Legitimate Resistance

The deceitful propaganda epitomized by such publications as The Body of Christ in the U.S.A., or The Reception of Holy Communion in the Hand in England, has been reproduced a hundredfold, a thousandfold, in the official Catholic press. A consensus has been established. Communion in the hand is now the mature, adult, Vatican II, People-of-God-on-the-march thing to do. It is a test of our loyalty to the Holy See. Those who oppose it are reactionary, ignorant, not in tune with the "Spirit of Vatican II", anti-social, disobedient to the Holy Father, etc. etc. etc. They must be treated as intemperate extremists simply because they oppose the prevalent fad. This is not a new phenomenon and was commented upon by Cardinal Newman:

"If the multitude of men are ever in the broad way 'that leadeth to destruction', there is no ground for maintaining that, in order to be right in our religious views, we must agree with the many; rather, if such as persons are, their opinions are also, it would seem to be certain that those opinions which are popular will ever be mistaken and dangerous as being popular opinions. Those who serve God faithfully must ever look to be accounted, in their generation, singular, intemperate, and extreme. [Emphasis added] They are not so: they must guard against becoming so; if they are so they are equally wrong as the many, however they may in other respects differ from them; but still it is no proof that they are so, because the many call them so. It is no proof that they are so, because others take it for granted that they are, pass their doctrines over, put their arguments aside without a word,-----treat them gravely, or are vexed about them, or fiercely oppose them. No: there are numberless clouds which flit over the sky, there are numberless gusts which agitate the air to and fro: as many, as violent, as far-spreading, as fleeting, as uncertain, as changing, are the clouds and the gales of human opinion; as suddenly, as impetuously, as fruitlessly, do they assail those whose mind is stayed on God. They come and they go; they have no life in them, nor abidance. They agree together in nothing but in this, in threatening like clouds, and sweeping like gusts of wind. They are the voice of the many; they have the strength of the world, and they are directed against the few. Their argument, the sole argument in their behalf, is their prevalence at the moment; not that they existed yesterday, not that they will exist tomorrow; not that they base themselves on reason, or ancient belief, but that they are merely what every one now takes for granted, or, perhaps, supposes to be in Scripture, and therefore not to be disputed:-----not that they have the most voices through long periods, but that they happen to be the most numerously professed in the passing hour." 31

      Now that the practice of Communion in the hand has been established, the Liberals will not encounter much opposition. While the number who favoured the innovation was minimal, this is irrelevant to the Liberal campaign. Revolutionaries do not need massive support, they simply require minimal opposition. [Emphasis added] The number of Catholics who will put themselves out to combat the abuse will be very small indeed, even among those who oppose it. The tendency among most so-called conservatives is to grumble at each abuse as it arrives and then accept it. [Emphasis added] One thing is certain, priests or laymen who accept this abuse will accept anything. However, those who are prepared to make a stand in defence of the Blessed Sacrament can expect to be assailed by the voice of the many and the strength of the world. But they can take comfort in the fact that they are in good company.

This study will close with a comment by Dietrich von Hildebrand, from a book which every Catholic should buy, read, and re-read frequently. It is far more reassuring to share his views than those of the many who think that to be right is to adopt the opinion which prevails at the moment-----and to hold it only as long as it prevails.
Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote:

"Unfortunately, in many places Communion is distributed in the hand. To what extent is this supposed to be a renewal and a deepening of the reception of Holy Communion? Is the trembling reverence with which we receive this incomprehensible gift perhaps increased by re-receiving it in our unconsecrated hands, rather than from the consecrated hand of the priest?

"It is not difficult to see that the danger of parts of the consecrated Host falling to the ground is incomparably increased, and the danger of desecrating it or indeed of horrible blasphemy is very great. And what in the world is to be gained by all this? The claim that contact with the hand makes the host more real is certainly pure nonsense. For the theme here is not the reality of the matter of the Host, but rather the consciousness, which is only attainable by faith, that the Host in reality has become the Body of Christ. The reverent reception of the Body of Christ on our tongues, from the consecrated hand of the priest, is much more conducive to the strengthening of this consciousness than reception with our own unconsecrated hands. Visus, tactus, glistus in te fallitur, sed auditu solo tuto creditur, says St. Thomas Aquinas in his magnificent hymn Adora te ["Sight, touch, and taste would err about Thee, but through hearing alone are we given certain faith."] 32

31) Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. v, Serom XVII, Many Called, Few Chosen. Also available in Newman Against the Liberals, p. 253 -available from The Remnant at $11.
32) The Devastated Vineyard, pp. 67/8.


Communication from the Vicariate of Rome on the Distribution of Holy Communion: The following communication appeared in the Revista Diocesana di Roma. n. 7-8, 1977, pp. 691-692, published in conformity with the regulations in force in the whole of Italy:
      "This Vicariate receives frequent requests for clarification from priests, nuns, and laity concerning some questions about eucharistic Communion.

       "In particular, they ask:
' "1. If in our diocese they should consider themselves bound by the rule for the distribution of Holy Communion in the traditional manner which has been in force until now, or is there permission for distribution in the hand, such as was granted to some countries which asked for and obtained the appropriate Indult from the Holy See based on the statement in the Instruction Memoriale Domini  of 29 May 1969 (cf AAS 61, pp.544- 547).
      "2. If it is allowed for one receiving Communion to take the consecrated Bread directly with his own hand from the ciborium or the paten, and from the altar the chalice of the Blood of the Lord, as do the celebrant and the competent minister who distribute Communion to the faithful.

"To these questions the Vicariate answers:

"1. As to the giving of Holy Communion in the mouth, it is emphasized that no change has been made in the decision taken by the Italian Episcopal Conference in 1974 to keep the traditional practice (cf. circular letter of the general Secretariate, n. 1197/74, in Liturgia n.189, 1975, pp. 67-68). Therefore in Rome also all priests are bound to keep strictly to the rule, in full conformity with what has been authoritatively determined by the Italian bishops.

      2. As for the practice adopted by some groups of the faithful and some religious communities, of giving themselves Communion directly, we recall that the action accomplished by Christ in the institution of the Eucharist and confirmed by the tradition of the Church is repeated in a more concordant manner when the eucharistic Bread is actually given or distributed to the faithful (cf.M.26:26; Mk.14:22); L.22:19). For this reason the Rite De sacra Communione et de Cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam (cf. Tip. Poliglotta Vaticana, 1973) at n.21, para. iv prescribes: 'Holy Communion should be distributed by the competent minister, who shows and gives to the communicant the particle of consecrated Bread'."

-----From the Palace of the Vicariate
          1 July 1977