UPDATE: “July 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of young Catholics has joined together to announce that out of reverence to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ they will only receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling.”
~ In my view, this pledge is schismatic. They are pledging not to obey the Pope or the Bishops, if they require Communion on the hand or while standing. It is a promise to disregard the authority of the Church, if the Church speaks or acts contrary to the pledge. It is a grave sin, and those who solicited this pledge also sinned gravely. I pledge to obey the Church on reception of Communion.
Should the faithful receive Communion on the tongue or in the hand?
Should we receive Communion standing or kneeling?
The Church alone has the authority on earth to decide this question of Communion, and She has decided to permit Communion in the hand, while standing. Perhaps Communion on the tongue is generally better. Perhaps Communion while kneeling is also better. There may be theological and practical reasons for this opinion on discipline. I do not object to the opinion that Communion on the tongue, while kneeling, is a preferable discipline. But that is all it is: a particular discipline that may be preferable in general. There is nothing to prevent a discipline which is better in general from being worse in a particular circumstance. And better does not imply that a different discipline is sinful or an expression of false doctrine.
Certain conservatives rejected the authority of Pope Francis. Next they rejected the authority of all the recent Popes, from Pope Pius XII to Francis. Once you exalt yourself to have the role of judging and condemning a Roman Pontiff, what is to prevent you from doing the same to a different Pope? Thirdly they advance to reject the Second Vatican Council. And next, rather predictably, they extended this rejection to other Councils, including Vatican I. Once you exalt yourself above one Ecumenical Council, why not look down upon, judge, and condemn other Ecumenical Councils?
And now, having subjected all things to themselves, having made their enemies, the Popes and Councils, into their footstools, they exalt themselves above Jesus Christ Himself in holy Communion. They treat Communion much the way some liberals (whom they disdain) treat Communion, as if it were merely symbolic. It is symbolic of conservatism. It is symbolic of their (desired) control over the Church and the faithful.
So some conservatives are now announcing that holy Communion must be received kneeling and on the tongue. That’s not what the Church says. The Church has the authority of Jesus Christ, and the Church permits Communion while standing and on the hand. Jesus has decided, through His Church and His Vicars — all the recent Popes and the body of Bishops continuously in agreement — that is it good and holy to receive Communion standing and in the hand.
This arrangement works better than Communion on the tongue during the current pandemic. In my church, this is the discipline: People are seated in groups by family, with separation between them, and wearing masks. They remain in their places. The priest, deacon, and extraordinary ministers of Communion go around the church giving Communion into the hands of those who wish to receive. You keep your mask on until they person who gave you Communion moves on, and then you can push the mask aside and receive the host. This is a good practical discipline for the current circumstance and is in no way offensive to God.
But to put yourself above Christ and to proclaim that no one may receive Christ except in the way that you and your subculture of schismatic conservatives have decided among yourselves is gravely immoral. We are speaking about Christ Himself, not a mere symbol of Christ. The Church has the authority to decide this question, and She has decided to permit Communion in the hand while standing. Those who speak as if they were a Pope or a Council also reject what the Popes and Councils have said — for they wish to have the role of Pope and Council for themselves.
I am not exaggerating. The schismatics who have rejected Pope Francis, the other recent Popes, Vatican II, other Ecumenical Councils, do so because the Popes and Councils made decisions on doctrine and discipline with which they disagreed. They are acting as if they were above the Church, and only God is above the Church. They have deified themselves. And they want other persons to worship them by treating their decisions on doctrine and discipline as if it were divinely-revealed.
Saint Augustine required his monks to eat meat and drink wine on Sundays, so as to teach by example that these things are not evil (as some heretics of that day claimed). Communion on the tongue kneeling may be better, in general, but I will receive on the hand while standing in order to proclaim my faithfulness to the Church and to Christ.
And I notice that some other persons are doing the opposite. They receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue as a way to express their rejection of Church authority. I recall one woman who went to Communion with her Bishop. She kneeled down and held out her tongue. The Bishops instructed her to stand, and to receive in the hand. But she refused. She made a point of opposing the Bishops in front of others, in this way, in order to show everyone that she rejects the authority of her Bishop. Using Christ this way is highly offensive. It is sacrilegious to have a dispute in this manner with Christ in Communion as the pawn in the battle.
If my bishop or pastor requires Communion in the tongue, then that is how I will receive, or if Communion in the hand, likewise. But while there are persons claiming, falsely, that Communion should only be received on the tongue while kneeling, I will speak out against this error. While it may be better, in general, it is gravely immoral to receive in this way as an expression of your rejection of Church authority, or as an expression that you and your chosen subculture are the ones who decide what is and is not correct discipline.
Essentially, for some persons right now, receiving Communion on the tongue is a schismatic devise. It is a way for them to wave a flag saying that they reject the “liberal” Pope and Bishops who shockingly permit Communion in the hand. What would Jesus do? He touched the leper and then subsequently healed him. He could have healed him first. Jesus touched the leper while he was still leprous. Jesus embraced little children. And the Church has decided the question. So Jesus does permit Communion on the hand. And those who reject Jesus’ decision, reject Him.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.