Raising up the Sacred Host and Sacred Chalice too high would entail hitting the ceiling. Can’t do this:
Category Archives: Eucharist
Heartbreaking. Infuriating. The above video taken during the first summer of hell is of a little girl being denied reception in Holy Communion of Jesus, our Eucharistic King, you know, because she wants to receive in the traditional manner as mandated also in times of Covid by the Holy See. This denial was most distressing then, is now, and always will be for this little girl. She will remember this monstrous incident the rest of her life. I mean, I thought white-hair-guy was going to punch her to the ground rushing up like he did with his power-emotions in overdrive. Just. Wow.
The assistant priest was trying to explain his unfortunately compromised position (that he let himself be in), nice guy that he was. That wasn’t to be done either. The white-hair-guy shoves him out of the way, even while he is holding our Eucharistic Jesus – and takes over defense of the front lines in the war of power over the little girl. The assistant priest walks away depressed, looking like he wants to be in a parish on his own far away from the white-hair-guy.
To any non-believing clergy out there… Just. Don’t. Do. This. The purpose of Holy Communion is not to rip out the hearts and souls of everyone in that church. Jesus sees this. He’s the one who talked about millstones.
In my own parish, Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC, our Eucharistic Lord is distributed according to Church law, not some anti-Catholic diocesan policy which in this great diocese does not exist anyway. This parish enjoys the protection of universal Church law. This diocese does not operate ultra vires. We just do things the way we’re supposed to, regardless of any Covid. This is widely appreciated. There are those who come here, bypassing a myriad of parishes on their way, crossing through (arch)dioceses and state lines. Yep. People are sick of getting kicked in the face, continuously, constantly.
For the installation of altar rails, step one is to get permission from the one-man liturgical committee of the Diocese. His office is closed today. Alas. Soon, though.
Step two is to get plans for the best way to go about the construction given that the revamped floor was not made for this after the high altar and such had been viciously ripped out in decades gone by.
A gentleman is volunteering to turn some pillars for us, you know, with swirls, not easy. A real craftsman.
Another gentleman is volunteering to make a base and a top for us. A retired cabinet maker.
I’m looking for measurements of the usual height of an altar rail, etc., whether that measurement includes adjustments for pads on which to kneel, etc.
Is there possible a reader who has plans stored away in an archive closet of a church or Cathedral, say, in Madison, say, in Birmingham, say, in Chattanooga, say, in one of our great parishes in Charlotte Diocese? I would appreciate this help very much, as would Jesus’ little flock, as would Jesus.
Right now we have a “kneeler” where most parishioners kneel, one after the other, but we gotta have something more solid for those who need to push off in order to get back up. No one has to kneel. We can all have knee problems any time in our lives. But in this parish, people love to kneel if they can. They are anxious to get this project underway and completed. I’m sick of reverence for Jesus being shunned like a mortal sin, so that people in mortal sin think nothing of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Get it? A vicious circle.
Sometimes people complain about the installation of altar rails. Over the decades, around the world, that amounts to just a few. So, my response is that, oh! altar rails are just a bit of mercy for the handicapped, right? That’s the excuse I give to people who are just so very afraid that this might be about kneeling before the Son of the Living God who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. But then they see that I am being sarcastic with them. It’s about mercy, sure. But it’s also about proper reverence before Divine Son of Immaculate Mary. The facial expressions are priceless. Lesson taken. :-) But, I ask, why is it that one mere inquiry sets ecclesiastics running in fear and cowardice, agreeing even out of character that it’s just so very true that we cannot at any cost be reverent before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I have much more to say about this, and a recent comment by a reader, which I didn’t let through, as I want to put it up in a post on it’s own. It’s about Covid and kneeling. Great! It might be another day or two. We’ll see. Right now, I gotta be out in the pasture with Jesus’ little flock.
A comment came in from a supposed Kanuck who doubts that she may be welcome to comment seeing that she is a Kanuck. I guess she has an ultra-nationalist sway, but she can ask herself about that one. I wanted to give that comment a bit more of an audience and so I’m placing it here, but with my [comments]:
/// I’m a Canadian; so, I concede that I’ve little ‘right’ to comment on this topic [No, really, go ahead!]; but, I find it difficult to understand HOW a Priest of the Catholic Church can deliberately, and publicly, sully the professed ‘Catholicism’ [you put that in scare-quotes, didn’t you? Isn’t that a hypocrisy on your part?] of a public, political figure [She’s talking about Joey Biden at this post: Joe Biden: anti-Catholic, anti-human and horrifically racist… says this priest ] — on the word (gossip?) of another Priest [Umm… “this priest” in the title refers to me, the publisher and owner and writer of this blog, so I guess you’re gossiping about me gossiping, are you not?]. I sincerely believe that such would be the ‘job’ of the appropriate Bishop (who could then, publicly deny Mr. Biden his ability to receive The Eucharist ‘in good faith’). [Well, I don’t care what you sincerely believe. And I didn’t mention denying Joey Holy Communion in that post, did I? Anyway, living in Ottawa as you do you would think you could do a bit more research on the Canon Law of this matter with the Dominicans at Université Saint-Paul, where a good friend directs doctoral theses in Canon Law. But, nooo…. you jump right into it. Check out Canon 915 there missy. Or maybe you did and you don’t actually like all that hierarchical stuff like promulgated universal law of the Church. And I see you put “in good faith” regarding the Bishop[!] in scare quotes, or are you referring to Biden? Pfft.] Such is the situation here, in Canada, where Mr. Trudeau — who claims to be Catholic — has very publicly stated that he is ‘pro-abortion’ [and why would you put pro-abortion in scare quotes?]; and that he has no intention of ever ‘reversing’ or ‘changing’ the Law regarding abortion! [I guess your scare quotes mean you think that reverse or change of abortion law is just impossible anyway?] After that, the Bishop of Ottawa PUBLICLY stated that Mr. Trudeau would no longer be able to participate in receiving “the Body and the Blood of Christ”. However, several weeks later, a Catholic Elder Statesman died; and in honor of the deceased, a TELEVISED Catholic Funeral was held for him at The Cathedral in Montreal, Quebec (where he had resided). The church was packed, and Mr. & Mrs. Trudeau sat right at the front of the church. So, when the time came for the reception of the Eucharist, Mr. & Mrs. Trudeau were the first to present themselves at the Communion rail — and they both received The Body & Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ!! Needless to say, I was shocked … that Mr. Trudeau had even DARED to present himself to receive Communion; and that the Bishop of Montreal did not seem to know that this privilege had been revoked for Mr. Trudeau, by the Bishop of Ottawa! I considered it a public scandal; but no one in the Church and NO ‘Catholic’ clergy ever publicly said one more word about it. [So, you want me to sully their names on the hearsay of others? I wasn’t there. But I’m to take this from you?] ///
Here’s the deal: Joey Biden doesn’t think he is sullying his name or that I am sullying his name just because I present what he has done with all of his pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage, pro-persecution of the Catholic Church, pro-forced transgender rubbish, etc. Joey Biden sullies his name all on his own. He’s proud of it. What are you talking about?
Regarding denying Holy Communion to notorious sinners such as Biden and Pelosi and Kerry and Teddy Kennedy back in the day, and so on, even an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is to deny Holy Communion to such notorious sinners even if there has been no previous warning and even if there has been no consultation with the pastor of the parish, the priest of that Mass, the bishop, the metropolitan, the bishops conference, whatever. Notorious sinners must be denied, on the spot, every time. Joe Biden is one of the most notorious sinners in world history. And not even a bishops conference can undo the universal law of the Church. A priest or EMHC denying Joe Biden Holy Communion is not being disobedient to any bishop who demands that Joe Biden be given Holy Communion. No. We are not to be obedient to a sinful order. Ecclesiastical authorities who demand sin are acting ultra vires, beyond their powers, and in doing that they lose authority for that demand.
Anecdote: Just because the commenter seems to be purposely ignorant of Canon 915 (I’ll leave that up to her own exam of conscience) doesn’t mean that others are ignorant of it.
Back in the day I was parochial vicar in the most liberal parish in Australia, and that’s saying quite a bit. There had been horrific world-class scandal and sin in that parish on a very public scale. The larger picture involved deacon-whistleblowers getting sacked, priests being laicized, priests getting married to the secretaries who became rectory cleaners[!] while the priests continued as grounds crew; bishops and cardinals galore were involved, and some of those were sacked. It all came to a head again when I said I was going to refuse one of the extremely unrepentant and super-public miscreants Holy Communion. All hell broke loose. But that’s a very long story, epic in every way. What happened made it’s way through rank and file of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and finally to a General Congregation where is was the pivotal example that would keep Canon 915 as is, and not weakened. It silenced all objections to Canon 915. I have a lot of friends in a lot of high places. Thank you […]. And thank you – at the time – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and thank you, now Saint Pope John Paul II. :-)
Just to say: I have been so tempted through the years – and I still might do this – tempted to get a license plate for the car which says CANON915. That’s eight letters, and in North Carolina you get eight letters to use on a personalized license plate. :-)
- Despite POTUS Trump being the most pro-life, pro-free exercise of religion president in the history of these United States, it is in order to respect the integrity of POTUS Trump relative to both his present-time faith and reason, that I would not at this time administer Holy Communion to him should he – receiving bad advice – present himself for reception, desiring to help him fruitfully receive and enthusiastically rejoice in being heart to Heart with the Divine Son of God. I pray for the day that I would be able to administer Holy Communion to POTUS Trump.
- In order to respect the choice of Biden to be entirely anti-Catholic on basically every single doctrinal and moral aspect of the Catholic faith, in order to respect the choice of Biden to offend Natural Law regarding basically every aspect of how we are created by our good Creator, I would not at this time administer Holy Communion to him should he present himself for reception, with myself instead desiring to help him fruitfully receive and enthusiastically rejoice in being heart to Heart with the Divine Son of God.
Probably a certain Jesuit troll will complain in order to have this blog post taken down, what with the Jesuits being freakishly anti-Catholic and pro-Biden, and, I must say, clever in gathering henchmen around them to do their dirty work. I would to see this certain Jesuit call out Father James Martin. THAT ain’t gonna happen, is it?
If anyone has an opinion as to whether the two points made above regarding the present day non-administration of Holy Communion to POTUS Trump or Biden, drop that in the comments.
I’m a Catholic priest, but does that mean that on my private-opinion blog which I write on my own private internet connection, on my own private computer, on my own private time, in a totally off-church-campus dwelling, with unrelenting disclaimers that this is just little me representing just little me. But, if anyone thinks this should all have me thrown into prison, let me know what the law is. Thanks in advance!
Perhaps like you never heard it presented: Remember the gushing blood…
I guess I got a bit passionate with this one. No apologies to the ever-naive. Grow up.
I apologize if this article is not a literary masterpiece: it’s just that I’m really angry.
Sure, the incident in the video above near the beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate (in something like early 2014) was possibly a mistake. Probably it was a purposed way to bring attention to the fact that it is only fallen human beings who are elected to be the Bishop of Rome. And that is very much part of the instruction Pope Francis has always wanted to bring to the world. It’s not a bad point to make. We must stop putting anyone on a pedestal. We all look to the Son of the Living God whom we have all pierced with that sword as He hung upon the Cross, all of us sinners from every Tribe and Tongue and People and Nation. Pope Francis is the ultimate worldly politician. That’s a useful talent. However…
That’s not the incident of “cazzo” or “F***ing” vocabulary to which I refer. No, no. The usage of “cazzo” or “F***ing” to which I refer from Pope Francis happened just the other day, just about the beginning of Summer, 2020, in these U.S.A.
- The Bishop of El Paso, Texas, USA – along with some henchmen among his priests – knelt down while holding up “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs.
- Pope Francis sent that Bishop a congratulatory message specifically for that particular form of solidarity with BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Black lives do matter. So do all lives matter. The Son of the Living God redeemed us all and wants that we assent to being saved. Therefore, all lives matter. I make absolutely no distinction among anyone for any reason whatsoever. I’m totally color blind. I simply cannot abide by any paying attention to color. “I’m white,” whatever that means. I don’t make anything of that whatsoever. “I have black and brown friends (and all other shades of color or not)” right around the world, but I don’t make anything of that either. I would be friends with whomsoever I ever meet regardless of any color. Pigmentation just does not matter to me. Justice matters. I hate injustice.
As Denzel Washington said: “I’m not a race. I’m a human being.”
To insist that BLACK LIVES MATTER apart from the lives of others, differently from the lives of others, is, in fact, supremely racist and an incitement to violence, including murder, including terrorism and genocide. Coming with the voiced agreement of religious leaders such as those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis seems to provide a divine mandate for dissing all those whose lives don’t matter according to BLACK LIVES MATTER: and for BLACK LIVES MATTER there are no police lives which matter including and especially the lives of “black” police officers.
For those religious leaders, whether priest, bishop or Pope, who insist that POLICE LIVES DO NOT MATTER, is tantamount to them saying “F*** the police,” and specifically, even religiously speaking, god damned be the damned police. This is something that endangers the safety and lives of police. It unleashes those who were already at the point of say, committing assassinations against the police. As it is, there have already been an untold number of injuries suffered by the police, as well as many assassinations suffered by the police just in these past days. I’m putting responsibility for that on the heads also of those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis.
If there is more discipline and prosecution needed for certain bad apples among the police, do it! I hate what happened to George Floyd. But don’t be encouraging a reaction of out and out terrorism. That’s exactly what those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis are doing.
But back to the symbol of kneeling, taking a knee. This is a powerful symbol in these U.S.A. It refers to being diametrically opposed to these U.S.A. as a country. It refers to the rejection of our Constitutional Republic. It therefore refers to a rejection of the rule of law, law that is balanced by the justice promoted by the unalienable rights given by God to all individual citizens. It refers to a rejection of natural law. It refers to a rejection of all divine law reflected in that human law. That’s what those priests and that bishop and Pope Francis are doing: God damn the U.S.A. God damn the American Constitution. God damn the rule of law. Those priests and that bishop should be brought up on promoting insurrection and Pope Francis should be banned from entering these U.S.A. We don’t need dialectical materialism here. Really, we don’t.
Oh, by the way, I should mention some things at this point:
- I’m a Catholic Priest – right now still in good standing – indeed, a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis
- I’m also a Police Chaplain
- I have placed myself in mortal danger right around the world going against thugs and buffoons who desire chaos to reign
Listen up: It’s always the minorities and poor who suffer with stupid agendas of Marxism, of Antifa fascists, of Black Lives Matter. Always. Marxists always have the wrong analysis, or is it that for them, it’s always all about power alone? Yes. It’s only about power. Damned be fixing injustice regardless of any color involved or not. DEFUND THE POLICE! NO MORE POLICE! are the cries. But what will happen then? More crime and violence for everyone, regardless of color, regardless of social or economic “standing.” But minorities and the poor will suffer most. Always. And that’s just fine and dandy for those who grabbing lawless power, as no law at all is what is best for the power hungry. So, what’s really going on here?
I’ll just say it:
- I don’t like it when all police are god-damned right to hell because of the bad actions of a few
- I do in fact think that kneeling is to be reserved for God
- For a bishop and for priests to kneel before anyone else is another kind of symbol altogether. For Pope Francis to congratulate kneeling before “BLACK LIVES MATTER” is unconscionable.
So, what now?
- Perhaps Pope Francis will god-damn me right out of being his Missionary of Mercy
- Perhaps he’ll have me suspended from active ministry in the priesthood
- Perhaps he’ll dismiss me from the clerical state
THAT would all be sad. But I’m still not going to kneel in favor of racism and violence and chaos and prejudice. I won’t. I can’t. I have a conscience properly formed by natural law and by divine law, and, by the way, by church law. I want to be a priest, not a politically correct puppet to the lowest-common-denominator of some anti-law mob.
Again, in the context of BLACK LIVES MATTER, whose stated purpose is to rid police from the face of the earth, kneeling in adoration to a BLACK LIVES MATTER sign stands for agreement to that stated purpose.
Yours truly won’t be doing any kneeling like that. In my parish, all black and brown and white and whatever color kneel before the Son of the Living God in the Most Blessed Sacrament:
And, by the way, Jesus was and is forever the Lion of Tribe of Judah, a Jew, who said that “Salvation if from the Jews.” I kneel before Him, the Divine Son of the Living God. I don’t kneel before violent usurpation coming from any source.
Finally, if you’re still holding out and thinking that taking a knee against, say, the flag of these U.S.A. is reasonable, think again. See this post which has been downloaded by untold numbers of governmental and educational institutions across the country and right around the world since it was posted years ago and right to this very day, at least to know what “influencers” are reading:
A note to Pope Francis: You are not served well by those who advise you. They use you. Maybe you let yourself be used. At any rate, why not just stick to bringing people to Jesus with total respect for Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the actual Magisterial interventions of the Church in the great Councils (not just “dialogue”)?
Or is this just another idolatry exercise, like Pachamama, after all, Pachamama is “brown”, right?
Just anger is good. It doesn’t let you lose peace of soul. Jesus was not without a sense of divine peace even whilst He cleansed the temple with whips and cords against the unjust abuses that were taking place therein. Right? Right?
This Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis is entirely in accord with the great Cardinal Sarah as seconded also by Monsignor Bux regarding the distribution of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, that the priest or deacon or Acolyte or EMHC wearing any kind of gloves for this distribution is objectively committing sacrilege against the Most Blessed Sacrament. I’m paraphrasing. Cardinal Sarah uses most extraordinary language to insist on this insane, blasphemous, ridiculous, clownish, faithless, immoral mocking of God.
Maybe some of my fellow priests carried away in “creativity” will come to their senses and realize that they’ve done something wrong, terribly wrong, along the lines of “nefas est.”
An automatic excommunication comes about and, as long as it is not declared (no chance of that, methinks), a Missionary of Mercy can lift and absolve such an excommunication.
As a Missionary of Mercy able to do this, I only ask that the priest be penitent with a resolve to never do it again, even in a “second wave” or “third wave” or with a thousand other viruses, etc., that are sure to come our way.
In giving the absolution, I’ll use the “old formula” in Latin, which firstly deals with the excommunication and then goes on to the absolution, a method of proceeding asked of us Missionaries of Mercy by the Holy See.
From Wikipedia: “Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, and baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada. Tekakwitha took a vow of perpetual virginity. Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later her scars vanished and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by some of her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized. Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.”
Now, to the instruction on assisting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass without being physically present. I may well be mistaken on the source of what will be presented below but its entirely Catholic and orthodox. I’m going to blame Father Robert J Fox, who was pastor of a tiny church in the outback, if you will, of Alexandria, South Dakota. I had been with him on the very first of his Fatima Youth Cadets pilgrimages to Fatima way back in the 1970s. Lots of great stories with that trip. Just great. But that got me reading some things written by this country priest, including Saints and Heroes Speak. That turned into a series of books. One of the chapters was on Kateri Tekakwitha. Again, I’m not sure that I’m reporting exactly what he wrote. And what he wrote may well have been inspired by Kateri, but I don’t know if there are historical sources to back that up. But again, the instruction is entirely Catholic, profoundly entrenched in humble thanksgiving before the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Unable to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for lack of priests some 335 years ago in North Woods of upstate New York and Southern Canada, and for lack of sufficient health to be able to attend in person, Kateri had another way of assisting at Holy Mass. She would unite herself with Jesus wherever He might be being offered in the Holy Mass at the moment throughout the world.
This is a matter of love. Walking the in the presence of the Lord Jesus – as I like to mention all the time in homilies and in conversations – isn’t just some sort of weirdly faked spirituality congratulating oneself for walking with our Lord, making oneself special because of being sooooooooooooo spiritual! No. Not at all. The walking in the presence of our Lord thing is – how to say? – a matter of being in this world, being “in the body”. Here’s the deal:
- Our dear Lord was “in the body”, as it were, when He was tortured to death in front of His dear Mother. He was “in the body” when He celebrated the Last Supper, when He united His offering of Himself there for us, the Innocent for the guilty – This is my Body given for you in Sacrifice – This is the chalice of my Blood given for you in Sacrifice – having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
- Our dear Lord is “in the body”, as it were, when He is offered in that self-same Last Supper at every moment throughout the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We offer Him as He is now, risen from the dead, but, as Saint John writes in the Apocalypse, as the Lamb of Sacrifice, standing and therefore alive and risen from the dead, but still bearing the marks of slaughter upon Him. The Sacrament of the this great Sacrifice is – in transubstantiation – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
- We are not to forget the wounds of our Lord. We are not to forget His being “in the body” not only on the Cross, on Calvary, but also at the Last Supper, and therefore in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is precisely one and the same, today as yesterday, Jesus, ever ancient, ever new, present to us, in the body, with the wounds today as yesterday. This is a matter of love. Our hearts and souls and minds are with Him in the Holy Sacrifice, in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us. While we are “in the body” in this world, we are with Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who is also still, to this day, to this hour, to this minute, “in the body” in the world in the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Did Kateri catch on to something in all friendship with Jesus, in all humble thanksgiving for His great love for us at every moment, following the Lamb whithersoever He goes among us in this dark world while we, His little flock, is still here before He calls us to be on our way to heaven? Yes. Yes she did.
I have many stories about being assigned over the years to mission churches dedicated to the North American Martyrs and to Kateri herself. We also had a statue dedicated to her way back when I was a kid in Minnesota. But that’s a post for another day.
Here’s the deal, again: Saints and Heroes continue to speak to this day. We are one family. Don’t be merely alone. Be alone together. Be in the communion of saints, also on this earth.
I had a big part in keeping this all alive some 35 years ago. But that’s another story. I’d like to revive this.
Back to the Last Supper of Da Vinci with no Apostles up top of this post: It’s just not true. Be in the body wherever you are. Be with Jesus in the body wherever He is. Just don’t go out into the dark, so to speak, as it were. Be with Jesus.
Scroll down that link on lifesite and listen till you get to the part about going to Confession. Wow. Very awesome indeed.
Also, a priest friend of many decades in India sent me this link, which is exhaustive commentary on the subject in these Coronavirus times:
Canon Law Made Easy just published a new post named “Can We Be Required to Receive Communion in the Hand, Because of the Virus?” Check it out! You can view the full article here:
As the days go by and the stats on reported cases and deaths bring up a ratio which is consistent in nations which publish health data with accuracy. Sorry, but I don’t trust China. I do trust Italy and these USA.
The mortality rate for reported cases hovers between 4% to 5%. Today for these USA it stands at 4.33%. That is, around midnight between March 9 to 10, there were 26 deaths with 600 cases.
4.33%… What does that mean? It means that as of now, 1 in every 23 people you see on the street will drop dead.
1/23 is a statistic that changes quickly but it hovers around that rate, more or less. But what does it mean in real life?
The one’s who are getting especially sick with this Coronavirus are those who are already health-compromised and stuck with others who are vulnerable. Sorry to profile, but this means geriatric vacations on cruise ships. Do you know anyone elderly that goes on cruises? I know many. Do you see druggies and drug houses every single day? I do, very, very many. All druggies are ultra-super-health-compromised, are frequently visiting drug houses to get drugs and hang out, and are liable already be sharing diseases of all kinds, and – get this – really don’t have much of a conscience about avoiding sharing disease. No really. There are those who, as we know in now many news reports (just as happened with HIV-AIDS), when someone gets such a virus as Coronavirus or AIDS, they purposely go out as predators so as to spread the virus, so as to spread HIV. That’s fallen human nature.
Fr Z has been writing quite a bit about Communion on the hand vs Communion on the tongue in a time of Coronavirus. Here’s his latest: https://wdtprs.com/2020/03/ask-father-what-to-do-when-intransigent-priests-refuse-communion-on-the-tongue/. That’s helpful. Hint: Communion on the tongue is more hygienic, more reverent. The question in that post is about someone who has never received Communion in the hand, is now very elderly, and would be devastated to take Communion in the hand because of an intransigent priest.
I would like to share an analogous event when I was terribly scandalized by a knucklehead priest intent on scandalizing us kids. This is not about sex abuse, but it is quite directly analogous to that as well. This was when I was in second grade attending our parochial school. The Monsignor had our entire class marched over to his rectory, to the little chapel in the rectory. Upon entering I was devastated. I asked what the electric light on the wall was. I was told that this was because the tabernacle was there. Where? I asked. The monsignor pointed to a matchbox sized box unceremoniously stuck to the wall in the corner. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like Jesus wasn’t important, that God wasn’t important. I knelt down. He got real nervous. He had us march around the butcher block altar in the middle of the little room (which also totally scandalized me). I asked if that was really the altar as it wasn’t at all like the high altar over in the church that was then being torn down. Yes, it’s the altar, he said. My heart sank. I was scared. What’s happening? I was extremely aware of the reverence I had for the altar. And he was forcing us to touch it. I asked like three times if I had to touch the altar. He said yes, and was getting quite impatient with me. I was going into full adrenaline mode with everything graying out as I marched around the altar and touched it as did the others. I had hesitated even then at the last second. Just touch it! I was instructed. Sorry to put it this way, but I felt as if I had insulted the Lord, I felt as if I myself has been violated (raped if you will). I was empty. No heart left. My heart had been ripped out of me and stomped on and thrown out. But I did sense – mind you – that the angels had been warning me before this and were angry (so to speak) after this, not angry with me, but with this event, so very, very sad. To be precise, it’s that the very Sacred Mysteries had been stripped from my soul.
Back to Communion in the hand. My anecdote about the altar is an analogy. I would never force anyone to take Communion in the hand. And anyway, Communion on the tongue is more hygienic.
An elderly long-time reader of this and now long defunct blogs of mine wrote in all devastation about the brutal treatment she received from an apparently non-believing priest when she approached to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. She gave me permission to share the story for the benefit of all those whose bishops have “mandated” Communion in the hand”:
- “This morning at daily Mass, the priest shoved the Host in my hand and said ‘In the hand only’. He has always protested against COTT. I am very shocked. I don’t know what to do. I am an old lady and we never touched the Host because we do not have consecrated hands. I’m sure the excuse is the coronavirus. So do I stop receiving Holy Communion or is it just my pride getting in the way?”
My response to this dear soul:
- “I’m sorry that that happened to you. That’s so terrible. That was actually my experience at my first Holy Communion in the 1960s. Minnesota was sooooo liberal. I would just go to a different parish. Put your hands behind back when you are going to receive and then, hopefully, receive on the tongue. I’ll say a prayer of reparation for that priest.
- You always retain the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. Bishops cannot touch universal liturgical law.
- Receiving on the tongue is a zillion times more hygienic than in the hand. Hands are disgusting. Really. People curl their hands and you cannot avoid touching their hands. Girls put “sparkle lotion” goop all over their hands. Totally inappropriate and sticky and disgusting. Stop it. Blech.
- Communion in the hand is almost as bad and disgusting as women with tubes of lipstick on their faces and who drink from the chalice leaving glops of disgusting lipstick all over the chalice which then ends up all over the purificators – stopping the administration from the chalice (if that’s what your parish does) until the purificator can be changed out – so, just don’t. We don’t have Communion from the Chalice. I wonder if the priest who insists on Communion on the hand has Communion also from the Chalice. That would be so ironic.
But is there a theological heresy involved in being worried about the transmission of diseases with Holy Communion being “The Carrior”? Some say that to say this could happen is blasphemous. Not at all.
This is our Lord Jesus. Yes. But think about that for a second. Within hours of the Last Supper He is hanging on the Cross on Calvary and people are spitting on him with whatever rubbish diseases they have. That’s dripping off our Lord and falling on the very ones who are spitting on him. Excuse me, but spitting up when gravity is involved is as stupid as pissing into the wind. You’ll only be subject to what you yourself have done. Of course Holy Communion can be a “Carrior”, not because our Lord is subject to any disease, especially regarding the circumstance of Holy Communion, but because those externals of Holy Communion have nothing to do with Him. As the great Saint Thomas Aquinas said, the externals of the Most Blessed Sacrament are not essential to but rather accidental to the substance of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. The weight and measurement and color and feel and taste and sight… whatever… are accidental. Don’t blame any virus on our Lord Himself, but do blame your lack of care in administering or receiving Holy Communion.
The best video on the Gates of Hell NOT Prevailing and Communion on the Tongue:
When I was teaching in Australia in the seminaries of this diocese or that archdiocese, it was Father PJ who nicknamed me *sotto voce*, referring to the diminished “voice” by which the Roman Canon is pronounced in the “Extraordinary Form” of the Latin Rite. I had assisted a great deal in keeping the Latin Mass Society of Australia alive at the time. And previous to that, I had insisted in a meticulously researched article in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review that however quiet that “voice” is to be, the words are actually and indeed to be exactly pronounced, without which there simply are no consecrations, no Mass. *sotto voce* does not mean saying nothing, being a stone. It means that one would surely hear something indistinguishable in the first pews of a good sized church. In other words, the priest is speaking, just not to the back pew of any sized church. Take the picture above. If you were the priest and you were reciting the words of consecration, and you saw Christ our God there with you such as is depicted, you would continue speaking – as He Himself would bid you to do – but in a voice that was quiet but which He could distinctly and clearly hear, there, right in front of you. Get it? The Apostolic Penitentiary backed me up on this, encouraging any cases be brought to them of priests who don’t speak at all during the consecrations. I’ve seen this. Tight lipped. Nothing. And obstinate. Too bad, that. I know someone right now at the CDF, as it was called, who bullies concelebrants into basically saying nothing, because, he says ever so breathlessly, “It’s the Mass of the Celebrant!” That’s so wrong on so very many levels. Anyway, now that that’s out of my system…
I’ve noticed that I’m going a bit quieter at the time of the consecrations at Holy Mass. This isn’t affectation, something that is happening from the outside, forced. No. It’s been something that’s been happening on its own, as it were, over some time. It’s a spiritual thing. I wonder if other priests have noticed this. And actually, I think it’s that they all notice this, but with myself being such a dullard I’m guessing that I’m the only one who has not been ever so privy to what I’m now going to say and this ever since they were ordained. Better late than never, right?
The Holy Mass is generally addressed to God the Father – Te igitur clementissime Pater… – but, of course, while the narrative of the Mass leading up to the consecrations is addressed to the Father, reciting what Jesus was doing, the consecrations suddenly slip the priest into the first person singular of Christ Jesus Himself so that one is speaking directly to the Apostles at the Last Supper, and similarly directly to the trillions of souls who have ever been, are now, or ever will be at the self-same Holy Sacrifice at the altars of their churches, or offered in war on the tops of jeep-hoods, or in a bunk in Dachau or Auschwitz, or in whatever prison cell: “…given up for you,” and “…poured out for you.” It’s just that I’ve been noticing the Heart, if you will, of the Sacred Heart, as the words are pronounced by such an unworthy subject as myself, but myself nevertheless with Him in these statements of His, He who has so much love for us, and we who are so oblivious to all that which He does for us, and how it is that as He is lifted up on the Cross He draws all to Himself. Christ’s loving us no matter the cost and unto death is – I don’t know how else to say it – it puts one in awe, but even while being bidden by those words in the first person singular to be in total solidarity with the true Speaker, Jesus, one with His love. Of course, we know nothing, and in this world are on the outside, as it were, in perception really of anything. Yet, one’s voice naturally goes quieter. One is before the tremendous and fascinating, before the Great Mysteries. There are rubrics about having one’s voice go quiet. This is a description of what should already be happening. This is the Sacred Heart of *sotto voce*.
This is NOT a bleeding Host. No. Pfft. Imagine the fiasco that would have caused. Here’s a timeline and some important circumstances:
Last Friday, December 6, I personally prepared the chalice for Mass, as always, without exception. I put a celebrant altar bread (a bit larger than those used for the congregation so that it can be seen by the whole church at various part of the Mass) on the paten. A paten is a purpose made small usually gold-plated plate used for some parts of the Mass. I wasn’t paying much attention assembling the chalice, purificator, paten with altar bread, pall, chalice veil, burse with corporal together nicely symmetrically to place on the altar. My bad that I wasn’t paying attention. One should look for defects in the altar bread.
Then it came time for the offertory half way through Mass. That’s when I saw what looked like three reddish smears, like three fingers only slightly wet with a reddish substance that had been smeared across that particular altar bread. That alarmed me, as this would indicate that someone’s whole hand had been soaked in some weird material and that they had purposely smeared their fingers across that altar bread. I mean, it’s so very lightweight, weighing basically nothing, so that a mere touch will move it. Either you pick it up or it moves with you, but you won’t smear it unless you’re holding it purposely in place just for that purpose. Creepy. Brrrr. I immediately took the altar bread back into the makeshift “sacristy” of our tiniest of all parish churches and threw it away in the trash. I was not bleeding at all. I washed my hands anyway. I was creeped out. I got another altar bread from the sealed container in the sacristy fridge (which upon very careful examination, was clean) and brought it out to the altar, put it on the paten, and continued Mass. That was annoying. We get our altar breads through the Poor Clares at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Alabama, good friends. They get them from a national distributor without any packages being opened. We’ve never had a problem. Don’t be scandalized that I threw that altar bread away. It was not consecrated. And there was no Eucharistic miracle.
Successive Masses over the weekend, December 7-8: no problem.
Monday Noon Mass for the Immaculate Conception: In preparing the chalice once again before Mass there was a difficulty. I opened the container in which we keep the celebrant altar breads in the little sacristy fridge and the top altar bread looked just fine. I tried to grab just the top one in the little container. No go. I fumbled a bit with it, and realized that it was stuck to the one below it. Figuring it was just a bit of humidity that had slightly welded the altar breads together I tried to get them apart, and they did come apart. Being curious, I examined them more closely, both sides each. That’s when I saw the red material pictured on that altar bread above.
It looked like some stage blood. Notice the weird coagulation as the color draws together through what must be an oily substance. That’s not how blood works. Real blood would stain the alter bread and then coagulate. Unless it was real blood, just mixed with something else to make it look, you know, vibrant!, alive!, like some oily substance would. At any rate, it doesn’t soak into the bread, but just stays on top.
Again I checked my fingers to see if I was bleeding, and, indeed, I did have some red on my index finger. What a relief that it was just me bleeding, thought I. And, the blood on my finger had the same shape as that longer stain. Great! But then, upon thoroughly washing my hands there was no cut, no bruise, nothing. What had been on my finger had come from that altar bread, not vice-versa. Grrr…
But maybe it was just some red wine that was on my fingers, surely, after putting some wine in the wine cruet. In writing this, I had to do an experiment, going back up to the church campus and into the sacristy and getting an altar bread and putting a couple of drops on it:
The two drops were immediately soaked up and spread out, disintegrating the altar bread into gloppiness, the opposite reaction from the other. I put some red wine on my fingers. I couldn’t even see it. It’s clear when you put it on your fingers, and flows off, not like my experience with this other substance above. I even tried to get some older wine around the cruet stopper. No, nothing.
Because of the difficulty in staining these two altar breads, which I only noticed once on Friday and then once on Monday, and the way they were stained, I just cannot imagine that this was just a sloppy worker of the company which produces these breads. Zero chance of that. And in that case it would all have been long dried. The three fingers thing is just too weird in the Friday incident. That was purposed, malicious. But why?
Imagine if events had played out differently and there’s a near 100% chance that would have been the case:
What if the bright red stain on the more recent Monday incident were on the lower side of the altar bread so that I just placed it on the paten not noticing anything wrong, seeing only the top side with no stain? What if I had gone through the consecration and lifted it up for all to adore, Jesus Himself, as is said throughout the Gospels and Saint Paul? I wouldn’t see anything, just the clean side of the Host, but everyone else would immediately see what they thought was a “bleeding” Host, and they would all gasp and cry out that the Host is bleeding. Mayhem would ensue. “It’s a Eucharistic miracle! It’s a Eucharistic miracle!”
The fraud would have immediately been brought to light, not only because of the logistics of the stains described above, but because the material is clearly not blood, or at least not blood alone. It had not coagulated but was still sticky for very many days (and who knows how many days or weeks before Friday in that container in the fridge), indicating that it’s probably stage-blood. I would have been accused of grave manipulation. The Church would have been discredited not only in this region, but all around. People would have lost sight of Jesus who truly is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament, as our Lord Jesus Himself said at the Last Supper united with Calvary: This is my Body now being given up for you… in sacrifice, the Chalice of my Blood now being poured out for you… in sacrifice. What a blow to the Church such stage-blood or whatever it was would be. Stage-blood is so very cynical. Demonic, really.
But God will not be mocked. The angels dislike such shenanigans. It’s so deeply offensive to their Creator and ours. I wouldn’t want to be on the bad side of good angels.
Humanly speaking, I’m sure a Federal Court would agree that such a hate crime blatantly violates the free exercise of religion as guaranteed in the Constitution of these United States. Doing such things can put a perp in prison.
UPDATE: So, I was preparing the chalice and paten for Mass the other day, putting, of course, another celebrant altar bread on the paten. I’ve learned to examine the altar breads rather closely these days, and, again I found another stained altar bread, though it’s probably from the same incident described above. It’s just a small stain, with the same red, in the lower left near the center of the altar bread pictured below (the smallness of the stain being why I missed it in my examination of all the altar breads after the incident described above):
My comment on this is the same as further above: Grrr…
Dad was all about USMC Fighter-Attack Corsairs and then jets. I once asked him if he could fly helicopters and, to my delight, he said that he could fly about anything at all that any manufacturer has come up with that goes up in the air. Marines. For God and Country. Yes, both of those in the same sentence. For God and Country. A marine is always faithful, semper fidelis, Semper Fi, because God is first of faithful, so to speak, steadfast in the glory of honor: God so loved the world that He sent His only Son… So, I always wax nostalgic… From a post I put up some years ago, with a few more details:
Dad’s the one with his back to you immediately to the left of the propeller. This is on the USS Bataan.
My favorite memory of dad was back in the Autumn of 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old, ten years after the picture above was taken. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. The first time I had made brave to follow him the rest of the family threw a fit saying that I should be carried, but I insisted I could make the long trek from the back of the Cathedral up to the front, and dad backed me up. The Cathedral had a gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.
It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good. That’s not just reminiscence with commentary of someone older. No. I was thinking that thought as a tiny little kid. And I can still remember thinking it from my diminutive height, especially so small on my knees. I remember how cold the granite altar rail was below the linens – even in summer. Here I am, thought I, with my dad, before God. I was totally enthralled.
We had something like twenty visitors never seen before by anyone one in the parish at the 11:00 AM Sunday Mass October 13, 2019. We’re a super tiny church, so they stood out. There were two odd occurrences.
During the homily there was a blindingly bright camera flash – like the gunpowder flashes that were used more than a century ago. Not a flash you can can simply ignore. It stopped everything, including me for a good five seconds, as my eyes were unexpectedly dazzled. I don’t know what that was about (for good or evil) but everyone in church instantly fully turned to see what this disturbance was all about. We will see. I don’t like this on any level, and it also raises concerns these days, and so is also imprudent: a little distraction on this side of church, a security incident on the other side of the church… that kind of thing.
The other incident was in administering Holy Communion. A Lady presented herself in such an odd manner that it was entirely obvious that she had never received Holy Communion before in her life. I asked her if she was Catholic and she said she was. Perhaps she was baptized Catholic, but I have to say that it seemed to me she was a full-on liar, though she was certainly stately in appearance and staid and polite in manner. She reached out one-handedly to snatch away the Blessed Sacrament. I said no, that she would have to receive right then and there. Accompanying her staring for a couple of seconds into my eyes with an entirely wry, sardonic smile, she said that no, she was not at all going to receive and so instead, she simply walked back to her pew without the Blessed Sacrament. It was as if to say that she had failed THIS time, but that might not at all be the case the next time. Sorry, but I was creeped out altogether.
Maybe she just wanted to bring Communion to a dying relative who requested this, but, I mean, she could tell me that then and there or she could then have come to see me right after Mass. That would have been the dignified, polite thing to do, right? In either case I would have said that I myself would go to see that person. Perhaps they need the Last Rites, right? That’s how it’s done. That’s what priests are for.
Jesus used to be hidden away. We’re happy that He’s back where all the architecture points to Him. More will be done, but this is a good start for the brand new pastor.
Tiny little feathered friends seen on the Day Off. Very humble, that. Merely receiving. Not grabbing. What does the Lord say to us all in Psalm 81:11?
“Open wide your mouth that I may fill it.”
Also, the Tree of Life, i.e., the Tree of the Living Ones, comes to mind. Adam may receive the fruit of the Tree, the Eucharist from the Cross, but Adam may not reach out his hand and grab the fruit of the Tree, pretending that in that way he will live forever, that is, because he reached out his hand as if he’s saving himself. No. But he may receive if he is receptive.
Adoration this past Sunday at 6:00 AM at Holy Redeemer: