Op-Ed - Bishop Schneider: The Rite of Holy Communion in times of a pandemic


The bishop’s statement somewhat disingenuously ignores the far more obvious vector of possible contagion: saliva from one “on the tongue” communicant touching the hand of the person distributing Communion, only to be transferred to the next person via their hand or their own tongue. About 10% of our parish receives on the tongue, and very few of those project their tongue far enough to avoid some contact with their saliva. In normal times that is an unpleasantness requiring hand sanitizer afterwards, but these are shaping up to be anything but normal times.

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Came in to say the same thing… In the hand for my family… and it is no less reverent

What an excellent article, by an even more excellent prelate! Thank God for Bishop Schneider and all other clergyman like him, defending the faith in these troubling times.


This I seriously doubt. Our family received on the tongue, lots of people do in our parish( I would guess 30-40 percent. I have had this conversation with EMHC and a priest friend of mine. They all say that it us rare, perhaps once during a mass on average, at most, that their finger touches a tongue. Even when the communucant’s tiod if toungue only extends to their outer lip, they don’t touch the toungue, and when they do, it’s typically because they grabbed the host wrong.

Now: it us a different issue if if the risk should be taken during a pandemic, I suggest no it should not. But do not imply that there is contact with saliva with most of the time communion is received on the toungue. That is just grossly inaccurate.


Regarding the Bishop’s article, I wish he, like everyone else would be more accurate or at least think about the science.

Anytime this issue of hygiene comes up comparing communion on the toungue vs in the hand, the following case is never made:

Communion on the hand has a stronger risk of spreading a bacterial infection.

Communion on the toungue has a stronger risk of spreading a viral infection.

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Our archdiocese is quite “conservative”. At the cathedral, at least half the faithful (at all 7 Sunday Masses and all 4 daily Masses) receive kneeling at the altar rail. There is a lot of “traditional” outward respect for Holy Communion. Yet in these times, the archdiocese is encouraging the faithful to receive on the hand…
Even if you believe the tongue to be ideal, we need to be flexible and practical.

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If there were that kind of risk, I just wouldn’t receive at all. I know it’s not a well-received sentiment in today’s Church, but except for making one’s Easter duty, no one ever has to receive communion except for the priest. Older hand missals will make reference to “if there be any” who wish to receive.

Again, if there were that kind of risk, you might just wish to stay at home. Infirm people, or those with compromised immune systems, need to be more careful than others. The Sunday Mass obligation is never absolute.


If that’s true, then sharing the Cup is most dangerous risk since everyone actually puts their mouth on it


I understand that to this day, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the average lay person only receives a few times a year…and only after much fasting and preparation.
The widespread practice of weekly or even daily communion has been encouraged by the Church for some time now, and I certainly believe this development was inspired by the Holy Spirit…but it is a very new development. I believe it was St. Pius X, who reigned just over a century ago, who promoted the practice of frequent communion for the universal Church…

Do we always have to compare people (especislly priests) who hold traditional views to pharasees in the Gospels? It quite insulting. And I will add that the feeling expressed by the priest would have been common not more that 50-60 years ago among almost all Catholics. So if you are saying the Archbishop is no more than a pharasee, you are saying the same thing about our grandparents, great grandparents, etc.
I get it, you are not as concerned about The Blessed Sacrament falling in the floor, but don’t insult those who are.

Rant over


The author insults my parents and grandparents who like all good faithful Catholics of their time followed the Church faithfully when Communion in the hand was instituted. They were not less reverent receiving in either form. It is the author of the insult who should be apologising to my parents and grandparents. Jesus taught that it is what is on the inside that means the most. Not outward signs. I believe Jesus and will also defend us ordinary Catholics from such an insult.

There are many people who make reasoned arguments that communion on the toungue us preferable. There are many people who make reasoned arguments that communion in the hand us preferable. That is going to be the case as long as both methods are allowed by the Church and there us nothing wrong with it as long as it is argued respectfully. The Archbishop did not call anyone a derogatory name. You, on the other hand, did do so.


If only our faith was could be anywhere near as strong as our fear.


No I didn’t. I cited the bible text that addresses claims that outwards signs are more important and less condemnable than the inner disposition regarding reverence. Luke 11 38. How can we know the true Christian way if we redact the behaviour of the Pharisees from Scripture?

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Oh come now, you are being quite disingenuous. You quoted the first sentence and followed that immediately with “said the Pharasees about Jesus”.

You implication was clear and intentional: The Archbishop is like a Pharasee lecturing Jesus. And there was NO cited biblical text.


Your parents and grandparents did something that became allowed. They didn’t follow Holy Mother Church in this regard as if Holy Mother Church outlawed communion on the tongue. Rather, I’d say they(along with many many others) followed the crowd of Catholics chasing the new trend in the church. The Norm, to this day, In the Roman Catholic church for receiving communion is on the tongue. On the hand is only permissible because of an Indult from the 70’s. This prelate is defending the official stance of Holy Mother Church. I’d say there is clearly something significant with the practice since Holy Mother Church still holds it to be the preferred way of receiving our Lord. Even if you practice reception on the hand, and advocate for it, you can’t deny the fact that particles of our Lord’s Body and Blood Are lost and Desecrated because the care needed to receive in the hand is not seen too. That’s what this Archbishop is reminding us of.

Note: not saying anything derogatory about your kin. Simply making a point. I’m sure they are good and fine Catholics with no ill intent.


Bishop Schneider said nothing insulting toward anyone. Your comment however was rather insulting toward the bishop, who is an extremely faithful servant and who holds a position of authority in the Church. Your follow-up post also shows a lack of knowledge about the reasons why many prefer to receive on the tongue. It has nothing to do with outward signs.


If as many people here in the US became infected with Covid 19 as we have with the common flu, you would be stepping over bodies on your way to work. Maybe some in your house hold.

“a decrease in reverence, as is the way of receiving Communion in the hand.”

Jesus clearly says that it is what is inside a person that matters to God. That statement is untrue. I call it out.

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