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Cardinal Sarah on Profanation of the Holy Eucharist

John Paul II, No Matter How Weak,
Would Always Kneel Before the Blessed Sacrament
(Someone else never does)

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 26, 2018

An article at reports the good news that Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has written the preface to a new book by Don Federico Bortoli entitled “The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey” [La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali].

The preface is even more explosive than the book’s exposition of the history of this horrendous abuse of the Blessed Sacrament. After observing the reverent manner in which the Fatima seers, kneeling, received Holy Communion from the Angel of Peace in the Spring of 1916, Cardinal Sarah notes that the abuse of receiving Communion in the hand while standing, introduced after Vatican II, reflects nothing less than “the most insidious diabolical attack… trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it.” 

This attack on the Blessed Sacrament, the Cardinal observes, continues today:

“Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)”

Communion in the hand “undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species… [I]nattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma.”

Cardinal Sarah asks: “Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue.”

In this regard, the Cardinal notes the example of John Paul II, who, “[d]espite being exhausted and without strength (...) always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to kneel and stand up alone. He needed others to bend his knees and to get up. Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.” (Which is no defense of the shocking mistreatment of the Blessed Sacrament at the “World Youth Day” papal Masses during John Paul II’s pontificate.)

In contrast, one cannot but think of the example of the current Pope, who pointedly declines to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament during Mass or kneel before the Sacrament during Eucharistic Adoration, even when everyone around him is doing so, even at Fatima

The excuse that Francis has difficulty kneeling is utterly belied by such counter-examples as kneeling when being “prayed over” by charismatics, kissing the feet of Muslims, reverencing an Anglican shrine, or spontaneously going to Confession in front of the cameras (kneeling without difficultly on a hard wooden kneeler and then rising easily on his own).

Cardinal Sarah’s preface also asks: “Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God Himself offers us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ?” 

Can Pope Francis not know that these remarks must have been written with him in view?

Back in October of last year, following the issuance of Francis’ Magnum Principium, which appears to give bishops greater latitude in “translating” — that is, mangling — the sacred texts, Cardinal Sarah issued a letter stating that the Vatican still retained final authority over local liturgical translations as shown by Benedict XVI’s directives, which, after nearly forty years of false translations afflicting the Church, finally mandated correction of such egregious errors as “for you and for all” when Our Lord said “for you and for many” respecting the salvific graces of the Eucharist as applied to individuals. 

Sarah was promptly rebuked personally by Francis in an open letter which essentially demanded that he publish a retraction of his commentary on all the websites that had featured it. It appears the Cardinal is still “working” on the retraction.  Let us hope he does not finish it before this calamitous pontificate is over. 

And let us pray that the next Pope will possess Cardinal Sarah’s understanding of the infinite dignity of the Blessed Sacrament and the need to repel the devil’s attacks upon it in our time by restoring due reverence in its reception in Holy Communion, in front of the tabernacle where Our Lord is reposed, and in exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.