Rorate Caeli

No communion on the hand in the Traditional Mass

From the Vatican, June 21, 2010

Dear Mr. [_____]

In reference to your letter of June 15, this Pontifical Commission would like to point out that the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form envisages the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling, as the Sacred Host is laid directly on the tongue of the communicant. There is no provision for the distribution of Holy Communion on the hand in this Form of the Holy Mass.

With blessings,

From the Secretariat of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"

[Source: Kreuz.net. Tip: Reader. Also via Angelqueen, via Brian Kopp.]


[Is the letter genuine? Apparently so, according to the SSPX German District - see here]

21 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Amen!!! Thanks be to God!

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  2. Prof. Basto5:45 PM

    Great.

    But two things disturb me:

    1) The letter is not signed by anyone. It bears no identification of its author, as is usual. Instead, it is issued on behalf of the Secretariat.

    Usually, such letters are signed by the Secretary, or by an undersecratary, and the name and signature appear.

    2) Also, the Protocol Number was left blank, as the facsimile shows. Is there no protocol number? If there is, what is the protocol number for this letter?

    That is important because all Roman Curia documents bear a protocol number, and that number together with the name of the Dicastery can be used years later to reference a certain document and to prove the existance of a certain determination.

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  3. I am sorry but unfortunately it must be fake, a forgery.

    1) It is not signed by anyone
    2) The date is in italian, the content in german
    3) It is full of mistakes
    4) It has no protocol number: you will never see a letter without it from the Vatican
    5) It has a seal, but usually real letters from Ecclesia Dei are not stamped with that!
    7) It is utterly impossible, as you know, that Ecclesia Dei received the request on the 15th of June and, almost immediately, on the 21st could give the answer.

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  4. Anonymous9:57 PM

    So are we to take from this that the God we recieve at Traditional Latin Masses, is different from the God that is recieved in Novus Ordo Masses?
    It must be, since there is papal permission for men to recieve our Lord in their hands in the new Mass, but apparently, not in the "Usus Antiquor"
    Interesting....

    Cruise the Groove.

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  5. Here is Father John Zuhlsdorf's to the concerns raised by Father A.R.:

    1) It is not signed by anyone [That doesn’t mean anything in itself. In my time we sent form letters which were not signed.]

    2) The date is in italian, the content in german [Oh well… that probably means that an Italian put it together.]

    3) It is full of grammar mistakes [See above.]

    4) It has no protocol number: you know that you will never see a letter without it from the Vatican [That is not the case. There are times when letters which are received do not receive Protocols.]

    5) It has a seal, but usually real letters from Ecclesia Dei are not stamped with that! [That is not always the case. And in this case, it was clear that the stamp replace the signature. I am guessing that the personnel were not available but a standing “order” was given to send a form letter when this came in.]

    7) It is utterly impossible, as you know, that Ecclesia Dei received the request on the 15th of June and, almost immediately, on the 21st could give the answer. [It is in no way utterly impossible. I often had responses out in the afternoon when letters came in the morning. It is not utterly impossible to send out a form letter quickly.]

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  6. It must be, since there is papal permission for men to recieve our Lord in their hands in the new Mass, but apparently, not in the "Usus Antiquor. (sic)"

    By that logic, the God we receive at a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy must be different from the God we receive at a traditional Mass of the Roman Rite, and the God we receive at a traditional Mass of the Roman Rite must be different from the God received by Catholics during the first few centuries of the Church.

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  7. Hestor2:14 AM

    I think Fr. A.R, to borrow a quote from Shakespeare, "protesth too much"

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  8. Anonymous2:45 AM

    Jordanes,
    I guess I should have not taken for granted that some folk might not have taken my rhetorical comment with the tongue planted in the proverbial cheek squarely up against a canker sore...

    You are overlooking the "fact" that the two forms of the Roman Rite are the same.
    If, according to this letter and if it be true, communion in the hand in the new form is permissable, and in the older form communion in the hand is not, than we have a disconnect here.
    Lets not dredge up that old liberal nonsense of antiquarianism so roundly condemned by so many ven pontiffs, least of which Pope Ven Pius XII stands out in recent memory.
    The reception of God in the hand has immemorial custom tied to it, and there is much evidence that points to the fact that it extends back to the Apostolic period.

    Cruise el Groovo

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  9. You are overlooking the "fact" that the two forms of the Roman Rite are the same.

    No, they're not, or else the wouldn't be two forms. The Pope has declared that they are juridically two forms of one Rite, but he hasn't said anything so patently false as that the two forms are the same.

    If, according to this letter and if it be true, communion in the hand in the new form is permissable, and in the older form communion in the hand is not, than we have a disconnect here.

    Sure. It's an indication that different rules and customs pertain to the different forms (which means that, at basis, the two forms aren't *really* one Rite, but two -- but the Holy See won't establish that in law for some time).

    Lets not dredge up that old liberal nonsense of antiquarianism so roundly condemned by so many ven pontiffs, least of which Pope Ven Pius XII stands out in recent memory.

    No one is dredging up antiquarianism. I'm only reminding you that how one receives Communion has no bearing on the identity and essence of the God whom one is receiving, since if it did, then the Byzantine Catholics and the Catholics of the ancient Church would not have been receiving the same God that we receive in Communion today.

    The reception of God in the hand has immemorial custom tied to it, and there is much evidence that points to the fact that it extends back to the Apostolic period.

    In fact no, there's not much, if any, evidence that it is an Apostolic custom -- but that's entirely tangential to my point.

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  10. Anonymous7:12 AM

    Why receiving Holy Communion while standing is OK in the Byzantine Rite, and it is wrong in the Roman Rite?

    I heard the answer "because they have stricter fasting regulations and do many prostrations".

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  11. Picard9:02 AM

    Dear Jordanes (By that logic,...),
    as Cruise el Groovo says himself (my rhetorical comment with the tongue planted in the proverbial cheek squarely up against a canker sore...), its only "by that logic..." if you read his sentences by "pure", abstract logic and fail his true intention....

    Obviously he did not mean what you suggested resp. did not use the language in a puristic-logical way but was using rethorical means to get to a very important and interesting point....

    Of course - and again obviously - it is not enough to say "there are different forms" to conclude "there are different Gods". That would be a clear non-sequitur. But do you think Cruise did not notice that or do you really think this was his proper intention (to express such a non-sequitur)? (btw, this itselfe is a rhetorical question....! ;-) ...

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  12. There was no way of knowing that his comment was intentional gibberish (apparently a miserably failed attempt at humor), so I responded as if he seriously meant to utter the ridiculous point he seemed to be making. We now know that he never intended to say anything coherent.

    But do you think Cruise did not notice that or do you really think this was his proper intention (to express such a non-sequitur)? (btw, this itselfe is a rhetorical question....!

    When it comes to people commenting on the internet, it's never safe to assume that they are aware of their uttering silly non sequiturs.

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  13. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Evidence that Communion on the tongue was practiced in the Apostolic Period:
    http://marysanawim.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/holy-communion-in-the-hand-the-true-story/

    C the G

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  14. Having checked your link, I remain unmoved in my opinion that there's not much, if any, evidence that it is an Apostolic custom. The "Judas Iscariot morsel" argument is suggestive but far from conclusive, and the attempt to explain away the well-known testimony of St. Cyril (or Archbishop John) is also not successful. The only argument your link doesn't include is the late and unreliable legend from the Liber Pontificalis that St. Xystus of Rome in the early 100s A.D. decreed that laymen were not to touch the sacred vessels.

    There's no denying that Communion on the tongue is a very ancient custom, however, and a very beneficial one. Communion in the hand should never have been reintroduced and the Holy See should never have permitted it. God willing the Communion in the hand indults will be rescinded in our lifetimes.

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  15. Anonymous4:29 PM

    And again:
    "The Sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom of only the priest who is celebrating the Mass giving Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receiving it from him, is an Apostolic Tradition."

    Cruise

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  16. Anonymous4:32 PM

    "Controversy surrounds the claim that Communion in the hand was practiced in the early Church. There are some that claim that it was practiced up until the sixth century and even cite a passage of St. Cyril to substantiate this assertion. Others maintain that it was never a Catholic custom, but if Communion in the hand was practiced in the early Church, if was instituted by the Arians as a sign of their disbelief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This same school of thought also maintains that the quotation of Saint Cyril is of unsound Arian apocryphal origins. Whatever the case, it is clear that Communion on the tongue is of Apostolic origins (that is, taught by Christ Himself), Communion in the hand was condemned as an abuse at the Synod of Rouen in 650, and the practice of Communion in the Hand is never reflected in the artwork of any period whether it be in the East or West... that is, up until after the Second Vatican Council."

    Cruise.

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  17. "The Sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom of only the priest who is celebrating the Mass giving Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receiving it from him, is an Apostolic Tradition."

    True -- but the Council of Trent never said that the laity receiving Communion on the tongue is an Apostolic Tradition:

    "It has always been the practice in the Church of God in the reception of the Sacrament, that laypersons receive Communion from priests and that the priest-celebrants give Communion to themselves. This practice, coming down lawfully and justly from Apostolic tradition, ought to be retained." (Council of Trent, Sess. 13, chapter 8 (DS 1648).

    While this ranks as unapostolic the practice today of laypersons directly helping themselves to Hosts from the tabernacle or altar or ciborium, and its lesson seems out of harmony with the extensive use of lay ministers whereby they give Communion when the celebrant could just as well give It; yet the description in the text as worded here does not necessarily exclude the possibility of laypersons receiving Our Lord from the priest into their hands, and giving It then to themselves.

    http://www.franciscan-archive.org/apologetica/tongue.html
    Editor.

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  18. There are some that claim that it was practiced up until the sixth century and even cite a passage of St. Cyril to substantiate this assertion.

    I don't know how long Communion in the hand was practiced in the early Church, but it was undoubtedly practiced. The well-known passage from St. Cyril (whom proponents of Communion on the tongue have argued may have really come from St. Cyril's successor) is not the only historical reference to Communion in the hand during the early centuries of the Church. Anyway, even if the passage wasn't from St. Cyril, there is nothing to show that the passage is heretical or motivated by heresy. Whoever wrote it, it is still a historical primary source indicating that Communion in the hand was common and not at all questioned in those days.

    Others maintain that it was never a Catholic custom, but if Communion in the hand was practiced in the early Church, if was instituted by the Arians as a sign of their disbelief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

    There is no historical evidence backing up that hypothesis.

    This same school of thought also maintains that the quotation of Saint Cyril is of unsound Arian apocryphal origins.

    There's nothing Arian about it, even if St. Cyril didn't write it.

    Whatever the case, it is clear that Communion on the tongue is of Apostolic origins (that is, taught by Christ Himself)

    No, that's not clear at all. There is no tradition in the Church that Communion on the tongue is of apostolic origin. Perhaps it is, but that can't be established either through the historical evidence available to us or, more importantly, by reference to the Church's Tradition.

    Communion in the hand was condemned as an abuse at the Synod of Rouen in 650, and the practice of Communion in the Hand is never reflected in the artwork of any period whether it be in the East or West... that is, up until after the Second Vatican Council."

    I presume that is the case. From what I can tell, by the time we have any artwork depicting the reception of Communion, the practice of Communion in the hand had completely died out.

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  19. Anonymous5:23 PM

    "...worded here does not necessarily exclude the possibility of laypersons receiving Our Lord from the priest into their hands, and giving It then to themselves."

    Yes it does, since they would be communicating themselves, which the Council has forbidden as not being off "Apostolic Tradition.

    Cruise.

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  20. Anonymous5:26 PM

    "Communion in the hand" is a misnomer
    To place the Sacred Host in the hand of a person is not to give him Holy Communion. The Sacrament of Holy Communion consists in the eating of the Bread of Life. Rather, what is happening here is that each person who receives the Sacred Host in his hand, is then giving himself Holy Communion. Each person is becoming his own (extraordinary-become-ordinary) minister of Communion. By this means the ministry of priests (and deacons) is becoming obscured or even dissolved."
    Cruise.

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  21. "...worded here does not necessarily exclude the possibility of laypersons receiving Our Lord from the priest into their hands, and giving It then to themselves."

    Yes it does, since they would be communicating themselves, which the Council has forbidden as not being off "Apostolic Tradition.


    You don't know what you're talking about. There is no statement anywhere in the documents of the Council of Trent that says the priest placing Communion on the tongue is an apostolic tradition. A priest placing the Host on the hand is not self-communication. Self-communication is when the communicant picks up the Host with his own hand, not has a priest place it on his palm. Being given the Heavenly Food by the minister is not self-service.

    Words don't change their meaning just to suit your personal opinions. You can call the practice of receiving the Host into the hand from a priest or deacon or unnecessary minister "self-communication" all you want, but it still won't be self-communication.

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