Redemptionis Sacramentum 83-86

RS 83 presents an ideal, but often people fall short. It would be marvelous if people approached the Eucharist well prepared and primed to receive God’s grace. But the reality is that this is not so for many clergy as well as laity. God blesses best when we cooperate.

[83.] It is certainly best that all who are participating in the celebration of Holy Mass with the necessary dispositions should receive Communion. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that Christ’s faithful approach the altar as a group indiscriminately. It pertains to the Pastors prudently and firmly to correct such an abuse.

RS 83 speaks of indiscrimination on the part of a group. It seems this is more difficult to diagnose accurately than in individual cases. I’m sure many people remark on the seemingly callous approach of bishops to administration. How can they celebrate Mass?

That said, I think the ideal approach is to present various ways for lay people to engage the Mass and be engaged by grace. Positive examples. Plus hospitality, preaching, and music that assist and do not detract.

A point of duty for pastors:

[84.] Furthermore when Holy Mass is celebrated for a large crowd – for example, in large cities – care should be taken lest out of ignorance non-Catholics or even non-Christians come forward for Holy Communion, without taking into account the Church’s Magisterium in matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline. It is the duty of Pastors at an opportune moment to inform those present of the authenticity and the discipline that are strictly to be observed.

Cities? Suburbs more needed in the West, I would think.

Catholic ministers are aware of norms for who receives:

[85.] Catholic ministers licitly administer the Sacraments only to the Catholic faithful, who likewise receive them licitly only from Catholic ministers, except for those situations for which provision is made in can. 844 §§ 2,3, and 4, and can. 861 § 2. [Cf. Code of Canon Law 844 § 1; Ecclesia de Eucharistia 45-46; cf. also Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the application of the principles and norms on ecumenism, La recherche de l’unité 130-131] In addition, the conditions comprising can. 844 § 4, from which no dispensation can be given, [Cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia 46] cannot be separated; thus, it is necessary that all of these conditions be present together.

The importance of the Sacrament of Penance is outlined:

[86.] The faithful should be led insistently to the practice whereby they approach the Sacrament of Penance outside the celebration of Mass, especially at the scheduled times, so that the Sacrament may be administered in a manner that is tranquil and truly beneficial to them, so as not to be prevented from active participation at Mass. Those who are accustomed to receiving Communion often or daily should be instructed that they should approach the Sacrament of Penance at appropriate intervals, in accordance with the condition of each. [Cf. Eucharisticum Mysterium 35]

Tranquility is an interesting choice of words. Also interesting is the admonition for confessors to celebrate this sacrament in a way that is “truly beneficial.” Does this mean with an eye to continuing conversion? Toward the formation of stronger consciences? Toward a progressive approach that would see, over time, a community becoming more aware of sinfulness and attending to it with attention?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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