Abuse. Blasphemy. Communion in the hand?

 

UPDATE JUNE 24, 2013

Abuse. Blasphemy. Communion in the hand?

http://catholicinsight.com/blasphemy-abuse-communion-in-the-hand/

By Catherine Bauer, May 20, 2013

“I’m heartbroken to announce that last week, we discovered a crushed consecrated Host beneath one of the kneelers,” the pastor of a small yet devout Californian parish says. He pauses for a moment before he goes on, his voice choked by just indignation and sadness: “This is God, people. God.” Then he drops the bomb. “I’m writing to Pope Francis to do away with the practice of Communion in the hand altogether. I believe most of the abuses and blasphemies that the Eucharist has undergone is because of this practice.”

Since the practice of Communion in the hand has become the common observance in most countries, there has been, whether you like admit it or not, a spike in Eucharistic abuse. Communion in the hand has given those who wish to do harm and those who are careless the opportunity to do what they want with the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the situation described above is not uncommon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Furthermore, Communion in the hand has the potential to promote or at least foster a disrespect for the Body of Christ. As Catholics, we believe this small Host does not represent Christ, but is Christ Himself. How can we, then, possibly touch the living presence of God with our bare, dirty, unconsecrated, and unworthy hands? How? How have we even considered this as an option in the first place?

The answer can be given using one word: disobedience. The practice came about in the early 1960s (after Vatican II, though the Council never actually called for it), when certain parishes around the world began to disobey the Church’s rule of receiving the Host on the tongue, making their own rules as to whether or not you could receive on the hand. The Vatican immediately responded in disapproving words, saying that this disobedient practice would lead to “the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini).

When Pope Paul VI in 1968 sent out a questionnaire to every bishop in the world asking if the Church should alter how Communion was being distributed, the answer came back loud and clear: in the hand was overwhelmingly disapproved of and should not be allowed. The Vatican agreed, stating that if the practice of Communion on the hand be allowed, “it would be an offense to the sensibilities and spiritual outlook of these bishops and a great many of the faithful” (Memoriale Domini).

 

 

Unfortunately, the practice continued to be promulgated by parishes and dioceses alike, most especially in France. So, in 1969, Paul IV granted the French bishops an indult—a special permission (not a norm)—to decide the question on their own. What happened next was an abuse of that indult: parishes around the world took advantage and permitted the practice of Communion in the hand. Despite the Vatican’s best efforts, the disobedience continued and today, most Catholics are under the erroneous idea that Communion on the hand is the norm, because it is seemingly most common. However, the norm does not mean the most common, but instead is the practice which is supported by the Universal Church and to which the laity should be adhering.

You want to know what that norm is? Kneeling or standing to receive the Eucharist on the tongue and, if standing, to receive with arms crossed or in another way as reverential. Look it up if you don’t believe me. (This is the norm of the Universal Church; in the US, however, as in other countries, the Conference of Bishops has established the norm of standing to receive, and that it is up the communicant to decide whether he wants to receive in the hand or on the tongue).

Monsignor Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, was interviewed by the Vatican newspaper in 2008 after then-Pope Benedict XVI established that everyone should be kneeling when receiving Communion at a papal Mass. He said, “It is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand, from a juridical standpoint, remains up to now an indult” (emphasis added). He goes on to say that the pope’s return to the traditional practice “aims to highlight the force of the valid norm for the whole Church.”

These days, the practice of Communion on the hand is increasingly frowned upon by bishops, priests, and the laity. Several dioceses in South America have banned the practice altogether, while Sri Lanka never allowed it in the first place—both of which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith fully supports.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis (at whose papal masses many people have been gently reminded to receive on the tongue if at first they extended their hands), and numerous Cardinals have all spoken publicly and loudly against the practice. Cardinals Thorne (Peru) and Caffarra (Bologna) have banned Communion in the hand, citing reasons of abuse and disrespect. Pope Benedict was asked why he chose to distribute Communion only to those kneeling and on the tongue and he responded, because it highlights “the truth of the real presence [of Christ] in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful and introduces the sense of mystery more easily.”

A Muslim man once approached a Catholic, asking him if he really believed that the Host was God Himself. The Catholic responded yes. The Muslim paused for a moment, thinking it over. “If I believed that was truly Allah,” he said, finally, “then I would crawl up on my hands and knees, bowing my head to receive Him.”

If the Eucharist is God, then why are we touching Him? Moses could not come within ten feet of the burning bush without taking off his shoes; the haemorrhaging woman crawled up to Jesus and barely grazed the hem of His garment; the saints have extolled the utter profundity of receiving the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the mysticism, the beauty, the awesomeness of God are all present. We must, we absolutely must, remember this when we approach Him at Mass. We should never forget that we owe everything to Him, and if we do not receive Him respectfully out of sheer reverence, then we should at least do so out of gratitude.

As the pastor at this Californian church finished his short exhortation by saying, “I urge all of you to receive on the tongue, and if you don’t like to, offer it up!”

 

UPDATE JULY 22, 2013

An exchange of emails on the issue:

On 21 July 2013 15:44, zezie sodder <zeziesodder@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi All, Read and convince your self why communion kneeling down is good, then why do our priests in Mumbai refuse communion kneeling down? This is a forward I received from E. Michael D’Souza. Joe

Communion in the hand?

“I’m heartbroken to announce that last week, we discovered a crushed consecrated Host beneath one of the kneelers,” the pastor of a small yet devout Californian parish says. He pauses for a moment before he goes on, his voice choked by just indignation and sadness: “This is God, people. God.” Then he drops the bomb. “I’m writing to Pope Francis to do away with the practice of Communion in the hand altogether. I believe most of the abuses and blasphemies that the Eucharist has undergone is because of this practice.”

Since the practice of Communion in the hand has become the common observance in most countries, there has been, whether you like admit it or not, a spike in Eucharistic abuse. Communion in the hand has given those who wish to do harm and those who are careless, the opportunity to do what they want with the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the situation described above is not uncommon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Furthermore, Communion in the hand has the potential to promote or at least foster a disrespect for the Body of Christ. As Catholics, we believe this small Host does not represent Christ, but is Christ Himself. How can we, then, possibly touch the living presence of God with our bare, dirty, unconsecrated, and unworthy hands? How? How have we even considered this as an option in the first place?
The answer can be given using one word: disobedience. The practice came about in the early 1960s (after Vatican II, though the Council never actually called for it), when certain parishes around the world began to disobey the Church’s rule of receiving the Host on the tongue, making their own rules as to whether or not you could receive on the hand. The Vatican immediately responded in disapproving words, saying that this disobedient practice would lead to “the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini).

 

 

 

When Pope Paul VI in 1968 sent out a questionnaire to every bishop in the world asking if the Church should alter how Communion was being distributed, the answer came back loud and clear: in the hand was overwhelmingly disapproved of and should not be allowed. The Vatican agreed, stating that if the practice of Communion on the hand be allowed, “it would be an offense to the sensibilities and spiritual outlook of these bishops and a great many of the faithful” (Memoriale Domini).
Unfortunately, the practice continued to be promulgated by parishes and dioceses alike, most especially in France. So, in 1969, Paul IV granted the French bishops an indult—a special permission (not a norm)—to decide the question on their own. What happened next was an abuse of that indult: parishes around the world took advantage and permitted the practice of Communion in the hand. Despite the Vatican’s best efforts, the disobedience continued and today, most Catholics are under the erroneous idea that Communion on the hand is the norm, because it is seemingly most common. However, the norm does not mean the most common, but instead is the practice which is supported by the Universal Church and to which the laity should be adhering.

You want to know what that norm is? Kneeling or standing to receive the Eucharist on the tongue and, if standing, to receive with arms crossed or in another way as reverential. Look it up if you don’t believe me. (This is the norm of the Universal Church; in the US, however, as in other countries, the Conference of Bishops has established the norm of standing to receive, and that it is up the communicant to decide whether he wants to receive in the hand or on the tongue).
Monsignor Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, was interviewed by the Vatican newspaper in 2008 after then-Pope Benedict XVI established that everyone should be kneeling when receiving Communion at a papal Mass. He said, “It is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand, from a juridical standpoint, remains up to now an indult” (emphasis added). He goes on to say that the pope’s return to the traditional practice “aims to highlight the force of the valid norm for the whole Church.”

These days, the practice of Communion on the hand is increasingly frowned upon by bishops, priests, and the laity. Several dioceses in South America have banned the practice altogether, while Sri Lanka never allowed it in the first place—both of which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith fully supports.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis (at whose papal masses many people have been gently reminded to receive on the tongue if at first they extended their hands), and numerous Cardinals have all spoken publicly and loudly against the practice. Cardinals Thorne (Peru) and Caffarra (Bologna) have banned Communion in the hand, citing reasons of abuse and disrespect. Pope Benedict was asked why he chose to distribute Communion only to those kneeling and on the tongue and he responded, because it highlights “the truth of the real presence [of Christ] in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful and introduces the sense of mystery more easily.”


A Muslim man once approached a Catholic, asking him if he really believed that the Host was God Himself. The Catholic responded yes. The Muslim paused for a moment, thinking it over. “If I believed that was truly Allah,” he said, finally, “then I would crawl up on my hands and knees, bowing my head to receive Him.”

If the Eucharist is God, then why are we touching Him? Moses could not come within ten feet of the burning bush without taking off his shoes; the hemorrhaging woman crawled up to Jesus and barely grazed the hem of His garment; the saints have extolled the utter profundity of receiving the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the mysticism, the beauty, the awesomeness of God are all present. We must, we absolutely must, remember this when we approach Him at Mass. We should never forget that we owe everything to Him, and if we do not receive Him respectfully out of sheer reverence, then we should at least do so out of gratitude.

As the pastor at this Californian church finished his short exhortation by saying, “I urge all of you to receive on the tongue, and if you don’t like to, offer it up!

Kindly pass on the message to all- “Do not accept His body in your hands for such is the work of Satan to degrade my son’s body”.

 

From:
Robert Monteiro
bob.monteiro@gmail.com
To: zezie sodder zeziesodder@hotmail.com
Cc: arcanjo sodder arcanjosodder@hotmail.com; Archbishop bombaydiocese@vsnl.com; nuntius@apostolicnunciatureindia.com; bp.aloysiuspaul@gmail.com; archbishop@bangalorearchdiocese.com; archbpgoa@gmail.com; athazhath@hotmail.com; agnelorg@gmail.com; abpstan@gmail.com; bp.percivalfernandez@gmail.com; bishopap@sancharnet.in; bishopckm@yahoo.co.in; bishopferdie101@rediffmail.com; Cardinal Oswald Gracious
diocesebombay@gmail.com; etc. Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2013 7:25 AM
Subject: Re: communion in the hand v/s kneeling down?

Joe

Thank you for the message on the need to receive the Holy Communion on tongue. I fully agree and substantiate this cause of receiving the Holy Communion on tongue and with due utmost reverence. It is unfortunate that many of our brethren do not agree on this and vehemently argue against it quoting health reasons. The damage is done and it is very difficult to reverse it.

We need to create awareness about this. I know one youth in Bangalore who went to various parishes distributing literature about the need to receive the communion on tongue, of course with the permission of the respective parish priests. The response was good.

The argument of receiving the Holy Communion on hand quoting health reasons does not stand any logic unless all the faithful receive the Holy Communion on hand.

Robert Monteiro, Bangalore

 

 

 

When people walk away with Holy Communion

http://www.the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.in/2013/07/when-people-walk-away-with-holy.html

Fr. Tim Finigan, July 29, 2013

 

It happens from time to time that someone will come up for Holy Communion which they receive into their hands, and then walk away with the sacred host. A priest friend asked me to write something about what we can do. Let’s think first of all of the actual situation and then about some possible preventative measures.
In terms of canon law, the desecration of the sacred species is a crime, punishable by automatic excommunication. In most cases, the person does not know what they are doing or how wrong it is, so I’ll assume that is the case (rather than deliberate desecration, perhaps for satanic purposes or as an atheistic stunt.) But even if the person does not know the seriousness of what they are doing, it is still objectively a very grave matter. So we can’t just let it happen.
A pastoral complication is that people don’t like to be “shown up” or embarrassed in front of the congregation so they can easily become annoyed or aggressive in their confusion. Therefore we need to keep calm and speak in a kindly way. I would usually stop and look clearly in the person’s direction. If there is a trusted member of the congregation, I would nod to them to indicate that I want the person’s attention. As a final resort, I would leave the sanctuary and go to the person to ask them to return the sacred host to me or consume it reverently. In any case, I would briefly explain that we believe that this is the sacred body and blood of Our Lord.
In Churches where there is a greater danger of such desecration, there might be people routinely on duty to whom the priest can turn for assistance in such cases. They would need to have some instruction about the fact that this will happen usually out of ignorance and not to appear aggressive.
Now what can we do to try to prevent these incidents? First of all, we need, as a matter of routine, to give monitions at some point during Masses such as those for weddings, funerals, first Communion. Here is what I say:

“Just a note about Holy Communion: in the Catholic Church, it is practising Catholics who receive Holy Communion (people who go to Mass every week.) There are always plenty of people who don’t go to communion so there is no need to feel awkward. There is a hymn that you can join in with or just listen to while you say your own prayers.”

In England, that covers it more or less – the “come up for a blessing and cross your arms” thing is not really necessary any more since we are now into the generation of people so uncatechised that they do not know the “Our Father.”
As a more proximate measure, if people that I do not recognise come up for Holy Communion and extend their hands, I do not move on to the next person until they have consumed the sacred host. This helps to avoid the need for calling them back or going down the Church after them. It is much easier where the priest moves along the altar rail to give Communion: the practice of people coming up in a queue and then stepping to one side to consume the host is almost inviting the problem.
As a more remote measure, I pray that one day the general practice returns whereby everyone kneels for Holy Communion and receives on the tongue. (See Communion kneeling, on the tongue, for more about this.) This would not prevent the determined Satanist or atheist from their malicious desecration but would prevent the ignorant from walking away with the sacred host blithely unaware of the desecration they are committing. This is not a purely personal concern. In Memoriale Domini, Pope Paul VI said:

“Further, the practice which must be considered traditional ensures, more effectively, that Holy Communion is distributed with the proper respect, decorum and dignity. It removes the danger of profanation of the sacred species, in which ‘in a unique way, Christ, God and man, is present whole and entire, substantially and continually.’ Lastly, it ensures that diligent carefulness about the fragments of consecrated bread which the Church has always recommended”

(For more on Memoriale Domini, see Memoriale Domini – a reminder.)

24 comments

 

Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=116

August 26, 2004

With all this SARS and disease scares, the host on tongue isn’t acceptable at our church anymore. The priest, at Eucharist time, actually says it should be in your hand. I have never ever grown up this way. I am old-school Catholic. For me to touch the host with my hands that probably have germs (they are clean, but there are things we cannot see), it doesn’t seem right to me.

I continue to take the host on my tongue, as does my son who had his holy communion earlier this year. I in a way, almost refuse to take it in my hand. My son and I are probably only 1% or 2% of parishioners who actually do this. I don’t want to follow the norm and do what everyone else is doing solely in fear of being the odd-ball out. -Maria

The universal norm of the Church is to receive the Eucharist on the tongue. The SARS and disease scares have no effect on this and are not really a danger to communion on the tongue anyway.
In the United States and in some other countries the Holy See has allowed communion in the hand IF the people are properly catechized about this. Communion in the hand is NOT the norm and may not always be allowed. For now, it is allowed in the U.S. and some other countries.
The choice of whether you wish to receive on the tongue or in the hand is yours. No priest can refuse you reception on the tongue.
Your priest is shamefully wrong if he says that one “should” receive in the hand. This is a lie.
Do not fear, the Church has not changed on this. Communion on the tongue is still the acceptable norm and preference of the Church.
As for being the odd-ball out, congratulations! That means that you are practicing your Catholicism the way the Church teaches. Do not worry about what liberals or lazy priests and laity do. Maintain your faith and know that the Church has NOT changed anything of substance.
For example, you may STILL kneel or genuflect when receiving the Eucharist and the Holy See has specifically said that no one can accuse you of anything by kneeling or genuflecting and you cannot be prevented from doing so.
And, as mentioned above, you may receive on the tongue; no one can prevent you from doing so or tell you it is wrong. It is the norm of the Church. In those countries where “in the hand” is permitted, the faithful may freely choose. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1773

September 29, 2010

I have read online that some within the Church have raised concerns about receiving Communion in the hand. Supposedly Mother Theresa and Fr. John Hardon, both of whom I have enormous respect for, had strong objections to this practice. I believe that I have also read that this practice is not permitted in the Vatican. What are your thoughts on this subject and what is the actual Church teaching? –John

The norm for the universal Church is communion on the tongue. The Vatican, however, has given permission for some countries, like the big-babies of the United States, to have communion in the hand.

The reason I say “big-babies of the United States” is because the United States is the most profoundly immature nation in the world, and as a result, the U.S. has always been a real pain in the backside to the Pope.

Communion in the hand was illegally done in the United States for years. Bishops and priests were perpetrators and accomplices in this crime (sin). After years of the babies performing this illegal practice, the Pope decided that it was not worth the battle, and allowed communion in the hand on a temporary basis. This allowance has become more-or-less permanent now, but the Holy See may rescind this indulgence at any time.

We must remember, however, that while communion in the hand is allowed in the United States, we do not have to do it. I never receive in the hand — ever.

In a similar manner there was a push to chastise the faithful, and even denying the Eucharist for those who knelt or genuflected when receiving the Eucharist. Again because we in the U.S. are a big bunch of babies, the norm for reception of the Eucharist was changed to a “bow” of the head (not even a profound bow). Again this was a battle not worth fighting for the Vatican as the “horse was already out of the barn.”

When the attempt was made by many priest to prohibit the faithful from kneeling or genuflecting, and even denying them the Eucharist, a mighty roar when up to the Vatican. The Holy See then issued a declaration that no member of the faithful is to be denied the Eucharist, or prohibited from receiving while kneeling or genuflecting and they are not to be berated for doing so.

So, we can receive on the tongue, and receive kneeling or genuflecting if we choose and no priest, or even Bishop, can tell us otherwise (see documents: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/liturgy/kneeling.htm). –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

See HOLY COMMUNION BY INTINCTION, SELF-COMMUNICATION AND HOLY COMMUNION UNDER BOTH SPECIES
http://ephesians-511.net/docs/HOLY_COMMUNION_BY_INTINCTION_SELF-COMMUNICATION_AND_HOLY_COMMUNION_UNDER_BOTH_SPECIES.doc

STANDING OR KNEELING TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION?

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/STANDING_OR_KNEELING_TO_RECEIVE_HOLY_COMMUNION.doc

 

 

 

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Categories: Liturgical Abuses

1 reply

  1. I will never EVER receive MY LORD in my dirty, perhaps unworthy hands. I have always and will continue to do so till I die, receive HIM directly on my tongue; some priests may frown at this “OLD FASHIONED” practice; but I do not care what they think. What I am receiving is my LORD GOD AND SAVIOUR, not some ladoo or prasad, as HE is sometimes referred to, even by some idiotic priests.

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