Communion in the Hand and on the Tongue

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One of the big debates within the Latin Church today is whether it is okay to receive Holy Communion in the hands.  Some traditionalists say this is absolutely forbidden.  While the norm of the Church is still receiving Holy Communion on the tongue (see the Congregation for Divine Worship’s 1999 release of Notitiae), there is nothing evil about receiving the Host in the hands so long as it is done properly and in front of the minister of Eucharist “so that no one goes away carrying the eucharistic species in his hand” and if the possibility of risking “profanation, then holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful” (cf. Redemptoris Sacramentum, no. 92).  News like this has happened of several people taking the Host home to desecrate it or use it in a voodoo, Santería or Satanic ritual.

Both practices go way back; it is the norm in the Eastern Churches to receive Holy Communion in the hands and in fact some Eastern parishes will not allow you to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.  Of course, it should be noted they do not use unleavened bread for the consecrated Host but rather leavened bread or loaf bread.

“When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.” ~ Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (Mystagogical Catechesis, no. 21)

“And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand.” ~ Saint Basil the Great (Letter 93)

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