By Michael DavisMention was made earlier of the astonishing apology made to the faithful by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in 1980. An even more astonishing admission was made in 1992 by the highest liturgical authority, apart from the Pope himself, that is to say, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. In its official journal, Notitiae, for October 1992, it admitted that abuses have become institutionalized. An editorial to this issue laments the fact that
Thirty years are too many for an incorrect praxis, which in and of itself tends to be already fixed in place. The malformations born in the first years of the application still endure, and gradually, as new generations follow one another, could almost become a rule.
It is not difficult to find examples of the many abuses that have been institutionalized. Communion in the hand is not so much as mentioned in any document of the Council. It began soon after the Council as an aping of Protestant practice in Holland. Communion had been given in the hand in the early Church, but as the German liturgist Father Joseph Jungmann has explained, as the centuries passed, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament deepened, and the tradition developed that only what was consecrated could touch the Host, and this awesome privilege was confined to the consecrated hands of a priest, which had been anointed for this purpose at his Ordination. Pope John Paul II has observed correctly that to touch the Host is a privilege of the ordained, but he did not, alas, consider it feasible to take the logical step and forbid the practice of Communion in the hand. This practice had been resurrected during the Protestant Reformation as an external manifestation of their belief that the bread received in Communion is ordinary bread and that the man who distributes it is an ordinary man. In our time, this practice in the Catholic Church soon spread from Holland to neighboring countries, and Pope Paul VI polled the bishops of the world as to whether the practice was acceptable. The overwhelming majority replied that it was not, and the Instruction Memoriale Domini, published in 1969, gave a superb exposition of the reasons for the traditional practice and the threat to reverence posed by the abuse of Communion in the hand. Pope Paul made a direct appeal to the bishops of the world:
The Supreme Pontiff judged that the long' received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests and people to observe zealously this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgment of the majority of the Catholic, episcopate, in the form which the present rite :,; of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church. 38