Communion on the tongue a health hazard

Catholics who demand Communion on the tongue despite Covid-19 restrictions are selfish, Fr Liam Power from Waterford, Ireland says.

They don’t seem to “respect the danger this represented to others.” They are also a cause of “very serious embarrassment for priests, many of whom are elderly,” he says.

Although the number of people wanting to receive communion on the tongue is “not huge, reports [of people wanting it] were fairly consistent from parishes across the country.” There were also consistent reports that people were “not open to negotiation.”

In a recent example in a Waterford church, Power says:

“One member of the congregation crossed from one section of the church, climbing over a barrier separating the two pods of 50, and then demanded Holy Communion on the tongue.”

The priest refused.

“It was an embarrassing situation as the congregation witnessed this stand-off during a most sacred moment of the service.”

“When challenged afterwards, the person refuted the constitutionality of the Covid-19 regulations, inferring that the right to religious liberty was being undermined.”

Power says a similar incident occurred involving an elderly priest, who also had to refuse the demand for communion on the tongue.

“In neither of these incidents was any concern shown by the protesters for the health and safety of others. Priests and other communicants could have been exposed to Covid infection.,”

Power says he’s aware of some people’s “aggression” and their growth across the Catholic world.

They seem determined “to undermine Vatican II and remove Pope Francis. It’s the first time in my lifetime I ever heard of a campaign to remove a Pope from within the Church. It’s very unsettling for Catholics,” he says.

Attention the Church gives to such ultra-right groups in Ireland and elsewhere is now “reaping a bitter whirlwind,” Power says.

He recalls when the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin attended Eid celebrations in Croke Park last July, “he was met with screaming protestors, his car surrounded and banged on, and people shouting traitor and other abuse.”

Then there was also the recent “torrent of abuse” hurled at a parish priest during protests because of his decision to allow two Muslim community members to say the final blessing and prayer at a Sunday ceremony in the church. The priest’s aim was to show solidarity with frontline workers and to pray for the eradication of Covid-19.

What Power describes as the abusers “toxic politico-religious cocktail” is “symptomatic of what is happening on a more global level, particularly in the USA.”

“Extreme alt-right media groups claiming total fidelity to the Catholic church (such as Church Militant, Lifesite News, Breitbart and the most influential of all Catholic media, EWTN), are unabashedly partisan in their support for extreme right wing politics.”

Where Ireland’s Catholic bishops were concerned, Power thinks “in their attempt to accommodate the alt-right Catholics the hierarchy need to appreciate the political implications of extreme views which, in my opinion, serve to undermine the pontificate of Pope Francis.”

“There must be limits to appeasement.”


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