Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A wonderful reaction about Communion in the Hand

Novus Catholicus Romanus posted a beautiful reaction about Communion in the Hand which I am sharing in its entirety. This is in reaction to another TPC reader's reaction.

This is a wonderful way to put things in the right perspective when we talk about Communion in the Hand:


While it is true that “It's the heart that receives the Body of Christ”, I know you would agree that what the heart believes, the mouth and the whole person should make manifest. [Beautiful!]  It is certainly very ludicrous when one says that he believes in the Real Presence yet would receive the Sacred Host with dirty hands or with chewing gum in the mouth. With that said, I think “the heart receives the Body of Christ” as a sole norm for receiving communion doesn’t make sense.

Nevertheless, I know that you don’t advocate exterior disrespect and irreverence when receiving the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. And you also say that the Church of today finds communion on the hand “acceptable”. I agree. Yet, we must be clear that communion on the hand has never been the norm in the Latin Church for more than a thousand years. And IT STILL IS NOT THE NORM today. It is however, tolerated in the Church as it is just an “option”. As you are keen to respect the teaching of the Church on the matter, please take note that the Holy Father, Paul VI, the Pope who while granting the original indult with regard to communion on the hand also taught that the present discipline [that of communion directly on the tongue] should be MAINTAINED. See And even the Vatican itself has made the ruling that “the celebrant priest, if there is a present danger of sacrilege, should not give the faithful communion in the hand”  [The links mentioned above are real eye openers to the "Communion in the Hand" story!]

From the historical perspective, I know some would bring up Cyprian of Carthage [Over used!  Abused! Quoted out of context!] and would make that argument that at his time and at his place people may have been receiving communion on the hand. But it has been almost 1,500 years since St. Cyprian, and the Church has dropped out communion on the hand in her practice. Why so? Don’t you think her continuous meditation and ‘love affair’ regarding the abiding presence of her Lord in the Sacred Species made her abolish communion on the hand? [Antiquarianism.  Anything during the time of the Apostles or the Church Fathers must be good!  Makes you wonder "What happened to hunderds of years after the Church Father?  Everything added is "not good"?  Like Communion kneeling and on the tongue?]  I certainly would think so. For it is but natural that what is loved, cherished, and believed inside the heart, would find its way to express itself outside, in the external actions. [Same as the saying "Put your money where your mouth is!"  but in a more civil and lovelier way.]  And it is not from any self-loathing, ‘poor self-esteem’ vis-à-vis the Lord that the Church as a whole refrained from touching the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with unconsecrated hands. It was rather her continuous love and desire to honor the great condescension of her Spouse in the great Sacrament of the Altar that she has wisely abolished communion in the hand. [Take note!  WISELY!  And not because "Imperial Rome"  like those feminists and anti-Roman clerics say!  Oh yeah.  There are priests who promote open dissent against Rome,  but dare not go against them!]  And such a phenomenon is universal not only in the Latin West, but even in the Churches of the East (the Byzantines give communion using a spoon). Communion on the hand was unheard of in the Catholic Church since then, not until the indult of the 1970s to excuse the rebellious and unauthorized experimentation of the Dutch bishops…[You can google this and read how this was "approved" by Paul VI.  Cardinal Suenens championed this along with the Charismatic movement.  Now that's a picture for you!]

I am not advocating rebellion against the Holy Father. In my humble opinion, I say as for now, we ought to ‘tolerate’ communion on the hand. But such “indult” does not stop some to make known their view that communion on the hand ought to STOP. [If there are those who make an "indult" the norm. like Communion in the Hand, why not make the Indult Mass, the EF Mass, the norm?  Fair trade, eh?] It does not benefit the Church in any way. It only weakens the reception of what the Church believes and teaches regarding the ineffable, and abiding presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. [Have you witnessed this yourself, too?  Has the practice promoted a deep love and respect for the REAL and ABIDING PRESENCE of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?  If something new is not doing anything good, then throw it to the garbage can!  Not the Recycling bin!]

As for you saying that “if flakes fell without my knowledge, may God have mercy on me”, please do consider that you don’t need to appeal to God’s mercy for such a heartfelt and unintentional loss of the Divine Particles. YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT YOURSELF. You do not have to wait for the particles to fall. If you really love and adore that humble condescension of the Lord in the Sacred Host, do consider receiving him directly on the tongue. And take note that as in an ordinary love affair, a love that is true, strong, and persistent from the heart, will try to find its way to express itself in the outside. Do express it. Don’t stop with just a reverent communion on the hand. Give out all that you can give as the faith itself allows. Receive the Lord without touching him with your hands and sign Pinoy Catholic’s petition to withdraw the unfortunate indult of communion on the hand. [HUZZAH!!!!!!]

If I can find the words to thank Novus Catholicus Romanus for this, I would have typed it ASAP!

Now, any more signers of my petition?

1 comment:

  1. Anglicans in the Catholic Church receive the Body and Blood of Christ under the species of bread and wine. Their reception is by the mouth and not by the hand. There is a continuity of understanding of how the Eucharist has been prefigured in the Old Testament and consummated in the Last Supper of the New Testament and towards the coming of our Lord in glory. The Eucharist is no mere meal, although it is, it is more than that. Our whole lives as people are dependent on it! The Bread of Life comes from heaven and even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs that come from the children's table. Because of our fallen nature, we are like those dogs mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. But Jesus in all his emptying of himself comes to us, sinners under the appearances of Bread and Wine that we may be redeemed. Old Testament sets the theme for salvation. The Israelites wandering in the desert were given bread from heaven "manna", and the Bible narrates this in Exodus 16.

    However while the Bible says that manna had to be gathered by hand, Rabbinical tradition says that since the Israelites were on the verge of starvation and death, God allowed the manna to be placed on the starving and dying people's mouths! Jewish tradition states that it was God who put the manna in their mouths!

    This is Jewish tradition that is in continuity with the ancient custom of receiving communion by the mouth. The whole redemptive and saving reality of the Eucharist becomes more apparent and fuller in meaning when we receive Jesus by the mouth.

    We are all sinners and we have no right to the crumbs and even the dogs have more of a right than us. But as the Syrophoenician woman with her heart recognized the salvation offered by Jesus and grasping the Eucharistic mystery in the limited way she did, she was healed and the demon tormenting her daughter was cast out.