The Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, has prohibited the reception of communion in the hand in three parishes of his archdiocese and has asked priests to be on the watch for those who may be abusing the Eucharist.
The archdiocesan press office released a statement with the new guidelines established by the cardinal. It pointed out that in 1989, “the resolution of the Italian Bishops’ Conference came into effect, authorizing, with the approval of the Holy See, the distribution of Holy Communion in the hand.”
However, the statement noted, recently there have been reports that this privilege has been gravely abused. Consequently, Cardinal Caffarra has decided that at the Cathedral of St. Peter, at the Basilica of St. Petronius and at the Shrine of the Virgin of St. Luke, “communion shall be distributed to the faithful only on the tongue.”
According to a letter by the vicar general of Bologna, Msgr. Gabriele Cavina, “grave abuses” have taken place, as “some have taken the Sacred Species as ‘souvenirs’,” “put it up for sale,” or worse, “have taken it to be profaned in satanic rites.”
The priest explained that numerous cases of profanation of the Eucharist has been by individuals who have taken advantage of the option to receive communion in the hand, especially during large celebrations or at churches attended by large numbers of the faithful. “For this reason, it is best to control the moment of the reception of Holy Communion by following the common norms which are well-known.”
Cardinal Caffarra said that during Mass, ushers should ensure that each person who approaches the altar to receive communion “consumes the host immediately and that no one be allowed to walk away with the Eucharist in their hands or to place it in their pockets.”