A friend of mine said he rather not receive Communion at all than receive with hands. He said, “According to Barnabas of precious blood, our Lord warned against communion in the hands and non priests holding our Lord.” This has led not just him but many Catholics not to receive Communion since the inception of this pandemic. They call reception of communion by hands desecration of the holy Eucharist. What is the Church’s stand on this?


  1. *Holy Communion on the tongue or on the hand?*

    1. Jesus became man in order to be close to us as one of us. People touched him. In fact, sinners touched him. Those who felt they were holy were scandalized that Jesus allowed sinners to touch him. But Jesus told them that only the sick have the need of a doctor. It is the body that was touched by sinners that we still receive. *But the problem is that when religion becomes an institution, some groups tend to remove God from the people!*. Thus, they would always argue, “how can mere human beings touch Jesus in the consecrated Host?!!!” But they soon forgot that Jesus was touched even by public sinners. Even in the history of the Church, at a time so many persons stopped receiving Holy Communion because they felt they were not worthy to receive Jesus in the Eucharist!!! This was so bad that the church made a law that everyone is bound to receive Holy Communion at least once in a year!!!!

    *2. Holy Communion in the hand is older than Holy Communion on the tongue.* The Christians of the early centuries of the Church received Holy Communion on their hands and many of them are saints. Their souls didn’t die instantly as that video shows!!!

    *3. Holy Communion on the tongue started much later:* this could be seen from the people that the video quoted – St Augustine (354 to 430AD) and St Aquinas (1225-1274). *The preacher of Holy Communion on the tongue forgot that St Cyril of Jerusalem (313 to 386 AD) instructed those to be baptised that they place one hand on top of the other in order to make a throne to receive the King.* St Cyril of Jerusalem lived before both Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. *The above citations show that in the early Church, Holy Communion was received both on the tongue and on the palm of the hands.*
    However, as time went on, *there was a preference for reception Holy Communion on the tongue and by 900AD, reception on the tongue had become a universal norm.* This could have been as a result of the fact that the faith in the real presence of Jesus in Eucharist became so clear to the faithful and they wished to give Him reverence by receiving Him on the tongue to distinguish this mode from the mode they eat ordinary bread. Reception of Holy Communion on the tongue could also have become a norm to avoid abuse and desecration of the Sacred Species as there were cases of persons who took the Holy Communion away for some unholy practices.

    *4. The leadership of the Church and reception of Holy Communion:* The Catholic Church (at least from 900AD) has a preference for reception of Holy Communion on the tongue. This is indicated both in the instruction given by Pope St. John Paul II and the General Instructions of the Roman Missal. But the same instruction gave room for reception of Holy Communion also on the hand if the diocesan bishop permits it.
    Also during the pontificate of St John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued an instruction and I quote, “Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognition of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, *special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”* _Redemptionis Sacramentum_ , no. 92. – Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacrament, April 23, 2004.
    St. Pope John Paul II gave Holy Communion on both hand and tongue, he is a saint today. St Mother Theresa received Holy Communion on both hand and tongue and she is a saint today.

    *5. CURRENT SITUATION:* The normal thing is to receive Holy Communion on the tongue but because of the covid-19 pandemic, our bishops have permitted us to receive Holy Communion on the palms of our hands. This is only a temporal measure to control the spread of covid-19 virus. We pray that we return to our normal practice soon. *Obedience is better than sacrifice.* If we can’t trust our popes and bishops, then it would be useless even to ask me a common priest for my opinion!!!
    *NB:* About the distribution of Holy Communion: only priests and deacons are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Rev Sisters, seminarians and other lay persons are not. So the proper thing is that only priests and deacons should distribute Holy Communion. But a situation may arise that there is only one priest and thousands of the faithful, it becomes so difficult for the priest to distribute Holy Communion alone and you wouldn’t wish that the priest collapses while distributing Holy Communion to thousands of the faithful. In this case, the priest may approach the diocesan bishop to permit some people to be helping him. If the bishop gives such permission, then the persons who were given such permission can also help the priest to distribute Holy Communion. *It is help*, so it becomes abnormal when there are few persons present to allow the lay helpers to distribute Holy Communion. They are called *extra ordinary ministers* to indicate that they are needed in extra ordinary circumstances. *In any case, where I live, it has become a norm for the lay ministers to approach the altar to help me to distribute Holy Communion even when I don’t need them.* In order not to embarrass them publicly, I had to tell them privately not to come to help me unless I invite them to help me.

    *6. What constitutes a worthy reception of Holy Communion is that the recipient is in a state of grace and goes to the altar to receive Holy Communion with reverence.* What kills the soul is the reception of Holy Communion when one is not in a state of grace. And even this is also forgivable because God is merciful.
    *Let us, therefore, pursue the most important thing, namely, being in a state of grace while receiving the Eucharist.* Then about the mode of reception and distribution, we follow the guidelines given by our bishops and trust our bishops that they will not lead us astray.

    ▪Fada Ejiofor Asadu

  2. I don’t see any error in receiving the Eucharist by hand, especially in this era of coro. It’s our culture acquired through the catchism that Holy Communion is received on the tongue. What is important is the reverence with which you receive it. We know what the Holy Eucharist is and cannot afford to pay with it in any way. Only ensure that no particle of it is unconsumed and left on your hands. Look at your palm carefully and consume the smallest particle of the Body of Christ using your tongue. That’s all. When coro is defeated as God would lead us to, we will go back to our cultural practice of receiving the Eucharist on tongue. Thanks

  3. One of my fellow lectors at our parish here in Enugu, Mrs Cordelia, was reading with me on the alter, after the reading during communion she didn’t recieve communion with us while I recieved, so I asked her why she didn’t recieve communion, she said that how can she recieve communion with her hands that it was this and that, well I didn’t think much about that, so I Started observing how people in the church recieves communion, I was somehow disappointed with some people who saw it as opportunity to behave and act anyhow, I almost wrote about how Unholy and Ungodly some people have turned it to.

    So after the mass, as I was going home with my presidium Secretary in enugu here we started discussing it, he was like well its not my issue to worry so I went home and what Mrs Cordelia said kept disturbing me in my head, I couldn’t resist it that day I decided not to recieve communion in church again with my hands.
    So days passed it entered into weeks, I read at alter without recieving communion, till one day my presidium secretary met me and was asking me why I don’t receive communion, I tolf him it was after that incendence, he was mad, he told me that the same woman Mrs Cordelia recieves communion everyday in her house because a family priest says Mass for them, she feeds her soul and am denying my own soul food, that it wasn’t my business to care about what or how others recieves communion that I am never wiser than the church or the pope, what matters is maintain a clan hands, and hygiene avoid contaminating your hands or Abusing your hands before Coming to recieve communion, that what matters is recieving communion with reverence, respect and honour.

    Well after that talk it took me two more weeks to fully reconvince myself and also, go for confession,..

    I started receiving communion last week Saturday àbí Friday

    1. Wow. Really great to have a detailed encounter.
      Like you clearly pointed out what matters most is our attitude towards the holy communion and the cleanliness of our hands….

  4. I’m a precious blood devotee and I since this pandemic I can count how many times I’ve received Holy Communion.
    The message was give to Barnabas.
    But let’s come to think of it, we know that Jesus is present even in the tinniest particle of the Holy Communion.
    When we receive Him on our hands there, particles break off and stay on our palm yeah?
    Well majority after picking and placing on the tongue the Communion just stand up and walk back to our seats. What then happens to the particles???
    They fall off, are stepped upon and Desecrated!

    1. Thanks for you contribution.

      Well, from your comment it’s obvious the problem is not receiving with hands but carelessness of the communicant.

      Such person will still be careless even if he/she receives with tongue.

      1. Many people don’t do this on purpose, in fact I’m not sure anyone would do it intentionally.
        I had a talk my spiritual director and I watched a video in which Cardinal Arinze spoke of receiving Communion on the tongue and palm.
        I might get the video and send it via WhatsApp.
        I think if I can remember clearly the order to receive Communion strictly on the palm wasn’t from Pope Francis, he spoke about it but he didn’t say anything like communion must be received on the palm.
        Well I can’t remember everything so I’d look for the video and send it I think its better to watch the video.

        1. My dear your opinion is wonderful. We just pray that this will soon be over so that we can go back receiving communion by mouth again.

          It pains me so much seeing the way handle the Eucharist when it’s placed on their hands by the Eucharistic Minister.

          Many times I feel like do these people actually know what is being offered to them?

          I will not discourage anyone that feels to receive communion by hand but I wish that this should be stopped.

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