Communion By The Hand

For me, receiving the Body of Christ by the hand is not a holy practice. I believe there were conditions promulgated by the Church authority in order for a communicant to receive the Host by the hand (I hope we someone can post the list for our reference and better appreciation of what i’m discussing), otherwise, receive the Host by tongue.

Receiving the Host by the tongue is of apostolic origin as taught by the Council of Trent. The law of the Church says very simply that in the Latin Rite, that is, all those that are not of the Eastern Rites, the manner of receiving the Blessed Sacrament is that the priest is to give the Sacred Host on the tongue of the recipient.

The law has not changed during Vatican 2, has not changed after it, and is still the law of the Church to this day.

Pope Paul VI says communion on the tongue is still the law of the Church. He, however, gives permission to go against the letter of the law if two principles and seven rules are followed.

Principle 1: The Faithful must not be scandalzed by the practice of Communion in the hand.
Principle 2: There must be no danger of irreverence or sacrilege to the Sacred Host and Particles if communion is given in the hand. There must not even be the appearance of irreverence.

I hope someone may post the seven rules if in case he/she has it for better discussion on this matter. tnx.

This doesn’t apply to the Eastern Churches but is entirely an issue within the Latin Church. I’ve often felt that many contemporary Latins can learn a thing or two about reverence with respect to the reception of Holy Communion from the East.



Right, i just hope our Administrator can transfer this topic on the right place or I may open this again to its proper place.

I already opened a topic of the same title in the traditional catholic forum. I just don’t know how to close this. Your help is very much appreciated. tnx.

There is nothing wrong with Communion on the tongue, but we are not respecting the truth if we pretend that it is an apostolic tradition. History does not support this. Even into the eighth/ninth century, Paschasius Radbertus, defending the real presence, gives a story of an old beggar man who receives communion on the hand, and Paschasius does not make the mention of communion in the hand as out of the ordinary, or draw any particular attention to it.

The Council of Trent says nothing whatsoever about communion on the tongue. What it has to say about receiving communion is this: “In the reception of the sacrament, there has always been a custom in the church of God that the laity receive communion from priests, but that priests, when celebrating, administer communion to themselves; this custom, coming down as from apostolic tradition, should rightly and deservedly be retained.”

It is also good that they said that this came down ‘as’ from apostolic tradition, not actually claiming apostolicity, because there are many sources which speak of even priests needing to receive from the hands of another (someone of greater or equal rank, if possible).

There are differing cultural practices with regard to reception of communion. And so we have to respect it when others do so for good reasons. If someone gives an unworthy reason, such as refusing to receive on the tongue because they believe it is subservient and they can feed themselves, then that can be corrected.

Obviously, receiving by the hand can be a holy practice: What about St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s (mid to late 4th century) account of how to receive communion? “Make your left hand a throne for your right, since your right hand is about to welcome a king. Cup your palm and receive in it Christ’s body, saying in response, Amen. Then carefully bless your eyes with a touch of the holy body, and consume it, being careful to drop not a particle of it. For to lose any of it is clearly like losing part of your own body. Tell me, if anyone gave you some gold dust, would you not keep it with the greatest care, ensuring that you did not lose by dropping any of it?..After partaking of Christ’s body, go to receive the chalice of his blood. Do not stretch out your hands for it. Bow your head and say Amen to show your homage and reverence, and sanctify yourself by partaking of Christ’s blood. While your lips are still moist with his blood, touch it with your hands and bless your eyes, forehead, and other organs of sense…” (Mystagogical Catechesis 5, 21-22.)

In the next post I’ll give Pope Paul’s 7 principles…

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