lördag 12 maj 2012

Blessing at Communion

There was a discussion about the practice of going for a blessing at communion time on Father Ray Blake's blog here. This practice seems to have popped up out of nowhere somewhere in the early 1990s, beginning with children. Someone must have thought it up and then given an instruction about it.

It apparently has no support from authority and needs to be gently discouraged, probably by priests and catechists pointing out that is unnecessary anyway since everyone receives the final blessing at the end of Mass. Of course if someone turns up at in the communion queue then it is the simplest option for the priest to give a blessing.

It would also be beneficial if the reception of communion was more tightly linked to confession, by pointing out that one is still in communion even if one remains in one's place, kneeling with the right spiritual disposition.

This is not the only recent practice with communion that needs to be discouraged. Queuing is undignified. It also enhances respect for the Sacrament if it is received on the tongue whilst kneeling, which always was the practice. Unfortunately this is not usually possible when communion rails have disappeared and there is nothing to kneel on apart from a hard cold stone slab. When everyone else is standing in a queue, to receive kneeling would also amount to making a loud statement at precisely the wrong place and time. There has also grown up, seemingly, the mistaken conception that one has not received full communion unless one has received under both kinds ie both the Body and Blood of Christ. These are matters for priests to take control of.

It his been suggested that daily communion should go hand in hand with daily confession. The difficulty here is "Same old sins, Father". Monthly communion seems a good compromise, and that would be a big improvement from the present situation. This too is a matter for priests, to encourage their parishes and be available more readily.

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