One of my fellow Catholic Insight Magazine bloggers wrote a great article on why faithful Catholics ought to be receiving the Holy Eucharist on the tongue…….
“I’m heartbroken to announce that last week, we discovered a crushed consecrated Host beneath one of the kneelers,” the pastor of a small yet devout Californian parish says. He pauses for a moment before he goes on, his voice choked by just indignation and sadness: “This is God, people. God.” Then he drops the bomb. “I’m writing to Pope Francis to do away with the practice of Communion in the hand altogether. I believe most of the abuses and blasphemies that the Eucharist has undergone is because of this practice.”
Since the practice of Communion in the hand has become the common observance in most countries, there has been, whether you like admit it or not, a spike in Eucharistic abuse. Communion in the hand has given those who wish to do harm and those who are careless the opportunity to do what they want with the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the situation described above is not uncommon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Furthermore, Communion in the hand has the potential to promote or at least foster a disrespect for the Body of Christ. As Catholics, we believe this small Host does not represent Christ, but is Christ Himself. How can we, then, possibly touch the living presence of God with our bare, dirty, unconsecrated, and unworthy hands? How? How have we even considered this as an option in the first place?
The answer can be given using one word: disobedience. The practice came about in the early 1960s (after Vatican II, though the Council never actually called for it), when certain parishes around the world began to disobey the Church’s rule of receiving the Host on the tongue, making their own rules as to whether or not you could receive on the hand. The Vatican immediately responded in disapproving words, saying that this disobedient practice would lead to “the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini).
When Pope Paul VI in 1968 sent out a questionnaire to every bishop in the world asking if the Church should alter how Communion was being distributed, the answer came back loud and clear: in the hand was overwhelmingly disapproved of and should not be allowed. The Vatican agreed, stating that if the practice of Communion on the hand be allowed, “it would be an offense to the sensibilities and spiritual outlook of these bishops and a great many of the faithful” (Memoriale Domini)……….