Respect for the Most Holy Eucharist — Part II

News: Commentary
by Joe Sixpack — The Every Catholic Guy  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 26, 2021   

Giving the King His due

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Read Part I here.

Thanks be to God, most people where I've been are generally respectful, but there have been some terrible abuses to the Eucharist reported over the years. For example, it was horrifying to read in The Wanderer some years ago about pastors finding consecrated Hosts stuck beneath the pews like chewing gum and about people putting Hosts in their pockets. This sort of thing comes from two factors: a lack of solid catechesis about the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist and feeling pressured to receive Jesus during Communion time at Mass.

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Receiving Communion

Surveys show that 70% of Mass-attending Catholics in America don't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Most believe the Blessed Sacrament is merely a symbol and nothing more. Of course, in previous articles we have seen that Jesus is really and truly present in each particle of the consecrated Host and each drop of the consecrated Contents of the chalice. For those of you who previously thought the Eucharist is merely a symbol — well, now you know better. But what about those who feel pressured to receive Communion?

Large parishes often have ushers who direct each pew to the aisle to get in line for Communion. This practice puts pressure on people to get up and go to Communion, and some of these folks know they can't receive because of the state of their soul. And how many good non-Catholics are there being herded to Communion by ushers?

Fifty years ago, Communion in the hand was absolutely forbidden.

In small or rural parishes, ushers often aren't used. However, there is a pressure nonetheless, and it makes the recipient truly culpable. What I'm talking about is the person who receives Communion because he doesn't want other people in a small parish to think poorly of him for not going to Communion. If you're reading this and fit into that category, you know from previous articles that if your soul is in a state of mortal sin and you still receive Communion, you are committing the additional mortal sin of sacrilege. Talk to your priest — in the confessional.

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Communion in the hand

Now let's talk about one more issue concerning Communion, and it's an issue that will upset a few people: I'm talking about receiving Communion in the hand.

Let me first state emphatically that you do indeed have a conditional right to receive Communion in the hand if the priest giving Holy Communion even allows it. However, you may view this practice much differently by the time we finish this article.

Fifty years ago, Communion in the hand was absolutely forbidden. After the Second Vatican Council, there were many leaders in the Church who had wrongly decided (translation: lied to the laity) that the Council had given them permission to do about anything they wanted. So some bishops and priests across the country instituted the practice of giving people Communion in the hand. Why is it allowed today? Because both the bishops and laity were lied to by the likes of then-Abp. Joseph Bernardin when he was president of the "National Conference of Catholic Bishops," now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Modern Catholics have to be asking themselves why it was forbidden to receive Jesus in the hand in the first place. Well, the place to begin looking for that answer is in the ordination of a priest.

The Vortex: No Communion in the Hand


Have you ever wondered why some people always kiss the hand of a priest? That is because his hands have been consecrated by the bishop at ordination. They were consecrated because a priest is a very special man. Think about it: During the consecration of the Mass, he calls God down from Heaven, and God responds. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity comes down from Heaven at the consecration to where? To rest in those consecrated hands of the priest.

The Church so deeply reverences the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist that the paten upon which the Host rests must be made of gold or be gold plated. The inside of the chalice, likewise, must be lined with gold. And the priest's hands must be consecrated by the bishop, who is acting in persona Christi, that is, in the person of Christ.

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Consecration of the priest's hands

What right do laymen have to hold the Body of Christ in our hands? We have no right at all, even though we now have a conditional canonical right in this country. We aren't worthy of holding His Sacred Body. The priest is also unworthy to do so. That's why the bishop consecrates his hands, so that the hands holding Christ are holy through that consecration.

And the priest celebrating Mass not even dispense Holy Communion in the hand. Case in point is a modern pontiff. I recall seeing him say a Mass on television before I was a Catholic, hearing the story behind it after I became a Catholic. The Holy Father was in America for one of his visits. A certain number of people were called upon to receive Holy Communion directly from the pope himself, and this select group was told ahead of time not to attempt to receive in the hand. At Communion time, one man decided to test the issue. He stood before the pontiff with his hands extended to receive the Host. The Holy Father stood motionless with the Host in a position to place it on the man's tongue. It seemed like an hour passed as the man stubbornly stood with his hands extended, and the pope stood equally fixed to place Our Lord on the man's tongue. The will of Pope St. John Paul II finally won out, and the man accepted Christ on his tongue.

The pope stood equally fixed to place Our Lord on the man's tongue.

The Church may allow us to receive Communion in the hand, but only because of the abuses heaped against the Holy Eucharist a lifetime ago. The heart of the Church, though, is for us to receive Jesus on the tongue, as St. John Paul II demonstrated.

Now let me ask you something: If an elderly or ill parent asked you to clean the kitchen or garage because he was too physically limited to do the job properly, would you do it only well enough to get by, or would you do it the way you knew the parent would do it? If you love your parent, you would do it the way he would want it done. Since you now know how your Holy Mother, the Church, prefers us to receive Christ, do you really want to continue to receive Him in your hand? 

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