Question from Dan Hunter on 3/17/2008:
I have asked this question of the Catholic Answers, section but having waited many weeks for a response, and not recieved one, have decided to ask you, Rev. Father Echert.
Father, why does the Vatican continue to allow the abysmal abuse of the reception of our Sacred Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in the unconsecrated hands of the lay communicant?
It is a well established fact that belief in the real Presence of our Saviour in this greatest Sacrament has diminished drastically since the Holy Father allowed this outright abuse to be made "legitimate", in the 1970's.
I have personally seen communicants pocket the Sacred Species after resuming their pews. I have also seen men leaving the church with the unconsumed Body and Blood, to cause who knows what abuse upon the Body of our Lord.
Again, why does the Holy See continue to allow this most grievous abuse to continue?
Ut Prosim, Dan Hunter
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 3/18/2008:
I can only say that were I not a priest, I would receive Holy Communion only on my tongue, which was my steady practice until the time that I was ordained. I, too, have witnessed abuses and have had to chase after people who took Holy Communion back with them to the pew, without consuming It, either out of some sort of ignorace, or immaturity, or Lord knows for what other purpose. Communion in the hand in the twentieth century started as a disobedient practice and then subsequent to that the Vatican granted some indults for it to be allowed. The Pope may one day put an end to this option and practice, but until then, it remains an option in the modern form of the Mass. I will say that it is not allowed in the Tridentine form of the Mass, so attedance at traditional Masses might be an option for you to consider--if available in your area.