Poll on receiving Communion…

Here is an informal poll about how you receive Holy Communion.

Of course, there may be those occasions when you do something somewhat differently than your usual way of receiving so, but make your best answer.

If you want to explain what happens at your parishes, be factual and respectful. Feel free to add your reasons why you do what you do.

Holy Communion on the tongue remains the norm for the Catholic Church. However, the Holy See permitted conferences of bishops to make exceptions to this norm and allow Communion in the hand under certain circumstances.

Keep in mind that Eastern Catholics receive on the tongue under both species from a small spoon. Also, include Communion by intinction as "on the tongue", since that is the only licit way to receive. And if you are self-intinging (and you are not a priest celebrating Mass) then knock it off because it is forbidden.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Mike says:

    I was taught to ‘receive’ Holy Communion [on the tongue], not ‘take’ Holy Communion [in the hand]. At any rate, we should receive our Lord with all due respect. At my parish we are able to receive Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail from the hands of a priest or deacon.

  2. Walt says:

    I receive on the tongue as my humble gesture of dying to myself, of acknowledging my dependency on Jesus as my Savior and my complete dependency on Him as well as “I am not worthy…”.

    As an RCIA catechist I teach that reception on the tongue is the universal norm and that reception on the hand is an indult (exception) granted the Church in the United States..

    As a health professional who has just attended a conference on infectious disease, I find it quite illogical to promote the common Cup.

  3. TomS. says:

    I generally receive in the hand, and answered as such, but don’t take that to be an endorsement!!! I hate taking communion in-hand, and believe in every way that receiving from a priest while kneeling at the altar rail is the only proper way. BUT, I have zero confidence in the ability of the laypeople who “pass out” communion to place it on the tongue, so I take in in-hand as the safer alternative. On those RARE occasions when I receive from an actual priest, I do take it on the tongue.

  4. Bill White says:

    Dear Father,

    I’m in the diocese of Peoria. I receive in the hand, which is what’s typically done in these parts. If reception on the tongue were typical, that’s the way I would ordinarily receive. If I have a child or two in my arms, I’ll receive on the tongue. I never drink from the cup – a weeklog cold or flu can wreak absolute havoc, then it passes to the kids one at a time for a month of continued havoc.

    Cheers –


  5. David says:

    TomS, but what prevents you from receiving from a priest? I always make a point of sitting in the the front pews so I can make a beeline for the priest. This seems to work and I haven’t received from an EMHC for about half-a-year now, which helps me hold the Eucharistic species in revernece.

  6. tim says:

    I attend Tradtional Mass and thus receive kneeling and on the tongue, but even in my novus ordo days I always received on the tongue.

  7. I have received on the tongue as long as I have been Catholic.

    An interesting note on communion in the hand at my former Lutheran parish, however: after receiving the host in cupped hands, each communicant there was taught not to pick it up in order to consume it, but rather to bring both hands up to their mouths, so that minimal effort on their part was required. Our pastor used this to teach us the difference between “taking” and “receiving” communion, and to emphasize that the Eucharist is a free gift which we can in no way merit. I have never seen a Catholic consume a host in this manner; all who receive in the hand subsequently pick it up and put it in their mouths.

  8. Raphaela says:

    Walt said: As an RCIA catechist I teach that reception on the tongue is the universal norm and that reception on the hand is an indult (exception) granted the Church in the United States..

    No offence, but that can’t be right — at least, not exclusively. I was interested to read Fr. Z’s remark that Communion on the tongue remains the norm and it’s up to the bishops’ conferences to allow Communion in the hand “under certain circumstances”, because what I’ve seen here in Europe would lead one to think that the exact opposite was the case. I have never attended a Mass where reception in the hand was not the norm. I’ve also seen nothing to suggest that Communion in the hand is somehow intrinsically less respectful than Communion on the tongue; every Communion I’ve ever participated in has been an appropriately reverential procedure.

  9. Adam van der Meer says:

    Father, I recall the GIRM saying that Precious Blood could also be given through a straw, and I believe the US Norms on Holy Communion indicate that this is not customary in the US. But are you aware of anyplace where this happens? Outside the US, I have only been to Latin America and Europe, and have never seen it done in either of those places.

  10. nab says:

    I was taught (at least implicitly–it was all that was done) to receive in the hand, unless your hands were dirty. As such, I received this way until I was convinced fairly recently that the tongue was more reverential, and then further that I was no longer scared to receive on the tongue (it does take some practice).

  11. Brian Jilka says:

    Right now I receive on the tonuge. It’s so humbling and powerful, especially when I am able to make it to the Latin Mass, and the priest places it upon my tongue whilst kneeling. I love the little prayer the priest says, compared to what is said now: “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.”

    I look back on what I did several years ago in my youth, before I had been exposed to enough tradition to really grasp it and recognize the significance of it, and I cringe at the thought of the modern songs I sang, receiving Communion in the hand, and how careless I was as a server, especially with the corporal. I wish that i knew now what I did then, but I can’t change the past, so will just have to make the best of my future.

  12. englishcatholic says:

    I always receive on tongue, I’ve never received in hand. Even the thought of doing it makes me shudder.

    I don’t receive from EMHC’s (except once when I received from the chalice at my 1st Holy Communion). It is always possible to work your way into the priest’s line.

    I don’t receive from the chalice. Though perhaps I would if it was offered by a priest or a deacon.

    Ideally of course I prefer to receive at an altar rail, one of the reasons I spent hours travelling to and back from a traditional Mass.

  13. Arieh says:

    Communion on the tongue is infantile…that’s why I always do it that way. Plus, I go to a TLM and Byzantine Divine Liturgy as often as possible.

  14. Matt Kennel says:

    I almost always receive on the tongue, and have done so ever since I received my first communion in 2005 upon my reception into the Church. And, I would say that at least 30% of my parish does likewise, including the very young. Also, I would say that I’ve only once or twice seen EMHC’s who have trouble with putting the Host on the tongue properly.

  15. Catholic Lady says:

    David, I’m with you. I do some fancy footwork sometimes to get in line to receive from the Priest when at a N.O. Mass – Sitting in the front, as you say, makes it easier. I also find when I sit at the front during an N.O. Mass I am less distracted by some of the strange things the faithful are prone to do, concetrating strickly on what is going on on the altar and on Christ. Then I have to keep my eyes closed while the rest receive or I sinfully find myself counting (tongue, hand, hand, tongue, etc.) It has taken me a long time to learn to ignore what others do and say that may not be in keeping with the GIRM and this is not approval but I finally realized getting caught up in that and getting angry about it keeps the devil smiling. I pray for change in the Church but won’t get caught up in my pride about my way being the right way, etc. I still prefer the TLM but since it is not always possible to attend, I have learned to be at peace in attending an N.O. Mass.

  16. As a priest, I wasn’t sure how to vote; I voted “on the tongue”; maybe I shouldn’t have voted?

  17. By the way, while I have no problem administering the host on the tongue, I do have some folks who make it hard: they don’t open their mouths very much, nor do they put out their tongue, and they don’t stand still. I realize people might be nervous, but in some such cases, receiving in the hand might actually be better. I confess I’d like to have two hands available in such situations; one to hold the person under the chin while I use the other to place the host all the way in their mouths.

    That said, I have more concerns about receiving in the hand than receiving on the tongue.

  18. Arieh says:

    “I sinfully find myself counting (tongue, hand, hand, tongue, etc.)”–Catholic Lady

    Oh good, I am not the only one…

  19. In my 20 some years of being a CINO, I received in the hand. When
    I reverted about 2 years ago, I realized that receiving passively via the tongue is a truer receptivity and more humbling then taking it and giving it to myself.

    I always bow or kneel now. I never did either in my CINO days.

    Most people in my parish, receive in the hand. Some bow. No one kneels. Our altar rail is long gone.

    But Father! But Father! How “valid” is your survey anyway? I have to expect
    that most of your readership is going to “skew” towards receiving on the tongue.

  20. Arieh says:

    Fr Fox, the biggest complaint from my priest at my former parish was the “snapping turtles”. He said that he almost lost his thumb once.

  21. Faye says:

    I am a convert ( former moslem). While taking RCIA they showed us how to take it on our hands and I see 90% do the same.

  22. Andrew says:

    I always receive on the tongue. Which causes a “technical difficulty” for me since most people receive in the hand. That does not require them to walk up all the way to the priest – instead they stretch out their arm forward and stay back a foot or two. Thus, when it is my turn to receive, the priest is already stretching his arm forward while I am trying to catch up to him with my mouth open. Sometimes I almost feel like I have to catch the host in the air while everything is in motion: the priest’s arm stretching forward and my body moving toward him – all at the same time. Frustrating to say the least. I’ve been trying to stand behind individuals whom I know to receive on the tongue, which makes the process a lot smoother for me. It would help if the priest stood still until I walked up to him and started to hand me the host only after I’ve stopped. Do we have to rush always, even when receiving communion?

  23. Janet says:

    As a convert since 1981, I was taught to receive in the hand. I’ve recently been thinking of changing over to receiving on the tongue, but the jokes or complaints I’ve heard/read priests make over time concerning people who don’t hold still and open their mouth the right way has me nervous about just ‘going cold turkey’ and beginning this change in how I receive our Lord.

    Another factor for me is that after receiving in my hand, I feel that my hands have then been made holy if only temporarily. After I’m in my pew, I sometimes look at the palm of my left hand with a bit of awe because God Himself had just been resting there for a moment.
    Perhaps I should talk it over with my priest first, and maybe he’ll even help by giving me a trial run with an unconsecrated host, so he can tell me if I’m opening my mouth the right way for him.

  24. David says:

    I think to give someone communion on the tongue whilst standing up is difficult because a person cannot open their mouth wide enough in an upright position without letting his jaw drop and risking the loss of the host. Actually, it is much easier to give someone communion on the tongue when he is kneeling down as he can lean his head back and stick his tongue out (as I see old ladies at the Traditional Latin Mass do).

  25. Kevin Jones says:

    I’ve been receiving on the tongue ever since a trip I made to Ireland as a teenager, when I learned soon after an embarrased twenty seconds holding up the line that receiving in the hand not a universal practice.

  26. Arieh says:

    Janet, I converted in 2006 and was determined that my two kids of Communion age (11 and 7), my wife, and myself would only receive on the tongue. I was terribly nervous about doing it wrong, so we practiced with Necco wafers for the weeks leading up to the Easter Vigil. Ya might try that.

  27. Paul in Bedfordshire (UK) says:

    I always receive Holy Communion on the tongue but sadly I’m in a small minority. The only thing that has changed in recent years is that I am no longer in a small minority of mainly very elderly people, I am now in a small minority of mainly under 40’s

    Since our new PP came, I no longer have to cross to the queue on the other side of the church to avoid the extraordinary monsters, sorry ministers, as our PP recently introduced communion under both kinds and now the EM’s are gainfully occupied holding chalices while the PP gives communion to everybody himself. (and I don’t recieve communion under both kinds along with about 1/2 the congregation)

    My eldest daughter will be getting instruction for first Holy Communion soon and if the lay person doing it tells her to receive it on the hand I will be asking here what to say in response to this!!!

  28. Geoffrey says:

    I made my first Holy Communion back in 1988. We were taught to receive in the hand, though the catechist did
    make a reference to those who wished to receive on the tongue. She didn’t explain it, but apparently there
    were one or two 7-year-olds who came from families who had properly instructed them on how to receive.
    After I made my Confirmation, I was invited to become an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist (of course,
    they never used the word “extraordinary”). As I continued to learn more about the Faith, I began to feel
    “funny” and decided to stop being an EME and I also began receiving on the tongue. I cannot describe the
    feeling the first time I received Holy Communion on the tongue. I have received that way ever since,
    save for a “flu outbreak” a few years back when it was greatly discouraged (along with shaking hands at the
    Ritus Pacis…).

  29. Vincent Uher says:

    At Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas we receive by intinction whilst kneeling. The parish is one of those of Pope John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision for the Anglican Usage of the Roman Rite. http://www.walsingham-church.org

    To my knowledge the people of the Anglican Usage parishes kneel to receive and receive by intinction almost always from the hand of a priest, deacon, or instituted acolyte.

  30. dcs says:

    Fr. Fox writes:
    As a priest, I wasn’t sure how to vote; I voted “on the tongue”; maybe I shouldn’t have voted?

    I guess the question is what would you do if you assisted at a Mass where you didn’t celebrate or concelebrate.

    By the way, while I have no problem administering the host on the tongue, I do have some folks who make it hard: they don’t open their mouths very much, nor do they put out their tongue, and they don’t stand still. I realize people might be nervous, but in some such cases, receiving in the hand might actually be better. I confess I’d like to have two hands available in such situations; one to hold the person under the chin while I use the other to place the host all the way in their mouths.

    I remember when I first started receiving on the tongue I didn’t realize that one should stick one’s tongue out. I figured I could just open my mouth a little bit!! Then one Sunday I was assisting at a TLM and I swear that the priest distributing Holy Communion took my tongue in his fingers and pulled it out farther before putting the Sacrament on it! Now I stick out my tongue about as far as I can.

  31. Jordan Potter says:

    I’ve been a Catholic for about seven years, and have always received on the tongue, and always will, God willing. Our RCIA class was only taught to receive in the hand, but it was my conviction then, and still is, that reception on the tongue is more reverent and evocative of humility. If a priest agrees to cleanse my hands with holy water before each Communion, this poor sinner might consider handling the Blessed Sacrament, but otherwise I will continue to receive on the tongue. No one has ever showed any displeasure that I and my wife receive on the tongue, but we are definitely in the minority in our parish (we’re in the Diocese of Peoria) I doubt even 10 percent of our parish receive on the tongue.

    There have been a few times when I’ve forgotten to open my mouth wide enough, and Father has bumped the Host on one of my teeth, but I have a disturbingly big mouth, such that I need only open my mouth all the way to make it easy to place the Host on my tongue — I don’t need to stick out my tongue very much if at all.

    Oh yeah, I also make it a point to receive from the priest if possible. There have been a few times when I had to receive from an Unnecssary Minister of Holy Communion, but usually we sit near the aisle where a priest is almost always guaranteed to stand.

  32. Adam van der Meer says:

    I have to say, while I receive on the tongue almost always, I am annoyed with priests who do not know how to administer communion on the tongue properly. I have received “not a few” wet thumbs in my time, because they put not only the host but also their thumb on other people’s tongues before they got to mine. After I get a wet thumb in my mouth it tends to make it difficult to focus on the sacredness of the moment! (By the way, I do stick out my tongue far enough and so forth.)

  33. Rob says:

    I receive on the tongue because I feel unworthy to touch the Body of Christ with my hands

  34. Diane K says:

    I love the intinction method used at my parish. In fact, when we have our big outdoor Mass on Assumption day in our Grotto, the pastor explains to the many visitors that they may not receive in the hands.

    Fr. Perrone just talked about this in an interview on Michigan Catholic Radio which will be rebroadcast on Tuesday at 9:30am-10:00am EST. The host, Elaine Babbish inquired about reception on the tongue after visiting during Christmas.

    Father explained intinction and that, exactly as Fr. Z states, there is only one licit way to receive it – on the tongue.

    When my niece accompanied me, I forgot to tell her about not putting her hands out. After the Mass when driving home she just blurted out: “That felt sooooo right!”. I said, “What?”. She chimed in, “To receive Jesus that way – on my knees and on my tongue”. Take that from a 15 year old who has never been exposed to a communion rail or the controversies that some make about it.

    For those interested, you can catch the interview online at Michigan Catholic Radio (WCAR) by clicking the listen live in the upper right hand corner and following the prompts. Father also spoke a great deal about chant, sacred music, and many other things in the 30 minute interview.

  35. Bede says:

    When I went through RCIA in 2005, we were taught to receive in the hand. Shortly after my Baptism, my fiance and I visited her family in Rome and it was only there that I learned… now I receive on the tongue, though I am in a tiny, tiny minority at my parish and in the parish I now work.

    My parish priest always seems a bit annoyed by this, and I’m not really sure how to handle that.

  36. Boko says:

    I receive on the tongue. I usually sit in the back and I cross through pews, cut into lines, or walk around the back to make sure I receive from a priest. I thik it’s a crime that there aren’t altar boys with patens in most places. Willful negligence. I heard this was required until the most recent GIRM.

  37. Eric says:

    I have to say, while I receive on the tongue almost always, I am annoyed with priests who do not know how to administer communion on the tongue properly. I have received “not a few” wet thumbs in my time, because they put not only the host but also their thumb on other people’s tongues before they got to mine.

    As a deacon, I can assure you it’s not the priest’s fault you are getting wet fingers. It’s because of the “snapping turtles” someone else mentioned who came before you. This may be because what some here have pointed out, that they were taught how to receive on the hand, but later decided to receive on the tongue and so therefore do not know how to do it. They open their mouths a tiny crack without putting out their tongues, and/or close their mouths suddenly before we have a chance to extricate ourselves from the little crack we have to push the host into. Often I’m concerned the host will fall because they give me so little room to work with!

    Perhaps my consternation has occasionally been evident in such cases, as I tried to figure out how to get the host into the mouth without it falling, and maybe some have later said “I got a dirty look from the deacon just because I wanted to receive on the tongue.” *sigh*

  38. Eric says:

    Another factor for me is that after receiving in my hand, I feel that my hands have then been made holy if only temporarily. After I’m in my pew, I sometimes look at the palm of my left hand with a bit of awe because God Himself had just been resting there for a moment.

    So if you receive on the tongue, will your tongue then be made holy and you’ll be trying to look at it? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist imagining that picture and getting today’s little giggle! No offense meant!

  39. Ruth says:

    We are very blessed to be able to go the Tridentine Mass, so we have a Communion Rail to kneel at and receive on the tongue. I, too, am a convert – 1989 and was taught to receive in the hand, which I did for a while after my reception into the Church. Receiving in the hand just didn’t seem appropriate and I felt an inner urging to receive on the tongue but I hesitated to be the only one receiving that way (fear of human respect??). One day the person in front of me received on the tongue which gave me the courage I needed and from then on that is the only way I receive. Before I moved away and had occasion to go to the N.O. Mass I was fortunate to know that the priest was favorable to kneeling so I would wait until the end of the line, kneel and receive on the tongue. Now, when I have to go to the N.O. (i.e. funerals, etc.) I will genuflect before receiving on the tongue and believe it or not (contrary to what some people predict will happen) no one has tripped over me!

  40. Fr. Fox’s comment about how a priest should answer the poll, and Fr. Z’s response set me thinking about older practice in the Dominican Rite and what was the Roman practice.

    In our old rite, hen friar priests received Communion at a Solemn Mass on a day of general communion (as described in our old Ceremoniale and as I saw it done on one occasion a couple years ago), it was done this way. All friars (priests and non-priests) prostrated on the floor in the middle of the choir during the recitation of the Confiteor and the Ecce Agnus Dei, they then approached the altar steps, two by two, and knelt. The procession up starting with priests then the non-priests followed, all in order of religion. Each priest (wearing a stole) was presented with the ciborium, took a host, and communicated himself. Non-priests then received on the tongue. The deacon held the communion plate, the subdeacon piously adorded.

    This was within a religious order with its own rite; Fr. Z, do you know what the Roman practice was for priest communicants in the old days, or was there one?

  41. DCS:

    Were I to participate in the Mass without being a celebrant or concelebrant (something I almost never do, thus the subjunctive mood), I would probably receive in the hand at times, and on the tongue, at times.

    As a seminarian, I nearly always received in the hand, but for awhile, nearing ordination, I received on the tongue; I decided to do so as a personal act of humility, no other reason.

    My hands weren’t, and still aren’t, worthy to touch the Lord; but the same is true of my tongue. (I say that without any intent of faulting those who feel this way and therefore receive on the tongue — because that’s your choice and your business. I’m just letting you know how I feel about it.)

  42. Brian says:

    I go to a Maronite Church, where the practice is to recieve on the tounge, via intinction whilst standing; a few people recieve kneeling and Father doesn’t mind. (Keep in mind, that kneeling is predominantly a western practice, so it is not the sort of thing that would be mandated in a Maronite parish). At Roman rite masses, I prefer the old school practice of recieving kneeling and on the tounge, but most of the time have to settle given the methods and architecure: no communion rails.

  43. dcs says:

    Fr. Fox writes:
    My hands weren’t, and still aren’t, worthy to touch the Lord; but the same is true of my tongue.

    Right — but the Sacrament will be put on your tongue one way or another anyway — either by the priest or by you. One’s hands are just an unnecessary middleman. ;-)

    When I first came into the Church, I received on the hand. I remember how strange Our Lord looked sitting there in my palm.

  44. dcs says:

    A question for the priest readers of the blog:
    Do people frequently receive Viaticum in the hand? Just curious.

  45. dcs: Not in my experience. Not once.

  46. JACK says:

    Am I the only one who wonders if not too much of a deal is being made out of whether to receive on the tongue or in the hand? Whatever may be the norm, it is true that both are accepted right now and that receiving in the hand isn’t novel.

    Personally, I receive in the hand. But I think the focus should be on the attitude of the heart of the communicant approaching to receive and not on the method, if he is electing one that is accepted by the church. So what predisposes you to reverence? To do otherwise makes me worry that one is approaching things with a moralist understanding and that isn’t Christianity.

    For me, I have always tried to take Old Simeon from scriptures as my guide for receiving in the hand. Simeon being the one that God promised would not die until his eyes had seen the Savior. And of course he was given so much more than that: he was given the gift of holding the baby Jesus in his hands! (Luke 2:28.) What must Old Simeon have thought and felt in such a moment! I think that praying to be filled with his attitude can give receiving in the hand all the revernece most assume it lacks.

    Receiving on the tongue is no guarantee or mark of sanctity; it shouldn’t be assumed that the reverse is the opposite.

  47. In a previous parish some years ago, the pastor asked that people not try to receive on the tongue. “I just can’t handle it”, he said.

    He’s since left the priesthood, and I understand he’s now living with his mother. Turned out it was the whole priesthood he just “couldn’t handle”. Some of his parishioners may have realized this before he did. When a priest “just can’t handle” reverence, one understands he’s got a problem.

  48. Seamas O Dalaigh says:

    Father, If I had my druthers I’d receive on the tongue while kneeling (idaelly at an altar rail). As it is I think there are good reasons for doing that which everyone else is doing (provided it isn’t illicit).

    James Daly

  49. Of seemingly about the same 35 to 40 people attending daily Mass in my local parish, only a handful (as I recall) received on the tongue two or three years ago. Now it’s probably more like 10 to 15. (I’ve never actually counted, just notice that it seems fairly common now, as opposed to rare then.) Maybe not a sea change, but a change.

  50. Janet says:

    Thanks for my best laugh of the day, from the imagined scene of me trying to look cross-eyed down at my tongue to see if it looks any holier! Very logical (and funny) extrapolation of my earlier comment! Definitely no offense taken.

  51. Jordan Potter says:

    “I think it’s a crime that there aren’t altar boys with patens in most places. Willful negligence. I heard this was required until the most recent GIRM.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Redemptionis Sacramentum encourage the use of patens as laudable and something to be retained? After RS came out, the Bishop of Peoria directed that patens be reintroduced at the cathedral. He hasn’t mandated it for the whole diocese, but he wants them used at all of his own Masses.

  52. Here in Mexico I would suppose reception in the hand is not allowed, since no Mexican ever receives that way. I generally see a paten in use and if both species are given (always by intinction) the paten is covered with a linen cloth, I presume to catch and immobilize any drop that might escape.

    There is, however, a notable exception to the on-tongue practice, and that is American tourists. They stick their hands out and the priests go along with them, I suppose so as not to embarrass them publicly. In the several years I have lived here, I don’t recall seeing any American, other than myself, receive on the tongue.

    When in a foreign country, one should respect local laws and customs. When in Rome …

  53. Andy says:

    I recieve on the tongue exclusively, and have for several years.
    I do this regardless of which Mass I am attending, though
    I attend the Novus Ordo only when absolutely necessary
    (weddings and funerals). I firmly believe (as the Church taught for countless centuries) that it is the privledge of the ordained to handle the sacred species, except in very rare cases.

  54. DCS – I can’t recall anyone receiving Viaticum in the hand. As far as the sick receiving the Eucharist, mostly it is on the tongue, rarely in the hand.

  55. irulats says:

    I always try to receive on the tongue from the priest. When the priest is elderly and the EMHC is an athletic young lady in her thirties, you have to be one of the last three up; as she gets about 15 done before he has left the altar. One really fast priest that has whizzed off to South America never used give one time to say Amen as he pushed the host between one’s teeth. When I asked him once why he poured the wine (and water) into the chalice 10 mins before Mass. He replied, “That’s the Dominican way!”

  56. Martha says:


    In 1989, Fr. John Hardon told me that St. Thomas Aquinas taught that receiving Communion on the tongue, kneeling, was the most reverent way to receive. I have never been able to verify this for myself, although I had no reason to doubt Fr. Hardon. However, does anyone, especially you, Fathers, know where I can reference this?

    I have never received in the hand, and I kneel whether at N.O. or not, although attendance at a N.O. is not frequent.

  57. Victor says:

    I receive on the tongue, because I know where my hands have been before. I will continue to do so until they install wash basins in the entrance zone of the church and probably even longer. (No, I am not speaking of the Holy Water basins!)

  58. ALL: Have you looked at the poll results?

  59. Cathy of Alex: “But Father! But Father! How “valid” is your survey anyway? I have to expect
    that most of your readership is going to “skew” towards receiving on the tongue.”

    I am sure it is incredibly accurate for all who voted!

  60. Arieh says:


    St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century) in Summa
    Theologica, Volume III, Q. 82, Art. 13 states: “Secondly, because the
    priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people,
    hence as it belongs to him to offer the people’s gifts to God, so it
    belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people.
    Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing
    touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the
    chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for
    touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone to touch
    it, except from necessity, for instance if it were to fall upon the
    ground, or else in some other case of urgency.”

  61. Guy Power says:

    The RCIA at Our Lady of Peace Church (Santa Clara, CA) was taught by a Byzentine Rites priest who was a very good instructor. When he taught us about receiving Holy Communion, he taught both methods (at OLOP you can receive in either way. Fr. AH expressely told us to stick out our tongues far for the priest. Then he said, “This is the one time you can stick out your tongue at a priest and get away with it!” :^D

  62. Miguel Garcia says:

    I was taught as a child in 2nd grade to recieve in the hand, I don’t believe they even mentioned recieving on the tongue. I only recieved in the hand up until last year when I discovered Father Z’s website, and have changed to on the tongue only ever since. Thanks Father!

  63. Maureen says:

    We sorta learned how to receive on the tongue as kids, but we were a lot shorter then, they still used patens in my parish, and my mouth opened wider than it does now. Nobody ever said anything about sticking out our tongues, much less eating the Host if one dropped on the floor or anything like that.

    I think it was about a year after my First Communion that they started training us to receive in the hand. I’m not sure when the patens went away.

  64. AC says:

    I’m not sure if i missed this being brought up but the real problem of receiving
    our Lord in our hands is that the matter may fall to the ground when it doesn’t
    go straight into our mouths and there’s nothing to catch it. Years ago before this
    uneeded practice began, if Communion, or even crumbs, fell to the ground, there would
    be a lengthy production after Mass to pick the matter up and properly dispose of it.
    Now, we hand it out like candy, even to children who, when i used to attend the NO
    Mass, i saw drop Communion because, well, they were children. The point is, those
    who take Communion ultra seriously would never jeopardize it by allowing it to be
    given in the hand — especially when there’s no good reason for doing so.

  65. Diane says:

    AC: Unfortunately, Our Lord is being stepped on in many parishes. When I go some place other than my own parish, which has communion on the tongue due to intinction, no one ever uses a paten. I’ve often wondered what percentage of parishes actually have them.

    The edges of a Host are very brittle and simply handling them allows crumbs to drop off in mid-air, especially where the fingers hold it.

    I’ve seen the paten as it passes under my chin at my parish and have noticed many small pieces.

  66. Karen Russell says:

    When I came into the Church as a young adult in 1968 we still received on the tongue. Then receiving in the hand came in and I went along (I was, after all, a young adult with a lot to learn–still have a lot to learn, but some progress has been made).

    At some point withing the last two years I went back to receiving on the tongue, out of a need to express physically my sense of how awesome and mysterious a gift we have in the Eucharist. (Finding a parish where the Novis Ordo Mass is celebrated more reverently helped.)

    That said, I only receive on the tongue from a priest or deacon, which from time to time necessitates some fancy footwork. On the rare occasion when I cannot avoid going to an EMHC, well, it has already passed through one set of unconsecrated hands. (Plus, I’m seldom confident of an EMHC’s expertise at “on the tongue” communion.)

    The Precious Blood, however, is contained within the chalice and so untouched by human hands, consecrated or not, and I am less bothered by the presence of an EMHC.

    I would much prefer to receive kneeling, but we have no altar rails (sigh) and free-form kneeling has become physically impossible for me now.

  67. dcs says:

    Karen Russell writes:
    The Precious Blood, however, is contained within the chalice and so untouched by human hands, consecrated or not, and I am less bothered by the presence of an EMHC.

    I don’t know what the current discipline might be (if there even is one), but in the old days laymen weren’t even allowed to touch the sacred vessels without special permission.

  68. Andrew says:

    After so many years of seeing 10 or more extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at each of the Sunday Massses in my parish, I was greatly surprised and pleased that in a large, albeit very very out of the way parish, where an elderly exiled priest from China was serving, these extraordinary ministers are unknown and everyone lines up to receive from the priest alone.

    In my parish, we have these EMHC’s even during weekday Masses with less than 100 people present whereas in the principal Feast Day Mass on a Sunday in that parish, only the visiting Bishop and the parish priest were giving out Communion. A very refreshing change indeed.

    The only thing that saddens me is that everyone, without exception received in the hand. I guess that it was obedience to a perceived liturgical law introduced some time in the 70’s. Although the manner of reception was interesting in that they brought their cupped hand to their mouths and most of them looked at their palms afterwards and licked off any adhering particles.

  69. shana sfo says:

    I will receive on the tongue if given My Lord by a priest’s hands, but in my own hand if a EMHC. In my parish, I’ve had EMHC almost drop our Lord trying to put him in my hands while they were folded as they didn’t bother to even look to see how I chose to receive. I’ve had priests begin to ‘place Him’ in my non-outstretched hands, but stop and place Him on my tongue when they notice my hands are folded.

    Many EMHC get confused, especially when they are younger.

  70. Simon-Peter says:

    Like Jordan, I have never received in the hand, never will. After being received into the Church I just assumed everyone genuflected and received on the tongue. They didn’t, I did. I didn’t get it, I was horrified. After a couple of weeks the priest stopped me as I was genuflecting and told me just to bow as our Bishop stated that was all that was necessary. Instant rebellion on my part…”all…necessary”…is this God or some member of the British aristocracy???

    We left that parish two weeks later. Then I saw Catholics kneeling…”that’s right” I said, okay, that’s normal. Since then, wherever I go, Novus Ordo or Latin, before priest or Bishop I always kneel, it’s my God-given right ;-) (not a prudentially dubious man-given privilege)…and I have NEVER received from anyone but a Bishop or a Priest and God help me I never will…we always head right for the priest wherever we sit.

    Jack you actually sound like your conscience is troubling you…

    The only Father I have seen proffered in support of communion in the hand is St. Cyprian, but that was as an integral part of catechesis. If memory serves, the original permission given by Paul VI came with a condition, to wit, there was no chance of irreverance. Now, laying aside the fact that communion in the hand might be considered ipso facto irreverant, haven’t we allowed ourselves to slip, to be dumbed down? The condition was “mere” irreverence, not sacrilege! I think the condition has been more than met for its abrogation.

    Why not in the hand? May I offer the following:

    In the hand is all about “us.” Grabbing, snatching, interposing ourselves…

    When do humans permit or require someone to feed them?

    When they are young children.
    When they are too sick.
    When they are too old and weak.

    It is a humble acceptance of our true condition before God whatever our temporal age, it is NOT a mere gesture. It is also adoration and I think natural to man to kneel before his God, it is something that hubris and presumption hate, and standing and in the hand has the ring of non serviam about it. Kneeling and being fed has the mark of trust about it, and, as it is the ONLY time we kneel AND allow someone else to feed us during our weekly lives, provides a real line of demarcation between the world and the Body of Christ, “see how they love one another.”

  71. dcs says:

    Simon-Peter writes:
    Since then, wherever I go, Novus Ordo or Latin, before priest or Bishop I always kneel, it’s my God-given right

    I used to have a similar attitude until the priest at our chapel had a back spasm while distributing Holy Communion and could not bend over to distribute the Sacrament to kneeling communicants.

  72. Pavegs says:

    While I was never taught properly how to receive, I did not receive good formation, I chose, after prayer and what I thought was the most reverent method of receiving to receive on the tongue. If it were up to me it would be forbidden to receive in the hand or standing, the sense of reverence simply is not there while receiving in the hand. I have seen far to many variations of receiving in the hand to count, however there is only one way to receive on the tongue, and there is little room for desecration. Catholics have the grace of not only being in the presence of, but to consume Christ every day, I’m sure that most “in the hand” people would fall on there face if Christ appeared to them (I would), and yet he does every mass, and they stand and absentmindedly shove him in their mouths. I pray for these people.

  73. On the tounge and kneeling, regardless of what Rite

  74. Eric says:


    God bless you for your willingness to have a laugh. I think sometimes God may laugh at us as we struggle to do his will, even as we sometimes get caught up in things that are not as important as we think they are. You have a special gift; do not let others deny you your laughter! When we take ourselves too seriously, we can miss out on Christian joy.

  75. Ben says:

    I have always received on the tongue EXCEPT when I was a Benedictine novice, and
    received in the hand out of holy obedience (having made my preference known to
    my superiors).

    I have always received from a bishop, priest or deacon EXCEPT at Midnight Mass
    this last Christmas, when I received from an Extraordinary Minister duly
    commissioned – the celebrant was an elderly priest (the legendary Fr Kit
    Cunningham), who is now, alas, too frail to distribute communion to a large

    For a long time after I was received into the Church in 1997, I always received
    kneeling, but I now tend to do whatever the rest of the congregation is doing.
    This may be prudence or cowardice. I always genuflect before presenting myself
    to the priest. Incidentally, the last time I knelt for communion, the celebrant
    afterwards accused me of disobedience to the Bishops of England and Wales. If
    any Bishop of England or Wales is reading this thread, I’d be interested to
    know what he thinks of this!

  76. JACK says:

    Jack you actually sound like your conscience is troubling you…

    That’s a skewed-from-perspective reading of my post. Not in the slightest.

    Again, my concern is people turning Christianity into a moralism or legalism. It isn’t that. The Pope has strongly preached against treating the faith as that. It is one of my great wories when I meet people who are obsessed with liturgical and canon law details. I have no problem with people receiving on the tongue (do on occassion myself and certainly do when I attend a Byzantine parish) or even having a preference for that method due to the Church’s teaching on it and a personal sense of reverence. All good. But many of the comments here seem to take it well beyond that to an unhealthy place.

  77. RBrown says:

    Another factor for me is that after receiving in my hand, I feel that my hands have then been made holy if only temporarily. After I’m in my pew, I sometimes look at the palm of my left hand with a bit of awe because God Himself had just been resting there for a moment.

    But you can return to the pew, take out a small mirror, and look at your tongue.

  78. RBrown says:

    Jack: It is one of my great wories when I meet people who are obsessed with liturgical and canon law details.

    The problem is that once liturgical details are forgotten, we are treated to the celebrant’s own home-grown rubrics, most of which are little else than low-grade show biz–playing to the crowd.

  79. dcs says:

    People wouldn’t be “obsessed” with the details of liturgical and canon law if priests simply observed them. It is no wonder that people are scandalized when even the small details of liturgical law are not observed — Our Lord Himself said that those who are not faithful in small things are not faithful in large things (Luke 16:10).

  80. Martha says:

    Arieh: Thank you for the citation. However, I have never found where St. Thomas says that kneeling is the most reverent way to receive.

    Jack: It is not an obsession with liturgiacal details. I will paraphrase St. Teresa of Avila because I cannot remember her exact quote, but she said something to the effect that she would fight to defend the LEAST of the churches rituals. She was a gutsy woman, one whom I would love to emulate; so too, because I love the Churche’s Traditions, I too will defend them and above all, put them into practice in my own life.

    And don’t let anyone intimidate you {“you” as in general)into standing or receiving in the hand. Traditionalists are obedient to at least a thousand years of traditions, not the passing modes of one ot two generations.

  81. Martha says:


    P.S. Watch out for nosehairs in the chalice! :-)

    Better yet, just refrain.

  82. Simon-Peter says:

    Jack: define moralism, define legalism, define “unhealthy place”…is that kind of like, dude, the antithesis of one’s “happy place”?

    BTW — and without reference to YOUR soon-to-be-coming definitions — if you see my concerns as legalism and moralism do you have ANY idea how many Popes, Doctors and Fathers of the Chuch you have just swept aside as mere proponents of “legalism” and “moralism” when they have spoken on just these and intrinsically related matters?

    “personal sense of reverence”

    The issue is the objective, not one’s personal “taste.”

    Your conscience isn’t bothering you, have you thought it might, just might, be bothering Him?

  83. CathyBut Father! But Father! How “valid” is your survey anyway?

    I suspect it validly reflects the faithfulness of Father Z’s readership to Pope and Magisterium.

  84. Jordan Potter says:

    Simon-Peter said: “After a couple of weeks the priest stopped me as I was genuflecting and told me just to bow as our Bishop stated that was all that was necessary.”

    Well, I always genuflect prior to receiving Communion. I don’t remain kneeling (though I’ve been thinking about starting to do that). As for the minimum requirement that we bow to show reverence to the Sacrament, well, I always bow my head as I’m genuflecting, so problem solved, right?

    In our parish the priests have never told anyone not to genuflect at Communion. Maybe 5 to 10 percent of our parishioners do so. We have no altar rail and no one kneels for Communion. However, on Palm Sunday last year my wife and I visited a parish in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and that is the only time a priest has ever “counseled” us not to genuflect but just to bow. It was the only time we’d ever been to that parish, and the liturgical abuses there was pretty severe (we were actually having to listen carefully to make sure the priest didn’t botch the consecration, because if he had we would have got up to leave immediately), so we won’t ever be going back. Thus, we don’t need to worry about the priest’s instruction that we should only kneel. Anyway, we did notice that barely anybody at that parish would even given the slightest nod of the head at Communion, and yet Father didn’t counsel any of them to show a sign of reverence. My wife and I, however, were counseled. But then I wouldn’t have expected anything different from a priest who told everyone to sit during the account of the Passion, and who extemporaneously composed a new Eucharistic Prayer during Mass (it sounded a teeny bit like Eucharistic Prayer III, with a little of IV thrown in, but it obviously was his own composition).

  85. AC,

    Years ago before this uneeded practice began, if Communion, or even crumbs, fell to the ground, there would be a lengthy production after Mass to pick the matter up and properly dispose of it.

    Years ago? In our parish, the TLM fairly closely follows a normative Sunday Mass, and such a clean-up process by our TLM altar boys sometimes is visibly necessary.

  86. Tom says:

    I receive the Sacred Host on the tongue whether at Sunday Divine Liturgy or weekdays (when possible) at a Novus Ordo Latin Mass at a Benedictine monastery on my way to work. I have received on the tongue all the time since I received First Communion in the late 1940s and was properly taught by the nuns at First Communion class to open the mouth wide enough and stick out the tongue far enough.

  87. Fr. Totton says:

    On the rare occasion that I have assisted (and not offered or concelebrated) at Mass, I receive Holy Communion on the tongue – when observed, this usually occasions a stupified reaction on the part of other clergy present.

    One note about holding a hand under the chin of such communicants: Fr. Fox – maybe you should have your servers hold communion patens.

  88. Simon-Peter says:

    Okay, just some thoughts:

    which is greater, a God-given and (truly) inalienable right, or a man-given, conditional privilege the wisdom of which we are actually discussing(!). Isn’t the point made in the fact of the discussion?

    I am not sure I understand why the objectively lesser which also involves questions of a lack of prudence, is preferred over an objectively greater where there are no questions of prudence.

    I do not understand, why so many, who perhaps are never behindhand in asserting rights in other areas, seem so adamant in refusing to exercise their right in this. Why? Is it because this right does not involve self-flattery?

    It is possible that a person kneeling is nothing more than a whited sepulchre full of dead mans bones, true. However, to state the claim, explicitly (more often this is implicit) that its all good so long as “I am kneeling inside” I think indicates a profound failure to grasp the true nature of man and his body which is a gift by which man glorifies God, and in our current state, by bringing it into subjection and conformity with the operations of the soul as moved by God…unless man posits an obstacle. The soul is simple, it has no parts, neither is it more extent in the cerebellum than in the little finger. If one is *truly* bowed down in adoring submission in the internal forum, it follows, does it not, that the body should do likewise in obediance to its master, the will.

    In other words, the immanentism (the core of modernism) condemned by the pre-conciliar Popes, and which has as its root the Cartesian Cogito (Cogito ergo sum), has left us seriously considering the following proposition??? “I think I am adoring God, therefore I am?” without reference to objective norms? “so long as I am adoring in the internal, there is no disconnnect, and even if there is, it doesn’t matter?” The obsession with novelty, the unstable, the tinkering, the belittlement of the objective, the utter breakdown in order and discipline, the strange case of the death of the sacrament of confession and the indifference shown towards to Holy Eucharist have their genesis in the Cogito of man.

    I don’t know, I am just pondering.

    BTW Jack, my remark “Your conscience isn’t bothering you, have you thought it might, just might, be bothering Him?” I retract. I was totally projecting. *Very* sorry.

  89. JACK says:

    RBrown and Martha: Don’t take my comments as suggesting that I take liturgical abuses lightly. Or that I don’t lament when they happen. I have just lost friends to liturgical wars. They have gotten so lost in defending the Church against this or that priest’s violation of a rubric, pouring over every pronounciation of canon law or liturgical norm for a way to amount an intellectual defense of the Church, that they lost sight of Christ. They had taken the faith and turned it into a system, a legal structure, a set of morals on how to live (all things that do exist, but are consequences of Christianity, not the event of Christianity itself). And ultimately, they spiraled away.

    I’m not suggesting that anyone here is at that place. I don’t know anyone hear well enough to come close to concluding that. (Although, conveniently, some seem to think that they know me well enough to judge my soul.) Frankly, I was in that place myself once, and so I no the temptation first hand. I just see some of the same troubling signs. So I voiced a word of caution.

    Simon-Peter: You seem to go out of your way to read my post in the most negative light. I am not sweeping away the concerns of any pope or doctor of the Church. But I don’t think they are motivated by a legalism or a moralism. You dismiss my comment about personal sense of reverence. It was not a comment about taste. It was precisely to cut to the core: to the attitude of the heart. For our hearts are meant to proclaim like the apostle, “It is the Lord!” when we approach for communion. And environment and approach can be part of what enables us to recognize that we are truly encountering Him in that moment. So I only meant to state that I recognize that for many (at least on this blog) that receiving on the tongue is a help in precisely that. And I tried to communicate how receiving in the hand isn’t the threat to my awareness of encountering Him in the Eucharist (and can actually be a help to that awareness) that some seem to assume must be the case. Look, if the Church tomorrow said that I must receive on the tongue, I would willing obey. This isn’t more important to me than Christ.

    As for moralism and legalism, I’m happy to define, if needed, but it might be easiest by quoting Pope Benedict’s definition of Christianity: (1): “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”; and (2) (2): “…Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism, Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event.”

    That’s what I worry gets lost at times.

  90. JACK says:

    Simon-Peter: Our posts crossed wires. I appreciate the reaction.

  91. Simon-Peter says:

    Fair enough Jack:

    so if it is an encounter with ultimate transcendant Being, what is the reaction/ action *proper* to ones existence as wholly dependent being? Even if one were *not* in love with Him, but merely filled with servile fear what, if anything, is the action proper to man?

    We know the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the re-presentation (to us now) of calvary in an unbloody manner where the Son of the Living God, at the words of a mere being (assuming all conditons are satisfied) descends to the altar, substantially present, body, blood, soul and divinity under the mere appearance of bread and wine and wholly under either species. Okay fine. Right. That is objective truth…but what does it *mean*? Isn’t this your point, partly? It’s meaning only becomes understandable to the extent we believe it as moved by God, and, *then* further cooperating with Jesus, the Efficient cause, we open ourselves up to the anhilation of all that is displeasing to Him within ourselves.

    This opening up is also to the Church suffering, and the Church Triumphant, that is the entire Mystical Body that, in union with its Head transcends time and space. Now we know, that during Mass we are, objectively, caught up to heaven as heaven descends to earth, that is, we are “in two places at one time.”

    Now, from scripture, and lately from Fatima (which was declared worthy of belief, and though private, i.e. non-canonical, is a most public matter), what is the posture of the Angelic Host before the face of God, and at Fatima, what was the posture of the Angel before the Eucharist? Right. Flat on his face, and what did the children do? We know that Angels are superior to us in the order of nature, but inferior in the order of Grace. Well, it is for both reasons — inferior by nature, superior by Grace — that we ought to, de minimis, imitate them, surely, at Mass.

    Again, from scripture what is the posture proper to humans as revealed in the Apocalypse? We also know what happened in Gethsemene and what will happen (Apocalypse again) at the name of Jesus…because that is what is demanded of mere creatures by His very essence: that is, an encounter with Him will, of necessity, produce, either willingly…or unwillingly, bended knees.

    What I am saying is that *because* He loved us first, and we love Him (who “knelt” before us in HIs incarnation) & *because* he is our Creator (and) because He has authority over us, and because we are mystically in heaven during Mass, and because we are lower by nature but higher in the order of grace than the pure spirits, we ought to seriously consider kneeling before the Lord our God, and just because He is veiled, shouldn’t make any difference.

    BTW: in my earlier musings on the soul I didn’t state the obvious, that our soul does not “stop” at the knees… ;-)

  92. Ben D. says:


    I have two questions about your earlier comments:

    a. Your arguments, that kneeling is an objectively suitable posture for man to assume in the presence of God, are compelling, but why do they indicate that kneeling is the best posture for receiving Communion, especially in situations where kneeling does pose a logistical difficulty (i.e., in churches without an altar rail)? Everyone kneels at the consecration (excepting the cases of formal liturgical abuse or grave inconvenience), so there’s no question here of forgoing kneeling altogether. And we certainly don’t approach the ciborium on our knees, although one could make an argument that it would be fitting.

    b. You assert a God-given right to receive Communion while kneeling. Can you explain this a bit more?

    (Where I’m coming from: I receive Communion on the tongue always and prefer kneeling, but receive standing where that’s the norm).

  93. JACK says:

    Simon-Peter: Yes, I think you understand my point. And I hope that also demonstrates how much we actually might be in agreement. As for the merits of one method over the other, I am precisely not entering into that aspect of the conversation. Not that I don’t recognize the distinctions. (I readily admit that had I grown up receiving on the tongue always, I probably would do that today, in terms of between the two present methods.) My point was simply to let the discussion be about Christ, and not let Him get lost in the midst of these liturgical details. Your last post surely shows that you are not doing that.

    But on the point of the merits, I do think there is something to be said that, whatever the norm might be, the Church does recognize (with all of the caveats) reception in the hand. And that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. I am sure some would love for a click of fingers and see communion rails and reception on the tongue restored everywhere. But, for now, until the Church decides to take a different step regarding reception in the hand, what I offered above was a suggestion, an approach, to trying to ensure that the heart maintain the proper attitude. That’s why I offered the thought about Simeon. Tertulian and others had other suggestions. And this is worth keeping in mind, not only to help a practice that has been accepted (for now) be “lifted up” if you will, but also to not fall into thinking that reception on the tongue somehow preserves one from the drama of this challenge, the maintenance of this attitude of the heart.

  94. Simon-Peter says:

    Can we formulate the issue in terms of two general propositions incorporating standing-hand, kneeling-mouth and standing-mouth:

    A. God is indifferent to bodily posture and mode of reception. reception.
    B. God is not indifferent to bodily posture and mode of reception.


    much has been made of “logistical” difficulties, true. Though this is not strictly germane…who caused them? Many of the putative difficulties could be obviated by

    a. common sense & a bit of discipline, b. getting rid of the desacralizing, cluttering, useless, *timewasting* and interfering EMOHC who are almost always used in violation of both the letter and the “spirit” of liturgical norms.

    One doesn’t need an altar rail. If the will was present, all the priest need do is inform his flock that a new traffic pattern will be in effect, calling their attention to a nice brass carpet strip that has been affixed to the floor in front of the sanctuary until such time as an altar rail can be erected, if such is possible. In anycase, the instruction would be simple: “when you get to this point, peel off left and right and assume the position, those behind fill in as we go.” The Priest then simply moves up and own the line. Whats the problem? Execute.

    I think a time-motion study ought to be undertaken because I am convinced that done in this manner the lie will be put to the untested assertion that EMOHC speed things up…as though “speed” was the order of the day anyway.

    Now, I have been in parishes in NC, Maryland, Mass and England. No one has EVER tripped over me, nor, has my action caused any slow down or any such thing. This is a big fat red herring. To be frank, the behaviour of those who, for no reason that would withstand scrutiny, hop to the side, pause, look up at a mere image and then cross themselves is an obstruction, not to mention the ridiculous bumping and dodging that occurs as the faithful try to naivigate themselves around and in between the lay busybodies, er, I mean EMOHC.

    All this would help restore the sanctuary too, which has, sadly but surely predicatbly, become *not* the place where the priest in persona Christi performs his sacred action entering into the Holy of Holies once and for all, but has extended to become where the people sit…amazing, immanentism in your face, can anyone see and hear it?

    Ben: you asked about God-given right. If you examine all the documentation, the heat and light generated on this matter, the backwards and forwards between the USCCB / individual US Bishops and the HolY See on this matter in recent years, and if you can peel away the nuanced language, the prevarications, the collegial gobbledygook, you can see a clear line running through it all…

    “Another fundamental *right* of the faithful, as noted in canon 213, is “the *right to receive* assistance by the sacred Pastors from the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and *the Sacraments”*. In view of the law that “sacred” ministers *may not* deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are *not prohibited by law from receiving them”* (canon 843 ß 1), there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person’s unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared. *Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institution Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds.*”


    “Indeed, the faithful should not be imposed upon nor accused of disobedience and of acting illicitly when they kneel to receive Holy Communion”.

    You see? They have enforced their “permission” (some permisssion) by intimidation, thats all. The above is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    You’ll find the documents here http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/liturgy/kneeling.htm
    but they are all over the place.

  95. Catholic Lady says:

    Arieh – you may not be the only one counting but we are still wrong to do so======that’s why I suggested keeping head bowed and eyes closed until all have received.

  96. Catholic Lady says:

    Fr. Z

    I have read the poll results and it tells me that the majority of the people who read your blog receive on the tongue. It is not what one would witness in most N.O. parishes however.

  97. Catholic Lady,

    I may have mentioned elsewhere an occasion on which it was difficult to refrain from getting an accurate count. There were only 3 of us in the congregation at an early Saturday morning Mass. One served as the EMHC offering the chalice. The first person in line received in the hand and proceeded to the chalice. The second received on the tongue and bypassed the chalice. If only I had knelt for communtion, then we could have demonstrated that anything possible can be done when only three are gathered in His Name.

  98. Catholic Lady: Then maybe you should get more people to read my blog.

    Here is a hint: link to WDTPRS.

  99. michigancatholic says:

    From one Catholiclady to another: There is no sin in looking at people in Church, unless of course, one is two-and-one-half years old and having a hissy fit about being “looked at.”

    The number of people receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is increasing, even in the blase diocese where I live. Twenty years ago everyone received in the hand, whereas nowdays many do not.

  100. nab says:

    Just wanting to add something to the many persons comments on kneeling/standing. While I realize most of us are RC, and iI also realize that we *do* appreciate kneeling as an act of humility…in the Eastern Church standing is very important as a way to recognize the Resurrection offered through Christ, to us. Just an interesting reflection on cultural differences.

  101. Rob says:

    What I don’t understand is the parents who go up to receive while holding their child and insist on
    holding one hand out instead of receiving on the tongue.

  102. dcs says:

    Rob writes:
    What I don’t understand is the parents who go up to receive while holding their child and insist on holding one hand out instead of receiving on the tongue.

    Perhaps the minister (ordinary or “extraordinary”) should insist on the tongue in these cases. I wonder if EHMCs even have the authority, though.

    michigancatholic writes:
    There is no sin in looking at people in Church, unless of course, one is two-and-one-half years old and having a hissy fit about being “looked at.”

    No, there’s no sin, but there is certainly the possibility of taking scandal. I can remember, as a new Catholic assisting only at the NOM, being so scandalized by the irreverence displayed by so many communicants that I brought it up in confession. My confessor, a very holy priest, advised me not to look at others and since then I’ve tried not to, even though I almost never assist at the NOM any more.

  103. Martha says:



    “They have gotten so lost in defending the Church
    against this or that..”

    I understand, Jack. One has to periodically take stock of one’s motives for acting as they do. Sometimes, one is mostly defending one’s ego, rather than the Church in her Traditions. Having said that, I would also say that once a person is convinced that his/her actions are in keeping with Tradition and, therefore, pleasing to Our Lord, then one must act accordingly and let no one intimidate you into giving up good resolutions to maintain the Church’s holy Traditions. Rather, be willing to die for them. But, we teach mostly with example, not by verbal beatings. I can agree with you there, if that is what you mean.

    I think with regard to kneeling, the optimum would be to fall in love with our Lord, and then to drop down on one’s knees before Him, and not to just fall in love with Him, and remain on one’s feet to receive Him.

  104. Alex Yes says:

    The reception of Communion upon the tongue is obligatory. The “indults” granted for hand communion were granted in 1968 under duress, pressure and forcing of Paul VI. But never a positive act was made allowing it.

    The current hand-finger-hand-communion in the modern parishes has got nothing to do with the ancient Church’s local use of receiving, which was done inclinating all the while, kissing the Host and then taking it with the mouth/lips from the hand, inspecting for sacred particles left over. But this was forbidden by Councils and traditions later on.

    Communion in the hand remains one of the gravest things on the earth. Mother Theresa called it worse even than all the other sacrileges and murders etc. That gives you to think.

    It made me re-think things, even though raised with the irreverent Calvinist practice of receiving in my local Roman Catholic parish (modernist).

  105. Jordan Potter says:

    “Mother Theresa called it worse even than all the other sacrileges and murders etc.”

    Actually I’ve been told that she never said that. Do you have a source citation for that alleged statement?

  106. Elizabeth says:

    I received my first communion in 1977. The nun taught us how to take it in the hand. It was reinforced at my Confirmation in 1984. I have continued to do what the nuns and priests taught me (i.e., in the hand).

  107. simon-peter says:

    Wayyyy earlier, I wrote:

    “The only Father I have seen proffered in support of communion in the hand is St. Cyprian, but that was as an integral part of catechesis.”

    I’d like to revise that, it was Theodore Bishop of Mopsuestia, d.428, as an integral part of catechesis.

  108. mvl says:

    For those parishes without an altar rail, there is another option – use of kneelers (or Prie-Dieu, as my parents would have said). At my normal parish, we have altar rails and we use them since Holy Communion is distributed under both species by intinction and cannot be taken in the hand. But there is another parish I attend when schedule requires where a good and orthodox pastor took over a modern building without a rail. He has arranged pairs of prie-dieu at three stations for 3 lines of communicants to come up. Two keel at a time and as one receives and leaves, the next in line kneels. Done properly, the timing is very good, as Father distributes to one side as the other is “reloaded” with the next communicant. The priest doesn’t have to move at all. Very efficient, if that’s what you admire, but also very reverent.

  109. For those parishes without an altar rail, there is another option – use of kneelers (or Prie-Dieu, as my parents would have said).

    This works fine if you have the kneelers readily available. Also, in virtually every church I’ve ever seen, of whatever design, the front pew has (in effect) a rail in front of it. So you can simply reserve the front pew for Holy Communion. Then people simply enter that empty front pew and kneel for reception, as shown here at the indult Mass in our typically modern church.

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