Call for a moratorium on COVID-related topics
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 885
    These topics seem to very quickly devolve into mud-flinging on both sides of the aisle, accomplish little of note (I doubt we're going to change each other's viewpoints), and are an issue over which we, as musicians, have no control. I'm disappointed that a topic that has led to so much strife outside this community also seems to be driving a wedge through this forum.

    While I appreciate Chonak's hands-off approach to moderation, perhaps we as members can enforce a voluntary moratorium on this topic to prevent this forum from devolving away from its regularly civil tone and attitude.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    yea, let's cancel free speech.
    Thanked by 1tandrews
  • stulte
    Posts: 309
    We should be able to discuss it here in a charitable manner. Some topics are simply going to be more intensely debated than others, and that's ok. This is a topic which directly affects the work of church musicians and shouldn't be ignored.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 514
    Most if not all discussions on the forum, no matter the topic, turn into an unproductive spectrum of opinions. It's very rare to find a discussion that stays on topic. Maybe one of the categories should be General Debate Discussion rather then General Music Discussion.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 810
    This would affect a greater percentage of discussions today than banning wartime-related topics would have during WWII. All of us are constantly being impacted in someway by Covid, wherever we happen to be.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    So let's appeal to the forum patron, St. BitchNmoan.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    All of us are constantly being impacted in someway by Covid, wherever we happen to be.


    For better or worse, good or bad, it's the truth. This virus has upended society and I seriously wonder if the church will ever return to "normal," that being as it was before.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Chrism
    Posts: 810
    yea, let's cancel free speech.


    But let's also remember that it's not free. This forum requires significant resources to maintain and should not exist if it does not serve its purpose, which is the promotion of sacred music. Posting here is a privilege and posting well is a responsibility.
    Thanked by 2JL OraLabora
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    But let's also remember that it's not free.
    all forms of communication (free speech) require resources... let's not shut down opinion based on pre specialized and pre approved content... that simply becomes a technoligarchy... and we have seen way to much of that in the past year for sure... and to boot, we are the ones who has given our resources that help to make this even possible.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Elmar
  • Chrism
    Posts: 810
    we are the ones who has given our resources that help to make this even possible


    I'm not sure if I am responding to your actual thought here, Francis, but yes--per Metcalfe's law, the value of all forums/networks is the square of the sum of the members, and forum members add much of the value here. But among the resources CMAA provides is their brand name, and it is not an inconsiderable investment.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 640
    It does seem that two touchy subjects a) covid responses and b) liturgical issues both have a really direct impact on musicians in churches, and thus make reasonable subjects to include in a forum for church musicians. It is probably the case regarding covid responses, too, that the impact is very real and often very stressful, causing people to compromise their way of playing/singing/directing, or altogether eliminating their work. So it would seem natural and even helpful to allow people to gripe, vent, snark, bicker and so on on this forum, since they are probably often quite stressed, angry, frustrated etc. and don't have many people to gripe to who would understand as well as fellow musicians.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CCooze
  • To the extent that it devolves into a facebook-style slinging of invective and articles, I agree with the OP. However, COVID is a central issue in our work as church musicians, and I don't see any way to discuss that work at the present time without any mention of COVID. To call it the 800-pound gorilla in the room would be an understatement. In particular, discussion of the practical challenges can be helpful. But I would also not rule out the moral and philosophical questions. As choir directors, we are actually at the forefront of the moral/philosophical/practical intersection, and I see no need to pretend that that is not the case, simply because the discussion is uncomfortable at times.

    To give a practical example, I developed my approach to choirs for the past year in part from reading the discussions on the facebook group "Dialogues on a safe return to choral singing". Considering the practical and moral/philosophical aspects of our work as church musicians is valuable, and a good use of a forum like this, IMO.

    A second practical example is that most of us will have to confront the issue of vaccines in our work in the coming year. Do we have a policy? What are our colleagues doing? What are different bishops saying? We can't just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that these issues are not facing all of us in our work.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    rights by Fulton Sheen

    https://youtu.be/kOKlHUqOsIM
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    The issues that arise from the application of public health measures to liturgical performance are highly relevant topics here. But the medical issues are not within the competence af any commentator I have seen here (including me) so we would be better off not spouting about them! And there does not seem much point in bitching to one another about the decisions of political or ecclesiastical leaders if we can do nothing about them.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    If CMAA does not subscribe to Roman Catholicism, then I shall bow out.

    You may keep all my 9000+ comments, reflections, experience, compositions, contributions, engravings, and more. God help you all if that is what you decide.

    As for a 'brand', well, a brand is only worth the people that stand behind it, nothing more, nothing less.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 810
    gripe, vent, snark, bicker, and so on


    While possibly psychologically healing, I do question what value that sort of thing, done in public, would add to CMAA's brand, our own personal brands as church musicians, or to the broader cause of sacred music.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    We are not griping... we are calling it to the attention of all.
    We are not venting... we are looking for answers, support and prayers.
    We are not snarking... we are defending truth.
    We are not bickering... we are earnest to find the 'other' voice which may bring light to our endeavors, and even correction to thinking that may be wayward.
    and So on...

    I am sure Catherine didn't mean to give our collaborative efforts a negative slant, but it can be spun that way, and I am here to defend the honor of everyone's contribution, because truth cannot be suppressed, and untruth (and even lies) will always come to light.

    Jefferson or Just...

    Quo Vadis?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    But francis, my gentle corrections to your wayward thinking have always failed to convince you! ↻ and vice versa.↺
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Elmar
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    @a_f_hawkins

    ...and where is the self evident truth which is hanging in the balance between our two opposing paths?

    Could it in any way be, perhaps, that (in your mind) you are the "corrector" and I am the "wayward"? (I am not printing in purple... simple black and white)

    I do not think I hold the same view... I am always seeking truth by correcting my thinking by those who are wiser than I... the truth always reveals itself...

    Proverbs 15 is a good read on this subject.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    Latter-day prophetic witness:

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    BTW....

    As per Metcalf's Law, the number of visits (or participators) in no way gives account to truth, or value, for that matter... and... unfortunately, "right and wrong" are ambiguous terms awash in global relativism... let's go for truth or consequences.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CHGiffen
  • Elmar
    Posts: 371
    And there does not seem much point in bitching to one another about the decisions of political or ecclesiastical leaders if we can do nothing about them.
    I'm incliced to disagree on this point; a substantial part of our bishops' instructions concerning covid-19 measures come as "(strongly) recommended" or "depending on local circumstances". I'm always surprised about the differences in application between the three parishes in which I am involved.

    Thanks to all of you who helped me reflect on these issues! Especially to all those who I tended to disagree with.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CHGiffen francis
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I tend to view forum discussions as conversations with colleagues on many subjects. Some of those subjects have a direct effect on music while some are indirect. I think that if you want to never hear a discouraging word, you are in the wrong home on the wrong range. I often learn things from discussions here that I might not encounter elsewhere. And "come on, man" to paraphrase someone more notorious, none of us are 12-years-old with feelings on our sleeves - at least I hope we are not.
    Thanked by 3francis tomjaw Elmar
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 885

    To give a practical example, I developed my approach to choirs for the past year in part from reading the discussions on the facebook group "Dialogues on a safe return to choral singing". Considering the practical and moral/philosophical aspects of our work as church musicians is valuable, and a good use of a forum like this, IMO.

    A second practical example is that most of us will have to confront the issue of vaccines in our work in the coming year. Do we have a policy? What are our colleagues doing? What are different bishops saying? We can't just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that these issues are not facing all of us in our work.

    When this is the case, I agree. I find, however, that the discussions lately have turned more into griping than legitimate, civil discussion on how to deal with these issues in our positions. I have little more interest in reading that than I did the posts of a member here who enforced a hiring blacklist on CMAA forum contributors because we didn't abhor the US national anthem.

    If there were more posts like yours, perhaps I wouldn't feel the same way about this.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Elmar
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 988
    Can we at least combine all of them into one topic. You could easily do that and not be able to tell where one topic ended and another began (they all devolve into the same inane arguments from both sides after about 2 or 3 responses.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Enough with these repetitive blather sessions!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Maybe one of the categories should be General Debate Discussion rather then General Music Discussion.

    More briefly, there is a category of "Opinions".
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Elmar tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,154
    Now is it possible that the default All Discussions tab on the Forum main page not list the discussions in the "Opinions" category? Then those that want to have circular arguments can do it semi privately by clicking the Opinions tab?
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,172
    Is it really necessary that those who were commenting in those threads no longer see updates to/new comments on them?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    I see updates, and my comments. Have a look on the next older discussion page. All that happens is that the date of the last posting does not change, the yellow flag for a comment I have not read still appears.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    "Opinions" discussions generally don't contain useable information about Catholic sacred music and don't deserve to be displayed prominently on the main page. They're not really what the forum is for, so I "sink" them. Of course they are displayed on the list of "Opinions" discussions, so people who really want to pursue them can get them using the topic links in the right column of the main page.
  • The 2020 Colloquium devoted a good portion of its time to the problems/effects of “covid” in the US but also elsewhere across the world.

    There is a real weariness with the topic, you bet; but it’s hard to see a benefit from saying, no more commentary. As church musicians we’re all, or almost all, impacted in so many ways yet today.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Now that's a rather weak comparison: the discussions about the effects of the pandemic during Colloquium 2020 weren't at all the sort of whining political talk that people post on the forum about it.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 208
    How about a more positive approach? Opinions aside we all have faced a dismal year both faith-and music-wise. Our own small choir hasn't been able to sing together for more than a year now, and it could very well end up being two full years of inactivity by the time we can finally rehearse together again. I say rehearse, because if we haven't been "una voce" in 2 years, it will take much effort and rehearsing to make una voce out of plures voces scabra again. Moreover some of our members are getting up in age. We will all be two years older by then. Plus, victim of the pandemic, our home parish is closing at the end of May and the church (with excellent acoustics) is being sold off. We need to find another pied-à-terre (we sang in different parishes every month and at least once a year at our home parish but they generously allowed us access to the church to rehearse).

    So instead of moaning about what we cannot do much about, perhaps some of us can draw upon the great expertise here and we can discuss how we can get back up to speed as quickly as possible when we get together again. How can we shake off the rust, and learn to sing in unity again after such a long period of inactivity? I chant the Liturgy of the Hours daily (sometimes Roman, sometimes Monastic, sometimes French, mostly Latin), but chanting alone isn't like chanting in choir. And I haven't been to Mass in over a year, much less heard Gregorian chant live.

    We may not be able to convince our great (!) leaders reopen our churches again. But hopefully we can convince folks here to kwitchyermoaning and work together to help some of us "amateurs" to get back on our feet quickly when this nonsense finally does end.

    Ora
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • gee, guess I should have raised my flame shield before posting?!
    I didn't compare anything to anything.
    I meant only what I said: that the issues around covid, and they are many, impact church musicians in many ways and need to be examined. My thought is that the forum should not just declare a 'moratorium' on the subject.
    shutting up now.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Sorry, mmeladirectress, apparently I misunderstood you.

    Discussion that contains real information and is useful to readers would be beneficial.

    But that isn't happening. When I look at a recent thread on the subject, few of the comments in that thread qualify.

    The rest contained other types of content:
    -- contending that some bishops are proposing to burden the innocent faithful with regulations; but they don't place burdens on bad politicians who appear to make sacrilegious communions
    -- comments about how the country is lost
    -- complaints about the loss or potential loss of medical privacy
    -- complaints that the restrictions are overreactions
    -- complaint that the vaccines available in the US so far are produced or tested immorally using fetal stem cell lines
    -- discussion about how response to the pandemic now falls along factional political lines
    -- comments that the bad judgment shown during the Amazonia synod (the "Pachamama" affair) is enough to undermine confidence in Vatican statements about practical matters
    -- speculation that a bishop imposing regulations to require vaccines in some cases is a "Judas bishop"

    and more and more.

    Practically nothing in that thread has any likelihood of being useful and informative to the work of musicians.

    I could go through all those comments and manually add my own messages to try to educate the writers about how they were off-topic, or speculating, or insulting. But of course that would take hours and hours of time, and I don't think the work would produce a commensurate benefit.

    Or I could delete the bad comments without explanation and leave the few that pass some sort of muster.

    Or I could delete the whole worthless thread.

    But what I have done so far is to sink the thread in the hope that it doesn't distract people who want to read and write content of value on this forum. I'm starting to consider an approach of deleting the junk more actively.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    Delete the 'junk' (subjective) and you start to alienate mostly one side of the discussion. Why? Because the people who want moratoriums don't like other people questioning the status quo. It's the attitude of "if you disagree with me, shut up." Maybe there's a little too much complaining about things we can't fix, but there's plenty of whining coming from the other side too.

    What I've observed is anytime a person decides to make himself forum moderator (besides the moderator) and try to tell other people to stop posting about something, the discussion only becomes prolonged. This happens over, and over, and over again. What's that saying about the definition of _________? Oh, yes. Doing the same thing again and again.

    Yeah, I'm tired of hearing whining, too.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    This pandemic, since I am sure no one here remembers the Spanish Flu, is outside of our experience and knowledge base. I don't think anyone knows what to do, other than the fact that we pretty much have to follow the direction of the bishops. It is possible some of them don't know any more than we do, but they are in charge, for better or worse.

    I don't like the churches being closed, although the devil in me giggles at the discomfort of the trads having to receive communion in other than their preferred way. Their panties can be a tad too tight, sometimes, and they seem unwilling to make the most of a bad situation. I am sure it is all a plot by the communists and the antichrist so nothing unexpected there. However, I will be glad when things return to normal, if they ever do. Normal probably is not a good word choice since it is questionable how normal things were before all this.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 885
    Why? Because the people who want moratoriums don't like other people questioning the status quo. It's the attitude of "if you disagree with me, shut up."

    This was hardly my intention, and I believed I made it clear as such.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Maybe there's a little too much complaining about things we can't fix

    I think there's a lot too much complaining about things we can't fix.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,172
    the devil in me giggles at the discomfort of the trads having to receive communion in other than their preferred way

    How incredibly sad.

    www.onepeterfive.com/communion-hand-true-story/

    Also, strange that you would think that most "trads" did any such thing...
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    I don't like the churches being closed, although the devil in me giggles at the discomfort of the trads having to receive communion in other than their preferred way. Their panties can be a tad too tight, sometimes, and they seem unwilling to make the most of a bad situation.


    I too find this out of place, and it's the sort of thing that's just rude enough to get you attention on the forum but that you'd never say in real life, lest you cause people to raise their voices or worse. Or at least I hope that you wouldn't.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Also, strange that you would think that most "trads" did any such thing...


    You don't know some of our local people. One would think the Protestants were nailing tracts to the door and the end of time had come for the church. I understand some of the trads even appealed to Rome over the communion thing. Rome ruled against them as one would expect. Why the local bishop puts up with them is beyond me. It never occurs to them that everyone is being inconvenienced and the authorities are just trying to keep everyone as safe as possible. A thankless task.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 514
    @CCooze

    The link you posted doesn't work. It points back to this forum post.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    I understand some of the trads even appealed to Rome over the communion thing. Rome ruled against them as one would expect.


    No, one would not expect this. The law officially on the books is that to ban the distribution of Communion on the tongue is an unjust deprivation of one's rights, and the CDW had already addressed the matter in 2009 during the swine flu pandemic. Now, Roman law (and its descendants) allows one to rule on the matter in accordance with justice, which doesn't absolutely require deferring to precedence, but that should nevertheless guide the judge. I can't say that the judge is absolutely bound to explain himself, but given that this infringes on a tradition explicitly protected by ecclesiastical law and something that is normative at a universal level, then an explanation is probably warranted in this case.

    Further, the bishop of Knoxville changed his decree in awaiting the Roman decision, which was incredibly unhelpful. It gives no temporal limit other than the situation returning to normal, which is first of all a total fantasy, and second of all, it provides no limit on the restriction of rights when we all know that the pandemic ebbs and flows and, more importantly, what was appropriate in May 2020 is not necessarily so now, if it ever was. Mutatis mutandis for November and December last.

    Archbishop Roche also gives the bishops carte blanche to impose new restrictions, without any regard for the injury caused to the faithful and to priests who have to comply with the bans or face suspension a divinis.

    He offers no guidance to the clergy who have to deal with this in the context of the TLM, which is technically outside of his competence, I suppose, but it's also unjust to uphold the ban in one context but not the other; either sanitary conditions require the ban, or they don't, whether or not you perceive distribution on the tongue as a risk.

    I think these bans are fundamentally unjust as it is: you're basically admitting that the novelty of communion on the hand has given us an opening in the pandemic at the expense of those who cannot in good conscience receive on the hand. Now, I've been told that acting in conscience makes me a Protestant, which was actually incredibly rude and in bad faith on the other person's part, because one is not Protestant to cling to the teaching of 1 Corinthians 11 on the eucharist and to uphold the church's ancient discipline as a fruit of one's catechesis.

    In other words, it's yet another way for bishops to impose personal preferences and for Rome to demand not just obedience but a certain lockstep mentality that causes division; how has this helped reigning in people? All I see is that conservatives either get pushed out, or they get ramped up in insulting those with whom they disagree.

    Also, aren't you both in that diocese…?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I think we are, although we have never met. I suspect we are not in the same city.

    Addition: I think she is closer to Chattanooga. A lovely city but I haven't been there in many years.

    Communion in the hand is not a novelty since it was rather normal for the first four centuries of Christianity. These things are not cast in stone and the church is well within its rights to change them as needs change. You could go to intinction which we easterners do, but it can present its own list of problems. Some have gone to disposable wooden spoons as one option.

    As for the bishop, I have met him. He is basically a decent man who tries to do the best he can for his people. He's not in some back room with the liberals plotting the demise of those attached to mostly post-Trent practices. Practices they mistakenly assume go back to apostolic times. The communion on the tongue is actually from the time of Pope Gregory, or so I have read. The church authorities made changes they deemed necessary at the time, which they still do as needs change. The "church's ancient discipline" is really not so ancient after all.

    What I find distressing is the complete unwillingness to cooperate during this trying time as we hope and pray the pandemic ends. If one's faith goes no deeper than how one receives communion, I wonder about the depth of that faith. Lost in all this is that you are getting to receive communion which is the important thing. There have been lengthy periods in church history when frequent communion was extremely rare. Maybe gratitude for what one has is in order.
    Thanked by 1OraLabora
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    Communion in the hand is not a novelty since it was rather normal for the first four centuries of Christianity.


    The modern practice has absolutely nothing to do with the ancient practice, and the one patristic reference to which its advocates can point, the extract from St Cyril of Jerusalem, is an instruction on how to receive properly, indicating that the practice was already fraught with difficulties. Further, trads regularly use the paten, particularly at solemn Mass where the subdeacon holds it, or a special plate held by the servers, but the cloth was always required. It is still used on special occasions, if not all the time, but I don't see advocates of communion in the hand calling for a return of this practice, nor the cleansing of the mouth with unconsecrated wine, another practice that outlasted the original practice of communion in the hand. In any case, both the East and the West independently moved to distribute communion on the tongue in their respective ways by the eight century, because the ostensibly more ancient practice was so fraught with difficulty.

    What I find distressing is the complete unwillingness to cooperate during this trying time as we hope and pray the pandemic ends. If one's faith goes no deeper than how one receives communion, I wonder about the depth of that faith. Lost in all this is that you are getting to receive communion which is the important thing. There have been lengthy periods in church history when frequent communion was extremely rare. Maybe gratitude for what one has is in order.


    This is a non sequitur, first of all, as it's not really about cooperation, but I would hesitate to blame the trads for an unwillingness to cooperate. Nor is it about the depth of one's faith, although it's simply not true that the faith goes no deeper than the manner of receiving communion. Further, receiving frequently in any which way is not the important thing, to which is what I alluded above; I simply can't receive in the hand, and I don't even have the muscle memory necessary to do so if I tried.

    Why? Because people already receive too casually. People should probably receive more frequently than once a year, but they must make an effort to improve their spiritual life and to sin no more, having received the graces necessary to do so, and they will profit even more once they improve their life of prayer. Otherwise, you are perpetually stuck in a rut, at best, and at worst you make sacrilegious communions and poor confessions if you confess at all.
  • JacobFlaherty
    Posts: 286
    although the devil in me giggles at the discomfort of the trads having to receive communion in other than their preferred way.


    Oh, the hilarity - people who want to receive Our Blessed Lord reverently not being permitted to do so; I can totally see where this belongs on a sacred music board and forum (sarc). CharlesW, you owe the group an apology.
    Thanked by 2CCooze ServiamScores
  • Charles,

    Given that the Sacred Host is Jesus, Himself, I would think that how one receives the King of Heaven would be central to accepting and living the faith. You'll remember the whole "wedding garment" argument, surely: he who is invited to the wedding feast but comes improperly attired (read, baptized and in the state of grace) will be taken to the outer darkness. Or the passage: unless you receive Me like a little child, you shall not ...

    I was told just recently that it's the near-eastern custom to put food into the mouth of the guest, not into his hand. If that's true, the practice of Communion on the tongue goes back to the Last Supper (which may not be early enough for you, I guess, to be counted an ancient tradition).

    As to cooperating with bishops who forbid what the Church has promoted for centuries and with the sanitary dictatorship, which has no interest allowing the continued practice of anything older than the most recent "science"...., we're in the longest 2-weeks' cooperation in recorded history already, so how much more cooperation did you have in mind?
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,172
    [I corrected the hyperlink, above, about our modern history of Communion being received in the hand.]
    By the way, it is completely within one's rights to appeal to the next higher authority, when the local ordinary had been going on about "too bad," and "that's your choice," and blocking people who disagreed and challenged him to find any reference to an authoritative matter on what he was planning to impose.

    Along that line, the "letter" of Cardinal Sarah, which the cdw used as a reference says *before* the obedience to the bishop/ordinary part that the bishops are supposed to be obedient to Church Law, etc., and based on their obedience should our obedience follow.
    Since the bishops have no precedence on which to base their denial of Communion to those who will not receive in the hand, one can only assume that their are being disobedient, and therefore, on that matter, the faithful need not obey the unlawful directive.
    The cdw document interestingly skips that first part of the sentence as well, and nothing in the document leads one to believe the good cardinal was making any reference to suppressing Communion, at all.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Once again, I think some have become obsessed with the method, not the intent of receiving communion. Don't dismiss St. Cyril - a doctor of the church - so readily. In the earliest days, people even took some of the communion home with them to have during the week. Oh, no!!! Touched by plebian hands! Oh, the horror. It is not a denial of church law to receive in the hand since church law clearly allows it.

    There are Christians in parts of the world who would be delighted to be able to receive communion at all and not be persecuted by the authorities because of it. Again, gratitude for what you have that you don't realize.

    I wish, as far as receiving reverently, the solution was as simple as receiving on the tongue. It isn't. Anyone set on sacrilege can easily get around that.

    I was told just recently that it's the near-eastern custom to put food into the mouth of the guest, not into his hand.


    I can't know the context around what you were told, but I have never seen this. Maybe somewhere in secular practice but not in church.

    Concerning patens, at the church where I worked in music for 20 years, patens were always used for both communion on the tongue and in the hand. In my eastern church, a cloth is held beneath your chin.

    No patens or cloths? What sort of heathens have you been hanging around?

    Give the bishop a break. He has his hands full of serious things to deal with. Does he really have time to stop everything and deal with what a small, small group of people are complaining about?