Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Proselytize (for kneeling) (ACTUAL CASE STUDY!)

(The following is a combox exchange from a well known Catholic blog which recently treated the topic of kneeling for Holy Communion and hand Communion vs Communion on the tongue.  The article concludes leaving  the  reader with the implication that neither manner has an advantage over the other. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider fan, BASF, enters a comment attempting to balance out the article..  'hand Communion Lady enters the fray!  'hand Communion Lady' and BASF go toe-to-toe in the com-boxes.  In the end......HAND COMMUNION LADY BECOMES ANOTHER BISHOP ATHANSIUS SCHNEIDER FAN!!!REALLY!)

[Bishop Athanasius Schneider fan]

A nice balanced treatment. There are two additional points I'd like for you to consider:
1) re: history. I often hear that Hand Communion is ancient. Fact is, it might be or it might not be. The modern practice is however not the ancient practice, the only description of which we owe to to St. Cyril of Jeru., which also guarded that the Holy Fragments were treated with reverence. That is out the window with the modern Communion-any-old-way. When is the last time you saw someone lick their palms to keep the Fragments from being discarded?

2) re: history. There still exist Apostolic Churches which separated from Rome more than 1500 years ago. If Hand Communion, or the modern Communion-any-old-way were so wide spread 1500 years ago, then why do ZERO of these Churches practice Hand Communion? Unless someone argues that the Georgians or Armenians or Copts --or the Russians a little later--all banned Hand Communion to imitate Rome, it must be admitted that Hand Communion could never have been very wide-spread in the ancient Church.

Lastly I would like to point out that your phrase ' all children are made to kneel in order to receive Communion' makes it seem rather tyrannical. I think you could also say 'Children are FORCED TO come to church for an hour before they can receive Holy Communion'. That sounds pretty bad too! When you teach, you 'make' children do things and this can look tyrannical.
Does ' all children are made to kneel *before the King of Kings' sound better?
  • (hand Communion lady)                                                                    

    Just my opinion, but since the norm in our parish and in our diocese is for people to stand and receive Holy Communion in the hand, it appears to me that those who choose to kneel, and to receive on their tongues, are really just making themselves seem more pious and separate from the rest of us faithful Christians. I follow St Ambrose's advice to St. Monica myself - if was good enough for Monica, Augustine, and Jerome, it's good enough for me. So, if I'm at your parish, and everyone is kneeling and receiving lingually, so will I - ever mindful that when the apostles first received the holy body and blood of Christ, they did so at a Seder, and so passed and ate the unleavened bread while reclining around the table like all good Jews continue to do to this day.
      (Bishop Athanasius Schneider fan)
    • Hello, hand Communion Lady!
    • kneeling is hard the first time you do it, for the reason you mention i.e. not wanting to be conspicuous and especially if you fear that the priest or extraordinary minister will upbraid you! 
    • there are times, however, when you should disregard what you think other people might think about you. If they want to judge you, that is more their problem than yours.
      I would argue that instances when God's Honor, or your own conscience demands something, then it's time to disregard the gaze of your friends.
      Kneeling was a development of practice, not an artificial imitation of what someone thought they read in the Church Fathers. It emerged as the Church's appreciation of the Eucharist grew and refined itself. If you feel that Eucharistic tradition was wrong or too over the top, then-by no means-kneel! 

  • [hand Communion Lady]                        

    Hi to you, BASF.Of course, I believe most firmly that you, (and all of us) must follow our conscience but is this a matter of conscience, or of practice? Also, Pope Benedict evidently was addressing a particular issue of sacrilege taking place in Italy and in Europe and therefore instituting practices to prevent abuse. I'm trying to understand why some Catholics feel so strongly about this that they are willing to separate themselves from the rest of their community and even their pastors - but then again, I know that I'll never understand everyone, and that's okay too. Thanks for talking about it with me.

    Hello again, Hand Communion Lady!

    you asked ... "I'm trying to understand why some Catholics feel so strongly about this"

    • Here is my explanation.
      mostly I feel strongly because I think if the Lord Jesus stood right in front of me, undisguised, I would like to believe I would fall to my knees--as did the one grateful leper, and many others. Even if He were to tell me 'it's ok to treat Me like your buddy', I would still kneel before Him. It just *seems* right to fall down before Him!

      (hand Communion Lady)
    • BASF, thank you. You're right. Absolutely. I have to think about this more, and talk to my pastor more. I appreciate the time you took to explain.
    (The end!  Did I exaggerate? We can convert  our opponents of good will if we don't respond to 'digs' (bear wrongs patiently)  and stay on topic-- that topic being Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!  for my fellow pelagians--praying a decade for your opponent can be very effective.  It  also helps if you are graced with an humble and honest opponent!)

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