Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fallacy of Communion in the Hand Choice (Con't)

I dedicate this post to the intercession of Pope Saint Pius X

How do those who hold that communion in the hand is always the choice of the communicant propose we conduct, for example, First Holy Communion ceremonies?

Must we thoroughly train the first communicants in all of the various options: the universal norm of kneeling and on the tongue (as done by the Holy Father); standing and on the tongue; standing and in the right hand; taking the host directly with the tongue from the enthroned hand [never grabbing the host with one's fingers] (in each of the latter two cases bowing or genuflecting beforehand)? You can be sure that no place offers this type of training because it would be impossible for the children to achieve a good knowledge on how to receive, faced with so many options (at an age when opting itself is a great challenge). So, faced with that impossibility most parishes simply show (and thus practically require) all of the students to receive only one way (according to the preference of the parish, pastor, director of religious ed., etc). So, if you have to teach everyone one way to receive, logic would suggest you do it according to the universal norm and longstanding tradition and the papal preference: kneeling and on the tongue. Who does that? No, the default choice for most parishes is more and more all first communicants receive on the hands. And then you have the problem of the girls first communion gloves. Who is going to purify the gloves after the ceremony? So there are places which now forbid the girls' first communion gloves! Imagine!

So, one of the problems with communion in the hand at First Holy Communions is that the norms for how to receive Holy Communion consistently and very clearly state that communion directly to the mouth by the minister should never be refused, and that care should be taken that this age-old traditional way of receiving the host should be preserved! Communion in the hand is by way of exception (a more restricted concession, only where allowed by the competent authority, which must include the priest! [e.g. Where communion in the hand is allowed "...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."] Fact is, there is always a real risk of sacrilege, including many particles going to the floor.) Communion in the hand is itself a profanation because no care is taken for the sacred particles which typically adhere to the hosts. This is grossly inconsistent with the liturgical norm of having a corporal and/or paten (Redemptionis sacramentum, #93) always under the sacred species until their consumption.

The legislative ambiguity involved in the restrictive legislation regarding communion in the hand, and given the widespread abuses in this regard, cannot bind any minister, who has serious objections, to give communion in the hand!

Again, plinthos is not trying to start trouble. The trouble is the communion in the hand to which every custodian of the Eucharist must honestly respond. This is simply a response to an abuse. How must the minister respond to a practice which is so troubling to our long established and highest veneration of the Eucharistic species, and considered by many to be so unimportant.

Furthermore, please do not forget the essential problem with communion in the hand: no one should give himself a sacrament! You cannot take God in hand! This is an unthinkable outrage against every legitimate Catholic and religious sensibility. It is an implicit attack on the distinctive nature of the priesthood and the nature of God's action in the sacramental dispensation and in the dispensation of the sacraments. Every properly formed priest and lay person should be extremely upset about "communion in the hand.

Pope Saint John Paul II, Blessed Mother Theresa, Pope Emeritus Benedict and Bishop Schneider, along with all the traditionalists, are right. Communion in the hand is wrong! It must be opposed!

N.B. This thought expressed above comes to me from so much experience of my home-schooling nephews and their families having to suffer countless parish abuses in this regard.

But, you know, having said all of the above, it is also necessary to say that the ultimate decision regarding the discipline of the sacraments is always under the authority of the Holy Father. If the Holy Father approves it than it is permissible by God ("binding and loosing"). If the Holy Father forbids it than God Himself forbids it. My question here is to get a clarification on whether it is the intention of the Holy Father to obligate priests to go against their sacerdotal instinct on this. Since He has left it up to the bishops then it is clear that at least for the time being (until there is a further clarification) the priests shall not make individual decisions on this matter.
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