From Where I Sit on the Fence

And the first line read, “In my efforts to restore a sense of the sacred in the liturgy, I have often been accused of being “pre-Vatican II.” I usually correct them by saying I am exactly Vatican II.” Qualifiers like that always seem to provoke people… People who should all be on the same side, fighting the same Good Fight.

I originally saw this post on Roman Catholic Man, The Truth About Communion in the Hand While Standing, and for reasons unbeknownst to myself, it has been taken down. Fortunately, it is still available at New Liturgical Movement.

The 2003 Daredevil movie wasn’t great, but I was addicted to Elektra for a long while… I digress ever so slightly; what I’d like to share is the following passage from the new Daredevil tv series, which I love and I think is relevant here:

It is a matter of record… of fact… and facts have no moral judgment. They merely state what is. Not what we think of them, not what we feel. They just are. What was in my client’s heart when he took Mr. Prohaszka’s life, whether he is a good man or something else entirely, is irrelevant. These questions… of good and evil, as important as they are, have no place in a court of law. Only the facts matter.

I don’t want to argue about internal disposition or “levels” of reverence or relevant uniformity. God alone can judge internal disposition. He alone can read hearts. He alone can know the depth of our reverence or lack thereof. And while uniformity within a congregation can be likened to cultural modesty in Antarctica versus Ethiopia and ought to be addressed appropriately, maybe we could leave that to the guy acting in persona Christi? How about worrying and working on our own charity?

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? Luke 6:42

What I appreciated most about this article’s contents were the facts. I was grateful for the history lesson. The sentence that hit me most was, “In 1950, 87% believed in the Real Presence. Today, that number has plummeted to a mere 34%.” [Check out What Demons Know About the Eucharist that Many Catholics Don’t.] And furthermore, it is simply a fact, having nothing to do with how we feel about it, that receiving in the hand has enabled an increase in the theft of hosts, and thus is directly correlated to the rise in satanic rites which involved the desecration of the Eucharist.

I get it. The guy who kneels and receives on the tongue in a congregation accustomed to standing stands out. [Though there should never be any hulabaloo one way or another if a body chooses to receive on the tongue versus the American norm of receiving in the hand. Thank you, Marc Barnes.] It might make people uncomfortable. It might make people worry that they’re doing something wrong when they’re not doing anything wrong at all.

But maybe instead of jumping to the conclusion that it’s a matter of ego, and maybe instead of assigning to the individual a holier-than-thou motive, maybe we could charitably give the person the benefit of the doubt, and instead…

Pray for them? Maybe they struggled with irreverence before and now they’re making reparation. Maybe they’re making reparation for all the external abuse of stolen hosts. Maybe they need that physical action to remind them of Who they are receiving, along with all the kneeling/standing/sitting that everyone else does.

And maybe, just maybe, someone somewhere behind them in line who doesn’t believe in the Real Presence might suddenly be provoked into examining themselves and what they’re actually doing.

Maybe instead of assuming that they’re judging us, and thus being guilty ourselves of judging them, maybe we could charitably assume that their heart is in the right place and just love them, our brother in Christ?


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