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SALT LAKE CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A bishop at a cathedral in Utah refused Holy Communion to a kneeling communicant who wished to receive on the tongue.
On July 5, Salt Lake City's Bp. Oscar Solis, and then cathedral pastor Fr. Martin Diaz, denied Holy Communion to a man and his young daughter while they were kneeling to receive on the tongue at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, according to a Church Militant source.
The previous Sunday, June 28, Fr. Joe Delka finally did give the same man Holy Communion after seemingly reprimanding the man, who was again kneeling to receive, according to the same source, who provided videos of both Masses.
Both videos clearly show the man being rebuked while kneeling for Communion with his daughter. The anonymous source, who was present at both Masses lamented:
I witnessed that a faithful was denied Holy Communion this Sunday at Mass, first by Bp. Solis and then by the Cathedral Pastor, Fr. Martin Diaz ... Last Sunday, the same faithful was denied Holy Communion at first, but then Fr. Joe Delka gave the man Holy Communion ... Can the faithful really be denied Holy Communion for wanting to receive it kneeled and in the tongue? This is getting out of hand!
The confusion over the reception of Holy Communion has been widespread since the Wuhan virus pandemic has struck. While certain bishops and priests have banned Communion on the tongue during the Wuhan virus scare, canon lawyers and medical doctors have raised their voices to defend it.
Catholic Answers on its website clarifies the basic policy of receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church Latin rite:
The universal law of the Latin rite is that we receive Communion on the tongue. To receive in the hand is an indult or special permission that does not exist in most parts of the world. By law, it is a right of the faithful to receive on the tongue, and the faithful must not have their rights denied.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) came out with a memorandum April 30 that contains guidelines for all bishops. Referenced is the universally binding instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, promulgated by the Committee on Divine Worship in 2004. The memorandum states:
We have carefully considered the question of Communion on the tongue vs. Communion in the hand. Given the Church's existing guidance on this point (see Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 92), and recognizing the differing judgments and sensibilities that are involved, we believe that, with the precautions listed here, it is possible to distribute on the tongue without unreasonable risk.
Medical doctors don't disagree. Church Militant reported in June that some doctors say Communion on the tongue is actually safer than in the hands.
In response to a decree from the Austrian bishops that essentially barred Communion on the tongue due to concerns about spreading the Wuhan virus, 21 Catholic physicians in Austria issued a letter supporting the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.
"From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral Communion has been banned in Austria," reads the letter. "We also consider this form of distribution safer than hand Communion."
In May, Church Militant reported that the president of Italy's Catholic Medical Association, Filippo Boscia, responded to some bishops' claim that Communion in the hand is the safer practice. In a May 10 interview with the Italian Catholic website La Fede Quotidiana, Boscia says, "Communion in the hand is more contagious ... on the tongue is safer than the one on the hand," noting hands need constant disinfection.
Portland, Oregon Abp. Alexander Sample consulted two physicians who told him the risk is "equally probable, and one's hands have a greater exposure to germs."
While it seems more bishops and priests have come around to accepting that Communion on the tongue does not pose an unreasonable risk to spread disease and ought to be respected as a legitimate option for the faithful to receive their risen, Incarnate Lord, Church Militant still receives word that people are being turned away.
7/22/2020: This story was revised to clarify the correct dates on which the man in question was denied Holy Communion.