Saturday, January 23, 2010

Video: Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC discusses reception of Holy Communion

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, talks about reception of Holy Communion in this EWTN Live segment with Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  I saw this when it aired on EWTN back in late 2008 (it was originally recorded while he was in the US in July of 2008).  He was at my parish for about 10 days, but made short trips to a few locations, including Hanceville, AL for his interview.

You can view the gallery of photos I took duirng his trips to Detroit.  I photographed him in 2008 at my own parish, Assumption Grotto, at Ss Cyril & Methodius in Sterling Heights, MI, and in 2009 at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak during the Call to Holiness.

His Excellency has a profound way of getting the point across about reverence for the Holy Eucharist.  He received his First Holy Communion in secrecy in Kazakhstan, the discusses how shocked he was to learn on his first trip to Germany, that people were receiving the Eucharist in the hand, I think back in the 70's.  Bishop Schneider has a doctorate in Patristics and used his knowledge to dig deep into the subject of reception of Holy Communion going back to early Church, through modern times.  Many believe that his boo, Dominus Est, is what prompted the Holy Father to begin distributing Communion with the use of a kneeler, and on the tongue.  That practice began after an excerpt from Dominus Est ran in L'Osservatore Romano.  The cheapest place I have seen Dominus Est online is here

I have many other posts on Bishop Schneider (scroll), covering his visit here in Detroit and picking some news from other sources referencing him or his work.

Bishop Schneider prepares before Mass at Assumptio Grotto where he delivered the homily.

Here Bishop Schneider is in Elevation of the Chalice in an Ordinary Form Mass, celebrated ad orientem at Assumptio Grotto

Such a dignified Elevation of Our Lord in a Mass celebrated versus populum

Bishop Schneider speaks at the National Shrine of the Little Flower with a photo of St. Therese in the background.

The Bishop's ring is very simple:  The Miraculous Medal

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!


Nick said...

When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant.

Vatican General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.

USCCB General Instruction of the Roman Missal

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognition of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

Redemptionis Sacramentum

"Rome has spoken, the matter is closed." -- St. Augustine of Hippo

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

And, Rome can evenatually open the issue again, and speak again on the matter.

Right now, Pope Benedict is taking a slow gentle approach to taking awareness of how we should reverence the Eucharist.

Have you watched the video? Bishop Schneider gives a compelling argument which has caused many people to prefer receiving on the tongue, and kneeling (which is an option).

Nick said...

Indeed, Rome can open up the issue again - it can even ban reception in the hand, if I'm not mistaken. And while I'm open to such a thing, just as I am open to Rome judging certain apparitions authentic, nevertheless the current norms and judgment still stand, whereby I must accept and defend them, or else be guilty of disobedience to Holy Mother Church.

I am happy for what the Pope is doing - I have even heard he celebrated a Mass according to the Extraordinary Form - and I pray he will be listened to by every Catholic. I know he's giving a good example, too, and I also know he has not yet changed the Church's norms: Until he dose, the norms still stand, whereby I must accept and defend them.

I did watch the video, though I still prefer receiving in the hand, for own personal reasons. I haven't knelt before Jesus yet, though I have genuflected and bowed. I want to try kneeling, though, in reparation to Him. But if it isn't God's Will, than I must accept God's Will, with total trust in our Heavenly Father.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


I didn't realize you were under the impression that there was disobedience involved with kneeling(my apologies if I'm getting the wrong impression).

While the documents you cite are valid, there have been a number of communiques coming from the CDW on the matter in recent years. The USCCB must always be aligned with the CDW on matters of liturgy. If the Holy See says that one is not disobedient for kneeling for Holy Communion in the US, then as the CDW explains, "they cannot be regarded as disobedient".

I wrote an extensive series of posts on this and perhaps you will find them informative.

Read them in sequence and read the series in it's entirety before commenting.

After reading the complete series, come back to this thread with any further comments.

Also, always come back to this comment box to get the next post in the series as not all posts have the sequence and in some cases, the sequence was in error).

Part 1: GIRM 160 (Introductory Post)

Part 2: Holy See clarifies GIRM 160 in November of 2000

Part 2.5: US Adapations to GIRM Approved for Submission

Part 3: Holy See Responds to US Adapations with Suggestions

Part 4: US Bishops on GIRM 160; Vatican Reiterates "no denial of Communion"

Other posts on reception of Holy Communion

New Prefect of CDW, CaƱizares, Favors Communion on the Tongue

Dr. Alcuin Reid Reviews, "Dominus Est" (The book which prompted 80 bishops from around the world to write letters of support to it's author, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, who wrote on kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue)

Archbishop of Lima Peru bans Communion in the Hand

Historical-Liturgical Notes on the Rite of the Eucharist by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Nick said...

I apologize for giving you the wrong idea, Diane. I considered disobedience not to be kneeling but to go against the Church's current norms on allowance of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand. I pray that clarifies my post. I have Asberger's Syndrome, so I have some communication problems. May God grant me the grace to speak well - for what man cannot do, He can do.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


Thanks for the clarification. Despite any disability, you are doing just fine. People misunderstand each other all the time and that is why it is good to dialogue with respect, as we do.

I'm still not quite clear on this...

"....but to go against the Church's current norms on allowance of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand."

The Church allows for Communion in the hand, and Communion on the tongue. One cannot be denied Communion in either way, unless intinction is involved (it is impracticle to receive an intincted Host in the hand. Therefore, it is not permitted according to the GIRM in this case). So, when there is intinction, the GIRM specifies that It must be received on the tongue.

She further allows us to receive it standing (US norm), but the US norm cannot override the universal norm of the Church which allows for Commmunion kneeling. That is what my series above goes into. I go into a chronological "deep dive" on the matter using CDW communiques in the discussion.

They are two separate issues regardless (posture and method of reception). The present GIRM as you point out shows that reception may be done validly in the hand, or on the tongue. The universal norm allows for kneeling, but this should never be done to make a point, as opposed to following one's sensibilities of reverence.

Nick said...

Re: "....but to go against the Church's current norms on allowance of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand."

Yes, I included the Church documents and wrote about not wishing to be disobedient in response to what the Cardinal said in the video, namely, that reception in the hand is not good: This is what he implied when he said the Pope told him not to go to churches that gave Communion in the hand. I was scandalized by what he said, because I am sure the Pope would not tell someone something against the Church's norms - that reception in the hand is not good, when in fact it is a norm of the Church - and I am sure many "traditionalist" Catholics believe what the Cardinal is talking about: that reception in the hand is not good and you shouldn't go to churches that allow this ecclestial norm. To me, that's sanctioning disobedience and disrespect toward Mother Church.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Ok, Nick....after watching the segment again, I see where the confusion is coming in and part of it could be that the English is not clear. I'm acclimated to his accent now and I see where he was misunderstood.

When Bishop Schneider says, "Holy Father", he is not referring to the Pope. He is referring to a priest (he actually names him, I think twice, but it is hard to discern the name).

Secondly, the Bishop is speaking about this practice as it was happening in 1973. It was in 1973 that Immensae Caritatis was released, authorizing broader application of Communion in the Hand, outside of those that were given limited permission in 1969. (In reality, many parishes were disobediently giving out Communion in the hand in the US and in Germany BEFORE 1973 and without authorization).

This is the context in which the bishop is speaking. He is not talking about not entering such Church's today. You have to see it in the historical context in which he is presenting his experience.

I can tell you from my own personal experience with the bishop, that he not only enters parishes that offer Communion in the hand, but he himself gives Communion in the hand to those who extend them, when intinction is not used. I witnessed this at the Call to Holiness at the Shrine of the Little Flower.

As painful as I believe it was for him to do this, you would never know by the way he distributed Communion in the hands of those extending them. In this way, he showed his obedience, despite his own convictions and rather strong argument that it is not the most reverent way to treat Our Lord in the Eucharist.

It's amazing that the hands of the priest must be purified following Holy Communion. Yet, the hands of the EMHC's are not purified, nor are the hands of the faithful receiving in the hand.

If you only could see how many Particles are on a paten after Holy Communion at my parish, you would understand his concerns about Particles scattered about the Church being trampled on.

However, none of this is as irreverent as the many who receive Communion without having stepped into a confesional for years. Either there are many sacriligeous Communions or an awful lot of saints in our parishes.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

It's also noteworthy, that Bishop Schneider, ORC was elevated by Pope Benedict shortly after addressing the Synod on the Eucharist in Rome. The Holy Father heard his brief argument for the return of Communion on the tongue, kneeling. Not long after, that, his article was published in L'Osservatore Romano, and following that Pope Benedict put out the kneeler for all Papal Masses.

Pope Benedict won't force the issue. He is a gentle and wise teacher and when he does something it is a teachable moment. We should draw on that and meditate upon it.

Mac McLernon said...

I suspect that when Bishop Schneider's Parish Priest said that they should not go to churches where Communion was given in the hand, it was because, at that time, it was still not allowed: the practice was started in direct disobedience, and then was later allowed because it had happened in so many places, just as for the introduction of female altar servers.

I'll admit that I'm guessing, though, because I can't remember exactly when Communion in the hand was allowed...