COVID-1984 UPDATE: Doctors say Communion on the tongue while kneeling is safer than Communion on the hand

First, retired Polish Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, said that bishops who force people to receive Communion on the hand are going to “end up in Hell”. HERE

For a person to wind up in Hell he has to have committed a mortal sin. For a sin to be a mortal sin for which one has culpability, the matter has to be grave, the person has to know it is wrong, and then go ahead and do it anyway, or else counsel it to be done, force others to do it, etc. There are NINE ways to share in the guilt of another.

Everything having to do with the Eucharist and Communion is serious, so sins involving the same would be grave because of their matter.

As far as knowledge is concerned, bishops today are men of their age. It is likely that some of them had really bad seminary formation. However, they spent time as priests, during which time their priestly vocation obliged them to inform themselves about all things central to their vocation. Bishops must do the same. Priests and bishops cannot easily claim ignorance as a defense when it comes to knowing that certain things are sinful. Their ignorance is culpable.

Furthermore, it is beyond the authority of an individual bishop to prohibit Communion on the tongue. And yet some do this anyway, with the excuse of “public health”. They simply get away with the ultra vires imposition of their will because the flock has so little power to fight back.

As we’ve been saying…

From LifeSite:

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

‘From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral communion has been banned in Austria. We also consider this form of distribution safer than hand communion.’

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was announced to be the only permitted form of distribution for the consecrated Host.


They went on to show in substance that in the traditional Catholic liturgy – that is, the Tridentine Rite of the Mass – barrier measures to prevent spreading the coronavirus are even more widely present than in the Novus Ordo, as when the priest is required to hold thumb and forefinger joined together from the moment he has consecrated the bread, only using them to touch the Host from then on until the moment when he once again purifies his hands.


The doctors commented that “the priests who celebrate in the traditional rite are experienced in administering oral communion and practically never have contact with the mouth of the communicant. Should this happen, however, a priest can be credited with such a sense of responsibility that, taking into account the present situation, he will interrupt the giving of communion and clean his hands.”

They also noted that when the faithful kneel to receive Communion, contamination by droplets is less likely because the priest’s face is not at the same level as that of the communicant.

“From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral communion has been banned in Austria. We also consider this form of distribution safer than hand communion,” the doctors wrote. They also underscored that most contaminations are the result of sullied hands, quoting Dr. Boscia, who wrote in May: “What is certain is that the hands are the parts of the body that are most exposed to pathogens.”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. GypsyMom says:

    My mother has been attending daily Mass for over 40 years, dragging herself out of bed every day in all kinds of bad weather, and now with extremely painful, debilitating crushed vertebrae. Her priest announced he will only give Communion in the hand, something she had never done. She still tried, though, and he forced her hands open on two occasions. She presented him with documentation affirming the right of the faithful to receive on the tongue, as well as diocesan directives about reopening also affirming that. When she presented herself for Communion at the next Mass, he again denied her in front of the congregation and told her not to come back to him. This woman, who could not be kept from daily Mass for almost as long as her pastor has been alive, has now stopped attending. and is dealing with depression as a result. I have wanted to write to him about
    this, perhaps to the diocese, but my mother does not want me to do so, because it may get him in trouble or make her a target of parish gossip.

  2. Reason and rational thinking has been tossed out the window these days; it’s all about emotions, feelings, politics, and raw power. Even if 1,000 doctors signed such a letter, they would be ignored at best and persecuted at worst. Maybe if 1,000 protesters crowded around the chancery with giant picket signs, something might be done. The only thing I can suggest for those who are absolutely opposed to communion on the hand is just don’t do it and vote with your feet if possible.

  3. Joy1985 says:

    But it is about obedience even as lay people. IF the Bishop/Priest is doing wrong regarding this issue it is on him to answer to God for it. As a lay person if we do as our Bishop/Priest “orders” regarding this issue then we are not at fault. If we receive Our Lord in a state of Grace then we are doing what we should. If we feel so strongly about what the Bishop/Priest orders regarding this issue then we have a few choices:

    1.)We take it up with them personally (good place to start)
    2.)We no longer receive (except for once a year at Easter)
    3.)We contact their Superiors and inform them of the situation with proper official evidence to present to the Superior
    4.)We receive at another Parish that distributes Holy Communion in a manner that we are comfortable with
    5.)We don’t receive until this Covid 19 situation is over and things are back to “normal”

    Truly I understand the difference in receiving Our Lord in the hand and on the tongue. I understand the importance in the different ways of receiving Our Lord. Right now because of Covid we are, thankfully, able to receive while kneeling because our Priest bring us Holy Communion in our pews. I receive Our Lord on the tongue while kneeling. Some still stand and receive however they choose to. When things change back to us processing in line to the Priest to receive Our Lord I will receive Him on the tongue , while standing.

    I am just personally so thankful to be able to actively participate in Mass, to be able to go to Confession, to receive Our Lord again after 2 or more months of none of those being allowed. It isn’t about me it’s about God. I do what I am supposed to do and I leave the rest up to Him to sort out. The Priests and Bishops again have to answer for themselves. They are the ones ordained not me. God knows all and God sees all and God will judge all. That’s fine with me.

  4. rdb says:

    And, since the priest says everything, there is less chance a person will exhale while receiving.

  5. Here are the Archdiocese of Washington’s guidelines for receiving Communion on the tongue:

    If the minister of Communion touches the hand of a communicant, or if a communicant receives on the tongue, the minister is to place the ciborium on the corporal on the nearby table, taking care not to touch the ciborium with the hand used for distribution. The minister then removes any particles from his fingers using the purificator and thoroughly disinfects his hands before continuing with distribution….

    Those who wish to receive Communion on the tongue are asked to [go to a particular minister / wait until the end of Communion / etc.] to help us accommodate this preference. Although each person retains the right to receive on the tongue, the Centers for Disease Control have recommended against it; but more importantly, out of love for our brothers and sisters, and out of kind concern for the vulnerable and our sacred ministers, those who normally receive on the tongue are respectfully asked to consider receiving in the hand as a temporary measure. It is a legitimate practice attested to in our Catholic Tradition since the ancient Church. The minister will immediately disinfect his hands after each communicant who receives on the tongue, even if no physical contact is made.

    It is hard not to infer–perhaps unfairly–that the idea here is to make people who receive on the tongue feel guilty and to shame them via peer pressure and embarrassment into receiving in the hand. In my Dominican parish very few parishioners receive on the tongue, although all the Dominicans themselves do so–and so far our priests haven’t given tongue-receivers any trouble.

  6. NB says:

    I am angry and sorry for your mother.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    The problem, here, is that as laudable as the 21 doctor’s sentiments are, they, still, amount to speculation, without proof. For instance, the communicant is on another level than the priest while receiving on the tongue while kneeling, but not while standing, so the idea that there is less transfer via aspiration only applies kneeling. Receiving on the tongue does occur in the OF with either standing or kneeling, so their advice only applies in specific instances of receiving on the tongue. Also, people kneel for much longer periods that those who receive standing, so an aspiration plume forms in front of them.

    None of this is science. What should be done is to actually measure the transfer rates using some innocuous virus and viral assays. I have researched the literature, thoroughly, and such studies, while very straightforward, have never been done. They should be commissioned by bishop’s committees in order to settle the matter.

    It is, however, possible to calculate the transfer rates theoretically. It turns out that non-contact Communion on either the tongue or the hand is totally safe. Thus, the distinction of which is better is a theological one. Likewise, Communion with contact, but no virus present, is safe in both cases (for SARS-CoV-2). When the virus is present, however, it turns out that the situation bifurcates, with Communion in the hand being safer for the priest and Communion on the tongue being safer for the communicant. All things being equal, however, they swap 3 out of 4 scenarios, so, on average either method is about as safe, so again, which is better is a theological issue.

    I was sufficiently upset with all of the speculation, that I did something I may regret: I wrote a theoretical paper on the subject. I even did computer simulations. All of the numbers, from the best research we have (or I had, at the time), are included. It is a complicated theoretical treatment, but it does address all of the common scenarios. I have no idea where I could try to publish the thing. *It has not been peer-reviewed, yet, so, take it with that caveat.

    Should anyone want to look at the paper (all of the references are hyperlinked), I have posted it as a blog post on an occasional blog I set up to deal with arcane questions such as these, where various disciplines can be put to use for other disciplines. I am not very good with formatting blog posts, yet, so some of the formatting is inconsistent. Still, whether the paper is right or wrong, at least somebody tried something. At the moment, everybody else is just putting forth opinion. Yes, some opinions come from doctors, but they haven’t done any more research on the subject than anyone else, so their opinion is only a marginally more qualified opinion. Their appeal to history is unconvincing, because the germ theory of disease transmission is relatively new and opinions of the distant past, as to what were the safest ways to receive Communion from a scientific standpoint (not theological – that is a separate matter) were uninformed.

    In my opinion, from the standpoint of viral transmission, the situation is, basically, no different than before COVID-19. There is, practically speaking, no more safe way to receive Communion than before the onset of COVID-19. In my opinion, either on the tongue or in the hand are, on average (individual cases may vary) about as safe concerning SARS-CoV-2 and the ultimate best way to receive is, still, a matter of theology, not biology.

    In case anyone wants to look at the paper, it may be found, here:

    One thing that absolutely has to be done, in any case, is to teach priests and Communicants the best postures for receiving on the tongue. It will minimize contact and make receiving on the tongue the universally safest method. Until that happens, it is on average, about as safe as receiving in the hand.

    The Chicken

Comments are closed.