Rules For Receiving Eucharist In The Hand : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Paul VI was supposed to have issued rules and requirements to be followed to receive the Holy Eucharist in the hand. Does anyone know what these are?

-- Ronald Smith (, January 14, 2002


Hello, Ronald.

I think that everyone should read the entire text of a certain short 1969 Vatican instruction called "Memoriale Domini."
Many people will be amazed that, just 33 years ago, the world's Western rite bishops expressed the desire -- by a clear majority -- not to return to the practice of Communion in the hand. While the pope therefore retained only Communion on the tongue as a licit worldwide option in 1969, this document does provide rules for reception in the hand -- rules to be followed in those countries where certain bishops had instituted that practice (without required prior approval). [The U.S. was not one of those countries.] Gradually, in the 1970s and 1980s, more and more national/regional bishops' conferences, after publication of "Memoriale Domini," petitioned the Vatican for permission to distribute Communion in the hand, and the pope granted that permission.

Here is a link to "Memoriale Domini."

God bless you.

-- (, January 14, 2002.


Hi Ronald,

When I was going thru RCIA I was given the option to receive the Eucharist in the hand or on the tongue. Most of the others decided on receiving it in the hand. Most in our parish receive it in the hand. It was hard to go against what was perceived to be the "norm", but I am so glad I did. It was uncomfortable at first but now it is the only way I accept it and advise others to do as well.

Receiving the Most Holy Eucharist directly on the tongue, directly from consecrated hands, expresses my belief in the sacredness and holiness of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

-- Michael (, January 14, 2002.

It is very uplifting to me to receive the sacred host in my left hand, which I hold cradled under the right hand. After answering the priest ''Amen,'' walk to one side and first gaze with adoration at His Holy Body, and saying softly, ''Saviour of the world, I truly adore you,'' I take Him up with my fingers around the edges of the host. He is too precious to take up like one grips a key.

Then to my lips and He is consumed with great solemnity. *No crunching or allowing to meet my teeth.*

Sister Marie Christelle, my teacher for First Holy Communion taught us, ''Do not let your teeth touch the Sacred Host; all you may do is touch Him with the greatest tenderness and joy. He is living and aware of you.'' This is something I've never forgotten. It's unforgettable, really!

After the changes of Vatican II, it became permissible to receive in our hand. I don't see any lessening of respect; my hand is no more *unworthy* than my mouth or my eyes. He loves all of me, and He gives Himself up to me. I surrender my body and soul to Him; what could be more natural?

I know that some others may disagree with me on some detail. That's fine; I don't say they must do as I do. My only wish is to make Our Lord happy with me for the while He remains close. And, naturally I implore Him never again to depart from me.

One more small detail: I like to say to Him in silent prayer, ''This is the greatest moment of my life; right now with You. All the previous moments and even my past communions lead me up to this day, this minute, and You, My Jesus!'' I feel it's important to ''communicate'' very intimately with Jesus. I know that's also the way with all of you who have believed. We are truly given the foretaste of heaven in the Holy Eucharist.

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 14, 2002.


Hi, Eugene.

Though I may have left the opposite impression by what I wrote in my reply to Ronald, I too receive Communion in the hand [on the tongue, if with intinction].
And I too was told by the good sisters (1950s/60s) to avoid chewing the sacred Host. However, since there may be folks reading this thread who have been chewing the Host for many years, I think it appropriate to state that they have been doing nothing at all wrong.

It was unfortunate that some sisters told kids that it was sinful to chew, when in reality avoiding the teeth has only been an optional, pious practice. Jesus is risen, gloriously immortal, incapable of being harmed by our teeth.
Priests from time immemorial (beginning with the Apostles) have chewed the Host. And I have heard that when St. John, in chapter 6 of the gospel, spoke of our need to "eat" the Body of the Lord, he used a very strong Greek word that implies biting and chewing -- which puts the lie to a symbolic interpretation of the verse.

I say again that I am writing these things for the benefit of folks who have been chewing -- not, Gene, to persuade you to change your very beautiful ritual in any detail whatsoever. Your faith and piety are edifying.

God bless you.

-- (, January 14, 2002.

I NEVER heard any priest, nun, or catechism teacher before or after the 2nd vatican Council say it was ''sin'' to chew the sacred host in pre-Vatican II days. Never. My teacher was a Dominican nun of their typical ascetic manners in the late 1940s. Her admonition about not allowing the host to come in contact with teeth was not on account of a danger of sin. It was in scrupulous attention to perfect devoutness for which it was taught. Very rightly so, I believe.

To myself, it stands to reason even in our present day. The Body of Our Lord is not plain food,'' as I've heard some lay teachers state. I've witnessed commentary like that; alluding to the words, ''Take and EAT, this is my Body'', and how EAT includes munching on the Sacred Host! Maybe I'm too fussy; but it always struck me as indelicate and crude; when we consider *Who* it is we're receiving in Holy Communion. But I certainly wouldn't call it a sin. Anyway; it's *accepted* in the society we live in today. (Shaking my head.)

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 14, 2002.

John G. and I come from the same vintage.
No chewing. You let the Host disolve and 50% of the time the biggest job was to do that without the Host getting stuck to the roof of the mouth. For a pack of Catholic boys it usually created quite a stir but I don't recall one of us chewing for fear of sinning.
Naturally, I'd watch the sisters on their return from the rail and I never saw that lower jaw move.

-- Chris Coose (, January 14, 2002.

I find it is practical to break the Holy Eurcharist with one's teeth in half, as it makes consumption easier.

How we handle the Holy Eurcharist is very important, but it is nothing compared to how the state of our soul should be when receiving. It cannot be emphasized enough, that one cannot be in a state of mortal sin when receiving the Holy Eurcharist. It is important to get to confession and confess any mortal sins that you may have. If you cannot make it to confession then you have the option of going up and asking for a blessing, or you can remain sitted and say a prayer to Our Lord. Don't worry what family members, and friends may think, as I would just tell them that I need to go to confession first. It's far better to feel uncomfortable around family and friends then to offend our Lord so grievously.

I wish Priests would make this more clear in the Churches, as I have a hard time remembering if a Priest ever explained that.

To receive the Holy Eurcharist while being in a state of mortal sin, is a sacrilege, and a possible mortal sin, if done with full knowledge, and will.

You can read about that particular "sacrilege" here.

-- G Vink (, January 14, 2002.

Sorry, I misspelled Eucharist repeatedly! :(


-- G Vink (, January 14, 2002.

Stay after class and write Holy Eucharist; one hundred times on the blackboard! Ha! (All the chalks were about half-inch length! Oh, Nooo!)&>:>\)

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 14, 2002.

There were NO changes of Vatican II that allowed for receiving Communion in the hand. Nothing in the Vatican II documents allows for this. The practice started as an abuse, and was later allowed by the Vatican in 1977 (in the U.S., anyway.).

-- Christina (, January 14, 2002.

Dear Christina--
Don't go out on a limb. Your motives may be pure, but you are a child of the Church anyway. Even if it were after 1977; it has to be the will of God. Everything comes out of His divine Will. Let's give thanks for the Blessed Sacrament and serve Him without reservation.

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 15, 2002.


Please scroll up to the top and read my (first) reply to Ronald, which will take you to "Memoriale Domini" (issued four years after Vatican II ended). You must have overlooked that before posting your message.

I respect your opinion, but clearly you skipped over a key fact that I mentioned -- that priests (from the Apostles on, I'm sure) have always chewed the sacred species. [I noticed this when I was a little kid serving at the altar, so I knew that the good sisters were wrong about it being sinful.]
Also, your own reasoning works against your finding chewing distasteful. You do not want others to demand that you receive on the tongue, because you know that your hand is a part of your body, just as your tongue is. Now simply extend that same good logic to realize that your teeth are also a part of your body, just as your tongue and hand are.

God bless you.
PS: Gordon, I agree with you about breaking/folding the Host in two. Coincidentally, I do the same. And you are so right about sacrilege.

-- (, January 15, 2002.

Dear John--
It doesn't matter how you think a piece of bread is consumed. It does matter how Our Lord is received. I'm aware that all our person is involved, and teeth can aspire to the same rank as hands. I speak of the devout attitude, and not what you or anyone else may find acceptable. As I already explained ''rules'' are out; our disposition can always be improved on. Crunching the Body of Christ may have been the only way, when the ''bread'' used had a texture which required that. The cakes baked in 1st century Palestine were not like a communion wafer. But, why get technical. I don't condemn anyone. And it wasn't taught anywhere in our past that chewing the host was a sin.

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 15, 2002.

our priest sounds like a cow chewing its cud and smacking it's lips..ususally a few titters from the congragation.

-- Debbie Stith (, January 15, 2002.

That's not nice, Debbie; --Anyway let's not stray from the subject. Respect for the Sacrament. And to John: I never said I found chewing ''distasteful''. It's perfectly fine, for others. I recalled the excellent teaching of one particular Catholic nun, pre-Conciliar. It was good enough for me. I expressed myself clearly. LOVE, every tenderness and devout manners. Not just squeamish distaste for the current custom. Hey, I like not having to fast from midnight the day before. I receive the Sacred Host in my hand. But I have no obligation to rough Him up inside my mouth, like so much popcorn. So, I won't.

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 15, 2002.


As I told Glenn the other day, "My name is John, not Job." My patience cannot hold out forever when stretched taut like a rubber band, over and over. Why must you test me like this, day after day, thread after thread? I just don't understand it. Isn't it ever possible that you are wrong and someone else is right? You have put me past the breaking point today, my friend. Sometimes your intransigence is so unbearable that the Moderator ought to toss you into a "penalty box" and not let you post for a day or more. Man-oh-man! {_8^D)

"It doesn't matter how you think a piece of bread is consumed. It does matter how Our Lord is received."

No one, least of all I, said that it "does [not] matter" how Our Lord is received. (So it is insulting for you to imply otherwise.)
Jesus must be received with reverence, and the Church tells us how to express that reverence. But it IS reverent, it IS devout, to chew the Host! It was even reverent to do it when you and I were kids (just as the priests were doing it then). This is what you need to admit. But if you will not admit such an obvious truth, then you are just a stubborn old mule.

"Crunching the Body of Christ may have been the only way, when the 'bread' used had a texture which required that."

We are not talking about "crunching." We chew reverently and silently, with mouths closed. Hosts never "required" crunching, not even in the first century. Unleavened Palestinian breads are soft.

Perhaps I would not have even posted this message, but this next comment made my blood pressure soar:
"And it wasn't taught anywhere in our past that chewing the host was a sin."

Dammit, Gene! Why didn't you read the testimonies of Chris C and me, who both stated that sisters "taught" us that this was a sin? True, the Magisterium did not "teach" it, but we impressionable kids expected the sisters to tell us what the pope, bishops, and priests would tell us if they were in the classroom. They did not, probably because they too had been mistaught many years earlier.

Finally, this: "But I have no obligation to rough Him up inside my mouth, like so much popcorn. So, I won't."

How disgusting of you to say this! It is an outright insult to those of us who chew, implying that we are "rough[ing Jesus] up inside [our] mouth" and treating His Body "like so much popcorn."
You ought to be ashamed of yourself, apologize, and resolve to stop mistreating people like this.

May God bless and forgive you.

-- (, January 16, 2002.

If you disagree with anything I've posted, it's your inalienable right. It's my right to state my beliefs.

If a nun taught you something in error (which you've even acknowledged,) it's not a Church teaching. It used to be taught (the Cure of Ars) that dancing was sinful, or led to sin.

I also am not giving anybody a Church teaching when I say: ''I have no obligation to rough Him up inside my mouth, like so much popcorn. So, I won't.''; it's my private (now public) feeling about the matter. Not an insult to anybody who has his head on straight.

''Why must you test me like this, day after day, thread after thread? I just don't understand it. Isn't it ever possible that you are wrong?''

No, John, to both questions: if the second question makes me MISTAKEN, then I'm mistaken. But if you refer to me as wrong for not ''chewing the Host''-- I'm not wrong. That's my personal conviction.

Why would anybody want to test you? Is everything always your jurisdiction, and do you have to field every fly-ball? I'm trying to give GLORY to God. That cannot be equated to answering all your objections, John. Your opinions are excellent most of the time. My opinions may be stubborn or mistaken part of the time. We compensate by Christian charity. Feel free to criticize, and when you HATE something somebody else posts, keep it in your heart; don't spill it on the Internet.

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 16, 2002.


But it IS reverent, it IS devout, to chew the Host! It was even reverent to do it when you and I were kids (just as the priests were doing it then). This is what you need to admit. But if you will not admit such an obvious truth, then you are just a stubborn old mule.

Well, lump me in with the stubborn old mule brigade. I was taught as a kid that if one chewed a host it might bleed (not officially), and believe me I'm not about to start now. I'm teaching the kids not to chew the host either so as not to be disrespectful :-D . Not an adults problem, but for the third graders, they seem to just chomp away without thinking (apparently), NOT doing so makes one mindful.


-- Someone (, January 16, 2002.

OK, Gene and Frank. Look around and see if you can find eighteen more people with the same idea about chewing.
Then together you can form one of those borax 20-(old)-mule teams!
[Just kidding, but amazed too.]

God bless you.

-- (, January 16, 2002.

Dear Frank-- The discussion took a bad turn in that my ''style'' gets in the way of my ''substance''. John Gecik's feelings get in the way of his objectivity.

I wasn't told a reason why we didn't let our teeth come in contact with the Host. Our nun was an exquisitely holy woman, and dedicated herself to making us holy for our First Communion. We accepted this. We weren't told it would be a sin. If John's teachers did that, I'm appalled. I can take John's word that this was an exception to the rule, and not the ordinary thing. It must have been, because sins against the Blessed Sacrament would hardly be irrelevant after the 2nd Vatican Council, would they? To put the cap on this all, I'm not one to take offense at heated words, such as John used. I don't often get heated for these exchanges. But I am guilty of being stubborn. He's right about that. Only I can't be everything to all men. I can't be caustic to an anti-Catholic and a bon-bon to John Gecik. Everybody gets the same.

Remember Lombardi? One of his players was asked, ''Does he treat anyone with special consideration-- have favorites? The answer was: ''No. He treats us all exactly the same-- Like dogs.'' Lol!

-- eugene c. chavez (, January 16, 2002.


-- Ty (.@....), June 28, 2003.

To the editor’s thinking, the most damning evidence against the Novus Ordo is its official definition: “The Lord’s Supper or Mass is a sacred meeting or assembly of the People of God, met together under the presidency of the priest, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord (No. 7, Institution Generalis, c. 2: De Structura Missae).”

Eugene; here is a little paste, but what the N.O. needs is a whole lot of glue to keep it from falling apart faster than it already has.

-- Ed Richards (, June 28, 2003.

Re: 'chewing the host'...

I received First Eucharist in the late sixties and was told by our teacher that we were never to allow the Host to touch our teeth. We were to let it sit in our mouth till it dissolved or swallow it whole without chewing. Often it stuck to the roof or my mouth our mid-way down my throat. We were told that if we chewed the Host particles may be lodged in one's teeth and that wouldn't be respectful to Our Lord. We certainly weren't told it was a sin. We were also told that when priests were carrying the Host to the housebound and the sick in their homes, we weren't allowed to speak to them. The priest couldn't speak to anyone unless he was praying with the person receiving the Eucharist.

-- Sara (, June 29, 2003.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has "held together" quite nicely for 2,000 years - first in the vernacular, then in Greek, then in Latin, now once again, in true Apostolic Tradition, in the vernacular. It would seem that the true presence of the sacred Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior is "glue" enough to preserve the Mass, since it IS the Mass, at least for those who acknowledge its reality. Those who do not believe simply get bogged down in the morass of their unbelief, and left behind.

-- Paul (, June 29, 2003.

There is nothing disrespectful about following the command of Jesus, Who said "take this and EAT it", not "take this and suck on it" or "take this and let it dissolve in your mouth". I am not opposed to the idea of receiving the body of the Lord without chewing, if that is one's preference. The end result is the same, provided the intent is the same. But the original words of Jesus literally meant "chew this up and swallow it", in keeping with His teaching "my flesh is REAL FOOD, my blood real drink". As far as teaching children, or other newcomers to the faith, we should be careful not to give them the impression that our own personal preferences are actually the teaching of the Church, or in any way required of them.

-- Paul (, June 29, 2003.

I fully agree with you Paul. Sorry, I didn't mean my last post to sound like I was condoning the practise of telling children not to touch the host with thier teeth! Thankfully catechesis has changed since the sixties ... I've no problem eating the Host now!

God bless

-- Sara (, June 29, 2003.

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