Of Bad And Better Catholics

Poor Padre Pio had not been informed Protestants do such things better, without even believing in them.

Poor Padre Pio had not been informed Protestants do such things better, without even believing in them.

A controversy has erupted on a well-known Catholic blog concerning whether those who receive communion on the tongue are better Catholics than those who don’t.

It seems to me this is muddling the waters.

I would never dream of considering myself a better Catholic than others just because I never received the Holy Communion in the hands once in my life (and, just so you know, never will). I am sure there is an army of people out there who receive in the hands – as they are, alas, allowed to – and are far better Catholics than the wretched sinner writing these lines.

But you see, this is just not the issue.

It is obvious to everyone worth his salt that, whatever was practised by the “first Christians”, later Christians decided pretty soon that kneeling and on the tongue is the proper, because most reverent, way to receive Holy Communion. There can be no discussion about that, because this is a historic fact on which there is no controversy.

Therefore, he who decides that it is fine to receive in the less reverent way just because this is now allowed has not become a worse Catholic than myself, but he certainly receives Communion in worse way than I do. Apart from this, it is still rather difficult for me (my bad, no doubt) to think how one can be persuaded that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and still think the Protestants, who do not believe in it, had found a better way to honour this very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity than the Church of Christ, before she did or after she forgot it. The other matter – how many still believe in Transubstantiation after 50 years of, well, receiving Communion like Protestants – I do not even consider, because I am interested here only in the True Catholics, those who believe all that the Church believes and profess all that the Church professes; and who can be excellent Catholics in many ways.

Still, how they can seriously reflect on what Holy communion is and still prefer to… give God to themselves is beyond me.


Posted on June 17, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I have received communion about 6 times since my conversion. Always on the tongue. I have a hard time kneeling due to weight and arthritis. But I was surprised to see people receiving it in the hand. I had attended a Mass once as a child, and I’d always seen them taking the Host on the tongue and kneeling.

    • Don’t worry about the kneeling if it is a physical pain. I mean try to, but do not go beyond what a sensible man would consider reasonable. Those beyond you in the line will give you all the time you want, if you want to kneel, though.

      I grew up with communion on the tongue, and then – like many others – stopped attending church. I was shocked at seeing people receiving in the hands when I started attending again. Still today, I find it disturbing.


  2. That is so for the Latin Rite churches, but you just ignored the Eastern Rite Churches who still use bread and who use a spoon for the wine. I do wish Western Catholics did not write as though they were the only Catholics and that the Latin Rite was not the only tradition in the Church.

    • I am a Catholic of Roman rite, and am obviously talking of my own rite. There are around 25 rites within the Church, so I cannot comment on them. It’s not that I “ignore” them, but when I write about Liturgy I just cannot consider them.

      That to receive on the tongue is more reverent than in the hand, though, I am sure; whatever is or was made in other rites.


    • For you and for many, but in some ER rites they retain the more ancient practice. Why should they think their more ancient practice less respectful than your more recent one?

    • Because the more recent one is more reverent.

      Ancient does not necessarily mean “good”. Things improve.

      The Roman Rite has improved them. Until V II, that is.


    • Eastern Rite Catholics I know say they are much happier with not changing things – they think the West is afflicted with an itch to change,

    • I don’t have any problem with the Eastern Rite Catholics being not happy to change.

      Much more, in fact, with Roman Rite Catholics happy to change when they shouldn’t.

      Still, I consider communion kneeling and on the tongue the best, whatever might be practiced in other Rites.


    • You might be interested in what my co-author, Chalcedon, has posted just now – I think you will agree.

  3. Jessica, I have received Communion in an Eastern Rite Church only once but the Host (a cube of bread) was spooned into my open mouth. I didn’t touch the Host and so (if this is the normal way of receiving in ER churches) it is wonderful. I just wonder what you are complaining about here, we just want what you get anyway (respect for Our Lord in the Host).
    If you consider who the main movers were in this innovation of Communion in the hand then you know that it has a diabolical origin. The notorious Bernadin introduced this in the US, and pushed it through illegally as it was only intended to be permitted where it was customary (it never had been in the US). But originally it was the modernist Bishops of Holland and Belgium who presented it to the Vatican as a fait accompli and defied the Pope to countermand it.

    • I also fail to understand.

      It is clear the communion in the hand in the Roman Rite is one of the many distortions introduced by Vatican II. There’s no way to escape this, because it’s a well-known historic fact.

      Again, I do not know what the other 24 or 25 rites do.

      Kneeling and on the tongue is best, say I.


  4. In Denmark, a Protestant country, communion in both kinds is received kneeling.

    You asked about good Jesuits, and some mentiond Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press and Fr. John Hardon, author of an excellent Pocket Catholic Dictionary and of a not so good Catechism. I would add Fr. James V. Schall of Georgetown University, a fearless man, see his website. Locally, in my Jesuit-run parish, I would mention Fr. Herbert Krawczyk, a fine confessor, although utterly unable to understand why anyone would complain about the vandalism his predecessor as PP. Fr. Wilhelm Meister, committed in the church, turning the nave into an amphitheatre. Nec rubricat, nec cantat Iesuita. How true.

  5. I was unfair to Fr. Hardon about his Catechism, as anyone will see who reads his entry on Wikipedia. Yes, he was a friend of Paul VI. But he refused to dilute the Faith, as he once wrote when asked to censor certain books:

    Before I had retrieved one-half of the heretical books, I had become the agent of orthodoxy and therefore the sworn enemy of the modernists, who were updating the Catholic faith to its modernist theology. I had doors slammed in my face. I lost friends whom I had considered believers….[this experience] taught me that the faith I had so casually learned could be preserved only by the price of a living martyrdom. This faith, I was to find out, is a precious treasure that cannot be preserved except at a heavy price. The price is nothing less than to confess what so many others either openly or covertly denied.”

    No one less than Cardinal Burke is now furthering the cause of Fr. Hardon’s beatification. Oremus pro filio Tuo et Sancti Ignatiii Iohanne, ut beatificatur, amen.

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