Deacon Greg pens a manifesto for the good ol’ days. Man, I worry about this guy. He’s been hanging around the wrong crowd, I think.
Catechesis is fruitless. We’ve tried. You can show people how it’s done; you can instruct them; you can post reminders in the bulletin and give talks from the pulpit. It does no good.
I often feel the same way about priests and deacons. You remind them you sit in the pews every week. We watch them. The “uncatechized” watch them, and who are they not to imitate what they see in their leaders? They’re the ones on display, and a significant minority of them seem not to care. They do it the same way they learned it in seminary, five or ten or fifty years ago.
Take your time distributing the Eucharist. Act as though it’s the most important thing you’ll do all week. It’s not pecking your wife on the cheek when a lingering embrace is called for. It’s not slugging back a shot of booze when savoring a sip of wine or even water is needed.
Of course catechesis is not needed. A good or better example is. Better than what is being given. If Greg’s parishioners are misbehaving, I’m going to place part of the blame on him and his clergy.
Problem is, that Greg’s commentariat won’t be satisfied with kneeling, on the tongue. They want people to stop receiving so they can go back to the one occasional, hurry-up priest giving Communion to the chosen few. I think there is a rose-colored look back at history. Some people are trying to convince us that our foibles and missteps have damaged everything. I’m not so sure Catholics of ages past didn’t have the same problem: they weren’t perfect either. No wonder that Tridentine bishop proposed keeping the laity home and safely away from ruining the Mass. On a web site this week someone accused me of sarcasm when I mentioned that.
So I’m going to offer this small pushback against the kneeling, on the tongue thing. If that helps your spirituality, by all means, live it and experience it richly. And if people are mishandling the Eucharist, show them the right way in absolutely everything. Especially by what is not said. And as for the rest of us, we encounter the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist just as profoundly as other Catholics.