Sunday, December 19, 2010

What is the biggest liturgical abuse?

The biggest abuse at almost every parish is the nearly 100% reception of Holy Communion by the congregation in parishes that have minuscule Confession opportunities and lines.

I would think that the Communion Fast from food before reception should be increased from one hour to three hours. This would make it much more likely that many parishioners would not be able to keep the fast and if they were adequately catechized, they would not want to receive Communion.

This requirement and that of being free from Mortal Sin should be announced by the celebrant immediately before Communion in every Mass for several years before the habit of sacrilegious reception can be minimized. [A similar announcement is generally given at Christmas and Easter Masses and at marriages and other events where large numbers of non-Catholics might be present].

Ushers should cease guiding communicants "row by row" up to the front. Let them go up as they want, or don't want. Then it won't be so conspicuous if some don't receive, putting an end to idle speculations as to which mortal sin ones neighbor or pew-mate had committed.

Confession opportunities must then be increased for parishioners to more than just 30-60 minutes before the Saturday Vigil Mass.


Chris said...

Hey, Ray! Why would changing the fast time to 3 hours keep people from receiving communion? There's always an exception for medical necessity.

Sorry to experienced Catholics if this is a novice question!


Unknown said...

Back in the olden days, the Fast was from Midnight (food and water). There were very few afternoon/evening Masses in those days, mostly for areas around hospitals and other facilities that operated around the clock.

Lots of people could comfortably use the broken fast excuse even though the Mortal Sins on their hear for cursing their mailman were the real reason why they didn't go to Communion.

In those days, probably no more than half of the adult congregation received Holy Communion at a Sunday Mass (Christmas, Easter or the Sunday after a parish mission or retreat excepted).

Frankly, today most people don't really have to think about fasting before a morning Sunday Mass because getting up and prepared for Mass doesn't leave much time for eating. So few people probably ever encounter breaking the Communion Fast these days. It's not much of a "penance."

Consequently they don't have an easy excuse for not going to Communion and not wanting to have their neighbor wonder about their Mortal Sins, and everybody receives, committing sacrilege upon sacrilege and feeling quite comfortably about it.

I just was thinking that if the Fast was three hours, the temptation would be there to grab a piece of bacon or toast and "wham", there's the excuse they need for not receiving and committing that sacrilege for cursing or blasphemy.

It would be better if we went back to the midnight Fast, but with all the noon Masses, and "last chance" Masses, it would be better to have one fast that all were required to keep.

Chris said...

Thanks, Ray! I had no idea what went on in the olden days. That's good to know.

Being diabetic, on a few occasions I have skirted close to the one hour fast limit because it wouldn't be safe to drive to mass without eating first. A three hour fast would certainly mean I'd wind up using my medical exemption, at least for early morning services!

Unknown said...

Yes, Chris, the Church is very good about the need fro medical exemptions. Even for geezers. I think we are exempted from fasting over age 65 (or at least we used to be), but I would feel quite guilty taking advantage of an exemption to a one hour fast.

Canon 1252 All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year.

Chris said...

You're not 65! Don't even try to convince me of that!

Anonymous said...

Great points you make here, Ray.

Among the only Masses in America that people still retain this reverence for the reception of Communion is at the Spanish Masses. At the few I have attended, I noticed that those who will receive sit in a certain area, and those who will not receive sit in the rest of the church. Even though the church is packed, very few receive Holy Communion. This is something we can certainly learn from our Latin American brothers and sisters.

Unknown said...

I've noticed that too, Gette. I've only been to a couple of Spanish language Masses but I've noticed that as much as half of the congregation, mostly men, remained in their pew.

Of course, the average age of the Hispanic adults around here is probably in their mid-high 20's. No grandmas's and grandpa's to inflate numbers.