Receiving Communion from the Pope

Blogged by James Preece on 29th September 2010

A young communicant writes...

"At first we were just going to receive Holy Communion standing up because that is what we were told by someone who was dressed in cassock and cotta (an acolyte, I think) and then another person, I think a priest, said, "No,no, you can't stand when receiving Communion from the Pope".  He said,"You have got to kneel".  And then he said,"We will get a kneeler and put it where you have to kneel".  This was about half past eight.  He kept on emphasising, "You MUST kneel when you receive Communion".  The other thing he said was that we must keep our hands joined at all times and to receive Communion on the tongue and not on the hands."

There's been a lot of crowing this week about how Pope Benedict has basically approved the liberal church in England and Wales which I find a bit odd because he spent most of his time doing things that no Bishop here ever does.

One of the major elephants in the room is this insistence on the reception of holy communion on the tongue while kneeling. People receiving from the Pope were basically ordered to kneel, but you will be hard pressed to find a single Bishop in England and wales who will even let you kneel if you ask him nicely.

Here's a clue as to why...

It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture -- insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.

[Cardinal Raztinger - Spirit of the Liturgy]

Could that be message he was sending to the Bishops and to us? That the man who learns to believe also learns to kneel? That a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling is sick at the core.

That kneeling must be rediscovered...