Thursday, June 9, 2011

Holy Communion Profanations caused by receiving on the Hand

A Letter from The Cathedral Rector
by Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit
Rector,Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral
January 30,2011 to his parishioners.

Dear Parishioners,

I want to thank all of you who have recently started receiving Holy Communion on the tongue,not to mention those of you who already had been. This subject has generated a lot of buzz over the past few weeks,the vast majority of which has been overwhelmingly positive.

While my main objective in encouraging reception on the tongue is to deepen appreciation for the Eucharist, I also have a pastoral responsibility to eliminate abuses common to receiving in the hand. Such abuses are no doubt unintentional. Nevertheless,what I witness troubles me. And I’m not alone.

In 2004, responding to the problem of Eucharistic profanation,the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament released an official instruction entitled REDEMPTIONIS SACRAMENTUS:On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist. [Which unfortunately Pinoy Catholics, lay and clergy alike, still disregard.  Have you ever seen St. Paul's Publications sell a copy of RS and SP?  Nah.]  Regarding Holy Communion the document states:

[S]pecial care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister,so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation,then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (Paragraph 92)  [If there is a risk of profanation!]

Here are 7 common Holy Communion profanations that I see all too frequently:

Blessing oneself with the host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction”and is reserved to clergy).

Receiving the host in the palm of the hand,contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers,then consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear”magic trick).

Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.

Attempting to receive with other items in the hands,like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.

Receiving the host with dirty hands.

Receiving the host,closing the hand around it,then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.

Walking away without consuming the host.

Giving the host to someone else after receiving (including animals)…yes,it happens! [Oh yes it does!]

We would never treat a piece of GOLD with the same casualness –especially in this economy! Yet many treat the Eucharist “piece”of GOD with casualness at best,indifference and irreverence at worst. Of course,much abuse is due to ignorance,owing to poor catechesis,which is precisely why I have written about this issue for four consecutive weeks.

Yet we have another great incentive…

When Holy Communion is received on the tongue…every single one of these abuses is instantly eliminated!  [BINGO!!!]

The way we treat another person says more about our relationship with that person than any words we might say. This is especially true of our relationship with the Divine Person,Jesus Christ. So let us continually seek to increase our reverence for our Eucharistic Savior,and to eliminate anything that degrades the respect He deserves.  [Have you seen how your priest treats other people?  Now look at how he celebrates the Liturgy.  Connect the dots.]

God’s Blessings…
my prayers…

Rev. Fr. John Lankeit,
Rector,Ss. Simon &Jude Cathedral


Easy solution.




  1. hhmmnn, sa amin, halos lahat receive communion by both hands, tapos agad isusubo pagka-receive and babalik na sa pwesto, wla pa akong nakitang gumawa nung mga 7 profanations na nabanggit...

    so, pack one pack all pala 'to noh, kung may maling nagawa ang ilang katoliko, damay lahat...

    ganun lang ba ang solution? idikta na i-stop na ang communion by hand? or pwede rin na mag-lagay ng poster or bulletin board as a reminder not to desecrate the holy communion? or maybe think of a more pro-active solutions.

    is that what jesus would want? for people to be relieved of their freedom to choose if they want to receive it by mouth or hands?

    hindi ba ang mas mahalaga kay jesus is to respect, love him and do the same for others from the bottom of your heart.. hindi naman tayo ang dapat mag-judge (tulad nung nakasabi dun sa "sermon on the mount")... alam nya kung anong nasa puso ng bawat tao, re-receive man ng communion o hindi, di ba?

    natutuwa ako sa halos lahat ng blogpost u, kasi may sense of humor at articulate... ung dito lang talaga ako napa-comment sa na-feature na letter ng pari.

  2. Got paid, I'll deduce what you just commented one by one in ENGLISH:

    Why do you think the Church did not allow communion in the hand for centuries? I'll wait for you to answer this.

    "for people to be relieved of their freedom to choose if they want to receive it by mouth or hands"

    Freedom to choose? I think that says it all. The Catholic Church is not your typical cafeteria where you just pick and pay. The Mass is not an entertainment show which you just go according to your whims.

    And your argument is about what's in a person's heart is the lamest argument you can throw in the window. What if I say "Deep in my heart I love the Mass and I will go there wearing my G-string." Who are you to stop me from my freedom to choose?

    Thousands of years have the Church been in existence. There are a thousand years of reasons why we do things the way we do it...until 1960s.

    Read the history of the Church especially on how we worship. Learn what the maxim "lex orandi, lex credendi" means.