Why Is CITH So Popular?

I wonder how many have stopped to consider why CITH is so popular? Is it a desire by the distributors and recipients of Holy Communion to buck the “universal norm?” Hardly.

I think most simply feel more physically comfortable with receiving Holy Communion in their hands. They may feel uncomfortable sticking their tongues out or they may be ashamed at the condition of their teeth/mouths for example and CITH gives them relief from this.

Others (particularly the elderly) have greater difficulty in physically positioning their head/tongue to receive COTT without “bumping” the distributors’ fingers. Again, CITH gives relief.

Similarly, some clerics whose hands shake a lot probably prefer to distribute via CITH but they cannot mandate that preference of course.

A much smaller group probably has a desire to receive Holy Communion in a more ancient manner calling to mind the early church.

Still others are worried about the transmission of illness. To or from their mouths.

I personally wish both CITH and COOT would become “universal norms” for both the OF and EF Masses – not that the indult is going anywhere.

Well, I know that it first gain prominence in the early days of the Protestant Reformation as a way to deny the True Presence. I don’t think that any reason you gave is a good reason for its popularity, especially considering the long history of Communion on the Tongue where people over came those obstacles of age and uncomfortableness.

Regarding allowing this for the EF, it is not going to happen. When he issued his Motu Propio, Pope Benedict XVI specifically stated that the rubrics for the EF and the OF are separate entities that cannot be mixed and matched. When the EF is employed, it carries with it its own Missal and rubrics. The only change that can be made concerns the readings, but, everything else remains proper to the EF.

There are some risks with CITH. There is a risk for profanation. A couple of years ago, a child received CITH and walked away without consuming the Sacred Host. He was in my line of sight and I got up from my pew and followed him. He held the Sacred Host in his hands and looked at it. I asked him, as gently as I could, if he he had received First Holy Communion. His mother said that he received from Jesus, Himself. They were not Catholic. I asked the child if I could have Jesus back. He gave the Sacred Host back to me and I consumed right away. After Mass, I brought it to the pastor’s attention. He was shocked, but, thanked me for rectifying the matter.

There are also those infamous instances where the Sacred Host has been put up for auction on ebay. Yes, this has happened.

This brings to mind the only time in the authoritative documents of the Holy See, specificaly Redemptionis Sacramentum, when CITH can be suspended:

[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 thefaithful.179**

Remember, too, that an indult can be taken away at any time. In fact, there are some bishops around the world that are doing away with CITH.

Not trying to strat an argument, and I admit right at the beginning that I’m just too lazy to do the research myself, but would you mind giving one or more sources (especially if they are not strictly Catholic) for your statement. Thanks.

Call me cynical if you wish, but I would also add a group of progressives that want to do away with all traditions and then once this CITH completely catches on, they will start an in-the-pew communications or something similar just to be more progressive or to prove something. What has CITH really gained for the Catholic Church?

\Call me cynical if you wish, but I would also add a group of progressives that want to do away with all traditions and then once this CITH completely catches on, they will start an in-the-pew communications or something similar just to be more progressive or to prove something. What has CITH really gained for the Catholic Church?\

**As I have frequently pointed out, there are certain ancient Liturgies still celebrated in the Catholic Church that call for Communion in the Hand.

In ANYBODY’S Church, there will always be people who want to do something different just for novelties sake.**

No, I understand the need for sources.

Well, the first, and least credible, was my Protestant Pastor when I was Protestant. He gave many sermons over the topic.

Here are a few websites:

These are just two. Unfortunatly I read a book over this issue from the early days of the Protestant Reformation. The book is somewhere at my college library, but I haven’t been able to find it since. So the two websites I listed (there are many others, but these were two that I found) are questionable in their authority (I didn’t bother to check).

I don’t look down on those that recieve on the Hand, I don’t condemn them or think them any less Holy. The Church has said that it’s okay, and so I trust Her completely.

I would also like to point out that one night I was Googling different things, and one of the things brought me to a Satanic website about the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and how Communion on the Hand made it much easier to steal these and do Satanic things to them (I actually threw up because of how sick it made me). It would be a lot harder to steal them if we had to recieve on the tongue.

As has been pointed out, CITH started as an abuse or a defiance of the the sin of sacrilege. Do you know if this ancient practice was pointed out before the abuse was committed or rationalization after the fact? I would really like to know this. There always is a danger in mixing rites when this happens.

And again, what has CITH gained for the Catholic Church, or more specifically, the Latin Rite?

While I’m not entirely sure this is even true, it doesn’t address my question.

Some might possibly suggest it is a reason that CITH exists in the Latin Rite today. As nutty as though sounds, I could see some people believing that.

What it does not address is the popularity of CITH.

Please stick to the topic. Why is CITH so popular?

I was thinking it could be a matter of catechesis but I don’t think so. At least not here locally.

Almost everyone I attend Mass with (several hundred) were formed prior to any of the laity receiving in hand in the Latin Rite. RCIA and CCD in my parish today expose the people to both options.

I’ve never really considered this before… :hmmm:

I asked my girlfriend why she recieves on the hand, and she said the reason was that it was how she was taught, and that’s how “everyone” else does it, too.

When I went through RCIA, we were taught to recieve it on the hand. They didn’t mention that you can receive it both ways.

That’s interesting. That’s also an example of very poor catechesis. Still I don’t think that would explain the widespread popularity of CITH, but it might be a contributing factor in some locations.

Here’s my explanation as to why it’s popular. In the United States, showing the tongue or opening the mouth wide is simply not done in most settings. It’s considered rude or uncouth or simply inappropriate.

We open the mouth wide at the dentist’s office, when we are cheering at a hockey game, or when we are shovelling in food (which is ill-mannered), or when we’re screaming in pain, fear, or anger. That’s about it.

I work as pianist for a lot of choirs, and the directors have a dreadful time trying to convince the singers to OPEN their mouths! People in the U.S. feel rude or embarrassed or both doing this.

As for sticking out the tongue, again, this is simply not done in most settings in the U.S… At the doctor’s office, yes. Some people will “chew on” their tongue or stick it out the side of their mouth when they are concentrating hard. Some people run their tongue over their lips when they say, “Yum Yum.” But that’s about it. Again, people feel rude doing something that is generally considered uncouth or ill-mannered or childish.

So my explanation is that most Catholics who did not grow up and see the majority of people receiving Holy Communion on tongues feel “rude” and “embarrassed” doing something that seems to them to be ill-mannered or inappropriate.


Yes, the setting of Mass is the appropriate time to open the mouth wide and stick out the tongue.

But it’s HARD to get people to get over their own apprehension, [edited]. Even though our MINDS tells us that it’s perfectly OK and acceptable and polite, our hearts tell us that it’s embarrassing and uncomfortable and even unseemly.

For those who grew up with Communion on the Tongue–of course it seems normal and natural to them. But for the past 40 years, it has not been the general practice in the U.S. and it’s very hard to people to overcome the “norms” of our culture and society.

I was very apprehensive about receiving Holy Communion on my tongue, but after my surgeries, I had no choice because of my crutches. I got used to it and now it seems more normal and natural than receiving in my hand. I think a lot of people who are forced to receive Holy Communion on their tongues (perhaps because they are carrying a baby or child, or crutches, or some other injury or sickness) “get used to it” just like I did.

Of course, I hope that COTT advocates don’t start praying for a lot of foot injuries and…well, praying for more babies is OK!

I say, give your fellow Catholics a break. It’s what they’re used to, and since the Church has given permission in the U.S., it’s OK.

When I grew up receiving on the tongue was the only way one could receive communion. But I tend to agree with the poster who thinks that the main reason people today prefer to receive in the hand is that receiving in the hand is all they know. I think many younger people see receiving on the tongue as akin to sticking out one’s tongue to say, “Ahhhh,” at the doctor. To them it seems LESS reverent rather than more so.

Just for the record I do think receiving on the tongue has the potential of being more reverent and fosters greater reverence. But I think people here in the Liturgy and Sacraments forum are exceptional people and our personal experience of receiving on the tongue versus in the hand is NOT indicative of the majority of Catholics.

I recently completed RCIA and we were taught it was ok to receive either way, but most people prefer CITH.
Personally speaking, I wasn’t one of those people. In fact, there were 11 of us, and I do believe I am the only one that receives on the tongue. Definitely not the only one in the parish, however. Those that receive CITH are the majority.

When I went through RCIA last year, we were only taught how to receive CITH. In fact, one of the instructors told us that “sticking our tongues out is gross and the practice will go away soon.” I was actually kind of relieved by this as I’m very self-conscious about my tongue; not only do I have a fissured tongue, I have a scar from a cut I suffered a few years ago. Receiving COTT made me very nervous until we were told this.

However, when I started attending other parishes that I would consider more “traditional,” I grew envious of people who receive COTT. They just seemed to be more reverent and CITH seemed to be kind of defiant. When I started having questions about the different ways to receive Holy Communion, I did some reading and the rest was history. I have gotten over my fear of exposing my tongue and exclusively receive COTT.

So, to answer your question, I think CITH is so popular because that’s what new converts are being taught is the norm.

Here’s something to think about: you always hear about people switching from CITH to COTT, but you almost never hear of someone going from COTT to CITH.

When my son was about to make his FHC, the teacher ( Catholic Grade School) refused to teach COTT. She even told my son he was not allowed to recieve that way. We had to involve the pastor ( who correctly sided with us).

So if you have teachers not only refusing to teach COTT as an option, and forbidding children from recieving that way, it’s no wonder it will eventually be 'popular;

Right now we attend a parish where the Eucharist is given Intincted,CITH is not permitted in such circumstances.

I tend to agree with your comments. I would add that even those who were formed well before CITH was available ALSO share the fears of opening their mouths and sticking out their tongues so they too flock to CITH.

When I distribute communion today, very few who receive COTT actually stick their tongues out – which can be problematic. Placement of the host becomes far more difficult and one’s fingers are more prone to getting wet…

It became VERY popular VERY quickly with Catholics of ALL ages. It didn’t require generations of indoctrination to become extremely popular.

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