Scientists write to Polish bishops. Receiving Communion on tongue is healthier than hand Communion

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Scientists write to Polish bishops. Receiving Communion on tongue is healthier than hand Communion
FOT.:Lukasz Dejnarowicz/Forum

A group of Polish medical scientists wrote an open letter addressed to Polish bishops, priests and to all sisters and brothers in faith. They doubt whether there is a single scientific research supporting the thesis that receiving Communion in the hand is safer from epidemical point of view. Hands can be naturally contaminated with different strings of bacteria and viruses and because of that they can be an important source of infection. Elimination of this factor should be obvious.


“We are deeply concerned by the fact that in recent months many priests have been encouraging the faithful (or even ordering it in their parishes) to receive Communion in the hand as a procedure allegedly more hygienic and supposedly protecting the faithful from SARS-COV-2 infection. We do not know on what basis, especially as it comes to scientific research, this thesis was founded, as well as which medical premises support this thesis. From the medical point of view we do believe that receiving the Holy Communion in the hand cannot be treated as a form safer than receiving Communion on the tongue” – wrote medical scientists.


As they argue, our hands make direct contact with external environment and touch our body, so they should be rather perceived as a potential way of infectious transmission. Scientists emphasize that literature gives rather broad perspective on that matter. Our palms can carry bacterias of Staphylococcus aureus (causing skin infections and food poisonings, among others), Salmonella and Escherichia coli (both causing food poisonings) as well as parasitic microorganisms or viruses.


The authors of the open letter point out that encouraging the faithful or ordering them to receive Communion in the hand should rather be seen as additional endangering factor. “We would like to draw your attention to a very important aspect of anti-epidemic procedures, namely, to reducing ways of infectious transmission by eliminating contexts in which they can potentially occur. Therefore receiving Communion in the hand is something exactly opposite because we add one additional source of potential infection”. Scientists argue that in order to minimize the risk of infection faithful should receive Communion on the tongue but also while kneeling. By that both a priest and a layperson are facing a lessen risk of infection because in this position there is a greater distance between their mouths, noses and eyes. As the scientists sum up, receiving Communion on tongue while kneeling is an epidemically safer way of distributing the Eucharist.


The open letter mentioned was signed by three pathomorfologists conducting scientific research: professor Stanisław Sulkowski, Marek Baltaziak and Maria Elżbieta Sobaniec-Łotowska, as well as by more than sixty other researchers and physicians, among others by professors: Elżbieta Tryniszewska, Ryszard Rutkowski and Wiesław Zarzycki. In not very distant past a very similar open letter was issued by the physicians from Germany who argued that there was no scientific evidence supporting a ban imposed on receiving Communion in a traditional way. The same professional opinion was also expressed by some Austrian doctors. Also professor Filippo Maria Boscia, the President of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Italy, publicly stated few months ago that receiving Communion on the tongue is definitely safer than in the hand.


In October the Peter Skarga Association of Christian Culture initiated an informational campaign entitled “STOP Holy Communion in the Hand!”. The Association argued that this practice diminishes the faith in the Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist and has nothing to do with anti-epidemic precautions. What is more in some parishes people were ordered to receive Communion only in the hand and those who did not agree to that were treated as “irresponsible” or even were disallowed to receive the Body of Christ.



DATA: 2020-10-21 08:53
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