Defending the Revolution

In a recent issue, The Wanderer defended Communion-in-the-hand and women attending Holy Mass with their heads uncovered, while attacking Fr. Nicholas Gruner for his objections to these practices. But what else is new? The neo-Catholic establishment has been enabling the post-conciliar revolution for the past forty years.

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Over the years since Vatican II The Wanderer has cultivated an image of fearless opposition to the enemies of traditional Catholicism, even within the Church’s own hierarchy. Of late, however, that image has been crumbling (along with The Wanderer’s support among the more militant element of its readership) as recent events in the Church make it clear that The Wanderer has been far too soft on the post-conciliar revolution and far too hard on traditionalist Catholics who have, from the beginning, conscientiously objected to Vatican-approved "reforms" that any sensible person could see were going to end in disaster. Yes, The Wanderer has published a steady stream of condemnations of local episcopal misconduct and provided endless coverage of local clerical scandals of every imaginable kind. But more and more people are coming to understand that The Wanderer has only been protesting certain excesses of the post-Conciliar Bolsheviks, while explaining away and otherwise defending the overall program of the more "moderately" revolutionary Mensheviks.1

Consider, for example, a recent article by Wanderer editor Alphonse Matt entitled "The Prie-Dieu Proposal." The article offers what Matt calls a "modest proposal" for dealing with the Vatican-approved "adaptation" of the Mass in North America, according to which the American bishops (the Bolshevists) now inform us that kneeling to receive Holy Communion is no longer a licit posture and that standing is the new norm. Noting that the Vatican’s Cardinal Estevez-Medinez (one of the Mensheviks) has approved the new norm while still insisting on the right to kneel for those who "prefer" it, Matt calls on the bishops to find "a way to accommodate those who wish to kneel". Such an accommodation is now necessary since "no doubt those who kneel in a line of standing communicants can be disruptive". (Notice how Matt has already agreed that it is the kneelers who are disruptive.)

Matt seriously proposes the following "remedy": In the few parishes where there is still a communion rail, a separate section of the rail would be set up for those who prefer to kneel. In parishes without communion rails, a small prie-dieu (portable kneeler) would be brought up to the "communion station". The die-hard kneelers would form a separate line in front of the prie-dieu, while everyone else receives the Sacrament standing. So as not to inconvenience the standing majority where only one priest is available to distribute Communion, the kneeling minority would "simply wait for the priest to finish with the standing communicants." After Mass, "the prie-dieu would be returned to its normal position. Problem solved," declares Matt with satisfaction.

Well, actually, problem not solved. For Matt has merely objected to the Bolsheviks’ attempt to ban kneeling by everyone, while accepting the Menshevik principle that standing is now the "norm" in North America but that kneeling should be tolerated as a departure from the norm. That is, Matt consents in principle to the official destruction of a custom — kneeling before the Almighty — that is so integral to Catholic worship that one can hardly be a Catholic without it. Matt and his newspaper are perfectly prepared to live with the ridiculous spectacle of parishes with special lines for people who might still "prefer" to show utmost respect for the Blessed Sacrament by kneeling, while the irreverent majority continues to stand in the Novus Ordo "bread line" to receive the Body of Christ in the hand — just as the Arian heretics of the 4th Century insisted on doing. Matt praises his own "modest proposal" as a "simple and most pastoral solution to what otherwise could become an ugly and divisive situation". But that very proposal would only help to institutionalize an "ugly and divisive situation," further shattering unity of cult in the Roman Rite and allowing the post-conciliar Bolsheviks, yet again, to advance two steps after having retreated only one step under the Menshevik "compromise".

And so it has gone for the past forty years, as the neo-Catholic establishment, led by such organs of opinion as The Wanderer, has retreated before every advance of the post-conciliar revolution in the Church. The Wanderer now accepts even the abomination of altar girls, which it had vigorously opposed until the Pope reversed his own personal teaching against the abuse and approved this scandalous departure from nearly 2,000 years of tradition, thus fulfilling one of the Bolsheviks’ wildest dreams. (Here the Vatican’s Menshevik "compromise" is that altar girls are not mandatory, and that no priest can be forced to accept them. But don’t count on the Vatican to protect the rights of priests who are hounded by their Bolshevik bishops for refusing to allow altar girls.)

In short, The Wanderer now defends a version of Catholicism that the pre-conciliar Popes would have regarded as nothing short of a nightmare, including papal prayer meetings with animal-sacrificing witch-doctors to "pray for peace" in the convent of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was inevitable that the logic of The Wanderer’s chosen position — to defend a moderate Menshevik form of the post-conciliar revolution — would lead it to denounce those who have consistently opposed the revolution in any form. That is, The Wanderer’s position has led it to denounce Roman Catholic traditionalists. For if traditionalists are seen to be right in their opposition to the post-conciliar "reforms" and capitulations, then The Wanderer must be seen — and, indeed, increasingly is seen — to be complicit in what Paul VI rightly called the "auto-demolition" of the Church.

Bashing Father Gruner — Again

It is no wonder, then, that The Wanderer has recently been preoccupied with the views and apostolate of Father Nicholas Gruner, a counter-revolutionary par excellence, whose claim that Russia was not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 is being vindicated by almost daily news reports of the Putin regime’s worsening persecution of the Catholic Church and the continued moral and spiritual collapse of Russian society since the putative consecration of 1984, which mentioned only the world and deliberately omitted any reference to Russia. Nowhere has The Wanderer’s role as an enabler of the post-Conciliar revolution been more evident than in its willingness to follow the party line that (per Cardinal Sodano and his collaborators) it is possible to consecrate Russia without mentioning the place, that the prophetic warnings of Fatima now "belong to the past" and that (per Archbishop Bertone) Catholics must no longer seek Russia’s consecration. With each passing day it becomes more apparent that the current condition of Russia could not possibly represent its conversion, and that The Wanderer has been lending itself to the promotion of a Stalinist sort of Big Lie concerning the Message of Fatima. No one has done more to expose that Big Lie than Father Gruner.

Hence we find in The Wanderer of December 26, 2002 a rather curious item in the "Catholic Replies" column by James Drummey, The Wanderer’s resident apologist for the Menshevik revolutionary program. Drummey takes Father Gruner to task for his statements against, of all things, Communion-in-the-hand and women attending Mass with their heads uncovered. In true Menshevik style, Drummey defends both innovations and attacks Father Gruner for his unacceptable counter-revolutionary activity.

I note, to begin with, that Drummey’s attack on Father Gruner was ostensibly in response to a letter from someone identified only as "a Jesuit priest, Ohio". I realize that the Jesuit order has come down in the world, but I didn’t realize that the Jesuit formation has become so completely inadequate that a Jesuit priest must seek theological advice from The Wanderer’s version of Dear Abby.

Be that as it may, "Jesuit priest, Ohio" professes to be "concerned" that Father Gruner’s statements on Communion-in-the-hand and the liturgical conduct of women "will cause problems and scruples for many who read them". That is, people’s consciences might be troubled by the thought that God is not pleased with Communion-in-the-hand or the recent defiance of Saint Paul’s inspired teaching, observed without deviation for nearly 2,000 years, that women should cover their heads in the holy sanctuary. Well, we can’t have that! Drummey rides to the rescue of the revolution.

The first thing Drummey does is to remind everyone that, after all, we must not listen to anything Father Gruner says, because Father Gruner is, in Soviet parlance, a non-person, which in post-conciliar parlance is called being "suspended". Serious Catholics are well acquainted with accounts of good priests suffering "suspension" over the course of the post-Conciliar revolution, based on little more than suspicion of orthodoxy. Take Father James R. Haley, in the Diocese of Arlington, for example — "suspended" by his bishop for blowing the whistle on clerical corruption the bishop tried to cover up. This is the same bishop who has issued a Bolshevik edict forbidding kneeling at Communion in his diocese.

But Drummey is not about to give up his ace-in-the-hole: "[W]e should recall that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy confirmed on September 12, 2001" — that’s right, the day after 9/11! — "the suspension of Fr. Gruner’s priestly faculties because he had refused to return to the diocese in Italy where he had been incardinated or to incardinate somewhere else." Nonsense. Fr. Gruner not only did not "refuse" to be incardinated "somewhere else," he was incardinated somewhere else — namely, the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. The Archbishop of Hyderabad came to Father Gruner’s aid in order to put an end to the gambit of certain Vatican bureaucrats in blocking Father Gruner’s incardination by benevolent bishops and then declares that he had "refused" to be "incardinated elsewhere". As the Archbishop of Hyderabad put it in his decree of incardination: "Evil forces have conspired to destroy your work of love." Quite so.

Readers of this newspaper [Catholic Family News] know the sorry tale of the relentless hounding of Father Gruner for no other reason than his effectiveness in persuading Catholics of the obvious concerning the Message of Fatima — first and foremost that the Consecration of Russia cannot be accomplished without mentioning Russia, and that ceremonies from which any mention of Russia is deliberately excluded really won’t do. Almost 19 years after the manifestly ineffective consecration of the world in 1984, one wonders why the Vatican apparatus doesn’t just leave poor Father Gruner alone so he can go about his business — with the help of any number of friendly bishops who would gladly incardinate him if "Fatima is finished" the clique in the Vatican would only get off his back. But, incredibly enough, with sexual and doctrinal corruption riddling the Church on every continent, Father Nicholas Gruner is the only priest in the entire Church who has been made the subject of Vatican announcements concerning his "suspension". Given these priorities, is anyone surprised at the state of the Church today?

The Wanderer "St. Paul’s Remarks" Overruled

Having declared Father Gruner a non-person, Drummey then addresses the professed concerns of "Jesuit priest, Ohio" about certain of Father Gruner’s views. I will first consider Drummey’s treatment of Father Gruner’s objection to women having abandoned the 2000-year-old tradition of covering their heads at Mass. No Vatican pronouncement has ever abrogated this tradition. Drummey, however, takes issue with Father Gruner’s statement that "It is a divine injunction contained in Sacred Scripture in two different places commanding that women cover their heads in church or when they attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This command, this precept, cannot be changed, abrogated, canceled, excused by the Pope, the bishop, your parish priest, or your personal confessor because they do not have jurisdiction to change this law." Father Gruner was here referring to the divinely inspired teaching of Saint Paul at 1 Corinthians 11:3-16:

It does not take a Scripture scholar to see that there is vastly more going on here theologically than St. Paul imposing a custom of dress on women in church. It is God Himself who teaches that the veiling of the woman’s head in church is bound up with nothing less than her divinely constituted relation to man, the structure of the family, including wifely subjection to the husband’s authority, and the relation of both man and woman to God in the order of authority. Also involved is the moral prescription, rooted in nature itself — "Doth not even nature itself teach you" — that women must not distract men during divine worship with the beauty of their hair or other alluring physical traits, which, in keeping with the veiling of the head, women ought modestly to conceal in the sanctuary of God. Who can question the divine wisdom of this inspired prescription? And who cannot see the folly of allowing women to dress and carry on as they do at Mass today, when the sanctuary has been invaded by chattering ladies and girls in direct defiance of St. Paul’s teaching and the unbroken 2,000-year-old tradition of the Church? It all began, of course, with the removal of veils from the heads of women.

The teaching of St. Paul, precisely because it comes from him, expresses not only a divinely inspired truth, but an apostolic tradition which cannot be abolished by any Church authority. As St. Paul teaches in response to those who would question the tradition: "But if any man be contentious, we (meaning all the Apostles) have no such custom, nor the Church of God." That is, there is no place in the Church of God for the custom of women appearing at divine worship with uncovered heads. And for well, nigh, twenty centuries the members of the Church always and everywhere adhered to St. Paul’s teaching. Tellingly enough, even during the past 40 years of ceaseless change in the Church, no Church authority, including the Pope, has attempted to abrogate the teaching, even if its violation is now universally tolerated.

But it seems that Mr. Drummey is one of those contentious men who, like the men of Corinth, would argue with St. Paul about the force and effect of this part of Sacred Scripture. According to Drummey: "While there was a provision in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (based on St. Paul’s remarks in 1 Cor. 11:3-16) requiring women to wear a veil or hat to cover their heads in church, there is no such provision in the 1983 Code … Disciplinary regulations can change over time, and the Magisterium of the Church that imposed the rule of head coverings for women in 1917 had the same authority to remove the rule in 1983."

Well, of course this is verbal trickery. As Drummey well knows, the Church did not "impose" a mere "disciplinary regulation" in 1917 only to "remove" it in 1983. Rather, the 1917 Code (the Church’s first formal code of canon law) merely reflects the constant practice of the Church during the previous 1,916 years, during every single one of which women covered their heads in church in obedience to Sacred Scripture and Apostolic tradition. The absence of a specific provision in the 1983 Code does not mean that the teaching of St. Paul has been revoked; nor could it be revoked, since it is the teaching of God Himself.

On this score, notice how in the view of a post-conciliar Menshevik like Drummey, the divinely inspired (but currently unpopular) teaching of St. Paul in Sacred Scripture is reduced to "St. Paul’s remarks". Remarks? As a Catholic who purports to give theological advice to others (including Jesuits from Ohio!), Mr. Drummey ought to know that there are no "remarks" in Sacred Scripture, but only inspired teaching. As Pope Leo taught in Providentissiumus Deus, his landmark encyclical on the inerrancy and correct interpretation of the Bible, "For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost …" God did not dictate "remarks" to St. Paul concerning the veiling of women’s heads in His temple. Rather, He revealed a divine ordinance governing the worship that is owed to Him under divine law — an ordinance which St. Paul, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, linked theologically to the very nature of woman and her divinely constituted relation to man.

Let Drummey produce a single teaching or ruling of Magisterium, at any time in the past 2,000 years, to the effect that Church authorities have the right to overrule the teaching of 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 and abolish the Apostolic tradition it reflects. Hint: Drummey will have to do better than point to the absence of any reference to St. Paul’s teaching in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

The Wanderer Communion-in-the-Hand

When Mother Teresa was asked by Fr. George Rutler, "What do you think is the worst problem in the world today?" she replied without a moment’s hesitation: "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion-in-the-hand."2

When the late Fr. Hardon addressed a Call to Holiness Conference on November 1, 1997 he answered a question from the audience concerning Communion-in-the-hand as follows: "Whatever you can do to stop Communion-in-the-hand will be blessed by God." Fr. Hardon also said: "Behind Communion-in-the-hand — I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can — is a weakening, a conscious, deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence."

Concerning Communion-in-the-hand, Dietrich von Hildebrand, whom Pope Pius XII called a "20th Century doctor of the Church" wrote: "Is it believable that instead of applying the most scrupulous care to protect the most sacred consecrated Host, which is truly the Body of Christ, the God-man, from all such possible abuses, there are those who wish to expose it to this possibility? Have we forgotten the existence of the devil who wanders about ‘seeking whom he may devour’? Is his work in the world and in the Church not all too visible today? What entitles us to assume that abuses to the consecrated Host will not take place?"3

But The Wanderer’s theological advice columnist, Mr. Drummey, has no problem with Communion-in-the-hand. No, being a good Menshevik, what Drummey finds objectionable is Father Gruner’s strong statements against this deplorable innovation of the post-Conciliar revolution. Drummey takes issue with Father Gruner’s statement that "the law of the Church to this day, 2002, is that you must receive Communion on the tongue. That practice goes back to the time of Christ and the Apostles." In response Drummey says that "the Church since 1969 has permitted Communion-in-the-hand, while retaining the custom of placing the Host on the tongue" (my emphasis). Drummey cites the 1969 document of Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Memoriale Domini, in support of his position.

Drummey’s "advice" is nothing but misdirection that will mislead the credulous. Yes, the Church has permitted Communion-in-the-hand since 1969, but the law of the Church, from which this permission is a mere derogation, is still in force. As Memoriale Domini states:

In other words, Father Gruner is absolutely correct. But notice how Drummey attempts to twist Memoriale Domini against Father Gruner by dishonestly suggesting that it teaches merely that the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue is a mere custom which has been retained, when the document specifically states it is a law of the Church which remains in effect and must be obeyed.

There are a few other important facts Drummey conveniently omits from his reply to "Jesuit priest, Ohio". He fails to mention that Memoriale Domini was issued precisely to address widespread disobedience to this law of the Church. As Michael Davies has documented so well, Cardinal Suenens and other European prelates instituted the Protestant practice of Communion-in-the-hand in open defiance of Church law, and then dared the Vatican to do something about it. In Memoriale Domini Paul VI affirmed the law, but then, in Menshevik fashion, compromised with Suenens and the other Bolsheviks by agreeing that in any region where the abuse of Communion-in-the-hand had already been established — the document uses the phrase "has already developed" — a two-thirds majority of the episcopal conference could petition the Holy See to ratify this disobedience by making it legal! Drummey fails to mention that the abuse of Communion-in-the-hand was, therefore, born in outright disobedience to Church law.

Drummey also neglects to mention the infuriating skull-duggery by which the Bolsheviks in the North American hierarchy imposed Communion-in-the-hand after the issuance of Memoriale Domini on May 28, 1969. As of that date the abuse had not been established in America. After the fact, Cardinal Bernardin, then president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) twice failed (in 1975 and 1976) to introduce the abuse. Hence the NCCB could not very well petition to "regularize" the abuse as a practice that pre-existed Memoriale Domini, and the American bishops were consequently bound to follow Paul VI’s command that they continue to adhere to perennial Church law requiring Communion on the tongue. Undeterred, Bernadin and his Bolshevik apparatchiks in the NCCB decided to ignore Memoriale Domini’s requirement of a pre-existing practice and petition for a Vatican indult anyway. In 1977, they contrived a two-thirds majority of the bishops by preventing retired bishops from voting on the matter and then illegally soliciting more votes by mail after the resolution had already failed to pass at the bishops’ meeting of that year. The American Bolsheviks were thus able to induce Vatican Mensheviks to approve the abuse of Communion-in-the-hand even before it had been introduced into this country! Davies notes that the same pattern was replicated in Canada, England and Wales. In each case, the faithful themselves had never asked for this innovation, nor were they ever told that it was being pursued contrary to the will of Paul VI that the constant law of the Church be maintained.4 Drummey continues this very deception.

In Menshevik fashion, Drummey also helpfully perpetuates a Bolshevik myth that has proven very useful to the revolution: "it wasn’t until the 9th or 10th Centuries (sic) that Communion on the tongue was mandated," says Drummey. The historical evidence says otherwise. As Davies notes, in the year 650 — the 7th Century — the Synod of Rouen "condemned Communion-in-the-hand as an abuse, indicating that reception on the tongue must already have been a long-established practice in that region."5 Davies also observes that the Roman Ordo of the 9th Century already "accepts Communion on the tongue as the normal practice," not as a recently imposed rubric. In his dialogue on Romans 3:3, Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) relates that Pope St. Agapito performed a miracle during the Mass, after placing the Body of the Lord into someone’s mouth.6

Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461), in his commentary on the Gospel of St. John, writes: "One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith." He could only have been referring in this 5th Century document to the long-accepted practice for receiving Holy Communion.7 Nor did Saint Thomas Aquinas treat Communion on the tongue as an innovation of the 9th Century when this greatest of the doctors of the Church wrote in the 13th Century that:

Drummey’s studied omission of key facts of Church history does not end there. Even if the myth that Communion-in-the-hand was the norm until "the 9th or 10th Centuries (sic)" were true, there is no question that the Magisterium definitively affirmed Communion on the tongue as the ancient and binding practice of the Church in response to the Protestant rebellion of the 16th Century, in the course of which Communion-in-the-hand was reintroduced by the rebels precisely to undermine the doctrines of transubstantiation and the sacrificial priesthood. Davies points out that the Protestant "Reformer" Martin Bucer demanded that Cranmer remove the rubric of Communion on the tongue from his Book of Common Prayer (Cranmer complied) because, as Bucer declared, "this usage of not putting the Sacraments in the hands of the faithful has been introduced out of a double superstition: firstly, the false honour they wished to show this sacrament, and secondly, the wicked arrogance of priests claiming greater holiness than the people of Christ …" 9

Faced with this heretical attitude, the Council of Trent declared: "Now as to the reception of the Sacrament it has always been the custom of the Church of God for the laity to receive Communion from the priests… this custom proceeding from an apostolic tradition should with reason and justice be retained."10 And more than 500 years later Memoriale Domini explicitly recognized that very early in her history the Church mandated the rubric of Communion on the tongue because protection of due reverence for the Blessed Sacrament demanded it:

Accordingly, Memoriale Domini warned that Communion-in-the-hand involves much more than a mere disciplinary charge; the practice has profound implications for the very integrity of Eucharistic faith in the Church and the supreme reverence owed to the Sacrament: "A change in a matter of such moment, based on a most ancient and venerable tradition, does not merely affect discipline. It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august Sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine." Every one of these dangers has come to pass, as anyone with eyes to see can see. It was precisely these dangers that persuaded the overwhelming majority of the world’s bishops to reject Communion-in-the-hand in 1967, as seen in the results of a survey reported in Memoriale Domini itself, but which Drummey fails to mention. Yet the Bolsheviks obtained their permission, and diabolical sacrileges against the Blessed Sacrament immediately multiplied throughout the world. In 1977, horrified members of the laity ran a full-page ad in the Hartford Courant newspaper (April 27, 1977, p. 16) detailing sacrileges in Europe, reports of which had been collected by an editor in Zurich, Switzerland:

Today, even papal Masses are permeated with sacrilege against Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, thanks to Communion-in-the-hand. Consider this testimony by the renowned Presbyterian convert Gerry Matatics, who attended the papal Mass at "World Youth Day" in 1993:

Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant, offers testimony perhaps even more horrific:

But Drummey, duly performing his Menshevik role, says absolutely nothing in his "advice" about the massive sacrilege this abuse has led to; instead, he quibbles over Father Gruner’s statements opposing the abuse. Thus, Drummey also takes exception to Father Gruner’s statement that

Father Gruner is here referring to the provisions of the addendum to Memoriale Domini, (that appears in the A.A.S.) which states that for the practice of Communion-in-the-hand to be allowed, it "ought it to strengthen [the communicant’s] sense of his dignity as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, of which baptism and the grace of the Eucharist make him a part. He will thus experience an increase of faith in the great reality of the Body and Blood of the Lord which he touches with his hands. His respectful attitude should be proportionate to what he is doing."11 The necessary implication is that if Communion-in-the-hand does not strengthen Eucharistic faith — and it obviously does not — then local permission for the innovation cannot be justified. Indeed, as Memoriale Domini itself warned, the abuse has only decreased faith in the Holy Eucharist. The grave risk of a loss of Eucharistic faith is precisely why Paul VI decreed that there would be no change in universal Church law mandating Communion on the tongue. (That Pope Paul allowed the abuse by way of local exceptions was, one must say, a catastrophic error of prudential judgment.)

According to Drummey, however, the passage from Memoriale Domini quoted above "does not say that Communion-in-the-hand ‘must’ increase the person’s faith in the Real Presence." Drummey interprets this provision to require nothing more than a "respectful attitude" on the part of the communicant who is to receive Communion-in-the-hand. He denies that a priest has any right to judge whether Communion-in-the-hand would not serve to increase faith in the Real Presence and that the universal law of Communion on the tongue should be maintained instead. To make such a judgment, says Drummey, "the priest would have to be a mind reader". Drummey hence concludes that Father Gruner is wrong to maintain that "Communion-in-the-hand is entirely the option of the minister," and he quotes the July 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) to the effect that communicants "receive the Sacrament as they choose, either on the tongue or in the hand, where this is allowed."

But all the GIRM does here is to recognize that no priest may force anyone to receive Communion-in-the-hand, precisely because Communion on the tongue is still the Church’s universal law, which no priest or bishop may abolish. That is, the GIRM prevents abolition of Communion on the tongue; it does not create any right to Communion-in-the-hand, even if this is permitted by way of exception. According to Drummey, however, the communicant, not the priest, has sole authority over this crucial liturgical matter and can dictate Communion-in-the-hand even if the priest believes, and can see with his own two eyes, that the abuse is destroying faith in the Real Presence or causing sacrilege through fallen particles or purloined hosts. This view drastically undermines the divinely ordained role of the priest as custodian of the Holy Eucharist he alone has confected. Indeed, as Pope Paul VI himself taught in Mysterium fidei, his encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, even to cause particles of a Host to be dropped on the floor through negligence is a grave sin. But according to Drummey, the very priest whom God has made an alter Christus — another Christ — can do absolutely nothing to stop the profanation of the Body of Christ by Communion in the hands of lay people.

Now if Drummey’s monstrous opinion were correct, then how would he account for the Pope’s own refusal to give Communion-in-the-hand on a number of occasions? For example, it is widely known that when the wife of the President of France, Madame Giscard d’Estaing, approached the Pope with her hands outstretched at a papal Mass, the Pope ignored her preference and administered Communion on the tongue.12 The same thing happened in Chicago at a papal Mass, when the Pope refused to place the Host in the outstretched hands of Chicago’s mayor. While more recently the Pope has been seen giving Communion-in-the-hand at papal Masses, the fact remains that he has in the past chosen to ignore what Drummey argues is the "right" of the communicant to indulge in this abuse. Furthermore, it is reported that at his private Masses in the Vatican, the Pope allows no one to receive Communion-in-the-hand.

Drummey needs to explain to The Wanderer’s readers why individual priests may not follow the Pope’s example and refuse Communion-in-the-hand where they judge it a danger to the Faith. Is Drummey going to argue that the Pope can disregard a "right" that other priests, according to him, must respect? Or will he admit that whenever the Pope has refused to give Communion-in-the-hand, he has done so to protect the integrity of Eucharistic worship? In which case, how in Heaven’s name could Drummey deny any priest the right to defend that same integrity as a matter of divine law? Amazingly enough, what Paul VI reluctantly allowed as an exception to the law, while warning about its huge potential for sacrilege and damage to the Faith, Drummey now defends as a positive right of the faithful in which no priest, no matter what his conscience tells him, may interfere.

Why does Drummey conceal from the readers of The Wanderer so many crucial facts bearing on this question, as I have shown above? Why does he attack Father Gruner’s accurate claim about the continued efficacy of Church law against the abuse of Communion-in-the-hand and defend a practice adopted by the Arian heretics of the 4th Century, revived by the Protestant heretics of the 16th Century and reborn again in neo-modernist disobedience and trickery in the 20th Century? Why does he go so far as to suggest that the laity even have the right to demand this abuse? He does so because, whether he realizes it or not, he is a Menshevik of the post-conciliar revolution, and The Wanderer is a Menshevik journal.

But Catholics need not follow Mr. Drummey’s "advice" that priests are bound by a Menshevik compromise on the reverence due to God. They can stand with Father Gruner, Father John Hardon, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Mother Teresa, and innumerable other Catholics who have not been afraid to declare that Communion-in-the-hand is an abominable practice, a gateway to sacrilege and loss of faith in the very core of our religion: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They can stand on the entire history of the Church, and even the teaching of Paul VI himself, in believing that the improvident permission Pope Paul granted for this horrible abuse, in a moment of weakness before those who had defied him, was a disastrous mistake that must be undone for the good of souls.


For the Mensheviks of the post-conciliar revolution, Communion-in-the-hand and women without chapel veils are nothing to get excited about. These are just little things, they assure us, and hardly "essential" to the faith. But as the Book of Proverbs teaches: "He who despises little things will fall little by little." The Catholic should understand, if no one else does, that it is precisely the little things that confirm one’s faith in the big things. It is only the small and timeless observances of Catholic tradition that make it possible to enter into her greatest mysteries with anything approaching true appreciation. If those observances are taken away, the faith itself will soon be taken away.

So, what are Catholics to make of a newspaper which, despite the evidence of forty years of ecclesial chaos and deconstruction, persists in defending obviously ruinous innovations a Pope such as St. Pius X would have viewed with horror and punished severely? What is one to think when The Wanderer’s advice columnist, in the midst of the worst clerical crisis in Church history, pounces on a chaste and faithful Catholic priest because he dares to speak the simple truth that no authority on earth, no matter how high, has the right to impose Communion-in-the-hand on the holy priesthood or to dismiss as mere "remarks" the divinely inspired teaching of Saint Paul on womanly comportment in the House of God? One can only say that for all its complaints about the excesses of the post-Conciliar Bolsheviks, The Wanderer’s reliable Menshevism has served the revolution well.


1. The Mensheviks were the moderate wing of the Russian revolutionary movement of 1905-1917. Led by Julius Martov, the Mensheviks settled for certain concessions from the government of Nicholas II following the Revolution of 1905, and were opposed to the complete overthrow of the social order in the October Revolution of 1917, led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks were also opposed to Bolshevik persecution of liberal newspapers, the nobility, and the moderate Socialist Revolutionaries. The Mensheviks were eventually outlawed and purged by the Bolsheviks.

2. Sermon on Good Friday, 1989, at St. Agnes Church in Manhattan.

3. Article "Communion In The Hand Should Be Rejected". See footnote 11.

4. Michael Davies, Chapter XXII on Communion in the Hand.Pope Paul’s New Mass4. See

5. p. 454.Pope Paul’s New Mass5. Davies,

6. As related in "Communion in the Hand: Self-Communicating?" at:

7. (Serm. 91.3).

8. Summa Theologica, Volume III, Q. 82, Art. 13.

9. p. 464.ibid9. Davies,

10. Session XIII, chap. 8.

11. 1st Edition, p. 302. The article is on the web at: Priest. It is reproduced in The Fatima Crusader11. For Father Gruner’s complete argument against Communion-in-the-hand, see "Communion in the Hand Should be Rejected" in Issue 28 of

12. March 1997, p. 24.Homiletic and Pastoral Review12.


This article was reprinted with permission from the March 2003 issue of
Catholic Family News — a Roman Catholic monthly published 12 times a year.

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