Communion on the hand dilemma

I would like to ask about Communion on the hand if ye do not mind. Is it acceptable to abstain from Communion on the hand and still regularly attend the NO Mass? My wife, with whom I don’t wish to cause issue because she is a good wife and Christian, insists on attending Sunday Mass at local and family parish in our town. They only offer the NO Mass and Communion is distributed mostly by Eucharistic ministers. I no longer feel it acceptable to receive Communion on the hand, and receiving it on the tongue by unconsecrated hands seems just as bad. If I receive Communion when I attend the TLM (low mass) on Saturday, is it acceptable to abstain from Communion at Sunday NO Mass? Is it just thick to think I can fulfill my Sunday obligation as well as my need to receive our Lord in the host by doing things this way? Thank you.


There is no obligation to receive communion when you attend mass, whether your are in mortal sin or not. We have an obligation to receive at least once a year during the Easter season unless it’s fulfilled for a just cause at another time.


There is no obligation to receive communion every time you attend Mass. The Sunday obligation refers to Mass, not communion.


I will never receive on the hand. You only have to receive once a year so that won’t be an issue. Just when it comes to easter, find a parish that will do on the tongue. Even if that means driving an hour or so.


Thank you. This is as I suspected, but was unsure if it would be odd or offensive or what have you. I have abstained before after having committed mortal sin without reconciliation, but not within a state of grace acting on conscience. This will surely be an interesting conversation with the wife.

I’m not married, so maybe I’m missing something here, but why would your wife have any say on or need a reason if you receive communion or not?

The most I’ve had is family members comment that they would take me to confession if I needed it (before I could drive) and a family member invite me to confession on a day they’re going. I just say that my situation is between me and the Lord and they respect that.

As has been said, you only have an obligation to receive once per year (during the Easter season). You might want to consider that you’re denying yourself the body of Christ which the Church says you can (all other things considered) worthily receive, and that frequent Communion is a good and holy thing.


Curiosity mostly I suppose. I think it becomes more of an issue when it suggests something about the other person. So you were to abstain from something just as I was doing it, even as a complete stranger, for purposes of conscience, I wouldn’t be able to help but think, must this also be something to do with me? I think that is where the mind goes, especially with spouses. We’re so in sync about every other aspect of life, the sudden aberration from the norm would seem like I was getting notions about myself. Ha, the more I write the more I think it might be something you must married to understand. No offense to you, sincerely. I’m sure you’re smarter than I.

You have arrived at the issue in my heart. This is more about which I was inquiring.

I also usually abstain if it’s “hand Communion” only.

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Novus Ordo. My apologies, it’s an abbreviation.

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I see. Thank you!

As others have said, you don’t have to do anything different than you describe. I’ll simply state (remind you?) that the Church fully permits the use of EMHCs and communion in the hand, but to each his own.

I don’t deprive myself of the Eucharist when I’m in a place that only offers communion on the tongue from a priest even though I prefer in the hand from an EM. But I also don’t think we have any place telling one another what to do in this regard.


Jesus is offering Himself to you to be received into your body along with graces. This is what matters. He isn’t limiting you to only one manner of receiving or only receiving from one pe rson. Until the Church doesn’t allow receiving Our Lord in the hand it is allowed. If it bothers you that much about receiving only from the Priest get in his line and receive from him. And no you do not HAVE to receive at every Mass when not in a state of mortal sin.


My pastor is a bit older and infirm so he doesn’t really like people to take COTT (from him).

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How you receive is a personal preference. I receive on the tongue but my daughter receives in the hand. The Church allows both and in both cases you receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. If I attended a Mass where receiving was in the hand only I would show humility and be happy I was able to receive our Lord.
For your information the priest is the Eucharistic Minister. Only the ordained can be Eucharistic Ministers. Lay people are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC).

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You can abstain. Also you could just get in a priest or deacon’s line and receive on the tongue.

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but it’s not.

The Novus Ordo hasn’t been celebrated since the 70s. That just isn’t the name of the regular Mass any more, and is used most often in a dismissive answer by those that find it inferior.


That’s unfortunate but it is not his call to make. Not even a Bishop can lawfully suspend a communicants right to receive Communion on the tongue. Kneeling and on the tongue is the prescribed way to receive Communion and remains the preferred way in the Roman Church. Communion in the hand was a practice that Rome frowned upon and it’s initial spread was done by cardinals and bishops openly defying Rome on that very matter, but the practice became so widespread in the west that Rome permitted it as a normal means of receiving Communion (rather than trying to force everyone to accept that the official way to receive was kneeling and on the tongue).

But that’s all I am going to say on that. These liturgical wars inside Rome are what chased me out of the Roman Church initially. I found sanctuary in the Ruthenian Church (Byzantine rite) and have never looked back. The Divine Liturgy is Heaven on Earth and everyone receives Communion the same way (via spoon) so there’s no issue of touching the Host with unconsecrated hands. Communion on the hand, considered by some as a mistake, is well within Rome’s authority to support. And Rome, at this present time, says it is ok (even if it remains problematic). So there it is. Nobody is less Catholic for receiving in the hand, and nobody is “more” Catholic for receiving on the tongue. A debate can be had over the merit of each way of receiving (and again, Rome herself favors kneeling and on the tongue). But this is just not something I have the energy to get into anymore. So I wanted to share my piece and leave it at that. God Bless you all.


Just as a point of information, a priest on these fora was quite comfortable using the terms Novus Ordo and Vetus Ordo. He was from Europe, which may have played a part, but there it is. In a comparative sense, the one ordinary is new and the other is old, novus and vetus. I know it’s pesky old Latin which seems to trigger some people, but it’s still perfectly acceptable terminology.

Same as “worship” used in the sense it had been used for 2000 years as ‘worth ship’ or quality of worthiness. But because that broad terminology offended those who wished to narrow it to ‘offered to God ONLY” we have had Catholics for the last 2 generations minging and whinging and apologising for the ‘silly old fashioned excesses’ lest they be seen by the Protestants as ‘excessive’ and offensive.

I think many Catholics —and others—are tired of being bullied into using certain terms, and having to deny others. It never seems to be a two way street. . . It never seems that WE can ask others to accept OUR terms or ideologies even though we are in the minority in the US with regard to religious affiliation. It’s always the other way around.

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