Your Eminence, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Holy Communion on the Tongue
Please would Your Eminence request that all Bishops throughout the world permit Holy Mass to be celebrated in churches in their dioceses in the traditional manner with the Holy Communion being taken directly on the tongue. This would be in accordance with the Instruction Redemptionis Sacrementum no. 92 [Chapter IV Holy Communion; 2. The distribution of the Holy Communion] ‘each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue’, issued by the CDW [Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments] on the 25th March 2004.
There is no valid health reason why taking Holy Communion in one’s hand is any safer during the current global Covid-19 pandemic (though of course some in a congregation may prefer this); indeed this introduces an extra potential virus contamination point. The CMA [Catholic Medical Association] has stated in its article Coronavirus & Celebrating Mass published on the 14th March 2020 that ‘either method should be safe from transmitting the virus from one communicant to another’; in On Communion on the Tongue posted in 2020 by FIAMC [Catholic Physicians Throughout the World], the President of the CMA (Italy) asserted that ‘Communion on the tongue is safer than hand Communion’, with which FIAMC ‘perfectly agreed’; and The Thomistic Institute in its Guidelines on Sacrements and Pastoral Care (pp.10-11) published on the 7th May 2020 stated that ‘we believe that, with the additional precautions listed here, it is possible to distribute on the tongue without unreasonable risk.’
Therefore Holy Mass is unnecessarily not being celebrated properly throughout the world. Communion can be taken directly on the tongue; it is no less safe than in the hand; it is the traditional and wanted way for many Catholics - some believing this to be the sole correct way (see Memoriale Domini: Instruction on the Manner of Distributing Holy Communion issued on the 29th May 1969 by CDW).
Dr Marek Laskiewicz
UK Cabinet Office Covid-19 Expert Database Member
Faculty of Public Health [FPH] Associate Member