Kyle asked:

I was in a debate with other Catholics on how to receive the eucharist. Some quoted Thomas Aquinas and a former pope in saying that you should only receive on the tongue.

Patrick Madrid replied:

"... The Church permits ... people to receive Holy Communion, and by that I'm referring to the eucharist bread, to receive Holy Communion in the hand. In the United States this was considered a liturgical abuse from time immemorial. It is not part of the long standing tradition of the Latin right church, although we do see some indications that it was practiced in the very early Church. We do see mentioned for example of the early Christians receiving Holy Communion in the hand ... There was a very long period of time when it was not done, and that was an organic development within the Latin right of the Catholic church to receive the Lord on the tongue only and that as a symbol of respect for who we're receiving ... What gradually became a widespread and a more and more widespread abuse of communion ... eventually because this became so widespread it was determined to allow it ... So once what was considered wrong was permitted. This is a practice or a custom keep in mind. It's not a doctrine. As customs go some things can be relaxed or made more stringent depending on the needs of the Church. It would be something similar to the Church's custom of not eating meat on Friday as a penetential act ... Another example would be the fast before receiving Holy Communion.

My personal opinion is it is preferable to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. This is how I was raised. This is how I raised my children ... I think it can be dangerous for some people if it leads to a lessening of reverence to the Lord and the Holy Eucharist ... It's not that you can injure Jesus or anything like that, but rather there's the danger of particles that would become detached from the host and fall to the floor and be trampled on. Nobody wants that to happen. What a terrible thing that would be."


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Show air date: January 28, 2014

Question appeared in show: 29:20

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