Sir John and the Knights of the Long Table

Eleven of us live here at beautiful Schamelot, and we have a small 20 acre farm of chickens, emus, two dogs, 13 or so cats and a cockateil named Sassafrass.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Approaching the altar where communion has been distributed into the hand...

Did you know that even if you're not receiving Holy Communion in your own hands, where others have received it into their hands, or it has been distributed without patens, you're trampling underfoot Our Lord's Most Precious Body and Blood as you approach the altar and return to your pew?

It took me 36 years to put two and two together but here's the way it goes:

Canon III of Session VIII of The Council of Trent states:

"If anyone denieth that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema."

In other words, the whole Christ is present in every particle of the Eucharist, no matter how small.

Ask any honest priest and he will confirm that when he purifies the sacred vessels, he can see with his naked eye tiny particles of the Eucharist on the patens. It is a scientific fact that when the host touches the hand, tiny particles of the host remain on the hand (it's called "trace evidence" or "transfer" in crime scene investigation) and can fall to the ground as a communicant returns to his pew. This is the reason for patens in the first place. It is the reason that for almost 2000 years special care had to be taken to purify the spot where a host fell (this rubric no longer exists!). This is the reason that the priest keeps his thumb and forefinger pinched tightly closed after he has touched the Sacred Host. It is one of the reasons that for nearly 2000 years, until Pope John Paul II changed it, communion was distributed only on the tongue of the communicant. It is the reason that Mother Teresa said "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand." It is why Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise of San Luis, Argentina wrote in his book Communion in the Hand: Documents and History:

"With Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some Particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful.... Let us speak clearly: whoever receives Communion in the mouth not only follows exactly the tradition handed down but also the wish expressed by the last Popes and thus avoids placing himself in the occasion of committing a sin by negligently dropping a fragment of the Body of Christ.”

And now that I know...
In Sanguine Christi,

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