Friday, April 30, 2010

Communion on the tongue

Michael Brown has an article on this subject here. Communion on the tongue is the normative manner of receiving the Eucharist. Communion in the hand is allowed by indult (a sort of grudging permission if you will) and should never be presented as the preferred way of receiving. I just wrote the following letter to an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at my parish:

April 28, 2010

Re: Distribution of Holy Eucharist at .......................

Dear Ms. ...............,

This past Sunday you were serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and attempted to force me to receive in the hand. After pausing for almost half a minute, you let out a pronounced sigh as if you were irritated with me and then grudgingly gave me Communion on the tongue. Although Communion in the hand is permitted by the Church, it is permitted by indult. This amounts to a sort of grudging permission. The normative way of receiving is to receive on the tongue. (See document attached). *

The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship teaches clearly that, “The new manner of giving communion [in the hand] must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice..” And, “The rite of communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately…it is necessary to have the introduction of the rite preceded by an effective catechesis, so that the people will clearly understand the meaning of receiving in the hand and will practice it with the reverence owed to the sacrament.”

Since reverence is “owed to the sacrament,” an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist should not engage in attempts to force people to receive in the hand or display irreverence toward the Lord Jesus by engaging in rudeness which is directed toward those who prefer receiving on the tongue.

Again, the norm is to receive on the tongue. It is my hope that you will respect my right to receive in the traditional manner in the future.


Paul A. Melanson
The Extraordinary Minister in question attempted to force Holy Communion into my hand. And when she couldn't, she let out an angry sigh and made me wait almost 30 seconds before giving me the Eucharist. This was highly disrespectful to Our Lord Who is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament and amounted to an act of liturgical violence.


Stewart said...

Reverence for the Eucharist has almost disappeared in some parts of the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is consecrated."

Now - anything goes in some parishes.

Dear Jesus, have mercy on us.

Sanctus Belle said...

One of my most fervent prayer is for the return of the communion rail where we can again recieve the Blessed Sacrament on our knees, upon the tongue by a priest. I do so long for this

Anonymous said...

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The quotation from Father Hardon is appreciated anonymous. But remember, Bayside is not a Church approved apparition site. Quite the contrary. But Father Hardon may always be trusted as a source of authentic Catholic teaching.

Ashley Pelletier said...


Aide: Pope Prefers Communion on Tongue

Monsignor Marini Comments on Papal Preference

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2008 ( Benedict XVI would prefer to distribute communion on the tongue and to people who are kneeling, according to the master of papal liturgical ceremonies.

L'Osservatore Romano noted in an interview with Monsignor Guido Marini, published Wednesday, that the Pope distributed Communion to individuals who knelt and received the host on their tongues during his apostolic trip last week to Brindisi in Southern Italy.

When asked if this could become common practice, the monsignor replied, "I believe so."

"It is necessary not to forget," he added, "that the distribution of Communion on the hand continues to remain, from the juridical standpoint, an exception (indult) to the universal law, conceded by the Holy See to those bishops' conferences who have requested it."

"The form used by Benedict XVI tends to underline the force of the valid norm for the entire Church," clarified Monsignor Marini.

The master of papal liturgical ceremonies said receiving Communion on the tongue, "without taking anything away from the other [form], better highlights the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful, and introduces more easily the sense of mystery. Aspects which, in our times, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to highlight and recover."

Pre and post

To those who accuse Benedict XVI of wanting to return the Church to the way it was before the Second Vatican Council, the master of papal liturgical ceremonies explained that "terms such as 'preconciliar' and 'postconciliar' seem to me to belong to a manner of speaking that is outdated, and if they are used with the objective of indicating a discontinuity in the path of the Church, I consider them to be wrong and typical of very reductive ideological viewpoints."

"There are 'old things' and 'new things' that belong to the treasure of the Church of all times, and as such they should be considered," added Monsignor Marini.

"Not all that is new is true, and neither is all that is old," he added. "The truth is in both the old and the new, and it is to the truth that we should tend without prejudice.

"The Church lives according to this law of continuity, in virtue of which it acknowledges a development rooted in Tradition."

The monsignor continued: "What is important is that everything be pointed toward a liturgical celebration that is truly the celebration of the sacred mystery, of the Lord crucified and resurrected, which makes itself present in the Church -- re-presenting the mystery of salvation -- and calling us, according to the logic of an authentic and active participation, to share to the end in [Christ's] life, which is a life of donation, of love for the Father and for his brothers and sisters, a life of holiness."

Cyn M. said...

What a sickening display of pride and irreverence by that E.M.! Not to mention, it was publicly rude to you, the communicant. In addition, it jarred your proper disposition to receive our Eucharistic Lord. :'( Pray for the return of Tradition and reverence in our church, and for this woman.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Well said Cyn. I do pray for that Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.

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