Friday, 17 January 2014

“Whatever You Can Do to Stop Communion in the Hand Will be Blessed by God” ~ Fr. John Hardon S.J.

It has been my practice for many years now, when attending the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and receiving Holy Communion, I neither approach a layperson, nor do I receive in the hand from a priest. I only go to a priest, or deacon; and I only receive on the tongue. I say this not to exalt myself in any way but to express my coming around to the grave error of receiving Our Blessed Lord in the hand. 

A priest friend on Facebook recently had a post about how to cause a war amongst Catholics and his comment referred to opening the debate on the topic. It was about communion in ht hand. There were hundreds of posts and it got heated. The ignorance of Catholic laity is mind-boggling. The deceit on how it was came to be is tragic.


It goes without saying that it was an abuse. It began in Belgium and Holland and rather than suppress it, Pope Paul VI allowed it where it had already occurred. From that point in 1969, it took nearly a decade for it to become a reality in the United States after the late Cardinal Bernardin was able to finally achieve his goal of seeing it come into force through manipulation and dissent from the wishes of Paul VI. Sadly, it become the norm in Canada in 1969 only days after South Africa which was the first country outside of Holland and Belgium to manipulate Memoriale Domini to permit this.


I want to be clear. This is not a judgement on my part of any priest who provides Communion in the hand to the faithful, nor to those who receive in that manner. The Law of the Church permits it. It cannot in any way be considered a sin on the part of the priest or the communicant as it is permitted by the Church. It is legal; but it is not right and that is a different matter.


It is up to each of us to stop this practice; but know this, it cannot come from the priest. Any priest who would refuse to give the Holy Eucharist in the hand would be violating the communicants right to determine how they receive and would incur the wrath of his bishop. It is however, within the power of the laity, you and me, to fix this. Think about it. You can change this practice which was never asked for by the faithful. You can change it for the whole Church. You, and you and you and you -- one person at a time. Remember the example of our beloved Benedict influenced to this no doubt by Bishop Athanasius Schneider Look even at the example of Pope Francis and the effort at St. Peter's to control the practice. 


The day is coming when it will be banned and recognised that it was nothing less than an abomination and condemned as an error in which the great majority of Catholics whom unbeknownst to them,  have taken part. May we be forgiven.  


There is this most excellent post by John Andrew Dorsey at Church Militant Blog and this from Catholic Insight which I encourage you to read. In the article by Dorsey, he comments about the middle-east tradition of placing a morsel of food in the mouth of the guest at dinner. He shows this iconography on the book cover to highlight the point. I can attest to this being of Lebanese ancestry. It was very common for our dear mother, particularly with that delicious raw Kibbeh, to call us to the kitchen and she would place a little morsel in our mouths before dinner. It is not far-fetched to conclude that Our Lord at the Last Supper may have indeed performed that same act of love. As an aside, if you followed that link to the Kibbeh, we always had a fresh sprig of mint and a cross formed in it as well!

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