Communion In The Hand (CITH)
by Andrew Brizek
- Through-out the centuries our Fathers have taught us
about our faith and the Blessed Sacrament. Our Fathers
have taught us that the Eucharist is truly the
body-blood-soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.
- St. Thomas Aquinas taught us out of reverence towards the
sacrament that touching and administering the sacrament
belongs only to the priest.
- Our Catholic fathers at home, as well as the teaching
Nuns at school, taught us that it was sacrilegious for
anyone but the priest to touch the sacred host. This was
also taught through-out the centuries by popes, bishops
and priests by their example, especially through the
offering of the Tridentene Mass.
- If this reverence was not to be upheld then the all these
teachings would be reduced to an exercise in
superstition. (See QUESTIONS).
- was not mandated by Vatican II;
- shows contempt for tradition,
- was introduced under false ecumenism,
- allowed to fester due to weakness in authority,
- has led to profound irreverence, disrespect and
indifference toward the Blessed Sacrament.
Indeed upwards of 70% of Catholics do not believe in
the true presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
Where did CITH come from?
- The early Church allowed CITH until it was condemned in
640 at the Synod of Rouen. St. Thomas stated only the
priest should touch the consecrated Host. Rubrics were
developed to ensure adherence to reverence within the
- Any true Catholic renewal would either leave the gestures
of reverence intact, or, enhance or amplify them. But
obliterating them without apology or convincing argument
is not a genuine Catholic renewal. What this represents
is the new paganism, leaving the rubics looking as though
they were groundless superstitious sentimentalism with no
true foundation in reality.
- After Vatican II, some ecumenically minded priests in
Holland started given CITH in a monkey-see monkey-do
imitation of Protestant practice. But the bishops
tolerated this abuse. The practice spread to Germany,
Belgium and France.
- The bishops were indifferent to the abuse, but the laity
were outraged. It was this large number of the faithful
that prompted Pope Paul VI to take action. The pope
polled the bishops of the world on this issue and they
voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice.
Note here the abuse was only limited to a few European
- The Pope responded with the May 29, 1969 instruction
MEMORIALE DOMINI. The document states the overwhelming
response of the bishops against CITH, the method of
tongue must be retained, any innovation could lead to
irreverence and profanation of the Eucharist as well as a
gradual erosion of correct doctrine. The supreme pontiff
judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy
Communion to the faithful should not be changed. The
Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests
and people to zealously observe this law.
- The document also says where this abuse HAD ALREADY
BECOME FIRMLY ESTABLISHED it could be legalized by
two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of the National
Bishops Conference, providing the Holy See confirmed the
Teachings Related to the Blessed Sacrament
The 4th Century
CITH was practiced in the early church, but even then women
needed to cover their hand with a Dominical. St. Cyril warned the
faithful that they must receive the Blessed Sacrament with utmost
reverence and care. He told them "Partake of it, ensuring
that you do not mislay any of it. For if you mislay any you will
clearly suffer a lose, as if it were your only limbs. Tell me, if
somebody gave you gold dust would you not take hold of it with
every possible care ensuring you did not mislay any of it or
sustain any loss. So, will you not be more cautious to ensure not
a crumb falls away from that which is more precious than
The 14th Century
To the question, 'Why should only the Priest touch the
Sacred Host?', St. Thomas answered in his SUMMA THEOLOGICA;
"The dispensing of Christ's body belongs to the priest for
- He consecrates in the person of Christ, but as Christ
consecrated His body at the last supper, so also He gave
It to others to be partaken of by them. Accordingly, as
the consecration of Christ body belongs to the priest --
so does the dispensing belong to the priest.
- The priest is the appointed intermediary between God and
the people, hence does it belong to him to offer the
peoples gift to God, so does it belong to him to deliver
the consecrated gifts to the people.
- Out of reverence for this sacrament, nothing touches it
but what is consecrated. Hence, it is not lawful for
anyone else to touch -- except from necessity, or for
instance if It were to fall upon the ground, or in some
other case of urgency.
The 16th Century
- Martin Luther re-introduces CITH to shown his disbelief
in the true presence in the Eucharist and in Holy Orders.
- The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches
that the first duty of the priest is to offer the
Sacrifice and to administer the Sacraments.
The 20th Century
- Hillaire Belloc, in 1931, warns of the New Paganism;
- The old paganism had a deep respect for
tradition, a deep reverence for its past and its
ancestry, and the pride therein were the very
soul of the old paganism. This is why it built
such a solid foundation for the Catholic Faith
and why it resisted it for so long.
- The new paganism has for its very essence a
contempt for tradition and its ancestry. It
respects perhaps nothing -- least of all does it
respect 'Our Fathers have told us'.
- Vatican II;
- CITH is not mentioned in a single document or
debate of the second Vatican Council. Before the
second Vatican Council there is no historical
record of bishop-priest-laity petitioning anyone
- Paragraph 23 of the document SACROSANCTUM
CONCILIUM (Constitution on the Liturgy), states;
Finally, there must be no innovations
unless the good of the Church genuinely and
certainly requires them.
- Pope Paul VI stated the method of 'receiving
on the tongue' MUST be
- Fr. Edward Scheelabecks, who was a liberal
theologian at the second Vatican Council admitted
that placing deliberate ambiguity in the council
documents was a key strategy of the progressives.
He stated "We have used ambiguous phases
during the council and we know how we'll
interpret them afterwards".
- Post Vatican II;
- January 29th, 1973, an instruction was issued by
the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (SCDW)
that authorized an introduction of EXTRA-ordinary
ministers of the Eucharist. Its title is IMMENSAE
- It authorizes extra-ordinary minister in cases of
genuine necessity. Genuine necessity is defined
- no priest, deacon, or acolyte is
- an otherwise available priest is impeded
because of another obligation,
ill-health, or old age
- the number of faithful wishing to receive
is so great that Mass would be unduly
- Priests are to remember that they are not thereby
excused from the task of distributing the
Eucharist to the faithful who legitimately
request it, and especially from taking it and
giving it to the sick.
- Pope John Paul II, issued a letter -- DOMINICA
CENEA of February 24, 1980 -- he restated the
Churches teaching; "To touch the Sacred
Species and to distribute them with their own
hands is a privilege of the ordained". But
this letter contained no penalty to those who
- On September 21, 1987, a letter was sent from the
Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of
Sacraments to a number of Episcopal Conferences
including the American Bishops. The letters
contents was on the subject of extra-ordinary
ministers. In summary, Rome has received many
complaints of abuses regarding extra-ordinary
ministers. As a result Rome has officially ruled
that when ordinary ministers of the Eucharist are
present, the extra-ordinary minister are not
allowed to distribute the Eucharist to themselves
or anyone else.
Questions to Ponder
- the Synod of Rouen in 650 AD condemn CITH?
- Martin Luther introduce CITH to his Church?
- the rubics safeguard the Eucharist?
- Pope Paul VI state in MEMORIALE DOMINI this method (on
the tongue) must be retained?
- schools teaching first communicants change to only in the
- we kneel to receive?
- we receive only on the tongue?
- only the priest administer the Eucharist?
- the priest turn his back to the tabernacle while offering
- tabernacles move from the center of the alter?
- the black mass required a consecrated Host?
- religious instructions state it was sacrilegious for
anyone but the priest to touch the Eucharist?
- belief in the true presence diminish?
- Eucharistic adoration (holy hours) diminish?
- visits to the Blessed Sacrament diminish?
- the confessional lines virtually disappear?
- the Eucharistic Sacrifice evolve to be more 'Protestantized'?
- the term Extra-ordinary minister change to Eucharistic
- vocations decrease?
- pagans and heretics stop converting?
- orthodoxy become antiquated?