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Friday, 27 January 2012

Petition against communion in the hand


My good friend, Fr Andrew Wise, of the diocese of Sale in Victoria (Australia), together with Fr John Speekman, has drawn up a petition to the Holy Father which reads as follows:
Your Holiness,
We are convinced of the great spiritual harm inflicted on the Catholic faithful, and the profanation of the Blessed Sacrament that often occurs by the practice of Communion received on the hand.
We implore Your Holiness to personally intervene to restore once again the normative practice of reception of Holy Communion on the tongue alone.
There is also a blog in support of the petition. Andrew Rabel wrote a piece to give a little background to the petition, and Cardinal Arinze has written in support of the piece. Bishop Schneider has also written in support, and has signed the petition. I have also signed the petition. Many ordinary laity receive Holy Communion in the hand because that is what they were taught to do; in some cases they were told that it was the more proper, reverent, ancient, grown-up, or modern way to receive Holy Communion. Bishop Schneider's book "It is the Lord" (sold in England by Gracewing) answers all of the usual justifications for the practice and urgently recommends a return to the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

Apart from the major concern over the danger of profanation with Communion in the hand, the "sign value" of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue distinguishes the act of receiving Holy Communion from an ordinary act of taking an ordinary snack to eat. Little toddlers recognise this if they accompany their mother to the altar rail: when Mum receives Holy Communion in the hand, they will often ask "Can I have one?"; this is much less common if Mum receives Holy Communion on the tongue. They are given an early lesson in the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.

Sign the petition here.
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