Take this, some of you?

Anthony Ruff, OSB, at PrayTell has an analysis of Bishop Olmsted's decision to restrict the reception among laypeople of wine, the Precious Blood, at Communion.  "The diocese is admitting that the bishop could have allowed priests to continue giving Communion under both forms at every Mass, but chose not to do so."  Read the rest here.

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Kang Dole
8 years 10 months ago
The primary reason given for the change -''To protect the Sacred Species from profanation (careless treatment, spillage, swilling, etc.)''- seems a little odd. Why is the cup considered to be the element most open to profanation? Couldn't the bread be just as subject to crumbling, falling, or being eaten by mice (a la the Apostolic Tradition)?
8 years 10 months ago
I find this subject very interesting because of related issues at my parish.  We have had a transition from a Vatican II-era priest (someone Richard Rohr would describe as a ''second half of life'' kind of person) to a definitely first-half-of-life priest.  One of the many ensuing changes is a modification to the form of blessing in the communion line given to non-commnicants (small children, non-Catholics...).  Formerly, the individuals received a blessing that involved words (''May the Lord Jesus be with you'') and a physical touch (Eucharistic minister placing his/her hand on the individual's head).  This physical touch has been banned.  Actually I think the words have been eliminated too-nowadays I just see a quick swish of the hands in the form of a cross, without even eye contact.  This has caused a lot of unhappiness since all the warmth and welcome has been removed.  The reason given was essentially a ''profanation'' concern (crumbs from the minister's thumb might wind up on the individual's head).

I hate this change, and today's article on the situation in Phoenix has prompted me to revisit the issue.  I just find myself unable to sympathize with these various ''profanation'' concerns:

(1)  They ignore the fact that it is impossible to prevent microscopic bits of the Eucharistic species from migrating into the environment.  Does anybody doubt that this happens even under the most careful protocols?

(2)  It's inappropriate to be treating the Eucharist species in the fearful way that we treat poisons, bio-hazards, and radioactive materials.  The Eucharist is life-giving.  OK, we also treat precious things like old parchment manuscripts with great care, and yes, the Eucharist is precious and deserves to be treated with reverence.  But we treat old parchment manuscipts and the like in this way not only because they are precious, but because we are trying to preserve them.  The Eucharist is meant to be consumed: Take and eat, Take and drink...  It is FOR US. 

(3)  If the Eucharist is treated with reverence, and fair measures are taken to avoid the appearance of disrespect, what is the POINT of worrying about microscopic crumbs, etc?  Jesus told us to take and eat, take and drink, and he knew as well as the rest of us what happens to what we eat and drink (part of it becomes part of us, but part of it...).  In what sense is the ''fate'' of an invisible, undetectable fragment that adheres to a forehead or a paten any less?

(4)  Accidents happen.  The only way to eliminate accidents is to eliminate Eucharist.  My Catholic-school son already learned in second grade about the difference between accidents and intentional acts, and that there is no sin in the former. 

(5)  But most of all, this extreme fastidiousness distracts from what we should be remembering and experiencing at Eucharist:  the Last Supper; Jesus' suffering and death and resurrection; Jesus' desire to be with us even now; the ''coming together'' of the Christian community; the heavenly banquet...  (What else do you care to add?)    How can we focus on these things when we are focusing on crumbs?  All this reminds me of weddings where somebody  loses his/her mind-and essentially, ''misses the wedding''- because somebody else's hairdoo didn't turn out right or the cake got dented or the AC didn't work in the limo.  We can focus so much on tiny things that we lose the grace, the transcendent significance. 

What is really going on here?  I suspect many readers of this blog agree with me.  I would especially like to hear from those who disagree, especially priests or seminary instructors.  What is being taught nowadays?

Honestly, from the ''man in the pew'' here, what I sense is that young priests doubt the faith of us parishioners-about the Real Presence and about a million other things-and feel like they need to go over-the-top in response.  I sense this from sermons.  I always thought we had a great parish, full of faithful, prayerful, generous people, functioning as a community, and it grated immensely when the new priest felt the need to ''fix'' us (liturgically and otherwise), giving sermons as though we were a bunch of heathens who would be going to hell if not for his personal efforts.  (After a year in the parish, he is starting to appreciate that we do have lives of faith.)

PJ Johnston
8 years 10 months ago
Is this common outside of Tridentine masses?  I attended an English mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin this weekend and I was blown away by the fact that the sacrament was not offered in both kinds.  I expect this when I attend a Latin mass, but I've never before seen it in a Novus Ordo context.
8 years 10 months ago
The problem with Anthony Ruff is not that he does not have good reasons to desire both forms at communion.  His problem is that he cannot see the good reasons of the bishop.  He is unable to see both sides with humility.  He is unable to humbly and with kindness allow the bishop to ultimately set the rules in his diocese.

Whether you or I agree with the bishop I can certainly understand or try to understand his sincerity about the way we approach the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Eric Stoltz
8 years 10 months ago
Very disappointing. The cathedral in Phoenix has already returned to black vestments for funerals and banned girls from the altar area. I suppose next the diocese will forbid women from being lectors, because that's the next biggest grievance in the restorationist agenda.

What is most disconcerting is the blatant dishonest and doublespeak in their explanations: In order to widen access to the cup they must restrict it; and it's not "necessary" to offer the cup when presumably in other cases they do other "unnecessary" things like using incense and sprinkling rites and  so forth. News flash to Phoenix: Also not "necessary"? Swathing yourself in yards and yards of lace.

Then of course is the demeaning and condescending talking down of the explanation that Christ is present in both species. Really, who the hell do they think they are? 
Cody Serra
8 years 10 months ago
It is disheartening because it shows a return to pre-Vat. II theology and ecclesial perspectives. Hopefully, not many bishops will follow the same road, but the possibility is scary.
The Eucharist is Christ himself offering his own Body and Blood to nurture our hearts with his infinite love. He sacrificed himself in the Cross and resurrected to remain among us in the Eucharist.  Why, then, restricting our access to that spiritual food gifted to us by Jesus command?  Yes, God’s is present equally in both species, bread and wine. Vatican II made us, the laity, equal participants in the Eucharistic mystery, inviting us to table of the Lord, to receive the divine food under both species, as the ordained priests and deacons on the altar.  Were all the Vatican II Bishops who approved unanimously the documents granting us this gift not inspired by the Holy Spirit? 
We can never really know the hidden intentions of anybody, but sometimes we can perceive in contextual and historical situations what the objective may be. In this case, I believe it is to decrease (or eliminate) from the altar the laity, specially the women. I don’t believe the accidents that “may or do” happen with spillage of the Blood of Christ or of his Body is the real reason. Christ allowed his Body to be mistreated and violated in the Calvary for love and for our salvation.. HE will not be scandalized by a possible or real accident in church these days.
Clericalism at work is what it is here. I wonder how with fewer priests parishes with large numbers of faithful would be able to “serve the table” to 1000 plus during a Mass without the help of the extraordinary ministers of Communion. Perhaps, the idea is to have a smaller Catholic church. If this type of measures is spread around the country, that objective maybe achieved sooner than later.
Lord of miracles, help us, we pray.
Anne Chapman
8 years 10 months ago
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.

The bolded ''reason'' is probably the compelling reason for this particular bishop. Following Benedict's lead, he is working to diminish the role of the laity, in favor of enhancing clericalism. And, it will not be surprising if the first of the ''excessive'' numbers of eucharistic ministers to be made redundant - no longer needed because no more wine - will be female.
Leo Zanchettin
8 years 10 months ago
In June of this year, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. That means that I am not allowed to consume any wheat, rye, or barley products. Since that time, I have gone to communion with my arms crossed and received a blessing instead of the host. Then I have gone on to receive-very gratefully-from the chalice. If I were in Phoenix, however, I would be denied communion, through no fault of my own.
John Barbieri
8 years 10 months ago
What would we expect from the originator of the Saint Joseph's Hospital debacle?
ed gleason
8 years 10 months ago
I agree with Anne C.  that the reduction of lay ministry is the main target. CARA studies tell us 17% of the Mass attending Catholics are involved in lay ministry. Eucharistic Min., lectors, DRE, Greeters, RCIA, CCD, Parish. and Fin.Councils, Sacramental prep, Movement laity,  etc.
These are the parishes' Sergeants, non-commissioned officers. These are the ones who may initiate a Sergeants revolt once they discover a tactical plan and a leader. Push back is coming as the HS must see the petty hierarchy as the problem.  
8 years 10 months ago
I am disappointed that Bishop Olmsted has decided to fudge-over the Lord’s “Take all of you and drink …” by denying laity in his diocese Communion from the Chalice. “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist” must of necessity also be phased out, as will all lay activity in the sanctuary, especially women. Isn’t the good Bishop the Caretaker who also banned altar girls from his Cathedral? The dismantling of Vatican II is happening as the very insightful Kevin Dowling, C.Ss.R., Catholic Bishop of Restenburg, South Africa has said.
It is troubling! What  will happen to the People of God, when priests, already heavily burdened become incapable of additional service, see laity withdraw to the “catacombs of “the way it used to be”  denied opportunities to exercise their baptismal configuration to Christ modeled in Acts and in earliest Church Tradition and practice?  Of course they may be able to manage with fewer faithful in pretty empty churches!
God help us! A lot of laity already disillusioned  by the lack of Church-veracity will simply throw up their hands, walk away and try to find the Lord elsewhere. But I won’t walk away fully aware of the abundance of ecclesial-myopia - the tendency to do wrong things for apparently right reasons that has always existed in the Church. Instead I hope that God will listen attentively to millions of pleas, mine included, to send us leaders on fire with Solomon’s prayer for true Wisdom!   
Barry Moorhead
8 years 10 months ago
I suppose if most of us would stop wearing albs and chasubles/tunics. Then the confusion in roles would stop.
Eugene Palumbo
8 years 10 months ago
Be sure to see ''The Case in Phoenix'' by Rita Ferrone on Commonweal's blog:

Thom Nickels
8 years 8 months ago
Lay ministers are a Protestant innovation. They are not needed. They never wear liturgical garments but add a pedestrian, Protestant flavor to the altar area. In the warm weather months female lay ministers wear shorts and flip flops; the men wear sandles and jeans. They have no respect for the Sacrifice of the Mass. The idea of lay ministers needs to be abolished. A woman in high heels with exposed clevage has no right distributing wine during communion. This is liturgical abuse. Lay ministers need to be abolished as soon as possible. They have destroyed the integrity of the Mass, but then again there is often little integrity when it comes to the Novus Ordo Mass.   
Thom Nickels
8 years 8 months ago
There is nothing wrorng with black vestments during funeral Masses. Black is a beautiful liturgical color. It is real. The Orthodox use black but the Baptists do not. Catholics needs to rediscover their ancient Catholic roots. There are too many white vestments in the Novus Ordo Church. It is rather boring. The Novus Ordo Mass, after all, was designed by six Protestant Vatican II/observer/clergymen. The idea was the make the Mass ''more friendly'' to Protestants. The result? A boring, utilitarian Protestant style Mass that emphasizes exterior prayer and movement, totally lacking in mystery or mysticism. The Novus Ordo Mass should be avoided at all costs.
Thom Nickels
8 years 8 months ago
The Church needs to dismantle Vatican II as quickly as possible. Since Vatican II the Church has taken a nose dive into the pit of destruction: empty seminaries, empty convents, nuns who dress like corporate lesbian feminists, clergy sex abuse, and empty pews, not to mention that 65 per cent of Catholics NO longer believe in the Real Presence. The so called Springtime of the CHurch has really been a nuclear winter!!!!


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