40 Years of Hand Communion in Spain -- "An Unhappy Anniversary in Spain"
Communion on the Tongue: Since the introduction of hand Communion forty years ago in Spain -- an "unfortunate anniversary"
(Madrid) 40 years ago, Communion in the hand was allowed in Spain on March 18, 1976, the Secretariat of the Spanish Bishops' Conference published in a recent press statement. It was explained that the Holy See, at that time ruled by Pope Paul VI., had upheld a petition by the Episcopal Conference. The Episcopal Conference granted the option, in addition to the ordinary form of receiving Communion, kneeling on the tongue, to allow Communion in the hand in Spain.
"The Holy See granted the practice of Communion in the hand in Spain by decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, adopted on 12 February 1976. The permission was at the request of His Eminence Cardinal Vincente Enrique y Tarancon, Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, where, who by a letter of 23 January in accordance with the XXIII Plenary Assembly of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, which reached an agreement in a meeting which took place from December 15th to the 20th in Los Negrales, addressed the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship.
The permission was made in accordance with the standards of the letter of the Sacred Congregation of the President of the Episcopal Conferences, the preamble of which states that each bishop may, at his wisdom and his conscience, allow this kind of Communion in his diocese.'
The authorization does not displace the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, but also leads to the existence of a new type. In future, the faithful going to Communion may decide to receive Communion on the tongue, as in the past, or on the hand."
Furthermore, the Episcopal Conference stressed that Pope Paul VI. with the instruction Memoriale Domini stipulated about the kinds of Communion of 28 May 1969 that the "centuries-old custom" of receiving Communion on the tongue is not changed. "At the same time he granted the episcopal conferences the opportunity to consider whether it was appropriate, due to some special circumstances, in addition, to offer Communion in the hand," said the Spanish Episcopal Conference, which made use of this "opportunity" in 1976.
"An unhappy anniversary for Spain," wrote Secreteum meum mihi, referring to the crisis of faith, which was accompanied by the introduction of Communion in the hand. Unlike Pope Paul VI's stipulation, there was a systematic suppression of receiving Communion while kneeling on the tongue. For decades, the vast majority of all first communicants were forced to receive Communion in the hand. Only rarely is the ordinary form of the Communion reception, Communion on the tongue, ever mentioned. Hand Communion could be abolished at any time, or even prohibited, but not Communion on the tongue. In fact, however, the opposite impression has reigned in recent decades.
Sophia Margarita Victoria Friederika of the House of Glücksburg and Hannover, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Princess of Greece and Denmark, known by Spaniards as Sophia of Greece for short, since 1975 Queen of Spain - whose title she retained even after the abdication of her husband King Juan Carlos I -, forced Communion in the hand on 7 November 2010 from Pope Benedict XVI, although this practice was abolished at Papal Masses in 2008. At Holy Mass in the Church of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a kneeler was erected to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue for the faithful. The Queen was obviously of a different sensitivity than the Pope. The behavior of a queen should not only draw attention in the national media, she should be an exemplary figure as a role model. It's all the more amazing because of the origin of the queen. Before her marriage to the inheritor of the Spanish throne, her family belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church, who only know Communion on the tongue.
The number of believers who desire Communion on the tongue has increased again in the past year. It's not desired everywhere. In some places Communion is denied, or the faithful will be snapped at by priests, as so happened even at the Requiem Mass of Bishop Kurt Krenn in February 2014 in the Cathedral of St. Pölten.
Believers who kneel for Communion may disrupt a smooth reception of Communion and waste time, they say. The offering and reception of the Body of Christ on the tongue is considered incidental and a waste of time, so say critics that not only hold the "meal-theology" in the "spirit of the Council" which led not only served toward the desacralization of Communion, but has added to the harm of belief in real presence.
Inspired by the example of Benedict XVI. a Spanish priest broke the taboo on Communion and refuted the platitude that Communion kneeling was "obsolete" and interested "no one" any more. He established an equality between the two forms of the reception of Communion in his parish. Here the faithful lined up in two lines, one for Communion in the hand, and for the other line, a communion rail. He explained to the faithful his plan. He ask each to chose according to his sensibility for the corresponding line. Within a short time it was found that more than half of the visitors on Sunday Masses preferred the ordinary posture, kneeling and receiving Communion on the tongue. There was no sign of this half taking this option in previous years. During weekday Masses almost all receive Communion on the tongue.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: parrocchie.it/Youtube (Screenshot)
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