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Bishop Morlino Calls for All to Receive Communion on Tongue While Kneeling

For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear. –St. Bernard of Clairveux

Bishop Morlino at the 2017 Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.

On April 11, 2017, the Diocese of Madison joined with Bishop Morlino at the Chrism Mass. It was a glorious evening, with many of our priests in attendance.

During Bishop Morlino’s homily, he alluded to a recent March 31 address by Cardinal Sarah, the “Vatican Liturgy Chief” (Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). In his address, Cardinal Sarah was forthright in calling for a recognition of “the serious and profound crisis” which, since the Council, has affected the liturgy by placing man and not God at the center of worship:

“The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice, as identical to the act performed once and for all by Jesus Christ, making present the Sacrifice of the Cross in a non-bloody manner, throughout the Church, through different ages, places, peoples and nations,” he said.

“There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life. But the Holy Mass is not a diversion. It is the living sacrifice of Christ who died on the cross to free us from sin and death, for the purpose of revealing the love and the glory of God the Father,” he added.

The notion that the Church is in crisis is not new. Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”

In his Chrism Mass homily, Bishop Morlino highlighted the fact that the Catholic Church is very good at social issues at every level – Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes and individuals – but, ours is a crisis of faith, revealed by less than 25% of Catholics attending Mass any longer (less than 5% in many parts of Europe). Where we are failing is in a lack of fervor in our faith, Bishop stated. This is most evident in how we, as priests, are offering the Mass, and how the faithful are praying the Mass.

Bishop Morlino went on to speak about “actuosa participatio” as being more about “actual participation” than “active participation.” Bishop lamented that we seem to feel everyone needs to be busy “doing something” at the Mass, when it is more important that we are deeply contemplating what is being done at the Mass … that God is made Present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This should stir our soul and fill us with awe and wonder. But, are we too busy to take notice?

A year ago, Bishop called for all tabernacles to be in church and in the center of the sanctuary. Last Fall, as part of the Bishop’s overall plan to add sacred beauty and reverence to all Masses in his diocese, Bishop Morlino encouraged all of his priests to strongly consider Cardinal Sarah’s call to offer the Mass ad orientem. Bishop Morlino then announced he would, from now on, be offering all of his Masses ad orientem.

Now, during last evening’s Chrism Mass, Bishop Morlino concluded his homily by appealing to all of his priests in his diocese to strongly encourage their parishioners to begin receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling, beginning this September.

Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!


Originally published at Updated and reprinted with permission.

70 thoughts on “Bishop Morlino Calls for All to Receive Communion on Tongue While Kneeling”

  1. Thanks and praise to Jesus Christ!! It’s an Easter gift. Adding this bishop to my prayer list. Wish I could live there.

  2. The only part I’m confused by is “beginning this September”… why not now? Surely, one doesn’t need an altar rail to receive kneeling. I receive that way every time I assist at an ordinary form mass, and never at an altar rail.

    • Some parishes are so bad they need some time to prepare the congregation for this. I once attended a mass in the Madison diocese on a trip there and it was… well I had to wonder if I had actually been to Mass or not. And this was back long before I had found tradition… I had only been Catholic a few months. Taking some time during the summer to catechize the faithful is a prudential, pastoral decision that is probably wise.

    • Bishop wants to respect his priests, so he gives them time to implement. Also, and I should have added this to the article, he wants all Catholic schools and religious ed. programs to begin teaching the children to receive this way.

      • Thank you for ALL you do Fr Heilman. And I am so happy to see this article posted in quite a few news feeds. We need to hear the good news to keep our prayer arms up and to keep fighting for our Lord and our beautiful Faith, thank you!!
        PS- I just received the Catholic “dog tag” scapular medal I ordered for my son’s Confirmation from your gear shop, awesome!

        • Great suggestion. I have difficulty with balance (foot numbness due to diabetic neuropathy throws me off) and very arthritic knees, so I’d fall over if I attempted to kneel “freestyle” (i.e., without being in the pew or at a kneeler).

          But at weekend Masses at our parish, we have four “communion stations” (for the Body of the Lord), or eight (four for the Body, four for the Precious Blood). Not conducive to the progression of communicants along a communion rail, as used to happen in every church around the world. Oh, for the “good ol’ days.”

          In the Charlotte, NC, region, we have some very large parishes — one is over 28,000 people, last I heard! The churches built here in the last 20 years are cavernous auditorium-style places with multiple aisles and multiple sections of pews along the aisles. In one large parish, there is a ciborium-bearer and a chalice-bearer for each of perhaps 12 “sections.” Restoring the communion rail — and Holy Communion under the appearance of bread alone — would be nothing short of revolutionary!

          It seems like even the church architects conspired to erase the possibility of receiving Holy Communion reverently. (And, of course, that’s what happened.)

          Dear Lord, please being us more shepherds like Bishop Morlino!

    • I’m a little older than most of you and I *need* something to hold onto when I kneel (and rise). One nearby church that began to offer the TLM and did not have a communion rail used the first row of pews as the altar rail. It works well.

    • you need an altar rail if ur old, arthritic and all that comes with old age. its getting up without the support of the altar rail that is a big problem. You possibly have all this ahead of you.

  3. Wait for the blow-back on this from the usual suspects. Like ISIS, the liturgical terrorists go crazy when they discover that after 50+ years of their scorched earth policy, pockets of resistance still remain.

    Sadly, the vandalism…..excuse me……”liturgical renewal”, which took place after Vatican II, involved ripping out altar rails in most churches which renders difficult the reception of Communion kneeling.

    • I know of two parishes in my diocese which provide kneelers for the communicants. One of those now says Mass ad orientem, and both have only altar boys (with patens for communion).

      • Hi Steve – You got it, Willy Wonka it is! And he supposedly stole it from Shakespeare. The Good Lord works in mysterious ways.

          • Hi Steve – That is also quite Profound. I have to consider at least the possibility that the Everlasting Gobstopper was my first insight into eternity. And that eternity might not be a place of unbridled bliss if one tries to go their own way – “Willy Wonka says you would break your teeth if you tried to chew a gobstopper”, wise words for the rebellious spirits to remember. I have the strange feeling the first female deacon, might have had a poster of Veruca Salt in her room as a youth – “I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now.”

          • Hi Douglas – Better those Bishops hear those words on earth than on the Day of the Final Judgment.

  4. This is great, but I hope he can do more. Like banning altar girls. Right now, the diocese of Lincoln is the only diocese in the country that has banned altar girls for the entire diocese.

        • Sorry for the slow response time. I don’t have a problem per se with the permanent diaconate itself. I don’t think St. Stephen and other first deacons were transitional deacons, I think their office was understood to be permanent. I may one day begin the process of discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate myself.

          However, when I was discerning priesthood, my spiritual director warned me about the “permanent diaconate compromise” whereby a man discerning a call to the priesthood might decide to just get married and become a deacon. I had people who would tell me I could just do that. Even after I got married, people who knew I had been discerning what tell me, “well you can always be a deacon now.”

          So, I do not think it is inaccurate to say that a lot of men who otherwise would go to the seminary and be ordained to the priesthood become permanent deacons instead. Thus, it is no surprise that a diocese that has no permanent diaconate has a higher rate of priestly vocations.

          • Hm… This brings several thoughts to mind:

            To encourage (prospective or current) seminarians to leave, marry, and — later — become “permanent” deacons:
            (1) yields fewer celibate priests, and
            (2) creates a pool of what are, under Pope Francis, now being proposed as “viri probativ” — candidates for a married *priesthood*.

            Both effects suggest even further protestantizing of the Catholic Church.

            Dear Mary, Mother of the Church, and St. Joseph, Defender of the Church, intercede before our High Priest, Jesus Christ, on behalf of the men called to the Catholic priesthood!

          • From what you’re writing, it appears that you have an issue with the permanent diaconate as an institution beyond its apparent ubeqitiousness

          • I don’t “have an issue with the permanent diaconate as an institution beyond its apparent ubequitousness [sic].” I have nothing against the permanent diaconate. Perhaps I got into the middle of a conversation between you and Martha?

            [To recap:
            — You noted that the Diocese of Lincoln doesn’t have a permanent diaconate.
            — Martha responded that she thought that was a good thing.
            — I asked Martha why she thought having no permanent diaconate was a good thing.
            — You responded that, during your discernment for the priesthood, you were “warned about the ‘permanent diaconate compromise’,” and that “a lot of men who otherwise would go to the seminary and be ordained to the priesthood become permanent deacons instead. Thus, it is no surprise that a diocese that has no permanent diaconate has a higher rate of priestly vocations.”]

            My concern — about “protestantizing” the ordained ministry by encouraging marriage, *then* diaconate and *then* (in the future) a married (non-celibate) priesthood — may have been a non sequitur to your comments. My apologies.

          • I don’t think it’s a non sequitur. I think it’s a legitimate concern that more than a few people have

          • I believe the term for married deacons is “continence,” but I don’t know if that means complete abstinence from conjugal relations.

            Permanent deacons who are unmarried at, or widowed after, ordination cannot marry and are to maintain celibacy.

          • That’s a matter of controversy. I believe technically yes, at least the night before Mass. But I don’t think this is followed in practice

    • Fr. Jeffrey F. Kirby, STD, in his mid 40s, is our brilliant and reverent parish administrator at Our Lady of Grace in Lancaster, SC, for now. (An up-and-comer with a high profile, publishing in print and on video.) We are so blessed to have him! Our parish was formally established by the Diocese just last year (nine years after our founding) and has begun growing by leaps and bounds, as word gets out. Fr. Kirby an inspiration to all of us, and especially to our young men and boys!

      At this evening’s Mass of the Lord’s Shepherd, there were TWELVE (count ’em!) altar BOYS ranging from about age 8 to about age 15, in black cassocks, white surplices, black socks and dress shoes, almost perfectly choreographed — so well trained! Young homeschooled children attend daily Mass, and the boys are encouraged to become altar boys.

      Our parish church is less than a year old and, alas, has no communion rail. I plan to make a suggestion that the altar boys use patens and that there be an altar boy for every person who distributes Holy Communion. There aren’t enough altar boys to assist every “extraordinary minister of Holy Communion” at every weekend Mass, but it’d be progress if at least the priest and deacon were assisted by altar boys with patens…

      Ah, a girl can dream, can’t she?!

        • Mark my words: Fr. Kirby is on his way to becoming a great light in the Catholic Church. It’s a privilege to serve with him, and to be served by him. Great homilist, too!

      • Are saying that when our Lord is being “taken”, because that is what it is when one stands and takes our Lord like a potato chip, that there is no paten, to safeguard our Lord?

        • [I’m sorry, cs. I don’t see where I wrote, Our Lord is being “taken” [like a potato chip].

          In the usual manner, these days, the minister of Holy Communion presents the sacred Host and says, “Body of Christ.” At the same time, the person *receiving* Holy Communion usually bows, says “Amen,” and cradles one hand in the other. The minister then places the sacred Host in the hand. Or, the minister of Holy Communion places the sacred Host on the communicant’s outstretched tongue.

          As to the paten: No, as the priest, deacon, and EMOHCs distribute Holy Communion, none of them has an altar “server” with a paten. If a sacred Host is “fumbled,” Jesus falls to the floor. The minister “palms” the sacred Host for post-liturgy disposal in the sacrarium, which is in the vesting sacristy.

          However, my husband and I have witnessed one elderly gentleman who actually reaches up and *TAKES* the sacred Host from the minister’s fingers with his own fingers — “like a potato chip” — and puts it in his own mouth. Quite shocking, but I can’t believe that this gentleman is “all there.”

          • Yes, using Eucharistic Ministers greatly increases the chance of the sacred Host falling to the floor, especially due to not having an altar server holding a paten, although I have known parishes where Pastor’s did have the altar servers hold a paten for all that gave out Communion to safeguard the Host and shouldn’t that be a priority?

          • The Host is Jesus, God made Flesh. I don’t understand how a priest could give The Eucharistic without a patten? I don’t understand how a ” Eucharistic Minister”, believes he or she is able to touch our Lord without consecrated hands? And how a priest believes that as well, tells me more about how he views his priesthood.

            So many priests want to be friends with their parishioners. They want them to “feel” as though they are priests as well. Actually, the laity does share in the priesthood of Christ, but not during the Sacrifice of the Mass.

            Here is what the priest says as one receives our Lord kneeling at the altar rail in Latin, notice the difference:

            “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” As the priest says the “Amen” at the end of the prayer the communicant opens his or her mouth as the priest places the Sacred Host on his or her tongue.

        • As I said, I think this was ALL DONE to marginalize Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. No kneeling to receive the King of Kings, no taking Our Lord on the tongue, but in our unworthy hands, no Patten to protect Him. Abominable.

      • The altar boys definitely should be using patens. Hope that happens. I cringe when I hear EMHCs being used at weekend Masses. I hope they can be phased out. There are different ways a priest can do this. I don’t know how many assistant priests are at your parish, but if you have a least one, the pastor and assistant priest, along with any deacons, can help each other out during their Masses. The second priest doesn’t have to be present for the entire Mass, just show up for distribution in alb and stole.

        • We have one priest, whom we share with a small parish in another county, and one deacon. God bless him, soon after Fr. Kirby arrived last summer, our total Masses per week went from three to eight, and confession time more than doubled, and he does all of these.

          Father also trains the altar boys, leads adult studies at three or four times a week (including one between Masses on Sunday), and teaches theology at Belmont Abbey College (more than an hour away).

          However, even in the largest parishes in Charlotte (with three or four priests and two or three deacons), there are still only one or two ordained clergy at Mass. A couple of parishes in the region use patens, but it’s the exception.

          Phasing out EMHC? I’m almost sure that most of the laity and many of the priests would object.

        • This is exactly how it was done in my parish when I was young. The assistant Priest would come in to help with Communion, he didn’t have to be there for the entire Mass, AND there were Altar BOYS each of course with a Paten, AND we had COMMUNION RAILS. (If people were disabled or elderly, they could either stand and receive ON THE TONGUE, or the Assistant Priest would go to them WITH AN ALTAR BOY Patten in hand, in their pew to distribute. The yanking out of the Communion Rails and marching up to receive in the hand, like dolling out cookies, was one of the WORST offenses to our Precious Lord in the Eucharist they could have ever committed. This ungodly practice I do believe was meant to trivialize the Eucharist. It was all part and parcel of the wrecking ball that is now going at full force in the Francis Church.

          Oh and BTW, I noticed that Francis did kneel to wash the feet of his precious ‘marginalized’ yesterday at the prison, but he WILL NOT kneel for the King of Kings in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe without even realizing, he is telling us EXACTLY who he is. He was put into place to finish the job of destroying the Church. Little does he know that he will not really succeed in his agenda.

          • Yes, that was the standard procedure in Western New York, where I’m from. However, the parish priests all lived together in the rectory, right next door to the church, so it was very convenient.

            At our parish in SC, the pastor lives in the rectory, but he’s alone there, with no other priests residing for literally miles.

            I remember trying to return to the Church in 1978, when my life was in crisis. In just the six years away, the Mass has become *unrecognizable*, prompting me to conclude that my Faith was one of those “childish ways” to be “put away.” It took another 19 years before I was able to “overcome my distaste'” of the N.O. Missae.

            I haven’t abandoned the N.O. (“Conciliar”) Church, mainly to be a witness and help foster the restoration. It may be awhile…

        • I feel like the problem of EMHCs and inability to gain access to the TLM stems from church construction. Most modern churches I have been to have the pews in a circular formation with many aisles as opposed to one straight up the middle, thus creating the necessity for extra ministers as opposed to one or two priests. Also, there are no longer the high and low altars built into the church and the steps where initial prayers are said have also largely been removed. Thus, not only do we need a renovation of our practices, we will also need to physically remodel the churches!

  5. Thanks be to God for this wonderful Bishop, a true shepherd concerned about the faith of his flock, hoooray!

    Keep it up Bishop Morlino!

    LORD, please send more!!!

  6. Kudos to such courageous bishops who have the daring to be openly traditional in their Catholic faith and using their own influence to lead their diocese in like manner. There are very few like him left in the Church today. God bless him

  7. Great. So I kneel for Holy Communion to have a Eucharistic Minister place the Sacred Host on my tongue? This Board does realize, of course, that the majority of Catholics do not receive Holy Communion from a priest on Sundays?

    By the way, Bishop Morlino finances through his diocesan health care plan abortifacient contraceptives.

    This is a hero? Let me off this ship.

    • Principle of double-effect.
      1) Needs to insure employees
      2) Cannot find insurance that does not include gravely sinful matter
      3) Is forced to get insurance that includes gravely sinful matter
      4) Employees insured, not with the intent of supporting said gravely sinful matter
      Thus, because unintended consequences were not the intention of the coverage, there is no sin in this.

      • Catholic morality is not rooted in intent. There is no strict moral need to offer medical insurance to employees.

        Additionally, this policy fails the fourth condition of DE: the good result must be proportionate to the unintended bad result.

        Making abortifacients available through medical plans (with the “expectation” they will not be used — what a joke) provides the means of terminating innocent life: THAT is not proportional.

        • The example Aquinas gives is a woman protecting her child from a man, ends up killing the man. The loss of life is a major thing, but it wasn’t intended.

          I still think the principle of double effect can be argued here… while I do not like the objective circumstances of the insurance.

          • Aquinas = killing a man to save her child

            Morlino = enabling killing of innocents to provide medical insurance (not even a matter of strict social justice).

            I don’t see where it’s even a close call.

  8. Seeing this old picture of the respectful composure of these children receiving the Holy Eucharist is so different from today. Today, Catholic school children receive Communion, chew with mouths open like chewing gum, while returning to their seats with little apparent reflection on Who they received is allowed since the singing continues through nearly the entire N.O. Mass.

    Is it any wonder that there is a loss of the sacred and the reason why few Catholics believe in the Real Presence?


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