Could Frequent Reception encouragement be changed?


#1

Is it possible that the encouragement for frequent Eucharist could be changed? Perhaps during Pius X's time it was good for the Church, but one could argue that it isn't so today. Today everybody receives it even though so many of them really shouldn't (civilly remarried people for example). As a result, I feel as if people don't appreciate it the way they should.

I've read of tourists from Japan who'd go to the Vatican and attend Mass, take the Eucharist and not understand what it is. Once when I was at a weekday Mass, some woman went to receive it and pocketed it. A sister noticed it and took the Host back. Another time, I was in college and Lutheran professor I know attended Mass and received the Eucharist. I spoke about it with him later and he didn't feel like he was in the wrong at all; I could prove it with Canon Law but that wouldn't have made a difference to him. People end up thinking it's being passed out like candy. I'm sure a lot of you have at least one story where you know the Eucharist was profaned. I can think of two more off the top of my head but I don't even want to mention them here, they were so disgusting.

In the history of the Church, have there been waves of encouragement then discouragement of frequent Eucharist? Can the trend of frequent reception be reversed? At one time even nuns needed special permission to take the Eucharist daily. Nowadays everyone takes it for granted.

I imagine it would be exceedingly difficult to enforce a change in the rules. But is it possible that the rules could be changed? Has such a thing happened in the past?


#2

How would changing the encouragement for frequent reception correct the situation with non-Catholics receiving? It's clear they aren't even aware of Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, changing the encouragement on frequent reception hardly seems likely to change this.


#3

[quote="OraLabora, post:2, topic:293971"]
How would changing the encouragement for frequent reception correct the situation with non-Catholics receiving? It's clear they aren't even aware of Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, changing the encouragement on frequent reception hardly seems likely to change this.

[/quote]

I would disagree with that. Those non-Catholics would tend to want to go with the herd. If most people at the Mass are receiving the Eucharist, they'll go too. If very few people are, then they'd understand it's not for everybody. They'd see most people staying at their seats and would likely stay at their seats too.


#4

What we need is better catechizes, not a change in teaching.


#5

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:3, topic:293971"]
I would disagree with that. Those non-Catholics would tend to want to go with the herd. If most people at the Mass are receiving the Eucharist, they'll go too. If very few people are, then they'd understand it's not for everybody. They'd see most people staying at their seats and would likely stay at their seats too.

[/quote]

Thank you for your thoughts. In an ideal world the ordinary minister of Holy Communion would distribute Holy Communion during and outside of Mass to only canonically qualified and properly disposed Catholics.

But in the real world three disordered events may occur: 1) the ordinary minister might give Communion to a disordered (canonically unqualified or improperly disposed) communicant, or 2) the ordinary minister might unjustly withhold Communion from a communicant who is properly ordered, or 3) properly ordered Catholics may be denied the Bread of Life because an insufficient number of ordinary ministers are available.

A basic tenet of our Catholic ethic, I think, is that all human needs translate into human rights. All human rights must be respected by others. Those who have the power to provide to others what is needed are obligated to do so. We need the Bread of Life. The power to provide is vested in priest who confects and the ordinary minister who distributes.

In her wisdom, the Church -- in her theology of the Eucharist which is both personal and ecclesial, in her canons, and in her liturgical guidelines -- clearly thinks events 2 and 3 are the greater evils.

Pray for more vocations.


#6

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:293971"]
IAs a result, I feel as if people don't appreciate it the way they should.

[/quote]

The Church is way ahead of you on this one. At Mass we say ...

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Granted, it can be difficult to hear these words, especially when on the lookout for unworthy souls.

So that we may pray without distraction during Mass, I propose that the Church, at least in the USA, establish a special elite corps of EMHCs, ones who have been trained to spot unworthy individuals and escort them out of sanctuary or keep them seated in the pews (which is probably more charitable than escorting them out).

Or we could set up a special seating section. One could be asked, "Communicating or Non-communicating?" and then be properly seated by an usher. This would be especially beneficial during Easter and Christmas. I think this help us to appear as an inclusive community, yet it maintains our identity as a Catholic community.

Just brainstorming.


#7

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:293971"]
Is it possible that the encouragement for frequent Eucharist could be changed? Perhaps during Pius X's time it was good for the Church, but one could argue that it isn't so today. Today everybody receives it even though so many of them really shouldn't (civilly remarried people for example). As a result, I feel as if people don't appreciate it the way they should.

I've read of tourists from Japan who'd go to the Vatican and attend Mass, take the Eucharist and not understand what it is. Once when I was at a weekday Mass, some woman went to receive it and pocketed it. A sister noticed it and took the Host back. Another time, I was in college and Lutheran professor I know attended Mass and received the Eucharist. I spoke about it with him later and he didn't feel like he was in the wrong at all; I could prove it with Canon Law but that wouldn't have made a difference to him. People end up thinking it's being passed out like candy. I'm sure a lot of you have at least one story where you know the Eucharist was profaned. I can think of two more off the top of my head but I don't even want to mention them here, they were so disgusting.

In the history of the Church, have there been waves of encouragement then discouragement of frequent Eucharist? Can the trend of frequent reception be reversed? At one time even nuns needed special permission to take the Eucharist daily. Nowadays everyone takes it for granted.

I imagine it would be exceedingly difficult to enforce a change in the rules. But is it possible that the rules could be changed? Has such a thing happened in the past?

[/quote]

You bring up a good point. How many are aware of the following passage from the CCC, which is based on Corinthians 11.

From the CCC

1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."218 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

So we went from receiving rarely to receiving frequently and the pendulum may be changing again as people become more aware of what it means to prepare for communion.


#8

To me, it seems that the encouragement of frequent reception of Eucharist goes hand-in-glove with a frequent reception of Reconciliation. It is perhaps a combination of encouragement of frequent communion and a lack of catechesis about mortal sin and confession that leads many Catholics in the modern world to commit sacrilege regularly. There is little we can do about treatment of the Eucharist by non-Catholics. They will always be ignorant of Church culture and teachings. However, we can help by encouraging others to avoid sin, and to frequent the confessional. We can gently admonish people who receive unworthily. It primarily is up to our bishops and priests to get the word out and to ensure proper celebration of the sacraments so that the whole cycle can be observed faithfully by a greater number of people.


#9

[quote="Rejoice_Always, post:6, topic:293971"]

Or we could set up a special seating section. One could be asked, "Communicating or Non-communicating?" and then be properly seated by an usher. This would be especially beneficial during Easter and Christmas. I think this help us to appear as an inclusive community, yet it maintains our identity as a Catholic community.

Just brainstorming.

[/quote]

That actually might work. I thought that those who wish to receive should all sit up front. That way the people in the back shouldn't have to trip over one another when only one or two in the pew get up to go to communion (as they do in the Spanish Mass).

[quote="Elizium23, post:8, topic:293971"]
To me, it seems that the encouragement of frequent reception of Eucharist goes hand-in-glove with a frequent reception of Reconciliation. It is perhaps a combination of encouragement of frequent communion and a lack of catechesis about mortal sin and confession that leads many Catholics in the modern world to commit sacrilege regularly. There is little we can do about treatment of the Eucharist by non-Catholics. They will always be ignorant of Church culture and teachings. However, we can help by encouraging others to avoid sin, and to frequent the confessional. We can gently admonish people who receive unworthily. It primarily is up to our bishops and priests to get the word out and to ensure proper celebration of the sacraments so that the whole cycle can be observed faithfully by a greater number of people.

[/quote]

I agree. You would think by seeing that both confession and communion are part of the requirements of a plenary indulgence, they might have some kind of clue.


#10

[quote="ProVobis, post:9, topic:293971"]
That actually might work. I thought that those who wish to receive should all sit up front. That way the people in the back shouldn't have to trip over one another when only one or two in the pew get up to go to communion (as they do in the Spanish Mass).

[/quote]

Spanish people don't all go to receive? That's interesting. Do you find that the more Catholic the culture, the more they know not to receive it when they shouldn't? I noticed that in the Philippines they don't all go, yet in the US they all do.


#11

[quote="Rejoice_Always, post:6, topic:293971"]

Or we could set up a special seating section. One could be asked, "Communicating or Non-communicating?" and then be properly seated by an usher. This would be especially beneficial during Easter and Christmas. I think this help us to appear as an inclusive community, yet it maintains our identity as a Catholic community.

Just brainstorming.

[/quote]

Nah. That would separate people too much and maybe embarrass those who are not communicating. It might even create a communicating elite (those who always sit in the communicating section).

Oh Look! Jane Smith who always sits in the communication section is sitting int he non-communicating section today Wonder what she did? :p

Also, I don't always know if I'm communicating when I step inside a church. If I don't feel properly disposed, then I don't.


#12

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:10, topic:293971"]
Spanish people don't all go to receive? That's interesting. Do you find that the more Catholic the culture, the more they know not to receive it when they shouldn't? I noticed that in the Philippines they don't all go, yet in the US they all do.

[/quote]

In the Spanish Masses I attend, I don't think even a half (of communion age) go up to receive. They only have one priest and a single EMHC. Polish Masses, percentage about the same. In the EF, I'd say 80-90%, more if they have confessions beforehand.


#13

[quote="TrueLight, post:11, topic:293971"]

Also, I don't always know if I'm communicating when I step inside a church. If I don't feel properly disposed, then I don't.

[/quote]

Then you would benefit from the special elite corps of EMHC, who could spot that you weren't properly disposed and reassign you to a non-communicating pew. This will help put the organized back into organized religion.


#14

[quote="Rejoice_Always, post:13, topic:293971"]
Then you would benefit from the special elite corps of EMHC, who could spot that you weren't properly disposed and reassign you to a non-communicating pew. This will help put the organized back into organized religion.

[/quote]

LOL okay.


#15

[quote="Rejoice_Always, post:6, topic:293971"]
The Church is way ahead of you on this one. At Mass we say ...

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Granted, it can be difficult to hear these words, especially when on the lookout for unworthy souls.

So that we may pray without distraction during Mass, I propose that the Church, at least in the USA, establish a special elite corps of EMHCs, ones who have been trained to spot unworthy individuals and escort them out of sanctuary or keep them seated in the pews (which is probably more charitable than escorting them out).

Or we could set up a special seating section. One could be asked, "Communicating or Non-communicating?" and then be properly seated by an usher. This would be especially beneficial during Easter and Christmas. I think this help us to appear as an inclusive community, yet it maintains our identity as a Catholic community.

Just brainstorming.

[/quote]

So in Christ there are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, but church ghettos of the self-selected "worthy" vs. the "unworthy?" If the "unworthy" can't be relied on not to come up to Communion, why would we assume they can be relied on to sit themselves in the right corral? Unspeakable.


#16

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:15, topic:293971"]
So in Christ there are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, but church ghettos of the self-selected "worthy" vs. the "unworthy?" If the "unworthy" can't be relied on not to come up to Communion, why would we assume they can be relied on to sit themselves in the right corral? Unspeakable.

[/quote]

I agree, but this thread isn't about encouraging Catholics to receive communion or about bringing Jew or Greek together in Christ. It appears to be about discouraging the sheep from mixing with the goats or allowing the goats to get anywhere near the sheep.

Catholic Corral has a pleasant, inclusive tone, don't you think? I'd much rather hear at the start of Mass "Welcome to the Catholic Corral of St Bernadette of Lourdes. Please turn off all cell phones and pagers. We invite all non-communicants stand along the back wall or to sit in specially marked pews [N.B., at this point the special elite corps of EMHC would be very helpful]. Turn to your hymnal number #783, 'In Christ There Is No East Or West.'"

I think that it would do wonders, especially in discouraging frequent communion.


#17

If you think it would be beneficial to the Church to no longer encourage the faithful to receive the Eucharist frequently, you could always try to pitch the idea to your local bishop. I doubt it would go very far, but you could always try.

Receiving the Eucharist is such a great grace. It is the source and summit of our Christian life. For the pope and bishops to turn around and start saying, "But, really, if you're receiving Communion every week, you're probably not doing it right" probably would lead to confusion.


#18

Receiving communion frequently but sinfully doesn't accomplish anything. Is the mortal sin of profaning the eucharist "cancelled out" by the grace of the Eucharist? I think not.


#19

[quote="PrincepsAuguste, post:18, topic:293971"]
Receiving communion frequently but sinfully doesn't accomplish anything. Is the mortal sin of profaning the eucharist "cancelled out" by the grace of the Eucharist? I think not.

[/quote]

And I might add, we know from the Divine Mercy diary that when unworthy souls receive the Eucharist, it causes Jesus pain. He said so. The more it makes you wanna snatch it out of unworthy hands.

The Eucharist is about God first, then about us (like with pretty much anything else).


#20

If you're worried about non-Catholics receving, then let us reinstate the dismissal of non-Catholics at the end of the Liturgy of the Word (or Liturgy of the Catechumens) so that only Catholics will be there for the Consecration and Communion.


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