Monday, January 26, 2015

Continuing the discussion on Holy Communion at Masses with millions of people...

"Wherefore, brothers, kissing your feet and with the charity of which I am capable, I conjure you all to show all reverence and all honor possible to the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the things that are in heaven and the things that are on earth are pacified and reconciled to Almighty God." - St. Francis of Assisi, Letter to All Friars

I wanted to continue with some thoughts about Eucharistic reverence after my post the other day: Why not "Spiritual Communion" for most at large, outdoor papal Masses?  Many who visited that post came through New Advent, and I thank Kevin Knight for that link.  

Some feedback has been received through email and other means.  I would like to address some of the points raised, but I want to reflect more deeply on them first.  I'll offer a brief thought here, but I do not have the time for more right now, and you probably do not have the time to read another long post! So, let's just break this off into pieces and let it develop.  It needs to "soak" so I may post on other subjects in the meanwhile.

Two Branches: Eucharistic Nourishment and Eucharistic Reverence

From feedback I have gotten to that post in email and other ways, I am starting to see that there are two branches to this discussion about distributing Holy Communion at large Masses in which millions are assisting. There may actually be more, but I'm going to look at them as two main branches.   Along one branch is the need for people to be nourished by the Eucharist at every Mass in which they assist.  Down the other branch is the need to give Jesus in the Holy Eucharist reasonable protection from innocent accidents, imprudent handling, or outright profanation by people with malicious intent. For many of us, one of those is a more dominant concern than the other.  At least, this is what I am getting from what I read.

I need to reflect and pray on this a bit, and will write again soon to continue sharing my thoughts as they develop.

The "Un-Discussable:" Distribution of Holy Communion

As I pause momentarily on the above, my thoughts turn to our inability to discuss this.  In my last post, I called it an "un-discussible."  If you want to see Catholics in a thread descend into derision, just start a discussion on distribution of Holy Communion.  If you want to see some bishops and priests run the other way, try bringing it up.

I've been discussing Catholicism online for 10 years now and I can tell you that anything having to do with the reception of Holy Communion is a hot-button issue.  I've witnessed cruelty aimed at people on both sides from the other in the form of mockery, pompous ridicule, and the like (and I truly mean, from both sides of the big debate).  "Snark" is what people use when they do not have the knowledge, grace, patience, or ability to reason with others like sons and daughters of Christ who are mindful of 1 Corinthians 13.  What happens next is everyone goes their own way, complaining about the other side, with everyone absolving themselves of any fault in the communication break down. I also know from experience that manifest anger won't fix this; it only causes others to tune out the arguments. That's true in any debate.

Some seem to believe it should not be discussed at all, as if we faithful have no room to grow in our understanding of the spiritual benefits to be discovered.   It's also a topic that few want to discuss, perhaps because they want things to remain as they are; or, because they want to avoid the inevitable conflict, and any number of other reasons.

Learn to disagree like a Christian

There is something Archbishop Vigneron wrote during his years as rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary that is apropos.  When he became the bishop of Oakland, California, he shared it in a column.  I happened to find that column online when I was mining the web after he was appointed and stumbled upon it.  Sensing it might get lost when a new bishop takes over that diocese, I copied the entire thing into a blog entry.  It's a good thing I did. I get an error when I click the link.  It may have simply moved, but you'll find it in this old post of mine, below.

Go read Archbishop Vigneron's, "10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian."


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