Taylor Marshall: Better No Jesus at All Than By Hand

Taylor Marshall: Better No Jesus at All Than By Hand March 14, 2020

A very vigorous discussion on my Facebook page has already taken place, and continues. I have collected my own thoughts, for ease of access: if anyone wonders about my own reasoning (as a pretty liturgically traditional Catholic apologist) in this respect.


Reactionary zealot Taylor Marshall, in his infinite wisdom (greater than virtually all of the Church fathers, east and west), has now opined that if he has to take Holy Communion in the hand, he would choose to not receive Our Lord Jesus at all.

Isn’t that a fine specimen of self-righteous, legalistic, Donatist-like pharisaical hypocrisy?


Taylor Marshall retweeted a tweet by “bloodthieving goblin” from March 12th. It read: “I (reluctantly) chose to receive in the hand. Looked and saw a couple of flecks on my hand. I will never do that again, I will simply not receive.”


The essential madness, lunacy, and impiety and blasphemy of Taylor Marshall’s position is this:

1) Most reactionaries like him will readily admit that ordinary form Masses are valid (though liturgically “objectively inferior”).

2) That being the case, it follows that Our Lord Jesus (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) is truly received in Holy Communion.

3) Therefore, he would be deliberately choosing (within his own conceptual paradigm) to not receive our Lord and the huge benefit of that sacrament, once a week, and more if he goes to daily Masses, rather than receive Him.

4) This, of course, is a purely pharisaical / legalistic majoring on the minors, since how we receive Him (i.e., the mode or method, not our disposition and demeanor) is far less important in the scheme of things, than whether we do.

5) If, on the other hand (hypothetically / for the sake of argument), he believed that Masses are invalid if they provide only communion in the hand (such as in the present extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic), he would be claiming to know better than the Church and overturns the entire tradition of valid ordination of priests and apostolic succession, as well as recent papal and conciliar infallible authority, in establishing a revised liturgy.

6) This literally puts him in a position of not only acting like the Pharisees, but also identical in outlook to the ancient rigorist Donatist schismatics (against whom St. Augustine fought so hard).

7) He would also be, in effect, or in a certain sense, denying the ancient principle of ex opere operato (based on mode of reception).


When people don’t think through things and don’t know Church history, this is the sort of nonsense they come up with: as if it will benefit them spiritually: to not receive the aid of the Holy Eucharist. These are the Pharisees of today: even worse, because they’ve had the benefit of 2000 years of Christianity.

And Taylor Marshall is out there teaching and influencing many thousands. God help him at Judgment Day. It’s frightening. I’m not saying he will go to hell, but we stand accountable for all that we do, and it will be very unpleasant till all that is purged.


Janice RC: Why do you care? It’s his business.

Because it’s pharisaical slop, that will harm those who heed that rotten advice, that’s why.

Address him then. Don’t gossip about it.

That’s what I’m doing. It’s not gossip. He publicly announced it, and I am publicly critiquing it. He refuses to dialogue with me, as far as that goes.


Matthew 23:23 (RSV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Luke 11:39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.”

Matthew 12:1-8 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
[2] But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.”
[3] He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
[4] how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
[5] Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless?
[6] I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
[7] And if you had known what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
[8] For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”

Mark 7:1-9 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
[2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
[3] (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
[4] and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)
[5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”
[6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
[7] in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
[8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”
[9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!


Kris Smith: In other words, Taylor Marshall is saying that if he cannot receive Jesus on his own terms, he doesn’t want Jesus at all. Very holy of him . . . 

Which, I would say, is most definitely blasphemous. He dishonors God by refusing to receive Him and by thumbing his nose at Holy Mother Church, that allows communion in the hand (as I explained in another post here). We’re not just talking about allowable preference. I prefer on the tongue as well.


Deborah JonesI receive only on the tongue because I do not have consecrated hands . . . 

I see. So you have a particularly consecrated, holy tongue? According to Holy Scripture (many passages), you’re more likely to have a wicked tongue than hands. You are “handling” him on your tongue. How is a tongue different from a hand? They’re both part of sinners like you and I. That’s not the proper distinction. It’s between the pious, reverent person and the one who isn’t. And either disposition can happen in either method because it is a heart and soul issue, not a physical one.

An atheist or Satanist could receive on the tongue and keep the consecrated host (i.e., Jesus) for Satanic Masses, or contemptuously spit Him out.

We can receive on the hand because the Church allows us to, and because it was the main way to receive in the early Church. I agree that the priest has consecrated hands (and beyond that, is the alter Christus), which is why I do my utmost to try to receive from a priest if it is at all possible (and I’ve written about habitual improper overuse of eucharistic ministers, contrary to the rubrics).


CarolinaI believe it is their intention to give God the glory and honor and if they feel that they are dishonoring our Lord by receiving in the hand then that’s something between them and God.

Well, no, it isn’t: not if he has decided that no communion is better than a form of it that he dislikes. The Church has permitted both. Therefore, for him to take this absolute stand is in direct defiance of the Church, and of the God Who established that Church and her authority. But Taylor “knows better” than the Church and God.

And of course that is the classic Protestant attitude and also the liberal Catholic “I’m the ultimate judge” attitude. If he thinks he knows better than the Church (not to mention popes), then he ought to get honest with himself and go back to being an Anglican. He seems to have never left that communion in spirit.


Dan BurkeUh – no. Sounds like a man with conviction and a deep reverence for God. I won’t be doing that but why condemn him so aggressively for it?

Because it’s precisely the attitude of the Donatist schismatics. Why did Augustine oppose them so vigorously? And it’s pharisaical: he chooses to not receive our very Lord, rather than accept what he wrongly thinks is “modernism” in the first place.

It opposes the judgment of Holy Mother Church. It is the same mode of thinking as Protestants and liberal dissident Catholics. And because he leads many thousands astray, who are foolish enough to accept his reactionary falsehoods.

Is that sufficient?


Taylor [in effect / logically] judges literally tens of millions of Catholics as spiritually inferior to himself; including virtually all of the Church fathers. We would expect it, seeing how he treats all popes [in his book, Infiltration] back to Ven. Pope Pius XII.


Related Reading

Holy Communion in the Hand (Norm till 500-900 AD) (+ vigorous Facebook discussion) [9-3-15; some additions on 3-13-20]

Photo credit: steel engraving by Peter Carl Geißler (1802-1872), showing Jesus Christ, knocking at the door (Revelation 3:20) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]


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