Letters 12.04.11

Kneeling for Communion

I am writing concerning the ongoing series of articles in the Register on the new Mass translation. I would like to point out that it is not simply the translation itself, but that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is changing too.

This specifically impacts me because I love to kneel to receive Communion yet have been asked by three priests not to do this. In the past, I would reference GIRM 160 and a letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

However, the new GIRM 160 is even clearer and reinforces the right of communicants to kneel to receive.

The old GIRM 160 read: “The norm for reception of holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.”

The new GIRM 160 reads: “The norm established for the dioceses of the United States of America is that holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, No. 91).”

Redemptionis Sacramentum, referenced above in the new GIRM 160, reads: “In distributing holy Communion it is to be remembered that ‘sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.’ Hence, any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.”

Praise be to God for the new translation!


Tonawanda, New York

Objective Reality

Relevant to the article in the Sept. 25 edition of the Register titled “A Catholic Vision for Faith and Politics”:

I am basically a single-issue voter because I do not trust pro-abortionists to make logical or reasonable decisions on any issue. Let me explain.

We go through stages of development our entire lives. Every adult reading this letter was once a teenager, a pre-teen, a toddler, an infant, a fetus, an embryo, a zygote. If your life had been destroyed during any one of these stages of human development, you would not now be reading this letter. In your mother’s womb, you were not a generic organism, but, rather, a unique, unrepeatable human being.
If your life had no value in your mother’s womb, by what stretch of the imagination can you insist that it or any other human life now has value and rights and should be protected in relation to poverty, war, racism or any of the other issues?

That human life begins at conception is an objective reality. When pro-abortionists insist otherwise, it indicates that their reasoning is subjective and arbitrary and that their judgment cannot be trusted on any issue.

Beverly Thewes

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Fighting for Life

Regarding “Fighting for Life in Europe” (Oct. 9):

In covering the subject, the Register failed to reference the Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR), one of the most effective efforts worldwide to outlaw abortion, which was launched and developed by Col. Greg Cunningham and his wife Lois. Although the Cunninghams are not Catholic, they are eminent Christian warriors in the service of the Lord, devoting their lives to ending the genocide of the unborn.

Their key strategy in combating the horrendous killing of the innocents is to show actual pictures of the mutilated bodies of the unborn. The media universally shuns this tactic and does not make reference to anyone who does. I am enclosing several reports of CBR on their worldwide efforts that range from displays at public universities, with discussion, to trucks and planes evidencing the pictures along the highways and flyways.

As Catholic children are taught from an early age the unspeakable evil of abortion, Catholic universities see no need and have not allowed these presentations on their campuses. One might well reflect on why these displays and discussions would not be worthwhile on Catholic campuses.

Catesby W. Clay

Lexington, Kentucky

Pius XII and Conscience

Relevant to “Cooking Up a Healthy Portion of Conscience” (In Depth, Oct. 9), and my subsequent letter to the editor (“The Virtue of Creativity,” Nov. 20):

One more consideration about truthfulness vs. Christian charity (Catechism, 2482-2486): It is well established that the saintly Pope Pius XII instructed priests (especially those in the Rome area), religious and nuns to do all they could to save Jews from sure extermination. This well-documented fact has been acknowledged by unbiased Jewish scholars who were also impressed by the fact that the Pope did a considerable amount of this crucial work anonymously.

According to Gary Krupp of the Pave the Way Foundation, as evidenced by documents discovered less than two years ago, Pope Pius XII ordered the issuing of fake baptismal certificates so that thousands of Jews could find refuge in countries like Brazil, the United States and Canada.

To distinguish them from Jews who had indeed converted to Catholicism and were baptized, the Pope had them listed as “Non-Arian Catholic Hebrews.” The most famous of all the religious who helped with this humanitarian and vital effort was the Capuchin Father Marie Benoît. Now, if this subterfuge, repeated thousands of times, was good for and suggested by the likes of Pius XII and Father Benoît, it should be the option that we too choose were we ever to find ourselves faced with this as the only way to save a life.

Having lived for long stretches of time in Italy, the United States and Southeast Asia, I have experienced firsthand the decisive impact of a culture on its people. It seems evident, to me, that Lex Romana has always been mitigated by the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and by practical, common sense.

If those who are for a strict, literal interpretation of Catechism 2482-2486 were to find themselves staring at the terrified faces of people singled out for extermination, I believe that they too would choose charity over strict adherence to the letter of the law.

Father Dino S. Vanin

Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions

Detroit, Michigan

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.