Coronavirus, Communion in the hand, when I was a kid…

As the days go by and the stats on reported cases and deaths bring up a ratio which is consistent in nations which publish health data with accuracy. Sorry, but I don’t trust China. I do trust Italy and these USA.

The mortality rate for reported cases hovers between 4% to 5%. Today for these USA it stands at 4.33%. That is, around midnight between March 9 to 10, there were 26 deaths with 600 cases.

4.33%… What does that mean? It means that as of now, 1 in every 23 people you see on the street will drop dead.

1/23 is a statistic that changes quickly but it hovers around that rate, more or less. But what does it mean in real life?

The one’s who are getting especially sick with this Coronavirus are those who are already health-compromised and stuck with others who are vulnerable. Sorry to profile, but this means geriatric vacations on cruise ships. Do you know anyone elderly that goes on cruises? I know many. Do you see druggies and drug houses every single day? I do, very, very many. All druggies are ultra-super-health-compromised, are frequently visiting drug houses to get drugs and hang out, and are liable already be sharing diseases of all kinds, and – get this – really don’t have much of a conscience about avoiding sharing disease. No really. There are those who, as we know in now many news reports (just as happened with HIV-AIDS), when someone gets such a virus as Coronavirus or AIDS, they purposely go out as predators so as to spread the virus, so as to spread HIV. That’s fallen human nature.


Fr Z has been writing quite a bit about Communion on the hand vs Communion on the tongue in a time of Coronavirus. Here’s his latest: https://wdtprs.com/2020/03/ask-father-what-to-do-when-intransigent-priests-refuse-communion-on-the-tongue/. That’s helpful. Hint: Communion on the tongue is more hygienic, more reverent. The question in that post is about someone who has never received Communion in the hand, is now very elderly, and would be devastated to take Communion in the hand because of an intransigent priest.

I would like to share an analogous event when I was terribly scandalized by a knucklehead priest intent on scandalizing us kids. This is not about sex abuse, but it is quite directly analogous to that as well. This was when I was in second grade attending our parochial school. The Monsignor had our entire class marched over to his rectory, to the little chapel in the rectory. Upon entering I was devastated. I asked what the electric light on the wall was. I was told that this was because the tabernacle was there. Where? I asked. The monsignor pointed to a matchbox sized box unceremoniously stuck to the wall in the corner. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like Jesus wasn’t important, that God wasn’t important. I knelt down. He got real nervous. He had us march around the butcher block altar in the middle of the little room (which also totally scandalized me). I asked if that was really the altar as it wasn’t at all like the high altar over in the church that was then being torn down. Yes, it’s the altar, he said. My heart sank. I was scared. What’s happening? I was extremely aware of the reverence I had for the altar. And he was forcing us to touch it. I asked like three times if I had to touch the altar. He said yes, and was getting quite impatient with me. I was going into full adrenaline mode with everything graying out as I marched around the altar and touched it as did the others. I had hesitated even then at the last second. Just touch it! I was instructed. Sorry to put it this way, but I felt as if I had insulted the Lord, I felt as if I myself has been violated (raped if you will). I was empty. No heart left. My heart had been ripped out of me and stomped on and thrown out. But I did sense – mind you – that the angels had been warning me before this and were angry (so to speak) after this, not angry with me, but with this event, so very, very sad. To be precise, it’s that the very Sacred Mysteries had been stripped from my soul.

Back to Communion in the hand. My anecdote about the altar is an analogy. I would never force anyone to take Communion in the hand. And anyway, Communion on the tongue is more hygienic.

3 Comments

Filed under Angels, Eucharist, Medicine

3 responses to “Coronavirus, Communion in the hand, when I was a kid…

  1. pelerin

    What a sad story about your childhood experience and how wonderful that it did not deter you from becoming a Priest.
    I have seen many Tabernacles plain as plain can be, usually accompanied by ‘Butchers’ block altars’ especially in France. There is one church in Paris which has the most magnificent very large Art Deco mosaic decorated altar incorporating an equally magnificent Tabernacle. However the Blessed Sacrament is housed in a tiny wooden box in a side altar. I could not believe my eyes when I first visited it. At least the main altar has not been destroyed and I hope that one day, in the not too distant future, the Blessed Sacrament will be restored to its rightful place.

  2. Aussie Mum

    Cardinal Pell’s appeal to the High Court gets underway today. Please pray for him.

  3. William Hunter

    Wonderful, Father! As a kid, I was of a similar mind. The difference was, our saintly Monsignor would never have forced us to breach any of the deep reverence taught to us, over in the grade school, by the holy Sisters of Mercy. But that was in the 1940’s.
    V. resp’y,
    litteralis

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