QUAERITUR: Priest denied me Communion in the hand

From a reader:

I tend not to be  legalistic but when visiting that church the priest pressed my hand quite rudely and hissed “We do not take it in the hand here”. I wonder if I should send him a note. God bless you.

Brief, but I think we get the idea.

I strongly doubt that the priest hissed.  What is this, Harry Potter?

However, the choice of the word “hissed” underscores how sensitive people are to liturgical moments.  Communion is… should be… a vulnerable moment.

I loathe Communion in the hand.  On the first full day of my pontificate as Pius the Tenth the Second, or maybe Clement XV, or perhaps John XXIII… I will abolish it by means of a Bull, which I shall also read from the central loggia of St. John Lateran… with full social media coverage and live internet streaming.

Priests should not deny people Holy Communion in the hand if they are in a place where the bishop has given permission for Communion in the hand.

It can happen that, in the course of distribution, the altar boy may be holding the paten in such a way that the priest doesn’t see the hands, the surprised tongue pops out, BAM, on we go.  That happened to me at least once this morning, but it was pretty clear that this was just a mechanical thing, and not Father-denied-Communion, etc.

However, from the better readings of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae it seems that during celebrations of Holy Mass with the Extraordinary Form, communicants are not to receive in the hand, even where it is permitted.  That said, I think that even in EF celebrations, priests should be very careful not to bruise the sensibilities of newcomers, who, by the time of Communion, probably think they are on another planet.

They are right.  They are on another planet is some sense.

But let’s be careful and gentle with them.

And may we also review how PROPERLY to receive in the hand?

We do NOT receive one-handed.
We do NOT use pintcher fingers.
We do NOT cup hands next to each other.
We do NOT lick the Host up.
We do NOT swap the Host back and forth.
We do NOT rattle Jesus around in the hand before popping Him.

In the meantime… dear readers…

… please please please just STOP receiving Communion in the hand.

Please?  You are making me sad.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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58 Responses to QUAERITUR: Priest denied me Communion in the hand

  1. Isnt there a provision that cith can be denied if there is risk of profanation? There doesn’t seem to be enough info to determine the proper course of action. I agree no more hand communion.

  2. wiFoodie says:

    Don’t send a note Dear Reader. Thank God for such humiliations, they are good for the soul.
    Father knows best remember.

  3. Anonymous Seminarian says:

    Redemptionis Sacramentum 92, after stating the ability of the bishops’ conference, with permission, to allow Communion in the hand, concludes: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” Can a pastor determine that there is such ever-present risk in his parish?

    [In my opinion there is ALWAYS greater risk of profanation with Communion in the hand.]

  4. guatadopt says:

    When I am elected as Pope Humble I, I will uphold your Bull abolishing Communion in the hand and will add to that the total and immediate suspension of Communion under both species.

  5. St. Rafael says:

    I know a priest who never gives Communion in the Hand. He uses Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 as his justification. The priest and celebrant decides when a risk of profanation will occur. This priest sees every Communion in the Hand as a risk of profanation. So he has the right through RS 92 to not give Communion in the Hand. He makes the judgement. [I think that is a legitimate approach. I he also teaches about the reverence due the Blessed Sacrament.]

  6. RomanticTradition says:

    Although I do believe the provisions of Redemptionis Sacramentum provide the parish priest with the faculties to reject communion in the hand in the case of profanation, I personally, as a priest, would not opt to disturb communicants with that during communion time. Rather, I would, through means of blistering sermons, motivate parishioners to opt for communion on the tongue of their own choice (considering I’m in a diocese which approves communion in the hand). As Pope Nicholas IV, I would indeed consider some tasteful anathemas to those who persist in maintaining communion in the hand ;)

    [I am not sure that "blistering" sermons will provide the proper motivation.]

  7. APX says:

    @Father Z
    during celebrations of Holy Mass with the Extraordinary Form, communicants are not to receive in the hand, even where it is permitted. That said, I think that even in EF celebrations, priests should be very careful not to bruise the sensibilities of newcomers

    I’m confused by what you’re suggesting here? Are you suggesting that if a communicant approaches to receive in the hand, that the priest should give communion in the hand anyway? I know for a fact our priest will not distribute communion in the hand. [I don't see what is confusing about what I wrote. In prompting a person with her hands out, during a TLM, to receive on the tongue, a priest can be harsh or kind.]

    Something similar to this happened next to me at the communion rail today, except it wasn’t an OF Mass. It was blatantly obvious to me that she was a newcomer and not quite accustomed to the differences, and I had a feeling she might not know how to receive communion at this Mass, but then I figured she was old enough to remember it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I regret not saying anything. There was no drama at the communion rail such as what this person seems to have experienced, but just by what I could see out of my peripheral vision, there was definitely some “assertive communion distribution”. Our priest probably doesn’t even realize he does these things, but some of these things can be a little off-putting to some people. I was going to say something nice to her after Mass in case she might have been discouraged from returning, but she left right after Mass.

  8. “Don’t send a note Dear Reader. Thank God for such humiliations, they are good for the soul.
    Father knows best remember.”

    And do the same next time a priest refuses to give you communion on the tongue. “It is good for the soul.”

  9. APX, do you go to my parish? :P
    I was just thinking this was kind of a funny coincidence, because today at the TLM I regularly attend I noticed just out of the corner of my eye a woman who tried to receive in the hand. Anyway, the server had the paten over her hands and she ended up receiving on the tongue, so if you hadn’t been looking right at her outstretched hands, you wouldn’t have noticed anything out of the ordinary.
    I’m assuming, trying to be charitable, that she simply didn’t know. But on the other hand, I saw that she was using that red translation book, which is pretty clear about the norms for receiving.
    Anyway, not my business.

  10. Mike Morrow says:

    It’s excellent that there are a few priests with honor and fidelity to deny the communion in hand nonsense. He takes his responsibilities seriously.

    But, Fr. Z writes:

    On the first full day of my pontificate as Pius the Tenth the Second [A little Italian joke.], or maybe Clement XV, or perhaps John XXIII…

    We’ve already had a John XXIII. I remember him as being inexplicably popular, but also as the one who gratuitously set in motion the horror-comedy of the mid-1960s that almost destroyed Roman Catholicism.

    And wasn’t Clement XV the assumed title of some sort of pretender-clown a few decades ago? [So what? Moreover, there is actually some confusion about the numbering of the Popes John.]

  11. APX says:

    @Irenaeus G. Saintonge
    APX, do you go to my parish?

    I think the MIB is onto me; I cannot give up my position. ( ¬_¬)

    I saw that she was using that red translation book, which is pretty clear about the norms for receiving.

    There’s using those books and then there’s “using” those books. I gave up trying to use that book because I kept getting lost with it. I then “used” it to make myself look like I knew what I was doing, when in fact I was completely lost. I only knew about COTT and not saying “Amen” at my first EF Mass because I was so acquainted with the commentary about such things on this blog. Who knows if she ever saw that page. I still remember the awkwardness and out-of-placeness I felt when I first started attending the EF Mass. There should almost be some sort of a “Helpful Hints to Newcomers” sheet included in the Missals, or next to the Missals, or something, but written prudently in such a manner that doesn’t wreak undertones of “Traditude”.

  12. Animadversor says:

    I am with those who say that you oughtn’t send a note, at least not one of the nature I think you must have in mind, especially since it’s hardly clear that the priest was in the wrong. Even he he had erred, I’d still say, don’t send a note. Save the notes for the truly egregious things, and even then, think three times before you send them. Would you say it to the priest in person? It is easier to be cruelly and fruitlessly sharp with someone when you’re writing.
    That said, I do think that there are notes that you might write to this priest with greater profit to his soul and to yours. What these notes might say surely we all know. Even if the priest’s style of ministry is one that you have a hard time, even when you really try, appreciating, you can at least thank him for that same ministry. Don’t make him wait until he dies for his «????, ????? ?????».
    Don’t forget to pray for this priest. It is good and needful to pray for all the reverend presbyterate, of course, but I think if is even better to pray for one specific priest, that God will bless his ministry and give you the happiness of enjoying Heaven together with him for eternity.

  13. Animadversor says:

    Hmmm, the Greek came out OK in the preview—maybe escaped entities will work:

    ευγε, αγαθε δουλε

  14. Jason Keener says:

    I must admit that when I attend the Novus Ordo, which is quite frequently, I usually receive in the hand. It can be somewhat awkward to receive Holy Communion on the tongue while stepping forward and at the same time trying to respond with an “Amen” as the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion tries, sometimes nervously, to put the Host on your tongue. Sure, it is not rocket science, but I have experienced a few close calls where the Sacred Host was nearly dropped when I have received on the tongue at the Novus Ordo.

    Father Z, I hope that your future Papal Bull will also legislate that kneeling while receiving Holy Communion is to be observed in the Latin Church immediately, every where, and perpetually. By the way, I also hope that your mode of transportation to St. John Lateran’s will include being borne aloft on the glorious Sedia Gestatoria while wearing the finest Triple Tiara available in the Papal Sacristy.

  15. Speravi says:

    “We do NOT receive one-handed.
    We do NOT use pintcher fingers.
    We do NOT cup hands next to each other.
    We do NOT lick the Host up.
    We do NOT swap the Host back and forth.
    We do NOT rattle Jesus around in the hand before popping Him.”

    AMEN!!!

  16. chantgirl says:

    In our bulletin it states that communion is received kneeling and on the tongue, but as many people don’t pick up a bulletin until after Mass, they might not see this note in time. My concern with trying to make someone receive on the tongue who wasn’t prepared to do it would be that the communicant might get flustered and drop the host. Still, I suppose if there’s a risk of dropping the host versus a risk of the host being profaned, it would be better to risk the drop. If it’s a rule that the priest has to give the host on the tongue at the EF (is this true?) then it’s a moot point, but a little gentleness in explaining goes a long way. I have to wonder if someone who goes up to Communion at an EF and holds up their hands after seeing EVERYONE else receive on the tongue is just unaware of the norm or is trying to cause trouble.

  17. APX, you’re right, some kind of standardized “guide for newcomers” would probably do some good for our communities. That red booklet certainly comes on rather strongly, and any newcomer would have to be a bit of a liturgical genius to follow along in a full fledged missal right away.

    I know the SSPX chapel in my city (perhaps it’s your city too? ;) ) actually has a section for visitors on their website. It is firm, but doesn’t approach the ranting and craziness that some people seem to think characterizes the Society. We down at the FSSP Mass could perhaps take a page from their book and try appealing to a wider group of faithful. :)
    After all, if the liturgy is what is going to save the world, we have to get people there too.

  18. gracie says:

    “We do NOT cup hands next to each other.”

    Although I’ve switched to communion on the tongue there are always those times when the priest or extraordinary minister doesn’t have a clue how to do it and then I switch to “in the hand” to avoid the Host being dropped onto the floor. At those times – a habit acquired when I used to receive in the hand – I cup my left hand over my right hand so that the Host will be placed into my left hand. Then I use the fingers and thumb of my left hand to get it out of my palm and into my mouth.

    Why do I go through this rigamarole? Because I’ve just used my right hand to shake the hands of the people around me and I don’t feel like getting their germs onto the Host and then into my mouth. Communion on the tongue is so much easier (and healthier).

  19. Mike says:

    “On the first full day of my pontificate as Pius the Tenth the Second, or maybe Clement XV, or perhaps John XXIII… I will abolish it by means of a Bull, which I shall also read from the central loggia of St. John Lateran… with full social media coverage and live internet streaming.”

    Hear hear! I wish His (current) Holiness would do this.

  20. Simeon says:

    Father, could you kindly explain “We do not lick the Host up”
    Are you saying that it is inappropriate to bring the palm of the hand hand to the mouth and consume from the palm? This need not involve licking the Host. [Yes, I am saying that it is not appropriate to bring the palm of the hand to your mouth to consume. Pick It up with two fingers of the other hand, and consume it.]
    Surely this would be a more suitable manoeuvre for Gracie who receives in the left hand and seems to use the fingers and thumb of the same hand to bring the Host to her mouth?

  21. VexillaRegis says:

    When I moved in to my current parish, some ten years ago, most people recieved in the hand. Our priest didn’t say anything about it. However, when he instructed the children who were having first-communion, he told them to have COTT. So I switched to COTT to make my pastor happy. And I was happy too! COTT really has another spiritual, and liturgical, dimension than CITH. Nowadays nearly everyone has COTT…

  22. Kevin says:

    Even without considering the positive benefits of receiving on the tongue versus the risks of receiving in the hand, I wish there was uniformity of practice just so that when I go to new parishes I wouldn’t have to worry over what’s going to happen when waiting in line. It really is an awful distraction at a time when all distractions should be avoided and it’s worse whenever I get it “wrong” (by the standards of the parish in question). I should insist on receiving on the tongue always, but I’m non-confrontational and find being assertive, especially in the context of the Mass, an awful anxiety-inducing experience, which serves only to distract me further from the Body of Christ, so I just try to adapt to whatever local customs are in place (especially if I’m a first-time visitor).

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Here and in other places at the EF, priests have announced two things. One, that Communion is only taken on the tongue and, two, that Communion is received only kneeling down, if one can do so. Almost exact quotations. This has been announced before Mass.

  24. Legisperitus says:

    Animadversor:

    Greek escaped entities? I can only think of Pandora…

  25. Scott W. says:

    On the first full day of my pontificate as Pius the Tenth the Second

    Lol. Actually, I had a Lutheran friend who said he’d have converted on the spot if Cardinal Ratzinger had chosen the name Pope Vader I. Perhaps you should consider it. :)

  26. Kypapist says:

    I totally agree about COTT, but last week the pastor of the Jesuit church, where I attend daily Mass before work, placed the Sacred Host on the corner of my mouth in such a way that It fell on the floor.
    He sighed, and bent over, picked up the Host and tucked it in his hand while he gave me a new Host from the ciborium. He loathes COTT and is not very fond of me, either. (I am taller than him and it is not possible for me to kneel – no railing and bad knees.) Rather than have the Blessed Sacrament be treated so irreverently, I have started receiving in the hand from him, although still on the tongue with the other Jesuit.

  27. ReginaMarie says:

    “We do not take it in the hand here”.
    We do not TAKE the Eucharist at all…we RECEIVE the Eucharist.
    This post by Fr. Joseph Homick, former Abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery , says it all:
    Open Your Mouth an I Will Fill It
    http://wordincarnate.blogspot.com/2006/09/open-your-mouth-and-i-will-fill-it.html

  28. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Father,

    It would be delightful if, in the closest thing you have to a moment of leisure, you were to discourse on your reference to your possible future name and number as “perhaps John XXIII”.

    Do you simply mean “John XXIII the Second” as with “Pius the Tenth the Second”?

    Or are you venturing into the complexities of the numbering of Popes John after John XIV? [Yes.]

    If so, so you contend that Pedro Julião (romanised as Petrus Hispanus) was actually John XX, and so Jacques Duèze actually John XXI and Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli actually John XXII?

    I do not suppose that you are re-opening any controversies as to the possible ex-pirate, His Eminence Dr. Baldassare Cossa, actually being the abdicated (and/or deposed) Pope John XXIII (or, given the preceding, John XXII), and so would perhaps yourself become “John XXIII the Third” (or, in a peculiar sense, “John XXIII the Second”)?

  29. mamajen says:

    I know a priest who absolutely refused to give communion in the hand and, unfortunately, was willing to create quite a scene about it. I have always received on the tongue, but publicly humiliating people over a licit practice is just plain wrong.

    On the flip side, as a student I had a very rude EMHC snottily say to me “we don’t do that here” when I attempted to receive on the tongue. Being a rather neurotic person, it kept me from communion for months.

    Priests and EMHCs don’t realize the grave damage they can do.

  30. Mary Jane says:

    “Priests should not deny people Holy Communion in the hand if they are in a place where the bishop has given permission for Communion in the hand.”

    Of course in the EF it is not appropriate to receive in the hand, so I am thinking that this only applies to the OF.

  31. letchitsa1 says:

    My feelings on this issue go back and forth. As long as Jesus isn’t profaned, this isn’t something that really gets my heckles up until I see situations like this where someone is publicly humiliated for no good reason.

    We had a liberal priest here who loathed communion on the hand. He wouldn’t vocally protest it, though. His method of protest was to stick his fingers in your mouth up to the knuckles and make a display of wiping his fingers on his stole (he rarely if ever wore a chasuble that I saw, and if he did, it was always under the stole) if/when he got anything on them, which he did fairly regularly.

    For some people, his method worked. For me, it backfired. My response at the time was to warn him as politely as I could that a repeat of that stunt would result in a couple of well-bitten fingers and a call to his bishop. Probably not the best response, but he got the message…he steered his fingers well clear of my mouth after that.

  32. wmeyer says:

    On the flip side, as a student I had a very rude EMHC snottily say to me “we don’t do that here” when I attempted to receive on the tongue.

    Sad, but unsurprising. The EMHCs who feel that serving is a right, not something reserved to extraordinary circumstances, are those most likely to offer such opinions. In most parishes I have visited, the use of EMHCs is quite ordinary, and totally out of hand. [rimshot]

  33. Here’s my experience.

    Many times folks come forward and attempt to receive in the hand, out of habit or because it’s the only way they know how–yet for various reasons, it will be awkward. They have one hand in a cast; they are carrying a baby or a toddler (who may be squirming about to make it even more interesting), or for other reasons, they have one hand free.

    While I haven’t been consistent in this, if I think I can do so without creating a scene, I quietly say, “I’ll put it on your tongue” and then that’s what I do.

    At some point, a couple of years ago, I just decided I wasn’t going to put the Host in someone’s hand when s/he was so encumbered. Likewise, when students from our elementary school came to Mass, and had filthy hands, I wasn’t going to go with that. (Or when they have extra long sleeves covering their hands which they haven’t remembered to pull up.)

    At that time, I soon realized it was startling for me to place the Lord on their tongues without warning, hence my comment. It’s less than ideal, of course, but what else is there to do?

    Once I started adding those brief words, no problem so far. Those carrying a little one, or leading one by the hand, seem to get instantly the wisdom of what I’m doing and relax–an added benefit.

    If ever someone asks me, or writes me a letter, I am ready to explain it. It hasn’t happened so far.

  34. While on the subject, those who receive on the tongue might want to review whether they, too, are “doing it correctly.”

    Be sure to:
    > Extend your tongue beyond your lips and actually open your mouth.
    > If possible, tilt back your head somewhat. The reason for this is that some folks extend their tongues rather vertically. It is possible for the host to fall off in those cases.
    > Please come close! When people stand off a bit, I end up creeping further and further forward; but when I try to back up, I have to do so very gingerly so I don’t stumble back over the altar step behind me. Please come very close, I promise I won’t hurt you!
    > Please stand very still. I realize this isn’t easy for some folks. This is one practical benefit of the old altar rail. I readily understand why folks would prefer to come forward under their own steam rather than remain in their pews; but if you are unsteady on your feet, how do we solve this? How about this: if you are with someone you are close to, how about leaning right against him or her? And if you have children coming forward to receive, however they receive, please instruct them to stand STILL.

  35. Skeinster says:

    Because we have so many new people coming to our EF parish, the Fathers make a point of reviewing how to receive Communion about once a month. This includes a reminder to parents with curious babies/toddlers in arms to keep a grip on their little one’s hands.
    In twenty-seven years as an adult convert, I’ve never received in the hand. Never had any sort of Host-imperiling accident either, so perhaps I’ve been lucky. Gotten a few sighs and fish-eyes from exasperated EMs, but that’s all. Still, I concur with everyone urging prudence in all cases.

  36. majuscule says:

    Please, I need a little clarification in the off chance I am ever requested to receive in the hand (say, a flu epidemic?).

    What are the fine distinctions between:

    “We do NOT use pintcher fingers”

    and

    “Pick It up with two fingers of the other hand, and consume it.”

    Is there a YouTube video or something?

    (No, I am not promoting communion in the hand!)

  37. Jamin says:

    When I visited my parents and we went to their Church my 8 year old daughter went to receive communion, she said “amen” tilted her head back slightly, opened her mouth and stuck out her tongue a bit. The EMHC said put your hands out, so she unclasped her hands and stuck them straight out palms up (being an obedient little girl, slightly confused as to why someone would ask her to stick her hands out) the EMHC placed a host on her hand. My daughter looked mortified (I was in the front row of chairs and saw the last part) she quickl turned carefully coming over to me with Jesus still in her hand, and said: “What am I supposed to do?” all why holding very reverently to Our Lord. I told her to consume Him, and she did, also making sure there where not little pieces on her hand. After Mass she said she never wanted to receive on the hand again and would it be ok for her to disobey an adult if they told her to stick her hands out during Communion. She is now almost 10 and also has started receiving kneeling on her own accord.

  38. Blaise says:

    majuscule – I think Fr Z was referring in the first instance to those who use their fingers to take the host from the fingers of the priest, rather than those picking the host from their palm with the fingers of their other hand.
    On a separate point mentioned above, if any EMHC refused to give me communion on the tongue, I would just say “should I go over to the priest and explain you refused to give me communion?” in an audible (not shouting, just not whispered) voice.

  39. Blaise:

    Well, may I suggest that, in the unfortunate event that an extraordinary minister of holy communion does not promptly, and peacefully, give you holy communion on the tongue, you obtain holy communion in the most quiet manner manageable, and save any conversations about the matter until Holy Mass is concluded?

    I don’t blame you, or anyone in that situation, for being irked, or for seeking to correct the matter. But, in my opinion, the priority at that moment is communion with the Lord, not correcting the extraordinary minister’s mistake.

    After all, the extraordinary minister might well have been following instructions, might well be simply unaware, and might be someone who could be won over.

    If the goal is to win over the extraordinary minister and–if he is in any way out of sync–the priest, might there be more irenic ways to try?

  40. In other words, put out ones hands if necessary, consume the host reverently, be completely peaceful, and either have a quiet, friendly conversation with the extraordinary minister after Mass if possible; and if not, do so with the priest. Say things like, “I don’t want to cause you or anyone any trouble, but it’s deeply meaningful to me to receive on the tongue, and I suppose that caught you off guard…how can we make this work?”

    Yes, of course it’s your right; and of course it’s the norm, and so forth…but as a way to win the other person, not the best first approach. Appeal to the other person’s generosity. And if the priest, or extraordinary minister really is going to insist that there is no compromise, no room for any deviation…make him or her say it. You be the model of calm, reasoned flexibility; let the other be the thunderer of rigid conformity.

    My guess is, unless you meet extraordinary minister Madame Dafarge, or Father Pol Pot, you’re going to get what you want. And wouldn’t it really be better to be friendly with that person after that? I mean, aren’t you going to be receiving communion from that person again and again?

  41. APX says:

    @majuscule

    Please, I need a little clarification in the off chance I am ever requested to receive in the hand (say, a flu epidemic?).

    I would say don’t. Even in a flu epidemic, you can’t be denied communion on the tongue. If you are, or your EF Mass gets suspended by the bishop when your priest stands his grounds over no communion in the hand, and all attempts to compromise are futile, or whatever, go to an Eastern Rite Church and not receive in the hand, or stay back and make a spiritual communion until the issue is resolved.

    That being said, by “pincher fingers” I presume it means not to pick up the host by the bare minimum with your index finger and thumb. Such would create the risk of dropping it.

    If I remember correctly from grade 2, raise one hand to “chest level” and place the other hand underneath it. Then take your hand that’s underneath and pick the host up with your index and middle fingers and thumb, with your pinky and ring resting against the fleshy part of your palm, and place the host into your mouth.

    Also, I “became aware” from a priest at a young age that left handed people are still required to receive communion with their right hand and not left hand.

    I got distracted once during a low Mass one morning by a random thought of communion in the hand which popped into my mind. I seemed to go off into my own little world and came to realize just how bad of an idea it is, and was bewildered as to how anyone could bring themselves to receive our Lord in their hands. I really wish Rome would remove the indult allowing it in some countries. Perhaps it will help cut back on EMHC’s as I suspect many would not like the “icky” idea of having to place the host on someone’s tongue.

  42. wmeyer says:

    “Also, I “became aware” from a priest at a young age that left handed people are still required to receive communion with their right hand and not left hand.”

    Not sure what that means. Are oyu referring to the hand in which the Host is placed? Or the hand with which you take the Host from your other hand and place in your own mouth? N.B.: I receive on the tongue, so I really don’t know.

  43. majuscule says:

    “– I think Fr Z was referring in the first instance to those who use their fingers to take the host from the fingers of the priest, rather than those picking the host from their palm with the fingers of their other hand.”

    I must be naive–never considered this.

    I am truly horrified.

    I have not seen anyone do this, but then my attention is not directed at them, nor should it be.

  44. Marianna says:

    Last year, knowing the Pope’s preference for Communion on the tongue, I tried to receive Our Lord that way for some time. However, eventually I reverted to receiving in the hand. I was so awkward receiving on the tongue, and find sticking my tongue out embarrassing, so that embarrassment was my main emotion on going to Communion, and distracted me from the thoughts of what I was actually doing, and Whom I was receiving. I think it is perfectly possible to be reverent while receiving in the hand. The trouble with this method is, that it is also too easy to be irreverent, and we do see too many instances of irreverence.

  45. APX says:

    @Wmeyer
    Put the host into your mouth with your right hand. It makes sense given the strong bias towards the right hand. It’s one of those things you wouldn’t think of as a lefty unless someone told you to use your right hand. Heck, It wasn’t until I was in grade 6 right before Confirmation when my teacher noticed I was making the sign of the cross completely backwards (I grew up being taught that I do everything opposite of right handed people) and made a big deal about how one “should be embarrassed about not being able to do the sign of the cross correctly. To this day it’s still awkward for me.

  46. Wmeyer:

    RE: right hand/left hand…If the person is otherwise doing it correctly, I can’t summon concern for correcting a left/right protocol. Seriously?

    I distribute communion left-handed. I am–pardon the pun–more dexterous with my left hand; using my right hand would mean two things: getting my fingers in people’s mouths when putting the host on the tongue, and dropping hosts. Why is that an improvement?

    It may be that folks who are right handers, left-handed folks can’t simply switch. If you want to know what it’s like, you switch for just 4 hours. (Actually, the lefties will out-perform, because we’ve had no choice but to learn to do any number of things with our right hands out of necessity, whereas I suspect this is less true for righties.)

  47. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Fox, I do not receive in the hand, but was curious what the convention was.

  48. Wmeyer:

    Fair enough, sorry I got worked up and didn’t answer the original question!

    I think the protocol is generally proposed that one present his left hand on top, with right hand under; then one takes the host, with his right hand, to his mouth. To be quite honest, I can’t recall just what is written in any “official” documents. Considering how it’s all rather loose, it never seems to matter. As far as I can see, it’s always been assumed left-handers would do the same but in reverse. I’ve never seen anything suggesting that only the right-handed way is acceptable.

  49. wmeyer says:

    No problem, Father. Since I only receive on the tongue, it was a matter or mere curiosity. I only get worked up over fairly serious issues: abuse of the option to use EMHCs, Haugen and Haas in preference to much better music, Modernism in catechesis, and ad libs in the liturgy.

  50. The Cobbler says:

    “…I am–pardon the pun–more dexterous with my left hand…”
    I’m a Shakespeare fan* and I approve this pun.

    *albeit the most amateur kind there is

  51. Kathleen10 says:

    I admit I was miffed when you deleted my comment the other day Father. But you are too funny and frankly wonderful to be annoyed with for long.
    Yours will be an interesting pontificate! Please reserve pews for your longtime bloggers for lo these many days. We are toting the weary load along with you, which is our blessing.

  52. APX says:

    I presume the bias against left-handedness would be rooted in that old “sinister” being Latin for “left”.

  53. dspecht says:

    “[In my opinion there is ALWAYS greater risk of profanation with Communion in the hand.]”

    “I know a priest who never gives Communion in the Hand. He uses Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 as his justification. The priest and celebrant decides when a risk of profanation will occur. This priest sees every Communion in the Hand as a risk of profanation. So he has the right through RS 92 to not give Communion in the Hand. He makes the judgement. [I think that is a legitimate approach. I he also teaches about the reverence due the Blessed Sacrament.]”

    So that was exactly my view resp. argument some time ago but you rejected it, F.Z.. But I am glad to see that now you do not reject it anymore. Makes me happy – an also your comment about Pius X the 2nd! :-)

  54. zekarja says:

    I am personally against receiving in the hand, however, I don’t understand this:

    The priest, traditionally, keeps his thumb and finger together after the consecration in order to not drop Crumbs. If one is receiving in the hand, wouldn’t there be less chance of Crumbs spreading from the palm if one received directly from the palm rather than using (and spreading Crumbs to) the thumb and finger as well? [Not if Communion is received on the tongue. There is far less chance of profanation if Communion is received on the tongue.]

  55. dspecht says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson

    you should not equate hand-Communion with Communion on the tongue.

    It is not only me here that is offended by such an equation, but also most of the others methinks, obviously including new PP. John XXIII or Pius X 2nd – oh, not to mention our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, beeing present in all the parts of the MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT.

  56. Phil Steinacker says:

    dspecht,

    You may have fired from the hip in response to Fr. Augustine Thompson. I suspect his intended point was considerably different from your first impression.

    We’ll see if he checks in again.

  57. I used to receive in the hand until about twenty years ago, when I worked as a paid sacristan for a large urban (and, for what it’s worth) Jesuit parish in DC. I saw enough in the way of irreverence to turn me away from the idea completely, to say nothing of communion from the chalice, which is a most unhygienic practice anyway. As I attend the TLM almost exclusively in recent years, it’s not even an issue for me. I wish they would simply forbid the practice altogether.

    Even at the TLM, where I am the MC, we get the occasional hands-out. Either the hands are ignored, or they are asked to hold out their tongue. There is usually no problem, or embarrassment.

    It is my understanding that the local bishop has the authority to rescind the insult that allows Communion in the hand. And while I wish more of them would, I am also of the impression that an individual priest does not ordinarily (mind that use of the word “ordinarily”) have that authority. Maybe it’s just me (and I doubt it), but in my experience, humiliating the well-intentioned, especially if they are doing what is allowed by a higher authority, is almost never an effective way to prove anything. If a pastor is so inclined to deny communion in the hand (and enough of them can speak at length of bad experiences), there should be sufficient notice in the bulletin and in the vestibule, maybe a sign with outstretched hands and one of those red circles with a slash in the middle.

    The above having been said, the situations that Father Fox describes are quite reasonable, and are probably fairly obvious at the time. I don’t see that what he describes could be considered at anyone’s expense. But I don’t think that’s what our correspondent is referring to.

    Maybe some enterprising priest with a blog can peddle some of those “no hands” signs. I bet they’ll sell like hotcakes. Then we won’t have to go around embarrassing people to prove a point.

    Did I mention that I wish they would forbid it altogether?

  58. Shonkin says:

    I would like to make four observations about the forms of Holy Communion.
    (1) Receiving the Sacrament on the tongue is unsanitary, [hmmm] especially if the priest, deacon, or EMHC is inexperienced in the practice. [Rarely, would a priest or deacon be so inexpert. EMHCs... another matter.] There have been times when I have seen a priest’s fingers shiny with saliva from communicants’ mouths. [So? Thousands are the times I have not seen that.]
    (2) However, it is not nearly as unsanitary as receiving the Precious Blood from a cup that dozens of others have just used. What’s even worse is the practice people have of half-chewing the host and then drinking from the cup and letting the backwash carry pieces of masticated Host into the cup . All by itself that is sufficient reason to do away with Communion under both species except in special circumstances. [Dreadful thought.]
    (3) One problem with receiving in the hand is the minister who pushes the Host into your hand hard enough to crack it (the Host, not the hand). We have a deacon who does that. I’m sure he just wants to make sure the Sacrament isn’t dropped, but it multiplies crumbs. In those cases the best thing is to place the Host in your mouth and then suck up the crumbs, because they are too small to pick up individually. (This is, I think, more appropriate than the behavior of people who return to their seats brushing their hands off. I’ve seen that too!)
    (4) Many of the more “organic” parishes use a truly horrible bread for Communion — half-baked, whole wheat, almost indigestible, and prone to crumble. What are these priests thinking? Where is the reverence?

    [What are they thinking? You assume that they are thinking.]