Why Do Some People Receive Communion on the Tongue?

Q. Why do some people receive communion on the tongue?

A. To avoid profaning the Body and Blood of Jesus. At the present time, Catholics may receive in the hand or on the tongue. It’s always helpful to remember that Communion on the tongue is the universal law and immemorial custom of the Church; Communion in the hand is by way of permission. This permission can be removed; but, Communion on the tongue can’t be forbidden.

Q. How can the Body and Blood of Jesus be profaned by communion in the hand?
A. Several ways.

(1) Worshippers of Satan obtain hosts in the hand and carry them away in order to desecrate them during a Black Mass. Of course this was still done despite communion on the tongue. But it was much easier to catch someone taking Jesus out of their mouth than to catch a person faking consumption after receiving in the hand.

(2) Sometimes, people receive and do not consume (realize they are guilty of mortal sin) but leave the host behind in the pew, hymnal, etc.

(3) But, even more commonly, even after the communicant consumes the host, particles are left upon the hand, unconsumed, and fall upon the ground where they are
trampled. Care should be taken to consume and not profane any particle of the Body and Blood or Jesus.

Also, communion on the hand tends to decrease reverence for this great mystery. On May 7, 2009 Cardinal Caffara of Bologna has removed the permission to receive on the hand in three large churches because of confirmed grave abuses.

Q. When did communion on the tongue begin?

A. Before the time of St. Basil the Great (330-379A.D.) because he indicates that reception of Communion by one’s
own hand was permitted only because of disruption caused by persecution. Then, within 70 years communion on the tongue was again the norm: “One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith.” Pope, St Leo the Great 440 AD


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