Liturgical Languages

Is it true that some Eastern Catholic parishes use English in their liturgy now? Is this allowed?

In the United States many Eastern Catholic parishes celebrate the Liturgy in English. The Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church, for example, celebrates the Divine Liturgy almost exclusively in English in the U.S. This is because they are very Americanized, and have members from numerous racial and ethnic backgrounds. The Ukrainian Catholics, in contrast, are closer to their immigrant roots. They are still receiving new waves of immigrants on a regular basis. Thus, they use Ukrainian in many places because it is what the people are most comfortable with.

The ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is for Liturgy to be celebrated in the language of the people. Hence, Byzantine Catholics were actually celebrating the Divine Liturgy in English here in America, while Roman Catholics were still using Latin.

Reception of Communion

Which tradition is older, receiving communion by the hand onto the tongue or by dropping it into the mouth from a silver spoon, like some Eastern rites do?

Almost all liturgical scholars believe that communion in the hand was the earliest practice. However, just because something is early doesn’t necessarily mean that it is best for our time. In most of the Byzantine Churches, communion is administered from a spoon because the Body is soaked in the Precious Blood. From a practical perspective, a spoon is necessary. In the Melkite and Maronite Churches, the Body is dipped into the Precious Blood, and dropped into the communicants mouth by the priest or deacon’s hand. The Latin Church was able to allow a return to communion in the hand because the Body is not dipped or soaked in the Blood. However, there is concern among some Latin Catholics that communion in the hand is less reverent. I can understand their concern. Nonetheless, communion in the hand is a legitimate practice.