“The Experiment of Communion in the Hand Has Been a Disaster…”

Many Catholics are familiar with Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. (July 23, 1933-October 3, 2014). A co-founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, as well as being a retreat master and author of numerous books, Father may be best known for hosting the long running EWTN show Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel. What may not be as well known are Father’s views on the modern practice of receiving communion in the hand. From the above clip:

So anybody who wants to push for a more reverent celebration of the liturgy, they’re my friend. And I also want to state very clearly that I think that the experiment of giving communion in the hand has been a disaster. An experiment is a try, and this is a try that didn’t work.

While the Church permits the faithful to receive communion in the hand, the universal norm is still to receive on the tongue. Of course, reception in the hand is only an option at the Ordinary Form of the Mass; both the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as eastern rite liturgies, do not allow for it.

Decades of irreverent liturgies have caused immeasurable damage to the faith. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, echoing sentiments similar to those expressed by Fr. Groeschel, has said that the “so called new, modern, manner of receiving Holy Communion directly into the hand is very serious because it exposes Christ to an enormous banality.”

An immediate remedy for this failed experiment is for more of the faithful to simply choose to receive on the tongue. As more people reverence Our Eucharistic Lord by returning to the traditional practice, let us hope more priests and bishops are emboldened to speak out in defense of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Posted on September 10, 2016, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 110 Comments.

  1. The problem is Catholics have not been catechized properly and really have no idea of the importance of the Holy Eucharist. I’m old enough that when I was preparing for my first Holy Communion, the good nuns drilled us on letting the wafer dissolve on our tongue and never to chew it so particles would not get stuck in our teeth. Now, that’s serious.

    • For sure Vatican ll repercussions are still with us. I agree that so many are sorely uncatechized to a sad sad degree. You need a good dedicated pastor who knows how negkigent thsee past 3 gener a tons are not properly taught and need some adult education ( scott hahn is a good one through video) on this and a good Explanation of and reverence for the Mass.

  2. Yes! I totally agree that receiving the
    Sacred Body of Our Lord in one’s hand, is a serious sacrilege. Unfortunately, I think it simply demonstrates the horrible state of Catechesis most young people receive today.
    What about the importance of going to frequent Confession? Are the children today even taught that they should do this before ever going to Communion, if they have many sins or serious sins? Things are very very serious in the Novus Ordo Church today.

    • Well, it’s not actually a sacrilege, is it? It’s not even a sin. If it was bishops (because this was allowed by a Pope but its usage is down to the discretion of local bishops) wouldn’t allow it…. I am sure that Jesus, being omnipresent, is fully exposed to all of the world’s “banality” anyway. All that we have to do is make sure our hearts are in the right place to receive Holy Communion and that our hands are clean. No biggie.

      • Receiving Holy Communion is both a matter of interior disposition and exterior disposition, for we are both body and spirit. This is why the tradition of receiving on the tongue, while kneeling, universally developed by the eighth century and continued (uninterrupted) until the late twentieth century.

      • A priests hands are concentrated because they touch the body of Christ. you comment reflects the lack of catechesis. As for bishops, the only way one could tell a good bishop from the bad is if one had catechesis which has not been readily available for at least 40 years.

      • From the article itself:
        “Decades of irreverent liturgies have caused immeasurable damage to the faith. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, echoing sentiments similar to those expressed by Fr. Groeschel, has said that the “so called new, modern, manner of receiving Holy Communion directly into the hand is very serious because it exposes Christ to an enormous banality.” I just “feel” that it’s wrong. My 1st Communion was back in 1967. They taught us then, the enormous significance & gift of our receiving the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus.

      • Fr. Seville Antao

        Your statement makes evident the fact that you have not really understood how the practice of hand communion which was actually banned was re-introduced in the church. It was begun abusively as an act of disobedience by the bishops of 4 countries, namely, Belgium, west Germany, France and Holland. Pope Paul VI compromised and allowed them because he was afraid of schisms in the church. This practice is truly the devils tool to destroy reverence and to promote profanation of the most Holy Eucharist… is obvious in todays context

    • And the many graces and blessings for going each time. I doubt in many dioceses. In many newer metro and suburbs ( churches don’t even look like catholic churches . One didn’t even have normal sized stations of the cross and one had a risen Christ on cross behind altar. How are they to know if the church has one hour a week for confession? And pastor doesn’t have how I lies regarding this , in Lent and advent especially.

  3. Ever since Pope Paul VI introduced HIS and emphasize HIS version of the Mass the Roman Catholic Church has gone downhill. The Latin Rite was never supposed to be eradicated It took John Paul II to re-institute however in America I noticed it is not well received. Allowing the Bishops of the diocese to make a judgement call as to where and when the Latin Rite Mass will/can be said.

  4. Thanks, Brian – Encouraging to read, even though it’s an unfortunate reality in the Church. This is not an issue that “most” Catholics are willing to study or even think about. The Church failed miserably when it opened the door to communion in the hand, and there are still many priests and bishops who discourage reverent reception. They refuse to face the truth: the experiment has been a disaster. Those hundreds of millions of Catholics who walked away from the Church had no idea they were walking away from the Real Presence, God Himself. The fallout will continue.

    http://www.Eucharistia.com

  5. Only the Blessed sacred hand of an ordained Catholic priest should touch the Holy Eucharist. In humility we should kneel and received upon our tongue. I do xxx

  6. At the last supper, the Apostles were given the Eucharist in the hand. When David in the Old Testament fed his men “sacred bread” that only the priest could eat and touch, it was by hand. We eat with our hands. Not everyone has been catechized properly in the RCIA or Faith Formation process. I have taught for 10 years and see there are many generations that did not go through RCIA or Faith Formation. To say giving the Eucharist by hand is a disaster, is a personal opinion lacking mercy, compassion and love. As if only he has reverence and is holy. We have to stop and think what is in the persons heart, not their appearance.

    • We actually do not know how the apostles received at the Last Supper. Additionally, the manner in which we receive has very little to do with how the twelve may or may not have.

      Receiving Holy Communion is both a matter of interior disposition and exterior disposition, for we are both body and spirit. This is why the tradition of receiving on the tongue, while kneeling, universally developed by the eighth century and continued (uninterrupted) until the late twentieth century.

    • We have no idea how the apostles received the Sacred Mysteries at the first liturgy, as that knowledge has not been given to us. Regardless, they were the first bishops, so they were clergy. The laity have no business touching the Sacred Species unless in extreme circumstances.

      In the modern era, Communion in the hand began as an act of disobedience during the 1960s in Holland. It was forbidden at that time. One day it will be forbidden again, when a reforming pope takes the throne of Peter.

    • Even if they did receive in the hand, they were already ordained. I don’t think anyone has ever argued that a bishop or priest shouldn’t touch the sacred host with his hands.

    • The apostles were priests.

    • Missing the point completely. Nothing to do with mercy or compassion. It is solely about respect for the real presence of JESUS in the Eucharist. This airy touchy stuff about compassion is over used and clichéd.

    • Fr. Seville Antao

      Your statement makes evident the fact that you have not really understood how the practice of hand communion which was actually banned was re-introduced in the church. It was begun abusively as an act of disobedience by the bishops of 4 countries, namely, Belgium, west Germany, France and Holland. Pope Paul VI compromised and allowed them because he was afraid of schisms in the church. This practice is truly the devils tool to destroy reverence and to promote profanation of the most Holy Eucharist… is obvious in todays context

  7. I agree with the main point of this this article, that changing the practice of communion in the mouth has been detrimental to the sacramental life of the Church. However, you might be mistaken in your assertion that “eastern rite liturgies” do not allow communion in the hand. I believe that in the Chaldean rite, it is traditional to receive in the hands, although they bow their heads to retrieve the host rather that pick it up. If I remember correctly, this is an ancient tradition.

    Just a heads up.

    • In the Ruthenian Byzantine Rite, we don’t have Communion in the hand (it is received via a spoon) except in one instance: deacons and priests receive in the hand if they are on the altar.

      At Communion time, our deacons approach the priest and tell him to give them the Holy Mysteries, which they receive in the hand, afterwards partaking from the chalice.

      The rest of us received under both species via spoon.

  8. Happily, I have never received Communion in the hand–despite the efforts of one woman “minister” at my local parish. She, like so many others, assumed that the aberration is receiving on the tongue and that she has the right to force the issue in the very moment of Communion. Sad. Let us pray and act on the desire to restore reverence to the liturgy.

  9. I agree with Doc bronfromjets, that jesus didn’t hand feed the apostles. Sure we don’t exactly how, it doesn’t state, but Its a pretty good educated guess he broke the bread and gave it to each to break and pass down. they do it in ALL movies or shows etc. Jesus doesn’t mind us touching him. And I dnt’ see ANYTHING wrong with chewing. I was taught as well to let it dissolve in my mouth. I believe it was told to me that in one of the passages when Jesus talks of eating his flesh he says to chew and that the jewish or hebrew or greek word used meant to gnash or gnaw. he meant for us to sink our teeth into him. If I am erred on this, please correct. I believe in this instance the church is putting on what THEY think is reverance. I usually follow, but this is ridiculous. Jesus would want us to touch him, to feel him have that closeness with him. Its like holding Jesus in the palm of my hand. I really don’t see the disrespect so long as you don’t play with it, I rarely see even children playing with it. I will continue to receive by hand. you all do what you want.

  10. Only by mouth should we receive our Lord. In humility. And respect to our Lord God and saviour

  11. I don’t think that receiving Communion in the hand specifically is the issue. The problem is the irreverence. That’s something which goes much deeper than this action, and involves people not caring whether or not they are in a state of grace when they receive Communion, not understanding the significance of Christ’s sacrifice which takes place within the Sanctuary at each Mass. But I can see that encouraging communion in the tongue might help people to see the bigger problem.

    • ‘The faith is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.’
      Precisely. Which is why I’m baffled at your disrespect for the teaching of the magisterium

      By the way, all this fear of irreverence…. it’s about free will, the heart, isn’t it ? Do you really think receiving the Sacred Host in the mouth gives some form of guarantee against irreverence on he part of the Communicant. The Pharisees were just as exercised about perceived irreverence as you are, and Jesus would surely refer you to the incident in which David and his men were given the bread to eat that was normally set aside for the priests.

      Do you really not see how this graphically-helpless abjection, way beyond even what the animals express when eating, countervails greatly against the purpose of Christ’s holy Incarnation – becoming man, as he did, so that we might become God ? So, that we might learn of that extraordinary invitation to eventually share in his divinity.

      I heard recently from a young Jesuit priest that the Orthodox are more forthcoming to the laity about this matter. My own suspicion is that anything that might indicate the laity share the glory of the elitist, clericalist notion of the priesthood, was to be downplayed, maginalized or ignored.

      When a bad priest goes to hell, he will no longer be a priest ; his soul will surely just bear the mark of his (frustrated) calling, and hence in his dereliction of his calling, the antithesis of offering prayer and sacrifice to God, proper to the royal priesthood of us all. So, I chuckle. When I read some defrocked villain crow, ‘Oh, but they can never take away my priesthood. It’s eternal !’

      I’ve only encountered or read or heard about four or five priests I would call, ‘liberal’ in a pejorative sense, though there must of course, be more ; plus of course the homosexual crowd in the US. Observing Vatican II is not heretical. What you all agonize over are changes of emphasis, which can be and imo have been devastating to the spread of the faith and the retention of those already baptised in it, whether cradle-Catholics or late converts, many through marriage.

      • The horror of the modern reintroduction of communion in the hand after its disappearance for over 1,000 years was a direct result of disobedience. Please don’t dismiss the effect that our external disposition can have on developing our internal disposition.

        By the way, “observing Vatican II” has nothing to do with a discussion of this post-conciliar innovation of disobedient Catholics in European nations.

  12. How Jesus distributed His Body and Blood to the Apostles is completely irrelevant to the CITH issue. People seem to either forget or ignore that the Apostles were ordained bishops at the time. As such, they had consecrated hands, unlike the laity – including the swarms of pants-suited Extraneous Ministers of Holy Communion at each NO Mass.

  13. As a Eucharistic minister I’ll give the host either way you prefer. But I must say I’ve accidentally touched a few tongues so think it a bit less sterile.

  14. Ah, but the “experiment” has been a fabulous success: making the one true religion appear to be like every other religion. The “New Mass” only exists to accommodate the heresies which preceded it, such as the masonic heresies of universalism and indifferentism, (all roads lead to God, any religion will do, etc.) The devil dances with delight…
    Why the loss of faith among Catholics? To paraphrase James Carville’s brilliant slogan for dubioius Bill Clinton’s ’94 presidential run, “It’s the Mass, stupid!”
    Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. The infiltrating luciferians knew that phrase and reality well when they invented the new mass.

  15. Elizabeth Desouza

    “open your mouth and I will feed you” says the LORD
    our hands are not clean but have sweat and dirt besides the stuff on everybody’s else hands after the ‘sign of peace’ claptrap

  16. I love Jesus. I have always received in my hand-my First Communion year was the first year it was allowed. I believe the tone of many commenters-that someone like me is being sacrilegious or disrespectful, does much harm. My heart is open to changing, and I have spent several years praying for His wisdom, but so far feel at peace with how I receive. And yes, I go to frequent Confession. I’m far from perfect, but we all are. Love and mercy go so far in this world filled with hardened hearts. Sounding superior to what the Church allows, whether we agree with it or not, has always seemed Protestant to me. Picking and choosing what”really” matters. Instead of focusing on how to share the love of Jesus with others.

    • You’re spot on. There’s a lot of pride and arrogance in the opinions expressed here. There is also a judgmental attitude in what some are saying. We must keep in mind that the church has the authority to bind and to loose and if the church is allowing communion to be received either way we have to give obedience to that authority. Judgment belongs to God alone and the disposition of the heart of the individual receiving He alone knows.
      Many here need to get off their spiritual high horses.

  17. Father John Higgins

    While I agree that the Celebration of Mass must always be reverent and dignified I find that there is much ado about externals, such as how to receive Holy Communion or which way the Priest faces, and far less about an interior life of prayer for both the Priest and the people at Mass. While I agree that there have been abuses with receiving Holy Communion in the hand I have also seen abuses by people who wish to receive on the tongue. I remember the abuses of the Liturgy of the Council of Trent, as well as witnessing abuses in the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. Folks often tend to forget the abuses in the Liturgy they personally prefer. I also have seen and participated in Liturgies of both rites in which I was awestruck by the reverence and dignity of both the Priest(s) and the people. My most profound experience of this was celebrating Mass with Saint Pope John Paul II in his private Chapel in the Vatican with only a few of us there. It was an experience of both exaltation of Christ and a humbling experience of being in the presence of our Lord and one of His most beautiful servants, the Pope.

    Let’s focus on our own interior life, our own approach to Eucharist. While it is good to educate people, especially the young, in Christian prayer and the Sacrifice of Christ in the Mass it is also not good to simply look for faults in externals. Let’s focus on sharing God’s Grace with others in a manner that inspires holiness with gentle instruction on the best way to show that holiness in our outward actions.

    When confronted with a person who simply does not know how to receive Holy Communion properly, whether in the hand or on the tongue (and there are both) I try to give a little instruction like “Don’t bite at the Host” or “Don’t try to lick the Host off my finger” or “Don’t grab the Host” or “Don’t bounce the Host into your mouth like popcorn”. I do this as gently as possible, especially with children who may not have been properly instructed.

    And then we have the cases in which one is so proud of the WAY one receives Holy Communion that they express their arrogance by making a huge show of how “holy” they are for making that choice. I have pointed out that sin in private to the person, encouraging humility rather than self will.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response Fr. Higgins. Just four things I would like to note about the ongoing matter of how the faithful receive Holy Communion:

      1. Our exterior disposition can actually influence our interior disposition, and even that of others. Receiving on the tongue, while kneeling, is a catechesis unto itself about the Real Presence.

      2. This topic has nothing to do with which form of the Roman Rite one prefers. It is a conversation relevant to both: the EF requires it, the OF considers it the universal norm.

      3. Lastly, communion on the tongue is as much a discussion of avoiding the physical profanation of Our Eucharistic Lord as it is maintaining a widespread reverence and belief of His Real Presence on the part of the faithful. We literally are more likely to see the host mishandled when we see the modern practice in use.

      4. Fr. Groeschel was never viewed as a priest with a liturgical agenda. He simply loved Our Lord too much not to speak against the innovation of such a practice that had disappeared from the Roman Rite over 12 centuries earlier.

    • A beautiful and pertinent post, Father, if I may presume to say so.

    • With all due respect Father, it would appear that you are part of the problem.
      The Magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church may disagree with your response on this subject.
      God Bless.

      • ‘With all due respect Father, it would appear that you are part of the problem.’
        That indeed is how it would appear to you, if it is you who are part of the problem.’

        The Magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church may disagree with your response on this subject.’

        On the other hand, they would surely be more likely to disagree with you.
        You belong to the Tridentine church, don’t you ? A bitter-ender.

      • The “Tridentine church”…Really?

        The faith is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If the post-conciliar era looks and sounds markedly different from what came before, then we have a problem. And it does. And we do.

    • Well, Father, I wonder if, in principle at least, even you are being too fastidious about chewing the Sacred Host. Not that it is something that has commended itself to me, though moving about the last traces of it in my mouth on occasions, yes.

      I wonder, indeed, if by this strange rite, we are not actually making a public acknowledgement that we are all descended from cannibals ! In fact, it is estimated that 130,000 people die each day across the globe, primarily because of the greed of the 0.000001 %, and the propaganda extolling uncontrolled capitalism, with which they fool Christians who want to believe them.

      ‘Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on God.’ – Psalm 53:4

      .. which is precisely what we have been doing with perfect equanimity and a clear conscience. Why ? Because, as that great Canadian and later American economist, J K Galbraith Snr, observed :

      ‘The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.’

      In case any of you get a sudden onset of the vapours, he also said :

      ‘Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.’

  18. We Eucharistic ministers are required to pause briefly & wash our hands on the way up to the altar. I’m with Fr though it’s more about our interior attitudes.

  19. Communion in the hand has led to a great lessening of reverence for our Lord and the Blessed Sacrament. We have lost reverence and we have lost awe. My son was taught as he prepared for first communion that going to communion was like going to get a cookie. That is where we are at. I return to receiving on the tongue 20 years ago and one of our local parishes puts out kneelers so we can also receive kneeling. That feels right! Communion in themand means Particles on the floor to be trampled upon and the enemy of souls is pleased with that.

  20. Very small particles of the Sacred Host remain on your hand and I have seen on a number of occasions, in the communion line, particles falling to the ground. So, imagine how often part of Jesus is not consumed but is vacuumed up later. Taking communion on the tongue would eliminate that sacrilege.
    I and fellow parishioners have also seen (albeit very rarely) people take communion and then put the Sacred Host in their pocket and walk off. Where are they going and what are they going to do with it? (Obviously we need to follow them and ask them kindly to consume it there, but there may be times when nobody has noticed!)
    I do not mean to offend anyone who takes communion in the hand but we must think more of Our Lord and His wonderful sacrifice for us. God bless!

  21. I am an EMHC and I DESPISE the practice. I hate it. When I am scheduled to distribute the Eucharist I always sign up for the cup, because I intensely dislike dispensing it on the hand. I totally agree that this is harming the feeling of reverence for the Sacrament. For the most part (and there are exceptions), people hold out there hand like “I’ll take my cracker now.” My attitude is, “you’ll TAKE nothing. You will receive the Lord Who gives Himself to you freely. Please try to appreciate it.”

    I had one priest refuse to give me the Eucharist on the tongue when I was up receiving before distributing my cup – he stood there with Him until I opened my eyes and saw him holding it where my hands would be. Not being the time or place to argue, I held out my hands. He gave me the Host and said “You are an EMHC.” I didn’t get a chance to ask him what that was supposed to mean. 😦

    • I agree with Deb. I too am an EMHC . I too hate this practice. Like Deb I too sign up for the cup and dislike dispensing in the hand. I pray and wish the communion on the tongue be instated by the church. I must admit many receive it without reverence. For this we need to get them to be catechized properly. I pray the Lord will help us to receive Him humbly.

  22. The problem is not the manner of receiving Communion (on the tongue or in the hand) but the paucity of catechesis on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Is the tongue of itself any more worthy to hold the Body of Christ than the hand? I suspect that more sins are committed with the tongue than with the hands. What needs to be enforced is the attitude of reverence with which the person receives the Eucharist whether on the tongue or in the hand. It is well to consider that a person who receives on the tongue can easily remove the sacred host from his/her mouth and use it for sacreligeous purposes. Reception on the tongue is not a guarantee of protection for the sacred species. Again, I say that catechesis must be improved at all levels, from preparation for First Eucharist, through all phases of life. Our priests much preach more frequently on this topic.

  23. And, how did the Apostles receive the bread of the first Holy Communion? Did they not receive it into their hands? Are we not to emulate the example of Our Lord? I think the best argument for receiving on the tongue, is that it prevents the theft of the sacrament by those with evil intent. Perhaps that is reason enough.

    • They certainly wouldn’t have opened their mouths to be ‘spoon fed’ by Jesus, like toddlers..

      • “Allowing oneself to be fed like a baby by receiving Communion directly into the mouth ritually expresses in a better way the character of receptivity and of being a child before Christ Who feeds us and nourishes us spiritually.”

        Bishop Athanasius Schneider, from his modern classic, “Dominus Est-It is The Lord!”

      • It is guaranteed that there will have been cardinals,and bishops who cover the spectrum, but Holy Communion is not the priest’s time. It is the communicant’s time – including the priest as communicant. Acting in persona Christi, the priest remains a divine agent, just as by virtue of our baptism, the laity are divine agents to the world.

        The status of the laity, as such, is less proximate to the divine in the sacraments, until the laity receive Holy Communion. Then no-one, no living human being or angel has the authority to intervene between the Almighty and his communicant. Christ became man in order to raise men, not to abase them, and Holy Communion is the time ‘par excellence’, when he chooses to show his infinite love, not for everyone in aggregate, but for each individual one of his children, as if they alone inhabited this world. He would have accepted that crucifixion for one person.

        There’s been too much made of this ‘persona Christi’ of the celebrant (not mark you in confession, where the emphasis is reversed) and not enough of the ‘other Christs’ via the baptism of the laity, indeed, of all. In doing so, it is Christ who is marginalised by clericalism: that is the great imbalance, mistaken and offensive emphasis.

        Remember how Jesus chided the disciples for rejoicing at their supernatural powers, casting our devils, when they should have rejoiced that their names were written in heaven.

      • The apostles themselves were to be our first priests..they were consecrated to God..we do not have consecrated hands…only consecrated hands are to touch the sacred Body of Jesus..in the Latin mass..the priests hands are covered.We lay people have no business receiving in our hands..however.. I personally have a hard time abiding by this as long as there are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

    • Also the 5000 (plus their families). I can’t imagine either Jesus and his Apostles going round feeding them all by hand. True it was not Christ’s body at that stage, but it was Jesus, himself, and his Apostles, in the flesh presiding.

  24. As a college seminarian, my attempts to receive the Sacrament on the tongue were met with shaming from my Bishop, who chastised me for it. His reasoning was that it is “unsanitary” and apparently overly pious.

    • “overly pious?” I grew up in the 60’s so I remember the Church pre-Vatican II. The nuns taught us not to let the host touch our teeth and YOU DON’T CHEW IT. Now I see the host being chewed and I cringe. I’d love to hear what your bishop would say about that. 🙂

  25. I was an Extraordinary minister of the Eucharist for almost 25 years and always receive in the hand, as I was touching the Eucharist all those years. What matters most is to receive it reverently and of course, to believe that it is truly Jesus and not a symbol.

  26. Dreadful. It was mean to be a metaphor – just that ‘ not a playlet in which we impersonate farm animals. Even their young are according the dignity of feeding themselves at their mother’s teat or by grazing.

    A shocking throne-room misrepresentation of God’s infinite condescension and love for us. If He could have made us additions to the Trinity in our own right, He would have.

  27. He was always on target. The hierarchy changes rules and regulations to make it or more hip-hop friendly religion. I’m just a lowly convert since 1976 but my cradle Catholic wife fills me in on the real deal as she’s 68 and still great.

  28. I vary on how I receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Mostly, I receive on the tongue. However there are also times when I choose to receive in my hand. When I do this, I am very well aware of my love and reverence of the Eucharist. Occasionally, I will even discreetly kiss the host while inserting it into my mouth. How can anyone say this lacks true reverence?

  29. OurLord is been blasphemed trembling under foot stuck in chewing gum and tropped on floors it is a Disgrace what the priests and bishops have allowed to happen .I will never receive Our Lord in the hands and another thing bothers me that many priests are rebuken people for kneeling down while receiving our Savior and Lord I would tell them to take the collar off and go buy bay. Lena

  30. It is also very difficult to want to receive on the tongue when receiving from an extraordinary minister of the eucharist..something I wish they would do away with.Why can’t we go back to kneeling along the alter and receiving from the priest…are we in that much of a hurry?And why do we have to have awful music constantly playing at all times..there is no silence in the mass..we should recieve in silence..not have that bad circus music they pass off as religious on us during reception.

    • No. It seems to me far too much is made of this connection with the rites of the Old Testament, so that during the Mass, the priest becomes the star, not Christ. After all, isn’t the priest acting in persona Christi, is how the argument goes.

      From the time of our baptism, we are consecrated to God, indeed, integrated into his Mystical Body by the Holy Spirit’s adoption. You make it sound as if Jesus were a ‘hot-house flower’ who couldn’t bear to be touched by the people he died for, and who are ins a state of grace.

      Remember : the priest exists to serve the lay people ; not the other way around. Christ was not a formal priest, though the source of all priesthood; neither were St Joseph, David – though I believe he appointed priests – nor Moses, nor John the Baptist… not to speak of the mothers of great lay figures and priest figures in Scripture. They were consecrated by God and no mistake, though never appointed as formal priests to carry out the religious rites and ceremonies. It is surely wrong in the Christian era to make too much of the Jewish rituals and so on.

      The priest is appointed for convenience – somebody has to lead and preside – not because he’s special. It is only right that Holy Communion aside, he should be expected, in view of his habitual proximity to God via the sacraments, to be the more ‘dedicated’ official, the sacraments all being in a special way, miraculous manifestations of God. Not all priests will go to heaven. What about their consecrated hands ?

  31. what about people like me who are Methodist Am I gonna go to hell and be rejected on judgement day cause we dont have your communion, mass or rosary? At the last supper the bread given to the apostles was handled by them at the table I guess only catholics getinto heaven

    • Hello Viki…God will judge according to the faith you were raised in..Catholics will be judged as Catholics..you will be judged according to your Methodist beliefs…however before the protestant reformation..there was but one church..the Catholic church..this is the church founded by Jesus which traces it;s roots unbroken back to the apostles.It is the church that holds the fullness of the faith of Christs teachings and of oral Traditions as well that have been handed down over the centuries.All other Christian denominations have rid themselves one way or another of certain scriptures..beliefs or traditions..or have given in to worldly expectations.same sex marriage..contraception..abortion..etc as acceptable..whereas the Catholic church has stood firm against these things and holds true to the faith given to her..it has weathered every persecution thrown at her and still stands strong…so in essence..Catholics will be judged on a harsher level…remember..God loves everyone..Jew,Muslim.Christian..Budhist,Hindu..even atheists..because we are all His creation and His children..He wishes for us to be with Him in Heaven..He also gave us the way to get there..love one another as I have loved you..keep searching for the truth..ask the Holy Spirit to help you..God Bless you on your journey

      • John, don’t ignore the major corrections to the imbalances to which our church has been prey, down the centuries. The very emergence of Protestantism is a direct result of OUR deficiencies as Christians in his institutional church, our scandalous witness in so many areas. Hillaire Belloc wasn’t too far from the mark when he remarked : ‘The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.’

        Jesus’ diatribes against the scribes and the Pharisees will pale in significance in comparison with those that will be levelled at our own ‘scribes and Pharisees’, so jealous for God’s honour, but seemingly unaware of Jesus’ rejoinder, when he and his disciples were criticised by them for eating corn on the Sabbath, citing the words, ‘Know ye not that ye are Gods ?’ Some of the extraordinarily apposite words, Francis and others have used to describe the mindset of the miscreants’ are : self-referential, triumphalist(ic) legalistic, narcissistic, Pelagian – all right on the mark.

        This royal priesthood of all Christians is what should be stressed in multiple ways, notwithstanding that we have a dedicated official charged with administration of the sacraments. The Mass is not about the priest. It is about Christ and the chickabiddies (including the celebrant) he suffered so much for in Gethsemane and died for on the cross, a distant second.

        And no, this is not an exhortation to treat the sacraments with anything but great reverence. On the contrary.

      • thank you for your info. I do love the Lord, and I dont believe in abortion etc. My belief is that we must accept Christ as our Lord and Savior believe He died for our sins and love one another even if it is hard to do. I have one question tho we believe that we already came under the blood of Christ when He died for us so why do catholics believe in purgatory. To me that is an insult to Christ saying He did not do it right the first time so now try again I am not trying to be insultig but just curious about the catholic faith. If He died once for our sins why do you think purgatory is needed to cleanse you there is no mention of the word purgatory in the bible

      • The original Bible contained books in which purgatory was mentioned. King James removed them, so you have lost that crucial information. Think of sin as dripping ink on your clothes. You remove the ink, yet the stain remains. Those stains of forgiven sin are expiated, or purged, so we come before God totally clean. Very few leave this life and go directly to heaven. Purgatory is a gift of God’s perfect love.

  32. If the apostles received the Sacred Species from Our Lord in the hands or tongue we do not know. However, if they did receive in their hands we need to consider that they were not common folks like us, they were now destined to be the first priests and bishops! Priests do consecrate the Eucharist, so they need to touch it with their hands and in the proper manner to show respect. To receive Communion in the hand is to expose the Lord to all sort of irreverence, such as people who steal it to sell on e-bay etc. That has happened and the satanists buy consecrated hosts from those who are willing to do such things. Also, particles of the host might fall to the ground and be stepped on. So, since most bishops these days have not that kind of concern about what happens to the Holy Eucharist when communicants walk to the Communion line, the faithful needs to use their discernment and act accordingly, as it will most likely not come from Church leaders, unfortunetely. That means: priests, bishops, catechists who are not taught the utmost importance of reverence to Our Lord and only talk about “disposition” and “feelings.”
    Good Lord, please have mercy on your Church.

  33. First of all, there is no such thing as an “extraordinary minister of the Eucharistic.” The only minister of the Eucharistic is a bishop or priest who can confect the sacrament. Lay people are officially called extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. The term extraordinary means that they can assist the ordinary ministers of communion such as bishop, priest and Deacon when there are emergencies situations. For example, when there are 500 communicants, and only one priest . Under ordinary circumstances, the vast majority of “communion ministers “function illegally” and have no right to administer holy Communion. This is one of the biggest abuses in the post Vatican II church. For some layperson to be in ministering holy Communion for 25 years is a disgrace, in a very serious abuse. Bishops priests and deacons by the ordination I supposed to administer a holy Communion, not the laity.

  34. My neck is fused and I can not lift it up to receive ( I am 4’9″) and when I do, I have to strain to get Our Lord, its easier to place him on my palm and put my palm to my mouth and receive. Its not easy for me, as I suffer severe arthritis as well. My palm of my hand is Christ’s earthly throne.

    • What loving faith and a beautiful way with words you have, gun-totin grannie. At Holy Communion, such praise will thrill God as much as an abject self-emptying.

  35. How was the communion bread shared at the Last Supper? Christ Himself established how the bread was to be shared. The Church has every right to determine how it’s done but to suggest that by hand is necessarily irreverent is wrong and ridiculous.

  36. It is not a matter of being ridiculous. It is a matter of taking all the care possible to avoid profanation and abuses. That is part of the Tradition of the Church. It was done many centuries ago for a purpose: to keep the Holy Eucharist protected and to inspire on people the proper reverence due to Him. It all goes together: the tabernacle in the center, the priest as the ordinary minister as the one who has the ordained hands, the vestments, the music, the seriousness and reverence of the people toward the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass etc. etc. etc. One needs to understand the transcendence of the Holy Mass to understand why over the centuries, the Church added symbols and details, and customs in the Sacred Liturgy so as to give the utmost glory to the Holy Trinity – to Our God The Father, to Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, to the Holy Spirit, the Paraclet. I don’t see this glory given to Him any longer unless I go to the Tridentine Mass. I am sorry to say, but when one compares, there is no doubt. I grew up with happy Masses, even dancing and I saw the people leaving one by one, or staying and engaging in life decisions that were not according to the teaching of the Church. I believe the form of worship has something to do with that. Of course, the worldly society as well. It is a combination, of course. One can go to the Tridentine Mass and do not understand and make wrong decisions, but the usual is that when you chose the Mass that offers the utmost reverence you are more likely to make decisions based on Church teachings. There are people who are very committed to Church teachings that go to the New Mass, but there are inconsistencies here and there. That is due to the inconsistency in teaching we all receive. Nowadays we need to read Church documents and read books of authors who are loyal to Church teachins and have done the research in order to know. We usually do not hear that from the pulpit, unfortunately. Priests are either not knowledgeable enough or know they will get in trouble with the bishop if they speak too much in a traditional way. So sad. Anyway, some people mentioned “extraordinary ministers”. I want to share a link. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html#_ftn258
    That is why I go to the Tridentine Mass. I will go to a new Mass only if I am traveling and have no option, but I usually check online so I make my Sunday plans accordingly. I have seen way too many abuses, especially overseas to desire to be in one again. I want my children to grew up with the Tradition that the Church kept so dearly for so many centuries and then was put under the rug after VII. I know so many cases of priests and faithful who were persecuted for that. I feel privileged that now I have the TM, but pray that it will not be taken away… as it has already been happening in some cases.
    In Corde Iesum per Mariam.

  37. are you still debating this stale old topic? This is been going on for 40 years! The Novus Ordo mass is invalid, so there is no real presence.

  38. I will not go there… Understanding the Holy Mass is a process and it is not by attacking here and there that will bring people in to the Tradition and the truth of the Holy Church. There is already much hurt because of this break away from Tradition in the last 40 years. I don’t need to add to that. I have been hurt by others who do not understand it as well. I pray for them and for the Church. Reparation to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate heart is a must.
    I just want to share the link for this beautiful and simple movie which shows how people took the reverence to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and the respect for the priesthood the central part in the Catholic Faith. Without our food from Heave and undestanting of Him and the value of the priesthood we cannot give our lives if needed like the people of the region of the Vendee, France depicted in the movie did. God bless.
    http://www.navispictures.com/category_s/34.htm

  39. My concern is not having the server with a paten anymore. If we had that, I absolutely would.

  40. In my opinion, I think our Lord is more concerned whether we are receiving Him in our heart, regardless of whether we receive Him on the tongue, or in the hand. Are we accepting His True Presence? Each person must answer that to himself.

    • Yes, Joel, the fulness of the Law is love, and the organ associated with love is the heart ; which is why the devil’s immense analytical intelligence prompts him to believe ….. and tremble… his heart, his will, wanting nothing to do with the ‘unitive’ spiritual intelligence of the heart, wisdom, which alone has direct access to the Holy Spirit.

  41. Vicki, I read your question regarding purgatory. The best way I can explain it is that when someone robs a tremendous amount of money, in addition to jail time, they must make restitution to the one from whom they stole. They have served their time, but the money must still be paid back. When we sin, when we confess our sins they are forgiven, but we may not yet have reached the state of purification needed to enter the Heavenly Kingdom. Therefore, the time in purgatory is needed to reach this state. It is not that the actions of Jesus are insufficient, but rather that we are weak individuals and our actions are at times not sufficient to clear our debt. Hope this is helpful.

    • thank you for your reply this has made thigs a little clearer I have been to many churches and we even have Jews in our family and I have been to Temple with my sister-in-law my husband is an athiest and I have been praying for his heart to open to salvation and my sons too. I do believe I cant change their hearts but only the Lord can I am interested in the catholic religion can you offer some prayers for them? Thank you for your reply

  42. I receive both ways, yet feel comfortable receiving on the hand due to quite a few times having the hand touch my tongue.This itself is distracting taking my focus off the reverence needed in this most extraordinary grace of this gift of the Body of Christ. The children who received there first holy communion in our parish, all received in the hand, I worry this is the way their preparation reflects a lack of balance towards receiving on the tongue. As a child at the communion rails, I never felt the priests thumb against my mouth, this never occurred, now I decide to receive on the hand so as not to recoil due to this happening. I wish we could turn back the hands of time with regard to this, a time when we did’nt need to worry or stress about it or debate on how holy or not we are due to this decision. We need the guidance of our clergy.

  43. There is a problem with receiving Holy Communion in the hand not mentioned here!

    The wafers used in the Communion are very crisp and brittle. Either before the Consecration or afterward, it is possible for them to crack or chip around the edges unless handled correctly. It must be remembered that the Consecrated Host is the real Body of Christ. The smallest piece of the Host is as much the Body of Christ as is the whole Host.

    Usually in the modern Church there is not an Altar server holding a paten to catch any crumbs or particles. Worse yet, the recipient may have a particle in their hand along with the full Host. I have not noticed children or adults look to see if a particle remains on their palms. If not noticed the particle could fall to the floor and be stepped on which is definitely desecrating the Body of Christ.

    If this practice continues, there needs to be a general re-education of both children and adults as to the possibility of unintentionally committing an offense against our Savior. I gave up Communion in the hand after reading some material by Father Nicholas Gruner of the Fatima Center.

  44. When I was a young child we were required to receive on the tongue; at one mass the priest reprimanded me for not opening my mouth wide enough. Well I was devastated and embarrassed, I stayed away from receiving. I longed to receive but was a shy child and was afraid of receiving Communion incorrectly again; so when the Church opened up reception to receiving on the hand I was over joyed! And in the innocence (or vanity) of childhood I believed God did this for ME. I thanked him over and over again. Are there more people out there like me? Maybe God IS working through His Church to help His littlest members.

    • God doing it just for you is the sort of thing that should not surprise you, Brian, even if you think that, on balance, it is very improbable. He did die on the cross for you alone.

  45. Traditions of men? Did the Apostles receive Jesus in the hand at the Last Super?
    Would they have not continued the Tradition established by Jesus at the Last Super or did they change it in their lifetimes?
    Thoughts?

    • Supper, that is.

    • This might help to answer your question Bennett. It is an excerpt from a directive issued by the Vatican’s Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff back in 2008:

      “From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: a) first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles; b) second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

      • Good morrow, both. If I may interject, here, I wonder if ‘from the time of the Fathers of the church’ in this text, means, at some time during their office in the Church, or dating from the end of the period of the Fathers ?

  46. I’m inclined to wonder, indeed, if the Fathers might have considered it rather presumptuous to even seek to ‘refine’ the tradition handed down so recently, by Christ and the Apostles, in order to make the rite more reverend.

  47. Maybe we should stop handing the chalice of Christ’s blood to people first! I rarely even take from the chalice because of this. People drop it and spill it everywhere then just walk through it and continue the mass. It’s awful! The Orthodox got this one right, and are right to be appalled at the way we distribute. It angers me greatly. We should NEVER allow the blood or the body to be vulnerable in the laity’s hands.

  48. Totally agree…think of how scrupulously the priest cleans the chalice and any vessels used after distributing Holy Communion, to make sure no particles of the Host are left…how many tiny particles adhere to the hands of thoses receiving and are not comsumed!

    • Not only that, but as an EMHC, I’ve had to stop MANY people from palming the host and walking off with it, other parishioners reporting to me that they see people putting the host in their pocket.

      I see people with filthy hands, hands with ink writing all over them, hold out one hand with a “give me my cookie” attitude, holding out one hand and trying to snatch the host out of my hand with the other.

      It’s just irreverent, and far too casual (but I repeat myself). You raise the best point of all with particles left on irreverent hands.

      When I serve, I make a point of serving the cup… and I watch the people who take the host in their hands to make sure they consume it right there.

      Even though it’s allowed, it’s being treated as the standard, the ordinary way of receiving and I completely loathe the practice. Only once have I had a priest refuse to give me the Eucharist on the tongue, telling me “you are an EMHC!” I have no idea what he meant by that.

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