Refused Communion on the Tongue

My aunt called to get my opinion on something yesterday that has her very upset and I wasn’t sure what to tell her. In her parish they priest has always been a bit leary of distributing the Host on the tongue and says that mainly lay people hand out Communion, often while the priest are deacon are seated. Due to flu season the priest announced they would not be giving the Host on the tongue and that there were only a few of them that still did it this way anyway (namely my aunt and her children). If she approaches with her arms crossed and opens her mouth she simply doesn’t recieve. She’s in a conundrum because she feels her hands are dirty and doesn’t want to touch the body of Christ, but doesn’t want to not recieve either. She was in tears, afraid she was just being indignant and people would think she’s being a crazy traditionalist but feels very strongly about not taking it in her hands. My opinion is that they’re seemingly making the flu virus more powerful than the Body of Christ. Calls to her Diocese haven’t yielded much as far as an answer. So, can they refuse her Communion on the tongue? Is she at fault for not recieving if they’re forcing her to do it in her hand and she feels in her heart of hearts it’s wrong to do so?

Do you mean she feels her hands are LITERALLY ‘dirty’ i.e. they have germs on? If so, that is easily fixed by her using a squirt of hand sanitiser.

From the GIRM, my emphasis added-

  1. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.

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.

***NO ONE ***can ever be denied COTT. I would make an appointment with said priest , before you go to Mass again and talk with him about this. Be polite, but firm. If you get no satisfaction, this issue needs to be brought to the Bishop’s office ASAP.

Perhaps this could be best resolved by speaking directly to a lay minister before Mass and asking them to provide the communion directly to the mouth but only after completing the distribution to everyone else. The minister could then immediately disinfect their hands and the opportunity to spread germs to others would not be a problem. I see enough people receiving this way in every different Church I have attended that I know there is a need to continue to provide communion this way. Oneofthewoman has shown you the GIRM resource which clearly states that your aunt has this right, perhaps the parish priest needs to be reminded. If you respect the reason for the suggested change at her parish but offer a reasonable solution, be the last to receive, then maybe they will work with her.

One parish I attended had hand sanitizer at the end of the first pew for this very reason.

Sounds like there are other things going on at this parish, but I’ve never been refused COTT even at super duper hippie dippy parishes. Looks from confused priests, yes, but never refusal.

I’m confused by the posture mentioned by the OP. Although it’s not licit, I know that arms crossed is a posture usually used by those asking for blessings, who will not receive communion at all. I usually keep my hands folded in front of me and do not"open" them. This is what most people do (at least that I’ve seen) when they receive COTT - unless they’re holding a child, using a cane, etc.

Shaking my head.

Her first step is to speak with the pastor.

If it happened to me, I would make an appointment with the pastor and have documents “at the ready.”

If he didn’t plan on making any changes, I would take it to the bishop.

First, COTT cannot be refused, second, the priest and deacon are NOT supposed to be sitting while laypeople distribute! Why are they called **Extraordinary **Ministers of the Eucharist?

This should be brought to the attention of the diocese.

Yes, hearing stuff like this really bothers me. I am totally accepting of those who want to receive in the hand. Why? Because Holy Mother Church has said that it is acceptable to do so in the United States. But by contrast, why can’t those who choose to receive on the tongue be respected and accepted too, especially by the Clergy? It really does work both ways.

Just take it to the bishop. Unless unable to distribute for a good reason, the priest is the Eucharistic Minister. There is no doubt that he already knows this, so I doubt talking to him would help.

That what I would of done

The priest is not refusing to honor those who want COTT, he is observing a common health practice that may have come down from his bishop. There is a difference. It is then up to the individual whether they will cooperate in grace or insist on having Christ their way or the highway.

Why does she feel her hands are dirty? Why does she feel it’s wrong to receive on the hand? I would ask her to see either the priest of the pastoral associate for some pastoral guidance.

Not receiving Christ out of obstinance may be the real problem she has. You believe the priest is making the flu more powerful than Christ, but have no problem with your mom’s refusal to hold him in her hands?? As if Christ’s grace is somehow limited because of her hands?:confused:

I agree with you. We had a reinstatement of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist at our church last Saturday. The question came up because of the flu should we give communion by mouth. A doctor in our group was ask to speak to the subject. He advice during this Flu outbreak that the COTT should not be given by hand to mouth. The reason was to many germs in the mouth. Our Pastor over rode this and said anyone want to receive by mouth was welcome to receive. He then showed us how to do it with out touching the mouth. We have forgone the wine at mass during this outbreak, I think that was wise.

This has been debated endlessly by people wiser than you and I.
For the OP and any other Catholic for that matter…,.
do not bother the bishop with these problems.

The woman has already contacted the diocese. Do you not think that hundreds of people have complaints about varios things? Do you not think the bishop is aware of all this controversy? Does it not tell you something, that the diocese did not respond to the woman?
Telling people to call the bishop just promotes division, pride, and anxiety. The proper thing to do here might be…just might be…to pray about it, get some pastoral counseling, and receive Jesus Christ in whatever way possible. Or maybe our preferences are more important than receiving Him?

the bishop should of sent a letter out addressing it.

I thought the arms in x position across the chest suggests that you are not receiving. So to stand there with your mouth open at same time as the arms being as thus would be a very confusing message to some and wouldn’t necessarily know what you wanted…

I am anglican and always receive on the tongue and just have my arms loosly at my side as have always done. Only people who are Catholics who are visiting us, use the arms method if they don’t want to receive, traditionally, regulars carry a news sheet if they don’t want to receive and have come forward for the blessing.

All else fails, encourage the Aunt to speak to the priest and clear the matter up for her own well being and find out what she should do in that church if she doesn’t want to touch the host for whatever reason:thumbsup:

The priest can’t make a decision like this for the parish he shepherds?

why should the bishop be involved at all. Let us not get ahead of it and for now it a matter between aunt the priest of that aunt. She needs to take it up with him first to find out and also to work at resolving the matter if there is any misunderstanding. And possibly to receive the communion she was due to receieve if that is possible… it is upsetting but just a mis communication which can be easily resolved in the parish. :frowning: if the Aunt is willing to let it be resolved because it is quite easy to go home and remain upset in our own juices and no one actually knows there has been a miscommunication taken place until the Aunt has taken it up with the priest in her own way. By the way, I hope the aunt has given permission for it to be freerly discussed here seeing how upset the opening poster has reported her to be. I am not sure she wants an international discussion on it.:blush:

Idk but isn’t this kind of thing a collective decision by the bishop and priests of the district
? During Sars/bird flu the bishop did write a letter warning us stopping COTT/not shaking hands during Sign of Peace/holding hands during Our Father. In my parish cott us quite uncommon but never denied. I think the op’s aunt should talk to the priest and if worse comes to worse switch parish.

I have never seen this happen in any Mass I have attended in the last 50 years.

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