Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship
Archbishop Ranjith on Kneeling for Communion during the liturgy and Communion on the
Tongue, writing a foreword on the Book, "Dominus Est":
1) At the same time, speaking of communion in the hand, it must be recognized that the practice was improperly and quickly introduced in some quarters of the Church shortly after the Council, changing the age-old practice and becoming regular practice for the whole Church. They justified the change saying that it better reflected the Gospel or the ancient practice of the Church... Some, to justify this practice referred to the words of Jesus: "Take and eat" (Mk 14, 22; Mt 26, 26).
Now I think it is high time to review and re-evaluate such good practices and, if necessary, to abandon the current practice that was not called for by Sacrosanctum Concilium, nor by Fathers, but was only accepted after its illegitimate introduction in some countries.Now, more than ever, we must help the faithful to renew a deep faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in order to strengthen the life of the Church and defend it in the midst of dangerous distortions of the faith that this situation continues to cause.
I mention for example, a change not proposed by the Council Fathers or by the Sacrosanctum Concilium, Holy Communion received in the hand. This has contributed to some extent to a weakening of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This, and the removal of altar rails and kneelers in church and the introduction of practices which oblige the faithful to sit or stand at the elevation of the Sacred Host, weakens the genuine significance of the Eucharist and the Church's profound sense of adoration for the Lord, the Only Son of God. Moreover in many places, the church the 'house of God', is used for meetings, concerts or interreligious celebrations. In some churches the Blessed Sacrament is almost hidden away in a little chapel, hardly seen and little decorated. All this obscures a belief so central in the Church, belief in the real presence of Christ. The church, for Catholics, is the 'home' of the Eternal One.
Another serious mistake is to confuse specific roles of the clergy and the laity at the altar making the sanctuary a place of disorder, too much movement and certainly not the 'place' where the Christian is filled with a sense of wonder and awe in front of the Lord's presence and His act of redemption. The use of dancing, musical instruments and singing which have little to do with liturgy, is not in keeping with the sacredness of a church and liturgical celebrations; I would also add, certain homilies of a political-social character, often badly prepared. All this distorts the celebration of Mass, making it a choreographic, theatrical event, instead of an event of faith.