From a reader:
Today at Mass, a visiting retired priest sat down after communion and proceeded to admonish those of us who receive the Holy Communion on the tongue saying that we should cease to do so because it is unsanitary especially in flu season. I felt quite dejected after this and wondered why he would feel it necessary to do so…at a parish he is simply visiting because one of our parish priests is gone. What are your thoughts about the health issues of receiving on the tongue? He represents my spiritual father, but I wonder what my responsibility is to obey him.
Firstly, what he said was absurd. However, it is a good moment to remind people how to receive well directly on the tongue. I can’t do better than this great old graphic from an old, dependable catechism.
Mind you, in different parts of the world there are slightly different customs, such as taking the Host with the teeth. I don’t think that a very good practice. If you put your tongue out, and stay still, the priest has a good target. He will know how to place the Host on your tongue without touching you.
You don’t have to reach with your tongue for your chin, like that oddball in that ridiculous big-hair rock band. Just put out enough so the priest has a good target surface. And stay still.
Also, if the visiting priest did that on his own, without consulting with the true parish priest, then he overstepped himself. It has always been cold and flu season.
Also, Redemptionis Sacramentum 92 reiterates your right to receive on the tongue.
Lastly, and most important, don’t be dejected. These are times we have been given. Turning the sock inside out, you have been given to these times. God wants us to be active now. You were given an opportunity to be, in this Church Militant, on the “front line” for a moment. This is not a matter for dejection. This is a matter to feel honored but the experience of the ongoing struggle for reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.
Go the next step now.
Pray and fast for that priest. Make some act of reparation.