tongue or hand?


i’ve seen a couple people mention receiving the host on the tongue and a couple others mention receiving it in the hand. being protestant, we passed a tray around which basically had a great big saltine minus the salt. we would each break off a piece and then eat it. i was just wondering if it mattered in catholic tradition. also, does everyone drink from the same cup? was just wondering about that, seems kinda unsanitary.


Either is licit


There is no stupid question :slight_smile: You are opening a real can of worms! It was discussed recently on another thread, you can probably search for it. I personally no longer “drink from the cup” for sanitary AND theological reasons. The Host is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus.


We can receive either on the tongue or the hand. Both are permissible, but I think for a long time, (maybe before Vatican II) that you could only receive on the tongue. (I could be wrong about this).

I personally would rather receive on the tongue, but there was an instance when I went to communion and the priest missed my mouth and the host fell on the floor.

I felt like dying right there. I didn’t know what to do.

So now, I only receive in the hand to avoid that from ever happening again.


Just the opposite happened to me before I went back to receiving on the tongue. The host fell from my hand. The Lord had strongly been urging me to go back to receiving on the tongue and this clinched it for me. Don’t let the devil cause fear, Mike, if you feel inclined to receive on the tongue. :slight_smile:


Correct, both can be done now, even though most people choose to receive from the hand a few still do it from the tongue.

It should be noted that the cup is wiped (and turned slightly between drinks, so it is as sanity as it can possibly be.


Others have accurately related the Catholic practice. FYI, however:

This is specifically not allowed in Catholic practice – The faithful may not pass the ciborium or the sacred species from one to another, nor “take” from the ciborium. The sacred host must be received from a deputed minister.



The goal of the sacrament is to touch the host as little as possible. While taking the Sacrament in the hand is considered acceptable and licit… i refuse. Even the minor sin that infects me makes me unworthy to touch the Lamb of God, and so i desire to have as few hands on the Host as possible before I consume it. In other words, unless i’m sick, i receive Communion on the tongue.

As to the Chalice, unsanitary is the last thing on my mind. I have faith that the Lord will not bring something upon me while i have His sacraments unless it is His will for me.


Since having become a full member of the church, I have continued to receive the host in my hand…our pastor told me that it was a “proactive” gesture…I’m am choosing to receive the body of Christ…this may offend some of you so please remember to be polite if not kind…and I do not judge anyone else for the manner is which they receive the Body of Christ.

By the way, I learned from a fellow parishioner that the chalice and the metal that it is made from might even prevent the transmittal of germs…any chemists out there that can support this?

God Blesses each and every one of us every minute of every hour of every day…


Heh. You’ll find that this is a highly debatable subject. There are many who argue that it one should only receive on the tongue. Others who say that it doesn’t matter either way: on the tongue or in the hand.

There was a time in the early Church that it was acceptable to receive in the hand, at least according to St. Cyril of Jerusalem. * “When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen” * (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches. Mystagog, V.1)

On the other hand (no pun intended), there is also the view that the Host ought to never be touched by unconsecrated hands. St. Thomas Aquinas states: “Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but when it is consecrated” - Summa, Pt III Q, Q2 Art. 3

I personally will only receive on the tongue- there are too many chances for particles (which are still fully the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ) to stick to my hands, fall to the floor, etc. Plus, I really do not find myself worthy enough to receive, let alone touch our Lord with unconcecrated hands.

I would never assume to judge others on the way in which they receive, but for me personally, it is more reverent to receive on the tongue.


The goal of the sacrament is to impart grace.

I have faith that the accidents of wine (and the vessel containing it) are vehicles that can spread contagion.



Catholics receive the host mostly as small, round wafers. I prefer to receive it on the tongue, but do not feel any spiritual pride over those who receive it in hand.:nope:

I do not drink from the chalice as I am a recovered alcoholic, 23 years sober. An exception might be in those rare cases where a non-alcoholic grape juice is used (usually by priests who are themselves alcoholics:yup:


Woah… maybe I’m not quite educated fully in the matter but… I thought that wine is a necessity and that grape juice or any other liquid could not be used?


I’m not a chemist, and I’m only starting my second year of studying Microbiology, but IMHO, you’d get more germs from opening the door of the church. The chalice is cleaned far more often than a door handle or even the hymnals.
As long as the ones receiving the Precious Blood aren’t the ones sneezing and coughing, you’re pretty safe.


It is. However, mustem (sp?) which is wine with a very low alcohol content is allowed. Grape juice, etc. is not proper matter, and therefore would not be transubstatiated into the Precious Blood.


Hard to say, cf. [post=1824552]Re: Karl Keating’s E-Letter of January 16, 2007[/post]



That is strange. I thought the goal of the Sacrament was to nourish us spiritually. I know of nowhere in the Church documents that there is any goal set out about touching the Host as little as possible.


Yeah, I have not had the chance to read all of that. However, it is true that the less microbes people come in contact with, the less immunity they’ll have when they (ultimately) do. :slight_smile:

But, I understand why someone with SARS or any other highly communicable virus/bacteria/disease should not even be near the chalice. In fact, some may argue that they shouldn’t be around other people, either. (i.e. the man with antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis.)


Tongue only for me, I also receive from the cup from time to time, mostly at daily Mass if I am certain I am not sick. Usually at Sunday Mass I only receive the Host, as it is fully the Body and Blood of Christ.

Now I do not receive on the hand as I am not a priest and it is a good example for my kids. My kids need to know that Jesus is present and we need to humble ourselves as much as possible and approach as children. I prefer to receive as a child fed from the hands of the Priest. If it is a Eucharistic Minister, I still receive on the the tongue as an example to my kids and out of humility to the presence of Christ there. As a lay person I should take the utmost care in not unecessarily handling the Eucharist.

This does not make receiving illicit or something that I look down on others for. So all you crybabies, don’t start.
I am just a dummy typing on a computer somewhere so don’t get all silly and emotional because I endorse communion on the tongue. (I am touchy on this as I live in California where emotion drives our liturgy sometimes)

Patens should always be used just in case the Host falls and the Altar boy should be there ready to catch the Host if it falls. There is no excuse for the Host to fall unless people are too lazy to setup communion to not allow it to fall.

In Christ

For the OP, serving yourself is not allowed in the Catholic Church unless you are a Priest.


(This goes for OTJM since he posted more or less the same idea:)

Oh certainly, but there is also a DEMANDED level of respect for the Eucharist as that is part of our being disposed to recieve grace from the sacrament. Touching the host as little as possible with unworthy hands is, in my opinion, part of that. If respect for the sanctity of the Host is NOT part of the sacrament, then why should we worry if we drop it on the floor or hand it to those who are publicly against the church? obviously, protecting the integrity of the Host is a vital aspect of Communion. Don’t oversimplify such a precious and complex relationship as is espoused by Communion, you make it trite by doing so…

I have faith that the accidents of wine (and the vessel containing it) are vehicles that can spread contagion.

By all means, i’m certain they CAN. However, can you honestly tell me that you believe in the Real Presence and yet are unwilling to believe that God could spare you from disease if that were His Will?

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