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Bishop Athanasius Schneider – Communion in the hand a novelty…. August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Papa, sadness, scandals, sickness.

……not grounded in Tradition.  The promoters of receiving our Blessed Lord in the hand have long argued that they simply desire to return to the earliest practice of the Church, which, they claim, practiced Communion in the hand (in spite of the clear development of Doctrine and Tradition, which showed that Communion in the hand if ever practiced widely by the Church, was certainly cast aside as a poor practice by AD 3-400).  Now Bishop Athanasius Schneider, patristics expert and a leader of liturgical reform, states that Communion in the hand as practiced today in the Church is definitely a novelty:

Communion in the Hand has no roots in the early Church.

This was stressed by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider (50) of Astana in Kazakhstan on the 19th on the radio station ‘Radio Maria Südtirol’

Msgr Schneider is a Patristic expert.

Hand Communion was contrived “all new” from the Second Vatican Council — the Auxiliary Bishop firmly said.

The antique Church had practiced a completely different form for the reception of Communion.

In that period the hand in which Communion was received was purified before and after.

Additionally, the faithful would take the Body of the Lord from their hand in a disposition of prayer with his tongue:

“If anything it was more of an oral reception of Communion than in the hand”.

After Communion, the communicant had to lick their hands with their tongues, so that even the smallest particle should not be lost.

A Deacon supervised the purification.

The Auxiliary Bishop continued: “This concern and care stands in direct opposition to indifference and carelessness with which so called Communion in the hand is dispensed.”

Women never held Communion simply on the flat of the hand.

They spread a white cloth, a manner of corporal over their hand.

Then, they would receive Communion directly to their mouth from the linen cloth.

“That is a tremendous contrast to the present form of Communion in the hand” — insisted Msgr Schneider.

The ancient faithful never took Communion with their fingers: “the gesture of hand Communion was completely unknown in the Church.”

In the course of the centuries the Church developed a form of giving Communion which “surely came from the Holy Ghost”……[That would be reception on the tongue, preferably kneeling]

……..French and Spanish Synods of the 8th and 9th Centuries sanctioned against touching the Host with excommunication: “If a Synod can make such a strict threat, this form will be forbidden in a short time.” [As I argued in a previous post linked above, for well over a millenium the idea of lay people touching the Host with profaned fingers was seen as the highest sacrilege]

According to the Auxiliary Bishop, communion in the hand comes from the Dutch Calvinists of the 17th Century.

Calvinism denies the real presence of Christ in the Host.

I’ll state again – Communion in the hand is a novelty, but one that has been ‘regularized’ by the Vatican for various, primarily political reasons. Shortly after Vatican II, the modern practice of Communion in the hand began in NW Europe.  At first, Pope Paul VI decried this practice and stated it was not licit, but after threats of schism he relented and had documents released which ‘regularized’ it.  Such a history makes it difficult to see an authentic movement of the Holy Spirit – it was not the ‘people’ clamoring for Communion in the hand, just as they were not clamoring for a change in the Mass – it was an act imposed from above.  But now, many people are very used to this practice and some are even offended at the ancient practice of receiving kneeling and on the tongue.  But, the ‘reasoning’ presented for Communion in the hand has been shown to be deficient at best, and intentionally false at worst.  The fundamental problem is that casual receipt of the Blessed Sacrament in the hand undermines respect and reverence for the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  That Presence is the very cornerstone of our Faith – lose that, and everything else falls with it.  Of course, Communion in the hand has led to other difficult to deal with practices, most notable of which is the constant use, regardless of the number of people at Mass, of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  Without Communion in the hand, EMHCs cannot function.

On a practical level, it always seems to me to be a good idea to try to model our behavior as much as we can on the guidance given by the Pope.  He seems to be rather clear on this issue:


1. Woddy - August 15, 2011

You will enjoy the book “The Banished Heart” if you haven’t read it yet. Enlightening with regard to the history of the liturgy.

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