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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Communion in the Hand: The Floor Is Stained with His Blood

By:   Miguel Ángel Yáñez, Spain Correspondent
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Translated for The Remnant by Carolina Santos

If anyone denies that in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist the whole Christ is contained under each form and under every part of each form when separated, let him be anathema.” … Council of Trent

I have been observing discussions about the topic of “communion in the hand.”  In all of them I notice a set of arguments frequently made by the laity and the clergy alike, some justifying the reception of communion in the hand, others the administration of it, which shows that, despite their good intentions, they do not understand the true nature of the problem at hand.


Dear laity, we must stop thinking in this way:  what I like, what doesn’t offend me, what I think is normal, what I consider to be serious, what allows me to have devotion, what I believe, what I think, what I read that someone said or did in some unknown century… that is to say, me, me, and more me.

Dear priests who want to give communion in the hand and, also, those who don’t want to but do it anyway, you must stop arguing in this way:  I prefer communion in the hand, I believe that I should be obedient above all else, I don’t want any problems, I don’t think it’s that serious, I am not the one who makes this decision, I think that if both the Pope and my bishop do it, then I should too… that is to say, me, me, and more me.

No, dear laity and clergy, this perspective is completely wrong.  The problem is not you, what you believe or don’t believe, the consequences for you if you do not give communion in the hand, what they might say to you, what many or few do, not even what the bishop or pope does.  No, no, and no.  I will stop now and say loudly:

The problem is not what is happening to you—the problem is what is happening to Him!

Your point of view is not important, nor is the hypothetical reason that you may or may not have; your good intentions, your desire for obedience; all these arguments collapse under their own weight when seen from His perspective and not from your own.

What is His problem with communion in the hand?

It is dogmatically defined in the Council of Trent that every particle of the Sacred Host is Jesus Christ in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

For this reason, the tiniest particle that might fall to the ground is exactly the same as if the whole Host fell.

And if particles fall to the ground, it is a dogmatic belief that it is the same Jesus Christ, His Body and His Blood, that are now on the ground.

For this reason, if we step on these particles we are stepping on Jesus Christ.  Yes, let me repeat myself:  We are stepping on Jesus Christ.  And we do it through our own fault, willingly, and complicity, not by an uncontrollable accident.

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If we would contemplate just for a moment the Dantesque scene that is produced in our churches, we would be horrified.  Rodrigo García’s fantastic illustration provides us with but a glimpse.  Does it seem crude to you?  It is exactly what happens but we don’t see it.

It’s easy to understand the Love that is the Eucharist, the place where Jesus has shown Himself to be the most fragile, where He has risked being contemptibly stomped on in a second, silent and invisible Passion, but one no less cruel.  And it is easy to understand the respect and care with which we should treat the Eucharistic Jesus in His voluntary state of fragility and vulnerability, to which we are obligated in an absolute and inexcusable way, and without which we have no worth.  Our only obligation is to protect Him from everything and everyone, even at the cost of our honor or position.

Some might say that I exaggerate, that there can always be particles in one form or another, and that there may be some indeed; but the thing is that we cannot humanly control a microparticle that, for example, passes by our eyes unnoticed.  It’s a very different thing to say, however, that it falls through our fault, negligence, cowardice, etc.  It’s true that this can also happen when receiving on the knees and without a paten – another responsibility of the priest – but the possibility is infinitely less than if we submit the Host to the friction caused by contact with the hands.

In the many observations that I have made, I have to say that I have never managed to see – although surely there was someone unknown to me who did it, that is, the exception – that not a single communicant who received in the hand tried to remove any particles that might have remained, nor was there even any attempt to look for them.

Any priest who has given communion with a paten knows that even in the Traditional Mass,  there are always particles present; and in the same way, there are always particles that remain on the hand.  The mere act of placing the Host in the hand, and from the hand to the mouth in order to communicate, introduces an unavoidable detachment.  In practice this will mean hundreds of particles profaned and stomped on through our own fault.

All of this becomes even more painful if we think for a moment about how actively this practice is promoted, even forcing First Communicants to receive communion in the hand, as happened in my small town’s parish with the full knowledge, silence, and passivity of the Archbishop of Seville (1).

No priest is obligated to give communion in the hand, and the same canonical legislation that supports it (2), allows the priest to decide not to give it when there is a risk of profanation.  Perhaps there is no risk of profanation in which Jesus Christ falls to the ground and might be stepped on?  Perhaps there is, in this practice, no risk of profanation to the Sacred Host as has been seen recently in Pamplona?  Dear priest who, in good faith, has been giving communion in the hand, look at our illustration, meditate on it, and tell me:  Do you sincerely think that it is harmless to give communion in the hand, even if only to one single person?

No one, I repeat, no one should risk the possibility of the Body of Christ being stepped on and desecrated, and this is what’s done with a single communion in the hand.  Could a law be made requiring a child to expose his mother to the possibility of being stomped on, abused, and violated?  Even if there were such a law, who with the least amount of common sense could maintain that this person has the moral obligation to follow said law?... how much more is it when we are talking about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Creator.

I have no doubt that most of you who give or receive communion in the hand do not have this intention because you continue to see it from your own perspective, that of me, me, me.  Stop for a moment, reflect, and look at it from His point of view, trampled on the ground or profaned by undesirables, the Church filled with streams of Our Lord’s Blood, and I am sure that you will neither give nor receive in this way again.

If there have been thousands of martyrs that have died for not profaning an image, a holy book… are you going to tolerate the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Jesus Christ be profaned and stepped on before your eyes?

I’d rather die than have Our Lord on the ground because of my fault.


[- Illustration by Rodrigo García for Adelante la Fe-The Remnant]
- I personally reported to the Archbishop of Seville, Monsignor Asenjo, that the children received, out of obligation, their First Communion in the hand while standing.  His response was that “I can do nothing.”  Poor children, used and manipulated by those who want to wreck the Faith, who should always remember the strong words of Our Lord against those who manipulate the little ones:  “it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6)
- “If there exists danger of profanation, Communion should not be distributed to the faithful in the hand”  (Redemptionis Sacramentum 92).

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 30, 2016