|My ghast has been flabbered too, but not over anything quite this cute.|
I am still trying to get my head around the implications in the following excerpt from Eugene Kennedy's latest post in the National Catholic Reporter. These recorded thoughts of a new JPII priest seem to be taking the marriage metaphor between Jesus and the Church a step too far. I'm not convinced this is the appropriate kind of imagery for the reception of communion. In fact, I'm convinced it's not at all appropriate. The excerpt takes up in the middle of Kennedy's post:
....I made notes as a quintessential set-decorator rambled through a Corpus Christi sermon, haranguing the parishioners about something they knew to be untrue: "You do not fulfill your Sunday obligation if you arrive after the Gospel or leave before the priest gives his last blessing. Remember what happened to the one who left the Last Supper early."
He then launched an attack as amazing as it was revealing, "We've been through an era where anything is good enough for Jesus so I want to remind you of some things. In the Eucharist Jesus is the bridegroom and you are members of the bride so that receiving the Eucharist is that moment at which the bridegroom and the bride complete their union. As members of the bride, how do you prepare? How do you dress? Do you arrive on time? Do you keep the fast? Do you chew gum? Do you take mints? Avoid these as penance for your sins." (Uhmmm, I can't say I've ever ever thought about the Eucharist as a sexual act. I was like, he couldn't have said this--could he?)
"Reverence over Preference every time ..."
"I want to remind you," he continued, "that it is a moral evil for non-Catholics to receive Communion. Don't violate their consciences by inviting them. Who can go to Communion? Baptized Catholics who have made their First Communion and who are in a state of grace. And the preferred way to receive Communion is on the tongue. Studies show that this is not only theologically correct but the most efficient way to receive. Receiving Communion in the hand is permitted only by a papal indult that the Holy Father could change at any time.
"You should bow when the person ahead of you bows. That is the fastest, most efficient way to do it. Bowing at the right time and receiving Communion on the tongue follows the principle of 'Reverence over Preference every time.'" He added more remarkable Mass etiquette, "You should only give the kiss of peace to the person next to you, not to anybody else and no moving around the church to give it to others."
He returned breathily to his extraordinary metaphor of the marital bed for receiving the Eucharist, "Communion defines who you are as spouses. The bridegroom has given himself to the bride. The priest receives first as the bridegroom in fulfillment of the wedding promises. So the bridegroom is within you. The priest then blesses the bride in the name of the Holy Trinity."
Parishioners gazed around uneasily, does he really mean that, does he know what he's saying? Yes to the first, No to the second, but he had already shifted subjects. "You should not hold hands," he commanded, "during the Our Father because the priest has his hands separated at the time and because the Our Father isn't about us." He gazed down dismissively, "You can hold hands any time outside church."
The parishioners handled all this as healthy experienced Catholics always do, letting the rant run its course and, when the moment arrived, passing the kiss of peace to everybody within reach.......
In the interests of keeping my occasionally snarky self from getting out of control, I will refrain from any comment on the mind blowing images that are racing through my mind. All I will say is this is definitely taking the bride/bridegroom image to heights it was hopefully never meant to go.
Perhaps this is a good a place as any to drop the whole subject, but I encourage readers of this blog to check out Kennedy's entire post. It's well worth the read, and unlike me, Kennedy did not muzzle his snarky side.