Mike Aquilina

Like a nursing child

Thursday February 07th 2008, 3:09 am

Remember, that stuff about the Church Fathers and breastfeeding — you read it here first (here and here). But now go ahead and read it at CNS.

The reverence and awe of Catholics who truly believe they are receiving Jesus in the Eucharist should lead them to kneel and receive Communion on their tongues, said a bishop writing in the Vatican newspaper.

“If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would fall down and worship God, declaring ‘God is really in your midst,'”  wrote Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, quoting from the First Letter to the Corinthians.

In a Jan. 8 article labeled a “historical-liiturgical note,” Bishop Schneider reviewed the writings of early church theologians about Eucharistic reception and said the practice of laypeople receiving Communion on the tongue was the predominant custom by the sixth century.

The article in L’Osservatore Romano appeared under the headline, “Like a nursing child in the arms of the one who nourishes him.”

Bishop Schneider said that just as a baby opens his mouth to receive nourishment from his mother, so should Catholics open their mouths to receive nourishment from Jesus.

“Christ truly nourishes us with his body and blood in holy Communion and, in the patristic era, it was compared to maternal breastfeeding,” he said.