A WDTPRSer writes to Fr. Z about Communion in the hand at TLMs. Fr. Z responds.

A while back I posted a PODCAzT concerning the widespread grave problem of distribution of Holy Communion in the hand.

I got an interesting e-mail from a sometime poster here on WDTPRS, Brian Mershon, who had comments for me.

Here is the e-mail with my emphases and comments.

Dear Fr. Z,

If there is one innovation that is applied to the TLM that will surely send traditionalists outside their parish boundaries, it is the reception of communion in the hand at the TLM.

Our parish in SC, which now has 700 or so attend when Fr. offers it at 11 a.m. Mass, there are many who kneel at the makeshift altar rails (front pews) but continue to receive communion in the hand.

I know there is a letter from Cardinal Hoyos to Michael Davies saying this cannot be prohibited (I can’t find it on the web currently for some reason), but this certainly needs to be addressed by the PCED. Father (now Msgr.) initially gave communion on the tongue to those who put their hands out, but now in his catechesis from the pulpit, he has repeatedly emphasized the traditional practice of receiving communion kneeling, but mentions NOTHING WHATSOEVER about the traditional practice of receiving communion on the tongue.  [I find that a little puzzling.  It strikes me that these issues go ... ehem... hand in hand.  I also believe it is within a priests right to preach concerning how he prefers to see people receiving Communion.]

And this goes on and on. I am probably the most "extreme" of all the traditionalists who attend Mass there, but I have heard from several friends who are absolutely scandalized by the practice. This is one of those "rubber meets the road" issues that will drive people exclusively to the SSPX chapels, and frankly, the FSSP and ICR also.  [I wonder if that isn't and exaggeration.  I am reminded of the story told by the son-in-law of St. Thomas More about upholding the law.  This story was part of the great movie A Man For All Seasons, but it is really part of Roper's biography of St. Thomas.]

I know a priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM, [Right.] but he certainly can catechize his faithful on why reception on the tongue is the more traditional and reverent practice.  [Right again!  I think priests can and should.  We are in perfect lock step on this.]

I don’t mind you making this a post if you see fit, but expect a couple hundred comments if you do. [We'll see!] This needs to be addressed by the PCED and NOT by accommodating communion in the hand.  [I agree.  This must be addressed also by the PCED.  And I know this will be read there.]

Sincerely,

Brian C. Mershon

Here is the little exchange between St. Thomas and his son-in-law: 

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

People who are "scandalized" when a priest doesn’t talk about Communion in the hand at TLMs or that people avail themselves of their rights, should remember that law also defends their own rights to have the TLM, and to kneel, and to receive on the tongue.

Thus, I agree with what Brian wrote.  People have the right, yes, but I think that priests should, though sound catechesis and their own example of handling the Blessed Sacrament with supreme care, shift people away from Communion in the hand in both the Novus Ordo and the "Tridentine" form of Mass.

I invite you also to listen to that PODCAzT on Communion in the hand. 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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71 Responses to A WDTPRSer writes to Fr. Z about Communion in the hand at TLMs. Fr. Z responds.

  1. Cornelius says:

    ” . . .that will drive people exclusively to the SSPX chapels, and frankly,
    the FSSP and ICR also.”

    I don’t know what the “ICR” is, but it is surely not right to lump FSSP with
    SSPX. The FSSP is in full communion with the Holy Father, SSPX is not (despite
    its claims to the contrary).

  2. Matthew McCusker says:

    Father,

    The exchange in the film is very different any words actually found in Roper’s biography. The famous quote that Roper gives is this:

    “For sometimes may I in words, stand your friend in stead, and sometime may I by my letter help you and him, or if he have a cause depending before me, at your request I may hear him before another, or if his cause be not all the best, yet may I move the parties to fall to some reasonable end by arbitrament; howbeit, this one thing I assure thee on my faith, that if the parties will at my hand call for justice, then were it my father stood on the one side and the devil on the other side (his cause being good) the devil should have right.”

  3. Student of St Thomas More says:

    Dear Father,

    The exchange in the film is very different any words actually found in Roper’s biography. The famous quote that Roper gives is this:

    “For sometimes may I in words, stand your friend in stead, and sometime may I by my letter help you and him, or if he have a cause depending before me, at your request I may hear him before another, or if his cause be not all the best, yet may I move the parties to fall to some reasonable end by arbitrament; howbeit, this one thing I assure thee on my faith, that if the parties will at my hand call for justice, then were it my father stood on the one side and the devil on the other side (his cause being good) the devil should have right.”

  4. Jason in San Antonio says:

    That exchange from Bolt’s play is my Facebook quote.

  5. Just Wondering says:

    Intinction ???

  6. Tom Liang says:

    People leaving for mass do not necessarily wash their hands for touching the consecrated Host (body of Christ). Even if they are clean, but on the way to mass, they touch their cars, door handles previously touched by sweaty hands, and pews; and shake each others’ hands during mass during the peace offering. All this leaves the possibility for dirt to accumulate on out hands. I can remember in the days of the traditional latin mass when receiving communion on the tongue, one might smell a very faint odor of soap from the priest’s hands. It shows that he had cleaned his hands like a surgeon before surgery.

    Tom

  7. Brian Mershon says:

    ICR is the official abbreviation for the Institute of Christ the King in its French form. I am certain, by the way, that most people here understand the status of the SSPX, ICR, FSSP etc. However, many traditionalist Catholics will attend an SSPX chapel even if it is more inconvenient than attend a Novus Ordo parish where the TLM is offered periodically and see lots of people receive communion in the hand. That is a fact.

    If we’re going to allow communion in the hand, let’s get out the extraordinary mistresses and monsters and the altar girls as well. Might as well…

    P.S. My e-mail in no way is intended as a criticism of the pastor of the parish that is referred to. In fact, it has been against much diocesan and parish priest opposition over the years that this pastor has bravely taken the couple of hundred traditionalist parishioners into his bosom, where the next closest TLM is an hour and a half away on a regular basis.

  8. Fr. D. says:

    The pastor of the parish where I help had scheduled a extraordinary form Mass which happened to be attended by many people not accustomed to it. At the homily, he matter of factly declared that there is a special way to receive Holy Communion at this Mass. He instructed those who were prepared to receive to come forward, kneel at the altar rail, and open their mouths. After Mass we priests who distributed Communion compared notes. Everyone received on the tongue, except, in the pastor’s words, “One old hippie who should’ve known better.” [I won't say how the pastor gave him Communion, but will mention that there are advantages to having a server holding a Communion plate!]

    Distributing Communion at Masses of the extraordinary form has taught me how ludicrous the new method is. The new method creates a situation wherein distribution takes a long time, even if people receive on the tongue. In the new way, the priest has to wait for each person to step forward. [Theologically, the symbolism of kneeling side by side seems richer and more evocative of "community" than the modern "waiting on line" phenomenon. In the new way, the communicant seems to take the initiative to come forward and wilfully "take" the Lord; in the traditional, the communicant waits for the Lord to come to her and humbly "receives" the Lord.]
    Pastors are often worried about how long distribution takes, but if we went back to kneeling at the altar rail and receiving on the tongue at all Masses, this would save the most time and not require extraordinary ministers of the Communion, except maybe to hold the Communion plate. This is especially the case in the ordinary form where all we say is “Corpus Christi,” rather than the longer form of the extraordinary.

    One final point on Communion on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail: it is the most “sanitary” way to distribute and receive Communion. In the thousands of times I distributed in this way, I may have slightly touched a tongue with my thumb-tip once. It’s because the communicant is usually not moving and There is a Communion plate so I am less worried about dropping a Host.

    In the ordinary form, when people don’t kneel, it is harder not to touch the tongue because people are moving toward me, (some smile) and then openning their mouths. Of course, it is also impossible to avoid touching the hands (which people may have just coughed into or which have just touched an object or another hand which had germs on it) when they receive on the hand. The modern way more easily passes on germs. [Meanwhile, the traditional preparation for Mass also requires the priest to wash his hands before Mass.]

    Thus, the full traditional practice is most time saving and most “sanitary.”

  9. Boko says:

    Perhaps the laity can catechize each other. Also, we don’t like to talk about such things nowadays, but social disapprobation (eg-”tsk-tsk”s and dirty looks) plays an important part in the self-formation of cultures.

  10. Fr. D. says:

    I must disagree with the statement that a ” priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM.”
    There are reasons a priest can refuse to give Communion in the hand. If the hand is dirty, or if the hands are not in a postion to receive the Host respectfully, (i.e. especially if not in a “throne” position to catch particles), the priest should refuse.

  11. momof8 says:

    I’ve never been one to understand why people rec’v in the hand to begin with. Im 40 something and my parents always stressed that one will not receive on the hand.. Im also one of those who if attending a NO Mass and not sitting in the right spot, will get up and move to the correct isle to receive the Eucharist from the priest. Some kind of peeve I suppose about receiving from an EM- something my parents also instilled.

    I do find it strikingly odd that people would WANT to rec’v on the hand at the TLM. Perhaps it’s more out of habit than it is a true understanding that it is not the ordinary form of receiving the Eucharist?

    I would have to agree that the pastor should definately explain that it is preferable to receive on the tongue and why it is so..

  12. Brian Mershon says:

    “Communion in the Hand and Similar Frauds” by the late, great, RIP, Michael Davies

  13. Brian Day says:

    OK, I’ll do my part to get the comment count up.

    I know that receiving on the tongue is protected in canon law (I’m too lazy to cite), but the faithful have a “right” to receive in the hand? Can this be correct? Receiving in the hand may be the norm at OF of Holy Mass, but I didn’t realize that it had progressed to a “right”.

    I think that Fr. D (1:55pm post) is correct in saying that there could be valid reasons for not giving giving communion in the hand. To play devil’s advocate, could there be a corresponding reason to deny communion on the tongue?

  14. Joshua says:

    I don’t like a language of rights in general, and I wonder how a practice permitted by indult is really a right.

    It seems to me that a priest need not distribute in hand if he has good reason not to, for instance if he has found hosts in the pews. IIRC the indult said that a priest could distribute on tongue only if there were danger of sacrilege doing it in hand. (At one TLM I went too, which is near the USA capitol of the occult, the priest would never give in hand because it was likely that Hosts were being taken for Satanic purposes). Under these conditions, in either form, the priest should refuse communion in hand.

    Assuming that such does not apply, besides catechesis I think there are practical ways of preventing communion in hand without denying it.

    1. Restore the Communion cloth that is still called for and instruct people how it is used. If they actually use it, their hands will be under the cloth

    2. The Communion plate. I know it is a dumb idea it place it on their hands, but if put it under their chins before they can present their hands I see no problem there, if they make a gesture that they want communion in hand, move the plate.

    3. For the newer form of Mass, HPR suggested that a priest can stand a bit more elevated, like on a step, which encourages communion on tongue

  15. Alvin says:

    On several occasions I’ve seen these Communion-in-the-hand-people take the Eucharist back to their pew or simply leave the Church. Sometimes, I’ll bound out of the pew and in a polite voice confront the miscreant with the words, “You must consume the Holy Eucharist before you return to your seat.”

    It really upsets me. It is one reason why I will drive the extra 20 or 40 miles (whenever I am able) to go to a Tridentine Mass.

    The e-bay auction of the Eucharist from a papal mass should, by itself, be a sufficient argument as to why this practice must be abandoned immediately.

    This is all so distressing to me. It is horrible to see this happen. I am praying that they do away with this horrible abomination.

  16. Robert says:

    “…issues that will drive people exclusively to the SSPX chapels, and frankly, the FSSP and ICR also.”

    This is insulting.

  17. Jack007 says:

    Well. I am reminded of a line I heard some 25 years ago. I don’t know who supposedly said it.
    “Catholics have reduced receiving Communion to the dignity of a cafeteria line”.

    For some reason, I think it fits.

    Jack in KC

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    I find this whole discussion mystifying, if not a mountain fabricated from a molehill. The ubiquitous red missalette one sees at TLMs everywhere contains the following note at the communion section:

    It is customary at a Tridentine Mass that Holy Communion be received in the kneeling position and on the tongue.

    Such a simple statement is often included in the bulletin or flyer handed out at a TLM. Sometimes a simple matter-of-fact announcement to this effect is made early on when a new TLM is getting started. I’m not talking about “catechesis”, just a plain statement, just once.

    For crying out loud, what kind of catechesis could possibly be needed? A simple one-time statement as above is seldom needed, but surely takes care of it. Why all the trauma?

    I’ve attended TLMs in all sorts of places, and have never once seen anyone stick out his hands like a jerk. (The closest thing was when a priest simply bypassed as though he didn’t see her a hands-out stander at an ad orientem Latin Novus Ordo in a church with altar rail.)

  19. Antiquarian says:

    As is so often the case, I think Fr Z has it right. Especially in the upcoming months and years there will be many attending the EF for the first time, or the first time in decades. To glare or “tsk-tsk” at those who are unaware of what to expect seems counter-productive, if the goal is to foster in the many a love and respect for traditional practices. To flee in outrage, which, I fear, some will indeed do, shows very little faith in the power the EF has to draw us in to an appreciation of its merits, an appreciation that must be fostered. So I agree– I hope priests will offer guidance, even firm guidance, toward what is proper. But we should have some patience and sympathy for those who are in need of catechesis before we talk about running away in outrage. Is that not also a potential source of scandal?

  20. I have a simple solution to the problem: Holy Intinction which can be done on the tongue only!

  21. David Kubiak says:

    This one is easy. The server is instructed to hit the person in the
    Adam’s apple with the paten until he sticks his tongue out.

  22. Elizabeth Hanink says:

    Encourage everyone to read Michael Davies on this subject. A quick once over of his pamphlet on this subject and my husband and I gave up communion in the hand for good.

  23. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Tertullianism lives.

  24. Ray from MN says:

    I continually amazed at the controversy one regularly sees about “Communion in the hand.”

    Yet rarely is there discussion of the probability of (generally non-Hispanic) parishioners receiving Holy Communion without first having gone to Confession when not in the State of Grace.

  25. TJM says:

    I find it a bit strange that a person worshipping at the TLM would choose a non-traditional manner of receiving the Eucharist. But if Father Z
    indicates a priest has little discretion in the matter, so be it. Perhaps the individual just did it reflexively and without giving it much
    thought. Perhaps catechsis is a better route than denigrating the individual. Tom

  26. boredoftheworld says:

    In case there’s any confusion, on the first Sunday of each month (off and on) the 11AM Sunday Mass is in the EF. So pretty much everyone who would normally be at the 11 is there anyhow, some of them aren’t at all happy and some of those people are doing what they’re doing explicitly as a political/liturgical statement. I know this because I’ve had the extreme misfortune of hearing people ranting about all this “old crap”.

    Remarkably the very people who I’ve personally heard complaining about it being “old” are themselves in their late sixties/early seventies.

  27. magdalen says:

    There will be a learning curve for the EF, no doubt. For 40 years we have
    been having casual, come as you are Masses. Folks, even nuns, come in
    jeans and sweats and chew gum and hold out grubby hands. We have lost
    our sense of the sacred and all reverence in many, many places. There has
    been NO catechesis in my parish for years.

    I no longer serve at Mass (visit sick and homebound instead) but staring
    in my 20s, I was a ‘Eucharistic Minister’ and I have seen all sorts of postures
    and hands. Grab and pop. Take and look at and then walk off and then place
    in mouth. There are crumbs that just get brushed on the floor and I think
    the devil gets a chuckle with that. We do indeed find Hosts in the missals and
    on the floor and in the pews.

    I am a little surprised that one would hold out hands at a communion rail. It
    should be obvious that everyone receives on the tongue.

    When I fell in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament some years ago, I
    ceased communion in the hand. I have felt the indignation of those priests
    and ‘EMs’ who did not like my tongue but that is their problem.

    But, as I wrote–this is a learning curve. I cannot get to an EF; there is none
    in the diocese. BUT—we are looking at moving this year and one reason
    is so that we can go to a ROMAN Catholic parish where hopefully it will
    not be just a gathering of the assembly to praise ourselves. I hope my
    kids can hang on with our irreverent Masses just a little longer…

  28. Fr. D: I must disagree with the statement that a ” priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM.”
    There are reasons a priest can refuse to give Communion in the hand. If the hand is dirty, or if the hands are not in a postion to receive the Host respectfully, (i.e. especially if not in a “throne” position to catch particles), the priest should refuse.

    Well … of course.

    But this hold equally for the Novus Ordo.

    At the same time, one could always argue that there is some risk of profanation.

  29. Ray from MN: You cannot tell by looking at a person if he is in the state of grace, but you can see what he does physically to receive Communion.

    Still, your point is a good one:

    Long lines for Communion. Short lines for Confession.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  30. Cal-Brian says:

    I began teaching CCD to 7th graders at my parish a few months ago. I was suprised to find their lack of understanding regarding the nature of the Eucharist. I don’t blame them, they simply do not understand, nor do I think they have ever really been taught.

    Personally, I think maybe kneeling for communion and receiving on the tongue may help reinforce the instruction they receive. As they say, “actions speak louder than words”.

  31. Marilyn says:

    I go to a TLM on Sunday, but I teach in a Catholic school and regularly attend the Novus Ordo with my students. I do not receive communion in the hand there, and I have told my students why. I am not overtly trying to make them change their practice, but I certainly want them to know why I do this, and I want them to know that they have that option.

    One thing I find awkward in receiving on the tongue while standing is that there is sometimes a noticeable height difference between me and the priest/minister. I am tall, and it seems silly that the priest or minister has to reach UP to give me communion. I really wish there was a communion rail.

  32. big benny says:

    I’ve always received communion on the hand, it’s the way I was brought up. I know the arguements against but I find it more meaningful for me personally. I’m quite happy with my current practice and am not looking to change thank you very much. When I’ve been to a TLM, I still prefer to receive on my hand. I don’t think the role of a priest is to bully the congregation into receiving either way and I’d quite resent any priest doing so. I don’t think it would persuade me to change to receiving via the tongue but I’d feel very self-conscious not doing so. Communion in the hand is a legitimate option (in the UK where I live) and that too should be respected.

  33. big: I invite you to listen to my PODCAzT on Communion in the hand.

  34. Jim Gallagher says:

    Here in England at Traditional Latin Masses the priest at the end of the sermon, while making announcements, reminds people that at this celebration (ie according to the 62 Missal) Holy Communion may only be received on the tongue. It must be pointed out that in London this is often pointed out for the benefit of visitors. I have never seen any problem or lack of acceptance of this once the priest has announced it. BTW, Chris Gillibrand on his site Catholic Conservation has a lovely video interview with the Khazakstan bishop who recently published a book on the theme, defending Communion on the tongue.

  35. Serafino says:

    Let’s face it, no matter what the spin, when you take Holy Communion in your hands, and put IT in your own mouth, it is self-Communion! Something only the ordained should be able to do.

  36. Searching through my archive of church leaflets, I found this in the leaflet for the Solemn Mass on the Feast of the Assumption (2006) at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Camden, New Jersey and sponsored by Mater Ecclesia Parish:

    “…Holy Communion will NOT be given in the hand. Church discipline prohibits any mixing of rites.”

    Obviously the language is flawed now that we know there to be two ‘uses’ of the same Roman Rite. However, at the time I did not question this, but wonder now if this is from an official document relating to the TLM and if so, has this been abrogated?

  37. TFG says:

    Henry Edwars wrote : “I’ve attended TLMs in all sorts of places, and have never once seen anyone stick out his hands like a jerk.”

    Oh well I have. I sincerely doubt that people who are haters of the EF will listen to a polite request from the priest. The modern idea of “empowering the laity” has emasculated the priest (who does he think he is anyhow?) and they will do what they bloody well please…and the priest graciously complies, it’s in Canon Law after all isn’t it?

    Meanwhile, there have been documented instances where traditional minded Catholics have been refused Holy Communion because they knelt! (are they holier than the Pope? how DARE they show off their piety!)

    We still have a long way to go. It is ironic that, for various reasons, known and unknown, at the parish in Greenville we have LOST ground following the Motu Propio.

  38. Patrick says:

    “I know a priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM, [Right.]” WRONG!!! Of course he can refuse, and should. He must follow the ritual of 1962, which does not know of communion in the hand. My pastor makes it quite clear that if anyone wishes to receive communion in the hand they may do so after Mass, and ouside of Mass, but not during Mass, when he abides by the 1962 practice.

  39. Henry Edwards says:

    TFG: Oh well I have. I sincerely doubt that people who are haters of the EF will listen to a polite request from the priest.

    Many or most of the people in my TLM community are also serious Novus Ordo Mass attenders, lots of them relatively new to the TLM, but I’ve never seen a first-timer who needed that catechesis or “patience and sympathy” someone referred to in order to receive Holy Communion properly. However, I’ve never knowingly seen one there who was a “hater of the EF”. Why on earth would such a person attend the TLM? Makes no sense to me.

  40. “I know a priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM…”

    No, he cannot. Unless the local bishop rescinds the indulgence for the purposes of the Traditional Mass. He is within his rights to do that, and my understanding is that such is the case in my home diocese of Arlington. Still, if people don’t know that, it’s hard to implement. And there are a lot of well-meaning Catholics who honestly believe that they’re entitled to receive in the hand. That the practice is an indulgence implies otherwise. Sometimes they can be persuaded, in a momentary glance from the priest, or a paten that won’t go away.

    There is the matter of the higher law to consider, that of prudence and charity, and of the right of the faithful to the sacraments. There is also the need to speak the truth in love. Let’s face it; some habits are hard to break. I used to receive in the hand myself, but I stopped about twelve years ago, when I read this essay by Father Peter Stravinskas:

    http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Igpress/CWR/CWR0196/last_word.html

    Well, it did the trick for me, better than dirty looks or local decrees.

  41. JML says:

    All the things I need in life I learned in kindergarten…..

    “Wash your hands before eating”

    Could not OF churches put a note in the bulletin and make announcements, that if you are going to receive Christ in your hand, please wash your hands before entering the church? After all the priest does it at the end of the offertory.

    Similarly, for EF masses and those of us who wish to receive Christ on the tongue, brush your teeth before Mass. Bab Breath, IMO, is just as offensive as dirty hands.

  42. Tom Ryan says:

    It’s great to see Brian weigh in on this but
    I don’t see this becoming a big issue as long
    as we have the Novus Ordo Mass available.

    At a few N.O. parishes where the rail was retained,
    the only ones who obstinately stuck out their
    hands were the blue haired ladies in sneakers
    who were EMHCs elsewhere.

    Time and patience will solve this problem;
    just don’t let your guard down.

    Most people will act as advised and the way
    they see others behaving. I’ve been part of
    ploys wear we went up to receive communion
    before the rest of the crowd and we knelt.
    I was surprised how we were copied with near
    unanimity in spite of the fact that this
    wasn’t the parish’s normal practice!

    Great job Brian! And wasn’t Jesus “extreme”?

  43. Laurie says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    I’ll lay my cards on the table by saying that my inclination is towards a reform of the reform rather than a return to the Tridentine rite. As Fr. Z says in his podcast on receiving in the hand, we are part of a living Church and our understanding of the liturgy can change. I am glad that the Tridentine Rite is being celebrated more widely in the church. For years, people who read this blog and others have been denied valid and meaningful reception of the Lord according to the Tridentine practice and one even hears hurtful examples of people being refused communion while kneeling. This should never have happened. On the other hand, to refuse communion in the hand expressly contradicts the teaching of St Cyril of Jerusalem (Bishop and Doctor) who is also quoted by Fr Z:

    “In approaching therefore, come not with your wrists extended, or your fingers spread; but make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed your palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hallowed your eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest you lose any portion thereof; for whatever you lose, is evidently a loss to you as it were from one of your own members. For tell me, if any one gave you grains of gold, would you not hold them with all carefulness, being on your guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Will you not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from you of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?”

    The citation of St Leo the Great’s 91st sermon strikes me as slightly disingenuous. As Fr Z says, it is easy to cherry pick quotations from tradition to support one’s position. If the passage cited to support reciving on the tongue is examined in context, it is clear that St Leo is not giving instructions as to how to receive Holy Communion, but making a point that the physical act of receiving the Lord’s Body and Blood points to the reality of His Incarnation. The version I have read does not even use the word receive- I don’t know what the Latin is:

    “For that is *taken* in the mouth which is believed in Faith”

    Really, if you read some of the comments out loud that have been posted here, it’s important to avoid the impression that traditionalists tend to act like primadonnas and control freaks.

  44. TFG says:

    Harry:

    They come because Msgr. Brovey sometimes puts the EF in the 11:00 AM OF slot and they come anyhow. When that first started, the ushers were caught making nasty comments about the Mass when handing out bulletins as people left.

  45. Patrick: “I know a priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM, [Right.]” WRONG Of course he can refuse, and should. He must follow the ritual of 1962

    Alas, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  46. Laurie: I got it right.

  47. Liam says:

    Oh, great, “dirty looks” being commended as weapons to inflict during the Communion ritual. Which strikes me as much more of a moral issue than choosing between licit modes of receiving communion.

  48. Felix says:

    Father, thanks for this post. I think it’s very useful.

    A while ago, I brought a friend to the Traditional Latin Rite. She went to receive Communion and held her hands out. The priest redfused to give her Communion.

    My friend was near tears. Eventually she calmed down and said she wouldn’t complain to the Bishop. But there’s no way she’ll ever go near the Traditional Rite again.

  49. Kiran says:

    Felix, that was probably an unfortunate overreaction. Usually, what I have seen is that the server will simply put the communion plate over the hand, and the person will be given communion on the tongue anyway. I think this is preferable to giving scandal to either the person in question (who extended her hand) or to the other people in the Parish. At any rate, that is my opinion for what it is worth.

  50. Carolina Catholic says:

    To echo a comment by TFG earlier, please pray for the return of the TLM to the upstate of South Carolina. The pastor at the parish in question used to celebrate the Traditional Mass weekly until January of ’07. Now it’s monthly. He says that he’s still evaluating how best to implement the motu proprio; he has been saying that since September.

    Since last summer, he has taken to reading the epistle and gospel in English at the Altar (instead of in Latin), which drives me nuts. I do hope the PCED will issue its clarification document soon.

  51. C.M. says:

    The first legal problem with saying “Holy Communion in the hand is the law based on Redemptionis Sacramentum” is that the document you claim authorizes it (Redemptionis Sacramentum) bases its authorization on GIRM alone. Are you stating that GIRM applies to the 1962 Missal?

    The second legal problem is that if Redemptionis Sacramentum applies to the 1962 Missal, then a bunch of other provisions are included: Holy Communion under both kinds, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, lay lectors, altar girls. Arguably, subdeaconesses. (Would they wear maniples?)

    These are legal problems because they were obviously not the intent of Pope John Paul II in establishing the Ecclesia Dei indult, or in publishing Redemptionis Sacramentum. So they argue strongly against the interpretation that Redemptionis Sacramentum was meant to apply directly to the 1962 Missal in the same manner that it applies to the Ordinary Form.

    Now the Supreme Pontiff has absolute authority, I believe, to interpret the legislation as he sees fit. But I for one do not believe the current Holy Father wants all this…this–let me put it bluntly–apparently deliberate attempt to give scandal. Someone might think of easier ways to send traditionalists en masse to Hell, but I can’t. And I love the Holy Father and think he is a good and holy man, and doesn’t want people to be damned just because they can be proud and annoying at times.

    Let the pastor use his judgment based on the needs of the community. Or let Rome clarify that Holy Communion is NOT to be give on the hand at the TLM. Anything else would be unnecessarily divisive.

  52. Antiquarian says:

    By all means, let’s avoid any “patience and sympathy” with those new to the old Mass. Let’s glare and cluck during communion at anyone who isn’t as well-versed in traditional practices as we are. Let’s chop their necks with the paten if they dare come to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, having never been to one before, without finding out what currently licit practices are frowned upon there.

    Surely the Holy Father’s intent with the Motu Proprio was not to give traditionalists the opportunity to display that the stereotype of arrogance and intolerance was accurate. (Or was it?)

  53. Jordan Potter says:

    C.M. said: The first legal problem with saying “Holy Communion in the hand is the law based on Redemptionis Sacramentum” is that the document you claim authorizes it (Redemptionis Sacramentum) bases its authorization on GIRM alone.

    What are you talking about? RS 92 doesn’t base Communion in the hand on the GIRM. It bases it on the authority of the Holy See which has given permission for Communion in the hand. Communion in the hand was permitted by papal authority apart from the GIRM, and later was included in the GIRM. Like it or not, until the Holy See says otherwise (and hopefully it will say otherwise sooner rather than later), the Communion in the hand indult applies to the whole Roman Rite, including the Extraordinary use of the Roman Rite.

  54. Laurie says:

    Strictly speaking, it’s innacurate to refer to the Tridentine Rite as *The* *T*raditional *L*atin *M*ass (in capitals). A Dominican Rite Mass, a pre-Tridentine Sarum Rite Mass or even a Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI in Latin are all traditional Latin masses.

  55. Patrick: “I know a priest cannot refuse to give communion in the hand even at the TLM, [Right.]” WRONG Of course he can refuse, and should. He must follow the ritual of 1962″

    Fr. Z: “Alas, you don’t know what you are talking about.”

    Dear Father,

    Being one of the servers at the local TLM I have been at the rail when the celebrant did not give communion in the hand–he simply ignored the woman’s hands and proceded to place the host on the her tongue. As well, there is the postiion of Mater Ecclesia parish. Please enlighten us on official rulings as there seems to be confusion.

    Faithfully,
    M.J. Ernst-Sandoval

  56. C.M. says:

    Jordan Potter:

    [92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice,[178] 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.

    [178] Cf. Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 161.

    until the Holy See says otherwise…the Communion in the hand indult applies to the whole Roman Rite, including the Extraordinary use of the Roman Rite.

    Then by your logic ALL indults of every sort (feet washing for women, women acting as lay ministers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.) apply to the whole Roman Rite, including the Extraordinary Use.

    Rome is certainly capable of deciding on norms for the extraordinary use. But to manufacture a crisis by pretending that legally we “must” have young bareheaded subdeaconesses in albs giving out Communion in the hand to people standing is an absolute travesty, because the law is at worst unclear and at best very clear that the older norms and rubrics do apply. How is it that the 1962 Rubrics apply for the Second Confiteor but the 2002 Rubrics apply for everything else? Let Rome decide what must be decided by Rome, where there are actual controversies, complaints and injured parties. Let the rabble rousers be silent.

  57. TFG says:

    Antiquarian wrote: “By all means, let’s avoid any “patience and sympathy” with those new to the old Mass. Let’s glare and cluck during communion at anyone who isn’t as well-versed in traditional practices as we are. Let’s chop their necks with the paten if they dare come to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, having never been to one before, without finding out what currently licit practices are frowned upon there.”

    I have never nor have any of the wonderful people I know who love the TLM “glared and clucked” unlike the hostility experienced toward those of us who have traditional preferences. As a mater of fact, we go out of our way to welcome them and feed them donuts and coffee after Mass and are available to chat or answer questions.

    We have been extremely patient for many many years, and continue to do so, even when it looks like we have lost ground in being treated as equals with other Catholics of other types.

    The underlying problem with Communion in the hand, as I see it, is the casual attitude toward Christ that the practice has brought with it. The people who receive and leave, lack of general reverence in manner and dress, laity “handing out Jesus”, the list goes on.

    A beautiful high altar and matching side altars have been installed at our parish. What does the casual Catholic of today do? Well, he leans up on one while watching his tyke wander around the transept like it’s just another piece of furniture. No reverence for an altar where the Holy Sacrifice has taken place. (Jesus loves us just the way we are! Why should we behave differently at Mass as opposed to any other “meal”? )

    Do see what some of these posts merely are, an outlet to vent for the poor treatment these devoted people have received over the years.

  58. boredoftheworld says:

    “Strictly speaking, it’s innacurate to refer to the Tridentine Rite”

    Not to pick on Laurie, but there’s a reflection of the real life “turmoil” that I’m sure many of us experience regularly. Now that everyone is a theologian and a liturgist, and an historian, psychiatrist and DRE we constantly find ourselves fighting over old ground every time someone realizes 1) that we exist at all and 2) that we’re all a bunch of cranks and reactionaries who couldn’t dress ourselves without written instructions and an emergency hotline on speed-dial.

    I readily acknowledge that I regularly find myself fighting against the urge to shout “who let all these filthy heathens into MY Mass?!” Whenever the urge comes over me I consider that the entirety of the heavenly host is looking directly at me and saying exactly that and when they’re thinking it about me, they’re right. Be that as it may, I have children and I don’t have time to deprogram them every Sunday and by that I don’t mean I’m not willing to expend the effort I mean I’m probably going to be dead within 40 years and while my children are in their formative years at the very LEAST I expect that our attendance at Holy Mass will not be an occasion of scandal, confusion, and sin for them. Is that really too much to ask?

    I understand that the time will soon come when I will have to explain why the kids next door don’t have a father, why the boy up the street practices witchcraft, why the kids on the next street have two mommies and of course why there are only two families on the whole street who go to “church” more than twice a year. I accept my impending doom in these areas, but I’m not going to drag my kids from door to door so they can get a first hand education in modern American home life. Neither am I going to use my children as part of an experiment in where trad Mass fits within the life of the parish… which I think brings us back to one of Brian Mershon’s actual points that I think everyone missed, misconstrued or called insulting:

    If regular diocesan parishes are unable or unwilling to integrate the TLM within a very short period of time some people are going to have no choice but to find somewhere else to raise their children. If that means driving out of the diocese to a FSSP parish then it’s going to be a loss of (to use the buzzwords) “time, talent and treasure” to the local parish and an unnecessary hardship on the family (or indeed families) involved. If it means driving half the distance to an SSPX chapel… well I don’t know, I just don’t know anymore. The people who I know who are facing this dilemma are trying for all they are worth to be faithful in all things and jerking them around year after year as their children grow older is (I think) a disservice to Christ Himself.

  59. Patrick says:

    “Alas, you don’t know what you are talking about.”

    I take it that you believe that the permissions given for the Novus Ordo apply also to the Usus Antiquior. On what do you base this belief? Common sense suggests that when saying the 1962 Mass all the liturgical prescriptions in force in 1962 apply.

  60. Seamore says:

    Msgr. Brovey should be lauded and supported for doing the best that he can in the circumstances. He has no other priestly support at the parish and is single-handedly running one of the biggest parishes in the Upstate of SC. Moreover, the arrogance and backstabbing of a few members of the TLM community have done much to alienate a very good and supportive priest. Every time that Msgr. Brovey does something to benefit the EF crowd, it stabs him in the back– he gives us monthly masses, and someone writes the Bishop complaining that he is neglecting his parish because he does not do it every week, or every Holy day, or every day. He expands the EF and someone decides to start putting out feelers to start their own EF/FSSP parish because Monsignor is “not listening” to the demands of the TLMers. Our parish is often overlooked due to the close proximity of St. Mary’s but is one of the best parishes out there. We have the EF and a most reverent Novus Ordo. Sure, we would all love additions to how we do things in the parish, but rather than complaining, perhaps we should be thankful to God for a very holy priest that does all that he can. I would strongly advise the TLM community at Prince of Peace to stop battling against someone who is on your side, lest a vocal minority ruin everything for the rest of us.

  61. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Patrick: I take it that you believe that the permissions given for the Novus Ordo apply also to the Usus Antiquior. On what do you base this belief? Common sense suggests that when saying the 1962 Mass all the liturgical prescriptions in force in 1962 apply.

    As Fr. Z has said before, the M.P. did not create a time warp back to 1962; the Extraordinary Form is not encased in amber, per Jurassic Park.

  62. Different says:

    C.M.,

    You can keep throwing out the word “subdeaconesses” in order to “rabble-rouse” as you put it. But, last I checked, there is no indult or concept of “subdeaconesses” in the roman rite. Likewise, feet-washing for women has never received a recognitio and is not permitted. So, those two novelties should be left out of the discussion as no one here is advocating their use, and they are not approved by the Church.

    The things that ARE permitted (not necessarily ADVISABLE, but are legal) in the WHOLE roman rite are: women (and men) as readers, women (and men) as altar servers, extraordinary ministers (men and women)of Holy Communion, and Communion in the hand. So, until further clarification from Rome, all of these permissions would apply to any missal used in the Roman Rite.

  63. Patrick: Common sense suggests that when saying the 1962 Mass all the liturgical prescriptions in force in 1962 apply.

    No, it doesn’t. Common sense tells us to follow the law that is actually in force today.

    Summorum Pontificum, despite what some people persist in thinking, did not turn the clock back to 1962. The Motu Proprio did not resurrect the Congregation for Rites and all its decrees. It did not bring back the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Today’s laws are in force and applicable also to the older form of Mass. Therefore, women don’t violate law if they don’t wear a chapel veil (though it would clearly be better if they did) and people don’t violate the law if they receive Communion in the hand (though it would clearly be better if they didn’t).

  64. TFG says:

    Seamore,

    I personally signed letters sent to the Holy Father and Ecclesia Dei thanking them for Summorum Pontificum which mentioned Msgr. Brovey (at the time not a Msgr.) in very favorable terms. Whenever I spoke to Bishop Baker, I never complained. I thank Msgr. often.

    I do not consider it “backstabbing” when all I want to do is raise my children properly without them having to be confused at Mass. No matter how hard Msgr. Brovey tries, there are some who just won’t be catechized. There is plenty of “backstabbing” and complaints about him from the NO side (which when I hear it – I defend him).

    How is it “backstabbing” to try to find a place where the Mass of your preference is celebrated on each Sunday and Holy Day. Other parishioners “shop around” trying to get Sacraments, discounts on school tuition, a charismatic healing service, whatever their “thing” is. Are they considered “backstabbers”?

    I state again – it is beyond ironic that when there was less freedom, we enjoyed the TLM each Sunday after MP – once a month. I am grateful for the once per month. It is the only Sunday of the month where I am not in spiritual distress.

    Seamore wrote:”I would strongly advise the TLM community at Prince of Peace to stop battling against someone who is on your side, lest a vocal minority ruin everything for the rest of us.”

    Who is the “rest of you”? The regular parishioners who have your pick of Masses?

  65. ALL: This is a useful conversation. Don’t derail it. Stick to the issue at hand rather than local politics.

  66. Brian Mershon says:

    To get back the topic, as Fr. Z instructed, I hope and pray that the PCED clarifies the reception of Holy Communion in the TLM to be on the tongue and kneeling–not because it is my personal preference–but because it is more respectful and honoring of God.

  67. pomofo says:

    Different:

    Acolytes and subdeacons should ideally be ordained acolytes and subdeacons, respectively. In the absence of ordained ministers, laymen can fill in, even in the role of subdeacon if no ordained deacon or priest is available. It is my understanding that there are indults permitting this practice. If laymen can fill the role of acolyte or subdeacon, and women are considered laymen for the purpose of being acolytes and permitted to serve in such a role, there is no logical reason that a lay woman could not be permitted to serve as a subdeacon. The liberals understand this, and it’s probably only a matter of time before some parish tries to do this.

  68. pomofo: This entry isn’t about subdeacons or acolytes (= rabbit hole). It is about Communion in the hand.

  69. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Z, you previously said the clarification document wouldn’t get into these level of details, specifically when we discussed the second confiteor. If that is the case, it certainly will not deal with communion in the hand, altar girls, extraordinary ministers, etc., will it?

  70. Brian: I don’t know for sure. I suspect that it will deal with the broader issues first, such as what continenter exsistit means and what idoneus means.  There might be some general indications about the relationship of the present law with the older forms.  But I think we will need to await specific directions about some of these other issues like Communion in the hand.

  71. I have just deleted a series of comments posted about some local issues despite. Since this conversation is effectively over, it seems, I will sadly close the combox.