Love and reverence due to Our Lord: Let’s always receive Holy Communion on the tongue
9 July 2020
An online conference “Love and reverence due to Our Lord: Let’s always receive Holy Communion on the tongue” was held on Thursday, 16 July 2020. You can watch this unique online event, organized by Voice of the Family, below:
You can also watch it on the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcNf8hoWZ7Q&feature=youtu.be
The event featured the following guests:
- Fr. Serafino Lanzetta, Diocese of Portsmouth, UK
- Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Author
- Alexander Tschugguel, St. Boniface Institute
- Theresa Habsburg
- John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews
- John Smeaton, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
About the theme of this conference
Voice of the Family in union with the pro-life movement worldwide advocates for the inviolability and value of human life and proudly so. Indeed, we consider it a privilege and honour to defend the most vulnerable human lives. Many in the pro-life movement are prepared to lay down their own lives for the lives of those they seek to protect. This is the strength of our commitment.
And yet there is something even more precious than the sanctity of human life, and this is the divine life truly present in the Holy Eucharist in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Our greatest treasure on earth is the Blessed Sacrament. There is no other nation so great, the Divine Office of Corpus Christi sings, “as to have its gods so near as our God is present to us”. The Eucharist is our dearest treasure and the thought of having it so near to us in our Catholic churches fills us with gratitude and awe.
We rejoice as churches around the world re-open. Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist can be received again. But whilst the life of a Catholic might be characterised as discerning how we can best offer the love and reverence due to Our Lord, Catholics in many places in the world are now faced with a new and terrible challenge of how are we allowed to worship Our Lord. New regulations, issued by some of the world’s bishops, recommend that the faithful receive Holy Communion in the hand and, in the most radical cases, including in Britain, bishops attempt to ban Holy Communion on the tongue. These recommendations contradict divine and Church law, they obscure the reality of the Real Presence, and they lead the faithful, albeit, please God, in most cases unintentionally, to engage in practices lacking in reverence towards the divine life.
What are we, the laity, to do in such a situation? How can we defend the Eucharist and offer Our Lord the love and reverence due to Him?
First, we must know that by insisting on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, we are standing on solid ground, prepared by the Tradition of the Church and made fertile with the blood of her martyrs. Tradition demands the greatest possible reverence towards the Holy Eucharist. In fact, serious punishments used to be reserved for practices which are being recommended by some bishops today. The faithful are being misled into believing that the responsible option is to receive Our Lord in the hand despite the very real danger of losing and desecrating fragments of our Eucharistic Lord. And following the instructions issued in the current crisis, Catholics are being schooled to remember in future that this is the so-called “safer option” when similar problems arrive.
But generations of Catholics before us have kept their devotion to our Eucharistic Lord unchanged throughout wars, epidemics, and other disasters that have struck the world – not because they did not know the danger they were in, but because they knew Who is in the Eucharist they approached.
St. Thomas taught: “Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency.” (16 ST, III, Q. 82, Art. 13)
The Real Presence does not change. It is not possible that what the Church has always taught about the Holy Eucharist does not apply following the coronavirus.
Secondly, receiving Holy Communion on the tongue remained the norm even after the practice of Communion in the hand was introduced in 1969 under certain conditions despite the opposition of the overwhelming majority of the bishops at the time. Thus, it is a practice that the Church in modern times, tragically, tolerates.
However, the universal law of the Church states that the faithful have the right to receive Communion on the tongue and that this right cannot be denied to them. This is the universal norm that no bishop or a bishops’ conference can overrule. As lay faithful, we must insist upon our right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. But above all, we must insist that Our Lord has the right to be received in the most reverent manner possible. This is not a matter of our personal piety but justice due to Him.
The ultimate target of Satan’s attacks is the Holy Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ is really present. The devil will do everything in his power to obscure the sacred reality of the Eucharist in order to diminish reverence due to Him. Today his scheme aims to lead large groups of faithful to desecration of the Eucharistic Body of Christ on an unprecedented scale. He wants the Body of Christ to be trampled on by the feet of clergy and laity in Catholic churches around the world. For a vast number of Catholics in the past fifty years, the practice of receiving Communion in the hand has weakened faith in the Real Presence, in transubstantiation and in the divine character of the Sacrament. The devil would use anything to advance his wicked plots, even our longing to be united with Our Lord again in the Holy Eucharist after being deprived of assisting at Holy Mass for months.
We must join in making acts of reparation for sins committed against the Holy Eucharist in our churches. The Eucharistic fragments falling down and crushed by the feet of God’s own people has to be for us a tragedy that demands action.
And this brings us to the role of the pro-life movement. We could take the view that this painful development troubles us as Catholics, but does not relate to our noble work of saving babies. However, this is not the case.
On the contrary, to be fully pro-life means being fully Catholic: offering everyone the gift of eternal life, which comes only through Jesus Christ and the saving truth He has confided to the Catholic Church. How can we say we care deeply about an unborn child, his mother, or anyone, and not offer them the possibility of eternal life, which only comes through the Catholic Church?
We in the pro-life movement defend the reality of hidden life. We are accustomed to defending human life hidden in the womb and now we are being called upon to defend the divine life hidden in the tabernacle, Who is being abused by many of those who should be the first to love Him. Catholics in the pro-life movement are uniquely well prepared to counter these offences.
Also, we may wonder, is it merely a co-incidence, that Communion in the hand that obscures the dignity of divine life was introduced about fifty years ago, just as abortion in many western countries that denies the dignity of human life was introduced about fifty years ago? Today we reap the bitter fruits: human life has lost its value in human society and the Body of Christ has become abused in His churches.
And just as it is impossible to calculate the countless desecrations of the Body of Christ in the sacrilegious treatment of the Holy Eucharist brought about by the practice of Communion in the hand, it is also impossible to number the unborn children – made in the image and likeness of God – killed worldwide not only under permissive abortion legislation, but also those killed as a result of abortifacient contraceptive drugs and devices, and through IVF procedures.
The truth about the sanctity of human life before birth cannot triumph without the recognition of the truth about Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
This is why we have organised this online conference, as Voice of the Family, uniting pro-life and pro-family groups from all around the world. With this conference we wish to mobilise our fellow lay Catholics to offer the love and reverence due to Our Lord truly present in the Holy Eucharist. We are very pleased to bring you some moving personal witnesses, as well as interviews and presentations by some of the outstanding Catholic thinkers and activists today.