Part of a talk by
Father Regis Scanlon
We are going to talk about a challenge that is particular to us in our own age. People who really believe in the faith -- theres really few of us who have experienced the agitation or whatever you want to call it, with somebody who does not believe, and they may come up to you and say something like, "What are you kneeling for?" People often think that the person who kneels when everybody else stands for the Consecration things they are holier than everybody else. I dont know if you ever heard that said. "You think youre holier than everybody else." Actually, it shows a misunderstanding
One of the goals that Pope Paul VI wanted with the Catholic Churchs Second Vatican Council Doctrine, Sacrosanctum Concilium on the Liturgy -- one of the goals was this, and he stated this in Mysterium Fidae No. 13 -- that one of the goals was "that a new wave of Eucharistic Devotion will sweep over the Church."
Most people dont know that that was one of his goals. A lot of people think that it was to de-emphasize Eucharistic Doctrine, where that was the precise purpose of Sacrosanctum Concilium. We have a problem. Paul VI uses the word "Transubstantiation", the Church, the Council of Trent, Transubstantiation. The Church, all the way back to Berengarius time used the change of substance, Transubstantiation, to mean that the total reality of the bread and wine would be changed to the total reality of Christ. However, as you have seen, there are modern theologians today; Karl Rahner, Ed Skilebeex, Tad Guzi, Monika Hellwig and so forth - they use the same word "Transubstantiation" but to mean something less, to mean it is only a change of sign, its only a change of purpose.
So, what do we do? They are both using the same word but meaning something different. And it shows up in the parish workings. It shows up when someone walks across the altar and just doesnt even bat an eye at the Blessed Sacrament and just tears across the altar. And you say, "What are you doing?" And he says, "What?" "Dont you believe in Transubstantiation?" And he says, "Sure, I do." So, weve got a problem here. So, apparently words are not enough. Words are not enough for us to TEACH the faith today.
Today we must teach by ACTIONS. So, if there is an orthodoxy, there is an orthopraxy. If there is hetrodoxy (which is heresy), there is hetropraxy. So, there are required gestures and there is required posture if you are a Catholic in the Catholic Faith. Now, lets look at some of these. And, by the way, there is more than one rite in the Church. Sometimes we tend to think that there is only the Latin Rite, which we call the Latin Roman Rite, which most of you are in. There is also the Oriental Rites. There is the Byzantine, Melokite and so forth. And what Im saying here applies to the Latin Roman Rite, because the symbols, the gestures do not mean the same thing always in the two rites. They are not identical.
Something in one rite, it its done in another rite, might mean something different. I want to establish that right away. Lets look at the required gestures for the Latin Roman Rite. There is a document by the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Emensay Caritatis, January 25, 1973, (these documents can be found in Flannery) -- Flannery, Volumes 1 and 2 -- (Read these Vatican II documents.)
Flannery, Volume 1, Page 232: In there the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments states this (and these are Post Vatican II documents) and Post Vatican II documents are given to us to implement the Vatican documents, to implement at the local level, in the end the universal level. OK? So that we will actually put into practice the Second Vatican Council. So you have the Vatican II documents, and then you have all these Post Vatican II documents which clarify that Vatican II documents and put them into practice where the rubber hits the road. So we need to read these
Within this document, Emensay Caritatis, the Sacred Congregation says this: "It is necessary to instruct the faithful that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour and that the same worship and adoration given to God is owed to Him under the Sacramental Signs." The same worship --There is no difference between what you are to do when you see the Host and the Blood -- There is no difference in your approach to the Host and the Blood as there will be in your approach to God the Father when you see Him Beatifically in eternal life. Theres no difference! Thats the first thing they say.
Now, the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Canon 898) says, "Christs faithful are to hold the Blessed Eucharist in the highest honor. They should take an active part in the celebration in the most August Sacrifice of the Mass. They should receive the Sacrament with great devotion and frequently and should reverence it with the greatest adoration. In explaining the doctrine of this Sacrament, pastors _________ are assiduously to instruct the faithful about their obligation in this regard." Thats the Canon Law! So, pastors are obliged to assiduously instruct the faithful about their duty to give the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, THE GREATEST ADORATION, not the least, not the minimum, not the middle, but THE GREATEST ADORATION.
In the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments of Divine Worship, in its document in Estabalay Donum, Number 26, it states this (and this is a Post Vatican II document): "The venerable practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in a tabernacle or publicly exposed as a sign of adoration is to be maintained. This act requires that it be performed in a recollected way in order that the heart may bow before God in profound reverence. The genuflection must be neither hurried nor careless." When you genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, thats a prayer. Thats an act of faith like the Creed. Kneeling is also to be maintained at the Consecration of the Mass.
Missal Number 29 (reading from the missal): "They (meaning the faithful) should kneel at the Consecration unless prevented by lack of space, large numbers, or other reasonable causes." This means kneeling to the beginning of the epiclesus (thats when the priest extends his hands) to after the Consecration. Now, following this directive, the introduction, the general instructions of the Roman Missal from Paul VI, which we have just been reading from, they say this: "The Conference of Bishops may adapt the actions and postures described in the Order of the Roman Mass to the usage of the people, but these adaptations must correspond to the character and the meaning of each part of the celebration." So, its possible that the individual at the Bishops Conference if the people had been given permission or through a tradition had been doing something greater than this that you could adapt this to that action. So the American Bishops did that because before the Council the Catholics were kneeling from when? They were kneeling from the beginning of the Sanctus all the way to the Communion So the American Bishops decided, since they were to stand for the "Our Father," they decided that they would kneel from the Sanctus to the Our ather, extend the period of kneeling, greater than the general rule, (the general instructions of the Roman Missal.) Here is what they stated -- and this is in the Sacramentary here under the Appendix for the US -- and it ways, "At its meeting in November 1969 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops voted that in general the directives of the Roman Missal concerning the posture of the congregation at Mass should be left unchanged but that Number 21 of the general instruction should be so adapted that the people kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the sanctus until after te Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer," that is, before the Our Father. So thats extended. Thats the law!
Now, theres a book which we really need to become familiar with. Its called The Ceremonial Episciporam in Latin or the Ceremonial of Bishops in English. And what it is is that John Paul II came out in 1985 and its the most authoritative theme in the Liturgy with regards to postures, the most authoritative. It says some things that are very, very interesting. You must listen to this. First of all, notice that the ceremonial -- if you ever get a hold of this, its in most Catholic book stores, "The Ceremonial For Bishops" -- it says in its Preface, Page 13, "The greater part of the Liturgical laws contained in the new Ceremonial have their first from the Liturgical books already published. Whatever is changed in the new Ceremonial is to be carried out in the manner the Ceremonial prescribes.
In other words, if you are doing something DIFFERENT from the Ceremonial at the Cathedral level, youre not supposed to change the Ceremonial to be in agreement with what you are doing. Youre supposed to change what youre doing to be in agreement with the Ceremonial! And they are very strict on their interpretation of this. They want it to be interpreted strictly; so much so that in Number 73 of the Ceremonial for Bishops they say "Is it possible to change anything here?" They say, "For instance, if a priest is in another culture or a Bishop is in another culture and he wants to substitute the act when he comes in to kissing the altar, if that act is not meaningful for a lot of places, then its possible for them to substitute something for kissing the altar, but they must contact the Apostolic See. So this means that in a minor matter like that that they are so strict in their interpretation that they must contact the Apostolic See for some minor matter like this. What would they say about the more serious matters? Absolutely! They are not allowed to change them. Although this is a matter of discipline.
Lets look at what the Ceremonial says with regards to gestures and postures -- and keep in mind its authority. On Number 69 through 71 the Ceremonial says this: "A genuflection made by bending the right knee to the ground signifies adoration and is therefore reserved for the Blessed Sacrament whether exposed or reserved in the Tabernacle and for the Holy Cross at the time of the solemn adoration ad Liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
So this act of bending te knee is reserved for the Blessed Sacrament and for the Holy Cross on Good Friday, because at that time (This is my reasoning) -- at that time on Good Friday we do not have the Blessed Sacrament in our presence. The heart still longs to adore the Blessed Sacrament, so the Church gives us permission to vicariously adore the Blessed Sacrament which is absent, by adoring the True Cross which at the beginning had contained the Blood of Christ on it. OK? Now, listen to what else they say: "Neither a genuflection nor a deep bow is made by those carrying articles used in a celebration, for example, the Cross, candlesticks and the Book o the Gosples, and this, Number 71: "No one who enters a Church should fail to adore the Blessed Sacrament, either by visiting the Blessed Sacrament chapel or at least by genuflecting. Similarly, those who pass before the Blessed Sacrament genuflect except when they are walking in procession." When you go past the Blessed Sacrament, even if you do it a hundred times, you are to genuflect because thats reserved for the Blessed Sacrament.
You can ask yourself, "Have I been doing this?" Especially if you are a Eucharistic minister, or a leader, a lector, or something like this, "Am I doing that?" Now, in this document they talk about the deacon, they talk about incensation. And its very important. They also talk about a bishop comes to a Mass but hes not celebrating. Hes just going to preside. Another priest or bishop is celebrating with other priests and hes presiding. Listen to what it says about the deacon and about the bishop who attends the Mass.
First of all it says that the Blessed Sacrament is to be incensed in a kneeling position and not like other incensations. It says, "One of the deacons puts incense into the censor and incenses the Host and the Cup at each elevation. The deacon remains kneeling from the Epiclesis to the elevation of the Cup. So at the Mass the deacon is to be kneeling at the consecration. "Furthermore," the Ceremonial says, "from the Epiclesus until after the elevation of the Cup the bishop kneels facing the altar on a kneeler provided for him either in front of the chair or in some other convenient place. After the elevation he stands once again at the chair."
Interesting! A visiting bishop, a bishop who is presiding but not offering the Mass is to kneel at the Consecration. The deacon is to kneel at the Consecration. So, what about the Eucharistic ministers? One would suspect they are to kneel!! Sure! Why would they not kneel? Actually, the only one who is supposed to be standing is the priest. And the priest wishes he could kneel.
There is one more act we have to look at and its becoming popular and its good and this is the act of making a reverence before the Blessed Sacrament. I dont know how many of you know that that is the thing to do. Its actually strongly recommended by John Paul II officially, and Ill read this to you. You can find this. Its in Eucharistic Mysterium Number 34 or in Estminae Donum Number 11, the same thing. One was endorsed by John Paul II, of course. But of the first was from the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1967, and it was repeated by the Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship in 1980. Both Post Vatican II directives. And it says this, "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required since kneeling is itself a SIGN OF ADORATION. When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that coming up in procession they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place so that the order of people going to and from Communion should not be disrupted."
Now, someone said to be, "Well, Father, that means a sign of the Cross. It could be a sign of the Cross. It could be a bow. You know, it doesnt have to be a genuflection." But I dont think you can argue that way, and Ill tell you why. From the very context it would seem to refer to a genuflection because what did they say about kneeling when people come up to kneel as a group, they say, "When they receive Communion standing it is strongly recommended." But what did they say earlier? They said, "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required since kneeling itself is a sign of adoration.
So they are already in the context talking about kneeling as being a sign of adoration. So that would argue for the need for some type of gesture like bending the knee for the sign you make when you come up when standing. Thats not the only reason. Whatever this act is it will interfere with the flow of people coming to and from Communion if it is done at the wrong time and place."
Now, what kind of act would interfere with the flow of Communion going to and fro? A sign of the Cross? No! A bow of the head? No! A genuflection? Yes! Someone would tumble over the top of you if you do it at the wrong time and place. So that shows, one, from the context, from the meaning of this, they are talking about a GENUFLECTION. But there is another reason. The Ceremonial for Bishops talks about the priests, when they receive Communion at a concelebrated Mass with the Bishop. And it talks about how they are to receive Communion. And dont forget, the bishops and the priests are to be an example for the laity. They are to be a model for how you should receive. And what does the Ceremonial for Bishops say in Number 163 about how the priests are to receive Communion when they are concelebrating a Mass with a bishop. Listen to what it says. "After saying the prayer before Communion, the bishop genuflects and takes the paten. One by one the concelebrants approach the bishop, genuflect and reverently receive from him the Body of Christ. So the priests, if they are concelebrating around the bishop and it comes time for Communion, the bishop is to genuflect, take the Host, and the priests are to come up one by one and genuflect and then receive the Host.
So if the priests are to genuflect and receive the Host, thats what the laity are probably supposed to do. Thats the meaning therefore of this statement: "When we receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that coming up in procession they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place so that the order of people going to and from Communion should not be disrupted." What else could it be?
Now, we need to understand something here. This act of bending the knee, of kneeling -- I dont know if you have heard this. Some people say, "Oh, it doesnt have to be a genuflection. It can be anything. Its just cultural. Just because it means that to us in our culture it doesnt mean that its always going to mean that. We could make some other sign for adoration." But that isnt exactly correct. And Ill tell you why. There is a good reason why the Church reserves the genuflection for its official act of reverence before the Blessed Sacrament. Not just any act can be used for adoration. How about standing? Is standing a sign of adoration? No! Im standing. And I dont adore you! I hope that doesnt hurt your feelings. If President Clinton comes in, you stand -- and I know you dont adore him. We should stand in the presence of a lady, and we love them dearly. We dont adore them.
In Oriental cultures we stand. Other cultures have their own sign of reverence and respect, too, but standing in an Oriental culture? I dont know exactly what that would mean. It wouldnt mean adoration. So, where does standing mean adoration? It doesnt anywhere. So, you can never use the sign of standing as meaning adoration. How about a bow, a body bow? Does a body bow mean adoration. Do you bow to somebody? Who do you bow to? Well, the Oriental cultures bow a lot, and they dont mean adoration. They bow to their parents, to authority, etc. And we bow. And that doesnt mean adoration. Where do you kneel before somebody? They used to kneel in fealty in the early ages as a sign of -- not adoration of the king but a sign of the royalty and subservience. They dont do that anymore.
People often come up to the Pope to genuflect, and he quickly grabs them and tries to stop them. He doesnt like that. So, where do you kneel? Who do you kneel to? Would you kneel to your wife, your husband? Theres something wrong about that. How about a father who demands his children kneel to him. I think he would be arrested. That isnt right. For us today, kneeling is rare. It is the best sign for the Church to pick for adoration, and the Church picks it and uses that for adoration, the bending of the knee.
But there are Scriptural reasons why kneeling is a sign of adoration. Sure! There are cosmological reasons why kneeling is a sign of adoration. There are traditional reasons and there are escatalogical reasons why kneeling is a sign of adoration. What does it say in Scripture? God the Father says to Isias, "To me every knee shall bend." Isias 45:23 What does St. Paul say? St. Paul says, in Romans 14:11, "For it is written, as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before Me." In Phil, Chapter 2, Verse 10, "Every knee must bend in the heavens and on the earth." Thats cosmological.
Ive already pointed out is the act of adoration to the Blessed Sacrament at the time of St. Francis and at the time of with St. Francis telling everybody to kneel. This is why Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he makes this statement Pages 74 and 75. San Francisco Ignatious Press. He says this: "Here the bodily gesture of faith in Christ. Such a confession its not a mere Liturgical action like brushing your teeth, like lighting a candle. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament is a confession of your faith. So this statement of Cardinal Ratzinger of the theological statement of the Roman Missal. How many of you have ever heard this? Rex Arandi - Rex Carendi. A prayer is the law of belief. Praying indicates what may and must be believed. We pray as we believe. Our actions and posture influence our Doctrine. Our posture through Liturgy influence and how we the Liturgy influences our actions and postures in the Liturgy faith. So
Again St. Paul says in Phillipians, Chapter 2 Verse 10, "At Jesus name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth." Thats cosmological. OK? And this kneeling or bending of the knee, as I have already pointed out, is the act of adoration for the Blessed Sacrament. Adopted through tradition since the time of St. Francis and the time of Barengarius even. OK? With St. Francis telling everybody to kneel. So its traditional. This is why Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his book "The Feast of Faith" he makes this statement -- and that by the way is on Page 74 to 75 in his book "Feast of Faith." San Francisco Ignatious Press 1986. He says this about kneeling in the Liturgy. He says, "Here the bodily gesture attains the status of a confession of faith in Christ. Words could not replace such a confession." Thats a confession of faith hes saying; its not a mere Liturgical action like washing your fingers at the lavabo or lighting a candle. This kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament is a confession of your faith.
So this statement of Cardinal Ratzinger reminds one of a theological statement in Church history applied in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal. This is Latin. I dont know how many of you ever heard this: Rex Arandi - Lex Credendi. Do you know what it means? It means that the law of prayer is the law of belief. Or "What is prayed indicates what may and must be believed. We believe as we pray. We pray as we believe. In other words, our actions and postures influence our doctrine. Action of the liturgy -- our posture at the liturgy influence how we pray at the liturgy, and how we pray at the liturgy influences our actions and postures at the liturgy. OK? It influences our faith. So, what does this tell us? It tells us this: That everytime you come in and you genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, you are making an act of faith, your confession of faith, which strenghthens your faith in the rest of the Church. This is an act of love for the community.
When you come and you genuflect, you are making a profession of your faith, which is an act of love for the community. You are strengthening the faith of your brothers and sisters in their belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. A lot of times we dont think of that as an act of charity, but it is. And it may be some day a supreme act of charity. OK? And what does it mean when you do not and you could? When you could genuflect and you do not in the presence of the Blesses Sacrament! What does that mean? Well, if youre an elderly person, it may not mean a thing. It may mean that you would just love to adore the Eucharist and you cant. OK. When you can kneel and you dont, you are failing in professing your faith, youre failing in your act of charity to the rest of the community, someone who might need to have their faith strengthened in the belief in the Real Presence.
Did you ever meet people who say, "Hey, listen, Father" -- I met a priest one time who said to me, "Father, lets put it this way: The most important thing is that you adore internally. You dont want to get hung up on externals. Just so you adore interiorly." And its true, adoring interially is the most important, no question. But are externals completely useless? We have to be careful of this, especially when we are dealing with acts of faith or works -- works, we call them works of faith. Remember St. James in his Epistle, James Chapter 2 Verse 26-27 -- What does he say when it comes to a matter of feeding the poor? "There are people who come up to the poor and say, Hey, be warm, well fed, and they give them a gug and pass on. The poor person is standing there shivering, waiting. Or other people who will come up and maybe not give them a hug at all but give them some clothes and some food. Which one is the poor person happy about? Which one would the poor person rather see? The one who helps them. So St. James says about this -- he says that if you dont help the poor person and you just come up and wish them well and go on your way, he compares that to faith without works, and he says its as dead as a body without breath. And it has no power to save one, has it!!
This is a work of faith. If you say, "I believe, Lord, I believe," and all your friends say, "What are you kneeling for?" and you stand up immediately, embarrassed, what kind of faith do you have? Its faith without works. Its as dead as a body without breath and it has NO POWER TO SAVE ONE, NO POWER. Now, its interesting that people who use this phrase, "Dont get hung up on externals"-- I wonder what they would say to you if you said, "All right. Ill just give the kiss of peace or a hug INTERNALLY. I wont give an external kiss of peace or a hug." Oh! Theyd probably pass out at such a suggestion. Theyd say, "What do you mean? Youve got to hug them. Youve got to express that." Would you say to them, "Dont get hung up on externals." You see whats really happening here? And its true, isnt it! Its really happening -- is the devotion to Jesus Christ and the devotion to the Eucharist is being replaced by devotion to OURSELVES. Thats what religion is becoming, a SELF-SERVING RELIGION. Thats the real point of all this.
Now, we have to distinguish between bows and genuflections, brothers and sisters. So you need to know this. And listen to what it says. In the Ceremonial for Bishops, Number 68, it tells you about the bows. Theres two kinds of bows: Theres the bow of the head and theres the bow of the body. Now, the bow of the head a done at the name of Jesus, at the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Saint in whose honor the Mass is being celebrated. Thats what it says. Its for persons, created persons. And it can be given to Jesus, too, but it doesnt express an act of adoration, the bow of the head.
How about the body bow? "B) The Body Bow. A bow of the body or a deep bow is made to the altar if there is no Tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. To the bishop before and after incensation as indicated in Number 91 and whenever it is expressly called for by the rubrics of the various liturgical books." So, the body bow is for created things; for the altar, if there is no Blessed Sacrament present, and for the bishop. Its a body bow -- something like this, huh! Thats a body bow, where your body bows. Now, that is not an act of adoration. The genuflection is the only act of adoration in the Latin Rite, the Roman Rite. Now, you must not get this body bow confused with the metany of the Eastern Rite. Now, the Eastern Rite has an act which is similar to our genuflection, in that it is the act of adoration. But the metany in the Eastern Rite is a bow in which the fingers almost touch the ground. OK? Thats the metany. And the greater metany, they fall down forward on their knees, and their head touches the ground. And the greatest metany is the prostration. But thats of a different rite.
Now, some people who give a body bow think they are giving the metany. If you were to give a metany in most of the traditional churches that are Roman Catholic and Latin Rite, you would bang your nose on the pew and smack the person in front of you in the back with your head. I tried to do this and was walking around for about an hour trying to straighten up. The genuflection is much easier to give. Its an abbreviated form of the metany. Now, Im going into this for a number of reasons. Some priests and pastors feel that its OK to tell people, "I dont want you genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament. I want you to give a body bow." Well, wed better listen to this -- and this is the Code of Canon Law -- Canon 214. It says this: "The Christian faithful have a right to worship God according to the prescriptions of their own rites, approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and ?? their own form of spiritual life consonent with the teaching of the Church." OK? Thats Canon 214.
Understand this, that pastors and priests and teachers, they are not permitted to tell somebody to replace a Latin Rite act of adoratiion with an Eastern Rite act of metany. And worse yet, they especially cant tell them to replace an act of adoration, the genuflection, with an act of mere reverence for creatures, like the body bow. That is practically heresy!! They cannot do this. And Christians have a right to follow their rites. Remember that. When you have to speak up, point it out in the book and show them! Thats being a good Christian. Its not being mean. Thats not thinking youre better than father. Thats just informing father that there is a Canon Law and that there is a number here that applies to this situation. Ad if hes a good priest, he will be happy and thankful. And dont assume that they are not good priests.
Now, the other thing I want to mention is the Book of the Gosples. Some people want to put the book of the gosples on the same level as the Blessed Sacrament. They move the tabernacle out from the center of the altar and they put the scriptures there. Now, what has happened is these people got something confused. There is a statement in Vatican II, Dei Verbum, Number 21, which goes like this: "The Church has always venerated the Divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord INSOFAR as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the Bread of Life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God in the Body of Christ." Now, these people say, "Hey, that calls for equal reverence to both." But it doesnt. It says, "insofar as". Yes, we are to have the same reverence for the Word of God and the same reverence for the Body of Christ, especially insofar as both are coming from the same table of the Lord. However, listen to this. What is the word of God? This is the lectionary. . Is the Word of God this physical book? No! The Word of God is spiritual. It comes out from the Father and resides in the hearts of the people, the faithful. And if the priest is faithful, and the deacon is faithful and reads it correctly, then the Word of God dwells in the minds of the hearers. But is this physical book the Word of God? Absolutely not! Its a symbol of the Word of God.
Am I hurting the Word of God if I crimp the pages? No. but do I hurt the Word of God if I distort the teaching? Yes. So you dishonor the Word of God when you speak not in unity with the Holy Father and when you distort the teaching? Yes. So you dishonor the Word of God when you speak not in unity with the Holy Father and when you distort a teaching from sacred scripture, not when you crimp the pages. So its wrong to put the book up on the altar and adore it, or to replace the Blessed Sacrament with the book. Why? Because there is only one bodily Presence on earth of Jesus Christ, and thats the Blessed Sacrament. Its the only bodily Presence. Thats why its the only thing in this world we can adore is the Blessed Sacrament. We d not adore the physical lectionary. If they really meant that they should have equal adoration, they would start genuflecting before the book, but they dont! They QUIT genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament. Obviously there is something going in the wrong direction there.
Make children kneel for First Communion.
Anthony Bonanillo, the heretic, and his mule who knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. If a mule knows to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, what do we say about people who dont choose to kneel in adoration? Teach the Real Presence in the Eucharist by ACTION.
Are you aware that the FDLC (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Ministers have used their influence and come to the conviction that everybody should stand during the entire Eucharistic prayer! They recommended this in their newsletters. They recommended this to their bishops of the U>S> I suspect that the reason that they recommended this -- and there was a big push on it -- they got this from the Canadian Bishops Conference. And the Canadian Bishops Conference got this from interpreting a document of the Council of Nicea. And we need to understand this. Now, this is from the Council of Nicea 325. And youre probably going to hear this. The Council of Nicea said this: "Since there are some who are bending their knee on Sunday and on the days of Pentecost, the Holy Council has decided so that there will be uniformity of practice in all things in every diocese, that prayers are to be directed to God in a standing position."
The Canadian Bishops interpreted this as meaning that we should all be standing throughout the Eucharistic prayer, but they are incorrect. There was a group at that time called the Substrati who were penitentents, and they knelt through the entire Mass every day, even on Sunday. To the Council of Nicea this looked like fasting all during lent and then fasting on Easter. So they said, "Kneel during the week if you want but on Sunday stand to show your victory over sin." But they were talking about the practice of kneeling for penance, not kneeling for adoration. And in those days the Church did the profound bow and the metany and the prostration before the Blessed Sacrament. They didnt kneel. Kneeling was an act of penance, a sign of penance.
So you cant now take that and apply it to our situation. This is very imortant to understand. P> F> Malhurn states this: "Kneeling during religeous services began as a penitential practice and at one time was not permitted on feast days." Thats what hes talking about there. You will find that in "The Principles of Tenets," New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11, Page 73.
Now, the order of penitents was very big in the Church, and so when the Church decided that these people were kneeling all the time, they were not giving the proper emphasis to the resurrection and the overcoming of sin. This could lead to a depression. So they asked the people to stand and offer their prayers, but they were not saying anything about the Consecration or the act of adoratiion at all. So one cannot use that statement by the Council of Nicea 325 to apply to this. However, the FDLC is using it that way and the Canadian Bishops are using it that way. And they got this on the floor of the June 1995 meeting of the U>S> Catholic Bishops. And when it came up in the June 1995 meeting of the U>S> Catholic Bishops, it was introduced to allow as an OPTION to stand in place of kneeling at the Consecration. And when it came up, the Bishops very clearly pointed out, especially Bishop Charles Chapunt, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Cardinal Law, pointed out that there is only one law in the Roman Rite, and THAT IS TO KNEEL! And the Bishops that introduced that WITHDREW THE RECOMMENDATION! And you need to know that. This can be found in EWTN, Mother Angelicas coverage of that. If you know someone who has that, view it. Listen to the debate. And the Cardinal here has corrected the people on that. Hes on the right side on that. And of course, being the Cardinal, he defends the Churchs teaching on this. You as Catholics need to give the Cardinal support when he tells everybody that they are to kneel. So, that is a wonderful thing. Be thankful.
You have to understand, my brothers and sisters, that that is the law. And we need to tell people that and to help people understand that when they ask. Or if they challenge us, speak up! Thats what God wants us to do.
Now, one last thing. You need to know this, too. The FDLC and the International Committee on English?? Liturgy -- the International Committee on the English Liturgy translated the Mass, OK, the Sacramentary, and they translated also the Ceremonial for Bishops. And its interesting when you look at their translation. When you look at their translation and you look at the Latin. The Latin is Corpus Christi, capitalized - OK - They have Body of Christ translated in small letters, body of christ. The Latin has Blessed Sacrament, SS Sacramentuum, capitalized. they have it in small letters. Now, some will say, "Well, they are just not giving any emphasis to capitalization. But look again, because when it comes to the book of the gosples, evangelium -- liber means book. Liber Evangelorum, the Book of the Gosples -- the Latin has liber, which is book, small. They have Book capitalized. So they are making use of capitals to GIVE A MESSAGE. So they are capitalizing Liber Evangelorum, which mean the book of the gosples - and they are DECAPITALIZING Blessed Sacrament! Im not judging them. This is what they did. And Im not judging their intentions. But the effect is going to be there. And Im just telling you so you know about it. We cant judge them. But that would send the wrong message, wouldnt it, to people when they read and notice. And so there is -- whether its intended for whatever reason, there is a battle going on in the Church today over the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Its coming from various sectors within the Church. And so, what you are called to do is to testify to the faith. And let me get this statement by John Paul II. He says this in "The Moral Fiber of the Nation." Thats the name of the talk. Its from Origens, the CNS Documentary Service, Volume 9, Number 17, October 11, 1979, Page 271: "Every genuflection that you make before the Blessed Sacrament is important because it is an act of faith in Christ, an act of love for Christ."
An act of faith!! So, the elimination of the act of genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament would be the removal of an act of faith, not a mere liturgical directive. An act of faith. It would be like removing the Creed from the Mass. Every act, he says, every genuflection, is an act of faith, an act of faith. So understand what its all about!
Remember that the genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for the Blessed Sacrament, reserved for It. It is a prayer which your heart should bow deeply. It is an act of faith. It is a testimonial to your faith. You are preaching. You are teaching. You are giving an ACT OF CHARITY to your brothers and sisters you live with. Remember that. And remember that that is the center of the battle.
God Bless You