July 8, 2023 Column Father De Celles

Huge Win For Religious Liberty. The day after our Week of Prayer for Religious Liberty, Friday, June 30, “The U.S. Supreme Court held that a Colorado graphic designer who wants to make wedding websites does not have to create them for same-sex marriages…[The] court ruled in favor of artist Lorie Smith, who sued the state over it’s …law that prohibited businesses providing sales or other accommodations to the public from denying service based on a customer’s sexual orientation.

                  “…The majority opinion [states],…‘Colorado seeks to force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience about a matter of major significance…But tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands….Colorado seeks to deny that promise …’” (Foxnews.com).

God heard our prayers! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Bad News From Texas. As has been widely reported, Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, an outspoken and courageous bishop, is undergoing an ”apostolic visitation”  from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops. The focus of the examination is still a mystery, but some wonder if this is part of an effort to silence the faithful Bishop. Let us pray for Bishop Strickland!

Brown Scapular. Next Sunday, July 16, is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, although it will be suppressed liturgically for the Sunday liturgies. But with this in mind, we will be enrolling folks in the Confraternity and investing them with the Brown Scapular after all Saturday and Sunday Masses next weekend.

In Their Own Words. Did you see the video of taken at a New York City march celebrating LGBTQ Pride last week? In the 20 second long clip, you can clearly hear the strangely clothed marchers chanting, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children.” Yep. Google it. If you have the stomach for it.

Communion in the Hand. In recent homilies and columns I have encouraged you all to consider receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, rather than on the hand. In doing so I mentioned how for centuries that we were all required to receive on the tongue, but in 1969 Pope St. Paul VI very reluctantly allowed

individual bishops give permission to their people to receive communion in the hand. Some say my position contradicts “Vatican II.” And yet the Council said nothing about this issue, but rather wrote: “…there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 23).

What “good” “genuinely and certainly required” this change? Apparently none that Pope Paul could see, as he demonstrated in the instruction, Memoriale Domini issued under his direct order by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship in 1969. His words make clear that he didn’t think Communion was

“certainly require[d]” for “the good of the Church,” as repeated expresses his concerns about the dangers in poses.

So, let’s read what he actually said. Please read it prayerfully, and carefully. And then consider that 70% of Catholics now deny the truth about Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

How did this happen? I think Pope Paul’s warning below goes a long way in explaining it. Here follows an excerpt of MEMORIALE DOMINI:

“It is certainly true that ancient usage once allowed the faithful to take this divine food in their hands and to place it in their mouths themselves….…Later, with a deepening understanding of the truth of the [E]ucharistic mystery, of its power and of the presence of Christ in it, there came a greater feeling of reverence towards this sacrament and a deeper humility was felt to be demanded when receiving it. Thus the custom was established of the minister placing a particle of consecrated bread on the tongue of the communicant.

This method of distributing holy communion [on the tongue] must be retained…especially because it expresses the faithful’s reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that isneeded for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord.

This reverence shows that it is not a sharing in ordinary bread and wine” that is involved, but in the Body and Blood of the Lord, through which  ”The people of God share the benefits of the Paschal Sacrifice….

Further, the practice [Communion on the tongue] which must be considered traditional ensures, more effectively, that holy communion is  distributed with the proper respect, decorum and dignity. It removes the danger of profanation of the sacred species, in which “in a unique way, Christ, God and man, is present whole and entire, substantially and continually.” [9]

Lastly, it ensures that diligent carefulness about the fragments ofconsecrated bread which the Church has always recommended: “What you have allowed to drop, think of it as though you had lost one of your own members.” [10]

“When therefore a small number of episcopal conferences and some individual bishops asked that the practice of placing the consecrated hosts in the people’s hands be permitted…, the Holy Father decided that all the bishops of the Latin Church should be asked if they thought it opportune to introduce this rite. A change in a matter of such moment, …does not merely affect discipline. It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.

“..[Q]uestions were asked of the bishops, and the replies received …were as follows:

1. Do you think that attention should be paid to the desire that, over and above the traditional manner, the rite of receiving holy communion on the hand should be admitted?

“[Responses from the Bishops (“votes”)]: Yes: 597; No: 1,233; Yes, but with reservations: 315… [I.e., 58% percent said “don’t even pay ‘attention’ to the idea of Communion in the hand].

“From the returns it is clear that the vast majority of bishops believe that the present discipline [Communion on the tongue only] should not be changed

“Therefore, …in view of the gravity of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering holy communion to the faithful [“no” to Communion in the hand].

“Where placing holy communion on the hand, prevails [i.e., where the law is being ignored], the Holy See…lays on those [national bishop’s] conferences the task of weighing carefully whatever special circumstances may exist there……Their decisions should be sent to Rome to receive the necessary confirmation… [In other words, it’s a dangerous practice, but the Popeagreed to allow exceptions to allow to give Communion in the Hand.]”


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles