Communion on the tongue while kneeling


What is the cause of loss of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist within the ranks of Catholics? There are probably numerous reasons - even reasons that are hidden by the veil that separates us from the mystical. May I propose one possibility…most Catholics receive Jesus in the hand while standing. We have lost our sense of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

I am fortunate to attend daily Mass at a church that still has a Communion rail and forbids receiving the host in the hand. This church consistently cranks out vocations to the priesthood and religious life and has a solid base of people very strong in their Catholic faith. Is there a connection here? I believe so.

I personally receive Communion kneeling and on my tongue, regardless of what Catholic Church I am at. I have had two experiences I would like to share: once when going up for Communion, I knelt - the Priest gave me Communion, and then, laid his hand on my head and said “God Bless you sir!” - he had tears in his eyes and was clearly moved by the sign of reverence; at a different parish which I was unfamiliar with, I made sure I was the last person in the line so as not to disrupt anything - the Priest refused to give me Communion until I stood up - to make matters worse, he told me to come and see him after Mass. I did go and see him, but out of respect and humility, I didn’t make a scene. Incidently, this second parish is known for it’s support of women’s ordinations and homosexual unions - I didn’t know it at the time.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta stated, “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”

As stated in the Divine Praises, Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the altar!


I think it is a pretty common concensus in traditional circles that Communion in the Hand (and under both species) is a primary cause of loss of faith and hence vocations. Your two experiences are amazing: the first is so touching and uplifting, the second so sad. We need not only more priests like the first, but more Catholics like yourself who recognize the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist.


It isn’t communion in the hand that causes lack of faith. The two may be correlated, but correlation does not prove causation. It seems to me that those who are more “Mother God” tend to take communion in the hand…and those who are more “Vatican II was evil” take communion on the tongue…

Yet those who are in line with the magesterium do both…with reverence.

I happen to go to a parish that is very traditional and completely aligned with Rome. They are constantly teaching the faithful about the teachings of the Catholic Church and have tons of vocations (I know several people, among them myself, who are considering the religious life because of the witness of this parish). Yet communion in the hand is allowed AND widely practiced.

For me personally, I take communion in the hand for several reasons - none of which are that I don’t believe or am not reverent. It gives me a private moment with Our Lord where I get to hold God - and he allows this! It’s moving. Also, I’ve had times where I tried communion on the tongue and the host was dropped or broken, or my teeth were hit. I also feel really weird sticking my tongue out to God… :blush:


That’s absurd. Even Pope Benedict XVI remarked that if Christians were worthily receiving Communion by hand during the first several hundred years of Christianity, how can it be an unworthy form now?

I used to receive only on the tongue. I realized that I was only doing it that way because it made me FEEL holier. It also made me LOOK DOWN on people who received by hand as people who don’t value the Eucharist. Your intimation that ony those who kneel and/or receive on the tongue recognize the sacredness of Holy Communion can only lead to spiritual pride, which, as the Pharisees found out, isn’t a welcome attribute for a Christian.

On other words, one can’t be holier than the Church. And if the Church says it’s just as well to receive by hand, to infer that this is an inferior method is a matter of pride (“I know better than the Church”)

On the other hand, I sympathizes with the original poster because the priest should not have denied Communion. He’s flat out wrong on that because he’s violating the directives of Rome on the matter of those who choose to kneel.


The Church does not say it’s “just as well” to receive by hand. Communion in the Hand was originally an indult in response to Cardinal Suenens illegal introduction of the practice, and which was then illegally adopted by the US Bishops. Communion on the tongue has always been preferred by the Church.

John Paul II: “There is an apostolic letter on the existence of a special valid permission for this [Communion in the hand]. But I tell you that I am not in favor of this practice, nor do I recommend it.” responding to a reporter from Stimme des Glaubens magazine, during his visit to Fulda, Germany in November 1980.)

What is absurd is your reaction to my simple statement, which is a widely held and, I think provable, belief. And you’re right, receiving on the tongue while kneeling SHOULD feel holier. Where’s the problem? As far as looking down on others for not doing so, that is your problem which goes deeper than the issue of receiving on tongue or hand.


As an evangelical Protestant convert to Catholicism, I find myself in tears often at the idea of holding our Lord in my hand, even as Mary held her Son.

I think your proposal that this practice has created irreverence is strictly an opinion that can’t be proven.

For many of us, there is no lack of reverence just because we receive the Lord in our hand, which is considered acceptable practice in the U.S.

Frankly–and I know that as a cradle Catholic, you might find this really hard to comprehend, but remember, I’m NOT cradle Catholic–I think that it is irreverent to open wide and stick out my tongue at a priest. Eugh. I would have a hard time feeling “reverent” if I did such a “medical” thing.

Like I said, I’m from a different background than you, and have had different experiences.

Thankfully in the U.S., we are free to receive either way at many Catholic churches, so all of us can “be fed.”


Folks, let’s remember what our Lord said in JN 13:34, “A new commandment I give you, to love one another; that as I have loved you, you also may love one another.” (sorry if that’s not the exact translation you use) - let’s not attack each other, but respond with charity.

I don’t know that a universal statement can be made that all people who receive on the tongue are under the Lord’s good graces just like the opposite statement, that those receiving in the hand while standing, are not holy people - only God knows the answer to that question.

Many things have caused the loss of faith among Catholics that at least periodically go to Mass - including, but not limited to: Communion in the hand, disobedience to the Church and the Holy Father, widespread use of contraceptives (I saw a poll that states 96% of “Catholics” use birth control - that means there are only 4% who are actually Catholic!), lack of frequent confession, lack of prayer, lack of Eucharistic Adoration, dissent, etc. I just wanted to point out that I believe Communion in the hand while standing **has contributed **to the loss of faith in the Church.

May God bless each of you and give you an insatiable hunger for the Blessed Sacrament - both in receiving Jesus frequently (daily if possible) and frequently visiting Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration (daily if possible).


A priest explained the reason for receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is that the priest, acting in persona Christi, feeds us with his flesh and blood. We are all children of God and He feeds us with his flesh and blood the way a pelican feeds its young with its flesh and blood. Dante used the symbol of the pelican to represent Christ.

Don’t think of it in a medical sense, but rather think of Christ Himself giving us His body and blood to nourish His children.

We can all be fed whether or not the Church allows Holy Communion to be received in the hand. Martin Luther offered communion in the hand in the Lutheran church to show that it’s not really the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.

It’s never irreverent to “stick out your tongue” and allow Christ, acting in the priest, to feed you with His own body and blood.


Aw gee… let’s just go back to how it was done since the fourth century or so- kneeling and on the tongue only- to teach the faithful the correct doctrine of the priesthood and the Blessed Sacrament.

(Like the Moto Proprio to free the Traditional Roman Mass- you will not find it happening any time soon- for all of these things are “not in line with Vatican II”.)



Never know now a days—some might need a refresher course.


That is something --isn’t it----having God in the palm of your hand.


Oh just a thought.
A man called by God to be a priest kneels before his bishop who lays his hands on his head, who then confers THE AUTHORITY AND POWER handed down from Christ to Peter to change unleavened bread into the Body of Christ, which means he has to touch the host. His hands are SANCTIFIED by this HOLY sacrament. For the ordinary faithful to touch the Host is saying, my hands are as good as Christs as the Priest is as Christ, feeding the faithful as He promised He would till the end of time.

Well that was in my catechism… I hope it was in yours



In some parishes the communion rail is covered by a cloth under which the recipients place their hands. Supposedly this was a practice of very early times as well. (At least the bishop of Rockford thought so.)


This is another of those cases where so-called statistics deceive us. The other two that I can think of are: Couples who live together before marriage make themselves more likely to divorce and couples who use contraception same conclusion. The samples used here are self selecting for people who are less likely in the first place be accepting of the Church and its ideal way of living. I would not disagree with the observations just the alleged causes.


Good post. The priest washes his hands before he consecrates and touches nothing else (except the chalice) with this thumb and forefinger until he washes his hands AFTER communion.


You mean after Mass? As far as I have seen, the priest does not wash his hands after Communion.

And our priest shakes hands with numerous people after Mass. I have never seen him go and wash his hands after Mass but before greeting people.


At the Tridentine Mass the server pours water over the priest’s thumb and forefinger while the priest recites the *Corpus tuum, Domine *prayer. It’s in the Missal. :wink:


I don’t think that’s the point of receiving - to hold God in the palm of one’s hand, but to receive Him into yourself, body and soul. Personally, it just doesn’t seem right, almost as though one seeks to be the one in control, rather than submitting humbly to God. I would feel ashamed to have the audacity to touch the Body of Christ. It’s a matter of utmost reverence that is due to our Lord.

I really do believe that this practice of Communion in the hand often leads to irreverence, and which then often leads to loss of faith. I don’t understand why the priest in NO masses even bothers to purify his fingers after communion still, since he usually doesn’t keep thumb and forefinger together. The use of lay ministers with unconsecrated hands distributing communion, and the laity touching the host with unconsecrated hands, makes the practice of purification nothing more than a formality.

And please be aware that I am not passing judgment on anyone else, but just speaking my personal thoughts.


In truth—I agree with what you say. My statement above was meant to reflect----that no matter how reverent a person receives in the hand—what it comes to in essence—is that God is in the palm of their hand. God in the palm of man.


Receiving Christ in the palm of my hand reminds me that His palms were pierced for me.

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