25 May 2015

Communion Procession in a new Dark Age (3)

Well, we all know what happened in the twentieth century. Divorce got its toe in the door ... and within decades the door was wide open. Unnatural and disordered sexual practices corrupted Marriage. Fornication gradually ceased to be furtive and, after being 'Free love' in the 1930s, had by the end of the century become the natural assumption of Western societies. Homosexuals ... no; some homosexuals ... ceased to enjoy inhabiting an amusing subculture and became aggressive public ideologues. The mortal sin of missing Mass without good cause ceased to be a matter of guilt. You know all this, and much more.

My analysis, and suggestion, is this. Society has in effect regressed to the superficially christianised state it was in during the 'Dark Ages'. We are, in other words, in a new Dark Age of widespread unrepented mortal sin. In fact, ours is an even darker age, because people do not even accept that they are in a state of sin, and do not repent, not even once a year. Nor, probably, even when they die.

Unhappily, however, we have inherited the ecclesial sacramental culture, to which the reforms of S Pius X have led, in which it appears that a General Communion is the normal custom at every Mass. It is not commonly preceded by Confession; that sacrament has become so uncommon that, at the beginning of the Year of Faith, I heard (yes, I heard this with my own ears) one priest in a mainstream church, say this to his congregation: "I have decided to use the Year of Faith to revive confession. As you all know, in this church we have for long used the Confessional for storing what gets left unsold after a Parish bring and buy sale. It's pretty full, and we need to get rid of all the stuff so as to use the Confessional for confessions again. There are a lot of books ... I invite everyone to come and help themselves to any thing at all they can take away and use; and then we'll have a Work Party to clean it out."

So people who have not been to their duties for years receive Communion when, at family events, they have the rare experience of being at a celebration of Mass. People who have committed sexual sins for which they feel no repentance, which they have no intention to strive to avoid in future, naturally troop up to the Altar and receive Communion. As a product of Anglican culture, I am still horrified by the widespread Catholic custom of receiving communion into the hand and then walking nonchalantly away putting the Host into ones mouth as one walks.

I shall argue, in the final part of this, that we should restructure our ritual practices to take account of this new and darker Age.
To be, DV, concluded.

12 comments:

abevec1 said...

At least here in the US, ushers go down pew by pew guiding everyone to communion. Instead we should have a communion rail with people freely getting out of the pew and forming queues themselves. Pressuring people into communion makes no sense.

umblepie said...

You don't have to be an Anglican to be horrified by the culture of 'Communion in the hand.'Many Catholics, and I am one, are equally horrified! We look to our Bishops to reinstate Communion on the tongue and kneeling.

Charlemagne said...

Row by row communion must be ended .Let all or none approach the altar as they wish.I'm not sure that adding an altar rail will solve the problem.
Confessions must be announced and made available on a regular basis.

ansgerus said...

Even more horrifying was to see the Drops on the floor, trampled on, which were originating from dipping-in of Hosts by communicants themselves - a practice which is officially forbidden but still very common in my country whenever the Holy Communion is spent under both species. I witnessed this during the Crism Mass on the Monday of this years Holy Week, presided by our newly ordained, young Archbishop. Originally, I had considered to receive Holy Communion on this occasion, against my usual practise to attend only the Traditional Mass, but I was so shocked that I could not, and went out of the cathedral strait forward in order not to further attend this sacrilege. But that might have been wrong - I better should have prayed in the pew for pardon for those who were responsible for this sacrilege, including the auxiliary bishop who was spending the Hosts, which then in most cases were dipped-in by the communicants into the chalice, presented to them by a priest standing at the right side of this auxiliary bishop. A patene was not used, eventhough a huge number of altar boys (and girls) were assisting during the service.

Dymphna said...

Nobody is being pressured to go to communion. Get up and let other people pass and then sit down. How hard is that?

Rose Marie said...

In the U.S. parish where I attend daily Mass, I notice that more and more people, perhaps even the majority now, are receiving on the tongue. The next step will be to ask our pastor, who has never said anything about this sort of thing, to let us use the beautiful communion rail we still have. This lovely Gothic church, built c. 1950, has never been wreckovated. Receiving kneeling and on the tongue is in fact the norm for the Universal Church.

GrumpyPants said...

A pious gentleman in my Parish died and left us some money to enable us to restore the Communion Rails. People may now kneel to receive the Sacrament and, from just one or two people, it is becoming more usual for people to receive in this manner. Sometimes, it is a challenge for me with my creaky bones, but it is to honour the Lord. More people are receiving on the tongue, as well, and more ladies are veiling. And all through the good offices of that pious gentleman. Confession is a bit of a sticking point, but Father ensures it is available twice on Saturdays and more frequently during the preparation for major Feasts. We are fortunate to have such a good Priest.

Lynda said...

Priests have a grave duty to teach and preach the whole of the Faith and morals, and remind his congregation regularly and with great gravity of the need to confess mortal sin and the absolute prohibition on receiving Our Lord with unabsolved mortal sin.

John Simlett said...

Thank you for expressing my thoughts in such a way that even I can now understand; rather than me puzzling about where it all went wrong.

Jacobi said...

Father,

There is, as always, a simple solution to this problem.

It is for priests to stand up in the pulpit and instead of repeating what has already been read in the Gospel, or talking in a vague “theological” manner, quite incomprehensible to 99% of the politely listening congregation, to instead, spell out some clear simple Catholic teaching, such as “there is the confessional, that door there on my left. May remind you all that to receive Holy Communion you must be free from mortal sin and in a state of Grace. And the Church requires you under pain of mortal sin to attend Holy Mass on Sundays Holy Days of Obligation, and if you miss without due reason you may not receive Holy Communion without Confession, a firm purpose of amendment and Absolution.

And by the way I do not want to see any more parishioners receive Holy Communion in their un-annointed hands or from lay distributors' un-annointed hands". Etc.

Now some will undoubtedly walk out or won't turn up the next Sunday, but then they probably wouldn't anyway sooner or later. And the plate receipts might fall a bit, but they will manage.

All quite simple really.

Rose Marie said...

Quite right, Jacobi. And if the good priest really wants to make some progress (although not with the collection), he will gently but clearly explain why contraception is a mortal sin.

johnf said...

I also regret the ditching of that beautiful prayer that the priest was accustomed to say on giving Communion to each communicant " Corpus Domini Nostri Jesu Christii custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen" . It would be wonderful if it could be restored either in English or Latin .