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Citing swine flu, Canadian bishop bars Communion on tongue, suspends traditional Mass

December 01, 2009

A Canadian bishop has suspended celebration of the traditional Latin Mass by priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), because the priests will not comply with a diocesan directive barring the reception of Communion on the tongue. Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary imposed the policy, ordering the faithful to receive Communion in the hand, in a response to fears of the swine flu.

Reminded that the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship has said that all Catholics have the right to receive Communion on the tongue, Bishop Henry replied: "I am well aware of what the congregation has decided but quite frankly, it is not their call. It is mine." He said that the FSSP would be allowed to resume celebrating Mass in the extraordinary form when medical officials say that the swine-flu threat has receded.


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2009 2:34 AM ET USA

    After the priests finish delivering communion on the tongue, just go use the antibacterial solution for hand use. What's the big deal? I cannot believe some of the situations I read about. What is happening to the brains of the world? Common sense is diminishing severely. Come, Jesus, come....

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 01, 2009 8:06 PM ET USA

    This is nonsense. Our novus ordo parish just put back the both species, which is a far greater risk than the minuscule risk of transmitting anything tongue-finger-tongue. I serve as a minister in both forms and there is literally no problem with administering on the tongue. I did have someone last Sunday try to receive in the hand and when I pointed out that in the EF we distribute only on the tongue, she left without receiving communion. I don't think it had anything to do with hygiene.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 01, 2009 6:54 PM ET USA

    FSSP is not being stiff necked. There is a rite that was codified at Trent, but goes back almost to the beginning. This mass of the saints throughout the ages has been viewed as some kind of threat: and perhaps it is to some. This mass call for receiving on the tongue. The issue is not sacrilege at all: the ordinary rite permits receiving on the hand. The issue is attempting to change the mass of the ages now that it is permitted.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Dec. 01, 2009 3:56 PM ET USA

    Maybe I'm older than the bishop, but as I recall, when we used to kneel to receive on the tongue, fingers never touched tongue or lips. The angle just works out. If you try to stand and receive on the tongue---yuck. But kneeling worked every time. (I do think the FSSP may be a trifle stiff-necked about this. You can also kneel and receive in the hand without committing sacrilege. It seems to me.)