CNA Staff, Oct 6, 2020 / 08:00 am
Poland’s bishops said Tuesday that Catholics who opt to receive Holy Communion in the hand during the pandemic “cannot be accused of disrespecting the Eucharist.”
The bishops made the comment Oct. 6 in a statement following their two-day plenary meeting in central Poland.
“The bishops recalled that people who, for various reasons, wished to receive Holy Communion in their hands with faith and veneration, cannot be accused of disrespecting the Eucharist. The Holy See accepts this way of giving the faithful the Lord’s Body as worthy,” the statement said.
The bishops’ intervention came amid protests against Communion in the hand in Poland, where Catholics usually receive Communion on the tongue.
A lay Catholic group, the Fr. Piotr Skarga Association for Christian Culture, launched a campaign Oct. 1 called “Stop Communion in the hand.” The campaign, supported by banners displayed in Polish cities, argues that Communion on the tongue poses less risk of spreading the virus and is more dignified.
The association is also distributing a pamphlet criticizing Communion in the hand, entitled “In this Host is the living God,” a line from a well-known Polish hymn.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, touched on the debate over Communion during the coronavirus crisis in a letter to bishops issued Sept. 3.
While he did not specifically mention Communion in the hand, he affirmed that bishops can give temporary norms during the pandemic, in order to assure safe sacramental ministry.