Woman Criticizes Jesus For Giving Apostles Communion In The Hand

May 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Parish Life

Trenton, NJ––Lorenza Matthews expressed disappointment last week when she noticed that, according to the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, Jesus “gave” the Apostles his Sacred Body and told them to “take” it.

“I’m a bit scandalized that Our Lord would brush aside the traditional practice of Communion on the tongue while kneeling.” When asked about her frustration, Matthews added, “We use our hands to commit all kinds of sins, and it’s just so disrespectful to just stand there with our hands out, as if we’re beggars asking for charity from God or something.” She continued, “But what sins could we ever commit with our tongues? And what gesture could be more respectful than sticking them out to welcome Our Eucharistic Lord into our hearts?”

Friends and fellow parishioners noted that this stance is a consistent one with Lorenza, equal or greater in importance than any other in her life. “Communion in the hand is not the way I grew up, and it’s just not respectful. Jesus needs to realize that.” She concluded, “We can’t go around making our personal preferences equal to God’s holy law.”

  • Skyler von Enn

    Haha. Very nice 😀 Interestingly enough though, it’s quite possible Jesus did give the Apostles His body on the tongue because of Passover traditions where the host or head of the family would give the Passover bread on the tongue to everyone.

  • easthorizon

    I understand this is an attempt at satire, but the Apostles were instituted priests at the Last Supper…making communion in the hand a moot point…Now, the laity with their unconsecrated hands defending communion in the hand, that’s another thing…Kinda crappy for an attempt at Catholic humor. Thank God for Paul VI opening those windows to the world. God forbid we might have to humble ourselves before the body & blood of our Savior!

    • Raguel

      I also understand this is Satire, and I agree with your point. But to build on it, it’s not even known for certain if the apostles even ate themselves.


      “We don’t know how the Last Supper unfolded. However, it was common in ancient world all around the Mediterranean that people would recline to eat, and do so not so much facing each other as being angled out toward the open room, with the host of the meal in the chief place.”

      • NeverEat_ShreddedWheat


        This explains the last supper pretty well.

        • Magge

          Best contribution to this site ever. Now I understand the Last Supper…and the Eucharist.

    • Chrysologos

      ‘Unconsecrated hands’ receiving the Lord? Are lay folk tongues consecrated? I think not.

      • jeff

        Tongues are not consecrated, but your are not self communicating when the priest puts it directly on your tongue

        • Lee Bacchi

          Self-communication means you take it without being given it by a minister (ordained, religious or lay).

          • easthorizon

            That’s a modern definition of the term. Ask Pope St. Pius X or even Pius XII what they would think of communion in the hand?

        • Chrysologos

          Lee Bacchi has got it right.

          • easthorizon

            No he doesn’t

      • Raguel

        Actually, yes the laity are “unconsecrated.” Priests have their hands anointed at ordination for this very purpose.

        The practice of communion kneeling on the tounge is a long standing tradition and there are many reasons for it, it should never have just been thrown out.

      • LittleFlower

        How beautiful it is that, in the traditional rite of baptism, it is a baby’s mouth, never his or her hands, that are uniquely blessed by the priest during the imposition of salt.

        The salt is a symbol for the wisdom that imparts a relish for divine nourishment. In the ritual, the priest’s consecrated hands place a piece of blessed salt into the mouth of a baby. (How wonderfully this parallels and foreshadows receiving the Holy Eucharist!). Therefore, when the Eucharist is received on the tongue, you are, in a rather neat, and almost time transcending way, reconnecting the rite of your baptism to the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Mass itself transcends time and space by bringing Christ’s sacrifice on calvary to the present moment. Our actions during the Mass are also meant to actively participate in the transcendent nature of the Mass.

        It is a connection worth noting and pondering. By receiving on the tongue, the most holy and sacred Eucharist passes from a consecrated vessel, through the consecrated hands of the priest, and ultimately into the only part of your body given a unique blessing specifically meant for a love of divine nourishment: your mouth.

        • Chrysologos

          The blessing of the mouth has not been in the Baptismal Rite for over 40 years ago, so any such connection has largely long disappeared.

          It’s true a few are now baptised in the old rite. But at the end of the day, it was a blessing not a consecration.

          • LittleFlower

            Oh! But the connection has not disappeared! It is immortalized by every text written about it, revived by every Catholic who re-discovers the rich tradition of the faith, and propagated by every priest who continues to include the blessing. I believe you will find that there are many more who continue to be baptized in the old rite than it may seem, though they may be outside of your circle. Many traditional parishes are flourishing and only continue to grow larger and more fervently in love with our faith.

            A consecration? Oh, no. It most certainly is not. I hope I didn’t give that impression, as you are most certainly correct. However, as every action and every word in every Catholic ritual serves a purpose, it is still a blessing with a distinct purpose and intention. Blessings are meant to be carried with you and manifested in your actions. Surely, we can at least agree on this point.

            I don’t seek to change your opinion on the issue, as receiving on the tongue or the hand are both currently accepted and valid actions. I just wish to share with you the beauty attached to the other perspective that you may have overlooked.

            Blessings to you, Chrysologos.

          • Chrysologos

            Reciprocated: many thanks.

    • Lee Bacchi

      I thought laity were consecrated through baptism and confirmation.

      • Jim M.

        There is consecration for specific actions and offices, otherwise we’d need no more than one, all-purpose sacrament and there’d be no distinction between laity and clergy.

    • J P

      Some things are not for satire in any sense of the word by anyone for any reason; the Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity, Jesus Himself is NOT.

    • Montjoie

      I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think they were instituted priests until after the Resurrection when he breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Any other theories?

  • Hannah Russell

    Good points made in the article. 🙂 However, I can think of several good reasons (besides the one given by easthorizon) for receiving on the tongue rather than in the hand. First, it prevents people from stealing the host, which I’ve seen happen. Second, it prevents people from accidentally breaking off pieces of the host and dropping them on the floor (totally by accident, mind you, but still something that’s possible).

    • Raguel

      Yes, the practice of communion on the tounge with an altar rail has two mechanisms in place to prevent the host from falling, or from parts of it from falling.

      First there is the paten, which is a plate held under the communicants mouth. Second there is the altar rail cloth which is a further safety guard.

      So, really, when done properly there are many good reasons for reception kneeling on the tongue.

      • AnneG

        I prefer kneeling to receive, but, did you know the paten is a very late accretion? It was very controversial about 1900.

  • Magi

    I believe this article is satirizing those who say that Communion on the tongue is the only way, not those who say it is a good thing.

    For the record, the oldest traditions in the Eastern Rites show a strong preference for Communion in the hand.

    • Communion in the hand in the centuries before was not like it’s done today. It was another ritual. For instance, the Host was placed on the right hand and should be picked up with the lips, without being touched one’s fingers.

      The current way to receive communion in the hand is unseen in the Church history.

      • Lee Bacchi

        So it’s OK for the palm to touch the consecrated host, but not the fingers? Give me a break!

        • I didn’t say that.

          But, since you asked, in the distant past, when communion was given in the hand, the hands were linen-covered so the Host wouldn’t touch the palm neither.

          I don’t think the tongue is holier than the finger for when we sin, we sin as a whole, mind and heart, body and soul, finger and tongue.

          Nevertheless, I really do not think it’s OK to take the Host with the fingers. It never happened in the Church before for a good reason. In a large lay community, when many people become used to take the Host with their fingers, the sense os sacredness fades away as we all can see in our churches. Receiving communion in the tongue, although not holier per se, helps to keep the sacredness of the ritual.

        • Raguel

          As he already pointed out, the communicants hands were covered with a special linen cloth.

          He is correct that communion on the hand the way we see it today is unseen in the history of the church. I think there are many problems with the church that need fixing, and communion on the hand is one of those problems.

  • Lee Bacchi

    Terrific satire! It brought many smiles to my face!

    Why do people turn everything into a Catholic culture war?

  • Presbyter

    Trying to buttress the “cred” with the “other side”?

  • G.B.R.

    They were Bishops. That’s OK.

  • guest

    I understand that “the hands are sinful” argument isn’t really an argument used by most anybody. Its a sort of straw man argument. The reasons for communion on tongue are more about handling as little as possible to avoid possibilities of small pieces falling, or being easy to steal.
    (I still enjoy this site, not all articles can be A+ articles(like Pope praying just to stay alive… loved it), you get your odd D’s as well).
    Another thing about such traditions, these rules tended to be made for good reasons, they are potentially changeable but as the second Vatican council recommended ( and in my opinion this was not implemented) changes should only be made when there is good spiritual reason. Does the removal of this venerable tradition foster greater reverence for Our Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, not in my experience no.

    • Erika Allen

      Exactly. While there are some good reasons for receiving it on the tongue, I can not see very many for reception in the hand.

  • Alphonsus_Jr

    Excellent. Yet more evidence that this site is run by nincompoop NeoCaths. Do keep it up.

    • Matt

      The Emperor strikes back!

  • One of your best.

  • renner411

    I’m sure this has been said, but 1) they were bishops and 2) most likely Christ put the morsel in their mouths himself, as was the custom (and still is) in that region.
    John 13:26-30 “Jesus answered, It is he to whom I shall give this Morsel when I have dipped It.’ Can’t really see Christ dropping a gooey wet morsel into someone’s hand, especially when it would’ve gone against the regular gesture of hospitality at that time and region.

  • Fr. John Higgins

    Some people think that when a Priest is ordained only his hands are consecrated. These same folks think that when someone is Baptized and Confirmed they are not, themselves, consecrated. The Sacraments don’t just affect one body part or another, they infuse the entire person (body, mind and spirit) with God’s Grace.

    If you think that the tongue is somehow more holy than a hand you’ve forgotten the sins of gossip, slander, using the Lord’s Name in vein and a host of other sins committed with the mind and the entire mouth, which includes the tongue.

    • Guest

      I think Father, most people are merely disturbed at the idea because it seems to strip a form of reverence from communion. Not to say that those receiving Our Lord in the hand are not reverent, but rather kneeling at the communion rail and accepting Our Lord on the tongue was an excellent form of reverence so the change felt unnecessary.

    • Aaa Zzz

      not sure if you are really a priest but if we go with your theory that the tongue sins through gossip then when you receive with your hand, you are using an additional sinful appliance for communion.

  • John Kloess

    The Apostles were priests. Their hands where blessed; thus they were allowed to handle communion for themselves.

  • Deacon Raymond Moon Sr.

    I can’t believe the scope of comments on this thread. Why can’t Catholics just take satire as satire? We have no sense of humor without the ability to laugh at ourselves. To raise theological concerns over a bit from EOTT is showing how fundamentalists get bent out of shape and make the point that EOTT is trying to make! I remember, as a Southern Baptist at an Independent Christian College, being told not to read Christianity Today because of the articles by Eutychus (which was satire). Just take the satire and humor and laugh. Jesus laughed more than he wept, so should we.

  • Anthony Ferrara

    Yes, let’s mock traditionalists while the Church continues on its downward spiral.

  • Tommy Kinsella

    Our Lady of Akita, a Church approved Marian apparition specifically disaprove in the hand Communion….

  • paxomnibus

    Lol, I knew there’d be a ton of comments on this one.

  • Sadeer Farjo

    Gave does not equal gave in hand