Echoes. Communion in hand or in tongue ?. Posted on 12/01/21

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Communion in hand or in tongue?


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In 1969, the document of the Church “Memoriale Domini” underlined the decision of Pope Paul VI to maintain the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue: “Communion (on the tongue) must be kept … it, but above all because it expresses the respect of the faithful for the Eucharist. “

Father Kenneth
Doyle

Q. My sister claims that receiving Holy Communion in the hand disrespects the Eucharist. I told him it had to be OK because the first sacrament of the Eucharist was received in the hand (at the Last Supper). So I wondered when the practice of receiving on the tongue had started. (City and state selected)

A. We can suppose that at the Last Supper, when Jesus said: “Take and eat, this is my body”, the apostles received this first Eucharist in their hands. And this practice continued during the early centuries of the Church.

At the Council of Constantinople in 692, Christians received the following instruction: “If anyone wants to participate in the immaculate body … and offer himself for communion, let him approach by arranging his hand in the shape of a cross. . “This practice was the norm throughout the early Middle Ages.

But in the 13th century, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote in the “Summa Theologiae”: this sacrament. Therefore, no one else is allowed to touch it except by necessity, for example, if it fell to the ground.

In 1969, the document of the Church “Memoriale Domini” underlined the decision of Pope Paul VI to maintain the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue: “Communion (on the tongue) must be kept … it, but above all because it expresses the respect of the faithful for the Eucharist. “

But in 1977 permission to administer communion in the hand was granted by the Holy See in the United States, and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal now reads: “The communicant … authorized and if the communicating as desired, in the hand “(No. 161). The option is up to the individual. Both can be done with respect, and neither is more noble.

Q. Our son and his future wife are not practicing Catholics. They have a baby girl, now 20 months old, who is to be baptized. How do we as parents approach the subject without turning them completely against the faith or against us? (Regina, Saskatchewan)

A. Let me first say that I very much admire your love for Catholicism and your desire to transmit the benefits of the Catholic faith to your granddaughter. My goal is the same as yours: to bring his parents back to the regular practice of the faith so that they can offer strong religious support to their child.

The wording of your question, however, can be important. You say your granddaughter “needs to be baptized.” Is it possible that you think this is his only chance for heaven? I ask the question because there are people who believe in it.

So let me clarify this first. In 2007, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, declared that the concept of limbo reflected “an unduly restrictive view of salvation” and that God’s mercy offers good reason to hope that babies who die without being baptized can go to heaven.

Now to your question. Canon 868 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law states that “for a child to be baptized lawfully … there must be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion”.

Right now, as you describe the situation, it looks questionable. If you see an opportunity to talk to your son about a religious path he might consider for his daughter, then do so.

But be careful not to force it. Strongly arming your son with his religious responsibility could have a negative effect, including jeopardizing your relationship with him for a long time.

Do you think it would be better for now to just pray for them, so that they come to the choice of baptism on their own? And remember that God cares about the baby’s salvation even more than you do.

– Father Kenneth Doyle is a columnist for Catholic News Service

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