Bishops of England and Wales again permit reception of Communion on the tongue - LifeSite (2023)

Clare Marie Merkowsky and Michael Haynes

LONDON, June 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The new COVID-19 guidelines released by the bishops of England and Wales permit Catholics to start receiving Holy Communion on the tongue again. Until now, the bishops had — contrary to canon law — prohibited the Church’s official practice regarding Holy Communion for more than a year.

Beginning May 17, England and Wales moved into Step 3 of their government’s COVID-19 Response Roadmap. With this in mind, the bishops published a new set of guidelines for Catholics regarding attending Mass and receiving Communion.

The guidelines read, “Communion is recommended to be distributed in the hand, but if people wish to receive on the tongue, then they should wait until the end of the communion line and receive then.”

“Communion on the tongue exposes the minister’s hand to their aerosol and increases the possibility of viral infection,” it continues. “The minister should sanitise their hands after distributing communion on the tongue. Communion on the tongue should not be given in areas with very high spikes in local infections.”

In England and Wales, Communion on the tongue or kneeling has been officially denied to Catholics since June of last year, because of health concerns related to COVID-19.

Even traditional Catholic parishes, which only offer Communion on the tongue, as is prescribed in the form of the rite, were banned from distributing Communion on the tongue to the faithful. Members of the Oratorian congregation in Birmingham were prohibited by Archbishop Bernard Longley from distributing Holy Communion on the tongue.

However, the practice of receiving on the hand, instead of on the tongue, is a formalized act of disobedience to the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church, in the period following the Second Vatican Council.

Renowned scholar Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has declared that “many bishops are abusing their authority” by banning Communion on the tongue. In a lengthy article published in May last year, Kwasniewski collected the statements of the magisterium on the manner of receiving the Eucharist, writing that bishops had no authority to mandate reception in the hand, or forbid reception on the tongue.

Indeed, in the 2004 document Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Catholic Church preserves the Tradition of the Church, teaching that a Catholic “always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.” While the document does allow for the post-Vatican II practice of Communion being received on the hand, it also stipulates that reverence must always be prioritized: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”

(Video) After mystical experience, priest announces Communion only on the tongue and kneeling

Despite this, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments then published a letter on November 13, 2020, confirming and ratifying the decision of a U.S. bishop to only offer Communion on the hand during the coronavirus crisis. This was in direct contradiction to Redemptionis Sacramentum and a 2009 letter from the same congregation, then under Pope Benedict XVI.

That 2009 letter affirmed the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, even during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. It referred back to the text of Redemptionis Sacramentum, re-iterating the constant right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, even in times of danger to the public health.

In addition to the questions of canon law, there have been numerous statements and studies by physicians, arguing that Communion on the tongue is actually safer than Communion in the hand, or at worst equally dangerous.

In Poland, doctors told bishops that receiving Communion on the hand was more dangerous than receiving on the tongue because of increased contact. The doctors also pointed out that reception of the Eucharist kneeling is safer as the communicant is further from the priest’s face.

Twenty-one Austrian doctors wrote a letter last June, appealing to their Bishops’ Conference to lift the ban on Communion on the tongue. “From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral communion has been banned in Austria. We also consider this form of distribution safer than hand communion,” the doctors wrote.

In fact, a recent scientific study published in the Journal of Religion and Health repeated the already well documented fact that reception of Holy Communion on the tongue is safer than in the hand. The author, Sergey Budaev, noted the obvious benefit of kneeling and receiving on the tongue, since the two people are breathing at different heights, instead of directly on each other.

“The assumption that Communion in the hand carries no or little risk is not well grounded and may in fact create a false sense of security potentially provoking more reckless behaviour of both the Minister and the communicant,” he wrote.

In the face of widespread canonically illicit prohibition of receiving Communion on the tongue during COVID times, a French reader of LifeSiteNews used his own strategy to overcome a clerical ban on his right as a Catholic: He issued a canonically-founded appeal to his local bishop, referencing multiple texts from Canon Law and the teaching of the Church, including those already referenced above. His bishop was unable to reject the appeal, given that the man’s appeal was completely grounded in the Church’s legislative texts.

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PRAYER PLEDGE: Join faithful Germans in prayer to STOP homosexual "blessings" and plunge into schism

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In the weeks since the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that theCatholic Church cannot bless homosexual relationships, calling such blessings "illicit," hundreds of German priestshave defied the ban on "homosexual blessings."

Indeed, more than 500 German priests have vowed to violate the Vatican's directive which states that it is "not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex."

(Video) WARNING: ‘Spiritual Poisons’ Stemming from Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality

The fundamental reason for this, of course, is that God, "does not and cannot bless sin."

Very unfortunately, however, many illicit "blessings" have already occurred, as more than 100 locations in Germany (including50 Catholic parishes)participated in a "Love wins, blessing service for lovers" organizedby an openly homosexual German priest.

BUT, there is hope!

Many faithful German Catholics are prayerfully protesting at these renegade parishes, reciting the Holy Rosary and saying other prayers as loving acts of reparation for the illicit "blessings."

Please SIGN and PLEDGE TO PRAYin solidarity with these faithful German Catholics, to STOP these sacrileges. You may say any prayer of your choice!

Of course, these so-called illicit "blessings" are only symptomatic of the head-long plunge of the German Catholic Church into what has been called "massive apostasy," and undeclared "schism."

Observers have suggested that this pernicious deviation fromthe Church's teaching on marriage and on sexual morality by the German Catholic clergy was set in motion by the so-called German Synodal Path - a Church convention run by the German bishops whichdissents from Catholic teaching on celibacy, clerical authority, the ban on female ordination, contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, and gender theory.

And, many attempts have been made in the last year to appeal to Church authorities, both within and outside Germany, to stop the Synodal Path'smanoeuvringagainst the constant teaching of the Magisterium in faith and morals.

Indeed, inthe last ten days, a group of faithful Catholic clergy - including a Cardinal, bishops and priests - have approached the Pope asking him to intervene to stop the Catholic Church in Germany from crossing into declared schism.

Calling on the Pontiff to take action, the faithful group of clergy appeal thus:

"Concerned about this sad situation [the drift of the German Church into schism], we Pastors of the Catholic Church and faithful laity committed to the defense of the Truth of the Faith, ask the Holy Father to take the necessary measures to put an end to these drifts of the German Synodal Path and, if necessary, to apply the appropriate canonical sanctions against the promoters of this tremendous deviation from both doctrine and communion with the Keys of Peter."

Please PLEDGE TO PRAY for the Catholic Church in Germany, that the illicit "homosexual blessings" would cease, and that the Church, there, would swiftly reunite itself to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and Her perennial and immutable teachings on faith and morals.

Thank you!


'Vatican rejects blessings for homosexual couples' -

(Video) Brave Priest Exposes Heretical "Shadow Church," Ready to Die

'Priest: Blessing homosexual couples in Germany is a 'sacrilegious … diabolical act'' -

'Over 500 German priests vow to defy Church’s ban on same-sex couples’ blessings' -

'German bishop involved in Amazon Synod will not suspend priests who bless homosexual couples' -

'Cardinal, bishops, priests ask Pope to stop schism of Catholic Church in Germany' -

'Bishop Schneider: How Catholics in Germany can remain faithful in face of schism' -

**Photo Credit:Sachin Jose / Twitter

(Video) Abp. Viganò reprimands Vatican for closing seminary over Communion on the tongue

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In a July 2020 interview on the John-Henry Westen show, Kwasniewski declared that the current restrictions on receiving on the tongue were nothing more than an abuse of episcopal power. “Many bishops are abusing their authority right now because … they’re supposed to uphold Canon Law, and Canon Law is really clear that the faithful have the right to receive communion on the tongue. That’s it.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has also weighed in on the banning both of Holy Communion and public Masses, saying that such acts are “pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls.”

Schneider suggested that bishops who, in line with government guidelines, have prohibited Communion on the tongue have “reacted more like civil bureaucrats than shepherds. In focusing too exclusively on all the hygienic protective measures, they have lost a supernatural vision and have abandoned the primacy of the eternal good of souls.”

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Can a bishop restrict communion on the tongue? ›

That said, the answer is yes, bishops can restrict the manner of reception of holy Communion temporarily in extraordinary circumstances.

Do I have to receive communion on the tongue? ›

But what has been retained in many parishes is the option of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. It's up to the individual to decide whether to receive the host in the hand or on the tongue, as both are options in the United States.

What is required for the worthy reception of Holy Communion? ›

Thus, to receive Holy Communion, someone must be baptized and living in the state of sanctifying grace. The new document spells this out. The Eucharist expresses our communion with the Lord. Mortal sin, however, breaks that communion.

Why do Catholics receive the Eucharist on the tongue? ›

Communion on the tongue actualizes a more hierarchical understanding of Church and the position of the laity: Receiving the Host on the tongue conveys a sense of “being fed” with heavenly food, Christ's own body, that is offered up by the priest for the salvation of the laity.

Can anyone be denied Communion? ›

The general rule of canon law is that "sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them"; and "any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion".

Why are Protestants not allowed to take Communion in a Catholic church? ›

Because protestant churches deliberately broke the apostolic succession of their ministers, they lost the sacrament of Holy Orders, and their ministers cannot in fact change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.

What is the correct way to receive Communion in the tongue? ›

Make sure to open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out, as it gives the priest a better “landing pad” to place the sacred Host. Close your eyes – looking at the priest and the paten can be distracting and can cause movement that could inadvertently lead to a dropped Host.

What is the best way to receive Communion on the tongue? ›

If receiving the Sacred Host on the tongue, one should fold one's hands. After saying ”Amen” in response to the minister of Holy Communion, the communicant should open the mouth wide and extend the tongue far enough so that the Sacred Host may be placed upon it without danger of falling.

Is it OK to receive Communion by hand? ›

It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The faithful receive Communion kneeling or standing, as established by the episcopal conference.

What are the 3 requirements for receiving Holy Communion? ›

WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR MY CHILD TO RECEIVE FIRST HOLY COMMUNION? At a minimum, your child must: Be baptized in the Catholic Church, or another Christian denomination recognized by the Catholic Church. They must have been baptized with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

What are the two requirements to receive Holy Communion? ›

There are clear guidelines on receiving Holy Communion. Each Communicant should refrain from eating or drinking anything (except for water) for one hour prior to receiving the Eucharist, although exceptions are made for those who are sick and for the elderly. Also, each Communicant must be free of mortal sin.

Is it OK to not receive Communion at Mass? ›

First of all, it means that a Catholic can certainly attend Mass without receiving Communion. (So, contrary to part of your question, yes, it certainly is the Mass, even if one does not receive Communion.)

What is the true purpose of speaking in tongues? ›

The idea of speaking in tongues is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Corinthians:12 as a spiritual gift that a baptized person who has accepted Christ could receive from God and the Holy Spirit. This gift allows a person to speak a foreign language they otherwise have no knowledge of.

What is the Church called that speaks in tongues? ›

She says in modern day, speaking in tongues is a practice popular in the Pentecostal church; one that started in 1905. "It was a badge of honor for Pentecostals to be set apart. They wanted to be different from the majority Christian denominations," she said.

Why do some churches believe in speaking in tongues? ›

REASON ONE: The Word of God teaches that when we are filled with the Holy Ghost, we speak with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance. Speaking in tongues is an initial evidence, or sign, of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Can divorced person receive Communion? ›

May a divorced Catholic receive Holy Communion? Yes. Divorced Catholics in good standing with the Church, who have not remarried or who have remarried following an annulment, may receive the sacraments.

What do you do if you can't receive Communion? ›

“Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.”

What sins prevent you from taking Communion? ›

If we are conscious of mortal sin, then we must receive the Sacrament of Confession. Until we have done so, we must refrain from receiving Communion. Indeed, to receive Communion while conscious of having committed a mortal sin is to receive Communion unworthily—which is another mortal sin.

Why don t Baptists take Communion every Sunday? ›

There's no clear command in Scripture as to how often we're to receive the Lord's Supper and for this reason, many churches have decided not to offer it weekly because they don't want it to become routine or lose its special status.

Can a Lutheran take Communion in a Catholic church? ›

Catholics believe these become the body and blood of Christ; some Protestants, notably Lutherans, say Christ is present in the sacrament. Protestants are currently allowed to receive Catholic communion only in extreme circumstances, such as when they are in danger of death.

Can Catholics take Communion at a Protestant church? ›

No, a Catholic should not receive communion in a Protestant church. Catholics believe that Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is present in the Eucharist during our Communion and that it is not just a mere symbol.

What powers do bishops have? ›

A bishop has the power to make Church laws, be a judge in Church matters and to enforce observance of these laws. These laws generally relate to worship, preaching, administration of the sacraments, safeguarding the faith and morals of the faithful and religious instruction.

Can a deacon give Communion on the tongue? ›

Once implemented, the option to receive Communion either in the hand or on the tongue always remains with the communicant. No priest, deacon, acolyte, or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may refuse a communicant Communion on the tongue.

What are some sins of the tongue? ›

What are some of the destructive sins of the tongue? (Slander, lies, gossip, put downs, criticism, etc.) Consider the power of the media, which seems to thrive on gossip and slander and anything negative.

Do Lutherans receive Communion on the tongue? ›

The host is commonly a thin unleavened wafer, but leavened wafers or bread may also be used. Traditionally, the minister placed the host on the tongue of the communicant, with the communicants not even touching the base of the chalice as they received the Blood of Christ.

Are bishops celibate? ›

Celibacy for religious and monastics (monks and sisters/nuns) and for bishops is upheld by the Catholic Church and the traditions of both Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. Bishops must be unmarried men or widowers; a married man cannot become a bishop.

Who has authority over bishops? ›

In October 2007, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, agreed that the pope has primacy among all bishops of the Church, something which has been universally acknowledged by both churches since the First Council of Constantinople in 381 (when ...

Can a woman be a bishop? ›

Lutheran churches in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany have had female bishops for decades. The first Anglican female bishop, Barbara Harris, was consecrated in the United States in 1989. For the past nine years the leader of US Anglicans has been a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

What is the most forbidden sin? ›

Pride (superbia), also known as hubris (from Ancient Greek ὕβρις) or futility. It is considered the original and worst of the seven deadly sins on almost every list, the most demonic.

What are the 3 sins? ›

That is surely the significance of our Lord's words about “gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). There are three sins that lie behind discontent—pride, rebellion and unbelief. These are the original sins of the devil and his angels.

What does the Bible say against speaking in tongues? ›

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

What church is known for speaking in tongues? ›

She says in modern day, speaking in tongues is a practice popular in the Pentecostal church; one that started in 1905. "It was a badge of honor for Pentecostals to be set apart. They wanted to be different from the majority Christian denominations," she said.

What is the biggest difference between Catholic and Lutheran? ›

Lutherans view Christ as the head of the church and have two formal holy sacraments. The Catholic church believes that good works must go hand in hand with faith in God to bring salvation. Whilst the Bible is still valued, Catholics also believe in the authority of the Pope, as head of the church, to create doctrine.


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