Preferred Method of Receiving


#1

I recently was speaking with a friend of mine on how to receive the Eucharist. He is extremely learned but believes that receiving on the tongue and kneeling is no more preferred than receiving in the hand. As I recall, the Church prefers the communicant to receive on the tongue and kneeling but allows for the extraordinary means of receiving in the hand (equally valid).

Could anyone provide a Church document that I could go to for reference?


#2

Universal Norm
From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd edition, March 2002.
The following norm is the universal norm found in the Roman Missal. Note that each Bishop Conference determines the particular norm for its own country. By the general law, each adaptation is then submitted to the Holy See for recognition.
160 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 up the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice themselves, and still less hand them on to one another. The faithful may communicate either standing or kneeling, as established by the Conference of Bishops. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that they make an appropriate gesture of reverence, to be laid down in the same norms, before receiving the Sacrament.
U.S. Norm
The following adaptation of GIRM 160 was approved by the Holy See for the United States.
160. 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.

Based on the foregoing, I would say your friend is probably closer to correct.


#3

It's sad to me when Catholics come to the thought of the "best" better" "most Holy way" to receive Holy Communion. As noted both ways are acceptable by the norms so no judgement need to be made what is "better"

We are sinners in need of the body and blood soul and divinity of Jesus and we are blessed to receive it regularly at the Catholic Mass, and even daily for those able to attend.

Time to rethink the better approach and realize the most reverent position in\z the soul
that receives worthily.


#4

John Paul II and other popes wrote that they would not encourage recieving Holy Communion in the hand because they had concerns about people abusing it, but they also allowed it whenever requested. You can make of that what you will.

I have strong opinions about this, but they're just my opinions.


#5

An ordained member of the clergy has provided citations from the relevant Church documents as requested by the OP .

My strong opinion is that no good can come from this thread continuing any futher.

-Tim-


#6

GIRM 2003 (No longer binding)

  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.

The bolded and underlined section was removed from authority in the US long before the 2011 GIRM came into affect, 2004 with Redemptionis Sacramentum.

GIRM 2011 (Currently Binding)

  1. It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).

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.

Redemptionis Sacramentum - 2004 (Currently Binding)

[90.] “The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. “However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms”.[176]

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”.[177] Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice,[178] if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.[179]

It appears that the Church thinks otherwise. Reception on the tongue is the norm and the hand where the Bishop’s Conference has allowed it with recognition from the Holy See. Reception on the tongue is always acceptable. Furthermore, kneeling seems to be the norm because you see in # 90 that if they receive standing there are other requirements of reverence, head bow. Therefore, when kneeling there is no need to add another reverence; there is no accommodation needed to add to the posture.


#7

[quote="YoungCatholic86, post:1, topic:323987"]
I recently was speaking with a friend of mine on how to receive the Eucharist. He is extremely learned but believes that receiving on the tongue and kneeling is no more preferred than receiving in the hand. As I recall, the Church prefers the communicant to receive on the tongue and kneeling but allows for the extraordinary means of receiving in the hand (equally valid).

Could anyone provide a Church document that I could go to for reference?

[/quote]

Read the Instruction "Memoriale Domini" by Pope Paul VI. ;)

I agree with you and could not force myself to receive in the hand and standing. I did it for too long and solely because I did not know better. Once I learned more, I could no longer do it. That is not to say that it is not a fine and valid way to receive Communion - in those countries where the Holy See has allowed it, that is, since it's not a universal practice - and of course those who chose it can do so with utmost reverence and respect. But as you go over Memoriale Domini, you will see why communion in the mouth became the traditional way to receive the Beloved in the Eucharist.


#8

The US bishops have stated a preference for standing but it is not a preference that even rises to the level of requiring a talking to if not followed. Tongue or hand, there’s no preference at all.


#9

[quote="johnmann, post:8, topic:323987"]
The US bishops have stated a preference for standing

[/quote]

As mentioned above, this is the current norm:

The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling. ...] The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant.


#10

I believe it is preferred that people receive on the tongue at a global level. If you watched the past two popes, they did not allow anyone to receive from them on the hands. That says a lot.

That said, most people in the US have their preference to receive on the hand and as long as the Church continues to allow it and then there is no real "preference". Although I wonder how many do it because everyone else does it or they were taught that way rather than having a theological reason for doing so?

Most people who receive on their tongues do so because of the reverence it shows as not having hands that are consecrated to touch the Eucharist, feeling that they should not be able to do what they please with the Eucharist, and to help prevent any mishandling of it.

At the end of the day, the norm will only change if churches begin telling children who receive their first Communion to receive on the tongue. If kids were taught to do so, then maybe their parents would make the switch as well and others would do the same. However, as it is, children and adults are taught at a diocese level to receive on their hands as the primary method and so it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future unless the Pope issues a statement saying otherwise.


#11

[quote="GangGreen, post:10, topic:323987"]
I believe it is preferred that people receive on the tongue at a global level. If you watched the past two popes, they did not allow anyone to receive from them on the hands. That says a lot.

[/quote]

Actually, it does not say anything as it is not factually correct. Recently in another thread there was a picture of Benedict 16 giving Communion in the hand (I believe it was to a European woman, but don't recall the identification). Further, he has written on the matter and indicated that he does not have a significant problem with it.


#12

We are SO BLESSED as a Church to receive our Lord in the intimacy of this sacrament. Fruitless quibbling like this is disheartening -- the issue is just not important, compared to so many issues to which we should direct our attention and energies. Our Vicar of Christ himself distributes in both ways -- there is no "preference" by the Church in how the Blessed Sacrament Himself is to be received.


#13

[quote="TimothyH, post:5, topic:323987"]
An ordained member of the clergy has provided citations from the relevant Church documents as requested by the OP .

My strong opinion is that no good can come from this thread continuing any futher.

-Tim-

[/quote]

Agreed. My very first thought when I saw the thread title was "Oh, no! Here we go again!" :o


#14

I follow the lead of our deacon when he receives from our priest - standing and in the hand. This may be why a lot of people do this as well - they emulate what they see the priests and deacons do and think it’s the way it should be.


#15

[quote="Catholic_Wife, post:14, topic:323987"]
I follow the lead of our deacon when he receives from our priest - standing and in the hand. This may be why a lot of people do this as well - they emulate what they see the priests and deacons do and think it's the way it should be.

[/quote]

And if you watch when I reciee you will see me stand and recieve on the tongue...perfectly fine either way as long as the conference where you live has permission to recieve on the hand because not all have requested this indult.


#16

[quote="quiet52, post:12, topic:323987"]
We are SO BLESSED as a Church to receive our Lord in the intimacy of this sacrament. Fruitless quibbling like this is disheartening -- the issue is just not important, compared to so many issues to which we should direct our attention and energies. Our Vicar of Christ himself distributes in both ways -- there is no "preference" by the Church in how the Blessed Sacrament Himself is to be received.

[/quote]

It is not unimportant. It is in fact very important. Both are allowed (at least in some countries) and what matters is that we receive Christ devoutly. As Pope Paul VI explains, kneeling and receiving on the tongue is naturally more reverent than receiving on the hand and taking the host and putting it in our mouth. But if we can do so devoutly, and it is allowed, then it is fine to do so. As long as we understand what we are doing and why.


#17

[quote="Catholic_Wife, post:14, topic:323987"]
I follow the lead of our deacon when he receives from our priest - standing and in the hand. This may be why a lot of people do this as well - they emulate what they see the priests and deacons do and think it's the way it should be.

[/quote]

Yes, most people don't understand why they are doing it one way, don't get to choose, don't even know that they may receive kneeling and on the mouth. I don't thinking jumping on a bandwagon is ever the way things should be. The GIRM leaves it up to the faithful to choose, and the Holy Father Pope Paul VI wrote:

This method of distributing holy communion [of the minister placing a particle of consecrated bread on the tongue of the communicant] must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful's reverence for the Eucharist.

This reverence shows that it is not a sharing in "ordinary bread and wine" ...] Further, the practice which must be considered traditional ensures, more effectively, that holy communion is distributed with the proper respect, decorum and dignity. Lastly, it ensures that diligent carefulness about the fragments of consecrated bread which the Church has always recommended ...]

the vast majority of bishops believe that the present discipline should not be changed, and that if it were, the change would be offensive to the sentiments and the spiritual culture of these bishops and of many of the faithful.

...] in view of the gravity of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering holy communion ...]

The Apostolic See therefore emphatically urges bishops, priests and laity to obey carefully the law which is still valid and which has again been confirmed.

Thus now that I educated myself on these practices, I receive only kneeling and on the tongue, even if I am the only one doing so and this means that others will find me odd or mock me. I pray only that I lead nobody into temptation, but rather inspire greater devotion, if possible, for this majestic Blessed Sacrament that is Christ Himself.


#18

I understand all the arguments in favor of kneeling and on the tongue. I totally understand why Pope Benedict decided to distribute communion this way. I've read the writings of people like Msgr Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana (Dominus Est), and Msgr Marini (papal MC) on this topic. I get it.

And yet....I made my first communion in 1988 when I was 7 years old. In my parish, at that time, hardly anyone received on the tongue. It simply isn't something I am used to doing. The only time I have is the one Sunday when I went to an Extraordinary Form mass in another diocese. My diocese doesn't have it, and I wanted to experience it at least once.

I suppose that it is something I could work on and get used to. But I was born in 1980. I bet a lot of people my age feel the same way.


#19

Sadly, most Catholics do not take the time and effort learn what they should or should not (or can and cannot) do during Mass. They see what the deacon, priest, altar servers, EMHCs, etc. do and emulate them.

I choose to follow the lead of my deacon, because that is the way in which I am most comfortable receiving the Eucharist. I’m not some sheep blindly following what he does - I have educated myself on the various postures and modes of receiving the Eucharist. In the past I have chosen to follow the lead of one of the men who helps distribute Communion (standing, on the tonuge) but I was not comfortable with it after I was chastised by a older man who helped distribute Communion who told me one time that I didn’t open my mouth wide enough. It just wasn’t worth the hassle after that.


#20

Standing, in the hand. It's the only way I've seen it done at the parishes I've attended.


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