Thursday, October 06, 2005

Changing Traditions

One thread I keep returning to -- because the sociologist in me is fascinated by it -- is the subtle ways in which B16 is tweaking the customs and traditions of papal life to suit his style and his own perception of the office.

John Allen wrote of one this morning, in a seeming backhand to the Popes who came before
In a touch reminiscent of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter carrying his own luggage, Benedict appeared the morning of Oct. 6 carrying his own tote bag with the documents from the synod, an “everyman” touch uncharacteristic of previous popes.
As a friend says of Ratzinger, "He's almost too nice."

So we have the carrying of the bags, the women with uncovered heads in his presence without a qualm, and now reports are coming out that a longstanding liturgical custom has also evolved.

It was always the unspoken rule that those who receive communion from the Pope do so on the tongue. On Sunday, at the Synod's opening Mass, Benedict was spotted distributing the Eucharist in the hand to those communicants who sought to receive it that way.

As always, it's all about the details.



Blogger Podatus said...

Rocco, I think you're reading too much into this. Although JPII initially refused to give communion in the hand he relented on this some time ago. The fact that Benedict has continued this policy is, slightly disappointing, but not surprising to me. The fact that some prelates at this Synod are openingly questioning the wisdom of communion in the hand--as well as other practices which have developed in the past 30 years--is the real news.

6/10/05 15:49  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

Uh oh. He might be a crypto-masonic-liberal implant!

Man the battle stations. Raise the drawbridge. Get out the fiddleback chasuables and start storming Bl. Hiledgarde of Ubaldigor with novenas.

6/10/05 15:54  
Blogger Ben said...

Good idea, I want to see more fiddlebacks!

6/10/05 16:50  
Blogger Jeff said...


What you said!

The College of Bishops has evolved quite a bit under JPII. Not all his appointments were brilliant, but the fact that we are hearing so much of the kind of "restorationist" criticism that we are hearing from so many bishops is proof that his policy of improving the Church patiently by preaching and teaching over the heads of the bishops, and slowly forming priests and laity to produce better bishops, while continually "strenghthening" the bishops themselves and reminding them of their episcopal dignity and duties has paid off.

6/10/05 17:21  
Blogger Richard said...

The problem isn't receiving in the hand.

The problem is that so many who do so fail to observe proper reverence. Blame bad catechesis. It's no wonder belief in the Real Presence is, if polls are to be believed (and I do) so low.

Whatever one will say about receiving on the tongue, it seems hardly ever to have been a problem (at least not visibly).

I'm curious of the Pope's communicants were kneeling or standing.

6/10/05 17:36  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

They followed the rubrics and stood... Obviously, they weren't Americans.

6/10/05 18:17  
Blogger Jason Cardona said...

I have seen a picture of JPII giving communion in the hand. I don't know how common this was...

6/10/05 19:56  
Blogger the Savage said...

At WYD in Toronto, I would say that over 2/3rds of the communicants who received Holy Communion from the Pope received in the hand. I've also seen people receive in the hand at the Christmas Eve Mass from St. Peter's, so there's nothing new here.

6/10/05 22:50  

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