How to chew the Eucharist?

What is the proper way to receive and consume the Eucharist?

Is kneeling optional or highly encouraged?

By the hand or the tongue?

Is there a canon law regarding the proper way to receive or chew the body of Christ?

The norm for the Church is kneeling and on the tongue. For the Diocese’ that have the option of standing and in the hand, the preferred is still kneeling and on the tongue, and so it is something that is optional (in those places) but still highly encouraged.

There are no canon laws regarding chewing. Our lord did say in Capernaum that “unless you gnaw on the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you…” however, this was Him repeating Himself in front of the already scandalised Jews, except this time with stronger language.

On His first mention He said (in the greek text) the word phago, “eating.” on this occasion He used the word trogo, “gnawing”, like an animal gnawing prey. Our Lord used this much stronger word so that nobody would misinterpret Him, that He really does want to give His real flesh to be real food.

It is a hyperbole, we aren’t meant to consume the Host like a pack of aggressive, starving, wild animals. So although there are no rules for chewing, you are better simply allowing it to soften and dissolve slightly on your tongue until you are able to swallow it. It avoids any possibility of the Eucharist being stuck in your teeth or particles coming out of your mouth while talking and is miles more reverent, all for the sake of holding it in your mouth for a few seconds longer. Some take this time to adore Him interiorly in this mind blowing moment, where we really do become living tabernacles.

I hope this helps, may God bless you.

As to the posture, it depends where you are, what ritual Church and rite it is, and if the Roman rite, which form of the Mass. I can only speak for the Roman rite of the Latin Church (not for the Byzantines, Maronites, etc.).

In the Latin Church, receiving on the tongue and kneeling generally go together, as do receiving on the hand and standing, so I’ll treat those as one question.

The U.S. and some other countries have a special permission to receive in the hand / standing at ordinary-form Masses, and it has become, de facto, the norm in these places. In places that still observe the universal norm of receiving kneeling on the tongue, including traditional Latin Masses in the U.S. or anywhere else, this custom should be observed.

As to the method of digesting the sacred host, I do not think there is any law about this, but there is good conventional wisdom in letting the host dissolve on the tongue and swallowing rather than chewing, so as to avoid leaving particles behind in the teeth.

I am in America and do not go to the Latin/extrodinary form of Mass. I have always received in the hand standing. I would like to receive kneeling on the tongue but the parishes that I attend don’t get mad but discourage kneeling and the tongue for “trafficable” reasons.

Where can I find a parish in American that accepts kneeling and the tongue?

Is the extrodinary form the only option in America to receive the Eucharist this way?

I would suggest looking for a church which has a communion rail and actually uses it.

It is exceptionally rare. I see you are in Lacey, WA. From what I understand, there’s nothing traditional out there except for the Latin Mass in Ballard. Why not give it a try? I know people who go there, and I understand they have a very vibrant community, great homilies, daily confessions, and beautiful liturgies.

But if you are determined to move somewhere for a conservative ordinary form liturgy, you might try St. Joseph’s in Detroit or St. John Cantius in Chicago. You also might find something on the traditional side in Lincoln, NE.

No, the EF is not the only option to receive kneeling and on the tongue. In both of the parishes I attend regularly (both celebrate the Ordinary Form), there are a few people who do so. They usually approach at or near the end of the line, perhaps because that way, it’s less likely that there will be someone behind them who won’t notice in time that they’re kneeling.

Here is a good video from Cardinal Arinze you can bear in mind :smiley:

Woops, I forgot to link. Here.

You said yourself, “there are no rules.” So I would preface your statement of “you are better. . .” with a note that it’s personal opinion. To the OP: There are no guidelines. Do what you feel called to do - chew it normally or do not. :shrug:

Incorrect. The universal norm for posture is a choice of standing or kneeling. The universal norm for method is on the tongue, while episcopal conferences (not individual dioceses) can determine if reception in the hand is permissible. There is no “preferred” method. In fact until the recent revision of the English GIRM of the United States, the impression was given that standing was preferred over kneelling.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone is actually allowed to refuse to give communion to someone simply because they want to receive it on the tongue. You may just have to stand strong in your position. Others will follow sooner or later. :slight_smile:

If nobody currently receives kneeling at your parish, you could be the bold soul who introduces the practice there. Even when I visit other parishes, I still receive kneeling and on the tongue. I’ve yet to encounter a priest who had any outward problem with it. Receiving from EMHCs might lead to some confusion/awkwardness, but it should be fine.

And if people question you afterwards, you can charitably and humbly explain why you’re receiving the way you are and maybe draw more people to follow the practice. It’s something that can/should be encouraged even in the Ordinary Form. =)

Here we go again!

The back and forth on tongue or hand; standing or kneeling focuses on the receving, and the receiver, which often leads to the “my way is best” argument that loses track of what is most important about the Eucharist…which is the giving and the giver!

I wish people would take the focus off themselves, and how they feel, and what they think, and put it back on Jesus, who is the source and the summit of the Holy Sacrament we so rightfully call the source and the summit of our faith.

We need to get over ourselves!

Peace and all good!

I learned to let the Host dissolve somewhat before swallowing It whole instead of chewing a few months after my conversion, after He once got stuck in a cavity from a wisdom tooth I had pulled out a few days earlier. Getting the particle out in a dignified matter was challenging.

As for posture, I prefer to receive kneeling, but I don’t insist on it if it seems like it would be disruptive. Which, sadly, is most of the time. I do however always receive on my tongue, which, as has been pointed out, is the default mode of reception.

What is preferred is really a matter of personal opinion. I think kneeling and on the tongue should be preferred, but that doesn’t really mean it is. If there is a dispensation to receive in the hands where you live (which is true for most places), then neither is really preferred by the Church, they’re both licit.

That said, I’m not sure if this dispensation means every priest in the diocese is obliged to give Communion in the hand. They are obliged to give on the tongue (since it is the default way of the Church), but just as they are not obliged to accept female altar servers (or any specific male server for that sake) even though there is a dispensation for it, I’m not sure they’re obliged to distribute on the hand. Does anyone know anything more specific about this?

No, kneeling is still the universal norm, to stand requires dispensation (is that the correct word?) from Rome, the same way as with receiving in the hand.

I had heard something about the GIRM by the USCCB before, perhaps it was one of those areas that needed to be clarified in the new revision.

External posture affects inner disposition, which is why this is important. I don’t kneel because I want to look good (on the contrary, I hesitate to kneel because I don’t like drawing attention to myself), but because it helps me focus on Him. If someone can focus fully with no external reverence (which I’m sure is possible), then they’re better than I am. But as a collective, I believe we lose focus when we “ease up” on the externals. There’s a different atmosphere in churches where people kneel next to each other to receive the Sacrament, rather than being ushered in a line. I think we lost something more than pieces of wood when we lost the altar rails; this does however not mean i look down on people who don’t kneel. It also does not mean I insist on kneeling myself, when it would be disruptive (even though it should never be).

But I agree, the debates are tedious, and there is too much “my way is best” argumentation around. Especially among those (generally older) people who visibly frown when I dare to kneel, or in some cases even if they see me receiving on the tongue.

The best way to end this entire controversy would be to remove the options, so that all receive in the default way. As soon as there are options, there will be division. And with less options, there would be less division. It’s as simple as that :wink:

Redemptionis Sacramentum

If you listen to the totality of the comments by the Cardinal Prefect Emeritus, you will hear that while Kneeling is “traditional, and preferred” the Episcopal Conferences may choose Standing or Kneeling as a preferred local norm. Standing or Kneeling are both options in the universal law.

I agree. What is most important is that the Holy Sacrifice be offered to God every moment of every day. Whether we receive or not, whether we attend or not, does not change that fact.

Within the Roman Church: universally, kneeling; some places allow standing. Universally, on the tongue; in some places, in the hand (one hand in the other, then, with the lower hand take if from your hand to your mouth). If receiving from the cup, when the cup is presented, take it reverently in both hands and take a small sip.
Responses: In the OF, respond amen to the phrase “The Body of Christ” with Amen. In both OF and EF, say nothing after reception, but make the sign of the cross.

The Eucharist is to be consumed as food. Some let it dissolve on the tongue, others chew with gusto.

Note that the standard for the Roman Church doesn’t apply in the other churches united with Rome.

Within the Byzantine Rite - approach, toes to the ambon, standing, tilt your head back, open your mouth wide, say nothing. If taller than the minister, bend your knees a little. After receiving step to the side. It’s common to make the sign of the cross, after moving out of the way, but not in rubrics.

Since there are no rules, you are not better one way or the other. :shrug:

Especially since not all Hosts dissolve. If you wait for that, you could be sitting in church for an hour or two after Mass.

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