Can a Minister of Communion force you to Receive Communion on the Hand?

This question has been bothering me for quite some time now.

I never receive Communion on the hand because I was raised believing in the Real Presence (and because there's a good chance that the host will fall). I go to a Catholic school, and one time we had a First Friday Mass. I lined up for Communion and when it was my turn, the Minister gestured for me to extend my hand. I hesitated. He refused to give me Communion unless I extended my hand. What could I do? I couldn't hold up the line, so I extended my hand.

Can a Minister of Communion force you to receive Communion on the hand even if you don't want to for personal reasons?

That shouldn't be the case, although if the pastor or bishop have instructed communion in the hand as a precaution againt the flu, perhaps they are following instructions.

And please, folks, let's not jump all over the OP for not using "EMHC". We all know what's being discussed.

I neglected to mention that this was after the flu scare had generally passed, and there weren't any instructions of that nature (I checked). My bad, sorry.

The first thing I can think that you could have done was just open your mouth for a second chance. You are right though, to have just stood their in line waiting would not have worked.

The only other thing would be to continue past the EMHC and go to a line with an Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

If this had happened to me, I would have done the same thing, and just held out my hands. Now that I have thought about it, I think I will go to a new communion line.

[quote="Newbie2, post:2, topic:181999"]
And please, folks, let's not jump all over the OP for not using "EMHC". We all know what's being discussed.

[/quote]

Yes, we do -- *Minister of *[Holy] *Communion *denotes all of them whether ordinary or extra-.

To the OP: No minister can force a communicant to receive in the hand under ...um... ordinary *circumstances. cf the GIRM (with


emphasis

added):

  1. .... When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand,

at the discretion of each communicant

. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

(* There has been some debate in these fora and elsewhere whether it is permissible under *extraordinary *circumstances, eg a pandemic)

:twocents:
I have never been in a similar situation, but I have considered it. I hope I would approach a priest and if he would refuse to administer on the tongue, humbly ask him: "Father, if you will not communicate me, I beg instead for your blessing"

And after that (whatever the outcome), find out what up from the pastor and/or bishop.
:twocents:

tee

The Holy See has made it very clear that a communicant should never be denied COTT. In fact, as late as July 2009, the Holy See reiterated this stance when a layman from the UK complained to the CDWDS about being denied COTT on the basis of the flu scare.

The CDWDS repeatedly notes that:

let all remember that the time-honored tradition is to receive the host on the tongue. The celebrant priest, if there is a present danger of sacrilege, should not give the faithful communion in the hand, and he should make them aware of the reason for way of proceeding.

This, taken from a statement made back in 1999, has not been abrogated. Furthermore, the statement repeats itself in Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004):

[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".177 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**,178 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 thefaithful.179

Thus, what was forced upon the OP was wrong and it was an abuse. No one has the right to force a communicant to receive Holy Communion either on the tongue or in the hand. It is the communicant's choice.

[quote="benedictgal, post:6, topic:181999"]
Thus, what was forced upon the OP was wrong and it was an abuse. No one has the right to force a communicant to receive Holy Communion either on the tongue or in the hand. It is the communicant's choice.

[/quote]

Only in the sense that no one may force a communicant to receive, period.

But as you yourself had noted above, reception in the hand (in the places where it has been allowed) may be denied in some circumstances, leaving reception on the tongue as the only course for those who choose to receive.

tee

I think you're all missing the bigger picture here.

It all becomes a moot point if the event causes you distress to the point where you're not properly disposed to receive the sacrament, methinks. If I have just had a fight with my spouse, my mind would not be fully attuned to receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity and therefore I might postpone receiving till later in the day. Same principle should apply here. Proper disposition isn't limited to just the fast of an hour and being sinfree.

Obviously, no one can force you to receive in the hand: you can choose not to receive at all. As you found, it is possible for someone administering Holy Communion to put you on the spot, where your choice is to receive as they insist you do or not receive at all.

That is not a minister's perogative, though, no. Nowhere in the Latin Church is it allowed to deny COTT. As far as I know, even for something like H1N1, the most that can be done is to ask the faithful to choose one way over the other, if the reasons are serious. But to deny it altogether: well, the threat would have to be of a magnitude where the bishops could just as easily have suspended the public offering of Mass altogether. (The right to the sacraments can be temporarily delayed, for truly life-threatening reasons.)

As far as that goes, my understanding is that whether or not CITH is offered is the decision of the Holy See and the local ordinary, not the choice of those administering Holy Communion. They must act in obedience to those in the Church who have the authority to decide. It would be wrong for them to take it upon themselves to forbid CITH, too. Obedient priests who want to offer COTT exclusively would have to have the permission of their bishops to do that. (If this were not so, I think more parishes would offer COTT only.)

\I never receive Communion on the hand because I was raised believing in the Real Presence (and because there's a good chance that the host will fall).\

**1. Why would receiving in the hand be inconsistent with faith in the Real Presence?

  1. The only stories about dropped hosts I've seen in these fora have involved attempts to receive on the tongue.**

[quote="MyrielBienvenu, post:1, topic:181999"]
This question has been bothering me for quite some time now.

I never receive Communion on the hand because I was raised believing in the Real Presence (and because there's a good chance that the host will fall). I go to a Catholic school, and one time we had a First Friday Mass. I lined up for Communion and when it was my turn, the Minister gestured for me to extend my hand. I hesitated. He refused to give me Communion unless I extended my hand. What could I do? I couldn't hold up the line, so I extended my hand.

Can a Minister of Communion force you to receive Communion on the hand even if you don't want to for personal reasons?

[/quote]

Niether the priest or the extraordinary minister are authorized to force you into one way or the other according to usccb.See the priest after mass next time something like this happens.
The Real Presence is the same for those receiving by hand or on the tongue.

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:10, topic:181999"]
\I never receive Communion on the hand because I was raised believing in the Real Presence (and because there's a good chance that the host will fall).\

**1. Why would receiving in the hand be inconsistent with faith in the Real Presence?

  1. The only stories about dropped hosts I've seen in these fora have involved attempts to receive on the tongue.**

[/quote]

These are a good points.

Honestly, the only dropped hosts I have ever seen were dropped before getting to the communicant, so it would not have mattered one bit which way they were receiving. I have only seen it happen a few times in my lifetime, and some of those were back before communion in the hand was ever done. In no sense is there a "good chance" that a host will fall, no matter how one receives.

I hope the OP meant that his belief in the in the Real Presence makes him personally more comfortable with COTT, and not that belief in the Real Presence hinges simply on whether one receives CITH or COTT. It would imply a serious case of rash judgement if someone were to baldly assert that it does.

As an EMHC, I've accidentally forced people to receive on the tongue :)

Sometimes, it's tough to determine how people prefer to receive. Best bet next time is to tilt your head, open your mouth, and half-close your eyes. By not looking at the person directly, I think you will receive easily on the tongue.

The next step would be to talk with someone at the parish and explain the difficulties. Without being accusatory, some additional instructions will probably filter out through the EMHCs.

FWIW, I prefer to receive on the tongue as well.

[quote="MyrielBienvenu, post:1, topic:181999"]
This question has been bothering me for quite some time now.

I never receive Communion on the hand because I was raised believing in the Real Presence (and because there's a good chance that the host will fall). I go to a Catholic school, and one time we had a First Friday Mass. I lined up for Communion and when it was my turn, the Minister gestured for me to extend my hand. I hesitated. He refused to give me Communion unless I extended my hand. What could I do? I couldn't hold up the line, so I extended my hand.

Can a Minister of Communion force you to receive Communion on the hand even if you don't want to for personal reasons?

[/quote]

No

[quote="Sheeniac, post:13, topic:181999"]
As an EMHC, I've accidentally forced people to receive on the tongue :)

[/quote]

Unless you gave them the choice of COTT or letting the host fall on the floor, you didn't really force somebody to do something. You can conceivably deny Holy Communion if the communicant refuses to receive in a proper way, but other than giving the unthinkable "catch it or let it fall" choice, you can't force a particular mode of reception. A person who wants CITH and not COTT can simply keep their mouth closed and patiently hold their cradled hands up until you get the picture. If they decided to just go along with you and let the misunderstanding go, then, that was their choice.

This is something we taught kids who are preparing for their First Holy Communion. We let them know in advance that a priest or EMHC who was used to one way might need a second to catch on if the communicant is different. Although the vast majority in our parish receive CITH, we told them COTT was a right, it was OK to just be patient and wait for the minister to catch on.

I'll jump in here with the other EMsHC.

Sometimes people in the Communion line will give mixed signals. What am I supposed to do when someone stands with their hands in a posture of reception to receiving in the hand but also with their mouth open and head tilted back? Sometimes I either have to - in soto voce - ask (as I do when someone has an obvious disability) or else figure I have a 50-50 chance of being correct no matter what I guess.

I have "pointedly recommended" (not forced, certainly) some hospital and nursing home patients receive on the tongue. The hands of hospital patients and the elderly can be really filthy with nasal or body waste or remnants of food. Also, some patients are sitting in slouched or other awkard positions with little hand/arm control due to arthritis or IV tubes and I know from experience that a host placed in the hand of these folks has little chance of being consumed without a detour along the way. I'd rather avoid fishing for Our Lord inside someone's hospital gown. So, if anything, I've "pointedly recommended" COTT in these cases (with a glass of water right nearby, too, of course.)

As for me as a EMHC, I like either and both. Each has its merits and some parishes I go to commonly use one or the other more routinely, so I tend to receive COTT at those parishes where it's more common and CITH at those parishes where that's more common.

Really, does it matter? Did Jesus mind that his Dear Mother hugged him one day but kissed him the next? We don't know, but probably not. That's how I see it. CITH = hug and COTT = kiss.

"The practice of communion on the tongue is the universal norm. In the hand was begun by rebellious people in disobedience to the Church. The Pope finally allowed in the hand temporarily since America is so plum immature about such things and would have a hissy-fit if the Pope clamped down on this. So, it is allowed these days, but no bishop or priest can refuse communion on the tongue, except in an emergency perhaps. " ~Anonymous

I did not ask permission to use this quote so I will keep the author anonymous ;)

newsblaze.com/story/20090801065749zzzz.nb/topstory.html

[quote="Sheeniac, post:13, topic:181999"]
As an EMHC, I've accidentally forced people to receive on the tongue :)

Sometimes, it's tough to determine how people prefer to receive. Best bet next time is to tilt your head, open your mouth, and half-close your eyes. By not looking at the person directly, I think you will receive easily on the tongue.

The next step would be to talk with someone at the parish and explain the difficulties. Without being accusatory, some additional instructions will probably filter out through the EMHCs.

FWIW, I prefer to receive on the tongue as well.

[/quote]

I'm a Eucharistic Minister as well, and sometimes it is difficult to tell when one wants to receive on the tongue. Sheeniac gave great advice. Half close your eyes and extend your tongue - that is a sure sign of your intentions. And if it happens again, or you feel you need to say something, call the parish and ask to speak to the head of the Eucharistic Ministers.

BTW, receiving in the hand as protection from H1N1 or other flu or germ is not logical. The fact of the matter is the host touching your own hand(s) actually introduces more opportunity for germs to be introduced.

[quote="wasurso, post:18, topic:181999"]
I'm a Eucharistic Minister as well, and sometimes it is difficult to tell when one wants to receive on the tongue. Sheeniac gave great advice. Half close your eyes and extend your tongue - that is a sure sign of your intentions. And if it happens again, or you feel you need to say something, call the parish and ask to speak to the head of the Eucharistic Ministers.

[/quote]

Actually, with all due respect, unless you are a priest or a bishop, you are not a Eucharistic Minister as this term is reserved only for them, as they are the sole ministers who can confect (cause to happen) the Holy Eucharist.

We need to use the terms that the Church requires us to use. According to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not "special minister of Holy Communion" nor "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist" nor "special minister of the Eucharist", by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

It helps when we use the same vocabulary as the Church.

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