The Remnant’s online site has an article that asks this very relevant question, specifically concerning the norm of receiving Holy Communion while kneeling, on the tongue of the recipient.  This is not a new gripe, of course, but the article does a nice job of reminding us that the novelty of Communion-in-the-hand, however ubiquitous, began as an abuse and continues as a unchecked cause of sacrilege that has led to a loss of faith in the Real Presence. 

When the Congregation for Divine Worship acceded to the request to allow this in the U.S., for example, it pointed to Pope Paul VI’s Memoriale Domini, which ruled out a change to the universal mode of reception.  Yet, when then allowing the derogation in the United States, it made the following statement:  “The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist.”  I can only imagine that this condition imposed on the Bishops’ recourse to this novelty was a charge to ensure that the the Holy Eucharist was treated with such reverence that scandal and sacrilege would be avoided.  However, as it has been implemented in history, the response of the Bishops and priests seems to have been to ensure that there is so much irreverence and sacrilege that no member of the faithful can possibly ever be shocked by anything ever again.

From the full article:

Communion in the Hand while Standing:
What’s the problem?

by Howard Toon

The Church teaches that Christ’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity are present in the Blessed Sacrament. There are many Martyrs who gave their lives rather than deny this teaching. Any self-respecting Catholic knows this. There really ought to be no question about how Holy Communion should be received, and that is: on the tongue whilst kneeling.

There can be no denying that Holy Communion is now almost universally received in the hand and that this has been the case since shortly after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. Note, however, that there is no mention whatever of Communion in the hand in the documents of Vatican II. In fact, Cardinal L Suenens first introduced the practice illicitly in Belgium in the mid 1960s from whence it spread quickly to Holland, Germany and France.

When the abuse came to the notice of Pope Paul VI in 1969, he issued Memoriale Domini ruling out universal change to the Church’s method of administering Holy Communion on the tongue to kneeling communicants. In this document the Pope expressed his sadness that Communion in the hand had been introduced in some places without either his knowledge or the Church’s consent.

Subsequently, Pope John Paul II twice indicated the irregularity of this practice as a universal norm. In Dominicae Cenae (Feb. 1980), he stated: “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.”

Then, in Inaestimabile Donum (April, 1980), Pope John Paul wrote: “It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice, still less that they should hand them from one to another.”

Pope Benedict XVI now shows by his own example how the Apostolic See wishes Holy Communion to be administered. At his Papal Masses the faithful are obliged to kneel and receive on the tongue from HIS hand, not their own.

In fact, no post-conciliar Pope has approved, much less promoted, the novelty of Communion in the hand. Papal toleration is not the same as papal approval! That ought to be sufficient to make priests and the faithful reflect seriously on what they do.


Given the suffering that Our Lord went through in order to redeem our souls, and the greatness of our debt to Him, it is clear that no Catholic should come into His presence without genuflecting, and no Catholic should receive Him in Holy Communion without kneeling down in reverence. It ought to go without saying that no lay Catholic should ever consider touching the Blessed Sacrament with his hands. Such was the teaching throughout history up to 1960.

Religious Instruction was then suddenly changed to Religious Education and a new programme imposed teaching children to explore the different religions as if they were all equally valid means for attaining eternal life.


At any rate, an indicator of the success of the new strategy is reflected in a U.S. gallop poll of a few years ago recording just 30% of U.S. Catholics now believing in Our Lord’s True Presence. The other 70% had either various shades of Protestant belief or no belief at all. This situation can only have come about through ignorance – through simply obscuring the facts.

How has this been allowed to happen? It wasn’t just allowed to happen – it was deliberately brought about…


Amongst the chief obstacles preventing the success of their plans, however, are the Mass of all Ages, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The only way for them to overcome these obstacles is to debase the ancient Catholic Liturgy, from which man gains the grace to resist temptation and evil, and to destroy belief in the Real Presence.

The Novus Ordo Mass was specifically written to be inoffensive to Protestants by removing all mentions of it being a Sacrifice, and replacing that doctrine with one of it being a mere commemoration banquet or “celebration of the Lord’s supper,” as it is now widely known. This part of the undermining is now very well entrenched, and few Catholics realise what has befallen them.


If this tide of indifferentism is to be reversed, three important things have to happen. These are the restoration of the Mass of all Ages, with its emphasis on Sacrifice, restoring respect for Our Lord by fostering belief in the Real Presence, and the daily recitation of the rosary.

Pope Benedict XVI has already made a start by showing us that Holy Communion should only be received kneeling and on the tongue. When will the Catholic world begin following Peter’s lead?