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.

Rita Ferrone is the author of several books about liturgy, including Pastoral Guide to Pope Francis’s Desiderio Desideravi (Liturgical Press). She is a contributing writer to Commonweal.

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