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ROME (LifeSiteNews) — They’ll have to wear masks in church, but at least Catholics in Rome will be able to receive Holy Communion on the tongue on Easter Sunday this year.  

The Italian Bishops’ Conference has updated its COVID guidelines and suggestions for liturgical celebrations during Holy Week, apparently allowing for — although advising against — Communion on the tongue, which they had previously forbidden, violating Church law. The guidelines also lift distancing requirements, but they keep masks mandatory until April 30 and leave holy water fonts empty. 

Although bishops’ conferences lack legislative authority according to the Code of Canon Law, this has not prevented bishops and priests in Italy from treating the COVID guidelines issued by the Italian Bishop’s Conference as law. The previous ban on Communion on the tongue was only one example of the Church’s more universal sacramental discipline and legislation being set aside in the name of bodily health. 

Priests in Rome have seemed hesitant to honor the wish of the lay faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. In December 2021 at the Gesù, the Jesuit church in which SS. Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, and Peter Claver are buried, a priest publicly denied Holy Communion to a LifeSiteNews reporter kneeling to receive on the tongue. When confronted in the sacristy after Mass, the celebrant yelled “You are proud” at the reporter and claimed he was forbidden by the Italian Bishops’ Conference to give Communion on the tongue. The Dominican church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva also recently refused Communion to the same reporter desiring to receive the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue during a weekday evening Mass. 

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The Surgi-Center, a Washington, D.C. abortion clinic infamous for offering late, second trimester abortions, and its owner, abortionist Cesare Santangelo, are at the center of a scandal involving possible violations of federal laws against partial-birth abortion and infanticide.

In an exclusive video interview with LifeSiteNews, Lauren Handy, the director of activism at Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), told LifeSiteNew's Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen that, with the help of a whistleblower, her organization rescued and properly buried the remains of about one hundred aborted babies from Santangelo's Surgi-Center.

But, five of the deceased babies were so large and so developed that they suspected the Surgi-Center of engaging in the illegal practices of partial-birth abortion or infanticide (i.e., killing the child after birth) à la Kermit Gosnell.

The shocked pro-lifers then gave the aborted babies to the police and brought the matter to the attention of the D.C. Medical Examiner's office. But, the Medical Examiner's office has refused to take any action, saying they will not perform autopsies on the babies.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002). *Anyone - no matter where you reside - can sign this petition!

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Handy and eight of her fellow pro-life rescuers in PAAU are, themselves, now facing jail-time after being arrested by the FBI for conducting a traditional pro-life sit-in in October, 2020, at the very same abortion center from which the late-term deceased babies (mentioned above) were rescued.

Please note that the two events - the pro-life rescue in 2020 and the gruesome discovery of the five near-to-full-term babies in the Surgi-Center's "bio-medical waste" earlier this year - are almost one-and-a-half years apart.

Thus, Handy believes that their recent arrest is no coincidence...and, moreover, that the FBI is being used to create a smokescreen by arresting her and the other pro-lifers.

At the same time, the D.C. Medical Examiner's office does not seem interested in discovering the truth about the deaths of the five aborted babies and possible illegal partial-birth abortions or infanticide happening at the D.C. Surgi-Center.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002).

The DOJ press release claims that the pro-lifers: "engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services."

But, commenting on the arrest, Lauren Handy stated: "Media reports have stated that we ‘invaded’ the abortion center and ‘disrupted’ women from exercising their ‘reproductive rights’. No, that is not what we did."

"We entered the clinic and sought to love the women who were already there for their abortion procedures," Handy said. "We tried to offer them help so they would choose life. We non-violently defended the unborn who were about to be exterminated – the innocent, the most vulnerable, killed in horrific acts of violence and treated as so much trash."

Tireless pro-life activist Dr. Monica Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and leader of Red Rose Rescue, told LifeSiteNews that "this is the first time any of them are facing federal charges. That the rescuers were hunted down by FBI agents is unprecedented in the history of pro-life activism."

All of this...possibly...for discovering five near-or-at-term aborted babies at Cesare Santangelo's D.C. Surgi-Center, and for seeking to give justice and dignity to the murdered babies.

The truth now needs to come out!

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002).

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this urgent petition!

To contribute to the legal defense of Lauren Handy and the other eight members of PAAU, please CLICK on the following link to find out more about their LifeFunder campaign (also operated by LifeSiteNews):

Thank you!


'EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Pro-life hero raided by FBI speaks about the aborted babies she was trying to honor' -

'Pro-lifers arrested in FBI raids, face 11 years in prison for blocking access to late-term abortion mill' -

'BREAKING: Video surfaces of FBI raid, arrest of nonviolent pro-life activists' -

'Court Docs reveal previously unknown patient death due to negligence at late-term abortion facility' -

**Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot of pro-lifers protesting outside the Surgi-Center abortion facility, in Washington, D.C.

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In the diocese of Milan, many of the COVID restrictions that have been lifted elsewhere in Italy will continue, including the ban on Communion on the tongue. Some rules became even stricter, drawing sharp criticism, as they came shortly after the Bishops’ Conference eased rules for priests and the faithful. 

The refusal to administer the Blessed Sacrament to a baptized Catholic on the tongue runs contrary to the Church’s universal law concerning the reception of Holy Communion by the lay faithful. The General Instructions of the Roman Missal state: 

The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. (n.160) 

If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed and if the communicant so chooses, in the hand. (n.161) 

Likewise the Code of Canon Law, which binds all bishops and priests in the Roman Rite, legislates the following: 

Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them. (Can. 843 §1.) 

Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy Communion. (Can. 912) 

The document Redemptionis Sacramentum, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2004, also addressed the matter, reaffirming the Church’s universal law permitting Communion on the tongue at any time. The section on the distribution of Holy Communion in Chapter 4 of the document reads: 

In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing. (n.91) 

Each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice. (n.92) 

Cardinal Francis Arinze affirmed the sacramental rights of the faithful in an interview with Church Militant in May, 2020, stating: “No priest has the right to demand that, and even no bishop has the right to demand, you must receive on the hand.” 

The previous Italian ban on Communion on the tongue also stood in contradiction with the statements of medical doctors in various countries, who advised that Communion on the tongue was safer than on the hand.  

According to a press release in September 2020, 27 medical doctors wrote to the German bishops that there were “no medical reasons for a ban of Communion on the tongue.” Earlier that year, 21 doctors in Austria supported the professional opinion of Professor Filippo Maria Boscia that “Communion on the tongue is safer than hand Communion.”  Boscia is the president of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Italy. This was echoed in a public statement in 2020 by doctors in Poland as well.