Deacon Kandra, Communion, and the Protocol of Politeness

GIRL KNEELS AS SHE RECEIVES COMMUNION FROM POPEDeacon Greg Kandra’s most recent blog post, has kicked up some hornets in the Catholic blogging world. I think that in the ever striving quest for politeness, sometimes people lose sight of what is really important. In the effort to be as charitable as possible, I dont want to insinuate that this is the case with  Deacon Kandra, but suffice it to say his post struck me a little bit odd.

His post was a little troublesome to me because he said:

I find the idea of a verbal warning off-putting—but again, I don’t think I’ve ever heard something like this. In my experience of weddings and funerals, most non-Catholics are sophisticated enough to know there are restrictions on Catholic Communion; it’s not uncommon to see a sizable number of people in the pews stay put when others come up to receive.

Now, in the attempt to be charitable, I am not 100% clear what he meant by off-putting. But I wasn’t the only one concerned with not only the post but also the letter the Deacon received prompting the post. In fact, none other than Dr. Ed Peters wrote a post on In Light of the Law   about Deacon Kandra’s post.

Dr. Peters offered a better announcement that could be given at Mass:

A much better announcement would be something simple like “At this time, Catholics prepared to receive holy Communion may do so in the usual way.”

In the end, I think it is the duty of the Church to protect and preserve the TRUE PRESENCE – the Holy Eucharist, and that politeness needs to be a concern that comes after that.

Also, Dr. Peters’ 2nd point is one that is important to remember:

Second, one should NOT encourage, as an alternative to reception of Communion, “coming forward with arms crossed for blessing”. Receiving a blessing is not an “alternative” to receiving holy Communion (any more than being handed a raincoat in a hurricane is an ‘alternative’ to be admitted to a storm shelter) and, moreover, such a rite is an intrusion into the liturgy forbidden by Canon 846 § 1. I’ve addressed that liturgical abuse here.

  • Florida John

    When I lived in Florida, the Orlando Diocese, the priest always announced to the funeral congregation that only Catholics in good standing may receive the Eucharist, while others could come forward for a blessing with their arms crossed. I always agreed with that policy as it certainly slowed down the many sacrilegious Communions.

  • tj.nelson

    I agree with you Joe, and Dr. Peters.