(LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic parish in the Diocese of San Bernardino is requiring parishioners to sign waivers before receiving Holy Communion kneeling – a move that may violate Church law.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Community in Beaumont and Banning, California, announced the rule in a bulletin for the week of December 18, 2022.
The bulletin notes that the parish “highly discouraged the receiving of [C]ommunion while kneeling down” due to unspecified “incidents that happened in the past caused by people kneeling down when receiving [C]ommunion.”
The parish church “does not have [C]ommunion rails or kneelers to assist you when you get up and so you will be responsible for any harm that will cause to your body or to the ministers and people around you if you will have an accident,” the bulletin adds. “If you would like to continue receiving [C]ommunion kneeling down, we ask that you sign a waiver that releases our parish for any liability that may arise due to your action.”
“You will also be legally responsible,” it continues, “for any harm that your action may cause to the ministers or the people around you when taking [C]ommunion kneeling down,” which was the standard practice of the Catholic Church for centuries until the 1960s.
The recommendation against receiving the Eucharist while kneeling “is for your safety and the safety of our ministers and the people around you, and also to protect the sanctity of the Body and Blood of Christ,” the bulletin further stated.
The parish failed to note, however, that reception of the Eucharist in the hand inevitably risks particles of the Host falling to the floor and being trampled, a situation decried by Bishop Athanasius Schneider as “one of the grievous phenomenons and evils within the Church.”
The Catholic Church teaches dogmatically that every particle of the Holy Eucharist contains the entire Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish’s waiver requirement, moreover, appears to violate Church law.
The Vatican Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum stresses that priests may not deny the Eucharist to Catholics in good standing who wish to receive the Blessed Sacrament kneeling. “Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.”
The document invokes Canon 843 of the Code of Canon Law, which states, “Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) also makes clear that the faithful may receive Communion kneeling without impediment.
Church leaders known for their orthodoxy have praised reception of the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue as the most reverent form of taking Communion.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the former head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has said that receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue “is much more suited to the sacrament itself” and “a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ.” His comments echo those of other previous Vatican liturgy chiefs, including Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera.
Cardinal Sarah has linked reception of the Eucharist standing and in the hand to a “diabolical attack” on the Catholic faith. He noted that Pope St. John Paul II “forced his broken body to kneel” for Holy Communion even in his advanced age.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish lists LGBT ‘ministry’
In addition to announcing the waiver rule, St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish’s December 18 bulletin lists an LGBT-themed “ministry” titled “Ministry with Families & Friends of LGBT,” with a coordinator named Gloria Austin.
The Diocese of San Bernardino has a similarly named “Ministry to Families with Gay and Lesbian Catholics,” which also lists Austin as a contact. The diocesan organization’s website includes links to Outreach, a heterodox LGBT activism group founded by Father James Martin, SJ, and the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT pressure group in the United States and a staunch proponent of “gender transitions” for children.
The bishop of the San Bernardino diocese is Alberto Rojas, one of several U.S. prelates who signed a statement last year organized by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, another pro-LGBT activist group, telling homosexual youth that “God is on your side.” Rojas withdrew the faculties of a priest in his diocese who criticized him for signing the statement.