Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper

A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist

Give peace, O Lord, to them that patiently wait for Thee.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Only the Priest Could Distribute Holy Communion

Here's a Catholic Answers post I just tried to reply to:

Re: Communion in the hand

Originally Posted by ANNE 2 View Post
Br. JR, OSF have you seen what is posted on the Vatican web site.
It is closer to Voris's statements than yours.

Further the Holy Father only gives Holy Communion on the Tongue and while kneeling, since 2008 per the Vatican web site.

Yes, indeed St. Thomas Aquinas was the Voris quote about Priests, and that is also on the Vatican web site.
Be careful. Go back to the site. It says

"Saint Thomas Aquinas also refers to the practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. He affirms that touching the Body of the Lord is proper only to the ordained priest."

Then it moves right on without telling the reader that this never became law in the Latin Church and that in fact, it is contrary to current Canon Law in the Latin Church. Canon Law says, as I quoted above, that deacons are also Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We know that the hands of the deacon are not consecrated.

The thread was locked while I was composing my reply, but I suspect the issue will arise again, so I'm saving my comment:

"Then it moves right on without telling the reader that this never became law in the Latin Church"

Are you sure that this was never the law?

Canon 845 of the 1917 code of canon law:

§1. The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is only a priest.

§2. A deacon is an extraordinary [minister], authorized by the local Ordinary or a pastor, granted for grave cause, which in case of legitimate necessity is presumed.

I can't quote earlier canon law, but the Council of Trent (session 13, chapter 8) decreed:

"Now as to the reception of the sacrament, it was always the custom in the Church of God, that laymen should receive the communion from priests; but that priests when celebrating should communicate themselves; which custom, as coming down from an apostolical tradition, ought with justice and reason to be retained."

and the Roman Catechism, referring to that decree, stated:
It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church, that the faithful should receive the Sacrament from the priests, and that the officiating priests should communicate themselves, has been explained by the holy Council of Trent, which has also shown that this practice, as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained, particularly as Christ the Lord has left us an illustrious example thereof, having consecrated His own most sacred body, and given it to the Apostles with His own hands.
followed even more explicitly by:

To safeguard in every possible way the dignity of so august a Sacrament, not only is the power of its administration entrusted exclusively to priests, but the Church has also prohibited by law any but consecrated persons, unless some case of great necessity intervene, to dare handle or touch the sacred vessels, the linen, or other instruments necessary to its completion.

Priests themselves and the rest of the faithful may hence understand how great should be the piety and holiness of those who approach to consecrate, administer or receive the Eucharist.

Happy Easter to anyone who visits this blog.

"Christ is risen indeed!"

"And hath appeared unto Simon!" [Luke 24:34]




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