My wife has a keen interest in maintaining the respect owed to the Eucharist. She has a penchant for watching communicants carefully as they approach to receive at Holy Communion. She’ll remark at times how people are so irreverent towards the sacred host. We’ve all seen this kind of behaviour. A good number of people, for instance, only start to consume the host after turning around to walk towards their seats. Some of these people actually don’t consume the host until they’re half-way down the aisle!
This irreverence is commensurate with the loss of belief in what the Eucharist really is. How could it be otherwise? Do we really believe that these two developments are mere coincidences? I think not. We know that the Liturgy is a teacher and the current practice of receiving on the hand is teaching Catholics to water down and have a minimalistic view of the sacred body and blood of Our Lord – at least Catholics who are not properly catechized and there’s lots of those! If one really believes that that’s literally Jesus in one’s hands, how can one treat it so cavalierly, as if it’s a cracker or potato chip? If we want to really teach the ignorant today about our most solemn teaching, we can go along way by changing how the Eucharist is “handled”.
A couple of years ago, my wife spotted this guy who faked putting the Eucharist in his mouth and instead pocketed it, after which he quickly made a beeline for the Church door. She didn’t believe what she saw. The next Sunday she watched him again…and sure enough, the same thing happened, dispelling all doubts she might have had about what was going on. To put an end to this travesty, she told our parish priest who knew the guy and later had a chat with him. Our parish priest instructed the “extra-ordinary” (who are actually not that extra-ordinary at all but quite ordinary) ministers of Holy Communion to ensure the man consumed the Host. Of course, it didn’t stop him from trying to pocket the Host (successfully I might add)…because, you know, there’s lots of “extra-ordinary” ministers of Holy Communion and not everyone knows what this guy looked like. Eventually, he stopped coming to our parish.
But here are the salient points:
1) I’m sure the perpetrator continues his escapades to this very day at a different Parish. Not every Parish has people who are vigilant about what’s going on with the Eucharist.
2) Ask yourself these questions: would this (and many, many similar abuses) happen if everyone was asked to
a) receive on the tongue?
b) receive from a Catholic priest?
3) When you receive holy communion from a priest ONLY and on the tongue ONLY, you are reinforcing the Church’s teaching on the necessity of the ministerial priesthood and reinforcing the practice of receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus from Jesus (acting through the priest). To receive on the hand or from an “extra-ordinary” minister puts an intermediary between you and the Lord in an Act for which there should (ordinarily) be no intermediary.
4) What would the above change mean to “Catholic” pro-abort politicians who come to approach the Eucharist? Can you say, “accountability to the priest, to the Father”? — as opposed to the ever-changing, shifting, unaccountable, and nebulous “extra-ordinary” (who have become very ordinary) minister of communion. It brings the Eucharist BACK to the exclusive domain and stewardship of the priest (where it belongs), and makes him accountable for its proper distribution to the Flock, the prominent members of which are not obstinate in their denial of the Holy Catholic Faith.
Check out: Communioninthehand.org