Holy Communion in the Hand

Holy Communion in the hand - This is an all too common practice in the
  Church today. There is a lot made out of the "permission" to receive
  either on the tongue or in the hand. However, most people couldn't 
  name the document in which it was given if their lives depended on 
  it. Many people claim that this practice was mandated by Vatican II,
  but it is nowhere mentioned in the Council documents. Some claim it
  was a common practice in the early Church, but to my knowledge, it
  has never been proven to have been practiced by the the entire Latin
  Rite, or in any one of the Eastern rites as a whole, nor to have
  been a universal practice of the entire Catholic Church. In fact, 
  when it was brought before a Pope or a Council, it was ALWAYS con-
  demned as an abuse. 
   Some people claim that since it was an ancient practice, there is 
  no reason not to do it now. But they are unaware that Pope Pius XII,
  in his encyclical Mediator Dei (On the Sacred Liturgy), called it an
  ERROR to want to return to a practice simply because it was ancient.
   The truth of the matter is that the practice was started in the
  1500's by the Protestants, who did it to proclaim their disbelief in
  the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. After all,
  to them, it is just bread, so why shouldn't it be received in the 
  hand? Then, in the 1960's, some "Catholics" in the Netherlands, and
  some other European countries started doing it, in total disobedi-
  ence to the Pope. When the case was brought to Rome, Pope Paul VI
  polled the bishops of the world, asking if the practice should be 
  adopted more widely. The majority of bishops voted against it. 
   The Pope then issued the document MEMORIALE DOMINI in which he sta-
  ted that he polled the bishops, the majority were against it, and 
  that the traditional way of receiving on the tongue was to be main-
  tained. However, he did something that is very curious. He allowed
  the practice to continue in the places in which it had already star-
  ted. But he DID NOT give permission for it to be done in other pla-
  ces. But, in other places it was done, and instead of condemning the
  disobedience, he supposedly allowed the bishop's conference's of the
  various countries to petition the Holy See for permission. It was 
  never denied, even in countries, such as the United States, where it
  was begun by liberals who thought (and think) that they know what is
  best for the layman in the pew. These liberals, even before it was
  possible to obtain "permission" were doing it out of disobedience to
  the Pope. This is the where Communion in the hand came from. It came
  from disobedience to the Pope. It is NOT a good thing. Before V II,
  and even up to 1975, it was taught that it was a sacrilege for a 
  layman to touch the Consecrated Host (except in certain necessary
  cases). Then all of a sudden, it becomes a good thing? Much is made
  out of "Papal permission" for the practice, but think about it. When
  has something that has almost always been considered wrong ever bec-
  ome suddenly right? If a parent gives a command to a child, and the
  child disobeys, and the parent says, "Oh, that's ok", what sort of
  message does that child receive? That it is ok to disobey his par-
  ent, because, after all, no punishment will take place. Does that
  make the child's disobedience right (moral)? No, it does not. And 
  so it is with Holy Communion in the hand. If something is good, it
  will bear good fruit. Yet, in the U. S., it is said that about 70%
  of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in
  the Eucharist. Does that sound good?
______________________________________________________________________

Below is the text of an article from the 1978 Catholic Almanac, pages
109-111, on Holy Communion in the Hand. I will place my own comments
throughout. My Comments will be in CAPS and surrounded by brackets [].

IN-HAND RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION

 The National Conference of Catholic Bishops anounced June 2, 1977, 
that more than two-thirds (190) of its membership had voted in favor
of requesting authorization from the Holy See to introduce the prac-
tice of in-hand reception of Holy Communion in the United States.
 The following excerpt, from a paper released with the announcement by
the conference, is from the text circulated by the NC Documentary Ser-
vice, Origins, June 16, 1977 (Vol. 7, No. 4).
 
 Since 1969, the Holy See has permitted the restoration of the ancient
practice of receiving Communion in the hand in many countries-provided
the conference of bishops and the individual diocesan bishop approves.
At that time the Congregation for Divine Worship expressed the hope 
that Communion in the hand, as approved, might be the occasion for in-
creasing among the people "the sense of their dignity as members of
the Mystical Body of Christ, in which they are inserted by baptism and
the grace of the Eucharist, and also should strengthen their faith in
the grand reality of the body and blood of the Lord which they hold 
in their hands."

[FIRST, NOTICE THAT THEIR IS NO MENTION OF WHAT DOCUMENT THAT QUOTE
ALLEGEDLY CAME FROM. AND WHAT ABOUT THIS SO CALLED 'INCREASING THE
SENSE OF DIGNITY' OF US AS MEMBERS OF THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST.
WHAT "DIGNITY"? AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT ALL THOSE SAINTS WHO
RECEIVED HOLY COMMUNION ON THEIR KNEES AND ON THEIR TONGUES HAD NO
"DIGNITY"? AM I SUPPOSED TO ASSUME THAT ALL THOSE MARTYRS WHO DIED
RATHER THAN BETRAY CHRIST HAD NO "DIGNITY"? ALSO, THIS THREORY THAT 
HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND SHOULD STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH IS SUCH A CROCK
IT IS BEYOND REALITY. WHY SHOULD HANDLING, LIKE ORDINARY FOOD, THE BAR
NONE MOST SACRED THING ON EARTH, 'STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH'? AM I SUPPOSE
TO BELIEVE THAT THE FAITH OF SAY, ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD, OR ST.
PASCAL BAYLON, OR ST. LOHN MARIE VIANNEY, WAS WEAK OR PRACTICALLY
NON-EXISTENT BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED HOLY COMMUNION ON THE TONGUE, AND
ON THEIR KNEES? AM I TO BELIEVE THAT BLESSED PADRE PIO WAS ALSO A MAN
OF WEAK FAITH IN THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST?
AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS?]

    PROPOSAL

 The Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy proposes the restoration of
this earlier usage of receiving Holy Communion in the hand:
 * as a free option for each individual at Mass;
 * in the reverent and dignified rite described below;
 * with full explanation and preparation before introducing the prac-
tice;
 *with a doctrinal instruction on the real presence and eucharistic
devotion.

["IN THE REVERENT AND DIGNIFIED RITE" DESCRIBED BELOW. WHAT COULD 
POSSIBLY BE REVERENT ABOUT COMMITTING A SACRILEGE? BEFORE THIS DEAL,
EVEN AS RECENTLY AS 1975, IT WAS TAUGHT THAT IT WAS A SACRILEGE TO
TOUCH THE HOST WITH UNCONSECRATED HANDS.
 "WITH A DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTION ON THE REAL PRESENCE AND EUCHARISTIC
DEVOTION", REALLY? IF THESE BISHOPS AND PRIESTS ACTUALLY BELIEVED IN
THE REAL PRESENCE, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HORRIFIED AT THE VERY THOUGHT
OF PEOPLE RECEIVING IN THEIR HANDS. AS FOR 'EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION', OH
YEAH, ISN'T THAT THAT 'OUTDATED' THING PEOPLE USED TO DO BEFORE VATI-
CAN II? EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION OVERALL HAS BEEN A DYING THING, UNFORTUN-
ATELY. GRANTED, THERE ARE MANY PLACES IN THE U.S. TODAY WHERE THERE IS
24 HOUR ADORATION, AND MANY WHERE IT IS AT LEAST WEEKLY, AND THAT IS
ALL TO THE GOOD, BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY ATTEND? IN SOME PLACES,
THERE ARE MANY WHO DO, IN OTHERS, THERE ARE MORE WHO DON'T. I THINK IT
IS SAFE TO SAY THAT A MAJORITY OF U.S. 'CATHOLICS', NOT ONLY DO NOT
BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE, THEY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT ADORATION.]

    DESCRIPTION OF THE PRACTICE

 Where this practice is authorized, the individual who wishes to rec-
eive Communion directly in his/her mouth-according to the customary
practice-simply approaches the priest or other eucharistic minister in
the ordinary manner.
 Anyone, however, who wishes to receive Holy Communion in the hand-
according to the older tradition-simply indicates this to the priest
or other minister by holding out his/her hands, palm up, with one hand
(the left) resting on the other. The priest or eucharistic minister
places the consecrated host in the extended hand after the usual for-
mula, "The body of Christ-Amen." The communicant steps to one side,
immediately places the consecrated host in his/her mouth (with the 
right hand) and only then returns to his/her place.

[NOTICE IN THE INSTRUCTIONS ON RECEIVING IN THE HAND, "ACCORDING TO
THE OLDER TRADITION" ARE USED. THE IDEA HERE IS TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE
IT IS THE BETTER WAY THE "CUSTOMARY PRACTICE".
 THESE PRECISE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO RECEIVE IN THE HAND ARE A JOKE, 
IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE. IN MANY PLACES, INCLUDING ROME AND PLACES WHERE
THE POPE VISITS AND HOLDS A BIG OUTDOOR MASS, MANY HOSTS ARE FOUND IN
THE PEWS, IN THE MISSALLETTES, ON THE GROUND, ETC. THIS IS A MATTER
OF ROUTINE. IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY ALL OVER THE WORLD. THIS IS THE 
"FRUIT" OF HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND.]

     REASONS

 Communion in the hand is dignified and becoming; it is a recognition
that the total person is holy, including one's hands.

[REALLY? HOEW IS IT 'DIGNIFIED AND BECOMING'? IF THIS PRACTICE IS 
'RECOGNITION THAT THE TOTAL PERSON IS HOLY', THEN WHY NOT RECEIVE IT
ON OUR FEET, OR OUR SHOULDER, OR ON VARIOUS OTHER BODY PARTS?]

 Extending the hands for Communion can be a gesture of supplication,
welcome, faith, and gratitude.

[AND RECEIVING ON THE TONGUE CAN'T?]

 The practice expresses maturity, because the baptized Christian is no
longer a spiritual child or religious infant.

[DIDN'T JESUS SAY SOMETHING ABOUT 'UNLESS YOU BECOME AS LITTLE CHILD-
REN, YOU WILL NOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN'? DIDN'T ALL THE
SAINTS REGARD THEMSELVES A 'SPIRITUAL CHILDREN' IN SOME DEGREE? BUT
HERE WE HAVE THE NCCB SAYING THAT WE ARE MATURE AND ARE NO LONGER
SPIRITUAL CHILDREN. GEE, HOW MUCH MORE PRIDEFUL CAN THESE BISHOPS BE?]

 Communion in the hand represents an active rather than a passive 
participation and involvement.

[SO? WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING? AND HOW CAN WALKING UP
TO AN ALTAR RAIL, KNEELING DOWN, AND STICKING OUT YOUR TONGUE, BE 
CONSIDERED PASSIVE?]

 Reaching out for the Eucharist in petition and acceptance is a ful-
ler, more human gesture.

[WHY IS THAT? AND WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? WE RECEIVE HOLY COMMU-
NION THAT WE BECOME MORE LIKE GOD, NOT MORE 'HUMAN'.]

 The practice is more convenient and hygienic, less routine and hurr-
ied; it is simple and practical if people are prepared and instructed.

[MORE CONVENIENT? DID JESUS DIE ON THE CROSS SO WE COULD HAVE CONVEN-
IENCE? DOES THE CHURCH COMMAND US TO RECEIVE AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR 
UNDER THE PAIN OF MORTAL SIN FOR THE SAKE OF CONVENIENCE? 'LESS ROUT-
INE AND HURRIED', HUH? WHAT COULD BE MORE ROUTINE AND HURRIED THAN
HAVING PEOPLE RECEIVE IN THEIR HANDS AND STEP ASIDE SO THE NEXT ONE
CAN RECEIVE, LIKE AN ASSEMBLY LINE? LET'S FACE THE FACTS, THIS WAS
IMPLEMENTED ONLY TO PLEASE THE PROTESTANTS, WHO REJECT BELIEF IN THE
REAL PRESENCE, AND TO "JUSTIFY" THE USE OF LAY PEOPLE TO GIVE OUT
HOLY COMMUNION.]

     THE BISHOP'S REQUEST

 The following is the form of recommendation submitted for the vote
of the NCCB:
 That with the confirmation of the Apostolic See in accord with the
"Instruction on the Manner of Administering Holy Communion" of May 29,
1969, individual bishops be authorized to permit the administration
of Holy Communion into the hand of the communicant, provided:
 *a) that the individual communicant is always free to indicate that
he will receive Communion in his hand or in the usual manner.
 *b) that the role of the minister of Communion always be maintained
by placing the consecrated bread in the communicant's hand with the
usual formula;
 *c) that the introduction of the practice of administering Communion
in this manner be preceded in any diocese by thorough catechesis under
the direction of the bishop and the diocesan liturgical commission.

     HISTORICAL SURVEY

 The practice of the communicant receiving Holy communion in the hand 
is not an unprecedented development in the liturgy of the Church.
 In the writings of the early Fathers of the Church there is no exact
account of the manner of receiving Holy Communion. There was no reason
to explain the usual practice or to describe what people actually ex-
perienced. The most that one can find are occasional references to the
practice of reception of Holy Communion in the hand during the first
centuries of the Church.

[NO EXACT ACCOUNT, BUT OCCASIONAL REFERENCES? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN EX-
ACTLY?]

 Cyril of Jerusalem gives us the clearest account in the 4th century.
In his MYSTAGOGIC CATECHESIS, addressed to his catechumens, he stated:
  "When you approach, do not go stretching out your open hands or hav-
ing fingers spread out, but make the left hand into a throne for the
right which shall receive the King, and then, with your open hand hol-
lowed, receive the body of Christ and answer 'Amen.' Then consume it,
taking care not to lose any of it."

[I HAVE READ DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THIS. WHY DON"T THEY CITE THE SOU-
RCE OF THIS QUOTE, AS IN WHERE MIGHT WE FIND A COPY OF THIS 'MYSTAGOG-
IC CATECHESIS'?]

     CHANGE IN THE 8TH CENTURY

 The transition from the reception of the Eucharist in the hand, as
described by St. Cyril, to the introduction of the reception of Holy
Communion on the tongue seems to have begun only towards the end of 
the 8th century.
 The reasons for the change are not entirely clear. The reception of 
Holy Communion on the tongue became a matter of practicality with the
introduction of unleavened hosts which no longer resembled ordinary
bread. Christians became increasingly conscious of the presence of 
Christ in the Eucharist, but at the same time did not fully appeciate
the holiness of the individual unordained Christain.

 [NOTICE HOW HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND IS CLAIMED TO BE THE NORM FOR
ALMOST 8 CENTURIES, WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION, ESPECIALLY WITHOUT CITING
ANY PAPAL OR CHURCH DOCUMENT TO PROVE THAT HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND
WAS APPROVED BY THE POPE AS A UNIVERSAL CUSTOM? AND WHAT ABOUT THIS
"HOLINESS" OF THE "INDIVIDUAL UNORDAINED CHRISTIAN"? WHAT DOES THAT
MEAN EXACTLY? THE SAINTS NEVER CONSIDERED THEMSELVES HOLY, THEY WERE
HUMBLE. oH, I KNOW WHAT ST. PAUL SAID, BUT EVEN HE KNEW THAT WE ARE 
NOT TRULY HOLY UNLESS WE LIVED, REALLY LIVED THE CATHOLIC FAITH. 
AND THIS CONTENTION THAT "CHRISTIANS INCREASINGLY BECAME CONSCIOUS OF
THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST" MAYBE SO, BUT THEY REALLY 
TRULY BELIEVED IN HIS REAL PRESENCE, UNLIKE MANY PEOPLE TODAY.]

The faithful approached the Eucharist with a sense of humility and
reverence, as was proper, but these sentiments developed into an ex-
aggerated feeling of unworthiness. Mortal, sinful man, it was felt,
dare not touch with His hands the all-holy and powerful God unless he
was ordained and his hands consecrated.

 [NOTICE HOW THEY SAY IT IS PROPER TO APPROACH THE EUCHARIST WITH A
SENSE OF HUMILITY AND REVERENCE ON ONE HAND, AND ON THE OTHER TRY TO
MAKE IT SEEM AS THOUGH IT WAS THE CAUSE OF THIS "EXAGGERATED FEELING
OF UNWORTHINESS". SO THE SOLUTION MUST BE TO REMOVE REVERENCE AND 
HUMILITY. DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO YOU?

 By the 9th century, therefore, the reception of Holy communion in the
hand was no longer the universal custom. The Council of Rouen (878),
in fact explicitly condemned the practice on the part of the laity.
The tenth ORDO ROMANUS, dating from the 9th century, describes the new
manner of receiving Holy Communion not only for the laity but even for
subdeacons:
 "Priests and deacons, after kissing the bishop, should receive the 
body of Christ from him in their hands and communicate themselves at
the left side of the altar. Subdeacons, however, after kissing the 
hand of the bishop, receive the body of Christ from him in their 
mouth."

 [AGAIN, WHAT IS THE PAPAL OR CHURCH DOCUMENT THAT PROVES HOLY COMM-
UNION IN THE HAND WAS UNIVERSAL PRACTICE??? IN ADDITION, NOTICE THAT 
EVEN THESE BISHOPS ADMIT THAT HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND WAS CONDEMNED
AT A COUNCIL. SO, THAT BEING THE CASE, WHY BRING IT BACK? EASY, THE
REASON IS BECAUSE IT IS AN IN FACT REJECTION OF THE BELIEF OF THE 
REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST.]

 At least in the Western Church, the 8th and 9th centuries were cent-
uries of transition from the practice of receiving Holy Communion in 
the hand to that of receiving on the tongue by the laity. For a long
time both methods must have been in use in the West.

 [REALLY? AND THE PROOF OF THAT IS...........?]

The Eastern Churches on the other hand, preserved the practice of 
receiving in the hand. Now in the 20th century the Church again finds
itself in a similar period of liturgical transition.

     Contemporary Development

 The liturgical movement from the time of Pope St. Pius X onward has
given new life to the practice of frequent reception of Holy Comm-
union. The Second vatican Council summed up this development by saying
that the reception of the Eucharist in the Mass is the more perfect
form of participation in the celebration of the Lord's memorial sacri-
fice (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 55). In fact, it is an
integral part of the celebration, and today fewer and fewer leave the-
ir part of the celebration incomplete by neglecting Holy Communion.
 More recent liturgical changes, such as the use of the vernacular,
the revised form of the Order of Mass, new liturgical texts, etc., 
have all contributed to the growing understanding and appreciation of
the Eucharist in the lives of the faithful. Faith and reverence for
the mystery of Christ's body and blood must find significant and mean-
ingful expression in the liturgical celebration.

 [LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, MORE RECENT LITURGICAL CHANGES HAVE "ALL
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GROWING UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF THE 
EUCHARIST IN THE LIVES OF THE FAITHFUL". SAY WHAT? GRANTED THAT THIS 
WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 1977, BUT COME ON! EVEN BACK THEN, IN MANY
PLACES, CONSECRATED HOSTS WERE FOUND IN PEWS, MISSALLETTES, ON THE
FLOOR, ETC., AND NOW IT'S EVEN WORSE. EVEN AT LARGE GATHERING LIKE 
WORLD YOUTH DAY, AND OTHER OCCASIONS WHERE THE POPE HAS SAID MASS FOR
A HUGE CROWD, THERE ARE LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF HOSTS FOUND ON THE
GROUND. BACK IN THE 90'S, THERE WAS A SURVEY THAT SAID THAT 70% OF
CATHOLICS DIDN'T BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE. IF WHAT WE HAVE IN 
PARISHES TODAY IS "GROWING UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION" THEN I'D
HATE TO SEE WHAT LLACK OF BELIEF AND SACRILEGE ARE.]

     SINCE VATICAN II

 Soon after the Second Vatican Council, in various places in the world
the practice of placing the Eucharist in the hand of the communicant
instead of on the tongue was reintroduced. The Congregation of Divine
Worship, after consultation with the bishops of the Latin Church, iss-
ued an instruction, MEMORIALE DOMINI (May 29, 1969), "On the Manner of
Distributing Holy Communion." The instruction announced the decision
not to change the existing practice of the Latin Church with regard to
the manner of receiving Holy Communion. The same document, however,
concluded by indicating that individual episcopal conferences were 
free to ask for the earlier practice of receiving Holy Communion in 
the hand to be restored. The instruction stated that, before granting
the permission, "the Holy See will weigh the individual cases with
care, remembering the bonds which exist between the several local 
churches among themselves and with the entire Church, in order to 
promote the common good and edification and the increase of faith and
piety which flows from mutual good example."
 A number of episccopal conferences applied almost immediately for
authorization to restore the ancient practice of receiving Holy Comm-
union in the hand. Authorization was given to each episcopal confer-
ence that requested it. However, the decision to implement the indult
(or official permission), after the action of the episcopal conference
and the Holy See, is left to the individual bishop of the diocese. If
he considers it prudent, he may authorize the practice, with the pro-
vision that there be no surprise on the part of the faithful and no
danger of irreverence to the Eucharist. It is always understood that 
each individual communicant, as he or she comes to the priest or other
minister of Holy Communion, chooses whether to receive on the tongue
or in the hand. It is important to notice that the choice belongs to
the individual communicant, not to the priest of other minister.

[NATURALLY, THEY DON'T MENTION HERE THAT THE PRACTICE OF HOLY COMM-
UNION IN THE HAND WAS BROUGHT BACK IN MANY PLACES IN TOTAL DISOBED-
IENCE AND DEFIANCE TO THE POPE. THEY ALSO FAIL TO MENTION THAT, IN
FACT, THIS "PERMISSION OF THE HOLY SEE" WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A RUBBER
STAMP AFFAIR, BECAUSE IN NO CASE WHATSOEVER WAS "PERMMISSION" DENIED.
AS FOR THE "EDIFICATION" OF THE FAITHFUL IS CONCERNED, WHAT EDIFICAT-
ION? THIS WHOLE THING HAS BEEN A SCANDAL FROM THE GET GO. THIS PRACT-
ICE, WHICH EVEN THESE BISHOPS ADMITTED WAS CONDEMNED CENTURIES AGO,
WAS RESURRECTED BY THE PROTESTANT "REFORMERS" TO SHOW CONTEMPT FOR THE
DOCTRINE OF THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHATSOEVER TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION IN
THE HAND. NONE. IF IT WAS SUCH A GOOD THING, WHY DID THE CHURCH FINAL-
LY CONDEMN IT, AND LET THE CONDEMNATION STAND FOR CENTURIES?]

     NOT FOR INTINCTION

 In the case where Holy Communion is distributed under both kinds by
means of intinction, the host dipped in the chalice is never placed
in the hand of the communicant.

TO BE CONTINUED.................







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