Our Lady of Akita & Communion on the Tongue

I just finished reading a very good book about the Church-approved apparitions of Our Lady in Akita, Japan to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa (Akita, by Francis Mutsuo Fukushima.)

There’s a statement about the breakdown in the Church that is often quoted:

From Our Lady’s third and final message from October 13th, 1973: “Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary pray for the bishops and priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church. One will see cardinals opposing other cardinals… and bishops confronting other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and condemned by their confreres.”

That’s quite something in itself, but not really what I’m posting about now. The book, unexpectedly to me, makes very strongly the case for Communion on the tongue. It does this first of all, amazingly, using evidence from the miraculous happenings at Akita itself, but backs up its claim with quotes from documents by Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as the observed behavior of these pontiffs.

Sr. Agnes received a stigmata on the palm of her left hand (where all true stigmata occur - never on the wrist) during Mass on several occasions that was so painful she was unable to open her hand to take Communion, as was the custom then at her convent. Because of this, she received on the tongue. When she reflected upon these things, she came to believe that what she experienced was evidence of a divine wish for Communion on the tongue. Eventually, her entire convent went back to receiving on the tongue.

A lot of the quotes in the book are from a Fr. Joseph Marie Jacq: “Fr. Joseph Marie Jacq of the Paris Foreign Mission Society was one of the eye-witnesses (to the miraculous tears) and a theologian who came to know deeply about the spiritual condition of the nuns at Akita.” Fr. Joseph was a devout missionary who served the Japanese people for 33 years.

A few more quotes will illustrate this thrust, one of the main topics of the book - pay attention especially to the passages from Papal documents of Paul VI and John Paul II:

“Mass started a little after 5 PM. Just as Sister Ishikawa was renewing her vows, my hand started to ache almost unbearably. I almost screamed. It was bleeding and ached just as if someone had pierced my palm all the way to the back with a nail. I tried with my whole strength to bear it. My forehead was in a greasy sweat. At that moment, clinging to Our Lady’s medal, I prayed, “Mary, help me!” I tried to endure the pain by thinking of the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross. This all took place in just a short time, but when I was bearing the pain, it seemed a very long time. I still cannot forget it. At Holy Communion, everyone received in their hands, but since I could not open my palm because of the pain, I received in my mouth.”

“Regarding this occurrence, Fr. Joseph said, “The episode on July 26th shows us that God wants lay people and nuns to receive Communion on the tongue, because Communion by their unconsecrated hands carries with it the potential danger of hurting and undermining faith in the real presence.” In backing up this argument, he quoted the pontifical pastoral instruction Memoriale Domini issued by Pope Paul VI on May 29, 1969, which tells us that the faithful should receive Communion on the tongue ‘in order to protect their sensibility and spiritual worship’ towards the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This pastoral instruction explains why the Universal Church introduced and mandated the custom of receiving Communion on the tongue in early centuries.”

Just as Pope John Paul II also stressed in his 1980 pastoral letter Dominicae Cenae, the custom was introduced for the spiritual ‘common good’ of the lay communicants and nuns, whose hands are not consecrated.

“During her Mass appearances in Japan, Mother Teresa, probably unwittingly, demonstrated her deep reverence and keen spiritual sensibility toward the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by receiving only on the tongue.”

“Fr. Joseph said one of his fellow priests confessed to him that he had suffered from a guilty conscience, as he is forced by his bishop to distribute Communion onto laymen’s hands.”

“Pope John Paul II visited Japan in February 1981… Fr. Joseph was happy to confirm, with his own eyes, that the Pontiff distributed Holy Communion onto Communicants’ tongues ONLY, even when Catholics thrust their hands towards the Pontiff… The Pontiff showed exactly the same example as in this case when he visited France and other countries.”

How did Communion in the hand end up winning approval? “Fr. Joseph replied that when an Episcopal Conference ignores the Pontiff’s teachings on this issue and pressures the Pontiff to distribute Holy Communion in a layman’s hand, the Pontiff has no other way but to comply with the demand. The Pontiff was forced to comply, because he did not want to risk antagonizing the Episcopal Conference in question and thereby trigger a possible schism.”

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[The book attempts to demonstrate that the Fatima prophecies concern, in part, coming lack of reverence for the Eucharist. I won’t go into that here.

The book also gives a short segue-way to the story of Marthe Robin as well. Marthe Robin was a French stigmatist who survived on nothing but the Eucharist for decades. Multiple witnesses, on multiple occasions, testified that when given Communion, the Host was seen to fly miraculously from the priest’s hand to her mouth. The author presents this as further evidence that the it is the Divine Will that the norm for the reception of Holy Communion be on the tongue. I don’t want to go into this since these happenings have not been given Church blessing. However, everything about her and her life is completely orthodox.]

I think I can make this statement: If you support Communion in the hand, you are in opposition to at least the personal opinion of every single Pope that’s gone on record in history on this issue. No Pope that I know of has ever spoken in favor of Communion in the hand, and it seems that the two longest-reigning post-Conciliar popes both had very strong opinions indeed against it.

One should then ask, how did Communion in the hand come to be the norm in America and most of the world? I’m not going to get into that here, as it seems to cause trouble, but I’d encourage personal research. Also, be mindful that you are always free to take Communion on the tongue at a Novus Ordo Mass - I do, and would say I’m part of a relatively small but not insignificant minority.

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You mention Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II with regards to Communion on the tongue.

What about our present Pope?

At ALL masses at which he gives Holy Communion the faithful who are to receive from him must KNEEL and receive ON THE TONGUE.

This is because this is what our Holy Father would like to be the norm for all the Church. He has apparrently said this to those close to him.

When I said this on another post about how we should receive Holy Communion a person told me that this was “irrelevant”.

I, for one, do not consider the Pope’s wishes and example to be “irrelevant”.

Let us pray for the day when true respect for, and devotion to, the Blessed Sacrament, returns to the Church.

Since Benedict’s position is so well-known (and so frequently dismissed by those who chastise others for “not following the Church”), I didn’t think there was a lot of reason to mention it.

I would like to add that receiving in the hand is certainly entirely licit - of course! It’s not “sacrilegious”, or anything as preposterous as that. I did it most of my life and still adored Our Lord. It’s just not as good as we can do, and not where the Holy Spirit led the Church in Her early history.


Your first posts in a month and you jump right in telling us who receive communion in the hand that we oppose the popes.

What do you get out of this?

I am amazed that someone could jump right in here, ignore the substance, and launch into a personal tirade. FYI: I will not stoop to this level, and this is the last reply I will make to you here. (And if this is an attempt to get the thread closed via argument, I hope it won’t work.)

I’m sorry if you do not care for the papal documents and actions presented here. It is obviously the popes (the Church) who are telling you something, not I. If you have an issue with them, that is something you could work out on your own.

As for what I get out of this - a valid question - I get the joy of serving HMC faithfully.

I have no wish to argue.

Thanks Paul — for providing food for thought.

To Paul thank you for posting this I for one found it very interesting as it contains two of my interests Akita, and Communion on the tongue. I really hope at least one person who reads your post will try receiving on the tongue even once because it really makes a difference.

Im in my 20s, a revert and had always received the Eucharist on my hand, as I was taught, until March 2007. One day I was sightseeing in Washington DC when I attended mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I had not had a chance to wash my hands for a while and when it came time to receive the Eucharist I suddenly thought it would be irreverent to have Jesus on my grubby hands, so for the first time in my life I opened my mouth and received on my tongue. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and I realized so much in that moment that I continue to receive that way to this day.

My point is people should at least try it once just open your mouth, and dont say aaaaah.:thumbsup:

WOWZER! His first post in a month…filled with good info, btw…& you’re on it like white on rice. What do you get out of THAT?

BTW. No one said anything about “opposing” the Pope. I don’t know about you, but I like to follow the winners. Following the “losers” doesn’t usually bring the results that I would like to attain. Since the Holy Spirit guided the Cardinals to elect **this **man Pope, I think I’ll watch him & follow his example. How about you?

I understand that I am not an intellectual like the many posters on CA, and I am generally ignored, but I really do not understand “communion in the hand”. I grew up in the 30s and 40s when communion was taken on the tongue.

I have never taken communion in the hand and I am always a little amazed when I see people in my age group on EWTN’s Daily Mass take it in the hand. :frowning: Thankfully, the hand people are very few. But, I wonder, why did they change to taking communion in the hand?

At my church very few people take Holy Communion by hand and for that I am very pleased.:thumbsup:


From the OP…

I think I can make this statement: If you support Communion in the hand, you are in opposition to at least the personal opinion of every single Pope that’s gone on record in history on this issue.

Hello? :hmmm:

I did not know that reception of communion in the hand was an option in any traditional Mass.

Do you know the “personal opinion” of “every single Pope that’s gone of record” re Communion in the hand? I don’t, so if you’re privy to this knowledge let us all know. What we can know, here & now, is that Pope Benedict seems to prefer giving the Eucharist on the tongue.

Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini says:

“It seems though that the Pope wants to provide an example for the Church, according to Msgr. Marini, “The form adopted by Benedict XVI is meant to **highlight the force of this valid norm for the whole Church.” **

“It could also be noted that the (Pope’s) preference for such form of distribution which, without taking anything away from the other one, better highlights the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist,** helps the devotion of the faithful, and introduces more easily to the sense of mystery. Aspects which, in our times, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to highlight and recover.”**

What we also know is that Communion in the hand was introduced into this country by members of the hierarchy who used manipulation & pressure to get it done.

Personally, When & if my Bishops teachings are opposed to those of the Holy Father…which used to happen here quite often, I’ll go with the Pope every time. (Thank God for our latest Bishop…consecrated in 2,004. I don’t have to make those choices anymore.)

Remember Mgr. Marini’s words, “this takes nothing away from the other method”. I doubt the Pope will MAKE you receive on the tongue or MAKE the hierarchy here bow to his own personal preference, either. That’s not his way. He’ll lead by example & those Bishops who are faithful to Rome will follow it. Those who aren’t… won’t. Nothing new about that!!!

So, you’re saying that anyone who doesn’t fully embrace every OPINION expressed by the Pope is “unfaithful” to Rome?

What about his opinion that the expanded use of the TLM was an “act of tolerance”???

i wonder if, when Jesus was breaking the bread and handing it out at the last supper, were the apostles kneeling and sticking out their tongue? i receive in the hand because i don’t want to receive other people’s herpes/aids/whatever from the slobber that gathers all over the priest hand. eeewww, i cringe now just thinking about it.

i remember my mom telling me a story from her youth (pre-V2), one time when she received communion and the wafer actually touched her tooth, she thought she was going to hell. apparently, eating the bread really meant “allow to dissolve on tongue” back in those days. makes me wonder if the apostles sat there with bread on their tongue, waiting for it to dissolve back during the last supper? must have taken a long time…

That would have been the OP that is privy to that info, see post 2.

Again, what does this topic have to do with the TLM? Isn’t communion on the tongue a given?

I’m not sure what your mother’s confused and incorrect theological assumptions have to do with this topic.

Please do some research on “archeologicalism” in relation to the liturgy. Several popes have written on the subject. Just two rhetorical questions for now: should men and women be physically separated at Mass, as was done in the early Church? Should we not say the Creed since it wasn’t written until the 4th century?

Only those who are not capable of reading the English language are not aware of these pontiffs’ opinions on this matter. I find it preposterous that someone could suggest otherwise.

Who said this has anything to do with TLM? I, for one, attend both rites weekly, and receive on the tongue in both.

This will be my one and only reply to you in this thread.

I find it very difficult to relate to those who can so easily sweep aside the teachings and actions of not just one, but every Pope we know of on this issue. Not to mention that of a sister so holy she was graced by a visit from the Blessed Virgin (according to the infallible judgment of HMC). In fact, I find it nearly impossible to believe that those who would do so are really interested in Truth on this issue.

I said “at least the personal opinion” of these popes as a conservative statement. Even if it were only that, it would be weighty, given how important it obviously was to all these men. But it is more than that, as the Papal documents cited do have weight.

So, stand by and throw your stones if you must. Those of us who wish to give Our Lord present in the Eucharist the most reverence we’re capable of will pay attention to Paul, John Paul, Benedict, and Sr. Agnes as well. Who are you following? (The question is rhetorical.)

Then why did you post this in the forum dedicated to the celebration of the TLM? If you wanted to discuss this as it is in the ordinary liturgy, then that would have been the appropriate forum, would it not?

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