Is It a Sin to Receive the Eucharist in the Hand?

By pintswaquinas February 8, 2024

Among the many liturgical debates that plague our Church is the question of receiving the Eucharist in the hand.

Catholics who lean more traditional say that this practice is less reverent than receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. Radical Traditionalists go even further and say it’s sacrilegious and sinful to do so. But then there are Catholics who regularly receive our Lord in the hand without questioning it.

Let’s get to the bottom of this.

Locals with Matt Fradd Pints with Aquinas

It is NOT a sin to receive the Eucharist in the hand.
This assumes you receive in a state of grace, with reverence and care for the Eucharist so that particles don’t drop on the floor.

The Church has given widespread permission for this practice. Communion in the hand also seems to have been the norm in the East and West during the first few centuries of the Church (though with some differences from our modern practice).

Receiving on the tongue is arguably better.
Yes, someone receiving in the hand could have a more reverent heart than someone receiving on the tongue. But, receiving on the tongue makes it easier for many people to cultivate the right disposition to receive our Lord.

When you receive on the tongue, there is less risk of particles falling on the floor. Also, if you receive on the tongue while kneeling, it is a gesture of adoration.

We handle ordinary bread with our hands and rarely let someone put our food in our mouths. Allowing the priest to place the Eucharist on our tongue highlights that we are consuming something special.

Ultimately, you should focus on your own heart and not judge your neighbor.
It’s wrong to judge anyone who receives on the hand or tongue unless they’re clearly acting in an irreverent manner.

Instead, work on preparing your heart to meet our Lord in Holy Communion, whatever way you choose to receive Him.


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