Bishops Discussing Communion in the Hand

Also Concerned About How the Mass Is Celebrated

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2005 ( The art of celebrating the Eucharist, as well as the reception of Communion in the hand, are topics facing scrutiny by participants in the Synod of Bishops.

The question of Communion in the hand was posed by an Eastern European bishop who said he opposed the practice, and asked that the consecrated host always be administered in the mouth.

Later, the question was addressed by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, who explained the arguments for and against this practice. One argument against was that it allows a person to depart with the consecrated host without consuming it.

Isidro Catela, Spanish reporter of the Synod of Bishops, told journalists of a case where someone kept a host consecrated by Pope John Paul II and offered to sell it through the Internet.

On occasions, hosts have also been used in Satanic rites. Therefore, Cardinal Arinze asked priests to be attentive when administering Communion in the hand.

Finally, the cardinal explained that it is a decision that depends on the bishops’ conferences of each country.

Catela reported that the synodal fathers wish to emphasize the need to celebrate the Mass in a dignified way. Some asked if the seminaries are giving adequate formation in liturgy.

Two synodal fathers, as well as Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said it is desirable that televised Masses be well celebrated, in such a way as to not scandalize the faithful.

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