The Chairman's blog
A perennial source of debate, and occasionally of conflict, is the way we receive Holy Communion. In this article I would like to examine one of the sources often cited in this debate and place the issue into some historical context.
Up until the time of the Second Vatican Council, lay Catholics received Holy Communion under the species of bread alone, kneeling, and on the tongue. They had done so for many centuries. Reception on the tongue was mandated by a local council, at Rouen, in 878, and St. Thomas Aquinas explains that only the consecrated fingers of a priest should touch the host (Summa Theologiae IIIa, Q82, a3). In the East, leavened bread is consecrated, and soaked in the Precious Blood, and Holy Communion is distributed directly into the mouth with a spoon.