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Phoenix Restricts Communion Cup

Well, the times they are a'changin' in Phoenix. Like those in most US dioceses, Catholics in Phoenix have routinely received communion under both species, but now Bishop Olmsted is putting a stop to THAT. Announcing a forthcoming decree, the diocese's Communications Office indicates that the cup will be shared with hoi polloi only on the very limited occasions mandated by the new GIRM or specially permitted by the bishop (patronal feasts, e.g.), and sometimes not even then, depending on whether the appropriate conditions for doing so are met.Why? Several reasons are given for keeping the laity from the cup:1. The risk of profanation by, e.g., spillage or swilling. (Swilling? Really? Is this an issue in Phoenix?)2. It's not required for salvation to receive under both species. It's just a fuller sign of Holy Communion. (Um...isn't that a good thing?) 3. It will make special feast days more special, since only then will the cup be offered. (Of course, that's exactly what some Protestant churches say when explaining why they only have Communion monthly or quarterly...)4. Most Catholics in the world don't receive under both species, so it's an act of solidarity with the world Church. (odd--I'd think that a better approach might be to help see to it that other Catholics in the world DO have Communion under both species,)5."In normal circumstances, only priests and deacons are to distribute Holy Communion; when both forms of Communion are used frequently, "extraordinary" ministers of Holy Communion are disproportionately multiplied." Ah!! Now we're getting to it. The Q&A reiterates this point:

As highlighted in the GIRM, the practical need to avoid obscuring the role of the priest and the deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion by an excessive use of extraordinary (or lay) ministers might in some circumstances constitute a reason for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species.

In fact, this is why the cup may not be offered to the laity even on the limited occasions mentioned in the GIRM:

For example, let's say a pastor deemed it appropriate to have Holy Communion under both species on the feast of Corpus Christi, but his particular situation would necessitate a dozen extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. While he and a deacon would be the only ordinary ministers, it is common sense that he would not be able to judge the necessary conditions as met.

Let me be clear--I've been at Masses where it was unwise to offer Communion under both species, and so we shared only the host. But to take the cup away from the laity of an entire diocese?The backstory goes like this: in 2001, an indult was granted that allowed for much wider reception of the Eucharist under both species in the US. That indult expired in 2005 and was not renewed. While the 2001 indult clearly recognized the bishop's authority in deciding how widespread the practice of receiving in both forms was to be, the language of the request made a clear and beautiful case for the cup being offered to the laity:

Since, however, by reason of the sign value, sharing in both eucharistic species reflects more fully the sacred realities that the Liturgy signifies, the Church in her wisdom has made provisions in recent years so that more frequent eucharistic participation from both the sacred host and the chalice of salvation might be made possible for the laity in the Latin Church....today the Church finds it salutary to restore a practice, when appropriate, that for various reasons was not opportune when the Council of Trent was convened in 1545. (32) But with the passing of time, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the reform of the Second Vatican Council has resulted in the restoration of a practice by which the faithful are again able to experience "a fuller sign of the Eucharistic banquet."

But not in Phoenix any more.

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To say that this is sad is such an understatement. This complements his attitude and action with St. Joseph's Hospital. However, since this affects the whole diocese, it will be interesting to see the reaction of the clergy-- if they have the " " to speak up. Will his fellow bishops in the state or other places comment or copy? Keep us posted... as our alienation deepens.

One bishop will NEVER criticize another, so there goes that hope. Olmstead sounds like one of the greatest minds the tenth century ever created.

Several reasons are given for keeping the laity from the cup_________________OK. But what are the reasons that the Precious Blood should be offered at every Mass, in addition to the Body of Christ?

Let's see how this unfolds. This is a medieval act. We shall see how medieval Phoenix is.

<>Because Jesus said "drink this".There was an interesting discussion about this at Pray Tell too - here ..... http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/09/19/take-this-one-or-two-of... .... and here ..... http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/09/21/phoenix-qa-on-both-form...

Lisa, regarding your statement "The backstory goes like this: in 2001, an indult was granted that allowed for much wider reception of the Eucharist under both species in the US. That indult expired in 2005 and was not renewed."The Foreword to the 2011 GIRM on the USCCB website says:"November 27, 2011, marks a significant date in the liturgical life of the Church in the United States as the Roman Missal, Third Edition, is introduced and put into use for the celebration of the Eucharist. Also included in this edition are two other valuable documents: The Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Roman Calendar and the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America, both of which also appear in front matter of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. Together with the GIRM these documents provide a comprehensive overview and instruction for the celebration of the Mass."http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/roman-missal/general-instruction... only version of the "Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both KInds..." on the USCCB website is the 2001 document, here:http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/girm-norms-en.shtmlDoes anyone have access to a printed copy of the Missal to check if the "Norms..." included there is still the 2001 version or there a newer version?Also the 2011 GIRM provides:281. Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the connection between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Kingdom of the Father.[104]283....In all that pertains to Communion under both kinds, the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America are to be followed (particularly nos. 27-54).

One of the telling aspects of this is that the bishop alleges problems, but he offers nothing positive in terms of a solution--not even a catechetical initiative, an instruction to his clergy or to Phoenix catechists. Yet another opportunity for the experience of grace is shut down.This is another imprudent example of the Hermeneutic of Subtraction. The logical end would be to end the celebration of the sacraments entirely, and then we would accomplish the goal: no profanation. The Lord Jesus would be pleased, no doubt.

We have completed the altar girls ban in the Phoenix Cathedral, .. there won't be any need for their mothers to cause an "excessive use of extraordinary (or lay) ministers' of the cup.[see above]. we are now working on how to back-seat the grandmas but still get our hands on their wills or trusts....Our data shows they out-live their husbands by almost 6 years.. This next step will need both charm and diplomacy. In case of questions, talking points for the Canadian snow birds will be available soon.

No one's concerned about disease?

281. Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds._____________OK, I'll take that as an aswer to my question, even if not intended to be -- Holy Communion has a fuller form AS A SIGN when it takes place under both kinds. But does it have a fuller form AS A SACRAMENT? Does offering Holy Communion under both species lead to a greater or lesser understanding of the Sacrament and of the graces it conveys?As a Sacrament, receiving the Precious Blood after consuming the Host adds nothing. The recipient does NOT get double the Jesus. He does NOT get twice the grace. In receiving the Host, the Body of Christ, the recipient receives the ENTIRETY of Jesus. In the Eucharistic Host, the recipient attains full and complete communion with the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. You cannot get any more than the "full and complete" that you get with the Host.Does offering the Precious Blood on a routine basis lead to confusion on this point? Does offering this fuller form "as a sign" detract from people's proper understanding of the sacramental graces? If so, the sacramental graces themselves being far more important than the symbolic sign, then it takes away more than it adds, it harms more than it helps.

The recipient does NOT get double the Jesus. He does NOT get twice the grace. In receiving the Host, the Body of Christ, the recipient receives the ENTIRETY of Jesus. I should have added that, with the Host alone, the recipient does NOT get only half a Jesus.But I would put this entire controversy in the same box as the rad trads who seem to think that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is somehow "better" or more "valid" than is the Ordinary Form. There too, they seem to think that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is not wholly and completely there in the Blessed Sacrament, that His presence is defective or incomplete in some way.In either case, the Host alone or with the Precious Blood, in a EF Mass or in an OF Mass, the entirety of Jesus is received. The fullness of grace is conveyed. And to want "more" or to want "better," after having received all that Jesus is in the Host, is to be sorely confused and misinformed.As for what I think we should do -- If the bishop says "the Host only," then we should do the Host only. If the bishop says, "let's do both species," then we should do both. It is not for me to make that call. I'm merely a lowly servant. Whatever the bishops says, in communion with the See of Peter, is what we should do.

Bender--Where did you possibly get the idea that there were people claiming that to receive the host only is to receive half Jesus? I have checked several times and haven't seen that claim being made at all in either the post or comments. You did a very good job refuting something that no one said. As to the reason why Olmstead is wrong here, Crystal said so quite clearly and is a point you do not address: Jesus said so. Had Christ wanted to he could easily have instituted the Eucharist with bread alone. He did not, probably because we both eat and drink at meals and that commiseration is part and parcel of the sacrament. Would you invite someone to dinner, give them food and say "Only I get to drink though, sorry."? This is the silliness that ensues when we fail to pay attention to the significant nature of the sacraments. The graces are inseperable from the signs and to make a statement like "the sacramental graces themselves [are] far more important than the symbolic sign" (in itself a confusion of terms) as if one is there without the other sacramentally is to completely fail to understand how the sacraments operate.

This is so disappointing.

I recognize that the real issue seems to surround handling the use of extraordinary ministers, but I note that the primary reason given concerns the fear that the cup will be profaned. This reason strikes me as a bit odd, because I can't think as to why the cup is more likely to be profaned than the bread. In the past (recent and not at all recent), a lot of anxiety seemed to center on the profanation of the bread (whether from mice eating it, or from people shoving it into their pockets).

I have several thoughts on the matter (just like I have several thoughts on the bishops' removal of altar girls from service).On the one hand, there are times and places where the offering of communion under makes sense. One the other hand, the historical reason for why communion became limited to the species of bread, in medieval times, does not seem to apply today. It really seems to be a "push to the past" without any integral unity to the present, making for a museum rite. Pastorally, I wonder what this restriction would do for those who have celiac's disease? Will they still be offered communion under the species of wine?Spiritually, unless there is a good reason for it, I do not understand the "accept the bare minimum sign" as a good thing. It seems to give to the idea to do the bare minimum for anything - if spiritually it is ok to "just get by with the least possible" then everything else will flow from that spiritual condition into the daily lives of those who live under that sign. Do we want to encourage people to be the best, or "just whatever gets you by?"?It is one thing for someone to only receive under one species, it is another to go back to a medieval practice without the authentic medieval conditions which warranted it.

David Smith - about your question on disease Here's a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston from a couple of years ago during the swine flu epidemic. Although that was temporary, even now, the priest and the EMHCs continue to sanitize their hands with Purrell before distributing hosts. Q: Some Catholics have told me they always understood that the church believed that one could not get germs from Communion wine once it had been consecrated -- that the transubstantiation meant the wine could do no harm. Is that an understanding of the church, and how does this recommendation fit with that?A: Though this belief has never been officially or doctrinally stated by the Church, there are many Catholics who believe germs cannot be transmitted through a common cup. The Eucharist has often been described as a remedy, the medicine of immortality, because when we receive Holy Communion we are receiving Christ, the Paschal Lamb who died and now lives to take away our sins. This great mystery contains the whole spiritual wealth of the Church, and we revere the Eucharist as the Most Blessed Sacrament.The decision to temporarily discontinue the practice of distributing the Precious Blood from the chalice was a result of recent conversations with medical authorities and specialists in infectious disease, who believe that sharing a "common cup" can possibly spread communicable illness. We have taken this sensible step out of caution and concern for the health of our Catholic people. Our decision to temporarily discontinue this venerable practice does not diminish our reverence for the power of this great Sacrament.http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2009/10/eucharist.htm... is also an answer as to why catholics don't use individual communion cups.

In my experience, even where the chalice is offered, only a small percentage of the congregation--10% or so--avail themselves of it. I suspect that commenters are far more excited about this than ordinary Catholics are.

"In my experience, even where the chalice is offered, only a small percentage of the congregation10% or soavail themselves of it. "Thorin - my experience is that this varies pretty widely, parish by parish, and even mass by mass within a parish.My opinion is that this is a major pastoral mistake by Bishop Olmsted. Todd's "Hermeneutic of Subtraction" says it perfectly. I've been watching the Ken Burns "Prohibition" series airing on PBS this week. Taking a blessing away from people never works. They won't stand for it. They'll find some other way. You can't ascertain the totality of the experience of receiving communion by reading a theology book that pronounces that the fullness of the sacrament is contained in each species by itself. People don't receive communion because, or only because, of some intellectual proposition. Were such a decree to be made in Chicago, it would be *unbelievably* unpopular with the parish clergy. And not because of the self-interest aspect that clergy might have to be ordinary ministers at more masses. They'd rightly see it as disenfranchising a lay ministry that does wonderful work. Ministerially, it's not much different than bringing communion to someone in a hospital or nursing home. Or are laypeople supposed to stop that, too? Most clergy in Chicago, I'd expect, would ignore such a rule. I don't think we have as many "liturgy police" in the pews who would 'report' us to the bishop, as happens in some other dioceses, but even if we did, I think a lot of clergy here would dare the bishop to make them stop. FWIW - My parents live in the Rockford, IL diocese, an extremely conservative diocese, and their parish there, while not taking the cup away completely, restricts its availability - there is one "cup line" for every two or three or four "bread lines". Consequently, long lines form to drink from the cup. It's indicative of how much it means to the people in the pews that they are willing to wait for a long time to receive from it. It's also really frustrating. It's a terrible policy. Bishop Olmsted, if you're reading this - listen to the people on this one. They're the ones receiving communion, they may have some insight into this that has escaped you.

Simply a way for a careerist Bishop to further ingratiate himself to the Vatican in order to advance his career. Look for a promotion soon.

As I have noted on many other web-sites---If the people of Phoenix take this from Bishop Olmsted---lying down----they deserve every other restriction that he may dump upon them.

David Smith, regarding your question on communicating diseases -- I've done some stories on this years back and studies found that using a common cup did not raise one's risk of contracting a cold or the like. It's still wise to limit such contacts during flu season, but wise to limit all such contacts, like the sign of peace and arguably the bread. But we don't want to do that. In any event, microbiologists found that the fortified wine used at mass, especially if used in conjunction with an alcohol-infused purificator cloth between sips, keeps the grippe at bay. The only factor that was consistently shown to raise one's likelihood of catching a virus or other was -- no surprise -- having young children at home. Unlikely anyone will seek to ban that...

Both this decison and the altar girl removal by the Cathedral vicar in Phoenix are:-sad in themselves-sad in the dlim defenses offered by the David S."s and Bender and Thorin and other supporters of all things hierarchical and, worst of all, signs of things to keep coming from the top down hierarchy bequeathed us from JPII on through the likes of Law/Burke .I think, despite the"new" evagelization, the future is grim with the growing cleavage between policy makers and many laity over matters great and small.)(BTW, I see the new Abp. of Philly was supporting msgt. Lynn, who got a standing ovation fro mmany priestst here after the Abp mentioned him at a dinner yesterday.I continue to think, more and, more these guys are out of touch!.What;s worse, they tread on the goodness of many Catholic faithful hanging in there to show the "joyfulness" of the Church while imposing more stupidities and reinforcing the old boys club!)Blech!!!!

Has anyone here ever traveled outside the United States of America or Canada? Where Communion under one kind - on the tongue - is...you know...the norm of the Catholic world?What a tiny circumscribed world some live in.

Intincture: Sanitary. No multiplying ministers.

Forgettaboutit what you don't like and think about the subservient deacons in Phoenix and its surround. Phoenix has 240 deacons. They have to explain to wives, daughters, granddaughters that their services are no longer required as EMs or servers. Maybe grandma was inordinately happy seeing granddaughter and daughter serving at the 10 o'clock. So what? The 240 deacons were not consulted... probably because their liturgical and theological skills were seen as lacking. The married Apostles were sure to have had their wives and daughters serving in the house Masses in the first century but since they did not go to a seminary they too were lacking in the liturgical and theological skill sets the present hierarchy learned in the seminary [which most likely has already been closed]

BrianWell, depends on how it is done, too... communion via the spoon with leavened bread and wine as species works great with me, but it doesn't fit the West too well.

BTW, America(sorry Matthew) has an editorial,"Save the Altar Girls." On line almost 150 comments -with the usual divide as you'd expect.)Wil there be an editorial here?????????

I agree Mark. In other lands the norm is to receive the Eucharist simply in the form of the host, and to receive it on the tongue.Sometimes we Americans get up on our high horse about small matters, things that in less wealthy nations are not even on the radar. Everyone knows the economy is tight just now, and without putting too fine a point on it, as a practical matter, since buying wine for mass is a real expense, and since nobody is deprived by not receiving the Eucharist in the form of wine, perhaps in Phoenix they will use the wine budget for other things. This might very well be just a Bishop tending to the practical matters of the diocese for which he is responsible. As such, this sort of carping seems pretty thin.I am not trying to be crass or too casual, but sometimes things are simple; sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Just a few thoughts...I go to a Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Everyone receives by intinction. If our bishop tried to keep the cup from us there would be a riot. Some differences: we use real pieces of bread cut from a common loaf. The priest or deacon dips the piece in the cup (which a lay person holds.) One of my favourite experiences when receiving the Eucharsit in the Byzantine Rite: seeing the little children, even the toddlers, receive. For my 3 year old son it is the highlight of the liturgy for him - eating the Jesus bread, as he calls it. At the end of the liturgy we have a second partaking in blessed bread. This provides the opportunity for those who could not receive the Eucharist, for whatever reason, to come forward and receive something.

Andy B. -- I think you're entirely right to emphasize that Communion is both the literal body and blood of Christ and a *sign* of the goodness of Him in a way that the Host alone is not -- at least for many people it is. True, both host and wine are equally Him, but just as our eyes and mouths are equally each of us, they can signify different things to different people. I think this is what is the case with the host nd cup. For instance, for some people just thinking of the Blood of Christ emphasizes the sacrifice He made for us, and this is a message that some people might need more than others. The Gospels are full of references to the Blood of Christ as symbol of His sacrifice, and I think that having both Host and Cup reminds us of that, though for some of us the Host is sufficient for both. Yes, everyone receives all of Christ in Communion but we do not thereby realize, understand, see Him as He is in Himself, not completely anyway. (Only God sees Jesus completely anywyay) For some people receiving the Blood makes the experience a fuller one, a more telling one, one which signifies more. In other words, it is a matter of what Communion signifies to each, what it *communicates to each* of us as individuals. Some profit by being reminded of His sacrifice in that special way, while others do not. Yes, I'm saying that Communion is *both* a communal thing and an individual thing -- Christ is present to the community as a community, but He is also present to us as individuals, and He showers grace upon both the community as such and all the individuals as such as well.I'm not even one of the ones who receives under both species, but I can see that the wine/Blood gives many people -- not all -- something that the host alone doesn't. So I'm all for it.

Can anyone explain to me why, if Christ is fully present in either the consecrated bread or the consecrated wine, the celebrant must partake of both? Also, surely in the early Church, participants consumed both the consecrated bread and wine. When did the practice of distributing only bread begin?The old definition of a sacrament that I learned, which I believe is still quite valid, is that it is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace. It seems to me that the Eucharist is the only sacrament (correct me if I am wrong) in which the "outward sign" was explicitly and definitively established by Jesus. It is difficult to understand why Christianity ever departed from the way the Eucharist was celebrated at the Last Supper.

Thorin --Only 10% receive both where you're from? Interesting. Here in New Orleans I'd say that 90% receive both species. I wonder why the difference.

It seems like the Sacrament of Holy Communion is so central to our religion it shouldn't be up to individual bishops to decide how we receive. How we do it- whatever way it is- should be universal to all Catholics everywhere- the same in Phoenix as in Guinea-Bissau.

Many of the points raised above are not new. The Church's complex history of communion under one and both kinds from Apostolic times to 1908 is summarized in the old Catholic Encyclopedia ( http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04175a.htm ), including implicit and explicit teachings of the Council of Trent. While definitive answers are given for some questions, others apparently remained open to speculation a century ago.

"(BTW, I see the new Abp. of Philly was supporting msgt. Lynn, who got a standing ovation fro mmany priestst here after the Abp mentioned him at a dinner yesterday."Bob N. --That's the worst news I've heard in years :-( Makes things look hopeless for internal reform. But we digress.

Ken, do you really think that Bishop Olmsted made this decision for financial reasons? Then why go through all the theological reasonings and never once mention the money? All he had to say was, "Sorry, we just can't afford to continue offering the chalice. But don't worry, you're still getting Christ, whole and entire, in the host."Does anybody know how this is being received in Phoenix--by laity and clergy? All I found online was this report, dated September 23. (Sorry, I don't know how to make it an active link.)http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2011/09/23/20110923p...

Well, look at that! The link just magically appeared.

Mark: when I go to Mass in France, in most places we receive under only one species. When I go to Mass in the US, most of the time I can receive under both species and it is a joy. Receiving under both species is a significant plus to the liturgy in this country. What's your point?

Mark J. --Arizona is a very conservative state. It might be that people in Phoenix are ultra-conservative and don't really care. But I wonder . . .

I actually thought receiving both species was something that both conservatives and liberal Catholics agreed upon. When I belonged to a conservative parish during the swine flu panic, I recall the conservatives insisting that we should still receive the cup. Bender's idea that we should obey the bishop in all things is not actually what one finds in conservative parishes, esp. if the bishops is perceived to be liberal. But that is the other thing that liberals and conservatives share: obeying the bishop is only for when you agree with him.If the concern is too many lay ministers, then why not have fewer ministers and just allow communion time to take longer? Sing two hymns instead of one, or have a reflection song. This is what they did at the conservative parish, although they usually had about 5 lay ministers too.

No host, including Jesus, would ask her/his guests to drink out of one cup. It's unsanitary and inhospitable. Catholics should take a lesson from Protestants and provide individual cups. ---Sometimes ministers of the Eucharist have strayed even farther than the bishop in question here. See, e.g., an article by Gary Macy in NCR, 1999. From that:if any bishop or priest outside the command of the Lord offers something else in sacrifice upon the altar, that is, either honey or milk or raisins instead of wine, or some other concoction, or a bird, or some other animal, or beans, thus working against the constitution of the Lord, he is to be deposed.

"Benders idea that we should obey the bishop in all things is not actually what one finds in conservative parishes, esp. if the bishops is perceived to be liberal."I would add: also if the bishop is conservative but not conservative enough :-)

"If the concern is too many lay ministers, then why not have fewer ministers and just allow communion time to take longer? Sing two hymns instead of one, or have a reflection song. This is what they did at the conservative parish, although they usually had about 5 lay ministers too."I believe Rome's ideal is that the priests, deacons and instituted acolytes would be drafted into distributing communion at more masses than they do now, thus diminishing the sheer numbers of lay ministers. I'm old enough to remember the days before we had lay Eucharistic ministers: the parish priests who weren't celebrating a particular mass would mosey into the sacristy during the Eucharistic Prayer or the Our Father, and then would appear in sort of semi-vested form in the sanctuary to help distribute communion. Some folks in Rome want to bring that practice back. For this deacon, it would be a burden to have to be at every mass - we have one on Saturday evening, three on Sunday morning and one on Sunday evening. Unlike a parish priest, I don't live in a rectory on the parish grounds.Speaking of instituted acolytes - having them is an official, by-the-Roman-books way for laypersons to be commissioned into the formal ministry of distributing the Eucharist. Right now, it's almost entirely a stepping-stone on the road to ordination, but it needn't be limited to that. Rather than taking the cup away from people, perhaps Bishop Olmsted could pursue this curiously neglected ministry and institute a good portion of the lay ministers formally into the ranks of acolyte.

Jim- Can women be instituted acolytes?

The bishop in Phoenix (a) condones banning female altar servers and (b) effectively told St. Joseph Hospital that it should have allowed a pregnant woman to die on the gurney.Now, he says no more reception from the cup except on prescribed occasions. Never mind that Jesus said, "Drink." I like the comment from a blogger at NCROnline who said, If Jesus was smart enough to jump into the host at consecration, surely Jesus would be smart enough to jump out of the host at profanation! :-)Seriously, Bennie and ilk are working overtime to resuscitate a (deservedly) dying clerical culture that surely undermined the healthy kind of human/ecclesial relationship envisioned by Jesus in the gospels. When will enough Catholics staying within the institution force their hierarchs to stop this crap???Orthotoxy rules.Downright sad.

I know of an African-American parish that provided individual serving glasses for the consecrated wine a number of years ago. I recall when I had to drive down to Ft. Campbell from Louisville on official civilian personnel business and was able to worship at a weekday sacred liturgy in a small whitewashed wood chapel; the presider (w/fatigues and combat boots under chasuble) encouraged us to dip the sacred host into the sacred wine at communion.It's long past time for layfolk to tell their pastors to use commonsense in eucharistic distribution.And, while I'm thinking of it, let's get rid of the word 'extraordinary' as in "Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist" (or whatever). Words matter --- and help reinforce a sick, dysfunctional clerical culture. And, yes, it's time for lay ministers to resume cleaning the sacred vessels after communion. Many other liturgical reforms are needed as well. I say, If a presbyter or bishop objects to these Vatican II-inspired efforts at renewal, then let the ordained guy find himself alone at Mass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Seriously, stop this Roman/Curial crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No - women currently can not be instituted as acolytes (it is viewed as a step towards ordination only) - may not be called a minor order but legally is still handled that way.Here is an interesting piece of information - it is Patriarch Maximos' input on the schema at Vatican II concerning communion under both forms:"Very fortunately the schema proposes to restore in the Latin Church Communion under both species. This restoration first of all conforms with our Lords wish, for He did not lightly institute the Eucharist under two species, for the faithful as well as for the priests. Without condemning the Latin practice of giving Communion to the faithful only under the species of bread, our separated brethren could well have been surprised that the Latin Church does not follow more closely in this regard the desire of the Lord and the ancient tradition of the Church. Thus it is a restoration that is equally desirable from the point of view of drawing closer to our separated brethren of the East and of the West.This restoration is unquestionably inspired by the example of the Eastern Church. That should convince the partisans of total latinization, if there is still a need to do so, that there are other rites in the Catholic Church, and how senseless it is to deprive the Catholic Church of everything that is not Latin, in the matter of the liturgy, as well as in discipline, art, organization, etc."So, Olmsted's decision also diminishes VII's attempt to learn from our Eastern half - it makes East-West unity more difficult.In terms of what Jim is stating above - let me also add that the liturgical renewal tried to use a principle that the eucharistic community present at a liturgy needs to be respected (they are the baptized first (ordination is something to serve the liturgy as the Eastern church defines it) - thus, bringing in priests to distribute communion only is a poor sign; does not create a community - they were not present for the eucharist; focuses not on the eucharistic community but on priesthood as if that stands above and separated from a community celebration; it divorces liturgical ministry from the praying community. It goes along with re-emphasizing concelebration rather than private masses; emphasizing eucharist with a community and trying to minimize any type of private mass with only a server.Bender - use the image of a wedding feast to capture the essence of the eucharist. Wedding feasts celebrate love and committed relationships. The eucharist is about a relationship of love - it is not about counting sacramental grace as if it is adding up points, rewards, etc. It is not as if receiving communion (under one or both forms) is a type of contest that will eventually open a door to heaven.Sacramental theology uses the term - symbol - in a very deliberate way. The eucharist - bread/wine - are symbols of the reality of the body and blood of Christ. Restricting eucharist to one symbol decreases and minimizes the eucharist (not saying you don't receive sacramental grace; not saying it is less valid or illicit but am saying that VII renewal placed an increased value on the eucharistic symbols).Olmsted doesn't say this but by stressing the "negatives" - e.g. too many EMs lessens the ordinary priest/deacon giving communion; profanation. Does this mean that if we receive from an EM, it is less than if we receive from a priest (remember those days in the early 70's)? Is the eucharist/communion's purpose to highlight and underline priestly ordination?Again, we have a "policy" or discipline that contains very little reference to scripture; to the eucharistic tradition of the church in its whole history (not just post-Trent). It seems to highlight communion as an "object" you receive from "sacred hands" rather than the sacred action of a eucharistic community.

When I first heard of this mooted restriction, I wrote to the diocese of ~Phoenix to query the truth of the rumour. I received a reply affirming the intention and a reference to the Q&A on the website. So I briefly replied expressing disappointment. After a week or so I have now received a kindly letter from a Father in the diocese explaining:Dear Mary,The Liturgical Documents allow for the cup to be offered to the laity on those occasions when doing so can make us aware of our greater unity as a Catholic people. We receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ when we receive the host; or conversely, we receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ if we receive the precious blood alone. If this is true, why would we ever offer the cup. We do so to show not a fuller reality, but a fuller unity. At times when we offer the cup and the majority of people do not receive from the cup (as is the case at Sunday masses in most if not all parishes), the sign of Unity does not existbecause most people do not receive from the cup. This defeats the entire reason we would offer the cup in the first place. The bishops new policy does in fact allow the cup to be offered on appropriate occasions, when offering both kinds can in fact be a fuller sign of unity. Some of these occasions include, First Communion, Confirmation, Wedding Mass (to the bride and groom), retreats, special spiritual gatherings, Holy Thursday. The General Instruction also allows for Pastors to extend the cup to individuals who perform some ministry at a particular mass (deacon, servers, readers, etc.). Since the priest celebrant takes the place of Christ the High Priest at mass, he must receive both the precious blood and sacred body of the Lord; as is the tradition of temple worship in Israel and has been the tradition of Catholic worship for 2000 years. This is not about clericalism or power, this is about the requirements of sacrifice as laid out in the Old Testament. Christ the perfect High Priest offered his very body and blood as he poured out his life for many on the altar of the cross. It is this action repeated by our prieswt. Peace, Fr. KieranTo which I have replied : "What did Jesus say? What did Jesus do?"Too many Catholics in positions of authority think primarily or even exclusively about the "Church" and forget Jesus.

Ain't for nothin' that church historian Timothy Thibodeau has referred to the sad (and I would add, dysfunctional) "objectification" of the eucharist during the Middle Ages.

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About the Author

Lisa Fullam is associate professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).