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Communion on the hand or on the tongue?

Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s book argues for reverence for the Eucharist and concentrates the mind wonderfully

By on Thursday, 24 February 2011

A priest handing out Communion at Mass

A priest handing out Communion at Mass

This is a question I had not thought about until recently: is it more reverent to receive Holy Communion standing and in the hand or kneeling and on the tongue? The reason I pose it is because I have just come across a most moving and scholarly little book that makes a powerful plea for the latter mode of reception. It is called Dominus Est – It is the Lord! by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who was the auxiliary bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan and is now the auxiliary of the Kazak capital Astana in Central Asia. (I add these geographical details because until I read the book I had not heard of Karaganda and although I had heard of Kazakhstan I had only the vaguest idea of its whereabouts.) It is available from Gracewing for £5. 99.

I guess that my question is a polarising one: on the one side are almost all the faithful who attend the Novus Ordo Mass; and on the other is the eloquent, passionate and often learned minority who attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I have friends in both camps but my own practice is to worship in our local parish church in the Ordinary Form. At the same time, I have always knelt to receive Communion on the tongue. Why? Because I could see no good reason to change the practice I had been taught as a child.

Reading Bishop Schneider makes me think that perhaps I was also clinging to the idea of a reverence that I did not think I would feel if I changed my custom. It so happens that I have rarely attended Mass where there have not been altar rails or at least a place to kneel and the priests I know have always made it clear that parishioners are free to choose either mode of reception.

Yet reading this book has concentrated the mind wonderfully, so much so that there now seems only one answer to the question I posed at the beginning of the blog. Bishop Schneider does not provide liturgical arguments in favour of the Extraordinary Form of Mass (though I suspect he is sympathetic to it); he simply asks, what is the reverence that is due to God at the supreme moment of our Communion with Him, and how do we properly show it? He begins with an affecting personal history: the story of three ‘Eucharistic women’, his mother, his great-aunt and a parishioner, all of who taught him by their example of “extraordinary love, care and the greatest reverence possible.”

The Schneider family, along with other German Catholics, were exiled after the war to central Asia. There they struggled to live their Catholic Faith, far from a priest, parish or church. A visiting priest once allowed the Bishop’s mother to have a consecrated Host to give to her dying mother; for this she wore new white gloves, held the Host with tweezers and burnt the envelope in which it had been kept. His great-aunt was allowed to retain a Host to display secretly for an hour’s adoration on the nine first Fridays of each month before reverently consuming it. The lady parishioner travelled several hundred miles every year to receive a pyx containing consecrated Hosts, which she would distribute on Sundays in her hidden ‘parish’ for 30 years.

In the second part of the book, the Bishop provides scholarly references to the Church Fathers and the saints concerning reception of Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue. He includes a quotation from Fr Faber while still an Anglican, deeply impressed by the sight of the Pope in the Church of St John Lateran in 1843, as he “descended from his throne and knelt at the foot of the altar…a scene more touching than I had ever seen before.”

The book’s preface is written by Bishop Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He writes: “It is now time to evaluate carefully the practice of Communion in the hand and if necessary to abandon what was never actually called for in the Vatican document, Sacrosanctum Consilium.”
Bishop Schneider himself concludes: “The Church must be reformed, starting with the Eucharist!”

There you have it; and I am at last able to give reasons for clinging to an old habit other than an inchoate sense that it was appropriate.

  • Martin

    I think I still prefer to put the Host in my own mouth, however in saying that, I am pretty relaxed about receiving it directly on the tongue.

    At the risk of over emphasising my original comments in regards to the tone of your previous statement, it is a shame that you justify yourself by overstating your position as a Great Sinner, a busy individual who doesn’t have much time for blogging and someone who prefers the cut and thrust of debate with those of a less sensitive hue.

    We are all sinners but we shouldn’t be using that as an excuse to justify something, Romans 8: 9 tells us that “we are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Holy Spirit, if the spirit of God lives in you”. For someone as articulate as yourself I am sure that you could chose to leave certain words out if you so desired, it actually reduces the strength of what you so passionately write about and to a degree, if offended , can lead to retaliation . What is the point of that?

    As to being busy, I am sure that there is always time to remove hurt? Better not to post anything than offend? (tell the truth by all means, I am referring to the extras that have nothing to do with the argument). As I stated earlier, a lot of your arguments are well thought through. The thing is, I currently wouldn’t recommend them to anyone as the tone (regardless of the content) is not that of a mature Christian and destroys what you write.

    As to being someone who enjoys the cut and thrust of debate with those of a less sensitive hue, then where does that leave those who would like to have discussion/gain some insight and voice their opinions without being savaged for their view point. We are called to instruct people gently. Telling the truth does not mean verbally bashing them. Surly you would agree? If you didn’t i would question your primary reasons for taking the positions you do, Are they to express solely your own conviction and make a name for yourself, or to teach. I would suggest that it is the latter.

    Personally I do not consider myself to be as sensitive as some. Being involved in almost every Military operation for the last 20 odd years has given me a lot of rough edges. I do however wish that i was a lot more sensitive than what i am, God willing i will be so.

    Please for the sake of the intelligence that you write with, match it with a gentler attitude. I won’t be making anymore comments on this topic as i have laid out my observation and its up to you with what you do with them. Thanks for reading them and hopefully not deleting them in rage! LOL. God Bless

  • Anonymous

    Martin,

    It seems that no amount of gentle persuasion would work with you at all, since, you are now telling us that you refuse to accept all the kindly worded posts on this blog, giving you the repeated teaching of the Church, including even the fact that current, otherwise very liberal, pope has made clear that he wants people to receive on the tongue (and kneeling). Despite having been given all of this information by others (not just nasty old me) in the most gentle and kind manner, you tell us that you are determined to do what you prefer yourself – Tradition and papal commendations go hang. So, that rather undercuts the rest of your post about more “gentle” comments being more effective.

    Interestingly, I note that you have been very harsh in your personal judgments about me. I don’t mind. I’m used to it. It is a feature of those who lecture me about my “lack of charity” and the “tone” of my comments, that they hesitate not one jot, to offer their personal opinion of me, usually with bells on. And they make, with respect, many of the same mistakes that you’ve made in your considered assessment of my character and spiritual state. For example, you presume that I am emotionally angry – your concluding jibe about me “hopefully not deleting (your comments) in rage” is very telling in that regard.

    People who know me well know that I have a very healthy sense of humour – you clearly do not share it, as evidenced by your interpretation of my use of the term, “Extraordinary Monsters” (which, incidentally, I stole from one of the most gentle bloggers you can imagine)

    Finally, I was not using my status as a sinner to “excuse” anything. You are not my confessor. I have no need to explain myself to you. I merely tried to explain the difference between true and false charity (which, like true and false obedience is a crucial distinction that we ought to know about) but I can see that I’ve wasted my time.

    Allow me to make one thing clear, Martin. And brace yourself, for I have no intention of being nice about it.

    You can read through every single one of my posts on this or any other blog in the UK and you will search in vain for any post lecturing anyone else on their personal qualities or lack of them. That is none of my business. I focus on the issues under discussion. If people are so stupid that they will refuse the truth of what is said because they don’t like the tone in which it is said, there’s something wrong with them.

    Now, I have no intention of coming on here to respond to personal insults. Spare me the superficial concern for my soul – that is not your responsibility. This blog is to discuss the liturgical abuse of Communion in the hand which you, now willfully, intend to continue to continue, knowing that you will have fragments left on your hand, to name but one sure-fire result of participating in this practice.

    So, please, forgive me if I refuse to respond to any more of your posts. Your desire for “gentle” conversations, coupled with your determination to receive Communion in the hand, despite all the facts illuminating the horrendous nature of this abuse on this one blog alone, means that I have absolutely nothing more to say to you.

    Reading over this, I must apologise – it’s much nicer that I intended it to be. Sorry.

  • SluggerJim

    I am an EME and feel that this debate about protocol is beside the point. The key desideratum in everything the Church does is whether it is conducive to salvation. Reverence for the Eucharist is correct but it can be overdone. During the Middle Ages people hardly ever went to communion out of an exaggeratred sense of unworthiness. It is too late to talk about using communion on the tongue exclusively because the altar rails are gone in most older churches and newer ones are not designed to accomodate them. Very few people who now come for communion on the tongue know how to receive it. They were probably never taught how as children or have forgotten whatever they learned. They don’t open their mouth sufficiently or stick out their tongue. Very few of those seeking communion on the tongue now kneel. They just stand there and don’t cup their hands. If they are much taller than the EME, serious problems can ensue. My impression is that reception in the hand now minimizes the potential for irreverant situations!

  • Ratbag

    I know, I know, Bender. I would not be aggressive – just firm, polite yet withering…

    I do have commonsense and tact. But,surely, in the case of taking the Sacrament home to the sick, wouldn’t the parishoner inform the EMHC or priest anyway? Maybe not…

    In my neck of the woods, there are times when politeness shifts a few gears up to ‘hand it over NOW!’ when that is the only communication that particular personage understands i.e. chancers who think it is fun and respond to politeness in fluent Anglo-Saxon.

    Thank you for your kind and informative replies to my posts.

  • Harrybendelow

    Dear Christina,
    I am puzzled – why is it an abuse to kneel and receive in the hand? I always do that; in fact, almost everyone I know does. Jesus, broke bread and handed the bread to the disciples and I assume they took and ate the bread via their hands.
    Michael Arch

  • Little Black Censored

    No, “bloodsports” were already ok before they did it.

  • Alan

    I’ve always received the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue, because It is the Body of Christ. But I do so for another reason. When I go to Mass my hands get soiled touching the car door, the steering wheel, etc. etc. The priest’s fingers have been purified at the Offertory. Therefore his are the only fingers to touch the Host. If we are unfortunate enough to have to go into hospital for an operation, we would be shocked and annoyed if we were touched by the surgeon with fingers that hadn’t been washed. So how can we unworthy mortals have the audacity to touch the Sacred Body of Christ?

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    You might be wrong in that assumption. The Jewish custom of the time was for the host at a meal to place a morsel of bread into the mouths of guests: Our Lord may have done this at the Last Supper (or He may not – we simply are not told).

    What we do know is that the tradition of the Church in the West, for centuries past, has been for the laity to receive kneeling and on the tongue. All the reasons I have heard to abandon that strike me as poor, to say the least. Reception in the hand was introduced illegitimately, and permitted reluctantly. Our current Holy Father makes his own views clear by his example.

  • Theresa Rose

    “The practice of hand Communion began as an abuse in Holland, where mandatory liturgical norms were defied. When disciplinary action was not forthcoming, the practice spread to Germany, Belgium and France. Thus the Holy See later allowed a pastoral concession to areas where the practice had already developed in May 1969″.

    Don’t believe me? Read the link below.
    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/newmass/Comion.htm

    I also came across this link on the importance of taking Communion on the tongue.
    http://www.tldm.news3/sheen.htm

    Eucharistic Adoration. What inspired Archbishop Sheen to make a Holy Hour before Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament each day?

    It was an 11 year old Chinese girl. When the communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. Looking out of his window, he was horrified to see them proceed into the Church, where they went into the Sanctuary and broke into the Tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the Ciborium and threw it onto the floor with all the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew how many Hosts there were. Exactly 32.

    When the communists left, they either did not notice, or pay attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that happened. That night the girl came back, and slipping past the guard at the priest’s house, she went into the Church. There she made an hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred.

    After her Holy Hour she went into the Sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion (since it was not permissable for layment to touch the Sacred Host with their hands).

    The girl returned each night to make her Holy Hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty second Host, she accidently made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. The act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief stricken from his bedroom window.

    When Bishop Sheen heard the story he promised God that he would make a Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little girl could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound to do all that was right and brave, to do the same.

  • pascal78

    I have been begging my parish priest to allow those who want to kneel to provide a kneeler. But he flatly refuses. I used the same argument about kneeling before the Queen etc . I also complain about the dress of EMEs Often with jeans, trainers, shirt tails hanging out and never do I see a tie. Try going to a good resaurant without a tie! Some actually loan you one for the duration of the meal. Can’t we do more for Our Lord and Saviour who did so much for us?? By the way I am in Leeds the home of David (Weaving the Web) David Konstant.

  • pascal78

    “It is obviously true that interior disposition is the core requirement for worthy reception of the Lord, but externals give witness to interior disposotion, expressing an integration of body and soul in adoration and love of the Lord”. . . . . I don’t think you really understood what Fr Dickson wrote. Its BOTH interior and exterior. Check it out again ! Please . . . and it gives a good example to the rest of the congregation especially the young.

  • JcmaKim Cry21

    Michael Please understand that Jesus is never to be received in the hand because for one! particles of the Lord would be left in your hand! When receiving the very body of Christ on the tongue you are receiving him fully. Please understand that receiving Jesus on your hand will leave small particle of Jesus there Does Jesus deserve This? Receive Jesus on the tongue in this way you have him fully

  • Chris Moore

    “The Church says we should receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue – and from a priest.”

    Where does the Church say this – I’d like to read it for myself and present it to the Bishop of my Diocese as well as the Bishops of England and Wales so that we can advise all the Permanent Deacons and Extra-ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist as they are presumably no longer required for the distribution of |Holy Communion. Also the text of the new translation will also have to remove references to the Deacon distributing Holy Communion, a matter which the Church presumably knew all along should not have been included in the first place but remains despite 9 years of work!

    Or is the emphasis on the word ‘should’ which does not mean ‘must’?

  • Chris Moore

    “what happened to the crumbs after the Last Supper?”

    1. This was a genuine question, you see I am interested in the detail not to use it to argue for or against current practice but in an effort to understand Jesus in the context of his time and culture
    2. My ministry as an Extra-ordinary Minister of the Eucharist is not a hobby and I am not ‘playing at being a Catholic priest’. I was commissioned to the role and assist a busy priest in a very large rural area with taking the Blessed Sacrament to the housebound and sick, who may not otherwise have the opportunity to receive Our Lord.
    3. If you really knew me, rather than jumping to conclusions from a few lines, you would not describe me as arrogant. My refusal to accept any award is based on the fact that they are rarely presented to people who truly deserve them but to Actors and Musuicians and political paymasters.
    4. I fully accept that the Holy Spirit is free to develop doctrine just as the Holy Spirit acted during the Second Vatican Council and continues to blow where he wills even in the secular world that we live in.

    This (you will be pleased to hear) is my last post to any blog on a Catholic paper as many of the responses are anything but Christian and some respondents seem to feel it their duty to insult people who are trying to explore their faith more deeply by engaging in dialogue. That said, I forgive you for the manner in which you choose to describe me.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Moore,

    The fact that you ask such a question: “…where does the Church say this (that we should receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue…) is most telling. The Church’s Tradition is that the faithful receive Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling and you will find if you take the time to read up on the subject (loads of information on this thread alone) that any mention of Communion in the hand, standing, is referenced in Vatican documents as AN INDULT – an exception to the norm which remains tongue/kneeling.

    Here’s a simple explanation from a priest in England, in response to a question on the subject:

    “…Others then questioned the British practice of Communion in the hand as opposed to the universal norm of Communion on the tongue and, in many countries, kneeling. It was noted that the Pope, teaching by example, gives Holy Communion only on the tongue and kneeling at all Papal Masses including in Britain last September.

    It was explained that, in response to a request from the Bishops of England and Wales and few other countries (in the 1970s), Rome had granted permission for Holy Communion to be given in the hand, as an exception to the universal Catholic norm, but only on condition that there be proper catechesis (specified as “laid down by the Council of Trent” in 1562), that this practice therefore must not indicate any departure from Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and that there be neither danger or sacrilege nor of accident to the Eucharistic Species. It was felt that few of these conditions are being fulfilled.”
    http://www.stjoseph-newmalden.org.uk/articles/110123_holy_communion.html

    I hope that makes clear the fact that the norm, the Tradition of the Church is for the faithful to receive on the tongue, kneeling and from an ordained person only. Usually a priest, but of course a deacon is permitted to distribute Holy Communion – just not lay people. I should have specified “ordained” but I thought you would understand my meaning, that I was emphasising the fact that handling the Blessed Sacrament should not, must not, be delegated to the laity. That is an aberration, which, even as far back as 1997 (see Instruction on the Laity, article 8) the Vatican tried to quell. Not even a packed church, according to article 8, is sufficient reason for their use. Deacons, priests and bishops may licitly handle the Sacred Species. Not lay people. I hope that clarifies things for you.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Moore,

    1)
    I’m going to pass over in silence your claim that you were asking a “genuine question” about “what happened to the crumbs after the Last Supper.” Who knows, you may be telling the truth. I’m not going offer any opinion on the matter. Nor am I going to dignify the question with a reply.

    2)
    Your “ministry” as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is not a licit task for a lay person. I’ve said this ad nauseum and I’ve quoted Article 8 of the Instruction on the Laity to you over and over again, so I’m not wasting any more time on this. I don’t care how many times you’ve been “commissioned”
    this “ministry” is supposed to be confined to places where there are no priests. They managed in Japan for aruond 200 years without priests, Mass, Holy Communion – they prayed their rosaries and learnt their catechism and when, in due course, they had priests again, the people’s faith was strong. The effect of lay people handling the Blessed Sacrament has been to diminish belief in the Real Presence and – I know you won’t agree with this – according to at least one diocesan priest I met in England, it makes these lay men and women very proud. I’ve talked to priests who’ve tried (in one case, in the process of trying) to ease them out and the arrogance is astounding. They are very conscious of their “position.” Always “Father needs me….” is the mantra. Yeah, right.

    3)
    I don’t need to know you. You are defending liturgical abuses and actively participating in them. I did say you might well be the most humble person on the face of the earth – not the impression I’m getting, but, hey, I just might be wrong. Has to happen one of these days.

    4)
    The Holy Spirit was not guaranteed to be present at the Second Vatican Council. That Council was (to quote all the popes, including Benedict) “merely a pastoral Council” with no new dogmas pronounced. The Holy Spirit isn’t even guaranteed to assist at a conclave, never mind a merely pastoral Council.
    However, I believe that the Holy Spirit was, indeed, present at Vatican II – precisely because of the decision taken by the Council Fathers NOT to make VII a dogmatic Council. In other words, none of the errors of Vatican II or any of the aberrations flowing from it, are binding on the Faithful. That IS the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit at what one of our Scottish journalists calls “the Second Vatican Catastrophe”.

    It is noteworthy that “liberals”/Modernists often flounce off in the wake of this “I’ll not be blogging here again, you’re all so uncharitable, unChristian” malarkey. A tad judgmental.

    Thanks for your forgiveness (don’t recall asking for it, but, shucks, I never look a gift horse in the dentures) but allow me to disabuse you of one key thing: I NEVER repeat NEVER “engage in dialogue.” If I participate in blogs at all, I do so (a) to see if there is anything new from the treasure trove of Traditional Catholicism that I can learn (b) to correct errors/heresies, so common today. Dialogue is what you do if you’re an actor in a play.

  • Tiggy

    Sadly, in my part of the country its impossible to recieve Holy Communion kneeling. Because in the general vandalism that ensued after V11 all the altar rail were removed.

  • Fr S

    kneeling is more reverent, but I absolutely *hate* giving out communion on the tongue. Don’t you realise that, in order not to touch your saliva we have to “frisbee” our Blessed Lord into your mouth! Its totally irreverent. God is NOT a frisbee, or to be posted like a letter, and you should touch the Bread of Life with your hands.

  • pascal78

    Get over it Fr S and do the job you were ordained to do. Holy Communion has been given on the tongue for hundreds of years without any complaint about saliva. You should *love* giving Holy Communion no matter in what manner you are required to do so. You are over sensitive and probably very young. Also why do you say “you should touch the Bread of Life with your hands” Who said that and with what authority?

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    We have no communion rail in our church, yet I receive kneeling and on the tongue. Tricky getting up again if you’re older, of course…

  • Tiggy

    Indeed, not to mention the person behind you in the awful queue tripping up.

  • Kim

    Fr S if your realty are a priest? How in the world can you say you don’t like giving communion on the tongue! What’s the matter with priests today! You know you can not put The consecrated Host on the hand! you know this Father! During Mass don’t you after handling the host after communion to the parishioners swipe your fingers over the challis dropping the remaining particles of Jesus body into the challis? if you know this and you put all of the remaining host particles into the challis so that he is consumed fully by you, why would you even think to put Jesus in someone hand where you know some of the particles the lord is left there???? WELL?

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    They know me by now and keep their distance! It can be done…

  • Anonymous

    let’s be honest the physical position taken to receive communion is really too trivial to be wasting mental energy over, it is quite inconsequential.

  • AgingPapist

    Kneel during Lent, but on other occasions we should take the host in the right hand and take it up to the mouth. This should be done after having made a profound head bow with arms crossed before your chest.

    The Vatican, as usual, blundered badly in establishing the protocol that the host be placed in the left hand, then picked up with the fingers of the right hand and placed on the tongue. No wonder so many Catholics take communion as though they were taking a pita bread and dipping it in hummus.

    Standing is the most ancient posture for receiving a king. Kneeling is a penitential practice in both the east and the west, and it is more appropriate for Lent or other times calling for a penitential expression of piety. For the pope to suggest standing is a less worthy posture is tantamount to directly insulting the eastern churches and rejecting centuries of established liturgical practice.

    Anyone who thinks kneeling leads to greater respect for the Real Presence is having a pipe dream. Many protestant churches have kneeling and they’ve never accepted the doctrine of the Real Presence. Furthermore, kneeling doesn’t prevent devil worship any more than communion in the hand does. Evidence for this can be found in Church history. Which should guide the Church and Catholics, instead of pietisticalism which only ends up replacing a genuine piety. A piety which in the end is interior and not exterior.

  • Linda

    This could be the “how many angels can stand on the head of a pin” issue for the 21st century!

  • Linda

    Or per annum.

  • Jaydan

    The Church permits it so do I however I personally recieve in the tongue and in fact I beleive it more reverent for a list of reasons. Familiarity breeds contempt I am afraid. I wish they brought back railings, kneelers and more piety within the mass. I am a convert from secular paganism, by Christ’s grace I am here but I think that sacriligious communions is a more grave concern than communion in the hand. Go to confession before recieving if you have not been to confession in eons. God Bless Jaydan :)

  • CS

    Completely agree paul! A little bit more focus on WHY we are receiving communion and how to fully embrace the experience is surely a better use of our time than whether or not we kneel, stand, take it on the tongue or in the hand.
    Both our hands and mouth were made by the Lord so what’s the difference?
    So long as we receive it with reverence in our hearts, it shouldn’t matter how we do it!

  • Sad

    I have to say, it made me so sad to read all the horrible, self-righteous, holier-than-thou comments above….Isn’t this supposed to be a Catholic site? What happened to humbly accepting that we all know NOTHING and couldn’t possibly understand the mystery that is God and His incredible gift to us.

  • Jhammer

    I’ve grown up with the novus ordo, but am sometimes troubled by the casualness with which communion is treated by members of the congregation. Though, of course, I’ve no idea what they are actually thinking, feeling or praying. I have flinched when people send and receive text messages during the consecration. I have been attending the extraordinary form recently (kneeling and receiving on the tongue) and I have to say that it feels right. I believe it has also altered the way I approach the novus ordo. I am glad I have the opportunity of the best of both. But I think appropriate reverence for the Eucharist can be expressed by proper prepration for it: e.g. confession, holy hours, and even services of preparation that I’ve seen in the Orthodox church.

  • Clive

    I’m from the Philippines (the 3rd largest catholic nation in the world and one of the only 2 predominantly catholic countries in Asia, the other is east Timor) usually we receive the communion either through our tongues or by hand, as far as I know, Rome allowed these two alternatives because most of our churches are crowded every Sunday, plus we still stand, form a line in receiving the Eucharist 9contrary in the West wherein by kneeling) and also if we receive it by hand….
    When I was 11 yrs. old I attended an Easter vigil mass together with my mom’s aunt ( a catholic nun) I was fascinated when she received the Eucharist by hand, and so as the time passed by I did the same, by hand, but with all reverence and respect …

  • Aaron

    I am from the philippines and before the SARS scare most people took communion with their tongues standing in line but now most by hand. I always bow my head and receive by tongue, make the sign of the cross and thank God for another opportunty to be with him.

  • Aaron

    You should visit the Philippines. We love praying and we love tradition (except our current president he seems almost heretical). In our shopping malls people stop 12 noon for angelus, 3pm for the 3o clock prayer and end the day with prayer again all on the public loudspeaker.

  • Joericco32

    You couldn’t be any futher from the truth on this one. What a man displays on the outside so to does he do on the inside. Reverence is done through both internal and external action in unison and they are inseperable from each other.

  • Malcray

    I do worry that we are behaving more like the Pharisees who Jesus admonished for worrying more about the Law than about the needs of the people. With the shortage of priests – we have only 2 covering 6 churches (formerly 4 parishes) – the sick and the housebound have only the Ministers of Communion to bring the Sacrament to them. It is absolutely right that we should be debating this issue but it must be with the love that Christ Himself told us to do. I just wonder what He would say if He were to visit us today? It is only God himself who knows how each of us relates to Him, it was to the leper, the lame and the blind that Christ turned His love and attention in His ministry as examples for us to follow. He did not isolate Himself from the weak and the handicapped, He touched them and gave Himself to them and all the Father’s children for all time. He rode into Jerusalem on a mere donkey, He cured a woman because she, in faith, touched the hem of His cloak. Are we to deny Christ in the real presence to those who cannot reach out to touch Him? The spirit of God is within us all, through baptism, and each of us as individuals have a great responsibility in ensuring that we nurture that spirit from within, humbly and lovingly in order that we may love our neighbour as ourselves and not be their judges; our sins are no less than anyone else’s. Those who abuse the sacrament will have to answer to that when their time comes, but Christ is abused in many different ways and which are equally sinful – remove the plank from our own eyes before we see the splinter in others!

  • 40 year convert

    In our parish we still have part communion rails, but our new parish priest has introduced communion under both kinds and insists that communicants queue up in a line and receive the host in the hand. My wife was politely asked not to receive communion in the hand, whereas I believe comunicants should at least be free to choose.
    Also if for example on Sundays there was only communion under one kind, then you would not have half a dozen extraordinary ministers milling about on the sanctuary and “doing the washing up” afterwards.
    Recently we went to the Birmingham Oratory where was Mass was said in English, but beautifully with the priest facing the altar, and we all knelt at the communion rail, and received communion from the priest himself.