Monday, 14 May 2012
Cardinal Arinze on the Reception of Holy Communion
I was just alerted to this video on YouTube in which Cardinal Arinze makes clear that reception of Holy Communion kneeling (and on the tongue) is the preferred (because "traditional") way of receiving Holy Communion. Part of the problem in this debate seems to be that many Catholics do not know how to read Vatican documents (priests too, apparently!). Either they give too much weight (one way or another) to things which, in the end, allow freedom or they fail to understand that some freedoms are strictly conditional. There is no ban on Communion in the hand, but this is allowed only on the understanding that those who wish to receive kneeling or on the tongue must be respected and allowed to do so because, as far as the Congregation for the Liturgy is concerned, that is the "preferred" way. If a Bishops' Conference has been allowed the choice of Communion standing (and in the hand) to criticise those who avail themselves of this is unjust and therefore sinful, BUT, this does not imply that both forms are equally good. I know this is a difficult point, but it is necessary to be clear on these things. Not only that, but as the Cardinal explains, those who choose to receive standing should make an act of reverence before receiving. Kneeling is itself taken as a sign of reverence. In the west, standing does not have that significance, therefore we are invited to make a profound bow or, perhaps a genuflection. As the Cardinal explains here, such acts should not constitute an nuisance to others.