Communion in the Hand — Grave Error


“Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it” – Pope St. Felix III

     The decline of belief and faith among Catholics has been spiraling downward ever since the introduction of Communion in the hand in 1969.  What started out as disobedience among a few select bishops in Belgium in the 1960’s, has now been spread like wildfire among the average Catholic worldwide, in what is largely known in the Catholic world as a third rail topic.  There is widespread confusion as to how this can be a disobedient act when it has been approved by the Church.  The facts are that Communion on the tongue is still the law of the Church, while Communion in the hand is an exception to the law granted by an indult, which was granted with severe reservations by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical letter “Memoriale Domini”.  Fr. Matthias Gaudron explains how this happened in his book The Cathechism of the Crisis in the Church, “Communion in the hand was first practiced without any authorization in a few very progressive groups against the explicit rules of the Church.” And it is that fact that I will explore further in this essay.  Fr. Gaudron continues, “On May 29, 1969, the Instruction Memoriale Domini took cognizance of this disobedience and reiterated in detail the advantages of Communion on the tongue” (156).  Fr. Gaudron explains that after a survey was given to the bishops about whether not they would be in support of introducing Communion in the hand, 58 percent opposed it, and only 27 percent were in favor of it (156).

The outcome of this practice has been a large diminishing of the belief of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. A gallop poll taken only a few years ago, the results of which were referenced in the Remnant Newspaper, indicates that just 30 percent of U.S. Catholics now believe in the True Presence. The other 70 percent did not, and their belief system was sprinkled with an odd mixture of Protestant belief and Catholic Theology, or they simply had no understanding of authentic Catholic teaching.

There is a faction of progressive Catholics who either knowingly or unknowingly obscure the facts of history.  They mistakenly believe that they are returning to the ancient practice of the early Christians.  But the facts show that this simply isn’t the case.  It is true that Holy Communion in the hand did indeed happen. However, when we read the Early Church Fathers we discover the reasons for why Holy Communion in the hand was allowed. It was only tolerated during times of Church persecution.

Dr. Taylor Marshall has researched this subject and reports that Saint Basil had this to say on this subject.  “Communion in the hand is allowed only in two instances, 1) under times of persecution where no priest is present, 2) for hermits and ascetics in the wilderness who do not have priests.”  This point needs to be stressed; it was a rare exception, and not the norm. Otherwise, according to Saint Basil, to receive Communion in the hand was considered a “grave immoderation” under normal circumstances. This practice goes way back in Church history.  One of the earliest references we have about it is from Pope St. Sixtus I, who reigned from 115-125 AD, “it is prohibited for the faithful to even touch the sacred vessels, or receive in the hand”. Saint Paul himself mentions the importance of the Eucharist repeatedly in the scriptures and how one should not approach it unworthily in 1 Corinthians chapters ten and eleven.

Belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist is taken straight from scripture.  When Jesus told His disciples that “My Flesh is real food and My Blood real drink” (Jn. 6:55), His disciples took Him literally and said, “This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?” (Jn. 6:60). St. John’s Gospel continues to report; “Jesus was fully aware that His disciples were murmuring in protest at what He had said” (Jn. 6:61). John then states that, “From this time on, many of His disciples broke away and would not remain in His company any longer. Jesus then said to the Twelve Disciples, “Do you want to leave Me too?” (Jn. 6:66-67). “The Twelve stayed with Jesus because they trusted His words” (Jn. 6:69-71).

Jesus was fully aware that the departing disciples understood His teaching literally. If Jesus had only meant that they would eat his Body and drink his Blood symbolically, He would have said so before they walked away.  And there are plenty of places in Scripture where the disciples were confused about His teachings so Jesus retold the parable in a way they could understand it, making the message clearer to them.  Since He didn’t try to re-explain what He meant when instituting the Eucharist, we know that He meant His words literally, and of course, not in a cannibalistic sense, but supernaturally.

For the last thousand years, and right up to today, Eucharistic miracles have continued to occur that baffle believers and non-believers.  Now, thanks to modern technology and modern science, we can examine them thoroughly.  The subject of which has been written about extensively in Joan Carroll Cruz’s book, Eucharistic Miracles.  Another wonderful book about the origins of the Eucharist, and as to why Jesus would establish such a practice, which by the way goes straight back to the Old Testament and Ancient Judaism, I highly recommend Dr. Brandt Pitre’s book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.

The teaching on Christ’s Eucharistic Presence was not sincerely contested until the eleventh century, a thousand years after He instituted it. According to Rev. Regis Scanlon, Berengarius of Tours began teaching that Christ was present in the Eucharist only “as mere sign and symbol” and that after the consecration, “bread must remain.” Berengarius held, “That which is consecrated (the bread) is not able to cease existing materially”. In the thirteen century, St. Thomas Aquinas names “Berengarius, the first deviser of this heresy,” claiming that the consecrated Bread and Wine are only a “sign” of Christ’s Body and Blood.”

St. Thomas gives a valid reason why bread and wine does not remain once the consecration takes place, “Because it would be opposed to the veneration of this sacrament, if any substance were there, which could not be adored with adoration of “latria”.”  Meaning, Catholics would be guilty of the sin of idolatry by worshipping the bread and wine.  Therefore, the physical nature of bread and wine no longer remains, it only appears to remain.
The Council of Trent (1545-1563), agrees with what St. Thomas correctly taught:

If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the Blood, the species of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation: let him be anathema (79).

This Council was called to declare Catholic Truth that was being challenged by the Protestant Revolt led by Martin Luther, a renegade Monk who suffered from severe scrupulosity, and sadly, due to his misinterpretations of scripture, as well as his adding to and removal of them, split the Church, leaving us today with over 34,000 Protestant groups and counting.

By the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), there were in place a somewhat large faction of progressive theologians, many of whom were censored by Pius XII, who managed to get themselves invited into the Council by Pope John XXIII, and to even participate in its preceding’s.  These theologians were successful in holding sway at the Council, much to the orthodox bishops frustrations, and helped to word the sixteen documents produced from the Council with ambiguous language that has confused the faithful right up to this day. Then, in 1969, some of these same theologians helped to promulgate a new Mass by eliciting the aid of the then current Pope Paul VI.  With this Mass in place, the rapid decline of Catholic belief, Mass attendance, and religious vocations began.

Adding to this confusion was the progressive undertakings of a group of bishops who incessantly had one agenda in mind, the introduction of Communion in the hand.  Communion in the hand was illegally introduced into Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United States.  The Church adamantly opposed this disobedient and abusive practice from the very beginning. According to Bishop Laise, from his book Communion in the Hand, On October 12, 1965, the “Consilium” wrote to Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, “The Holy Father does not consider it opportune that the sacred Particle be distributed in the hand and later consumed in different manners by the faithful, and therefore, he vehemently exhorts [that] the Conference offer the opportune resolutions so that the traditional manner of communicating be restored” (32).

Pope Paul VI vehemently looked for a solution to this crisis.  He considered two options, either close the door to all concessions, or allow the concession only where its use was already established.  The Pope took a risk and asked for the opinions of the local bishops to help him in this growing disobedience.  Unfortunately, the bishops did not help Pope Paul VI, but opened the doors even wider for abuse. Communion in the hand was introduced without authorization, the Pope persistently opposed allowing it but decided to grant an indult, but only where its use was firmly established so as not to call attention to the disobedience of those bishops among their flock.

Pope Paul VI’s compromise was the document Memoriale Domini (May 29, 1969), while reconfirming that Communion on the tongue is “more conducive to faith, reverence and humility.”  The Pope wisely cautioned that Communion in the hand “carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the August sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.”

There are plenty of Catholics who sincerely believe that it makes no difference on how they receive Communion.  They don’t understand the law of the Church, the history, or the warnings against receiving Communion in the hand. Pope Paul VI again repeated in Memoriale Domini the Churches position on this matter, “He should not forget, on the other hand, that the position of the Holy See in this matter is not a neutral one, but rather that it vehemently exhorts him to diligently submit to the law in force (Communion on the tongue).

The truth of the matter is that Communion in the hand was spread through disobedience to the Pope.  Pope Paul VI tried hard to put into place many obstacles to slow this disobedient practice from spreading. In Memoriale Domini he stated four restrictions; (a) the indult could only be requested if Communion in the hand was an already established custom in the country, and (b) if by a secret vote and with a two-thirds majority the episcopal conference petitions Rome, c) then Rome would grant the necessary permission, (d) once the permission was granted, several conditions had to exist simultaneously (among these conditions, no loss of sacred particles and no loss of faith in the Real Presence) (En réponse à la demande). If any of those conditions were not met than Communion in the hand was not permitted, even with the indult. These restrictions are part of the Pope’s instructions which are found attached to his document Memoriale Domini.

However, the American bishops successfully managed to maneuver around Pope Paul VI’s restrictions.  The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, unsuccessfully attempted twice to establish Communion in the hand in America, in 1975 and 1976. Unfortunately, he finally prevailed in May 1977 when Communion in the hand was illegally authorized in the United States. The bishops totally ignored Pope Paul VI’s requirements expressed in his indult about not allowing the practice of Communion in the hand where it was not already established.

Proceeding on their own initiative, the American bishops decided to vote on whether not they could get this disobedient practice introduced into their own country, despite all the historical evidence and warnings by Saints and Doctors of the Church throughout Her two thousand year history, warning against such a practice.

After the initial voting had concluded, Archbishop Bernardin reported that the vote had fallen short of the required two-thirds of all legally present members and that the matter could not be concluded until the absent bishops were polled.  Bernardin was dead-set on getting Communion in the hand one way or another, even if it had just been voted down. To get around the lack of votes, bishops who were not present, retired, or even dying, were polled illegally.

Canon lawyer, Fr. Kunz, has stated that obtaining votes from absent bishops absolutely invalidates the petition for an indult, making the indult non-void.  This tactic manipulated and masterminded by Cardinal Bernardin to acquire the votes simply makes the indult invalid, since only members present at the meeting could legally vote. Renowned theologian Fr. John Hardon, S.J., stated in 1997, “To get enough votes to give Communion on the hand, bishops who were retired, bishops who were dying, were solicited to vote to make sure that the vote would be an affirmative in favor of Communion in the hand. Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”

The result of Cardinal Bernardin efforts in swaying the American bishops into promoting Communion in the hand, resulted in the Holy See granting permission for the indult which allowed Communion in the hand in the United States.  The National Catholic Register quotes Bishop Blanchette:

“What bothers me is that in the minds of many it will seem that disobedience is being rewarded. And that troubles me because if people persist in being disobedient, and that is used as a reason for changing the discipline, then we’re very close to chaos or what I would call selective obedience, which is no obedience at all.”  (National Catholic Register, “Bishop Blanchette: A Clear Call for Obedience,” June 12, 1977)

Having been a Catholic for eight years, I have witnessed the lack of reverence and indifference among Catholics who go to Communion.  The majority receive in the hand, their body language and stance clearly shows that they either don’t believe in the Eucharist, or simply haven’t been told about Who and What It truly is.  All polls are consistent with what I and other Catholics have suspected all along.  Since the illegal introduction of Communion in the hand, belief in the Real Presence has not only plummeted, it is simply not being taught nor emphasized.

It wasn’t until October of 2008, over four years of being a Catholic, did I have the good fortune of meeting a traditional Catholic Priest, Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea, who not only instructed me properly on this Church teaching, but on many others as well.

Communion in the hand, and the lack of solid Catholic formation, has certainly attributed to this loss of faith. Fr. John Hardon has affirmed, “Behind Communion in the hand, I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can, is a weakening, a conscious, deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence.”

So today it seems we are stuck with Communion in the hand.  Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out numerous times that he is not in favor of this practice.  He has even made it known that anyone attending his Mass in Saint Peter’s Square must receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.  It would be wonderful if the holy Father would entirely do away with this practice, most especially since it was only granted permission through an illegal voting process, and since it was introduced through an act of disobedience.

Faithful Catholics like myself either look the other way, try to educate others, or simply avoid a Mass that allows Communion in the hand. Today, I have taken the last option and attend only the Tridentine Mass, or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, codified by Pope Pius V in 1570. There is nothing in the rubrics that will allow Communion in the hand, it is the most ancient form of the Mass in existence, having been instituted over 1,500 years ago.  Myself, and others pray for the day the Church fully returns to Her traditional practices and Communion in the hand is nothing more than a bad footnote in Church history, and an extinct one at that!

~ John Andrew Dorsey


Gaudron, Fr. Matthias. Catechism of the Crisis in the Church.

Kansas City: Angelus Press, 2010. Print.

Iacono, Kevin D. Dello. Semper Fidelis. Kevin D. Dello Iacono,

2007. Web. 27 Nov. 2012

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament Ed. Curtis Mitch

and Scott Hahn.  San Francisco: Ignatius, 2010. Print. Rev.

Standard Vers.

Laise, Most Rev. Juan Rodolfo. Communion in the Hand: Documents  

     and History. Boonville: Preserving Christian Publications,

2011. Print.

Marshall, Dr. Taylor. Canterbury Tales. Dr. Taylor Marshall,

2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

Paul VI, Pope. “Memoriale Domini.” EWTN. Eternal World

Television Network, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

Scanlon, Rev. Regis. Catholic Culture. Rev. Regis Scanlon, 2012.

Web. 27 Nov. 2012

Schroeder, Rev. H.J. The Canons and Decrees of the Council of

     Trent. Trans. Rev. H.J. Schroeder. Rockford: Tan, 1978.


Toon, Howard. “Communion in the Hand while Standing: What’s the

problem?” The Remnant, 5 Jan. 2012.

Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

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  1. Reblogged this on oneintheirhearts and commented:
    I totally agree! Communion in the hand should be Outlawed!! Fr. Isaac Relyea is an Awesome priest. One could never go wrong


  2. Toad says:

    If this is not as classic a case of re-arranging the deck chairs on The Titanic – as is to be found in a month of St. Augustine of Hippo days – then Toad doesn’t know what is.

    Two issues here.
    Whether transubstantiation is true or not, can surely have nothing to do with the method by which the host is received?


  3. Roger says:

    Realise that this innovation came from the hierachy. Within the Church and also a year after St Pio had died!
    After centuries of explaination of the Eucharist and the priesthood a novelty emerged communion in the hand. Soon it became communion from any hand.
    Rome is complaining about the decline of the Faith in the West. The point is the Faith since 1960’s is a 360 turn around of the Faith since Trent. Even I might add to teaching juniors Hinduism in Catholic primary schools to comply with government regulations.
    In the early Church martyrs gave their lives rather than worship idols! The Faith was built on the courage and blood of martyrs. Where today is this Faith of the Early Church? Personally I find the PR stunts and beach Masses with dancing Bishops utterly repugnant. Few also realise that Co Concelebrated Masses are ONE Mass thats a number of priests BUT ONE Mass. This is denying Our Lord of the perpetual sacrifice.


  4. TerryC says:

    I totally agree that Communion in the hand should not be the norm, however I must take exception with the poll information used here. Edward R. Tufte once said that if you publish a chart showing expenditure over time and fail to compensate for inflation your chart is a lie. Likewise if you site a poll claiming to illustrate Catholic belief, but fail to separate practicing Catholics (that is Catholics who actually attend Mass each Sunday and Holy Days as required) your poll is false. Correctly composed polls, that is those that only count practicing Catholics, return quite a different answer. 82% believe in the real presence.
    Now the large number of folks who were baptized but no long practice their faith are a problem for sure, and the question might be asked of why they have chosen to stop following the path to salvation in favor of following the world. Even more interesting to me is why they still consider themselves Catholic if they have no interest in following the tenants of Christ’s Church or being associated with the Church’s work on earth.


  5. Toad says:

    “Even more interesting to me is why they still consider themselves Catholic if they have no interest in following the tenants of Christ’s Church or being associated with the Church’s work on earth.”
    Good point, TerryC.
    I would not be surprised if 80% of Spaniards and Irish still describe themselves on official forms as, “Catholic.” Habit more than anything, possibly.
    Example: A trades union delegation in Spain was demanding an extra paid day off for their members, in order that they could attend their children’s baptisms.
    “What for? You lot are all Commies, aren’t you?” said the boss, “Yes, but we’re not a lot of bloody Moors, are we?” was the reply.


  6. kathleen says:

    It is amazing when one thinks about it, how a practice that came about almost by accident, Communion in the hand, has become so common, and consequently so difficult to eradicate!
    Personally, I agree that this practice (among other novelties that came about in the late 60s and 70s) has contributed greatly to the general loss of reverence at Holy Mass. Symbols and actions made automatically matter; they are outward signs that reveal how we think and believe. Once again we can repeat: “Lex orandi, lex credendi…”

    On another issue connected to the Holy Mass, Fr Z has posted a survey on his blog requesting Catholics to vote on their opinions of the Eucharistic fast. Should we bring back the three hour fast before receiving the Sacred Body of Christ in Holy Communion? Or make it from midnight onwards, like it used to be once? Or keep the one hour fast as it is? Please give your opinion to the poll:


  7. Toad says:

    Ah, the wonderful nostalgia! Toad now remembers when, if you had, as demanded, fasted from midnight – but then forgot – and nibbled a biscuit or a toffee, or whatever – and then still took Holy Communion (for fear of angering your Mum, if not) – you went straight to Hell!
    No argument! Mortal Sin! Right Gertrude?
    (This kind of thing is why Toad is so fond of CP&S.)


  8. Roger says:

    This introduced by Paul VI 1996 and the Ordinaries wrote to the parishes quoting St Cyril Of Jerusalem “..When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.”
    It wasn’t the norm and was made the norm. The Descration of the Consecrated Host and its use in satanic and pagan rituals is easily facilitated by this practice.
    Why would any priest permit a Consecrated Host out of his sight when you consider that the Mass requires the most careful cleaning of the chalice and the patten so that no drop or particle of the sacramental species is desecrated.
    How can any priest guarantee that the Consecrated Host isn’t taken away and desecrated?


  9. Roger says:

    Sorry 1969!! not 1996 . Since then obtaining Cosnecrated Hosts for whatever reason including deliberate desecration has been made very easy.


  10. Toad says:

    “How can any priest guarantee that the Consecrated Host isn’t taken away and desecrated?”
    How can anyone guarantee a host might not be received on the tongue, then later surreptitiously removed and sold to Jews and Masons for their fiendish satanic rituals?
    Very worrying.


  11. Gertrude says:

    Well Toad I can’t remember my mother ever threatening such dire pinishment, but fasting from midnight was certainly the norm. As a teenager who regularly fainted at daily Mass our Parish Priest did recommend perhaps I should eat a snack before leaving home (it was a 2 mile walk for me in those days) I guess he got pretty fed up of having to pause while someone helped me up off the floor, somewhat embarassing as very often on a weekday there would be a coffin from some poor soul whose body was received the night before and my fainting usually occured on the way to communion. Happy days 😉


  12. The Raven says:

    The host that was sent to PZ Myers and desecrated was taken from the London Oratory and, apparently had been received on the tongue.

    Evil folk will find ways to do evil things no matter how we try to prevent them from doing so.

    Rather than focussing on the wicked, let’s instead focus on the truth: for the faithful, reception in the hand deforms our understanding of the sacrament as being the whole humanity and divinity of Our Lord; and the practice was introduced with malice aforethought by the reformers, as the sources for communion in the hand describe a practice that is greatly divorced from the archaic sources.


  13. johnhenrycn says:

    I was dragooned by Father some weeks ago into being an “extraordinary” minister of the Eucharist. I couldn’t believe I was asked and was very unhappy doing so. But that’s by the way…If people wish to receive Communion the old-fashioned way, could they at least be so kind as to open wide and stick their tongues out rather than requiring the server to thread the eye of a needle?


  14. johnhenrycn says:

    Gertude, I too always fast from bedtime before Communion the next day, but I’m a bit of a fatty, so my stockpile carries me through. I do drink coffee in the morning, though. Hope that’s okay.


  15. Toad says:

    More superb CP&S nostalgia!
    I remember fainting for the first time in my life, at 7 a.m. Mass on Christmas Day, just about 60 years ago.
    And I didn’t faint again – until about six months ago – while I was holding one of my dogs as the Vet stitched up a nasty cut in her hind leg.


  16. Toad says:

    …But St. Cyril of Jerusalem was apparently telling the Faithful how we should receive communion in the hand about the year 300 a.d.
    Maybe “on the tongue,” is the (ahem,) “Modernist”?
    Then what?


  17. Roger says:

    But the mouth has enzmes for decomposing the Host a what point or place does the Host become part of the Communicant? Remember the Bread is the vehicle here.
    The hand is for labour and work the sense of touch.
    The tongue for the sense of taste. Taste and See.
    Two totally opposite purposes.
    The priest washes and cleanses before placing the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into the hands of the unwashed, the unclean and without obligation to consume!
    I would remind that actually All Communion is actually the old fashioned way that is in the mouth. I mean there is no other way the issue is over whose hand places in the mouth.


  18. The Raven says:


    A good article here.The quote attributed to St Cyril has a number of problems: it only relates the presumed practice in one place, Jerusalem; the quote goes on to suggest some strange cultic practices involving smearing the blood of Our Lord on one’s eyes and ears; and the attribution to St Cyril is in doubt.

    The article that I’ve linked to also has an interesting comparison with the practice described by another Church Father:

    “St. Basil (330-379) says clearly that to receive Communion by one’s own hand is only permitted in times of persecution or, as was the case with monks in the desert, when no deacon or priest was available to give it. “It is not necessary to show that it does not constitute a grave fault for a person to communicate with his own hand in a time of persecution when there is no priest or deacon” (Letter 93, my emphasis). The text implies that to receive in the hand under other circumstances, outside of persecution, would be a grave fault. The saint based his opinion on the custom of the solitary monks, who reserved the Blessed Sacrament in their dwellings, and, in the absence of the priest or deacon, gave themselves Communion.”

    And in practical terms, have you ever tried to receive Our Lord in this way? I have, it’s practically impossible with unleavened bread.

    All in all, the reference to St Cyril is less a red herring than a red right-whale.


  19. Toad says:

    “…at what point or place does the Host become part of the Communicant?”

    No good asking Toad, Roger. What does he know?
    …Or is the question rhetorical?


  20. Roger says:

    The Garbandal miracle of the Host appearing on Conchitas tongue as she was kneeling is available on YouTube. The Host miraculously appeared on her tongue. Meaning that to all intents and purposes it materialised out of thin air!


  21. Toad says:

    Agreed, Raven, All very vexing.
    Toad’s problem is not so much with the methods of host delivery but with the notion of transubstantiation itself.
    Because, if it is to be believed, you could very well be a writing desk. And we couldn’t tell.


  22. The Raven says:

    That reads like a non-sequitur, Toad.


  23. Toad says:

    Perhaps it’s supposed to.
    Anyway, I’m sure you know the reference – The Mad Hatter.


  24. Roger says:

    I am glad that Toad mentioned Transubstantiation because quite right this requires Faith.
    There are a great deal of stories about doubters of the Host and indeed miraculous Hosts.
    At both Fatima and Garabandal the children were given Communion (Conchitas miraculous Communion was filmed).
    God is ominipresent and ominipotent and the Creator. The existence of a spirit that is outside of the material world. Moses burning bush is an example of this contradiction. Even and these have been attested statutes that have come alive. The dead restored to life. In the lives of the saints we find similar stories. St Pio life and knowledge of souls etc..
    In terms of credence and belief consider posession which the modern world would deny but Malachy Martins book Hostage to the Devil is a series of genuine exorcist cases.
    The Host requires Faith beyond the Rational.
    The reformers doubted Transubstantiation and sadly Communion in the hand looks as if Catholics are by their behaviour concurring with Reformation.


  25. JabbaPapa says:

    The arguments about this have been going on since Antiquity ; they erupted again in Mediaeval Spain, for example.

    Really though — Communion on the tongue can always be insisted on by the Celebrant, Communion in the hand cannot be (with the sole exception of presence of infectious disease in the Parish community) — Communion on the tongue can always be demanded by the Faithful, Communion in the hand cannot be.

    Communion in the hand in and of itself is quite simply NOT an “abuse” ; the actual issue is that it is more easily open to other abuses of the Eucharist, which is why the practice can be locally prohibited.

    Communion in the hand cannot however be completely prohibited, because of the one single case (infectious disease) when it can legitimately be insisted upon.


  26. Roger says:

    Jabba Papa.
    The Last Host consecrated by Charles De Foucaurd was consumed by Hand simply because he had been killed and there wasn’t a priest there. But one thing to deal with expectional circumstances and another to actually introduce a novelty. The trouble with the Vatican and the 60’s is a sudden and overnight changes to deeply established rituals and practices. It creates a schismatic climate between the Faith of Our Fathers and those of the Sons.


  27. johnhenrycn says:

    “Because, if it [transubstantiation] is to be believed…” says Toad.

    I think you’re making the elementary, but common, error of confusing believing with knowing, my amphibious agnostic. Atheists do that all the time, and sometimes agnostics as well, apparently.
    Side note: It’s very easy to make accent marks, Toad, as in cliché.There’s a webiste you can go to for the proper codes, but failing that, use the lazy man’s way like I do and type “cliche” or “blase” or whatever into your search box and then copy the frenchified version when it pops up.


  28. Toad says:

    Toad, who is a namphibian of very little brain, is much obliged, JH. Will go the lazy way. Natch..

    Atheists “know” stuff, I think.
    Agnostics know very little – and practically nothing with any confidence. They do know they agree with Montaigne, though. And if they don’t know that, then I think they should.
    This one, at least, does. Which is something. Possibly.

    “The Host requires Faith beyond the Rational,.” says Roger, and I’m strongly inclined to agree. It certainly is beyond me.
    But so are a great many things. like getting my head round Beethoven’s late quartets.
    So, who knows?


  29. kathleen says:

    We live by faith, using our reason to discover its rationale. The more we struggle with faith (as happened to even great saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Thérèse of Lisieux for a time) the more merit we attain. The devil is constantly trying to push doubts into our minds to confuse us, but we must never give up trusting God to dispel our fears and difficulties in our journey as we pilgrims on Earth travel towards out Heavenly Home.

    Many of the Miracles of the Holy Eucharist (mentioned in the book in the article) were to counter the doubts in the minds of those present of the True Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Blessed Lord. The mystery of transubstantiation takes faith – lots of it – and this primary theological virtue is a gift that does not “grow on trees”. Ask for it; pray for it; work towards it with trust and humility, and you will be rewarded one day.

    “I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24b) said the tearful man of the sick child to Jesus. “—that is, “It is useless concealing from Thee, O Thou mysterious, mighty Healer, the unbelief that still struggles in this heart of mine; but that heart bears me witness that I do believe in Thee; and if distrust still remains, I disown it, I wrestle with it, I seek help from Thee against it.” (This prayer taken from biblehub commentary.)


  30. johnhenrycn says:

    “Agnostics know very little – and practically nothing with any confidence.”
    So true, as we see from the dyslexic agnostic insomniac who lay awake at night wondering if there really was a dog.


  31. Toad says:

    Toad firmly believes in dog. To paraphrase Carlyle, (He won’t mind – he’s dead) “By God, he’d better!”


  32. JabbaPapa says:

    Agnostics know very little – and practically nothing with any confidence. They do know they agree with Montaigne, though.

    Montaigne was, of course, a devout Catholic.


  33. The Raven says:

    I’m not sure that I would venture as far as “devout”, Jabba; observant, perhaps.


  34. Toad says:

    Raven is right. Very dangerous to be an out-and-out sceptic back then. Bowels ripped out, trousers set on fire, etc., by the faithful.
    And, more significantly, I suggest, in his Essays there is not one mention of Christ – at least, not one that I recall.
    I may be wrong.
    God, of course, gets a few. Not all that many.
    And, if he were a ‘devout’ Catholic, so what?
    He’d still be a hero of the dreaded Enlightenment – as he most certainly was.


  35. JabbaPapa says:

    Raven, his Travel Journal reveals a man who is ferocious towards heretics, deeply admirative of great Catholic apologetics, passionately condemnatory of “gay marriage” (YEP !!!), a pilgrim, fully supportive of the orthodoxy of the Faith, profoundly faithful to the Liturgy of the Faith (against the Errors of the Protestants), and deeply committed to his marriage in the most Catholic manner.


  36. mikepossett says:

    It seems to me that the problem of reception in the hand stems from Paul VI. He had authority to ban the practice, but instead he somewhat grudgingly granted an indult. He seems to have been a weak Pope who flip-flopped on this issue (and on many other matters).


  37. mikepossett says:

    The “problem” of reception in the hand seems to stem from Paul VI. He had authority to ban the practice if he really considered it so offensive. Instead he grudgingly granted an indult. He seems to have been a weak Pope who flip-flopped on this matter (as on many other issues).


  38. Toad says:

    Yes, Jabba, and Montaigne was the man who said, in his last essay,
    ” Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself.”
    After that piece of blinding of rather un-Catholic common sense, who even cares if he was a Catholic or not?
    He also said that nobody could ever….
    “..gratify heaven and nature by committing massacre and homicide, a belief universally embraced in all religions. “
    Toad’s kind of Catholic.
    Yours too, no doubt. So that’s all right, then.


  39. Roger says:

    Paul VI
    Don’t know about the Man but his pontificate was a disiaster. Same holds for John XXIII because his first consistory of cardinals was a mixture of the dubious and unsavoury. John Paul I it seems was prepared to Act rather than prevaricate or posture.


  40. Roger says:

    Do not be blindly obedient. The Pontificate of John XXIII and Paul VI was perhaps very indulgent of the childen instead of chastising and correcting. Spoiled children that nolonger have a respect for the sacred or holy who treat the Eucharist like a slice of Mothers Pride Bread. PR stunts like a Beach Mass, this would never have happened under a strong Authoritative Father.
    The Hindus were permitted to celebrate at Fatima. This was May 5th 2004 and the altar (with its embedded saints relics) was used for Hindu rituals to multiple Gods. This was permitted by the Catholic Authoriies. In Jerusalem no pagan was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies. The error lies not with the Hindus but with the hierachy in the Church. If the Father indulges the children to the point that pagan Gods are invoked and celebrated on consecrated ground then such a Father has placed man before God.


  41. JabbaPapa says:

    Yes, Jabba, and Montaigne was the man who said, in his last essay,

    ”Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself.”



    What on EARTH has given you the BIZARRE notion that this is “un-catholic” ???


  42. JabbaPapa says:

    Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself

    Not that I can actually find anything like this quote in the French text of Book III, Essay 12, where it is supposedly to be found …


  43. JabbaPapa says:

    OK — it’s supposed to translate Elle doit estre elle mesme à soy, sa visee, son dessein

    >>> [Life] must itself be its own aim, its own design. (this “must” is analytical, NOT moral ; he uses “must” because he’s suggesting that all things are ordered towards themselves, life being no exception)

    The point is, here, that this is compared to but not opposed to the contemplation of death as our final end.

    He’s suggesting that the manner whereby we live our lives should be ordered towards life — not ordered towards the miserable contemplation of death.

    This is an intrinsically Catholic teaching.


  44. Toad says:

    Excellent, Jabba. Montaigne would be delighted with you.
    .. As are we all. Agreement all round. The main conclusion is that we must all keep assiduously reading the great man!
    Nothing but good can come of it!
    …Now that he’s been off the Index since 1854.

    Interesting also, that he talks at great length about death, as you indicate, but never bothers to mention Heaven or Hell, let alone Purgatory or Limbo.
    Question of priorities, perhaps.


  45. JabbaPapa says:

    I fail to see how the placing of Raymond Sebond’s Theologia naturalis on the Index might have been a placing of Montaigne’s own writing on the same Index simply because he was its translator …


  46. johnhenrycn says:

    This painting was brought to my attention yesterday:


  47. The arrogance(pride, the greatest sin of all), judgmentalism, and utter lack of charity by so many on this page is appalling. We can copy and paste all day long from different popes, etc about receiving on the hand. Jesus said, “take this all of you and eat of it…” He did not say, “let me feed you now…” We are to eat, WITH THE GREATEST OF REVERENCE, the Body of Christ (and drink the Blood of Christ.) Open your eyes to where the great irreverences come from. It is not in how we receive the Holy Eucharist.


  48. The painting above is lovely, but NOT historically real. Jesus and the Apostles were commemorating the Passover meal. The scriptures are clear on how this took place.


  49. johnhenrycn says:

    Och, Fr David! Are you actually telling me there weren’t 17 people at the Last Supper, including Duke Federico, two of his courtiers and Caterino Zeno, the ambassador of the Shah of Persia, as depicted on the right side – or the sinister side depending on your POV – of this “lovely” painting !?! Please forgive my utter ignorance (and arrogance) in suggesting there were. Time to get out the old Good Book again. I’m reading the Knox Version right now. Just finished I and II Kings, which make Lady Chatterley’s Lover seem like a children’s fairy tale 🙂


  50. Toad says:

    Heavens – things were different when Roger was alive, weren’t they?

    ” I’m reading the Knox Version right now. Just finished I and II Kings, which make Lady Chatterley’s Lover seem like a children’s fairy tale 🙂”
    That my be JH – but would you allow your gamekeeper to read it – never mind I and II Kings?


  51. Clement Wee says:

    This article is rank arrogance, (Although what else should one expect from the Church “Militant”, which is more like the “Church Terrorist”.)

    First of all, there is no link between the reality of the Transubstantiation and how one receives Holy Communion. The efficacy of the Sacrament is not based upon whether it is received on the hand and not on the tongue.

    Secondly, Pope (Emeritus) Benedict may have wanted to set a specific rule for Saint Peters’ Basilica, because – unlike most other churches – The Basilica is mostly filled with tourists; so the Pope (Emeritus) had valid reason to keep the atmosphere of a Mass reverent.

    Thirdly, communion of the hand is not merely a “United States” thing.

    And lastly, as always, the defilement of the venerable tradition of the Latin Mass – and a disrepect of Pope St Pius V – by making the tradition a subject and shield of arrogance!

    May God bless you, ‘cos you really need it


  52. Pingback: Institutional Lukewarmness - Cream City Catholic

  53. angela dagostino says:

    I am receiving Love when I am taking communion…
    I Love God, Love Myself, and Love Others in Truth
    when Jesus Christ is inside me.
    However that happens to me is fine
    and a very very mysterious event,
    At church I have on occasion picked up the eucharist
    off the floor and put it in my mouth
    with a little prayer and a kissing it up to God,
    I think it still counts because I realize that I am about
    on the same level as a grasshopper. U?


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