Communion in the hand was re-introduced into the Catholic Church as an act of rebellion soon after Vatican II. It began in Holland as an arbitrary act of defiance of legitimate authority. Mandatory liturgical norms were defied and Communion was distributed in some Catholic churches in what had been, since the Reformation, the characteristically Protestant manner. It was an abuse and should have been dealt with by the bishops immediately and effectively. Priests who refused to conform to the law of the Church should have been suspended. Such action was not taken, and the practice spread to Germany, Belgium, and France. In these countries the Bishops also betrayed their office and allowed the abuse to go unchecked. Thus a practice which had already been made unacceptable to Catholics because of its adoption by Protestants to symbolize their rejection of Catholic Eucharistic teaching, was made doubly unacceptable when it became a symbol of the rejection of ecclesiastical authority by Liberal clerics.
The consequences of this rebellion became so serious that the Pope consulted the Bishops of the world, and, after obtaining their opinions, promulgated the Instruction Memoriale Domini, in 1969. This Instruction is included [click link above or refer to contents page of this section (back button below)] and will be referred to from time to time. The principal points contained in it are:
1. The Bishops of the world were overwhelmingly against the innovation.
2. The traditional manner of distributing Holy Communion must be retained.
3. It is a sign of reverence which does not detract from the dignity of the communicant.
4. The innovation could lead to irreverence, profanation, and the adulteration of correct doctrine.
"The Apostolic See strongly urges bishops, priests, people to observe this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgment of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, in the form which the present rite of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church."
error of judgment then followed. It was agreed that wherever the
"has already developed in any place" a two-thirds majority of the
conference could petition the Holy See for permission to legalize the
Quite clearly, the phrase "has already developed" meant by that date,
28, 1969. Countries where the practice had not developed by that date
obviously excluded from the concession-----and
the English-speaking countries come into this category. Liberal priests
in certain countries had found that if they broke the law then the Holy
See would amend the law to conform with their disobedience. Liberals in
other countries presumed that, if they followed suit, the Vatican would
continue to surrender. Their judgment was correct, and not simply as
Communion in the hand. However, there was one important difference in
situation before and after Memoriale Domini. The Bishops who,
May 1969, first tolerated, then approved, and are now trying to impose
the abuse, are acting in explicit defiance of the clear wishes of the
Father-----and yet these same men have the
to cite loyalty to the Pope as an excuse for refusing permission for
celebration of the Mass of St. Pius V! In fact, a clear and consistent
criterion has been applied by the bishops in respecting the wishes of
Pope: where his wishes are ignored in order to destroy the Faith, this
is acceptable; where his wishes are ignored in order to defend the
this is unacceptable.
A booklet entitled Preaching and Teaching About the Eucharist has been written by one Joseph M. Champlin [presumably a cleric, although he doesn't bother to say so]. It is published by the Ave Maria Press and contains potted sermons intended to popularize the deceptions in The Body of Christ at the parish level. This is how Joseph M. Champlin recommends the parish clergy to explain the revival of Communion in the hand to their congregations [p. 15]:
At this moment some readers might object that, perhaps, in popularizing The Body of Christ, Joseph M. Champlin has misrepresented the case as presented in this booklet, which carries the authority of the bishops. On the contrary, Joseph M. Champlin has popularized their text with complete accuracy. At the risk of being repetitive, the parallel passage will be quoted in full, and for a very good reason. The object of this study is to prove to Catholics that they have been deliberately deceived. It would take several volumes to analyze every example in The Body of Christ and similar tracts. But if it is accepted that deceit has been proved conclusively in even one instance, then those readers who have not been completely brainwashed may be able to begin the painful process of overcoming their conditioning.
This is what is stated in The Body of Christ, on pages 15 and 16. [Note that even Joseph M. Champlin's linking of the abuse with the Constitution on the Liturgy is paralleled here.]
Having taken note of the methods adopted in The Body of Christ, it is far from unlikely that Catholics who cite Memoriale Domini to their parish priests or bishops will be told that the Holy Father has changed his mind and now approves of the practice. On the contrary, a clear directive was given in the official publication for the Roman Clergy as recently as 1977 that the abuse of Communion in the hand is strictly forbidden in Rome and throughout Italy.