Expert Answer Forum

rubrics/posture QUESTION from Kim 03 Jun 1999
There are numerous liturgical abuses occuring in our parish, most of which are commited by the laity in that they do not seem to know how to properly participate in Mass. The most offensive are those who either do not reverence the Blessed Sacrament or do so by a head nod or bow rather than by genuflection. There is also the problem of the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist removing the reserved Host from the tabernacle regularly. What can or should be done? Are we to merely overlook these things or should we speak up? To whom would we speak? Thank you for your response. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on June 3, 1999
Dear Kim, Prior to receiving Communion an act of reverence should be made. You're also quite right to assume this act of reverence should be a genuflection (if physically able). Unfortunately the liturgical law is just unspecific enough to give some people the loop-hole that they always seem to be looking for. Here's how Pope John Paul II said it. (I've capitalized the words that some people focus on to justify not showing an act of reverence.) When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration. When they receive Communion standing, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that, coming up in procession, they SHOULD make a sign of reverence before receiving the Sacrament. This SHOULD be done at the right time and place, so that the order of people going to and from Communion is not disrupted. [Inaestimabile Donum. Approved and Confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II April 17, 1980] It's obvious to most people what the desire of the Pope is in this matter. However the touchy-feelies point out that he didn't say MUST and use that as an excuse to do as they please. My recommendation? Keep genuflecting. Keep a copy of the Pope's directive handy to give to anyone who asks you why you are genuflecting. Meanwhile you are a witness to all. God Bless, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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