Church should reconsider Communion in the hand

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    Vatican official: Church should reconsider Communion in the hand

    By Cindy Wooden
    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said he thinks it is time for the Catholic Church to reconsider its decision to allow the faithful to receive Communion in the hand.

    Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, the Vatican official, made the suggestion in the preface to a book about the Eucharist by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

    Bishop Schneider’s book, “Dominus Est: Reflections of a Bishop from Central Asia on Holy Communion,” was published in Italian in late January by the Vatican Publishing House, though some of it had been released earlier in the Vatican newspaper.

    In the newly released preface to the book, Archbishop Ranjith wrote, “The Eucharist, bread transubstantiated into the body of Christ and wine into the blood of Christ — God in our midst — must be received with awe and an attitude of humble adoration.”

    The archbishop said the Second Vatican Council never authorized the practice of Catholics receiving Communion in the hand, a practice that was “introduced abusively and hurriedly in some spheres” and only later authorized by the Vatican.

    The liturgists, theologians and pastors who encouraged the change said it better reflected the ancient practice of the church and the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, he said.

    “It is true that if one can receive on the tongue, one also can receive in the hand because this organ of the body has equal dignity,” he said.

    However, Archbishop Ranjith said, the introduction of the practice of receiving Communion in the hand coincides with the beginning of “a gradual and growing weakening of the attitude of reverence toward the sacred eucharistic species.”

    “I think the time has come to evaluate these practices and to review them and, if necessary, to abandon the current practice,” Archbishop Ranjith said.

    “Now more than ever, it is necessary to help the faithful renew a lively faith in the real presence of Christ in the eucharistic species with the aim of reinforcing the very life of the church and defending it in the midst of dangerous distortions of the faith,” the archbishop wrote.

    The bulk of Bishop Schneider’s book was published in early January in the Vatican newspaper; he said that if a Catholic truly believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, he or she should kneel in adoration and reverence when receiving Communion.

    The article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, appeared under the headline, “Like a nursing child in the arms of the one who nourishes him” and included the bishop’s opinion that just as a baby opens his mouth to receive nourishment from his mother, so should Catholics open their mouths to receive nourishment from Jesus. … 800606.htm


    Andres Ortiz

    I think some people have a tendency to over-think these things.



    I kneel and receive on the tounge. But then again that is how I was taught we respect the King of Kings in the West. In the East the custom was always to remain standing, in fact the introduction of pews into eastern Churches in the 1940′ and 1950’s was seen as a “Latinization” and was opposed by most Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, as they had always been used to remaining standing or making a profound bow before the King.

    The push for communion in the hand was I think disengenuous and led by clergy who promoted the Eucharist as a “Symbol of Love” and as the Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese I live in is happy to announce with his wine goblets and Koolaide pitchers as well as “Bread that Looks like bread” which crumbles and he has crumbs cleaned up with a hoover after his Preformance liturgies where he tells the “Gathering” that they are Eucharist, and anyone is invited to come forward and participate even Non-Christians receive at his Services of Love. (I’ve been there, not just heard about it) Even with complaints to Rome, he is hanging in there. Telling us we have to remove our superstitions about the corporal presence of Christ which came in with the Middle Ages, and see that we are Eucharist. The bishop of the diocese to the south of me actually was filmed yanking a woman’s arm and telling her to get the hell out of the Church when she tried to kneel to receive our Lord, and supported a priest who told the people in his parish, (a week or two after the priest who celebrated the Latin Mass there retired, and the bishop rejected the applications of 18 priests who wanted to take his place.) The parish priest told the people in the parish that it was a mortal sin to kneel and make a private thanksgiving after reception of the Eucharist before the communal prayers began. These are just a few reasons I would like to see us return to what Catholics in the west have always done.

    Yes communion in the hand was permitted in the early Church, however the truth is only in emergencies when the Roman persecutions where in full force, and even then women could not receive in the hand, but into a silk scarf, and they where not permitted to sit with the men or speak in Church. People confessed in public not in private, and if someone’s sins where considered mortal they where barred from the reception of communion again until they where on their deathbeds. Had to leave the Church during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, before the Creed, along with the Catechumens. I say kneeling and reception on the tounge is quite relaxed compaired to what the Early Church demanded of Catholics. A little something that those who pushed communion in the hand against the protocols that Rome had given until they pushed the issue by their disobedience.

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