Thursday, January 15, 2009

Communion on the Tongue

Over the last 18 months there have been very strong rumours coming out of Rome that serious consideration was being given not to renew the indult granting permission for episcopal conferences to allow the faithful to receive communion in the hand, the Holy Father has insisted on only giving only on the tongue.
Of course set against this Cardinal Arinze granted permission to the Polish bishops to allow Communion in the hand, but ...

A book, Dominus Est: by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, about the history of the reception of Holy Communion was endorsed very stronglyby Cardinal Francis Arinze and was reviewed very favourably by in in L'Osservatore Romanum. Schneider comes down very heavily in favour of receiving Communion on the tongue.

Interestly one of the first interviews with Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, dealt with Communion on the Tongue

"No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants."

This week Cardinal Stafford, Prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary speaking of sins reserved to the Holy See, spoke recently of desecration of the Holy Eucharist, said,
"this offense is occurring with more and more frequency, not just in satanic rites but by ordinary faithful who receive Communion and then remove the host from their mouths and spit it out or otherwise desecrate it."


nickbris said...

The sooner we get our Altar-Rails back the better.

George said...

'What does it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him.....'

Is it so difficult for Catholics to recognise the fact that we are in the presence of God our Creator. To fall to ones knees (physical capabilities allowing) should come naturally, without a second thought.

Have we forgotten the meaning of the word 'adoration'?

Anonymous said...

We've got them, they're just never used :(

Anonymous said...

I always encourage people to receive on the tongue, and kneeling too, if possible. From many the reply is "it is not dignified to stick out one's tongue, and kneeling does nothing to express the dignity of the human person". We have a long way to go before people, especially our Bishops and Clergy, focus on the Lord rather than His people.

gemoftheocean said...

Where is Cardinal Stafford getting this business that "ordinary faithful" are taking the Hosts out of their mouths? NON-Catholics, etc. perhaps out of ignorance. People who have bad motives, but I hardly think you can call them "ordinary faithful."

As VIDEO showed, last summer when that cretin in Minnesota was urging the theft and desecration of a Host someone accomplished it, NOT by standing, recieving on the hand and then walking away with it..but by kneeling, recieving on the tongue, from a priest. Sad to say, if someone wants a Host for evil purposes, they will contrive to get one. I hardly think this is "ordinary" and frankly, it's insulting that the Cardinal chooses his words so poorly. I'm still not convinced that Jesus made the apostles tilt their heads back to recieve. One either BELIEVES in the Real Presence or Doesn't. At some times I think it preferrable to recieve on the tongue (if the Host has been broken for instance) or if hands not clean (which shouldn't be the case) or obviously recieving by intinction (personally I really like that method) or a la Eastern Rite (which I DON'T like, especially for hygiene reasons, particularly in the day of AIDS, much less the common cold in winter and the near certainty that there's always one duffus in the crowd who will insist on licking the spoon that everyone else has to recieve from. If a ban on Communion in the hand comes to pass, I'd like to thank in advance all the idiots who caused this by not recieving properly who, though a small minority, require one to chase after them because they were too stupid to put the Host in their mouths IMMEDIATELY". Yes. Thank you for messing this up for everyone else who was doing it right.

Anonymous said...

I've never received communion in the hand and never will. It always seems wrong to me. The worse case of abuse I've seen was an obviously non-catholic receiving one-handed with a rolled up newspaper in his other hand at Christmas. Bringing back the altar rail would surely cut down on this type of thing.

PeterHWright said...

Well, if they restore Communion kneeling, they'll have to restore the altar rails !
I seem to remember the indult was introduced in England & Wales in 1976 (?) That's a long time ago !
I hope I'm wrong, but I rather think it's here for a long time yet.

Anonymous said...

The amount of sacrilege that I have witnessed over the years is mind-boggling, and I have often thought that it would be better if the Mass was not valid - it would lessen the culpability. People have conversations on the way up to and coming from receiving, chewing the Host, popping it into their mouth like a cough drop, dunking it into the Precious Blood, etc. It does no good to bring it to the attention of our priests. For some reason they encourage it.

I'm with you, Nick. The sooner we get rid of receiving Holy Communion in the hand, the better. It has contributed greatly to the loss of belief in the Holy Eucharist.

There is much reparation to be made.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I hope that the indult will not be renewed :), and I also agree, the quicker we get altar rails, the better

Elizabeth said...

In 1873 the Child Jesus appeared to Mary of the Passion with wounded and bloody hands and said to her ‘People inflicted these wounds on me with their sins’ ‘I am in the Eurcharist to dispense graces and extend mercy, but I receive only ingratitude, profanity and sacrileges. The Eucharist is dishonoured and nobody cares. My beloved one, you make reparation with your adoration done in my presence’

That was over 140 years ago, it appears that nothing changes. May we learn from Blessed Mary of the Passion.

Dilly said...

I much prefer to receive the Eucharist in the mouth,kneeling at the rail. However, our very holy Parish Priest has problems with his vision (and arthritis), and has requested that we receive standing, in the mouth. Another priest I know had mobility and balance programs after a stroke, and had, reluctantly, to change his method of distribution. (Sadly, someone-possibly even a visiting Fr Trendy I suspect - had complained previously that there were still altar rails, and someone in authority had them removed. This did not help). I would not like to see a good priest lost to a parish because of physical problems, so perhaps there could be a dispensation on health grounds retained. Of course any dispensation would be abused by some people. It's a difficult one, given the rising age of priests in some dioceses.

Physiocrat said...

Kneeling, on the tongue please. That's so obvious I don't know why it needs a lot of explaining.

The absence of altar rails is a Health and Safety issue as the change in levels constitutes a Trip Hazard. In the event of a fall, there is the potentiality for injuries and claims.

This comment is only partly tongue-in-cheek.

JARay said...

I have never seen anyone remove the Host from their mouth. I am appalled at this.
I have seen someone spit the little bit of Host back into the chalice when they received from the chalice. I told the priest afterwards and asked him to try and consume that little bit of Host himself before distribution from the chalice and I always try myself to consume that bit if it is still in the chalice when I receive from it. At times I get puzzled looks as I turn the chalice round to try and position the fragment so that I will consume it. One of the problems when receiving under both kinds!

Anonymous said...

I have put kneelers where altar rails ought to be, and very many people have now chosen to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. During weekday Mass, most people now take the opportunity to kneel.
I doubt if the "authority" in Dillydaydreams account of Fr Trendy removing altar rails will be sufficient to qualify for the gift of a turkey from Cardinal Arinze, so perhaps the rails should be put back at Fr Trendy's expense.

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Father Ray

This is one of the main reasons - (though not the only one) - why we have begun to attend Tridentine Masses as often as possible.

It is good to be able to receive on the tongue and kneeling without it being made into an issue.

We are fortunate to also know a couple of priests who still use the altar rails.

The problem is one of distance - to attend any of these requires a drive of some length. Thankfully we are in a position to be able to do so.

In Christ
Alan and Angeline

Elizabeth said...

Anyone who does not realise why we kneel to receive Holy Communion on the tongue should read The Miracle in Laciano 700AD:
I believe every child in our Catholic Schools should examine this miracle so that like the basilian monk their faith will be renewed.
People no longer see the Holy Eucharist as Jesus Christ, yet in this miracle the host which turned into flesh and the wine which turned into blood when examined in the 1970s was shown to be human:

'The flesh is real flesh. The blood is real blood.
The flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart (myocardium)
The flesh and blood belong to the human species.
The flesh and blood have the same blood type (AB).
In the blood, there were found proteins in the same normal proportions as are found in the sero-proteic make up of fresh, normal blood.
In the blood, there were also found these minerals: Chlorides, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. The preservation of the flesh and of the blood, which were
left in their natural state for twelve centuries (without any chemical preservatives) and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

Another unusual characteristic of the blood is that when liquified, it has retained the chemical properties of freshly shed blood. When we cut ourselves and stain our clothes, the chemical properties of the blood are gone within 20 minutes to a half hour. If blood is not refrigerated within an hour maximum, the composition rapidly breaks down. If blood were taken from a dead body, it would lose its qualities quickly through decay. This blood is over 1250 years old and still contains all its properties, chemicals and protein of freshly shed blood. And yet in the testing, it was determined that no preservatives of any kind were found in the blood.
Jesus gives us His Heart again in the Eucharistic Miracle which is a Heart muscle. He gives us His Blood again in this miraculous form to heal us. He gives us His Blood with His Body in the Eucharist every day to heal us and nourish us'.

George said...

Gem writes, 'especially for hygiene reasons, particularly in the day of AIDS'.

Where is your Faith Gem? How many millions including myself have bathed in the Holy waters of Lourdes where the sick are being constantly immersed? Not a single person has ever come away from Lourdes worse off health wise than when they went in!

Similarly what about the Holy water fonts in Church? All that hand dipping from hundreds of people, are you going to worry that someone has AIDS and a cut finger????!!!!

Jesus came into the world to cure the sick!

Where does this line of paranoid thinking end... food served in restaurants, food purchased in supermarkets, a handshake and greeting with friends or family???

Adulio said...

The last quote from Cardinal Stafford is quite telling. To be honest, I would not have expected it to come from him, since he seems to offer adulation to the Neo-Catechumenal Way: who place emphasis on receiving communion in the hand, sitting down, as a return to Apostolic "tradition".

This is certainly good news, if it is true, but the chaos unleashed by Paul VI will be very very hard to stop. Only a divine intervention could get the bishop conferences to obey the Holy Father.

Fr Ray Blake said...

NOTE on leaving comments (which is above the combox)

Leaving comments: If you are not "registered" go to Name/URL and enter your name, ignore the url stuff.
Use your real name, "Anonymous" comments are always rejected.

Anonymous said...

Father, a question:

When an altar server washes your fingers with the lavabo, part of it is that ritually your hands are being cleansed and because you are priest you can hold the Blessed Body. I'm guessing the priest alone is worthy to hold our Lord in his hands. Whereas, we, the laity, do not go through such a ritual, and are not priests and therefore should receive straight onto the tongue. Is there anything in that, or am I talking gibberish?

Ben Trovato said...

I always kneel to receive, on the tongue, from an ordained priest or deacon. Nobody has ever objected to this; I occasionally get strange looks, but am happy to pay that price...

With regard to comments about what happened at the Last Supper, a few observations:

One is that all recipients were bishops;

Another is that it is possible (indeed probable) the Our Lord placed the bread in their mouths: it was a Jewish custom at that time to feed guests in this symbolic way;

A third is that we do not know, so basing a change in time-honoured tradition on such hypothesising may not be wise...

Anonymous said...

I believe Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta said reception in the hand to be the greatest evil that had entered the Church following the Vatican II

Anonymous said...

On the tongue and kneeling please... Also for purely practical reasons. I expect much more (if not most) curious non-Catholic visitors would not come to communion in such a case. Kneeling will likely compromise their "dignity." I noticed curious non-catholics usually do not kneel during the mass. Even more likely will they be timid and shy to kneel publicly and visibly.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Jonathan, you're right, the quote you were looking for is here: "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand."- Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

Anonymous said...

Nothing makes me feel more like a child before the Lord than receiving the host kneeling, and on the tongue.

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