Brutally Insensitive Sensitivity

Brutally Insensitive Sensitivity March 11, 2015

Fellow Patheosi Katrina Fernandez recently lost her Grandmother (God rest her soul through our Lord Jesus Christ). So at her funeral, some loopy ideologue of a priest decided that would be an excellent time to strike a blow for the spirit of Woodstock by a) consecrating pita bread and b) aggressively jamming it into Katrina’s hands instead of letting her receive on the tongue as is her custom. He sure showed *that* grieving grand-daughter who’s boss!

Such priest no doubt regard themselves as the vanguard of liberation for the oppressed masses. But they are, in fact, every bit as autocratic and domineering as the pre-Vatican II clericalist who stalks their imagination. They have become what they hate. And the process they have injured one of Christ’s little ones in her hour of trauma and grief.

Not everything has to be political all the time, padre.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker also comments on this lamentable and egregious injection of politics into this intimate moment of sorrow.

Kat: For what it’s worth, may you Grandma’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace through Christ our Lord. And may you find grace, consolation, strength and peace through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

"You said: “Perhaps the references to “Gehenna” in the Gospels refer to annihilation...”I responded that ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"What makes it "denigrating" or a "non-response"? Jesus didn't write the gospels. There is an ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
""Disingenuous? No. Sarcastic, yes."No, disingenuous. In a discussion about what the Catholic Church actually believes ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"Disingenuous? No. Sarcastic, yes.I don't want to get into a discussion about the reliability of ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tom Beigel

    Can only hope and pray that the undeserved privilege and joy of receiving our Lord in the sacrament will render the priest’s insensitive meddling a mere annoyance. I can still recall from my days serving at the altar (long time ago), a priest with the proper unleavened bread and the communicant on her knees at the altar rail startled when he spoke loudly to her, “stick out your tongue!”. Mercy!

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Since leavened bread was used, I’m not sure it was a valid Eucharist anyway, in which case, was the True Presence there?

      • Heather

        In the comment thread, someone from the diocese said that it was likely to be home baked using just wheat and water and therefore technically valid matter, though its use is of course inappropriate due to the inevitability of crumbling. Apparently the current bishop is decent, but the diocese had been in nonsensical freefall for decades before his appointment.

        • antigon

          Meantime I’ve never understood very clearly the matter of intention necessary to confect the Eucharist – & even suspect Mr. Silk could help, & thus invite such despite our polemics past.
          *
          I mean, if some priest gets assaulted in a bakery & says ‘Cut it out, this is my body,’ he doesn’t intend with those words that the bakery bread becomes our Lord, & so it doesn’t.
          *
          But what if a priest before consecrating the Host thinks to himself, just to deceive, ‘I hate the faithful who believe this crap & do *not* intend what the Church intends.’?
          *
          Does his otherwise completing at least sufficient matter & form in the context of a Mass overwhelm his hatred &, ex opere operato, confect the Host? Or is his hostile intention sufficient to prevent that from happening.
          *
          I would think the former, but do not think so with perfect confidence. Anybody around who can provide not just an opinion, but a definitive teaching that directly addresses the above scenario?

          • Artevelde

            If the De Defectibus decree, council of Trent, is still the definining authority on this matter, and my quick search did not find anything to the contrary, I’d say you should change your opinion to ”it is the latter”.

            23. ”The intention of consecrating is required. Therefore there is no consecration in the following cases: when a priest does not intend to consecrate but only to make a pretense, … ”

            • antigon

              Was afraid of that, but grazie.
              *
              Do you think it accordingly follows that there are very few valid consecrations in Europe & north America anymore?
              *
              Probably there are, since most clericalists likely haven’t the energy to make the act of denial.
              *
              Lots of reasons to wonder tho, about that priest who assaulted Crescat for one, & his many doppelgaengers.

              • Why would it follow that “there are very few valid consecrations?” Of the priests I’ve met, most have had a clear intention to “celebrate mass” – which is as much to say “to do what the Church does”. Some (not many) have had a seriously deficient understanding of the Eucharist, but none that I have met has actually denied it. And complete or correct understanding is not necessary; only the intention to administer the sacrament.

                In other words, a priest needs to be evil, not just stupid, to invalidate the sacrament.

                • antigon

                  Dear M. Roki, Mz Baca, et IRV:
                  *
                  D’accorde with all the above, save that not most but all consecrations are valid with a legit intention, however foggy, assuming the accompanying matter & form valid too. And tho your point that clericalists do it for the thrill of power makes one shiver.
                  *
                  As to your last line, Roki, lots of stupidity to be sure, but much of that brought about by no little evil.

                • IRVCath

                  Precisely. Even doubt on the part of the priest does not change the fact he confected it – see, for example, the Miracle of Bolsano.

              • Mariana Baca

                I would think the opposite, actually. Unless they actively don’t intend to make a valid Eucharist, I would think most consecrations are valid, despite personal doubts/disbelief. I think most clericalists enjoy having that power and would intend to exercise it.

                There has been only one Mass I have been to where I felt that the consecration was likely not valid (based on the homily, and some adlibbing of the Eucharistic prayer). Fortunately, the priest was a visiting priest and gave communion out of the reserved host for everyone except himself, so I don’t think there was an issue (other masses said by other priests at that church never seemed off to me).

            • My understanding of the principle of “Ecclesia supplet” (open to correction here) is that the host is not confected, but the deceived faithful attending do indeed receive grace as if it had indeed been the sacrament. That is, the priest’s sin does not become an obstacle to Christ giving what the faithful seek from Him. And since in such cases it may not be possible to distinguish empirically between consecrated and non-consecrated hosts, all hosts apparently consecrated at mass are treated as validly consecrated. The evil priest harms only himself.

              • Artevelde

                That, I think is not only the correct interpretation of the teaching in this matter, but also the only sane and logical one. Otherwise we could imagine a situation where faithful adherence to one parish or priest, only proven much later to be a satanic sect led by a deceiver, would place the faithful in a pretty bad situation.

                • antigon

                  Yeah, that has to be true (my post below is in response to yours above Roki’s). As when a wicked priest gives absolution saying the words, but doesn’t intend them or have faculties.
                  *
                  In passim that would also mean the successful absolution of a Catholic who sincerely accepted SSPX apologetics & so confessed to one of their priests despite the want of faculties (with attention to the adverb).
                  *
                  Not meant as promotion that, just musing. Despite magisterial teaching I’d meet the Sunday obligation at an SSPX Mass, have never been to one save once as a reporter.

                  • Mariana Baca

                    If the priest is validly ordained absolution would work in extremis, but in ordinary cases absolution would NOT be valid due to the lack of faculties. Canonically, they also cannot perform a Catholic marriage (since Catholics need to follow the canonical form of marriage to have a valid marriage, this would come into play — lots of annulments are based on “canonical lack of form”). It is possible that in the future priests in SSPX would not be validly ordained since their Bishops cannot licitly ordain new priests, afaik.

                    Unless there is physically no regular Catholic Church you can attend, SSPX does not meet your Sunday obligation. If it is the only Church available, one can attend, I believe, but there is no requirement to do so.

                    • antigon

                      ‘Unless there is physically no regular Catholic Church you can attend, SSPX does not meet your Sunday obligation.’
                      *
                      Ms B: Though I don’t intend to chase it down, am confident you are mistaken & cannot back your assertion with any document – & that instead the magisterium in fact holds any Catholic can meet the obligation at an SSPX Mass on condition it is not done with schismatic intent.
                      *
                      And since illicitly ordaining priests has never in Christian history blocked the validity of such ordinations, you’ll have to forgive me for suspecting you’re talking through your hat when you suggest that’s now going to change.
                      *
                      Am meanwhile aware that absolution save in extremis is not valid when a priest hasn’t faculties, & also that there are some arguments – dubious from my light perusal of them – challenging that view. Nonetheless if Roki is right that via ‘Ecclesia supplet’ Grace obtains even when a priest deliberately withholds intent, so must It if a Catholic confesses in good faith to a priest he or she thinks can absolve sin in the name of Christ. Who says A must say B.
                      *
                      Have never understood the marriage argument & would appreciate l’assistance there. What I don’t understand is what a priest qua has to do with it since it is – according to Catholic understanding, tho not Orthodoxy’s – the couple who confect the Sacrament & nobody else.
                      *
                      What then is the form & matter necessary for them to do that? Water, intention, & the right Trinitarian words confect the Baptismal Sacrament. What’s the complement for marriage?

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      “What’s the complement for marriage?” Among other things, a valid witness, and the priests of SSPX cannot be a valid witnesses to marriage.

                      Some sacraments are also juridic acts, i.e. they change one’s juridic status in the Church. Marriage and absolution both are examples of this. I vaguely recalled that Fr. Z had written an informative post on the matter, and managed to dig it up for you. He’ll explain it far better than I can.

                      Since the sacrament of Communion is not a juridic act, I am uncertain that you can extend Roki’s point to absolution. Interesting question …

                    • antigon

                      Caro Ivan:
                      *
                      Grazie, tho as there is abundant material, ought to have just looked it up on me own. Must further apologize in that looking through various materials on these matters, came across a measured, intelligent, & sober but not ponderous canon law article that held what I suspect has to be sort of obvious anyway – as for example in the case of confessions heard by the phony Canadian pretending to be a priest – to wit that Roki’s point does extend to absolution.
                      *
                      But don’t know where I saw it. Might have been via Patheos tho. Ha! Was combox invoked in the post by Padre Z you dug up. canonlawmadeeasy.com/2013/08/15/are-sspx-sacraments-valid-part-ii/

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      Then I am gladdened, and should not be surprised, for it does seem to be God’s pleasure to make his mercy and grace as accessible as possible.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      “instead the magisterium in fact holds any Catholic can meet the obligation at an SSPX Mass on condition it is not done with schismatic intent”

                      Not quite. From Ecclessia Dei:
                      “… it is considered morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing … The fact of not being able to assist at the celebration of the so-called ‘Tridentine’ Mass is not considered a sufficient motive for attending such Masses.”

                    • antigon

                      Ivan:
                      *
                      Save that that letter (I chased it down after all) was written in 1995, thus presumably superseded by the 2003 Ecclesia Dei Commission letter to Una Voce stating that ‘you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.”
                      *
                      Plus possibly speaking with more authority than the Commission, no less than the head of the Congregation for the Clergy, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, cited canon law in a 1984 letter that acknowledged SSPX Masses fulfilled the Sunday obligation.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      I’m not disputing that an SSPX Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation, but informing what you wrote above, viz. “on condition it is not done with schismatic intent”. One might infer that there is therefore no issue in satisfying the obligation at such a Mass, when there is a bit more to the story, i.e., whether one should be in a pew in an SSPX chapel to begin with. The 2003 letter in question is part of a series of correspondence with Msgr. Perl, which you quote from above, and I shall expand your quote for clarity:

                      “1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X. 2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why.”

                      The reason from an earlier correspondence in 2002, reiterating the 1995 correspondence: “The celebration of the Mass should be done by a priest who is in union with the Church. Attendance at Masses celebrated by other priests is permitted only where access to a Mass celebrated by a priest in union with the Church is impossible.”

                    • HornOrSilk

                      You are right to point out the issue, and here is my take on what was said:

                      “In the strict sense” is indeed a part of the whole issue. That is, in accordance to various conditions, it is possible to fulfill by going to SSPX — similar to the strict conditions on which one could go to a Greek Orthodox liturgy. Saying that, in a universal sense, that it is possible in some circumstances to go and fulfill an obligation is not therefore saying, as a general rule, all who go are fulfilling their obligation (because of the conditions).

                      It’s basically trying to take a dispensation and universalize it.

                    • antigon

                      Msgrs Mad & Silk:
                      *
                      While your interpretations are both plausible (& disputable) via Perl’s letter, can’t see how they hold in light of Cardinal Oddi’s letter, written when he was no less than head of the Congregation for the Clergy.
                      *
                      On the other hand, the complications of the thing seems hard to grasp, to wit, how can a Mass meet the obligation if it isn’t authorized by the bishop?

              • Marthe Lépine

                This answers the question I was going to ask. When I was a child of about 10, we had a serious case in our parish, when an associate priest was found to have been an impostor, who had come to Canada illegally with a fake identity as a priest. Since it was just a few years after the end of WWII and that person was from Germany, I have been assuming that it had been some war criminal who had obtained papers from a priest who had died in a concentration camp, but it is only my impression. However, for about a year, hundreds of people in our parish attended Sunday and week-day masses where there had not been a valid consecration. From your reply, I deduct that the intention of those people to attend Mass and to receive the Eucharist led them to receive the attending graces anyway, and of course to not be considered guilty of having missed Sunday mass, since they did not know what was actually going on. Am I correct?

                • As I understand it, you are exactly correct. The parishioners, being ignorant of the false priest’s lie, were certainly not guilty of any sin. And I think the Church teaches that they were not even denied the grace they sought. It might be considered the grace of a spiritual communion, theologically speaking.

                • HornOrSilk

                  I think this is right, and it connects with what you find in Lombard about the sacraments, where there is the grace of the sacrament and then there is the thing itself. This is how, for example, baptism of desire is seen to account as baptism (the grace of the sacrament, which is necessary) but is not the thing itself (the sacrament). It is the grace of the sacrament which is necessary. So with the case here with false priests, and many other similar questions which can emerge.

          • Mariana Baca

            Ex opere operato refers to the sinfulness/worthiness or not of the minister of the sacrament, or even their personal belief (e.g. a Pagan can validly baptize without believing it works).

            That does not negate the very simple rule that for for all sacraments, the minister needs to *intend* to do what the Church does for the sacrament to happen. You need to intend to baptize in a trinitarian fashion to baptize, you need to intend to have a permanent, faithful, and open to life marriage when you marry, etc. That is canon law.

      • HornOrSilk

        Leavened bread is valid. It might be illicit for the West, but for the East, it is the norm.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          Learn something new every day. 🙂 Is it something that has to have special permission, or is it up to the priest? I’ve always heard such emphasis put on UNleavened bread.

          • HornOrSilk

            In theory, I think the Western priest can get permission or dispensation if there is need, such as happened in concentration camps. The discipline of the West, with its canons, are what lead to the West using unleavened bread and the use of leavened bread being illicit.

            The issue comes out of the symbolic traditions the East and West use to explain their general use of leavened or unleavened bread. It’s a complex theological battle of symbols which was used, in part, in the post-1054 debates between the East and the West. The East interpreted the time of the Mystical Supper not to be in Passover itself and that the reason why Passover had no leaven was to show the grace of Christ needed to be fulfilled. The West viewed the Mystical Supper as being during Passover, and that Jesus set a tradition which is best to be kept using what he did with Passover (and also talked about how leaven in Scripture sometimes is used to represent sin). The time of the Mystical Supper, imo, is nearly impossible to prove either way, and arguments can be made either way using the Gospels (John being especially useful for the East). Nonetheless, the debate was closed at Florence when it was said either could be used, with each tradition keeping its own way.

            • Sue Korlan

              I was told that the Eucharist was made from leavened bread during one of the disputes with Judaisers. When the controversy ended, the West returned to unleavened bread and the East. I haven’t read any documentation on this subject, but I was told this in a graduate level church history class at Catholic University.

              • HornOrSilk

                Actually, it’s more complicated than this. From what I remember, Initially the West used leavened bread, the East unleavened, and there was a switch. But with it, came exegetical arguments which formed the later traditions.

      • Mariana Baca

        Leavened bread is valid, however, I don’t know if it was specifically “pita” or just a generic flatbread — most don’t have leavening in them.

  • antigon

    Read Crescat’s brutal & alas hardly unique account. Read to me like the priest wasn’t really a Catholic so much as a Clericalist who sees Catholicism as a groovy means to push neither Christ nor the Faith, but instead the cult worship of clerical self.
    *
    And apologies, but it does remind one of the pedophile horrors, in that bishops ought to be defending the faithful & reigning in these cult clericalists; when they don’t one is reminded of the two thirds of the American episcopate (according to Lawler’s study) who, when confronted with the rape of children, covered it up & sent those clericalists out to rape some more.
    *
    With such help the clericalists got away with that kind of rape for a good while, but it’s not the only kind they’ve inflicted, nor the only kind they still enjoy imposing.

  • We’ve been receiving on the hand here in Altoona-Johnstown – bishop’s instruction because of the flu – but no one who prefers to receive on the tongue shall be refused.

    No Precious Blood until further notice.

  • Mark R

    It was Msgr Klaus Gamber who illustrated that liturgical problems in the Roman church go back centuries. The main problem was the conceptualisation of validity to a bare minimum. This inevitably results in a compartmentalisation of the faith, then theology, praxis, ecclesiology, spirituality go their separate ways. Liturgy is broken and one just has to deal with it. Reforms of the reform and whatnot cannot turn back the clock. It seems the most pastorally sensitive thing to do would be for the priest to follow what the Church instructs and to treat his parishoners like his beloved flock.

    In re. to receiving in the hand because of flu, I know of Russian emigre churches where the Eucharist is received on the mouth fully covering the liturgical spoon (not in the daintyfied manner that American Eastern Catholics receive) and no one ever gets sick…especially the priest who uses the same spoon everyone else used in cleaning up afterwards.

    • Mariana Baca

      “no one ever gets sick…”

      Well, probably lots of people get sick, but it would be hard to isolate the vector for infection to communion specifically. Multiple people kissing the same relic can also get you sick, shaking hands with friends, or standing in a crowded subway car can all get you sick with different illnesses.

      I got a horrible case of norovirus once, and it coincided with me doing a pilgrimage to a Russian Orthodox Church in NYC to see a relic (St. John Chrysostom) and kissing relics there. But, for all I know I got it from the subway, bus, or restrooms on the way there and back. (I’ve been to NYC many times and never gotten sick, however, so who knows).

      I think receiving in the hand vs mouth for the flu is a bit silly, since no priest has ever touched either my mouth or hand giving communion, but I can see not sharing a cup or a spoon if sick.

      • The hard case would be a fatal plague outbreak. Think ebola or something similarly nasty.

  • Michael

    Remember, the Church is supposed to be a field hospital where the sick are welcomed and healed. Apparently this priest added a footnote about receiving on the tongue – then it’s “to the curb with you, filthy traddy.” _Definitely_ worth picked a fight over, padre. Ugh.

  • iamlucky13

    The social offense of trying to make an example of this woman at a funeral aside, and even stopping short of discussing either the scandal or the sacrilege of the situation, the priest also committed a direct act of disobedience. It deeply troubles me to consider how clearly he says “non serviam” on this matter.

    In 2004, the Vatican explicitly instructed priests in Redemptionis Sacramentum that the faithful are not to be refused Communion on the tongue.

    In fact, the actual formulation of the rule is that Communion is to be distributed on the tongue, with the exception that local Bishop’s conferences are allowed to request an indult from the Vatican to create a dispensation from this norm, which the USCCB and several other western conferences have done.*

    Thus, although it is made clear that receiving on the tongue is the preferred manner of reception, in the United States, we are given special permission to receive on the hand, with a clear condition along the lines of “as long as reverence for the Eucharist is not diminished by doing so.”

    The same Vatican instruction also clearly stated that although the bishops may choose the preferred posture (standing or kneeling) for Communion, it is illicit to deny the faithful Communion merely for choosing to kneel.

    * Although this horse has left the barn in the US, it’s worth understanding that the intent was not to make reception of Communion in the hand the norm (and in fact, even in the United States, only a small minority sought to do so before the indult was issued). Instead, it was to address those areas, particularly in parts of Europe, where reception in the hand was being practiced illicitly. Rather than try to break the habit of the posture itself, Pope Pius VI chose to grant it limited licitness so he could instead focus attention on reverence for Our Lord’s presence regardless of posture.

    Unfortunately, it’s far from clear to me that the tactic worked. Although I know plenty of people who do receive on the hand reverently, it appears the people who most needed the catechesis on the True Presence heard “now allows Communion in the hand” and stopped listening.

  • anna lisa

    What this really boils down to is the priest’s rudeness , and whether the bread was licit. Big banners and a lack of kneelers are forgivable. Our university parish is poor, so we kneel on the hard tiles when we go there. The altar has silk scarf drapes of the proper liturgical color hanging over it, and a couple of potted palms on either side of a simple, little wooden altar. I prefer European styled churches, but that’s just a matter of taste. Even B16 celebrated the mass in some big spaceship looking thing. If you complain about the groovy decor our pastor will hit you up for a donation to his proposed million-dollar overhaul. I always tell him that I applaud his efforts to make the Church look more traditional, but it doesn’t seem to make a shred of difference to Jesus or the kids there, who are gladly hurting their knees on the ground. If anything, I’ve always thought it has more of a “last supper” vibe there, than the big ornate church I was married in.
    .
    As for the last-rites/anointing of the sick debacle–it took me THREE days to find a priest in my son’s small, college town who would call me back after my son was rushed in an ambulance to the ER. The priest who finally returned my call was a little sheepish. It hardly appeased me, since it could have been tragic, but It isn’t a lib/trad dilemma, it’s a shortage of priests dilemma.

    • UAWildcatx2

      You and your son’s experience definitely gives proof to the priest shortage in the US. That wasn’t the case here, though – Kat was *very* clear about what she needed, but the Parish Secretary didn’t get it. Kat makes an incredibly good point about a lack of catechesis in that priest’s parish. Your priest was sheepish, but the Parish Secretary was downright oblivious. That’s a big difference.

      • anna lisa

        I feel bad for her, and the whole traumatizing experience. (God bless her, the family and their Abuela!) I wonder if the secretaries are trained in busy parishes to screen out the people who are crying wolf.–I’m not trying to discount her experience, I’m just looking for a reason to believe they aren’t such all-round jerks…:(

        • antigon

          Cara A. L.
          *
          Hey, just chiding, but: I’ve got a few more camels here you might want to swallow.

          • anna lisa

            Please refer to the above. It’s outrageous what they subject me to.

        • UAWildcatx2

          That’s a fair point. And I echo your sentiments for Kat and her family. I don’t know that I would call them jerks in general, though – I’d probably lean toward “uninformed” or “poorly catechized.” Seems like Kat makes clear what she was requesting – the bigger issue is that the receptionist didn’t seem to know what “anointing of the sick” really was. Sad no matter how you slice it.

      • Sue Korlan

        Not all parish secretaries are Catholic. Perhaps she is ignorant about the sacrament.

        • UAWildcatx2

          I think this is the general point I’m trying to make. If she wasn’t Catholic, then it’s even more important for the pastor of the parish to educate the secretary on (a) what sacraments are, and (b) what to do when someone requests one. From the account, it does seem like the secretary was generally confused about what Kay was requesting. In that case, if she wasn’t Catholic, then it’s on her to then ask the priest, “Father, I had a caller asking for an ‘anointing of the sick’, what is that?”

    • cececole

      Much more than rudeness. Shoving it to her hands was neither loving to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament nor Katrina. She has the choice how to receive the Precious Body. From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

      [92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her.

      • anna lisa

        “Rude” was a big tent so I didn’t have to say as****e. No protests here for receiving on the tongue–I just don’t remember how to do it–and have about a 30% risk of my Tongue colliding with the good priest’s finger.
        There’s also this little, unforgivable thrill I get when I am holding Him in my sinful fingers for that lovely split moment…Mea Culpa.

        • IRVCath

          Just keep your hands together in prayer and stick your tongue out. 🙂

    • antigon

      ‘It isn’t a lib/trad dilemma, it’s a shortage of priests dilemma.’
      *
      A. Lisa:
      *
      Isn’t that pretty obviously false? While the shortage is doubtless a dilemma as regards believing Catholic priests, since the Clericalists hold the Last Rites superfluous – either because everybody goes to Heaven or they don’t believe there is an afterlife, or God – they would find the request for that Sacrament but an irritation without any obligation to them. Whereas a faithful Catholic priest would recognize both the urgency of the request, & the likely mortally sinful nature of ignoring it.
      *
      So the Clericalist/Catholic distinction – lib/trad if you prefer – is pretty clearly no small part of the dilemma you & Crescat & not impossibly a few million more have encountered.
      *
      To be sure there are also the sheep(ish) priests, but they too are responding to the same divide.

      • anna lisa

        Antigen, I think you have it more figured out than I do. (I am fleeing from cynicism!)
        I know there are career oriented priests (to say the least), but I’m afraid that I’m so lame and naive, that it takes way, WAY more to convince me of their malice. I think it’s a tick I’ve cultivated from being the mother of two teens, three twenty-somethings and three grade schoolers. Three of them could possibly be accused of being hipsters and at least four are arguably nerds. Labels give me a mild rash and terrible conclusions make me want to drink too much wine.

        • antigon

          Not during Lent I hope, AL.

  • As a new Catholic, I am saddened to learn of this. This sort of thing is standard fare for Protestant Fundamentalists, who fight about everything, and each and every one claim authority to do so. But since the Church has said that reception on the tongue or in the hand are both valid forms of reception, this priest is not acting in unity with the Church. Perhaps after Katrina has had time to decompress from the turmoil of the funeral and family loss, she might take this up with the proper priestly or episcopal authority and ask for some clarification. I would hope the Bishop in question would see fit to have a “pastoral” session with the priest in question. In our diocese and parish, reception in the hand is the norm, but reception on the tongue is automatic if the communicant indicates so.

  • Artevelde

    Hmm .. thinking about this issue took me on a wild trip through various online documents, and I’m still slightly bewildered. The question of receiving on the tongue seems rather simple: it should not be refused under any circumstances. Kneeling, however seems a more intricate issue. From what I understand, kneeling and receiving on the tongue cannot be refused or deemed illicit either, even in a church province where receiving in the hands while standing is the norm. The only question that really remains for me is whether it is more appropriate to remain standing in such a case anyway, for reasons of unity in form. I’d be grateful for any answers.

    • IRVCath

      Just a nota bene for anyone coming to this from this blog: Mrs. Fernandez attempted to receive the Host standing. The original commenter has since been made aware of this.

      • Artevelde

        Me? I’m aware of that, since Katrina told me so herself, and I have no reason to doubt her statement. She should, as far as I understand, not even have been refused communion even if she had been kneeling. But let me rephrase my question: if she had been kneeling, even though that would in no way have been an excuse for the priest to act as he did, might it have been a pastoral matter to address in private afterwards perhaps?

        • IRVCath

          Yes, it was meant for other readers, to know your question had been answered.

          And I agree.

    • iamlucky13

      I don’t think there is a strict answer to your remaining question. The GIRM emphasizes unity of posture reflects our unified beliefs, but it is also clear that kneeling is not a reason to refuse Communion.

      The combined texts of the GIRM and Redemptionis Sacramentum seem to amount to: unity is beneficial, but don’t get hung up on it.

      Personally, I see the benefit of unified posture when the posture has a clear meaning in relation to the unity. When we kneel together during the consecration, we are united in the reverence and humility before God that kneeling represents.

      What does standing during Communion represent? I have been told it’s a “symbol of our democratic dignity,” but there is no democratic equality between us and God, so the meaning of unity at that moment of Mass, where we individually receive our Lord, is lost on me. Communal as the liturgy may be, sacraments have individual significance that must also not be lost. So even if we still desire unified posture, does it really have higher value to the spiritual development of the faithful than granting a person the discretion to demonstrate even more reverence than the rubrics call for?

      “even in a church province where receiving in the hands while standing is the norm”

      A nitpick on this: I’m not aware that there is any conference or diocese where receiving on the hand is officially the norm, even thought it is statistically the norm. Rather, there are conferences where receiving on the hand is permitted.

  • Billiamo

    It’s simple: The priest believes the consecrated host is “just a symbol”.