Showing posts with label Eucharist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eucharist. Show all posts
Monday, March 16, 2020
Holy Communion Under One or Both Species?

What is Holy Communion?

The Eucharist - Holy Communion - simply is Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. It is not a symbol of Christ, but rather, it is truly and really Jesus Christ! At the point in the Mass known as the consecration the priest, acting in persona Christi, will say "This is my Body, which will be given up for you" and "This is my Blood...". These were the words of Our Savior when He turned the bread and wine at the Last Supper into His Body and Blood, and, by the divine power of God in the priesthood, the bread and wine become Jesus Christ.

The Council of Trent condemned as heretical anyone who claimed that the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity of Christ: “If anyone denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.”

What is Transubstantiation?

The Baltimore Catechism Q. 246 asks, “What is this change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord called? This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord is called Transubstantiation.”

Only the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have a valid Eucharist. The protestants, who do not have valid Holy Orders, do not have valid priests and therefore can not confect the Holy Eucharist. They can not by their words cause transubstantiation to occur. A Lutheran or Anglican priest is not a valid priest.

What is Consubstantiation? 

That being said, the Lutherans, although, they do not have a valid Eucharist, believe the Communion in their services is both the Lord’s Body and Blood alongside the substance of bread and wine. This is called consubstantiation. The theological view of consubstantiation, which has no basis in the teachings of the Early Church at all, was explicitly condemned as heretical by the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.”

The writings of the Early Church Fathers abound in teaching the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, long before the term was coined by the Church. To illustrate the clear Catholic view that existed centuries, even a millennium before Martin Luther, we can turn to a few examples. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313 – 386 AD) wrote, "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ.” And St. Augustine (354 – 430 AD) similarly and succinctly wrote, “Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored It.”

What is a Eucharistic Species?

In Theology we use the terms species in reference to the Eucharist. What does species mean? The Modern Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. defines “species” as the following: “Appearances, especially those of bread and wine, after the Eucharistic consecration. The term "species" is used by the Council of Trent to identify the accidents, i.e., the size, weight, color, resistance, taste, and odor of bread, which remain exactly the same after transubstantiation. They are not mere appearances as though these physical properties were unreal. But they are appearances because after the consecration they lack any substance that underlies them or in which they inhere.”

This is an important definition because by it we see a few things. First, the Catholic view is transubstantiation. Second, in transubstantiation the bread and wine, at the moment of consecration, cease being bread and wine and are now the substance of the Lord’s Body, His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity.  The only thing remaining of bread and wine are the accidents (the color, taste, smell, appearance, et cetera) of bread and wine. They are however not bread and wine any more.

Is Christ’s Body Only in the Consecrated Host? Is the Consecrated Wine Only His Blood?

In the Catechism of St. Pius X we find the clear and universal teaching of the Church: “Both under the species of the bread and under the species of the wine the living Jesus Christ is all present, with His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity. Both in the host and in the chalice Jesus Christ is whole and entire, because He is living and immortal in the Eucharist as He is in heaven; hence where His Body is, there also are His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity; and where His Blood is, there also are His Body, His Soul and His Divinity, all these being inseparable in Jesus Christ.”

The smallest fragment of the Eucharistic Host is the fullness of Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And the smallest drop of the Consecrated wine is likewise the fullness of Our Lord: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We may in conversation refer to the Consecrated Host as “Christ’s Body” and the Consecrated Wine as “Christ’s Blood,” but in reality under each of the species of bread and wine there is no substance of bread or wine and there is the fullness of Christ.

The great confusion on this necessary teaching for salvation comes from the modernism that has infected the Church in the past few decades. In fact, many Catholics fail to understand this because Catholic parishes have introduced Communion in the hand, which was introduced as a liturgical abuse, and they now also distribute Holy Communion from the chalice. The sacrilege of Communion in the hand and the distribution of both Eucharistic species has led to a growing trend in Catholics failing to believe in the Real Presence (i.e. in transubstantiation) and, even for those who do believe, there is a trend in Catholics who believe the Consecrated Host is only Christ’s Body and the Consecrated Wine is only Christ’s Blood.

Should We Receive Holy Communion from the Chalice? 

In the Traditional Latin Mass, Holy Communion is given to those who are kneeling (with the elderly and ill able to stand), on the tongue, and only under one species. Why? The Baltimore Catechism in Q. 900 advised, "The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord's blood is present under the appearance of bread also."

The trend following Vatican II to distribute both Eucharistic species incorporates a protestant practice that the Church had repeatedly prohibited in order to both safeguard our Lord’s Body and Blood and to teach the authentic Theology of the Real Presence under one species more fully. The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the Church’s history of this topic for those looking for more thorough information. While the Eastern Rites of the Church have continued to offer the Holy Eucharist through intinction (where the Consecrated Bread is dipped in the Consecrated Wine), this practice has long ago vanished from the Western Rites of the Church. The protestants introduction of this was done due to their heretical view of the Consecrated Bread containing the fullness of Christ.

We should not receive Holy Communion from the chalice as traditionally this was for the priest alone. We should also attend the Traditional Latin Mass and not the Novus Ordo. And we should of course never receive Holy Communion in the hand.  As Fr. John Hardon remarked: “Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.”
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
What is the Eucharistic Fast?

The Authority of Scripture 

St. Paul admonished those who approach Holy Communion with the purpose of merely eating food with condemnation: “For everyone taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not" (1 Cor 11:21-22). Likewise, in the Acts of the Apostles 13:2, St. Luke mentions a connection between those present at the liturgy also fasting.

Observed Since Apostolic Times

Fasting before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion, although the specifics have changed over time, is of apostolic origin. Hippolytus (c. 170 – 235 AD) in the Apostolic Tradition writes, "The faithful shall be careful to partake of the eucharist before eating anything else." At the Synod of Hippo in 393, the Eucharistic Fast was codified in Canon 29, and again a few years later it was likewise codified at the Synod of Carthage in Canon 28.

St. Augustine bears witness to the universality of the fast before Holy Communion in his writings: “Must we therefore censure the universal Church because the sacrament is everywhere partaken of by persons fasting? Nay, verily, for from that time it pleased the Holy Spirit to appoint, for the honour of so great a sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a Christian; and it is for this reason that the custom referred to is universally observed.”

Why Do We Observe the Eucharistic Fast?

St. Thomas Aquinas provides three salutary reasons for this ancient discipline in th Summa Theologica (ST III, q. 80, a. 8):
1) First, as Augustine says (Resp. ad Januar., Ep. liv), “out of respect for this sacrament,” so that it may enter into a mouth not yet contaminated by any food or drink. 
2) Secondly, because of its signification. i.e. to give us to understand that Christ, Who is the reality of this sacrament, and His charity, ought to be first of all established in our hearts, according to Mt. 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” 
3) Thirdly, on account of the danger of vomiting and intemperance, which sometimes arise from over-indulging in food, as the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 11:21): “One, indeed, is hungry, and another is drunk.”
What is the Current Eucharistic Fast? 

The 1983 Code of Canon Law provides the following, which incorporates the changes made by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964 and January 29, 1973
Can. 919 §1 Whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine. 
§2 A priest who, on the same day, celebrates the blessed Eucharist twice or three times may consume something before the second or third celebration, even though there is not an hour’s interval. 
§3 The elderly and those who are suffering from some illness, as well as those who care for them, may receive the blessed Eucharist even if within the preceding hour they have consumed something.
What was the Fast Prior to 1964?

The Eucharistic Fast immediately prior to Paul VI’s changes followed the mitigated discipline introduced by Pope Pius XII on January 6, 1953, in Christus Dominus and on March 25, 1957, in Sacram Communionem. While legislating on a number of finer details, as a whole, Pope Pius XII’s legislation mitigated the fast to be for three hours before Holy Communion from all solid food and all alcoholic beverages. Nonalcoholic beverages were subject to a one hour fast, though water was permitted as stated in Christus Dominus: “In the future it shall be a general and common principle for all, both priests and faithful, that natural water does not break the Eucharistic fast.”

Note, that Pope Pius XII encouraged those who could keep the older fast to continue to do so: “We strongly exhort priests and faithful who are able to do so to observe the old and venerable form of the Eucharistic fast before Mass and Holy Communion. All those who will make use of these concessions must compensate for the good received by becoming shining examples of a Christian life and principally with works of penance and charity.”

What was the Fast Prior to Pope Pius XII?

The traditional Eucharistic fast involved total abstinence from all food and all drinks, including water, from midnight until the reception of Holy Communion. Such a fast applied to priests as well as anyone approaching Holy Communion. This was enriched into Canon 858 of the 1917 Code: “Those who have not kept the natural fast from midnight are not allowed to receive, except in danger of death, or in case it should become necessary to consume the Blessed Sacrament to safeguard it against irreverence.”


The Eucharistic Fast is set by the Church so that those who are to receive our Lord in Holy Communion are more consciously aware of this sublime encounter. We need to fast beforehand to adequately prepare ourselves. To intentionally violate the Eucharistic fast is a mortal sin. Let us endeavor to observe in our own lives the strictness of the traditional discipline, in a time when so few do penance.
Monday, March 9, 2020
Holy Communion on the Tongue May Never Be Denied

An important reminder, even during health crises, Holy Communion may never be denied on the tongue. No one may force Holy Communion in the Hand. In fact, it is sacrilegious and should never be done. If you are unable to receive Holy Communion on the tongue you can learn how to make a proper act of Spiritual Communion. Note, there are a few necessary requirements for this as mentioned in that article.

If there is a public health crisis, Mass can and should still be said. But the priest may simply not distribute Holy Communion to the Faithful. After all, we do not have to receive Holy Communion in order to fulfill our Sunday obligation. We are only required to receive Holy Communion once a year during the Easter Season, which is what is known as our "Easter Duty."

Back in the time of St. Louis IX, he received Holy Communion only six times a year and that was considered frequent. With the advent of more frequent Communion, even daily, under St. Pius X, people have begun to forget that we should only be approaching the Holy Altar if we are in the state of grace and we must never do it out of habit. By attending Mass we participate in the Sacrifice of the Altar. Receiving of that Sacrifice is only required by the priest, not the faithful.

Note: Holy Communion of course may be denied to public, unrepentant sinners. That is not the scope of this post. Assuming a soul is in the state of grace and appears at the altar to receive our Lord (i.e. their is a distribution of Communion at the Mass in question), that soul may always receive on the tongue. The priest may not force the person to receive our Lord in Holy Communion on the hand or else not receive the Sacrament at all.

  • Holy Communion in the Hand is never required
  • Holy Communion should not be received in the hand for any reason
  • If you can not receive Holy Communion on the Tongue, make an Act of Spiritual Communion
  • We do not have to receive Holy Communion to fulfill our Sunday obligation
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Receive Holy Communion as an Act of Reparation

An Act of Reparation From the Angel of of Peace at Fatima as taught to the three young children one year before Mary appeared in Fatima.  Let us pray this prayer during this Feast of Corpus Christi:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.
As we celebrate today the Most Glorious Eucharist, let us consider this article and perservere in our acts of reparation this day against sin.  Recall that Our Lord is already much offended as our Lady said at Fatima:

Reparation to the Sacred Heart
Fr. Raoul Plus, S. J.

Section III: The Practice of Reparation

THE spirit of reparation, if it is sincere and profound, will seek to manifest itself by a number of tangible proofs, by certain practices, which may be ranged under the following three heads: Affective reparation, effective reparation, and aiffictive reparation, according as the virtue especially exercised is love, self-sacrifice, or penance.


Sin and indifference deprive our Lord of love; therefore to make up for this we must give Him love. Hearts are turned away from God; then we must give Him ours. It is in prayer especially that the heart is given; and hence we have the practice of offering reparation by means of the Holy Hour. Our Lord is forgotten in His most Holy Sacrament. The object of this devotion is to give to our Lord not only one's own homage, but also the homage of those who deny His Real Presence, and so, according as one's duties permit, a certain time is spent in reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. These turns of prayer and watching before the Blessed Sacrament are organized and facilitated by certain Associations founded for the purpose.

Others may prefer to make a Novena of Reparation from the 1st to the 9th of each month. The purpose of this devotion is to console and compensate our Saviour for the insults He receives in the Blessed Sacrament. No exercises or set prayers are prescribed; you are advised to assist at Mass as often as possible, to receive Communion in reparation at least once, and to have a Mass said for the same intention at least once a year.

By reason of the fewness of vocations, in France alone 12,000 priests are lacking. This means that every day 12,000 Masses are not offered; there are 12,000 altars upon which the Precious Blood is not shed for the remission of sins, upon which Christ does not appear daily to restore the balance between Divine justice and man's iniquity. Why should there not be some souls who would take the place of these priests, souls devoted to the Passion and the Eucharistic sacrifice, filled with the spirit of redemption and love, who would try to make up, by the complete sacrifice of their hearts, for all these Masses that are lacking? The following method might be suggested: In the case of one who attends Mass daily, to offer the Mass for the said intention. If one is unable to attend Mass every day, to offer a particular half-hour of the day for that purpose, reciting the following or a similar prayer: "O Jesus, eternal Priest, deign to raise up numerous priests in whom Thou may fully livest Thy priestly life . . . Deign also to raise up many souls which by their detachment from the earth and their zeal for the salvation of souls will be coadjutors of the priesthood, and in a manner take the place of the priests that are lacking."

A practice taught by our Lord Himself is the devotion, in the spirit of reparation, of the First Friday. It is too well known to need much emphasis. Suffice it to quote two extracts from St. Margaret Mary's letters: "My Divine Saviour had bidden me to go to Communion on the first Friday of every month, to make reparation, so far as in me lies, for the insults that are offered to Him each month in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar." . . . "Let those who wish to honour the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a special way choose for this purpose the first Friday of each month, to offer Him homage according as their piety inspires them." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 72.)

Everyone knows the promises -----at first sight rather surprising-----which our Lord has attached to the faithful fulfilment of these practices. No wonder he speaks of the "exceeding mercy of His Divine Heart." Those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months "will not die in My disfavour, nor without receiving the Sacraments, and my Heart will be their refuge at their last hour." And it must be admitted that it is partly in view of these wonderful promises that the devotion of the faithful to the Nine Fridays has increased so rapidly.

But it must be understood that these promises of our Lord are not to be set on the same footing as the words of the Gospels. Their value -----though it must not be minimized-----is simply such as attaches to a private revelation approved by the Church.

Moreover, it may be asked whether these words are to be taken absolutely, or are we to add the implicit condition: "Provided that he who has made the nine Fridays does not wilfully expose himself to the peril of damnation"? Authors are disagreed as to the answer. It seems to us that in this, as in the case of the sabbatine promise connected with the scapular of Mount Carmel, the second explanation is the better one.

Another practice popular among devotees of reparation, and recommended by our Lord, is that of Holy Communion offered in reparation. Really if everyone properly understood the doctrine of the Eucharist and the intention with which Christ instituted this Sacrament, no Communion would ever be received except in a sacrificial spirit. Our Lord instituted the Eucharist not so much to give us the benefit of His Presence as to associate us closely with His sacrifice. On the altar, as we have said above, He still has the intention of offering Himself absolutely to His Father for His glory and for the salvation of the world; and as by our Baptism we have become an integral part of His Person, He asks us as members of Christ to unite our sacrificial oblation to that of the Head. Thus, while the minimum disposition for the reception of the Eucharist is the state of grace, the disposition which is necessary in order to receive the fullest benefit from the Sacrament is the spirit of sacrifice.

Since, however, many of those who go to Communion are far from having this comprehensive, and yet only truly exact, idea of the Eucharist, also because it is permissible to each individual to emphasize more or less the reparative aspect of  Holy Communion, we can understand why our Lord should have recommended in a particular way the offering of Masses and the reception of Holy Communion in reparation for the insults offered to the Blessed Sacrament.

In accordance with this desire of our Lord an Association was founded in I854 -----and erected canonically at Paray in I865-----with the special object of "consoling our Lord by the frequent reception of Holy Communion, of turning away from us the scourge of His anger and His chastisements, and of making reparation and expiation in a certain measure for the continual blasphemies committed against the Divine Majesty and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar." These are Pius Xl's own words.

This offering of oneself in reparation is specially recommended at Mass and Communion. But it may profitably be renewed at other moments during the day. Our Lord had suggested to St. Margaret Mary that she should offer a prayer or an act of reparation thirty-three times during the day in honour of the thirty-three years of His life on earth. The practice is a praiseworthy one, as long as too much stress is not laid on the mathematical aspect of the devotion. Others will prefer to make an offering to God for the sake of reparation at the thought that at this very minute our Lord is offering Himself to the Father in a Mass which is now being celebrated. Given the number of priests in the world it may be calculated that about four consecrations take place every second; hence it is certain that at whatever moment we may make the oblation of ourselves, our Lord is offering Himself too. In any case is not our Lord in the constant act of offering Himself, since in our tabernacles He remains always in the state of perpetual victimhood?

It is significant that in the Memoirs of St. Margaret Mary we find this request of our Lord: "Every time that I tell you of the ill-treatment which I receive from this soul, I want you, after receiving Me in Holy Communion, to prostrate yourself at My feet, to make amends to My love, offering to My eternal Father the bloody sacrifice of the Cross for this intention, and offering your whole being to give homage to Mine, and to make reparation for the indignities that are put upon Me by this soul. Setting Me on the throne of your heart, you will adore Me prostrate at My feet. You will offer yourself to My eternal Father to appease His just anger, and to urge His mercy to forgive them." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 147.)

More efficacious for reparation, because free from any defect whatever, are the acts of homage and reparation of our Lord Himself. It is true that we are called upon to fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ, but however generous we may be, our offering will never be more than a mere drop in the wine of the chalice. Our Lord, fortunately, supplies all our deficiencies. Let us, then, offer our drop of water, but still more let us offer the Precious Blood of the Divine Head. The offering of that Blood is the great act of reparation, and by reason of my Baptismal vocation whereby I am one with Christ, I can take my humble part in it.

To give God a moment of the day in reparation is an excellent thing. But what if one could give Him the entire day? "I don't like sleeping," said a little girl once to her mother; "I don't like going to bed; so much time given to sleeping is so much time lost to loving." And what she said of sleep may be said too of external occupations. As a matter of fact, as we have explained elsewhere, both our sleep and our external occupations, although they are not explicit acts of prayer, may be transformed by us into a state of prayer through our intention. So that the child is not quite right, when it is a matter of the love of God.

Nevertheless, supposing that we were able to make every moment of our day an explicit act of prayer, what a harvest there would be! But what is not possible for one individual may become possible where there is a group; and this is the principle of the "Guard of Honour." In a celebrated vision to St. Margaret Mary the Angels offered to make an alliance with her, undertaking to adore the Blessed Sacrament in her place while she was busy with her domestic occupations (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 108), and to make reparation "for all the daily acts of irreverence committed before the face of God."

The Saint thereupon desired that this idea should become widely known. In the year 1863 the practical formula was invented at the Visitation Convent at Bourg. Each member of the Guard of Honour chooses an hour of the day, undertaking during that time to think more than usual of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to offer to him at least one sacrifice and an act of love. No special practice of piety is prescribed; nothing more than the duty of the moment.

But sin abounds during the night as well as during the day. So some have adopted the pious custom of devoting an hour to prayer during the night from Thursday to Friday to commemorate the terrible night which Christ passed during His Agony. How can we think of the horrors of Gethsemane without wishing to offer to our Lord the homage of our adoration and reparation? Every devout soul must feel inclined to say with the young girl who was later to be Sister Claire of Jesus: "When you have meditated on the Passion of Christ how is it possible to lie down in bed, when you think that it is the hour in which our Lord suffered His Agony in the Garden! Can I think of Christ bowed under that weight of suffering and yet not seek with my tears, my prayers, my sacrifices and my love, to console my Divine Master and give Him a word of comfort?"

"The darkness of night seemed to open," so writes Huysmans of the Agony in the Garden, "and as in a frame of sombre shadows there appeared pictures lit up by a mysterious light. On a background that glowed with menacing radiance the centuries passed in procession, pushing before them sins of idolatry and incest, sacrileges and murders, all the ancient crimes that had been committed since the fall of Adam; and the cheers of wicked Angels greeted them as they passed. Jesus, overcome with grief, lowered His eyes. When He raised them again, these phantoms of past generations had disappeared; but there before Him now were the crimes of the Jews to whom He was preaching the Gospel, drawn up in menacing array. He saw Judas, He saw Caiphas, He saw Pilate . . . He saw Peter. He saw the brutes who would strike Him on the face, who would encircle His brow with the crown of thorns. Gaunt against the sinister sky rose the Cross, and groans were heard from the nether regions. He rose to His feet, and dizzy and tottering, reached out for a supporting arm. He was alone.

"He dragged Himself as far as the spot where He had left His disciples; and there they were asleep in the peaceful night. He aroused them. They looked at Him agape, filled with fright, wondering whether this man with the distraught gestures and strained eyes was indeed the same Jesus Whom they had seen transfigured before them on Mount Thabor, with radiant face and garment of snow. Our Lord could not but give them a pitying smile. He only reproached them with not having kept awake, and twice more He went back to suffer in his corner of the Garden.

"He knelt to pray, and this time it was no longer the past and the present, but still more terrible, the future that unfolded itself before His eyes; the centuries to come followed one after another, showing changing countries and changing towns; even the seas and the continents changed their form before His eyes; only men remained the same, though their costumes altered from age to age; they continued to steal and to kill, they persisted in crucifying their Saviour, to sate their greed for luxury and gain. Amidst the changing civilization of the ages, the Golden Calf stood there immovable, ruler of mankind. Then it was that, overcome with sorrow, Jesus sweated Blood and cried: 'Father, if it be possible let this chalice pass from Me.  . . . But Thy will be done.' "

Jesus Himself has asked for souls generous enough to share and thus console Him in His Agony: "Every Thursday night," He said to St. Margaret Mary, "I will make you share in the mortal sorrow that I suffered in the Garden of Olives, a sorrow which will give you an agony harder to bear even than death. And to keep Me company in the humble prayer which I then offered to the Father, you will prostrate yourself on your face, to appease the Divine justice, asking mercy for sinners." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 126.)

Compare this request with those sad words related in the Gospels: "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" (Mark xiv:38), and ask yourself whether you would not do well to adopt this beautiful devotion of the Holy Hour. Since it is not always possible or desirable for all to get up in the middle of the night, the Church permits that the Holy Hour should begin at any time after four, or even from two o'clock onwards during the shorter days of the year. Evidently, where it is possible, eleven o'clock at night is the hour indicated, because this is approximately the hour at which our Lord was in the Garden; this was the hour chosen by St. Margaret Mary; and moreover prayer at that time has an additional merit from the sacrifice of one's sleep. Plenty of pretexts may be found for refusing this act of devotion. A little generosity is needed. Why is it that a person who does not hesitate to sacrifice his or her night for some social function or to listen to the wireless, finds that it would be injurious to health to pray for an hour during the night once a week or once a month? Let us confess that we are weak; but let us not add hypocrisy to our weakness.

A very practical form of the Holy Hour is that invented by P ère Mateo; it is called "Night Watching in the Home." Seven persons, either in the same house or in different houses, undertake once a month to make an hour's adoration before the picture of the Sacred Heart, between ten o'clock in the evening and five in the morning. By December, 1928-----that is, within eighteen months from its inception-----this devotion had rallied 21,766 adherents, thus ensuring 2723 nights of adoration, or an average of 900 adorers every night, or 110 a minute. This movement has received the august approval of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, all the archbishops and bishops of Portugal, eleven bishops of France, and several other prelates of Spain, Belgium, Uruguay and Venezuela. 
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Eucharistic Storms: Communion in the hand and the marginalizing of the Real Presence

"ITS ABOUT TIME a book on Communion in the hand be written with such zeal for the Holy Sacrament. There is no denying that the foundation of the modern day crisis in the Church is the widespread contempt toward the Holy Eucharist, fostered largely by the practice of Communion in the hand. Thanks to this illicit practice a sense of "Eucharistic atheism" prevails throughout the Church. It has truly caused the Church in our time to forget God and laugh at the Sacred Mysteries.

"But it has also provided satanists with free access to come into the church and steal the Host during Mass, so that they take it back to their covens where it is stomped and abused in the ritualistic Black Mass to satan. For this reason satanists introduced Communion in the Hand in the late sixties, and then used the rebellious "Rhine bishops" to execute their plan after Vatican II. Satan's infiltration of the hierarchy (Third Secret) is what led to the change of religion we have seen in our time, and is what is preventing the clergy from abolishing Communion in the Hand today. A spirit of fear holds the hierarchy fast. Under the illusion of divine guidance the clergy are being led by temptation. According to the testimony of ex-satanists, Communion in the hand is the greatest thing that ever happened to them, so why is the hierarchy assisting them? Even if everything else in the Mass is done right, Communion in the Hand will continue to cheapen the Faith and advance the apostasy that is already so widespread. The Church will never be restored to orthodoxy unless this practice is stopped! The quickest and easiest way is to restore the old Mass which forbids Communion in the hand."

Source: David Martin

Check out The Eucharistic Storms: Communion in the hand and the marginalizing of the Real Presence and check out my prior post on the topic: Mission Restore Eucharistic Reverence.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Can Divorced and Remarried Catholics Receive Communion?

What does the Church actually teach on the topic of Holy Communion and remarried-divorcees?

Fr. Knittel gives some clear answers.  The following is directly quoted from him and presented here for the benefit of my readers.  The original source can be found by clicking here.

Communion for Remarried Divorcees? 

The doctrinal crisis the Church is currently experiencing can be observed and measured on two levels. It is manifest first in the new general directions of the Second Vatican Council (religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality) as well as in the liturgical reform of 1969. But it is also manifest on a concrete level in daily life when issues such the ordination of women, the lawfulness of contraception, the burial of suicides or the cremated, the personal character of the sacrament of Penance, etc., are called back into question.

Communion for remarried divorcees enters into the second category, as witnessed by the numerous interventions by Rome on this theme during the last 30 years.

After listing several arguments of activists in favor of Communion for the remarried and divorced, we will examine the crux of the question, before ending by responding to these arguments.


Arguments in favour of allowing the divorced and remarried to receive Communion refer 1) to the example of Christ, 2) to the teachings of St. Paul and 3) to the discipline of the Church.

  1. The Evangelists tell us that during Christ’s life on earth, He accepted to eat with sinners (Matthew 9:11), allowed Himself to be approached by a sinner during a meal (Luke 7:37) and spoke with the Samaritan woman who lived with a man who was not her husband (John 4:9; 18-27). It is surely contradictory that the Church should push remarried divorcees away from Christ by refusing them Communion.
  2. St. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for the divisions appearing in their brotherly agapes, “and one indeed is hungry and another is drunk” (I Cor. 11:20). Is it not contradictory to have invited people to a meal (here, the Eucharist) and not to let them take part (here, to receive Communion)?
  3. The Church discipline that deprived publicly recognized sinners of ecclesiastical burial (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1240, paragraph 1, 6) was changed by decree of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith on September 20, 1973, stipulating, ”Funerals will not be forbidden for public sinners if they have given any signs of repentance before death and if there is no public scandal for the rest of the faithful.” 

Is it not then possible to change the discipline of Eucharistic communion in the same way, in favour of remarried divorcees?

The Teaching of the Church

Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead, because they establish or re-establish the life of grace in the recipient. The other sacraments are called sacraments of the living, because they increase grace in someone already in a state of grace.

The end of the sacraments is to give or increase grace in the recipient. The sacrament of the Eucharist allows the communicant not only to receive grace, but also the Author of all grace. The Eucharist is therefore a sacrament of the living that requires the one who receives it to be in a state of grace that he may also receive Christ. Such is the first condition for receiving this sacrament worthily and fruitfully.

The warning of St. Paul to the Corinthians emphasizes this condition:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (I Cor. 11:27–29).
Do remarried divorcees satisfy these conditions for worthiness?

The Gospel records Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage:
For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (…) And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. (Mark 10:6–9; 11–12)
In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul compares the union of spouses in marriage with the union of Christ and His Church:
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife as himself: and let the wife fear her husband. (Ephesians 5:31–32)
Just there is only one Savior, Jesus Christ, and only one Church, the Catholic Church, and their union is indissoluble, so it is with marriage which is one (union of one man and one woman) and indissoluble (union forever).

Remarried divorcees are therefore living in a state opposite to that willed by Christ and explained by St. Paul. This permanent and public state of grave sin makes them unworthy to receive Communion and incapable of receiving its fruits ([Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas], III, q. 80, a. 4). If this state is known, the priest is bound to refuse them Communion publicly (III, q. 80, a. 6). If they succeed in receiving Communion nonetheless, they commit a mortal sin of sacrilege (III, q. 80, a. 4).


In conclusion, let us respond briefly to the arguments set forth at the beginning.

  1. The contact with sinners that Christ authorizes in the Gospels have a very clear purpose: the cure of sinners and a call to conversion (Matthew 9:12–13), the forgiveness of sins (Luke 7:47–48), and the establishment of worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). Certainly, Jesus did not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but He instructed her to sin no more (John 8:11), for “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers… shall possess the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9)
  2. Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist and taught the precept of fraternal charity during a meal. The Early Church had maintained the habit of uniting the celebration of the holy mysteries and the fraternal agape. In his reproaches to the Corinthians, St. Paul distinguishes between two kinds of abuse: lack of charity to one’s neighbor during the agapes (I Cor. 11:18–22) and receiving Communion unworthily during Mass (I Cor. 11:27–29).
  3. By denying ecclesiastical burial to remarried divorcees, the Church intended to emphasize their public state of mortal sin—a state that is in no way modified, improved, or corrected by the prayer of the Church—and contrast it with the sanctity of Christian marriage. The recent change of this disciplinary measure in no way changes the minimum requirements for a fruitful Communion, but it illustrates the relationship between relaxing discipline and questioning doctrine.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Mission: Restore Eucharistic Reverence

Preface: All Scripture quotations are from the Douay-Rheims Bible, the English translation of the Latin Vulgate.

This post has been edited and written since the original version had erroneous information. The comments relating to the debate have been deleted; only comments on the general practice of Eucharistic Reverence remain. If anyone would like to debate the opinions expressed in this post, the comment box is again open. However, I implore all commenters to first read the comment policy and hear these words: "But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

I am certain that this post will undoubtedly be controversial again; however, I write this post simply to help restore needed reverence to our Eucharistic Lord. For that reason, I support whatever the Holy Catholic Church infallibly teaches, but I am free to disagree with any non-infallible practices. The fight to restore Eucharistic Reverence has caused debates, arguments, and even violence at various times in history. Jesus even referred to himself as a cause of division (Matthew 10:34), and because of the division, his servants will undoubtedly suffer persecution (Matthew 10:22). I pray that this post will help discourage the practice of Communion in the Hand, encourage reception of the Eucharist on the Tongue, and help discourage the practice of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

According to the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, one of the greatest mystics in the history of the Church, irreverence to Jesus in the Eucharist will cause Him great pain:
"My heavenly Bridegroom said to me, pointing round me as He spoke; 'See far more evil that befalls Me every day at the hands of many throughout the world.' And as I looked about me into the distance, many things came before my soul which were indeed still more dreadful than that sacrifice of children; for I saw Jesus Himself cruelly sacrificed on the Altar by unworthy and sinful celebrations of the Holy Mysteries. I saw how the blessed Host lay on the altar before unworthy degenerate priests like a living Child Jesus, whom they cut and terribly mutilated with the paten. Their sacrifice, though an efficacious celebration of the Holy Mysteries, appeared like a cruel murder" ("The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary", Chapter 1: Our Lady's Ancestors; the Vision of the Feast of Our Lady's Conception, page 68)
First and foremost, for non-Catholics reading this post, please first read my post on The Eucharist to understand its significance. As affirmed at various points in history, at several Councils (ex. Council of Trent's Thirteenth Session; Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium 7), in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (ex. CCC 1373-1374, 1413), in the words of countless saints, and in the words of Christ Himself (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25), the Eucharist - Holy Communion - is truly the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. It is not a metaphoric representation of Jesus - the Eucharist is Jesus Christ. Consequently, the Eucharist deserves the greatest degree of worship.


1. Communion in the Hand
2. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
3. Altar Rails

Communion in the Hand

Simply said, Communion in the Hand is a sacrilege. Through Communion in the Hand, it is far easier for particles of the Eucharist to fall to the ground. Such particles are still completely Christ (Council of Trent, Thirteenth Session, Canon 4)!

It remains true that the Church has allowed Communion in the Hand at various points in history including during the early Church. For example, St. Cyril of Jerusalem said, "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" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches. Mystagog, V.1)

However, it seems probable that few people in our modern world would receive Our Lord in the hand with such care and devotion to refer to it as making a "throne". Communion on the Tongue ensures that no particle is lost. Communion on the Tongue is allowed universally while Communion in the Hand is allowed only by indult. Clearly, Communion in the Hand is not an infallible dogma of the Faith. As Fr. Tim Finigan appropriately states:
There is a much-quoted text of Cyril of Jerusalem (d.387) speaking of the left hand as a throne for the right etc. (Mystagogical catechesis 5.21; PG 33.1125) This is often used as a justification for communion in the hand. The contemporary evidence of the correction of abuses shows that the text could equally be seen as an indication of the obvious need for a change in practice to ensure reverence. The insistence on Communion on the tongue was a natural next step.
According to J Bona in a 3-volume work entitled Rerum Liturgicarum (1747 AD) Communion in the hand most likely ceased before Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604). Even though Communion in the hand may have been allowed at some points in the early Church, it is not appropriate for our current era when irreverence and a lack of belief in the Real Presence is spreading.  Spain forbid it completely in the 400s and said that anyone who would stand and receive would receive excommunication. According to a Gallup Poll of 519 American Catholics, 18 years or older, conducted from December 10, 1991, to January 19, 1992, only 30% believe that they receive in Holy Communion the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ! This is shocking! By receiving Holy Communion on the Tongue, non-Catholics see Catholics professing the Faith in a unique and truly profound manner. Such a manner ensures that observers as well as Catholic understand they are not receiving ordinary bread.

According to statistics from the article Index of Catholicism's Decline, by Pat Buchanan, who cites Kenneth C. Jones's Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II, a shocking number - 70% - of Catholics between the ages of 18-44 do not believe in the Real Presence! We must work to increase belief and devotion to our Eucharistic Lord!! The same statistics illustrate annulments increased from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002. Also, teaching nuns, ordinations, seminarians, and Catholic marriages all declined. Let us work to counter these alarming statistics.

Following Vatican II, the introduction of Communion in the Hand began as an abuse. I agree with Fr. Tim Finigan that the introduction of Communion in the Hand was a mistake. As stated by Fr. Tim Finigan at The Hermeneutic of Continunity:
At the same time, in many parts of the world, especially in "Masses for special groups", there was a more or less open defiance of this instruction. As a result, Pope Paul VI gradually gave permission to one Bishops' Conference after another for the introduction of the practice of Holy Communion in the hand. Permission was granted in England on 6 March 1976. One widely used justification of the permission was that it would take away the scandal of disobedience. This did not work - people continued to be disobedient to other liturgical norms, witness the series of condemnations of liturgical abuses that have been published since then.
Even the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated that Communion on the tongue may never be denied. No one may ever force you to receive Holy Communion in the hand. If a priest tries to force you or refuses to give you Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling, leave and make an Act of Spiritual Communion [learn how here].

Below are the words of several saints and Church figures on the practice of Communion in the Hand. I pray that if you have been receiving Communion in the Hand, you will begin to receive our Lord exclusively on the tongue.

St. Thomas Aquinas: "Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but when it is consecrated" - Summa, Pt III Q, Q2 Art. 3

Holy Scripture: In the Old Testament, it is recorded that only Levite priests were allowed to carry the Ark of the Covenent (1 Chronicles 13:2), and when a non-Levite priest touched the Ark of the Covenent he was struck dead (1 Chronicles 13:9). Today the Holy Eucharist is the Holy of Holiess, and only those who have been consecrated to touch the Eucharist (Summa, Pt III Q, Q2 Art. 3) should touch it.

Pope Paul VI: Memoriale Domini, a 1969 document, recognized that communion on the tongue was conducive to faith, reverence and humility. Specifically, the document states, "With regard to the manner of administering the sacrament, one may follow the traditional method, which emphasized the ministerial function of the priest or deacon, in having them place the host in the hand of the communicant." In the same document it is also written, "To preserve and defend the reverence, dignity and holiness due to the greatest treasure in the Church, only kneeling, not standing, to receive Holy Communion, always on the tongue, was allowed." Thus, the document not only allows Communion on the Hand but also Communion in the Hand. However, due to irreverence and a disbelief in the Real Presence in recent times as well as the common error of receiving Our Lord simply "out of habit", I urge fellow Catholics to receive the Eucharist joyfully on the tongue. Below is my final excerpt from the document:
A change in a matter of such moment, based on a most ancient and venerable tradition, does not merely affect discipline. It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.
Pope John II: He only gave Holy Communion on tongue during private Masses in the Vatican. Concelebrating priests were told to do the same. Pope John Paul II said, "I do not revoke what one of my predecessors has said about this... ... here, my dear priests and my dear brothers and sisters, only Communion on the tongue and kneeling is allowed. I say this to you as your bishop!" (Sermon, March 1, 1989, Church of SS. Nome Di Maria)

When the wife of the President of France, Madame Giscard d'Estaing came before the Holy Father with outstretched hands, Pope John Paul II placed the host in her mouth. (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, March 1997 pg 24). He did likewise for a canon lawyer who was present at the 1981 Papal Mass in Chicago.

Pope John Paul II wrote, "To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained, one which indicates an active participation in the ministry of the Eucharist. It is obvious that the Church can grant this faculty to those who are neither priests nor deacons, as is the case with acolytes in the exercise of their ministry, especially if they are destined for future ordination, or with other lay people who are chosen for this to meet a just need, but always after an adequate preparation." (Dominicae Cenae, 1980, end of paragraph 11). Thus, Pope John Paul II is acknowledging laypeople may touch the Holy Eucharist in a situation of "just need" but only after "adequate preparation". Yet, he does start by affirming that the distribution of Holy Communion is reserved principally to the ordained. However, as I discuss below under the topic of extraordinary ministers, there is usually not a "just need" to warrant the use of extraordinary ministers.

Fr. John Hardon, S.J.: Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God.” (November 1st, 1997 Call to Holiness Conference, Detroit, Michigan, panel discussion.)

Dietrich von Hildebrand: "Is it believable that instead of applying the most scrupulous care to protect the most sacred consecrated host, which is truly the Body of Christ, the God-man, from all such possible abuses, there are those who wish to expose it to this possibility? Have we forgotten the existence of the devil who wanders about seeking whom he may devour'? Is his work in the world and in the Church not all too visible today? What entitles us to assume that abuses to the consecrated host will not take place?" (Communion in the hand should be rejected)

Blessed Mother Teresa: Blessed Mother Teresa said, "Further it is the custom in our Society, and my known wish, that the Sisters receive Holy Communion on the tongue, which to my knowledge they are doing everywhere" (Mother Theresa, India 1995; Athi Thoothan Editor, Aquinas, p. 13, Vol 2, No 1 March 2000).
"Not very long ago I said Mass and preached for their Mother, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and after breakfast we spent quite a long time talking in a little room. Suddenly, I found myself asking her -- don't know why -- 'Mother, what do you think is the worst problem in the world today?' She more than anyone could name any number of candidates: famine, plague, disease, the breakdown of the family, rebellion against God, the corruption of the media, world debt, nuclear threat, and so on.

"Without pausing a second she said, 'Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.'"

(Father George William Rutler, Good Friday, 1989 in St. Agnes Church, New York City, a precise transcript taken from a tape of his talk available from St. Agnes Church. Note: Fr. Emerson of the Fraternity of St. Peter was also a witness to this statement by Blessed Mother Teresa)
Bishop Juan Laise of San Luis of Argentina: He warns that, "with Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful." (Communion in the Hand: Document and History). He also has reportedly said, “It would be to deceive the faithful to make them think that receiving Communion in the hand would identify them more with the spirit of the primitive Church”

Pope Pius XII:
“In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of holy orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration. For they alone, in answer to an inward supernatural call, have entered the august ministry, where they are assigned to service in the sanctuary and become, as it were, the instruments God uses to communicate supernatural life from on high to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Add to this, as We have noted above, the fact that they alone have been marked with the indelible sign ‘conforming’ them to Christ the Priest, and that their hands alone have been consecrated ‘in order that whatever they bless may be blessed, whatever they consecrate may become sacred and holy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ [Roman Pontifical, Ordination of a priest: anointing of hands].” (Mediator Dei, #43)
Council of Saragozza (380 AD) and of Toledo (400 AD): Declared that the Eucharist host must be consumed before the communicant left the Church. It was a practice in the early Church to have Holy Communion taken to the sick, but the practice was corrected because of the abuses that resulted from it. Similarly, abuses are occuring to the Holy Eucharist.

Council of Rouen (650 AD): "Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layperson, but only in their mouths"

Council of Constantinople (695 AD): The council prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themelves. It decreed an excommunication of one week's duration for those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.

Council of Trent: "To priests alone have been given power to consecrate and administer the Holy Eucharist. That the unvarying practice of the Church has also been, that the faithful receive the Sacrament from the hand of the priest" (Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter 8)

Fr. Robert Altier:

"In the first reading today Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, talks about how, in Christ, is hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. This is because He is almighty God; He is the Creator of the universe; He is the Savior of the world; He is God, absolute and perfect. Saint Paul says at the beginning of the reading that he makes up in his flesh for what is lacking in the
suffering of Christ, for the sake of Christ's body, the Church.

"In Christ, now, there is no suffering, but only in the Mystical Body. But there is one place, which I would like to address this morning, where I believe that Our Lord is truly grieved. I want to challenge you in that area: That is, the manner by which we receive Holy Communion.

"The Church is very clear in Her documents that she desires that we would receive Holy Communion on the tongue and not in the hand.

"The bishops of America, as well as a few other countries in the world, have allowed Communion in the hand as a dispensation. But the Church is very, very clear that She does not want us receiving Communion in the hand.

"Let me explain a little as to why. First of all, to receive is something that is passive. The priest takes Holy Communion because the priest is the one who offers the Victim in sacrifice. Therefore, the one who offers the Victim must also take part in that Victim. But the people of God are to receive Holy Communion. To take the Host from your hand and put It into your own mouth is to take Communion, not to receive Communion; and so it is an active thing, not a passive thing. The Lord desires to give Himself to you as a gift, not to be taken by you. We need to be very careful that we do not lose the symbolism of what is happening in the Blessed Sacrament.

"Also, if you will notice, during Mass after the Consecration, my fingers remain together because of the particles of the Host that are there. When we take Holy Communion in the hand, there are particles of Our Lord that are on our hands and on our fingers. That is why, after Communion, the priest will purify his fingers - because of the particles of the Host. But how often the people of God, after receiving Holy Communion, simply brush the particles onto the ground and walk on Our Lord. Or they put their hands in their pockets, and Our Lord is right there on their clothing. The abuses that this opens them up to are very grave. Not that anyone is intentionally doing that, but I think it is something that we need to consider exceedingly carefully.

"What I always tell people is that you can look forward to the Day of Judgment and ask yourself how you intend to approach Our Lord, because He is your Judge. The same Lord you approach in Holy Communion is the same One you will approach on the Day of Judgment. Do you assume that you will put your hand out to Our Blessed Lord on the Day of Judgment?

"Is your view of judgment that you will shake Our Lord's hand and tell Him how wonderful it is to see Him? Or is your view that you will do great reverence to Our Blessed Lord? My view is that I will be flat on my face - not shaking His hand.

"We do not put out our hand to God. Scripture says that God holds us in the palm of His hand. We should not be holding God in the palm of ours. He created us; He made us in His image and likeness. He is the Creator; we are the creature. We must approach Him with the greatest reverence, the greatest respect.

"If we simply look at the fruit that has been borne by Holy Communion being taken in the hand, it is not good: the loss of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, the familiarity.

"Thankfully it is not happening here, but go to most churches and ask yourself if you see people praying before Mass or if they are chatting, goofing around, and talking.

"We have lost the reverence for the Real Presence because Jesus is just "our buddy" when we put our hand out to Him; He is not our God when we do that. So we need to be very careful.

"But beyond that, we can look also at what has happened spiritually to the people of God. Since we have been receiving Communion in the hand, we have lost sight of the idea of going to Confession, of our own sinfulness, of the reverence we must have for Our Lord. We have made Communion so easy a thing and so nonchalant a thing that people have lost that sense of reverence, of awe, and of respect in the Presence of Our Lord.

"I challenge you to think very seriously about this issue. The bishops, like I say, have allowed it; it is not a sin if you receive Holy Communion in the hand. In some places in the early Church they did that; Saint Justin talks about it. But the Church stopped it because of the abuses against the Blessed Sacrament that were occurring. I ask you to really pray about that.

"Look at Jesus in the Eucharist and ask yourself, "Do I really, truly believe that this is God? That this is my Creator and my Redeemer? How, then, do I desire to approach Him?" I really believe, if you pray that through, that there is only one conclusion to which you can come.

"Then, I beg you, do not remain silent about it. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Bring that word to others because all those good people out there, I do not think that they are willfully trying to do anything that would grieve Our Lord; they are doing what they have been told to do.

"But again, look at what has happened in the last forty years of this particular practice and ask yourself if the fruit it has borne has been good. Obviously, you love Our Lord: You are here at daily Mass; you are here every morning. The love of Our Lord is evident in you. Bring that love of Jesus out from here. The love that is in your heart, proclaim it to others and ask them in the same way to consider their actions toward Our Lord.

"Let us bring the reverence to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament back so that we can give Him fitting worship and praise because He is God, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are contained."

The Beauty and Spirituality of the Traditional Latin Mass by David Joyce, Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:

"...when the faithful themselves receive Communion, they receive It kneeling at the altar rail, and directly onto their tongue. This is very significant. Receiving Communion whilst kneeling means that the faithful line up in a row before the sanctuary, and thus have time to prepare themselves for this most sacred of events: coming into spiritual and substantial union with Christ Himself. The communicant kneels down, and whilst he waits for the priest to make his way around, he can settle himself, concentrate on the upcoming Communion with our Lord praying intensely. When it is his turn, the priest says the prayer: "May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul until life everlasting. Amen". This means, besides the beauty and the significance of the words themselves, that the priest says the word "Amen" so that the communicant need not invoke his voice to receive the King of Kings, allowing a constant stream of prayer and thanksgiving to flow from soul to Saviour. The communicant simply needs to expose his tongue, and his side of the proceedings is complete. Upon receiving Christ, he can continue praying for a little while, and only then does he need to return to his seat, leaving room for the next communicant. Moreover, having the priest come over to the communicant signifies that Christ comes to us, feeds us with His own divine life, whilst we wait kneeling and unmoving like little children totally dependent on His love, mercy and compassion. This is the message of the Gospel: to become like little children, submitting our wills to His and depending totally on Him for everything. We cannot even feed ourselves without Christ's help, and the action of Communion in the traditional manner demonstrates this in a very vivid manner."

For more on this topic, I would like to highly recommend "Dominus Est - It is the Lord" by His Excellency Athanasius Schneider on this very topic.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Connected with the topic of Communion in the Hand is the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. While I used to serve in this "ministry" I am glad to have resigned after receiving a few emails from readers and reading the above writings. It remains clear that only the hands of the priest or deacon are consecrated to touch the Holy Eucharist (St. Thomas Aquinas).

Traditionally, lay people including altar servers were also forbidden to touch the sacred vessels including the Chalice. If they had to touch the paten they would hold it with a purificator. This has a historical basis at least as far back as the order of Pope St. Soter all the way back around 170 AD.

Likewise, they were only to carry the Chalice by touching the chalice veil covering it. They could absolutely never touch the precious metal of the Chalice. It is still a pious practice and one that I support.

For the most part, the practice of extraordinary ministers has grown into a liturgical abuse. As stated in INSTRUCTION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST, "Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at Eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion (99). They may also exercise this function at Eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion" (100). A similar statement can be found in GIRM 162.

However, nearly all Catholic churches see an "army" of extraordinary ministers at Sunday Mass when they are gravely unnecessary. As in the pre-Vatican II era, the priest today could easily distribute Holy Communion to a large congregation. The additional time in the distribution of Holy Communion would be beneficial for the Faithful since they could kneel longer in contemplation and thanksgiving for receiving the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

The sanctuary remains the location of the Holy of Holies - God himself. Too often people wearing jeans, shorts, or even strap-less shirts are allowed into the sanctuary nowadays. The loss of reverence to the Eucharistic Lord is at an all-time high. Only ordained ministers and altar servers should enter the Sanctuary.

I never encourage the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and I hope that the ministry will eventually be ended by the Church. Already many of these people incorrectly refer to themselves as "Eucharistic ministers," “Special ministers of Holy Communion,” and “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist” in violation of paragraphs 154-156 of Redemptionis Sacramentum.

Please, if you are an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, I suggest that you resign from the ministry as I previously did. In the writings of many of the saints, it is clear that the practice of the laity touching the Eucharist with their hands should never be encouraged unless necessity requires it.

Altar Rails
Before I discuss the use of altar rails, I would first like to encourage the practice of genuflection. Most people still genuflect, however, few people bow their head at the necessary times during prayer at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I strongly encourage my readers to look at my post On Genuflecting and Bowing for more information.

Concerning Communion Rails, Institutio Generalis Romani Missalis 2000, the most recent document by the Vatican on the matter, states that there is no requirement in liturgical law necessitating the removal of altar rails from historic churches and nothing prohibiting their erection in new ones. Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, states: " document explicitly mandates or even suggests that the removal of altar rails is required by the liturgical reform".

For those reasons I hope and pray that more churches bring back altar rails. Following Vatican II, many churches destroyed beautiful marble, hand-carved altar rails. Altar rails are gravely important because they allow more of the Faithful to receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling. Thankfully Catholic Church and chapels that offer the Tridentine Latin Mass are some of the places where the use of altar rails has been retained.

Future Updates

If you have any comments or suggestions on this post, I highly welcome comments below. I am going to add this post in my sidebar links and keep it as a reference. I will certainly edit this in the future with more topics that coincide with the Mission to Restore Eucharistic Reverence.

Again, I pray that this post will not be a source of controversy and discord but one filled with ideas on how to encourage Eucharistic Reverence.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Month of the Eucharist

April is dedicated to the Most Holy Eucharist. Above all, one post cannot express the necessary sentiments of joy in regards to the Holy Eucharist, which is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Below are a few of the many posts on my blog dedicated to the Holy Eucharist as well as prayers. Let us pray the Litany in Reparation to Our Lord in the Eucharist this month.

Thursday, June 15, 2006
Eucharistic Processions

This Thursday is the great celebration of Corpus Christi. We commemorate and again remember the infinite joy of the Eucharist. The date of Corpus Christi is fixed by the Vatican as the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

The feast day was first officially celebrated at Liege in 1246, and extended to the universal Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. In Italy the traditional feast dates back to the 15th century, and the route of the annual procession was set in the 16th century. The procession through Rome was abandoned in 1870, after Italian forces took Rome from the papacy. Pope John Paul II revived the tradition in 1979.

The Church has long enriched Corpus Christi Processions with indulgences. The great Dom Gueranger also provides a fitting reflection and history on these processions that is well worth the read.

Prayer to the Blessed Sacrament (Respice, Domine):

Look down, O Lord, from Thy sanctuary, and from Heaven Thy dwelling-place on high, and behold this sacred Victim which our great High-Priest, Thy holy Child, our Lord Jesus, offers up to Thee for the sins of This brethren; and be appeased for the multitude of our transgressions. Behold the voice of the Blood of Jesus, our Brother, cries to Thee from the Cross. Give ear, O Lord! be appeased, O Lord! hearken, and do not tarry for Thine own sake, O my God, for Thy Name is invoked upon this city and upon Thy people; and deal with us according to Thy mercy. Amen.
Friday, November 4, 2005
Common Questions on the Eucharist

Frequently Asked Questions on the Eucharist (FAQ)

First Holy Communion at a Parish in France (March 1952)

Q: What is Holy Communion?

A: Also known as the Eucharist, Holy Communion is the center of the Catholic faith because it is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not in any way a symbol but literally Christ’s most Holy body. The bread and wine at the Mass become the holiest of holies through the priest’s words by the power of God. The moment when the Bread and Wine become Jesus Christ is called transubstantiation. The entire Gospel of John Chapter Six even wrote specifically on the Eucharist and how Christ’s body is truly present.

Some people that don't believe in the Eucharist say that Jesus meant for it to be symbolic. Well, then we look to the Gospel of John Chapter 6. That chapter is entirely on the Eucharist, and we see that when Our Lord tells them "Unless you eat my Body and Drink my Blood you will have no life within you" the people do one thing: they leave Him. If Jesus was speaking symbolically He would have said "No, you misunderstand" like He did before in the Gospels, but this time He just let them walk away. Thousands left Him, but He let them because what He spoke was literally true and they couldn't accept it. “Since Christ Himself has said, ‘This is My Body’ who shall dare to doubt that it is His Body? (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem)

For more information see: The Eucharist.

Q: Does the Sacred Host also contain Christ's Blood?

A: Yes, the Consecrated Host also contains the Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord. The wine also becomes at the Consecration not just Christ s Blood but His Body, Soul, and Divinity also. After the Consecration, the presence of Christ only remain. The consecrated bread may look like bread but no part of its substance is bread. Only the accidents (the mere appearance, taste, smell, etc) of bread remains the same applies to the Consecrated wine - it is not wine.

The breaking of the Body of Christ or the separation of the Blood does not divide Christ, so receiving only a piece of a full Communion Host is still receiving Jesus Christ completely (as affirmed at the Council of Trent: Thirteenth Session: Canon III)

Q: Do the People Also Need to Receive Holy Communion From the Chalice?

For centuries, only the priest alone received the Consecrated Wine from the chalice. The notion in the past few decades that the faithful need to also receive from the chalice is a grave error. The fullness of Christ is received under either species. Traditionally, as is still done of course in the Tridentine Mass, the faithful will only receive the Consecrated Host.

The Baltimore Catechism in Q. 900 advised, "The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord's blood is present under the appearance of bread also."

For more information, please see Holy Communion Under One or Both Species?

Q: What are Eucharistic Miracles?

A: These are outward signs of the majesty of Our Lord’s true presence in the Holy Eucharist. I recognize this mirroring the Transfiguration when Our Lord on Mt. Tabor appeared dazzlingly white with Elijah and Moses. This was an outward manifestation of Our Lord’s immense greatness. The Transfiguration wasn’t in and of itself the greatest part of this mystery, but what is even greater is that Christ humbled Himself and kept in His immense glory while on earth.

Eucharistic miracles are the same where the Lord’s greatness reveals itself and scientific testing has proven it to be true blood and tissue. These miracles are not required beliefs of the Catholic faith, and the Eucharist from these Mass is no less amazing then the Eucharist at other Masses because the Eucharist is always the same true presence of Jesus Christ. Read about these beautiful miracles.

Q: If I suspect someone is taking the Eucharist from Mass without the intentions of giving it to the sick what should I do?

A: If someone takes Communion back to the pew and doesn’t consume it PLEASE report it to the priest or someone in an authority position at the parish. Sometimes people will take Our Lord’s Body to desecrate it and this destruction of Our Lord in the Eucharist is a grave sacrilege. We can help prevent this by working to stop Communion in the hand.

Q: Can Holy Communion ever be denied? 

A: It can be denied to individuals in a public act of scandal. For example, if one regularly known non-Catholic is at a Mass and wishes to receive Holy Communion it is to be denied. Holy Communion may - and should - be denied to those Catholics who promote intrinsic evils such as abortion, gay marriage, and artificial contraception. Also, if one suspects a person is going to desecrate the Eucharist it can be denied.

Q. Should the Faithful be Forced to Receive Communion in the Hand?

No. Even during health crises, Holy Communion may never be denied on the tongue. No one may force Holy Communion in the Hand. The Vatican has affirmed this.

Q: Are there special conditions on receiving the Eucharist?

A: Yes. One must be a Catholic in good standing with the Church. You must also obey the Eucharistic fast and not be in a state of mortal sin (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 37). Those who have committed a mortal sin must first receive absolution in Confession. Those who fail to do so commit the most grievous sin of sacrilege.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent states, “As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Savior as most infallible instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; so, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which contains the author and source of holiness.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria explains further the gravity when he says, “They who make a sacrilegious Communion receive Satan and Jesus Christ into their heart.  Satan, that they may let him rule, and Jesus Christ that they may offer Him in sacrifice to Satan.”

That’s a sacrilegious Communion.  That’s why it is so grave and evil and truly few sins offend the Lord’s heart as much as this.  Indeed, our Lord told St. Bridget in a vision, “There does not exist on earth a punishment great enough to punish it sufficiently.”

Q: How many times a day can we receive communion?

A: In the old 1917 Code of Cannon Law, reception of Holy Communion more than once a day was prohibited. Unfortunately, in another novelty after Vatican II, the 1983 Code was revised to state that Holy Communion can be received twice a day, noting though that the second time must be in a Mass. Traditionally, we receive our Lord only once a day (that is once each calendar day and not necessarily once every 24 hours). Traditional Catholics will still maintain this practice.

As an exception to both the 1917 and the 1983 Canon Law, a person may receive Holy Communion again the same day in the form of the Viaticum, which is the name of the Eucharist when given to one who is extremely ill and seemly near death. Holy Communion is often given to souls during Last Rites, and it would be called Viaticum.

"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored It" (Saint Augustine).

Q: What act of reverence should we show before receiving Holy Communion?

A: An act of reverence must be made before receiving Holy Communion because it is showing reverence to Our Lord truly present before us. People are also still allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist while kneeling, and as is the traditional practice, Holy Communion should be received while kneeling.

Q: What is Intinction?

A: Intinction is only allowed to be performed by the ordinary minister of Holy Communion (i.e. the priest). No "lay minister" may do so. Intinction is where the Sacred Host is dipped in the Sacred Blood of Christ. In the Byzantine Rite one receives the Lord without saying “Amen” but the priest puts the Host dipped in the Sacred Blood in the person’s mouth. Those receiving this way always have their head tipped backwards.

This form of receiving Holy Communion is rarely observed in the Roman Catholic Rite because of the risk of dripping the Lord's body and blood on the ground. When observed, the priest has a minister standing at his side holding the consecrated wine and he takes a particle of the consecrated bread and dips it. He then says "The body and blood of Jesus". A paten must be held under the Body and Blood to prevent any from falling to the ground. While uncommon, this form of receiving is permitted in the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. the Latin Rite).

Q: What is the Eucharistic fast and how long is it?

A: The Eucharistic fast is a fast before receiving Holy Communion to observe a period of reflecting and spiritual hunger for Our Lord. Currently, only medicine and water are allowed before hand, but if one needs to eat for serious medical reason this can be circumvented. Note that a priest who celebrates the Eucharist two or three times a day can take something before the second and third Mass even if it is less than one hour before receiving the Blessed Sacrament again. Also, the elderly, ill, and those that care for them may receive the Eucharist if they have eaten something in the previous hour (Canon 919).

 Many Traditional Catholics will take part in the traditional fast, which was three hours long. Other Traditional Catholics will take part in an older form of the fast which mandated fasting from midnight until receiving Communion.

For more thorough information see: What is the Eucharistic Fast?

Q: How often is one required to receive the Eucharist?

A: A Catholic is only required to receive the Eucharist once a year and that is to be done during the Easter season (Canon 920). However, one should receive our Lord more often - even daily - if they are in the state of grace and have the right dispositions so they do not receive our Lord out of mere habit.

When is the Easter Season for the purpose of observing our "Easter Duty"? In the United States it is from the first Sunday of Lent to Trinity Sunday inclusive; in other countries, the season may begin on Ash Wednesday and close on Low Sunday or Ascension Thursday.

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