(For the background: The end result of communion in the hand: Mass sacrilege as hosts passed around from hand to hand in Pope Francis' two Masses in Manila.)
GMA Network, one of the Philippines' top news networks, reports that Church officials including the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in the Philippines are defending the passing-around of hosts at the Papal Masses that took place in Manila, specifically in response to OnePeterFive's article on the event.
Filipino Catholic Church officials came in defense of this, saying the Masses, particularly at Luneta, were "extraordinary" circumstances.
In an interview with GMA News, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said: "Under normal circumstances, hindi dapat mangyari 'yon, pero extraordinary ang situation natin sa Luneta, six million people."
He added: "Sa ganu'ng pagkakataon, kailangan nating tulungan ang isa't isa na makatanggap ng communion."
(Translation of the Filipino passage: "Under normal circumstances, this should not have happened, but the situation in the Luneta was extraordinary, six million people." He added: "On this occasion, it was necessary ("kailangan") to help each other receive communion." Thanks to a Filipino reader! - RC)
For his part, Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, echoed this, telling GMA News Online: "For pastoral reasons since people can't move during communion, mass passing of the host is okay."
Meanwhile, the blog The Pinoy Catholic has published an article ("Communion in the Hand is the culprit") confirming that hosts fell into the mud or got extremely wet (and dirty) during the Mass:
Ok we maybe getting off track here, but we ARE NOT. Those EMHCs who were in their stations at the Luneta Park are no Cardinal Burke and certainly not in a position to tell if one of the pilgrims is worthy of receiving Holy Communion, save for a fact maybe when the communicant approaches him with either the "666" or inverted cross on his forehead, or the Freethinkers or Carlos Celdran...
The hands of the communicants were also wet. When you place the Hosts, thin wafers made of wheat flour, they absorb water. With all those passing around, don't you think the Hosts stayed dry?
Do you remember the claim of the great liturgist Fr. Genaro Diwa about pushing for Communion in the Hand to prevent the spread of SARS and that it is more "hygienic" than Communion on the Tongue?
Can't hear them now, do we?
For those talking about being too rubricist and holier-than-thou accusation...
Here is something for you.
I have talked to some EMHCs and even nuns who were stationed at the Communion Stations. I asked them for their "experiences".
They found Hosts in the mud!