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Portland archdiocese: Coronavirus or no, Communion can be received on the tongue

“We consulted with two physicians regarding this issue, one of which is a specialist in immunology for the State of Oregon. They agreed that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk,” the archdiocese’s office of divine worship wrote March 2.

Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

Portland, Ore., Mar 4, 2020 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- The right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue has been affirmed by the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, which noted Monday that the risk of transmitting infection when receiving on the tongue or hand is “more or less equal.”

“We consulted with two physicians regarding this issue, one of which is a specialist in immunology for the State of Oregon. They agreed that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk,” the archdiocese’s office of divine worship wrote March 2.

“The risk of touching the tongue and passing the saliva on to others is obviously a danger however the chance of touching someone’s hand is equally probable and one’s hands have a greater exposure to germs.”

The office said its statement came after some parishioners had indicated that they had been denied Holy Communion on the tongue, or told that reception on the tongue “has been banned in certain parishes.”

“After consulting with the Archbishop this office would like to clearly communicate that a parish cannot ban the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, nor may an Ordinary or Extraordinary minister refuse a person requesting Holy Communion on the tongue,” the office stated.

The worship office emphasized that ministers of Holy Communion should be “able to distribute Holy Communion without risk of touching the hands or the tongue,” and that “parishioners should also be instructed how to receive Holy Communion properly either on the tongue or in the hand.”

It added that “if Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion feel uncomfortable distributing Holy Communion either in the hand or on the tongue they should be excused from this ministry.”

Many Churches around the world have issued precautionary guidelines for Masses, or cancelled public Masses entirely, because of the coronavirus outbreak which originated in China late last year.

The new strain of coronavirus causes a respiratory disease, COVID-19, and has a fatality rate of roughly 3%. There have been more than 93,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 81 countries, and nearly 3,200 deaths, as of March 4. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China.

In the US, there have been at least 147 confirmed cases in 16 states. These are concentrated in Washington, where there have been 32 cases, 10 of whom have died. Of those 10, seven were linked to a nursing home in a Seattle suburb.

In Oregon, there have been two confirmed cases and no deaths.

The Portland archdiocese’s further considersations followed upon a Feb. 28 memo which offered a number of guidelines regarding possible transmission of disease.

The guidelines noted that Communion under both species “is not always necessary or advisable,” and that “it is left to the prudent judgment of the pastor whether communion under both kinds should be offered.”

Citing the fact that “our hands are often transmitters of the cold and flu,” it said that self-intinction should not be permitted, which is, in any case, “prohibited by law”; that rather than shaking hands during the sign of peace, “a nod of the head and a verbal greeting of peace … may be used”; and that “holding hands during the Our Father should be discouraged.”

Extaordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should, it said, “take special precautions” and frequently wash their hands.

It added that those who are ill are “excused from Sunday worship,” and that the ill “are encouraged to make a spiritual communion.”

Parishes that distribute Holy Communion only under the species of bread “should take the opportunity to catechize the faithful regarding the Church’s teaching about the Most Holy Eucharist, especially regarding the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under either species,” the archdiocese noted.

The archdiocese added that after consulting with Oregon’s public health office, it found that “scientific consensus seems to be that although bacteria & viruses can be found on the communion cup, despite wiping and able to survive the alcohol, the risk of transmission is thought to be low. However, the cessation of the distribution of Holy Communion from the Chalice would significantly lower the risk.”

In addition, the archdiocese quoted a statement from the Oregon Health Authority that “We have thousands of cases of influenza and many hundreds of hospitalizations from influenza right here in the Portland area this year. And we have zero cases of this Novel Corona virus. Right now, a bigger threat to all of us is influenza.”

It reiterated that “Holy Communion under both kinds is not mandatory at any Mass in the Archdiocese of Portland.”

The worship office also recommended “that all parishes cease the distribution of the Precious Blood for the time being and that the Sign of Peace be eliminated or done without the chance of physical contact.”

The subsequent further considerations from the Portland archdiocese referred to Redemptionis sacramentum, the Congregation for Divine Worship’s 2004 instruction on certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, which notes that “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice.”

Immediately to Portland’s north, in the Archdiocese of Seattle, Archbishop Paul Etienne issued a differing set of directives in response to coronavirus.

The Northwest Catholic wrote March 3 that Archbishop Etienne “said that holy water should be removed from fonts” and “that Communion hosts should be received only in the hand, not on the tongue.”

The archdioceses of Portland and Seattle agree, however, that Communion should be under one species, that the sick should stay home from Mass, and that everyone should practice good hygiene and “avoid hand-to-hand contact during the Our Father and the sign of peace.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago also released March 3 coronavirus prevention guidelines, which urged hygienic practices and recalled that the ill are not obliged to attend Mass. There have been four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois.

The Chicago archdiocese also said that there should not be physical contact at the sign of peace, hand holding during the Our Father, or the use of holy water fonts, and that Holy Communion should be distributed only under the species of bread.

It added that “given the frequency of direct contact with saliva in the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, every consideration should be given by each individual to receive Holy Communion reverently in open hands for the time being.”

The Diocese of Spokane has shared a factsheet and guidelines on coronavirus preparedness it received from Catholic Mutual, which advises these adjustments “after a pandemic has been declared”: distribution of Holy Communion only under the species of bread; not passing collection baskets; and bowing rather than shaking hands at the sign of peace.

According to Catholic Mutual, “Communion on the tongue is strongly discouraged” after the declaration of pandemic. The World Health Organization has not declared a coronavirus pandemic.

Catholic Mutual added that “if the pandemic progresses to a more serious stage” more changes may need to be made, such as the emptying of Holy Water fonts, seating in alternate rows of pews, and limits on the number of attendees to baptisms, weddings, or funerals.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued guidance on coronavirus dated Feb. 27 saying that in the current stage of coronavirus – characterized by very few cases in the UK and no cases in local parishes – the key thing for parishes to do is to urge that good hygiene be maintained.

The are 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus in England, and one in Wales. There has been one death in England due to the disease.

The English and Welsh bishops also directed that that this stage, parishes “ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from the physical sign of peace, taking communion from the Chalice and advise they should receive the host on the hand only.”

It added that those attending Mass should be asked to sanitize their hands as they enter, and that “there is no need as things stand for the Chalice to be withdrawn or the of sign of peace suspended … This advice would only come if we had a very serious epidemic in the UK.”

The English and Welsh bishops advised that if the situation progresses such that there are a number of cases in local communities or a case specifically linked to a parish community, then Communion should be distributed only under the species of bread, the Host is “to be given on the hand only”, and that care should be taken in distribution that the minister not touch the recipient’s hands.

In that stage, the bishops also advise the suspension of the physical sign of peace, removal of holy water stoups, cessation of use of shared hymn books and missals, and not passing a collection plate.

Should a third stage be reached, when there are many cases in local parishes, the English and Welsh bishops said that “Mass and Liturgy in public should be suspended and parish gatherings suspended.”

The Latin Mass Society issued a statement March 2 welcoming the English and Welsh bishops’ guidelines, while noting they “do not take the form of a decree with the force of canon law.”

The group noted that at celebrations of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, “the Sign of Peace is not given among members of the congregation; the Precious Blood is not distributed to the Faithful (from the Chalice); and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are not employed. In these respects these celebrations already adhere to or render unnecessary recommendations given in the Guidelines for a heightened level of hygiene necessary in the case of a more serious outbreak of the virus.”

The Latin Mass Society added that in Masses said in the extraordinary form, Holy Communion “may not be distributed in the hand, according to the universal liturgical law applicable to them. Should the spread of COVID-19 necessitate the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, this would mean the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion to the Faithful in these celebrations.”

It noted that “the Communion of the Faithful is in no way necessary to the validity or liceity (in such circumstances) of the Mass. Should prudence dictate the necessity for such a step, the Faithful should be encouraged to make a ‘Spiritual Communion’.”

“We wish to observe, however, that the distribution of the Host in the hand does not appear to be less likely to spread infection than the distribution on the tongue,” the Latin Mass Society wrote. “On the contrary, distribution on the hand has the result that the Host touches possibly infected surfaces, the palm of the left hand and the fingers of the right hand of the communicant, which is avoided in distribution by a priest directly onto the communicant’s tongue.”


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50 Comments

  1. What kind of irresponsible, pharisaical and lethal legalism is this? I have been distributing Holy Communion for years. Inevitably, my fingers are wet with the saliva of some who just don’t know how to receive on the tongue, no matter how much one explains or instructs. Fingers wet, however minimal, touch a host to give to the following person who extends his/her hand. This has been happening for years. Now, in this time of a growing epidemic, even pandemic, of the corona virus, beyond a lack of hygiene, it becomes unjust and possibly fatal to continue this practice. To expose someone in the communion line to a virus that is unknown and possibly lethal is criminal. Therefore, I will refuse to give communion on the tongue just to conform to “the laws of men”, no matter who orders it. Dioceses in the north of Italy and Hong Kong dioceses have cancelled Sunday Masses. Yet the law states that Sunday Mass is obligatory and every Catholic has a right to the Eucharist. But that “law” was wisely, prudently and sanely bent. The insistence to receive on the tongue when one little droplet of saliva could cause a forest fire of contagion is hard hearted absurdity and should be denounced by the Vatican itself.

    • Three Popes John Paul IInd the IInd, Benedict XVI and Francis only gave or give communion on the tongue. zi have been giving communion on hand and tongue since church promulgation. If you concentrate on your ministry and try not to be theatrical with your eye contact to the communicant and were conscious of the fact that you are givingJesus to nourish the communicant. Your logic fails in love and centers on you.
      You and your ministry are in my prayers. You must conform to obedience and refrain from becoming central authroity. The hand that you place communion on may also not be washed and held a missalette or hymnal that had someone sneezng deposits on it. Have faith and not scrupulosity.

      • Sheer legalism and sanctimonious drivel! John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis grace communion on the tongue only, before the reality of this growing plague. And why would you rashly presume that I would be theatrical with eye contact to the communicant and not conscious of the fact that I am giving Jesus to nourish the communicant. Your rash judgment and logic are absurd because you missed the whole point which is to protect the communicants from the contagion of the coronavirus. Easier to drop the host in the hand without touching it than to place on the tongue without the fingers becoming wet which inevitably happens. One droplet of saliva can spread the virus. We are dealing with people’s safety and lives. The situation right now is extraordinary and requires extraordinary measures. When we finally are able to contain this pandemic, then we can go back to the ordinary ways of distributing communion. Your legalistic mentality has made you blind and deaf to a clear and present danger.

        • Bindiana wrote: “Easier to drop the host in the hand without touching it than to place on the tongue without the fingers becoming wet which inevitably happens.”

          Here is a different story.

          “The late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once was asked to describe his “Most Inspiring Moment.” This is what he wrote:

          “A few years ago, I visited a leper colony in Africa. I brought with me 500 small silver crucifixes to give to each victim of the dread disease. The first leper who came up to me had only a stump of his left arm. The right arm and hand were full of those telltale open sores of leprosy. I held the crucifix a few inches above that hand and let it drop into the palm.

          “At that moment, there were 501 lepers in the camp, and the most diseased of them all was me. I had taken the symbol of redemption, of Divine Love for man, of the humiliation of Divinity into our fallen human nature and had refused to identify myself with all that that symbol implied. It is so easy to love humanity in general but so difficult sometimes to love a man.

          “It is easy to help the lepers, but when one meets a specific leper, then a special effort is required. Seeing myself in the full shame of refusing to identify with this victim, I looked at the crucifix in the putrid mass of his hand and realized that I, too, must become one with suffering humanity. Then I pressed my hand to his hand with the symbol of love between us and continued to do it for the other 499.””

          • You miss the entire point, and with such sanctimony! If Bishop Sheen were to give communion to one leper he could press his hand to the leper’s hand with the symbol of love between them. If there were 500 lepers he could do the same. But if he knew that after touching one leper, he ran the risk of spreading that leprosy to perfectly healthy people, he in his love, prudence and sanity would not touch the leper in order not to contaminate others.

          • So far you’ve accused people of being irresponsible, pharisaical, lethally legalist, criminal, unjust, hard-hearted, absurd; of “sheer legalism and sanctimonious drivel,” rash judgment, absurd logic, legalism (reduntantly), blindness, and deafness.

            I think that with a little effort I can contrive to bear up under the agony of being considered by you to be sanctimonious.

            I think Kathryn’s advice is spot on.

        • Respectfully

          The less people distributing the Holy Sacrament, the safer we all are. I have never received in the hand in my entire life. Canon law protects this privilege. And I can take a spiritual Communion in charity if need be. These Eucharistic minister’s at my parish routinely touch peoples hands in greeting, and peoples heads while speaking-all inappropriate in all circumstances. Please consider taking your fears of being “legalistic” to prayer and your spiritual director.

    • Bindiana ,
      I don’t know. I was visiting a church in Texas recently & they announced that we should not receive Holy Communion on the tongue at Mass. The Holy Water fonts were empty also.
      People cover their mouth with their hands when they cough & use their hands to wipe their nose, so I imagine our hands are non too sanitary either unless we are in constant contact with hand sanitizers.
      I suppose it’s a call for each bishop to make.
      Panic is always a bad choice but since this “Wu-Flu” is at least 10 times more deadly than the regular flu I think we should be serious about prevention. It’s not only the elderly who are at risk but anyone with ongoing respiratory or immune issues.

      • Easier to drop the host in the hand without touching it than to place on the tongue without the fingers becoming wet which inevitably happens.

      • I suppose it’s a call for each bishop to make.
        Not in this case. A communicant may not be denied receiving on the tongue if they so choose per the GIRM. Not even Bishop Full of Himself can abrogate that.

    • I have given Communion both ways, regularly, practically daily, and I end up grazing hands and fingers almost as often as I touch lips or tongues. If you are worried about legalism vs. faith, then you should know that a person in a state of grace will not get sick receiving the Body of Christ. Conversely, if you are not in a state of grace, do not get surprised if you do get sick regardless of what is going around. This is Scriptural. An Eastern Orthodox priest says this is also the teaching of the Christian East. In fact, for over 25 years he has distributed the mingled Body and Blood of Christ on a silver spoon to people with all manner of communicable diseases (including hospital visits) and has not once gotten sick. So stop judging bishops who have more faith and understanding than you.

    • “in this time of a growing epidemic, even pandemic”

      It’s only called a pandemic by those who are ignorant of history. The plague and Spanish influenza were pandemics. This isn’t. And the people at the time of the plague, and even to a lesser extent in the early 1900’s with the flu, had the added disadvantage of not knowing what was causing the disease or how to deal with it.

      Meanwhile, some doctors have sent out a message pointing out “According to the World Health Organization’s website, as of 02/29/2020 there are an estimated 85,415 cases worldwide. That means this virus has affected .00001127273 of the total number of people on the planet. Where this all started was out of Wuhan, China They’ve estimated 72,000 cases in a city of 11.1 million. That being said, it has impacted .00648648648 of the population.”

      They also reminded us, “We are constantly being scared into thinking that we are not strong enough to fight off viruses and infections. In ’03 it was SARS, ’05 it was the Avian Flu, in ’09 it was the Swine Flu, in ’12 it was MERS, Ebola, in ’14, Measles, in ’15, and Zika in ’16. All of these diseases came with a tremendous amount of fear and press coverage warning us about the pandemic that would devastate humanity.”

      I remember all those panics. I’m tired of them.

      “I have been distributing Holy Communion for years.”

      It would be nice if you would stop. I am very tired of the abuse of having laypeople routinely distributing the Eucharist.

      “Therefore, I will refuse to give communion on the tongue just to conform to “the laws of men”, no matter who orders it.”

      Oh, yes? That tells me quite a bit about you, and it isn’t good.

      • It is likely that the pandemics didn’t materialize because people heeded the warnings.

        Frankly, I’d rather be over cautious but healthy than lying on a gurney in an overcrowded hospital hallway. China has already proved that this could easily become a serious pandemic. The majority of cases occurred in one province in China. So comparing the Coronavirus statistics against world population is misleading. A more accurate reading would be comparing the number of cases to the population of Wuhan. That’s scary.

        Comparing Coronavirus to Sars or MERS is like comparing apples and oranges: the contagion rates are not comparable.

        Take care. Literally.

        • There was some interesting information in this article about the percentage of people who get sick and who dies. https://slate.com/technology/2020/03/coronavirus-mortality-rate-lower-than-we-think.html

          There’s a difference between warning people “There’s a nasty virus out there; you need to wash your hands well, avoid crowds if you can, these are the people at most risk, and keep an eye out for these particular symptoms,” and shrieking “AIIIIIEEEEEE! PLAGUE! PLAGUE! THOUSANDS WILL DIE PROBABLY MILLIONS PANIC PANIC PANIC!!!!!

          I remember the panic over SARS, and I just looked it up. Worldwide, a bit over 8000 people got it. You’d never have known that from the news stories at the time.

        • I found information about Hong Kong flu in the late 1960’s, but not in 1990/91. Does it also have a different name?

    • The hand is far more likely to contain the virus than is the tongue. Since there are differences of opinion, one may accept what one believes is true. For those extraordinary ministers unable to accept the right to receive on the tongue the better course would be to resign the ministry rather than insist on their “right” to decide what is best.

    • Actually, you shouldn’t be giving out commununion at all, unless you’re a priest or there is such a serious shortage of priests that it’s impossible for a priest to give communion at Mass without the Mass taking an extremely long time – like a couple of hours. You need to get over your sense of entitlement to be an EXTRAORDINARY minister of communion, since you’re in no way needed nor is your existence as a ‘minister’ mandated by the Vatican. Then you need to step down because of your clear unwillingness to submit to legitimate Church authority. You have NO RIGHT to deny communion to someone who wishes to receive on the tongue. If you don’t like it, pack up and get out of the sanctuary where you have no business being in the first place. Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers are ego-driven, period. Nobody needs or wants them; they just want to do it themselves.

        • If there’s a Mass, there’s a priest there to distribute Communion. Very seldom are there so many people receiving Communion that having only the priest distribute It would make the Mass hours long. It’s pretty sad if people find an extra 10-15 minutes at Mass to be an unbearable burden.

    • So take a wipy for when you distribute on the tongue. For the record touching the car, the doors, the pews how much dirt do you pick up?

    • When I receive the creator of the universe my sole focus is on receiving His love, grace and strength. Without Him, I could not manage my daily life in the world o inwardly focused on the self. The last thing I am focusing on is whether I need a gluten-free, if the savior of the world is going to give me coronavirus, etc… The devil himself must revel in this. And as for “eucharistic ministers” if this is your worry, gracefully bow out of this ministry – the Lord does not need your help.

    • Therefore, I will refuse to give communion on the tongue just to conform to “the laws of men”, no matter who orders it.
      Your mandatum should be immediately and irrevocably revoked, Pope Bindiana.

  2. This makes perfect sense. Perhaps now is the time permanently to move away from communion under both kinds, and from the proliferation of EMHCs.

    • Even if your technique is good, you will still touch hands almost as often as you touch lips. Obviously, the chalice is another matter. The perfunctory wipe of the chalice’s lip with a purificator actually only moves germs around. Also, the accidents of alchohol are not sufficient for killing pathogens (nothing less than 80 proof is a sure thing for that purpose). Think about it. Yet repeated studies over the decades have shown little to no transmission of communicable disease by receiving the Blood of Christ. Understand that the Blood of Christ is not ordinary, natural matter than can be touched by disease. Nonetheless, for the sake of those not in a state of grace receiving Communion mindlessly, one may out of charity limit or withhold the use of the cup. As to the widespread use of EMHC, intinction by a priest or deacon is always to be preferred over the multiplication of cups as more liturgically proper (the possible pastoral exception being a very large congregations that a couple of clergy cannot serve in a timely way).

  3. I have been distributing Holy Communion for years. Inevitably, my fingers are wet with the saliva of some who just don’t know how to receive on the tongue, no matter how much one explains or instructs. Fingers wet, however minimal, touch a host to give to the following person who extends his/her hand. This has been happening for years. Now, in this time of a growing epidemic, even pandemic, of the corona virus, beyond a lack of hygiene, would it not become unjust and possibly fatal to continue this practice? Would it not even be criminal to expose someone in the communion line to a virus that is unknown and lethal to some? Would it be justified in conscience for a priest to refuse to give communion on the tongue for the sake of conforming to “the laws of men”, no matter who orders it? Dioceses in the north of Italy and Hong Kong dioceses have cancelled Sunday Masses. Yet the law states that Sunday Mass is obligatory and every Catholic has a right to the Eucharist. But that “law” was, in the estimation of the bishops, wisely, prudently and sanely bent. In view of the fact that one little droplet of saliva could cause a forest fire of contagion, would it not be high time that the Vatican itself pronounce on this issue?

    • Yeah, the Vatican needs to pronounce that people like Brindiana were never mandated or needed, and need to GET OUT OF THE SANCTUARY and get over their sense of entitlement to a ‘ministry’ that should never have been allowed to become ‘ordinary’ in American parishes in the first place.

      I’m glad for this article. I’m glad for coronavirus if it means that we can get rid of the absurd novelties of people self-communicating from the chalice, people holding hands at the Lord’s prayer, people roving all over the church to give the sign of peace; the priest abandoning Christ on the altar to glad-hand the congregation and the congregants getting their noses out of joint because ‘father shook hands with her and not me;’ and people thinking that if they don’t get communion under both kinds they are being somehow deprived. The American clown Mass has gone on long enough. Get back to reverence and get the Extraordinarily Ego-Driven Eucharistic ‘ministers’ back in the pews. There are too many people ‘on stage’ in American churches, all of them with a huge sense of entitlement and self-assertion, which is all over the first posting on this article.

  4. “When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem Doctor of the Church in Catechesis mystagogica V, xxi-xxii, Migne Patrologia Graeca 33). Cyril is also recorded, though questioned by some to have urged we touch our eyes and ears with the sacred blood for healing. Parishioners some very faithful have offered the view that somehow Our Lord mysteriously protects us from any adversity when receiving his sacred Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Is it belief in magic? Saint Cyril among the Fathers who warned of Antichrist’s attempt to mitigate, destroy Catholicism recognized as a theological Doctor should not be dismissed. What would we become if we were to be prudently so concerned if a highly contagious highly communicable highly deadly disease were to inflict us, if priests begin wearing sanitary gloves using masks and inevitably cease distributing the body of Christ altogether? This is one circumstance where faith in Christ’s providence must prevail.

  5. Having read the above comments, About can only say you guys are a real turnoff with your detailed desciptions. The devil is indeed in the details. Reactionary idealist that I am, how I yearn for those early times when problematic descrptions, especially about sacraments and sacraments were kept to oneself. The hygienization of Eucharist reception was never cause for conversation.

  6. Father Morello just cited the beautiful description of loving reverent reception of Holy Communion by Saint Cyril. Jesus the Lord took bread and broke it into pieces and gave it to his apostles. I feel like the least worthy person on the planet but the Lord invites me to receive him, and I receive him on the hand in loving adoration and gratitude of this great divine gift to a wretch like me. I can adore and kiss him in my hand before consuming him, who unites himself with this poor sinner, and abides in me and I in Him. There is a certain hysteria about “mouth communion only”. As a retired nurse I have to agree with Bindiana, “one little droplet of saliva could cause a forest fire of contagion”. We are dealing with a highly contagious lethal respiratory virus, spreading rapidly through contact with saliva and mucus, now almost 100,000 cases in 79 countries. Seems like an act of charity to receive on the hand for the time being. We have to keep our priests out of harms way. Proper hand washing with lather on palms, back and fingers is necessary.

    • edith wohldmann, while your reverence for the Eucharist is commendable, please don’t assume that people who kneel in adoration of their Lord, being fed into their mouths, like a trusting child receiving food from a loving Father, are somehow missing out on reverent reception of communion or love for their Lord.

      There is great humility in allowing oneself to be fed; there is great tenderness in being the one who hand-feeds another person.

      I feel like a beloved child of God, whose heavenly Father is tenderly feeding her when I receive on the tongue, especially on my knees in adoration of this Father who tenderly feeds me the Body of his Son.

      I won’t take your way away if you don’t assume that because someone millennia ago wrote about how to receive in the hand, it somehow mandates or over-rules a later development of a position that is more humble, both because one is kneeling and because one is fed, like a totally dependent and trusting child, rather than feeding oneself like a self-sufficient adult.

      • you wrote beautifully of the reception of the Holy Eucharist. I almost think Christ might prefer the receiving on the tongue. However, the church allows hand communion. I pray, the Lord grant us a holy pope again proclaiming the truth of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit will restore the church to the pleasure of the Holy Trinity. At the moment we are being purged and punished and we have to pray for the conversion of sinners to return to God. About the danger of contamination I wish with all my heart that priests will not administer on the tongue until the containment of the deadly virus.

  7. “We consulted with two physicians regarding this issue, one of which is a specialist in immunology for the State of Oregon. They agreed that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk,” the archdiocese’s office of divine worship wrote March 2.

    I guess Brindiana and Edith didn’t bother to read the first paragraph? Or maybe they know better than specialists in immunology from the State of Oregon?

    • sorry, I disagree with specialists in immunology, the main factor of contracting a contagious flu is from direct contact with infected saliva or mucus. I am talking of experience of 30 years in the trenches of a geriatric nurse.

  8. I am an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at a hospital. Whenever I go into a room that has restrictions and I must wear a mask, gloves and gowns. I give communion with gloves on my hand. If a priest is concerned about the coronavirus, what would prevent him from wearing a surgical glove to do so?

    • The argument is not about the priest himself or extraordinary minister getting the corona virus. It’s about the priest or minister with wet figures, or even gloves, wet with the saliva of a communicant who has just received on the tongue, passing on the virus by picking up a sacred host with wet figures (or even wet gloves) wet with that saliva and passing it on to the next communicant in line. This happens very often in ordinary times. Now that we are living in an extraordinary time of a largely unknown, extremely contagious virus that could cause death, it would make sense not to receive on the tongue until we have understood and controlled this epidemic. One droplet can spread the virus. This is a matter of responsibility and in the the final analysis care for the well being one’s fellows; not MY right always and everywhere to receive on the tongue

    • The argument is not about the Priest himself or extraordinary minister catching the corona virus. The issue at hand is that the minister who distributes communion on the tongue inevitably gets the fingers wet with the saliva of the communicant (gloves could become wet also). With those fingers (or gloves) wet with that saliva, he/she picks up another sacred host and gives it to the next communicant in line. This happens quite often in ordinary times. Now that we are living in an extraordinary time of a viral epidemic, the corona virus, that is largely unknown and extremely contagious, it remains prudent and just to forego receiving communion on the tongue so as not to pass this contagion on to others. One droplet of saliva can cast a forest fire of contagion! It is a question above all of responsibility and care for the well being of our fellows and society in this time of an unknown plague; not MY individual right before anyone and anything in whatever historical context to receive on the tongue always and everywhere. We are our brothers’ keeper.

      • I would not say “inevitably.” A priest *might* touch the communicant’s lips or tongue, but if the communicant opens his mouth and sticks out his tongue, it is easy to place the Host on the tongue without touching the communicant. And if the communicant kneels, it makes it even easier.

    • I am an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist(sic)

      extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Only a validly ordained Priest may be referred to as a Eucharistic Minister or Minister of the Eucharist as unambiguously explained in Redemptionis Sacramentum which your Bishop has apparently never required you to read.

    • Hilmar Rosenast ,
      I imagine it’s not so much about the priest being infected-though that’s a concern- but about his fingers coming into contact with someone’s saliva & then infecting other communicants in line. Whether it’s with bare fingers or gloved fingers it would be the same process.
      But as others have said, germs certainly lurk on our hands as well & the priest often touches people’s hands giving out Communion.
      This virus can be a real worry for the elderly & those with immune system & chronic respiratory troubles but it does seem that we’ve blown everything way out of proportion.

  9. Is it not possible that Our Blessed Lord would actually be able to heal the spread of Conovirus actually through the Communion Host?…The Host is not a transmitter if disease!..that’s a blasphemy!.. Father forgive us for offending you!..Bless all.

    • I was wondering whether anyone has ever traced an outbreak of disease to receiving Holy Communion. I’ve seen no such report.

  10. English Bishop Urges Faithful to Receive in Hand, or Make Spiritual Communion:
    “Those who choose to receive the Sacred Host on the tongue should be encouraged to receive on the hand instead. Their doing this represents an act of loving charity to their community. Alternatively, they should be encouraged to make a ‘Spiritual Communion…”
    https://m.ncregister.com/63943/d

  11. If we all truly believe in the real presence, do we think the Lord will present himself with a virus? I for one do not. Trust in the Lord.

5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Portland archdiocese: Coronavirus or no, Communion can be received on the tongue - Catholic Mass Search
  2. Portland archdiocese: Coronavirus or no, Communion can be received on the tongue | Catholic Canada
  3. Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling paves way for reopening of Masses – Catholic World Report
  4. Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling paves way for reopening of Masses - Catholic Mass Search
  5. Updated: Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling paves way for reopening of Masses by: Joseph M. Hanneman – On God's Payroll

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