A Word (or Two) to the Wise Catholic

Brush your teeth. Go to Confession.

Learn Latin.

No, these are not only my preferences, these changes are coming soon to a Mass near you.

In the 4th General Congregation of the 11th General Synod of Catholic Bishops, today, the centrality of the Eucharist, the purpose of the Synod, was central to the discussion:

Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga M.I.C., from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, who was persecuted for his faith during the years of soviet communism, recalled the days when the Eucharist was forced to be celebrated in secret by the faithful. He called to mind its sacredness and discussed ways to highlight this fact.

"Communion in the hand", he said, "is spreading and even prevailing as being easier, as a kind of fashion. ... Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion as being in the mouth and kneeling; with communion in the hand to be reserved for the clergy alone."

Thus, brush your teeth and go to Confession.

Why learn Latin? Well, because, except for the Youth Day Mass which had been scripted before John Paul II died, Benedict XVI, who has said and written repeatedly that the proper language for most of the Mass is Latin, has celebrated in Latin every major, public Mass since becoming Pope. In his first Mass as Pope for the College of Cardinals, he chose the Tridentine rite.

Oh, and you if you want to know another coming change, Benedict XVI has said repeatedly and as recently as last month that the proper orientation of the priest during Mass is "East", with his back to the congregation. Expect to see that, too.

For parishes (ahem, St. Alban Roe) planning for major expansions or renovations, you might consider setting aside some funds to make your garage-like sancturies look like real Catholic churches, to install communion rails, and to rip out the free-standing table that blocks our view of the altar.

Pastors afraid that these corrections will drive away the marginal Catholics who so dominate suburban parishes might want to try following St. John Vianney's plan, cordially provided by Marcus Scotus.