Why a woman has chosen to stop receiving Communion on the tongue

From the National Catholic REGISTER.  My emphases and comments:

Why I’m Giving Up Communion On the Tongue

I have always received the Eucharist on the tongue.

This is not something I usually get all political or righteous about. I understand that many devout people hold different opinions on this topic and that “good” Catholics are free to receive on the hand or on the tongue. [That is, for now, the Church’s law.  But let us not forget that Communion in the hand is a departure from the actual norm.] For me, though, receiving on the tongue has always felt like the most appropriate way to recognize and respect Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.

But now I’m not so sure anymore.

While I still very much prefer to receive on the tongue, I am afraid that option is becoming a less reasonable choice for me. And, ironically, it’s becoming a less respectful way to receive the Eucharist. [?]

At the Masses I attend, more often than not, I receive Communion from an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. These EMHCs, more often than not, have no idea what to do when a person presents herself to receive Communion on the tongue. I am not blaming them for this problem so much as whatever training they have received. I know that their training for Communion on the tongue is inadequate because …

—Some of them place the host on my tongue along with what feels like their entire hand.

—Some rush to jam the host into my mouth even as they are still saying “Body of Christ” and I am hurrying to respond “Amen.”

—Some ignore my children’s open mouths and opt instead to force the host between the fingers of their folded hands.

—And finally, some, like the poor lady who gave me Communion yesterday, are so flustered and anxious in the face of an on-the-tongue situation, that they fail to place the host anywhere near my tongue. They let go of it somewhere on the approach to my face and it winds up on floor.

[From Redemptionis Sacramentum: “[92.] … If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”]

The woman yesterday apologized and immediately picked it up. Thoroughly defeated, I offered my hands for her to place it in.

It shouldn’t be this hard.  [Where is the pastor?]

I know I could “solve” this problem by only attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form where receiving on the tongue while kneeling is the norm. But that is just not a realistic option for me. [This isn’t an Extraordinary Form v. Ordinary Form question.]

I could be stubborn and insist upon receiving on the tongue because I have a right to, even when the challenges it causes become a distraction to myself and others. But that doesn’t seem like something Christ would want me to do. [Hmmm…]

Jesus is Jesus, in my hand or on my tongue.  [Yes.]

And that is why I am 90% convinced that from now on, when I receive the Eucharist from an EMHC, I should put my own preferences aside and receive in the way that is least likely to cause confusion and distraction—in the hand.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours!

Surely this will cause some discussion.

Off the top of my head a few questions pop up.

Where is the pastor?  If the is what the EMHC are doing, the pastor should intervene.  If the pastor won’t, then the bishop must.   They must be informed.

If the writer is concerned about her children, and their experience of receiving Communion, what does she teach them about giving in when it comes to receiving Christ in a way that she clearly thinks is less reverent?

We have to get the word out more and more.

If you are going to contribute to a conversation here, exercise some self-editing and try to raise the level.  Blast away and I will blast you right out of the combox.

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  1. pewpew says:

    I also just receive in the hand to avoid awkwardness.. Not really courageous of course

  2. o.h. says:

    Her children’s experience matches my children’s. EMCs understand that adults are trying to receive on the tongue, no matter how awkward it ends up being. In my experience, EMCs (and even priests) are more likely to assume that a child has simply failed to raise her hands high enough. Often the EMC will give my child a blessing, assuming that hands not raised = requesting a blessing.

    My teenager has had a priest (in a student parish)–who was faced with hosts too large for anyone’s mouth, and a girl determined to receive on the tongue–try to insist she receive in the hand, and ended up breaking a piece off of the jumbo-sized host when she refused. To his credit, he apologized to her later, and from then on used smaller hosts.

  3. JuliB says:

    That’s a pity. As an EHMC, I go slowly, but have no problem putting the Body on someone’s tongue. In fact, if someone’s hands aren’t at the ready, I go straight for the mouth. There are probably parishioners out there who weren’t planning on receiving Communion on the tongue, but so far, everything has gone well.

    The other EHMCs at my parish do it properly as well.

    The only thing I feel awkward about is that when I am receiving Communion from the priest at the beginning, I receive in the hand. If I am not EHMC’ing that Mass, I receive on the tongue. I just don’t want to surprise the priest or cause any comments. FWIW, I travel for work a lot and have received on the tongue at every Mass outside of my parish, with no problems, ever.

    I would hope that she say something to the priest, or grab an EHMC after Mass. It can’t hurt.

  4. ipadre says:

    Fr. Z makes a good point. “Where is the pastor?”

    We pastors have a great responsibility with the Most Holy Sacrament. Priest, deacon or lay person must give out Holy Communion with the greatest reverence, and at the same time, always aware that the person has properly received and not kept a host. We must also give homilies on proper reception of Holy Communion – how to receive in the hand and on the tongue. So many good people do not know how to receive properly either way.

    Like most things, the answer is proper and repetitive instruction, until it sinks in.

  5. Rachel says:

    I’m slightly taller than average, and some EMHCs are dear little old ladies, and it’s not easy for them to reach up and place the Host on my tongue. They manage it, but I wish could receive kneeling at an altar rail; it’s by far the most secure and easy way.

    I feel awkward when I’m traveling and visit an unknown parish where I seem to be the only one receiving on the tongue. But so far all the EMHCs I’ve encountered have known what to do. I wonder if the veil I wear tips them off before I even reach them: “Traditional girl coming; she’ll probably receive on the tongue.”

  6. Arieh says:

    And here is the primary reason that I have not attended a Novus Ordo in about 3 years. The profanation of our Lord by inept EMHCs is more than I can handle. The used of EMHC should only be in extraordinary circumstances. If you have a parish with hundreds of families and only one priest, shouldn’t they feel the burden of the priesthood shortage rather than replacing him with Sally Crewcut?

  7. Tiber89 says:

    I guess I am going the other way…I used to only receive in the hand…now only receive on the tongue.

  8. Don says:

    I am faced with the opposite problem — I prefer to receive on the tongue, but my pastor (who seems stuck in 1975) has openly expressed his distaste for the practice (at a meeting for parents of First Communicants he told a story about how the priests he is friends with joke together about the different styles in which people stick out their tongues.) I have experienced going to receive Communion from him, and having him jab the host into my mouth. I literally felt I was being attacked by the Blessed Sacrament. I now either receive from an EMHC (who has no problem getting it on the tongue) or if I have to receive from the pastor I put out my hands to avoid the scandal of sacrilege.

  9. youngcatholicstl says:

    Here’s a simple solution that worked for me, which may or may not be practicle for the commenter: Sit in a pew where it is more likely that you will receive from the pastor/priest.

    In our parish, a relatively small one, we have two lines for communion: one where the priest generally stands, and one where a deacon or EMCH stands. I was having the same problem as the questioner. I’ve watched, and I am probably one of five or fewer people who receive on the tongue even when not carrying a child. The EMHC’s just don’t understand how to properly hold the Eucharist so that it is best placed on the tongue. The pastor, on the other hand, is generally quite good at it. So I’ve learned to sit on the right side of church where I will almost always receive from the priest. It makes life much less complicated.

    At a former parish, the pastor solved this problem with a simple solution. The parish was also smaller and had two lines for communion. What the pastor did was add an extra EMCH (not an ideal solution, but it seemed to work here), so an EMCH stood to each side of the aisle and the pastor stood right in the middle. It quickly became obvious that his main point in this was to aid those who were receiving on the tongue, as the majority of communicants that went to him received on the tongue, and very few who went to the EMCHs received on the tongue.

    While I agree with Fr. Z that the EMCHs need to be properly trained, failure to properly train the EMCHs does not necessarily require the communicant to stop receiving on the tongue. Additionally, I would encourage the commenter to stand strong and keep receiving on the tongue as often as possible – I’ve watched one person’s receiving on the tongue inspire others to receive on the tongue. However, I can relate to the commenter, and am generally inclined to do likewise and receive in the hand if I have an EMCH in front of me if I’m not at my home parish.

  10. Jack Hughes says:

    For various reasons I have recently been attending daily Mass at a parish which I would not normally do so over the past 2 weeks. During that time I have exercised my right to recieve Our Lord kneeling and on the tounge.

    Over the past week I have been extremely eddified to see several other Parishinors choosing to recieve this way, the climax came today when I saw the Perminant Deacon choose to recieve this way.

    Having followed Mrs Bean’s colunm for several months (and developed a healthy respect for her) I would simply ask her “why do you not recieve from the Priest?” I can understand that in a large Church one may have to ‘manever’ in order to join the Priest’s line and that it may take longer than recieving from the EMHC’s but that is extra time to prepare. A personnel favorite ( Is this spirtiual pride?) is to repeat over and over part of the prayer the Priest prays before her receives

    “Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through Thy mercy may it be unto me a safeguard and a healing remedy both of soul and body.”

  11. Golatin5048 says:

    I feel this womens’ pain.

    When I first received Holy Communion, I was always taught to receive on the tongue. I then grew to find out why.

    One day at my parish, we have,(Soon not to be! Thank God!), a mass where the EMHC would go to the back of church,(making that 11 EMHC.), and distribute. Well, we ended up going to a mass for all the First Communicants first Eucharist. They took up the whole front half of the church, so we sat farther back they we would have liked. Come communion time, We HAD to go to the back because of the Ushers,(dad wanted to go up to the priest, but), when I went to the EMHC and stuck out my tongue and they she paused, looked, and forced it into my hand,(Note: I was young, so I almost dropped it.).

    We NEED better training of our EMHC.

  12. AM says:

    I’m in the same space as Don, above, except that our priest in addition to publicly mocking the practice, outright refuses to administer in that way (instead of merely jabbing). I have come to similar conclusions as the OP, at least at our parish. As a visitor at other parishes I receive on the tongue, but even there often brace myself for a refusal, funny looks, &c. It shouldn’t be so – but it is.

  13. Melody Faith says:

    I also have reservations about receiving on the tongue in a N.O. mass. There is no one to ensure no pieces of our Lord fall to the floor in the form of crumbs.

  14. ejcmartin says:

    As has been noted by others, my family always goes to the priest. Sometimes that means getting up at Communion and making are way around the church to get to the priest’s “line up”. Fortunately most priests are creatures of habit and go to the same spot every Mass.
    I have noticed over the last year a considerable increase in the number of people receiving on the tongue in our small diocese.

  15. Dr. Eric says:

    Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, but I receive on the tongue from a priest because his hands are consecrated and he washes them during the offertory. When I have to receive from an extraneous Eucharistic minister, I receive in my hands as neither of our hands are consecrated and neither of us have washed our hands at the offertory so the EEMHC doesn’t have hands that are better nor hands that are worse than my own.

    I think receiving on the tongue from a priest is shows respect for the dignity of the office of the priest. And, kneeling at the altar rail shows respect for the Holy Mystery that we receive. EEMHCs only cheapen the experience- especially when there are ten of them for a congregation of about 200.

    It is a simple thing to restore the altar rails and go back to receiving on the tongue from an ordained minister; Deacon, Priest, or Bishop.

  16. Louis says:

    I choose to only receive the Eucharist from the pastor or deacon. I know not everyone here likes the idea of blessing young children during this time, but it happens. It is telling that my boys changes lines to make sure they get blessed by the Priest. They get it. I never told them. I bet my boy will be the only one receiving on the tongue when he makes his first communion.

  17. Frank H says:

    Recently we have had the rector of the seminary say Mass at our parish a number of times, and when anyone presents himself to receive on the tongue, Father holds the ciborium right up tight under the chin to make sure the host doesn’t fall. And I have noticed, at Mass at the seminary, that a high proportion of the seminarians, as well as their parents, receive on the tongue.

  18. Maltese says:

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote that until the ninth century communion was usually taken in the hand, but his clear preference is that it be taken in the mouth (as it has been for eleven centuries), as that is the surest way to instill a proper reverence and understanding, as well as to avoid abuses and sacrilege. The majority of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence; so, now more than ever, we should be pushing communion on the tongue.

  19. albizzi says:

    Pope Paul VI first stood against he introduction of the Communion in the hand. His hand was forced by disobedient bishops in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe who began promoting it.
    Now we reap the sad fruits of the clerical disobedience and arrogance.

  20. Fr. Basil says:

    \\. When I have to receive from an extraneous Eucharistic minister, I receive in my hands as neither of our hands are consecrated\\

    Neither are the priest’s or deacon’s hands.

    Pope Pius XII said that the sacrament of Holy Orders (for deacon, priest, or bishop) was conferred by the imposition of hands with the appropriate prayer. The consequent anointing, howsoever comely and appropriate, confers nothing.

    In the Byzantine rite of ordination, there is no use of chrism at all. Are these any less priests, or any less consecrated, than Latin priests?

    OTOH, we are ALL consecrated to Christ by our Baptism and Christmation/Confirmation.

  21. We have no EMHCs at our parish, only the priest and deacons..thank you Jesus!

    What my husband and I do when we have to attend a parish other than our own is sit in the back of the Church so we are one of the last ones to receive Holy Communion. This way if there is a priest and an EMHC at the altar, we can switch lines and receive from the priest. Once we were at some parish where the Ushers tried to herd everyone into the line they wanted them in. We waited from the back pew and when we got passed him we switched lines. It was like, “Oh my, you have disturbed the balance here!” sheesh!

  22. Andrew says:

    Receiving on the tongue, which is my practice, comes always – at least speaking from my personal experience – with a certain degree of anxiety, challenge, difficulty. I’ve had to deal with many of the situations described above; with the short little EMHC’s, with the priest or deacon making it absolutely clear that he is not pleased, with the host dropped in front of my face, with the EMHC’s hand halfway in my mouth, etc. The moving line method in itself is part of the problem. Most people receive in the hand, arm stretched out, and spending a moment in front of me to consume the host. By the time it’s my turn, the minister is already holding out the host as I am trying to hurry up to it with my mouth open. It just doesn’t work well. What should be a peaceful, spiritual event, turns into a contest of sorts. I don’t think any pastor can fix this. Unless he’s ready to install an altar rail and have everybody kneel and receive on the tongue.

  23. dh233 says:

    I had finally trained all my children to receive on the tongue and then the priest said during Mass that it was “disgusting” and that he didn’t want to be touching peoples mouths (this was during the H1N1 scare) and my eleven yr. old said to me after Mass “Mom he was talking about me” .I guess he thought the priest meant him so now I don’t force it. Although I feel it is the right thing to do.I think Mother Church needs to direct our Bishops and make this more the norm for the faithful.I see by this article that the want is there.I asked my family to go to Latin Mass with me for my birthday because I wanted to receive Jesus kneeling on my birthday.It was my first Latin Mass and I was amazed at how quickly Communion went with only the priest distributing and everyone kneeling.This experience made me see that we really do not need EMHC’s for regular Masses this isn’t a drive thru we don’t need to worry about speeding things up just about offending Our Lord.

  24. benedetta says:

    I posted at Danielle Bean’s blog because her experience absolutely rings true. People are being intimidated from receiving on the tongue where I am. There’s a lot of smiling, or a sort of bemused, shocked expression (clergy as well as EMHCs who aren’t designated as such by local terminology) when you attempt to receive (reverence?). I believe that there is a paranoia that people will begin, um, genuflecting, or wish to receive whilst kneeling, or, heaven forbid wear a head covering if female to the hour of praisenworship w/marty hoggin’ and friends. Would that anyone showed up with the courage. So there does seem an undercurrent to nip that reception on the tongue in the bud. It appears that if you are well-dressed and/or bejeweled and pushing 85+ you get a pass on the shocked expression but it is a visible toleration of old folks with deep pockets. What do you expect when the kneeling during consecration is being chipped at as well. There are some places where people as families try to kneel together but they are extremely embarrassed in the process. It does not appear that children here are taught that they have the option as to receiving on the tongue. It is the one way only. I was noting on Danielle Bean’s blog that now I have come to switch around but now it has been made clear to me by the body language certain priests as well that reception in the tongue is ridiculed and so one has to choose their battles…and who after all wants a battle when it comes to this most sacred topic.

  25. FredM says:

    The reason the kids don’t do it is that they are not taught that it is an option, let alone their option.
    Then again, at my parish the kids aren’t taught to genuflect before the tabernacle either.

  26. Forgot to mention; we always receive on the tongue.

  27. Ralph says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. EMHC should really be what the first word in the name says – extraordianry. At most small parishes, there is no need for them. My home parish is usually 100 – 150 at a Mass. No reason that a Priest and Deacon can’t handle that many folks. It gives you more time for reflection pre and post reception.

    2. Kneel. I find when I kneel to receive, it’s easier for the Priest or Deacon to place the body on my tounge.

    3. Don’t give in or give up. As another poster mentioned, reverance is contagious. Show respect for our Lord and little by little, week by week, Mass by Mass you’ll notice others start to do so as well. Most folks, if they get a chance to think about it, want to show love and respect to the body of our saviour. They just need encuragement.

    4. Remember, it’s YOUR LORD being given to you. Recieve in the manner that best allows you to show the adoration you feel. If that requires you to make a EMHC a little uncomfortable for a moment as she figures out how to place the host on your tounge, so be it.

    St. John Vianney, pray for our Priests!
    St Gerard, pray for our Mothers!
    Holy Mother of God, pray for US!

  28. Andrew says:

    Fr. Basil:
    “To be sure, the distinction between the universal priesthood and the hierarchical priesthood is something essential and not just a matter of degree, and it has to be maintained in a proper way. Yet We cannot help being filled with an earnest desire to see this teaching explained over and over until it takes deep root in the hearts of the faithful. For it is a most effective means of fostering devotion to the Eucharist.” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

  29. Philangelus says:

    The last few times I’ve attended daily Mass, I’ve made the same decision for pretty much the same reasons. It upsets me that I should have to receive in the hand because the Communion Minister isn’t quite up to the job, but on the other hand, I have a two year old I’m trying to wrangle and I don’t feel that during Communion is the time to make a protest.

    At some point, the priest will recover from his leg injury (that’s why we have an Extraordinary minister at daily Mass — usually we don’t) and then I can go back to receiving on the tongue. But until then, I just don’t feel confident in the extraordinary minister.

  30. albizzi says:

    Usually the priest washes his fingers twice during the Mass, the first time out of reverence for the Body of Christ before the consecration, the second one to wash out and collect any particle of the hosts after distributing Communion.
    I always wondered why the EMHC aren’t obliged to wash their fingers too.
    That is very inconsistent. For that reason, I am more confident with the priest than with any EMHC regarding their reverence for the Eucharist or their concern not to allow any particle to be lost.

  31. TKS says:

    Don’t give up. I’m one of the old guys here who believed you had to receive in the hand as the only catechesis in the last 40 years seems to be by example and that isn’t necessarily correct, especially in my liberal parish. Amazing though, when I went back to the ‘old way’ (I can say that because I remember), it was uncomfortable, but much to my surprise, other people started receiving on the tongue also. I guess we can ‘example’ back. Like others here, I will get in a priest’s or deacon’s line for reception. A smart person once told me to tilt my head back, CLOSE MY EYES, and wait. That works very well as I can’t see what is happening and flinch.

  32. Joan M says:

    “who after all wants a battle when it comes to this most sacred topic.”

    Well, maybe we should battle about this. Not, of course, in the Communion line, but if we are being discouraged from receiving on the tongue, we need to be firm in claiming our right to this.

    Here, in Trinidad, we don’t have quite the same level of difficulty in receiving on the tongue, but there is some – mainly with EMHCs not having been trained at all in how to give Communion on the tongue.

    In my parish church I know most of the people who can do this correctly. There is one man who gives Communion on the tongue so badly that, if he is the one giving Communion in the line for my pew I will do anything to find another line!! I don’t like having the Host literally tossed into my mouth as if I were a rabid dog being tossed a snack!!

    It’s so easy to do it right. Just a little training would spare everyone the difficulty.

  33. I just want ask: Where is the paten?

    [93.] The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling. [Redemptionis Sacramentum]

  34. Luvadoxi says:

    I receive on the tongue, usually in the priest’s line, just out of preference for his sacred office…anyway, I hear the pain. It was presented in RCIA last year as an option by a deacon candidate, although in previous years I don’t remember hearing about it. The deacon-to-be feels a little awkward about it I think; he stressed opening your mouth wide enough, etc., and how difficult it was to distribute the host when this isn’t done. It just adds to the difficulty of feeling self-conscious about receiving on the tongue. Also, I have to fight feeling self-righteous. I do it anyway, because of the issue of particles left on hands. Nevertheless, a strange thing happened to me–in receiving on the tongue from this deacon candidate, he missed a little and shoved it to the side of my mouth (not necessarily his fault; I maybe didn’t have my mouth open wide enough. A feel awkward about COTT too.) I went back to my pew and when I knelt, a big piece fell on the floor (which I consumed). So falling particles isn’t unique to CITH.

  35. Luvadoxi says:

    Umm…I should preview my posts. That’s “I feel awkward” not “a feel awkward” !

  36. lucy says:

    Earlier this year, I attended a friend’s son’s First Holy Communion. It was at a parish other than my own. My two daughters and myself wore our veils as we feel called to do. My friend sat near the front with her son, of course. When we approached the priest, my daughter knelt to receive, then my next daughter knelt to receive. The priest was clearly flustered that two girls had veils on and received in a kneeling position. I didn’t wish to further fluster him and so I stood. He then refused to give me Holy Communion, saying that he had no more, when clearly he did have more in the ciborium. He called an EM over to give me Communion. I went back to sit down unaware of what happened next. My friend saw the priest refuse me and then he turned and consumed what was in his ciborium. She was very angry that he would do this.

    Our priests need to be taught that it’s the norm to receive on the tongue. It’s wrong of them to refuse. I feel powerless because even when our family has asked our bishop to intervene in instances like this in the past by mail, he refused to give us any attention.

    May God have mercy on us all!

  37. benedetta says:

    But I just want to ask others here who must receive in a place where reception on the hand predominates — does it seem to you that the entire procession and reception by the faithful is quite rushed as a result as well? It seems very typical that people of all generations receive sort of on the go, where the host is placed in the hand and people hardly stop at all and then two steps or so later while walking away and now completely turned away from altar and now a ways away from the EMHC that the host is finally consumed. And then a stop to consume the precious blood (for most I guess) with one’s back now to the altar. Whereas when one receives on the tongue by the nature of the process one must fully stop and there is at least a moment of silence there that is such a precious gift to us when receiving communion. And then we proceed to walk away. I do remember the change and we were not given any choice whatsoever in the matter and it was completely presented to us that this was what the earliest Christians did. At the time (I was a child) I sort of pictured the Last Supper. Then in time I pictured “the earliest Christians” in terms of what we read in Acts…and then it was sort of a communal in a circle, consuming the host all at the prescribed time together sort of vision. Don’t know where that came from. At any rate, in this most rushed of societies where everyone is plugged in all the time and in such a hurry, just a completely slowed down moment when receiving communion would be really appreciated by many I should think. Just curious what others would say as well.

  38. Dr. Eric says:

    Fr. Basil,

    Would your bishop allow a layperson to distribute the Holy Mysteries at the Divine Liturgy?

    There is a distinction between the common priesthood of the believers and the ministerial priesthood and call to service that those who are ordained have.

  39. AnnAsher says:

    I have had the same unfortunate experiences with EMHC’s and some Priests with communion on the tongue. This is one of the chief reasons I do only attend Tridentine Latin Masses, at this time. I hope things will change…I’d prefer to be able to fully participate in parish life somewhere and when your Mass is 1 1/2 hours away this is not feasable. I pray for a local Priest who is prepared and formed for worship in Black and Red.

  40. MarkJ says:

    When my family and I attend the Ordinary form of the Mass, we always receive on the tongue and we switch lines if we have to in order to do so, partly for the reason stated in the article (many EMHCs not aware of how to place Our Lord on someone’s tongue). We usually go to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and we as a family believe it is more reverent and proper to receive our Lord on the tongue and from the hand of a priest. In addition, I believe that EMHCs are overused according to Church Law (at least the way I read it), which is another reason Ichoose to receive only from a priest.

  41. Joseph-Mary says:

    Have received on the tongue for many years. I do not mind, even if traveling, if I am the only one. MANY in my parish receive on the tongue; it is no anomoly at all.

    I wish it could also be kneeling…

  42. And that is why I am 90% convinced that from now on, when I receive the Eucharist from an EMHC …

    Or she could take steps to insure she and her children receive from a priest or deacon, i.e., an ordinary minister of communion. They generally distribute the sacrament on one side of the main aisle so it ought to be simple enough. That does mean running the risk of offending an extraordinary minister, but that ought to be a (distant) secondary concern.

  43. AnnAsher says:

    Benedetta, yes i do find Communion to be rushed and rather inattentive at all the Novus Ordo Masses, in various Parishes coast to coast, for as long as I’ve been Catholic (1997). One thing I deeply appreciate about TLM is that when we kneel in a row, it’s not necessary to rush the experience, in the moment, of receiving Our Lord. I’m able to attentively and prayerfully receive and take a moment in the silent bliss, not having to move about right away. It’s only maybe 15-30 seconds until the row gets up in unison and then the prayer really is broken for the necessary movement back to ones pew– at least to a degree. Of course I return to my pew and re-enter prayer…but I do feel that the initial, stationary, unhurried calm of the Reception is a beautiful deeply communicative moment between myself and Jesus.

  44. Magpie says:

    I only receive from the priest. I will avoid EMHC whenever possible. I would sooner make a spiritual communion than receive from an EMHC. Normally I sit in the right place in my own church so as to get the priest, but in a strange church this is often impossible, and so you must jump queues.

    EMHCs should be safe, rare, and legal. =p

  45. Magpie says:

    Sorry, I meant safe, legal and rare. =p

  46. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    When I converted to the one true faith several years ago, I first saw a group of strange people receiving Our Lord on the tongue, and kneeling. When I thought about it, it made perfect sense. This is Christ, before whom I should kneel. Christ, the Physician, comes to me in Holy Communion. What else could I do, but receive kneeling, and on the tongue? From that time until now, I have never received in the hand, and only on very few occasions received in a posture other than kneeling. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

    This brings up a good question: if it were impossible to receive kneeling, on the tongue, from the hands of a priest, what would I do? Simple: I would follow His Holiness’ advice. He cautions us not to take the practice of receiving Holy Communion as commonplace. For this reason, he advises us to make a Spiritual Communion occasionally, even if we are properly disposed. In this way we can offer reparation for those who receive sacrilegiously, and be compassionate with those who know they can not receive, and refrain from doing so.


  47. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I almost forgot. If we remember that scandal CAN NOT be caused by those who do as Holy Mother Church commands. If none in the parish stand for the Gospel, and you do, it is they who cause scandal. If you expect to have individual confession and refuse the general confession, it is not you who cause scandal, but those who try to force you to depart from the instruction of Faith.


  48. I certainly understand this woman’s viewpoint. The Communion line isn’t the place to press issues. In a similar vein, I find receiving on the tongue while standing from anyone who is shorter than I am to be awkward at best. For better or for worse, sometimes, the decision is made for you. I would love to see the return of the altar rail– but if Communion is not offered at an altar rail, I think receiving reverently in the hand is better in many if not most cases. We need to be willing to take Jesus as He is offered, however imperfectly that may be done. We need to see the forest from the trees. That doesn’t mean we can’t work persistently and patiently behind the scenes to make things better, but again, the Communion line just isn’t the place to be creating a scene or to be trying to win converts. We also need to remember that teaching and preaching are primarily the priests’ job in a parish. It is one thing for a priest to correct a communicant, even in public (I actually saw this happen last Saturday), but communicants should take their concerns to the pastor in private.

    I also think a more productive thing to do would be to write to the local bishop and ask him politely and charitably to work to change the “norm” in the US back to kneeling at an altar rail. This is not an instant solution, but it gets to the crux of the problem lots better than many of the alternatives. What we really need is for the USCCB to petition the Holy See for a change. That is more likely to happen if a quiet, reasoned wellspring of support forms behind the bishops– in other words, if they know that they will lead us somewhere we will want to follow.

    Another productive activity would be to start a fund for the restoration of the altar rail in parishes where it has been removed or truncated. If the pastor knows that someone will pay to have it done, it could perhaps get done more easily. All manner of silly things are done because someone donated the money with strings– certainly a sensible thing could also get done in the same way.

    To summarize, I think that Communion on the tongue is better suited for kneeling at an altar rail. When that option is not available, receiving in the hand is a better choice less likely to result in a dropped Host. Meanwhile, let’s work behind the scenes to bring back the altar rail so we don’t have this choice to make.

  49. kallman says:

    This is a difficult situation. EMHCs do not have consecrated hands and usually no training let alone experience in the area of communion on the tongue, what to do if a Host or fragment falls, etc. One approach if it can be done without drawing attention is to aim to receive from the priest offering the Mass.

    A second problem as illustrated here is that with no server and no communion plate there is the risk of the Host falling/profanation. I have almost been tempted to take my own plate/patent to Mass for this reason but fear it could cause a problem or a temper to flare, so have not done it. I go to an EF chapel where communion is only on the tongue, it is only a problem if I am away, so often in that setting I simply make a spiritual communion only and avoid the issue completely.

    My wife is younger and had never seen or received communion on the tongue. She said it would be a problem for her if she attended the EF chapel with me. Well she did it the very first time and now 6 months later says she completely understands why I avoid communion in the hand and she feels the same way having experienced the alternative. (she won’t wear a veil though).

  50. tzard says:

    Several people have mentioned choosing to sit in certain areas to be sure they have a good chance of getting the priest. Well, I learned something at a parish where the priest moved around all the time. Remember: You are not required to go as cattle pew-by-pew for communion. They may try to direct you that way, but you can just as well walk around the outside and go wherever you choose. Lining up is a custom, not a requirement.

    What would happen if everyone avoided the other lines and just stood in line for the priest or deacon?

  51. coeyannie says:

    I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I will say, “never, never give up receiving on the tongue”. I have had the Host fall on the floor twice, once when a EMOHC gave me Communion and once when a priest gave the Host to me on the tongue. The problem is this. They turn their hand when they give you Holy Communion. Fr. Ubel at St. Agnes finally got it. Father Erickson hasn’t yet, but we receive kneeling at the communion rail. Most of the problems I see are because the priest or whoever turns the hand, instead of the thumb being on top of the Host, they turn it so the index finger is on top and that really screws everything up, excuse my choice of words. I will never give up receiving on the tongue. If the seminary can’t teach them, then I don’t accept responsiblity for what happens. I open my mouth, stick out my tongue and the rest is up to whoever is at the helm.

  52. Mary Ann says:

    I can’t remember where I saved this from. But was amazed by it.

    “…do not approach with hands extended and fingers open wide. Rather make of your left hand a throne for your right as it is about to receive your King, and receive the Body of Christ in the fold of your hand, responding ‘Amen.’…. Take care that you do not even lose one piece of that which is more precious than gold or precious stones.” Homily XV [A.D. 350] Theodore of Mospsuestia

  53. benedetta says:

    At a sort of mega-parish (sometimes two or more parishes have been merged or various permutations etc), there can be multiple (6 to 8) lines for reception of communion and the priest is never at the same spot. It would not just be a matter of hopping a line but having to trek over to another part of the church, the priest would not at all be pleased with that and it would create a scene. If he doesn’t already appreciate someone of the younger generation receiving on the tongue, you can imagine that to disregard the officious ushers and go round the other way to finally find his line and join that and then return to one’s seat, it would generate at the very least the royal eye-roll. He does sometimes preach on the Real Presence (not in those words) but sometimes winds up his homilies by referencing “what will happen in a few short moments”. Perhaps the disconnect from his point of view would be that he himself believes it to be the true presence, and so, by extension, no matter the lack of reverence and quiet he regards the faithful to be also so convinced. He has personally overseen the EMHC process ( I expect — hope?) and so the entire operation is by its nature an extension of his own firm belief. So no need for what would likely be described as a pharisee-like preoccupation with “externals”, that what is important is what is in the heart and the disposition and intention. However by that reasoning then one would also expect a great emphasis on private, individual confessions, in every aspect of parish life, preaching, catechesis, formation, a constant message taught and then received by faithful who although perhaps not especially into reverent liturgy and the “externals” of reception are nonetheless serious, as a matter of the heart, about preparing themselves inwardly for reception of communion. Unfortunately the reasoning does not add up because those signs are not to be found.
    Perhaps as a grassroots wellspring one could propose an appropriate day (the Feast of Corpus Christi?) when those so inclined could receive while kneeling, on the tongue, whatever, on that day knowing that many others in various locations are doing the same. If it were planned and discussed in advance it would be hard for the powers that be to completely dismiss it. On the other hand an endeavor like that reminds me of other en masse liturgical stunts like, everyone let’s all wear red to Church on the Sunday of Pentecost (talking about the congregation) so I guess it’s probably a really bad idea.
    It seems like a tip off from the Holy Father should be enough for all of us and there would be a greater welcome extended from parishes for people wishing to receive on the tongue or while kneeling. More proof that heterodoxy means, “approved themes/texts/music/practices” only and something “different” is not welcome. In this case as Fr. Z what is different is in fact the standard.

  54. LaxMom25 says:

    My family was just discussing this topic today. This is thankfully something we are free from worrying about as we generally attend the TLM. We do attend the Novus Ordo for weekday Mass. I am grateful for our pastor as he really limits the use of EMHCs (I suspect he is criticized for this). I will note that at the NO daily Mass, which is heavily attended by large, beautiful, homeschooling families, nobody under 20 years of age receives in the hand. The boomers are probably split (I know – I should not watch people receive – Mea Culpa!). Again, this is a traditional parish in a solid diocese, but I point out my observations to give everyone hope that lots of young Catholics really do have a strong reverance for the Eucharist.

  55. Tom A. says:

    About half the time I go to an EF Mass, but when I have to go to a Sunday OF Mass or choose a daily OF Mass, my reception of Holy Communion depends on the priest. I know several of the local priests and deacons do not like tongue communion so at those Masses I simply do not receive. If I know the priest or deacon has no objection to tongue communion I will present myself for Communion. Absolutely on no occasion will I ever entertain the thought of receiving from an EHMC. I will not partake in sacrilege.

  56. Shellynna says:

    I usually receive on the tongue, from the priest whenever possible. I tend to get mouth sores though, so I will receive in the hand and refrain from the chalice when I have one, out of respect for the minister or EMHC and other communicants. If Communion in the hand is a legitimate option, I really think Catholics should stop scrupling over it. (Although I will say that training for EMHCs is often woefully inadequate and that I have heard absolute horror stories about the results of poor training. The real problem here is the training issue.)

  57. introibo says:

    It really pained me to see Danielle Bean’s column, as she is quite conservative and orthodox at other times. Hope the comments she has gotten on Facebook and at the Catholic Register will help her to change her mind.

  58. LorrieRob says:

    This whole conversation puzzles me…receiving communion in hand or on the tongue has to be equally valid…in the hand was clearly the original…ie Apostolic experience… [That is not at all clear! ] but the development of receiving on the tongue is certainly reverent and has a theological meaning…Peter feed my sheep…I can see that the experiences of people greatly shape their views on this topic…but it should not be central…

  59. Geoffrey says:

    I try to sit where I know the priest will be distributing Holy Communion. However, sometimes even priests have some difficulty in distributing Communion on the tongue. I only kneel at the EF Mass, as it would cause too much of a scene at the OF Mass. I do bow profoundly, as the GIRM in the USA recommends (requires?).

    I think this one line of the author says it all, though: “Jesus is Jesus, in my hand or on my tongue.”

    Amen to that!

  60. lmgilbert says:

    When I was in the Trappists (for 3 mos) many years ago, we were instructed to approach Holy Communion with our hands at our sides. Reverting to this practice has helped very much in giving clarity both to the Priest/ EMHC and to myself about how I am going to receive the Eucharist.

    There is no possibility of the EMHC forcing the host into your hands or into the hands of your children if you and they approach him with your hands at your side. If this feels irreverent, remember a) that you are adopting this practice precisely out of reverence for the Eucharist; and b) it is good enough for the Trappists.

  61. Tell you a story…

    In our parish Father is very deliberate and reverent with respect to Communion on the tongue. The Eucharistic ministers in the second line, however, are not so agile. When in the second line I present my hands to avoid a precarious bobble.

    Then last week as I approached there was a different Eucharistic minister, a quiet and devout man from daily Mass. Bowing with folded hands, I opened my mouth to receive and he administered with great care. There was one other in my line who did the same. A few moments later, the Eucharistic minister returned to his pew behind me, and I could hear a muffled sniffle and weep. The earnestness of what he was doing really hit him. Do we ever really appreciate how the High Priest uses us in witness to each other? To God be the glory for His graces…

  62. “Jesus is Jesus, in my hand or on my tongue.”

    It is just because Jesus is Jesus that it matters how we receive Him, though! I am so sorry to hear of anyone who does believe receiving on the tongue is more reverent stressed into giving it up in this manner.

  63. lizfromFL says:

    I have also had a EHMC drop the host as well, while attempting to recieve in the mouth. The EHMC was clearly angered by me. I would suggest cooling your jets for a minute or two before getting into the line, to observe if any lines are having other people receive in the mouth successfully. Usually a priest can do it better.

  64. kittenchan says:

    If more people stopped receiving Communion on the tongue because of EMHCs who are not used to doing so, how will EMHCs get used to doing so? If they are not faced with the situation where someone clearly indicates that they wish to receive Communion on the tongue, how will they ever come to think of it as anything other than highly unusual or existing only in theory? How will they ever get the practice necessary to do it right?

    These practices seem to disappear because we *let* them disappear.

    I have attended NO Masses at many churches with varying levels of orthodoxy – it’s my default rite. I received my First Holy Communion on the tongue (about 13 years ago), and no one else did. I continued to receive on the tongue until I had a bad experience with a priest. It took me a long time to go back. Then I had another bad experience with a priest, and as several commenters on here have suggested, I chose when I would receive – if I would be in the line for that priest, I would stay back in the pew. Otherwise I would receive from whichever other priest was saying Mass, from the deacon, or even (gasp) from an EMHC. Finally I switched parishes when I was in college to one which is fabulously orthodox.

    I went to a Catholic high school, definitely no bastion of orthodoxy there. At school Masses I would receive on the tongue, even from student EMHCs. Teenagers are supposed to be in the stage of human life where what other people think matters the most. Yet I started out genuflecting before receiving on the tongue, because I thought it was the right thing to do. That meant more than any kind of looks or comments or anything. Eventually I began kneeling to receive, because I was convinced it was the right thing to do. My senior year, I wore a veil to every school Mass, and also our baccalaureate Mass. I knelt to receive and wore a veil at my hippy-dippy parish church too. Did I get questions, comments, and weird looks? Yes (extremely few, actually. A total of three, all told). Did it stop me? No. I was a painfully self-conscious teenager, yet I knew that what I was doing was right. If a teenager faced with towering peer pressure can stand up to it, I don’t see why adults can’t (or won’t).

  65. Cam says:

    I found that having little ones has made receiving on the tongue less stressful (although not the rest of Mass). With a toddler or a baby in my arms everyone expects us to receive that way (which definitely happened before) or questions it because there’s not much of an alternative. It’s something I should remind myself to be grateful for during Mass (because the rest of convincing my two year old to sit quietly can be quite stressful!).

  66. Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I do the same as Dr. Eric (comment towards the top). We receive on the tongue from a priest, and receive in the hands from the lay person when we are at some other parish other than our own (our parish does not have extraordinary ministers).

  67. Jason Keener says:

    I usually receive in the hand when going to the Novus Ordo because I’ve had some close calls where the Host almost dropped to the floor when an inexperienced EMHC was distributing on the tongue. It is also slightly awkward to receive on the tongue during the Novus Ordo when you are supposed to be making a vocal response of “Amen.” Sometimes the EMHC will have the Host to your mouth before you can make the response.

    I think we can see why receiving Communion kneeling from a priest who is accompanied by a server with a paten is the best way to go.

  68. paulbailes says:

    The only reason that bad things go on in church is because people choose to do it or to endure it.

    The solution is to “just stop it” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE)

    Seriously, if people of good will just stopped:
    – priests: from offering the NOM
    – laity: serving as EMHCs; receiving from EMHCs; attending the NOM
    then there’d be a lot less trouble in the world.

    Happy Xmas

  69. paulbailes says:

    PS instead of the YouTube link above, I am very sorry, please instead see http://vimeo.com/10880189

    Trust me

  70. bookworm says:

    Communion in the hand was first allowed when I was about 12 years old, and I received it that way for the next 30 years or so assuming it was the norm. Only in the last 3 years or so (after I started reading Catholic blogs like this!) did I begin to question that assertion and realize the arguments against Communion in the hand. However I also could not help but feel that people who insisted that reception on the tongue was the ONLY proper way to go were just being overly picky or scrupulous.

    For about the last year or so I have alternated back and forth between hand and tongue reception depending on how confident or comfortable I felt with either way at the time. One thing that discouraged me from tongue reception is the fact that I am kind of tall for a woman (about 5’8″) and if I ended up receiving from a height-challenged priest or EMHC, it could get kind of awkward.

    What finally persuaded me to start receiving on the tongue all the time was an instance a couple of months ago in which the minister of Communion (can’t remember now if it was a priest, deacon, or EMHC) lowered the Host onto my palm at the exact moment I was raising my hands, causing a collision and a distinct “crunching” sound. The Host had broken in half, and I consumed both parts, but upon returning to the pew, noticed tiny little crumbs on my left hand, and wasn’t sure what to do about them other than carefully pick them off and consume them, or try to discreetly lick them off (which ain’t easy to do). When I left Mass I could not see any more particles, but just to be certain my hand was clean, I dunked it as far as it could go into the holy water font on my way out the door! That was the best way I could think of at that moment for making sure my hand was clean without showing disrespect to the Body of Christ. After that, I decided I didn’t want THAT to happen again and I have received on the tongue ever since.

    All that being said…. I still think that we ought to follow the guidance St. Paul gave to the early Christians (in Romans 14, I believe) about respecting the consciences of others. Those who receive on the tongue should not assume those who receive on the hand are being irreverent; those who receive on the hand should not assume those who receive on the tongue are being Pharasaical or “holier than thou”. As long as both remain allowable options under Church law, both methods must be respected.

  71. AngelineOH says:

    As a convert 21 years ago, I was given the choice by the priest, and on the tongue was the only way that seemed right to me. I generally go to the priest’s line if possible. I have never received in the hand in my travels in the U.S. or in Europe. Though sometimes my husband and I are the only ones receiving on the tongue, it is something I feel called to do.

  72. Girgadis says:

    I feel the writer’s pain, except I’m not opting to go back to receiving in the hand at the Novus Ordo. And I might add that I’ve received Holy Communion from priests who appeared flustered at my choice to receive on the tongue, most recently at a funeral Mass I attended for the father of a co-worker. So far as I know, I was the only person in line who opted to receive on the tongue. I used to look around to see if anyone else was receiving on the tongue before getting in line, but now, frankly, I don’t care if I am the only one. And I try not to let myself get flustered if the priest or the EMHC awkwardly administers the Host. A few months ago, the Host fell as the priest was administering Holy Communion to me and, thankfully, landed on the paten. I kept stewing about it until I realized that each time I worry about how I received or what the reaction was to the way I presented myself, I am failing to communicate with the Lord.

    So far as receiving strictly from a priest, please don’t be like the man who occasionally attends Mass where I do and feels he has to make a spectacle out of not receiving from the EMHC. Instead of sitting on the same side from which the priest always distributes Holy Communion, he sits on the same side as the EM, and then just as he approaches the altar, he darts out of the EM’s line and butts into the priest’s line. As if this isn’t bad enough, he then darts back in front of the person receiving from the EM to return to his pew. He nearly collided with the ciborium one day in his haste to make known his disdain for EMHC’s. That kind of behavior can hardly be described as reverent.

  73. Sword40 says:

    I have not received “in hand” for over 15 years and its been 20 years since I received from a “layman”. A long time ago I was shamed by a 12 year old girl who had the nerve to kneel for communion on the tongue. It was a thing I was in fear of because of what might happen. You know, comments from people and a scolding from the priest. And here comes this kid, with no fear at all, but only trust in Christ that all would be well. I have received on the tongue ever since. There is no requirement that we receive every Sunday, so if I find that I’m prohibited from COTT or from a priest. I just make a Spiritual Communion.

  74. Hans says:

    Receiving on the tongue was introduced a year or few after my First Holy Communion. We were encouraged to try it. I tried it a few times and found it completely unsatisfactory and have never returned to it. Even when the priest gestured at my hands. I never made a scene; I just waited with my hands folded and my tongue out.

    In my experience, priests who have a problem with it (a relatively small number) and some permanent deacons are most resistant. As problematic as they may be, EMHCs tend to improve with practice. If I experience one who has difficulty, I try to go back to them as soon as possible, the next day if possible. Just be patient and calm with them, and eventually they catch on. Also, it helps that more people in the parish have been receiving of the tongue lately. A few have even asked me about it.

  75. mdinan says:

    Why is this even a discussion? Receive from the priest, instead. That’s what I do. Kneeling, on the tongue, from a priest. No problems from EMHC’s for me!

  76. MikeM says:

    All else equal, I prefer receiving on the tongue but, as I see it, the Church has deemed that reception in the hand is sufficiently respectful, so there’s nothing wrong with receiving in the hand. With that in mind, I determine my mode of reception situationally. I receive on the tongue in parishes where a) I’m sufficiently comfortable that the priest or EMHC will handle it smoothly and b) where I don’t feel like I’ll become a spectacle.

    I feel a little better about receiving on the tongue, but not if it detracts from the focus on the Eucharist and directs attention to me or creates confusion.

  77. Stephen Matthew says:

    I must start by saying that I am at times a bit clumsy and I am at almost all times rather self-conscious about things.

    I have had bad experiences with receiving both ways.

    In the case of in the hand, the worst was at a wedding where I was best man. The EMHC, as she elevated the host it split in two and fell to the floor. I rather awkwardly bent over and picked Him up and ate Him, but it was rather embarrassing as I was receiving just off the altar in the sanctuary and immediately after the bride and groom, and I was in a very stiff tux that made getting the floor a positive danger of splitting at the seems. This, plus the problem of particles on the hands, were prime motives for changing to on the tongue.

    However, since I was never trained to receive on the tongue, this has its problems, too. I never feel like I am doing it right and always feel like I am making a bit of a fool of myself. Several times the priest has hit my tongue or lips in the process or some other minor problem has come up. However the worst was a time we somehow managed to fumble the host with it sliding/bouncing off my tongue. Thankfully I was able to catch it in my hands with no real harm done, but I was mortified by this, and I think the priest was, too.

    I would like to receive on the tongue, but I generally only do so when going to a priest or deacon. They usually can handle it. However, I know that some of the EMHC are either uncomfortable or just not very practiced at giving on the tongue, so I will use my hands for the EMHC in most cases.

    To be rather blunt, the key to me is to try to be as reverent as possible either way. It doesn’t make much difference, both are approved by the Church, both have at least some historical backing, and both allow for real reverence when done right. The trouble I have is in getting both the mechanics and the interior part of reverence right. I find that worrying about the practical part makes the spiritual part harder. So I do what will cause the least amount of worry for myself or the minister for the most part.

  78. Joan M says:

    “Most of the problems I see are because the priest or whoever turns the hand, instead of the thumb being on top of the Host, they turn it so the index finger is on top and that really screws everything up, excuse my choice of words. ”

    I beg to differ. When I was trained to be an EMHC, many years ago (I only did it for about 3 years), the training was the index finger on top, which means that, after showing the Host while saying “the Body of Christ”, it is necessary to turn the hand. While placing the Host on the tongue, you slide the thumb (now underneath) back. This places the Host firmly on the tongue without any part of your finger or thumb touching either the lips or tongue of the recipient.

    The only person I had trouble with was one particular lady who would clamp her lips shut very fast, usually trapping my index finger between her lips when she did this!

    The EMHC’s from whom I receive on the tongue and have no problems with unwitting touching all do it this way. The ones who cause me a problem are those who either stick both their index finger and thumb into my mouth (whether the index finger is on top or below) without withdrawing the one on the bottom while placing the Host on the tongue, or hold the Host with not just index finger and thumb but also middle finger, thus making 3 fingers in the mouth!!

  79. priest up north says:

    Here’s a knee jerk reaction: mainly because I have not read all the comments:

    Is the problem with communion on the tongue? Or: Is the problem that the training of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion is lacking in some places.
    Even more knee jerk – is the problem with the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in the first place?

    I realize my own “filter” (that the use of EMHCs has become less about aiding in distributing communion in a timely way and more about “empowering people…”) is a key reason to my reaction. Yet, I do not see anything in her words that goes against these questions. Furthermore, having been made aware of some of the correspondence that eventually led to the use of EMHCs (as printed in the volume printed I believe by Liturgical Press called “Documents on the Liturgy [the years escape me, but it is basically post-conciliar documents up to about 1980]”) wherein Bishop Francis Schenk, the bishop of the Diocese of Duluth in the 1950s and 60s pleads that we need EMHCs so that communion is not unduly prolonged…(in the Diocese of Duluth all the parishes, with only about a half-dozen exceptions – are all smaller than 1000 families). I find Bishop Schenk’s plea laughable.
    Hence – I don’t think this is a Communion on the tongue or on the hand issue – but fully revolves around WHO is distributing Holy Communion.

  80. bookworm says:

    Stephen Matthew, I think you have a very good approach to the whole matter.

    There is a passage in C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” in which Screwtape and Wormwood discuss what kind of (Anglican) church Wormwood’s “patient” should be encouraged to attend. Screwtape goes on to say that “we have quite removed from men’s minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach… that the human without scruples should always give in to the human with scruples. You would almost expect to see the “low” church member genuflecting and crossing himself lest his “high” brother be tempted to irreverence, and his “high” brother refraining from those exercises lest his “low” brother be tempted to idolatry. And so it would have been except for our ceaseless labour.”

    If we applied the same principle to the two methods of receiving Communion, we would have persons who normally receive in the hand start to receive on the tongue so that their more (for lack of a better word) conservative bretheren are not scandalized or hurt by apparent irreverence; but we might also see persons who normally receive on the tongue switching to reception in the hand at times when insisting on the first method would cause significant inconvienience or embarrassment to others .

    In this way the different methods of receiving Communion in our Church would become a “hotbed of charity and humility” instead of a shibboleth for determining who is a “real” Catholic and who is not. It isn’t just the conservative/traditional sides that use it as a shibboleth, I know — there are plenty of more liberal Catholics who are eager to label people who receive on the tongue in a certain way.

  81. bookworm says:

    And before I forget, Merry Christmas to everyone!!

  82. catholicmidwest says:

    If “lay ministers” in your area are so incompetent that they can’t hit your mouth properly, then you have a choice: Get in the priest’s line. Get up and walk over there. “Lay ministers” shouldn’t be handing out Holy Communion anyway and you don’t have to put up with their incompetence. It’s just that simple.

  83. MJ says:

    I’m an EF-attender, but have been to several OF Masses…I’ve always knelt on the floor (no communion rail) and received on my tongue. I always got in the line the priest was distributing to (even if it meant scooting across an isle).

    Just personal preference…but if I couldn’t receive from a priest and I couldn’t receive on the tongue, I’d get up off my knees, shake my head “no”, and walk back to my pew.

    I’d rather not receive than receive in my hands from a Eucharistic minister.

  84. AnAmericanMother says:


    I was thinking of the same passage from Screwtape. Good catch.

    In our home parish, I’ve worked things out with the EMHC . Only when we have extra priests on hand (as will probably be the case at Midnight Mass tonight) will a priest come up to the choir loft, so I had a very cordial chat with the EMHC to make sure she knew I would genuflect and receive on the tongue, and that she was O.K. with that. She appreciated the heads up, nobody is surprised, everybody is happy.

    When we travel, I try to assess the situation and if it’s going to make a scene I receive in the hand. But I’m noticing more and more that people (whether priests or EMHCs) are not fussing or complaining. The last time I got ugly looks or hissed instructions (from a priest no less) was 2-3 years ago now. Even when we were in the Diocese of Richmond last Thanksgiving, hardly a hotbed of orthodoxy, I received on the tongue without incident (and so did several other people). The genuflexion does give the priest or EMHC a hint of what’s coming, so that may be helpful generally.

    I don’t handle the Host, though — it was the practice in my former denomination (high Episcopal) to convey the hand to the mouth and apply the tongue directly to ones palm without picking Him up with the fingers. This not only decreases the chance of dropping or contaminating, it also solves the problem of fragments on the palm of the hand – they stay in place and adhere to the tongue rather than spilling around or staying on the hand.

  85. Mike says:

    Couple points:

    1. I like to receive from a priest or deacon. For some reason, if I have to receive from a lay person, I go to the pious old lady who seems in awe of what she is doing.

    2. I am visiting family in South Carolina, and it seems they have a similar issue with lay persons in the sanctuary as we do in Md. (Although Charleston has some great Traditionally-minded parishes.) I almost think this sometimes holds–if a person walks by the Tabernacle and barely gives a bow, then that person is likely one of the EM’s in the parish! Sadly, I am only half-joking.

    3. I wonder if poorly trained lay extraordinary ministers are part of what I call the Happy Usher Syndrome, afflicting parishes. Here is SC a clearly kindly man kisses, shakes hands, or gives a little back rub to everyone he “lets” into the aisle for Communion. I am tempted to feel ornery like a character from a Flannery O’Connor story, but usually just shake the guy’s hand, sans eye contact, and make my way to the Lord.

  86. Mike says:

    My last post reminds me of an awesome tee-shirt:

    There are three kinds of people: those that are good at math, and those that aren’t. :)

  87. Titus says:

    I don’t read Mrs. Bean’s column religiously, but my impression has always been that she is quite cogent and insightful. This only makes what strikes me as a somewhat silly response seem sillier.

    But more fundamentally, how incompetent can the EMHCs be? Apparently the answer is “shockingly so.” A priest (requiescat in aeternum) who once served at my childhood parish had an extensive taxonomy of incorrect ways to receive Holy Communion. It seems he should have developed one for defective distribution as well.

    But competent oversight can fix problems like this. A short, deferential, and polite note to the pastor, rector, or sacristan should yield good results. It has for me in a similar situation.

  88. irishgirl says:

    I don’t know what happened to my comment…perhaps the length of it?
    Here it goes again: I go to the EF Mass exclusively now; but when I did go to the OF Mass, I was sometimes ‘drafted’ as an EMHC…not often, thank God. But when I distributed the Host, I would hold It up to the communicant by the tips of my thumb and index finger, then turn It around and place It on either the tongue or hand of the communicant. I remembered the example of a priest I once knew, how he gave Communion.
    Going to the EF Mass, the priest is well trained: his fingers don’t even touch the tongue of the communicants when he distributes the Host. I just remember to ‘close the eyes, tilt the head back, tongue out and resting on the under lip’ (instructions in my old St. Joseph Sunday Missal).
    Only a few times on retreats was I ever ‘forced’ to receive in the hands. For the most part, both at home and when traveling overseas (Europe and Canada) I was always able to receive on the tongue. I’ve had no glares from priests ‘ordering’ me to receive in the hand.

  89. nanetteclaret says:

    I always receive on the tongue and usually do the following: after bowing while the person in front of me is receiving, I then step up to the priest and while he is saying “The Body of Christ,” I cross myself. I have usually finished with that by the time he finishes saying “The Body of Christ,” so I say “Amen,” then close my eyes and tilt my head back with my mouth open. This seems to work, since if my eyes are closed and my hands are folded, the priest can’t stuff the Host in them. The only time it didn’t work is when I crossed myself and waited for the priest to say “The Body of Christ.” He didn’t, so I opened my eyes and must have had a shocked look on my face. He hissed at me to open my mouth wider, so of course I did. I guess the fact that I was wearing a chapel veil clued him in that I would receive on the tongue. My husband was in line following me and he stuffed the Host into his hands, even though he tried to open his mouth to recieve that way. I was so shocked by the whole experience that I wrote a letter to the Bishop. I made it clear that we did not live in his diocese and that I was just bringing it to his attention. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when he never answered my letter.

  90. MargaretC says:

    I switched to receiving on the tongue, partly as a result of discussions on this blog. I haven’t had any problems for the most part — some EMHCs are more adept at it than others, but I’ve had no accidents. The priests at the Cathedral are pretty nimble, if given a decent sense of the communicant’s intentions. Last Sunday I was pleased to see our priest successfully give communion, in the hand, on the tongue, and to one young man who knelt to receive. No hesitation, no problems.

    The closest thing to an awkward incident occurred last Easter, when I received communion from our Archbishop. I’m not an Amazon by any means, but our Archbishop is short. I wished I could have knelt at the altar rail, and I think he probably did, too.

  91. B Knotts says:

    EMHCs must be abolished. Their use creates many more problems and much more confusion than it solves.

    Yes, distribution of Holy Communion would take longer. Would it be so bad if people had to kneel or sit quietly for more than three minutes?

    My wife recently went to Mass with our children at a hospital chapel. There were a total of perhaps forty people, yet an EMHC was nevertheless used. My 8-year-old son approached to receive, and only being familiar with receiving on the tongue, was given a blessing by the EMHC. He had to then go into the other line and receive from the priest, who almost did the same.

  92. AJP says:

    I do the same as this woman – receive on the tongue from the priest or deacon, but in the hands from EMHC. My parish is small, so usually the EMHC’s administer the Precious Blood, while the priest and deacon administer the Host. When visiting an unfamiliar parish, I try to sit in the seats closest to the center aisle – that is usually where the priest will administer. I wonder if the woman who wrote the article could try this at her parish? It might solve the problem, unless her priest distributes communion from a different unpredictable place each week, has a problem with administering communion on the tongue, or – heaven forbid – is one of those priests who sits in the sanctuary while EMHC’s take care of communion.

  93. Allan S. says:

    I, too, now receive more often in the hand. Due to many medications, I have “dry mouth” (i.e. no saliva). Nothing will “stick” to my tongue. I’ve had many hosts drop onto the floor, and once right back into the ciborium! It’s just too hard and I don’t need another thing to worry about.

    So I gave up and receive in the hand. Sorry.

  94. QMJ says:

    Andrew and Dr. Eric,

    Fr. Basil is not diminishing the real distinction between the universal priesthood and the ministerial priesthood. He is simply pointing out that the priest’s hands being anointed with oil and cleansed with water is irrelevant in regards to whether one should receive on the tongue or in the hand. I receive on the tongue because that is the most reverent way to receive our Lord. The hands from which I am receiving Him does not change this. His point about the lack of anointing of the priest’s hands during ordination in the Byzantine rite is valid. Dr. Eric, if you were at Divine Liturgy would you insist on receiving in the hand because the priest’s hands had not been consecrated with oil during his ordination? I also may be incorrect about this, but I don’t recall the priest having his hands cleansed with water during Divine Liturgy either. Should people receive in the hand because of this?

    On another note, it is atrocious that EMHCs are not properly trained and it is an epidemic problem. I count myself as blessed to always receive on the tongue and to have not had an issue yet, but there have been plenty of times when I could see the awkwardness of distributing on the tongue for the EMHC.

  95. FredM says:

    @B Knotts – What kind of blessing can a EMHC give? I’ve seen that happen at my parish and I’ve wondered what they were doing.

  96. paxetbonum says:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but for me the key issue in method of reception is the near-universal lack at OF Masses of servers assisting in the communion of the faithful by holding patens under the chins of communicants. I have only been to one parish, and one college chapel in the last 20 years where paten-bearing servers consistently assisted priests, deacons, and EMHCs to distribute Holy Communion at OF Masses.

    For me, the issue is simple. I attend Holy Mass in the EF on Sundays and Holy Days, where I receive on the tongue, kneel at an altar rail, and a server ALWAYS assists with a paten, so COTH is not an issue (I have never seen a communicant at a TLM “demand their rights” to receive on the hand, although I suppose it is theoretically possible). When I attend Holy Mass in the OF, where invariably paten-holding servers are not employed, I always receive in the hand, since I have little confidence that either the ordained Eucharistic Ministers or the lay EMHCs will be able to reliably and reverently give me COTT, especially in a standing posture. I consider that when I fold my hands prayerfully, receive the Body of Christ on my upper hand, and then move my lower hand to and reverently and carefully administer Holy Communion to myself using my upper hand as a substitute paten, I am forced to do this in order to do my utmost to prevent profanation in the absence of a paten. When I receive COTH at an OF Mass, I always stand, since that posture seems more likely to insure safe and successful transfer of the Body of Christ onto my hand. I do, however, make it a point to do a pronounced, unhurried genuflection, with a profound bow of my head, as my pre-communion reverence instead of the currently common minimal bob of the head.

    If priests would utilize servers with patens, COTT and the kneeling posture might begin to flourish once again in our churches.

  97. frjosh says:

    As a priest of six months, I’ve found that 100% of my “accidents” come from folks receiving on the tongue. I should also note that I routinely distribute in the extraordinary form, with 0 accidents on the job.

    But here’s the real reason there are problems like the one the woman describes: within the context of the extraordinary form, people don’t know how to properly receive.

    Instead of coming forward, standing still, and opening their mouth with a little horizontal tongue presented, you get a variety of poses. I’ve given all of these names, everything from the “Gene Simmons” (full tongue) to the “California Condor,” (where the individual swoops in at you). Then there are the “Guppies” who receive with their lips, or the “Labrador Retrievers” who snatch with their teeth.

    These scenarios are extremely unsettling, because sometimes you’re fighting the force of gravity (which I’ve more or less mastered, due to dryness of the host), or you’re trying to hit a moving target without getting a finger slurped.

    In the extraordinary form, nobody tends to move. Something about the altar rail keeps them centered, and it’s easy to hit the mark.

    So, take it from one priest who has already seen his fair share of problems: don’t move and there won’t be an issue.

  98. Hidden One says:

    In a parish where kneeling to receive might cause major problems, I’ve managed to serve some daily Masses… I simply stay kneeling where I am, the EMHC detours over to me, and there’s no problem.

  99. If EMHCs are disgusted by communicants who receive on the tongue, then maybe that is an additional reason to receive on the tongue rather than on the hand. Perhaps this will lead to the resignation of greater numbers of EMHCs, and ultimately their disappearance. (I contend, incidentally, that EMHCs do not save time: giving a legion of EMHCs Communion before distributing to the congregation uses up whatever time, if any, is saved by having a legion of EMHCs distribute Communion.)

    The passage from Theodore of Mospsuestia is cited over and over again to justify Communion on the hand. But surely the fact that something was done in the 4th Century is not a sufficient reason to do it now. Some practices that prevailed during the Church’s infancy were due to exigencies that no longer exist (e.g., the Roman persecutions). Besides, reviving ancient practices just because they were done in ancient times would fail to take into account centuries of development in the Church’s understanding of public revelation, the content of which is so immense that we will never unpack it all even if we live until the end of time.

  100. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Josh,
    That’s because people who receive on the tongue usually have to teach themselves in front of a mirror. I’m a convert and was not taught to receive on the tongue and so did not for years after my conversion. I receive exclusively on the tongue now.

    The trick is, as you say, you have to stop and stand still, open up and extend your tongue enough so the priest has a safe place to put the host. Then wait for that half second for him to get his fingers out of the way calmly and safely before closing your mouth. After a while, it becomes second nature to do the mechanics and you move on to concentrating on WHOM you’re receiving, which is the point. (except in the case that you get an EMHC who doesn’t know how to do this……)

  101. nola catholic says:

    I typically receive always on the tongue. However, occasionally, I do wish to receive the Eucharist when I am very sick with a cold, so out of concern for the priest or EMHC (I try to always receive from a priest if possible) I receive in the hand. Having seen the pictures Fr. Z posted with the black glove test, (i.e. crumbs of the Eucharist remain in the hand after being picked up and placed in the mouth) I usually put my hand to my mouth and discreetly lick off any potential separated pieces and further examine my hand afterwards. I am doing this in an attempt to ensure that no part of the Eucharist is profaned but also to help prevent getting others sick. Is this inappropriate to do during mass, and should I simply receive on the tongue even if I am sick?

  102. catholicmidwest says:

    Nola Catholic,
    This is, I believe a rehash of other threads, but the idea that you are preventing the spread of germs by using your hands is completely erroneous. Most people with colds touch their noses repeatedly without realizing it, so before you ever get up to get in the Holy Communion line, your hands are completely contaminated with cold virus. Many EMHCs press the host into the hands of each communicant, so you are picking up viruses and germs from the hands of everyone before you in line, and everyone behind you is getting yours–if you use your hands…..

    And remember, a lot of people don’t wash their hands in the bathroom. Gah.

  103. robtbrown says:

    My sad experience is that because of Communion in the hand, many priests have simply not been trained to put the host on the tongue. And so they use the fore finger on top method, like they’re putting a coin in the old vending machine. This makes it largely irrelevant how I stick out my tongue. Those using this method try to flick the host in the mouth as if they’re shooting a rubber band (I hope this gives them no ideas). Dime sized hosts increase the difficulty.

    IMHO, the best method is with the thumb on top. As the thumb presses the host on the tongue, the fore finger slides away, so neither the thumb nor any finger touches the Communicant’s tongue.

    Quarter sized hosts also help.

  104. Alice says:

    When I was teaching, my co-workers who served as EMHC at school Mass were woefully untrained and I finally just gave up and received in the hand if I didn’t end up in the priest’s line. Outside of this, I haven’t really had any trouble with the ministers not knowing what to do. Some of our EMHC actually prefer to receive on the tongue themselves! What I do have trouble with is saying “Amen” and getting my mouth back open to receive. Whoever decided that the communicant needed to say “Amen” needs to get some extra time in Purgatory. (Or maybe I should offer my annoyance up for his soul.) :P

  105. letchitsa1 says:

    My thoughts as I read this were the same as at least one Fr. Z expressed – where’s the pastor? I’m not surprised by the letter though. In this area – we had a parish that up until a couple of years ago was known for it’s kumbaya-style masses at daily mass in which everyone stood in a circle around the altar and communion was passed from priest to lay person to lay person to lay person until it had made its way around the circle and back to the priest.

    Where’s the pastor? Maybe he’s probably like the priest I had the unpleasant experience of dealing with a few months back. I went to receive on the tongue from him only to have him place the host and his fingers up to his knuckles in my mouth – like he was trying to place the host down my throat for me. Naturally, by instinct, I gagged, so I closed my mouth to keep the host from falling out. In the process of doing so – I remember feeling his knuckles on his two fingers scrape over my teeth, and I could taste the hand sanitizer for literally hours afterwards. His reaction? He makes a big deal of having to wipe his hand afterwards, implication “we wouldn’t have this problem if you would just receive “properly” on the hand like everybody else.” Well, I’m sorry, but if you stick your hand actually in the person’s mouth – you deserve what you get. Be thankful you weren’t bitten. I thought about doing battle over this one, but to me it is easier to just go to a parish where the priests are more reverent with regards to the Eucharist, especially since there are a number of places much closer anyways.

    So where’s the pastor? Sadly, it may well be that he is, at least as regards to this subject, what we in the military would have called AWOL – absent without leave. Thank God the newer priests coming out of the seminaries these days seem to be more orthodox and less hippie liberal when it comes to the mass.

  106. benedetta says:

    Where I am it is not EMHC or even Eucharistic Ministers but, the mush more illustrious honorific of Ministers of Communion. Thus a whole new clerical class of lay people has been created…out of virtually thin air?

  107. As many others I do not want to create a scene and have always dreaded being the center of attention. However, in good conscience I cannot receive in the hands and without kneeling (unless there is a serious reason not to). Yet everytime I received so (on the tongue without genuflecting- merely crossing or bowing) I felt as if I was denying our Lord in a certain sense for I was not doing it out of love of God but fear of men. Fear of what they would think, what I could lose, of offending others, of misunderstanding and the list goes on. I have displeased some priests and perhaps others. However, I have been encouraged by others and sometimes from the most unexpected quarters which would have been impossible if I had not acted in faith. In the end when we receive our Lord in a licit manner and with the proper disposition then it is not a matter of what anyone thinks but Jesus. It is really not that complicated. Perhaps we may lose the good opinion of others or misunderstandings arise but if they occur because we are worshipping God then we are doing all that is humanly possible- God expects no more. One of the virtues of many saints was simplicity of heart. Sometimes when we try to please everyone we end up pleasing no one- not even God. If we become a laughingstock or thought of as a fool or even worse misunderstood then we gain merit in heaven and please God since we were only trying to honor Him in the best way we know. Unfortunately I have had a priest drop a Host- I merely waited for him to pick it up and then receive it(thankfully that is the proper way though I didn’t know back then). I was in sort of in shock and didn’t know what to do. Both of us were embarrassed- neither expected it to happen. My intent was not to dishonor God so I don’t believe He was displeased with my action or I committed sacrilege. We don’t know the future and can only do our best. Worrying excessively about it solves nothing. Accidents happen with reception in either manner (though usually much less with reception on the tongue, alter rails, patens, etc). I think the primary concern should be what can we do to honor our Lord and not the concerns about other people’s perceptions- even if it means some sacrifices. Personally if I must receive from an EMHC I will kneel and receive on the tongue also. After all we are worshipping our Lord- not the priest or the minister. Perhaps EMHCs may to hand the “job” back to the priest if they feel uncomfortable. Thankfully I usually attend a local TLM so I don’t usually have to deal with such issues often. Though as someone pointed out receiving Holy Communion is not always an obligation.

    While I believe receiving in the hand was a regrettable concession due to the rebellious nature of some dissdents years ago I don’t believe most people are aware of the modern origins of the practice and most likely do so with a clean conscience (at least it is not my job to judge why they do it). All I know is they know have permission to licitly do so. That is enough for me- though having understood just a tiny bit of the doctrine of the Real Presence I can not really grasp the theological reasons why a Latin Rite Catholic would want to do so. The only theological arguments I have ever heard are something about the dignity of man- though at that point our primary concern should be the dignity of God so I can’t see the logic of it- that is from an orthodox view point. The only other arguments I have ever heard are people orientated. What will so an so think or what if so and so is offended, etc. Then the other one in which scruples come into play (such as what will happen if they drop the Host- usually something entirely out of our control). These often seem legitimate but God doesn’t hold us accountable to what ifs but only to what we do and our intent. If it becomes an issue talk to the EMHC, priest or just find another parish where your children can have a proper example set. Knowing the origins of the receiving in the hand I personally want no part of it and its fruits, nor do I desire it perpetuate it by example. Of course those who are unable to due to medical reasons, etc may have no choice in the matter.

  108. catholicmidwest says:

    We have the same thing here. Some of the more pompous ones even believe it’s some kind of Vocation (big V) to be a “Lay Minister of Communion.” And then they nearly run over you in the parking lot as usual as soon as Mass ends.

  109. Patti Day says:

    I realize this thread isn’t about EMHC’s primarily, but I wanted to say that after reading the 100+ comments here I have come to a decision. I have served as an EMHC about once a month for the past 18 mos. I was away from the church for years before returning a little over two years ago. When my pastor first asked me to serve, I told him I didn’t feel worthy. He said if you are in a state of grace and worthy to receive, you are worthy to be an EMHC. Your parish needs you. There was no formal training. I was told to watch what the others did. I read instructive literature on larger parishes’ websites to see what was expected of an EMHC and looked at videos on You Tube and pictures and descriptions on the internet. This may give scandal to some or serve as ammunition against the practice . That’s not my intention, but I want to say frankly how it was for me.

    I felt that serving as an EMHC was a grave responsibility, but never did I think that I was special, had somehow been recognized as being holier, or that I was placed above another. I was profoundly touched to be allowed to hold the Chalice containing the Precious Blood and to have a role, however minute, in bringing Our Lord to His people. Maybe this sounds pompous or overly pious, but it’s meant sincerely.

    Around the same time I began to look at every Catholic website I could find to learn as much as I could about my rediscovered faith, and was drawn to any thread where EMHC was discussed. Over many months I became aware that a sizeable majority of Catholics, at least those who post in forums, have serious issues with the practice, and I began to question whether I was/am contributing to a seriously divisive issue that perhaps even our own priests and bishops don’t recognize. The story and comments here have helped me make a decision that I have been struggling with to discontinue to serve as an EMHC and to consider whether the practice, however well intentioned, is being widely abused or whether it may even cause harm. I would appreciate your prayers.

  110. No doubt Patti there are many devout souls who are EMHCs of which I believe you are one. Having said that the movement was begun in theological dissent. It was intended to “empower” the laity and to obscure the lines between the priesthood and the laity.The intent was to “desacralize” the sacraments. Of course many are not aware of the trends and the history behind EMHCs and communion in the hand. There are devout souls who do so because they were taught that it is pious. I think people need to remember that and not judge others severely. Unfortunately it is now much abused and partially due to the idea that to make people feel included they need a part “up front.” Sadly we have lost the concepts of complementary roles and distinctions. Just because men and women are equal doesn’t mean they are interchangeable or the same. Rather they complement each other. It is the same in the Church. Instead of more EMHCs we need more men and women to take the time and interest in those who are struggling or to accompany our Lord in Gesthemene during Adoration. Sadly while we have an overabundance of EMHCs these days many former ministries which bore so much good fruit in the past have been neglected. Our young people need mentors and guides who are soundly catechized. Parishes should seek to span the generational gaps and instead of catering to activities which only attract one age group and seek to meld everyone into a true Christian community. Virtually no one is doing this and thus the young are easily deceived (though they think they know better usually) and the elderly often left without companionship, etc. Instead we have legions of EMHCS and committees to run ever shrinking parishes. Everyone is told they need to be a general and no one wants to be an private. Obviously it is difficult to accomplish much in such an army. If it wasn’t for our Lord’s assurance that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church we would have been destroyed a long time ago. God bless and keep.

  111. Patti Day says:

    The intent was to “desacralize” the sacraments.

    I was aware of the word ‘desacralize’ used in context with the closing of a church, but not as it’s been used here. That sounds terrible. Why would we try to make the sacraments less hallowed?

    I suppose this is not the venue for discussion, but I would appreciate if you would direct me to more information on the subject. Sadly we only have Adoration on First Fridays and if there are more than three people in attendance for the one hour, I consider it a crowd.

  112. profcarlos says:

    Well, unless it is the only single one chance of receiving Communion and Easter time is ending, it would be simply better not to receive Communion than to receive it from an Extraordinary Minister that is not licitly being employed (or is the priest very sick, or several busloads of communicants have unexpectedly showed up? Apart from that, it is not licit to employ Extraordinary Ministers). We *have* to receive Communion once a year, by Easter. More than that is great, but not at the cost of participating in an illicit act. And if there is no priest who will give communion where we live, it is always possible to travel a bit once a year to fulfill the precept.

    The trick is to look for the priest. If the priest prefers to leave his priestly duty of giving Communion to someone who should not be doing it and remains sitting, I just don’t get up, praying an act of spiritual communion instead.

    If the priest is giving communion and denies to give it properly, I usually just remain there, on my knees, hands together and mouth open, until he gives up. Once a Liberation Theology priest, who used half a coconut to hold the particles, refused to give me communion on the tongue. I said, quite loudly (albeit not above the awful singing, drums, and out-of-tune guitars), “father, I beg your mercy”, and opened my mouth again. He relented, but after Communion the whole church was subjected to a 30+ minutes vituperation of people who are lost in time and do not know that nobody should ever get on one’s knees, especially not in church. :)

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