Monday, June 09, 2014

The old (relatively new) debate over Communion in the hand

My good friend and colleague, canonist Ed Peters is frequently bemused by how often this issue continues to resurface. As a canon lawyer, he sees absolutely no issue here. Reposing a near-absolute trust in his judgment about canon law (concerning which I am little more than a tyro), I heartily agree with him that there is no canonical problem with the practice of Communion in the hand. As I understand the matter, it was introduced into the United States and various other countries under an indult; that is, as a canonically licit exception to the ordinary and otherwise normative practice of reception on the tongue.

Having conceded this point of agreement, I would insist that there nevertheless remain a number of other grounds on which the practice may (indeed must) be considered and evaluated other than simply that of canonical licitness, and I have little doubt that my friend (Peters) would agree. I can think of a number of such grounds that might be considered, though I do not intend to explore them here for myself -- such as theological grounds, historical grounds, symbolic grounds, moral grounds, and even grounds of sacramental and liturgical aesthetic fittingness.

In any case, having done a bit of historical digging into the origins of this controversy, I was gratified to see that Michael Voris and his staff have put together another excellent detailed documentary-length investigation into the issue, which is ordinarily available only to "premium subscribers," and not merely to viewers of the comparatively tiny, sound-bite-sized "Vortex" episodes available daily for free to the unwashed and unpaying public.

Below is a brief Vortex episode introducing the series; and just for this week only, one key episode of the series, Sleight of Hand: Reception Deception, is being made available to the public at no charge.


Jacobi said...

Let us be clear. Reception on the tongue is the universal law of the Church from which an indult must be obtained if any other practise is required.

Indults are by their nature temporary and subject to regular review. By definition they are not permanent.

As usual Voris say it clearly and explicitly. I would also refer you to the Federatio Internationalis Una Voce paper on this subject.

What started as indults has now amounts to a widespread abuse throughout the Catholic Church.

It is important also to understand why this movement started. It had a clear objective. That was to diminish and eventually eliminate belief in the Real Presence. And how successful they have been!

This profound abuse must be tackled by our Pope and bishops as a matter of the greatest priority.

New Catholic said...

Only a lawyer inspired by Nordic ideas of legalistic positivism would be "bemused" that something is debatable despite the fact that the law of the moment "allows" it. The legalistic lawyers are the worst lawyers - God save us from them.

George said...

Bursa 380, Walther PPK, or CZ 380 knock-off?

c matt said...

If it shoots from the hip, then it's probably a Bersa (Industria Argentina).

Yes, saying something is canonically allowed is like saying something is legal - doesn't necessarily make it right.

I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

This book isn’t the place for the critique of recent liturgical changes in the Church-particularly the method of dispensing Holy Communion. But we’d like to suggest an experiment.

From now on, to get a movie ticket, Americans should have to kneel before a consecrated celibate wearing ceremonial robes and take the ticket between their teeth – never daring to touch it with their hands. Within a generation or so, they’d all develop certain ideas about movie tickets and their significance.

Now take the Eucharist and reverse the process, treating it like a movie ticket…Enough said."

The Bad Catholics Guide to Good Living
John Zmirak