Privilege of the Ordained
THE NEUMANN PRESS, 1990
Published on the Web with Permission of the Author
9. Pope John Paul II Speaks
In his Apostolic Letter Dominicae Cenae, dated 24 February 1980, Pope John Paul II noted that since the introduction of Communion in the hand "cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the Eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior, but also to the pastors of the Church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist. It also happens, on occasion, that the free choice of those who prefer to continue the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue is not taken into account in those places where Communion in the hand has been authorized." He made no secret of his own preference in the same letter, by stressing the custom of "the rite of the anointing of the hands in our Latin ordination, as though precisely for these hands a special grace and power of the Holy Spirit is necessary! To touch the sacred species, and to distribute them with their own hands, is a privilege of the ordained, one which indicates an active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist." Unfortunately, the Pope clearly believes that it would not be practical to attempt to enforce a return to the traditional practice during the present climate of anarchy within the Church. His attempt to persuade nuns who have abandoned their religious habits to return to them, even in a simplified form, has not simply been defied, but ridiculed.
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