Monday, April 28, 2008

Archbishop of Lima Peru bans Communion in the Hand

Thanks to Fr. Z (see links below), here is a translation of an article which appeared in Petrus (Italian), in which the Archbishop of Lima Peru has banned Communion in the hand. I think we will see more of this around the world, perhaps in smaller dioceses first, but it will be a long time coming here in the US where a percentage of bishops must agree before a local norm can be changed.

Remember, there are the universal norms in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and then local adaptations, such as those for the Diocese of the United States, which may be submitted to the Holy See for approval. The universal norm is not Communion in the hand, but on the tongue. The US, as with other dioceses in the world, have an Indult, or permission to have Communion in the hand.

As the Primate of Peru, I believe this Cardinal is well within his right. Also noteworthy, is that His Eminence is a member of the Congregration for Divine Worship, which is headed up by Cardinal Arinze.
CITTA’ DEL VATICANO - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, authoritative representative of the Sacred College and of Opus Dei, and one of the great experts of the Catholic Church in moral theology and liturgy. And it is precisely on the theme of liturgy, so current in this time, the Cardinal willingly took some questions from Petrus.

Your Eminence, what is true liturgy?

I will be brief: it is the pure face of the Faith. This isn’t mere exteriority or respect for formal rules, but in the liturgy the Mystery of Christ, who died and rose, is celebrated with joy. And so, it is important to celebrate Holy Mass worthily and correctly, with a liturgy faithful to the canons of the Church, above all for respect for Jesus. I appreciate, in that sense, the continuous appeals of the Holy Father Benedict XVI for respect for the decorum of the liturgy.

In the last years there has been noted a worrying escalation of liturgical abuses. How do you explain this negative trend?

The idea of sin has been lost, and so also the Sacrifice of Holy Mass has been mistreated and undervalued in currents of thought, also within the Church, that justify and tolerate everything creating a debatable circular and assembly-like dimension for the Eucharistic ceremony. Then, and I believe this is partly the fault of the Roman Curia after Vatican II, there was a relaxed attitude, above all in interpretation, regarding the Council. It is urgently necessary to remedy this situation; I believe that the vertical dimension of the Eucharist is absolutely necessary because the faithful can grasp the great gift of Christ. Surely, the faithful are at risk of being only scandalized and driven away with the so-called "show-Masses" in which there are committed, in the name of freedom and creativity, every sort of wickedness.

Let us come to the manner of administering Communion…

Even in this matter that relaxed attitude of many priests has made ridiculous in the eyes of Catholics the value of the Eucharist. Personally, I retain that it best way to administer Communion is on the tongue, so much that in my diocese I have forbidden the Host in the hand. In Masses with great attendance, in the past we even found Hosts thrown onto the pavement of the Church.

Petrus is worried about the Neocatechumenate: the Journey has aroused admiration but also worry and suspicion.

I don’t doubt that the intentions of the Neocatechumens are praiseworthy and they are really searching fr God with fervor and joy. And I think that there must be started a healthy and at the same time firm dialogue with them in truth. The Vatican itself is trying to find a solution for approving their statutes. In any event, in the celebration of Holy Mass on the part of Neocatechumens there are certain aspects that I absolutely do not share. I call to mind and repeat that the liturgy is unique and must be respected by everyone in the same way. Indeed, tolerance, of course, for Neocatechumens, but it is the competence of the Church to call them back to respect for the Eucharist.
On the heels of that interview with Petrus, comes this article out of The Tablet.

Church in the World
26 April 2008

Cardinal bans Communion in hand

A Peruvian cardinal has banned the practice of receiving Communion in the hand in his diocese to guard against devaluing the Eucharist, an Italian website has reported.

Opus Dei Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne told Petrus: "I maintain that the best way to administer Communion is on the tongue, so much so that in my diocese I have forbidden the host in the hand."

The cardinal, who is Archbishop of Lima and a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that "the relaxed attitude of many priests" was to blame for a decline in reverence for the Eucharist among the faithful. "In Masses with great attendance, in the past we even found hosts thrown on to the pavement of the church," he added.

A missionary priest working in Lima told The Tablet the ban "would only apply to his jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Lima". "The remainder of the dioceses around Lima would not go for such a practice," he said.
If you want to see more discussion on this, the combox over at WDTPRS is a good place to go. Here are the two posts by Fr. Z:

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