Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy - still work to be done.

This interview with Cardinal Burke reminds us (again) that the "renewal" of the Sacred Liturgy that followed Vatican 11 was not, and is not, in every detail in accord with the document on the Liturgy. A certain madness appeared which issued in some of the most ridiculous arguments I have ever heard about anything. I will not go into detail because it may cause acute embarrassment to someone and by now I would hope that some people have seen the error of their ways. The removal of the altar rails, the tabernacle and the general (and to some extent it was deliberate) removal of reverence from our churches. There are other things mentioned many times on other blogs. On my list of glaring, obvious and disastrous changes is Communion in the hand. The longer I live the more I see it as a great mistake. This does not mean that I am judging the sincerity or intentions of those who receive in this way.

When my father was seriously ill (with cancer)  he told me that he had a strange dream. In the dream he was in the church where he had received Holy Communion many times as a child. In this dream he was about to stand and approach the altar rail when he noticed that the floor of the church was heavily coated with dirt and mud. In the dirt he saw reflections of light here and there as though shards of glass had been scattered around the church. He told me that he understood what the dream meant. As a child he had been taught about the Real Presence being in every particle of the host in a similar way to how the same image can be seen in every shard of a shattered mirror (if we were small enough or close enough). He understood his dream as prophetic. He said we will soon be trampling on the particles of the host as though treading them into the dirt.

In one parish as I was praying in the church one day I noticed something reflecting light near the altar  rails and steps. I walked up to it and found a particle of the sacred host. As I looked around I could see more of them. I picked them up and put them in the water next to the tabernacle. As I turned around to face the priests' side of the altar I saw other particles where the priest would have stood. I placed these in the water. I mentioned this to my fellow curate who was a little upset with me. But it could have been my fault as well (not to mention the Parish Priest). I do not wish to encourage scrupulosity (and how often has that been brought up to push aside this matter?) in any case, the situation is much easier now that we have those special hosts which do not crumble, but there are still problems. Some children and ignorant adults have done unusual things with sacred hosts - putting one in a pocket or handbag, or even sticking remains of one to a bench. There have also been occasions when some people have walked out of the church with a sacred host without consuming it (I noticed there had been a problem with this in Notre Dame in Paris). Some of these abuses would not be so easy if the host was placed directly into the mouth.

What WAS the purpose of Communion in the hand anyway? All I remember as a seminarian is being told that it was "more adult" than taking Communion on the tongue. Some said it was the "ancient" way (where is the evidence for this? The Last Supper? Instructions from St. Cyril? Do we take this as meaning that there was no legitimate development in reverence later?). Sorry to go on about this again, but it sums up for me so much of the mistaken "reform" after Vatican 11...which has little to do with Vatican 11 anyway.


  1. I recall reading in an addendum to the book 'Get us out of here' (a series of Q@A to Austrian peasant seer, Maria Simma and her 'ministry' to the Holy souls) regarding communion in the hand, in which it states that Freemasonry documents from as early as 1925 record plans to usher in the preactice of communion in the hand, because they knew it would be the beginning of the end of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

  2. You need to know that the book, "Get us out of here" caused some anxiety at Medjugorje (where it was promoted and sold). I went to confession there to a visiting theologian who asked me about the book (I may have been brandishing a copy). he told me (and he gave me permission to say this outside the confessional) that the Franciscans there were very unhappy about it. Apparently the author was in touch with a very dubious so-called mystic in Mostar who was saying some very strange things. Unfortunately the author had combined this person with Maria Samma in the book. At the same time, not everything Samma said is trustworthy.

  3. Many thanks for this warning Father- it is much appreciated.