Holy Communion: The Dogmatic Council of Trent
Versus Modern Sophistry and Casuistry

Filed by Pauly Fongemie
March 25, 2013

Our parish bulletin for Holy Week contained a very good insert on the Reception of Holy Communion from two sources, Fr. Joe of our diocesan HARVEST Magazine and Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lindenhurst, New York. Both priests presented the truth about Church policy and the norms stemming from the pastoral council, Vatican II, which nowhere called for the institution of Communion in the Hand and the use of lay Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers. I am certain from the context and the respect shown to the Most Blessed Sacrament, as expressed in their articles and or columns, that the priests are sincere, devout and exceptionally capable as things go today. Both were also careful to stress that no one of us ought to pass judgment on the interior disposition of our neighbor who may receive Holy Communion in a different manner than we do. This is important in of itself, by definition according to the Catholic faith and practice, but it is germane to our proposition here, because our intent is an analysis of the objective situation and in no way implies any judgment on Catholics who have no objection to the current practice, for they are well-intended as a general rule and do not know that they do not know the whole truth, as I am sure is the same for the two priests. In fact, in my experience over the past forty years, the laity are entirely innocent of any wrong-doing and welcomed all the changes with a purity of heart in open trust, as did so many of the clergy. When people do not know the entire dogmatic teaching of the faith about the Holy Eucharist and have no ordinary way of knowing because God as yet has not granted that grace to them as individuals, it is encumbent upon those who have been given this great gift by Almighty God, aware that we merit it not at all, counting ourselves as the least among men, astonished that God has provided this grace to us, that we do nothing to disparage this generous grace: sitting in subjective judgment of others is not only unworthy, it is sinful to the core and ought to merit a harsh judgment upon ourselves, if anyone of us should be so unfortunate to fall in this regard. Those who have been given such graces of understanding have a greater burden of responsibility and thus the greater judgment to withstand. We may not know why God has so disposed of His economy in this matter, it is enough to know that He has chosen to do as He has done and to act accordingly. In the end we will not be judged on what our neighbor knew and did not know and did and did not do, but will be examined as to what we have done with what we were given --- even if our neighbor misjudges us and our intentions because he is unable to perceive things in any other way at the moment at least. We are bound to do the right thing in conscience and this is the only consideration of any worth.

Objectively speaking both presentations, while accurate as to modern discipline and practice pertaining to the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, left a lot of pertinent history and dogmatic definitions out of their communiqués to the laity. In other words, while pronounced with good hearts and no hidden agendas, both priests are victims of modern sophistry and casuistry themselves. Now I do, indeed, employ these two terms deliberately, notwithstanding the honest and for now invincible ignorance of these priests through no apparent fault of themselves. I do so because by sophistry I here mean, specious reasoning in general and by casuistry I mean false argumentation following that fallacious reasoning, whatever good intentions are present in those so teaching.

It is an axiom of truth itself, that dogma and the doctrine that flows from it, once declared is immutable. With this in mind, let us proceed.

First, we ought to note that both priests' comments did not address the laity distributing or administering the Sacrament because their purpose was based on almost equivalent questions that did not concern Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist as such. For this I find no fault in of itself.

Second, let us stipulate that it is a matter of Church history that in the early years of the Church that Holy Communion was permitted in the hand and that technically such a practice is not inherently bad, but because of a deeper understanding and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, this practice was discontinued. It was dogmatically prohibited in the Council of Trent, specifically because "Communion in the Hand" became a hallmark of the Protestant beliefs about the Eucharist --- these rebels instituted "Communion in the Hand" squarely because they had come to disbelieve in the Real Presence and the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood, in favor of a communal, symbolic meal and the common priesthood of the faithful rather than the higher order of the sacerdotal. The Council of Trent was very clear about this: the Council fathers were wary that the same might happen to the Catholic faithful. Once a dogmatic teaching is given, it is infallible and immutable, by definition and cannot change. However, weakened prelates can and sometimes actually alter or permit faulty practice for a number of reasons that are not discussed here; this dissension from traditional practice [based on dogmatic certainty] unfortunately, even if undertaken with due diligence and with good intentions, can have a disastrous effect on the sensus fidelium, informally "changing" official doctrine de facto, if not de jure. The precipitous decline of practicing Catholics ever since speaks volumes about the wisdom of the Council of Trent.

Third, let us look at some of the historical facts surrounding Vatican II practice and policy in light of the dogmatic [fixed for all time with anathemas] Council of Trent, especially with the issuing of Pope Paul VI's instructive encyclical, Memoriale Domini: Note: the text in blue is taken directly from Michael Davies, A Privilege of the Ordained, which can be found in its entirety on this web site HERE:

Before we look at these it is imperative to consider the following, text in red:

THIS IS MY BODY," said Our Lord at the Last Supper. The Catholic Church has always interpreted these words in their precise literal meaning, and as the centuries passed, this belief has been reflected in Her developing liturgical expressions of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. This is why the practice of the laity receiving the Host in the hand changed to that of the priest placing It directly upon the tongue. The practice of the Church developed, as Pope John Paul II has reminded us recently, so that: "To touch the sacred species, and to distribute them with their own hands, is a privilege of the ordained".

The practice of Communion in the hand was revived by the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers to signify their rejection of both priesthood and the Real Presence. This invested the practice with an anti-Catholic signification. Nonetheless, it was adopted by rebellious priests in Holland after Vatican II in defiance of the liturgical law of the Church. The abuse spread rapidly. Pope Paul VI polled the bishops of the world who voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice, but the rebellion spread and the Holy See capitulated and agreed to tolerate the abuse in country after country. In countries such as the U.S.A., it is now being imposed as the norm; deceitful propaganda is used to achieve this end with the knowledge of the American Bishops, and in their name.  [Taken from the back cover of the above cited opus.]

The Council and Liturgical Reform

The standard response given to the faithful who complain about the endless succession of liturgical innovations which have been foisted upon them since Vatican II is that these innovations were ordered by, authorized by, or are a response to the Council. I have a copy of a letter sent by an English bishop to a group of Catholics who pleaded with him to prevent the vandalization of the sanctuary in their parish church, particularly the removal of the tabernacle from the high altar. The bishop informed them that these changes had been ordered by the Liturgy Constitution of the Second Vatican Council. There is not one word in this Constitution which so much as hints at the possibility of removing the tabernacle from the high altar. Nor does the Constitution mention Mass facing the people, lay-ministers of Communion, dancing in the sanctuary, or Communion in the hand. Pope Paul VI complained that: "Some priests and members of the faithful mask with the name 'conciliar' those personal interpretations and erroneous practices that are injurious, even scandalous, and at times sacrilegious."
The practice of Communion in the hand was introduced soon after Vatican II by ecumenically-minded priests in Holland who wished to ape the Protestant practice. This was done as an act of calculated defiance of liturgical law and legitimate ecclesiastical authority. The Dutch rebels soon found imitators among the progressive clergy in Germany, Belgium, and France. Sadly, most bishops reacted with the weakness which has characterized Western hierarchies since the Council, when faced with defiance by Liberal clerics, they failed to take prompt disciplinary action and the abuse spread. Thus the practice, which had already become unacceptable to Catholics in view of the Protestant signification it had acquired during the Reformation, became additionally tainted as the symbol par excellence of liturgical anarchy, the banner of those who had defied the authority of Rome, and more than a thousand years of unbroken Catholic tradition.

The Instruction Memoriale Domini

Despite the scandalous refusal of the bishops to exercise their authority, the indignation of large numbers of the faithful at this breach with tradition, and the irreverence or even sacrilege to which it led, prompted Pope Paul VI to act. He polled the bishops of the world upon the issue; they voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice. At this time, 1969, the abuse was still confined to a few "advanced" Western countries. On 29 May 1969, the Instruction Memoriale Domini was promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. It had been prepared at the special mandate of Pope Paul VI, and was approved by him in virtue of his apostolic authority. This Instruction explained how the earlier practice of Communion in the hand had been superseded:

From a pressing sense of reverence toward this holy Sacrament, and of the humility which its reception demands, the custom was introduced by which the minister himself would place the piece of consecrated Bread on the tongue of the communicants.

In view of the state of the Church as a whole today, this manner of distributing Holy Communion must be observed, not only because it rests upon a tradition of many centuries, but especially because it is a sign of the reverence of the faithful toward the Eucharist. The practice in no way detracts from the personal dignity of those who approach this great Sacrament, and it is part of the preparation needed for the most fruitful reception of the Lord's Body.

The Instruction quoted the result of the ballot among the bishops of the world, and warns that the practice of Communion in the hand can lead to: "a lessening of reverence toward the noble Sacrament of the Altar, its profanation, or the adulteration of correct doctrine." It adds that:

From the responses received it is thus clear that by far the greater number of bishops feel that the present discipline should not be changed at all, indeed, that if it were changed, this would be offensive to the sensibilities and spiritual appreciation of these bishops and of most of the faithful.

After he had considered the observations and the counsel of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule" the churches, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the importance of the arguments proposed, the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed.

The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests, and people to observe zealously this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgment of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, in the form which the present rite of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church.

Disloyal Bishops

Unfortunately, the Holy See made a calamitous error of judgment within the Instruction. It agreed that, where the abuse had already become firmly established, it could be legalized by a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of the national episcopal conference, providing that the Holy See confirmed the decision. This concession gave the green light to liturgical anarchists, despite the fact that it clearly referred to countries where the abuse had become established at the time Memoriale Domini was promulgated, i.e., May 1969.

Clerical rebels in such countries as England or the U.S.A. would naturally conclude that if rebellion could be legalized in Holland it could be legalized in any country. They decided that if they ignored Memoriale Domini and defied the liturgical law of the Church, their rebellion would be tolerated and eventually legalized. Their judgment proved to be only too accurate. Despite the appeal of the Holy See for bishops to observe zealously the traditional practice, despite the fact that they themselves had voted for the traditional practice, as the abuse spread from country to country the bishops first tolerated it and then voted for its legalization. Only in a few countries, such as Italy or Poland, did the bishops respond to the appeal in Memoriale Domini, and insist upon maintaining the practice of Communion on the tongue "out of concern for the common good of the Church."

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

The introduction of Communion in the hand was invariably followed by the introduction of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Unlike the practice of Communion in the hand, which was accepted within the Church for some centuries, the use of extraordinary ministers during the Mass has no historical precedent. Not a shred of evidence can be brought forward to prove that Holy Communion has ever been distributed during the liturgy by anyone but a bishop, priest, or deacon. There is some evidence of such cases outside the liturgy in the early centuries. By the thirteenth century, it was already an established tradition that only what had been consecrated specifically for the purpose should ever come into contact with the Blessed Sacrament until It has been placed upon the tongue of the communicant. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225- 1274) wrote:

The dispensing of Christ's Body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because he consecrates in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His Body at the Supper, so also He gave It to others to be partaken of by them.

 Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ's Body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is 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.

The document authorizing the introduction of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist is an Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, issued on 29 January 1973, and entitled Immensae caritatis. It authorizes the use of extraordinary ministers in "cases of genuine necessity." These are listed as whenever:

(a) there is no priest, deacon, or acolyte;
b) these are prevented from administering Holy Communion because of another pastoral ministry or because of ill health or advanced age;

(c) the number of the faithful requesting Holy Communion is such that the celebration of Mass or the distribution of the Eucharist outside Mass would be unduly prolonged.

The Instruction stipulates that:

Since these faculties are granted only for the spiritual good of the faithful and for cases of genuine necessity, priests are to remember that they are not thereby excused from the task of distributing the Eucharist to the faithful who legitimately request it, and especially from taking and giving it to the sick.

It is hard to envisage circumstances justifying the use of extraordinary ministers existing outside mission lands. It is possible to envisage circumstances arising there when it becomes physically impossible for a priest responsible for a vast area to give Holy Communion to all the sick and dying who request it. Clearly, the good of souls must take the first priority, and if the alternative were between someone dying without receiving the Sacrament, or receiving It from a layman, the latter alternative would be preferable, always presuming that it was physically impossible for a priest to get to him. Obviously, in such circumstances it would be desirable for the communicant to have access to the Sacrament of Penance, but, once again, where this is physically impossible an act of perfect contrition would suffice even for mortal sin. However, there is no comparison whatsoever between such truly extraordinary circumstances and the all too common practice in so many countries today of commissioning the laity by the hundreds in individual dioceses to undertake a task which, as Pope John Paul II has noted, should normally be "a privilege of the ordained one." It is not uncommon for priests to sit in their presidential chairs, conduct hymn singing, or even act as ushers to marshal the faithful into lines while élite members of the parish distribute Holy Communion for them, perhaps cutting down the time of Mass by five minutes or even less. The fact that a person is selected to be an extraordinary minister can certainly pander to the self-esteem of those who are eager to obtain offices which set them apart from (and above) their fellows. This phenomenon soon became apparent when the laity were permitted to read the Epistle or take part in Offertory Processions. Priests who have declined to introduce such practices are frequently the subject of complaints to bishops by laymen who are eager for the status which these offices will bestow upon them.
Catholics who have seen extraordinary ministers introduced into their own parishes will have noted that the correct term "extraordinary" is rarely used. This is the official term used in Immensae caritatis and the new Code of Canon Law. The terms "lay" or "special" ministers are preferred as this serves to camouflage the fact that the use of such ministers should constitute an extraordinary event, one which should rarely if ever be seen outside the mission lands. It is hard to imagine any pastor in, say, the U.S.A. who has so many pressing engagements that he has no time to take Holy Communion to the sick. If the burden of administrative work has become so great, surely, this is an area where he could get lay help. The present situation in which priests are engaged in activities which laymen could undertake, while laymen undertake their work of taking Holy Communion to the sick, is positively bizarre, a fitting epitomization of the ethos of the Western Church today. [Emphasis in bold added by the Web Master.] As for the celebration of Mass being unduly prolonged, where a parish has a large congregation there is usually a curate to help out. Even where no curate is available, and the distribution of Holy Communion would be prolonged, I cannot imagine it being unduly prolonged. The priest could urge the people to use the time to make a fitting preparation and thanksgiving for the privilege of receiving their Savior. Could any time spent in such thanksgiving be unduly prolonged? It would rarely extend beyond ten to fifteen minutes. When it is considered how much time the average Catholic will spend watching T.V. each day, can a thanksgiving of even fifteen minutes be considered as unduly prolonged?

The Vatican directive was, unfortunately, far too loosely worded. The phrase "unduly prolonged" could mean five or fifty minutes, depending upon who was interpreting it. Immensae caritatis thus opened the door to the proliferation of extraordinary ministers which has been described here. Linked with the introduction of Communion under both kinds at Sunday Masses, this outbreak of extraordinary ministers has reached epidemic proportions, an epidemic made possible, if not strictly authorized, by Immensae caritatis. Very few bishops today pay the least heed to the admonition of Pope John Paul II in his letter Dominicae cenae, 24 February 1980, that; "To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained." On the contrary, some bishops, or the liturgical bureaucrats who manipulate them, show such enthusiasm for Communion under both kinds principally for the excuse it gives them to increase the epidemic of extraordinary ministers to plague proportions. In 1987, in a letter the text of which concludes this appendix, the Holy See did attempt to restrict the spread of this plague, but with little effect. [Emphasis in bold aded by me.]

No objective observer could deny that there has been a widespread decline in reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament since the Second Vatican Council. In Dominicae cenae Pope John Paul II deplored the fact that:

Cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the Eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior, but also to the pastors of the Church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist.

The Holy Father concluded this letter with his famous apology to the faithful for the scandal and disturbance to which they had been subjected concerning the veneration due to the Blessed Sacrament: "And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."

The sense of reverence and love of the faithful people for the Blessed Sacrament must inevitably be weakened in any diocese where the bishop, either from conviction or from weakness, has permitted the use of extraordinary ministers where extraordinary circumstances do not exist, and it is certain that such circumstances do not exist in ninety-nine per cent of the parishes where such ministers are employed.
What should be extraordinary has become the norm, and what should be the norm has become extraordinary. Such is the state of Catholicism in the Roman Rite today. [Ibid.]

We are witnessing not simply a diminution in respect for the Blessed Sacrament, where such respect exists at all, but a diminution in respect for, and awareness of, the sacred character of the priesthood, where such respect and such awareness exist at all. Very few young Catholics today think of their priest primarily as another Christ, an alter Christus, a man who differs not simply in degree but in essence from the rest of the faithful, a man whose primary function is to enter the sanctuary and perform sacred rites which he alone can undertake. In Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II reminded Catholics that:

One must not forget the primary office of priests, who have been consecrated by their ordination to represent Christ the Priest: for this reason their hands, like their words and their will, have become the direct instruments of Christ. Through this fact, that is, as ministers of the Holy Eucharist, they have a primary responsibility for the sacred species, because it is a total responsibility. They offer the bread and wine, they consecrate it, and then distribute the sacred species to the participants in the assembly who wish to receive them. ... How eloquent, therefore, even if not of ancient custom, is the rite of the anointing of the hands in our Latin ordination, as though precisely for these hands a special grace and power of the Holy Spirit is necessary!


In September 1987 the Holy See sent letters to the presidents of a number of Episcopal Conferences on the subject of extraordinary ministers, urging them to curb the abuse of making what should be extraordinary the norm. The full text of the copy sent to Archbishop May, President of the NCCB, is included here.

It hardly needs stating the document was totally ineffective, but it does at least provide evidence that the Holy See is aware of the extent of the abuses concerning extraordinary ministers ("numerous indications of such abuses" had been received), even if it could do nothing to curb them.

A copy of the full text of the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio's letter to Cardinal May follows:

21 September, 1987
Most Reverend John L. May President, NCCB
1312 Massachusetts Avenue,
N. W. Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Archbishop May:

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of Sacraments, in a circular letter to all Papal Representatives, has issued the following clarification with regard to extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.

To be sure, the faculty granted to the laity enabling them to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (Canons 230, 3; 910, 2) represents without a doubt one of the more suitable forms of lay participation in the Church's liturgical action. On the one hand, this privilege has provided a real help to both the celebrant and to the congregation on occasions when there exists a large number of people receiving Holy Communion. On the other hand, however, in certain instances, significant abuses of this privilege have taken place. Such abuses have led to situations where the extraordinary character of this ministry has been lost. At times, it also appears as though the designation of extraordinary ministers becomes a kind of reward to repay those who have worked for the Church.

Cardinal Mayer notes that the abuses he speaks of happen if:
---the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist ordinarily distribute Holy Communion together with the celebrant, both when the number of communicants would not require their assistance, and when there are other concelebrants present or other ordinary ministers available, though not celebrating;
---the extraordinary ministers distribute Holy Communion to themselves and to the faithful while the celebrant and concelebrants, if there are any, remain inactive.

After receiving numerous indications of such abuses, the Congregation decided to seek an authentic interpretation of the appropriate Canons from the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law. The following doubt was formulated:

"Utrum minister extraordinarius Sacrae Communionis, ad norman cann. 910, par. 2 et 23°, par. 3 deputatus suum munus suppletorium exercere possit etiam cum praesentes sint in ecclesia, etsi ad celebrationem eucharisticam non participantes, ministri ordinarii qui non sint quoque modo impediti." ["Whether an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, appointed under canons 910, para 2 and 230, par 3, can carry out his auxiliary duty even when there are also present in the church, even if not participating in the celebration of the Eucharist, ordinary ministers who are not in some way prevented (from distributing Holy Communion).]

The Pontifical Commission took up the question in its Plenary Session of February 20, 1987 and responded: NEGATIVE.

This authentic interpretation was approved by the Holy Father on June 15, 1987 who then directed the Congregation for Sacraments to communicate the decision to the Episcopal Conferences.

The reply of the Pontifical Commission clearly indicates that when ordinary ministers (Bishop, Priest, Deacon) are present at the Eucharist, whether they are celebrating or not, and are in sufficient number and are not prevented from doing so by other ministries, the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are not allowed to distribute Communion either to themselves or to the faithful.

Finally, Cardinal Mayer asks that you please convey these directives to the members of the Episcopal Conference.
With sentiments of esteem and every good wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ, Pio Laghi
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio

Now let us be dutifully digilant in reminding ourselves about the actual dogmatic teaching of the Council of Trent: we will take it from The Catechism of the Council of Trent which is faithfully based on that Council's documents and institutions, text in differentiated font:

Why The Celebrant Alone Receives Under Both Species

It is clear that the Church was influenced by numerous and most cogent reasons, not only to approve, but also to confirm by authority of its decree, the general practice of communicating under one species. In the first place, the greatest caution was necessary to avoid spilling the blood of the Lord on the ground, a thing that seemed not easily to be avoided, if the chalice were administered in a large assemblage of the people.

In the next place, whereas the Holy Eucharist ought to be in readiness for the sick, it was very much to be apprehended, were the species of wine to remain long unconsumed, that it might turn acid.
Besides, there are many who cannot at all bear the taste or even the smell of wine. Lest, therefore, what is intended for the spiritual health should prove hurtful to the health of the body, it has been most prudently provided by the Church that it should be administered to the people under the species of bread only.

We may also further observe that in many countries wine is extremely scarce; nor can it, moreover, be brought from elsewhere without incurring very heavy expenses and encountering very tedious and difficult journeys.

Finally, a most important reason was the necessity of opposing the heresy of those who denied that Christ, whole and entire, is contained under either species, and asserted that the body is contained under the species of bread without the blood, and the blood under the species of wine without the body. In order, therefore, to place more clearly before the eyes of all the truth of the Catholic faith, Communion under one kind, that is, under the species of bread, was most wisely introduced.

There are also other reasons, collected by those who have treated on this subject, and which, if it shall appear necessary, can be brought forward by pastors.

The Minister of the Eucharist

To omit nothing doctrinal on this Sacrament, we now come to speak of its minister, a point, however. on which scarcely anyone can be ignorant.

Only Priests Have Power To Consecrate And Administer The Eucharist

It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church, that the faithful should receive the Sacrament from the priests, and that the officiating priests should communicate themselves, has been explained by the holy Council of Trent, which has also shown that this practice, as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained, particularly as Christ the Lord has left us an illustrious example thereof, having consecrated His own most sacred body, and given it to the Apostles with His own hands.

The Laity Prohibited To Touch The Sacred Vessels

To safeguard in every possible way the dignity of so august a Sacrament, not only is the power of its administration entrusted exclusively to priests, but the Church has also prohibited by law any but consecrated persons, unless some case of great necessity intervene, to dare handle or touch the sacred vessels, the linen, or other instruments necessary to its completion. [Emphasis added by me.

Priests themselves and the rest of the faithful may hence understand how great should be the piety and holiness of those who approach to consecrate, administer or receive the Eucharist.

Commentary by the Web Master:

Today the modern Church still forbids the laity from self-communicating as it must. Well, just exactly how do we avoid this serious infraction with "Communion in the Hand"? The priest or the lay minister is not administering the Sacred Species to me, he is giving it to me and I then give it to myself. This is self-communication, by definition or words mean nothing. When a doctor orders a prescription I purchase it from the pharmacist. No one says that the pharmacist administered the dose to her, but rather, she took it herself with a glass of water. The doctor and pharmacist are the sources, but I am the actual minister of the prescription unless I have no hands or use of them. Words either have meaning or if they do not, this is pure malignant sophistry of the worst kind. We are violating the Church's norm without realizing it. They have mandated an impossibility on its face, ontologically. Not to mention the supremacy of the sacred canons of Trent which cannot be abrogated without offending God as the various canons instruct us thus. And the Church pastors are as blind as we are, thanks to the loss of grace because of so many sins today. That loss of grace precludes our ability in general from the use of basic reason.  Remember, putting the Sacred Host into the hand, no matter how reverently and carefully, and this is the situation almost always, in no way alters the fact that this is only part of the administration. Why? Because until the Host reaches the tongue [see below for the ontological, physiological necessity] it is administration, by definition. Reception is the taking in of the Host and the subsequent ingestion of same. The priest self-communicates, of course, by Divine design, but the laity are forbidden to even under the relaxed, deleterious norm employed today, see infra for what I mean by detrimental. This does not even take in to account the above prohibition that forbids the laity to touch the sacred vessels; the necessity case does not arise in the United States in the normal course of events. How do we know this is the case? Simple reasoning: if it were otherwise, then the Pontiff would not have written his letter to the US Bishops instructing them to cease the ubiquitous practice, daily and every Sunday. If the dioceses were already in compliance the letter would have been unnecessary on its face. One local pastor, within my earshot opined that "I ought to comply, but I have grown used to things as they are now and I do not intend to obey." A fellow parishioner, a woman I was well acquainted with heard him say the same thing at another time. She said to me, "If he can disobey, then so can I." She was referring to another matter, but just think of the bad example he gave, let alone disrespect to the Holy Eucharist, whatever his inmost  heart told him. Years later, used to disobedience from the hierarchy in a whole host of things the same woman was led to conclude that the Church was not the True Church of Christ and she walked away one day, as yet to return --- I had an e-mail from her just a couple of months ago. Father in Heaven, forgive us, we know not what we do? We know de fide that the priest is responsible for the failures and sins of his people if he should neglect one iota. If he is diligent and faithful to the utmost, then he is not held responsible. This is why St. John Chrysostom says that "The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops."

After the Arian heresy the Popes began saying the Oath of office not to violate Sacred Tradition. Only when the modern popes ceased doing so did we have our first non-doctrinal ecumenical council and the decrease in parishes, priests, nuns and large families. Meanwhile the Evangelicals and Moslems are expanding, adding wings to their buildings or erecting new structures and new mosques and having more children. Some "rules" are worth preserving because they are our very preservation. We are dying while pretending this is a "new evangelism".

As for reception on the tongue or not, there is only on the tongue, realistically, actually speaking. How you might ask? Elementary. Those who take the Host from the priest into their hands, then place it on the tongue in their mouths. No one I know takes the Host and wedges It between his tongue and jaw to purposefully avoid the tongue. Yet they think this is what they are doing, not receiving on the tongue. Imagine this miscalculation of reason! The human mouth when ingesting any particle involves the tongue by God's design of physiological necessity. Try swallowing any food without your tongue's involvement. Let me know how you make out. Then the Host dissolves just like it did in the old days or is chewed, but dissolved it is. However one chooses,  no one avoids the tongue aspect. So why don't we all stop pretending we are doing other than what we are and just go back to sound dogmatic practice with less hypocrisy? Not to mention the screaming irony! I mean where is the rationality in all the pretense and hoopla that things are different? That we no longer receive the Host on our tongues? Because we do, each and every one of us that receives the Host because we can have wheat. The only real difference is in the loss of belief in the Real Presence. Poll after poll confims that almost 3/4 of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence.  Certainly this is not accidental. We should take pride in this???!  This is truly a disastrous result of a misplaced idea about going back to the simplicity of an earlier era of the Church. Ven. Pope Pius II said this about the danger of liturgical upheaval, taken from a speech, titled, The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy by Father Paul Kramer, text in green:

The title “The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy,” is not my own. It comes from a discourse of Pope Pius XII, who saw the imminent possibility of a crisis in faith and spoke of the Church doubting as Peter once doubted, recalling St. Peter’s denial of Our Lord on the night of His Passion.

Pope Pius XII on the "Suicide of altering the faith in her liturgy"

Msgr. Eugene Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, made the astonishing prophecy on the future upheavel in the Church:

"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. … I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.

"A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?'"
--- Roche, Pie XII Devant L'Historie, p. 52-53

One method of the heretics for attacking the Church is to infiltrate the Catholic hierarchy and then change the liturgy to mute its explicit profession of faith, making the liturgy appear to uphold heretical doctrine. Pope Pius XII warned of this danger, “the suicide of altering the faith in the liturgy”.

Many priests and faithful see no problem with the new Rite of Mass. They consider themselves upholders of Catholic tradition and are outspokenly anti-Modernist. But the subtleties of the devil are so great that they are tricked into consenting to the Modernist position without realizing it. It is like the treatment given to frogs: you put them into hot water and they will jump out of the water immediately, but if you put them into cold water and slowly heat it, they don’t notice the increase of heat until it’s too late. They’ve been cooked.

I have seen this in the example of many Catholic bishops. Twenty-five, thirty years ago they were the staunchest arch-conservatives. But little by little they compromised, and toward the end of their mission as heads of their dioceses, they still considered themselves staunchly arch-conservative, upholding the apostolic traditions of the Church; but these men did not realize that hardly anyone else thought of them that way anymore. They were living in an illusion.

Conclusions by the Web Master

Proposition One

1. We have the infallible major premise: that the laity are not to touch the sacred vessels.
2. We have the incontrovertible minor premise: the laity must, by necessity touch the sacred vessel in administering the Body and Blood of Christ.
3. The unavoidable reasoned, logical conclusion: the laity cannot administer the sacred Species by definition unless an extraordinary case arise, which is not the situation in the US per Pope John Paul II's letter to the American Bishops
[although weakened in resolve to enforce it, which does not abrogate the need to obey].

Proposition Two

1. Only the ordained may touch the Sacred Species, both the Council of Trent and Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI [although weakened in resolve to enforce the dogma].
2. The laity are not ordained.
The unavoidable reasoned, logical conclusion: the laity cannot, except in the most dire circumstances take the Host into their hands, because this is touching the Sacred Species.

Proposition Three:

1. At every Mass there is at least one sacerdotal [ordained] minister, either the priest or deacon or both.
2. Administration of the Holy Eucharist per the dogmatic Council of Trent
and Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI [although weakened in resolve to enforce the dogma], binding in perpetuity by definition is reserved for the ordained.
3. The only conclusion consonant with human reason aided by grace: I may only receive Holy Communion from either a priest or a deacon.

Any other action on my part is thereby mortally sinful because it is serious matter, one of sacrilege actually; I have the full consideration of my will; and have full knowledge of the real complete teaching on the Holy Eucharist. Period!

It is not important who disagrees or calls me a name or otherwise disparages me because I am faithful to Christ. I must forgive those who are ignorant and influenced by bad example, etc. I must be patient, loving and kind. I must also be ever truthful. Thus, if, and when an opportunity presents itself, I must answer as I have done so here, albeit with less detail. Once a woman asked me about Extraordinary Lay Ministers of Communion and why I only receive from a priest or deacon. I told her an encapsulated version of what I have just written and cited the sources she could read for herself. She did not want to believe me and turned away, implying that I was a bad Catholic who did not love Christ. This is not my concern other than I want to remember to keep praying for her, not because I am better than she is, for all I know she is a Saint who is only invincibly ignorant for now, but because this is my duty and the love of my heart. She simply could not understand that it was because I do love Christ that I am pledged to loyalty to the teachings of the Church fathers who hold with Tradition; she also failed to remember that a law is binding under all but the most extraordinary circumstances, even if the enforcement of same is minimal or the disobedience of is tolerated as is the case with the ignoring of the just dictates of not only the Council of Trent, binding in perpetuity by their very nature, and therefore also in line with that Tradition, the letters of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, as expounded on within these pages. For instance, let us use an an analogy: the speeding laws of my state are designed for the safety of all of us, our inalienable natural right to life; just because a state trooper is not on duty in the locale I am driving because he was called away to a major tragedy elsewhere, does not absolve me or entitle me to disregard the speed limit and the other rules of the road. Not only is my attention to duty paramount because my neighbor's safety is also my concern, it is also a matter of honor. And if I am bound to act with honor regarding the state laws, how much more am I duty bound in filial love to my Lord and Savior, Who speaks through His Church, which speaks for Him in the voice of Tradition, established by His Apostles and their successors? Our Lord sustains me in all things. As Father Calvin Goodwin, FSSP once said, "We only have to persevere." Amen.

The two articles which I have addressed also did not take up the aspect of reception of Communion under both Species, which will be mentioned briefly below by St. Peter Canisius. The matter of division that he has so much insight on is worthy of noting, especially since we Traditionalists are so often accused of "being devisive".

I will let St. Peter Canisius, the Council of Trent, and Cardinal Newman have the parting say, text in red: [Taken from Michael Davies, Communion Under Both Kinds]:

At the time of the Council of Trent there were some misguided Catholics who believed that a concession on the Chalice could be made to Protestantism in the interests of peace. St. Peter Canisius, one of the greatest of all Jesuit theologians, after an initial inclination towards limited toleration, opposed the policy with great vigour because, as Father James Broderick, S.J., explains in his biography of the Saint, Communion under both kinds could not be separated from a whole series of other changes:

There were changes such as vernacular liturgies, the abolition of fasting laws, the removal of statues, and other diminutions of traditional Catholicism. Where the whittling process would stop once it got a hold, Heaven alone knew. In St. Peter's opinion, the great need for the Catholic Church was, not to relax, but to stiffen her attitude; to have no further truck with heresy; to discipline her own children and to secure by stringent legislation that only avowed practising Catholics held posts in centres of Catholic education. "Better," he wrote, "that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire, as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith." [J. Broderick, Saint Peter Canisius (London. 1935). p. 608.]

St. Peter was particularly concerned at the effect that giving the option of Communion under both kinds would have on Catholic parishes: "Indeed the whole face of the Church will appear new, some worshippers desiring to communicate under one species and some under the two, in the same temple, around the same altar, at the same Mass. So will it come about that what Christ gave us as a symbol of unity will be turned into an emblem of division and disorder." [Ibid, page 604] Saint Peter was certainly prophetic, and could have been describing the current situation in the United States.

Catholics of the Roman Rite have received Holy Communion under one kind for at least eight centuries. It proved no impediment to the sanctification of a galaxy of religious and lay Saints who never once received Holy Communion from the Chalice. No one can foretell the future, but there is little to indicate that the re-introduction of the Chalice for the laity will help to form Saints who will outshine either St. Teresa of Avila or St. Therese of Lisieux. Long established liturgical customs can rarely be discarded without spiritual damage ensuing. Let Cardinal Newman have the last word:

Rites which the Church has appointed, and with reason --- for the Church's authority is from Christ --- being long used, cannot be disused without harm to our souls. [27 Sermon: "Ceremonies of the Church", Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. II]



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