Left Hand – Updated

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Can left handed people make the Sign of the Cross with their left hands?

Are there other rubrics associated with being left handed?

As regards receiving Holy Communion; is there a stipulation as which hand is on top of the other.

Thanks for your knowledge and wisdom.


A: The GIRM says a genuflection is made by lowering the right knee to the ground (274). During the words of consecration, the concelebrants extend their right hands toward the elements (222c, et al.) Concelebrants anticipating their communion hold the host in their right hand, left hand underneath (242). A priest places his left hand on his breast while giving the blessing with his right hand at the end of Mass (167).

When describing communion in the hand, the Norms for Distribution and Reception of Communion in the US cite Cyril of Jerusalem, that one places one’s left hand beneath one’s right to make a throne for the King (41). (To my knowledge, you do not have similar norms in Australia.) 

There are no specific indications for those who are left-handed, but as you can see, the liturgy favors the right side.


Q: Regarding left-handed instructions, this may have been updated even though it indicates that it is from 1996:


 “Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.”

 Thank you so much for your very generous help with all of these matters!


A: Thanks for this. I’ll add it on.