Pews, Death Penalty, Communion

Well, it’s been a couple weeks since my last post. I have an excuse though (don’t be that guy with excuses). All at the same time, I finished up fire fighter recruit school (EMT is next) as well as coordinating the First Communion and Confirmation classes, while keeping up with my tennis part time job I was working before the full time Religious Education job started recently (RIGHT before the biggest time of the year…First Communion and Confirmation that is).

Now that I can breathe somewhat, there have been blogs I wanted to write during that whole time.  Instead of writing blogs for each of these topics, I’m going to just briefly mention them here today:

Pews:  There was one graduate theology class at Christendom College that I took that mentioned the history of pews in our Catholic Church.  I was blown away to find out that it is a relatively new development just in our past 100 years.  Then I was happy to find a chapter on this by Father George Rutler in one of his many books (published by Ignatius press).  I believe the title is Calm in Chaos but I’m not 100 percent sure because I don’t have it in my current possession (lent it to a friend #booksYouShareYouPossessLaterInHeaven).  Anyways, I was happy to find it, because I like these topics to be in printed form rather than from only a class lecture so I can read it over and over. #chewOnIt There’s a lot to the history on pews #REALLYfascinating.  There’s even corruption with selling better front row seats like you would at a sports game #likeItsEntertainment.  Which isn’t far from the truth as adding pews was an idea received to align more with Protestant services.  It’s crazy how times have changed because not only do we have pews everywhere, but also we probably couldn’t pay most people to sit in the front now.

Receiving Communion on the Tongue I was first blown away a few years ago at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal, Virginia where I noticed that EVERYONE (maybe there were a few people that I missed) received Communion on the tongue.  And most of them (definitely not everyone, but most) KNELT at the moment of receiving Communion on the tongue.  I immediately knew intuitively that this was beautiful.  Just working for the church and the many conversations I’ve had with different opinionated catholics, including priests, that there would be people against it arguing that it’s a show, overly pious, makes other people uncomfortable, holier than thou, etc.

But it makes sense logically.  We’ll start with kneeling.  We kneel at the moment of consecration because it’s at that moment, literally and physically Jesus.  Wouldn’t it make sense to kneel at an even more intimate moment where we receive Him rather than adoring from our pews? #getRidOfThePewsThough

As for the logic of receiving on the tongue, there are many arguments.  One is that we’re being fed like babies (Scripture calls us “children of God” and to be like the children to enter His kingdom) whereas receiving on the hand is an adult practice.  “But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” -Matthew 19:14

There are practical issues of the smallest particles breaking away through the extra step #smallParticleIsStillOurLord

Lastly, Martin Luther, still believing in the Real Presence even when he became Protestant, continued to receive on the tongue while kneeling.  John Calvin, on the other hand, received on the hand while standing since he believed the host to only be a symbol.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider (Bishop of Central Asia #myPeople) has written extensively on this topic of receiving on the tongue while kneeling.  Czech it out!

The priest at the Consecration

There’s a book entitled, The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass, that isn’t as ultimate as I would like it, but it is a good starter book.  It is clear in there that after the words of consecration “This Is My Body”, the priest kneels TWICE.  Once before elevating the host for the people, then after.  Compare this with the regular English Mass where there is no kneeling beforehand.  Praying about it raises the question of, “who do you put first? God or the people?”

Death Penalty

Lastly for today, I recently read a book that put together writings and talks by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia called On Faith.  He was a traditional Catholic (very much from what I read in this book).  The chapter on the death penalty was particularly enlightening for me.  The traditional Catholic approach to the death penalty is surprising.

Antonin Scalia said:

“…two millennia of Christian teaching that retribution is a proper purpose (indeed, the principal purpose) of criminal punishment.”

I’ve heard in another book by another author arguing for the death penalty to use as a deterrent to stop further cases of murder.  After all, back to Scalia, he wrote that criminals instead get,

“nice clean cells with television sets, exercise rooms, meals designed by nutritionists, and conjugal visits.”

Umm, #keepConjugalActWithinTheContextOfAChasteAndLovingMarriage

Scalia also mentions St. Thomas More who was beheaded.  In Robert Bolt’s play, St. Thomas More said to the headsman, “Friend, be not afraid of your office.  You send me to God.”


I throw a lot of surface facts at ya, without making it even flow smoothly.  Just hitting some of my favorite highlights.  Hopefully this sparks interest for you, the reader, to look deeper into the wisdom and history of our Church.  Cardinal John Henry Newman is known to have said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” I would add to that from my experience that to be deep in history makes you want to be a traditional Catholic.  And don’t get your info from websites even though that’s what today’s blog is on #GoWithOldSchoolHardBackBooks

Going you know what,
Mike Panlilio

2 thoughts on “Pews, Death Penalty, Communion”

  1. The ‘old school way of receiving on hand’, which gets referred in argument, is not how we do it today. It involved a cloth on the hand where you brought the The body of Christ directly to your mouth never touching it! ~via Michael Voris talk! 1200-1960 Always on tongue on knees!?!?

    Sent from my iPhone please excuse mistakes


    Liked by 1 person

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