Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Liverpool's Confirmation policy & Fr Ray on Frequent Communion
Archbishop Kelly has spent decades arguing for early reception of Confirmation - He did it in Salford and now looks like he's universally got his own way in Liverpool [and in the process abrogated his Apostolic mandate and responsibility of guaranteeing he is the Sacrament's minister - but tell me what Bishop in this country hasn't these days?]
and the Catholic Herald asks 'Is it right' ?
Why do this?
I have absolutely no idea - every argument seems contrary to reason itself - just because traditional praxis was one way and taken from a distinctive theological perspective - a Child's journey into the fulness of the Church does not in any way have to correspond with an Adult Catechumens initiation - Pius X was right - there is nothing which should preclude a child from receiving the Blessed sacrament once they are aware of what it is.
But ++Kelly's backwards thinking [and it truly is an enforcement of a paradigm - like forcing a square peg into a round hole - just so it conforms to the homogeneity of 'adults and children must go through the same process'] leaves us bereft of so much tradition and the Catholic socio-cultural sacralising of a child's initiation into adulthood.
It's like pulling down the eiffel tower to make an eiffel tower visitor's centre!
Now Fr Ray Blake [my hero!] comments on this here ; but adds further comments on the issue of Frequent Communion
It's a good read - but I think he's very, very wrong ; and is an inadvertent reluctant victim of being educated in an age of revisionism regarding reception of the Blessed Sacrament throughout Church History. I may be mistaken but I'm still astounded at the amount of damage caused from the inundation of urban myths invented by modernists and opportunistic reprobates in the sixties and seventies to justify their deplorable activities and positions. Chaos ensued and the faithful were misled. God forgive them.
So I'll re-post here what I wrote there: Please feel free to disagree!
I don't understand this argument:
The so-called 'rupture' argument is specious.
It's backwards thinking.
Pius X was childlike - and possessed the truthful simplicity inherent within it - so it was only natural for him to address the issue on a fundamental objective level.
Holy Communion is precluded solely to those in a state of mortal sin, of ongoing scandal or of ignorance - those unworthy to approach the altar and those unable to sincerely utter the 'Amen' - so axiomatically there is NOTHING to prevent a Child's reception of communion once they are aware of what it truly is!
Yes canonically and ecclesiastically Confirmation is an initiation of those who have achieved the age of discretion - but in a western world which has introduced socio-cultural extension of childhood into a phenomena two to three times the length of its 'traditional' period
[think of the local student protests where 'children' in their twenties were dropped off by their parents with packed lunches, bottles of water and when the police kettled them the parents flooded the police switchboards with reprimands and demanding to know when their children will be home? Before the second world war 14 yr old boys were working men] ;
The age of discretion and accountability are now no longer congruent with the age of responsibility and independence - it is unjust and unworthy of us to initiate those who are not truly able to acknowledge, affirm and dedicate their lives to their baptismal duties and responsibilities.
The 'soldier of Christ' perspective may be a late arrival - but it accentuates the very nature of entering freely and responsibly into the Pentecostal Mystery and mission. ++Kelly's 'appeal to tradition and theology' falls at this point.
The repeated practice itself has complemented, supplemented and vindicated the overflowing graces and living symbolism and accentuated witness - what might not necessarily have possessed that which was a compounded initiation rite has now taken up that mantle by Catholic praxis - and nothing which is resultantly good, pure and true should ever be restricted
- We MUST agree with Aquinas that where the Holy Spirit exercises grace is His Domain - and the exigents and accidentals which enter History are parts of divine providence - we are guided, moulded by it; and we are forbidden from countering it if it neither acts contrarily or limits fulfilment to its ultimate end.
When a Spiritual initiation rite coalesces with the socio-cultural initiation into adulthood [inadvertently accentuating the classical communal initiation - the Judaic Barmitzvah, the Roman manly gown, the Greek mentoring, the hindu 'second birth' etc]
and thus the inherent dignity, symbolism and beauty of it becomes accentuated on so many levels ?
It becomes not merely commendable - but a gracious 'accident' - Christianity has a tradition of sacralising the pagan and the limited grasps towards the eternal; why should it not involve itself within that which invites it in?
A traditional rite of initiation becoming sacralised by being superseded and transformed into pentecostal initiation.
We liked it
We did it!!!
It was good.
So why change it for no other reason than...well?
What exactly is their reasoning?
..and why enforce an accountability and responsibility upon a child [something the sacramental grace demands] - and extracting an adult response from them - merely because they have arrived at the age of discretion ?
If it does not benefit - it should not be changed - and vice-versa.
That's what St Pius X understood!
Fr Ray - I'm afraid you're going to have to forgive me but I'm going to challenge your education on the issue of frequent Lay reception of Communion throughout the history of the Church . I too endured the historicism and revisionism in both seminary and in three universities that it was practically non-existent until 1906 [it's one of the modern liturgist's/professional laity/modernist academic's equivocations to justify the abolition of exposition of and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament]
It's not true!
For the 1st Thousand years of the Church Holy Communion was received frequently.
Only in the medieval and post-jansenist eras was it limited.
My battered copy of the 1608 Introduction to the Devout Life has St Francis de Sales constantly recommending daily communion.
Don't believe the revisionism that 'it was never thus' - It almost always was! And even when it wasn't the saints and doctors of the Church still recommended it.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia : On Frequent Communion throughout the ages