Our first "bone to pick" with dissenters is on the Holy Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many are being persecuted and ostracised in their very own parishes because they show reverence for Jesus' true presence in the Host - Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity - by kneeling to receive Him or genuflecting before receiving Him. Detractors claim it is a distraction. As if racing up and thrusting out our hands to receive Our Lord as if he were a hand-out or a cookie is not a distraction?!? Detractors cry that the these "overly pious ones" are living in the past and are plotting to overthrow all that was accomplished at Vatican II. Again, they're in for a big surprise because Vatican II did not overthrow any of these things, but rather reinforced the reverence all should show. Below are the verifications of the documents on reception of the Holy Eucharist that state this, taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 96.
With regard to the manner of going to Communion, the faithful can receive it either kneeling or standing, in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference. "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration. When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, coming up in procession, they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place, so that the order of people going to and from Communion is not disrupted." (21)
The Amen said by the faithful when receiving Communion is an act of personal faith in the presence of Christ.
There are horror stories of parishes using all kinds of recipes that make up the host, from ginger to cinnamon, to other spices and flours...or priests and even bishops consecrating "loaves of leavened bread" at special masses or conferences, where crumbs of the Sacred species were left scattered everywhere. The Council was very specific in maintaining the ingredients and matter in the hosts as pointed out here:
NEXT WEEK: The verifications on Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.
No. 1341,1355, and 1356 pages 338 and 342 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:
The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words "until he comes" does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 11: 26).
&bsp; In the communion, preceded by the Lordís prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive "the bread of heaven" and "the cup of salvation," the body and blood of Christ who offered himself "for the life of the world":179 (John 6: 51).
Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist ("eucharisted," according to an ancient expression), "we call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught." 180 (St. Justin, Apol. 1, 66, 1-2: PG 6, 428).
If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the command the Lord gave on the eve of his Passion: "Do this in remembrance of me." 181(1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Q: How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?
A: We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.
Q: What is Holy Communion?
A: Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.
Q: What is necessary to make a good Communion?
A: To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in a state of sanctifying grace, to be fasting for one hour, and to have a right intention.
Q: Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ?
A: He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.
Q: Is it enough to be free from mortal sin, to receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?
A: To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope and ardent love.
That bigotry has been refined today, but is still very much alive today in this supposedly enlightened age when political correctness calls for everyone to be cautious about what they say or portray to or about anyone...except Catholics. Any other race, denomination or group would be outraged at the subliminal approach Hollywood and the media are taking toward undermining Catholics, but not Catholics! They actually do not realize or don't want to realize sentiments against their faith because they're in their comfort zone and don't want to face reality. There seems to be so much apathy by Catholics to this anti-Catholic sentiment that it continues unchecked. Only one man stands as a crusader in the battle to recognize and counter these vicious, subliminal attacks on the Church: William Donohue, head of the non-profit Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights out of Washington, D.C. Yet, he has been attacked by some in the Church as protesting too much. Perhaps they place the political correct agenda before the spiritual correct agenda and don't want anyone to rock the boat. After all, if they upset some of the parishioners who have iconized television, they may lose a few dollars in the coffer!
It's time they realized their silence is not only causing the loss of more souls, but also contributing to the growing cancer of apathy in lukewarm Catholics who no longer place their faith in the forefront but as an afterthought. What will be their thoughts when they stand before their Creator at Judgment Day and have to answer for their inaction, their lack of zeal. On a whole, the laity and many within the clergy, who have the moral and vocational responsibility to guide their flocks, will be held responsible. Rather than uniting as one as Donahue advocates, they fight their own allies in the person of Donohue, accusing him of being a rabble rouser. Didn't the Pharisees and Scribes accuse a certain Jewish carpenter of the same?
The attacks against Donohue are cloaked with threats to "get with the program of the nineties!" That's what Donohue and his volunteers are fighting - the program of the nineties for he can recognize the vicious, subliminal undermining going on in the media, many concocted by former priests, nuns, and liberal Catholics who want to forge their own agenda as a denial to the True Church they have forsaken. They have spawned a whole generation of indifference among young Catholics who have no clue of what the Church is about. The divine mission priests and religious have been asked to undertake by their vows has been replaced by humanistic elements that portrays them as "victims of an antiquated system - the Church." When confronted, they react that the portrayal of the Church in the thirties, forties, fifties and early sixties was unrealistic. Why, we ask? Because the media then portrayed priests and nuns with respect and dignity? There was a reverence and respect for the clerics portrayed in such stellar cinema as "Bells of St. Mary," "Going My Way," "Boys Town" and that genre. The actors and actresses playing the roles made a point to show respect and depict a deep, sometimes rugged spirituality. Vocational struggles were conveyed to the public as a human element but it was treated with reverence and the audience cheered for the priests and nuns who turned their backs on those whom they might have fallen in love to follow a greater Love. There was not only a sense of dignity but also decency. This can be attributed to the rise of the Irish and Italilan influence, in cooperation with the Jewish impact in Hollywood and across the land. Catholics were depicted as respectable law-abiding citizens who were heroic in their devotion to their country through two World Wars. Baptists got to know their "foreign Roman" bretheren as "good people" who "weren't so bad, after all!" This contributed to American society in every phase, rising to the ranks of influential businessmen and politicians. One even became president. So what happened? In the next installment next week, we shall unravel the mystery.
To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.