Communion in Hand at the Last Supper?

I understand that in the TLM Communion was taken on the tongue, and in the New Mass Communion is generally taken in the hand. I got into thinking of the Last Supper. When the apostles took the Body, wouldn’t they have taken it in their hands?

Yes, and that’s also how it was received for the first several centuries. Communion on the tongue was a later development in Church history.

and it was a good development, so we kept it.

There are several classical liturgies still in use in the Catholic Church that by rubric call for Communion in the Hand, even by the faithful.

This is NOT to be interpreted as disapproval of Communion on the Tongue, but simply to say that the practice has NEVER been uniform (despite what some people want to think).

I have yet to see anyone asking for communion in the hand be turned down, even in the TLM.

On the other hand, if a priest were to force me communion in the hand, I would refuse to do so. Why? Because I forgot the rubrics/rules on how to do it. :slight_smile:

Because I forgot the rubrics/rules on how to do it

With that attitude, anyone who forgets how to participate at Mass shouldn’t have to go. But that isn’t the crux of a priest forcing you to receive by hand; no priest is permitted to force a Catholic to receive by hand, everyone may receive either on the tongue or in the hand, it’s in the Roman Church’s missal and in the GIRM (which actually references the Roman Missal).

I have received both ways. The question I ask of people who receive in the hand is this: what do you do with the crumbs or specks of the Sacred Host that get left in the palm of your hand? Do you look? Do you not look? Do you let them fall to the ground? No matter how small they are they still are the body of Christ.

I have received in the hand for the last 40 years. I look in my left hand every time I take the host with my right. I have never seen a visible crumb, speck or piece of the host.

Only recently have I been going to the OF Mass. I had been going to the EF for the last 15 years or so and now decided to expand my horizons a little and go daily. I see the OF and the EF as good complements to each other.

I remember 35 years ago it took them three weeks to explain the proper procedure for receiving in the hand. THREE WEEKS! That doesn’t equate to “easy.” So, Mr. Perfect, you follow the exact rubrics of putting a certain hand under the other and lifting your hands to the right level, then stepping to the side, etc?? I’d wager that 95% of CITH people are doing it wrong. :rolleyes:

\The question I ask of people who receive in the hand is this: what do you do with the crumbs or specks of the Sacred Host that get left in the palm of your hand?\

**The few times I have received in the hand, I have always checked my palm for crumbs and always licked it after swallowing the Holy Body lest there were any I did not see.

And while I do not believe that H1N1, or indeed any pathogen, can be transmitted by the Holy Eucharist, regardless of how it is received, should I live under the jurisdiction of a Bishop who has required Communion in the hand pro tem, I would yield to the consciences of weaker brethren and do so.**

Apostles are also not the same as a lay person in the sense of the position they were coming into holding. Christ was instituting the Eucharist & the Apostles hold a special place in the Church as they are Bishops, Bishops are in Apostolic succession. And so how they receive wouldn’t be the same as you or I.

One cannot look to the Apostles as a reason to receive in the hand or on the tongue as a lay person. Instead the discussion of how one is to receive is separate from the Apostles.

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You’re lucky. Probably 90% of the time I have seen one or two or three or more. I simply lick my finger to pick them off my palm and then consume them. I look at it as the same principle as when the priest, after Communion, wipes the paten into the chalice, has the water poured over his fingers into the chalice then drinks it.

I would think you are correct about the Sacred Species themselves not contributing to the spread of anything. Unfortunately there are many extraordinary ministers and some priests whose “techniques” in offering the Sacred Host on people’s tongues are sloppy, thus allowing that many tongues are licking their fingers and spreading stuff from person to person.

Wow an eyewitness:thumbsup:

Of course there is the nagging fact that there was a custom at the Sedar Meals of the day that the presider would often place a small morsel of each of the prescribed foods dirctly into the mouth of those present.Afterwards the rest of the meal would have been consumend in the normal fashion. It is possible that Jesus , being the Presider at the meal would have adhered to the same custom, but no one knows for sure.

There is also the naggging fact that in the early Church Holy Communion normally consisted of a substantial size loaf instead of the wafer that is common now. The loaf was consecrated, given to the communicant, normally the patriarch of the family and after a small bit was consumed at the Mass the rest was taken home for consumption during the week.

So, in the early Church, very early I might add, reception in the hand made perfect sense. In fact, I doubt it could have been handled in any other way. However by the 300’s it appears tha the prevailing custom was to receive on the tongue except in areas that were under persecution or that still indulged in the practice of taking the consecrated Host home for consumption. It was also common for hermit Monks to receive in the hand and take the Host with them to their caves of other dwelling places.

So what is the reason that the practice was re-introduced? I have never heard any coherant reason for it.

Have you?

Exactly. And they could have been sitting or even lying on their sides when they received. Why don’t we ask about that aspect of receiving?

Why do you think not? Have you no faith? :confused:


Would it be a sin to experiment this in a laboratory?

Guess my choice of wording was less than exact? To be explicit, the Sacred Species, no, the licked thumbs and fingers of extraordinary ministers, yes.

No, I didn’t even mean that – I mean: Why would the Sacred Species be any less prone to the transmission of pathogens than the common elements from which they have been confected?

I am a Catholic. I believe in transubstantiation, not transformation.


I always ask people to lick their hands after Communion… they look at me funny and I say… then receive on the tongue!