PODCAzT 51: Communion in the hand

We tackle a thorny issue: Communion in the hand. 

To help us drill into this practice, which we can only hope will diminish over time, we have the help of comments by His Excellency Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

We also will hear from Thomas E. Woods Jr., in his fairly new book, Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass.

In case you are wondering, I add plenty of my own thoughts on the matter.


 
http://www.wdtprs.com/podcazt/08_02_25.mp3

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in PODCAzT, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to PODCAzT 51: Communion in the hand

  1. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I read Prof. Woods’ book “How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization”, which is an excellent introduction to many areas of western history and dispels many of the common myths surrounding the Church and the so-called “Dark Ages”, which really were not so dark after all.

  2. Pope Evaristus, Martyr says:

    Fr. Z, what is the piece of music in the middle of the podcast?

    THANKS!

  3. Pope Evaristus, Martyr says:

    The piece of music BEFORE the “Jesu Dulcis Memoria”

  4. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I agree. Perhaps you could post the titles and composers of the pieces you use in your podcasts?

  5. Evaristus: First, there are two versions of Iesu dulcis memoria, but before the plainsong version I have a piece written for the 47th Eucharistic Congress held in Bari, Italy, written by the Italian version of Haas/Haugan/Joncas, a priest of the clergy of Rome who runs the Diocesan choir of Rome for the Vicariate, Marco Frisina. Generally I despise his goopy music, but I rather like this particular piece, the exception that proves the rule. Also, it was a contrast to the other pieces I included. The piece is called, “Pane di vita nuova”

  6. Ray from MN says:

    Father Z:

    For the past year, I have been volunteering two days a week as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Prayer Partner and Visitor to patients in a local hospital whose patients are generally male and generally elderly. I visit only the Catholic patients.

    Two things, at least, Father, have pleased me greatly.

    Of those who receive Holy Communion, virtually 98% or more are very comfortable receiving it on their tongue. And they know how to do it, even after having not received it that way for forty years or so.

    Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps only 20% receive Holy Communion when it is offered. Some can’t receive because they have tracheotomies or other obstructions that prevent them from eating (I don’t offer it then); some mention that they had received on the previous Sunday (more catechesis needed here, I admit); some happen to be eating lunch at the moment I arrive in their room; some, like a man this morning, admit that “I have to do some cleaning up before I receive” (which fact I report to the chaplain); and for other reasons.

    These are generally geezers, Father. Admittedly, they are in a bed, elderly, and well aware of their mortality. But virtually all of them know the prayers and know what to do.

    It wouldn’t be difficult for pastors to get parishioners in just about any parish to resume receiving on the tongue.

    And if manpower is the issue, I see no theological reason why an EMHC couldn’t traverse the Communion Rail, or line of peach crates, assisting the Celebrant in the administration of the Sacrament.

  7. kdpfam says:

    Regarding communion in the hand and consulation with Bishops throughout the world. Date line, March 12, 1969. 2136 Voters. (a)Should communion in the hand be added to the traditional manner of receiving communion? Yes: 567; No: 1233; Yes with qualifications: 315; Invalid ballots: 21. (b) Should it be tried first experimentally in small communities with the consent of the Ordinary? Yes: 751; No: 1215; Invalid ballots: 70. (The French episcopal confernece did not vote on this issue). (c) Do you think that the faithful, if given instruction, would be in favor of the new rite? i.e. communion in the hand. Yes: 823; No: 1185; Invalid ballots: 128.

    If the forgoing is true, and Annibale Bugnini assures us it is, what happened?

  8. RichR says:

    One of your best podcazts, Fr. Z.

    Well done.

  9. C.M. says:

    And if manpower is the issue, I see no theological reason why an EMHC couldn’t traverse the Communion Rail, or line of peach crates, assisting the Celebrant in the administration of the Sacrament.

    By conceding the point about the 1983 Code of Canon Law, nothing stops this from happening. There’s no reason the EMHC’s couldn’t be, for example, women, or that women couldn’t serve at the altar. Ah well, it’s a “Living Church” after all. So what if it resembles High Anglicanism? It’s tradition, of a sort.

  10. C.M. says:

    Clarification: So what if it resembles:

    It = the liturgical form.

  11. Fr. John says:

    Fr.Z
    Does a pastor have the authority to not permit communion in the hand and exclusively distribute Communion on the tongue, with out the approval of the bishop?

  12. Fr. John: Does a pastor have the authority to not permit communion in the hand and exclusively distribute Communion on the tongue, with out the approval of the bishop?

    No, a pastor doesn’t have authority to permit or prevent Communion in the hand. This is regulated by the Conference of Bishops as permitted by the Holy See. This also goes for “extraordinary use” chapels and parishes.

    However, if the pastor were to determine that there was too great a danger of profanation, say because too many times Hosts were found in the church, etc., perhaps he could move that way, but the diocesan bishop would probably want to be involved with that.

  13. Abe Cottom says:

    Is it possible for a bishop to forbid a deacon to receive communion on the tongue? Do you know of any document that
    a bishop would cite to make such a prohibition? Are you aware of any document that would state otherwise (namley, that it is
    permissible to receive communion on the tongue, even when one is a deacon serving at mass)? I ask this becauce a
    friend who is a perm. deacon was recently told by his bishop that it was foribdden to receive communion on the tongue
    if one was deacon. I told him I did not think this was possible, but need something to back it up.

  14. Tom Woods says:

    I’m convinced that the ’62 Missal doesn’t envision Communion in the hand, to the point where it would be absolutely licit to insist the faithful receive only in the hand. Just one example: why on earth is the priest holding thumb and forefinger together while holding the ciborium if people are then going to receive the Host directly in their hands? It makes no sense. So it seems to me that in light of the rubrics (express or __strongly implied__) of the ’62, Communion in the hand may be forbidden.

  15. Tom Woods says:

    Of course, I meant, “…to insist the faithful receive only on the tongue.”

  16. Tom Woods: The fact is that the present legislation allows for Holy Communion in the hand. I hope there will be a clarification about this in the future. However, since most conferences of bishops permit Communion in the hand in the Roman Rite, then people have a right to receive that way.

    I agree about the issue of the inherent logic of the older form of Mass, as seen through the lens of the priest keeping his fingers together. No quibble there.

    But the fact remains of this pesky legislation.

  17. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: The fact is that the present legislation allows for Holy Communion in the hand.

    Evidently, none of the bishops know about this–at least, none who’ve commented on communion in the 1962 form. Perhaps if we keep quiet about it, they’ll never find out?

    Hmm … given the questionable provenance of much “present legislation”–in particular, the 1969 approval under apparent duress of communion in the hand in the face of an overwhelming negative vote by the bishops of the world–I wonder (as a complete amateur) why one should give it more credence than tradition and immemorial custom untainted by the shenanigans of recent decades.

    Really, what can one say about legislation that encourages sacrilege at each and every Mass where it is followed? What, precisely, is the obligation of a priest to follow a law whose result he knows to be profanation?

  18. John Paul says:

    Father, does the legislation apply to the 1962 Missal? How does one draw the
    line then with other Novus Ordo practices, such as EM of Holy Communion, or
    Communion under both kinds (common to almost every Mass in our diocese).

    This has always been the fear of those who favor the TLM. That the N.O.
    practices will be brought in as “organic” developments.

  19. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Is “communion in the hand” an indult and are indults interpreted narrowly?

  20. Michael says:

    Very Simple Solution to this problem:

    Intinction

    No one is allowed to receive in the hand when the Holy Body is tinctured in the Holy Blood. The Eastern Churches all have this practice. (In the Syro-Malankara and Malabar Churches, we use special vessels that can hold both species by one priest). The Latin Church allows for this practice – why not make wider use of it?

    This would also limit the (unnecessary) use of EMHCs and speed up the line, as both Body and Blood are being given at once.

    Any thoughts?

  21. C.M. says:

    The fact is that the present legislation allows for Holy Communion in the hand.

    What legislation? Redemptionis Sacramentum refers to GIRM.

    That an unconvincing legal argument can be made doesn’t mean that there’s a pressing controversy which needs any clarification at all. The use of the maniple at the NOM at St. Agnes is certainly debatable–does Rome need to be involved?

    We’ll all have to wait for what Rome actually says, and trust that they won’t make the same sort of mistakes they made in 1970 when they tried to ban the old form of Mass.

  22. Tom Woods says:

    Father, thank you for the extended attention to my Sacred Then and Sacred Now. I just listened to the podcast. Very nice.

  23. FHC says:

    Father Z,

    A very good podcazt and good food for thought. I attend a traditional chapel and everyone there does take communion on the tongue. However I travel a lot and end up at quite a variety of Catholic churches, most of which do the NO. It is really, really intimidating to go to receive communion: (Forget kneeling) Am I going to be the weirdo who takes it on the tongue and will the priest be visibly annoyed–as does happen; do I concede and do as my friends, family are doing and take it in the hand or do I kneel in the pew and wait it out not knowing if this might be my last opportunity to take communion, etc. etc. It is helpful to be reminded by your podcazt of the “fear and trembling” approach we ought to be making. I guess I need to either strengthen my resolve IF I take communion to take it on the tongue or stay in the pew. It would be such a kindness to have one area where folks like me could kneel and receive on the tongue without all the internal worry that proceeds it at these NO services. At Assumption Grotto in Detroit both ways are offered while the laity all kneels at a communion rail. I thought that was a great way to address the issue.

  24. Tom Ryan says:

    I see very few practical reasons for the way communion is presently handed out. From the standpoint of expediency, the rail can go a lot faster than trying to choreograph a dozen EMHCs and communion under both species (which is seldom ruled out because “there are too many people”) I’ve had relatives grudgingly concede this point when I took them to a Novus Ordo Mass where the rail had been retained.

    Too, I don’t think many of the laity realize their rights under canon law. When I was denied communion in N.J. for not putting my hand out for Father, a polite letter to Arbsp. Myers brought the problem to a very swift end. Now, there are even more bishops showing a spine than a few years ago.

  25. Tom Woods: Father, thank you for the extended attention to my Sacred Then and Sacred Now. I just listened to the podcast. Very nice.

    I am honored you stopped by. Thanks in return!

  26. Tom Ryan says:

    I reluctantly agree with Fr. Z on communion in the hand in the Extraordinary Form. While I profess no expertise in this area it seems logical under the notion that there are “two forms of the same rite.” Had the TLM been a separate rite it could’ve been forbidden just as Eastern Rites can require leaven bread.

    Nevertheless, soon after the Motu Proprio, the USCCB very cynically contrasted the
    Extraordinary Form with the Ordinary Form. They made it clear then that there would
    be altar BOYS, communion on the TONGUE, one KIND, and FEWER readings.

    I know in the indult days a few mean bishops tried to require EMHCs but I doubt they’d
    try it today.

    Yes, Woods stuff is GREAT!
    (for a convert)

  27. Tom Ryan: Woods stuff is GREAT! (for a convert)

    Perhaps you might expand on this.

    Do you find that his book is useful for converts? Or is it that you are surprised that a convert could produce such a book?

  28. RBrown says:

    Regarding communion in the hand and consulation with Bishops throughout the world. Date line, March 12, 1969. 2136 Voters. (a)Should communion in the hand be added to the traditional manner of receiving communion? Yes: 567; No: 1233; Yes with qualifications: 315; Invalid ballots: 21. (b) Should it be tried first experimentally in small communities with the consent of the Ordinary? Yes: 751; No: 1215; Invalid ballots: 70. (The French episcopal confernece did not vote on this issue). (c) Do you think that the faithful, if given instruction, would be in favor of the new rite? i.e. communion in the hand. Yes: 823; No: 1185; Invalid ballots: 128.

    If the forgoing is true, and Annibale Bugnini assures us it is, what happened?
    Comment by kdpfam

    Paul VI side with the liberals . . . again. He made liberals his closest advisors, ASSUMING that the system of discipline in the Church (e.g., Latin liturgy) would limit what they could do. But they went to work disassembling that system of discipline, leaving little except the Montini tears–and his erroneous assumptions.

  29. Tom Ryan says:

    Humor is how I deal with
    the unfortunate fact that
    nearly all of my friends are
    converts.

  30. Tom Ryan: the unfortunate fact that nearly all of my friends are converts.

    That is something you consider “unfortunate”? Converts as friends?

  31. Michael says:

    Fr. Z,

    Imploring your blessing.

    Would you consider giving Communion via intinction while celebrating either form? Why or why not?

    I’ve never read a good argument against the practice, and as stated earlier, it would get rid of all the EMHCs and the argument of “slow lines”.

  32. Michael: Yes, I suppose I would consider intinction, certainly for the newer form and perhaps (here we go) for the older as well.

    It is a little clunky but it can be helpful in getting rid of the awful Communion in the hand.

  33. Michael says:

    Father,

    Here’s the type of vessel that the priest uses at my home parish, it’s available from Granda Liturgical Arts in Chicago.

  34. Christopher Mandzok says:

    Very Simple Solution to this problem:
    Intinction
    For those who believe that the faithful should receive the Precious Blood, let him be anathema. Receiving the Blood of Christ by the layman is a Novus Order rendition.
    Regarding communion in the hand and consulation with Bishops throughout the world. Date line, March 12, 1969. 2136 Voters. (a)Should communion in the hand be added to the traditional manner of receiving communion? Yes: 567; No: 1233; Yes with qualifications: 315; Invalid ballots: 21. (b) Should it be tried first experimentally in small communities with the consent of the Ordinary? Yes: 751; No: 1215; Invalid ballots: 70. (The French episcopal confernece did not vote on this issue). (c) Do you think that the faithful, if given instruction, would be in favor of the new rite? i.e. communion in the hand. Yes: 823; No: 1185; Invalid ballots: 128.

    The “fine” bishops of the world, through their conferences, paid no attention to the vote. Additionally, the communities that were already receiving communion in the hand where allowed to carry-on. So, other bishop conferences, ie the US, simply allowed the priests to do as they wanted. Typical actions of the post-Vatican II era, committed atrocities until they become accepted. Now, let’s all hold hands during the Pater Noster……

  35. Michael says:

    For those who believe that the faithful should receive the Precious Blood, let him be anathema. Receiving the Blood of Christ by the layman is a Novus Order rendition.
    It’s a great thing that you have no right to lay anathema on anyone. Receiving the Precious Blood is not new, the practice occurred validly and licitly in the Pre-Tridentine Church, during Council of Trent, after the Council of Trent, to this very day. The idea that receiving the Precious Blood is a new practice is historically wrong, no matter how much the “more-Catholic-than-the-Church”-’Catholics’ repeat the nonsense.

  36. Tom Ryan says:

    No!

    The unfortunate thing is
    that more cradle Catholics
    don’t see what is so obvious
    to converts!

  37. Bill Henzey says:

    I have always wondered how many of the supporters of communion in the hand are in a state of sanctifying grace

  38. Bill Henzey says:

    Dear Folks,
    I often wonder about how many who are FOR communion in the hand, are in a state of grace, or how often do they go yo communion ??etc
    in St Louis
    Bill

  39. Kiran says:

    Bill, I am against communion in the hand, but I thank God you are not in any position to determine who is and who isn’t in a state of Grace, and there is nothing to be gained, spirtually or materially by speculating thereupon.

    What is true is that a lot of people were catechized to recieve communion in the hand exclusively, and that this was a wonderful thing. All you will do by asking a question like that is give them the impression that you are a bigot, and (potentially) keep them away from the Extraordinary Form, and suggest to them that traditionalists are bigots.

  40. Kiran says:

    Bill, I am against communion in the hand, but I thank God you are not in any position to determine who is and who isn\’t in a state of Grace, and there is nothing to be gained, spirtually or materially by speculating thereupon.

    What is true is that a lot of people were catechized to recieve communion in the hand exclusively, and that this was a wonderful thing. All you will do by asking a question like that is give them the impression that you are a bigot, and (potentially) keep them away from the Extraordinary Form, and suggest to them that traditionalists are bigots.

  41. Patricia says:

    I do not support communion in the hand.

  42. Rachel says:

    When the Philipino charismatics caught SARS in Toronto several years ago (resulting in a number of deaths), our diocese (just down the 401 from Toronto) refused to give Communion on the tongue for fear of spreading the contagion. This was strictly enforced by priests who refused to give Communion to those who insisted on receiving it on the tongue. I witnessed a loud altercation as a result of the refusal. The usual handshake before communion was also suppressed, and people were asked to bow to each other instead of having any physical contact.

    I suppose there are times when communion in the hand is best.

  43. Hans says:

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to this one yet, but while I’m here getting it, I thought I might add something.

    I was in (a Catholic) grade school when communion in the hand began to be allowed. We were taught how to do it properly and encouraged (I no longer recall how strongly) to try it if we wanted, but it wasn’t required. I tried it a few times, found it unsatisfactory (later I would decide that it was because it seemed to me to be too much like taking rather than receiving, but at the time I wasn’t able to articulate my reaction even that little) and stopped; I have received on the tongue ever since.

    The only ‘incident’ that I ever experienced was once at Mass I came to the front of the line and and stood ready to receive on my tongue. The priest gestured slightly toward my hands, and I waited. After a few seconds, though it seemed like ages, he either acquiesced or realized what I was doing (I never knew) and did what I was waiting for.

    In that parish at that time I was the only person I knew of (not that I looked particularly) who received on the tongue. It has been my experience that if I regularly receive on the tongue and don’t make a fuss, that some of the people around me week after week begin to receive on the tongue also; it’s plain to me from conversations I’ve had from time to time (I’ve been asked, actually) that some people think they’re required to receive on the hand. Also, we have a large immigrant community (both from ‘south of the border’ and across either ocean) in the parish where I am now, and many (probably most) of them still receive on the tongue.

    Finally, I would also be interested in an answer to Abe Cottom’s question, if one is available.