A Case for Communion on the Tongue

Authored By: David L. Vise

A Case for Communion on the Tongue by: David L. Vise Revision 2: November 4, 1995 (Feast of St. Charles Borromeo) The Bible Speaks

"After David had taken counsel with his commanders of thousands and of hundreds, that is to say, with every one of his leaders, he said to the whole assembly of Israel: 'If it seems good to you, and is so decreed by the Lord our God, let us summon the rest of our brethren from all the districts of Israel, and also the priests and the Levites from their cities with pasture lands, that they may join us, and let us bring the ark of our God here among us, for in the days of Saul we did not visit it. And the whole assembly agreed to do this, for the idea was pleasing to all the people.

Then David assembled all Israel, from Shihor of Egypt to Labo of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jaerim. David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jaerim, of Judah, to bring back the ark of God, which was known by the name "LORD ENTHRONED UPON THE CHERUBIM". They transported the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab; Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart, while David and all Israel danced before God with great enthusiasm, amid songs and music on lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

As they reached the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah stretched out his hand to steady the ark, for the oxen were upsetting it. Then the Lord became angry with Uzzah and struck him; he died there in God's presence, because he had laid his hand on the ark. David was disturbed because the Lord's anger had broken out against Uzzah. Therefore that place has been called Perez-uzza even to this day.

David was now afraid of God, and he said, 'How can I bring the ark of God with me? Therefore he did not take the ark back with him to the City of David, but he took it instead to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. The ark of God remained in the house of Obed-edom with his family for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom's household and all that he possessed".

1 Chronicles 13: 1-14

The Church Speaks

The first paragraph in the above quotation is strikingly similar to the text of Memoriale Domini, the Instruction on the Manner of Administering Holy Communion, published by the Congregation for Divine Worship on May 29, 1969, and signed by the Holy Father Paul VI, where it states:

"When therefore a small number of episcopal conferences and some individual bishops asked that the practice of placing the consecrated hosts in the people's hands be permitted in their territories, the Holy Father decided that all the bishops of the Latin Church should be asked if they thought it opportune to introduce this rite. 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." Three questions were therefore proposed to the bishops. Up to March 12 the following responses had been received:

1. Does it seem that the proposal should be accepted by which, besides the traditional mode, the rite of receiving Holy Communion in the hand would be permitted?

Yes: 567 No: 1,233 Yes, with reservations: 315 Invalid votes: 20

2. Should experiments with this new rite first take place in small communities, with the assent of the local Ordinary?

Yes: 751 No: 1,215 Invalid votes: 70

3. Do you think that the faithful, after a well planned catechetical preparation, would accept; this new rite willingly?

Yes: 835 No: 1,185 Invalid votes: 128

From the responses received it is thus clear that by far the greater number of bishops feel that the present discipline should not be changed at all, indeed that if it were changed, this would be offensive to the sensibilities and spiritual appreciation of these bishops and of most of the faithful.

After he had considered the observations and the counsel of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule" the Churches, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the importance of the arguments proposed, the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed.

The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests, and people to observe zealously this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgement of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, in the form which the present rite of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church."

The "Supreme Pontiff decreed that each bishop of the entire Latin Church should be asked his opinion concerning the appropriateness of introducing this rite" in a way remarkably similar to the way that David consulted "with everyone of his leaders". The opinions were obtained and the following was decreed: "The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests, and people to observe zealously this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgement of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, in the form which the present rite of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church." This statement is so clear and direct that no equivocation is possible. Just as in the response of the commanders summoned by David that "the whole assembly agreed to do this, for the idea was pleasing to all the people" so also it happened in Memoriale Domini that "after he had considered the observations and the counsel of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule" the Churches, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the importance of the arguments proposed, the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed."

The Loophole

So what happened? Why do we see this practice in our churches?. The answer is found in the penultimate paragraph of Memoriale Domini, where it states:

"If the contrary usage, namely, of placing Holy Communion in the hand, has already developed in any place, in order to help the episcopal conference fulfill their pastoral office in today's often difficult situation, the Apostolic See entrusts to the conferences the duty and function of judging particular circumstances, if any. They may make this judgement provided that any danger is avoided of insufficient reverence or false opinions of the Holy Eucharist arising in the mind of the faithful and that any other improprieties be carefully removed."

Thus, we see that the same document requiring the zealous observance of Communion on the tongue for the "common good of the Church" provided a condition we designate as a Loophole that has become the pervasive practice, when it was intended to be only in "particular circumstances" and only if the practice "has already developed in any place" with the provision that "any danger is avoided of insufficient reverence or false opinions of the Holy Eucharist arising in the mind of the faithful." What we have in the United States is an abuse, for this practice (Communion in the hand) was not "already developed" in our land at the time of the promulgation of Memoriale Domini, nor could we consider honestly our case a "particular circumstance." It is not surprising then, that we see more and more individuals who disbelieve in the Real Presence of our Lord in the sacraments. Anticipating this, the Holy Father (Paul VI) warned us by saying: "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."

The Angelic Doctor

His holiness Paul VI was not alone in his concerns, for we can go as far back as St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century) who in his Summa Theologica, Volume III, Q. 82, Art. 13 states: "Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone to touch it, except from necessity, for instance if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency."

The Ark of the Covenant as Precursor of the Eucharist

We started this article on a biblical note to establish the close relationship between the Ark of the Covenant and the Eucharist. The Ark was holy because the Spirit of the Lord overshadowed it and His presence was around it and its contents, which were the manna, Aaron's rod and the tablets of the Law. The Ark of the Covenant is considered the archetype of the Blessed Virgin, for she carried within herself the only person perfectly representing all the contents of the Ark, Christ. He is the true bread from heaven. He is the bread of life that performs miracles and signs as was the case with Aaron's rod, and He by being the Word of God personifies the commandments, which are the Will of the Father. We Catholics believe that, after consecration, the resurrected Lord is actually present in the host. The Lord does not overshadow the consecrated host but the host is the Lord Himself. Our God is Holy, Holy, Holy and our hands should not touch the host, the Lord, just as in a similar fashion God showed us that the ark should never be touched, except by priests consecrated to the service of the Lord.

Continuing now with our Biblical reading of the book of 1st Chronicles, we observe that David declared that:

"No one may carry the ark of God except the Levites, for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever." (1 Chronicles 15: 2)

And David told the heads of the Levitical families that:

"Because you were not with us the first time, the wrath of the Lord our God burst upon us, for we DID NOT SEEK HIM ARIGHT" (1 Chronicles 15: 13). David properly ascertained what occurred with Uzzah when:

"he [Uzzah] died there in God's presence, because he had laid his hand on the ark" (1 Chronicles 13: 10).

As the head of his people, David corrected the wrongdoing. Namely, only priests consecrated to the service of the Lord were allowed to handle the sacred, in his case the ark, in our case, the consecrated bread. As we continue to read, we notice in 1 Chronicles 15: 14-15 that

"Accordingly, the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles, as MOSES HAD ORDAINED ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD".

Here we see that the problem was one of improperly following the directives set up by Moses who spoke as the representative of God on earth. As it pertains to our case, is it not known that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ? Is it not known that the Seat of Moses was replaced by the Chair of Peter? And, did he not say in his Memoriale Domini that "the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful SHOULD NOT BE CHANGED"? We also notice that David takes part in the celebrations of bringing the ark to Jerusalem, and in 1 Chronicles 15: 26-28 it states:

"While the Levites, with God's help, were bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah, the leader of the chant; David was also wearing a linen ephod."

David was not only partaking of the celebrations but was clothed like the Levites in fine linen, and, as if this were not enough, he was wearing the linen ephod which was reserved only for the successor of Aaron, the high priest (see Exodus 28: 1-43). David was thus acting as the high priest of the God of Israel, the God Most High. Prior to the existence of Israel, we find the first priest ever mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14: 18-20:

"Melchizedek, King of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.' Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

David is acting in full the part of Melchizedek, for he is the king of [Jeru]Salem, bringing the ark of the covenant of the God of Israel while

"he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and distributed to every Israelite, to every man and to every woman, a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a raisin cake" (1 Chronicles 16: 2-3).

Both the priesthood of Melchizedek and David are antecedents to the true priesthood "according to the order of Melchizedek", to the true King of Peace (Salem), the true Son of righteousness, the Son of David (see Hebrews, chapter 7), our Lord Jesus Christ. Melchizedek is not only the first priest mentioned in the Bible, nor did he just introduce the bread and wine as offerings that our Lord Jesus later consecrated as His Body and Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant, but Melchizedek is also the common theme between Christ and David. This theme is brought up by both, first by David in Psalm 110 where he states in verse 1:

"The Lord says, to you, my Lord: 'Take your throne at my right hand, while I make your enemies your footstool'."

This is verbatim the verse in Matthew 22: 44 that Jesus uses to explain that He is the Messiah of whom David spoke. Psalm 110, verses 2 & 3, establish the Kingship of the Messiah:

"The scepter of your sovereign might the Lord will extend from Zion. The Lord says: 'Rule over your enemies'. Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like the dew I begot you."

The priesthood is established in verse 4:

"The Lord has sworn and will not waver: 'Like Melchizedek you are a priest forever'."

The titles and privileges of being at the same time King and Priest is shared by the three of them and it is this commonality that helps us understand the commonality of the Ark and the Eucharist, and why the Pope calls us to avoid any "lessening of reverence toward the noble sacrament of the altar, its profanation, or the adulteration of correct doctrine."

The Mass, The Sacrifice and the Eucharist

In chapter 16 of 1 Chronicles we see in an incipient form all the components now present in the Eucharist. A key issue in our faith is our emphasis on the concept of offering an acceptable sacrifice to our Father in heaven. Christ as the new and everlasting covenant offers himself in an unbloody sacrifice and as the only acceptable sacrifice to His Father every time Mass is offered. (Here also lies a big difference between us and our separated brethren since we not only pray to our God but to Him and only Him we offer sacrifice.) This principle of our faith is visited in 1 Chronicles 16: 1, where we read:

"Then they offered up holocausts and peace offerings to God."

We recall that during the last supper when our Lord instituted the Eucharist,

"He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them" (Luke 22: 19).

As David

"blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and distributed to every Israelite, to every man and to every woman, a loaf of bread ..." (1 Chronicles 16: 2-3).

The Last Supper was celebrated during the Passover, not by accident but by design. (This is clear in Luke 22:15, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer".) For our Lord wanted to establish the connection, without a doubt, between His sacrifice and the lamb offered during Passover (the lamb with the unbroken bones which the Israelites were commanded to eat for the "salvation" of their firstborn).

A great blessing comes during Communion when we take the Host which is the body and blood of Christ as commanded by our Lord in John 6, and specifically in John 6: 41:

"I AM the bread that came down from heaven."

This is anticipated in the "loaf of bread" in the passage from 1 Chronicles 16:2-3. He also said in John 6: 53:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you".

The "flesh" correlates with the sacrificial "piece of meat" and the blood with the "raisin cake" (as raisins are dried grapes and wine is also made from grapes, and we know that Christ stated in Luke 22: 17-18 "Then He took a cup, gave thanks, and said, 'Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes'"). Another pertinent point is that David understood the Will of the Father regarding the holiness of the ark and thus "He now appointed certain Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to celebrate, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel." Our Catholic Church has a special sacrament reserved for those that will perform the priestly responsibilities, known as Holy Orders. Via this sacrament, the priest is given, by the hierarchy of the Church, a unique position among the believers and he is able to perform certain functions within the Church that no one else can, such as the consecration of the host. For this reason, only the priest should be allowed to touch the consecrated bread.

The Son of David and the Catholic Church

In 1st Chronicles, chapter 17, which is critical in this study, we see that David becomes anxious to build a suitable permanent house for the ark of the covenant and is given permission by Nathan to proceed (1 Chronicles 17: 2):

"Do therefore, whatever you desire, for God is with you." . However, the Lord had other plans and communicates them via Nathan to David telling him (1 Chronicles 17: 4):

"It is not you who will build a house for me to dwell in." The Lord establishes at that very moment a covenant with David, stating:

"I will make your name great like that of the greatest of the earth" (1 Chronicles 17: 8),

and, He explains how He planned to accomplish that task in 1 Chronicles 17: 11-15:

"So that when your days have been completed and you must join your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you who will be one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. HE IS IT WHO SHALL BUILD ME A HOUSE, AND I WILL ESTABLISH HIS THRONE FOREVER. I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM, AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME, AND I WILL NOT WITHDRAW MY FAVOR FROM HIM AS I WITHDREW IT FROM HIM WHO PRECEDED YOU. BUT I WILL MAINTAIN HIM IN MY HOUSE AND IN MY KINGDOM FOREVER, AND HIS THRONE SHALL BE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED FOREVER. All these words and this whole vision Nathan related exactly to David."

The common and obvious meaning of the passage is humanly partially fulfilled by Solomon, David's son, in the actual building of the temple. The divine house that the Lord spoke about is confirmed by Him in Matthew 16: 18 when the Father reveals to Simon Peter the identity of His Son, and Jesus then utters:

"Therefore I say to you, you are the Rock (Peter) and upon this Rock I will build my Church" (House).

David understood well the depth of that promise for he says:

"O God! For You have made a promise regarding your servant's family reaching into the DISTANT FUTURE, and you have looked on me as henceforth the most notable of men, O Lord God. What more can David say to you? You know your servant. O Lord, for your servant's sake and in keeping with your purpose, you have done this great thing" (1 Chronicles 17: 17-19).

David continues his exaltation of the Lord all through the remaining verses of this chapter. This promised covenant becomes flesh in the New Covenant that Christ establishes upon Himself. He is the New Covenant, the Son of David, that we eat during the Eucharist and as such is the living tabernacle, who, like the Ark, should not be touched by human hands.

As Catholics we are called to understand the sacrament of Communion as a gift so holy that our liturgy compels us to utter, prior to receiving the Eucharist, the words "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed", and as Catholics we are to signify what we say. This point becomes a source of contradiction when we receive the Eucharist in the hand. Either we skip those words and take Communion in the hand or keep them and take Communion in the mouth, for either we are worthy or we are not. Indeed, we are to be like newborns receiving our spiritual food in the mouth, and should avoid being like Napoleon taking the crown from the bishop's hands and crowning ourselves Emperors of all France. Christ promised us everlasting life when He introduced the mystery of transubstantiation in John 6: 51 and 53-57 respectively:

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me."

Christ, the consecrated host, is that bread of life that we as Catholics so much desire, for we believe in Him and what He said. This life is reflected also in His Church as a whole, and, when we pay no heed to the advice of Paul VI, "that any danger is avoided of insufficient reverence or false opinions of the Holy Eucharist arising in the mind of the faithful", we run the risk of Holland.

A Case in Point

Father Ken Roberts informs us that Holland used to be a very Catholic country and was a vital source of missionary priests, but now its vitality has been robbed when we see that after they adopted the procedure of taking Communion in the hand, other things followed (removal of crucifixes and other images, as well as removal of kneelers, the tabernacle, etc.). This became very patent when he saw that on one occasion at Holland's cathedral when Mass was celebrated by their cardinal, only eight (8) faithful were present. We in America have not yet reached this pathetic stage and are not too late to halt the advances of the evil one who will stop at nothing in his drive to destroy our Church. "Liberal theology" and politically correct agendas will continue to undermine our faith if we do not take a stand armed with the truths given to our Church by Christ. We must oppose anything that seeks to erode our faithful following of the Vicar of Christ so that we as good children of Mary whom the devil "wages war against" (Apocalypses 12: 17) can prevail and claim the sublime promise of eternal life with our Creator and Father in the company of our heavenly family.

An Attempt to Justify the Abuse

In an attempt to justify taking Communion in the hand, it could be argued that the hand is not more sinful than the tongue and that all that is being done is taking Communion as it was done during the Last Supper... Someone else may even say that holding the host in their hands (and some kiss it before eating it) gives them a more intimate relationship with Jesus and it is as if they were holding baby Jesus in their arms. Let us dispose of the last argument first. The consecrated host is not baby Jesus but the resurrected and glorified Lord; as such, His sacramental presence is not equivalent to the privilege given to Jesus' contemporaries. A more fitting relationship to the Real Presence is the reaction of St. Thomas who kneels and exclaims: "My Lord, and my God" (John 20:28), or the encounter that the apostle John had with Jesus in heaven as related in the book of Revelations Chapter 2, verse 17: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead"; this is the very apostle who once "was lying close to the breast of Jesus" (John 13:25), the "beloved disciple." The apostles show us, as if in anticipation of the present irreverence, the proper attitude vis-a-vis the resurrected Lord.

We see the motivation for the change by reading "Memoriale Domini" where it states "in order to help the episcopal conference fulfill their pastoral office in today's often difficult situation". Some bishops, in an attempt to bridge that gap, encroached against "the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion", for the dangers that it warned against have not been avoided. Namely, of "insufficient reverence and false opinions of the Holy Eucharist." It is not the purpose of this paper to establish that the hand is any less or any more sinful than the mouth, but to indicate that receiving Communion in the hand introduces a de facto watering down of our faith, as well as possible desecration.

Historically speaking, we have already established that Saint Thomas Aquinas, all the way back in the 13th century, spoke authoritatively and sternly about not touching the consecrated bread. We can thus conclude that the practice of Communion in the hand was well established by then. When we search further back in history, we see that Communion in the hand was viewed as an abuse at the Synod of Rouen in the year 650. Communion on the tongue is then, as the Holy Father Paul VI says, "a very ancient and venerable tradition."

In order to dispose of the more insidious argument for taking communion in the hand, namely that the apostles received in the hand during the Last Supper, thus entitling anyone to receive the Eucharist in this manner, we need to do a quick tour in biblical exegesis that will indicate that the apostles were already priests when they received the Eucharist.

Holy Orders and Washing of the Feet

Rituals in the Jewish tradition had both an immediate and a spiritual significance; for instance, it was customary to wash before eating together, starting with their feet. The feet were first, since in those days the roads were dusty and the feet were evidently the most affected by it. This constituted the practical and immediate significance. From the spiritual perspective, the feet were washed as a symbol of respect to someone of spiritual dignity; for instance in the case of Abraham receiving the three men after he had seen God in Mamre (Genesis 18:3): "My Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and WASH YOUR FEET." This ritual is repeated when the two angels sent by the Lord to destroy Sodom, due to the homosexual depravity of the city inhabitants, encounter Lot and he said: "Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house and spend the night, and WASH YOUR FEET; then you may rise early and go on your way." This concept is well in line with the passage in Isaiah 52:7 that states: "How beautiful upon the mountains are THE FEET of him who brings good news", referring to the Messiah. This apparent fixation on the feet is explained by the Hebrew euphemism that referring to the feet is equivalent to what occurs between them, namely the procreative act. This point is clearly seen in the passage where David, after having impregnated Uriah's wife, is intent in making her pregnancy appear the act of her husband by forcing him to lie with her: "Go down to your house, and WASH YOUR FEET" (2 Samuel 11:8), followed by the response of Uriah: "Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to LIE WITH MY WIFE?" The Hebrews understood well the correlation of procreation and fatherhood, which had both the physical significance as well as the spiritual one; indeed, the spiritual fatherhood is of greater importance. The washing of the feet thus establishes the understanding that the person who is being washed has this spiritual fatherhood, which consists in the bringing of the good news and the establishing of the covenant with the one Father in heaven. Obviously, this concept could be discussed in a deeper fashion, but it is brought here up only schematically to illustrate that what was in operation during the washing of the feet of the apostles was indeed their reception of Holy Orders from Jesus, the One whose feet were anointed with very expensive perfume.

Indeed, the ministry received from Jesus in this fashion is such that, if the feet were not washed, Jesus could say to Peter: "If I do not wash you, you have no PART with me." The Greek word used by Jesus for the word "part" is "æ " which is the same one used by the apostle Peter (previously Simon) with another individual having the name Simon who proposed to buy the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:21), a presumptuous intention to which Peter responds: "You have no PART or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God." This condemnation is again very similar to what the Lord said about Judas during the washing of the feet (John 13:11): "For He knew who was to betray him; that was why He said, You are not all clean.'"

In summary, the God who established the order in the universe establishes the proper order at the Last Supper when He ordained His priests prior to giving them the command:

"This is my body which is given up for you. DO THIS in remembrance of me." The Lord does not have to subject himself to this particular order. His mere command to do so entitles the apostles to their ministry; however, in the same humility with which He washes their feet, He subjects Himself to a proper order of events, in order to fulfill all righteousness. It is in understanding this mystery that the laymen are called to refuse a non-reality, and acknowledge that they have not received Holy Orders, and reject any pretensions to take the Holy body of the Lord in our hands as if we were priests.

Conclusion

All laymen should take to heart what the apostle St. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." Communion in the hand, though lawful, is not profitable, because it dilutes the significance of the center of our faith. Communion in the hand can lead to a cheapening of what we must exalt. It can weaken our understanding of the sacrifice on Calvary. We note with solace that our present Pope, John Paul II, has prohibited the giving of Communion in the hand in Saint Peter's Basilica (see the appendix.) In summation, I would like to restate the well known assertion "Where Peter is, you will find the Church", but would like to modify it by adding 'and where the Church is, you will find the truth' (in a paraphrase of 1 Timothy 3:15: "the Church is the pillar and foundation of our truth.") My desire is for priests to align themselves with the Vicar of Christ in discouraging Communion in the hand in their parishes. A vigorous teaching on this matter could also be undertaken by the bishops so that all priests have an opportunity to meditate on this matter and inform their parishioners, accordingly, of the mind of the Church. To the laymen reading this article, I would like to appeal to their true reverence for the host. Aligning ourselves with the Pope, we should resolve to take Communion, as he wishes us to take it, in the mouth.

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