All that has been elaborated on until now permits us to realize that the history of the reintroduction of communion in the hand is nothing other than the triumph of an act of disobedience.
Receiving Holy Communion

"Their hands, simply put, are not ordained."

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Communion-in-the-hand promotes Protestantism through disrespect, and encourages subtle unbelief toward the Real Presence. As a direct result of legitimizing what was once a disobedient act, a very significant percentage of Roman Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence. Millions more have walked out of the Church, many of them never to return.

Here are the false, questionable and misleading statements, arguments and questions that are routinely utilized to promote and legitimize communion-in-the-hand, and trivialize communion-on-the-tongue.

1. Rome allows it, therefore it must be okay.

Rome does allow it, unfortunately, but Rome also specifically discourages it and has from the beginning. In Memoriale Domini , the document allowing communion-in-the-hand, Pope Paul VI strongly encouraged kneeling and receiving communion-on-the-tongue as the “traditional practice”. He also wrote: "This method of distributing Holy Communion must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful's reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that is needed for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord."

Read the last sentence again. For reasons that are beyond comprehension, Paul VI’s very clear and concise directives are completely ignored in the Church today. In fact, many religious leaders encourage the exact opposite of what Pope Paul VI instructed.

Pope Benedict XVI certainly understands. His Holiness routinely distribute communion-on-the-tongue. His example is well worth emulating, but generally ignored.

2. As long as you receive Holy Communion worthily in your heart, it doesn't matter if you receive Him in your hand.

This is a trendy new excuse that popped up in the last couple of years, but will never withstand the test of time. Over and over again the Bible and Catholic tradition teach us that no one is capable of standing before God Himself. Even worse, handling or mishandling Him with familiarity doesn't really seem like a logical concept, unless of course one doesn't believe that Holy Communion is God Himself (Protestantism) in which case it doesn't appear to matter to the offending party.

3. "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." (Catechesis mystagogica V, xxi-xxii, Migne Patrologia Graeca 33)

This quotation is frequently presented as proof-positive that communion-in-the-hand is a throwback to happier ancient times. The quote is, however, questionable at best. It comes from the Five Follow-Up Lectures for Newly Baptized Christians ascribed to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in about the year AD 350. These five follow-up lectures are highly debated and may not be authentic. In other words, they may have been added by someone other than Saint Cyril. In fact, there exist manuscripts that do not attribute these five lectures to Saint Cyril.

Nonetheless, reverent communion-in-the-hand was a legitimate and common practice at certain times in the Early Church. Prior to 150 AD there is nothing but historical silence, but following that era communion-in-the-hand was common at one church or another. However, it is believed that abuse had emerged as a serious problem, just as it has today. In 650 AD, the Synod of Rouen, France directed, “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywoman, but only in their mouths.” Ultimately, this local council set the standard that was accepted by the universal Church for 1,400 years. It wasn’t until 1969 and the pontificate of Pius VI that communion-in-the-hand was authorized for Holland, Belgium, Germany and France, the four countries that had disobediently allowed the irreverent practice.

4. But didn’t the Apostles receive communion-in-the-hand at the Last Supper?

We’ve all seen hundreds of paintings, sketches and lithographs that portray the Last Supper, with the Bread of Life held or distributed by Christ in myriad ways. But every image is a creation from the mind of the artist. No-one really knows how Christ distributed the Bread of Life. Never forget, however, that the Apostles were themselves priests, or even Bishops; most of us are not.

We also shouldn’t forget a traditional custom of middle-eastern hospitality which was in practice in Jesus’ time and which is still the case; that is, one feeds his guests with one’s own hand, placing a symbolic morsel in the mouth of the guest. And we have this text of St. John’s Gospel (13:26-30): “Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give this Morsel when I have dipped It.’ So when He had dipped the Morsel, He gave It to Judas… So, after receiving the Morsel, he [Judas] immediately went out…”

Did Our Lord place this wet Morsel into Judas’ hand? That would be rather messy. Did He not perhaps extend to the one whom He addressed later in the garden as “friend” the gesture of hospitality spoken of above? And if so, why not with Holy Communion, “giving Himself by His own Hand”? (Extracted in part from Holy Communion in the Hand: The True Story by Rev. Paul J. McDonald reprinted from Mary’s Anawin, July, 2008, under “Articles” on this site)

5. If everyone knelt and received on their tongue, wouldn’t Mass be too long?

This one has been around since the sixties, but traditional Catholic Masses all over the world prove the statement to be false. When communicants kneel at an alter rail the priest can move at his own pace and is not limited by the rate at which communicants step before him.

6. It's more hygienic to receive in the hand than on the tongue.

This is another canard that has been around for quite some time. The priest can easily place the host on the tongue without touching the communicant's tongue, mouth, lips or teeth. The Host adheres to the tongue quite easily if there is even the slightest moisture present. There is no physical contact between the priest and the communicant. With communion-in-the-hand, full hand to hand contact is made and there is a very real danger of spreading unwanted germs. Ironically, those who advocate communion-in-the-hand have no problem with dozens of people drinking His Blood from the chalice where saliva from each communicant can mix with His Blood.

Communion-in-the-hand has been nothing less than disastrous. Yet the directives allowing it couldn’t be any clearer. Communion-on-the-tongue, is the preferred, traditional manner from Rome, yesterday, today and forever. And it has been from the beginning.

There is little doubt that Rome will ultimately correct this error; the continuing fallout and unbelief is far too serious for Rome to ignore. The good news is that each of us can correct this for ourselves, today, by receiving reverently in the traditional manner.

No priest, Bishop or Cardinal anywhere in the world can legitimately deny communion-on-the-tongue.