Our Lady of the Rosary
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Communion in the Hand?
Moral Issues of the Great Depression
COMMUNION IN THE HAND?
Question: Why do you insist that people
receive Holy Communion only by having It placed on their tongues? Surely
It was handed to communicants in the early centuries of the Church. And it
seems so unsanitary to have the priest put his fingers in everyone’s mouth!
How about the Eastern Rites wherein people receive from the chalice?
Answer: I just received this from Our Lady of
the Rosary Library, written some time ago by the renowned Catholic philosopher
Dietrich von Hildebrand. It doesn’t mention the (non)-issue of sanitary
practice, for there isn’t one. Properly instructed Catholics open their
mouths wide enough and extend their tongues so the priest can place the Host
without ever touching any part of the mouth. (The only exception I have
ever experienced was when a Modernist, disgruntled by my refusal to place the
Host in his hands, bit me!)
The eastern Catholic practice is to administer Communion
under both forms by dipping an oblong Host into the Precious Blood at one end
(or a cube shaped Host taken out of the Precious Blood on a golden spoon, and
dropping It into the communicant’s open and upturned mouth. Again, no
contact is made with the mouth, nor with the spoon, nor with the fingers.
Read what von Hildebrand had to say:
COMMUNION IN THE
HAND SHOULD BE REJECTED
Hildebrand, called by Pope Pius XII "the 20th Century Doctor of the
Church," was one of the world's most eminent Catholic philosophers.
Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) wrote about Dietrich von Hildebrand in the
year 2000: "I am firmly convinced that, when at some time in the future,
the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the 20th century is written,
the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of
our time." The following
article by Dietrich von Hildebrand, entitled "Communion in the hand should
be rejected," was published November 8, 1973:
There can be no
doubt that Communion in the hand is an expression of the trend towards
desacralization in the Church in general and irreverence in approaching the
Eucharist in particular. The ineffable mystery of the bodily presence of Christ
in the consecrated host calls for a deeply reverent attitude. (To take the Body
of Christ in our unanointed hands -- just as if it were a mere piece of bread is
something in itself deeply irreverent and detrimental for our faith.)
Dealing with this unfathomable mystery as if we were merely dealing with nothing
but another piece of bread, something we naturally do every day with mere bread,
makes the act of faith in the real bodily presence of Christ more difficult.
Such behavior toward the consecrated host slowly corrodes our faith in the
bodily presence and fosters the idea that it is only a symbol of Christ. To
claim that taking the bread in our hands increases the sense of the reality of
the bread is an absurd argument. The reality of the bread is not what matters --
that is also visible for any atheist. But the fact that the host is in reality
the Body of Christ -- the fact that transubstantiation has taken place -- this
is the theme which must be stressed.
for Communion in the hand based upon the fact that this practice can be found
among the early Christians is not really valid. They overlook the dangers and
the inadequacy of re-introducing the practice today. Pope Pius XII spoke in very
clear and unmistakable terms against the idea that one could re-introduce today
customs from the times of the catacombs. Certainly we should try to renew in the
souls of Catholics today the spirit, fervor, and heroic devotion found in the
faith of the early Christians and the many martyrs from among their ranks. But
simply adopting their customs is something else again; customs can assume a
completely new function today, and we cannot and should not simply try to
In the days
of the catacombs the danger of desacralization and irreverence which threatens
today was not present. The contrast between the saeculum and the holy
Church was constantly in the minds of Christians. Thus a custom which was not
danger in those times can constitute a grave pastoral danger in our day.
Consider how St.
Francis regarded the extraordinary dignity of the priest which consists exactly
in the fact that he is allowed to touch the Body of Christ with his anointed
hands. St. Francis said: "If I were to meet at the same time a saint from
heaven and a poor priest, I would first show my respect to the priest and
quickly kiss his hand, and then I would say: 'O wait, St. Lawrence, for the
hands of this man touch the Word of Life and possess a good far surpasses
everything that is human.'"
Someone may say:
but did not St. Tarcisius distribute Communion though he was no priest? Surely
no one was scandalized because he touched the consecrated host with his hands.
And in an emergency, a layman is today allowed to give Communion to others.
But this exception
for emergency cases is not something which implies a lack of respect for the
holy Body of Christ. It is a privilege justified by emergency -- which should be
accepted with trembling heart (and should remain a privilege, reserved only for
practice of the Church and the 1917 Code of Canon Law: Specifically, Canon 845.
§ l which states that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is ONLY the
priest. Canon 845, § 2 states that the extraordinary minister is only the
deacon. The sacramental theology book, The Administration of the Sacraments
(1963 edition) by Nicholas Halligan, O.P., explains: "It is a certain
teaching that the priest alone is the ordinary minister of Holy Communion."
(Nicholas Halligan, O.P., The Administration of the Sacraments, 1963, p. 107,
Imprimatur: Cardinal Spellman)
pastor has the exclusive right to bring Viaticum both publicly and privately to
the sick in his parish, even to those not his parishioners." (p. 108)
ordination a deacon is the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion but only
with permission of the local Ordinary or of the pastor granted by either for a
serious reason, but this permission may be presumed in case of need. Apart from
necessity a deacon would not be justified in acting without permission."
deacon in administering Holy Communion observes the ceremonies as prescribed for
the priest.... Unlike inferior clerics the deacon, although sinning gravely
[Note: if the deacon distributes Communion without permission of the pastor or
without grave reason], does not incur an irregularity if he acts without
permission." (p. 108)]
there is a great difference between this case of touching the consecrated host
with our unanointed hands and that of taking Communion in the hand as a matter
of course -- on all occasions. To be allowed to touch the consecrated host with
unanointed hands is in no way presented to the faithful as an awe-inspiring
privilege. It becomes the normal form of receiving Communion. And this fosters
an irreverent attitude and thus corrodes faith in the real bodily presence of
It is taken for
granted that everyone receives the consecrated host in his hand. The layman to
whom the great privilege is granted for special reasons has to touch the host,
of course. But there is no reason for receiving Communion in the hand; only an
immanent spirit of paltry familiarity with Our Lord.
incomprehensible why some insist on a way of receiving Communion which opens the
door to all sorts of accidental and even intentional abuses.
First, there is a
much greater possibility that some particles of the consecrated host may fall.
In former times the priest watched with great care whether or not some particles
of the host fell, in which case he would immediately take greatest care that the
sacred particles would be reverently picked up and consumed by himself. And now
without any apparent reason, many want to expose the consecrated host to this
danger in a much greater degree than before -- this at a time when the host is
made more and more to resemble bread and to crumble more easily.
Second, and this
is an incomparably worse problem, the danger exists that a communicant, instead
of putting the consecrated host into his mouth, will place it in his pocket or
otherwise conceal and not consume it. This unfortunately has happened in these
days of revived Satanism. Consecrated hosts are known to have been sold for
blasphemous uses. In London, the price is said to be 30 pounds for one, which
reminds us of the 30 pieces of silver for which Judas sold the Body of Our Lord.
Is it believable
that instead of applying the most scrupulous care to protect the most sacred
consecrated host, which is truly the Body of Christ, the God-man, from all such
possible abuses, there are those who wish to expose it to this possibility? Have
we forgotten the existence of the devil "who wanders about seeking whom he
may devour"? Is his work in the world and in the Church not all too visible
today? What entitles us to assume that abuses of the consecrated host will not
The greater our
respect, and the greater our love, the greater our realization of the ineffable
holiness of the Eucharist -- the greater will be our horror of its being abused;
and our eagerness to protect it from all possible blasphemous abuses.
Why -- for God's
sake -- should Communion in the hand be introduced into our churches when it is
evidently detrimental from a pastoral viewpoint, when it certainly does not
increase our reverence, and when it exposes the Eucharist to the most terrible
diabolical abuses? There are really no serious arguments for Communion in the
hand. But there are the most gravely serious kinds of arguments against it.
Our Lady of the
Rosary Library "Pray and work for souls" http://olrl.org
Question: Were there moral aspects of the
Great Depression? A lot of people
suffered for well over a decade. Shouldn’t someone be held responsible?
[From last month:]
War I Winds Down ●
As we have seen,
the money supply in the United States during the war years rose about 70
percent, from $20.7‑Billion in 1916 to $35.1‑Billion in 1920.
During the war the War Industries Board organized industrial cartels for the
government planned production of war materials, and the War Finance Corporation
funded “essential” companies that might otherwise have failed.
Whatever else one may think about President Wilson, he did understand the need
to abolish the wartime cartels and return to more or less free enterprise, and
to discontinue the wartime inflation of the currency. To this end, he
appointed David F. Houston as Secretary of the Treasury. Wages and prices
were allowed to seek their own levels and the government cut back on both taxes
and spending—all time honored and historically successful methods for dealing
with a contraction following a boom. Wilson was succeeded by the
Republican administrations of Harding and then Coolidge, who generally followed
the same “laissez‑faire—hands off” policies. The return
to economic normalcy was no more than a mild recession as unproductive
businesses failed, wartime production gave way to normal production, and the
economy adjusted to the new monetary levels—the recession of 1920-21 was
indeed mild by later standards. However, the easy credit arranged through
the Federal Reserve during the 1920s would fuel a major problem at the end of
At the beginning of
WWI, President Wilson designated Herbert Hoover as the United States’ Food
reduced domestic consumption of food by 15% without rationing. For the farmer
there was "fair price" for agricultural products and guaranteed
markets for surplus. The result was that U.S. food shipments tripled. He kept
the American armies fed and was able to build up surplus stores of food to
prevent a post-war famine in Europe.
and surplus markets may have helped the war effort, but they caused farmers to
borrow and invest in land and equipment that would be over-productive after the
war. Decreased agricultural exports led to land foreclosures and a
significant number of failures among the rural single-branch banks.
Hoover remained in
government after the war, both in Wilson’s Democrat administration, then in
the Harding and Coolidge Republican administration as Secretary of Commerce.
Although Harding and Coolidge are remembered as laissez‑faire
Presidents, Hoover was able to expand and thoroughly bureaucratize the Commerce
Department. Hoover was at least partly responsible for the Fed’s easy
credit policy, inflating the money supply and misleading businessmen to make
imprudent investments. He championed labor over business, artificially
increasing wage rates above productivity levels, which led to unemployment.
He sought to cartelize free enterprise, reducing competitive efficiencies and
lower prices. Hoover urged high tariff rates to “protect” domestic industry
from foreign imports.
time at Commerce, the Federal Reserve (under the advice Paul Warburg of Kuhn,
Loeb, and Company, and one of the first board members of the Fed) further
loosened credit by discounting acceptances, and particularly foreign acceptances
at low rates. Acceptances are bank guarantees that a buyer will make good
on his purchase contracts, and the Fed was allowing banks to borrow
inexpensively against acceptances they held. In an attempt to return the
British pound to its pre-war exchange rate, the Fed agreed to further inflation,
engaging in large open market purchases of U.S. government securities in 1922,
1924, and 1927. (The Fed buys US bonds in exchange for “money” which it
creates from nothing in order to make the purchase.)
In November of
1928, Herbert Hoover was elected President. Already it was perceptible
that market speculation, fuelled with easy credit, was out of all proportion to
the value of the companies traded. Under Hoover the Fed tried to keep easy
credit for industry, while urging banks not to loan for market speculation.
This “moral suasion” was largely unsuccessful, for money is money and tends
to get used where its possessors see fit.
In August 1929 the
Fed, at the earlier request of Paul Warburg, belatedly raised the re-discount
rate, tightening credit. Too little too late—the October 24‑29 1929
Black Thursday-Black Tuesday stock market crash began the devastation of the
the crash, the Fed took a wait and see attitude, resigned to let failed
businesses liquidate. But at the beginning of 1930 the Hoover government
requested the Fed to cut the re-discount rate from 4.5 percent to 2 percent in
February. Acceptance rates and call loan rates dropped accordingly.
In June 1930, in
spite of the request of Henry Ford and over 1000 economists to veto it, Hoover
enacted the Smoot-Hawley tariff to keep foreign goods out of US markets in order
to find domestic purchasers for the high capacity of production of which US
industry and agriculture had become capable with modern methods. Foreign
retaliation damaged US export industry and relations with foreign governments
U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334
million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from
$2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by
some 66% between 1929 and 1934" (US Department of State)."
As private industry
crashed, Hoover sought to maintain employment through public works programs,
both at the federal and state levels—even the Roosevelt administration would
not outspend Hoover on public works. But government can only spend money
which it sucks from the private sector, either through taxes or by debasing the
currency. The 1932 the Revenue Act was one of the largest tax increases in
Many wartime excise taxes were revived, sales taxes were imposed on
gasoline, tires, autos, electric energy, malt, toiletries, furs, jewelry, and
other articles; admission and stock transfer taxes were increased; new taxes
were levied on bank checks, bond transfers, telephone, telegraph, and radio
messages; and the personal income tax was raised drastically as follows: the
normal rate was increased from a range of 1½ percent-5 percent, to 4 percent-8
percent; personal exemptions were sharply reduced, and an earned credit of 25
percent eliminated; and surtaxes were raised enormously, from a maximum of 25
percent to 63 percent on the highest incomes. Furthermore, the corporate income
tax was increased from 12 percent to 13¾ percent, and an exemption for small
corporations eliminated; the estate tax was doubled, and the exemption floor
halved; and the gift tax, which had been eliminated, was restored, and graduated
up to 33⅓ percent.
The effect on the
private sector, and the continuation of Hoover style policies by Franklin D.
Roosevelt would continue the depression until the end of World War II, a
decade and a half of government economic mismanagement and public misery.
America's Great Depression, p. 239-240
America's Great Deprtession, p. 287