More on the Hand vs Tongue Tussle

The flu is letting up in some places, at least until the deeps of winter. But the liturgy sideshows over Communion in the hand/on the tongue are just warming up. Note this thread over at Fish Eaters Traditional Catholic Forum. Calgary Bishop F. B. Henry asked the local TLM people to give Communion in the hand. They declined. He pulled the plug on permission for the TLM. They quoted the CDWDS. He wrote:

I am well aware of what the congregation decided but quite frankly, it is not their call. It is mine.

Whoa. That really got the traditionalists mad:

I was going to call him “Mr. Henry” instead of “Bishop Henry”

This is … why it’s a sin to go to a NO Mass

If only it was so easy to defrock the clergy, a SSPX declaration.

The bishop’s original letter is here. I still say adults are reasonable enough to make decisions for themselves on whether to receive Communion and if so, how.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to More on the Hand vs Tongue Tussle

  1. Tony says:

    What the heck is a “dault”? (adult: thanks for noting the typo–TF)

    I have preferred to receive on the tongue for years. Our bishop has asked us to receive in the hand while the swine flu is about. Since it’s licit, I don’t see any problem about taking our bishop’s suggestion to receive in the hand. The bishop cannot forbid the normative method of receiving Holy Communion.

    When I go to mount St. Francis this Friday for first Friday tridentine Mass, my guess is that we will be receiving on the tongue.

    There will be no problem with this because they don’t have any EMHCs that are inexperienced in tongue distribution, and I have never been “tongue brushed” by a priest.
    (either tridentine or N.O.).

  2. Actually, Tony, what is once normative can in other times, for various reasons, become forbidden: case in point, distribution of both species.

  3. Tony says:


    It certainly isn’t normative in the West. It has been allowed in certain cases under indult.

    So a bishop can licitly forbid distribution of the cup. He cannot licitly forbid distribution of the host on the tongue.

    • Tony,

      IT WAS normative in the West before it became non-normative; it WAS normative before it was forbidden. That’s the point. This kind of thing happens historically. That is the point. The Church (and Bishops) has authority to change discipline.

  4. Mike K says:

    Beyond the argument of how to receive communion is how to deal with the whole controversy – and issues like this in general. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s some interesting reading from Fr Z:

    (Apologies for not being able to provide the direct link, since I can’t remember how to do so and can’t find my instruction on how to do so.)

    Anyhow, what he says is quite interesting. It goes to what I see is the whole crux of the issue: how to approach someone with whom you disagree, or with whose decisions you disagree.

    On some things, doctrine is doctrine – and there can be no deviation (no matter what Patrick Kennedy or other politicians say/think). However, the choice of whether to go to an EF or OF Mass, receive communion on the tongue kneeling or in the hand standing, whether a face-to-face confession is better than from behind a screen, or whether vestments should be ornate or simple is a matter of an individual’s taste or opinion. All of the things listed above are licit and allowed by the Church. But yet, in recent months, I’ve seen more “condemnations” and attacks over issues such as the ones I listed above.

    I’d bet a lot of “trad-rads” would be surprised to know that Bishop Henry has public defended many of the Church’s teachings on key issues, including abortion and gay marriage. But, because he wants everyone in his diocese to receive Communion in the hand uring a potential health crisis, he is portrayed as being one step short of a heretic.

    Sad. Very sad.

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