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Communion Under Both Forms Curtailed in Madison

Following on the decision of Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, Bishop Morlino, of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, has announced that Communion under both forms will be sharply curtailed in his own diocese as well. Its hard to believe it, butthis move is being presented as a universal necessity.Here is an excerpt from what the rector of the cathedral, Msgr. Kevin D. Holmes, has presented in the bulletin:

So, all over the United States, we now find ourselves needing to bring our practice into conformity with current regulations (and with the rest of the world). In his comments at Chula Vista, Bishop Morlino mentioned a few instances in which Communion under both kinds is still permitted: the Chrism Mass, the Feast of Corpus Christi, for the bride and groom at a Nuptial Mass, and for those so allergic to wheat that they cannot tolerate even low-gluten hosts. Beyond those occasions and circumstances, Communion can be offered under both species at celebrations of special importance. But it is clear that we will not be seeing Communion under both species as a weekly practice. [emphasis added]

Needing to bring our practice into conformity? This simply isn't true. It says in GIRM 283:

The Diocesan Bishop may establish norms for Communion under both kinds for his own diocese, which are also to be observed in churches of religious and at celebrations with small groups. The Diocesan Bishop is also given the faculty to permit Communion under both kinds whenever it may seem appropriate to the Priest to whom a community has been entrusted as its own shepherd, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and that there is no danger of profanation of the Sacrament or of the rites becoming difficult because of the large number of participants or for some other cause. [emphasis added]

Both Madison and Phoenix will surely experience considerable blow-back from these decisions of their bishops, and deservedly so. This isespeciallytrue becausethe move to curtail Communion under both forms is linked to the implementation date of the new translation of the Roman Missal. The new translation will be jarring enough in itself. Add this to it, and I think the shock in the pewsabout bothwill bemultiplied.

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Rita--Monsignor Holmes provides a bit more color in his bulletin as to what he means by bringing practice into conformity, namely,"...the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005."It seems like there's a conflict between GIRM and the expiration of this indult. Can you provide any insight as to which is more "authoritative"?

Wow, that was fast. Coordinated, I wonder? I'm sure we're going to see more of these as the date for implementation of the newly-translated missal approaches.And yes, Mark P's question is mine as well. He just beat me to it. Any insights, Rita?

Yes, Mark.I didn't cover this because it was discussed in my thread below on Phoenix. The indult was offered to the US conference, as a whole. When it expired, it was not renewed, evidently because in the meantime the GIRM, which is universal legislation, had been updated and broadened to include the provision I quote here, which allows for the very same thing only via the diocesan bishop rather than by indult given to the conference.The GIRM has higher standing. The GIRM since 2002 puts communion under both forms on a regular basis within reach of any diocesan bishop, whether or not their conference has had an indult. This is not a restriction, but rather a more ample opportunity for all.

Just more from a US hierarchy pastorally out of touch to drive more folks away by fiat - not sense.

Thanks, Rita. So why would the folks in Madison present the current practice as an aberration--even a defiance of Rome? I struggle with the assumption that they know better and that they don't think anyone will call them on it.Say what you want about different bishops and their place on the left-right spectrum, but this would be either stupidity or cynicism on a colossal scale.Perhaps this is a matter of different interpretations of canon law. Or at least enough wiggle room to give them the cover to do something they've wanted to do anyway? Granted, that too is cynical, just not as bald.

I don't understand why they don't do it in a more diplomatic way: take advantage of some flu epidemic to temporarily withhold the cup, and then, after a few months, when people are used to only receiving under one species, announce that this temporary change is now permanent. Wouldn't that be much more effective?Maybe this is a secret strategic move: they are trying to accumulate reasons for people to complain this Advent. When protests arise, the bishop will yield on one issue, and, after listening to complaints, will generously let parishes continue to receive under both species. In that way, people will think that their complaints have been heard, will be pacified by the compromise, and will be mollified into accepting the new missal.

"[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason."That is from Redemtionis Sacramentum. I don't know where that fits in the pecking order, but it seems to imply Extraordinary Ministers should only be used in truly extraordinary circumstances, i.e., not for regular Sunday mass. I wonder this has had an impact on the bishops' recent decisions.Rita, thanks for the additional information.

We all found out how the new Republican governors met to organize a state by state offense against public unions and put voter ID restrictions in place in their first year. .I posit the existence of Conservative bishops meeting to decide to roll back EMs and institute a host only Eucharist. Santa Rosa next? Additionally, not one of the other 200 diocesan bishops has said that he will keep both cup and bread? That's a sad political 'tell'.

Ed --Sadly, I must admit that my reaction was: they're organizing in secret, hoping to get back to the Latin Mass bit by bit. Bishop LeFebvre anyone? Given the large number of bishops in the U. S. it would be odd if there were no LeFebvrists among them, especially considering how conservative the American bishops generally are.

An underlying assumption in some comments above and on Rita's Phoenix piece below is that the impacts of changes on lay recipients of the Eucharist are a consideration in the thinking of bishops and their cathedral rectors, albeit not well handled. Similarly on the new missal translation. Evidence to support that is slim. Abp. O'Brien in his Sept 29 letter to bishops on religious liberty spoke corporately "as shepherds of over 70 million U.S. citizens " His choice of metaphor may say more about his and his confreres' view of the lay herd than about the bishops' view of their own role. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/dolan-le... The most charitable explanation is that, somehow, in a world in which you and I communicate two-way, near-instantaneously, anywhere (and the old means remain), they have so isolated themselves as to have no useful exchange with those whom they are supposed to sanctify and teach. If other explanations apply, as Ed and Ann wonder about, it remains puzzling why they seem to make such slight effort to bring the intended followers along. The cathedral rector in Phoenix had successful professional experience in corporate marketing before going to the seminary. Perhaps he could advise. http://www.simonjude.org/rector.html

Jack,Or perhaps, as in the case of the new translation, these changes will have a good effect not fully understandable beforehand. I believe that both these changes will have a positive impact on the Christology of the faithful, which is to say, a positive impact on their faith.

Inanities such as this will continue as long as diocese are run as royal fiefdoms, which will continue until the faithful exercise their voice and their financial power to enforce accountability from their bishops.

"Both Madison and Phoenix will surely experience considerable blow-back from these decisions of their bishops, and deservedly so."I predict practically no blowback at all.I'm admittedly cynical but I don't think the vast majority of Catholics care enough. we'll see.

What it boils down to, I think, is that bishops have the power to turn personal preferences into policy, and some are willing to take advantage of that. The same happens with the way "Faithful Citizenship" is interpreted. It's poor management.

Or perhaps, as in the case of the new translation, these changes will have a good effect not fully understandable beforehand.Kathy,My sole complaint about the new translation is that it is so expensive! Print versions are running $60 and up, discounted on Amazon. What I have seen of the translation looks a lot like the English translation of the Latin that was in old Catholic missals back in the days of the Latin mass. If I am elected pope, I promise to restore the Latin mass and require all churches to install Met Titles. Those who have been to the Metropolitan Opera since about 1995 know that wherever you sit, on the back of the seat in front of you is a digital display that shows, in red, a simultaneous English translation of the opera libretto as it is being sung. Unlike subtitles or supertitles, Met Titles are very unobtrusive, and you don't have to turn them on if you don't want them. Of course, at the opera you're sometimes better off having only a vague idea of what is transpiring onstage instead of knowing exactly, but this would not be true of the mass.

David,I think you have the right idea. These bishops are trying to upgrade things, not take something away.

"An upgrade"? Please explain how returning to denying the cup to the laity is an "upgrade". Unless "upgrade" is the word we are now to use for a "downgrade."

Tom,No, I mean straight-up upgrade. Faith is a gift. Bishops have the responsibility to care for the faith of the people in their dioceses. I wonder if you've ever been to a Methodist church on a communion Sunday. I have, and the reverence of the people eating the bread, and praying afterwards is remarkable. Not so in your average Catholic parish. And this is the Blessed Sacrament. Acknowledging the divine presence among us is key to Catholic faith. We need to upgrade to that.

If you don't believe Rita, perhaps you will believe Msgr Moroney, who is one of the forces behind the new missal, and who explains the new norms about communion in those words: http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/CU/ac1200.asp COMMUNION UNDER BOTH KINDS. Perhaps the most significant change in the entire document is a broader permission for the distribution of Holy Communion under the form of bread and wine. The limited list of occasions in the previous Instruction was supplemented only when a conference of bishops sought a broader permission through indult. The present Instruction, however, places the decision regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under both species in the hands of the "priest to whom charge of a given community has been entrusted as their own pastor, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and there is no danger of the profanation of the Sacrament or that the rite would be difficult to carry out on account of the number of participants or for some other reason." If you believe neither Rita nor Msgr Moroney, see for yourselves:Old text from Rome: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/liturgy/girm1975.htm#CHAPTER II section 242New text from Rome:http://old.usccb.org/liturgy/current/chapter4.shtml#sect4Or if you trust neither Rita, nor Msgr Moroney, nor yourself, you can look at the commentary from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worhip. It starts with the following words: These liturgical norms are a noteworthy extension of what was established till now http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWNORMS.HTMSo, did Bps Olmsted and Morlino dream this up? Not quite. If you are desperate to agree with them, check out the following short quote from the document of the US committee for divine worship (but be careful to read only this quote, not the rest of the document!):In practice, the 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 minister might in some circumstances constitute a reason either for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species or for using intinction instead of distributing the Precious Blood from the chalice.http://nccbuscc.org/liturgy/current/norms.shtml section 24 paragraph 2.

I've been trying to make a comment with links to relevant texts, but it keeps disappearing when I hit "Submit". Too many links, I guess, and so it gets automatically classified as spam. Is it possible for someone to retrieve from the spam folder the last version that I tried to write? Thanks!

We've passed over the claim that the vatican refused to extend an indult. Unless someone knows of another, I think that indult dealt only with whether EMHC could purify the sacred vessels. That was terminated by Cardinal Arinze's letter of October 2006, on page 38, here:http://old.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/October2006.pdfThere is an article about this on page 37 and a FAQ on page 39. Part of the article reads:"In public comments on the decision of the Holy Father, Bishop Donald Trautman, Chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy, recalled the conciliar mandate for more frequent reception of Holy Communion under both kinds as a fuller sign of the Eucharistic Banquet. While urging that the Holy Fathersdecisionbefollowed,he expressed his hope that each diocesan Bishop will continue to make full use of the authority granted him by the Missale Romanum, editio typical tertia, to foster the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds. "Does anyone know of a different indult that was not extended?

Kathy, I see that the bishops continue to do your thinking for you. You offer no liturgical nor theological reasons. Maybe you need to hang out more with the people in the pews rather than the hierarchy. That might help you out in being more objective.

Jack Barry wrote, "they have so isolated themselves as to have no useful exchange with those whom they are supposed to sanctify and teach" Jeanne Follman wrote that things like this "will continue until the faithful exercise their voice and their financial power to enforce accountability from their bishops" and others said similar things.Some of you are so very mistaken. As someone who attends both the parishes that will be the first to implement this, and read this in the Cathedral parish bulletin this morning, I assure you that your assumption is wrong! This is going to be generally accepted, particularly by the most active members of both parishes, and even popular here, where there is both strong liturgical formation and a relatively high level of reverence and devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. In certain other parishes that may not hold as true. Monsignor Holmes' bulletin announcement says that Bishop Morlino has given a lot of leeway to pastors as to when they will put this into practice. I am delighted with this news. We have had here an extended experiment with Communion under both kinds, but Communion under one species is definitely the practice in most of the world. And restoring that here will tend to have good effects in reducing the need for EMHCs, ending the problems some parishes have with purifying large numbers of vessels, reducing spillage and profanation, and above all being a start to rectifying the confused understanding of the Eucharist that so many have today. Those who have a Catholic understanding that we receive the whole Christ whenever we receive even a small portion of either species of the Blessed Sacrament, can have no serious problem with this. I love my bishop.

Ed, you said: "Additionally, not one of the other 200 diocesan bishops has said that he will keep both cup and bread?" Two things: First, the fact that Olmsted and Morlino do something doesn't mean that bishops in other dioceses need to respond with announcements. Second, there is indeed a bishop who has taken a public position in favor of sharing the Cup widely. At a national meeting of the FDLC (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions) in 2004, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg Florida said of Communion from the Cup: "That would be the 'liturgical ditch' I might choose to die in were that also some time in the future to be forbidden or limited." (as quoted in Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium, Paulist 2007, p. 106; cf. Origins 34:25, 399-403). I hope he won't have to have that resolve tested.

Elizabeth, it is too bad that your parish had problems with spillage, profanation, and a confused understanding of the Eucharist. I guess that for your parish I am glad about your bishop's decree; under such conditions as you describe, in your parish the new norms will be an improvement over existing practices.

When we are invited to attend the wedding feast of the Son, we should put on a proper wedding garment and be thankful for the banquet, rather than insisting on wearing our own agendas instead and complaining, "hey, don't we get any wine with our food?" In doing the latter, we effectively invite ourselves to be cast out into the dark night, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. (See Mt 22:1-14)If Bishops Olmsted and Morlino, in the exercise of their authority as shepherd of their local churches, say distribution of the Host only, then the people there should receive the Body of Christ and rejoice, rather than grouse and be disappointed and resentful.If Bishop Lynch says distribution should be under both species, then the people there should likewise rejoice at receiving the Lord, rather than grouse and be resentful of what is the practice elsewhere, or rather than complain, like the rad-trads, that it should be only one species everywhere all the time.As stated above, Bishop Trautman is said to have "expressed his hope that each diocesan Bishop will continue to make full use of the authority granted him by the Missale Romanum."Well, Bishops Olmsted and Morlino have made "full use of the authority granted him," as will Bishop Lynch. It really is not all that difficult.

So Bender wants to forget the Trad stuff about how the Latin Mass gives us the 'same' all over the world. Bender is coming around to see that universal mandated conformity is not valid but validity rests only in districts/dioceses. No need for national conferences and maybe no need for Curia. We can all become Congregationalists.. I see a dawn of no more disputes.. (-:

These two Bishops, and any others considering a similar restriction, are well aware that no lay communicant is obliged to receive from the cup (chalice). They also know that most dioceses allow the communicants this option, and the right to exercise their own discretion in the matter. So why notallow those who wish to receive the Precious Blood and think this is right and appropriate to continue to do so?It is claimed that the Bishops have a teaching role. Anyone who has done any regular teaching is well aware that a real teacher is first of all still learning. Not a few Bishops appear to major in an autocratic style of administration.Are these two Lordships possibly trying to fend off criticism of the new Mass version by creating a diversionary bone of contention? I suspect that ambition lies behind the England-and-Wales bishops' re-mandating Friday abstinence! It loudly proclaims to the "Observers at Head Office" that we are such good, regular sheep.Meanwhile what of yesterday's Mass readings? - a banquet of "fine wines" was proclaimed. And the wiping away of all tears. I doubt we'll be offered either anytime soon.

@Kathy (10/9, 9:47 pm) "I wonder if youve ever been to a Methodist church on a communion Sunday. I have, and the reverence of the people eating the bread, and praying afterwards is remarkable. Not so in your average Catholic parish. And this is the Blessed Sacrament."While I appreciate your testimony of your experience at (at least one?) a Methodist church and of "your average Catholic parish", my own experience is quite different---both of Methodist churches and of Catholic ones. But my experience means little in the grand scheme of things; it's so limited after all.No, what troubles me in your post is (what seems to be) the assumption that you (or any of us) can know the kind and degree of reverence of the communicants in "your average Catholic parish". It's been a humbling experience over the years, but I've slowly learned not to make assumptions about people's reverence or prayerfulness based on how they're dressed, how they walk, or any other external signs.If you have some way of measuring how much your fellow communicants are "acknowledging the divine presence among us", I for one would be interested to hear what it is and whether it's something the rest of us could learn.

Luke,You ask a very fair question. I'm reminded of a time when I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird to a 9 year old boy. At a certain point he was wiggling around and fiddling with things so much that I asked him if I was wasting my time, reading out loud. He said, "I'm listening!" and basically recited the previous page and a half.That incident humbled me regarding 9 year old boys, but I am not sure about the rest of humanity. Watching this video, isn't it somewhat possible to tell whether there is an overall atmosphere of reverence or not? In the closeups, isn't it possible to tell a little bit about the feelings of the people? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2aopF3rS44A bishop can't escape the question. He must make decisions based on his pastoral priorities.

Bender, I don't completely disagree with you. Bishops, by church law, seem to have the right to restrict access to communion under both kinds in their diocese. But instead of just saying that it's their right, they provide reasons that, to put it plainly, are wrong. We can and we must point it out.

@Kathy (10/10, 8:58 am) Thanks for your thoughtful response. Having watched the video, I'm unsure what point you're trying to make. Aside from the preponderance of red robes and the fact that virtually all the worshippers appear to be over 50, what I noticed was a great (and typical) range of facial expressions. Some people were singing enthusiastically along with the (excellent) choir. Some appeared to be singing quietly. Some weren't singing at all. Some worshippers appeared to be praying intensely. Some appeared to be meditating quietly. Some appeared to be glancing about the church. Some appeared bored or tired or distracted. (See at 3:41 for a pretty full range of expressions by some of the clergy present.)I take all this as to be expected in most large gatherings of communal prayer. There are, it seems to me, many ways of displaying reverence---along a full spectrum from silent meditation in a monastic setting to jubilant, to the ecstatic song and praise common in Pentecostal and Holiness churches. I've seen people receive Communion with trembling and awe on their faces. I've seen people receive Communion with expressions of joy and gladness. I've seen people receive Communion as if they were welcoming an old and dear friend.I'm curious, what do the closeups in that video tell you about the feelings (and the prayerfulness and reverence) of the people at that Mass?

it seems to imply Extraordinary Ministers should only be used in truly extraordinary circumstances, i.e., not for regular Sunday mass.I see this interpretation occasionally, but it seems to me that this misunderstands the meaning of "extraordinary" in this context. The use of Extraordinary Ministers on a regular basis is no more excluded than is the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on a regular basis.

Here is my response to this: The Eucharist is not a Weapon: Part II (link: http://datinggod.org/2011/10/10/the-eucharist-is-not-a-weapon-part-ii/)Bottom line: this is a power issue that draws on a technicality about who can and cannot purify chalices. A scandal indeed!

Kathy,What I'm missing in what you say is an argument for why restricting communion to one species would enhance anyone's faith and devotion. I'm not denying that this could happen -- unexpected stuff happens all the time. But unexpected stuff cannot be counted on, so I think it is incumbent upon us to ask why would we expect this restriction to have this effect? I'm all for obedience, and if my bishop issued such a directive I would, as a cleric bound by a promise of obedience, obey it (though it would pain me greatly). But as a theologian -- and a Thomist who thinks we should be able to offer at least argumenta ex convenientia in such matters -- I would look for a better argument than the bogus ones that have been offered thus far.

These Two, cut from the same cloth, typify exactly what's wrong with a morally corrupt hierarchy, void of transparency and accountability . . . to us. This serves to hasten the demise of this last major feudal monarchy.

Attending the same Mass in about 15 different countries in pre-Vatican II days persuaded me that what I had been told - that Catholic really did mean "catholic" - was true. It looked and sounded the same wherever I went to Mass. Latin was unintelligible to nearly all, but what people and priest did was understandable. Symbols and actions can be profoundly meaningful in context as no one understands and demonstrates better than the Catholic Church. The present discussion sounds like "Do your own thing" at the bishop's level, which I find surprising in something as centrally visible and significant as the distribution of the Eucharist. None of the arguments for or against Communion from the cup sounds so powerful that it couldn't be definitively overridden by a universal decree tomorrow. This all appears to be a sop to bishops to allow them a token display of individual authority and perhaps sidestepping some back-room arguments while their domains collapse around them.

In solidarity with the poor and the call of the Gospel, Olmstead and Morlino should abdicate their mansions for more humble abodes. Extraordinary and ordinary Ministers can help with the move.

I'm rather surprised my friend Kathy would be an apologist for the Hermeneutic of Subtraction.Communion from the Cup is another opportunity for the full experience of grace. Not everybody takes these opportunities. Not every Catholic goes to daily Mass, holy days, or prays the rosary, or reads the Bible. But the open door is always there in many of these circumstances.The Lord Jesus referred to a generous and demanding faith (see Luke 10:27, etc.) in which we are called to devote all to the life of faith and the love of God. It is a curious rationalism that suggests that deprivation of a spiritual good is somehow directly linked to an improved life of faith. Less smoking, less drinking, less computer time--stuff like this I can perceive. Good things abused to the point of addiction.But this whole line of reasoning aligns well with the notion of limiting our acts of virtue. Hey: if I take my wife and daughter out for dinner once a year instead of every week, they sure as heck will appreciate me and the experience more, right? Right?If there's any addiction in this sorry episode I'd say it's upper management concerned about their standing apart from the laity. Left and right seats next to Jesus, it seems. Bishops are looking more like the Sons of Thunder these days--minus Mom, I think.

Several years ago, Bishop Morlino took another step to minimize the risk of confusing laity with clergy: he disbanded the Madison diocese's diaconate formation program. That program had begun just a few years before, under the auspices of Bishop Morlino's predecessor. The first class of 'permanent' deacons in Madison had been ordained when Bishop Morlino discontinued the program. That means that there is only one class of deacons in the diocese. Those guys need our prayers, as do all the people of the Madison diocese.

The author correctly noted the GIRM regarding this: . . The Diocesan Bishop may establish norms for Communion under both kinds for his own diocese, which are also to be observed in churches of religious and at celebrations with small groups. The Diocesan Bishop is also given the faculty to permit Communion under both kinds whenever it may seem appropriate to the Priest to whom a community has been entrusted as its own shepherd, . . On other words, among many other things, the local bishop gets to decide this one. As such why all the second guessing (judging?) on this. The GIRM clearly states this topic is well with the purview of the local bishop. As such, I do not understand the fuss when a bishop decides to allow the cup for the laity only on special occasions rather than at every mass.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.OK, Madison Catholics, your bishop has acted.How are you going to respond???*That's* the big question.

PS - My question suggests some degree of optimism on my part.To make clear, I am not at all optimistic that Madison Catholics will reject their bishop's behavior.Indifference to this ecclesiastical crap.Indifference.The opposite of love.

Ken--Although, like you, I don't share the suspicions others have about the bishops' motives, I do think the explanations provided could be clearer. If I had to guess, and this is not much more than speculation, I would say these bishops had concerns from the get-go about the use of EMs, or something's concerned them about how it's been implemented in their diocese. The recent changes to GIRM give them clearer authority to address their concerns, so they're moving forward (suppose some would say backward) now. My guess is they don't want to offend the EMs by coming out and saying that their widespread use works against the reverence for the Eucharist the bishops would like to see, but I think valor is the better part of discretion--I wish they'd be more clear.I wouldn't rule out the possibility that more infrequent access to both species could increase appreciation for it. I imagine if I only took my wife out to dinner once a year, she'd appreciate the meal much more, though me much less.Jim--Did Bishop Morlino give any reason why he cut back the diaconate program?

The whole concept of the action of Christ at the Last Supper is being obstructed in the decrees of both Bishops Olmsted and Morlino. It was HIS intention that the Eucharist was to be received under both bread and wine. The early Christian Churches followed Christ's example at their celebration of "The Meal". The only time Communion was distributed under bread only----was when communion was taken to the sick---a practice that is continued today.The comments of some of the bloggers above about 'up-grading' our faith by denying the cup to baptized Catholics (except at SPECIAL events) is a matter of special concern to me. Our faith was given to us at baptism. It was/is a GIFT of God to us and it is a mystery. So is the Eucharist. It is a GIFT of Jesus Christ to us----and is a mystery. None of us really can understand the full nature of these mysteries. But they are God's unmistakable GIFT to us.Are who are these bishops, now, telling us that THEY and THEY alone have the right to restrict the fullness of God's GIFTS to us? That they have a right, through their own warped understanding of the directives of GIRM, to block the intention of Christ in giving himself to us body and BLOOD. These bishops are saying in so many words that only the clergy/hierarchy have the right to receive the body and blood of Christ. What revelation from God gave them that right? What arrogance on their part! As John Chuchman accurately pointed out---these shabby excuses as successors to the Apostles are "cut from the same cloth". This is not an "up-grading" of our love and respect for the Holy Eucharist. It is a denigration, by these bishops, of the dignity of the People of God. Out of great love for us Christ gave himself to us in the Eucharist---BODY and BLOOD. Our salvation was paid for by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross---BODY and BLOOD. We were always supposed to receive communion under BOTH species so that our participation in the Eucharist would also result in a life-long reflection of Christ's Death and Resurrection. "Do this in memory of me." This was the example of love that Christ gave to us. And this was the example that Christ gave to the Apostles----who wanted to be First in the Kingdom of Heaven. "As I have done, so also must you do." But as Todd Flowerday so correctly notes that when it comes to these bishops "it's upper management concerned about their standing apart from the laity. Left and right seasts next to Jesus, it seems."And neither of these two bishops are known as "Pastoral Bishops". They are not known for following Christ's command to minister to the least of his people. I KNOW of some bishops who have cooked meals for the poor in soup kitchens. I know of Bishops who have visited the homes of people suffering the violent loss of a loved one. I know of Bishops who have sold their mansions, and moved into simpler living quarters. I know of Bishops who have taken their seminarians down to South America to see how the poor (in their S.A. 'sister diocese) live their lives---and they had them to minister to them.But Bishops Olmsted and Morlino---do not fit into this category at all, at all. As Sister Mary Wood rightly referred to them as "Lordships" they are so much into their episcopal dignity, what concern do they have for modeling the example of Christ and the Apostles?And I return to a question that I asked in writing of the Phoenix situation. Who gave these bishops the right to crucify the People of God in their dioceses, without the people in these dioceses raising a cry of protest? The people of the Dioceses of Phoenix and Madison-- should get an on-line letter of complaint going to your bishop----and let them know that you are "mad as Hell" and that you are not going to take any more of their nonsense.

Luke,My only point was that one can tell from the outside, somewhat, how people are doing at praying. I was just responding to your question on that point.Hi Todd,It's not subtraction but addition--a gift of better theology. Also, you have made a theological error in your comment: communing from the cup is not an additional grace. The fullness of the grace of Communion is given to me regardless of whether I receive under one or both forms.Deacon Fritz,You are right, I didn't explain. Ok, plenty of this is arguable, but here goes. I think that Catholics these days (speaking VERY generally) easily believe in Jesus as good, approachable, and kind, and as requiring the same attitude of us. All of which is fine. That has been our liturgical catecheis for the last 40 years and there is nothing wrong with it--it's one of the main points of Phil. 2. But this kind of warm, living-room Jesus--absolutely true, present in every one of the Gospels--has, in my opinion, overbalanced belief in the divinity. I truly think there is a neo-Arian spirit abroad. Certainly it is not absent from the academy. It doesn't have to be malicious to be present. It is present. In the moral life, it takes shape as a belief in God's unconcern about any virtues besides the strictly social. One great pastoral need-of-the-moment is a restoration in belief in Jesus Christ as "from above." One way to do that is to re-emphasize sacrality. These aren't our things, to be handled as we wish. These are things set apart, handled sacredly, worthy of special respect (latria, in fact). Protecting from spills and profanation is not a trivial matter. But this other thing is really exciting to me, increasing faith in the divinity.

Thanks for the input Mark. I just do not see the relationship between the clergy and the people as being a power struggle. There are times when I disagree with things; I am a conservative man and have come across priests who take a different view than I do. Nonetheless liberal or traditional - I listen to them because they are priests, and try to heed their words. There are times when the priest is acting in Persona Christi and so regardless of my or his political views, in matters of the Catholic faith, he is correct.Likewise, I do not think it good to be battling with a Bishop or a priest about anything.Power struggles are for politics and union negotiations, not for church.Per Little Bears post about the bishop crucifying the People of God, his rallying cry for protest, starting petition drives etc., regarding receiving the Eucharist under both species is an example of someone who is needlessly looking for a battle or contest with the bishop.

On other words, among many other things, the local bishop gets to decide this one. As such why all the second guessing (judging?) on this. The GIRM clearly states this topic is well with the purview of the local bishop. As such, I do not understand the fuss when a bishop decides to allow the cup for the laity only on special occasions rather than at every mass.Ken (and Mark),The fuss is, in part, that the bishop is not saying, "I am doing thus under my authority, as granted to me by the G.I.R.M." Instead, he (or his proxy, the Cathedral rector) is saying, "The indult expired in 2005 and so now we have to change our practice."This latter statement is false, as has been shown above (thanks to Claire for her thorough documentation). When someone utters a false statement, it seems to me that the only two options are 1) he is ignorant of the truth or 2) he is lying. I'm not sure which of these two unsavory options I would prefer to think is the case here.

Yes! Prof. Bauerschmidt is exactly on the mark here! The problem is this curious invocation of an indult that is really only focused on the ministers authorized to purify sacred vessels. If the bishop(s) wanted to use his (their) own authority, as is granted by universal and liturgical law in this case, that would be another story. I don't think it would necessarily be a prudent move either, but nonetheless it would be a legitimate use of ordinary authority. The question all this raises for me is, following Bauerschmidt's remarks above: what is 'really' going on here?

Neo-Arian spirit - spare me!How very secular, such relativism. Join the current fad for a "conspiracy" everywhere and behind every door including church doors.Yes, if we deprive folks of the eucharist; they might eventually better value Jesus Christ. Of course, if we take this to its logical conclusion, then we need to deny the faithful both bread and wine.Mother Teresa: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them!"

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About the Author

Rita Ferrone is the author of several books about liturgy, including Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium (Paulist Press).