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April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In February, a priest was caught on video having a mystical experience during Mass after which he went straight to the pulpit to announce that from that moment on, Holy Communion at that parish would only be given on the tongue and kneeling. The video, which has gone viral with nearly two million views, captured the priest bowing down (practically doubling over), shaking, and crying. He was bowed down for about 20 seconds, which is of course a long time during Mass while everyone is waiting. 

In this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I show you that clip and exactly what he said, but also I get clarification on what such a declaration is all about from well-known theologian and liturgical expert Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. This way, we can unpack this properly.

On February 7, 2021, at the conclusion of the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass, Fr. Fredy Leonardo Herrera Fuentes, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Bogotá, Colombia, told parishioners that “from this moment in our parish, it’s only going to be possible to receive Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling down.” 

A priest who goes by the name Miles Mariae, “the soldier of Mary,” has produced an English voiceover version of the video and given me permission to use it. So here is the link to the video with thanks to Father Miles Mariae.

Dr. Kwasniewski told me that there is a problem with a priest at a Novus Ordo parish refusing Holy Communion to those who wish to receive on the hand in a diocese where that is permitted. “Almost any canon lawyer (and certainly any bishop) would say no, he cannot refuse, because the Church’s discipline (however flawed it may be) expressly allows for this.” 

I asked Dr. Kwasniewski what would happen in the case where a priest is so convinced of the wrongness of Holy Communion in the hand that he feels in conscience he cannot give Communion in the hand even when the faithful demand it. 

Dr. Kwasniewski said, “It is always UNDERSTOOD that if one’s conscience says that a proposed course of action is sinful or risks committing sin or being a near occasion of sin, one must refrain from it.” 

He added, however, that the priest making such a decision would likely get suspended by his bishop. Dr. Kwasniewski knows several priests who have been suspended over this.

I, too, know of priests who are tortured in conscience about having to administer Holy Communion in so unworthy a manner. In fact, my own father, Henry Westen, was an ordained deacon in the Maronite rite late in his life. He would never administer Holy Communion in the hand, and so at the parish where he served, the priests would announce that those wishing to receive on the hand should not be on the side where Deacon Westen was distributing Holy Communion. 

For me, the matter is quite clear. Some of you may recall that in one of my previous shows I covered this issue with a video called “5 reasons why Catholics should only receive Holy Communion on the tongue.” I encourage you to watch that if you’re interested.

This matter of the proper way to receive Our Lord is so important that Voice of the Family did a whole conference on the subject in July 2020. As part of that conference, Catholic veteran pro-life activists from across the world joined together in unison to declare that they would only receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling out of reverence to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

The joint  declaration featured  well-known Catholic pro-life leaders such as Dr. Gianna Molla, daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla; LifeSite’s Steve Jalsevac; pro-life warrior  Abby Johnson; C-Fam president Austin Ruse; Pachamama “destroyer” Alexander Tschugguel; Michael Matt from The Remnant newspaper; and Virginia Coda Nunziante,  head of the March for Life in Italy, and more. 

With so much irreverence for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament today, I would beg you to consider making the sacrifice of receiving Jesus worthily, kneeling and on the tongue.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and ACast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the ACast webpage here.

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.

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