Tell it to SunStar: Observations of a congenital sinner like you

·3 min read

Changes are inevitable—even in the Roman Catholic Church. Over the years, the Church’s ways have gone through changes that somehow affected the faithful’s attitude towards the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Not too long ago, we wore our selected formal attire to church, but now, even those who are well-off, at times wear shorts, sandals or sleeveless shirts to the Holy Mass. The women from yesteryears wore the customary veil, but now only a few wear them, noticeably the older women. Some women now wear dresses with plunging necklines, midriff tops, revealing dresses (common in a wedding entourage). These kinds of revealing dresses are inappropriate to wear in the house of God.

Other churchgoers wear expensive jewelry, perhaps, to attract attention from other people or to simply show off their affluence. Some also step out to smoke during the homily or tinker with their smartphones or gossip, such that they don’t even notice that the mass has ended. Most don’t even understand what the word “amen” means and surmise that it just signifies an end of a prayer.

One important part of the mass is the Holy Communion. Instead of kneeling during its progress, some churchgoers simply sit, talk, look elsewhere, watch and comment on those who pass by them. Is this how we adore and show our love and respect to the one true God who has given us life and possessions?

On the other hand, the Holy See has expressed concern and preference for Spiritual Communion and has advocated a prayer for this because of the ongoing pandemic. But then, if you earnestly believe that the Holy Eucharist is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, transformed during the Act of Consecration, shall we receive Him with our sordid hands of sin, sans confession, repentance, contrition and penance? Only the priest has the privilege to touch the Holy Host. A paten is even held by an altar server to catch falling parts of the Eucharist during communion. This has been the tradition for more than 15 centuries.

Touching the Holy Host is sacrilege in every sense of the word, and this has been taught in the elementary and intermediate Catholic schools. Receiving communion by our hands during this pandemic cannot change the fact that touching it with our hands is still sacrilege. Necessity is a poor substitute for religious propriety. The Lateran Council, to my knowledge, has not decreed this and the perennial practice of an illogical notion won’t make it right. I can’t help but wonder how a lay minister or pastor without the Holy Orders and Ordination can possibly administer communion. However, it has been done here and elsewhere through lay ministers or extraordinary ministers of communion. They are supposedly only to be called upon in very large congregations. Moreover, how certain are we that our hands are virus free?

In ancient England, a squire who received knighthood from the king or queen knelt before the monarch as he’s tapped on the shoulders with a sword, signifying nobility.

Comparing this act to the way some of us Catholics receive the sacred sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we receive it by just standing, which for me shows irreverence. To genuflect before His sacred presence in the altar is, for some, a sort of forgotten practice. Gone is the act when all must kneel when receiving God’s final blessing through the priest.

There are others who are in a rush to leave the church after mass. Perhaps, they do not want to miss the gathering with their friends.

Do we head to church by force of habit, rendezvous with someone or to display a useless faked veneration? Or are we caught in an insurmountable dilemma that we seek God as a last resort?

The Shepherd must be disheartened by his flock!

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