There is ample testimony to the fact that the liturgical "renewal" has been accompanied not simply by a decline in Mass attendance, but by a decline in reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament. It is not only traditionalists who testify to this. Cardinal Heenan, in common with so many bishops, gave way on the question of allowing lay ministers of Holy Communion. On February 2, 1974, he used the occasion of commissioning a group of these ministers to lament the decline in reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament:
In the October 1977 issue of his official diocesan journal, The Messenger, Bishop Ackerman of Covington, Ky., took the occasion of informing his priests that they would have to distribute Communion in the hand [whether they liked it or not] to lament the decline in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament:
It might have been hoped that in order to prevent Holy Communion in the hand from leading to greater irreverence, Bishop Ackerman would have forbidden the abuse-----which he was quite entitled to do. Instead of doing so, he allowed his "experts" to send out the standard brainwashing material to priests and teachers to initiate the campaign of making the innovation the norm.
Bishop B. D. Stewart,
Australia, adds his testimony to the decline in reverence, quoting the
Vatican in the process:
"Numerous and widespread abuses have appeared, sometimes so serious that they cast doubt on the very Faith in the Real Presence, on the adoration and reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament. [Instruction on Worship of the Eucharist, May 15, 1969]."
But Cardinal Heenan's concern at the decline in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament did not result in his refusing to commission lay ministers of Holy Communion; Bishop Ackerman's concern did not lead him to forbid Communion in the hand in his diocese; and the alleged concern of the Vatican has not prevented its giving official sanction to both abuses whenever so requested.
Bishop Stewart testifies that:
"There is ample evidence of consecrated Hosts being discarded into a bin; because, so it is said, 'the Presence does not remain when the meal is finished'; sometimes these Hosts are re-consecrated. Priests are known to genuflect at the Communion but not at the Consecration; because, they hold, 'Christ is present only in the meal'. Some have affirmed publicly that they do not genuflect before the Tabernacle, because 'one does not adore a box'.
"Children are known to have fiddled with the Sacred Host placed into their hands at Holy Communion; adults have been seen to pass the Blessed Sacrament from one to the other in a Queue.
"Rightly does the Sacred Congregation ask whether people who act like this really believe in the Real Presence of Christ.
"One must pass over in appalled silence the unspeakable abominations of demonism when the Sacred Host is sacrilegiously carried off to the satanic rituals of black masses.
"Sacrileges have occurred in the past and will occur in the future. But today the Holy See testifies that they are numerous and widespread; it also says that Communion in the traditional manner is a better safeguard against adulteration of doctrine and profanation."Precisely! The Holy See says that the traditional manner is a better safeguard against profanation-----but then sanctions an innovation which could well be described as an invitation to sacrilege!