Thursday, July 23, 2020

Communion on the tongue is an ancient practice

My latest on LifeSite.
I was honoured to be included in one of the videos created by LifeSite of people affirming their intention to receive the Holy Eucharist only kneeling and on the tongue. There are many ways of approaching the issue. John Henry Westen has approached it with a piece titled 5 reasons why Catholics should only receive Holy Communion on the tongue; also worth reading on this website is Peter Kwasniewski’s response to the suggestion by Fr Dwight Longenecker that reception on the tongue is somehow indicative of self-righteousness. 
I would like to open up another avenue, a historical one. It is constantly reiterated by the proponents of reception in the hand that this is what the early Christians did. This is often put forward as part of a historical narrative that goes like this. As with many doctrines, the early Church had a very basic and common-sense understanding of the Blessed Sacrament, which was turned into something much more elaborate and extreme by the theology and devotional practices of the Middle Ages, which established the term ‘transubstantiation’ and the practice of Eucharistic reservation and adoration. The Protestants reacted against these extreme ideas with some justification, and Vatican II rowed back from them as well in the interests of getting back to the pure doctrine of the earliest Christians.
While it is true that theological terms became more precise, and devotional practice did develop, it is demonstrably false to suggest that Christian authenticity requires us to repudiate the more developed teaching and practice of the Church. 
Read the whole thing.
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1 comment:

  1. I was disturbed to note on Youtube that the Bishop of Salt Lake City in the USA had refused Holy Communion on the tongue to a man & his young daughter. I wrote to the bishop expressing my concern that such a high ranking clergyman should deny something which Church law mandates. Here in our home diocese (Hexham & Newcastle) we have not had the grace of an EF Mass yet but in our cathedral the Dean (Canon Michael McCoy) is most accommodating simply asking that we join the queue for Holy Communion at the end & he will happily give us Communion on the tongue. In fact so concerned was he that, because we were on a different side from which he was distributing Communion, he actually moved over the enable us to receive on the tongue & from a priest rather than a lay person. We are extremely grateful that our tradition friendly Bishop (Robert Byrne) has resurrected the Cathedral Chapter & has included a traditionalist priest (Michael Brown) within its ranks. It does seem as if we are beginning to see the rising of traditionally minded bishops across England & Wales - Thank God!