Why I Receive Communion on the Tongue

Works regarding the reception of Communion usually contain an unsettling air about them, if only because (a) Catholics tend to be dicks over these matters and (b) they point to a difference between Catholics at the precisely the moment when Catholics claim all accidental differences cease. It is the Church’s absurdly bold declaration that all become one in Christ. It follows that a notable difference in the reception of that very same Christ (in the Holy Eucharist) could be an opportunity for scandal.

How one in spirit are we, a man may be tempted to ask, if we are so diverse in expression and in body, some kneeling, some standing, some receiving on the tongue, and others on the hand? Do the actions of the body not arise from the spirit?

If a visitor entered a home and some stood to welcome him, others knelt when he crossed the doorframe, and still others approached him and firmly shook his hand, one thing would be certain: They all have different relationships to the visitor. They are not in communion in regards to him. Could the same not be said of Catholics’ diverse reactions to their Sunday Visitor, Jesus Christ?

The complaint is easily brushed away. Catholics are not told to respond to the innate calling of their hearts when they go to receive Communion. A man may believe his personal relationship with Jesus Christ mandates he receive Communion lying down — but he is not allowed to do so. Rather the Church, understanding the reality of the Eucharist (and the reality of the Christian in relation to the Eucharist) has set down three approved methods for the reception of Communion. They are — while standing — to receive on the hand or on the tongue, and — while kneeling — to receive on the tongue.

These three norms have been found by the Church to sufficiently express the proper reaction of man to the Eucharist. Thus we are united in our reception even if we differ in our posture, for we are united in the wisdom of the Church, and in obedience to Her. We follow her orders, which order us to the same end.

To apply what I’m saying to my previous example, it is as if the same visitor were coming to the house, and so the mother of the house took her children aside and said, “Children, we’re expecting a very distinguished guest. When he arrives you may embrace him, shake his hand, or bow politely. Nothing else, for he merits more than a wave, or a fist-bump, or whatever innate reaction you have to his presence. Understand?” The children, upon greeting the guest in these three ways, are united in spirit, as they are united in the authority of their mother who has determined their proper posture. The man who understands this cannot complain of a disunity among them.

However, as a child going to receive Communion, I choose to receive on the tongue. I would like to explain why. It is not because it is holy. It is not because it is traditional — Lord save me from ever placing value on a thing because it is old. It is because receiving the Eucharist on the tongue expresses in the body a fundamental truth about the Eucharist: That it comes from God.

Whereas the world is oppressed by all manner of nitpicking authorities without recognizing it, it is the defining characteristic of the Christian in this age that he is sweetly oppressed by one Authority, and that he damn well knows it. For it is no freedom to claim freedom from authority, it only means swearing fealty to the dogma of never swearing fealty, an insane task made all the more difficult by the fact that we will always swear fealty to authorities. The authority of Truth — for instance — is unavoidable, and the authority of Goodness is obeyed even by the liberated modern, for in saying “it is good to break away from authority”, he assents to the authoritative dogma that man should do that which is Good.

The Catholic simply professes that all this inevitable authority comes from the sovereign authority of God (for Beauty, Truth and Goodness are but names for God) and that the many are therefore One. Thus he prays with Marcus Mumford for “a tethered mind freed from the lies,” for that authority which — when obeyed — frees man from all false authority, that of sin, the passions, unjust law, fashions, fads, sociology, scientism, and all the rest.

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Now if there is authority, it follows that some will have it and others will not. In a country of Kings, no one is King, and if everyone was endowed with parental authority, then the six-year old’s daydream would be realized, and there would be no Parents.

It is the Catholic belief that God became man and granted certain men supernatural authority. Certain men, because authority, by its nature, can only be contained by certain people, or it would cease to be authority.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)

Jesus says this to his apostles. If the authority to act on behalf of Heaven is not limited to certain men — the apostles and their descendants — then it is authority for every Christian. If it is for every Christian, why is it unacceptable for me, as a Christian, to inform you that what I loose on Earth is loosed in Heaven, and that we may now oppress the poor?

“If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:23)    

Jesus says this to his apostles. If the authority to forgive sins is not limited to certain men — the apostles and their descendants — then it is authority for every Christian. If it is for every Christian, why is it unacceptable for me, as a Christian, to forgive the sins of my friends?

So certain men are given supernatural authority. These men are the apostles of Christ. And the greatest power they are given is to consecrate bread and wine and thereby change its substance into the body and blood of Christ. As Paul — a priest — testifies:

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (Corinthians 11)

In that he is an apostle — “for this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher” – Paul is a priest and a bishop, a man with the authority Christ spoke of, a man who can forgive sins, bind and loose, and offer sacrifice. He passes down this holy priesthood by the laying on of hands (Acts 6:613:31 Timothy 4:142 Timothy 1:6Matthew 13) – “hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands,” he says to Timothy.

To summarize: Priests have supernatural authority, and this authority — by the unbroken tradition of the laying on of hands — is with our priests today.

Contrary to popular belief, to recognize this authority is not to bloat the ego of the priest, unless he is living unworthily of his vocation. To recognize this authority in the Priest is to give thanks and praise to Jesus Christ, who granted such marvelous power to such unmarvelous men.

Now when I unworthily receive the body of Christ, I should do so with the profound understanding that it is not by my power that I receive Him, but by the authority of God made manifest in his Church. It is by the power of Christ granted to the priest. The Eucharist is the gift of God to us, Love Himself made vulnerable to our ingestion. It is not a thing we can take or claim — it is a person we receive. Receiving on the tongue expresses this truth in the body.

As a baby bird lifts its head for food, or as an infant seeks its mother’s milk, so we open our mouths. There is no action between the administration of the Eucharist by the priest and my reception of the very same. In this posture of helpless receptivity we conform our bodies to the authority of God, and to the reality that we are dependent on his action — manifested in the Church — for our salvation. We recognize by our bodies that the Eucharist is gift, pure gift.

To receive on the hand in the modern fashion is not a bad thing, but I am affected by its sign value. The priest places the host in my hands, and I take it, lift it up to my mouth and ingest it. It’d be ridiculous to say that because of this I have received the body of Christ by my own power, and not by the power of God manifest in His Church. Nor would I ever argue that anyone believes this to be the case. But the difference in sign value is still a real difference. What we do with our bodies does influence the orientation of our intellect and spirit. Because the sign value of reception on the tongue effectively communicates to me the reality of God’s authority present in the Church, his abundant outpouring of power and dignity on sinful men, and my own unworthiness to receive him outside of his loving action, I receive Communion on the tongue.

  • Luke

    Good stuff here. Wonderful explanation for a beautiful gesture.

  • Allison

    Do you still receive on the tongue when Communion is administered by someone other than a priest? That seems to defeat the purpose, in my opinion. The host is already being touched by someone who has NOT been given supernatural authority.

    When I receive from a priest I always receive on the tongue, but when it is a lay person distributing communion, I receive in the hand for two reasons: 1) I have had one to many EMs touch my face or my tongue while clumsily and uncomfortably giving me communion on the tongue, and 2) like I mentioned previously, if their hands have already touched the host, it seems odd that mine “shouldn’t”.

    • Josh

      I also make this distinction sometimes (mainly because of the “uncomfortable”-EM element Allison points out) and I’d love to hear if Marc thinks EMs affect the “sign value.”

    • Caroline

      The solution is to always receive from the priest…sometimes I’ll change lines to do so because these Extraordinary Ministers really aren’t necessary 99% of the time. Also, I’d rather not touch Jesus with my un-ordained hands, so whether someone else already has done so (and you could argue that even if you are receiving from the priest some EMHC has already touched another host, which is also Our Lord) doesn’t make a difference for me.

      • Aaron Suddjian

        It is bad etiquette to change lines just to receive from a priest for the same reason that it is bad etiquette to go and sit back at your seat in the middle of the Gospel. It is an interruption, detracts from the solemnity, and it makes the moment about you. If receiving from a priest makes that big of a difference to you (Vatican II says it shouldn’t: we have all been anointed priest, prophet, and king), please sit in a place where you will already be in the priest’s line.

        “I’d rather not touch Jesus with my un-ordained hands”

        But chewing, swallowing, and digesting Him in gastric acid is fine.

        • silicasandra

          Sometimes the “traffic patterns” at a parish change, or if visiting, it is hard to tell where the best place would be to sit. I regularly attend Daily Mass and one priest tends to give everyone communion (probably the most appropriate as there are rarely more than 30 people in attendance and communion is over in 3-4 minutes at most), and the two others employ one EMHC (one of them has obvious health problems that make moving around or standing for long periods exceptionally difficult). But the priests do not “reliably” tend to stay on one side or the other. I always receive on the tongue and choose the priest’s line if I can do so easily and discreetly.
          And as far as “chewing, swallowing, and digesting Him in gastric acid,” – well, we’re commanded to do it. But we’re not commanded to touch Him with our hands, and knowing where my hands have been and have touched, especially with a young child, I would rather not chance that or, for that matter, the possibility that crumbs may fall off my hands onto the floor. But in preparation for receiving communion, I fast, and know that my digestive tract is “ready” and there aren’t other particles hanging out in there. It’s not scrupulosity but reverence and common sense. If I do have to receive from an EMHC, the ones at our parish are well trained and know how to administer communion on the tongue.

        • Emily Teodorski

          On the contrary, I was told by a priest that it is the right of the faithful to receive from the hands of the priest.

          As per your other comment about chewing and digesting him, perhaps we should look to Christ’s own words…
          “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

          The Greek word used here for ‘eat’ is trogon meaning “chewing” or “gnawing”.

          • Aaron Suddjian

            It is of course your right to receive from a priest. Please plan to do so ahead of time if it makes a big difference to you.

          • Emily Teodorski

            Why do you make the assumption that I do not plan to do so ahead of time and do not try to sit accordingly?

            While laity share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly ministry of Christ, that does not make receiving from the hands of an extraordinary minister the same as receiving from the consecrated hands of the priest who stands in persona Christi.

            Your final comment came off as a sarcastic retort to the quote about chewing and swallowing the Eucharist. I was speaking to that comment and making the point that indeed Christ Himself tells us to gnaw on His flesh.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

      We try our hardest not to receive from laypersons when at NO Masses, but we do still kneel and receive on the tongue, because the Eucharist is still what it is, and this person’s (unintentional) inappropriate mishandling of the Sacred Species does not give me permission to also mishandle it (since my hands aren’t consecrated, either). Besides, if they see the lengths to which people are willing to go to receive reverently, maybe they’ll rethink what they’re doing as an Extraordinary Minister every week. IMHO.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stringbeanjeanoo Kimberly Lenggiere

        Rethink what they’re doing as an EM? Sounds harsh…

    • ladycygnus

      Although i tend to go to the priests line, that is more because the EMs are often uncomfortable with giving on the tongue. When forced into an EMs line I will receive depending on my mood. Kneeling and receiving on the tongue is for me to remember who God is and to prepare my heart to receive him. I can receive inthe hand (and carefully look for crumbs) ifneed be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rushad.thomas Rushad Thomas

    I wish I could post this on a very large and easily readable billboard near every Catholic Church in the universe!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61900466 Debbie Sterbin Sercely

    Very nice! A friend once asked me why I receive on the tongue…I told her that Jesus and I talked about it, and He said I could do whichever I wanted, as long as I didn’t judge those who receive differently.

  • AmeliaB.

    Well put, and beautiful. But what about parishes where the priest is only 1 of 12 Eucharistic ministers at any Mass- would you use the same logic for an EMC?

    • Caroline

      Amelia…Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are generally not the best with giving Communion on the tongue…even the priests have some difficulty…so I always receive Holy Communion from the priest. Most of the time the EMHCs are unnecessary and shouldn’t be distributing Communion anyway.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

      When my husband and I attend parishes like these (usually because we are traveling and didn’t know better what to expect), we will duck lines and go to the priest. It looks rude to some people, but if they ask we’d love to tell them why we do it.

  • mary snustad

    Beautifully written…when I became a mom 9 years ago, I started recieving on the tounge out of necessity at times, as I was constantly holding babies/toddlers and did not have my hands free. I began to notice a real difference in my reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist. I felt much more humbled & intimate with Him…and I began to see what it portrays to our kids. They see a more respected honor & a tangible reverence we give to Jesus when recieve Him on the tounge. Many at my church don’t even bow…and it makes me sad, because it shows how many don’t fully grasp His true prescense. I pray for them to come to know Him in the Eucharist…and what an awesome gift it really is. Sadly, most in my family has fallen away from that truth (or never really “got” it).

  • Olivier

    Outward signs represent inward disposition. Nice article, Marc!

  • Stefan

    If your parish uses “Eucharistic Ministers” you should stop approaching them at communion and only receive from the priest. They are properly termed Extraordinary Ministers, who are only SUPPOSED to be used when an ordained minister (bishop, priest or deacon) is absent or impeded. Unfortunately too many parishes are lazy and want to get the liturgy over with as soon as possible, rather than wait the extra 5-10 minutes for the priest to distribute the Eucharist himself . Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained”. He links this to the consecration of the hands of the priest. This recalls a famous passage of St Thomas Aquinas, cited in this regard in an official statement of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff: …out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency.” http://fiuv.org/docs/FIUV_PP_CommunionFinal.pdf

    • SDG

      To further clarify: They are “extraordinary ministers of holy COMMUNION,” NOT “extraordinary EUCHARISTIC ministers.” Their extraordinary ministry is strictly limited to the COMMUNION rite, NOT the larger Eucharistic celebration of which communion is a part (e.g., the Eucharistic sacrifice, which belongs solely to the priest acting in persona Christi).

      • Stefan


    • Ronk

      In many parishes including mine, the over-use of EMHCs is not done in order to get the liturgy over with as soon as possible, because it actually takes LONGER than it would take with fewer communion ministers. The reason we have so many EMHCs, and this was confirmed to me by the parish priest and the parish liturgy committee, is in order to maximise the number of people who have a special job to do during each mass. They say that this is a very good indeed essential thing, because, they say, this is the only way that the laity can obey Vatican II’s command to “fully and actively participate” in the liturgy. Apparenyly just turning up on time, being reverent, attentive, joing in loudly and enthusiastically in all the prayers, chants, hymns and responses, is just not good enough, in their opinion and apparently the opinion of many parish priests and liturgy “experts” who rule the roost in most parishes.

      • Sharon

        Maybe that’s the explanation I’d get if I asked our pastor why it’s a convention at the altar before Communion. People, people and more people. And if I can’t get into the line with the priest or deacon, I abhor the practice of a lay Eucharistic minister “blessing” my child/ren. I’m not yet ready to migrate to the Latin Rite parish in our city, but it’s not far off.

  • Caroline

    “Lord save me from ever placing value on a thing because it is old”
    But don’t we Catholics actually place quite a bit of value on the traditions our forefathers passed down? I mean there are tons of things we do value because they are old, maybe an old photograph of a great-great-grandparent we never met. We don’t place value on them only because they are old, but I think being old can be a factor (not necessary or sufficient) for lending value. And I think some of the things you say about receiving on the tongue do allow receiving Communion to be a holy, prayerful thing moreso than receiving on the hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Germain/755940081 James Germain

      The old photograph of your great-great-grandparent isn’t valuable merely because it is old, but rather because it points to something from your past. It tells you something of who you are, where you came from.
      As Catholics we give respect to tradition, even non-sacred traditions, because they point to our history, tell us where we came from and a little of who we are. We give traditions the benefit of the doubt for this reason, but this is not enough to follow them blindly. If a tradition is called into question, we should uphold it untill it is shown to be problematic.
      We should not be afraid to replace or discard problematic traditions simply because they are old. But we should respect them untill they are shown to be such.

      God bless,

      • Eusebius

        This is exactly why receiving in the hands annoyed me (before I became Byzantine and it was no longer an option): what was wrong with the tradition of receiving on the tongue? Apparently nothing, since it is still permissible. But then why the innovation? I can’t get past thinking that it was either for innovation’s sake, or for some darker purpose (not that those who participate in it are somehow wrong or evil [that pieta comment above was truly beautiful], but we shouldn’t have to shed light on darkness within our own church. We should be one, as the Trinity).

  • ElizabethAnn

    I had a conversation about this with a friend who serves as an EMC. I was receiving communion on the tongue because I thought that was the safest way to ensure that nothing happened to the host between the priest (or EMC) giving and my receiving (such as dropping Him accidentally). My friend said that this is actually more likely to happen to people who receive communion on the tongue than those who receive in the hand. I agree with the importance of the symbolism you describe, but I would rather be as careful as possible.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

      I have a hard time seeing that in regards to my parish, where *everyone* receives on the tongue and kneeling. I’ve never seen a priest drop a Host at our TLM, and if he did, that’s what the paten is for–to catch any dropped Host or particles. They have a good, solid grip between their two fingers and lay it on the recipient’s extended tongue. The person receiving has to do so in the right ‘posture’ as well as position: you open your mouth -wide-, don’t be shy, and stick that tongue out to give the Host a sticky place to land. If it drops, it hits the paten and the priest retrieves and tries again. I’ve never seen one hit the floor at our TLM.

      However I *have* attended a Mass with two or three EMs, where I and my husband were the only ones to kneel and receive on the tongue (and no one tripped over us), where the lady first dropped a Host on the floor, then, as she knelt to pick it up, dumped another dozen out of the ciborium. That broke my heart.

  • brixt

    Tradition is not about respecting that which is old; that which was once true and has been handed down through generations remains true and must be upheld.

  • Noe

    Also behind being given authority by Jesus as Christ from the Father, those claiming a likewise-Divine authority to “bind and loose” (assur v’ hittur) – specifically lose it. These were the Rabbinic authorities of the time claiming such authority, and their surviving descendents (Perushim/”Pharisees”, who began Rabbinic Judaism). The conferral, the “Smicha”, rabbinic ordination, is the “laying/leaning on [of hands]” – which is how Jesus conferred his authority received from the Father; he specifically did the act, continuing away from the rabbinic authorities. It was all – in word and deeds, in part a specific response against the other Divinely-ordained authoritative system itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/balf11 Brian Formica

    Dangit, I guess I’m going to be “that guy”. This was beautiful, it really was. I’m not trying to start a fight, but I have a few concerns. (Disagreements?)

    This much is clear: the gift comes from Christ through the priest. If I continue Marc’s analogy, it’s the priest who invites the guest to the house (you might even say he drives the guest there). But if someone else were to introduce the guest, would that make the encounter between the guest and the host any less than it would be without the introducer? And putting aside Extraordinary Ministers for a moment, what about Life-Care ministers who bring the Blessed Sacrament to the weak and sick?

    What’s more – aside from the combination of the Blessed Sacrament in both its forms (performed in select few rites, including Byzantine correct?) – we don’t have the Precious Blood poured directly in our mouths. What’s the difference of having it in a chalice when we take it from another person? That it doesn’t physically touch our hands? What matter is it if the Eucharist touches our hand when He is already about to be put in our mouth, chewed, swallowed, and digested?

    Also, what does the Church have to say about all this? What’s its reasoning for permitting the use of our hands?

    • Eusebius

      I’m a Ruthenian Byzantine. Our priests distribute and body soaked in the blood by means of what, for ease of understanding, I’ll call a spoon. The same goes for Ukranian Byzantine and probably a few others, but there is some variance amongst the Eastern Catholic churches. The Melkite Catholics, for example, usually have the priest dip the body in the blood just before each communicant receives, and distribute with their hands directly into the communicants mouth. As far as I’m aware, no Eastern Catholic Church allows the communicant to touch the Eucharist.

      • yawsep

        Actually receiving communion in the hand was the normal practice for the Church of the East (Chaldean and Syro-Malabar) before Latinization. I hope nobody would criticize us if we returned to our authentic practice, which have been written about very beautifully in some ancient commentaries.

  • ThyKingdomCome

    You make it sound like receiving on the tongue is while kneeling. However, the US norms from the “Order of the Mass” say nothing about kneeling to receive Communion – just either on tongue or hands standing.

    In the United States, the people normally process to the front in lines, receive communion standing, and then return to their places in the congregation. In some cases, the ministers may go to other locations within the church to distribute communion, or may even approach individuals at their places (esp. the elderly or infirm). Communion is now usually offered “under both species”, i.e., both the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine. It may be distributed by priests, deacons, or designated lay persons, called “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.” Communicants are encouraged to receive the consecrated bread in their hands, but may also receive communion on the tongue.

    Also, you refers to receiving Communion on the hand as “modern fashion” which isn’t totally accurate. There are plenty examples from the early church of Saints referring to Communion on the hand, i.e. St Cyril of Jerusalem saying “place your left hand as the throne of your right one, which is to receive the King [in Holy Communion]“. Some on the other side will use a quote like this to say we should get away from Communion on the tongue which I think it just as wrong.

    Is it really necessary to write a blog about why YOU think that receiving Communion on the tongue is more reverent? I just creates division where there doesn’t need to be any and it encourages Traditionalists to argue about things like whether or not we should receive Communion from a lay EMHC instead of a priest and other stuff like that just makes Catholics look stupid.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.stenken Anna Pohlgeers Stenken

      I have never received on the tongue (although I was very reluctant at first) since reading the book “Get Us Out of Here!” by Nicky Eltz, who wrote the book about an Austrian mystic Maria Simma, who was visited by the poor souls in Purgatory. This book talks a lot about how receiving on the tongue was permitted in the first place and how it has affected souls, who promoted it while living, once they die. This book was life-changing for me on many levels. I have lent this book to many EMs who then quit that ministry. My son made his First Holy Communion was the only child in his class to receive on the tongue. He was afraid to, because he thought he would get in trouble. When I approached the parish priest he seemed very hard-pressed to take the time to explain to my child that he would not be doing anything wrong by receiving on the tongue. I attended all of the instruction, no one ever mentioned ot the children how to receive on the tongue. Very sad!

      • ThyKingdomCome

        I agree that it is sad when kids aren’t told the receiving on the tongue is an option.

        On the issue of Extraordinary Ministers… Communion at our parish already takes 20 minutes with a priest, deacon and about 16 other lay EMHCs. Some of you seriously think we should only receive Communion from a priest? Is there not any situation that you think is “extraordinary”?

        • Stefan

          Perhaps you have been blessed to attend a Church with a very large parish, and many hundreds of faithful Catholics, who at the time of Communion are in a state of grace, have made a good confession since their last mortal sin, and have observed the Eucharistic fast. (Quite rare I bet, but God Bless you for living in this place) This would be an extraordinary situation, according to Redemptionis Sacramentum, which says another lay member of Christ’s faithful may also be delegated by the diocesan Bishop when “the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.” Unfortunately most parishes in the US use EMHC’s every Sunday, to speed along the liturgy, often for the sake of a fuller participation of the laity, or to be inclusive of women. This is why many of us prefer to receive the Eucharist properly, from a validly ordained Priest acting in persona Christi.

        • J

          Where in tarnation do you attend Mass? In any case, have you ever waited for 20-30 minutes for a table? Or to buy tickets?

        • David Meyer

          20 minutes! Oh gosh we wouldnt want people to get too hungry for their donut Sunday time! Beter add 4 more EMHCs and make it an even 20. Better yet, do it like Presbyterians and just pass the hosts around on a plate down the pews like the offering.
          You are way off the mark. I know it may seem counter intuitive, but kneeling AT A RAIL (where the priest moves and the communicants do not move) goes quite fast. Have you had ever seen a packed cathedral with only 2 priests at an altar rail with kneeling communicants??? I goes much, much quiker than lines of people shuffling awkwardly. And it has the benefit of giving the communicant an extra momment before recieving to prepare without thinking about logisitcs of shuffling to and fro.
          And I think it is sad that you see waiting 20 minutes to be an extraordinary situation. The mass is not about our convinience. That time is not wasted, it can be filled with singing and prayer.
          Keep in mind that it worked just fine for a millenium with only priests/decons giving communion at altar rails!!!! Any argument you have that it would not work is just silly. What does not work is the 16 (!) EMHC’s and the sacriledge that results from communion in the hand. You have seen it, I have seen it. It cant be denied! We all have seen people brushing their hands off after recieving (as if they just ate a snack), walking away and casually tossing the host in their mouth out of view of the EMHC, etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001228876824 Nicholas Silva

        I remember my First Communion classes like they were yesterday, never a peep or mention that it was possible to receive any other way than in the hand. Whenever someone did receive on the tongue it was at our Spanish Masses and I always thought that that was something they just carried over from Mexico and it was odd…. :/

    • john

      you’re kind of a jerk

      • http://www.facebook.com/stringbeanjeanoo Kimberly Lenggiere

        A few people on here -on either side of this issue- are jerks. Bottome line is that we are allowed to receive on the tongue or the hand. And if people really wanna judge and be snarky about it, they should remove their planks so to speak…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001228876824 Nicholas Silva

      The Church got rid of communion in the hand for good reason, the very fact that reverence, belief in the Real Presence decreased and sacrilege increased once it was re-introduced is enough to give pause. The Church always acquires newer forms of worship to supercede older ones when the older forms are inferior in sign value or are not the best expression of what we believe. The Church adopted Communion on the tongue kneeling for a good reason, and going back to the practice of primitive Christians who haven’t had over 2,000 years to expound and reflect on the doctrine of the Eucharist is a mistake. Even Pope Paul the VI, the one who allowed it’s return, did so reluctantly, and his omens reign true today.

      A 14 year old former lukewarm cradle-Catholic that loves the Eucharist and discovered Tradition.

      • ThyKingdomCome

        Your age helps me to better understand your immature summary about the ills of the Church all relating back to the reception of Communion in the hand. I have been a lay minister in the Church for longer than you have been alive and I think we are at an exciting time of the Church, on the cusp of a new Springtime. I work with young people who are on fire for their faith. And I know many Protestant that are very intrigued by the Church with very open hearts. When I began I used to think it was liberalism that was the problem with the Church. However, now I think it is traditionalist who think they are more Catholic than the pope and their local bishop. People who spend their time Catholic naval gazing while others of us are engaged in the New Evangelization preaching Jesus Christ and the Church.

        And to my original point, the Order of the Mass does not mention kneeling to receive on the tongue which is a part of the posture that the writer of the article is advocating. This is not a normal posture in the US and advocating for kneeling is creating division IMO. Unified posture is a part of our expression of unity as a community and so you would be the unorthodox person in most parishes in the US. But that doesn’t surprise me since you are more Catholic and everything in going to hell in a hand basket in the mind of people like you.

        • J

          Thykingdomcome – what a snotty reply to a 14 year old. Leave it to a “lay minister” to pull rank by citing age and experience while condemning those of us who are “more Catholic than the pope,” which is just asinine. You are dead wrong about the “normal posture in the US – until this stupid indult was granted, kneeling, and at an altar rail at that, was the norm. As a “lay minister” – whatever the hell that means – I’m sure you’ve witnessed many abuses of the Holy Eucharist. It’s criminal, the lack of respect for the Host.

        • David Meyer

          Thykingdom come-
          “I have been a lay minister…”
          No, you have not, and you are not. You are an EXTRAORDINARY minister of holy communion. Got it? Do you understand what extraordinary means? It means not normally done. Yet there are a dozen of your ilk at every mass spreading out to infect the sanctuary like ringwraiths. Communion is quicker at an altar rail, so your extraordinary service would not be needed if people went back to the traditional form in the ordinary form of the mass.
          “the Order of the Mass does not mention kneeling to receive on the tongue…”
          Um, yes it does. In one of the two forms of the mass, this is the only way it is allowed.
          “I think it is traditionalist who think they are more Catholic than the pope and their local bishop.”
          The pope only gives communion on the tongue while kneeling. And your claim that division is being caused over this reminds me of the claim by liberals that division is being caused by traditionalists over the gay marriage issue. After a millenium of recieving on the tongue, (hundreds of years in the US) people get permission to recieve in the hand and now those who do not are considered to be “unorthodox” by you. Orwell would roll his eyes at you.

          • ThyKingdomCome

            Chill out David. I wasn’t speaking about being a lay minister for Communion. I am a youth minister by profession. I have nothing more to say beyond what has been said by myself and more graciously by MichaelB and Sarah above.

    • J

      Actually, receiving in the hand created a division where there was none.

    • ladycygnus

      Actually, receiving while kneeling is allowed. The priest can’t deny you, but I asked permission first from my pastor. The only thing that bothers me sometimes about kneeling is the thought that some other people might think I’m judging them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.escalona Nicholas Escalona

      “However, the US norms from the ‘Order of the Mass’ say nothing about kneeling to receive Communion – just either on tongue or hands standing.”

      This is not so. Read GIRM 160 (U.S.), newly updated in 2010. I’ve posted it a few other places in the comments.

  • Elisabeth

    Nice. Just wish you wouldn’t use “dicks” in the first paragraph as it makes me have to apologize to the people I want to send this to.

    • Lisa

      I agree. In fact, this is exactly why I can’t share all of Marc’s posts. Which stinks, because he really writes some awesome stuff. :-(

      • J

        Elisabeth, Agnes and Lisa – y’all need to lighten up. This kid is 18 or 19 years old, geez. He’s honest and brilliant.

        • e

          Yes, and the profanity makes him appear otherwise. It is a distraction from his excellent posts.

        • Blaine

          I tend to agree with the ladies here. Marc is honest and brilliant. I love his material. I was a 19 year old kid once, and talked like that too. However, if he wants to be taken seriously by us old folks (I’m 30 now, and just learning this lesson myself), he should speak like an honest and brilliant adult and gentleman, who when given the time to edit a work before publishing, does so. You don’t need words like that to make a point in a courteous and polite society.

          As to the essay itself and otherwise – wonderful.

          • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

            If Marc wrote like every other Catholic blogger I doubt I’d be reading him. I feel like he’s someone I can relate to, being a 20-year-old college student with a 20-year-old’s respect for convention and 20-year-old friends with 20-year-old vocabularies. I read Marc’s posts because he’s a dude and he’s devout and he’s erudite and humble and provoking &c. He speaks my language–which is why I get the pervasive feeling that this blog is aimed primarily at me and fellow young folks, not at the older folks with more propriety and taste.

            Further, Marc’s proven multiple times over the course of this blog that he can vocabulate with the best of the scholastics, so let’s put to rest this trope that coarse language betrays a stunted vocabulary.

            Not trying to be a hater, so I’m sorry if I give offense.

          • Blaine

            “So why does the beautiful kill pornography?”


            Marc himself asks this in the above essay nearly a year ago. The post is peppered with nude paintings which clearly illustrate his point. I submitted my humble criticism (which I hope the author accepts) because I see his writing as art. It amazes me that someone of his age and experience can write so beautifully, with language and insight that truly does elevate and uplift us above our baser instincts and impulses.

            Yet, in this essay I see an anchor to the bottom in the first sentence. Many of the comments here describe language such as that as hip and edgy. It’s not, it’s crude and base. If you would seriously not relate to Marc’s writing where he doesn’t use vulgarity, you would be missing out on some of the best writing of your (or our) generation.

          • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

            I didn’t say that I couldn’t relate to him if he didn’t use such language. If that were the case, then I wouldn’t be majoring in liberal arts at a great books college. Rather, I merely said that I *could* relate to him through his use of the youth vernacular, as it were. The truth of the affirmation in no way implies the truth of its inverse.

            Perhaps you shouldn’t see Marc’s language as an anchor to the bottom, but rather as a baited hook lowered to the scummy bottom of the pond to draw immature and crude kids like me out of the darkness and into the light of the truth. (Or something. Metaphors weren’t ever my strong point.) Anyway, my point is that the fools and the base of my generation need to be witnessed to as well, and if they don’t hear their language being spoken to them they will simply zone it out.

            A similar case comes to mind with internet atheists. If one is to truly witness the Gospel to them, one can’t start with metaphysics to bring them in. They’ll only ask “Where’s your evidence?” Instead, one has to start with physics, showing the probability of some mentative creative being as the origin of the hyper-fine-tuning of the universe, before one can lead them to the Second Way of Aquinas. (Or something. Internet apologetics is also a weak point of mine.)

            Point being, unless you come to the one you want to convert on his own terms, he will not be disposed to your message.

          • Laura M

            I disagree. It is a blog, which allows more informality, his posts have the quality of boldness and directness found almost excusively of young people and anyone who wouldn’t take him seriously because a single word is ridiculous. All this shouldn’t be taken as a defense of “non-polite” words as much of a invitation to not get caught up in such little things. Trust me, this is absolutely nothing compared to what I hear everyday at college.

        • Elisabeth

          I agree that he’s honest, brilliant, etc., but Blaine makes a good point. I don’t think youth is an excuse. Hello Timothy?! :) It won’t stop me from sharing the article, nor would I be offended if a friend said this to me in person… but I’d like to send it without reservation or apology to the masses (and not everyone can look past that kind of terminology).

          • Cameron

            its funny because his casual language is EXACTLY why I *can* share this with many ‘dicks’ my age :P (I know this is weird but me and my housemates call each other dicks as a term of endearment… i don’t expect you to understand…). I guess marc, you can’t please everyone…

          • Nancy

            I like the usage of the word “dicks” because it’s blunt and honest. People *can* and *do* act self-righteous about this kind of stuff. Saying they are acting like a dick, in my mind, doesn’t dress it up…and I’m 33 and a mom!

          • Gina Nakagawa

            Okay, folks, I am a really, really old “croc”. I come from an age when crudeness and vulgarity were for the use of the crude and vulgar. Referring to women as female dogs and to men as particular body parts was not considered liberation, or fashionable or anything other than disgusting. In an otherwise superlative piece of work, a crude reference to the male sexual organ does nothing to uplift the mind of the reader, which I think was the object of the article. Maybe I am wrong. Old “Crocs” often are.

            As a teacher, I could only wish that we were teaching youth a broader vocabulary, and that there is a time and a place for everything. That perhaps, what passes muster in the locker room, or the living room, may not be appropriate in a piece on the Holy Eucharist which, otherwise is an outstanding article.

            Keep up the great work, Marc. Look at the people whose pictures you chose to illustrate the article. Ask yourself, “Would any of them use such language in this situation?” Then go ahead keep writing. I will be looking to buy your books some day.

        • asydwy

          J…really brilliant people have a vocabulary. Even those that are
          only 18 0r 19 years old. This is off-putting for many reasons but
          the best one is the sacred subject matter. Those who object do not need to lighten up…Marc needs to get a vocabulary if he intends to write.

      • http://www.facebook.com/JamieMc4525 Jamie McAdams

        I forgot all about that sentence by the time I got done with the article. Wonderful article—wonderful

      • Laura M

        Meh, say there’s a brief use of non PG language and be done with it. It really isn’t that bad.

    • Agnes

      Also it’s not so nice to use the other ‘d’ word (hence the title of the blog, maybe?). It’s unfortunate that you used these words, because this post is so great that it’s really making me rethink receiving the Eucharist in my hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stringbeanjeanoo Kimberly Lenggiere

      I like the use of the word “dicks” -it may not show the most evolved vocabulary, but maybe some Catholic teenager who wonders if he could ever relate to devout Catholics will come across this blog and say, “dicks. ha.” and keep reading…

    • Jake E

      Sike! That’s the wrong number!!!

  • derp

    I receive on the tongue, and really don’t get the people who get all hot and bothered by those who receive in the hand (not you, but you know those people are out there). I usually receive from an EMHC too, and have never had a problem.

  • Lone Star

    We try to always sit on the middle aisle and receive the Body of Christ directly from the priest. One of our reasons for this is that we come from the Anglican Communion where the false innovation of so-called women “priests” has been introduced in so many places, therefore it just rubs us the wrong way to receive from women. Plus, the consecrated hands of the priest are our preferred mode of administration. I also try always to receive on the tongue, but for a while, during the N1H1 epidemic, Catholics in our country were instructed that everyone should receive in the hand, for health reasons. I didn’t like it, but I did it.

  • David

    Knowing what is happening at the mass there is no way I can receive the Eucharist any other way than on the tongue. I am so grateful for the gift of the Eucharist.
    Nice article. Thanks

  • john

    At the Last Supper when “Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to his disciples”, do you suppose that was on the tongue? I think that improbable and that there’s a lot to be said for receiving just as Jesus would have given.

    When I receive on the hand, the image that comes to my mind is the Pieta and I thank God for giving me the mystical opportunity to hold Mary’s son as she did.

    • Anna

      “When I receive on the hand, the image that comes to my mind is the Pieta
      and I thank God for giving me the mystical opportunity to hold Mary’s
      son as she did.”
      I love this! I’ve heard about the image of our hands forming a throne for the King, but that image of the Pieta is truly beautiful. Thank you!
      I usually receive on the tongue, but I’m usually holding a baby…

  • Jan

    Here’s why my pastor told me a couple of weeks ago – “If it were up to me, everyone would receive Communion standing up and IN THE HAND.” This past spring, right before the First Holy Communion Mass he approached my students and asked them if “anyone has told you that you cannot receive in the hand, but only the mouth because it’s not true.” Not only did I feel sucker-punched, the rebuke was patent. I never taught them that they couldn’t receive in the hand, but he never bothered to ask me.

    Earlier in the summer I discussed the abuses of Communion in the hand with our bishop’s personal assistant, who is a deacon, and he said that in spite of the abuses, the bishop is totally committed to ensuring that communion in the hand remains an option.

    This is a lost cause for those of us who receive on the tongue. Can’t lick ‘em and can’t join ‘em.

  • spiritblessed

    I dislike the overuse and abuse of EMCs and don’t buy the argument that they are used to speed up the Mass. Last Sundays Mass at a local parish employed over a dozen “ministers” around the alter not including the deacon and the priest. The priest spent a lot of time visibly directing traffic during communion and slopping the Body of Christ from one ciborium to another. Not my idea of a transcendent moment. If we want to be able to quickly and efficiently distribute the consecrated hosts (a debatable point) then we should bring back the communion rail. It works great. Gee. You would think it was designed for that purpose.
    BTW, I won’t go back to that parish.

    • Eusebius

      I was going to write a post about the efficiency of the communion rail (though it has many spiritual benefits as well), but it seems you’ve done my work for me. One priest and one deacon can distribute the Eucharist to an entire congregation in 5 minutes with one of those. I’ll also agree that speed in distribution is not much of a boon: around the time of reception I usually want as much time for prayer as possible, both before and after.

      One thing I have noticed in this thread, though, is a tendency to bash on EMHC’s. Charity requires, I think, that we ought to take a moment to remember that they aren’t ALWAYS that un-extraordinary (though I will agree that the vast majority of the instances in which EMHCs are employed for regular Sunday Masses at a given parish are unnecessary). At my Catholic high school alma mater, for instance, we had about 750 students, 100 faculty and staff, and one chaplain. With a dozen extraordinary ministers, communion still took ten minutes during our all-school Masses. There simply wasn’t time in the school day for an hour of communion. It was EMHC’s or no all-school Masses. I should note, though, that the EMHC’s were required to have spent at least a year active in campus ministry, and had to attend a special class after school to become EMHC’s. Fr. Krizner was faithful about making certain they believed in the real presence and knew what they were doing (heck, he was part of the reason why I went from a being professed atheist as a freshman to a regular Mass-attendee my senior year).

      Just wanted to give everyone a breather from our annoyance at the misuse of EMHCs.

  • MichaelB

    I often receive on the tongue, but that being said there are some serious errors in this articles arguments. It has two basic arguments, the first regarding authority and the second regarding a fitting sign.

    It does not make sense that, while basing a proof off of authority, the author goes against the authority of the Church when it comes to kneeling to receive Communion.

    “It should be noted that the General Instruction o the Roman Missal
    assigns to Conferences of Bishops the decision as to whether the
    faithful should stand or kneel at the time of reception of Holy
    Communion. (no. 43 §2) The Bishops of the United States have decided
    that the normative posture for receiving Holy Communion should be

    Kneeling is not a licit posture for receiving Holy Communion in the
    dioceses of the United States of America unless the bishop of a
    particular diocese has derogated from this norm in an individual and
    extraordinary circumstance.

    The provision which follows this section is provided for those
    extraordinary circumstances when a communicant acts in contradiction to
    the decision of the bishops. Under no circumstances may a person be
    denied Holy Communion merely because he or she has refused to stand to
    receive Holy Communion. Rather, in such instances, the priest is obliged
    to provide additional catechesis so that the communicant might better
    understand the reason for the Bishops’ decision to choose standing as
    the normative posture for receiving Holy Communion in the dioceses of
    the United States of America.”

    Clearly, the USCCB has made their stance on this subject. One cannot base their argument off of an authority and at the same time disagree with said authority.

    Second, the author writes about the ‘sign value’ of receiving on the tongue. One must only receive the Eucharist, not take it. The problem with this sign, however, is that it is just that, a sign. Another culture may view this sign differently. The mere act of walking towards the sanctuary may be seen as ‘taking’ in their eyes. What is in the heart is more important, than how one appears. In addition, one could also make great theological arguments for the ‘sign value’ of receiving on the hand. When the host is put on the hand and then consumed, this could represent how God offers Himself to us, but we must also cooperate with Him by the use of our free will. Indeed, God has always honored our free will.

    The author, in my opinion, offers his own reasoning for receiving on the tongue in a way in which ostracizes those who do not receive on the tongue. He creates division in a time when we need unity. He judges the meaning of an act not by the content of an individual’s will but by outward signs.

    • sullibe

      While it is true that the standards outlined by the USCCB indicate that the norm is to receive while standing, the Vatican document Redemptionis Sacramentum [91.] (which trumps the USCCB, i.e. has greater authority) has declared that no one shall be denied reception when kneeling.

      As one who receives on the hand, for two reasons: one – as a convert, this may seem very silly, but I struggle with it, I do not like the idea of “sticking my tongue out” at Jesus. I know that may seem awfully childish, but it represents, for me, an act of rebellion (I think about how many times I stuck my tongue out at my parents as a child because I didn’t like what they were saying) Two – I see the act of receiving in the hand very humbling. My family tends to sit in the front pew and as I watch people come forth, hands outstretched, almost begging in humility for the Grace offered in reception of the Sacrament, in some ways it reminds me of Oliver Twist, “Please, Sir, can I have some more.” It is a very provocative and humbling stance, to outstretch your hands and approach the table of the Lord.

      However, I disagree, I feel neither ostracized, nor divided. The Church is wide and varied. It’s supposed to be. Marc was simply offering his explanation of why he does what he does. I offered the short-hand of why I do what I do above. The Church accepts us both. Thanks be to God.

      • MichaelB

        Sorry, I think you completely missed the point of my post. We are both aiming at the same point, acceptance of both forms and unity in the Church because Christ prayed that we “may all be one.” This is what I was aiming at in showing that both receiving on the tongue and the hand can be acceptable ways to receive.

        As far as the USCCB and the Vatican, we should be careful when using words such as ‘trumps’. Makes it sound as if the USCCB taught something wrongly. The passage from the USCCB that I quoted acknowledges that one should not be denied Communion when kneeling, as you rightly said. However, the USCCB also cites the Vatican document, the GIRM, which gives conferences of bishops the authority to decide posture in how the people receive. The USCCB has made the norm to be without kneeling.

    • ThyKingdomCome

      Amen brother MichaelB. A voice of reason among the craziness

    • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

      He didn’t actually judge anyone. He gave his own reasons for doing what he does.

      “Because the sign value of reception on the tongue effectively communicates to me the reality of God’s authority present in the Church, his abundant outpouring of power and dignity on sinful men, and my own unworthiness to receive him outside of his loving action, I receive Communion on the tongue.”

      Your point about other cultures is irrelevant, as Marc doesn’t actually live in another culture.

      Finally, it seems a little odd that you would claim that he is contradicting authority by mentioning receiving on the knees, and then claim he isn’t taking into account other cultures. The Church has given us three ways. In OUR culture, one is not supposed to receive from the knees.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.escalona Nicholas Escalona

      My understanding is that this is no longer the case with the recent revisions to the U.S. GIRM.

      From 160: “The norm established … is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, *unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling*.”
      This seems to me to have a very different sense than the previous (2002-2010) text of GIRM 160, and the rest of what you are saying.

  • Elena

    So, I was raised in a parish where 99% of the congregation receives Communion in the hand – I wasn’t even taught any other way. Now I’m at college, and at our Newman Center there are quite a few people who receive Communion on the tongue. I’ve thought about trying it – I like the case you make for it – but I don’t really know what the proper form is. Could anyone enlighten me?

    • Eusebius

      I’m Byzantine Catholic now, and we can only receive on the tongue, but back in college I was a traditional Latin Mass-goer, where you kneel with your hands folded in prayer at the communion rail and receive on the tongue without any response to the priest/deacon’s formula, “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.”

      At a Novus Ordo Mass, which is probably the only Mass offered at a Newman Center, the communicant always responds to the formula “the Body of Christ” with “Amen.” It is permissible to stand or to kneel, though kneeling may help to indicate to the minister, be they ordained or extraordinary, that you intend to receive on the tongue (I found that this tended to make for fewer near-fumbles on the part of EMHC’s, though I usually tried to place myself in the priest’s line anyways). If you’re kneeling, it isn’t necessary to bow or genuflect before approaching the Sacrament, though it’s a good idea to cross yourself before and after reception either way. It is also a good idea to keep your hands folded in prayer; this is obviously a more reverent posture, but on a more practical note, if you give them a chance extraordinary ministers will almost automatically place the Eucharist in your hands (once I had an EMHC stand there for a full two seconds waiting for me to open my hands) and hand-folding eliminates this possibility. Make certain to stick your tongue out (the host used in most Catholic churches will stick to your tongue pretty well, so don’t worry that it will fall off) rather than simply opening your mouth. If you’re going to receive under both forms, though it is not necessary to do so, approach and receive the Blood as you normally would.

      I think that about covers it. If I’ve missed anything, just ask I s’pose.

  • Eusebius

    You knocked this one out of the park, frater.

  • Montague

    Did I miss where you wrote it, or is the Coal Isaiah received also another case in point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/whatalune Sarah Burkey

    I am actually really disappointed in this column, and I am normally such a big fan. These are the internet discussions that make me recoil in horror – that anyone should be paying attention to how anyone else receives communion – does it not bring to mind certain passages of “The Screwtape Letters”? Here we have a bunch of Catholic-blog-reading, Mass-attending, Confession-giving people, and we feel the need to argue over different Church-APPROVED methods of receiving? I similarly recoil at discussions of veils. They should be labelled “How to make faithful Catholics feel unwelcome in their own Parishes.” St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his Exercises, encourages the retreatant to assume different postures for periods of time until he finds the one which is most conducive to prayer for him. Not the one that looks the most humble should someone else pass by. I think piety is about what is helpful to that person – helpful to their prayer and helpful to their humility – if kneeling should give you an ounce of “look-at-me,” perhaps kneeling is not for you.
    Me? I personally receive on the tongue. I have no deep-seated belief regarding how to receive other than thinking that kneeling when there is no rail is somewhat disruptive and showy – maybe that’s my problem. I receive on the tongue because I once heard it made Mother Teresa sad to see people receive in the hand. I don’t know if it makes God sad; I just figured not making Mother Teresa sad was a good enough reason for me. I really don’t care if others receive in the hand. The priests and the Bishops and the Pope don’t seem to mind.

    • Chuck

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been to mass with Pope Benedixt XVI, but he specifically requested that communion (at masses that he’s serving) should be received kneeling and on the tongue. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a mass at St. Peter’s, but there are times when the faithful go to receive communion in the hand and the priests will nonetheless place the Eucharist on the tongue. So I don’t think it’s safe to say that priests, bishops, and the pope don’t mind – obviously they requested a specific action. (And according to the Church, on the tongue will always be the norm, the default and preferred method.)

      Also, let people discuss! C’mon! Where else can people discuss the reasons/benefits/etc of stuff like veils and whatnot. You’re sweeping statement (phrased in the label of these discussions as “How to make faithful Catholics feel unwelcome in their own Parishes”) is misleading. Some might feel that way, but it might be because of the tone some people have while discussing these things. There are tons of people who’ve never been exposed to these ideas, let them hear some people think veils are a good thing, even though they’re whole life they were told veils are relics of the past “patriarchal suppression” from their heterodox parishes.

  • http://twitter.com/catholicfword Christine Dalessio

    While I think you are trying to express your personal conviction in this post, and I appreciate that reception on the tongue is your response to the presence of the authority of the priesthood, I am not convinced by your argument that reception in the hands in any way minimizes sign value. As a teen, for example, my parents have authority over me, yet they no longer spoon feed me. As a citizen, I expect those in authority to acknowledge my dignity and value as a person made for my own sake, and allow me to receive their gifts with open hands. Likewise, the Church in Her wisdom allows reception of the Eucharist in the hands as a sign of Just That – reception. This is not a taking, a grasping at the gift. On the contrary, it is a sign that I have put aside childish things, as Paul warrants, and in doing so, say ‘amen’ of my own accord, as a subject. And as a subject, I open my hands willingly, in a sign of reception, showing immediate willingness to consume the gift in the same manner in which I have received it.
    Moreover, I am sure you did not intend to communicate anything other than your personal conviction – however, is it not these personal convictions, this pluralism, with which you initially take issue?
    I just bear in mind the many men of authority – priests and bishops and cardinals and archbishops who receive the Eucharist in their hands. (Watch any Vatican Mass). I would love to think that these men in whom is instilled this special and particular authority would be the first to insist on certain symbolic ritual if it were actually so warranted.
    Thanks for everything you post- dialog is a good thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.kiolbassa.5 Courtney Chiara Luce Kiolbassa

    Thank you, Marc! I’ve had trouble explaining myself to a parish in which a majority of people receive in the hand. A few questions regarding reception of Holy Communion… maybe you (or any other commenter!) can share your insight… What is the role (if any) of an “Extraordinary Minister?” My parish has about 20 EM’s (10 for each species), and it still takes about 20 minutes for Communion to be distributed. I try to receive from the priest, but the traffic almost always leaves me with nowhere to go but to an EM. Also, who has the final say on whether or not I can kneel to receive Jesus in the Eucharist? I tried kneeling at daily mass, but my pastor made an “announcement” to the congregation after mass and said that we MUST stand to promote unity within our parish. He also did a homily on this topic, and said that “those who kneel are just trying to draw attention to themselves.” Being the only person who has (in my understanding) ever knelt to receive Jesus at my parish, I was extremely embarrassed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.escalona Nicholas Escalona

      As far as I understand – the national conference of bishops has the final say on whether you can kneel for the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form.

      This document explains the situation as it stood 10 years ago:

      But GIRM 160 (for the US) was modified in 2010. Compare:

      The essential change is this: “The norm established … is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.” Formerly, kneeling seemed to be subject to correction. Now, it is explicitly permissible. It does not appear that individual priests, or even bishops, may alter this. (Especially not to the extent of denying Communion based on it, as Redemptionis Sacramentum makes clear.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.kiolbassa.5 Courtney Chiara Luce Kiolbassa

        Thank you… please pray for both my priest and I as I present this to him….

    • TheodoreSeeber

      My parish has about 20 EM’s (10 for each species), and it still takes about 20 minutes for Communion to be distributed.”

      My goodness, how big is your sanctuary? I thought I went to a big parish (we have 8 cups, and 3 EMs doing bread) and distribution takes 5 minutes or so.

      Extraordinary Minsters are exactly that: EXTRAordinary. They are only necessary at all at parishes with exceptional attendance and a shortage of Ordinary Ministers (which are defined as Bishops, Priests, and Deacons- no, nuns aren’t included).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dawn-Kautz-Nee-Bohncke/697605803 Dawn Kautz Nee Bohncke

    I had my first communion as a child receiving on the tongue. I then changed to receiving on the hand because I wanted to. In my late teens I switched back to receiving on the tongue because it simply felt more reverent, it was easier for me to believe that the Eucharist was Jesus if I wasn’t handling Him. So in a sense I do it because of the weakness of my faith.

    I wonder though, at the Last Supper, it was not so. Jesus says, “take this all of you and eat of it….” not “open your mouths and receive”. There is a command to act on our part in his wording. Unless something is lost in translation.

    • Ronk

      However everyone who received Communion at the last supper was a bishop. It does not follow that laymen can receive the way a bishop receives. And in fact it was and is a Jewish tradition for the father at a Passover meal to place a piece of bread in the mouth of each member of the household.

    • JoFro

      Of course Jesus would not feed the apostles by telling them to open their mouths – the apostles are our first bishops! Do you see bishops at a Mass feeding each other the Holy Communion? No, they take it by their own consecrated hands and feed themselves.

  • Joyfully

    I do it as an act of humility as I am in constant need of battling pride. That said, I wish the USCCB would reinstate reception on the tongue to avoid profanation of Our Precious Lord.
    You and I cannot see the hearts of one another clearly. We can see the profane acts against Our Lord by those that stood with us as we recited our creed.
    This is what I saw two weeks ago at Sunday Mass: I was fourth row center; as I stood to follow my husband out of the pew to receive I saw a woman feign putting the Eucharist into her mouth. I kept my eye on Him as she cupped him and returned to the FRONT ROW (Heaven help us!). By the grace of God or sheer stupidity (won’t know ’til I meet Him) instead of following my husband I turned and went the other way and slipped into the pew after her. I saw her young son (as it turns out she had just registered him for his 2nd grade CCD class) put his hand out (low in a sneaky way) and she was about to place Him into his little hand. I firmly but gently and quietly said, “You need to consume Our Lord.” They were furious (her husband was there as well. After the final note of the closing song had been sung, she and her husband turned to my husband and I (who were kneeling to give a final prayer of thanksgiving) began yelling at us “You don’t know who your messing with lady” “I’m going to the bishop and have you kicked out of this parish”(?!) “You probably don’t even belong to this parish” (12 years).
    I located the pastor immediately and together we found this woman, who immediately blasted me with “I wanna kick your ass! You need to mind your own business!…” We hadn’t left the sanctuary.
    Crazy everyway you look at it.
    My point in telling the little anectdote is that, yes, that state of our soul is important as well as the message our bodies convey when we receive, but there is a practical reason for receiving on the tongue…after all Christ didn’t put himself into the tomb, he was laid there by those whom he had chosen long before the act was done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.escalona Nicholas Escalona

      God bless you for your humility and vigilance.

      • Cameron

        Sounds like a great example of New Evangelisation territory!

  • Brother Juniper

    “It is not because it is traditional — Lord save me from ever placing value on a thing because it is old.”
    This is where you go wrong. Very wrong. There are two ways that mankind discovers Truth. One is Revelation. The other is Tradition. Tradition applies the scientific method to human experience. What is Tradition but human nature rubbing against reality over a very long time and experienced by many?

  • Brian Edward Miles

    Here’s what has always baffled me about receiving in the hand. The priest, whose hands are consecrated (i.e. supernaturally configured to the Divine person of Christ), still has to wash – to undergo ritual ablutions – before he confects and subsequently handles the Precious Body of Our Lord; and even then he is only suppose to use certain fingers to do this. If this is what is required of a priest, who am I to presume to take Him in my hand? God grant the discipline of “kneeling and on the tongue” is restored to us soon. It is one thing to say Lord I am not worthy, but it is quite another to act like it. Receiving standing and in the hand is not a posture of unworhiness. I know, I know, but that other way makes you feel servile and helpless. Good. Servile is what you should be because helpless is what you are. Let me get this straight, the King of Heaven takes leave of His Throne to immolate Himself and become utterly vulnerable all so that you might live; and you can’t even bring yourself kneel or do something that makes your feel uncomfortabe? Proud man, get over yourself.

  • James H, London

    I started receiving on the tongue some months ago. I’ve since given up, after too may fingertip-on-the-tongue incidents. Call me fastidious, but it’s basic hygiene.

    If the church says reception in the hand is OK, it’s OK by me.

  • Stefan

    There wasn’t any confusion or debate about how to receive the Lord until the crazy 70′s when everyone started building ugly barn churches. Altar rails are the way to go. Not only are they practical in that they speed along the distribution, they help define the liturgical space of a church, and clearly mark where the sanctuary is. It’s a shame they are rarely installed in new churches… probably because most new buildings are semi-protestant “gathering spaces” populated by liberal dicks. (Threw that in there so people have to apologize if they send this to people. lol)

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The modern practice of communion in the hand predates the removal of the altar rails by 4 decades.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Ok, the only shock I had in your explanation was when I ran across the picture of Fr. Michael J. McGivney halfway down the article with no explanation of why he is there, other than maybe because he was a priest *before* St. Pius X brought back communion in the hand.

    And it was truly brought back- catechisms from the 200s have a description of communion in the hand that *exactly* resembles current teaching: Hands in the shape of a cross, right hand on top, to create an altar for our Lord, cradling his Holy Body as if we were cradling a beloved infant.

    In other words- just as communion on the tongue represents our infanthood towards Christ, communion in the hand follows “The Last Shall Be First and The First Last”, and reverses the sign.

    So I’ll close this with the ONE thing I’m sure we can agree on- the one thing that gives us true communion:
    Vivat Jesus!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702410037 Skyler von Enn

    The allowance of receiving on the hands actually began as an abuse. The USCCB had allowed for certain parishes to allow the receipt on hands almost as an experiment, but pretty soon almost every parish was allowing it, even though it was not approved in more than a few parishes. So the USCCB decided to allow it everywhere because so many parishes were doing it.

  • gracy

    I love this post

  • Benjamin McCormack

    I receive on the tongue from a priest and via the hands when from a layperson. For me, it’s a small devotional nod to remind me to honor the hands of the priest, who is ordained to make bread God’s flesh.

  • Theresa

    Not a badly constructed set of reasons. That being said, I disagree with a few points, especially as they are in your analogies. WRT your example of the guest coming over and the “how are we to greet Him?” scenario, I would like to posit a counter-example. When I greet my husband, I do it differently depending on who is around. In my own home, I have no problem greeting him at the door with a big ole smack on the lips. If either of our parents are over, my husband is not comfortable with so much “expression” and, honestly, neither are his parents. So I might simply go for a brief peck on the lips while those people are around. It’s not that my relationship with my husband changed. But there are different times when a different response may be more reasonable. Personally, I prefer to receive in my hands. But when I am carrying one of my children, my arms and hands are a little busy keeping his or her arms and hands off of the Sacrament, so I receive on the tongue. The other analogy of being infantile or baby bird-like is a little different for me to, probably because I have been the nursing mother. Newborns, like fresh out the womb and still not dried off yet, can actually “crawl” up the mom’s chest to start feeding. Feel free to search for such videos on youtube if you want. If you’re not the squeamish type on these things, it’s kinda cool. And, at least in my own experience, my children were not passive in their feeding at any point (with the brief exception of when my son was really ill as a newborn- but that’s not the point.) They would grab hold of me, dive for it, bob and weave for it. And when they used bottles, they were very quick to learn to put their hands around it and pull it toward themselves and learn to hold it during a feeding. So I think our Communion can be just as much from God, even if we participate in bringing it to our mouths. Happy on-the-tongue-receiving!

  • Ronel

    The pictures speak as loud as the words. The holiest among us take it on the tongue.
    At a time when Catholics seem to be paying no attention to the attack on our collective conscience; if they don’t care about the church being forced to pay for contraception and abortion; when Catholic congressional leaders support these intrusions into faith and religion, I wonder if anyone cares much about where they receive the Blessed Sacrament. So many are already wiping their feet on holy things.

  • Robert

    I regret to say that i find much of what is said in this piece, and especially in the comments that follow it, to be pharisaism masquerading as piety. The argument that priests are entitled to handle the body of Christ because their hands have been consecrated rests on a misunderstanding, The consecration of the priest’s hands signifies not his worthiness to touch the body of Christ but rather the conferring upon him of the sacred power to transform mere bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood. And as for those who feel that their hands are unworthy to touch the body of Christ because they have not be consecrated, are they not inhibited by the thought that their tongues have also not been consecrated, not to mention their gullets, their gastric juices, etc.? Of course, none of us is “worthy” to touch the body of Christ —neither with hands nor with any other body parts — and we must all be immeasurably grateful that we have been given the unearned and inestimable permission not only to touch him physically but even to consume him. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to give expression, in gesture and word, to our gratitude for this amazing gift of grace, but this need not be done only by awkwardly opening up one’s mouth and sticking out one’s tongue. It may just as well, if not better, be done by forming one’s hands into the shape of a throne and reverently raising the host to one’s lips.

    Beware of the temptation to sport the notional equivalent of jumbo-size phylacteries and extra-long tassels.

  • Ric2012

    I have seen people take communion in the hand, not in the hand, sitting down, standing, poor, rich, weak and strong. In it all they have the opportunity to equally experience God. There is no dogmatic theology or Church law to say less than that. Anyone who does demonstrates a pure emotionalistic religion that isolates others that don’t have the same emotions.

  • miss sawchuk

    When H1N1 came out, everyone in our diocese was commanded to receive on the hand. As soon as the ban was lifted, myself and a few others started receiving on the tongue again. And since then, more people (including my mom) have started kneeling and receiving on the tongue.
    Wonderful article, Marc!

  • Bernadette

    Please clean up the language so that I can share this! (Would you type that way if our Lady were standing behind you at the keyboard? Perhaps she is! =)
    “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4)

  • Chuck

    When receiving communion on the tongue, the last thing I want to think about is dicks. Thanks, Marc. Thanks a lot.

    This is why better language should be chosen – I had to stop reading this *Catholic* blog because young eyes were nearby. And that’s the last phrase I remember, Catholics being dicks.

    Forget that the *world* shouldn’t be using that language – who cares, we never wanted to be like the world anyway!

    But a Catholic blog I figured would’ve been a little more decent.

    Of course, maturity has something to do about it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stringbeanjeanoo Kimberly Lenggiere

      I really hope that after 40 minutes of sitting in mass, hearing the word, and praying as the bread and wine become the body and blood of our lord, and as you are walking up to receive him, you weren’t so obsessed or preoccupied by a blog that as you physically receive Christ you think, “dicks.”

      That would be a problem some kid’s word choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abhay.paul.9 Abhay Paul

    Receiving COmmunion on the tongue makes me feel more humble, more disciplined and more close to JEsus. I do not find fault with the other way namely in hand because the CHurch which is the authority gave that option. hOwever I recommend the traditional way, that is kneeling and receiving on the tongue.

  • Dave

    I would like to say thank you for the wonderful way you expressed the reason why you receive communion while kneeling, even if you did use the word dick in the first paragraph. Strike that out and you have a very worth while read. I’m just glad to know that I am not alone in my feels about my reception of Holy Communion. The examples you gave were good ones to use to explain to others why one receives communion while kneeling and on the tongue.

  • JTLiuzza

    My first and last visit to this blog. I was brought here via a link on the NCRegister. The first sentence I read has profanity in it. Stopped right there.

    Work on ways to express yourself without using foul language. It makes you sound stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.escalona Nicholas Escalona

    Everyone is very excited about the use of “dick” here. I wonder if you might do a post on the dialogue of the Christian with his culture. You know – modesty is an absolute, but its manifestation is mostly culturally relative. But how far is ‘mostly’? What principles can, and should, govern the evolution of the culture’s manifestation of modesty? Likewise with profanity. My knee-jerk reaction is against those who seem to put culturally relative things at an absolute level, as if there were a cosmic law against politely talking about dicks. Discuss?

  • InSpiratio
  • Mills

    What about receiving on the tounge from Eucharistic Ministers? Anyone have an opinion on this? My husband recently expressed discomfort with that and its making me think…

  • The Byzantine Bandit
  • http://www.facebook.com/nathaniel.minto Nathaniel Minto

    There are a great many wonderful things about this post; your eloquent, even poetic elucidation of your stance is chief among them. My favorite, however, is this – the depth and breadth of our tradition, the Catholic tradition, allows you the choice to come to Christ in the way that is most meaningful to you, the way that brings you personally into the closest communion with our Lord and Savior.

    You choose to receive on the tongue, because the state of surrender and submission is where you find yourself most open to truly accepting the grace of God. I receive in the hand, because for me reaching out to God is the most sublime manifestation of my faith. As Catholics, we understand that God left us in a bit of a paradox. He poured out His grace upon us, to the point of sacrificing His only Son to bear the retribution that we earned through our shortcomings, but He also granted us free will and begged us to come to Him as fully conscious and free individuals. God beats down our walls, storms the citadels of our hearts, defeats every opposition that stands between us and salvation, reaches out His hand to lift us up into grace, but, and this is a HUGE but, he does not force us to accept. We must reach out as well and take the hand of God offered to us. When I receive the Eucharist at Mass, I am reaffirming that sign. I am living out again my recognition of the hand of God offered to me in help and comfort and succor, and in reaching out with my own hands and taking that grace into me, I am again accepting my need for that salvation offered from my Maker to a lowly traveler unsure of where to turn.

  • GK Student

    So, does a person’s soul weigh on whether or not chosen men have forgiven the sinner of his sins? Unfortunately, I’m a skeptic. How is a person suppose to repent and “sin no more” if he is not forgiven upon the authority Christ has limited to certain men? I understand Christ having a particular disposition required of each person in order to receive His presence by virtue of the Tradition He placed upon the Apostles and the whole Church. But, how can a person be saved if he or she is being routinely limited from the Sacrament because of conditions which the person would otherwise need not go to confession?

    Is Christ’s intent to make this whole charade of forgiveness and confession as a some promising appeal to a souls salvation, and at-the-same-time, He apparently draws people, who really are struggling for the most part, to find out whether they are or aren’t forgiven? Is He trying to get everyone in line just to distinguish the saved from the condemned? I mean, really, why make the whole disappointing process for someone who will find his or her sins are not forgiven? My point is, if love is not unconditional, then the love is not real. Certainly love must be definite and real (being true.) However, that love cannot dispense of the fact the soul did not choose to exist in order to find his or her life extinguished from God’s mercy because he or she failed (for whatever reason with free-will) to be able to be forgiven. Is Christ using the limit of His love as some sort of disclaimer? So, that, when you go before the throne, you are going to be judged by the fact Christ had all those details given to you before you died?

    I’m not arguing against the proper reception of mercy and the Sacrament (I understand) as worthily as Christ has made it for people to receive Him through the Church. However, I object to diminishing the appeal for the souls return since he or she did not choose to exist, and has been set into a path of so many dangers impairing their flight to heaven. Each person is created by God. And, He is solely responsible (as well as those whom He has given the life to as parents) for the souls salvation. God is not placed outside of responsibility (as in response-ibility – His response to what He has done and required.)

    Thus, if mercy is limited, then there really is no mercy.

  • Bayleaf

    Communion in the hand has been condemned by Pontiffs and Councils no less than 5 times. Communion in the hand and and distribution by Eucharist ministers were moves towards disrespect and a major attack against Catholicism.

  • Bayleaf

    Why is there a discussion on this issue? It has been promulgated to take communion in the hand as an offense:
    POPE ST. EUTYCHIAN (275-283). Forbade the faithful from taking the Sacred Host in their hand.
    ST. BASIL THE GREAT, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH (330-379). “The right to receive Holy Communion in the hand is permitted only in time of persecution.” St. Basil considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to consider it a grave fault.
    COUNCIL OF SARAGOSSA (380). It was decided to punish with EXCOMMUNICATION anyone who dared to continue the practice of Holy Communion in the hand. The Synod of Toledo confirmed this decree.
    POPE ST. LEO I THE GREAT (440-461). Energetically defended and required faithful obedience to the practice of administering Holy Communion on the tongue of the faithful.
    SYNOD OF ROUEN (650). Condemned Communion in the hand to halt widespread abuses that occurred from this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege.
    SIXTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, AT CONSTANTINOPLE (680-681). Forbade the faithful to take the Sacred Host in their hand, threatening the transgressors with excommunication.
    ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274). “Out of reverence towards this sacrament [the Holy Eucharist], nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this sacrament.” (Summa Theologica, Pars III, Q. 82, Art. 3, Rep. Obj. 8)
    COUNCIL OF TRENT (1545-1565). “The fact that only the priest gives Holy Communion with his consecrated hands is an Apostolic Tradition.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/pmurphyracey Patrick Murphy-Racey

    I receive communion in the hand. When in Haiti, I receive it through intinction as we all did when I was a kid growing up in Chicago. The best thing about your post might be that it’s obvious that you totally believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This is fantastic as many doubt this reality, or worse, don’t even think about it at all.

    The saddest thing about your post is that so many people will never see it simply because of the language you choose to utilize. Swearing is just an absence of diction. You use words so well! Why dilute your commentary and litter your strong point of view by throwing in a bunch of .25 words that have no place in the same sentence as “Eucharist,” which is priceless.

    It’s probably a very good thing that you receive on the tongue… The faster Jesus gets there, the better!

    Kindest regards from the Diocese of Knoxville
    - Deacon Patrick :)

  • Guest

    This is awesome! I’m in my first year as a FOCUS missionary, and I’ve really been struck by how many of the holy people I respect receive on the tongue. This gave some really valuable insight! However, I still have two conflicts, if anyone would care to shed some light:

    1) I was taught to receive on the hand, step to the side, and look at the crucifix as the Eucharist enters. This is a powerful reflection, and unfortunately, the priest’s head often blocks the cross.

    2) I’ll admit this is somewhat trite, but I honestly have a small mouth and tongue. I drive my doctor crazy when we needs to look at my tonsils (ridiculous, but true). On occasions where I have tried to receive on the tongue, the priest has told me to open wider more than once, making my Eucharistic celebration more like a trip to the dentist (seemingly, not actually, of course). Perhaps I’m not the only one who has had this problem?

    It’s kind of goofy, but does anyone have any thoughts?

  • Melissa Keating

    This is awesome! I’m in my first year as a FOCUS missionary, and I’ve
    really been struck by how many of the holy people I respect receive on
    the tongue. This gave some really valuable insight! However, I still
    have two conflicts, if anyone would care to shed some light:

    1) I was taught to receive on the hand, step to the side, and look at
    the crucifix as the Eucharist enters. This is a powerful reflection,
    and unfortunately, the priest’s head often blocks the cross.

    2) I’ll admit this is somewhat trite, but I honestly have a small
    mouth and tongue. I drive my doctor crazy when we needs to look at my
    tonsils (ridiculous, but true). On occasions where I have tried to
    receive on the tongue, the priest has told me to open wider more than
    once, making my Eucharistic celebration more like a trip to the dentist
    (seemingly, not actually, of course). Perhaps I’m not the only one who
    has had this problem?

    It’s kind of goofy, but does anyone have any thought

  • Jonathan

    Technically, the practice has remained the unbroken discipline of a number of Oriental churches (Eastern, and Oriental churches are two distinct Christian traditions within the Church.), namely the Coptic church, and the Assyrian Church of the East (Chaldean within the Catholic communion.).

    Here is the canon from a council which the Orthodox hold as ecumenically binding (and by extension, certain Eastern, and Oriental churches of the Catholic communion hold to such esteem, even if the West does not honour it as such (That is another story, and discussion to be had.):



    THE great and divine Apostle Paul with loud voice calls man created in the image of God, the body and temple of Christ. Excelling, therefore, every sensible creature, he who by the saving Passion has attained to the celestial dignity, eating and drinking Christ, is fitted in all respects for eternal life, sanctifying his soul and body by the participation of divine grace. Wherefore, if any one wishes to be a participator of the immaculate Body in the time of the Synaxis, and to offer himself for the communion,

    let him draw near, arranging his hands in the form of a cross, and so let him receive the communion of grace. But such as, instead of their hands, make vessels of gold or other materials for the reception of the divine gift, and by these receive the immaculate communion, we by no means allow to come, as preferring inanimate and inferior matter to the image of God. But if any one shall be found imparting the immaculate Communion to those who bring vessels of this kind, let him be cut off as well as the one who brings them.

    This is the ancient practice/discipline that is/was default, and normative for all (a number of) churches of the undivided Church:


    Disciplines vary, and change. In much the same way they did within the particular tradition of the Western church, and the ordering of sacraments of Christian illumination, and their relationship to one another. The same can be said of the doing away of paedocommunion in the West, which is in part related to two unrelated disciplines (One in response to utraquism.), that were enacted within the particular church of Rome.

    This relates to the latter tangent:


  • deborist benjamin
  • LE

    As an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, I don’t think that any should ever request the Eucharist on their tongue. As someone said earlier, it is basic hygiene. On Friday, I was given the vessel into which the priest had broken his large host upon consecration. Many of the resulting offerings of the Body of Christ were quite small. As many of the 20 somethings were receiving on their tongues, it was very difficult. PLEASE do not do this!