"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Does the Church Forbid Receiving Holy Communion in the Hands?

I am surprised to know that there are Catholics who actually go against the Wisdom the Church.

For more than Two Thousand years (2,000+) we have been assured that the Holy Spirit has been guiding the Universal Church of Christ from error "the gates of hell will not prevail" (Mt. 16) -- that is Christ's promise when he established His Church to Kephas in 33 A.D.

Look, I am not a theologian. I don’t need to be one. I believe that everything I should know has been entrusted to the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And doubting one of Her teachings would mean disobedience against the Holy Spirit himself who is guiding the Universal Church of Christ.

Some traditionalist Catholics are pushing other Catholics to the extremes. They cannot accept that the Catholic Church is still allowing its faithful to receive Holy Communion in their hands. For them, it’s “sacrilegious” and that it should be stopped [see their petition below] and yet they claim they're "Proud to be Catholics".

Others even used photos and articles they got from other blogs and internet sites as evidence for their petition such as this obvious avoidable incident of abuse reported in this blog [photos are provide below].

This incident obviously happened during the actual breaking of the consecrated break by the priest.  Of course, the priest should use his hands to break it.  Because of this incident Fr. McDonald decided to use smaller hosts to avoid dropping any flakes anywhere during the actual breaking of the bread (but it has nothing to do with Catholic faithfuls receiving the communion in the hands). 
In fact, I really find it amazingly brilliant how the Church in her wisdom permitted both ways in receiving the Holy Eucharist.

When I am with my community or in my small parish where I knew everyone, I receive Holy Communion directly in my mouth. However, when I am in crowded places or in big parishes or cathedrals where different people are flocking, I receive Holy Communion with my hands conscious not to drop any flakes from my palm.

Here's an Official Statement from the Vatican:

Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special 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. -- Chapter IV, HOLY COMMUNION, Dispositions for the Reception of Holy Communion [No. 92]
In a Letter called “En reponse a la demande”  from the Sacred Congregation for Divine  Worship (to presidents of those conferences of bishops petitioning the indult for communion in the hand, 29 May 1969: AAS 61 (1969) 546-547; Not 5 (1969) 351-353), this petition to “stop receiving Holy Communion in the hands” was opposed on the ground that this practiced had been one of the traditions of the Apostles Church. This should have cleared the ranting of the so-called “traditionalist” Catholics.

According to Catholic-Pages that
"...communion in the hand is fully approved by the Church, and it is disloyal and disrespectful and therefore not allowed even to begin this discussion.
Here is Fr. Joe's Guidance about Holy Communion against those who push Catholics to be "proud-hearted' undermining the teachings of the Church:

Some critics claim that communion in the hand is a novelty that violates Christian tradition. However, historical investigation reveals that it was the accepted practice for nearly 900 years. Eventually, communion on the tongue replaced it, becoming the norm around 1000 AD. Nevertheless, no matter what the mode of reception, Jesus remained truly present in the Eucharist. His body, blood, humanity, and divinity– under the accidental forms of bread and wine– were unaffected by how one received Holy Communion.

While officially allowed for some time, there continues to be confusion about the practice of communion in the hand. Conducted correctly, with the permission of the local bishop, it can be a sign of humble faith. Communicants have the option of receiving on the tongue or in the hand. Once there is Episcopal permission, no priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister can oblige one way over another.

Let us (Catholics) humble ourselves before Christ in the Blessed Eucharist and be obedient to the Magisterium for the Catholic Church of which Christ teaches us the surest way to salvation.

May we all worshp the Lord in the  Blessed Eucharist now and forever. Amen!

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