From Fr Julian Large Cong. Orat.
SIR – I was encouraged to learn from Quentin de la Bédoyère (Charterhouse Chronicle, Nov 4) that one or two bishops at the recent Synod recommended that the practice of administering Communion in the hand should be discontinued.
Giving Communion to the faithful, I am often aware of loose particles from Hosts attaching to my own fingers. Proper use of the Communion Plate and reception of the Host directly on the tongue means that the prospect of these particles falling to the ground is extremely unlikely.
Immediately after Holy Communion, the celebrant’s fingers are meticulously purified, and any remaining fragments of the Host, or drops of the Precious Blood, are consumed. Those of the faithful whose hands have been in contact with the Blessed Sacrament do not have this opportunity. Presumably any particles which remain on their palms or fingers end up in trouser pockets, between the keys of computer keyboards, or sucked up into vacuum cleaners.
On a recent visit to Rome, a Vatican monsignor told me with tearful eyes that he had found two Hosts trodden into the pavement of St Peter’s Square on the day after Pope John Paul II’s funeral. This reminded me of an occasion some years ago when a non-believing university undergraduate produced from his wallet a souvenir from a visit to the Holy City. It was a Host consecrated at a Papal Mass on Maundy Thursday.
A return to Communion on the tongue would prevent this sort of sacrilege occurring.
Yours faithfully, JULIAN LARGE The Oratory, London SW7