The following is from Father George William Rutler’s 1989 Good Friday sermon on the “Seven Last Words” at St. Agnes Church, NYC. Father Rutler is currently the Pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Savior in Manhattan. A precise transcript taken from a tape of his talk is available from St. Agnes Church.
“Not very long ago I said Mass and preached for their Mother, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and after breakfast we spent quite a long time talking in a little room. Suddenly, I found myself asking her — don’t know why — ‘Mother, what do you think is the worst problem in the world today?’ She more than anyone could name any number of candidates: famine, plague, disease, the breakdown of the family, rebellion against God, the corruption of the media, world debt, nuclear threat, and so on.
“Without pausing a second she said, ‘Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.'”
Editors note: Please refer to June 27th’s post on the restored practice at Papal Masses. Quoting the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini: “It is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand, from a juridical standpoint, remains up to now an indult,” which is an exemption from a general requirement that is granted by the Vatican to the bishops’ conferences which have requested it. He said the pope’s adoption of the traditional practice of distributing Communion (to kneeling communicants who receive on the tongue) “aims to highlight the force of the valid norm for the whole church.” However, the pope’s preference for the traditional practice is not meant to “take anything away from the other” permissible form of standing or receiving the Eucharist in the hand, he said.