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Robert Sungenis on the Novus Ordo path/ Ben Douglass justifies abuse

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I have always thought Robert Sungenis and his cooperators were sound defenders of the Faith, but they seem to degenerate more and more into the New Order direction.   The following article ridiculing a perfectly sane Mr. St. George (SSPX parishioner), is not only a sign of stupidity, and a proof of self made "apologists" synthetizing their own articles from other unreliable internet sources, has to be refuted.   Please notify Mr. Douglass of this thread at this forum, as it is of prime importance.    He is misleading traditional Roman Catholics and undermining church practice of 2000 years.   And he is using an Anti Trad source (Matt1618) for it TOO.   We are truly living in the time of the blind leading the blind, when even "traditional" apologetic sites deviate from the solemn practices of the church and believe modernist lies about Communion in the hand. And as if this weren't enough, Ben Douglass even justifies the Pauline Mass (Novus Ordo) as an equally, licit, good way of worship for the Church. Attending Novus Ordo churches is not wrong, he says. You'd rather attend your daily Novus Ordo Mass (or "Mass"?) than the Tridentine Rite Mass once a week. As if constant attendance of sacrilege, lutheranism and anthropocentric liturgies would not affect our faith and would "educate" and "feed" us "spiritually". Which spirit is speaking through Ben Douglass is clear to me.       DO NOT DONATE TO CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS INTERNATIONAL. NOT A PENNY, AS LONG AS THEY HAVE THIS STUFF ON THEIR SITE.                       I Make a Terrible Radtrad
(On Communion in the Hand) by Ben Douglass

In September 2002, the Angelus, a magazine printed by the Society of St. Pius X, published a study entitled "Is Communion in the Hand a Sacrilege?" by a former Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist named Charles Andre St. George. He and his son performed 25 "Communions" with unconsecrated altar bread, placing the bread in the hand of the "communicant," and found that the hosts shed an average of 3.68 particles each time. Mr. St. George then reasoned that were this a real Communion, the particles "would eventually detach from the palms and fingertips of these communicants as they changed position to folded hands and the particles would drop to the floor, or be brushed against their clothing and detach, or find their way to destinations unknown" and concluded that "Catholics who have gone to Mass at a church where there has been communion in the hand encounter a veritable minefield where they have mindlessly, repeatedly set their heels against the Holy Face of Jesus Christ Himself!"  
This thesis has convinced many Traditionalists that they are morally obliged to completely avoid churches where Communion has been distributed in the hand, perhaps even if they have no other means of fulfilling their Sunday obligation. And since many require a half an hour or more to travel to the nearest Tridentine or Eastern Rite Liturgy, those who have been convinced of this thesis might be prevented from going to daily Mass, and from completing such devotions as the first Fridays and first Saturdays. Thus their sanctification is impeded and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart is unfortunately prolonged. Now, while I would certainly advise anyone with access to a Tridentine, Dominican, Byzantine, Maronite, Coptic, or for that matter any liturgy over 50 years old to go to it instead of the objectively inferior Pauline (Novus Ordo) Mass (provided the alternative liturgy is not schismatic, of course), I must advise anyone with access only to a Pauline Mass, even if Communion is distributed in the hand there, to attend that Mass, and to attend it frequently; one who cannot go to any daily Mass besides the Novus Ordo should have no compunction about, and indeed should relish, going to daily Novus Ordo Mass. Now, I feel it wise to attach a caveat to what follows: I am in no way arguing that Communion in the hand has been good for the Church or that it was prudent to reintroduce it. On the contrary, I think the decision to permit Communion in the hand has been disastrous; I think that the practice, in the modern form, is less conducive to reverence and far less rich in symbolism as compared to Communion on the tongue; I think that it plays into the hands of wicked predators who would steal the Eucharist for their own perverse ends (e.g. Satanic rituals). All I desire to establish with this essay is that Communion in the hand in not a sacrilege and does not necessarily tend toward sacrilege, and that one may attend Mass and walk around in Novus Ordo churches without in any way committing sacrilege. Communion in the Hand in the Early Church Before directly engaging the argument presented by the SSPX, I would like to point out that the laity received Communion in the hand quite frequently in the early Christian Church. St. Basil the Great, for example, witnesses to this practice. Some traditionalists have quoted a fragment from his 93rd Epistle where he says that "for anyone in times of persecution to be compelled to take the communion in his own hand without the presence of a priest or minister is not a serious offence" and concluded that he believed that it would be a "serious offence" were someone to take Communion in his own hand in time of peace. However, this interpretation does not hold water when the passage is read in context: "It is needless to point out that for anyone in times of persecution to be compelled to take the communion in his own hand without the presence of a priest or minister is not a serious offence, as long custom sanctions this practice from the facts themselves. All the solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, take the communion themselves, keeping communion at home. And at Alexandria and in Egypt, each one of the laity, for the most part, keeps the communion, at his own house, and participates in it when he likes. For when once the priest has completed the offering, and given it, the recipient, participating in it each time as entire, is bound to believe that he properly takes and receives it from the giver. And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, the recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand. It has the same validity whether one portion or several portions are received from the priest at the same time" (St. Basil the Great, Letter 93). Other Fathers and Councils endorse Communion in the hand as well: "In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hollowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Wilt thou not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from thee of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 23:21). "Wherefore, if any one wishes to be a participator of the immaculate Body in the time of the Synaxis, and to offer himself for the communion, let him draw near, arranging his hands in the form of a cross, and so let him receive the communion of grace. But such as, instead of their hands, make vessels of gold or other materials for the reception of the divine gift, and by these receive the immaculate communion, we by no means allow to come, as preferring inanimate and inferior matter to the image of God" (Quintsext Synod of Trullo, Canon CI). "Let us draw near to [the Eucharist] with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire" (St. John Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa Book IV, ch. XIII). Note that Ss. Cyril and John Damascus not only advise the laity to take Communion in the hand, but to touch the Body of Christ to their eyes as well. Surely this would be even more conducive to fragments than the modern practice. Hence, either it would be a sacrilege to attend Mass at St. John Damascus' Church, or something is wrong with the logic of the Society of St. Pius X (N.B: There are also patristic witnesses to Communion on the tongue such as Pope St. Gregory the Great and the Synod of Rouen; Communion in the hand was not the universal practice of the early Church). I would also like to comment that there is a strong point to the ancient form of Communion on the hand which even Communion on the tongue is lacking: it gives the communicant some time for private adoration of Jesus in the consecrated host. This could potentially be a very grace-filled moment and excite the communicant to greater reverence and devotion when he receives. Unfortunately, in the modern form of Communion in the hand (no altar rail and a line of people behind you waiting for you to get out of the way) this opportunity is gone. Thus with the modern form of Communion in the hand we have all the drawbacks of the ancient practice but we lose its central benefit. St. Thomas Aquinas' Argument Against Communion in the Hand St. Thomas is often cited as condemning Communion in the Hand: "[O]ut of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency" (Summa Theologica, III, Q. 82, Art. 3). Of course, we all agree that St. Thomas was a brilliant and holy man, but really, anyone who looks twice at this particular argument should realize that it is clearly fallacious. If it were not lawful, in principle, for the unconsecrated hands of a layman to touch the sacred species, it would not be lawful for his unconsecrated tongue, or esophagus, or stomach lining to touch it either. In short, if the laity can't touch the Sacrament they can't receive it. In any case, St. Thomas Aquinas is not the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The Magisterium has permitted the laity to receive in the hand in many parts of the world, so we have no right to say that this practice is intrinsically wrong (cf. Matt 16:19). Whether it is a Sacrilege to Step on Miniscule Fragments Shed from Consecrated Hosts Now to tackle the meat of Mr. St. George's thesis. Of course, in no way do I intend to question Mr. St. George's honesty; I have ordered a packet of altar bread, and repeated his study, albeit with far less rigor, and have found that yes, taking Communion in the hand does create tiny crumbs. I would clear my palm of particles which could be mistaken for bread, place an unconsecrated host thereon, then remove and eat it. Next, I would inspect my palm under a bright light, and usually find a few tiny white specks. I am surprised that Mr. St. George found a particle 1.5 mm in length, since the largest I measured was around .5 mm, and my package had been jostled quite a bit in the mail (some pieces were even broken). Most I would estimate at .1 to .2 mm in length. But in any case, my issue is not with Mr. St. George's data, but with his conclusions. To begin, a Sacrament consists of an outward sign which signifies an inward, supernatural, grace-giving reality. Both the sign and the thing signified are necessary for a valid Sacrament. Hence, if the sign is destroyed, the thing signified ceases to be present as well. Thus the Church teaches that when, after transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine are destroyed, the substance of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ depart. This applies when the Sacred Species are digested in the stomach, when they are corrupted, or when the Blood is diluted beyond recognition or the Body ground to paste. I will quote the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Summa in this regard: "The permanence of Presence... is limited to an interval of time of which the beginning is determined by the instant of Consecration and the end by the corruption of the Eucharistic Species. If the Host has become moldy or the contents of the Chalice sour, Christ has discontinued His Presence therein. Since in the process of corruption those elementary substances return which correspond to the peculiar nature of the changed accidents, the law of the indestructibility of matter, notwithstanding the miracle of the Eucharistic conversion, remains in force without any interruption." ( ) St. Thomas put it thusly: "But if the change be so great that the substance of the bread or wine would have been corrupted, then Christ's body and blood do not remain under this sacrament; and this either on the part of the qualities, as when the color, savor, and other qualities of the bread and wine are so altered as to be incompatible with the nature of bread or of wine; or else on the part of the quantity, as, for instance, if the bread be reduced to fine particles, or the wine divided into such tiny drops that the species of bread or wine no longer remain" (Summa Theologica, III, Q. 77, Art. 4). Note that St. Thomas explicitly says that "fine particles" of what used to be part of a consecrated host are not the Body of Christ. Now, the Roman Catechism does say that "the body of our Lord is contained whole and entire under the least particle of the bread" and I do not wish to commit the same error as those I am arguing against, viz., quoting St. Thomas against the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. However, note that the Roman Catechism says "the least particle of the bread." At some point a particle is so small that it is no longer possible to perceive that it is bread. Think of how many microscopic fragments must detach from the Sacred Species at every Communion. These particles, being imperceptible, are incapable of functioning as a "sign" which points to Christ; they do not posses the accidents of bread and thus neither do they posses the substance of Christ. I think that this principle can be applied, in a limited fashion, to particles visible to the naked eye (by someone with sharp vision, under a bright light) as well. Certainly one who inspects his hand after Communion, if he sees tiny white flecks thereon, can infer that they came from the consecrated host, and is morally obliged to consume them (indeed I am of the opinion that those who receive on the hand are obliged to inspect their hands). However, once these particles fall to the floor, it is no longer possible to discern that they are of the form of bread; if we were to pick them up we would not be able to say "I see bread" or even "I see a bread crumb" since with relatively few exceptions all the particles I found on my palm were small enough as to be indistinguishable from a speck of dead skin or some such. In sum, I believe that once these miniscule particles are dropped to the floor, Christ leaves. Thus we should not have to worry about stepping on Him when we visit a Novus Ordo Church. A Blessing and a Caveat from the Vatican John Paul II has clearly given his blessing to the practice of Communion in the hand: "It also happens, on occasion, that the free choice of those who prefer to continue the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue is not taken into account in those places where the distribution of Communion in the hand has been authorized. It is therefore difficult in the context of this present letter not to mention the sad phenomena previously referred to. This is in no way meant to refer to those who, receiving the Lord Jesus in the hand, do so with profound reverence and devotion, in those countries where this practice has been authorized." (Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, 11) The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments approve of this practice as well. However, I have noticed that they often attach the same caveat that we saw from St. Cyril above, viz., that the recipient is obliged to take special care about particles which might become detached from the consecrated hosts: Congregation for Divine Worship, Letter En reponse a la demande, to presidents of those conferences of bishops petitioning the indult for communion in the hand, 29 May 1969: "5. Whatever procedure is adopted, care must be taken not to allow particles of the eucharistic bread to fall or be scattered." Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Immensae caritatis, on facilitating reception of Communion in certain circumstances, 29 January 1973, Part 4. Devotion and reverence toward the Eucharist in the case of communion in the hand: "On the part of both the minister and the recipient, whenever the host is placed in the hand of a communicant there must be careful concern and caution, especially about particles that might fall from the hosts." Congregation for Divine Worship, 3 April, 1985: "Care must be taken that fragments of the consecrated host are not lost." Monsigniore Pedro Lopez Quintana, writing for the Secretariat of State in response to Mr. St. George's study, said "church regulations say that both the priest offering communion and the recipient are responsible... for the particles which are visible without the use of optical instruments." I can only conclude that the Vatican issues these instructions for a reason, and that there is a real danger of being rude to Jesus, in so far as one who receives Communion on the hand without inspecting, if crumbs are detached from the host, forces Him to depart prematurely from particles intended for consumption. I would very strongly advise anyone who receives on his hand to thoroughly expect both his palm and his fingertips for particles of the Sacred species (based on the above Vatican instructions I believe this is a moral obligation). Or better yet, I would advise him to lick the area even if he does not see anything, just to be on the safe side. Or best of all, I would advise him to just receive on the tongue. Conclusion Taking Communion on the tongue is a venerable, lower-case t tradition of the Catholic Church. Yet while I am unequivocally opposed to the destruction of venerable lower-case t traditions, by the same token I am against conflating them with Sacred Tradition, the source of revelation. To receive Communion in the hand is absolutely not wrong in principle, as should be clear by now. And while it might be wrong to do so without taking special precaution not to drop any particles of the sacred species, this does not preclude others from attending churches where this is done, since once the .15 mm speck is on the ground, there is no longer any sign, and thus the thing signified is gone. It is not a sacrilege to walk around in a Novus Ordo Church. Therefore, one who is unable to go to any daily Mass besides the Pauline should go there with a clear conscience (provided there are no liturgical abuses which actually do render it sacrilegious), put up with the prayers that do not express the Church's theology of penance and sacrifice as fully as those of other liturgies, and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. And go frequently. I am indebted to I. Shawn McElhinney and "Matt1618" for their article "The Red Herring of Communion in the Hand", in which I found the patristic passages cited in this essay. What can I say, most everyone is right about something. Ben Douglass
January 28, Anno Domini MMV

Communion in the Hand
and Similar Frauds
by Michael Davies
  Published on the web with permission of the author. We have used colors in the background and text so that this presentation cannot be downloaded with ease. We encourage you to purchase this booklet from The Remnant Press.
  Acknowledgements:     I wish to acknowledge my debt to Mr. Byron Harries for allowing me to make use of his researches into the Fathers on the question of Communion in the hand; for his kindness in travelling from Wales to Oxford to verify the quotations from the original sources, and for making the translations from the Greek.     I am also indebted to Fr. W. Lawson, S.J., for translating the passage from Bucer's Censura.
An Artificial Consensus and Mind Manipulators
The Significance and Practice of Communion in the Hand
What Was the Ancient Practice?
Ancient Rites and Customs
Protestant Reformers Insist on Communion in the Hand
An Abuse Fostered by Disobedience and Deceit
If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
The Cult of Man
Venite, Adoremus, Et Procedamus Ante Deum
A Decline in Reverence
The Meal Obsession
Further Examples of Deceit
Irregular Procedures
Legitimate Resistance
Memoriale Domine: Instruction on Manner of Adminsitering Holy Communion
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In year 700 a priest in Lanciano, Italy doubted the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  One day at his Mass at the words of consecration the Host turned into Flesh and the wine turned into Blood.  Millions of people from then until now, come from all over the world come to see this Miraculous Host and Blood.     In 1970, the Vatican ordered a thorough investigation with the latest scientific medical equipment and the most illustrious professors in the medical field.     The investigation showed the Host had turned into living flesh, into a very fine slice through the center of a human heart, as though it had just been expertly cut by a surgeon’s scalpel.  It tested as living Heart tissue and living Blood even though this miracle happened 1270 years ago.     Jesus truly gives His Love, His Body, His Most Sacred Heart to us in Holy Communion. HAVE YOU EVER ASKED JESUS?
Father Aloysius Ellacuria, the founder of the Missionaries of Perpetual Adoration, had a young mother come to him in the early 1970’s, her eyes filled with tears, an aching body filled with cancer, and little time to live.      He took her into the chapel asking her, “Have you ever asked Jesus to cure you?”  “No,” she replied.  “Well,” he said, “Let us kneel down right here in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and let us ask Our Lord to cure you.”     “You know Jesus is really present in the Most Blessed Sacrament; do you really believe that?”  “Yes,” she promptly replied.  Father continued, “Our Lord is the same as He Who walked on this earth 2000 years ago; and He blessed the sick and healed the sick.  Do you really believe that He is the same Lord Who is living here in the Most Blessed Sacrament?”  “Yes, I do,” was her pain-filled response.  “Well, He cured them and He can cure you.”     Together they prayed a series of “Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s.”  After three of each the startled woman said: “Father, I don’t think it is necessary for us to go on – I feel healed!”      The next day X-rays were taken by an astonished doctor who said: “All the cells that were attacked by the cancer are now like the cells of a new-born baby.” O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine,
all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine! BEGUN IN DISOBEDIENCE
The practice of Communion in the hand was first introduced in Belgium by Cardinal Suenens in disobedience to the rubrics of the Holy See. Not wishing to publicly rebuke a brother bishop, Pope Paul VI decided to lift the ban prohibiting Communion in the hand, leaving the decision to individual bishops. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, then president of the United States NCCB, initiated two unsuccessful attempts to introduce Communion in the hand in 1975 and 1976. In the spring of 1977, the bishops’ vote again fell short of the required two-thirds majority. Nevertheless, for the first time ever bishops in absentia were polled by mail after the conference meeting; subsequently the necessary votes materialized and the measure was declared passed. Several canon lawyers have stated categorically that this procedure was illegal. An interview with Bishop Blanchette in the National Catholic Register (June 12, 1977) confirms that Communion in the hand was unlawfully introduced into the United States. Fr. John Hardon likewise has affirmed the fact that retired and dying bishops were polled to make sure the measure for Communion in the hand would be passed. REAL WORLD, REAL ABUSES
The greater a person’s charity is, the more he is compelled to speak what he knows to be true. If someone truly loves his neighbor, it is painful for him to see him deprived of truth. And so it is with our heavenly Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her love for us exceeds all mortals and even our own parents, for Her love is supernatural and without equal, save that of God Himself. Therefore, She would have Her children “walking in truth” (3 John 4), in the path of the Church and the Commandments, and Our Lady will not fail to warn Her children when their means of salvation, the Catholic faith, is under attack. Right now, the summit of our Catholic faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ present in the Sacrament of Love, the Holy Eucharist, is under daily attack. The indult of Communion in the hand has opened a major door to numerous acts of irreverence and sacrilege. Years ago, when Communion in the hand was beginning to rear its ugly head in the United States, a group of concerned Catholics ran a full-page ad in the Hartford [Connecticut] Courant newspaper (April 27, 1977, p. 16) to express their dismay concerning acts of sacrilege reported in Europe from Communion in the hand. Within this full-page ad were horrendous testimonies of sacrilege against the blessed Sacrament. The following testimonies were collected by an editor in Zurich, Switzerland: “In a restaurant, some young people cut a Host into pieces to see if the Blood would run, then they threw it into the toilets.” (November 1969, Witness: proprietor). “In a dry-cleaning establishment, we found the Consecrated Host in a boy’s trousers. The boy admitted receiving it in a round-about fashion, thanks to distribution of Communion in the hands…” (January 10/70, Witness: proprietor). “A woman who attended daily Mass twice a day in two different churches observed a man who also attended Mass in these two different churches and who received Communion each time. (Two Communions daily)… The woman denounced this act to the Vicar General whom she knew well. They found this man’s address and apprehended him one day as he was leaving his residence. The package that he was carrying was opened; it contained seventeen Hosts!!! Upon being questioned, he named those who had given him this work and said he was given francs for each host.” (Witness: a Dominican priest, L.P.A.N.). “In Holland, some students were conducting a flourishing trade in consecrated Hosts, thanks to Communion given in the hand. They collected them and arranged them on the wall, like butterflies. About 200 Hosts were found, transpierced in this manner…” (Witness: President of the parish, F.E.A.G.).  HISTORICAL CHURCH PRACTICE
Reviewing available evidence from Church history and the writings of the Church Fathers does not support the claim that Communion in the hand was a universal practice that was gradually supplanted and eventually replaced by the practice of Communion on the tongue. Rather, the facts seem to point to a different conclusion.     Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461), already in the fifth century, is an early witness of the traditional practice. In his comments on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, he speaks of Communion in the mouth as the current usage: "One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith." (Serm. 91.3) Furthermore, in the ninth century the Roman Ordo clearly shows that Communion on the tongue was the manner of reception. The oft-quoted reference of St. Cyril of Jerusalem is quite suspect, because what follows his famous quote is odd, superstitious, and even irreverent to Catholic thought. This has led scholars to question the authenticity of the text, that perhaps the saint's successor was really responsible for this odd statement, the Patriarch John, who succeeded St. Cyril. But this John was of suspect orthodoxy, which we know from the correspondence of St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. So if the quote is genuine, it most likely is attributed to the Nestorian Patriarch John, which would explain the oddity of the text. The fact that St. Cyril is quoted to the exclusion of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope St. Sixtus I, the Council of Trent, and centuries of Church tradition, is a prime example of the historical revisionism and dumbing-down of the modernists. Just a sampling of reliable historical evidence is enough to demonstrate the consistent position of the Church regarding Communion in the hand:  Pope St. Sixtus I ( 115-125): "it is prohibited for the faithful to even touch the sacred vessels, or receive in the hand"; Origen (185-232 A.D.): "You who are wont to assist at the divine Mysteries, know how, when you receive the body of the Lord, you take reverent care, lest any particle of it should fall to the ground and a portion of the consecrated gift (consecrati muneris) escape you. You consider it a crime, and rightly so, if any particle thereof fell down through negligence." (13th Homily on Exodus); The Council held at Saragozza (380), it was decided to punish with excommunication anyone who dared to continue the practice of Communion in the hand;  The local council at Rouen, France (650) stated, “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen but only in their mouths”; The Council of Constantinople (692) which was known as in trullo (not one of the ecumenical councils held there) prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves. It decreed an excommunication of one week’s duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon; Council of Trent: "To omit nothing doctrinal on so important a subject, we now come to speak of the minister of the Sacrament, a point, however, on which scarcely anyone is ignorant. The pastor then will teach, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer the Holy Eucharist. That the unvarying practice of the Church has also been, that the faithful receive the Sacrament from the hand of the priest, and that the priest communicate himself, has been explained by the Council of Trent; and the same holy Council has shown that this practice is always to be scrupulously adhered to, stamped, as it is, with the authoritative impress of Apostolic tradition, and sanctioned by the illustrious example of our Lord himself, who, with His own hands, consecrated and gave to His disciples, His most sacred body. To consult as much as possible, for the dignity of this so August a Sacrament, not only is its administration confided exclusively to the priestly order; but the Church has also, by an express law, prohibited any but those who are consecrated to religion, unless in case of necessity, to touch the sacred vessels, the linen or other immediate necessaries for consecration. Priest and people may hence learn, what piety and holiness they should possess who consecrate, administer, or receive the Holy of Holies." (Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter 8 THE SAINTS
So much of the sense of the sacred has disappeared today, and so much of the heritage of Catholic teaching has been obscured and overlooked. We now look to the writings of several saints, which convey an admirably reverential attitude towards the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist. From the writings of St. Bonaventure’s The Breviloquium, chapter 11, #5, he writes concerning the reverence for the holy oils: "...a sacrament whose matter is holy—that is, consecrated oil—in order to avoid any risk, its dispensation is entrusted to priests in general. And because of the consecration of the oil, it should be touched by none except consecrated hands." (Note the great reverence for the sacraments in general expressed by St. Bonaventure. The same reverence was naturally present during this time for the blessed Sacrament, the greatest of sacraments). Another Franciscan saint, St. James of the March, writes: "He is no less guilty who hears the word of God carelessly than he who allows the body of Christ to fall on the ground through his own negligence." (Office of Reading, Franciscan Supplement, from the sermons of St. James). And of course we cannot forget to include one of the greatest minds the Church has ever known, St. Thomas Aquinas: "Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament [the Blessed Sacrament], nothing touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone to touch it, except from necessity, for instance if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency." (SummaTheologica, Volume III, Q. 82, Art. 13). PROTESTANT INFLUENCES
This misguided enthusiasm for the revival of Communion in the hand has been shared in the past, but notably by those outside the Church. The Protestant revolutionary Martin Bucer was, after Martin Luther and Melanchthon, the most influential of German Reformers. Detesting the reverent and traditional Catholic practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, Bucer had this to say:     "Every superstition of the Roman Antichrist is to be detested... I have no doubt that this usage of not putting these sacraments in the hands of the faithful has been introduced out of a double superstition; firstly, the false honor they wished to show this sacrament, and secondly the wicked arrogance of priests claiming greater holiness than that of the people of Christ, by virtue of the oil of consecration. I should wish that pastors and teachers of the people should be commanded that each is faithfully to teach the people that it is superstitious and wicked to think...that the hands of the ministers are holier than the hands of the laity; so that it would be wicked, or less fitting, as was formerly wrongly believed by the ordinary folk, for the laity to receive these sacraments in the hand: and therefore that the indications of this wicked belief be removed-as that the ministers may handle the sacraments, but not allow the laity to do so, and instead put the sacraments into the mouth—which is not only foreign to what was instituted by the Lord but offensive to human reason. In that way good men will be easily brought to the point of all receiving the sacred symbols in the hand..." RECENT TIMES
Certainly the concern for the sacred Particles of the blessed Sacrament has been echoed by recent Popes and others within our own lifetimes. Pope Paul VI in his instruction Memoriale Domini (May 29, 1969), states: "It [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." Our present Holy Father, John Paul II, some years back had a sign posted on St. Peter's Basilica specifying that all priests, no matter where they came from, who celebrated Mass in St. Peter's, were to give Communion only on the tongue. When the wife of the President of France Madame Giscard d’Estaing came before the Holy Father with outstretched hands, he placed the Host in her mouth.  Likewise, a canon lawyer present at a papal Mass in Chicago witnessed the mayor of Chicago approach the Holy Father also with outstretched hands. The Holy Father said, “the Pope doesn’t do that,” and proceeded to give her holy Communion on the tongue. Currently, John Paul II gives Communion only on the tongue in his private Masses at the Vatican. Concelebrating priests are told to do the same.      As reported by Fr. George Rutler in his Good Friday sermon at St. Agnes Church, New York in 1989, when Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked by Fr. Rutler, "What do you think is the worst problem in the world today?" She more than anyone could name any number of candidates: famine, plague, disease, the breakdown of the family, rebellion against God, the corruption of the media, world debt, nuclear threat and so on. "Without pausing a second she said, 'Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.'" (note: Fr. Emerson of the Fraternity of St. Peter was also a witness to this statement by Mother Teresa).      Also, the great Fr. John Hardon has spoken out against this practice. On November 1st, 1997 at the Call to Holiness Conference in Detroit, Michigan, there was a panel discussion in which Fr. John Hardon was one of the speakers who fielded various questions from the audience. One of the questions was about Communion in the hand. After explaining how the practice was illegally introduced into the United States, he concluded by saying, “Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.” SACRILEGE - LOSS OF FAITH
Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei quotes Origen with approval who says that if anyone dropped a Sacred Particle of the Host on the ground (through negligence) then that person would be guilty of sin: “In fact the faithful thought themselves guilty, and rightly so, as Origen recalls, if after they received the Body of the Lord in order to preserve it with all care and reverence, a small fragment of it fell off through negligence.” (Mysterium Fidei, Pope Paul VI, taken from "In Exod. Fragm." P.G. 12, 391.) At any given Mass there will be at least a few, if not many, who will drop the sacred Particles to the ground, thereby committing sacrilege and irreverence, though it may be only through negligence and thoughtlessness. The priest, however, is responsible to make sure that no irreverence is committed and is bound to take all necessary precautions to safeguard the honor and respect due Our Lord in the blessed Sacrament.
     The late Fr. Alfred Kunz, a canon lawyer, had some very powerful statements regarding Communion in the hand: he maintained that by pastoral experience (his pastoral experience) he was morally certain that there would be loss of particles by placing Communion in the hands at any given Mass. This loss of particles is an act of irreverence by the priest and he is bound not to do anything that would violate his conscience. This irreverence to God by losing particles is against the Divine Positive Law and therefore, regardless of its canonical status, cannot be done.  And this is due to that fact that to drop a consecrated fragment of the Host to the ground is the same as dropping the consecrated Host to the ground. Even if done through negligence it is still a sin of sacrilege. The danger of irreverence is to be avoided by Divine Law. Not even the Pope can change this law. The Vatican document  [“En reponse a la demande,” 29 May 1969: AAS 61 (1969) 546-47 (French)] outlining the seven conditions "sine qua non", without which you cannot, is merely reminding us of this Divine Law. It is the personal responsibility of the minister of the Sacrament to see to it that all danger of irreverence towards the Blessed Sacrament be avoided. And for this reason there are priests who have decided in conscience that they cannot give Communion in the hand, because they are convinced that the danger of irreverence, sacrilege and loss of true faith is too great.
     Dietrich von Hildebrand (who Pope Pius XII called a “20th century doctor of the Church”), in an article entitled "Communion in the hand should be rejected," wrote the following:  "Is it believable that instead of applying the most scrupulous care to protect the most sacred consecrated host, which is truly the Body of Christ, the God-man, from all such possible abuses, there are those who wish to expose it to this possibility? Have we forgotten the existence of the devil who wanders about seeking whom he may devour'? Is his work in the world and in the Church not all too visible today? What entitles us to assume that abuses to the consecrated host will not take place?"  Confirming his concerns is Mike Warnke, a former satanic high priest who converted to Christianity, who warned the U.S. bishops that allowing Communion in the hand was a mistake, as it would allow satanists easier access in procuring the sacred host, which is desecrated at satanic services. The Holy Father is well aware of the danger of the loss of sacred Particles and this is certainly part of his reasoning in not giving Communion in the hand at his private Masses at the Vatican.     The bishops of the Philippines have reportedly rescinded this practice, and now only permit Communion on the tongue. Likewise, the Archbishop of San Luis, Argentina, his Excellency Juan Rodolfo Laise, has prohibited Communion in the hand in his diocese.  Catastrophic loss of faith
    Another evil fruit of Communion in the hand has been a catastrophic loss of faith in the Real Presence. A Gallop poll several years ago among Catholics showed that only 30% held the true Catholic teaching concerning the Eucharist. The other 70% represented various shades of Protestant belief, or no belief at all. As a matter of fact, there are catechists who can attest that some of today’s Catholic youth did not believe the Host to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ until after they began receiving on the tongue. The new practice did not convey to them the great truth of the Real Presence.  Again, Fr. John Hardon has affirmed this: “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.” GOD’S LAW
There are those who will object that confronting this widespread abuse of Communion in the hand is disloyal to the Church. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is not disloyal to say that in practice the majority of Catholics are in disobedience to the existing law of the Church regarding reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament and the prevention of potential sacrilege. It is the law of the Latin Rite that we receive in the traditional manner, i.e., Communion on the tongue. Communion in the hand is the exception, that cannot be done if (1) there is potential loss of particles; (2) it is instituted in exclusion of the traditional manner of reception; or (3) there is the danger of scandal and loss of true faith in the Blessed Sacrament as a result. So it is disingenuous to complain that such a discussion is disloyal. This article is meant to foster thoughtful, prayerful reflection, and to illustrate the contradiction between Church law and common practice. The dangers that arise with Communion in the hand are real, serious, and avoidable. What is it called when sacred Particles of the Host fall to the ground or are lost through negligence?  It is called a sacrilege.          Freedom not grounded in truth is a loose canon. Likewise, when words are no longer measured by the truth of reality, they become instruments of deception. The faithful have been deluded by propaganda regarding Communion in the hand, and the appeal to “obedience”  (an “obedience” that is really divorced from the law of the Church) has been used to railroad the faithful into accepting the modernist agenda in many instances. For example, the fact that Communion in the hand cannot be allowed if there is loss of Particles is certainly not known by the majority of Catholics, but this in fact is the true obedience required: that the higher law against irreverence and sacrilege be maintained and promoted. This has frequently not been done.         If you do not have an understanding that there is a hierarchy to law (that some laws exist to promote and support higher, unchangeable laws of God), you will have priests and laity alike telling you that Communion in the hand is permitted and that’s the end of the story. But this is naïve and intellectually dishonest, because within the indult itself there are provisions to protect from sacrilege, scandal and loss of faith, which represents the higher law. If any of these provisions are broken, you do not have permission to give Communion in the hand. This is the truth, and if anyone will not submit to these provisions, it is they who are disobedient. The indult must serve to promote the higher law and if it does not, or a particular spin is put on the indult that makes it in practice opposing the higher law, then it is no longer a law, but a usurpation of a higher law. The indult for Communion in the hand is an ecclesiastical law that can be revoked, and was revoked in the past when it was determined to be failing to promote the higher law of reverence. Any true and correct interpretation of the indult must conform to and promote this higher law. Natural law will never change (reverence belongs to this category); ecclesiastical law can change, and the indult for Communion in the hand belongs to this category. A soul-searching question for many priests would be: If it was objectively determined that there was loss of sacred Particles, scandal, or loss of faith, what would the priest be obliged to do?

FOEDERATIO INTERNATIONALIS UNA VOCE  approbata a Sancta Sede:    Historical Considerations on Communion on the Hand  Here are some patristic and historical considerations on our theme,as well as an additional aspect.  Was it Universal? The history of communion in the hand is usually told as follows: From the Last Supper on, and during the time of the apostles, Holy Communion was, of course, given in the hand. So it was during the age of the martyrs. And it continued to be so during that golden age of the Fathers and of the liturgy, after the peace of Constantine. Communion in the hand was given to the faithful just as we now do (in the more open and up to date sectors of the Church). And it continued to be the common practice until at least the tenth century. Thus for over half of the life of the Church, it was the norm. A wonderful proof of the above is held to be found in a text of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) in which he counsels the Faithful to “make a throne of your hands in which to receive the King [in Holy Communion]”. This Father of the Church further counsels great care for any fragments which might remain in one’s hands, since just as one wouldn’t let gold dust fall to the ground so one should take even greater care when it is a question of the Body of the Lord. According to the popular rendition, the change in the manner of receiving the consecrated bread came about in this way: During the the Middle Ages, there were certain distortions in the faith, and/or in the approach to the faith, which took place and which gradually developed. These include an excessive fear of God and related preoccupation with sin, judgment and punishment; an over emphasis on the divinity of Christ which was virtually a denial of or at least downplaying of His sacred humanity; an overemphasis on the role of the priest in the sacred liturgy; and a loss of the sense of the community which the Church, in fact, is. In particular, because of excessive emphasis on adoration of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and a too strict approach to moral matters, Holy Communion became more and more rare. It was considered sufficient to gaze upon the Sacred Host during the elevation. (In fact, this decadent practice of the “elevation” [so the mainstream treatment of this period continues] and the equally unhealthy Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, find their origins during these unfortunate Middle Ages, a period whose liturgical practices we would do well to rid ourselves of). It was in this atmosphere and under these circumstances that the practice of communion in the hand began to be restricted. The practice of the priest placing the consecrated bread directly into the mouth of the communicant developed and sad to say was imposed. The conclusion is rather clear: we should get rid of this custom whose roots are to be found in the dark ages. We should forbid or at least discourage this practice of not allowing the Faithful to “take and eat”, and return to the pristine usage of the Fathers and of the Apostles: communion in the hand. It is a compelling story. It is too bad that it is not true.  The Sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom of only the priest who is celebrating the Mass giving Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receiving It from him, is an Apostolic Tradition.[1] A more rigorous study of the available evidence from Church History and from the writings of the Fathers, does not support the assertion that communion in the hand was a universal practice which was gradually supplanted and eventually replaced by the practice of communion on the tongue. Rather, the facts seem to point to a different conclusion. Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461), already in the fifth century, is an early witness of the traditional practice. In his comments on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, he speaks of communion in the mouth as the current usage: “One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith” [2]. The Pope does not speak as if he were introducing a novelty, but as if this were a well established fact. A century and a half later, but still three centuries before the practice ( according to the popular account reviewed above) was supposedly introduced, Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) is another witness. In his dialogues (Roman 3, c. 3) he relates how Pope St. Agapito performed a miracle during the Mass, after having placed the Body of the Lord into someone’s mouth. We are also told by John the Deacon of this Pope’s manner of giving Holy Communion. These witnesses are from the fifth and the sixth centuries. How can one reasonablely say that communion in the hand continued as the official practice until the tenth century? How can one claim that giving communion on the tongue is a medieval invention? We are not claiming that under no circumstances whatever did the Faithful receive by their own hands. But, under what conditions did this happen? It does seem that from very early on it was usual for the priest to place the Sacred Host into the mouth of the communicant. However, during times of persecution, when priests were not readily available, and when the Faithful took the Sacrament to their homes, they gave Communion to themselves, by their own hand. In other words, rather than be totally deprived of the Bread of Life, they could receive by their own hand, when not to do so would mean being deprived of that necessary spiritual nourishment. The same applied to monks who had gone out into the desert, where they would not have the services of a priest, and, would not want to give up the practice of daily communion.  To summarize, the practice was that one could touch the Host when not to do so would mean being deprived of the Sacrament. But when a priest was available, one did not receive in one’s hand. So 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, our emphasis). The text implies that to receive in the hand under other circumstances, outside of persecution, would be a grave fault [3]. 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. In his article on “Communion” in the Dictionaire d’Archeologie Chretienne, Leclerq declares that the peace of Constantine was bringing the practice of communion in the hand to an end. This reaffirms for us the reasoning of St. Basil that it was persecution that created the alternative of either receiving by hand or not receiving at all. After persecution had ceased, evidently the practice of communion in the hand persisted here and there. It was considered by Church authority to be an abuse to be rid of, since it was deemed to be contrary to the custom of the Apostles. Thus the Council of Rouen, which met in 650, says, “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen but only in their mouths.” The Council of Constantinople which was known as in trullo (not one of the ecumenical councils held there) prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves (which is of course what happens when the Sacred Particle is placed in the hand of the communicant). It decreed an excommunication of one week’s duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.  What about St. Cyril? Of course, the promoters of “communion in the hand” generally make little mention of the evidence we have brought forward. They do, however, make constant use of the text attributed to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century at the same time as St. Basil. Dr. Henri LeClerq summarized things as follows: “Saint Cyril of Jerusalem recommended to the faithful that on presenting themselves to receive Communion, they should have the right hand extended, with their fingers together, supported by the left hand, and with the palm a little bit concave; and at the moment in which the Body of Christ was deposited in the hand, the communicant would say: Amen.” There is more to this text than just the above, however. It also on to proposes the following:  “Sanctify your eyes with contact with the Holy Body... “When your lips are still wet, touch your hand to your lips, and then pass you hand over your eyes, your forehead and your other senses, to sanctify them.” This rather odd (or even superstitious? Irreverent?)recommendation has caused scholars to question the authenticity of this text. Some think that perhaps there has been an interpolation, or that it is really the saint’s successor who wrote it. It is not impossible that the text is really the work of the Patriarch John, who succeeded Cyril in Jerusalem. But this John was of suspect orthodoxy. This we know from the correspondence of St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. So, in favour of communion in the hand we have a text of dubious origin and questionable content. And on the other hand, we have reliable witnesses, including two great popes, that placing the Sacred Host in the mouth of the communicant was already common and unremarkable in at last the fifth= century. Clericalism? Is it not a form of clericalism to allow the priest to touch the Sacred Host and to disallow the laity to do the same? But priests were not allowed to touch the Blessed Sacrament except out of necessity. In fact, other than the celebrant of the Mass itself, no one else receiving Communion, not even a priest, could do so in the hand. And so, in the traditional liturgical practice of the Roman Rite, if a priest were assisting at Mass (and not celebrating) and if he wished to receive Holy Communion, he did not do so by his own hand: he received on the tongue form another priest. The same would be true of a Bishop. The same is true of the Pope himself. When Pope St. Pius X, for example, was on his death bed in August of 1914, and Holy Communion was brought to him as Viaticum, he did not and was not allowed to receive in the hand: he received on the tongue according to the law and practice of the Catholic Church. This confirms a basic point: out of reverence, there should be no unnecessary touching of the Sacred Host. Obviously someone is needed to distribute the Bread of Life. But it is not necessary to make each man, woman and child into his own “eucharistic minister” and multiply the handling and fumbling and danger of dropping and loss of Fragments. Even those whose hands have been specially consecrated to touch the Most Holy Eucharist, namely the priests, should not do so needlessly.    Endnotes
[1] sess. 13, c. 8: “Now as to the reception of the sacrament, it was always the custom in the Church of God, that laymen should receive the communion from priests; but that priests when celebrating should communicate themselves; which custom, as coming down from an apostolical tradition, ought with justice and reason to be retained.” In sacramentale autem sumptione semper in Ecclesia Dei mos fuit, ut laici a Sacerdotibus communionem acciperent; Sacerdotes autem celebrantes seipsos communicarent: qui mos, tamquam ex traditione Apostolica descendens, jure, ac merito retinere debet.
[2] “Hoc enim ore sumiter quod fide creditur.” Serm. 91.3
[3] Just as if I were to say, “It is not a grave fault to miss mass on a Sunday, if one has to take care of sick person.” This implies (what we already know) that when there is no such excusing cause, it would be a grave fault. VALID OBJECTIONS TO COMMUNION IN THE HAND  There time has come to begin to do everything we reasonably and licitly can to discourage the practice of Communion-in-the-Hand. In fact, the time is long past that we started doing this. It is much better to receive Holy Communion in the traditional manner, than it is to receive the Sacred Host into our hands. In Canada and the United States, it is true, that one may receive “on the hand”, with due precautions, but it is better to receive on the tongue. Here are twelve reasons why.  1. The legal status of the two methods It is the law of the universal Church, in the Latin Rite, (to which most of us belong) that we receive communion in the traditional manner. To receive on the hand is only an “indult”, or concession that is in effect here and there. It does not exist in the greater part of the world. For example, for a while it was allowed in the Philippines, but then the bishops there changed their minds, and rescinded the permission. Another way of illustrating this same point is to recall that in those countries where the indult for communion in the hand has been granted by the Holy See, an individual bishop may forbid the practice. But, no bishop has the authority to forbid the traditional way of receiving communion: on the tongue. Thus, the point of view of liturgical law, the two are very far from equal. It must be further noted that the relevant legislation “strongly urges and exhorts” us all to receive communion in the traditional manner, which is officially described as “more reverent”. One will search in vain for any encouragement of communion in the hand on the part of the supreme authority of the Church. Indeed, the only time that it is mentioned in official documents is in a cautionary way. It can be done reverently, but be careful! In some countries the practice of receiving Communion in the hand has been introduced. This practice has been requested by individual episcopal conferences and has received approval from the Apostolic See. However, cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the Eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behaviour but also to the pastors of the church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist. It also happens, on occasion, that the free choice of those who prefer to continue the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue is not taken into account in those places where the distribution of Communion in the hand has been authorized. It is therefore difficult in the context of this present letter not to mention the sad phenomena previously referred to. This is in no way meant to refer to those who, receiving the Lord Jesus in the hand, do so with profound reverence and devotion, in those countries where this practice has been authorized. (Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, 11) In Memoriale Domini, which granted the original concession, and in the letter to nuncios which accompanied the actual indult in each and every case, the permission for Communion in the hand was hedged around with so many precautiions, that some have concluded that even in countries where it would seem to be legal, actually, in the larger number of cases, it is still not allowed.  2. The provenance of Communion in the hand The origin of the current practice of communion in the hand in Western Christianity can be traced to the Protestant Revolution, or “Reformation”. Some will argue that this was the reintroduction of a formerly universal and venerable practice. We will deal with that idea below. But even if it were the case, that this was formerly a practice in the Catholic Church, its introduction in the sixteenth century was hardly orthodox. Rather, it was an embodiment of a denial of the Real Presence as taught by Christ and His Church, and of the reality of the Catholic Priesthood. It was a liturgical consequence of a prior heresy. It is well known that communion in the hand began spreading during the early nineteen-sixties, in Catholic circles in Holland. It began, then, as an aping of the Protestant practice, or at the very least as a “false archaeologism”: an idolization of (supposed) practices of the ancient Church. This involved a forgetfulness (or denial!) of the truth and development of Catholic Eucharistic doctrine to an ever clearer, and ever more explicit form. It involved a rejection of what had in fact been handed down to us in the organic development of the Liturgy. And it was a case of blatant defiance and disobedience of Church law and ecclesiastical= authority. The desire for this practice proceeded neither from the supreme authority of the Church, which was opposed to it, nor from the ranks of Christ’s Faithful (who by definition hold fast to belief in transubstantiation) who never asked for this practice. Rather it proceeded from some of the middle management of the Church, and the “liturgical establishment” in particular. And this in typical revolutionary fashion. When it came time to begin pressure for the practice in North America, the means used were not always honest. In fact a measure of deception or at least “mis-information” was involved. It is better to draw a cloak over the sordid details, but if anyone wants to dispute that things were this way, ample documentation can be brought to bear. We can summarize that the practice of communion in the hand came in modern times from heresy and disobedience. Is that what the Holy Spirit would inspire to bring about some desired liturgical change? One is permitted to think that perhaps a different spirit was at work.  3. The Fragments... If we examine the practice of placing the Sacred Host in the hand of the communicant, one dogma of the Church comes immediately to mind: The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.[Note 205: Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1641.] (CCC, 1377, my emphasis). The Roman Catechism put it this way: Christ, whole and entire, is contained not only under either species, but also in each particle of either species. Each, says St. Augustine, receives Christ the Lord, and He is entire in each portion. He is not diminished by being given to many, but gives Himself whole and entire to each.... the body of our Lord is contained whole and entire under the least particle of the bread.=20 Therefore, very great reverence, respect and care is to be taken of these fragments. Since this is the case, why would we multiply immensely the number of persons who are handling the Sacred Host, some of whom are clumsy, or cannot see well, or don’t care, or don’t know, etc., etc. For those who believe with lively faith, this question ought to be enough to put an end to communion in the hand: “What about the Fragments?”  4. Who promotes communion in the hand? (This argument might be accused of the logical fallacy of “guilt by association”. But that argument is not necessarily false.) Those in the mainstream liturgical establishment (and their followers) who promote communion in the hand are the same persons who, for the most part, have a distaste in general for worship of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and perpetual adoration in particular. A due, strong emphasis on the personal, bodily Real Presence of Christ our God in Holy Communion is not something which modern liturgists are noted for. Indeed, they even discourage it. Our attention is to be on the community, they say. In general, we can apply to the distorters (knowing and unknowing) of the Catholic doctrine and practice with respect to the Mass the following words of G. K. Chesterton: they are guilty of “the idolatry of the intermediate to the oblivion of the= ultimate”. Well, these are the promoters of communion in the hand. And they dislike and discourage the traditional manner of reception. Why?  5. “Communion in the hand” is a misnomer. To place the Sacred Host in the hand of a person is not to give him Holy Communion. The Sacrament of Holy Communion consists in the eating of the Bread of Life. Rather, what is happening here is that each person who receives the Sacred Host in his hand, is then giving himself Holy Communion. Each person is becoming his own (extraordinary-become-ordinary) minister of Communion. By this means the ministry of priests (and deacons) or even that of legitimate extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion is becoming obscured or even dissolved. It has been suggested that this practice ought to be renamed as “common manual self-communication”. 6. Communion in the hand is too casual. What kind of foods do we eat with our hands? Often, in our “culture”, it is food to which one pays no attention. We eat pop-corn with our hands, paying it no attention while our eyes are fixed on the movie screen. We munch on snacks at a party, while engaged in conversation. Particularly with children, but not only withe them, this seems to be a very unwise thing to associate with the Most Holy Eucharist.  7. Its fruits... We must be rigorously honest with oursleves. Has this practice really strengthened and clarified our faith in the Real Presence? Has it resulted in greater prayerfulness, graeter love, and a more abundant fraternal charity? Are we as a people more and more awe-struck at taking the Lord’s Body nto our hanads? At least one fruit has manifestly not come from the introduction of this practice. And this is a feature also of the larger liturgicla reform in general: unity has been injured. It seems to this writer, at least, that communion in the hand must share part of the blame fo rthe decline among Catholics in belief in the Real Presence.  8. Was it universal? To show that communion in the hand was once a universal practice a particular text of St. Cyril of Alexandria is habitually quoted, as to how we ought to make a throne of our hands to receive the King. What is not usually noted, though, is what any reliable patrologist could verify: this text is of dubious origin. In fact, it is more likely from Bishop so and so, a Nestorian bishop. Further, we have texts of Leo the Great... and Gregory the great... and St. Basil, as well as...  9. The Last Supper But surely the apostles received Communion in the hand at the last supper? It is usually presumed that this was so. Even if it were, though, we would point out that the Apostles were themselves priests, or even, bishops. But we must not forget a traditional practice of middle-eastern hospitality, which was practised in Jesus’ time and which is still the case: one feeds one’s guests with one’s own hand, placing a symbolic morsel in the mouth of the guest. And we have scriptural evidence of this as well: our Lord dipped a morsel of bread into some wine, and gave it to Judas. Did He place this wet morsel into Judas’ hand? (Jo. XIII, 26) That would be rather messy. Did he not perhaps extend to the one whom he addressed later in the garden as “Friend”, the gesture of hospitality spoken of above? And if so, why not with Holy Communion, “giving Himself by His own hand”.  10. Scriptural Considerations... In Holy Communion, we receive the Word-made-Flesh. When Ezekiel received the word of God, in a wonderful yet lesser manner than do we, it was as follows: And [the Lord] said to me: ... “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you; be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth, and eat what I give you.” And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and, lo, a written scroll was in it ... And He said to me, “Son of man, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat [“And I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that book” =97 Vulgate]. And he= said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. (Ez. 2:1,8,9; 3:1-3, RSV). It does not say that the prophet stretched out his hand, but that he opened His mouth. And is this not very fitting, since we are to receive the word as little children, whether it be the bread of doctrine or the Bread come down from Heaven. In another place, in a psalm with clear prophetic, Eucharistic overtones, which is used in the Office of Corpus Christi, the Lord says to us,=20 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it ... But Israel I would feed with finest wheat and fill them with honey from the rock.” “Iwill fill it,” not “fill it yourselves”. Now admittedly, this is not in itself a proof. But it points us in a certain direction.  11. Authentic Inter-ritual and Ecumenical Considerations If we glance around the Catholic world, at the twenty-one rites of the true Church, we must ask, “how do they receive Holy Communion?”. If the present writer is not wrong, they do not or hardly ever receive Communion in their hands. And under those rare circumstances that they do, on particular days, they receive in a far different manner than ourselves, taking pains to purify their hands both before and after. We must further ask if some of the propaganda in favour of communion in the hand, on the part of modern liturgists, is not deeply offensive to our fellow Catholics, such as when the traditional manner of receiving Communion is said to “childish”. And If we take a look at those of our separated brethren who share with us an explicit, and orthodox belief if the Holy Eucharist, we must ask ourselves: “How do they receive Communion?” Further, is true Christian unity promoted by the present decadent state of our Eucharistic practice, of which a significant part is communion in the= hand. [The Church of John of Damascus, of dubious doctrinal opinion, does not exist, as Douglass wrongly claims. The orthodox and coptic churches have all rejected and suppressed the abuse of communion in the hand, even though they were already officially or in practice separated from Rome and the Holy See. Anmerkung des Verfassers.] 12. The Pope... and Mother Teresa of Calcutta It is well known that the Holy Father is not a promoter of communion in the hand. In his native Poland, the practice is still illicit, as indeed it is at the level of the universal Church. It was also illicit until recently in the Vatican Basilica. All of Mother Teresa’s sisters are united both in their many hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in their manner of reception of Holy Communion: on the tongue. And it has never been denied, and implicity reaffirmed that Mother Teresa, when asked what worried her most of all in this world, answered: “communion in the hand.” [Do note Mother Teresa was severly afflicted by false ecumenism because of the Vatican. Her sisters are not known for missionary zeal, anymore. That should not do away with the fact Mother Teresa had maintained a clear sight and, while she knew the evils of war, abortion, euthanasia, Indian children dying, AIDS, poverty, hunger, she pointed to Hand Communion as the worst thing.] Conclusion St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that reverence demands that only what has been consecrated should touch the Blessed Sacrament. By baptism, the Christian has been consecrated to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, but not to distribute the Sacred Host to others or unnecessarily to touch It. “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained, one which indicates an active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist” (Dominicae Cenae, 11).  Rev. Fr. Paul J. McDonald, Parish Priest

Early Christianity and doubtful sources cannot serve as proof for an early orthodox practice of COmmunion in the hand.   It is heterodox.   You don't  have to be a scholar, or a self made "apologist" like Ben Douglass claims of himself, to see, that the touching of the eyes etc. with the Blessed Sacrament is superstitious, irreverent and evil.   Want to hear all the heresies of early Christianity to know why His Holiness Pope Pius XII warned us of the "false archeologism" (often incorrect in reconstructing history and otherwise led astray by early heretic documents).....   Sabellianism Docetism Monophysitism   Adoptionism Nestorianism Apollinarianism Arianism Socianism   Donatism Pelagianism Gnosticism Manicheanism .............


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