Taking Communion in the hand or the mouth

I know that because of Vatican 2, people are now allowed to take Communion in the hand. The problem with this though, is I believe that although you can’t take away the sacredness of the Eucharist, it shouldn’t be treated as if it where just a piece of bread. It is something that should be revered. To me its comparable to bowing your head in prayer as opposed to kneeling and bowing your head in prayer. C.S. Lewis mentioned in The Screwtape Letters that the devil would try to encourage us not to kneel, for it would take something away from the prayer. I believe the same thing applies to communion.

\I know that because of Vatican 2, people are now allowed to take Communion in the hand. \

**Actually, V2 said nothing about this. It’s a post V2 development in the Latin church (which is not the totality of the Catholic Church, even those in communion with Rome).

Melkites receive on the tongue by direct intinction. Other Byzantine Catholics (as well as Orthodox) receive both kinds from a spoon–and not in the hand, either.**

\The problem with this though, is I believe that although you can’t take away the sacredness of the Eucharist, it shouldn’t be treated as if it where just a piece of bread.\

**In his Mystagogical Catecheses, St. Cyril of Jerusalem described how Communion was given in the hand–and the care in which one should receive it–at that time in Jerusalem.

The Liturgies of Addai and Mari and Byzantine St. James, still celebrated in the Catholic Church, call for Communion in the hand BY RUBRIC.**

The Church in Her wisdom has seen fit (at least for now) to allow communion-in-hand during in the Ordinary Form of the Mass in specific parts of the world under specific conditions. I’m fairly sure the Church knows better than any of us and I trust Her.

I don’t believe the Church would allow communion-in-hand even by indult (special permission) if it was in any way inferior to communion-on-tongue. The only way we can ultimately received the Blessed Sacrament in the West is on our tongues – either by our own hands or those of others. Neither method is inherently “better” or “worse” than the other but we all entitled to our preferences…

Vatican II did not require Communion in the Hand. The U.S. Bishops ask for and received special permission for the U.S. Church. (and that permission can be removed at any time)

I just wanted to say: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.


When Jesus was breaking the bread and passing it out to His disciples, He said, “Take this, all of you, and eat it.” The fact that the disciples took the Eucharist in their own hands makes communion in the hand logical and totally acceptable. I’ve seen people receive the Eucharist in the hand very reverently, and I’ve seen people literally throw it into their mouths like a potato chip (:(). It’s all in how you approach Him in the sacrament.

Well, weren’t the desciples priests? So wouldn’t this argument only apply to priests?

The priesthood was instituted at the Last Supper, so the disciples were the very first to receive “communion”. As was pointed out earlier, Jesus told them to “Take this bread…”, and the disciples took the bread in their own hands.

Keep in mind, that you can receive on the tongue or in the hand, so the option is yours. Either option is fine as long as it is done with reverence and dignity.

Great comments…

Within the Ruthenian Recension of the Byzantine Rite in the USA it’s both species commingled via a spoon to the best of my knowledge.

So very true.

When I am in Mexico I take on the tongue as that is the norm there-when I am in the States I take in the hand as that is the norm here. Neither is superior or more sacred than the other.

True. Just because one event happens after another event, we cannot assume that the first is the cause of the second.

However, we also cannot fail to acknowlege the most obvious explanation for an event as a possible cause.

We cannot say that since a lack of reverence for the Eucharist followed after the practice of Communion in the hand was introduced, therefore CitHand did not cause the lack of reverence.

There are many factors which have all come together in a sort of “perfect storm” resulting in a lack of reverence for the Eucharist. Distributing Communion in the hand is not the single cause of this, but after 40 years of the Church’s experience, it’s certainly safe to say that it is one of the causes.

First you have to prove there has been an increase in lack of revernece for the Eucharist since CIH was introduced. All we get is ancedotal evidence all of which go against my personal experience both with the TM and the OF

Fair enough.


See also Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia

Note paragraphs #10
Unfortunately, alongside these lights, there are also shadows. In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this? The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.
It is my hope that the present Encyclical Letter will effectively help to banish the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery.

Clearly, the Holy Father recognized that there were indeed problems with a lack of reverence and a lack of complete belief in the Real Presence.

Good advice that was as valid when the TM was celebrated as it is today.

The conclusion is the same, but the unfortunate conditions that JPII mentions were not present before the current OF Mass, not to the extend that they are today; abandonment of Eucharistic Adoration, abuses (of the specific kind we see today), the Eucharist reduced to a fraternal banquet, misconceptions about the necessity of the priesthood, reducing the Eucharist to a mere form of proclamation, so called “inter-communion” between Catholics and non-Catholics (my own paraphrase, yes). Although we can find examples of these in the past, in particular the Reformation, that doesn’t change the fact that there has been in recent decades a definite decline in faith in the Real Presence and reverence due to the Eucharist.

So the Pope was adressing ONLY countries where CIH is the norm? And if CIH is the cause of the Popes concern why didnt he just ban it?

It’s not just the Ruthenian Church. It’s in ALL forms of the Byzantine Liturgy, Catholic and Orthodox, except for the Melkites.

And even there, many Melkite priests use the spoon, especially for the LIturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

(My guess is that the Melkites stopped using the spoon when frequent and general communions became the norm, but I don’t know. Can anybody fill me in?)

I think it’s the other way around. It’s more like the spoon was adopted later but the Melkites never followed. I can’t document that, it’s just some vague memory of something from the past.

We can parse words all day long. The point is that there has been a decline in reverence for the Eucharist in the past 40 years (after all, that’s what you disputed, and I’m showing that it has happened). This is well-documented and every reasonable person accepts this fact. Even the secular media readily admits it. Polls, surveys, studies all point in this direction quite clearly.

To what degree Communion in the Hand has contributed to this decline? We might never know the answer to that one. But we cannot honestly say that there has not been a decline in reverence.

Pope John Paul II did in fact consider banning Communion in the Hand (rescinding the indult) but he refrained from doing it out of deference to the decision by his predecessor Paul VI who allowed it. Pope Benedict has in fact banned it when he himself is distributing Communion–I’m sure he has a good reason.

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