I’m in a Novus Ordo Parish . Our assistant pastor recently announced that he would only give communion on the tongue and his extraordinary minister was instructed to do the same.
A woman insisted on the hand and she went back to her pew without receiving because the priest (or extraordinary minister, don’t know which) the priest had announced (or EM, told) that ONLY on the tongue at his masses. Somebody complained (perhaps, herself) to the Pastor and he did not back up the assistant pastor.
What led to this (I just found out from the man that assists with the paten at his masses) was that the priest saw a woman place the Blessed Sacrament in her purse and the priest had the man assisting him to follow her and make her receive or bring back the purse. She told the man that she was sending the Host to her son in Pakistan. Also Hosts have been found on the floor and stepped on and Hosts have been found between the pages of the missals.
It is now, against the priest’s conscience to give on the hand. He fears for the desecration of Our Lord.
In discussing this with another priest, … I was told that there is a clause (somewhere) about a priest allowed to insist on Communion on the tongue if it is against his conscience.
My QUESTION is: Where can I find this ruling in order to help this assistant priest?
He is suffering much for going against his conscience.
Should he follow his conscience (Pope Francis says we should, huh?) or should he follow the pastor’s lack of understanding.
First, this pertains to the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form. Communion in the hand is not allowed at the Extraordinary Form. (Yet another reason for more Masses in the Extraordinary Form…. but I digress).
Also, HERE the link to a response, published a while back in Notitiae (the official publication the Congregation for Divine Worship) that aims at the heart of this matter. The original question in Notitiae asked whether a priest (or other minister), in a place where communion in the hand was permitted, can prohibit the faithful from receiving on the tongue and receive only on the hand. The Congregation answers that question in the negative, but then goes on to say: “The priest celebrant, is not to give communion in the hand of the faithful if there is present danger of sacrilege…”
This response, which doesn’t seem to be the same as a law, leaves the determination up to the priest saying Mass on a case by case basis. It would be wrong for an associate pastor to announce a universal policy against communion in the hand: he does not have an office which permits him to “set policy,” and he should act in coordination with the pastor.
Also, in the authoritative document Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 we read:
Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
Sounds familiar, right?
Redemptionis Sacramentum is a juridic document, it lays down the law, it is in AAS 96/9, pp. 549ff, and it was approved by the Supreme Pontiff who ordered that it be obeyed. It has not been superseded.
In individual circumstances, if the priest (or Extraordinary minister, I suppose) believes there is a real danger of profanation, it the Holy See would surely back him up in prohibiting someone from receiving in the hand.
I can see refusing to give Holy Communion in the hand to a woman whom Father has seen put a Sacred Host in her purse. He would be within his rights (and it is, in fact, his responsibility) to make sure any and all who receive Holy Communion in the hand consume the host in his presence. The law backs him up. But he needs prudence and knowledge to deal with the situation.
That said, an associate should have spoken with the pastor before announcing a “policy” that he doesn’t have the authority to implement.
Of course this is all reason #10 for Summorum Pontificum, isn’t it.