About John Lilburne



Adoremus December 2002

The December 2002 Adoremus has an excellent coverage of current liturgical difficulties.

The letters page is particularly encouraging, with good responses arising from a letter from Cardinal Napier of South Africa and another from Bishop Trautman.

In the reply to another letter its also good to see publicity for the change in the Roman Missal of 2002: that people should stand to say "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands ...".

Kneeling for communion in the United States presents special difficulties discussed in the News section. The Study Translation of the 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal has:

"390 It is up to the Conferences of Bishops, once their acts have been given the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to define for introduction into the Missal itself the adaptations which are indicated in this General Institutio and in the Order of Mass, such as:

- the gestures and posture of the faithful (see nos. 24, 43);"

In n. 160 it has:

"The faithful may communicate either standing or kneeling, as established by the Conference of Bishops."

This translates the Latin text:

"Fideles communicant genuflexi vel stantes, prout Conferentia Episcoporum statuerit."

But in the letter by Cardinal Medina Estevez of 1 July 2002 we have:

"... Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institution Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds. ..."

I find it confusing and likely to cause disharmony. It seems to say: the Conference of Bishops may make laws about standing to receive communion, but have no authority to enforce it. If there is deliberate disobedience the person distributing communion must cooperate with it.

If the Congregation always want the option of receiving communion kneeling, why didn't they say so in the Roman Missal? Why have this confusion of: "Its up to the bishops, but if they decide on standing, people need not obey them." It creates an ongoing stressful situation that seems unnecessary.

The US Bishops Conference decided:

"... The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm. ..."

I guess they judged it was the best they could do in the circumstances. But its not surprising that there is confusion about it. Hopefully there will be a resolution with this excellent edition of Adoremus.

By J.R. Lilburne, 19 December 2002. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

On Adoremus.org

December Adoremus

Letter from Cardinal Napier

Other Letters