Friday, April 30, 2010

Respect For Christ In The Eucharist – One Priest’s Perspective

This post is being reprinted from

[The picture above is of my home in Fort Valley, Virginia, and the light is coming from my chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. There is not light in the window and there is no sun out on the day of the picture.]

by Rev. Robert Lange
Americans have the option of receiving the Holy Eucharist on the tongue or in the hand. The Vatican granted us the option of receiving on the hand in 1977. This was accomplished by an indult, a lifting of the law, so we may receive either way, on the tongue or in the hand. The indult was granted because the American Bishops told the Vatican that their parishioners were clamoring for it. “We can feed ourselves” was one of the specious arguments put forward.

After Apostolic times, the Church gradually adopted Communion on the tongue as the universal practice. In the early fourth century the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ, revived the practice of receiving Communion in the hand specifically to show a lesser respect for Christ, believing that He is not “equal to the Father.”

The universal Church law, which requires Holy Eucharist to be distributed to the faithful on their tongues, remains in force; it remains the law. However the indult has the effect of making the law inapplicable where in force.

Foreseeing the demand for the indult coming, the Sacred Office for Divine Worship sent a letter to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences to advise them how they may implement this option if granted. The letter spoke about reverence for the Holy Eucharist being the number one priority. With this in mind, the letter went into great detail trying to explain this crucial concern. The letter contained the following specifics.

Communion on the hand is an option; it is not the primary way of receiving. Catholics must be catechized to understand this important point. No one is to be forced to receive on the hand.

When receiving the Body of Christ on the hand, the faithful must be aware of the fact that each and every particle, no matter how small, is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Therefore no particle should ever be discarded or treated with less than total respect due to the Body of Christ.

The faithful must also be reminded that their hands must be clean to receive our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When ordained in 1986, I was a proponent of receiving Communion in the hand, but time has changed my thinking on this issue. Seeing so many abuses and forming a deeper respect for Jesus’ true Presence in the Holy Eucharist were the factors which forced me to rethink my position.

On March 28, 1965, when the catholic college I was attending opened their newly renovated chapel, we students were told how to receive the Holy Eucharist: standing and in the hand. There was no option given. May I add that this was fully twelve years before any American diocese received the indult, which allowed for that option.

Why did those priests, abbots and bishops disobey the authority of Rome? Communion in the hand became the norm for American Catholics in the 1960’s. In many cases the practice was not presented to us as optional, but as the way to receive.

In my twenty-four years as a priest, I have served in many parishes and witnessed many Eucharistic abuses caused by receiving in the hand. I have picked Jesus off the floor from under pews and picked Him out of hymnals. I have followed people back to their seats and asked if they would give me the host back (they bring it out of a clinched hand or out of their pockets) and have witnessed many other sacrilegious desecrations of the most Blessed Sacrament, far too many and varied to mention, some so shocking most people would simply not believe my words.

As I began to see these desecrations of the Holy Eucharist, I began to understand how very sickening, disheartening and avoidable all of this actually has been. Many religious education programs teach the children how to receive on the hand, with at most a cursory mention of the traditional way of receiving on the tongue. Why? The Church documents do not support such teaching. It was the same with many American dioceses in the 1960’s when the faithful were being coerced into receiving on the hand a decade before being granted the indult.

Father Benedict Groeschel, a familiar face to EWTN viewers and an accomplished author, announced on his “Sunday Night Live With Fr. Groeschel” program that he considered Communion in the hand to be an abomination. That is strong language!

Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was asked what was the worst thing that has happened to the Church in her lifetime. She replied without hesitation, “Communion in the hand.” Again powerful language!

Why would these two great figures of our time be so fervent in their opinions regarding this issue if it did not affect their whole being? Somehow I think they would agree that Communion in the hand is a true American tragedy.

Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI leads by example. Since becoming Pope, anyone receiving Holy Eucharist from him must receive on the tongue and kneeling. He is not requiring a change throughout the world, but is giving us a profound message by example.

Proper respect shown to the Holy Eucharist is primary. Please consider these thoughts before receiving Holy Communion this Sunday. Thank you.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday Night Rosary at 6:30 PM

Please join us for the Friday Night Rosary in the chapel at Sylvan Springs at 6:30PM Eastern. If you cannot be there in person, join us in spirit as we pray for Our Lady of America and Her call to purity.

Don't forget your camera in case it is a nice sunset. You never know what might show up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Archbishop Burke Slams 'Obstinate Betrayal' of Nuns, Cath. Health Assoc.

By Kathleen Gilbert
MUNDELEIN, Illinois, April 12, 2010 ( -

Catholic consecrated religious who openly dissent from the authority of Rome and the church's teaching on life are "an absurdity of the most tragic kind" and should cease identifying themselves as Catholic, said Archbishop Raymond Burke, the head of Rome's Apostolic Signatura.

Burke gave the remarks in his keynote address Friday at the Institute for Religious Life’s national meeting at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. The Institute also honored Burke with their Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award at a celebration of the legacy of Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, SJ.

In excerpts of the address published by Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog, Burke took a moment to express his exasperation with the defiance of Catholic religious sisters in the U.S. who supported the federal health care bill - a measure dubbed the most pro-abortion piece of legislation since Roe v. Wade, thanks to its vast expansion of government abortion funding.

"Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles, publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocence and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?" Burke questioned.

The Vatican official also severely criticized "public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious" towards Rome's ongoing apostolic visitation into U.S. religious orders.

After the visitation began last spring, Sr. Sandra M. Schneiders of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary said in remarks published on the National Catholic Reporter that nuns should receive representatives of Rome "politely and kindly, for what they are, uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house."

"Who ever could have imagined that religious congregations of pontifical right, would openly organize to resist and attempt to frustrate an apostolic visitation, that is, a visit to their congregations carried out under the authority of the vicar of Christ on earth, to whom all religious are bound by the strongest bonds of loyalty and obedience?" he asked.

Abp. Burke indicated that the attitude of sisters towards the visitation represents "a growing tendency among certain consecrated religious to view themselves outside and above the body of Christ as a parallel institution looking in upon the Church with an autonomy which contradicts their very nature."

"Religious life lived in the heart of the Church, and for that reason religious congregations are, by their very nature, bound in strictest loyalty to the Roman Pontiff," he said. "It is of course an absurdity of the most tragic kind to have consecrated religious knowingly and obstinately acting against the moral law.

"The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions."

Burke also directly challenged Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, as well as Network, a pro-abortion lobby group of U.S. nuns, whose support for the bill the Obama administration openly acknowledged as critical to its success.

"Was not the Speaker of the House [Nancy Pelosi] glowing to report that so many religious sisters were in support of her proposed health care plan?" he asked. "Was not a religious sister [Sr. Carol Keehan, President of CHA] one of the recipients of a pen used by the President of the United States to sign the health care plan into law?

"Now is the time for us all, and in particular for consecrated persons to stand up for the truth and to call upon our fellow Catholics in leadership to do the same, or to cease identifying themselves as Catholics."

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Friday Night Rosary Begins Again This Friday at 6:30pm

The Fifteen Promises of Mary to those who Pray the Rosary...
1--Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2--I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to those who shall recite the Rosary.
3--The Rosary shall be powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
4--It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5--The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6--Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice; he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7--Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8--Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9--I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10--The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
11--You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
**12--All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13--I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14--All who recite the Rosary are my son and brothers of my only son, Jesus Christ.
15--Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Please feel free to join us each and every Friday at 6:30 to pray the rosary in the chapels at Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN. We hope to see you there.

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