Communion in the Hand
Excerpts from Catholic Family News articles
by John Vennari
“Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is consecrated.”
...Saint Thomas Aquinas
Do Catholic authorities and educators not know that Communion in the Hand was condemned by the Synod of Rouen in 650 A.D. to halt widespread abuses that occurred from this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege?
Are Church authorities unaware that Protestant denominations, beginning with Martin Luther in the 16th Century, reintroduced Communion in the Hand to manifest their belief once and for all that there is no such thing as Transubstantiation and Holy Orders, and the bread used during services is just ordinary bread, and the minister is just an ordinary man with no God-given power to consecrate?
The Council of Trent taught infallibly, “If anyone says that, after the consecration is completed, the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the admirable Sacrament of the Eucharist, but (are there) only during the use, whilst it is being taken, and not either before or after; and that, in the Hosts, or consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after Communion, the true Body of the Lord remains not; let him be anathema.” (Canon IV)
Throughout the centuries, our Fathers have told us that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Popes, Bishops and priests have taught this by example – especially by the celebration of the Old Latin Mass.
The introduction of Communion in the Hand and lay ministers of the Eucharist shows an arrogant disregard for what our Fathers taught us. This complete defiance and contempt for centuries of Catholic teaching and practice resembles the philosophy of New Paganism.
Communion in the Hand was introduced under a false ecumenism, allowed to grow due to weakness in authority, approved through compromise and a false sense of toleration, and has led to profound irreverence and indifference toward the Blessed Sacrament as the liturgical order of our day and the disgrace of our age.
Communion in the Hand is not mentioned in a single document of the Second Vatican Council and before the Council there is no historic record of Bishops, priests or laity petitioning anyone for the introduction of this practice. Controversy surrounds the claim that Communion in the Hand was practiced in the early Church, but if it was it was instituted by the Arians as a sign of disbelief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
How Did Today’s Communion
in the Hand Come About?
Four hundred years ago Communion in the Hand was introduced as a new form worship by men whose motives were rooted in defiance of Catholicism. The Protestant revolutionaries (“reformers”) wanted to show two things:
1) That they believed there was no such thing as “Transubstantiation” and that the bread used at Communion time was ordinary bread.
2) Their belief that the minister of Communion is no different in essence from laymen.
The Protestant Minister is just an ordinary man who leads the hymns, reads the lessons and gives sermons to stir up the convictions of believers. He can’t change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, he can’t bless, he can’t forgive sins. He is not a vehicle for sacramental grace. Communion in the Hand was a recognizable anti-Catholic practice rooted in disbelief in the real presence of Christ and the priesthood.
After Vatican II, some ecumenically-minded priests in Holland started
giving Communion in the Hand in imitation of Protestant practice. The Bishops, rather than do their duty and condemn
the abuse, tolerated it. Because Church leaders allowed the abuse to go unchecked, the practice spread to Germany,
Belgium and France. Pope Paul VI (because of the indignation of the Faithful) polled the bishops of the world on
this issue, and they voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion on the Tongue.
On May 28, 1969, the Pope promulgated Memoriale Domine which says in part “the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long-received manner of ministering Holy
Communion to the Faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges Bishops,
priests and people to observe zealously this law.”
This was the age of compromise, and the document contained
the seed of its own destruction, because the Instruction went on to say that where the abuse had already become firmly established, it could be legalized by a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of the national bishops conference. Thus the rebellion was not only tolerated, but legalized, and we have Communion in the Hand today.
A Crisis of Conscience
The Faithful are told it is an optional practice. Priests
are falsely instructed that they must administer Communion in the Hand, whether they like it or not,
to anyone who requests it, thereby throwing many good priests into an agonizing crisis of conscience.
A very wise Archbishop shrewdly observed that the masterstroke of satan was to sow disobedience to
Catholic tradition through obedience.
Lay people giving out Holy Communion during Mass was rightly considered an unthinkable act of sacrilege and irreverence only 30 years ago. But now, lay people administering the Blessed Sacrament is an ordinary sight in the average Novus Ordo parish church, and most Catholics think nothing of it.
Unsuccessful Papal Intervention
This unlawful abuse is so well established that even Pope John Paul II, who made at least a paper attempt to curb the abuse, was completely unsuccessful. In his 1980 letter Domincae Cenae, the Pope restated the Church’s teaching that “to touch the Sacred Species and to administer them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.” This was taken as an unwelcome and unheeded suggestion by
the hierarchy and clergy of Western countries.
The Sacraments are the most precious gems the Church possesses, and the Holy Eucharist is the greatest of all the Sacraments. It must be treated with all the reverence and homage It deserves. And all those pre-Vatican II barriers that prevented desecration are indispensable to the life of the Church and the holiness of the Faithful.