Card. Sarah: return to Communion directly on the tongue while kneeling

A combination of factors has lead to erosion of understanding of the Eucharist and reverence for the Eucharist.  Included in these factors is a near universal insistence that everyone go to Communion at every Mass and, of course, lay ministers of the Communion because numbers of people going are up, and, above all, Communion in the hand.

This has had a devastating effect on our Catholic identity and, hence, every sphere of life from family to conduct in the public square.

The other day I wrote about the problem of distribution of Holy Communion to huge numbers of people at mega-Masses.  There is clearly a danger of profanation of the Eucharist, and yet they try.

Now I see that the great Robert Card. Sarah – Terror of Libs – has written about the topic in the preface to a new book in Italian by a priest, Federico Bortoli entitled La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali.

Excerpts were published by La Nuova Bussola and translations by LifeSite.  Thus, Card. Sarah:

Providence, which disposes all thing wisely and sweetly, has offered us book The Distribution of Communion on the hand, by Federico Bortoli, just after having celebrated the centenary of the Fatima apparitions. Before the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in the Spring of 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, and said to them: “Do not be afraid, I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” (…) In the Spring of 1916, at the third apparition of the Angel, the children realized that the Angel, who was always the same one, held in his left hand a chalice over which a host was suspended. (…) He gave the holy Host to Lucia, and the Blood of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, who remained on their knees, saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel prostrated himself again on the ground, repeating the same prayer three times with Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

[NOTA BENE] The Angel of Peace therefore shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ. The prayer of reparation dictated by the Angel, unfortunately, is anything but obsolete. But what are the outrages that Jesus receives in the holy Host, for which we need to make reparation? In the first place, there are the outrages against the Sacrament itself: the horrible profanations, of which some ex-Satanist converts have reported and offer gruesome descriptions. Sacrilegious Communions, not received in the state of God’s grace, or not professing the Catholic faith (I refer to certain forms of the so-called “intercommunion”), are also outrages. Secondly, all that could prevent the fruitfulness of the Sacrament, especially the errors sown in the minds of the faithful so that they no longer believe in the Eucharist, is an outrage to Our Lord. The terrible profanations that take place in the so-called ‘black masses’ do not directly wound the One who in the Host is wronged, ending only in the accidents of bread and wine.

Of course, Jesus suffers for the souls of those who profane Him, and for whom He shed the Blood which they so miserably and cruelly despise. But Jesus suffers more when the extraordinary gift of his divine-human Eucharistic Presence cannot bring its potential effects into the souls of believers. And so we can understand that the most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)  [It was precisely this demonic attack on the concept of transubstantiation that got me thrown out of the seminary.  HERE]

Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: if Jesus is the substance of the Eucharistic Bread, and if the dimensions of the fragments are accidents only of the bread, it is of little importance how big or small a piece of the Host is! The substance is the same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them, or that He is ‘up to a certain point’.

The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful. (…) While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food. (…)  [Like… Communion in the hand!]

The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his knees in the presence of the Father. (…)

In this regard I would like to propose the example of two great saints of our time: St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Karol Wojty?a’s entire life was marked by a profound respect for the Holy Eucharist. (…) Despite being exhausted and without strength (…) he always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to kneel and stand up alone. He needed others to bend his knees and to get up. Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God himself offers us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet, “He, though being in the form of God, […] humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8).  [Sometimes I wonder why Our Holy Father often kneels when praying before images of Our Lady, but not so much before the Eucharist during Mass.  At least, that’s my impression.  Am I wrong?]

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an exceptional religious who no one would dare regard as a traditionalist, fundamentalist or extremist, whose faith, holiness and total gift of self to God and the poor are known to all, had a respect and absolute worship of the divine Body of Jesus Christ. Certainly, she daily touched the “flesh” of Christ in the deteriorated and suffering bodies of the poorest of the poor. And yet, filled with wonder and respectful veneration, Mother Teresa refrained from touching the transubstantiated Body of Christ. Instead, she adored him and contemplated him silently, she remained at length on her knees and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Moreover, she received Holy Communion in her mouth, like a little child who has humbly allowed herself to be fed by her God.

The saint was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy Communion in their hands. In addition, she said that as far as she knew, all of her sisters received Communion only on the tongue. Is this not the exhortation that God himself addresses to us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”? (Ps 81:10).

[QUAERITUR:] Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue. The saints give us the example. They are the models to be imitated that God offers us!

But how could the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the hand become so common? The answer is given to us — and is supported by never-before-published documentation that is extraordinary in its quality and volume — by Don Bortoli. It was a process that was anything but clear, a transition from what the instruction Memoriale Domini granted, to what is such a widespread practice today (…) Unfortunately, as with the Latin language, [!] so also with a liturgical reform that should have been homogeneous with the previous rites, a special concession has become the picklock to force and empty the safe of the Church’s liturgical treasures. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] The Lord leads the just along ‘straight paths’ (cf. Wis. 10:10), not by subterfuge. Therefore, in addition to the theological motivations shown above, also the way in which the practice of Communion on the hand has spread appears to have been imposed not according to the ways of God.

May this book encourage those priests and faithful who, moved also by the example of Benedict XVI — who in the last years of his pontificate wanted to distribute the Eucharist in the mouth and kneeling — wish to administer or receive the Eucharist in this latter manner, which is far more suited to the Sacrament itself. I hope there can be a rediscovery and promotion of the beauty and pastoral value of this method. In my opinion and judgment, this is an important question on which the Church today must reflect. [I’m ready to help!] This is a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ. I am very pleased to see so many young people who choose to receive our Lord so reverently on their knees and on their tongues. May Fr. Bortoli’s work foster a general rethinking on the way Holy Communion is distributed. As I said at the beginning of this preface, we have just celebrated the centenary of Fatima and we are encouraged in waiting for the sure triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that, in the end, the truth about the liturgy will also triumph.

We need, NOW, ad orientem worship in the Novus Ordo, a return to kneeling and elimination of Communion in the hand.

NOW we need these.  NOW.

Precisely because of Summorum Pontificum we have this dialogue going between the forms.  A gravitational pull is being exerted by the older form upon the newer.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Card. Sarah’s books.

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.



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34 Responses to Card. Sarah: return to Communion directly on the tongue while kneeling

  1. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    So good that someone in the upper church hierarchy is against in the hand. I’m not holding my breath for something to be done to stop in the hand.

  2. S D Molokai says:

    Although not prohibited, I’ve been discouraged from receiving communion on the tongue while kneeling at my parish. Something about not showing unity with the other parishioners that stand. I pray that receiving on the tongue while kneeling is more promoted and encouraged, but I’d accept tolerated.

  3. David says:

    Very, very interesting to me this coming from Cardinal Sarah right after Cardinal Müller’s splendid remarks about the nature of the papacy. I sense the “boni” are gaining confidence, and it it’s not too devious an idea, I wonder if they are not upping the ante by saying things that will make the Vatican look worse and worse if it contradicts them.

  4. APX says:

    Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them,

    Shortly after I received my First Communion when I was 8, something I was most excited about, I started watching the way people received communion and their attitude towards it at communion time. I didn’t know anything about kneeling and receiving on the tongue. I didn’t even know what genuflecting was (aside from
    It being something that old people did, as my mom told me when I asked). I didn’t even know it was really the place of the priest to distribute communion, as I received my First Communion from an EMHC. It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that, based on people’s indifference to receiving communion and their casual approach to it, that the whole receiving Jesus at communion time was just something nice they told us to make us feel good and quickly came to the conclusion it wasn’t true. It all went downhill from there.

  5. tamranthor says:

    When churches are remodeled and altar rails done away with, and Jesus is put in a closet somewhere, then the church building itself tends toward Protestantism. The architecture of great old churches always informed parishioners (and priests too, I suspect) that Jesus was there, was watching, and should be worshipped. There was no “table,” there was an altar. We all faced Our Lord and knelt before Him.

    I have been to Masses where it is perfectly clear that the priest does not believe Jesus is materially there. These usually devolve into what my husband calls “the Father Show.” I truly do not know why anyone would want to become a priest in that environment. How can you serve Him if you don’t even recognize Him? Add to that the obvious sacrilege, and it is physically painful to attend. Those Masses aren’t prayed, they are performed.

    However, I have also been to amazing Masses where worship is serious and unstinting, where Our Lord is accorded the highest respect and everyone there is truly praying the Mass. I believe we must not lose heart, because Jesus told us plainly that He will be with us. Best to seek out the truly amazing Masses and avoid the others, lest one become discouraged, IMO.

  6. Joy65 says:

    I would be MORE than happy to receive kneeling. I already receive on the tongue. Hopefully they will bring back the kneelers.

  7. LeeGilbert says:

    At our wonderful parish in Portland, we
    1. Have a communion rail
    2. Communion distributed only by priests at that rail. ( How appropriate that the priest in persona Christi distributes Himself to the faithful, the pastor or his assistant feeding His flock. How grotesque when this beautiful sign of Christ’s love for His people is deputed to anyone else)
    3. Most people receive on the tongue.
    4. Except for people with celiac disease the chalice is offered to no one.
    5. Consequently, we have no need for EMHCs, nor are there ANY in the parish.
    6. At Sunday Mass, a second priest comes into the sanctuary at the Agnus Dei and assists with distributing communion.
    7. As a result, the distribution and reception of communion is very devout, yet comparatively rapid.
    8. Contributing to the sacred atmosphere focused on our Eucharistic Lord, there is no exchange of the sign of peace immediately before Communion.

    It is so peaceful, so reverent and exactly as it was in the fifties when I was growing up. One could easily forget that things are not like this elsewhere. Or rather, I should say that the liturgy is more beautiful than then, a circumstance developed by three young Dominican priests who are super-intent on recovering as much of the tradition as they can. Today, for example, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we had a sung Mass from the Missa de Angelis beginning at 105 of the St. Michael’s Hymnal. It was glorious, with the words of Consecration sung also.

    Which reminds me. Last Fall I believe it was when a remarkably young abbot of a Benedictine monastery in the Midwest visited a Dominican priest friend in Ohio. His friend asked him to help with the distribution of Holy Communion, and there he encountered an altar rail for the FIRST TIME in his life. He had not seen one before, ever, and still less so many people kneeling to receive. Evidently it was something of a culture shock.

  8. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Thanks for this post.

    . . . Just when I thought I couldn’t respect Cardinal Sarah any more than I already do , you found a way to make it happen. That “more respect” applies to you equally Padre: I missed your I grew up Lutheran. I was admitted to Catholic Communion because I said publicly that I believed what the Catholic Church teaches post and so, up until now, was not aware that you got booted from the seminary for defending the Real Presence of our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar .
    I typed this comment with one hand while I was saluting with the other.

    God bless you.

  9. Sawyer says:

    The praytellblog has picked up on Cardinal Sarah’s remarks too. Over there the readers’ comments are overwhelmingly mocking him for his suggestion, saying that his Eucharistic Theology is out of date.

  10. Dan says:

    Every time Cardinal Sarah speaks (or writes) I find myself saying. Yes! Yes! THAT!!!

  11. mo7 says:

    So while I TLM on Sundays, weekdays are the local NO.
    The priest at the N.O. always fishes around among the hosts to give me one of the broken pieces of the large host used at the consecration. Of the 30 regulars at the a.m. Mass, I am one of the very few who receive on the tongue. I don’t know why else he would do that.

  12. tominrichmond says:

    The current practice has become hard-wired unfortunately, since it seems to be the universal practice to instruct first communicants to receive in the hand and standing; and if any child wanted to do otherwise, it would take heroic courage to resist the peer pressure and the disapproval of Madame Officious (the liturgy “Director”) and the priest.
    Like in secular society, the Left has been smart, getting at the kids and inculcating their ideology early, making it seem the most natural thing ever. Lots of re-education to do before there can be a shift towards reverence.

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  14. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Is there really a « dialogue » between the forms? Does anyone seriously think that the Ordinary Form has anything to offer the Extraordinary, that from the Novus Ordo we can find something with which to improve on « the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven ? »

  15. Gabriel Syme says:

    Another great contribution from Cardinal Sarah.

    Meanwhile, the German Bishops have announced they are about to release “pastoral guidelines” to permit the issuing of Holy Communion to protestants.

  16. Gabriel Syme says:

    Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand?

    There are multiple answers to this question and the influence of each doubtless varies from person to person:

    1) Lack of faith
    2) Lack of thought
    3) A protestant spirit
    4) Arrogance

    The first two certainly apply to many lay people, and the last 2 certainly apply to the prelates who railroaded this practice into the Church, despite the repeated condemnations from Pope Saint John Paul II.

    I have a very vivid memory of from when I was a small child, of being held in my mothers arms, as she knelt at an altar rail to receive communion. I remember watching with fascinating as the priest placed the host on her tongue. I think I may have been about 2 years old, (~1980), at a guess.

    From the time of my own first Holy Communion, (mid 1980s), I remember our school teachers repeating over and over that receiving in the hand was “just the same” as receiving properly and that “no-one can stop you” receiving like that. In retrospect, this heavy and repeated emphasis was obviously to counteract objections from parents.

    Now a parent myself, I am very zealous in ensuring my 2 year old daughter only attends traditional masses, where (of course) the people receive communion properly. This sometimes irks family members, who just “don’t get it ” but I guess that can’t be helped. (Maybe they would “get it”, if their faith was deeper than just 45 mins of a Sunday morning.)

    As my small daughter and I wait at the altar rail, I cannot help be reminded of the memory of being there as a child with my mother (though I do not let this become a distraction from events, of course).

  17. Eugene says:

    Heavenly Father in thy great mercy I beg of Thee to bring this true Shepherd of souls, Cardinal Sarah to the throne of Peter as soon as possible so that right worship and right teaching maybe brought forth from a true Vicar of Christ once more, Your long suffering children await this with grieving hearts in the most holy name of Jesus we pray.
    Mary most holy and our Mother intercede for this.
    St. Joseph most chaste spouse of our Blessed Mother and Patron of the Universal church intercede for this.
    St John Paul II intercede for this.
    St Teresa of Calcutta intercede for this

  18. Ellen says:

    At our parish we have EMHC, but I always try to go where Father is distributing. I receive on the tongue – always. I’ve been to Mass at the chapel of the Fathers of Mercy where they have a communion rail and everyone receives on the tongue. I love it.

  19. LeeGilbert says:

    In response to Sawyer’s note that praytell was addressing Cdl Sarah’s preface, I made the following comment there and hope that others will engage them as well.

    Well, leaving St. Michael and Lucifer out of the question altogether, together with wounded feelings and whether Cdl Sarah’s Eucharistic theology is congruent with developments of Eucharistic theology over the past 90 years or not, has the revived practice of receiving Communion in the hand led to greater or less belief in the Real Presence on the part of the Catholic people? Of course, there is danger of falling into a post hoc propter hoc logical fallacy, but everything I have read on the topic indicates that there is far less belief in the Real Presence now than before this practice was revived.

    There are very obvious reasons why this would be so. One can say that receiving the host in the hand while standing is just as reverent as receiving on the tongue kneeling, but aside from anyone’s interior dispositions, as a liturgical gesture kneeling is in itself simply and obviously more reverent and humble than standing, whatever liturgical scholars may say. And with that gesture of reverence the Catholic people communicated to one another their belief that they were in the presence of God. Now they approach the priest standing, which emphasizes their dignity as children of God. Fine, but reception of the Eucharist is not about us, but about God, and the decision not to kneel is a decision not to demonstrate humble reverence in this Presence. No amount of Eucharistic theology can overcome the argument framed by our posture.

    In assessing the effect of this revival of communion in the hand on the faith of Catholics and on their participation in the liturgical life of the Church by the principle of “by their fruits you will know them,” what exactly are the good fruits that we have experienced since it was re-instated? This is a fair question, is it not?

  20. Sawyer says:

    @LeeGilbert, I saw Anthony Ruff’s curt response to you at praytellblog. He completely ignored your statements and question about the decline in belief about the Real Presence. He is a modernist. Good for you, that your post was accepted for display instead of edited out. Ruff doesn’t let much get through that he disagrees with, as I have found out. He tends to only let disagreeing opinions get posted if he can type what he considers to be a zinger in response, and he ignored the context of the single statement of yours that he chose to respond to.

  21. Aquinas Gal says:

    When I was in third or fourth grade at a Catholic school, a priest came in to talk about the Mass.
    I still vividly recall how we walked up and down the aisles showing us the chalice, and he said, “Don’t touch it; only the priest can touch it.” I made a big impression on me, and instilled in me a certain reverence for the Mass vessels and even more for Holy Communion itself.

  22. Ave Maria says:

    The attacks on the Real Presence has been going on for decades. The liturgical abuses contribute to the lessening of belief. And “deacons’ who are also professors such as this one at Georgetown are leading others astray and destroying faith:

    And even the pope, who in a recent picture with a room full of people kneeling to Jesus in the monstrance is found to be the only person standing, who can kneel to wash the feet of muslims or to be ‘blessed’ by a protestant, does not genuflect at Mass nor kneel before the Blessed Sacrament. Bad knees? Let it be proclaimed but explain how he can bend his knees to people and not to Jesus Hostia.

  23. scotus says:

    “Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)”

    Unfortunately, too true.
    There is a book called “Introduction to Catholic Theology” edited by Richard Lennan. Most of the people quoted in this book are either non-Catholics or Catholics who have been given some kind of stricture by the Vatican. In the chapter on “Seeking Understanding” it states:
    “In reflecting on the significance of Trent’s choice of words, we must distinguish between the dogmatic truth of faith and the theological and philosophical concepts used to express it. Trent was primarily concerned to affirm the Eucharistic change as the basis for Christ’s Eucharistic presence. It expressed this truth in terms of ‘transubstantiation’, that is, the change of the ‘whole substance’ of the bread and wine. This concept does not explain the mystery of the Eucharist, which involves a unique change that could not be explained as an instance of some more general kind of change. As we said earlier, any purported explanation of this mystery could not be reductionist. The object of a Catholic’s eucharistic faith is the eucharistic identity of Christ, not an explanatory theory about a process called transubstantiation. It follows that, in principle, eucharisticfaith might be articulated in terms other than the Aristotelian terms of ‘substance’ and ‘transubstantiation’. Indeed, the change of substance that occurs in the Eucharist is not one that could occur in Aristotle’s system.”
    This book has an Imprimatur from the Archbishop of Sydney (1997). It is also a key book used in the training of catechists in the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

  24. JustaSinner says:

    Now THAT’S a CARDINAL! Not like that wimp in Chicago defending the indefensible Senator DICK Durbin…

  25. Mike says:

    There is absolutely nothing more important to the well-being of the Catholic Faith than a proper understanding of, and reverence for, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the most blessed Sacrament of the altar.

    Satan knows this. That is why we very nearly lost the TLM altogether. Why our churches were wreckovated. Why lay people handle the Blessed Sacrament. Why we are shamed into receiving standing and in the hand. Why Canon 915 is flouted by laity and clergy.

    All these outrages, perpetrated in the spirit of Vatican 2, have wrought immense damage to the Church and to souls. All are traceable to deprecation of the Sacrifice and of the Sacrament. All must be reversed and made reparation for if our Church is to have any hope of being spared a far more severe chastisement than any She has seen in Her history.

  26. ServusChristi says:

    With regards to PF, we can talk about how liturgically progressive he is with regards to his animosity towards the TLM, his ‘Tango Mass’, his replacement of Cardinal Sarah’s staff in the CDW with progressives, not genuflecting before the blessed sacrament, the distribution of Consecrated Hosts in plastic cups at WYD in Rio (may not be his fault).
    I think these so called abuses should lead us to go back and look at the origins of such abuses as communion in the hand and altar girls. I’m hoping that the next Pope, possibly a Pius XIII (not the ‘Young Pope’) or a Gregory XVII would undo all this and even re-open a discussion of Vatican II.

  27. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    It amazes me that Cardinal Sarah hasn’t been exiled to some missionary Episcopal assignment in Timbuktoo Africa where he doesn’t have to be heard by anyone.

  28. jaykay says:

    Papa subito.

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  30. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Your four categories cover it brilliantly.

    Even Anglicans receive their « host » « meekly kneeling on their knees » according to the Book of Commin Prayer. And though they generally receive it in the hand, they do so by reverently crossing their hands one under the other; afterwards they press the wafer to the roof of the mouth and do not chew it.

    As a convert from Anglicanism I was astonished (and outraged) to find that modern Catholics treat the Blessed Sacrament with less reverence than Protestants treat their invalid equivalent.

  31. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Nobody reads Revelation these days but it is clear that in the Heavenly liturgy depicted there the 24 Elders do not just kneel in the presence of the Lamb, they prostrate themselves.

  32. tho says:

    In my lifetime, the Host, and any altar cloth, or for that matter anything material or human that touched the Host, without consecrated hands, had to be scrubbed by a priest, who was the only one with consecrated hands. Next to the church was a sacred place where the water was emptied. All of these works, and places, had Latin names. Scrupulosity where the consecrated Host was concerned was very normal, and it fostered a reverence that you don’t see today.

  33. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Cdl. Sarah. Phil 2: 6-8 indeed.

  34. Simon_GNR says:

    My personal preference would be to receive Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail, with the host placed in one’s hand and the chalice brought to one’s lips by the minister: this was the normal Anglican practice with which I was brought up. From the foregoing it can be deduced that my preference is also for Communion under both kinds, though I fully accept that communion under one kind is perfectly valid.

    When I started attending Catholic Masses over 30 years ago I was somewhat taken aback by what was the Catholic practice of lining up and receiving the host whilst standing – it didn’t seem as reverent as the what I was used to and seemed designed just to get the chore of distributing Holy Communion over and done with as quickly as possible.

    (Saving time also seems to be the main reason for the widespread and frequent use of Eucharistic Prayer II and the virtual non-use of Eucharistic Prayer I! Why does the ROMAN Catholic Church not want to use the ROMAN Canon? I really can’t think of any other reason than the desire of most priests and parishioners to get Mass finished as soon as possible so they can get out of Church and go and do something more interesting instead!! Our present parish priest has been us for two and a half years now and I’ve heard him use EP 1 ONCE in all that time!)

    As for receiving the host on the tongue or in the hand, I believe it should be the choice of the individual communicant, and I’m not bothered which way they choose. But I do have a strong preference for kneeling rather than standing to receive Holy Communion.