Q: Fr Paul, once again thank you for your wisdom and wise counsel on many Liturgical matters. This blog is a great help to people like me who have not had the opportunity to formally study Liturgy but have done my best here in Australia to read and attend many Liturgical Workshops. My question is regarding the reception of Communion with gloves on and the way some people receive Communion. This pandemic has brought out the variance in the people who attend Eucharist. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of people who are receiving Communion with gloves on and I would like to raise the issue with our liturgy Team but need to have correct information before we address this issue. I have searched the GIRM and your own book Let Us Pray but cannot find a reference. Is there anything in the Liturgical Documents which outlines this issue. Another matter in relation to Communion is I notice many people, after receiving Communion in the hand put their hands up to their mouth and take Communion this way so that they are not touching the Body of Christ with their hands.
A: Thanks for your comments on my blog. Regarding gloved hands at communion time, I am unaware of any legislation in this regard.
Of some interest may be the liturgical guidelines of the Knights of Columbus, an association of laymen in the United States. According to the Color Corps Drill Manual https://www.kofc.org/en/resources/service/council/808_Color_Corps_Drill_Manual.pdf, white gloves are part of the uniform worn during certain Masses. The Color Corps is instructed to remove the gloves after the Eucharistic Prayer and place them in the pocket until after the reception of holy communion. In other words, they receive communion on the bare hand or in the mouth.
During the pandemic, we’ve all been making liturgical decisions based more on charity than on good liturgical practice. If the communicant is wearing gloves out of respect for the Eucharist and a concern for the health of others, I wouldn’t draw attention to it.
But when the worst of the pandemic is behind you, then it will be time to reengage proper liturgical principles.