Under another entry, there is some debate about the reception of Communion in the hand during Holy Mass celebrated in the extraordinary form.
Some contend that Communion may not be given in the hand, because it could not be given in the hand back in 1962.
I think that is incorrect. I think that if a person participating at Mass with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII stick’s his hands out, in the right fashion, in a place where the conference of bishop’s has given permisson for Communion in the hand, and if there is no serious risk of profanation (but isn’t there nearly always?) of the Sacred Host or a particle thereof, then a priest errs in purposely not giving that person Communion in the hand.
Please understand, I am not in favor of Communion in the hand at all! I wish it was not permitted and that people didn’t choose to receive that way. Still, the law is the law. Dura lex sed lex.
Still, there is discussion of this issue, and I respect it. In a comment under that other entry a knowledgable priest chimed in saying:
Reverend and dear blogmaster: Am I mistaken in thinking that the 1962 Missale does not exist in isolation, but in organic continuity, and that it must be celebrated integrally according to all the rubrics that in fact were binding during the pontificate of Blessed John XXIII ? Otherwise, to be consistant should we not distribute Holy Communion saying “Corpus Christi.”, without any sign of the cross, and not “Corpus Domini nostri, etc.”
Seriously, Father, not just because it would be upsetting, but because it is right and just, I respectfully submit that we should not give “communion in the hand” at a Mass in the vetus ordo.
Comment by Fr. Paul McDonald
The same Fr. McDonald also writes in another comment:
“Communion in the hand” is contrary to the universal, present law of the Church and may only be given if about seventeen conditions are simultaneously fulfilled. Which conditions have increased over the years. It is not allowed at a “Tridentine” mass as a number of bishop’s statements have reiterated.
Now, that being said, “charity in all things.”
Comment by Fr. Paul McDonald
I respectfully respond that the Motu Proprio derestricts the use of the older form of Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962. Summorum Pontificum does not, however, revive all the decrees in force in 1962. The Missale Romanum did not describe how certain things were to be done. Distribution of Communion was not described in the Missal. Separate decrees covered Communion.
Also, I respectfully remind Father that when those conditions are fulfilled, the Church’s law does in fact (alas) permit Communion in the hand.
Here is my solution.
First, we take the former way of doing things as guidelines rooted in a firm tradition and practice. It is sensible and right that Communion should be received on the tongue, while kneeling when possible, and not in the hand during the older form of Mass (newer too! IMHO, but especially the older).
Second, it strikes me as reasonable to put a note in the bulletin or handout describing why Communion in the on the tongue is preferable. We need education, not on the spot surprises or confrontations.
Thus, if people come and put their hands out (in the proper fashion, etc.) then give that person Communion without making a scene about it.
We need some time to form people on this issue. Some people have (alas) never known anything other than Communion in the hand. We have to be a little understanding and gentle with these folks. If they are coming to celebrations of the older form of Mass, that is a huge step in a new direction for them. Let’s not make their experience jolting at the moment when they really need a sense of receiving Communion in the context of something wonderful, though unfamiliar. Remember, it is already going to be odd for many of them to be kneeling. Don’t freak people out. It is easy to hurt people in that vulnerable moment. Let the older form of Mass, and the practices that go with it, exert that "gravitational pull" and slowly but surely. Help people come around, don’t force them.
Summorum Pontificum does not create an ecclesiastical Jurassic Park. Pope Benedict did not stick a needle into a 1962 traditionalist mosquito trapped in liturgical amber and then rebuild a fenced in world from another epoch. He did not revive all the decrees or canon laws in force in 1962! So, make prudent use and reference to how things were done, and even adopt the old practices properly and fruitfully. But recognize the rights people have according to present law and practice.
The eyes of many people, some very hostile to the older form of Mass, will be open, indeed peeled, scrutinizing how things are going. If there are problems we can avoid, avoid them. Do we really need some person looking to pick a fight in the first place writing nasty letters to the bishop about the priest and the older Mass because she was refused Communion in the hand? After all, it is (alas) allowed.