Dear Sr. Sheila,
It never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many times I have heard priests preaching blatant heresy from the pulpit, no one has stood up. Priests engage in acts of scandal, and are reported to their diocese, and the diocese don’t act. But let a priest stand up for reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and watch out! Diocesan reaction is swift and brutal.
Having never heard of the so-called Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (exactly which Vatican curia is that), I would rather go by the advice of our prefect emeritus of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Francis Cardinal Arinze, who said that he’d prefer if all priests distributed Holy Communion by intinction: a method which is a) given preference in the GIRM over reception by hand; b) reserved to priests alone (eliminating the “need” for extraordinary ministers) and c) only done by tongue.
Certainly, reception on the tongue is no guarantee of reverence for the Sacred Body. I have twice witnessed priests pursuing congregants who did not visibly pursue the Host. The first time, it was three very immodestly dressed young women, who made jokes all through Mass. Only two went up for Communion. One went to the priest, who stopped Communion and ordered her to relinquish the Host that she did not immediately consume. The other girl went to an ECM and, when she got back to the pew in front of us, she and the other girls “huddled” and looked at an object in her hands.
Another occasion was at a parish where the priest distributed Communion by intinction. Eucharistic descration by Satanists has gone on throughout history, so obviously reception on the tongue is not a complete solution.
Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that reception on the hand—an indult granted originally to North America on an experimental basis and never a direct intention of Vatican II—has resulted in a great rise of both irreverence towards and outright desecration of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Consider the nun who said to Mother Angelica, “You’re one of those ‘cookie worshippers,’ aren’t you?” Or the Sister who said to participants in Eucharist Adoration at my old parish: “Jesus is just as present in that garden as He is in this Church!”
People approach the altar in various states of undress (such as the aforementioned teenaged girls, who were wearing see-through tops with colored bras), chewing gum, etc. Polls show that most Catholics see greater importance in the Signum Pacis than in Holy Communion.
In most parishes, almost every person sitting in Church goes to Communion on Sunday, but how many are lined up for Confession on Saturday afternoon?But let a priest or deacon preach about respect for the Blessed Sacrament, and look out! The parish goes into an uproar about how “backwards” and “uncompassionate” he is!
Let a priest or a deacon actually call for acts of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament, and he gets a slap-down from the Bishop himself, or, worse ,from a low-level diocesan bureaucrat who isn’t even ordained clergy.
I don’t see how a Bride of Christ can have so little reverence for His Body.