8 July 2020

Communion in the hand (2)

But what about those of you who reject the Conciliar and post-Conciliar 'reforms? OK, you reject Memoriale Domini of 1969. But where does that leave you?

As we saw, Memoriale Domini rightly says that the Latin custom of receiving in os 'rests' (innititur) on the custom handed down by many ages. But it cites no legislative enactments. The Old Missal does not mention the communion of the People at all in the Ordo Missae; one has to turn for that to the Rituale Romanum. Here, there are varous requirements: communicants should have been to Confession; be fasting since midnight; be kneeling on both knees; and, as far as possible, with men separated from women. All of which sounds good to me. But nothing about mouths or hands.

Perhaps a canonist might argue that the mandate of 1929 (YES! as recently as that!) requiring the use of the Communion patten implied in os. But, frankly, it didn't. And a theologian might point out with warm approval the very considerable weight attached in Memoriale Domini to Tradition. Fair enough. I would agree. But Memoriale Domini left Episcopal Conference free to request a differemt usage, and Rome started issuing dispensations within days. Was everything, you suggest, so obvious pre-1962 that it seemed unnecessary to spell it out? Possibly; but that can be a dangerous argument.

Of course, Traditionalists will be the last people to wish to abandon a mos plurium saeculorum. Nor would I wish them to. But it seems to me that the matter is not quite as tightly and explicitly tied up in the legislation pre-1962 surrounding the Mass of Ages, the Vetus Ordo, as it is in the rules of 1969 and later, relating to the Novus Ordo. 
Pre-Vatican II, there is at least the arguable possibility of wriggle room. Post-Vatican II, the law is rigid to the point of being Mosaic: lay folk desiring Communion in os are entitled to it.

So what is going on? I am sure that the Catholic Bishops, learned and principled men, know what they are doing. Given the admirable subtilty of their minds, I feel it is our duty to read-between-the-lines and thus to discover what they really want us to do.

So here is my hypothesis. What they are saying, with a nudge-nudge here and a wink-wink there, is: "During this pandemic crisis, we want all our clergy exclusively to use the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and to use its gaps and ambiguities to administer Communion only in the hand." 

They are surely entitled to expect adherence to an expectation so simple and sensible.



PM said...

One suspects that Memoriale Domini has gone the way of Musicam Sacram, the Jubilate Deo hymnal and the provisions of Sacrosanctum Concilium on the need to preserve the use of Latin in the, well, err, Latin rite and the primacy of Gregorian chant in church music.

ccc said...

It was made clear to me when I was married in 2002 that there was no way that Schubert's Ave Maria would ever be sung in the Parish Church because .... De Musica Sacra from 1958...

Of course, Gifts of Finest Wheat would be entirely appropriate.

It took going the the Cardinal Archbishop of DC to be allowed the use of pure plainchant from a schola.

These things continue to exist and never fall into desuetude. They just get used selectively and when convenient.

E sapelion said...

Homer nods! In the Missal the Canon Missaeis somewhat terse on the Communion of the Faithful, but it does clearly refer, after the consumption of the chalice, to the communicandi and instructs the celebrant - eos communicet. In the Ritus servandus there is nearly half a page of rubrics expanding on this (sect. X para. 6)

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Mr Sapelion is right: there is that passing reference allowing the possibility og giving Holy Communion during Mass. But it certainly says nothing about in os. And I did not bother to mention the Ritus Servandus because, while it does indeed give "nearly half a page of rubrics", in all that detail it fails to mention how Communion was actually to be given.

Todd said...