Is Holy Communion In The Hand A Sin?

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The Church permits Holy Communion in the hand so it is not a sin. However, this does not mean that it is a practice that should be continued. There is a popular misconception that Vatican II permitted Holy Communion in the hand, but nothing could be further from the truth. It became a practice after Vatican II that became so widespread it was near impossible for the Church to get it under control so it allowed it to take place.

With this in mind, we shouldn’t view those who thought Holy Communion in the hand was a good idea with scorn. Holy Communion in the hand was a practice of the early Church for quite some time. The Bishops and theologians must have thought they were doing great by revisiting an ancient practice thinking they were being traditional. There was nobody out to abuse the Eucharist by any means.

However, the early Church changed Holy Communion in the hand to tongue only a few centuries later. They did it for obvious reasons that the Church population was growing bigger. The Church was becoming more and more public that it couldn’t really tell who was part of their community or not. There was no ability to trust the person coming forward for Communion that they would steal it for sacrilegeous reasons.

You see, Jesus broke bread with his disciples and they received in the hand. Some argue that for this reason, there’s no problem receiving in the hand. But what we fail to understand is that Jesus broke bread with his closest friends, not the general public. They were the first priests, and centuries later even when receiving on the hand was not the norm, only priests could hold the Eucharist in their hands.

Furthermore, the early Church communities who practiced this also knew their parish people by name. To this day the Orthodox Church in certain parts of the world won’t give Holy Communion to someone they don’t know. They’ve never quite lost that reverent protection for the Eucharist.

The problem with Holy Communion in the hand is that it’s open to wide abuse by the general public who do not have good intentions. The Eucharist is the pearl in the Gospel not to be cast before the pigs, yet by knowingly knowing these abuses are taking place, the Bishops could be said to be committing a sin. St.Paul says in Romans that “every act done in bad faith is a sin”. To continue a practice while in full knowledge that the Eucharist is being stolen by Satanists the world over, makes those in leadership answerable to the Lord.

Lay people who take our Lord in the hand with good faith, are not committing a sin. It is the leadership who will answer for it not them. However, lay people have duty to guide a Church when it is getting out of hand. By receiving on the hand, in the knowledge that these things are taking place, they must ask themselves that if by doing so, they’re contributing to the problem.

In every case obedience is also important. Although we do not receive in the hand in my house, we do so when asked by the priest, Bishop or the Church. Whether it’s to do with the Covid19 or even simply because that is how he likes us to receive doesn’t matter, we obey for love of Christ. I would like to think that this is the best way to approach the question of whether not it’s sinful to receive on the hand. Don’t be afraid to receive in the hand, yet at the same time ask yourself if you’re contributing to the problem. If you see another person receiving in the hand who has no catechesis on the issue, leave them be.

Always call to mind that God is in control, and that simply complaining isn’t going to change the practice of Holy Communion in the hand. The better part is that you pray for the leadership of the Church to change this practice because Holy Communion the hand is here to stay it seems.

The Church has always suffered from the strict and its polar opposite liberal mindset for centuries. Never before in the history of our Church have these two groups been more problematic to the straight walking Catholic than today. But all this is prophesied, so concern yourself only with yourself.

“Work out your own salvation” says St.Paul and don’t be allowing the frustration of a church out of your control to get to you. Let those who receive in the hand do so with great faith, and let those who receive on the tongue do so in great faith. The practice of Holy Communion in the hand was a bad decision, but it’s one that God himself will correct over time not me or you.

We can only change the world by changing ourselves and focusing on our own behaviour before the Lord.

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