Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Feeling angry and betrayed!

August 2nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

We were 75 days without Holy Communion. Our Daily Bread! And it was like starving. It wasn’t just “like” starving, it WAS starving. Instead of being a nutrient to our souls in a time of great anxiety, a stabilizing force to our families and communities in their duress, and a strengthening of our own faith, the lack of the Body and Blood of Christ contributed to the pain, the misery, the affliction. We as Catholics were less than we could have been during such a difficult period due to our weakness from starving souls.

We blamed the Chinese for the Wuhan Virus, appropriately so. We blamed the transparent motives of obvious political forces trying to destroy our country. We blamed the talking media heads for often contradictory healthcare advice and for pushing blatant errors in their widely touted opinions. And of course we blamed the governor of NY for violating appropriate and long standing boundaries between Church and State, and for causing so many needless nursing home deaths. When we did blame the Church, it was mostly about our resenting bishops’ surrendering to civil directives and lack of courage among the clergy at every level, especially in the episcopacy. What we most credited and praised were the priests who risked themselves to anoint COVID patients, and front line medical responders and caretakers, who put themselves at risk to help others.

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13


Thomistic Institute Guidelines

Recently I peered into the Guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute at the USCCB’s request, virtually completely accepted by dioceses and parishes, and which continue to prevail at large. Up until now I have just accepted the party line of what we can and cannot do, but lately I decided to read those Guidelines myself. If you want to do the same, those Thomistic Guidelines can be found here, for version 1.2 (May 7th) :

My feeling anger and betrayal is piqued by pages 22-24, and which are technically still applicable since not revoked. The relevant material from just those particular pages is posted in blue under the continuation “Read the Rest…”  at the end of this post. The title says it all: Distribution of Holy Communion to Individuals outside of Mass (may be done while observing strict limits to the size of public gatherings).

Read the document yourself and see if it doesn’t convey to you the implication (at least) that we could have been receiving Holy Communion even though “Public Masses” were shut down. If so, it surely raises the question of why we were soul-starved for 75 days if at least an occasional Communion had been allowed. And, we could have then been receiving all those hosts in the Tabernacles of the parishes, when the edict against Public Mass came down on a Monday, following the usual Sunday consecration.  If indeed we could have received Communion, wasn’t that a better alternative than a priest consuming those hosts in private Masses over the first few weeks? Or worse, destroying those hosts and thus revealing a sacrilegious attitude toward the Real Presence? 

Why was the alternative of receiving Holy Communion not presented to us as a possibility during those 75 days of starving in the bunker?  I have no doubt there are and will be, now that time has passed, some ‘logical explanation’ that was hidden during the quarantine. Remember, the Thomistic Guidelines were released May 7, version 1.2. That was a few weeks before public Mass was reopened in most parishes. It also begs the question of what is in the earlier versions of the Thomistic Institute document, to which I have not yet found access. Finally, the entire matter should be considered within the context of the right (yes RIGHT) of the laity to the Sacraments, which is clearly stated in Canon Law and which was ignored profusely:



If one needs further clarification of those rights, consider Canon 212, part 2:

It is about NEED, and we certainly were needy! Looking at the May 7th Guidelines of the Thomistic Institute (and perhaps some of earlier date?), upon which the USCCB and diocesan implementations were based, we read how even during the recent times of suspended public Masses there was provision to receive Communion! The reception process for a group (10 at a time, group after group) is explained in the Appendix to the Guidelines, but there is no minimum number of recipients, so it appears priests could have given us individual Communion. But apparently they didn’t because either they didn’t want to, were ordered not to (the obedience thing), just didn’t know they could, didn’t adequately research the possibility on our behalf, or some other opaque reason of which we are unaware? And haven’t yet told us the truth or at least communicated reasons which could give us some comfort? When does pastoral need get considered? What about a lock-down of one thousand, two hundred and sixty days? This is an important matter because what has happened during this lock-down, from Church policy, to relationship with civil authorities, to communication with the Faithful, becomes the text book for the next lock-down, i.e. abandonment of the Eucharist for the Faithful in times of crisis, and so begs the need to focus on the issues. (This paragraph was revised for clarity/reposted.)

For those who intentionally withheld from their flocks the Holy Communion that could have been given, I believe they are gravely in violation of Canon Law and have failed in the virtues of courage and charity as well. I hope they will realize the seriousness of what has occurred, confess and begin again to fully care for souls. Otherwise the dilemma we now have to live with is compounded by non-repentance on one side, and feeling betrayed on the other.


Other Considerations

But I do not mean to paint all pastors and bishops with the same brush. There was heroism of heart as well, charity for those suffering the loss of what Christ Himself gave to us to sustain us in just such a trial as we endured. As I have spoken to people from a few parishes so far, as I prepared to write these words, most were denied — by not all! I now know a few names of priests who quietly communicated some souls who particularly suffered from the loss of the Eucharist. I say bravo for their courage and charity.

More important from a practical point of view is making sure, when the next virus strikes (The Book of Revelation prophesies multiple plagues), we are not denied what we need most, food for our souls. When I wrote the series of posts on “Sheltering in Place” I mentioned how indispensable it is to have a priest we can trust and who can care for our needs at such a difficult time. What I had not sufficiently considered was the need to have such a relationship PLUS minimal access to several priests, in case the one is lost to martyrdom, transfer, or just lost to fear or other pressures. I hope to learn more of the identity of those priests who were willing to communicate souls during those 75 days of starving, unabashedly for my own sake and always for the good of souls and the honor and glory of God . 

Elsewhere on CF I have raised the question if we the laity were being quarantined from our pastors, or our pastors were being quarantined from us. It is as if we just had a shakedown cruise to see if the ship holds together or it needs some rehabilitation, repair and refitting for the storm that lies ahead. What we found out, also about the civil agendae and now the emerging local persecutions, we needed to know. Now we need to do, promptly,  what is required to be seaworthy.

Meanwhile, I am still angry and feeling betrayed, but I’m working on it.

Click below to read the Appendix to the Thomistic Guidelines regarding Communion.




Appendix: Version 1.2 – May 7, 2020

Distribution of Holy Communion to Individuals outside of Mass (may be done
while observing strict limits to the size of public gatherings)

Even where there are very strict limits on public gatherings, it is possible to distribute Holy
Communion to individuals outside of Mass, as described below.. For example, a parish might
livestream a Mass, consecrate hosts for Holy Communion at that Mass, and then designate times
later in the day when the faithful could come to the church individually to receive Holy
Communion. The same procedure might be used when only small numbers are able to be
present for a public Mass — for those who cannot attend due to the restricted size of the
assembly, distributing Holy Communion at a later time might provide some measure of
consolation and spiritual strength to the faithful who were not admitted to Mass.

Attending Mass in person is obviously far preferable. This is not meant to be a substitute for
attending Mass, but a stop-gap measure in a time of serious disruption.

-Only a small number of the faithful are admitted to the church at any one time
(under current restrictions, this might be less than 8 or less than 10 persons).
– Station ushers outside of the church to control the flow of traffic. Ask the faithful
to remain in their cars until it is their turn to stand in line.
– Designate a waiting area outside of the church where the faithful can line up,
maintaining a 6-foot distance from each other at all time.
– A small table should be placed at each communion station, with an unfolded
corporal and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
– The priest (and any other ministers) use hand sanitizer immediately before
beginning to distribute Holy Communion. They may also don a surgical mask or
cloth face covering.
-Allow into the church at any time only the number permitted by local health
authorities (e.g., no more than 10 persons at a time).
– Place tape on the floor of the aisle of the church to indicate where the faithful
should stand before receiving Holy Communion. This will help ensure proper
physical distancing.
– After a cohort of the faithful enter and take their places in line, the priest conducts
the Rite for Holy Communion Outside of Mass , choosing the option for the short
form of the readings (e.g., Jn 6:54-55, Jn 14:6, Jn 14:23, or the other options set
forth in that Rite.
– As provided in that Rite, he holds up a single host and says: “ Behold the Lamb of
God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to
the supper of the Lamb. ” He then leads the people in saying: “ Lord, I am not
worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul
shall be healed .”
– The faithful should lower any face coverings before coming forward for
Holy Communion.
– Holy Communion may not be distributed with gloves, nor may it be
received in the hand if a member of the faithful is wearing gloves.

– Hand hygiene is effective against the virus. In these circumstances,
gloves are not needed if the priest performs hand hygiene.
– The faithful receive Holy Communion in the normal way. If the priest senses that
his fingers have touched the communicant, he should pause, place the ciborium on
the corporal, and use hand sanitizer. (He may also arrange for an ablution cup to
be on the table, and may purify his fingers in the ablution cup before using hand
sanitizer.) He may repeat this process as often as he judges necessary during the

distribution of Holy Communion. It is not necessary, however, for him to use
hand sanitizer between each communicant, unless he makes actual contact. (For
communion on the tongue, see below.)

-Communion on the tongue vs. in the hand: We have carefully considered the
question of Communion on the tongue vs. Communion in the hand. Given the
Church’s existing guidance on this point (see Redemptionis Sacramentum , no.
92), and recognizing the differing judgments and sensibilities that are involved,
we believe that, with the additional precautions listed here, it is possible to
distribute on the tongue without unreasonable risk.
-Opinions on this point are varied within the medical and scientific
community. Some believe Communion on the tongue involves an elevated
and, in the light of all the circumstances, an unreasonable risk; others
disagree. If Communion on the tongue is provided, we recommend at this
time either a separate communion station for those receiving Communion
on the tongue or that they receive at the end of the distribution of Holy
Communion, and we suggest that the minister use hand sanitizer after each
communicant who receives on the tongue.
– After receiving Holy Communion, the faithful move towards the exit, to another
area marked with tape on the floor to indicate proper spacing. A brief period of
silence should ensue to permit each person to say a prayer of thanksgiving.
– The priest then offers a concluding prayer as provided in the Rite. For example:
“ Let us pray. O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a
memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred
mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in
ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the
Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever .”
– He then gives a blessing in the normal way and dismisses the people with: “ Go in
the peace of Christ .”
– The group exits the church by a separate door, and the usher lets in the next group
of the faithful.


Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-