Some Catholics will be denied the Cup

A huge issue during the Reformation was the right of the laity to receive Holy Communion in “both kinds”; that is, to receive both the bread (Christ’s body) and the wine (Christ’s blood).  The practice of Roman Catholicism up until Vatican II in the 1960s was for the laity to only receive the bread.  Clergy were the only ones allowed to receive the wine.

I never understood the rationale for that.  People, such as John Hus, were burned at the stake for insisting on both kinds.  And now at least some dioceses (specifically in the United States, Phoenix and Madison) are going back to the practice of denying the cup to laypeople, except on certain special occasions:

While Catholics across the United States are getting their tongues around the new translations of the Mass, Catholics in two U.S. dioceses will also be taste-testing another change: regular communion from the cup will be disappearing.

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted’s new directives for communion from the cup, according to the diocesan website, will allow the assembly to receive the blood of Christ “at the Chrism Mass and feast of Corpus Christi. Additionally it may be offered to a Catholic couple at their wedding Mass, to first communicants and their family members, confirmation candidates and their sponsors, as well as deacons, non-concelebrating priests, servers, and seminarians at any Mass,” along with religious in their houses and retreatants. Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin made a similar decision.

The effect of the change, intended or not, is that the blood of Christ will separate some members of the assembly from others, notably priests and deacons (whether they are functioning in their liturgical roles or not), and seminarians and servers.

A close reading of the Phoenix rationale for the decision quickly makes clear a primary purpose: to eliminate extraordinary (lay) ministers of the Eucharist, because too many of them result in “obscuring the role of the priest and the deacon as the ordinary ministers.”

This fear of “disproportionately multiplying” communion ministers is then applied to the feast of Corpus Christi, one of the few times communion under both species will be permitted. In that instance if a parish is lacking enough “ordinary ministers,” “it is common sense that [the pastor] would not be able to judge the necessary conditions as met,” because he would need a “disproportionate” number of lay ministers to distribute the blood of Christ. In other words, no cup—even on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ—all for the sake of reinforcing the distinct (and obvious) roles of the ordained.

The diocesan reasoning invokes the 2005 expiration of a Vatican permission granted in 1975 that allowed wide use of the cup but disregards the more general liturgical law that allows the diocesan bishop to make the cup widely available. The diocese even bizarrely argues that communion under the form of bread alone is a greater sign of Catholic unity because most Catholics in the world don’t get to receive from the cup. Because the faithful of the rest of the world are robbed of the fullness of the eucharistic symbol, the reasoning goes, Catholics of the Diocese of Phoenix should be, too.

via You’re cut off: No more cup for the people. | USCatholic.org.

Could some of you Catholics explain why the laity–not just in these two dioceses but apparently in other places in the world– would be denied the cup? I know about the priest/layperson distinction, but what is the rationale for manifesting that in this particular way?

UPDATE:  Thanks to Jonathan for alerting us that the Bishop of Phoenix has reversed his decision.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    While waiting for a reply from our Roman Catholic friends, I thought I might share the following. As we all probably know the Anglican communion is one of the broadest communions in Christendom, doctrinally-speaking, a tendency which can actually be traced back to its genesis as a state church encompassing a range of doctrinal positions rather than a purely confessional church, as is the Evangelical Lutheran Church. After women priests were first ordained in England they were generally placed in the larger cathedrals, where many Anglo-Catholics (Anglicans with a leaning towards Roman doctrine and practice) felt compelled by conscience to refuse to receive communion from their hands. Anglican theologians theologians came up with the following solution – the doctrine of concomitance (the purely speculative Roman doctrine which undergirds communion in one kind, shared also by many Anglo-Catholics) guarantees a full communion in the body and blood of Christ even if only the body/bread is received, therefore it should be arranged that when conscientious objectors are present women priests only concelebrate and only distribute the cup. Thus any concerned Anglo-Catholic could preserve a good conscience by only communing under one kind – the bread – from the hands of a male priest, while at the same time being assured that they had fully communed with Christ’s body and blood. Truly, from the sublime to the ridiculous!
    As to where this left conservative, Bible-believing Anglican Evangelicals, or middle-of-the-road CS Lewis types I can’t say…I guess the fabric of doctrine can only be streched so far – and in self-consciously ‘inclusive’ churches it’s often only the squeaky hinge that gets the oil!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    While waiting for a reply from our Roman Catholic friends, I thought I might share the following. As we all probably know the Anglican communion is one of the broadest communions in Christendom, doctrinally-speaking, a tendency which can actually be traced back to its genesis as a state church encompassing a range of doctrinal positions rather than a purely confessional church, as is the Evangelical Lutheran Church. After women priests were first ordained in England they were generally placed in the larger cathedrals, where many Anglo-Catholics (Anglicans with a leaning towards Roman doctrine and practice) felt compelled by conscience to refuse to receive communion from their hands. Anglican theologians theologians came up with the following solution – the doctrine of concomitance (the purely speculative Roman doctrine which undergirds communion in one kind, shared also by many Anglo-Catholics) guarantees a full communion in the body and blood of Christ even if only the body/bread is received, therefore it should be arranged that when conscientious objectors are present women priests only concelebrate and only distribute the cup. Thus any concerned Anglo-Catholic could preserve a good conscience by only communing under one kind – the bread – from the hands of a male priest, while at the same time being assured that they had fully communed with Christ’s body and blood. Truly, from the sublime to the ridiculous!
    As to where this left conservative, Bible-believing Anglican Evangelicals, or middle-of-the-road CS Lewis types I can’t say…I guess the fabric of doctrine can only be streched so far – and in self-consciously ‘inclusive’ churches it’s often only the squeaky hinge that gets the oil!

  • Joe

    I have always been confused as to why the one kind given is the body and not the blood. Given that we have been washed in the blood of the lamb, that there is not forgiveness without the shedding of blood, etc. The Catholic one-kind deal always seemed backwards to me.

  • Joe

    I have always been confused as to why the one kind given is the body and not the blood. Given that we have been washed in the blood of the lamb, that there is not forgiveness without the shedding of blood, etc. The Catholic one-kind deal always seemed backwards to me.

  • Jonathan
  • Jonathan
  • Husker Lutheran

    FWIW: That has ALWAYS been the practice of the Lincoln, Nebraska Catholic diocese, widely-regarded as perhaps the most conservative in the nation.

  • Husker Lutheran

    FWIW: That has ALWAYS been the practice of the Lincoln, Nebraska Catholic diocese, widely-regarded as perhaps the most conservative in the nation.

  • Bill Cork

    Speaking as a one-time Catholic (lay minister and archdiocesan director of campus ministry) …

    Several things are going on here. First, Vatican 2 didn’t make this change suddenly. In fact, these diocese are going back to the literal words of Vatican 2. In the decades following the council, the practice of “communion under both species” spread more widely. In the US, it was typical for the cup to be offered at almost all Sunday masses. But in many, if not most parishes, I think it fair to say that the majority of people chose not to receive from the cup.

    The issue, I think, is the role of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion–lay people who assist in distribution (and who are also commissioned to take communion to the sick). These are to be specially trained, and approved by the bishop. They remain “extraordinary.” Priests and deacons are the “ordinary” ministers. Pre-VC2, all the priests in the rectory would come out at communion time to distribute communion. Now there are instances of priests sitting in their chair while the lay people do it. In some large parishes, there might be 20 Extraordinary Ministers up front. Some of them were blessing children. Sometimes they assisted the priest in cleansing the vessels. The Vatican saw the way they were used in many places as blurring the line between clergy and laity.

    There’s also the concern for reverence. In the pope’s masses, you receive only on the tongue. There are still many places in the world where that is the norm. Cups lead to spillage, and that is concern.

    And the Catholic teaching has always emphasized concomitance–that is, the whole Christ is received under either form.

    Here are the diocese of Phoenix’s actual rules, different from what the media portrayed, and they emphasize the universal Catholic rules:

    ——————————————————-
    B. Conditions for the use of Holy Communion under both kinds:

    i. The faithful present at Mass are properly catechized and continually receive catechesis regarding the dogmatic principles on the matter laid down by the Ecumenical Council of Trent.1

    ii. The ordinary ministers (i.e., priests and deacons) are able to purify all the sacred vessels either during or immediately following Dismissal of the people at the conclusion of the Mass.2

    iii. There exists not even a small danger of the sacred species being profaned.3

    iv. There is not such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist. There is no danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remains after distribution of Holy Communion.

    v. There is an adequate number of ordinary ministers of Holy Communion for the distribution of Holy Communion.4 When this is not the case, there is an adequate number of properly deputed and trained extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.5

    vi. The role of the Priest and Deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion is not obscured by an excessive use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion; the bond between the ministerial priesthood and the Eucharist is clearly manifest.6

    vii. There are no health concerns such as influenza or some other contagious disease that would deter the faithful from approaching the chalice.

    viii. “The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where…a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated.”7

    1 These catechetical principals are identified in “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America,” 25. Redemptionis Sacramentum, 100. Cf. Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session XXI, 16 July 1562.

    2 GIRM 163.

    3 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    4 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    5 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    6 “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America,” 24.

    7 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

  • Bill Cork

    Speaking as a one-time Catholic (lay minister and archdiocesan director of campus ministry) …

    Several things are going on here. First, Vatican 2 didn’t make this change suddenly. In fact, these diocese are going back to the literal words of Vatican 2. In the decades following the council, the practice of “communion under both species” spread more widely. In the US, it was typical for the cup to be offered at almost all Sunday masses. But in many, if not most parishes, I think it fair to say that the majority of people chose not to receive from the cup.

    The issue, I think, is the role of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion–lay people who assist in distribution (and who are also commissioned to take communion to the sick). These are to be specially trained, and approved by the bishop. They remain “extraordinary.” Priests and deacons are the “ordinary” ministers. Pre-VC2, all the priests in the rectory would come out at communion time to distribute communion. Now there are instances of priests sitting in their chair while the lay people do it. In some large parishes, there might be 20 Extraordinary Ministers up front. Some of them were blessing children. Sometimes they assisted the priest in cleansing the vessels. The Vatican saw the way they were used in many places as blurring the line between clergy and laity.

    There’s also the concern for reverence. In the pope’s masses, you receive only on the tongue. There are still many places in the world where that is the norm. Cups lead to spillage, and that is concern.

    And the Catholic teaching has always emphasized concomitance–that is, the whole Christ is received under either form.

    Here are the diocese of Phoenix’s actual rules, different from what the media portrayed, and they emphasize the universal Catholic rules:

    ——————————————————-
    B. Conditions for the use of Holy Communion under both kinds:

    i. The faithful present at Mass are properly catechized and continually receive catechesis regarding the dogmatic principles on the matter laid down by the Ecumenical Council of Trent.1

    ii. The ordinary ministers (i.e., priests and deacons) are able to purify all the sacred vessels either during or immediately following Dismissal of the people at the conclusion of the Mass.2

    iii. There exists not even a small danger of the sacred species being profaned.3

    iv. There is not such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist. There is no danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remains after distribution of Holy Communion.

    v. There is an adequate number of ordinary ministers of Holy Communion for the distribution of Holy Communion.4 When this is not the case, there is an adequate number of properly deputed and trained extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.5

    vi. The role of the Priest and Deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion is not obscured by an excessive use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion; the bond between the ministerial priesthood and the Eucharist is clearly manifest.6

    vii. There are no health concerns such as influenza or some other contagious disease that would deter the faithful from approaching the chalice.

    viii. “The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where…a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated.”7

    1 These catechetical principals are identified in “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America,” 25. Redemptionis Sacramentum, 100. Cf. Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session XXI, 16 July 1562.

    2 GIRM 163.

    3 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    4 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    5 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

    6 “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America,” 24.

    7 Redemptionis Sacramentum, 102.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Rome is more concerned with safeguarding their sacerdotalist doctrine of the ministry, than being faithful to Christ’s command.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Rome is more concerned with safeguarding their sacerdotalist doctrine of the ministry, than being faithful to Christ’s command.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    All this Christ +, stuff is very sad.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    All this Christ +, stuff is very sad.

  • Rob C.

    Bill Cork hit the key points quite well. Restrictions on the distribution of the Precious Blood were intended to protect the Sacrament from liturgical abuses.

    I am said to say that such abuses are (painfully) common, and a restriction is warranted until Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the laity as a whole are better catechized.

    The Diocese has acknowledged that the restrictions it imposed were the result of an incorrect understanding of Church directives regarding the distribution of Holy Communion, and has reversed its decision.

    There remain, however, grounds for the restriction until abuses can be rooted out.

    I had hoped this conversation would rise to the level of an exchange of information regarding Catholic teachings. Some are, unfortunately, dragging it down to a level of Lutheran snarkiness regarding Catholic teachings on the Eucharist. That saddens me.

  • Rob C.

    Bill Cork hit the key points quite well. Restrictions on the distribution of the Precious Blood were intended to protect the Sacrament from liturgical abuses.

    I am said to say that such abuses are (painfully) common, and a restriction is warranted until Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the laity as a whole are better catechized.

    The Diocese has acknowledged that the restrictions it imposed were the result of an incorrect understanding of Church directives regarding the distribution of Holy Communion, and has reversed its decision.

    There remain, however, grounds for the restriction until abuses can be rooted out.

    I had hoped this conversation would rise to the level of an exchange of information regarding Catholic teachings. Some are, unfortunately, dragging it down to a level of Lutheran snarkiness regarding Catholic teachings on the Eucharist. That saddens me.

  • Bill Cork

    I think the key doctrinal point to emphasize is, as the Phoenix guidelines underscore, that the dogmatic teachings of Trent remain valid. Vatican 2 changed no dogma. It was a pastoral, not a dogmatic, council. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    This is going to be more apparent in the new English translation of the Roman Missal. The translation used since the 70s downplayed all the talk of sacrifice that has always been in the Latin–while catechists and liturgists often emphasized the Eucharist as meal. But dogma has always said that the Mass is a sacrifice, offered for the living and the dead, by a priest who, through ordination, has been configured to Christ and acts “in persona Christi.”

    There are real, serious differences between Protestants and Catholics that have been watered down over the years. We don’t need to be snarky, but we do need to be accurate.

  • Bill Cork

    I think the key doctrinal point to emphasize is, as the Phoenix guidelines underscore, that the dogmatic teachings of Trent remain valid. Vatican 2 changed no dogma. It was a pastoral, not a dogmatic, council. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    This is going to be more apparent in the new English translation of the Roman Missal. The translation used since the 70s downplayed all the talk of sacrifice that has always been in the Latin–while catechists and liturgists often emphasized the Eucharist as meal. But dogma has always said that the Mass is a sacrifice, offered for the living and the dead, by a priest who, through ordination, has been configured to Christ and acts “in persona Christi.”

    There are real, serious differences between Protestants and Catholics that have been watered down over the years. We don’t need to be snarky, but we do need to be accurate.

  • Rob C.

    As regards the theological grounds for why reception of the Eucharist under both species is not necessary, here is one of the authoritative sources:

    THE COUNCIL OF TRENT
    Session XXI – 16 July, 1562

    The Doctrine of Communion Under Both Kinds and the Communion of Little Children

    The holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, has thought fit that, since relative to the awe-inspiring and most holy sacrament of the Eucharist various monstrous errors are in different places circulated by the wiles of the evil spirit, by reason of which, in some provinces, many are seen to have fallen away from the faith and obedience of the Catholic Church, those things which relate to communion under both forms and to that of little children be explained in this place. Wherefore, it forbids all the faithful of Christ to presume henceforth to believe, teach or preach on these matters otherwise than is explained and defined in these decrees.

    CHAPTER I
    LAYMEN AND CLERICS WHEN NOT OFFERING THE SACRIFICE ARE NOT BOUND BY DIVINE LAW TO COMMUNION UNDER BOTH SPECIES

    This holy council instructed by the Holy Ghost, who is the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and godliness,[1] and following the judgment and custom of the Church,[2] declares and teaches that laymen and clerics when not offering the sacrifice are bound by no divine precept to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both forms, and that there can be no doubt at all, “salva fide”, that communion under either form is sufficient for them to salvation. For though Christ the Lord at the last supper instituted and delivered to the Apostles this venerable sacrament under the forms of bread and wine,[3] yet that institution and administration do not signify that all the faithful are by an enactment of the Lord to receive under both forms. Neither is it rightly inferred from that discourse contained in the sixth chapter of John that communion under both forms was enjoined by the Lord, notwithstanding the various interpretations of it by the holy Fathers and Doctors. For He who said: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you”,[4] also said: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever”;[5] and He who said: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath life everlasting,”[6] also said: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”;[7] and lastly, He who said: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him”,[8] said, nevertheless: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever.”[9]

    CHAPTER II
    THE POWER OF THE CHURCH CONCERNING THE DISPENSATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

    It declares furthermore, that in the dispensation of the sacraments, “salva illorum substantia”, the Church may, according to circumstances, times and places, determine or change whatever she may judge most expedient for the benefit of those receiving them or for the veneration of the sacraments; and this power has always been hers. The Apostle seems to have clearly intimated this when he said: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God;[10] and that he himself exercised this power, as in many other things so in this sacrament, is sufficiently manifest, for after having given some instructions regarding its use, he says: “The rest I will set in order when I come.”[11] Wherefore, though from the beginning of the Christian religion the use of both forms has not been infrequent, yet since that custom has been already very widely changed, holy mother Church, cognizant of her authority in the administration of the sacraments, has, induced by just and weighty reasons, approved this custom of communicating under either species and has decreed that it be considered the law, which may not be repudiated or changed at pleasure without the authority of the Church.

    CHAPTER III
    CHRIST, WHOLE AND ENTIRE, AND A TRUE SACRAMENT ARE RECEIVED UNDER EITHER SPECIES

    It declares, moreover, that though our Redeemer at the last supper instituted and administered this sacrament to the Apostles under two forms, as has already been said, yet it must be acknowledged that Christ, whole and entire, and a true sacrament are received under either form alone,[12] and therefore, as regards its fruits, those who receive one species only are not deprived of any grace necessary to salvation.

    1 Is. 11:2.
    2 Council of Constance. Sess. XIII (Denzinger, no. 626); cf. infra,> can. 2.
    3 Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19 f.; I Cor. 11:24f.
    4 John 6:54.
    5 Ibid., 6:52.
    6 Ibid., 6:55.
    7 Ibid., 6:52.
    8 Ibid., 6:57.
    9 Ibid., 6:59.
    10 See I Cor. 4:1.
    11 Ibid., 11:34.
    12 Cf. Sess. XIII, chap. 3 and can. 3.

  • Rob C.

    As regards the theological grounds for why reception of the Eucharist under both species is not necessary, here is one of the authoritative sources:

    THE COUNCIL OF TRENT
    Session XXI – 16 July, 1562

    The Doctrine of Communion Under Both Kinds and the Communion of Little Children

    The holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, has thought fit that, since relative to the awe-inspiring and most holy sacrament of the Eucharist various monstrous errors are in different places circulated by the wiles of the evil spirit, by reason of which, in some provinces, many are seen to have fallen away from the faith and obedience of the Catholic Church, those things which relate to communion under both forms and to that of little children be explained in this place. Wherefore, it forbids all the faithful of Christ to presume henceforth to believe, teach or preach on these matters otherwise than is explained and defined in these decrees.

    CHAPTER I
    LAYMEN AND CLERICS WHEN NOT OFFERING THE SACRIFICE ARE NOT BOUND BY DIVINE LAW TO COMMUNION UNDER BOTH SPECIES

    This holy council instructed by the Holy Ghost, who is the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and godliness,[1] and following the judgment and custom of the Church,[2] declares and teaches that laymen and clerics when not offering the sacrifice are bound by no divine precept to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both forms, and that there can be no doubt at all, “salva fide”, that communion under either form is sufficient for them to salvation. For though Christ the Lord at the last supper instituted and delivered to the Apostles this venerable sacrament under the forms of bread and wine,[3] yet that institution and administration do not signify that all the faithful are by an enactment of the Lord to receive under both forms. Neither is it rightly inferred from that discourse contained in the sixth chapter of John that communion under both forms was enjoined by the Lord, notwithstanding the various interpretations of it by the holy Fathers and Doctors. For He who said: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you”,[4] also said: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever”;[5] and He who said: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath life everlasting,”[6] also said: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”;[7] and lastly, He who said: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him”,[8] said, nevertheless: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever.”[9]

    CHAPTER II
    THE POWER OF THE CHURCH CONCERNING THE DISPENSATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

    It declares furthermore, that in the dispensation of the sacraments, “salva illorum substantia”, the Church may, according to circumstances, times and places, determine or change whatever she may judge most expedient for the benefit of those receiving them or for the veneration of the sacraments; and this power has always been hers. The Apostle seems to have clearly intimated this when he said: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God;[10] and that he himself exercised this power, as in many other things so in this sacrament, is sufficiently manifest, for after having given some instructions regarding its use, he says: “The rest I will set in order when I come.”[11] Wherefore, though from the beginning of the Christian religion the use of both forms has not been infrequent, yet since that custom has been already very widely changed, holy mother Church, cognizant of her authority in the administration of the sacraments, has, induced by just and weighty reasons, approved this custom of communicating under either species and has decreed that it be considered the law, which may not be repudiated or changed at pleasure without the authority of the Church.

    CHAPTER III
    CHRIST, WHOLE AND ENTIRE, AND A TRUE SACRAMENT ARE RECEIVED UNDER EITHER SPECIES

    It declares, moreover, that though our Redeemer at the last supper instituted and administered this sacrament to the Apostles under two forms, as has already been said, yet it must be acknowledged that Christ, whole and entire, and a true sacrament are received under either form alone,[12] and therefore, as regards its fruits, those who receive one species only are not deprived of any grace necessary to salvation.

    1 Is. 11:2.
    2 Council of Constance. Sess. XIII (Denzinger, no. 626); cf. infra,> can. 2.
    3 Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19 f.; I Cor. 11:24f.
    4 John 6:54.
    5 Ibid., 6:52.
    6 Ibid., 6:55.
    7 Ibid., 6:52.
    8 Ibid., 6:57.
    9 Ibid., 6:59.
    10 See I Cor. 4:1.
    11 Ibid., 11:34.
    12 Cf. Sess. XIII, chap. 3 and can. 3.

  • Bill Cork

    Here are the actual guidelines issued by the Diocese of Phoenix:

    http://www.diocesephoenix.org/onenewsstory.php?themonth=201111&story=1008980432

    As to Trent, Martin Chemnitz’s response remains relevant, I think (Examination of the Council of Trent, Vol. 2, pp. 337-434).

    He begins by summarizing the arguments from Scripture in favor of communion under both kinds. First, Christ’s institution was clear, with bread and cup. Second, he said at the Supper, “Drink of it, all of you.” And “Do this.” Third, Jesus said this was a testament, sealed with his blood. How could it be taken away except through sacrilege? Fourth, the apostles gave the same example, all ate, all drank. Fifth, they taught this as well (1 Cor). Sixth, it is especially with the cup that the promise is given, “for the remission of sins,” and to deprive any of this is to deprive them of the consolation of the Gospel.

    And that’s the essence of the Protestant concern: Jesus said “do this.” Scripture knows of no grounds for saying, “He didn’t really mean it.” Whether or not Christ is present fully under both forms is immaterial. The command is clear: Do this, and “all of you.”

  • Bill Cork

    Here are the actual guidelines issued by the Diocese of Phoenix:

    http://www.diocesephoenix.org/onenewsstory.php?themonth=201111&story=1008980432

    As to Trent, Martin Chemnitz’s response remains relevant, I think (Examination of the Council of Trent, Vol. 2, pp. 337-434).

    He begins by summarizing the arguments from Scripture in favor of communion under both kinds. First, Christ’s institution was clear, with bread and cup. Second, he said at the Supper, “Drink of it, all of you.” And “Do this.” Third, Jesus said this was a testament, sealed with his blood. How could it be taken away except through sacrilege? Fourth, the apostles gave the same example, all ate, all drank. Fifth, they taught this as well (1 Cor). Sixth, it is especially with the cup that the promise is given, “for the remission of sins,” and to deprive any of this is to deprive them of the consolation of the Gospel.

    And that’s the essence of the Protestant concern: Jesus said “do this.” Scripture knows of no grounds for saying, “He didn’t really mean it.” Whether or not Christ is present fully under both forms is immaterial. The command is clear: Do this, and “all of you.”

  • Eleanor

    Hmmmm…. seems to me that there is one obvious solution: the bishop outlaws extraordinary lay Eucharistic ministers, and then when people squwak (which they will), explains very sweetly that if Our Lady of the Lay Minister Parish wants communion in both kinds they need to a) put up with a longer distribution or b) nominate a lot more men to the diaconate and priesthood. Or both.
    It seems every one is focusing on this as a tug-of-war over the cup, rather than what the issue should be: are lay eucharistic ministers a real problem?

    Communion at my Lutheran church takes twice as long to commune a 100 people as the local large Catholic Basilica takes to commune a 1000. We don’t mind, but many of my Catholic friends find it morally offensive to spend more than 1 hour in church. If the cup matters so much to these people, they should put up with a longer distribution. Just think about what this would do: Catholics could play a full Back Cantata over distribution every week! Now wouldn’t that make the Lutherans jealous?

    As a Lutheran who visits Catholic parishes with relative frequency, I have to say that I would like nothing better than to see this practice go the way of the passenger pigeon. And I think that we Lutherans should stand with any Catholic bishop who wants to do something about it. Ministers should be vested; they should be part of the whole liturgy; their ministerial role should extend from their larger role as leaders in the congregation. And lower ministers (deacons or elders which is what we Lutherans do) should be obviously distinct from priests/pastors. It should be very clear where you go for a blessing when you can’t receive the Eucharist. Since lay Eucharistic ministers are neither fish nor fowl, they should be what Vatican II intended them to be–extraordinary.

  • Eleanor

    Hmmmm…. seems to me that there is one obvious solution: the bishop outlaws extraordinary lay Eucharistic ministers, and then when people squwak (which they will), explains very sweetly that if Our Lady of the Lay Minister Parish wants communion in both kinds they need to a) put up with a longer distribution or b) nominate a lot more men to the diaconate and priesthood. Or both.
    It seems every one is focusing on this as a tug-of-war over the cup, rather than what the issue should be: are lay eucharistic ministers a real problem?

    Communion at my Lutheran church takes twice as long to commune a 100 people as the local large Catholic Basilica takes to commune a 1000. We don’t mind, but many of my Catholic friends find it morally offensive to spend more than 1 hour in church. If the cup matters so much to these people, they should put up with a longer distribution. Just think about what this would do: Catholics could play a full Back Cantata over distribution every week! Now wouldn’t that make the Lutherans jealous?

    As a Lutheran who visits Catholic parishes with relative frequency, I have to say that I would like nothing better than to see this practice go the way of the passenger pigeon. And I think that we Lutherans should stand with any Catholic bishop who wants to do something about it. Ministers should be vested; they should be part of the whole liturgy; their ministerial role should extend from their larger role as leaders in the congregation. And lower ministers (deacons or elders which is what we Lutherans do) should be obviously distinct from priests/pastors. It should be very clear where you go for a blessing when you can’t receive the Eucharist. Since lay Eucharistic ministers are neither fish nor fowl, they should be what Vatican II intended them to be–extraordinary.

  • Joe

    Not under divine law to receive both, really? The Lord’s Supper is not about law, it is the physical embodiment of the Gospel.

  • Joe

    Not under divine law to receive both, really? The Lord’s Supper is not about law, it is the physical embodiment of the Gospel.

  • CRB

    I smell some remnants of Aristotelian ideas in these changes.

  • CRB

    I smell some remnants of Aristotelian ideas in these changes.

  • Rob C.

    FYI, the question of whether the whole Christ is contained under each species of this sacrament was also considered by St. Thomas Aquinas:
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4076.htm#article2

  • Rob C.

    FYI, the question of whether the whole Christ is contained under each species of this sacrament was also considered by St. Thomas Aquinas:
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4076.htm#article2

  • Joe

    This can all be avoided by simply remaining faithful to what happened at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Any comment on whether the whole Christ is present in one kind or not is irrelevant and mere opinion – regardless of how learned the holder of the opinion is. What we can know is that Christ gave us both his body and his blood and told us to eat and drink both of them. Why create a dogma that fractures what Christ put together?

  • Joe

    This can all be avoided by simply remaining faithful to what happened at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Any comment on whether the whole Christ is present in one kind or not is irrelevant and mere opinion – regardless of how learned the holder of the opinion is. What we can know is that Christ gave us both his body and his blood and told us to eat and drink both of them. Why create a dogma that fractures what Christ put together?

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Lutherans could improve their practices, too, by faithfully exercising closed communion, and by not throwing plastic communion cups, with remainders of the Sacrament in them, in the trash.

    Enough with the Rome bashing, which was not the focus of this piece.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Lutherans could improve their practices, too, by faithfully exercising closed communion, and by not throwing plastic communion cups, with remainders of the Sacrament in them, in the trash.

    Enough with the Rome bashing, which was not the focus of this piece.

  • Joe

    Robert – I completely agree with you. We Lutherans do have problems in our own house. This is most certainly true.

    I am not trying to bash Rome. The original post asked for an explanation for the practice and once it was given I made a comment on it. I apologize if I have been insensitive but I think spurring conversations about this topic was the point of the thread.

  • Joe

    Robert – I completely agree with you. We Lutherans do have problems in our own house. This is most certainly true.

    I am not trying to bash Rome. The original post asked for an explanation for the practice and once it was given I made a comment on it. I apologize if I have been insensitive but I think spurring conversations about this topic was the point of the thread.

  • http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com Julie Robison

    I really don’t know if there is an ecumenical discussion possible on this, only a civil one between Christian brothers and sisters, and here’s my go. In terms of Christ saying, “Drink of it, all of you,” he meant from his cup, the literal blood of Christ, and not any figurative nonsense juice. It is true that he invites us all to drink, but that doesn’t mean we all accept such an invitation. As it says in John, many turned away, because this was a hard teaching. Jesus doesn’t run after them and say, Wait! I was just kidding! I’m just a symbol! Nope. He turns to Peter and asks him if he’s going to leave too. “Master, where would I go? You have the words of eternal life!”

    There’s a lot of interesting resources out there, but for the best for trying to understand the Roman Catholic position are Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, and canon law.

    Roman Catholics believe in the Real Presence. This belief comes straight from the Gospel of John 6:45-69. One reason wine might not be offered often around the world is because of an accidental spilling. Not all churches are safe spaces as in America. This is a serious occurrence (after transubstantiation, of course), and when it happens, it is NOT okay. Other reasons include not having the resources to have both wine and wafers, sanitary reasons, and diocesian decisions.

    The reason why individual dioceses (i.e. the Bishops of said dioceses, who abide by Church teaching, each Bishop is assigned by and answers to the Pope himself) are at liberty to make decisions about the sacraments is because this cup discussion is not a dogmatic issue.

    Why is not receiving the cup at every Mass NOT absolutely horrible and every Catholic should be in an uproar about it?
    Roman Catholics believe in concomitance; that is, the whole Christ is present in both the communion wafer and the wine after transubstantiation occurs. So if a person has celiac disease and cannot eat wheat (although special hosts are being made now) or is an alcoholic and cannot drink wine, they are not missing out by not having one of the Eucharistic species. Christ cannot be divided, be it body from blood, human soul, divine nature, or divine personality. This is what Roman Catholics mean by wholly present.

    There is no division, this is not “half-communing” or giving preference to the clergy. If only the priest drinks the blood of Christ, he is NOT separating himself from the flock for the very above reasons: we laity get the same thing (Christ!) in the Eucharist wafer. It could easily be the other way around; we could only take wine and no host. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life; we take it very seriously, which is why there are many factors in receiving it, and not just because people want both.

    On my part, this topic was new to me. I’d never heard of it being a problem and never thought twice about not receiving the wine. My parish has both offered at Mass, and the only time it stopped was for a few months during the swine flu break-out (sanitary reasons, since we all drink out of the same cup).

    For further reading, please see the Catholic Catechism (sections 1345 to 1419) and the Roman Catholic Church’s canon law (sections 897 to 900). I hope this helps! Pax!

  • http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com Julie Robison

    I really don’t know if there is an ecumenical discussion possible on this, only a civil one between Christian brothers and sisters, and here’s my go. In terms of Christ saying, “Drink of it, all of you,” he meant from his cup, the literal blood of Christ, and not any figurative nonsense juice. It is true that he invites us all to drink, but that doesn’t mean we all accept such an invitation. As it says in John, many turned away, because this was a hard teaching. Jesus doesn’t run after them and say, Wait! I was just kidding! I’m just a symbol! Nope. He turns to Peter and asks him if he’s going to leave too. “Master, where would I go? You have the words of eternal life!”

    There’s a lot of interesting resources out there, but for the best for trying to understand the Roman Catholic position are Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, and canon law.

    Roman Catholics believe in the Real Presence. This belief comes straight from the Gospel of John 6:45-69. One reason wine might not be offered often around the world is because of an accidental spilling. Not all churches are safe spaces as in America. This is a serious occurrence (after transubstantiation, of course), and when it happens, it is NOT okay. Other reasons include not having the resources to have both wine and wafers, sanitary reasons, and diocesian decisions.

    The reason why individual dioceses (i.e. the Bishops of said dioceses, who abide by Church teaching, each Bishop is assigned by and answers to the Pope himself) are at liberty to make decisions about the sacraments is because this cup discussion is not a dogmatic issue.

    Why is not receiving the cup at every Mass NOT absolutely horrible and every Catholic should be in an uproar about it?
    Roman Catholics believe in concomitance; that is, the whole Christ is present in both the communion wafer and the wine after transubstantiation occurs. So if a person has celiac disease and cannot eat wheat (although special hosts are being made now) or is an alcoholic and cannot drink wine, they are not missing out by not having one of the Eucharistic species. Christ cannot be divided, be it body from blood, human soul, divine nature, or divine personality. This is what Roman Catholics mean by wholly present.

    There is no division, this is not “half-communing” or giving preference to the clergy. If only the priest drinks the blood of Christ, he is NOT separating himself from the flock for the very above reasons: we laity get the same thing (Christ!) in the Eucharist wafer. It could easily be the other way around; we could only take wine and no host. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life; we take it very seriously, which is why there are many factors in receiving it, and not just because people want both.

    On my part, this topic was new to me. I’d never heard of it being a problem and never thought twice about not receiving the wine. My parish has both offered at Mass, and the only time it stopped was for a few months during the swine flu break-out (sanitary reasons, since we all drink out of the same cup).

    For further reading, please see the Catholic Catechism (sections 1345 to 1419) and the Roman Catholic Church’s canon law (sections 897 to 900). I hope this helps! Pax!

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    aren’t all believers in Christ –of the “Royal Priesthood”-
    rhetorical-no need to answer…
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    aren’t all believers in Christ –of the “Royal Priesthood”-
    rhetorical-no need to answer…
    Carol-CS

  • Joe

    Julie – thanks for the post. I understand what Catholics teach on the one kind, but my question is why do Catholics teach this? On what scripture is the teaching based?

    Christ did not say, “take and eat, take and drink, or pick one ’cause one of them is just as good as the two together.”

    And, just we are on the same page – Lutherans believe in the real physical presences as well – not some meta-presence, not some spiritual only presence, but the real, physical, bodily presence of Christ really consumed by the communicant. Our teaching is that of the Sacramental Union. It differs some from transubstantiation in some respects – but it is not a teaching of symbolism.

  • Joe

    Julie – thanks for the post. I understand what Catholics teach on the one kind, but my question is why do Catholics teach this? On what scripture is the teaching based?

    Christ did not say, “take and eat, take and drink, or pick one ’cause one of them is just as good as the two together.”

    And, just we are on the same page – Lutherans believe in the real physical presences as well – not some meta-presence, not some spiritual only presence, but the real, physical, bodily presence of Christ really consumed by the communicant. Our teaching is that of the Sacramental Union. It differs some from transubstantiation in some respects – but it is not a teaching of symbolism.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X