'I want all Catholics to know that receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is their right, and what they can do to regain that right, because it works!'
July 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – “I want all Catholics to know that receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is their right, and what they can do to regain that right, because it works!” A French reader told LifeSite of his personal experience of being refused Communion in his local parish because of COVID-19 guidelines, and of his successful fight, through an official appeal to the bishop, to reclaim the possibility of receiving Our Lord humbly and reverentially, kneeling and on the tongue.
His surname, as well as identifying elements, will be left out of this story, in the interests of peace and discretion: Guillaume is his Christian name, and that is how he shall be called hereafter.
Having obtained the capitulation of the bishop, pure and simple, for the parish he and his wife attend (somewhere in France) Guillaume is now faced with derogatory emails from the priest who officiates there; the couple were even asked to step down from various responsibilities they had been happy to accept in this Novus Ordo parish.
How did Guillaume obtain such success? On the basis of advice given by Fr Reginald-Marie Rivoire of the traditional Dominican community of Saint-Vincent-Ferrier in the Catholic bi-monthly L’Homme nouveau at the beginning of the coronavirus restrictions, Guillaume decided to present a canonically-founded appeal to the local bishop, in which he quoted several texts from Rome that allow local indults for Communion to be given in the hand, but that have repeatedly confirmed that all faithful “always have the right to receive Communion on the tongue by their own choice.”
Fr Reginald-Marie Rivoire is a doctor in Canon law.
The Catholic faithful’s right was made clear by the Redemptionis Sacramentum Instructionof the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments dated March 25, 2004, clarifying Memoriale Domini of 1969 allowing Communion in the hand as an exception that bishops were able to concede as an “indult” in their own diocese.
Five years later, in the context of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, the same Congregation answered a query about Communion on the tongue in the new circumstances by letter on July 24, stating: “This Dicastery observes that its Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (…) clearly stipulates that ‘each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue’ (n. 92), nor is it licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful who are not impeded by law from receiving the Holy Eucharist.”
The same letter concluded with the words: “May you persevere in faith and in love for Our Lord and his Holy Church, and in continued devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Guillaume’s appeal did not end up on the desk of the Congregation for Divine Worship, perhaps because the Church’s laws and instructions are so clear that the bishop considered it would have been useless to resist. That is the lesson he would like to share with so many Catholics facing the same kind of difficulty – not to say persecution – on the part of Church authorities all over the world “because of” COVID-19.
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