A number of Catholic priests, a bishop, and a lay group are challenging the argument that banning Holy Communion on the tongue in favor of receiving in the hand decreases the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The priests and bishop have pointed out that not only that receiving in the hand constitutes a risk of losing precious fragments of the consecrated host, but also that reception in the hand actually increases the risk of spreading diseases and germs.

Their warning comes as a number of dioceses around the world begin to implement bans on Communion on the tongue.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, however, has argued that “Communion in the mouth is certainly less dangerous and more hygienic compared to Communion in the hand.”

“From a hygienic point of view, the hand carries a huge amount of bacteria. Many pathogens are transmitted through the hands. Whether by shaking other people’s hands or frequently touching objects, such as door handles or handrails and grab bars in public transport, germs can quickly pass from hand to hand; and with these unhygienic hands and fingers people then touch often their nose and mouth. Also, germs can sometimes survive on the surface of the touched objects for days. According to a 2006 study, published in the journal ‘BMC Infectious Diseases’, influenza viruses and similar viruses can persist on inanimate surfaces, such as e.g. door handles or handrails and handles in transport and public buildings for a few days,” he said.

He described any ban on Communion in the mouth as “unfounded compared to the great health risks of Communion in the hand in the time of a pandemic.”

Schneider said nobody can “force” a Catholic to receive the Body of Christ in a way that “constitutes a risk of the loss of the fragments, and a decrease in reverence, as is the way of receiving Communion in the hand.”

He recommended making a Spiritual Communion rather than receiving Communion in a trivial manner.

U.S.-based priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf explained on his popular blog that based on his experience of “nearly three decades of distributing Communion in both ways,” he doesn’t believe that Communion in the hand is safer than Communion on the tongue.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf states: “When distributing Communion directly on the tongue, I rarely, rarely, have any contact with the tongue. When distributing on the hand, there is often, quite often, contact with the communicant’s fingers or palms.”

He said that if the coronavirus situation gets worse, so that there is “truly a great risk of contagion when out and around, A) you don’t have an obligation to fulfill and B) you don’t have to go to Communion to fulfill your obligation. You can make a spiritual Communion, since you are in the state of grace. Father could, in fact, opt not to distribute Communion.”

A number of other priests who frequently distribute Communion both in the hand and on the tongue have echoed Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s observations.

Fr. Ryan Hilderbrand and Fr. Ray Blake have both taken to Twitter to state that they “never” make contact with members of the faithful when giving Communion on the tongue but often do when distributing Communion in the hand.

Full story at LifeSiteNews.