Another Bad Sign: A Pope Who Will Not Kneel
Before the Eucharistic Lord
by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 31, 2016
On May 26 a Eucharistic procession presided over by Francis took place at the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome. Before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar was a velvet kneeler for the Pope’s use. Francis declined to kneel upon it. He stood before the Blessed Sacrament exposed while priests and altar boys around him knelt in reverence.
In fact, Francis has consistently declined to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament — the Eucharistic Lord — in any context. Not even when he confects the Eucharist himself at the altar; not even during his first Mass as Pope in the Sistine Chapel. Yet he readily kneels to receive the “blessing” of babbling charismatics and to wash and kiss the feet of non-Catholics, including Muslim women, during the rather ludicrous foot-washing ritual with which he has replaced the traditional Holy Thursday mandatum.
Quoting Francis’ predecessor, writing when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, the courageous Antonio Socci openly poses the question to which Catholics the world over would like an honest answer: “Father Bergoglio [as Francis calls himself], do you have a problem with the Holy Eucharist? Do you not know that in Christian spirituality the ‘inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical’?” (In this regard, Ratzinger noted a curious detail in all depictions of the devil: the absence of knees for kneeling.)
Socci here recalls “the disquieting affirmations relative to the Eucharist in your [Francis’] visit to the Lutherans in Rome.” On that occasion Francis suggested to a Lutheran woman that the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation was a mere “interpretation or explanation” in contrast with the Lutheran view, and that she should “talk to the Lord” about whether she could receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church along with her Catholic husband.
Then too, as Socci notes, there is the direct attack on the integrity of the Blessed Sacrament, under the guise of “mercy,” via the suggestion in Amoris Laetitia that in “certain cases” the divorced and “remarried,” who live in a condition Our Lord Himself condemned as adultery, could be admitted to Holy Communion, thus authorizing blatant sacrilege on a mass scale.
In this regard one must recall the report that Francis told an Argentinian woman “married” to a divorced man that she should ignore the advice of her parish priest and receive Holy Communion at a different parish because “a little bread and wine does no harm” — an account neither Francis nor the Vatican has denied. (Father Lombardi’s equivocal and evasive "response", presented as if it were a denial — a technique in which the Vatican Press Office specializes — was effectively a confirmation of the account.)
What are we to make of a Pope who simply refuses to do what any believing Catholic does instinctively: kneel in humble submission before the Eucharistic Lord? We are confronted here with yet another sign of a papacy like no other before it, signifying a new and perhaps terminal stage in the ecclesial crisis preceding its dramatic resolution — a drama that would not be without calamitous consequences for both the Church and the world.
Thus we must join with Socci in expressing the urgency of “intensifying prayers for Pope Bergoglio: that he might decide finally to kneel, with his knees and with his heart, before the Lord. For the good of his soul and for the good of the Church.”