(Rome) After several of Pope Francis' celebrated solemn high Masses, it is obvious that the canonical “extraordinary form” of Communion in the hand is being practiced again in a big way in papal Masses. And according to the personal discretion of every priest.
Pope Benedict XVI. had only given Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue to the faithful shortly after he became Pope (except Despite some cases like the Queen of Spain). Through the rediscovery of traditional practice, the reverence for the Eucharist should be strengthened to counteract deformation by the erroneous understanding in the minds of believers of a mere meal with common bread consumption.
Newly appointed in 2007, the papal master of ceremonies, Guido Marini said in June 2008, in an interview with the Osservatore Romano he explained that in future papal Masses, Communion on the tongue will prevail in a kneeling posture. This now no longer seems to be the case.
Canon law has always prescribed that Communion is received kneeling on the tongue as the actual form of Communion reception. With the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council, the bishops' conferences were granted the right to allow additional and valid exemption of forms for their area of responsibility. From the exception, however, was a rule that made the actual exception to the rule immediately. In Germany, First Communion is almost everywhere taught everywhere since the 70s exclusively Communion in the hand. Of Communion on the tongue or even kneeling Communion in this large-scale re-education program in fact there is no more talk.
During dozens of scheduled Papal Masses, priests were instructed under Pope Benedict XVI. from 2008 to give the consecrated host only on the tongue. With few exceptions, the traditional practice was quickly put into effect again.
Since the inauguration of Pope Francis any uniformity has been lost. The Pope gives the deacons Communion, while it is received kneeling on the tongue. As the head of the Church, however, he gives no Communion to the faithful, as Pope Benedict XVI's example is minimized. Of the scheduled priests a large number only give Communion on the tongue. However, just as many priests give again Communion in the hand according to the Pre-Benedictine exception, when a communicant holds out their hands. A general practice, they know from most the parishes to which they were only taught by priests. Instructions for the priests as under Benedict XVI. is apparently no more. The form of Communion by the priest seems to be merely a option.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Screenshot CTV 28.04.2013