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The Holy EucharistRethinking Communion in the hand: 

"Again and again I wander to and fro directing My children to remain close to the Eucharist, the Bread of life. But do not become misguided: Do not accept My Son's Body in your hands. Satan, Lucifer, came as an angel of light and set his agents among the hierarchy of My Son's Church and deluded them..All manner of abominations are being committed upon My Son's Body now.""- Our Lady of the Roses, July 15, 1978  

In addressing the issue of Communion in the hand, no adequate response can be made without including reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament and the obligation of all priests to protect the Blessed Sacrament from sacrilege. Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn, at a commencement address delivered at Harvard in 1978, stated that although Western intellectuals live in a free society, “they are hemmed in by the idols of the prevailing fad.”  This comment can easily apply to many Catholic theologians, priests and bishops who are caught up in the prevailing winds of modernism, and can’t see the forest for the trees.  As Michael Davies puts it, “If any proof is needed that the bishops have made themselves the creatures of their own [modernist] “experts’, it can be found in the imposition of Communion in the hand at the command of these ‘experts.’” (Privilege of the Ordained, p. 2)

Our Lady of the Roses message calls upon us to reject the rationalizations that seduce us to give a carte blanche to the sin of sacrilege, under the guise of obedience.  In this article, we will address the following points:

1) Is the Pope in favor of Communion in the hand? (2) Communion in the hand is not an indifferent practice; (3) Communion in the hand spread through disobedience to the Pope; (4) historical testimony against Communion in the hand; (5) the danger of sacrilege; (6) consecrated hands; (7) champions for reverence to the blessed Sacrament, (8) Communion on the tongue remains the law of the Church throughout the world to this day.

(1)  Is the Pope in favor of Communion in the hand? 

Pope Paul VI:

It is important to know the history of Communion in the hand to defend against the propaganda circulating on this topic. In recent history, Communion in the hand was illegally introduced in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United States well before Pope Paul VI wrote Memoriale Domini.  The Holy See firmly opposed this disobedient and abusive practice from the very beginning. On October 12, 1965, the “Consilium” wrote to Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands: “The Holy Father … does not consider it opportune that the sacred Particle be distributed in the hand and later consumed in different manners by the faithful, and therefore, he vehemently exhorts [that] the Conference offer the opportune resolutions so that the traditional manner of communicating be restored throughout the world.”

How was Pope Paul VI going to deal with this widespread disobedience of Communion in the hand? Pope Paul VI wavered between two options: (1) close the door to all concessions, or (2) allow the concession (indult) only where its use was firmly established.  Pope Paul VI made a gamble by deferring to the prudence of the local bishops to assist him in reigning in the widening disobedience.  Unfortunately, the bishops did not help Pope Paul VI, but opened the doors even wider for abuse. Communion in the hand was introduced without authorization, Paul VI tenaciously opposed allowing it but decided to grant an indult only where its use was firmly established and this with the purpose of “helping the Episcopal Conferences to comply with their pastoral work, frequently more difficult than ever because of the present situation.”

Pope Paul VI’s concession was the document Memoriale Domini (May 29, 1969), which recognized that Communion on the tongue was “more conducive to faith, reverence and humility.”  The Holy Father also warned that 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."

Pope John Paul II:

Pope John Paul II some years back had a sign posted on St. Peter's Basilica specifying that all priests who celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s, no matter where they came from, 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 (see Homiletic & Pastoral Review, March 1997, p. 24).  Likewise, a canon lawyer present at the 1981 papal Mass in Chicago witnessed the mayor of Chicago approach the Holy Father 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.

(2)  Communion in the hand is not an indifferent practice:  

Many Catholics hold the erroneous view that Communion in the hand is just another way of receiving, that it doesn’t matter how one receives Holy Communion. A June 3, 1968 letter from the Secretary of State reads:

“His Holiness considers, in effect, that the bishops must be reminded of their responsibility so that they may prevent, with opportune norms, the inconveniences and moderate the indiscriminate spread of this practice [Communion in the hand] which is not contrary to the doctrine but, in practice, is very disputable and dangerous.”

Pope Paul VI again repeated in Memoriale Domini that the Holy See’s position on this matter was not a neutral one:

“He should not forget, on the other hand, that the position of the Holy See in this matter is not a neutral one, but rather that it vehemently exhorts him to diligently submit to the law in force [Communion on the tongue], and once more confirmed (Memoriale Domini, #16).”

Bishop Laise of San Luis, Argentina writes, “… to say that ‘Communion in the hand is not a novelty’, that ‘we will only do it as the Apostles, as the first disciples did, and as the Christians did for almost one thousand years’ with the purpose of ‘dispelling fears’, is not a valid argument. It is not true that we will ‘only’ do it as the Apostles did. As we have just seen [referring to Pius XII’s Mediator Dei encyclical], the return to an ancient manner is not in itself a reason for tranquility. Even less so when that manner was first abandoned and finally forbidden, due to its imperfection.”  Bishop Laise also reminds us that Communion in the hand had been forbidden since the 10th Century: “the strict forbiddance of the 10th Century which was maintained for almost a millennium.”

Bishop Rodolfo Laise has forbidden Communion in the hand in his diocese, and his successor has also forbidden the practice.  Bishop Laise emphasizes:

“It would be to deceive the faithful to make them think that receiving Communion in the hand would identify them more with the spirit of the primitive Church.”

(3) Communion in the hand spread through disobedience to the Pope: 

His Excellency Juan Rodolfo Laise, in his book Communion in the Hand: Documents and History, describes three major reasons why Communion in the hand spread throughout the world:

Episcopal Conferences did not follow the conditions outlined by Pope Paul VI::“It is true that the practice spread but this was due only to the fact that the Episcopal Conferences allowed its introduction without the demanded conditions being in existence and without taking into consideration the exhortation of Paul VI.”

The bishops did not want to submit to the law in force (Communion on the tongue)::“If the legislation did not change, the obvious conclusion is that the only reason for the extension of the rite [of Communion in the hand] is that the bishops did not listen to the vehement exhortation of Paul VI to diligently submit to the law in force and again confirmed.”

The “fundamental sense of the ecclesiastical” was lacking in many bishops:  “Knowing the history of this clandestinely reintroduced rite, and spread based on equivocations and confirmed through incessant disobediences, we cannot doubt that ‘the fundamental sense of the ecclesiastical’ is what was lacking in those who, throughout twenty-seven years [as of 1997] have been imposing a practice that the Pope did not want to authorize because he considered it dangerous for the good of the Church (MD 12), until they finally achieved the spreading of it throughout the world.””

Pope Paul VI established several hurdles to slow this disobedient practice from spreading. In Memoriale Domini he stated four restrictions:

(a)     the indult could only be requested if Communion in the hand was an already established custom (i.e., disobedient abuse) in the country, and

(b)     if “by a secret vote and with a two-thirds majority” the episcopal conference petitions Rome,

(c)     then Rome would grant the necessary permission,

(d)     once the permission was granted, several conditions had to exist simultaneously (among these conditions, no loss of sacred particles and no loss of faith in the Real Presence), or Communion in the hand was not permitted, even with the indult. These conditions are outlined in “En réponse à la demande,” which is attached to thee Memoriale Domini instruction..

As the Bishops of the United States prepared for their May 1977 General Meeting, Cardinal Carberry on March 12, 1977 made an impassioned plea for prayers and help from the Catholic laity:

“We are facing again another struggle in our Bishops’ Conference in May. It has been decided, for the third time now, that we have to talk about Communion in the hand…. So I would be grateful beyond words for any way that you could possibly help by prayer. I’m thinking, I know I can use a great deal of canonical reasons and law and the rest of it, but you don’t get very far with these. People don’t seem to want to listen to this kind of reasoning. But some kind of reasoning that would reach into the hearts of the Bishops, and to place it, I hope, on the basis of danger of irreverence to the Most Blessed Sacrament which is growing and growing and growing throughout our country. And if any of you have any reading matter on this, or any thoughts on how it could be presented; ways that it could be presented; ways that it could be presented before us, I would be so grateful to hear and receive any suggestions. And I pray most earnestly to our Most Blessed Mother that the beautiful prayer, ‘O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine’ might be an ejaculation of all of us who want to preserve the reverence and devotion by the traditional way of receiving Communion, which has the blessing of our Holy Father, the Pope.” (Cardinal Carberry, St. Louis, Missouri, March 12, 1977)

Here is how the American bishops evaded Pope Paul VI’s restrictions: the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, president of the United States NCCB, initiated two unsuccessful attempts to introduce Communion in the hand in 1975 and 1976. But it was in May 1977 that Communion in the hand was illegally and formally introduced into the United States. The NCCB’s own minutes of the May 3-5, 1977 General Meeting in Chicago, Illinois gives us many of the details.

a)      The Holy See’s requirement to prove an already established, prevailing custom of Communion in the hand in the given country:

The agenda for the meeting was presented by Archbishop Bernardin, and he noted that the Administrative Committee had placed the question of Communion in the hand in the open session of the meeting. Bishop Mugavero (interestingly enough, the Bishop responsible for failing to investigate Our Lady of the Roses apparitions), moved that the agenda be approved.  Bishop Blanchette and five other bishops objected, and proposed in writing the following amendment to the agenda item concerning Communion in the hand:

“I. A written vote by the Ordinaries as to whether the contrary usage, that of placing Holy Communion in the hand, prevails in this country as is required by the Instruction on the Manner of Administering Holy Communion [Memoriale Domini] of the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship, 29 May, 1969, before a vote is taken to see if a national conference of bishops is to seek a dispensation from the common usage;

II. and that the agenda be adopted with the stipulation that the vote on Communion in the hand be taken only if the vote mentioned above is affirmative.”

Bishop Blanchette also moved that the amendment be adopted by a written ballot. The Chair indicated that this would be done, since five bishops had seconded the motion. What Bishop Blanchette wanted to make clear to the assembled American bishops was that Pope Paul VI specifically stated that they could not vote on the matter without first establishing that Communion in the hand was the “prevailing” custom in the United States (which it was not). As Bishop Blanchette told the National Catholic Register:

“I said, we are now going to discuss and probably vote on whether we want to petition the Holy See, and we have not established that a contrary usage prevails. I said a simple way to do that would be to ask the ordinaries to indicate whether in their dioceses the contrary usage prevails. The ordinary should know, he is the shepherd of the diocese. He has been asked to obey and his priests have been asked to obey, and his laity have been asked to obey, so if anybody knows whether the contrary usage prevails, he should. And so I asked that the agenda be amended so that the first step—finding out whether or not the usage prevails—could be verified, and if it were verified, then we could go on with the rest of the agenda. But if the first step is not verified, how can we logically go on to the second step? That was my motion.” (National Catholic Register, “Bishop Blanchette: A Clear Call for Obedience,” June 12, 1977) 

At this point, the game of deception and disobedience began.

An appeal was then made to declare Bishop Blanchette’s motion out of order. A show of hands was made, and it was declared that the motion was out of order. Recalling this incident, Bishop Blanchette stated:

“As you know it [the motion] was seconded, it was supported in writing by five bishops, which therefore permitted a written vote, and it was sustained by the parliamentarian. It was sustained by the president of the conference, and it was only by an appeal from this that it was ruled out of order, and it was not done by voice vote because from voice vote there was an inconclusive answer. It was done by show of hands or standing up, and the answer came out was that it seems the majority of the bishops present consider the chair to have erred in ruling the amendment in order. You heard Cardinal John Krol state that he thought a parliamentary device was used to get rid of a valid motion that would’ve enabled us to discern the conditions that actually prevail in our country.” (National Catholic Register, “Bishop Blanchette: A Clear Call for Obedience,” June 12, 1977)

The NCCB’s own minutes report:

“Cardinal Krol said that he was distressed that on the previous day a parliamentary device had been employed to deprive the bishops of a survey, suggested by Bishop Blanchette, of the Ordinaries on the current extent of the practice of giving Communion in the hand. He feared that the bishops were beginning a policy of legalizing any abuse of law, and said that far from being an abuse of freedom, law is in reality a protection of freedom.”

The minutes also record the opposition of Cardinal Carberry:

“Cardinal Carberry cited the view of the Holy See expressed in 1969 that the long-received manner of giving Communion to the faithful not be changed. He noted that a picture in L’Osservatore Romano which appeared to show the Holy Father giving Communion in the hand was explained upon inquiry, as showing the presentation of the Rosary. He said that there was great danger of irreverence in administering Communion in the hand, and in this connection mentioned the concerns of both the Holy Father and of Cardinal Knox. To adopt the Committee’s propose he felt would only contribute to the desacralization of the Eucharist. Finally, he deplored the lack of a survey to determine the wishes of the faithful in this matter. He noted the extraordinary volume of mail sent to the bishops opposing the introduction of the optional practice and said that there was no mandate from Catholic people for the Committee’s proposal.” 

(b) The Holy See’s requirement that the bishops determine “by a secret vote and with a two-thirds majority” to petition Rome for the indult:

Even though Pope Paul VI had expressly stated that the indult could not be requested where the disobedient practice of Communion in the hand did not prevail, the American bishops nevertheless went around this requirement and put it to a vote. From the NCCB’s own minutes:

“Later in the meeting Archbishop Bernardin reported that the vote had fallen short of the required two-thirds of all de jure members and that the matter could not be concluded until the absent bishops were polled.”

What Bernardin really meant by “the matter could not be concluded” was that they were going to get Communion in the hand one way or another, even if it had just been voted down. To get around the lack of votes, bishops who were not present, bishops who were retired and bishops who were dying were “polled”.  According to Fr. Kunz, a canon lawyer, using a proxy vote of absent bishops would invalidate the petition for the indult and it would thus have no status. The maneuver employed by Cardinal Bernardin to get the necessary votes was therefore invalid, as only the members present at the meeting could vote.

Fr. John Hardon, S.J. declared on November 1, 1997 in Detroit, Michigan:

“To get enough votes to give Communion on the hand, bishops who were retired, bishops who were dying, were solicited to vote to make sure that the vote would be an affirmative in favor of Communion in the hand. Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”

Cardinal Bernardin played a pivotal role in manipulating the American bishops into promoting Communion in the hand. As Our Lady’s warned on July 15, 1978:

"Again and again I wander to and fro directing My children to remain close to the Eucharist, the Bread of life. But do not become misguided: Do not accept My Son's Body in your hands. Satan, Lucifer, came as an angel of light and set his agents among the hierarchy of My Son's Church and deluded them. All manner of abominations are being committed upon My Son's Body now." - Our Lady, July 15, 1978 

(c) The Holy See grants permission for the indult:

Bishop Blanchette told the National Catholic Register:

“What bothers me is that in the minds of many it will seem that disobedience is being rewarded. And that troubles me because if people persist in being disobedient—and that is used as a reason for changing the discipline—then we’re very close to chaos or what I would call selective obedience, which is no obedience at all.”  (National Catholic Register, “Bishop Blanchette: A Clear Call for Obedience,” June 12, 1977)

As Fr. Alfred Kunz has pointed out, permission given under deceit is no permission at all.  

(d) Conditions in the indult:

If the American hierarchy had legitimately fulfilled the Holy See’s requirements up to this point, there would still be several conditions that would have to be met in each instance of Communion in the hand, or no permission could be given. Included in these conditions are that no irreverence, sacrilege, or loss of faith occur as a result of Communion in the hand. Five conditions follow::

1. The new manner of giving Communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. It is a matter of particular seriousness that in places where the new practice is lawfully permitted, every one of the faithful have the option to receive Communion on the tongue, even when others receive Communion in the hand. The two ways of receiving Communion can without question take place during the same liturgical service. There is a twofold purpose here: that none will find in the new rite anything disturbing to personal devotion toward the Eucharist; that this sacrament, the source and cause of unity by its very nature, will not become an occasion of discord between members of the faithful.

2. The rite of Communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately. Since the question involves human attitudes, this manner of Communion is bound up with the perceptiveness and preparation of the one receiving. It is advisable, therefore, that the rite be introduced gradually and in the beginning, within small, better-prepared groups and in favorable settings. Above all 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. This catechesis must succeed in excluding any suggestion that in the mind of the Church there is a lessening of faith in the Eucharistic presence and in excluding as well any danger or hint of danger of profaning the Eucharist.

3. The option offered to the faithful of receiving the Eucharistic Bread in their hand and putting it in their own mouth must not turn out to be the occasion for regarding It as ordinary bread or as just another religious article. Instead this option must increase in them a consciousness of the dignity of the members of Christ's Mystical Body, into which they are incorporated by Baptism and by the grace of the Eucharist. It must also increase their faith in the sublime reality of the Lord's Body and Blood, which they touch with their hand. Their attitude of reverence must measure up to what they are doing.

4. [Condition #4 was eliminated on the occasion of the publication of De sacra Communione et du cultu Mysterii Eucharistichi (n. 21), July  21, 1973].

5. Whatever procedure is adopted, care must be taken not to allow particles of the Eucharistic Bread to fall or be scattered. Care must also be taken that the communicants have clean hands and that their comportment is becoming and in keeping with the practices of the different peoples.

6. In the case of Communion under both kinds by way of intinction, it is never permitted to place on the hand of the communicant the Host that has been dipped in the Lord’s Blood.

It is naïve to think that these conditions are being followed.

Fr. Alfred Kunz 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. 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.

As Bishop Laise warns, “With Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some Particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful.”

The first condition above is: “The new manner of giving Communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice.” A catechist conducted a survey of 19 Catholic teenagers from different parts of the United States in 1999 to find out if Communion in the hand was being imposed. The students were asked if they were told, when they were first Communicants, to receive only in the hand. The majority replied yes. These students told their personal experiences of C.C.D. teachers mocking the traditional manner of receiving on the tongue.

Condition # 3 is “The option offered to the faithful of receiving the Eucharistic Bread in their hand and putting it in their own mouth must not turn out to be the occasion for regarding It as ordinary bread or as just another religious article.” One youngster in this survey said he didn’t believe Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist, until he began receiving Communion on the tongue. He said he was confused and doubted while receiving in the hand because, he said, how can the Host really be God if he was allowed to touch it? Another student shared the experience of a priest calling his mother (who didn’t want her son receiving in the hand) a “crumbologist” because of her concern over lost particles.

How many bishops and priests today will admit to the numerous acts of irreverence, sacrilege, and loss of faith occasioned by Communion in the hand? How many bishops have had the faith and courage to ban Communion in the hand to safeguard the Blessed Sacrament, and to safeguard the faith of the people?

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. Communion in the hand has certainly been an occasion of this loss of faith. Fr. John Hardon has affirmed: “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.”

 

(4) Historical testimony against Communion in the hand:

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);

St. Basil the Great (330-379), one of the four great Eastern Fathers, considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to consider it a grave fault (Letter 93);

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 ass in trulloo(not one of the ecumenical councils held there) prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves. It decreed ann excommunicationnof one week’s duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon;;

Council of Tr:n::"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 thee unvarying practice of the Churchhhas 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 off Trent,,Session 13, Chapter 8)Session 13, Chapter 8)

 

(5) The danger of sacrilege

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.

As we quoted before from Bishop Laise: “With Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some Particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful.” 

His Excellency also writes: 

“Let us speak clearly: whoever receives Communion in the mouth not only follows exactly the tradition handed down but also the wish expressed by the last Popes and thus avoids placing himself in the occasion of committing a sin by negligently dropping a fragment of the Body of Christ.” 

Bishop Laise ends his marvelous book, Communion in the hand: Documents and History, with this quote from the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

“As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Saviour as most infallible instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; so, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which is full of holiness, or rather which contains the very author and source of holiness.” (Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part II, cap. 4)

(6) Consecrated hands

In the Bible it is recorded that only the Levite priests were allowed to carry the Ark of the Covenant: “No one may carry the ark of God except the Levites, for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever” (1 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Paralipomenon 15:2 in Douay-Rheims Bible). But when a non-Levite touched the Ark of the Covenant, he was struck dead: “And when they came to the floor of Chidon, Oza put forth his hand, to hold up the ark: for the ox being wanton had made it lean a little on one side. And the Lord was angry with Oza, and struck him, because he had touched the ark; and he died there before the Lord” (1 Chronicles 13:9-10; 1 Paralipomenon 13:9-10 in Douay-Rheims Bible).

Everything in the Bible has been put there by God for our instruction. Why was God angry at Oza? Why was he struck dead? What is the lesson that God wanted to impart to us by this incident?

The teaching of consecrated hands can be found in various writings of the saints, which convey an admirably reverential attitude towards the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist. From the writings of St. Bonaventure (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).

St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds the Church has ever known, writes the following regarding the Blessed Sacrament: "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, III, Q. 82, Art. 13).

As Michael Davies observes, “Unless we are to believe that the Holy Ghost abandoned the Church for 1,000 years [the 1,000 year period from the time of the 10th Century, when Communion in the hand was forbidden], we must accept the fact that, under His guidance, a tradition evolved that only the consecrated hands of a priest could touch the Host; we have the witness of St. Thomas Aquinas that, by the 13th century, it was firmly established that not even a deacon could do so under normal circumstances.” (Privilege of the Ordained, p. 16)

Even the Protestants are witnesses to the Catholic understanding of the consecrated hands of a priest. Michael Davies reports that in his 1549 Communion Service, Thomas Cranmer allowed the Blessed Sacrament to be placed on the tongue of the communicant by the minister. This was criticized by the more radical Martin Bucer, who demanded that Communion should be given in the hand. Cranmer complied and changed the rubric for his 1552 Prayer Book, to bring it into line with Protestant practice. Among the reasons for the change, Bucer wrote:

"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 removedas that the ministers may handle the sacraments, but not allow the laity to do so, and instead put the sacraments into the mouthwhich 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..."

 Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei, writes:

“In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of holy orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration. For they alone, in answer to an inward supernatural call, have entered the august ministry, where they are assigned to service in the sanctuary and become, as it were, the instruments God uses to communicate supernatural life from on high to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Add to this, as We have noted above, the fact that they alone have been marked with the indelible sign ‘conforming’ them to Christ the Priest, and that their hands alone have been consecrated ‘in order that whatever they bless may be blessed, whatever they consecrate may become sacred and holy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ [Roman Pontifical, Ordination of a priest: anointing of hands].” (Mediator Dei, #43)

Dietrich von Hildebrand, whom Pope Pius XII called a 20th Century Doctor of the Church, has written many outstanding books and articles in defense of the Catholic Faith, and against the many dangerous trends and heresies infecting the Church today. He is, in fact, the Catholic writer par excellence of the 20th Century whose conclusions are identical with Our Lady of the Roses message. There is no other writer who has so thoroughly and precisely concurred with Our Lady of the Roses messages as Dietrich von Hildebrand.  Concerning Communion in the hand, he writes:

“Unfortunately, in many places Communion is distributed in the hand. To what extent is this supposed to be a renewal and a deepening of the reception of Holy Communion? Is the trembling reverence with which we receive this incomprehensible gift perhaps increased by receiving it in our unconsecrated hands, rather than from the consecrated hands of the priest? It is not difficult to see that the danger of parts of the consecrated Host falling to the ground is incomparably increased, and the danger of desecrating it or indeed of horrible blasphemy is very great.” (The Devastated Vineyard, pp. 67-68)

Pope John Paul II speaks of consecrated hands in Dominicae Cenae:

“We should also always remember that to this ministerial power we have been sacramentally consecrated, that we have been chosen from among men ‘for the good of men.’ We especially, the priests of the Latin Church, whose ordination rite added in the course of the centuries the custom of anointing the priest's hands, should think about this…. How eloquent therefore, even if not of ancient custom, is the rite of the anointing of the hands in our Latin ordination, as though precisely for these hands a special grace and power of the Holy Spirit is necessary!” (#49).

It is interesting to note that a deacon’s hands are not anointed, as are the hands of priests, during ordination.

Our Lady of the Roses repeats this traditional understanding of the consecrated hands of a priest:

"I repeat again that none shall bring the sacred Body of My Son, His Body and Blood, to another but a legally-ordained priest with consecrated hands. I say, My children, consecrated hands, blessed hands, washed clean by the Holy Spirit! No man shall render excuses for defilement of My Son's Body." - Our Lady, May 14, 1977
 

(7) Champions for reverence to the blessed Sacrament

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."

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).

In a 2000 article by Athi Thoothan, editor of an Indian publication entitled Aquinas, Mother Teresa stated, "It is the custom in our society and my known wish that the sisters receive Communion on the tongue which to my knowledge they are doing everywhere." (Mother Theresa, India 1995; Athi Thoothan Editor, Aquinas, p. 13, Vol 2, No 1 March 2000)

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.”

Dietrich von Hildebrand(who Pope Pius XII called a “200thhcentury doctor of the Church”), in an article entitledd "Communion in the hand should be rejected,""wrote the following:  

"Is it believable that instead"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.

Our Lady of the Roses warns of the desecration of the Host by satanists:

“My children, My Son has been abandoned in His House.  His Body, His beautiful Body is being desecrated by many.  And the evil forces of darkness in human bodies, in the form of satanism and worship of the prince of darkness at black mass—they are desecrating My Son's Body, and why?  You permit this because you have lost heart!  You have lost faith!  There is only a flicker of true faith left in your world, My children.” – Our Lady, September 28, 1977
 

(8) Communion on the tongue remains the law of the Church throughout the world to this day: 

Pope Paul VI stated in Memoriale Domini that “The Apostolic See therefore vehemently urges bishops, priests and laity to carefully submit to the law [Communion on the tongue] which is still valid and which has again been confirmed” (#16). Pope Paul VI was emphasizing that Communion on the tongue was still the law of the Church. Communion on the tongue is the law of the Church, even to this day; Communion in the hand is the exception to the law. But Pope Paul VI was opposed by his own bishops, and by the Episcopal Conferences, who failed to reign in the abuse of Communion in the hand. This is the real reason why Communion in the hand spread throughout the world. In a 1968 speech, Pope Paul VI took to task the disobedience of the Episcopal Conferences: 

“We refer above all to this mentality according to which many receive with annoyance all that comes from the ecclesiastical authority, that is, what is pertaining to law. This being the reason that in liturgical matters even the Episcopal Conferences sometimes proceed on their own accord more than what is justified. It also occurs that arbitrary experiments are made and this introduces rites that openly contradict the norms of the Church.” (Speech to the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, October 14, 1968. A.A.S., 1968, p. 735). 

There seems to be a great deal of confusion among Catholics and theologians about what to do about the problem of Communion in the hand. But it is really very, very simple: 

“Not infrequently it happens that opposite laws seem to call for fulfillment at the same time, as when in case of unjust attack it seems that one is bound to defend oneself and bound not to injure the other party. Hence arises a conflict of obligations and rights. But the difficulty is only apparent; for, since God is a just and wise lawgiver, he does not intend either that one should be held to impossibilities, or that a superior obligation should yield to one that is inferior.” (Moral Theology: A Complete Course, Vol. I, McHugh and Callan, p. 96)

 

“The objects or content of human law [civil and ecclesiastical law] must be of such a character: (a) that they do not conflict with the Natural or the Divine Law; (b) that they be beneficial to the community for which they are made.” (Moral Theology: A Complete Course, Vol. I, McHugh and Callan, #372, p. 134)

In no way can the superior obligation forbidding sacrilege (Divine Law) yield to any ecclesiastical law (human law). The confusion that currently exists regarding Communion in the hand arises from a misreading of Memoriale Domini (as indicated by Bishop Laise), and from a failure to promote the higher law of reverence forbidding sacrilege (Divine Law), which takes precedent over ecclesiastical law (human law).

The Pope is bound to observe the Divine Law and promote it: 

“The Pope can dispense as follows: (a) in all ecclesiastical laws he can grant a dispensation strictly so-called; (b) in divine laws in which the obligation depends on an act of the human will (such as the laws of oaths, vows, contracts, etc.), he can grant a dispensation improperly so-called. In other divine laws, he can interpret or declare, but he cannot dispense.” (Moral Theology: A Complete Course, Vol. I, McHugh and Callan, p. 183) 

Regarding the divine prohibition against sacrilege, not even the Pope can dispense.  

“When the law is negative (i.e., prohibitory), no inconvenience excuses from sin; for that which is forbidden by the Natural Law is always morally evil, and hence more to be shunned than even the greatest physical evil, or death. Example: one is obliged, under grave or light sin, as the case may be, to forfeit all temporal goods rather than blaspheme, murder, lie, etc.” (Moral Theology: A Complete Course, Vol. I, McHugh and Callan, p. 111)

Sacrilege is in this prohibitory category. Therefore, no inconvenience excuses priests from taking the necessary precautions to protect the Blessed Sacrament from sacrilege.

Unfortunately, Memoriale Domini did not slow the abuse of Communion in the hand, but rather was seized upon by disobedient priests, bishops and laity as a pretext to spread the abuse even more. It is not disloyal to believe this, but is rather to acknowledge a sad truth. As Dietrich von Hildebrand states: 

“On account of my deep love for and devotion to the Church, it is a special cross for me not to be able to welcome every practical decision of the Holy See, particularly in a time like ours, which is witnessing a crumbling of the spirit of obedience and respect for the Holy Father.” (The Charitable Anathema, p. 32) 

Ecclesiastical law is not infallible; it can be imprudent. Clearly, the 1,000 year ban on Communion in the hand was the prudent law as it so effectively minimized the loss of sacred particles and theft of the Host by those seeking to desecrate it. The current indult, however, is imprudent because it has not served to protect the blessed Sacrament from sacrilege or theft. We pray that the traditional practice of receiving Communion only on the tongue may be restored throughout the world, as was the hope of Pope Paul VI: 

“The Holy Father … does not consider it opportune that the sacred Particle be distributed in the hand and later consumed in different manners by the faithful, and therefore, he vehemently exhorts [that] the Conference offer the opportune resolutions so that the traditional manner of communicating be restored throughout the world.” (October 12, 1965 letter of the “Consilium” to Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands) 

To better understand this subject, we highly recommend Bishop Laise’s book, Communion in the hand: Documents and History, which is perhaps the most authoritative book on this subject in the world. In this book, he briefly summarizes his reasons for rejecting Communion in the hand: 

“Given that a manner is in practice that not only is better but is recommended and praised by the Holy See, and asking me if I want to introduce another that carries with it serious dangers and which the Holy See does not recommend but rather only allows with displeasure, not existing in my diocese any abusive introduction or an expectation of the faithful in this respect, and having received manifestations of serious worries on the part of priests, religious and faithful; and since the decision has remained placed on my prudence with the compromise of my conscience, keeping in mind that all dispensation produces a certain social damage that is only justified in order to avoid a greater damage or to obtain a greater public or private benefit, remembering that the Church recommends to the priests not only to abide by the licit but also to look for the most profitable, I have not doubted in submitting myself diligently ‘to the law already in force and once more confirmed.’”       

"Communion in the hand has not been, and will not be accepted by Heaven. This is a sacrilege in the eyes of the Eternal Father, and must not be continued, for you only add to your punishment when you continue on in the ways that have been found to be unpleasing to the Eternal Father." - Our Lady, June 30, 1984

Directives from Heaven...  http://www.tldm.org/directives/directives.htm

        D3 - Communion in the Hand  PDF Logo PDF

Articles…

Communion in the hand should be rejected
http://www.tldm.org/News6/von-Hildebrand.htm

What the holy ones say about receiving Jesus
http://www.tldm.org/News6/holy-ones.htm 

Re-thinking Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/news2/cih.htm 

More reasons for rejection Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/News5/CinH2.htm 

Bishop Laise speaks out against Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/News6/Laise.htm

Modernist and Protestant revolutionaries were behind Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/News7/CommunionInTheHand.htm 

Fr. John Hardon speaks out against Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/News7/Hardon.htm
 

Communion in the Hand: Documents and History (Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise)
http://www.tldm.org/News4/BishopLaise.htm
 

Sacrileges due to Communion in the hand
http://www.tldm.org/forms/sacrilege1.htm
 

The consecrated hands of a priest
http://www.tldm.org/News7/ConsecratedHands.htm

We encourage everyone to print or email copies of this web page to all the Bishops and all the clergy.  Also, email or send this web page to the news media and as many people as possible.

"My children, My little humble children, I appeal to you as your Mother, go forward on foot, knock on the doors; bring the light to your brothers and sisters.  For those who have been given great grace, much is expected of them." - Our Lady of the Roses,  May 26, 1976

"As disciples of the latter days, My children, much shall be asked of you, but I assure you:  all that you give in faith and charity shall be returned to you threefold." - Jesus, June 1, 1978

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