Reverence for the Eucharist-Part 1

This article was written by Anthony Sciriha , a Maltese traditionalist Catholic living in Canada.


Can. 212 – § 2.   “The Christian faithful are free to make known their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires to the pastors of the Church.”

 “§ 3.   In accord with the knowledge, competence and preeminence which they possess, they [ the faithful ] have the right and even the duty at times to manifest to the sacred Pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of the Faith and Morals and reverence toward their Pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons.”  (The Code of Canon Law promulgated by John Paul II, Washington D.C.: The Canon Law Society of America, 1983, p. 71

His Holiness Pope John Paul II, responding to a reporter from Stimme des glaubens magazine, during his visit to Fulda (Germany) in November 1980.

 “There is an apostolic letter (Pope Paul VI Memoreale Domini, 29/5/69) on the existence of a special valid permission for this [Communion in the hand]. But I tell you that I am not in favor of this practice, nor do I recommend it.”

Pope Paul VI in his instruction

Memoriale Domini (May 29, 1969):                                                                                              

Holy Communion received on the tongue “signifies the reverence of the faithful for the Eucharist … provides that Holy Communion will be distributed with due reverence … is more conducive to faith, reverence and humility…. It [Communion in the hand] carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the August sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.” {Sadly all this has happened}

 Fr. George Rutler in his 1989 Good Friday sermon at St. Agnes Church, New York.

When Fr. Rutler asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “What do you think is the worst problem in the world today?”, without pausing a second she replied:  “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”

Fr. Hardon, S.J., November 1st, 1997 Call to Holiness Conference in Detroit, Michigan, panel discussion.

“Behind Communion in the hand—I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can—is a weakening, a conscious and deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence…. Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”

Dietrich von Hildebrand (called a “20th century doctor of the Church” by Pope Pius XII), in an article entitled “Communion in the Hand should be Rejected,” November 8, 1973.

There can be no doubt that Communion in the hand is an expression of the trend towards desacralization in the Church in general and irreverence in approaching the Eucharist in particular…. Why—for God’s sake—should Communion in the hand be introduced into our churches when it is evidently detrimental from a pastoral viewpoint, when it certainly does not increase our reverence, and when it exposes the Eucharist to the most terrible diabolical abuses? There are really no serious arguments for Communion in the hand. But there are the most gravely serious kinds of arguments against it.” 

“Is it believable that instead of applying the most scrupulous care to protect the most sacred consecrated host, which is truly the Body of Christ, the God-man, from all such possible abuses, there are those who wish to expose it to this possibility? Have we forgotten the existence of the devil who wanders about seeking whom he may devour’? Is his work in the world and in the Church not all too visible today? What entitles us to assume that abuses to the consecrated host will not take place?”

In the 1200s, St. Thomas Aquinas, in his marvelous work, Summa Theologica, pronounced: that it was a priest’s duty to distribute the Eucharist. St. Thomas states:

The dispensing of Christ’s Body belongs to the priest for three reasons. Firstly, because he consecrates in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His Body at the Supper, so also He gave It to others to be partaken of by them. Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ’s Body belongs to the priest, so likewise the dispensing belongs to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence, it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands for touching this Sacrament. Therefore, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch It, except from necessity, for instance, if It were to fall upon the ground or else in some other case of urgency.” (Summa Theologica)

Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise of San Luis, Argentina, in his book Communion in the Hand: Documents and History.

“With Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some Particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful…. Let us speak clearly: whoever receives Communion in the mouth not only follows exactly the tradition handed down but also the wish expressed by the last Popes and thus avoids placing himself in the occasion of committing a sin by negligently dropping a fragment of the Body of Christ.”

This series “Reverence for the Eucharist” continues…..


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