Bishop Strickland: Receive Communion on the Tongue while Kneeling

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler (Texas) continues to demonstrate his courage and commitment to truth and tradition.

As readers may recall, back in August he was one of the first to publicly respond to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s letter detailing the Cdl. Theodore McCarrick scandal and cover-up. In a letter to the faithful of his diocese, Bp. Strickland wrote:

Let us be clear that they are still allegations, but as your shepherd I find them to be credible. Using this standard the response must be a thorough investigation, similar to those conducted any time allegations are deemed to be credible. 

He also made the news last month at the USCCB meetings in Baltimore when he publicly called out churchmen who promote the pro-homosexual agenda of the left, including his brother bishops. Though not mentioning Fr. James Martin, S.J. by name, many assumed that Bp. Strickland was referencing the problematic priest.

Now Bp. Strickland has taken to Twitter to encourage his flock to receive Holy Communion in the traditional manner.

In a Tweet dated Saturday, December 15, Bp. Strickland wrote:

Ways to receive Our Lord as King of the Universe…read and reflect on the Sunday Scriptures, plan your whole weekend around receiving your King, wear your best garments, spend time in quiet, kneel to receive Him, receive Him on the tongue, offer silent time of thanks after mass.

It is encouraging to see such bold and unambiguous teaching as Bp. Strickland is providing. In an age of numerous secular-political agendas pushed by far too many prelates, including those in Rome, it’s refreshing to see a shepherd whose only agenda is the Church’s true purpose and traditional mission: the salvation of souls.

Pray for His Excellency. These days such open orthodoxy, clear teaching, and obvious love for the faithful can make one a marked man.

Posted on December 15, 2018, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Prayer for the good Bishop who has proclaimed the TRUTH and who embraces TRADITION , may God Bless him and Our Lady protect him .

  2. Trying to force into the hearts of many the same sentiments as the bishop has is not wise. Jesus disguises Himself completely. He disguises his precious Body and Blood completely. He makes it difficult for a common person to acknowledge His Presence in a sensible way. As such, He desires for the Faithful to acknowledge His Presence in a spiritual way, that is, truly in the heart, a way which is far more important than doing so mechanically through a forced gesture. The gesture is helpful for those who struggle to bring about true reverence in their hearts without it or for those looking on who, because of their scruples, try to control the actions of others or accuse others if their gestures do not give them the appearance of what cannot be known in the heart. Jesus knows the heart. What a person intends and believes, privately in relation to the Lord, is more important than the gesture.

    • Actually, Francis Phillip, as a bishop in the Church, he is SUPPOSED to tell us what to do and how to do it and we should be humble enough and wise enough to do it and appreciate his leadership. Maybe you should check your attitude. Humility is a virtue

      • But, in the charity which is due in this case on a strictly disciplinary matter, the bishops provide options which are reasonable under the circumstances.

      • Jacob Nelson, M.T.S., M.A.

        Francis Phillip, isn’t that what is being done when everybody else stands and receives on the hand? For me to be forced to follow suit offends the dignity of the sacrament. The norm in the Church for reception has been as the good bishop describes for the vast majority of the history of the Church. Standing and in the hand. only came about through the coercion of Cardinal Bernadin boy submitting illicit votes from retired bishops to the NCCB (Now USCCB) so that the bishops could adhere to an insult that the Pope gave at the time to some rogue bishops in Europe. Most bishops at the time of the induct were against this posture and it was forced on the Church by rogue thinking bishops. The good Bishop Strickland is simply aiding the faithful in recovering a lost practice of reverence, he is not forcing it like bishops of the past with our current posturing.

    • “Trying to force into the hearts of many the same sentiments as the bishop has is not wise.”

      If that is what the Bishop was doing, I’d agree. But there is no forcing of sentiments here. Similarly, you assume that all those who are standing are those without scruples while attributing a host of other attributes.

      Have you ever considered that those standing may actually benefit from the outward gesture of kneeling? Grace builds upon nature. And the Bishop is within his purview to guide the flock, no?

      You may not be aware, but your posts tend toward the defensive which would indicate a fear of sorts. What frightens you at the suggestion of kneeling and receiving Our Lord on the tongue? If you are settled within yourself, this shouldn’t pose any issue.

      If it does, I’d like to hear it.

      • You don’t know what my assumptions are. What you see in my posts is in your mind, not necessarily in my posts, and the judgment you make about fear is, well, judging me falsely – something Christians know well about, true? I’m completely settled with the valid and licit teaching of the Church on the matter.

      • Ann – the real point I’m trying to bring to light here is that the Faithful have been given the option, and have been encouraged by the USCCB (the valid and licit authority in the United States on liturgy), to receive Holy Communion while standing and to use their hands if they so desire. There is ancient tradition which well supports receiving in the hand, as if it were an Altar. Also, there has been historical resistance to this, most notably in groups like SSPX which leaders were excommunicated for a long time because of their public disagreements, recalcitrant obstinance, and general disobedience to THE Church authority on Earth. These types, in their obstinance and scruples would force persons to abide by their rules instead of obeying what valid and licit authority has established. And so, I tried to write a bit of wisdom about why it is not good to force someone to choose only one way when the Authority has established options.

      • @Kurt There is no one in the bible who stood in the presence of Jesus once they realized he was God. They all fell down in adoration. The standing posture is in the acknowledgment of the resurrection. The kneeling posture is in adoration. There is a clear hierarchy in the three postures of kneeling, standing, and sitting. Prostration is the other posture (even superseding kneeling) but for obvious reasons was never practiced liturgically except by the clergy in the sanctuary. There is a reason that the Latin Rite Church is 98% of the Catholic fold.

        The East also has a married clergy, but that is not the highest calling. I will never advocate for anything other than our very highest liturgical, disciplinary, doctrinal, and sacramental practices.

        I don’t think you’ll ever get over your a priori preferences. The Universally mandated posture for communion in kneeling and on the tongue. That has not changed in any point of the Latin Rite.

    • Sorry to disagree, but the Bible says every knee shall bend. I would say we’ve been told how to reverance and it’s not dependant on how our “heart” feels.

    • Man, With Charity, I would request that you go review your catechism. You are 100% wrong on this Francis Philip and the Bishop is teaching what it is that he has received.

  3. Actually, Francis Phillip, as a bishop in the Church, he is SUPPOSED to tell us what to do and how to do it and we should be humble enough and wise enough to do it and appreciate his leadership. Maybe you should check your attitude. Humility is a virtue

    • But, in the charity which is due in this case on a strictly disciplinary matter, the bishops provide options which are reasonable under the circumstances.

      • So with your logic, there should be no rubrics within the Mass?
        That’s exactly what has gone wrong with the Novus Ordo “options.”
        Try telling your kids they have “reasonable options.” They will, for sure, push the boundaries until their parents grow a spine and give them definable parameters.

        Besides, the universal norm is to receive communion on the tongue and kneeling. The standing and communion in the hand is only by indult in the USA since 1977. Then there’s all of the communion crumbs falling to the floor. Each and every communicant drops, on average, 2-5 visible particles to the ground.

      • Patens are there for crumb control. Hosts fall to the ground accidentally, and there is no nuclear melt down when that happens. Leaders ensure peace is maintained according to God’s will. Let’s be reasonable and not put the congregation in a panic.

      • The particles get left on the hand, not the paten. When a black glove is used, one can see the particles left on the hand immediately after it is placed in the hand. Even if a paten is used (most parishes no longer use them), it is useless to stop the particles from going to the ground since it is not underneath the hands all the way to the pew.

        Hosts do fall to the ground (very rarely), but normally a priest half way worth his salt purifies the ground where the host fell. No one is purifying the countless particles falling to the floor because of communion in the hand.

      • I don’t think that the Lord wants you to be unreasonably concerned about things which He controls well, that you are not required to control, like the millions of microscopic particles which He knows about, but which you do not know about.

      • Obeying the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and rubrics for the Mass (whichever valid form you are using) is what you need to do to be a good priest or servant of God.

      • The Real Presence teaching is not concerned with microscopic particles. The teaching is clear. If they are visible (to the naked eye) particles, then it is the Real Presence. If you condone visible particles falling to the floor, that is your prerogative, but I cannot condone Holy Communion particles falling to the floor.

        This discussion has been talked about in this com box before. Let me remind you that communion in the hand has been outlawed twice in the Church’s history. Communion on the tongue has never been outlawed. There is a near Eastern tradition that the host would place a morsel of bread on the tongue of a visitor to his home for a meal. Father James Meagher, in his 1906 book, argues quite convincingly of the Last Supper involving that very practice. Astounding since the apostles were bishops and Fr. Meager argues they would have received on the tongue.

        Finally, belief in the Real Presence has fallen to about 30% among Catholics. Among those who go to the TLM, it is 99% to unanimous. Receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue is the ordinary practice for hundreds of years. At Vatican II more than 70% of the bishops were against communion in the hand. Why? They said it would lead to a diminished belief in the Real Presence. Bingo.

      • There are also canonical penalties for clerics who lead parishioners into disobedience against Church authorities and what those authorities validly and licitly promulgate. I don’t condone anything which the Church authorities do not condone. But, we tend to see some priests and deacons who like to give themselves authority which they do not have, and they are disciplined for their disobedience.

      • It is entirely reasonable that the Bishop encourages his flock to receive on the tongue while kneeling. In charity, your attempt to paint his intent as anything other than his duty of state seems untoward.

      • I did not say it was unreasonable for a Bishop to encourage his flock to receive on the tongue while kneeling. Maybe, go back and read what I wrote. My attempt? What attempt? Are you judging me?

  4. I love this! And as for “forcing hearts,” when I was a sweet little Eucharistic Minister a lifetime ago, I remember being shocked when another extraordinary minister took it upon herself to seek out those who received on the tongue to let them know that “we don’t do that anymore.” Honestly, this tweet by Bishop Strickland is a lot less in your face than your average 1980’s liberal macramé lady in a pique, and he is well within his authority.

  5. Margaret Cardwell

    I feel very blessed to live in the Tyler Diocese. Bishop Strickland is teaching in a positive manner. He has not made it a “mandate” to receive communion on the tongue while kneeling, but he has strongly encouraged this practice. He realizes that not all are capable of kneeling. By his encouragement, more and more in our parish are receiving on the tongue. Without the encouragement, this practice would not be making. “come back”.

  6. Just another way for the priest to feel superior to the people. Is kneeling for communion with a hateful attitude really receiving worthily? I think not

  7. Kudos to Bishop Strickland for standing up for the truth of our faith. Our Diocese is blessed under his leadership. God bless you Bishop.

  8. Just a question. I went to a mass that wasn’t a Latin mass but everyone kneeled to receive. I found having had knee surgery that once I got down I had a very difficult time getting up. Would it be acceptable to receive on the tongue without kneeling?

  9. Thank you Fr. Kloster, for your wonderful replies on this important subject. Since Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, it makes perfect sense to kneel and receive on the tongue, in my opinion, (and that of the Church). I ask, what would we faithful do, if Jesus appeared in “real” flesh and blood before us at Holy Mass…I’m sure we would all fall to our knees in adoration and worship, and probably faint from the holiness, I’m sure. So, since there is no difference between the two (we just can’t ‘see Jesus’ with our human physical eyes), kneeling should be the preference. I have found it is an act of humility on our part, and one of adoration to the Real Presence. (To Mr. Francis Phillip…I’m sure if Jesus would physically appear, you would also fall in adoration…no difference.)

    • @Tricia Here in my parish everyone who is able kneels at the communion rail during the Novus Ordo and the TLM. We do have those who are unable to kneel. They just stand at the altar rail or stand at the gates of the sanctuary. Everyone here receives on the tongue. Receiving in the hands is by indult and is not the universal norm. One almost doesn’t see anyone from Mexico to South America who receives in their hands. I’ve heard that in Africa and Asia communion on the tongue is the way the vast majority of Catholics receive communion.

      @Thomas Bravo for the post. There is an often repeated story of a devout Muslim telling his Catholic friend that he did’t believe most Catholics by their body language could believe in the Real Presence. As he observed them going up as in a fast food line, he made the following observation: “If I believed what your Church teaches, I would not approach Holy Communion standing, but on my face prostrated. To receive any sort of nourishment (Body of Christ in this case) kneeling and on the tongue is something we don’t do anywhere else. It is a powerful apologetic for the one who receives and the one who sees him receiving.

  10. “Also, there has been historical resistance to this, most notably in groups like SSPX …” Funny to mention history here since, in modern times (i.e., post-patristic), it was Protestants who introduced receiving communion standing and in the hand, precisely to undermine belief in the Real Presence.

  11. In the Philippines, receiving Communion on the tongue was forbidden with the meninggococcemia outbreak about a decade ago. The priests themselves did not want to be contaminated by the saliva of any communicant who may be a possible virus carrier. I personally receive the Host in my left hand and put it in my mouth with my right hand as a sign that I take responsibility for my faith. Kneeling is not advisable for seniors who may find it difficult to stand up without help afterwards.

  12. Bishop Strickland, we praise God for you and your complete, undivided devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His one, holy, catholic and apostolic church! We love our church, we love our priests. May God continue to bless you with His Spirit of Great Moral Courage and truth! May God continue to purify and heal His church! Praying all Bishops detach from their false Gods and sacrifice for Jesus Christ and His church.

  13. As a point of reference, the Catholic Church survived for most of its first 900 years with the faithful receiving communion in the hand.and sharing in the communion cup. Judging by the. Chutch history of the last 1100 years, it appears it might have been more advantageous to have stayed with the practice as originally instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Last Supper instead of practicing 10th Centurary “Modernism” in denying the fullness of the sacrament to the faithful. Perhaps it might have helped avoid the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Reformation, the wars of religion, revolutions, world wars and all the other fruits of a religion gone astray and rejecting its roots. Strickland does nothing to help but forment dissension and pits himself against his flock and the Lord’s chosen Shepard, Papa Francisco.
    AMDG

  14. I agree in receiving the Lord directly into the mouth. However, to kneel, it might be easy for young people. There are many many people that cannot kneel without help, unless there is a place to kneel, as it was before.
    And by the way, stop calling the papacy of Pope Francis the “who am I to judge papacy”; Our Holy Father Francis is the representative of Jesus on Earth and the successor of Peter.
    We have to treat him with respect and devotion and stop criticizing him. And read the full text, including the question, when he answered to the reporter …… who am I to judge…. read the whole text. He never excused the homosexual sin. He is too holy to even think about it.
    A Pope so close to Our Most Blessed Mother, is not going to do or say anything against Our Lord or His Church.
    We need to defend Pope Francis, more now than ever. The conservatives and the extreme traditionalists are too arrogant. They should be more humble as Our Lord taught us.

  15. How did Jesus distribute the bread and wine at the Last Supper? And, is that of any relevance to this debate. I’m honestly asking…And how has the fact of so many churches over the early centuries lacking kneelers affected the debates over kneeling vs. standing during the consecration? I lack a thorough knowledge of liturgical history, but these are two curiosities I have.

  16. Any bishop can licitly demand that communion in his diocese be only on the tongue. He should require it, not request it. Similarly, distribution under both kinds should be ended there and everywhere.

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