The Doctors of the Church... St.Augustine,St. Thomas Aquinas, The Theology of the Body*, Thomas Merton, Early Church Fathers, The Desert Fathers*, to name a few that have picqued my interest.

In this society we are more than enough educated/literate and have enough time on our hands (did you say retired?)such that when someone is complaining of the lack of richness in the homilies, that more than frequently, the finger can be pointed right straight back.

Going back to an earlier times, Medieval, when most people were illiterate, then the homilies, repitious yearly event cycle, the
extra group classes(time permitting in a agrarian society)
and the Pastors bully pulpit, would have served as the somewhat strict limits to the Catholic Experience and learning within a community.

Which however, brings us back to the word of
'Community' that you brought up!
So much has been written about the Industrial Age as it seperates us from being a 'Community' and seperates us from 'Family'. I have a hard time in this age when someone talks of community. This did actually largely exist 50 and 100 years ago, but certainly no longer exists in city sprawls, metropolitian areas and in most cities of the U.S.
"Community" has been a victim of Industrialization and of Modernism(the philosophy, the big 'self','I'),not to speak of 'Family'. More to the point, in my view, "bringing us together as community", are just one of so many sayings or words that have been lost to this age, that have no contemporaneous meaning matching what it previously meant and because of this I try
not using it in an invalid sense.
In fact Maury, your lifestyle, "On the Road" seems to defy and inhibit what you seek or speak of..."community".

Thats enough coffee for now!:-)

Maury Reyersom

Dear "Philosopher":

Thank you for your response; my thoughts re:them ---
1) homilies --- I agree not everyone can be a good speaker and we take that into account each time we prepare to listen to a new homilist. But, 3-4 in over three years? That's about 150 homilies; are you suggesting 97% of homilists are not capable of challenging their parishoners by making the Word of God live for them?
In addition, when we have talked with priests about this, (in addition to what you wrote) we heard "we have less than 10 minutes to get our point across" or "most parishoners just want to get home to watch pro football" or "I've been working on this homily for over 2 hours and can't come up with anything so today you get out early." "Two hours?" "Get out?" Our view is that the word(s) of God and others are so rich that a little effort would result in a meaningful homily. Further, it's an insult to parishoners to suggest all of them prefer pro football to spiritual food.
2) Yes, we can read and do other things and we do. That does not lessen our disappointment in a poorly thought out homily.
3) I think a community is where we are at that time. We are presently in Texas and feel very welcome. Signs are up telling us so and the hugs and smiles we received are genuine. There is also a nearby Catholic church that does the same thing and also invites all of us to participate in the liturgy. The pastor initiates Monday golfing and leads day trips to area sites of interest. He also helps to plan dances even though he is past 80! Contrast this with our immediate pastor who speaks of $ frequently and suggests tithing for all of us. One pastor helps to create community - the other does not.
My introduction to community worship came as a college freshman at a Catholic university and it was memorable and permanent. The Abbot suggested private prayer for all of us but differentiated this from Sunday worship. He told us to come prepared to sing and participate in a community celebration of Jesus.
If such a community no longer exists (as you suggest), perhaps that explains why nearly all church membership is declining? Why not just stay home and honor/praise our God within our home-family?

Maury

Maury Reyerson

Seems my concerns have not generated much feeback at this time? I suppose that with so many other things to occupy one's energies, that seemingly one person's perceptions about homilies, liturgies and spiritual communities are not enough to provoke a problem-solving discussion? It is discouraging. When we arrived in this area, I also contacted the individual in charge of adult religious education and asked if there was an adult group available where similar concerns could be addressed. The person I talked with (a seminarian) told me he'd talk with his experienced pastor and get back to me. That was about two weeks ago. Maybe I need to internalize the message(s) I am getting: "Hey, Maury - we are listening to you but we dom't share your concerns. Nor are we interested in dialogue with you or even responding to your own heart-felt issues. Sorry and good luck."

Thank you, RCb, for at least giving me a forum to try to express myself.

Maury

CoffeeMugPhilosopher

I certainly dont know how to address you.
So much of your concerns indicate to me
that your focused on the table settings and frilly table decorations instead of the main course and I am totally the opposite. Protestant style worship which is more 'community centered' and is what some people desire/need over truth, sad to say!

YOu can probably find what you desire through some job settings, family, the place where you live ,etc...

I dont find placing door greeters at Church as actually accomplishing anything, unless of course those door greeters are the actual linchpins of the community. Then that can serve as a quick way towards integration. Bingo, Prayer and Study groups, Pancake breakfast's
etc Volunteerism is pretty much the answer to your social needs within a religious setting...and you are talking about social needs!

Maury Reyerson

I see the major reason for coming to church is to give honor to God as a community. Therefore, if the community is not involved in the acts of honoring God, why not stay within one's home and worship privately? And, that is exactly what more and more Christians and non-Christians are doing. Sadly, though, I fear they are probably not only not attending a Church but probably neglecting private worship/honor as well. To suggest people like me are interested primarily in activities that have little to do with an Eucharistic community is truly not to hear what I (and others) are saying. Maybe when older parishoners have died and the Churches are empty, Church leaders and others will begin to realize they did not respond as they should have as they saw more and more empty pews, fewer involved Christians, and less income. Perhaps though, the latter decrease may prove to galvanize?
I believe you are trying to listen to me and I pray you will begin to respond "outside the box" that has, to date, characterized your words.

Maury

Michael

"how a person worships can ultimately decide what that person really believes."

Nate, you mentioned that you didn't "get all the fuss over the liturgical stuff", but don't you see that, as the quote above states, posture and liturgy is huge! Why do you suppose the Church spends so much time directing liturgy? The "form" one takes when praying can and does affect what one believes. It would be great if all human beings had the mental discipline to separate the actions of their bodies from the workings of their minds, but alas, we do not, indeed some would say we can not because it is not in our makeup. The hard fact is that, for most people, where the body goes, the mind follows. Change behavior and you change belief. For examples, just look around our daily lives; for people trying to control weight, the diet and exercise experts stress that just getting to the gym is more than half the battle. If one is trying to stop drinking, then going to a bar (i.e. letting your body physically take the form that directs it to a bar)will hurt your chances of quitting drinking (i.e. believing that drinking is bad for you). Form is huge. Technically, wherever your body goes (whatever form it takes) your mind must follow. The head (and the mind) are inseparable from the body, with the body being the vehicle that moves the head (and the mind) around.

Wherever the body goes, the mind follows. This statement is definitely not absolute, but in day to day practice, for most humans, that's the way it works. So in a world that we can all agree has become generally less pious, and less moral, do we really want to do ANYTHING that might have a negative effect on peoples' belief in the Lord?

That's my question...why change the liturgy? The bishop will say we must "modernize". I will ask again... why? First, the hymns get changed. Then "allow" people to receive communion standing up. Then take away the communion rails. Then have people just go ahead and stand during times when they previously knelt. Do you see a pattern developing here? Is the Church moving along with society? (which we previously agreed has deteriorated in moral standing). And if the Church is "modernizing" as society modernizes, is that generally a good thing or bad? This is the reason that neocons and others put up such a fuss over something as seemingly small as posture after the Lamb of God. Because it is one more step down the garden path. And that path is generally leading towards moral decay, along with society. So some people "set their feet" on certain things that seem inconsequential to others.

I'll ask again, why change? Why change a societal norm? Slavery was changed because it was morally wrong. Racism is changing for the same reason. Was kneeling for communion morally wrong? Well then, why change it? You must ask yourself who stands to gain, and what is to be gained by the change. But, people will say, "change is good". I will say that change is neither good nor bad in and of itself. When I said before that we must all "read between the lines" in everything in life, I wasn't kidding, or just reciting a cliche.

I'll tell you what, I'll suggest a reading assignment, because a lesson wrapped within a story is much better illustrated than having someone just "preach" it to you. Pick up the book "The Devil's Advocate" by Taylor Caldwell. It was written in the 50's I believe, about an America of the future. As follow up, I would also suggest re-reading Orwell's "Animal Farm" and "1984". My only request is that these texts be read in depth. Don't be in a hurry to finish them, like most people who read books, and then be left with little memory of what they were about or what the subtext was trying to say.

"Form follows function". This old standard phrase of art and design applies also to life and faith. If you've never heard it before, then please research it and try to realize why it is.

Nate, I don't question your faith in the Lord, I would only question your faith in the MEN who are "telling" you what the Lord wants. I am a little disappointed in your ability to read between the lines, but in this, you are surely no worse than the vast majority of "mindless" Americans. I do applaud your willingness to continue the discussion, and the thoughtfulness of some of your points (as opposed to someone like Beeline, who is closed to any new insight at all). So let's all read, and keep going.

Maury

Seems there is no further discussion, within this forum anyway, of some of the concerns I have. Disappointing but OK. I was going to delete this website but, in checking back for a response, I have often re-read Michael's comments. I hope he (or those others engaged in that discussion) has no objections to some input from me?

I agree re: the form vs function notion. I am less certain about the neutrality of change. A mentor I once had felt strongly that "change was essential to one's mentaal health." I am sure he meant a change that was positive but I also knew he had in mind change for change's sake. Regardless, I doubt that is what the church had in mind with its liturgical changes - that is, just change for its own end.

The changes you referred to struck a positive response within me. As I recall, seems the changes at the Eucharist were meant to make the event similar to what may have taken place at the Last Supper. Maybe it was explained that way to me - maybe that is simply the way I came to internalize that change? No doubt there were many changes in that part of the liturgy between the time of Christ-on-earth and now. That would, to me, be OK as long as all continued to participate with a sense of reverence and awe. I don't think that I, with that attitude, am on that "garden path" you are worried about any more than someone who refuses to go along with that practice as he/she does not have those same feelings while standing and receiving in hand. By all means, allow that person to receive as he/she feels is appropriate.

Finally, with a smile and a disclaimer that I think you probably did not mean what you seemed to write when it seems, to me, anyway, that you placed Nate right in there with all those other "mindless Americans."

snotly

Uuuu, Yea... why not just forgive each other?

quote follows:
"
Christians must battle against our lust for...
Party-spirit and Personal Vanity
"Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory;
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3)

John H. Jowett: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory." Whom is the Apostle addressing? His words seem applicable to some violent political party, or to some ambitious and selfish state. They appear to be descriptive of the ways of the world, and yet they are pointed at a Christian Church.

"Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory." Is the counsel irrelevant? Is the danger imaginary? Do not "Church" and "Strife" appear quite incongruous? I should have thought that when the fire-brand of strife sought introduction into the temple of the Lord, it would have been extinguished at the very threshold. And yet the Apostle suggests that even in the Church it may find sympathetic material. There is so much of the world still in the Church, that worldly fires have to be watched.

Outside the Church, in the days of the Apostle, men were clamorous and proud. They lusted for authority. They stretched out both hands for power. Mastery was the only recognized human dignity. Humility was not yet canonized as a grace. Jesus of Nazareth had laid the hand of consecration upon the servile virtues, and had pronounced the beauty of humility and the beauty of sacrifice and patience and poverty of spirit, but in the loud ambitious streets of the world these were still only the badges of the slave. Men coveted command. They thirsted for personal triumph. The high head and the stiff neck were the physical types of an unbendingness which most men craved.

The slave was at the bottom of the social grades, and all that was characteristic of the slave belonged to the same plane. Humility was degradation; to be servant of all was to be an outcast. That was the spirit of the world in the Apostle's time, as it is the spirit of the world to-day. Now this spirit steals into the Church. The fog that fills the streets of the city, obtrudes in the sanctuary. The lust of power burns in the Christian worker. Ambition for personal victory possesses the heart of the professed soldier of the Cross. The spirit of strife enters into the messenger of peace. Men do Christian work because impelled by strife. Men persist in Christian service because impelled by vain-glory.

Strife and vain-glory, the powers of the world, become motive powers in the Kingdom of God. That is the pity of it, and the tragedy of it, that a kingdom purposed for the destruction of self can be used for the fattening of self; a kingdom established for the annihilation of worldliness used for its enthronement. The gist of the whole matter is this. It is possible to make a worldly convenience of the Christ, to regard Him as an agent in the attainment of mere party ends, and to use Him with a single eye for our own glory. It is against this insidious and imminent peril that the Apostle warns us when he counsels us, in all the varied work of the Church, to "let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory."

What we have before us is a warning against the obtrusion of self in Christian service. Now the Apostle says that this obtrusion may reveal itself in one of two shapes, in strife or vain-glory. I think it will be well, in the place of both these words to substitute more modern equivalents, which will enable us to catch the Apostle's thought. What did the Apostle mean by strife? Party-spirit. What did he mean by vain-glory? Personal vanity. Let nothing be done through party-spirit or personal vanity."

Party-spirit! Personal vanity! Those are the two guises in which self is apt to intrude into Church life and crowd out the Christ. "Let nothing be done through party-spirit." What is party-spirit? I don't think we need pause to inquire as to the peculiar character of the party-spirit which broke out in the apostolic Church. It admits of a sufficiently precise definition, which has relevancy to all time. Party-spirit is that which seeks the luxury of a majority more than the enthronement of a truth. It aims at winning a contest rather than at advancing a cause. It works for sectarian triumph more than for spiritual growth. We are all agreed that this prevails in the warfare of the world.

Political contests are often struggles in which the passion for numerical victory obscures the interests of truth. The declaration of the poll is for many men the announcement of the goal. Their interest centered in the figures, and their gladsome shout is the symbol of gratified strife. That is the very genius of a pernicious party-spirit - struggle above which there is no high sky, and before which there is no distant and beckoning horizon; struggle for the petty triumphs of a passing day. There must be parties, but it is possible to have parties without a pernicious party-spirit. There may be many parties, and yet all be for the State; the party-life dominated by a larger life; the sectional victory sought for in the interests of righteousness and truth.

It is even so in the Church of the living God. Party-spirit is in the Church when the Christian fights harder for a sectarian triumph, than for the reign of the Lord. There are some members of the Christian Church who are never to be found in the battle-field, except when the struggle is an unfortunate contest between the Christian sects. They revel in sectarian strife. A fight stirs them to the depths. Some election will find them on the field, but the declaration of the poll marks the movement of their retirement, and they are not to be found in the ranks when the immediate contest is the incessant fight with all the powers of ill. I say that is the party-spirit the Apostle deplores, the spirit which enlists for a sect, but not for the Lord, which works feverishly for a sectarian victory, and is inclined to forget the august interests of our God.

Sects there must be! Let us preserve them from this injurious party-spirit. Parties there may be; our spirit need not be partial. We can serve a party in the spirit of wholeness, in the spirit of holiness, a spirit which seeks the exaltation of all truth and beauty, by the enthronement of our Lord. "Let nothing be done through party-spirit."

"Or vain-glory," personal vanity! A man can be a sect to himself; he can be a party of one. He can seek his own triumphs, his own majorities. Such a man begins counting everything from himself, but the tragedy is that a man who begins by counting himself as "number one," never gets as far as "number two;" with "number one" the numeration ends. "Personal vanity," a life swollen with pride. The eyes are so "enclosed in fat" that "number two" is never seen. "Personal vanity," that is the obtrusion we have to fear and beware.

Now the Apostle declares that this spirit of personal vanity may obtrude into the Church. Nay, he declares that men and women will come into the Church in order to feed it. They will use the holy ministries of the Church to fatten self. We can bow our heads to pray through sheer personal vanity. We can engage in services of philanthropy through sheer personal vanity. We can preach Christ crucified through sheer personal vanity. That is stern, hard and horrible, not as fiction but as fact, and we shall do well to face it.

I can be in the Church of Christ like a huge sponge, a mere agent of suction, gathering and retaining solely to increase the weight of self. Now, Christian folk are not intended to be sponges. They are purposed to be channels, not prisons of possession, but agents of transmission; not bolstering up a personal vanity, but distributing a glory over all the fellowships of the redeemed. Our prayers must not be personal sponges, nor our spirit, nor our services, nor any of the manifold ministries of the Church's life. Our energies must be otherwise and other-born, not prompted either by strife or vain-glory, by party-spirit or by personal vanity, but for the good of our fellows and the glory of our God.

The warning against self-obtrusion is followed by a declaration as to how the obtrusive self may be suppressed. Here is transition from egotism to altruism. "But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." It is the lowly spirit which discerns things in their true proportion and order. The lowly spirit sets me in the right attitude, and makes it possible for me to obtain accuracy of vision.

People who are high-minded, in the sense of being supercilious, "look down" upon others. People who are lowly-minded "look up" to others, and discover their wealth and grace. It is the lowly place that gives us the point of vision for the spacious out-look. That may appear to be a contradiction, but it is one of the common experiences of the spiritual life. There is much food for meditation in the familiar phrase "The Valley of Vision." I could have readily understood it had it been "The Mount of Vision," but to have visions in valleys, to have panoramas breaking upon one's gaze in the place of humility, excites doubt and surprise. But the Scriptures abound in the suggestion.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit," those who are furthest removed from pride, who are conscious of their poverty, who are more impressed by their sense of spiritual want than with their spiritual possessions; "for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Whole countries of spiritual benedictions become their inheritance. They pass from discovery to discovery in the realm of knowledge and grace. Not least among the discoveries which are made are the discoveries of our fellows.

The proud man cannot know his fellow-man. It is when we are lowly that we discover his worth. We esteem him, we give him priority over ourselves, we are willing and desirous that he should take the first place.

There is no way by which we can obtain this gracious disposition except by holding intimate companionship with Christ. In His presence "the mountains and hills are made low." In the light and warmth of His presence the ice of false pride melts away.
"

Joe

Lex orandi, Lex crendi, as you pray, so shall you believe. I am very much a believer in this statement.

As far as communion goes. I receive by kneeling and on the tounge. As I have studied the history of the Church, and the lives of the saints.

Mother Teresa said that "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand"

It's not a matter of being worthy, it's a manner of we're not ordained to the priesthood. Even in Acts, the priests were ordained.

(Haven't you wondered why there are so many extra-ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist?.

I applaud the Bishop in San Luis for not allowing his Diocese to recieve communion on the hand.

(And I'm not some old-traditonalist, I'm only 21), and absolutely respect both the Holy Father, and the Bishops. I happen to be a member of both dioceses we've talked about here (LA and Orange). And continue to pray along with sending letters out.

She shoould not have been denied communion under canon law.

The indult to the US in regards to extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist has been denied by the Holy See.

I go to Church now at Our Lady of Guadalupe in El Monte, which is a very orthodox Church. Reverence for the mass is amazing when i'm there. It's only in Spanish, but for those of you that are in this area, please give that Church a chance :)

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