An Argentinian bishop on Communion in the hand

An retired bishop in Argentina, age 92, Most Rev. Juan Rodolfo Laise, O.F.M.Cap. has a book:

HOLY COMMUNION Communion in the Hand: Documents & History – Some Reflections on Spiritual Communion and the State of Grace – 2018 218 pages hardcover $18.00


Here is something from the Preface by the great Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has recently been told by the Holy See that he shouldn’t travel so much (in other words, his messages while traveling were inconvenient so he should ‘shut up’).

From the Preface of Bishop Schneider: “The Church in our times has the urgent need of courageous voices in defense of her greatest treasure, which is the mystery of the Eucharist. [How true!  Even as The Present Crisis grows, we should be compelled back to the Eucharistic Lord, to adore Him, receive Him well, celebrate His mystery in proper sacred liturgical worship together.  This is the source and summit of our identity.] Often today there arise voices in defense of the many human and temporal needs, but rare are the voices that defend the Eucharistic Jesus. With his book Communion in the Hand, His Excellency Most Rev. Juan Rodolfo Laise, Bishop Emeritus of San Luis (Argentina), has for several years raised his voice in defense of the Eucharistic Lord, showing with convincing argumentation the inconsistency of the modern practice of Communion in the hand from a historical, liturgical and pastoral perspective… I consider it an honor and joy to be able to present this book of the most worthy Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise, “decus episcoporum Argentinae.” I hope this prophetic voice of an elderly bishop, who has retained his youth and purity of faith [“ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam”] and reverent love for the Eucharistic mystery, may enkindle readers with the same faith and the same love and contribute to the universal restoration of the more sacred and reverent manner of receiving the Lord’s Body.”

Bishop Laise was born on February 22, 1926 in Buenos Aires. He entered the Capuchin Order, in which he received priestly ordination in 1949 when he was only twenty-three years old. Later he obtained his licentiate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome, and his doctorate in civil law from the national university of Córdoba (Argentina). In 1969 he was named Provincial Superior of the Capuchins of Argentina.

In 1971 he was appointed by Paul VI coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of San Luis, whose bishop was seriously ill. The clergy of that diocese, although scarce, were deeply divided because of liberation theology. Due to the strong resistance of the ideological and rebellious sector, it was not possible to organize the episcopal consecration in what would be his Episcopal see, but five hundred miles away, in the chapel of a Capuchin school near Buenos Aires. As soon as he became bishop of San Luis, the reaction of the group of highly politicized priests did not delay, and they left the diocese, moving to a neighboring diocese where the environment was more akin to their ideas. Some went even further by directly abandoning the priestly apostolate. This was a blow to the new bishop, who was given a diocese that already had very few priests (there had been no priestly ordinations in the previous eighteen years, and at that time there was only one seminarian). However, his courage and his gifts of government enabled him to find a way to reverse the situation.  [Just a reminder that this war has been hot for a long time.]

Since the beginning he made his priority the care of vocations: their number, and above all their solid formation, creating in 1980 the diocesan seminary “St. Michael the Archangel.” Thirty years later, when he turned seventy-five and had to leave his diocese, there were more than fifty seminarians, and a young and numerous clergy who worked actively in the towns and villages of the province. Similarly, he promoted the installation of various religious congregations. Since the beginning his activity has been multiple and incessant: the foundation of religious houses, of schools, of a Catholic University extension, numerous churches and chapels for the new districts of a province whose population is constantly growing, and the organization of congresses and conferences. The apostolic directives followed one another, in the spirit and decisions of Bishop Laise, at a feverish pace. However, as a Capuchin religious he knew well that activity, even the most noble one such as that of the apostolate, is not fruitful if it does not nourish its roots in contemplation. That is why he also encouraged the establishment in the diocese of contemplative communities. [By their fruits.]

But if in anything he has stood out in a special way, it has been in his Eucharistic piety and devotion, which have been translated in a special way into the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – which by his express will has been exposed throughout the day in the diocesan Cathedral since the 1980s – and in his care for the organizing of the feast of Corpus Christi, with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of the city, and in his homilies for the occasion.

For all these reasons it is understandable that when, in 1996, he found himself confronted with a responsibility, that of making a decision about the possibility of resorting to an indult to give Holy Communion in a less devout manner – which makes less clear the Real Presence and the Priesthood, and which furthermore was obtained through a frontal disobedience to the Pope – he did not ask to avail himself of this, and, in the same way, he more recently has reacted to the possibility of giving Communion to someone who is not in the state of grace. After his retirement in 2001 he returned to the Franciscan conventual life and he chose the Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy), where is found the saint’s venerated tomb. There he spends the mornings hearing the confessions of the pilgrims. He often agrees to travel to occasionally collaborate elsewhere, having performed numerous ordinations for various religious congregations, and accompanied pilgrims to Lourdes, Rome, etc., during these nearly two decades. In the photo on the back of the dust jacket of the book, he is seen on one of those occasions, celebrating a Pontifical Mass on the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica on October 24, 2015[Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage]

God bless this bishop.

May God bless all those who are working to restore reverent worship and belief in the Eucharist.

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8 Responses to An Argentinian bishop on Communion in the hand

  1. DonnaLiane says:

    What a faithful life that he has led and still continues to lead! God bless Bishop Laise and make Him ever more saintly until He calls him to Himself!


  2. Yes, God bless this bishop.


  3. Mary Salmond says:

    Perhaps some other priests, bishops should read this book, then make a decision!


  4. DonnaLiane says:

    Yes that is a good gift idea. However last time I gave my PP an article from LifeSite News about Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefaced by “Good news Father!”- the article endorsing communion kneeling and on the tongue for anyone who desired it, he grossly undereacted and said “We’ll see.” A s since then other things have given me even less reason to believe he would even read it, let alone react to it appropriately. However there is a PP I know from a parish who actively endorses the more reverent practice because he advertises it in his Parish Bulletin and teaches his congregation about it.


  5. Mary Salmond says:

    Donna: yes, most priests who are older than 50 years will not go back or promote what was common in the early 1900’s. Won’t read or be open to; I’ve experienced this with our parish priest. The motto is Never Go Back.


  6. kathleen says:

    I am convinced that more people would receive Holy Communion on the tongue if they also kneeled down instead of standing. (To receive the Sacred Host on the hand when kneeling would be very awkward for both priest, who would have to stoop right down, or for the kneeling communicant who would have to raise their hands right up above their head.)

    The trouble is, many people are physically unable to kneel right down onto the stone floor – at least here the floor in Spanish churches is made of either cold stone or marble – and then have to get up on their feet again afterwards without anything to hold onto to help steady themselves! As I’m slim and a very sporty person I still have no difficulty in doing this (DG), but I have many friends who would wish to receive Our Blessed Lord in this far more reverent way, but are simply incapable of kneeling down on the hard ground. So they stand instead. Then, if they are tallish and the priest short, receiving on the tongue makes it equally difficult for the priest, so they feel they have to take Our Lord’s Precious Body on their unconsecrated hands. A great shame!

    Getting rid of altar rails and kneelers in the post V2 period was a far greater tragedy and offence to Our Lord (in its subsequent consequences) than anyone could ever have imagined – except those prelates who were (under cover) wickedly working against the Catholic Church. The Devil won a great victory with that one!


  7. mmvc says:

    At our local Franciscan church, the PP recently introduced two long kneelers either side of the front pews near the altar steps for those wanting to receive Hl Communion kneeling. I’m sure that this was an answer to many a prayer, but the backlash he received from his own community and some parishioners was horrible. He affixed a notice at the back of the church and repeatedly announced that to maintain order, communicants who choose the kneeling option should approach before those who prefer to receive standing. These instructions are now being totally ignored resulting in confusion and most people choosing to remain standing in the queue to receive Our Lord.
    You’re so right, Kathleen: this V2 ‘innovation’ is one of the devil’s great victories and the dire consequences are still being played out at every level.


  8. DonnaLiane says:

    I wonder if the solution is simpler than it looks. He needs to think outside the box, again. If the priest can distribute Communion at the altar rails only and a separate area be used (side, middle or back) by deacons or the like, maybe there could then be separate lines simultaneously? My priest always serves at a random side so I have to follow him around. Sometimes only the side, and not the centre aisle, is used. There are no altar rails but there is a knack to getting up from kneeling (without altar rail help). I don’t wear high heels (in case I trip) and to get up, firstly I put one knee half up, planting it firmly foot down, then place my hands on top of each other on top of that knee; to steady myself and push myself up. I agree that its really tricky if you have bad knees, are unsteady, carrying an infant or are elderly. The altar rails were a great idea and Fr. needs to hear all the positive comments that he can, to support him in his decision.


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