Brazilian Bishop Responds to Abuses at Mass

by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  •  August 12, 2015   

"The rite of peace is not a time for 'congratulations'"

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BARRETOS, São Paulo, Brazil, August 12, 2015 ( - Bishop Milton Kenan Junior, head of the Barretos diocese in Brazil, has decided to correct some abuses that have been going on during Masses in his area.

Last week he took to reminding his flock — both clergy and laity — of some things a 2014 instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments recently had to say about them. Specifically, he pointed out the proper ways to go about exchanging the sign of peace, having extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and distributing Communion under both species.

The sign of peace during Mass, Bp. Milton asserts, is not a time for chatting or celebration. "[T]he rite of peace is not a time for 'congratulations,' 'Merry Christmas,' 'Happy Easter,' or any other type of greeting," he explains.

The Brazilian bishop implores people not to move around too much, encouraging them instead to give peace reverently to others.

And priests, he adds, are never to leave the altar in order to join the congregation during the sign of peace.

With regard to using extraordinary ministers of Communion (often incorrectly referred to as "eucharistic ministers"), he makes clear that this practice isn't supposed to replace ordained ministers who are perfectly capable and available to distribute Communion.

"[T]he ordained minister is not permitted to sit down during Communion time and leave the responsibility of distributing Holy Communion to the extraordinary ministers."

Finally, Bp. Milton warns communicants against illicit intinction, that is, wrongly dipping the host in the chalice. "[T]he communicant is not permitted to dip the Host in the Chalice," he urges, "nor can he receive on the hand a Host that has been dipped in the Chalice." This would stand in contrast to licit intinction, which is when the minister of Communion opts to dip the Host in the Chalice and distribute it on the tongue.

The bishop's call to due reverence and right rubrics echoes similar recent pushes by prelates for liturgical reform. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan just came down on all sorts of abuses he observes at many Novus Ordo Masses, and Bp. Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island earlier this summer felt compelled to issue a stern, pointed rebuke of a growing trend of irreverent attire at church.


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