LONDON, June 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The new COVID-19 guidelines released by the bishops of England and Wales permit Catholics to start receiving Holy Communion on the tongue again. Until now, the bishops had — contrary to canon law — prohibited the Church’s official practice regarding Holy Communion for more than a year.
Beginning May 17, England and Wales moved into Step 3 of their government’s COVID-19 Response Roadmap. With this in mind, the bishops published a new set of guidelines for Catholics regarding attending Mass and receiving Communion.
The guidelines read, “Communion is recommended to be distributed in the hand, but if people wish to receive on the tongue, then they should wait until the end of the communion line and receive then.”
“Communion on the tongue exposes the minister’s hand to their aerosol and increases the possibility of viral infection,” it continues. “The minister should sanitise their hands after distributing communion on the tongue. Communion on the tongue should not be given in areas with very high spikes in local infections.”
In England and Wales, Communion on the tongue or kneeling has been officially denied to Catholics since June of last year, because of health concerns related to COVID-19.
Even traditional Catholic parishes, which only offer Communion on the tongue, as is prescribed in the form of the rite, were banned from distributing Communion on the tongue to the faithful. Members of the Oratorian congregation in Birmingham were prohibited by Archbishop Bernard Longley from distributing Holy Communion on the tongue.
However, the practice of receiving on the hand, instead of on the tongue, is a formalized act of disobedience to the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church, in the period following the Second Vatican Council.
Renowned scholar Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has declared that “many bishops are abusing their authority” by banning Communion on the tongue. In a lengthy article published in May last year, Kwasniewski collected the statements of the magisterium on the manner of receiving the Eucharist, writing that bishops had no authority to mandate reception in the hand, or forbid reception on the tongue.
Indeed, in the 2004 document Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Catholic Church preserves the Tradition of the Church, teaching that a Catholic “always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.” While the document does allow for the post-Vatican II practice of Communion being received on the hand, it also stipulates that reverence must always be prioritized: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”
Despite this, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments then published a letter on November 13, 2020, confirming and ratifying the decision of a U.S. bishop to only offer Communion on the hand during the coronavirus crisis. This was in direct contradiction to Redemptionis Sacramentum and a 2009 letter from the same congregation, then under Pope Benedict XVI.
That 2009 letter affirmed the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, even during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. It referred back to the text of Redemptionis Sacramentum, re-iterating the constant right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, even in times of danger to the public health.
In addition to the questions of canon law, there have been numerous statements and studies by physicians, arguing that Communion on the tongue is actually safer than Communion in the hand, or at worst equally dangerous.
In Poland, doctors told bishops that receiving Communion on the hand was more dangerous than receiving on the tongue because of increased contact. The doctors also pointed out that reception of the Eucharist kneeling is safer as the communicant is further from the priest’s face.
Twenty-one Austrian doctors wrote a letter last June, appealing to their Bishops’ Conference to lift the ban on Communion on the tongue. “From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral communion has been banned in Austria. We also consider this form of distribution safer than hand communion,” the doctors wrote.
In fact, a recent scientific study published in the Journal of Religion and Health repeated the already well documented fact that reception of Holy Communion on the tongue is safer than in the hand. The author, Sergey Budaev, noted the obvious benefit of kneeling and receiving on the tongue, since the two people are breathing at different heights, instead of directly on each other.
“The assumption that Communion in the hand carries no or little risk is not well grounded and may in fact create a false sense of security potentially provoking more reckless behaviour of both the Minister and the communicant,” he wrote.
In the face of widespread canonically illicit prohibition of receiving Communion on the tongue during COVID times, a French reader of LifeSiteNews used his own strategy to overcome a clerical ban on his right as a Catholic: He issued a canonically-founded appeal to his local bishop, referencing multiple texts from Canon Law and the teaching of the Church, including those already referenced above. His bishop was unable to reject the appeal, given that the man’s appeal was completely grounded in the Church’s legislative texts.
In the weeks since the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the Catholic Church cannot bless homosexual relationships, calling such blessings "illicit," hundreds of German priests have defied the ban on "homosexual blessings."
Indeed, more than 500 German priests have vowed to violate the Vatican's directive which states that it is "not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex."
The fundamental reason for this, of course, is that God, "does not and cannot bless sin."
Very unfortunately, however, many illicit "blessings" have already occurred, as more than 100 locations in Germany (including 50 Catholic parishes) participated in a "Love wins, blessing service for lovers" organized by an openly homosexual German priest.
BUT, there is hope!
Many faithful German Catholics are prayerfully protesting at these renegade parishes, reciting the Holy Rosary and saying other prayers as loving acts of reparation for the illicit "blessings."
Please SIGN and PLEDGE TO PRAY in solidarity with these faithful German Catholics, to STOP these sacrileges. You may say any prayer of your choice!
Of course, these so-called illicit "blessings" are only symptomatic of the head-long plunge of the German Catholic Church into what has been called "massive apostasy," and undeclared "schism."
Observers have suggested that this pernicious deviation from the Church's teaching on marriage and on sexual morality by the German Catholic clergy was set in motion by the so-called German Synodal Path - a Church convention run by the German bishops which dissents from Catholic teaching on celibacy, clerical authority, the ban on female ordination, contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, and gender theory.
And, many attempts have been made in the last year to appeal to Church authorities, both within and outside Germany, to stop the Synodal Path's manoeuvring against the constant teaching of the Magisterium in faith and morals.
Indeed, in the last ten days, a group of faithful Catholic clergy - including a Cardinal, bishops and priests - have approached the Pope asking him to intervene to stop the Catholic Church in Germany from crossing into declared schism.
Calling on the Pontiff to take action, the faithful group of clergy appeal thus:
"Concerned about this sad situation [the drift of the German Church into schism], we Pastors of the Catholic Church and faithful laity committed to the defense of the Truth of the Faith, ask the Holy Father to take the necessary measures to put an end to these drifts of the German Synodal Path and, if necessary, to apply the appropriate canonical sanctions against the promoters of this tremendous deviation from both doctrine and communion with the Keys of Peter."
Please PLEDGE TO PRAY for the Catholic Church in Germany, that the illicit "homosexual blessings" would cease, and that the Church, there, would swiftly reunite itself to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and Her perennial and immutable teachings on faith and morals.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Vatican rejects blessings for homosexual couples' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-vatican-rejects-blessings-for-homosexual-couples
'Priest: Blessing homosexual couples in Germany is a 'sacrilegious … diabolical act'' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/priest-blessing-homosexual-couples-in-germany-is-a-sacrilegiousdiabolical-act
'Over 500 German priests vow to defy Church’s ban on same-sex couples’ blessings' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/over-500-german-priests-vow-to-defy-churchs-ban-on-same-sex-couples
'German bishop involved in Amazon Synod will not suspend priests who bless homosexual couples' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/german-bishop-involved-in-amazon-synod-will-not-suspend-priests-who-bless-homosexual-couples
'Cardinal, bishops, priests ask Pope to stop schism of Catholic Church in Germany' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-bishops-priests-ask-pope-to-stop-schism-of-catholic-church-in-germany
'Bishop Schneider: How Catholics in Germany can remain faithful in face of schism' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bishop-schneider-how-catholics-in-germany-can-remain-faithful-in-face-of-schism
**Photo Credit: Sachin Jose / Twitter
In a July 2020 interview on the John-Henry Westen show, Kwasniewski declared that the current restrictions on receiving on the tongue were nothing more than an abuse of episcopal power. “Many bishops are abusing their authority right now because … they’re supposed to uphold Canon Law, and Canon Law is really clear that the faithful have the right to receive communion on the tongue. That’s it.”
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has also weighed in on the banning both of Holy Communion and public Masses, saying that such acts are “pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls.”
Schneider suggested that bishops who, in line with government guidelines, have prohibited Communion on the tongue have “reacted more like civil bureaucrats than shepherds. In focusing too exclusively on all the hygienic protective measures, they have lost a supernatural vision and have abandoned the primacy of the eternal good of souls.”