“After the consecration of the bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is really, truly, and substantially contained in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the outward appearances of sensible things.”—Council of Trent, Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, Chapter 1
The rise in Catholic disbelief in the Real Presence cannot be attributed to a singular event, but the following were likely contributors: the watering down of the liturgy, loss of sacred music and architecture, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, decades of poor catechesis, and above all, Communion on the hand. After 1969, when Pope Paul VI granted permission for the first countries to begin distributing Communion in the hand, the indult spread throughout the world like wildfire. It became so normalized that priests would sometimes refuse to give Communion to those who wanted to receive on the tongue.
In order to safeguard the rights of the faithful, the Congregation for Divine Worship reaffirmed that “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.” When a certain plague arrived on the scene last year, bishops used canons 223 and 381 to suspend particular rights of the faithful, including this one. Whether or not bishops should be restricting Communion on the tongue is not the question I endeavor to answer today. Rather, my question is this: should Catholics who prefer to receive on the tongue switch to receiving on the hand under the current circumstances?