Communion in the Hand ... Why?
"Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is consecrated."
... Saint Thomas Aquinas
Have you noticed a change in the way the Catholic Church administers Holy Communion from the way it once was?
Do you remember when Catholics always knelt for Holy Communion?
Do you remember when Catholics received Holy Communion on the tongue only?
Do you remember when only the priest administered Holy Communion?
Do you remember our priests and sisters teaching us it was sacrilegious for anyone but the priest to touch the Sacred Host?
Do you remember when tabernacles were always in the center of the altar as the primary focal point?
Why has kneeling for Holy Communion disappeared?
Why are tabernacles disappearing from the center of the Churches and placed on the side?
Why are people receiving Communion in the hand?
Why are there lay-ministers of the Eucharist?
Why were these things changed?
If things were changed for the sake of "modern times" and "modern man," has it resulted in record crowds of "modern men" flocking into our Churches to pray and receive the Sacraments?
Do we have record turnouts in our seminaries, monasteries, and convents?
Has the introduction of these new things increased the amount of vocations in the Church?
Was there a "vocation crisis" before these essential and fundamental things were changed?
In the rubrics of the Old Rite of Mass, why was there such precaution taken against the desecration of the Sacred Species?
Why did the priest scrape the corporal with the paten so as not to allow even the slightest, minute particle to fall to the ground and be desecrated?
Why did these rubrics disappear?
Was there more love and reverence before the "renewal"?
Was there more faith in the Real Presence before the "renewal"?
Was there a deeper and greater understanding and appreciation of the Blessed Sacrament as really and truly being the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine?
Were the old rubrics simply "over scrupulous"?
Did the old rubrics and strict laws safeguarding reverence, dignity, and holiness, not express the Catholic Faith regarding the Blessed Sacrament properly?
Do we now understand and believe in it in a different manner, and is this therefore manifested by the actions of first the clergy, then the laity?
Are we afraid to adore the Sacred Host?
Are we ashamed to adore the Sacred Host?
Is it any coincidence that Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament began to fade away more and more with the introduction of Communion in the hand, and lay ministers of the Eucharist?
Has Catholic teaching changed regarding Transubstantiation, that is, the changing of the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ during the Sacrifice of the Mass?
If the teaching has not changed, why has attitude, spirit, rubrics, and practice changed?
Where did Communion in the hand come from since it is nowhere proposed or even mentioned in the documents of Vatican II?
Why did it still come about on a worldwide scale even after Pope Paul VI in his 1969 letter to the Bishops, Memoriale Domini, stated "This method, 'on the tongue' must be retained"?
If it is supposed to be "optional," why are the little children in most parochial schools taught no other way than receiving in the hand as "this is the way it is done"?
Why is there a new attitude of "anyone can handle It"?
Have we created a "vicious cycle" or a "cause and effect" situation where radical changes are introduced, vocations drop as a result, and then more changes such as "lay ministers of the Eucharist" are introduced appealing to their need because of the "vocation crisis"?
Is it possible there may be forces at work to undermine the priesthood?
Is it possible there may be forces at work to Protestantize the Catholic Church?
Is it possible there may be forces at work to destroy the Catholic Church?
Do Catholic authorities and educators not know that Communion in the hand was condemned by the Synod of Rouen in 650 A.D. to halt widespread abuses that occurred from this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege?
Are Catholic authorities unaware of Saint Thomas Aquinas' teaching that only the consecrated (hands of the priest) should touch the consecrated (Sacred Host)? Summa Pt. III, Q. 82 Art #. 3
Are Church authorities unaware that Protestant denominations beginning with Martin Luther in the 16th Century re-introduced Communion in the hand to manifest their belief once and for all that there is no such thing as Transubstantiation and Holy Orders, and the bread used during services is just ordinary bread, and the minister is just an ordinary man with no God-given power to consecrate?
Are Catholic authorities unaware that during ritualistic Satan worship, there must be a consecrated Host for the diabolic black mass, where It is profaned in the most horrendous and immoral way possible?
Are Catholic authorities unaware that the introduction of Communion in the hand, and the "anyone can handle It" attitude easily accommodates those who wish to acquire It for evil purposes?
Do they care?
Is it a manifestation of disrespect or disobedience to present these hard but sober and valid questions?
Or is it a matter of genuine concern to preserve and defend the reverence, dignity, and holiness due to the greatest treasure the Catholic Church possesses, and the greatest gift given us by God: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
The above article is reprinted with permission of Brother Joseph Natale, O.S.B., Superior of Most Holy Family Monastery, Berlin, N.J.