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Catholic World News News Feature

Vatican official suggests reconsidering Communion in the hand February 01, 2008

The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has called for reconsideration of the practice of Communion in the hand.

In the preface to a new Italian-language book on the Eucharist, written by a bishop from Kazakhstan and released in January by the Vatican's official publishing house, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don suggests that the reception of Communion in the hand has contributed to a general sense of "carelessness" about the Eucharist, as well as some flagrant abuses. The archbishop makes his remarks in the preface to Dominus Est, by Bishop Athanasisus Schneider.

The practice of receiving Communion in the hand was not mandated by Vatican II, nor was it introduced in response to calls from the laity, Archbishop Ranjith writes. Instead, he argues, an established practice of piety-- receiving the Eucharist kneeling, on the tongue-- was changed "improperly and hurriedly," and became widespread even before it was formally approved by the Vatican.

In light of a widespread lack of reverence for the Eucharist, the archbishop suggests that it is "high time to review" the policy. While he does not condemn the practice of Communion in the hand, the Vatican official praises Bishop Schneider for arguing in favor of the older practice, saying that it helps to foster a proper sense of reverence and piety.

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