Communion in the Hand is Undermining the Faith
David Martin | The Daily Knight
With the ever-deepening crisis of faith continuing to afflict the Church, it somehow has evaded the Catholic hierarchy that the crux of the problem has been our denigrating regard for the Holy Eucharist, encouraged most especially by the errant practice of receiving Communion in the hand.
In a statement issued last July, Bishop Athanasius Schneider cited Communion in the hand as the major abuse through which Christ today is "being continuously trampled underfoot" and called upon the faithful to return to their knees “in the attitude of a child, opening the mouth and allowing oneself to be fed by Christ Himself in the spirit of humility.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has likewise decried Communion in the hand and exhorts the faithful to return to receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling.
In the preface to a (1) book on this subject published in 2018, the cardinal cites lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament as the major disorder that is undermining the Faith today and says that Communion in the hand was deliberately sown by the devil for this purpose.
“The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, sowing errors and favoring an unsuitable manner of receiving it," Sarah wrote.
"Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the heart of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host.”
“Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand?,” the cardinal asks. “Why do we not kneel down to receive Holy Communion on the example of the saints?” According to Sarah, the manner in which the Eucharist is distributed and received “is an important question on which the Church today must reflect.”
The cardinal’s words are most timely, since the major crisis now facing the Church is the loss of the awareness of Christ’s supernatural presence in the tabernacle. Communion in the hand was reintroduced in the sixties by dissident bishops to detract from Christ’s divinity and foment this disbelief in the Real Presence. The late Fr. John Hardon, speaking at the Call to Holiness Conference in Detroit, Michigan, on November 1, 1997, told his audience: “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…. Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”
God indeed will bless all efforts to stop Communion in the hand, since God (2) never sanctioned it. And while this practice is carried on today as common law, the hands of lay people are not consecrated to handle the Blessed Sacrament, so that if they do, a sacrilege is committed. Empowers the Devil
This in turn brings on spiritual repercussions and draws the plague of the devil upon the church, so that what is nurtured is an adulterated mindset (evidenced by all the profanation and display of indecency in church), as well as heretical notions about the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice (e.g. the Eucharist is holy bread, the Mass is a meal, the Mass is a community gathering, etc.) If Catholics today no longer believe that the Eucharist is the Creator Himself in Person, it is because of this diabolical practice that has cheapened their religion and nurtured this apostate mentality.
It was for reason that Pope Paul VI in his May 1969 instruction Memoriale Domini warned that Communion in the hand “carries certain dangers with it… the danger of a loss of reverence for the August Sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine."
Communion in the hand is closely tied to heresy, especially the heresy of Modernism dubbed “the synthesis of all heresies” (Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907), since all heresies in one way or another are an attack on Christ’s Divinity. Communion in the hand nurtures the denial of Christ’s Divinity—the greatest heresy.
It indeed serves no other purpose than to nourish contempt for Christ in the Eucharist. Receiving the hand promotes personal uncleanness and fosters the general mentality of transgressing into forbidden realms (touching that which we ought not), which calls to mind the transgression of Eve when she rose up in her pride and partook of the forbidden fruit.
Such is the work of the ancient serpent who is given great strength to work in the Church through this practice. Satan seeks to destroy the monarchical concept of the Church where Christ is seen as a mere man “symbolized” by the Host, and Communion in the hand has been an effective tool in hand wherewith to advance this heresy.
This is not to mention how Communion in the hand has been responsible for Communion Hosts sometimes being dropped under the pews or thrown into the holy water fonts. There was even a report about a man who gave the Holy Eucharist to his dog after having received it in the hand.
It was for reason that Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) energetically defended and required faithful obedience to the practice of administering Holy Communion on the tongue only.
Pope Paul VI in his 1969 pastoral letter reaffirmed this, saying, “This method [on the tongue] must be retained.” This was in response to the Dutch bishops who were clamoring for Communion in the hand against his wishes and in defiance of the centuries-old prohibition against it.
The prohibitions against Communion in the hand go back to the early Church. Pope St. Sixtus I (115-125) issued the following decree: "It is prohibited for the faithful to even touch the sacred vessels, or receive in the hand.”
Communion in the hand has in fact received several ecclesiastical condemnations. The Council of Saragossa (380 AD) excommunicated anyone who dared continue receiving in the hand. This was confirmed by the Synod of Toledo (589), known for its staunch defense of Christ’s divinity.
The Synod of Rouen (650) also condemned Communion in the hand to halt widespread abuses that occurred through this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege. The Council decreed: “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywoman, but only in their mouths.”
The Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (680-81) likewise forbade the faithful from taking the Host in their hand, even threatening transgressors with excommunication.
The foregoing prohibitions have never been overturned legally. Communion in the hand is simply carried on today as “common law” and has been a major deterrent in the spiritual advance of the faithful. It was not without reason that St. Basil the Great regarded Communion in the hand as “a grave fault.” (Letter 93)
Detracts From The Mass
A grave fault it is that bishops through poor liturgical discipline have allowed the faithful to fall into the lamentable blindness of not acknowledging the physical and supernatural presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Because of Communion in the hand and other like shams, many today do not understand what the Mass is.
During the Consecration of the Mass, the Sacrifice of Christ is reenacted through the commemorative formula commanded by Christ to his Apostles—This is My Body, This is My Blood. Upon consecration, the substance of bread and wine is changed into the very substance of Jesus Christ. It is no longer the substance of bread and wine but the substance of Christ, only and entirely, without any other substance mingling with it. Only the accidents or physical properties of bread and wine remain.
The acknowledgment of this supernatural Mystery is the foremost criterion established by the Church for receiving Communion, without which one may not receive. Allowing lay persons to handle the Host tends to erase this dogmatic fact from mind and suggests that Holy Communion is just a formality, a “holy meal,” in which people can come up in cafeteria fashion to have their “blessed bread.” Thus is promoted all manner of disrespect, e.g. guitar strumming in Church, women in promiscuous attire, with tattoos, etc.
Gallop surveys indicate that a mere 30 percent of America’s Catholics believe in the True Presence and Communion in the hand has contributed mightily to this. And whereas Pope Francis may see strict adherence to dogma as “idolatry,” he needs to understand that without preserving dogma through traditional discipline people will fall into the idolatry of human worship where they ignore God and bow to each other instead.
The faithful would do well to consider the conduct of Moses when he approached the burning bush in the mount. The Lord ordered him to put off his sandals because he was on holy ground. And "Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God." (Exodus 3:6) And to think that this was only a manifestation of God's presence, not an actual physical presence. With how much greater reverence must we approach the altar where the Creator Himself dwells day and night in full Body and Spirit? Shall we mock Him and do a little dance (guitar Mass) and then stick our unclean hands out and try to make the Lord of Hosts our pet wafer? God forbid!
We might also reflect on how God struck Oza dead for merely reaching out with his hand to catch the Ark of the Covenant when it began to tilt while being pulled on a cart. (2 Samuel 6:6,7) The Ark containing the Tablets of the Law and an omer of manna was a (3) figure of the Tabernacle that would contain the Bread of Life that we receive in Holy Communion. God’s indignation was enkindled against Oza for daring to touch the Ark, so what is in store for lay people who dare to touch the Creator Himself Who dwells in the New Testament Ark (Tabernacle)?
Satanic Cults Assisted
Thanks to Communion in the hand, members of satanic cults are given easy access to enter the Church and take the Host, so that they bring it back to their covens where it is abused and brutalized in the ritualistic Black Mass to Satan. They defecate on the Host and crush it under their shoes as a mockery to the living God, and we do nothing to stop this? Among themselves Satanists declare that Communion in the hand is the greatest thing that ever happened to them, and we assist them with our casual practice?
Mike Warnke, a former satanic high priest who converted to Christianity, warned the U.S. bishops that allowing Communion in the hand was a mistake, pointing out how this allows Satanists easy access in procuring the host, which they desecrate in their rituals.
This is confirmed by Fr. Andrew Trapp of South Carolina, who posted a web-story about a former Satanist in his prayer group [Nicholas] who revealed to him how they steal consecrated Hosts from Catholic Churches for the purpose of desecrating them in the satanic Black Mass.
It was for reason that Pope Benedict XVI attempted to reverse this practice during his pontificate. Cardinal Llovera, the former Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said in 2009, “It is the mission of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments to work to promote Pope Benedict’s emphasis on the traditional practices of liturgy, such as reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling.”
The pope was clear that he did not want Catholics receiving Communion in the hand, nor did he want them standing to receive, for which reason the faithful at his Masses were required to kneel and receive on the tongue.
The centuries-old ordinance allowing only the consecrated hands of a priest to handle the Body of Christ also rules out lay “Eucharistic Ministers.” The Council of Trent puts to shame today’s farcical practice of allowing lay people to distribute Communion.
“To priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist.” (The Council of Trent)
Pope John Paul II, lenient as he was, made it clear that the Sacred Host is not something that lay persons may touch. “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.” (Dominicae Cenae, Feb. 1980)
This stems from the fact that lay people’s hands are not anointed to touch the Eucharist, unlike the hands of a priest. St. Thomas Aquinas beautifully articulates this teaching in his Summa Theologica.
“Because out 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.”
The hands of lay people are not consecrated to touch this Sacrament as in the priesthood, and allowing them to do so fosters the heretical idea of the laity being a “common priesthood,” as alleged by Luther.
Communion in the hand is especially tied to the late Cardinal Suenens, a heretic and Freemason (initiated 6-15-67, code-name “LESU”) who introduced this practice to the Dutch bishops in the mid-sixties. Suenens, who oversaw the implementation of the worldwide charismatic “renewal” in the Catholic Church and who advocated married priests, was reputed for defaming the Eucharist and the priesthood.
However, it was the heretical Arians that first introduced Communion in the hand as a means of expressing their belief that Christ was not divine. Unfortunately, it has served to express the same in our time and has contributed mightily to the undermining of the Faith. If we have “abuse” problems today, it is because we're abusing the sacrament—it’s backfiring on us!
Needless to say, Communion in the hand is illicit, despite the flippant approbation of today’s wayward bishops. Father John Hardon explains: “Communion in the hand began with the publication of the Dutch Catechism with nobody's permission except the bishops—who in effect, in principle separated themselves from the Holy See. One country after another began then to ask for permission, which the Dutch bishops never asked for.” (Speaking at the Call to Holiness Conference, Nov. 1, 1997)
Pope Benedict XVI did his part to try to purge the Church of this abuse, seeing how it has warped our view of Christ and the Church. We might say that a form of ‘Eucharistic atheism’ has set in. If poor liturgical discipline has contributed to apostasy, the remedy is to return to our knees and receive the Eucharist on the tongue.
Unfortunately, Pope Francis whose pontificate has been seen as a usurpation of Benedict’s reign has done much to reverse the good that Benedict did. At the General Audience of Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Francis said that Communion can be received “in the hand, as preferred.”
Coronavirus No Excuse
And now wayward bishops are using the coronavirus as an excuse to impose Communion in the hand on the faithful, arguing that receiving on the tongue helps to spread the virus.
Bishop Schneider beautifully refutes this argument, pointing out that Communion in the hand is less hygienic and poses a far greater contagion risk than receiving Communion in the mouth.
“From a hygienic point of view, the hand carries a huge amount of bacteria. Many pathogens are transmitted through the hands. Whether by shaking other people's hands or frequently touching objects, such as door handles or handrails and grab bars in public transport, germs can quickly pass from hand to hand; and with these unhygienic hands and fingers people then touch often their nose and mouth. Also, germs can sometimes survive on the surface of the touched objects for days. According to a 2006 study, published in the journal "BMC Infectious Diseases", influenza viruses and similar viruses can persist on inanimate surfaces, such as e.g. door handles or handrails and handles in transport and public buildings for a few days.
“Many people who come to church and then receive Holy Communion in their hands have first touched door handles or handrails and grab bars in public transport or other buildings. Thus, viruses are imprinted on the palm and fingers of their hands. And then during Holy Mass with these hands and fingers they are sometimes touching their nose or mouth. With these hands and fingers they touch the consecrated host, thus impressing the virus also on the host, thus transporting the viruses through the host into their mouth.”
Schneider deplores how in response to COVID-19 "Many dioceses around the world [have] mandated Communion in the hand, and in those places the clergy, in an often-humiliating manner, deny the faithful the possibility to receive the Lord kneeling and on the tongue, thus demonstrating a deplorable clericalism and exhibiting the behavior of rigid neo-Pelagians.”
Cardinal Sarah likewise warns against such clericalism, saying, “May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue.”
Bishop Schneider reminds us that imposing Communion in the hand is an abuse of authority.
“Nobody can force us to receive the Body of Christ in a way that constitutes a risk of the loss of the fragments, and a decrease in reverence, as is the way of receiving Communion in the hand.”
Communion in the hand by definition is an indult, and as such, may never be imposed on the faithful. Pope John Paul II’s Redemptionis Sacramentum (March 25, 2004) clearly states:
“Each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue” (n. 92), nor is it licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful who are not impeded by law from receiving the Holy Eucharist (cf. n. 91).
Let it suffice to say that Communion in the hand is an errant and sacrilegious practice that undermines the Faith. The faithful should always be on their guard against approaching the Blessed Sacrament in a casual or nonchalant manner, lest the verdict in Holy Scripture be reserved for them:
“Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord... For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:27, 28)
When we make a festive routine or meal out of daily Communion, we defame the divinity and subject ourselves to eternal judgment. Priests have a duty to protect their flock from this defilement and to foster in them the proper perception and conduct toward the Holy Eucharist.
However, this will never be done unless they first use their rank responsibly and stop Communion in the hand.
1. Written by Don Federico Bortoli, the book was released in Italian under the title: ‘The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey.’
2. Accordingly, it spread rapidly from Holland to other countries against Pope Paul’s wishes.
3. The Ark of the Covenant also prefigured the Blessed Virgin Mary, the heavenly tabernacle who would channel the Messiah into the world, which is why She too is called “Ark of the Covenant.”