The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“That isn’t a cookie”: a true story

With the pontiff’s recent decision on communion still freshly in our minds, a true story:

One of our priests today came back into the sacristy after communion, tossed his stole on the counter and fumed, “Did you see that? Did you see that? A little kid comes up to me for communion so I waved him away and his mother follows him, takes the host, and as they’re headed back to the pew she breaks it in two to give him half! I ran into the pew and told her to give it back. ‘That isn’t a cookie,’ I told her. These people! Unchurched! They’re all unchurched!”

He was beside himself.

“Well,” I cracked, “after everyone starts receiving at the railing again, on the tongue, you won’t be seeing THAT anymore…”

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posted June 29, 2008 at 8:17 pm

While I was going through RCIA our priest told us much the same thing happened to him, although he was unable to chase down the mother and son. Even a week later he was still aghast.In the way-back days a principal job of the deacon was to act as a Defender of the Eucharist – in part because of acts just like this. The more things change…

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Jeff Miller

posted June 29, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I am not very optimistic we will set that anytime soon here and that the indult for Communion in the hand will continue. Bishop’s conferences will still be allowed to to choose Communion in the hand regardless of the Pope’s leadership on this.Also considering that new Churches don’t have Communion rails and they have been ripped out of ones that have.I bet most people would be surprised to find that Communion on the tongue is the ordinary way and the Communion in the hand requires an indult.

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posted June 29, 2008 at 10:10 pm

I think Communion in the hand is on its way out. Eventually, the indult will go away. Churches without altar rails can use the first row of pews for this purpose until they can have a more permanent solution installed.Dave

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A Simple Sinner

posted June 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm

It will be none-too-soon when it finally DOES happen!

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posted June 30, 2008 at 4:45 am

A family member who is an EM told of a father giving his child the Host and when the EM stopped him saying, “if I don’t give it to him, he’ll make a scene.”We do have our share of problems and the church needs to answer for 40 years of bad catechesis.

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Deacon Alex Breviario

posted June 30, 2008 at 6:53 am

While I fully understand and wholeheartedly believe in the true presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, there are times when things are NOT within our control, as in the case of a parent who decides to share what they themselves have received with another…At the same time, I also fully understand and truly believe in the sacredness of the mass which is also being celebrated at the same exact moment…Tough decision to make and I am also somewhat concerned about what the people of God will see and experience at that same exact moment in time… Hmmmmm…Maybe we should just forego the distribution of the Eucharist for a day, a week, a month, or even a year until the people of God get it right!I don’t believe that would be what our Lord intended when he said “take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you…”I do believe we all need some guidance from the Holy Spirit on this particular subject…Peace…

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posted June 30, 2008 at 11:32 am

What was the priest aghast at:1. The host was broken? But doesn’t the priest break the host during the consecration? What’s the difference?2. The parent shared the host with a child? If the child is too young, the priest in question and the parish leaders should redouble their efforts with parish services to help educate the youngsters. “Let the children come to me,” to paraphrase Jesus. Instead of throwing a fit, like a child, he and others should rush out to greet the person after Mass and being a relationship with them.

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steve p

posted June 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm

“…so I waved him away…”Surely there are better ways of dealing with an eager and ignorant child as the assembly approaches for Communion.With our own children, I am always grateful for the priest or Extraordinary EM who pauses for a very brief blessing of the child. I saw a visiting priest once, who didn’t know that particular parish custom, gently shove a child aside on the shoulder as she approached for a blessing. It was an awkward and unfortunate misunderstanding.Of course the mother does need to be talked to, but again there are more effective ways than accosting her in the pew. I’d be surprised to see them back in a Catholic church again. I somehow don’t see our Lord saying, “Good riddance to those ‘unchurched’ folks!”The priest’s indignation is understandable, but needs to be redirected more effectively.Steve

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Steve Cavanaugh

posted July 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

“Surely there are better ways of dealing with an eager and ignorant child as the assembly approaches for Communion.”There are…for example, the parents and godparents could do what they swore before God to do at the child’s baptism, and could teach the child the faith, including the rituals that the Church uses. But, if that type of ignorance is in evidence, it’s time to forget lectionary preaching and preach to the parents about what they need to be doing. Sometimes I think that our preachers use the normative lectionary preaching ideal to avoid having to bring up difficult topics that simply must be spoken of to people.

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posted July 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Steve P is right. Priests who wave children away (or shove them!) are jerks, and nothing more. Those who leave the Church in response to being treated that way are not at fault; it’s the priests who will answer.

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posted July 1, 2008 at 3:53 pm

All this talk about placing the blame on the priest alone makes me wonder … what would St. Tarsicius think of this conversation? The priest is guilty of a lack of charity but the mother is guilty of, at the least, utter disrespect of the sacrament.I was once told “you can’t hurt Jesus in the Sacrament”. No, you can’t “hurt” Him. But you sure can insult Him, and when you insult Him you hurt everyone around you. Is that an over-reaction? Ask St. Tarsicius.

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A Simple Sinner

posted July 1, 2008 at 5:02 pm

“Those who leave the Church in response to being treated that way are not at fault; it’s the priests who will answer.”I am sorry, having gone to Jesuit school and lived in a diocese that was lethargic on a good day in its pastoral praxis (and orthodoxy) I can name two dozen priests that – if by rights rudeness is reason to leave the church – would give me liscense to NEVER look back.I call upon the priests to demonstrate pastoral wisdom, I call upon the laity to understand that great mystery of Faith that is the sacrament of Holy Orders – it is an office held by fallen men. Their bad behavior alone is a rather weak excuse to abandon Holy Mother Church.

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posted July 2, 2008 at 11:39 am

“Those who leave the Church in response to being treated that way are not at fault…”Sorry Michael, but the people who leave have made the decision not the priest – I agree with frival and ss.It’s no different than leaving the Church because of a handfull of abusive priests…not a good decision…”…the mother is guilty of, at the least, utter disrespect of the sacrament.”At least! And I won’t even get into the new age, do-what-you-like,I don’t have to do that, disobedience.Just last Sunday, I caught a child walking back from Communion with the Eucharist cupped in one hand and hiding it with the other. I would not have even known this but for the fact that she started displaying it to other kids she was with as she rounded the corner. As gently as I could, I asked her to eat the Body of Christ (which she promptly did)and noticed where she was sitting. After mass I, again, gently, approached the “responsible adult” who brought her to mass just to let her know what had happened. Her response was to excuse it away, like what’s the big deal……..YIKES…Peace to all

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steve p

posted July 2, 2008 at 12:13 pm

knowing the lifespan of blog comments, I don’t know that this will reach the intended audience, but I didn’t say that any priest is a jerk.Yes, the personality and faults of a priest are poor excuses to leave the Church. On the other hand, individuals like this mother and child whose catechesis seems so shallow, likely already have a very tenuous connection to the community. A more patient and pastorally sensitive approach is needed, to at least let them know we care about them AND the sacrament. Most of us make decisions with a lot flimsier excuses…Steve P

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