Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Bishop Following the Holy Father's Example

When the Holy Father celebrated the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in Rome this year, the NLM reported on the manner in which Holy Communion was received from the hands of the Pontiff. At the time, we expressed our hope that the pope's words and example are heeded. The NLM - alerted by a reader who was one of the servers at this occasion - is happy to report that at least one Bishop did indeed emulate the Holy Father, and already on the following Sunday: At the Corpus Christi Mass in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, the local Bishop, H. E. the Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, in his homily made express reference to the pope's example of three days before and encouraged everyone present and physically able to receive the Blessed Sacrament on their tongues and on their knees out of reverence on this solemn occasion. For this purpose, there not being an altar rail, kneelers were put in front of the sanctuary for Communion. You can view a video of Msgr. Morlino's homily and the distribution of Holy Communion (the latter from 10:15 onwards) at this link.

While we may wish for a general reintroduction of this manner of Holy Communion, this instance of consciously following Pope Benedict's lead in the reorientation of the liturgy should not be underestimated as a first and courageous step.

The Mass was followed by a Procession from the church (the Cathedral had burnt down three years ago) to the State Capitol and then to another church for Benediction. The whole procession was almost an hour an a half long. A video of this procession can be seen here.

Bishop Morlino seems to be exemplary also in the implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Last Advent, on the Gaudete Sunday, he celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the throne in one of the churches of his see city, which seems to have been a very dignified occasion ably served by the Institute of Christ the King, see here.

This is especially interesting given Bishop Morlino's previous position and his prompt obedience to the Holy Father's wishes, as reported by the NLM last December here.

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