Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Petition Against Communion In The Hand

My good friend [I don't know him at all, I've just lifted this whole post from Fr Finigan], Fr Andrew Wise, of the diocese of Sale in Victoria (Australia), together with Fr John Speekman, has drawn up a petition to the Holy Father which reads as follows:

Your Holiness,
We are convinced of the great spiritual harm inflicted on the Catholic faithful, and the profanation of the Blessed Sacrament that often occurs by the practice of Communion received on the hand.

We implore Your Holiness to personally intervene to restore once again the normative practice of reception of Holy Communion on the tongue alone.

There is also a blog in support of the petition. Andrew Rabel wrote a piece to give a little background to the petition, and Cardinal Arinze has written in support of the piece. Bishop Schneider has also written in support, and has signed the petition. I have also signed the petition. Many ordinary laity receive Holy Communion in the hand because that is what they were taught to do; in some cases they were told that it was the more proper, reverent, ancient, grown-up, or modern way to receive Holy Communion. Bishop Schneider's book "It is the Lord" (sold in England by Gracewing) answers all of the usual justifications for the practice and urgently recommends a return to the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

Apart from the major concern over the danger of profanation with Communion in the hand, the "sign value" of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue distinguishes the act of receiving Holy Communion from an ordinary act of taking an ordinary snack to eat. Little toddlers recognise this if they accompany their mother to the altar rail: when Mum receives Holy Communion in the hand, they will often ask "Can I have one?"; this is much less common if Mum receives Holy Communion on the tongue. They are given an early lesson in the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.

Sign the petition here.

[Part of an old post of mine may be of interest here; In a speech prepared before his death the Cardinal said that, "Communion in the hand, moving the Blessed Sacrament from the high altar, failure to genuflect, have in my experience weakened the respect and devotion due to so great a sacrament." (my emphasis) (Catholic Herald 3rd September 1999)

When permission was given by Rome for Communion in the hand, Rome made it clear that,
"The condition [for this permission]is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist." My emphasis added. (click for details)

In Cardinal Hume's judgement then this condition has not been met. Far be it from me to disagree with the Cardinal, so when we take his (Head of the Church in Wales & England) comments, along with the above from Rome, there can be no doubt that Communion in the hand is illicit in Wales & England.


Eva Ulian said...

This appeal in abolishing Communion in the hand is as absurd as anything can be in getting to twist the Pope’s arm to act against something which some other Pope in his wisdom saw fit to enable. Communion in the hand, in my opinion, is no less desecrating than Communion in the mouth if someone choose it to be, and vice-versa. Reverence is not a question of mouth or tongue but how each individual looks upon Christ. Sure enough Christ would think us quite foolish to be squabbling over such a minor issue when He himself gave chunks of bread, namely his own body, directly in the hands of his Apostles and later on the road to Emmaus, to his disciples.
Furthermore Communion in the hand is in anyway far more hygienic. The priest, deacon or lay person who gives out Communion more often than not cannot help but touch the lip, or even tongue without traces of saliva being left on his fingers which is passed on to the next communicant. Need I remind you that the mouth harbours an infinite amount of bacteria and germs? At least in countries where Aids and other diseases flourish unchecked the custom of distributing Communion in the hand should still be permitted for the sake of everyone’s welfare. People should not be so selfish as to demand certain practices not be allowed simply to inflate their own egos, because surely this is not a question of reverence, but of pride.

Gareth Hurley Blog said...

Bravo! Good cause.

Ecumenical Diablogger said...

So we are"absurd" and "twist(ing)the Pope's arm" when we petition him. While disobedient Dutch Bishops forcing Communion in the hand on the Church, is a "Pope in his wisdom (seeing) fit to enable (Communion in the hand)"

"Christ would think us quite foolish to be squabbling over such a minor issue". If it is a "minor issue" please stop squabbling, I myself, am being very nice about all this in light of your abusive comment.

We are "selfish", "demand(ing)" and "simply to inflate (our) egos," and why? "because surely this is a question of pride."

Gertrude said...

I'm a bit late coming to this, but there was never any conciliar document (to my knowledge) of V2 that permitted any change in reception of the Host at Holy Mass from the 'accepted form' (ie on the tongue). The practice of receiving in the hand, with all the possibilities of profanation this entails, began in the US and was embraced by the charismatics. I will say no more, lest I be accused of being the traditionalist I unashamedly am!

Ecumenical Diablogger said...

While I'm quite happy to blame the US for most things that I can't pin on the English, this was sadly started by the Dutch.

AAA said...

Eva Uliam is your typical liberal who always says that what is important is "what is in the heart not what you do"

How could you say that you are not respectful of the Eucharist if your actions don't speak of it? Where are the hundred years of discipline in Communion reception just because it is "hygenic"?

Goodness dear woman! You concern yourself with hygiene when you go to Communion! Now there is your reverence!

The question here is not what is in one's heart, but which act is befitting the honor to the Lord.

Should we now say that singing the National Anthem while sitting is equally respectful to that when it is done standing up?

Shall we tell the judge when he enters his courtroom "In my heart, I respect you, even if I still am seated here."?

Actions speak louder than words.

Obviously, your concern for hygiene is all there is to your support of the Protestant Communion in the Hand.