Does a parish pastor have authority to require communion in the hand?


#1

Does a parish pastor have the authority to require that an entire First Communion class receive their First Holy Communion in the hand? This is an issue we are running into for two of our sons. Our family receives only on the tongue, but we have been told that this is not an option at our parish for the public celebration of their First Holy Communion. However, we were told that they could receive either way after they make their First Holy Communion. The reason given for this requirement is for the pastor's wishes of "uniformity."


#2

No, it's not his right to INSIST on such a thing. The faithful are given the option to recieve either way.


#3

In more detail:

The vatican has left it up to each country's confrence of bishops to choose how each country's faithful will recieve:

The following adaptation of GIRM 160 was approved by the Holy See for the United States.

  1. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.

The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.

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.

Recognized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 17 April 2002, and, promulgated as particular law of the United States by Decree of the President of the USCCB, Bishop Wilton Gregory, 25 April 2002.


#4

[quote="srperez1, post:1, topic:325879"]
Does a parish pastor have the authority to require that an entire First Communion class receive their First Holy Communion in the hand? This is an issue we are running into for two of our sons. Our family receives only on the tongue, but we have been told that this is not an option at our parish for the public celebration of their First Holy Communion. However, we were told that they could receive either way after they make their First Holy Communion. The reason given for this requirement is for the pastor's wishes of "uniformity."

[/quote]

speak with your pastor about this directly.


#5

[quote="srperez1, post:1, topic:325879"]
Does a parish pastor have the authority to require that an entire First Communion class receive their First Holy Communion in the hand? This is an issue we are running into for two of our sons. Our family receives only on the tongue, but we have been told that this is not an option at our parish for the public celebration of their First Holy Communion. However, we were told that they could receive either way after they make their First Holy Communion. The reason given for this requirement is for the pastor's wishes of "uniformity."

[/quote]

Absolutely no right at all. That is my understanding. I would speak to the pastor directly about this and inform him that you are going to teach your sons to receive on the tongue for the first communion


#6

yeah make sure to stir up as much trouble on this one as possible as we all know that the most important part of any first communion let alone celebrating mass in any manner is souly based upon the manner in which one has received Holy Communion, because we all know if one does not receive Holy Communion on the tongue, kneeling, and perhaps undergone a series of questioning by others in attendance upon wether or not he or she has gone to confession first, then the entire celebration is there for null an void and thus everyone who has done so has just entitled themself to one more day in purgatory. Further more one should consider writting a formal letter to the Holy Father demanding that this pastor be reprimanded and possibly publicly scorned.

A pastor has no right what so ever to tell anyone what to do at any time in regards of anything especially how one is allowed to participate in mass and or anything based on the Christian Faith in any manner what so ever.


#7

I really hate seeing questions that talk about "rights" and "insisting" when it comes to the sacraments, Mass, prayer, worship, etc. WE'RE NOT ADVERSARIES!

Can the pastor demand this? Do I have a right to that? Stop it!

The pastor has made a request that where there is a legitimate option of doing things one way or another, the first communion children follow a particular option for that one Mass. Is that an unreasonable request? I don't think so. But...

We have a family that normally follows a different legitimate option and would prefer to do that for the first communion Mass as well. How important is it to follow their preference? Is this one time they could do it the other way, or is this a go-to-the-mat and no-compromise situation? If they can't compromise on this issue, then maybe there are a couple of things that the family could do.

One is to talk with the pastor. Is he totally unbending on this issue or would he allow the child to follow his family's wishes? If the pastor says "no big deal" then that's the end of the problem.

But maybe the pastor isn't willing to compromise either. So now we have two sides saying "my way or the highway" and threatening to turn little Johnny's first communion into a tug of war. Then how about this? Johnny sits out the special first communion Mass so he isn't on stage (so to speak) and doesn't have the whole congregation watching him. He receives first communion at a regular Sunday Mass with no muss or fuss and receives in the manner his family prefers. He has received Jesus just as much as his friends at the special Mass, his family is happy, the pastor is happy, and Johnny learns an important lesson in respecting both his family and his pastor.


#8

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:7, topic:325879"]
I really hate seeing questions that talk about "rights" and "insisting" when it comes to the sacraments, Mass, prayer, worship, etc. WE'RE NOT ADVERSARIES!

Can the pastor demand this? Do I have a right to that? Stop it!

The pastor has made a request that where there is a legitimate option of doing things one way or another, the first communion children follow a particular option for that one Mass. Is that an unreasonable request? I don't think so. But...

We have a family that normally follows a different legitimate option and would prefer to do that for the first communion Mass as well. How important is it to follow their preference? Is this one time they could do it the other way, or is this a go-to-the-mat and no-compromise situation? If they can't compromise on this issue, then maybe there are a couple of things that the family could do.

One is to talk with the pastor. Is he totally unbending on this issue or would he allow the child to follow his family's wishes? If the pastor says "no big deal" then that's the end of the problem.

But maybe the pastor isn't willing to compromise either. So now we have two sides saying "my way or the highway" and threatening to turn little Johnny's first communion into a tug of war. Then how about this? Johnny sits out the special first communion Mass so he isn't on stage (so to speak) and doesn't have the whole congregation watching him. He receives first communion at a regular Sunday Mass with no muss or fuss and receives in the manner his family prefers. He has received Jesus just as much as his friends at the special Mass, his family is happy, the pastor is happy, and Johnny learns an important lesson in respecting both his family and his pastor.

[/quote]

agree.


#9

The first condition of CITH:

1. The new manner of giving communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. It is a matter of particular seriousness that in places where the new practice is lawfully permitted every one of the faithful have the option of receiving communion on the tongue and even when other persons are receiving communion in the hand. The two ways of receiving communion can without question take place during the same liturgical service. There is a twofold purpose here: that none will find in the new rite anything disturbing to personal devotion toward the Eucharist; that this sacrament, the source and cause of unity by its very nature, will not become an occasion of discord between members of the faithful.

ewtn.com/expert/answers/communion_in_hand.htm


#10

So let's assume ( I don't really know, but just for the sake of discussion), let's assume the pastor is dead wrong in asking for all the kids to receive in the hand.

What's the worst that can happen to the young communicant? Receive Jesus Christ in a way the Church approves? He'll receive Jesus Christ. :hmmm:

What's the worst that can happen if you insist he receive the way YOU desire and have a big to-do about this? I'm speaking of the spiritual ramifications for the child, his class, the parish, etc...

If the priest is overstepping his authority, who will take care of that? Do you think God wants -you- to hold a priest responsible for his actions?

99% of the people receive in the hand where I live...if the priest requested my grandchild first communion class receive Jesus on the tongue, I'd say "ok" and let it go.


#11

[quote="clem456, post:10, topic:325879"]
What's the worst that can happen to the young communicant? Receive Jesus Christ in a way the Church approves? He'll receive Jesus Christ. :hmmm:

[/quote]

My view is not "traditional" verses "modern". I do not receive in the hand because of the (even if small) possibility of crumbs lingering. What is the worst that could happen? Crumbs could fall off one's hand. This is not about rights; it is about following one's conscience. The priest should accommodate since this is permitted. :)


#12

More often than not, I think the virtue of obedience is absent in these discussions. Unless we're being compelled to commit sin, or break an actual law of the Church, aren't we obligated to obey our pastors?

I absolutely prefer to receive on the tongue, in fact I've only received in the hand twice since my conversion to Catholicism: once was when the EMHC was significantly shorter than I, and I thought there was great risk in the Host being dropped should I insist that she reach all the way up there to place it in my mouth, and the other was when a well-meaning priest was "just not having it". The former was a case of economy and prudence, while the latter was a case of just chalking it up to authority. The fact of the matter is, CITH is licit in the United States, and if the Parish Priest wishes for uniformity on this one occasion, we should just go with the flow. It may be another matter altogether should he always refuse COTT.

YMMV, and I'll let all the other posters hash out the other matters of Canon Law, "rights", "iss", "oughts", etc.


#13

[quote="john78, post:6, topic:325879"]
yeah make sure to stir up as much trouble on this one as possible as we all know that the most important part of any first communion let alone celebrating mass in any manner is souly based upon the manner in which one has received Holy Communion, because we all know if one does not receive Holy Communion on the tongue, kneeling, and perhaps undergone a series of questioning by others in attendance upon wether or not he or she has gone to confession first, then the entire celebration is there for null an void and thus everyone who has done so has just entitled themself to one more day in purgatory. Further more one should consider writting a formal letter to the Holy Father demanding that this pastor be reprimanded and possibly publicly scorned.

A pastor has no right what so ever to tell anyone what to do at any time in regards of anything especially how one is allowed to participate in mass and or anything based on the Christian Faith in any manner what so ever.

[/quote]

:eek: WHAT?!


#14

[quote="xixxvmcm85, post:12, topic:325879"]
More often than not, I think the virtue of obedience is absent in these discussions. Unless we're being compelled to commit sin, or break an actual law of the Church, aren't we obligated to obey our pastors?

I absolutely prefer to receive on the tongue, in fact I've only received in the hand twice since my conversion to Catholicism: once was when the EMHC was significantly shorter than I, and I thought there was great risk in the Host being dropped should I insist that she reach all the way up there to place it in my mouth, and the other was when a well-meaning priest was "just not having it". The former was a case of economy and prudence, while the latter was a case of just chalking it up to authority. The fact of the matter is, CITH is licit in the United States, and if the Parish Priest wishes for uniformity on this one occasion, we should just go with the flow. It may be another matter altogether should he always refuse COTT.

YMMV, and I'll let all the other posters hash out the other matters of Canon Law, "rights", "iss", "oughts", etc.

[/quote]

I don't agree because if someone has objections to receiving in the hand due to their beliefs they should be able to receive in the traditional way. While the Church allows people to receive in the hand, it is done so on the condition that the traditional way always be allowed. If the traditional way is not allowed then they are breaking that rule.

If someone has strong beliefs to not receive in the hand because they feel it is less reverent or they do not wish to risk dropping the Host or even spilling a crumb or they feel that only consecrated hands are worthy to touch the Eucharist, then they should not be obliged to go against their beliefs when their beliefs are in accordance with Church teachings.


#15

[quote="GangGreen, post:14, topic:325879"]
I don't agree because if someone has objections to receiving in the hand due to their beliefs they should be able to receive in the traditional way. While the Church allows people to receive in the hand, it is done so on the condition that the traditional way always be allowed. If the traditional way is not allowed then they are breaking that rule.

If someone has strong beliefs to not receive in the hand because they feel it is less reverent or they do not wish to risk dropping the Host or even spilling a crumb or they feel that only consecrated hands are worthy to touch the Eucharist, then they should not be obliged to go against their beliefs when their beliefs are in accordance with Church teachings.

[/quote]

Exactly! :thumbsup:


#16

[quote="Zekariya, post:11, topic:325879"]
My view is not "traditional" verses "modern". I do not receive in the hand because of the (even if small) possibility of crumbs lingering. What is the worst that could happen? Crumbs could fall off one's hand. This is not about rights; it is about following one's conscience. The priest should accommodate since this is permitted. :)

[/quote]

I'm not arguing that with you. Please re-read what I wrote.

I also don't know what your "view" is, not the point. I am simply asking the questions I asked..

Crumbs can fall anywhere anytime by the way. Take communion to a nursing home sometime if you want to see communion distribution difficulties. Somehow we will carry on.


#17

[quote="clem456, post:16, topic:325879"]
I'm not arguing that with you. Please re-read what I wrote.

I also don't know what your "view" is, not the point. I am simply asking the questions I asked..

Crumbs can fall anywhere anytime by the way. Take communion to a nursing home sometime if you want to see communion distribution difficulties. Somehow we will carry on.

[/quote]

My "view" is that I don't want any crumbs to fall from my hand (I would still hold this view even if it were the traditional thing to receive in the hand). I also believe that a priest can certainly recommend something but, shouldn't require the laity to go against their conscience.

It is one thing to restrict kneeling as this can cause commotion in the Communion line. It is another thing to not place the Eucharist in the mouth because of preferring to place It in the hand. GIRM protects not only the priests but also the laity. We have certain Communion reception permissions in GIRM and a priest can't just do away with that on a whim.


#18

[quote="Zekariya, post:17, topic:325879"]
My "view" is that I don't want any crumbs to fall from my hand (I would still hold this view even if it were the traditional thing to receive in the hand). I also believe that a priest can certainly recommend something but, shouldn't require the laity to go against their conscience.

It is one thing to restrict kneeling as this can cause commotion in the Communion line. It is another thing to not place the Eucharist in the mouth because of preferring to place It in the hand. GIRM protects not only the priests but also the laity. We have certain Communion reception permissions in GIRM and a priest can't just do away with that on a whim.

[/quote]

I'm not arguing any of that with you. None of it. Please if you could reconsider what my post said.


#19

[quote="clem456, post:18, topic:325879"]
I'm not arguing any of that with you. None of it. Please if you could reconsider what my post said.

[/quote]

I assume that this is what you are speaking of?

[quote="clem456, post:10, topic:325879"]
If the priest is overstepping his authority, who will take care of that? Do you think God wants -you- to hold a priest responsible for his actions?

99% of the people receive in the hand where I live...if the priest requested my grandchild first communion class receive Jesus on the tongue, I'd say "ok" and let it go.

[/quote]

I am not arguing in favor of holding a priest responsible for his actions. I am arguing that I would still receive in the mouth. Also, there is nothing to be lost by receiving on the tongue (unless one is afraid of getting germs from the Eucharist). For someone that doesn't wan't to drop crumbs, it is of utmost importance to receive in the mouth so that they don't cause Christ to fall on the floor. :)

PS I am not at all trying to be argumentative. I am just trying to point out that one's preference may be deeper than "traditional" verses "modern" reception (such as is my case).


#20

[quote="GangGreen, post:14, topic:325879"]

If someone has strong beliefs to not receive in the hand because they feel it is less reverent or they do not wish to risk dropping the Host or even spilling a crumb or they feel that only consecrated hands are worthy to touch the Eucharist, then they should not be obliged to go against their beliefs when their beliefs are in accordance with Church teachings.

[/quote]

All of these concerns, except for maybe the last one, are probably good to politely bring up to the pastor in hopes that he'll change his mind. If he doesn't though, I'm not yet convinced that it would at all be prudent for the parents to then be stubborn about it (which I'm not claiming they are in fact being).

Wanting to receive Jesus in the most reverent way a person knows is an admirable thing. But so too is obedience to authority, and sometimes "going along with the flow" in order to maintain unity. I don't know that there is any cut-and-dry response to this situation. I just know that if it were me, I'd have my kid receive as my Pastor has asked him to.

Now concerning your last bit (which I've bolded), I don't believe that is "in accordance with Church teachings". The Church has deemed the use of EMHCs licit. It's one thing to say that the use of EMHCs is imprudent (and that's a sentiment with which I sympathize), but saying that EMHCs are not worthy to touch the Eucharist is, in effect, saying that the use of EMHCs is wrong, and quite possibly, that the priests have no right to delegate their responsibility to them.


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