- 59% of bishops said the laity of their diocese would not accept the new practice.
- 62% of bishops did not want to see the practice begin in their diocese.
- 66% of the bishops didn’t think the practice was worth addressing.
|Pope Paul VI (pictured above) and |
his successors never accepted
Communion in the hand. The pope's
compromise was to tolerate the
illicitly established practice via
indult in the places where it was
already in use while barring its
So how did Communion in the hand come to America?
In 1975 and again in 1976, Joseph Bernardin, the Archbishop of Chicago and president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) attempted in vain to garner two-thirds of the bishops to vote in favor of receiving Communion in the hand. The following year – which coincided with the end of Bernadin’s term as president – brought one final attempt. Bernadin appointed Archbishop Quinn, who became Bernadin immediate successor as NCCB president, to be the chief lobbyist for Communion
Though his request was seconded and supported in writing by five other bishops, Bernadin had the motion dismissed as “out of order”. The bishops then voted... only to once more fall short of the two-thirds majority. This, however, did not end the matter. Bernadin decided to begin gathering “absentee votes” from any bishop he could find – including retired bishops who no longer administered any dioceses. Consequently, the number was adjusted to meet the two-thirds majority so that one of Bernadin’s final acts as NCCB president was to disregard the will of the Holy Father and introduce Communion in the hand to U.S. Catholics.
Through the heavy-handed politcal maneuvering of Cardinal Bernadin, Pope Paul VI’s attempt to create a firewall preventing the spread of Communion in the hand had failed.