Thursday, February 20, 2003

Archbishop Chaput is Doing What All Bishops Should Be Doing!

Educating the faithful of his diocese.

From the Archdiocese of Denver:

The bishops have determined that we should not kneel or genuflect. We receive Communion standing. Before receiving, we bow our head in adoration, and we say "Amen" and receive the body of Christ on the tongue or in the hand.

This will be new for many of the faithful, because the formal act of reverence was not widely promoted in the past. This act helps us avoid nonchalance in receiving holy Communion. It allows us to acknowledge what we are about to do: take under the form of bread and wine the resurrected body and blood of Christ. If we have become distracted during the procession, the gesture helps us to recollect ourselves.

While the act of reverence will be new for some, it may be "different" for others. In the past, we may have made a sign of the cross, a profound bow (one from the waist), genuflected or simply knelt as our act of adoration. The Church now asks us asks to submit our personal preference to her wisdom.

Some of us will need time to remember to do this. Others may not want to change the gesture of reverence they've been using. In all cases, we need to defer to the Church. Just as I ask that kneeling be preserved within the rubrics where indicated (such as during the entire Eucharistic Prayer), I ask that the act of reverence approved by the U.S. bishops — the bowing of the head — be embraced and maintained. This act of reverence, which should also be done before receiving the precious blood, unites us with the whole community of faith.

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