Friday, January 25, 2013


When I was prepared for my First Holy Communion in the Second Grade, which was prior to Vatican II, the 1960-61 school year, Sister Angela, CSJ taught us not to chew the Host, to allow it to dissolve and then before the Host completely dissolved to swallow the Host. We were also told never to allow the Host to complete dissolve, because we were to partake of Holy Communion by receiving our Lord as Food and Drink (Body and Blood)to be consumed.

I can remember having holy fear when the Host stuck to the roof of my mouth and not knowing what to do if the Host dissolved completely there. Such were the wonders of Catholic childhood back then and the profound sense of reverence we had that we can smile at today as adults. But our children today have no sense of this same type of holy fear and reverence so well instilled in us pre-Vatican II Catholics by simple cultural, religious expectations.

We were also told not to chew the Host. It is here that I wish we had received a better explanation. We were told we should not hurt Jesus when we receive Holy Communion. Of course this did lead to a profound reverence in the Real Presence.

But after Vatican II we told Catholic adults and children preparing for Holy Communion that we're receiving food, real bread and to eat it as you eat real bread by chewing it! And thus we saw communicants receiving on the run returning to their pews chewing the Host as though a cow chewing cud! That really instills reverence and holy fear into people!

This video below gives a very good rational for kneeling to receive Holy Communion and to receive the Host on the tongue.

But what it states about not chewing the Host and the reason why, is what I wish I had been taught as a child because it is excellent:

#4 "Let the Host soften in the mouth, then swallow. by doing this you'll avoid having the smallest particle of our Lord stuck in your teeth where it might be desecrated later by coming into contact with the profane."

If only our children today and our adults had such holy fear and reverence!


Rood Screen said...

Father McDonald,
I'm just curious, do use use white or wheat hosts for the congregation, and what size? I use very small white hosts for my EF Mass, since these are more traditionally Roman and easier to dissolve in the mouth (or in a chalice if one is dropped). I also keep some of these in the tabernacle for distribution at nursing homes, again, because they're easier to dissolve and swallow.
On a moderately related note, I also use white wine, both because it is traditional in the Roman Rite, and because it stains the linens less.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We use the standard Cavanaugh hosts, but white wheat. The ones we use are a bit larger than the traditional hosts. I use these for both forms of the Mass. We use red wine but in my parish growing up we used white wine and I am going to go back to it and yes, it helps those who wash the linens greatly!

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

I kid you not, my pastor did a whole write up in the parish paper about how recieving Communion on the tongue is no longer proper, because these days "sticking your tongue out" is considered rude, while "holding your hands out" shows respect and self-reliance.

John Nolan said...

Fr Faber wrote in one of his finest hymns:

"Do more than pardon, give us joy, sweet fear and sober liberty".

I think this concept of 'sweet fear' is altogether lacking in modern Catholicism. In the same hymn Faber reminds us:

"Labour is sweet, for Thou hast toiled; and care is light, for Thou hast cared".

Putting our own tribulations in perspective.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

That is and was a talking point that some liturgist somewhere came up with and is just as silly as the other talking point of making people feel comfortable drinking from the same chalice as 40 others, that the alcohol content of the wine, turning the chalice and using the purificator would prevent people from catching a communicable disease such as a cold or the flu. What bunk! As a disclaimer, I used these talking points too in the 80's and 90's!

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father Chicken Little - No one said "the alcohol content of the wine, turning the chalice and using the purificator would prevent people from catching a communicable disease."

It certainly reduces the risk, but no one claimed it was foolproof.

Unknown said...

I am taking my CCD class to St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, MN on Sunday Feb. 3, 2013. It is an EF Missa Cantata, Mozart's Missa Brevis in F will be sung and I have been catechizing them for the last 5 weeks on the EF Mass.

I used this very video to explain to them the reverence of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue. I asked them to practice this from the time of the video until they receive Holy Communion at St. Agnes, by receiving on the tongue at every Mass they assist at leading up to our trip.

An amazing thing happened this past Wednesday night during class. I asked them how their comfort level was regarding using their tongue as opposed to their hands...and 4 (of the 6) said that they will not be using their hands any longer, because of three reasons I had been catechizing them about:

1. It is irreverent. Consecrated hands should only be the one's handling the host.

2. It is easier. "All I have to do is open my mouth."

3. "It feels more Catholic."

Those are the reasons they gave me. If anyone argues that young people don't get it, I'd argue that they are not teaching them properly.

Our young Catholics want the traditional practices of the faith. We just have to show it to them. They do get it. Really.

Incidentally, they belong to a parish which is much closer to Fr. Kavanaugh's liturgical style than Fr. McDonald's. And they still are abandoning reception in the hand going foward.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI in the 70's we were given those talking points in the seminary and as I have quoted. We were to tell people they would get more germs from a handshake than drinking after someone and the germs in that venue were negligible. Bunk!

Shelly said...

We haven't had religious education at our parish in over 2 years, so when my older son (he was 13) decided to join the Church (I am a revert) I took it upon myself to teach him. We homeschool, so already had an advantage, and instead of using the archdiocesan materials we primarily used the Baltimore Catechism. All options for receiving Communion were presented to him, but after all he had been taught he chose to receive kneeling and on the tongue. So I agree that this is about proper teaching, and also think we should be including parents and other adults. We are the two oddballs in this parish - receiving kneeling/on the tongue.

Rood Screen said...

I think Pater Ignotus is right in saying the common chalice propaganda did not claim the absolute impossibility of spreading communicable diseases by properly employing the purificator and "turning method". However, I, too, was told, both in philosophy seminary and in theology (two different schools in two different states),that the likelihood of contracting a disease when these practices are employed was highly unlikely.

Marc said...

Suggesting the Body and Blood of Christ could cause physical illness to those receiving after adequate preparation shows an extreme lack of faith, not only in the Real Presence, but in God Himself and his sovereignty over the universe.

Joe Shlabotnick said...

Why are we even DEBATING the use of the chalice? The body AND blood of Christ are BOTH present in the Host, thus making Holy Communion under both species unnecessary.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, but....

Intinction assures that the Precious Blood under the form or accident of Wine is received thus the symbolic aspect of receiving both is clear. Jesus is received completely under either form, but will one get the symbolic sensation that our Lord is like wine, who brings warmth and joy to the heart and lifts the heart in ecstasy? Or if we only gave the Precious Blood under the accident of Wine, the communicant would miss the symbolism that Jesus is the Bread of life, He is like wheat crushed to become Bread and thus the staff of Life?
There is symbolism that is important in the Mass and the bread and wine of the Eucharist has a symbolism that points to the Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord truly present under the accidents of bread and wine, but these are no accidents!
In addition when distributing Holy Communion by way of Intinction, the priest says, "The Body and Blood" of Christ, but not so with only the accident of Bread or of Wine.
What do you make of that?

Joe Shlabotnick said...

I guess symbolic "sensations" are nice, but I just don't see it as essential. I don't think well-catechized Catholics need the overkill of re-stating the obvious. Intinction is certainly preferable to letting laypeople handle the Chalice, but receiving on the tongue, by one species is safer, quicker, more efficient and minimizes the likelihood that any of the sacred species falls to the ground.

If you were to poll the average Catholic in the pews today about receiving Communion, the majority would not be aware that they were receiving the Blood of Christ in the Host. That's the problem.

Personally, I find more consistent and better catechesis is preferable to the risks of sacrilege or abuse.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Michael, Father Allan, and Father Shelton,

True, no one said it was fool proof, but they stated these allegations with an air of authority as if it were indeed a fact. They were foolish to make such an allegation as they did not have the professional medical competency to make such a statement. As Father Shelton noted, these statement came from folks with degrees in philosophy and theology. As the old joke goes, when someone is dying and they call for a doctor, no one wants a Ph.D. or an Ed.D., they want a M.D. My late Father-in-law was a medical doctor (And Catholic, MD Georgetown 1959), who did not hesitate to state that these claims were bunk, and would not hesitate to tell his Catholic patients so, when they came into his office.

Henry Edwards said...

Marc: "Suggesting the Body and Blood of Christ could cause physical illness to those receiving after adequate preparation shows an extreme lack of faith, not only in the Real Presence, but in God Himself and his sovereignty over the universe."

In case someone might think you actually meant what this statement appears to say on its face. ... According to the doctrine of the Real Presence, the substance of the Precious Blood is that of the blood of Christ, but its accidents are those of wine.

Among those "accidents"--its unchanged physical properties, its chemical composition, etc--are any physical impurities or contaminants it may contain, such as saliva containing bacterial or viral agents. So, of course, one can by reception contract a disease if it can spread by ingestion of saliva from one who is infected.

Which is not to say that faith sufficient to move mountains could, in God's providence, also render him immune to disease. But who of us can be confident that his faith suffices?

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc says that germs can't be passed on the Body of Christ. This is a silly assertion, to say the least, and without theological basis.

Also involved are (look away Good Father Chicken Little as this may be too much for you) tongues, lips, and teeth, all of which are germ and virus locations. Touching any of these with fingers can vector germs.

Anonymous said...

Is this "Good Father Chicken Little" a good-natured private joke between you and this other priest? If not, I find it rather offensive and I wish the other person would please stop. There's enough disrespect for the priesthood out there already.

Henry Edwards said...

Anonymous, how might remarks that convey only personal animosity or jealousy be considered good-natured or humorous? Or inoffensive?

Marc said...

Anonymous, rest assured! Pater Ignotus is also a priest, so he thinks he can be rude to everyone on the Internet without repercussions.

He's also a compelling argument for certain aspects of Donatism.

Anonymous said...

I am all the more indignant because the person using this nickname is a priest. Just because you're a "member of the club" doesn't excuse bad form. This is as deplorable as hearing black people call each other the "N" word.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - Good Father Chicken Little and I are friends. We disagree on aspects of liturgical practice, but you need not find my silly appellations for him offensive.

Henry - I bear no animosity toward and have no feelings of jealousy for Good Father Chicken Little.

Marc just finds being corrected "rude." That's his struggle, not mine. Oh, and he can dish it out with puh-lenty of relish and vitriol, so he is also duplicitous.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I do not believe you. You are being most disingenuous. Your hostility toward Fr. MacDonald leaps off the page. In typical liberal fashion, you assert the opposite in a placating and condescending manner, then continue in the same behavior. Indeed, your condescension toward everyone on the blog has been long-standing and very obvious. The problem is, if you were the least bit theologically astute, liturgically well-versed, or even literarily accomplished then the condescension might be understandable and sort of shrugged at. As it is, it becomes merely laughable or, at times, disgusting. But, don't expect us to believe your ridiculous posing or your prevarication.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Believe what you want, it doesn't change reality.

I believe that what really gripes you is that your bullying has no effect - none - on me. You get angry when you are called out when you make racist comments regarding the President, or when you demean women with "jokes" about clocks on stoves, or when you announce that you skip mass when it will be, in your view, a "carnival."

I've lived with bullying all my life (bright kid, red hair, glasses, etc) and have learned that it arises exclusively from a weakness in the bully.

Like you I am concerned about the reality of evil in the world. Unlike you, I don't fall into the illusion that beating up on others is an appropriate or helpful way to respond to that evil.

Gene said...

Ignotus,So, now you are calling me a bully? Is this the best you can do? And, when have I gotten angry on this blog...unless you interpret serious criticism as anger. Typically, when angry dilletantes cannot deal with criticism or respond intelligently to questions about their thinking, they resort to the dismissive retort, "'re just mean."
You also attempt to gain the support of others by implying that I am a racist or a misogynist, when all that indicates is that you have no sense of humor at all, another typical liberal trait. I don't care what kind of pitiful nerd you were as a kid. It is the pitiful modernist poseur you are as a Priest that concerns me.
BTW, I am on a number of forums on the net and a couple of blogs where heated discussion often arises. I have never been called a bully by anyone of either political leaning on those formats. Gee, what am I to think...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Sorry, but calling the President "Obammy" (rhymes with 'Mammy', an intentional racial slur) isn't funny. Neither is saying women don't need watches because there are clocks on stoves. I have a sense of humor but it doesn't include inflicting wounds on others. And what was that comment you made about Jews and Trappist sign language?

And, you see, I wasn't a "pitiful nerd" as a kid, but that's what the bullies said. I was a chubby red headed kid with glasses who enjoyed school. Like you, the bullies took pot shots, like you they called names, but, hey, that's what bullies do, as your behaviour attests.

I'm not attempting to gain anyone's support. I'm just reporting the facts of your own behaviour. It should be entirely apparent that I don't curry favor in these parts.

Yes, you are mean, and you have said not a few times that that is your intention, that you actually enjoy being mean when, in your opinion, the situation warrants it.

So have at at, bully away, enjoy saying anything you want.

It doesn't work on me. And that's what gets your goat.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Aside from having no sense of humor, you also have very poor reading comprehension. Re: the comment about Trappist sign language. You have remembered it conveniently as a racial slur made by me. Actually, it was a reference to anti-semitism having been institutionalized, at one time, in the Catholic Church. A Catholic Priest who had spent time in a Trappist monastery and who was adept at their sign language told me that the sign for Jew was a combination of the signs for crafty and greedy. Your memory converts things to suit your biases.
Now, as for Mr. Obammy. This usage is intended to convey the fact that Obammy is owned by the Democratic establishment just as surely as any slave was owned by his master back in the day. They dumped Hillary for him as soon as they realized that they would not have as easy a time controlling the Clintons. Obammy is nothing but a tool of the Eastern monied interests who control the Dem party. All he lacks is the banjo and straw hat. You really don't have a clue, do you? LOL! LOL!

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - My memory is that you repeated the slur against the Jews with no caveat. You couch it in comaraderie, as is convenient.

If you had wanted to convey ownership of the president by "Eastern monied interests" then why did you choose to use a racial slur to do it? And why did you then defend that racial slur by claiming that you don't think your race is superior to African Americans? The only reason for bringing African Americans into your defense is because it was a racial slur to start with.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - And then there was this gem of yours: "Oh, God. Don't tell me Ignotus is anti-gun. LOL!! It figures. That is so pitiful...I guess he really believes all those feral minorities he loves so much are gonna' give up their guns jus' 'cause we ax 'em nice. LOL!
April 30, 2012, 4:38 p.m.

Which "feral minorities" might you have been referring to? And which "feral minority" are you referring to by writing "jus' 'cause we ax 'em nice."?

Gene said...

Ignotus, The feral minorities are a reality...and they are not going to give up their guns. It is not racist to tell the truth. The feral minotities are largely Black. Even the Mayor of Atlanta said that the population of Atlanta is (I believe)54 per cent Black but that 54 per cent is responsible for 96 per cent of the crime in Atlanta. You wil find this statistic repeated in all the large urban centers. Nationwide, violent crime is overwhelmingly a Black phenomenon. Now, I don't know what the sociological/anthropological reasons are for this, but the facts are the facts. Go ax one of yo' liberal apologists to 'splain it away...LOL!

John Nolan said...

Actually, the joke about "clocks on stoves" is quite funny. People have been poking fun at the opposite sex for centuries, and it works both ways. The problem with so-called political correctness is that it identifies certain groups of people as being hard-done-to (women, non-white races, even some white races) and bans jokes about them; stereotyping, which is an obvious source of humour, is regarded as a sin. As a result, PC people, in addition to lacking common sense and imagination, are generally humourless.

"How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? One!! What's funny about that??!!"

I also find it extraordinary that while it is all right to be rude about an individual, certain groups of people must be held to be above citicism. I never use terms like racist, sexist or homophobic since as they cannot be precisely defined, they are made to mean what people want them to mean, and simply become terms of abuse, or epithets designed to stifle free speech.

Unknown said...

So, the bigger question is, how does one justify reception of Holy Communion in the hand? I know that some liberals advocate this view, but I also know that some conservatives do too.

I know where I stand on this, but I would like to know how is reception in the hand justified, considering these things;

1. The hands receiving Holy Communion are not consecrated.

2. Reception in the hand is not the norm of the universal Church, why is it considered, if not treated as the norm here?

3. The writings of the Popes do not support this understanding of reception, nor do their practices.

4. How is it not self-communication?

I think that these are cogent points. Thank you.

Marc said...

Here are the responses (taken from actual things I've seen on used as arguments):

1. Consecrated hands are a non-starter for two reasons: (1) all baptized share in the royal priesthood of Christ, and (2) priests' hands aren't consecrated in the Eastern Catholic ordination rite, so clearly this isn't a universal requirement.

2. Receiving in the hand is the norm in the United States. You are being disobedient to the local authorities and your bishop by suggesting otherwise. Follow your bishop and be obedient.

3. The Popes didn't discuss it because we have only recently re-discovered this most ancient method of receiving! Unlike the Church of the Middle Ages, with its clericalism and hatred of laity, we now know that the early Church received in the hand and the laity even carried Communion home for later in the week.

4. EMHCs aren't self communicating so neither is this. We receive from the priest and then consume reverently. This is the more sanitary way and is more reverent than sticking out ones tongue. And the rule against self-communicating is a Middle Ages thing anyway so it doesn't apply anymore now that we can receive the wine.

There ya go! Hope it helps!