Communion in the hand

In the ASK FATHER Question Box I received a query about what to do if you see a person pocketing a Host and walking out of church. While the proper reponse depends on the circumstances, you should – no matter what else you decide to do at the moment – let the pastor of the parish (or rector of the chapel, etc.) know what happened, being very precise and objective, providing also a reference to the document from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments entitled Redemptionis Sacramentum, which states (emphasis mine):

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

[93.] The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.

It seems to me that the issue of Communion in the hand ought to be revisited. I get questions about the abovementioned abuse rather often, together with inquiries about what to do if you find a Host on the floor of a church or in a pew or even in the pages of the missalette. Yes, folks, these things do happen. Also, there are those who take Hosts for nefarious motives and even sell them to those whose objectives are unspeakable.

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5 Responses to Communion in the hand

  1. James says:

    If changes to the communion rite were warranted, a adoption of the practice performed by our Eastern brethern should have been the platform for developement. Communion by intinction would solve a majority of problems…

    james

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Communion by intinction would solve a majority of problems…

    A couple of weeks ago I attended the monthly Latin Novus Ordo at our Catholic high school. Before Mass, after 75 to 100 students had assembled in the smallish chapel (seats about 125), the priest appeared up front to announce that “at Christmas he’d received an intinction set, the bishop had blessed it, and at this Mass communion would be by intinction, on the tongue only, as a fuller sign of the Blessed Sacrament in the Roman rite”. I don’t think it only my imagination that at that moment the atmosphere in the room changed instantly; upon entering, the kids — most of whom probably had never received on the tongue — had seemed perhaps a bit restive on their first day of school after having been liturgically back in their diverse home parishes during the Christmas break.

    This “fuller sign” — which in the usual argument for both species I’ve always recognized as merely a contemptibly transparent ploy to maximize the number of female EMHC’s pressing in around the altar — came home to me when I heard the words “The Body and Blood of Christ” just before receiving — receiving both together seemed somehow very special. Of coursed, armed with his new intinction set, Father had no need of any EMHC’s at all, and this in itself was a nice fullness of sign for me personally.

    Afterwards, the adult teachers and other old folks like me tarried to discuss the fact that intinction and reception by all on the tongue had somehow seemed to create a “different dynamic” than observed before with the students there.

  3. Yes, if it were deemed necessary to have Communion under both kinds, yes, some form of intinction would be a good alternative.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Well, I guess the bandwidth is cheap enough to make clearly the emphasis I’d intended:

    This “fuller sign” — which in the usual argument for both species I’ve always recognized as merely a contemptibly transparent ploy to maximize the number of female EMHC’s pressing in around the altar — came home to me when I heard the words “The Body and Blood of Christ” just before receiving; receiving both together seemed somehow very special.

  5. Brian says:

    Communion in the hand was an abuse in the Sixties, when the
    Church forbade it. As far as I am concerned, it is still an abuse. the Church only went along with it when
    everyone was doing it. The same case with alter girls. The
    lesson; violate the norms and pretty soon Rome will just
    acquiesce.

    What a way to run a Church!