A press release from the FIUV. PDF version here.

Foederatio Internationalis 

Una Voce

Quae patronum invocat sanctum Gregorium Magnum Papam.

Press Release: Communion on the Tongue and Epidemic

In light of the recent statement (and here) by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, in the United States of America, on social distancing during the reception of Holy Communion, and related issues surrounding the reception of Holy Communion around the world in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic, the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) would like to make the following observations.

  1. In the Ordinary Form, the universal law of the Church gives every Catholic the right to receive on the tongue. This was reaffirmed by the Congregation of Divine Worship in the context of earlier public health concerns, the so-called ‘Swine flu’ epidemic of 2009. (See for exampleRedemptionisSacramentum(2004) 92; Letter of the Congregation of Divine Worship 24th July 2009, Prot. N. 655/09/L.)
  1. In the Extraordinary Form, the universal law of the Church allows for the reception of Holy Communion only on the tongue. (SeeUniversaeEcclesiae(2011) 28; MemorialeDomini (1969).)
  1. In neither case can the law of the Church be set aside by the Ordinary.
  1. The problem of maintaining physical distance between Minister and Communicant during the Reception of Holy Communion applies equally to Reception in the Hand as to Reception on the Tongue. In both cases Minister and Communicant are obliged to come close to each other, if only for a short time, and without touching. It is difficult to see how even the use of an instrument such as a pair of tongs (for which there are historical precedents) would enable Minister and Communicant to maintain a distance of six feet or two meters.
  1. Canon law is rightly very restrictive in the penalties which bishops can impose on their priests for the breach of regulations of their own devising. Bishop Rodi’s attempt to prohibit priests who do not obey his regulations to celebrate public Masses—something which amounts to a partial suspension of a priest—goes beyond what Canon law would appear to justify. (SeeCanons1316-1319).
  1. It has become increasingly evident that there is no clear scientific basis for the claim that Reception on the Tongue is more likely to transmit the Coronavirus than Reception in the Hand. This has been the expert advice given toArchbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon, USA, and toArchbishop José Antonio Eguren, of Piura, Peru, and it is also the view of the experts involved in the guidelines of the Thomistic Institute of Washington, DC, in the USA. If any bishops around the world are in possession of studies or expert opinions in conflict with this growing consensus, it behooves them to make these public as a matter of urgency.
  1. Where local circumstances demand it, the suspension of the Reception of Holy Communion, of the celebration of Masses open to the public, and even the opening of churches for private prayer, have been ordered by bishops and public authorities. These measures are at least even-handed and, insofar as they are justified by genuine public health concerns, do not infringe the rights of the Faithful. As these measures are gradually lifted around the world, we urge bishops to continue to act in accordance with expert advice, not arbitrarily picking out certain priests and faithful for greater restrictions than those imposed on others, and with respect for the rights of the Faithful.

The President and Officers of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, 8th June 2020



The FIUV represents the needs and concerns of the world-wide laity attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition, the Extraordinary Form. It has more than 45 member associations from Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia.

The Federation has a biennial General Assembly in Rome, and publishes a magazine twice a year, Gregorius Magnus.


Website: www.fiuv.org

President, Felipe Alanís Suarez: president@fiuv.org

Secretary, Dr Joseph Shaw: secretary@fiuv.org

Treasurer, Monika Rheinschmitt: treasurer@fiuv.org

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Posted by Joseph Shaw at 5:40 pm




  1. Deo Gratias!
    Thank you FIUV for this clarification of the Canonical significance of an important issue for all Catholics during this time of ecclesiastical restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic Tribulation.
    Besides the seemingly spurious idea that Communion in the hand is “healthier” than “Communion on the Tongue” is the fear of priests and especially of “Lay ministers of the Eucharist” in the Forma Ordinaria Missae (OF Mass) of having their fingers bitten by Communicants receiving Holy Communion when the Eucharist is distributed “On the Tongue”.
    It is imperative, therefore, that ALL people (whether Priest, Religious or Laity) who actually dispense Holy Communion to the Faithful (in the context of BOTH the EF or OF forms of Mass) receive specific training regarding the CORRECT manner to give”Communion on the Tongue” if Canonical expectations are to realised.
    It is to be hoped that FIUV will specifically request that the Holy See gives attention to this matter by issuing specific guidelines to this effect to ensure that appropriate training must ALWAYS be given to all Priests during Seminary formation, as well as to any Religious or Laity whenever authorised to distribute Holy Communion (as is so common nowadays in the OF Mass context).

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