Saturday, January 15, 2011


I read a story about a priest in the Pensacola Diocese who refused a mother and daughter Holy Communion. Read about it by pressing these two sentences.

Our post Vatican II method of distributing and receiving Holy Communion is the elephant in the room that progressive liturgists don't want discussed. If a Catholic truly believes what the Church teaches about Holy Communion and receiving our Risen and Glorified Lord, then we should all be offended that the intentional or unintentional desecration of the Blessed Sacrament occurs weekly in most parishes throughout the world.

I consider St. Joseph Church as a parish to be someone conservative, traditional in understanding the Mass and what it means to receive Holy Communion. Our members who attend Mass regularly receive Holy Communion properly. But almost weekly, we have problems with people who are visiting or simply attend Mass on an infrequent basis and present themselves for Holy Communion without a clue about how to receive and what to do with the host once they are given Holy Communion.

Weekly, I see or someone reports to me that someone walks off with the host, brings it to the pew or goes directly out of the Church once "taking" Holy Communion. I've had parishioners tell me they go directly to the "culprit" and ask that they "eat" the Host or give it to them.

Personally I have a difficult time "policing" what people do with the host once they "take" it. By "taking" it, I am referring to those who receive in the hand, not on the tongue. I do notice that many people take the host and place it in their mouth as they walk away. Others do what is taught; they step to one side, place the host in their mouth and then leave. We teach that people should not leave the minister of Holy Communion until they have placed the host in their mouth. But are those distributing Holy Communion meant to be "policemen?"

We have found hosts in the pews, on the floor, in missalettes and hymnals.

This will drive those who are progressive and think "taking" the host and self-communicating is more adult and post-Vatican II than "receiving" the host on one's tongue, but here it goes. I think the likelihood that someone will discard the host in an inappropriate way is lessened when receiving on the tongue.


Anonymous said...

Why isn't intinction more common? Father, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that article.

Frajm said...

Intinction is a clear second choice, after the common chalice, in the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The custom of the common chalice became the norm in this country when the Precious Blood is offered, but it was not so when the Precious Blood was once again allowed to the laity after more than 600 years of it not being allowed. In the late 1960's or very early 1970's intinction was the option of choice as Communion in the hand was not allowed. Communion in the hand began to be officially allowed after it was promoted unofficially by liturgists in the early 1970's. Communion in the hand was seen as so important that many felt intinction robbed people of that choice. The common chalice was promoted as the most "Biblical" way to share from the common cup as it went back to what the Apostles did at the Last Supper. There was a liturgical fundamentalism or literalism creeping into the Mass after 1970 and this desire to get back to what the Church did in the first couple of centuries.
The common chalice, though, even in the General Instruction is envisioned only for small gatherings of people at Mass, not full churches. But today many bishops and liturgists don't want to take the option of communion in the hand away from the laity through intinction. I find that really odd.
At papal Masses in Rome when there are large numbers of concelebrating bishops and priests, the norm is for them to approach the altar, take the host themselves and dip or intinct it into the Precious Blood or chalice. They do not drink from the common cup at the Vatican! That should tell you something.

Anonymous said...

There are people who are stealing hosts in order to desecrate them on youtube, etc. Taking by mouth would help frustrate this activity.

Had a wedding yesterday. There was some contention during the reception after Mass about much of this as many were strongly in both camps. I was surprised at how offended people could be that 'the priest turned his back to us'. The CW is that the mean old conservatives are angry that he faces us. What I found is that the conservatives *wished* he would face ad orientem and liberals *demand* he face versus populum. That surprised me.


Anonymous said...

Of course simply re-instating Communion of the Tongue and doing away with the Indult for allowance in the hand will reduce the incidences of people walking off with the Host. That is the bottom line. Enough already with the question of "Will It Reduce Abuse?"

Anonymous said...

Supressing the Indult for Communion in the Hand only makes sense in this day and age. The risk of Desecration is too high and way too many videos surface showing the Hosts removed from Churches. Or people putting them in their pockets for who knows what. I don't know what the Vatican is waiting for but a good encyclical about Communion on the tongue and good instructions to Bishops worldwide on educating the Faithful as to why this method is to be suppressed would go a long way at returning us to the normal practice of the Church. Will risk stillbe there and a few unscrupulous people get away with a Host now and again? Yes, probably. But their efforts are going to be frustrated as someone has noted. And Priests will have to be less "on guard" for such incidents. I mean they are Priests, not supposed to be the Wafer Police. It will just make things easier down the line after people adjust. And people will adjust.

pinanv525 said...

RCG, why does it surprise you that liberals demand the Priest face versus populum? This is right in keeping with their desire to diminish the role of the Priest, the emphasis upon the Real Presence, and the Mysterium in general. It is egalitarianism at its plainest and is the lead in for other "de-constructions."

Robert Kumpel said...

Too right, Father, too right. Receiving on the tongue greatly reduces the chances of the Host being abused and desecrated. As for those who want intinction: Why? Where is the need? The Body AND the Blood of Christ are BOTH present in the Host anyway.

I repeat:


There is no urgent need for Holy Communion under both species for the laity. And the great honor of touching the Body of Christ is the THE PRIVILEGE OF THE ORDAINED.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr, I was at Daily at St Joseph's some time back and this happened to me. Inadvertently I was given two hosts by the Celebrant. I had eaten the first. I was about to consume the other when a lady stepped out of her pew in front of me. She approached me, she placed her hands on my shoulders demanding I consume the other host as I was under her close watchful eye. I was trying to explain to her I wasn't aware I had two of them till after I left the Priest and I was going to eat the second host I was only surprised I had two. She said I needed to eat it here, next to the Altar, She also made me feel with her words I would somehow desecrate our Lord because there are people who take the host home and do who knows what with it. She explained to me she was a Eucharistic Minister and all of them had been directed by the Pastor (you Fr) to stop anyone who had not consumed the host before leaving the confines of the person administering the host. She was not loud or menacing it was her body actions that made her intimidating. She made me feel ill to think I would contemplate doing anything except consuming our Lord!
When I consume our Lord and Savior it is a most venerating time for me Fr. After I receive the Lord from the Priest this is when I feel closest to Him. I do not share this union with anyone. She was an intrusion. She had control of the situation. Even though we talked quietly and gently after-wards in her pew, I still had this discontent from her watching and holding me while I consumed our Lord. Was it her call to assume I would not consume the second host? Was it her call to tell me people take the host home and might desecrate it, or place Him in their pocket and forget about them. I am wondering just because she saw the second host in my hand did she have a right to touch me, or come near me?
What would of been the proper way of her making sure if in deed this is her job as she told me to ensure I consumed the second host, how should she of dealt with the situation?


Anonymous said...

Not to digress to another thread, but this is sort of related. We had a wedding this weekend. We used the common chalice and now both sides of the family now have the flu. There were about 300 in attendance. I have stopped answering the phone.


Frajm said...

YIKES, RCG! I have had fewer colds and viruses since I no longer have to clean chalices after Mass!