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Words of Comfort for Catholics Whose Bishop Appears to Mandate Communion in Hand

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf offers advice to Catholics who find themselves in a situation in which it appears that their Bishops are restricting receipt of Holy Communion to in the hand.

The 2004 document Redemptionis Sacramentum from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments still has force today for the whole Latin Church. Bishops cannot override it. They – or rather their ghost writers – can try to get people to think they can, but they can’t.

Redemptionis Sacramentum …

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”.[Code of Canon Law, can. 843 § 1; cf. can. 915.] Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, [Cf. Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 161.] 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. [Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Dubium: Notitiae 35 (1999) pp. 160-161.]

91 says that, seeking to receive Communion via reception on the tongue is “a reasonable manner”, even in this time.

92 says, “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice”. Those are words of comfort.

Then, 92 warns about the risk of profanation via Communion on the hand. It says nothing of risk of profanation via Communion on the tongue. Why? Because Communion on the tongue is really the normative way to receive. This is why permissions were give to depart from the norm.

Read the rest at Fr. Z’s Blog