Communion on the tongue is the ‘norm’? ‘No!’
Pope Benedict gives First Holy Communion
But away from Rome and during this year 2010...
She was standing with one hand outstretched as though she were catching a ball. The priest beckoned to her to come closer, and she moved closer with one hand still extended.
I had to pity the priest, as he stood with the precious gold chalice, and bid the girl to kneel and take Communion on the tongue. She shook her head, and murmured ‘no.’ This was a private Tridentine Mass in a London church, and the time of this Mass is not published, so when the girl (she looked like a teenager) wandered in at the time of the Our Father, I’m pretty sure she did not configure that it was Tridentine.
The priest, a little tired, whispered softly, ‘in the Tridentine Mass, the way to receive is on the tongue’. From my position I could see the girl frown and kneel. I was impressed that the priest had affirmed that this was a Tridentine Mass, and had given gentle instruction on how to receive the Host.
In another private Mass, a much older lady who would have been catechised for Holy Communion, pre-1969 I’m sure, knelt devoutly, but still held her hands from from her like she was cupping water.
The priest attempted to give her Communion on the tongue, to which she replied in a slightly discourteous quip, ‘No!’ The priest did not say anything, but for a split second held the Communion in front of her mouth. Conscious of the watchful eye of those of us around her, and that some were staring at her with outraged eyes, she took Communion on the tongue.
Perhaps the old proverb of ‘patience is a virtue, rare in a woman, never in a man’ should be amended to include ‘essential for the priesthood’.