St Michael’s church in communion row
- 26 Jun 2013
- Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
- Manoj Nair email@example.com Page 8
MUMBAI: Do you take your communion – a Christian religious rite in which consecrated bread and wine are given to believers by a priest as memorials of Jesus’s death – while kneeling down or standing?
This is the question being asked by members of St Michael’s Church, Mahim, where a priest is reported to have refused communion on Saturday to a worshipper because he had knelt down to receive the wafer and wine offered to him.
Church members who are protesting, say both positions are allowed in their religious rules but priests said people who knelt down were wasting time and holding up the long queue of people waiting for communion.
Dominique Fernandes, a member of the church, was in the queue when the priest declined to give communion to the man who was ahead of him. “He was not from our church and had knelt down out of respect. I complained to the priest that it was wrong to deny him communion but I was asked to leave by the
At St Michael’s Church (right), Mahim, on Saturday, a priest allegedly refused communion to a worshipper because he had knelt down to receive the wafer and wine
Church members who are protesting, say both positions are allowed under rules. ushers,” said Fernandes.
Community groups have criticised the priest’s behaviour. Gordon Jacobs of the Association of Concerned Catholics which has complained to the Archbishop of Bombay about Saturday’s event, said, “The old way of receiving communion was to kneel down and receive it on the tongue. Now, the practice is to stand and take it in your hand. Both ways are acceptable.”
“You cannot refuse communion just because a person is kneeling down,” said Arcanjo Sodder, another member.
Father Simon Borges, parish priest of St Michael’s church, said, “People may kneel down out of a sense of reverence, but they hold up the line. There is always a long queue of people waiting for communion, so they are asked to remain standing,” said Borges.
Recent events have added to this confusion. A few years ago, an archbishop in Scotland said people taking communion should stand as it was a mark of respect. But a year before this announcement, Pope Benedict XVI was seen giving communion to people who were kneeling down.