Receiving the Eucharist with dirty hands


Just before I was about to receive communion, I noticed my fingernails were pretty dirty and a bit gross with dirt and other stuff, and I tried receiving communion with the tongue, but I was given it to my hands instead. I quickly put the Eucharist into my mouth and went back to my pew. Did I commit a mortal sin of sacrilege?


No, you lacked full consent as you intended to receive on the tongue. Rest easy on this one.


Why didn’t you receive it on your tongue? That would have been more respectful!


It sounds like the OP tried, but whomever was distributing it didn’t catch on and placed it I’m his hands instead.


If you shook hands during the Sign of Peace your hands were already dirty. Jesus said that it is what is on the inside that counts not on the outside. I understand and admire your reverence for the Eucharist and your sincere respect. Many should learn from you. Just posing the question here says that you did not mean to be disrespectful in any way. Now, say a prayer for me as I will for you…:slight_smile: teachccd


I was taught to receive the eucharist with a clean heart, clean mind and clean hands. To prevent from taking it in the hands I have them folded in prayer and keep them folded and then open my mouth and slightly stick out my tongue. Every where I have gone for mass I’ve had no problem when I have approached the host in that manner. Give it a try next time and see if it works for you:thumbsup:


Well the average human mouth is probably dirtier (more full of bacteria) than the average human hand.


Germs are all over the place!

Car keys. Car door handles. Cell phone. Door knob to Church. Backs of pews. Missals. Bulletins. On the kneelers when you put them down. On your neighbor’s hands during the Sign of Peace or the Our Father. On your priest’s hands and all the other things he touches before he gives you communion. On your own hand when you press them together to pray.

Germs! Germs! Germs!


I don’t worry about them. :shrug:


As long as you received the Body of Christ with a clean heart, that’s all that ever matters. The apostles probably didn’t have very clean hands when they received the Eucharist :slight_smile:


Um, just try to be more careful about it next time. You did the right thing in going for it in the mouth, it wasn't your fault that the Eucharistic minister didn't listen. It's not mortal. I always make sure that I've brushed my teeth and washed my hands before Mass, even if the rest of me doesn't look great lol. This is a learning experience, now you'll always check and make sure so you don't feel this uncomfortable again. :)


I just can’t see anyone going to hell for receiving Christ with dirt under their fingernails. I think we need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners and do the other things that Christ commands of us. See Matthew 25.


Yet another reason for communion on the tongue.


They probably did. I’m not to familiar with the Passover meal, but since it is the most important Jewish Feast, and cleanliness is part if their ritual cleanliness, they would be physically clean at the Last Supper.


You would think that it should be pretty obvious when someone wants to receive COTT, but, believe me, some people just don’t pay attention. I recently had someone (a priest in a parish where a large proportion of people receive OTT) almost force the host into my hands when I was carrying a child (hands well wrapped away around her) and had my mouth open. :shrug:


By this logic, we can say that clean hands are "another reason" for communion in the hand. :rolleyes: See how it works?


Wow! I've been luckily blessed so far. God bless and good luck


Obviously we should receive Holy Communion with clean hands (both physically and metaphorically). But I’m guessing that these guys might’ve had a little bit of dirt or dust on their hands, and I’m not about to say that they were sinning:

You can’t sin by mistake. You tried not to receive in the hand, but it didn’t work. That’s not a sin. Not even venial.


You did not commit sacrilege. To commit sacrilege you have to intend on disrespecting the sanctity of the Eucharist.

A mistake or misunderstanding is not a sin. And there is no rule about how clean your hands must be, what is required is that you consume the entire part of the Host that is given to you immediately after receiving.

Examples of actual sacrilege: Taking the Host home and keeping it as a souvenir, selling a consecrated Host, using a Host in a black mass.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit