Church scholar: Proper understanding of Mass requires Communion on tongue
July 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — As part of today’s conference on the importance of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, a Franciscan theologian emphasized the importance of understanding theological reasons for receiving Holy Communion in this manner.
Recently, churches and bishops have requested the faithful receive Holy Communion only in the hand or, in some cases, have outright banned the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, citing concerns about spreading the new coronavirus.
Fr. Serafino Lanzetta explained the history of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand and explained how the meaning of the Mass as a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice at Golgotha requires reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.
The Church allowed for the reception of Holy Communion in the hand in 1969 through an indult, which is a permission granted for something outside the norm of Church law in a specific individual case. Fr. Lanzetta pointed out that this permission can never become an imposition on the faithful. The Church cannot say Holy Communion must be received in the hand, only that it is allowed.
The indult states, “The universal law of the Church is to receive Holy Communion directly on the tongue.”
A chief concern, as noted in the indult, in extending permission to the faithful to receive Holy Communion in the hand is the “danger of a loss of reverence, of profanation, of adultery of the true doctrine.”
Currently, the belief in the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist at an all-time low among Catholics.
Fr. Lanzetta emphasized the importance of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue to bring back the rightful reverence due to the Holy Eucharist and to help the faithful understand and believe in the true presence of Christ.
Fr. Lanzetta pointed to the purpose of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist as a reason for receiving on the tongue: “Has the Holy Eucharist been instituted to be eaten or adored or to be celebrated as the sacrifice?” In order to be fully reverent toward the re-presentation of the sacrifice at Golgotha, he said, we must adore our Lord.
Fr. Lanzetta pointed to Our Lady’s quiet adoration of Christ at the foot of the cross as an example for how we can adore our Lord’s sacrifice with the proper disposition.
He emphasized the importance of receiving Holy Communion with the proper interior disposition based on the sacrificial nature and focus of the Mass. The Mass is not a re-presentation of the Last Supper, as some may think — and it is important to distinguish between the re-presentation of the last supper and the re-presentation of the sacrifice at Golgotha. We do not go to Mass to eat and drink. We go to Mass to participate in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Participation in that sacrifice requires reverence and adoration.
Fr. Lanzetta warned, “We can never mix up the meaning of the Last Supper and the meaning of Mass.” The meaning of Mass is in continuity with Christ’s sacrificial action on the cross. This sacrifice requires reverence and adoration. The reception of Holy Communion on the tongue allows for the proper reverence and adoration required to participate in Christ’s sacrifice.
You can watch Fr. Lanzetta’s full talk here (at around 00:16:00):