Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Loftus on legalism: good or bad?

LMS AGM 2012, with Bishop Rifan. Would Mgr Loftus refuse them all Communion?

This is from his Catholic Times column of 21st July, which I'm catching up with.

The usual prolix introduction about about the how bad it is to resist change, the characteristic of 'integrism' as he understands it, or 'intransigence'.

Even when the 'law' allows flexibility, as in the case of receiving Holy Communion standing and in the hand, permitting female altar-servers and lay ministers of the Eucharist, or having white vestments at funerals, there are those priests who will not comply.

What does 'comply' mean here? How can you 'comply' with a permission? The context suggests he is talking about cases in which the Faithful have asked for something, and the priest is saying no. In the case of Altar servers and Eucharistic Minsters, is he really suggesting that priest can never say 'no' to someone who is unsuitable or just unnecessary?

At the Summer School in Pantasaph, North Wales 

But he attains another level of strangeness in the implicit suggestion that there are priests who refuse to give Communion in the hand to people standing, at the Ordinary Form. (There is no indication that he is talking about the EF.) I have never heard of such a thing; it is utterly incredible. What has happended, to such an extent that the Congregation for Divine Worship had to condemn it, was priests refusing communion to people who were kneeling. Redemptionis Sacramentum 91:

[I]t 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.

Maybe Loftus is condemning those priests who were intransigent about allowing the Faithful to receive kneeling? Sadly, that's not a possible reading of the sentence, and this exposes some strange double-standards. On a previous occasion Loftus condemned people for receiving kneeling, in the guise of criticising their clerical puppet-masters, and their

...varied attempts to infantilise and individualise the People of God who approach Holy Communion in a united and adult manner, all conflict both with that common priesthood and with the unity of the whole People of God.

The lesson is, if you want something traditional, then you are the victim of clericalism and must be forced to be free. If you want something progressive, then anyone who opposes you is a clericalist. It is the mad logic of the extreme Left: workers who oppose them have false consciousness, they've been brainwashed; workers who agree with them are free.

Next he says: 

Yet when we look at the Church as a whole, it has always valued institutional diversity. We just need to learn to extend this to individuals.

Yes, Mgr, and that means you! In this sentence he has made hypocrisy an art form.

A First Holy Communion in Oxford


  1. Anonymous11:10 am

    Lofty makes me weep, truly. He is the victim of his own incoherent rhetoric.

    One thing that always gets me is the allegation that to be given Communion on the tongue while kneeling is to "infantalise" the communicant. If this be true... if... I fail utterly to see why it is to be deplored.

    In Psalm 81:10 we read "I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." With what shall He fill it? He tells us in v16, "the finest of wheat" - an OBVIOUS prefiguring of the Eucharist. Fulfilled in Christ, we think of that remarkable Christological symbol of the pelican, feeding its young with its own blood: on the hand or direct to the mouth, I wonder?!

    And why this obsession with "adult faith" (which usually equates to wilful disobedience without the punishment a child would get)? Did Christ call us to be "adults" anywhere? No, quite the contrary - "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:3-4)

    I think we can all do the maths here.

    Liberals usually allege that Vatican II liberated scripture for the benefit of all Catholics, so that they could read it for the first time. I wish Lofty would exercise this "new" liberty himself.

    Sorry for my tone - he has put me in a bad mood. Thanks for your restrained and apposite critique.


    1. Anonymous11:13 am

      PS the last sentence in paragraph 3 begins with a syntactical howler, such was the cloud of emotion in which I wrote. I cannot now edit it - please forgive it!

  2. Sadly, Msgr. Loftus is a living exemplar of the proposition that progressives in the Church could teach Torquemada a thing or two about intolerant insistence on uniformity of belief and practice.

    Like Dr. Shaw, I would be absolutely *astounded* to hear of *any* priest - outside an EF Mass - who refused a communicant Communion because they were standing, or in the hand. I get around a fair bit, and I have never once witnessed such a thing, not even by Ordinariate or very conservative priests. I have never heard of even a rumor of such.

  3. “ the People of God who approach Holy Communion in a united and adult manner”

    Sorry for bringing up the “P” word, “Pelagianism”, again when most people had consigned it back to wherever it came from, but Mr Loftus is really pushing it here.

  4. The bold Mgr once( In the Scottish Catholic Observer)likened the Priest to a bus driver. This was in the context of versus populum. Some wit wrote back that he preferred the driver of his buses to face the destination and not the passengers.

    1. That is hilarious! A bus driver who drives looking at the passengers. That explains a lot more than I think the good monsignor realizes.

  5. It strikes me that Msgr Loftus really should check what he writes before he releases his words out into the wide blue yonder, or simply ask a kind friend to give it the once-over, a couple times even, just to be sure.

    Does anyone think he knows what he is writing ? Can he remember all the nonsense he has written ?

    OTH, it can be seen as rather entertaining, keep it up Monsignor !

  6. Quote Joseph Shaw: " who refuse to give Communion in the hand to people standing, at the Ordinary Form. (There is no indication that he is talking about the EF.) I have never heard of such a thing; it is utterly incredible."

    It is indeed extremely rare. The only instance I can think of is when Pope Benedict distributed communion. Perhaps Loftus' target??!!

    1. The same occurs with Pope Francis at Papal Masses in Rome.

    2. I have encountered one such priest (visiting, not resident) here in New York City. He would give Communion to those who were standing, but only on the tongue. So it's rare, but not absolutely unheard of. The broader point about it not being in any sense a practical problem, especially compared to the frequency of denial of Communion on the tongue or kneeling is true though.