21 July 2009

Monsignor Nicola Bux on Communion in the Hand: "There is no text of the Tradition which supports it."

Rorate Caeli again presents an important interview, this time from the Italian publication Pontifex Roma, of a key Vatican figure on the subject of the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI. I reprint this post below. It makes some points that need to be made, and is sure to be somewhat controversial:

The Italian website Pontifex.Roma has published a short interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux on the topic of Holy Communion. Here is the full text of the interview in English translation. Emphases mine.

Given Msgr. Bux's closeness to the Pope and his liturgical thought, it seems that we have here a clear exposition of the "Benedictine" stance regarding the proper way to receive communion: clearly favorable towards communion kneeling and on the tongue coupled with a clear disapproval of communion in the hand (clearer than in the previous three Pontificates), without as yet proposing strict measures to abolish anything not already condemned in documents like Redemptionis Sacramentum, and definitely without opposing communion standing up. -- CAP.

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How to administer communion in a dignified manner

Communion on one’s knees guarantees devotion and the sense of the sacred. Certain flippant ways to administer this sacrament show a loss of the sense of the sacred. The faithful must not take for themselves the Chalice and the Host, this being a serious abuse.

Monday, July 20th, 2009
From Pontifex Roma

How should one administer communion in a dignified manner? We asked the theologian and esteemed liturgist Monsignor Nicola Bux. It may be a random case but the modernism and the slovenliness of certain post-conciliar interpretations have lead to such a debasement of this Sacrament , that there are all kind of ways in which people approach it…

Don Bux, which is the most correct way to communicate?

“I would say there are two ways. There is the position where one stands up, taking the Host in the mouth, or else on one’s knees. I do not see any third way.”

There is the standing-up position.

“OK, I have nothing against it. The important thing is that the faithful are intimately conscious of what they are about to receive, that is that they do not approach the communion with a lightheartedness that shows immaturity and being at a complete distance from God.”

Communion standing up, but what is the best way to do it?

“Well, look here, even the receiving of the communion standing up may be full of devotion, of compunction…... and a sense of the Sacred is good to have. It would be very good and convenient, no doubt about it, to let a formal sign of reverence precede communion (even if it is received standing up), which means the head is covered for the women, sign of the cross or a slight bow in a sign of one’s love.

But for what reason do people often approach the communion as if it is a kind of buffet?

I like this expression and in part it is correct. Many persons rise mechanically (from their seats - CAP) and they do not know and are not even able to imagine what they are about to receive. They think that participation in Mass something that automatically includes communion and that they have to go up and receive it, although the fact is that only those who are really in the grace of God should do so”.

In his latest Masses pope Benedict XVI has administered communion
only to those who were kneeling.

"Yes, he was very right to do so. I believe that kneeling when receiving the communion helps one to gather oneself together and to understand the mystery in a more reverential way. To kneel in front of the Body of Christ is an act of gratuitous love and humility before God, and this sense of the sacred is seldom understood. In our days it is mostly adrift and lost or almost muted. “

All in all, communion on one’s knees helps the spirit?

“Yes, certainly so, it favors devotion and spirituality. I believe that the position on one’s knees when receiving the communion is the one which by far responds the most to the Sacred.

And receiving in one’s hand?

“I am sorry to say, but there is no text of the Tradition which supports it. Not even if everybody takes it and eats it in this way. There is no text concerning this, and if we wish we could say that the Apostles were priests and thus had the right to take it by the hand. The Oriental Church does not permit it.”

5 comments:

Fenian said...

I have often seen couples come up and take communion jointly, holding hands and whatnot.

Communion is supposed to be between you and God, not you, your spouse and God.

cmziall said...

Fenian, that is CRAZY! I've never seen such a thing and I hope I don't! Geesh, it's bad enough you have people holding hands during the Our Father.

Latinmassgirl said...

I was recently told by a trusted Catholic woman, that while cleaning up after mass on various occasions, they found the Sacred Host stuck in a hymnal, and on the floor.

Aren't these and other such abuses enough to warrant banning all communion in the hands? Why risk the horrid disregard of Christ's body?

When will enough, be enough? I hope Pope Benedict XVI does the right thing.

Nate Wildermuth said...

Among the many examples in tradition of receiving communion in the hand are Saint Cyril:

"When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen."

We shouldn't forget that Jesus is fully human. As a baby, people held him and embraced him. They did so with love. We too can hold Jesus close to us in love and faith.

just wondering said...

nate, i agree we can, but sadly many don't and won't. wouldn't it be better for Jesus if we all just received on the tongue? i too have found the sacred host stuck beneath the pew to a piece of bubblegum. i crawled under every pew with a flashlight to make sure there wasn't another. Jesus is fully human, it's the fully divine part that some tend to forget about.