Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Our hands are so unworthy. Indeed, we ought to mark well Katharine's words set down in Shakespeare's Henry V.

Previously published on 12/08/2009 at

‘Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.’ _Mother Teresa

This is a statement that causes many a mainstream Catholic to blush, so much so, that they often throw the gauntlet of falsehood at anyone brave enough to quote it. Citing Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s unflagging obedience to the Church, and her humble refusal to insist on what the Church does not demand, some mainstream Catholics brand this quotation as unauthentic. They seem to forget that this holy soul is the same woman that begged Pope John Paul II never to allow altar-girls (a promise she secured, but which was nullified by the open rebellion of bishops and priests who used the loophole ‘local custom’ to force the former Pontiff’s hand).

It is curious how often the accusation of ‘hatefulness’ and ‘bitterness’ is made against traditional Catholics. Is it true? Quite. A man that has been wounded tends to protect his hurt, has less patience than he does when he is whole, and is more cautious against the possibility of further harm. The occasional bitterness of some Traditionalists is that of the injured.

G. K. Chesterton could have brought a stone to weep when he observed that the new persecutors of the faithful would refuse to admit that they were afflicting the tormented. While the old tyrant snidely said: ‘The poor should eat grass,’ the new pseudo-democratic oppressor simpers: ‘But why don’t you like grass?’ And so when Catholics have attempted to kneel in the past forty-seven years (the way believers have always knelt for centuries past), we have been accused of self-righteousness by the majority of priests, modernists, and even some genuine believers. Those of us that sink to our knees on beholding Our Lord in the accidents of bread and wine, who do not dare to touch the Host for risk of injuring His vulnerable Flesh, and who do not presume to take the chalice for fear that the vessel of His Blood may slip through our mortal hands—we are ‘mean,’ ‘hateful,’ and ‘proud.’

The bishops who ought to be our loving shepherds (remember that the father that embraced the Prodigal Son also pleaded with the elder, Frugal Son), have instead made ‘mean,’ ‘hateful,’ and ‘proud’ statements against their flock. In the
United States they have been especially harsh:

Kneeling is not a licit posture for receiving Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States of America unless the bishop of a particular diocese has derogated from this norm in an individual and extraordinary circumstance. (Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter: July 2002, emphasis mine)

Why should a faithful Catholic do anything but celebrate our Pontiff’s latest proclamation? It is balm to the soul that in this age of scepticism a Pope speaks like an antique believer and takes a strong paternal line:

Kneeling in adoration before the Eucharist is the most valid and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today. (May 22, 2008)

To them that have approached the priest or ‘extraordinary’ minister to receive their Lord with the fear of being chastised for their reverence, this edict means they can breathe with a unburdened breast. We are not alone, and we are not marginalized. The treasure in clay that sits as the Vicar of Christ is with us.

A final word, man is both matter and spirit. What he will not reverence by mortifying his body, he cannot reverence in his soul. Standing will never equal kneeling for piety, as St. Paul clearly expressed while addressing the Philippians:

For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
(2: 9-11)


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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