Deacon 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.