Doing a 180: Phoenix reverses communion decision

Doing a 180: Phoenix reverses communion decision November 12, 2011

A surprising change of course, reported in the Arizona Republic:

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has backed away from his ban on using consecrated wine for Communion at most Masses, a decision that was originally met with widespread outcry.

In an explanation of his decision in a letter to the priests of the diocese, Olmsted apologized for his own misunderstanding of church documents, including new guidelines and translations for the Catholic Mass, and for any confusion arising from his previous statement made at a priests’ meeting in September.

Father Anthony Ruff, an expert on new translations for the Mass, who criticized the bishop’s previous position as a “step backward,” said he had never heard of a bishop “retracting so quickly.”

“Anything I say could sound like gloating,” Ruff said. “I think it’s for local clergy and liturgical ministers to find the right way to express their goodwill and happiness with this.”

Olmsted’s decision comes just two months after he announced that Communion would no longer include wine, which Catholics consider the blood of Christ, on a regular basis. The decision received strong criticism within the diocese and nationwide.

Olmsted was not available for comment. But, in his letter, he said the diocese mishandled communication about the new rules.

He said stories in both secular and religious media “upset many of our people and left you, especially the priests in parishes and institutions, without all the tools needed to answer questions.”

“I am sorry, too, that this mishandling has created tensions between some priests and parishes,” he wrote.

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63 responses to “Doing a 180: Phoenix reverses communion decision”

  1. Good for Bishop Olmsted! He was open to reconsidering and changing where he misunderstood the relevant documents (and he’s not blaming advisors for it). Remember, he’d have been within his rights to say that under his authority as diocesan bishop he was keeping the restrictions he had previously announced. But for the good of his church, he made a change he wasn’t compelled to.

  2. I suspect the bishop understood the church documents quite well. This seems a political decision, not a theological one.

  3. I am heartened by the fact that a bishop has had the humility and the grace to listen to his priests and the flock that he leads….and perhaps to admit fault.
    I wish that others would learn from him.
    Its seems to be rare that a person in leadership of our church does so.
    Kudos Bishop!

  4. At least he changed his mind. One wonders whether he gave in to the public outcry or a realization that his reading of the policy was incorrect.

  5. My guess is that the statements of his fellow bishops, McGrath of San Jose and Ayomond , chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship (quoted in EWTN News), were most influential in his change of mind.

    Regarding EWTN, I have never seen communion distributed under both species in a mass from their headquarters in Alabama.

  6. Who cares. This ‘issue’ has so many agendas behind it it’s not funny The Church has far more important issues to deal with than obsessing on archaicism.

  7. He should never have backed down. The poor man must have taken a beating. The Precious Blood is continually being spilt (even small amounts). People present themselves for the Precious Blood who have Parkinson’s Disease or other things that make them very unsteady. It’s crazy. And it is totally unnecessary. Communion under one kind is 100% complete. When will we wake up and love Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?

  8. I think that Jesus loves those with Parkinson’s Disease and other things as much as anyone and desires that they too have the Sacrament in its full sign and wonder.

  9. The body and blood of Christ are the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11). There is nothing more important than the holy sacrifice of the Mass; it is when we encounter God in the flesh.

  10. I don’t think anyone said Jesus didn’t love people with Parkinson’s. I think Jesus would like us to share in the reality of the Eucharist whether it be one species or both. I wouldn’t think he’d be worried about the sign value.

  11. In 20 years of being blessed to distribute communion (16 years as an EMHC and 3+ years as a Deacon) I have only seen 1 time when the precious blood was spilled, and that was by me at the altar during the fractionation rite when the lid of the flagon slipped out of my hand as I was pouring. It was easy enough to deal with, cover with a purificator and have the altar cloth washed properly after mass was concluded. I have distrubuted to people with Parkinsons, MS and other ailments and never had an issue with the Precious Blood spilling. We are given the gift of the Eucharist to receive it, not to be so paralyzed with fear of spilling or dropping that we are distracted by what might happen. We should take reasonable efforts to ensure that the precious blood is not spilled, but not stop its distribution to the faithful because there might sometime, somehow be a spill.

  12. Bishop Olmstead is a good man and like any man of good will he willingly considered his position; reviewed the documents again, and admitted that he was in error in his 1st conclusions.

    Whatever EWTN does or does not do is irrelevant. EWTN is NOT the teaching body of the Church. The Magisterium and the Bishops which are headed by the Holy Father ARE.

    EWTN has had too many “preachers” and “teachers” of the faith that have ended in scandal to be held in such high opinion. They are a Catholic News organization made up of human beings, and as such, subject to error. The Magisterium they are not. And the Magisterium is NOT subject to error.

    So quite pitting EWTN against the Bishops who are after all, God’s anointed. Take a lesson from David who although hunted and hounded by Saul, when he David had the opportunity refused to make any attempt for revenge when he had the opportunity. Rather he rebuked his officer who prompted him to kill Saul as he slept, saying “Who am I to touch the Lord’s anointed?” And later when he learned that Saul was killed by David armies who fought to protect him, David openly wept and demanded that all also do so for the “anointed of the Lord.” Bishops ARE the modern day “anointed of the Lord.” Who are you or EWTN or anyone to do injury to them. Let God deal w/them as He sees fit. They ARE HIS anointed.

  13. Do you get that we receive the whole Jesus in either species? If you don’t that is very sad. People who think they get more Jesus in both species are the very ones who often receive that way.The whole issue is nonsense.

  14. I wish the reporter had been more particular in his story with regard to saying Catholics regard the wine as the blood of Christ. He should have specified “consecrated wine.” It is a minor point, but the media commonly makes that mistake to the point Catholics are shown in polls to be confused about the True Presence.
    It is also sad to read some of the cynicism here with regard to the attempt by the bishop to do the right thing. And part of the right thing is to be concerned about Church unity in worship.

  15. Sam:
    Were you are referring to my mention of EWTN on my comment? If so, perhaps I was misleading. I was thinking of the post of November 9 on the Deacon’s Bench:

    “Communion under both kinds is…encouraged and is expected to be the norm”

    In that post there is a link to EWTN News where it is mentioned that Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship, wrote a letter to the country’s Catholic hierarchy on October 26. He said in the letter that the 2011 General Instruction of the Roman Missal does not restrict the circumstances under which the lay faithful may receive communion under both kinds. In fact, the new norms encourage the practice, while giving local bishops freedom to expand or restrict it. (“Each diocesan bishop may establish norms for Holy Communion under both kinds within his diocese.”)

    My mention of EWTN was just part of my wondering about why I have never seen reception of Holy Communion under both kinds at their daily broadcasts of the Mass. That’s all. (But then again, I don’t know what Bishop Baker, their local ordinary, has said about the subject.)

  16. Naturgesetz. If Jesus was so “worried” about the reception of Holy Communion under both species, why did the Church not do this for how long? This practice only began again after a lapse of centuries because of that horrible (according to many conservatives) Vatican II.

  17. Deacon John

    If we are fortunate the secular press will gets things roughly accurate and fair. Instruction of the faithful in areas such as the Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist will not come from the secular press- nor should it. This falls to our ordained, religious and lay leaders and educators.

    Cynicism goes both ways Deacon John– there was rejoicing a’plenty over this bishop’s initial instruction and how the rest of the US Church was profaning the Holy Eucharist by frequent reception of the Cup — especially when offered by ‘those people’ ( Extraordinary Ministers of Communion) – who were slandered as ‘priest wannabes’ who were attempting to trick the common folk that they were actually ordained clergy.

    Glad we can agree that when Jesus said to take Bread and the Cup that it’s not a bad idea for all of us to have the opportunity to do both when possible. ( no RomCath- I am not denying Christ full presence in the bread- just appreciate the opportunity to follow his words more literarily as well from time to time )

  18. Flamen —

    I don’t know and can’t speculate as to the mindset of those who decided to withhold the cup from the laity. Some think that reverence for the Body and Blood of the Lord became scrupulous, leading not only to the withholding of the cup but also to the decline in frequency of Communion under any form by the laity. At any rate, perhaps there were circumstances which made it seem advisable, even necessary. That does not preclude a change in praxis under changed circumstances.

    Those who consider Vatican II “horrible” should try to realign their thinking to that of the Church, IMO.

  19. OK, everyone. Take a deep breath. If you still have that widely published copy of the documents of Vatican II, find the chapter on “Christus Dominus;” the Vatican II Document on Bishops.

    Somewhere — in fact several times — that document talks about “collegiality” as a prime universal motivation among bishops. That means that the bishops are NEVER “lone-rangers”; they are to function as a member of a “collegial body.” Where the interest of the laity is along National or cultural or language lines, they work together in consensus. If someone steps out, within a reasonable period of time, all the bishops in his immediate group will express their displeasure. Then things change back.

    I can readily identify six incidents similar to this one: a bishop — on his own — makes an important decision for his diocese that brings him in conflict with bishops in neighboring dioceses about issues important to a wide spectrum of laity. In every case I can identify — including this one — the recalcitrant “lone-ranger” was forced to reconsider his decision. Some times he publicly apologized (as in Bishop Olmsted’s case), some times he did not.

    The world-wide bishops have a very effective way of disciplining their own. And it works.

  20. WOW! This insight of Deacon Norb’s reminded me of one of those odd incidents.

    Some time in the late 1980’s, Our Sunday Visitor (whose official PUBLISHER is always the current Bishop of Fort Wayne/South Bend in Indiana) published a series of articles condemning the New Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible. Those articles insisted that ONLY the New American Bible was approved as an English translation of the Sacred Scriptures and the NSRV had serious doctrinal issues that prevented devout Roman Catholics from using it.

    Copies of that Roman Catholic periodical managed to creep across the border to Canada where devout Roman Catholics quickly went into an uproar. Were they using an “un-approved/heretical translation? It seems as if the NSRV had already been approved as the translation of choice for formal liturgies by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops.

    Now, there already is a fair amount of Anti-American emotional baggage among Canadians — perhaps justifiably — and a group of them wanted nothing to do with any “Yank” telling their Catholic Bishops what to. No one at that time mentioned that the 1984 Code of Canon Law left it up to the national episcopal councils to decide which translation was appropriate for that cultural/national group. The fact that the Canadian Council selected the NRSV and the US Bishops selected the NAB was perfectly appropriate — but it irritated the blazes out of a lot who did not realize what Canon Law allowed.

    Then the bishops involved took the initiative and started talking to one another.

    As a result: (1) the author of that series in the Our Sunday Visitor suddenly vanished from print [maybe “fired,” maybe forced to resign]; (2) the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend felt compelled to issue a formal apology and retraction to the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops.

    That seemed to settle everything. Bottom line; do not ever underestimate the power of the “collegiality” of Roman Catholic Bishops.

  21. This 180 is hilarious.

    It shows that ‘man’s law’ or these whimsical decisions by leaders have no real grounding in historical church procedure.

    The General Instruction of the Roman Missal has been static for centuries up in till the 1960’s and then has been church multiple times since.

    The folks are looking to fix problems that don’t exist, it is just change for change sake. In our church, we have folks walking down the aisle on their knees for communion and doing weird individual protestations of faith because anything goes these days.

  22. And when will we stop fussing about modest changes in rubrics between eras and between dioceses, and start focusing on more serious issues – why have so few of our young people in the 20s and 30s chosen to marry in the Catholic church? So many apparently do NOT appreciate the Sacramental graces available, even when no impediment seems to exist?
    And their children, if any, will not be brought up in the Church, either.
    Does anyone have a suggested cure beyond prayer?

  23. Of course you realize that even the solid species alone is the whole presence, and it, while being desirable, is not necesary for there to be both forms offered to everyone at the mass. I think that those who cannot hold the chalice should be completely satisfied with the “Body”. To regard one as only the Body and the other as only the Blood, I believe, is heretical. My prayers are with the suferers of Parkinson’s and the like, but maybe there is a better solution than having Christ’s blood spilt…

  24. I think it’s obvious enough that naturgesetz “gets” that our Lord is fully present in both species, since naturgesetz emphasized the difference in “sign value,” like Church documents also do, rather than real presence.

    Attributing heretical opinions to others without evidence is calumny.

  25. I have often thought that the bishops and theologians at Vatican II, though many have been labeled progressive and liberal, were in fact quite conservative as indicated by their return to the earliest sources of our Tradition (ressourcement) and use of the latest techniques of Scripture exegesis to discover the original interpretation of the Gospel.

  26. Teapot,
    From what little I know of young adults:
    They do not see the beauty of the Church.
    They see the church as restrictive and not truly spiritual.
    They see the church as dictatorial and do not understand the Holy Spirit’s role.
    They do not want the ‘strings’ they see attached, not realizing the strings are actually life lines.
    They need more spiritual homilies that are sensitive to their needs, reflecting the priest as Christ loving them.
    They need more loving parish communities.
    They need to be taught the beauty, spiritual realities, meaning and history behind what we do, not just the ‘should do’s.
    They need answers to the culture’s protestations against Catholicism.
    They need more honesty and humility and transparency from Church leaders.
    They need to be reached out to personally.
    They need a better witness of faith from all of us.

  27. Teapot I think that a major reason is that the young adults have not been welcomed into their roles as the adult leaders in the Church. Far too many times people in parishes overlook them when recruiting for the various ministries in a parish. It is unfortunate when this happens and people cannot get past how they used to be the “kids” in the parish and don’t see them as adults now. Fr. John Cusak in Chicago has done wonders for Young Adult Ministry and has published a book on it with a co-author (The Basic Guide to Young Adult Ministry). It is a wonderful guide to working with young adults and getting them more involved in ministry in the Church. We used this book as the basic foundation as we restarted our young adult ministry, and the group is doing well. They are meeting regularly, have events that they open to the whole parish and do a great job of balancing fun events with service events and more “theological” events. If we want them to come back, we have to welcome them with personal invitations. They will find creative ways to get things done. With a little guidance they are great resources. When they are welcomed in this way, they will then see the “value” of getting married in the Church and they will raise their children in the faith as well.

  28. Fr. Cusak of Chicago! Ha! Being a young adult, and having attended a “ministry event” he conducted, all I can say is that he encourages and perpetuates sacrilege (that is not hearsay, I was there) and wants other religions to tell us how Catholicism should be practiced. Perhaps young adults, such as myself, find that incredibly boring at best?

    If this priest has done wonders for “young adult ministry,” then no wonder so few young adults are faithful Catholics these days.

  29. The bishop admitted a mistake. Would that more bishops were able to admit mistakes. The faithful in his diocese now have better access, once again, to Christ in the Eucharist under both species. Good ending on this one.

  30. The bishop caved into pressure. He knew exactly what he was doing. I suspect he was trying to rebuild belief in the Real Presence, but like most bishops he lasked fortitude. I did see a woman on TV who was so happy about the reversal because “the wine REPRESENTS the blood of Christ…”. She, like the majority of todays “Catholics” do not believe in the Real Presense. But it’s the springtime of the Church according to John Paull II there has NEVER been a time like it. And he was correct. Empty convents, heresy taught in Catholic Universities,effeminate clergy, lay people saying Mass, worldwide coverup of pedophilia all the fruits of Vatican II. Even Luther never imagined the chaos that reigns supreme in the Church of today.

    [Thomas: I wouldn’t be so quick to throw all the blame at Vatican II. Many (most?) of the pedophile priests were ordained before 1968 — along with many of the bishops who covered it all up. And a few other things, like the cultural upheaval of the late 60s and 70s, had a lot to do with plummeting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. And “effeminate clergy”? I’m sure there were none of those back in the day when everyone wore lace and cassocks every day. Dcn. G.]

  31. Thomas:
    “Empty convents, heresy taught in Catholic Universities, effeminate clergy, lay people saying Mass, worldwide coverup of pedophilia all the fruits of Vatican II.”

    I have to nail you on your second point (“heresy. . .”). In a different comment stream on this blog some time back I explained exactly what heresy is and what it is not. I am also very familiar with one celebrated case where a Roman Catholic University was charged with teaching heresy. In that case, after proper investigation the charge was declared false at its face by the Archbishop of that area. Perhaps you know of another case but I do not. Bottom line, only the arch/bishop of that arch/diocese has the right to make any charge of heresy stick. You do not.

  32. Most catholics today do not understand that receiving the body of Christ satisfies the communion requirement. If you believe that both species (wine and host) are required then you are badly mistaken. I belong to a church that only uses the wine (blood of Christ) on feast days, Sundays and Holy days. No one seems to be upset about it because they are informed catholics. To live your faith you must know your faith…..

  33. Now wait just a minute, whether heresy is being taught or not is up to the bishop to decide only in a technical canonical sense. The truth is actually independent of the bishop, it’s just the bishop’s job to make the call. I know of a case where things that are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic faith were being taught at, gasp, a Jesuit university (to the point where one of my prot friends told the priest teaching the class that he was wrong and that wasn’t what the Church taught). Now maybe by some technicality in canon law this wasn’t heresy being taught, but it was heresy being taught. Also, if you’re going to reference another post of yours you should really link to it.

  34. I’m OK with distributing the Precious Blood at mass so long as we don’t have to employ so-called extraordinary ministers to do so.

  35. Martin said:
    “I know of a case where things that are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic faith were being taught at, gasp, a Jesuit university (to the point where one of my prot friends told the priest teaching the class that he was wrong and that wasn’t what the Church taught).”

    The real issue is not whether truth is independent of the bishop but whether what teachings you — or other lay-folk or even “prot friends” — define as doctrines are in fact just that.

    In fact, there are a lot of teachings that your “prot friends” believe are doctrinal that are actually heretical in the eyes of Roman Catholicism.

    Regardless what you might believe, the “ordinary magisterium” or even the “extra-ordinary magisterium” is not automatically Christian doctrine or Catholic dogma. There are very subtle and very precise criteria that are used to move a teaching into the doctrine/dogma category and the only way a “heresy” can be defined is if the teaching does fall into that “doctrine/dogma” category.

    I stand on what I said. Bishops alone can define whether error exists and only they can state whether that error is in fact “heresy.”

  36. To follow up:

    The one incident I referred to in an above posting was NOT at a Jesuit university so, yes, I was not aware of your reference. The reason I did not post a on-line reference to the one I knew is that it occurred far enough into the past that I doubt any on-line reference actually exists.

  37. I don’t know where you got the idea that most Catholics today believe that one must receive both species in order to receive Communion. I think you are mistaken. After all, most Catholics who receive the sacred Host do not receive the Precious Blood, either because they chose not to, or because it is not offered.

  38. The Catholic Church is OK with using extraordinary ministers to distribute the Precious Blood if there aren’t enough priests and deacons available. The Church is also OK with using extraordinary ministers to distribute the Body of Christ under the form of bread if there aren’t enough priests and deacons available.

  39. I thank Keenan for his accurate depiction of my belief.

    Let me just add that if there is nonsense in this issue it is the opposition of some people to the decision to once again offer the cup to the laity.

  40. I always take exception when someone discusses the abuse and uses the term pedophile as it does not fit the vast majority of the cases. Most of the abuse was to post pubescent boys and this should more correctly be labeled Ephebophilia or Hebephilia, largely a sexual preference for pubescent and adolescent boys.

    People who prey on children are not necessarily effeminate as we have seen with the Penn State coach. There is a strain within the homosexual community with strong attraction for younger boys who they identify as twinks, but as far as I know, there is not clear proof that this is any more prevelant in homosexuals than hetrosexuals who are attracted to younger children. What is certain is that everyone should be committed to do anything to end that attack on children no matter what adult is doing this crime. I would love to see a major attack on this type of attack as well as any other attack on children in our government and in our society.

    Deacon, disappointed in your use of the seeming attack on the use of lace and cossocks of priests, past or present as it has nothing to do with effeminate clergy or their nature. I am sure it was simply a way of defending against those who want to make the issue one of homosexuality alone. I differ on this issue with my wife and many others who do see it as a homosexual issue because I believe it distracts from getting the problems addressed and in a way gives aid and comfort to the abusers who hide behind the argument.

  41. The nonesense is from people who think they know better than tradition both East and West which independently and in different ways did not allow the laity to handle the chalice. There are is the inherent dangers of spillage when many people handle a cup. There is also the “gross” factor of 100’s of people drinking from the same chalice which certainly leads man people to walk by the chalice. Finally, there is the heresy of thinking one is deprived if one does not receive from the chalice, which you obviously don’t hold, but just ask some average parishioners who incidentally probably will refer to it as the “wine.”

  42. So, did you write the same thing in defense of Olmstead before his change of policy? Or is it just because he agress with you?

  43. First, you say that we must be responsible for correct teaching and shouldn’t blame the media. (I disagree, the media should try to find out what people believe and report accurately). But, then you give the incorrect teaching saying “Christ full presence in the bread.”

    Christ is not present “in bread!” The bread by the words of Christ said by a priest becomes Christ. It is no longer bread except in its outward appearance. You can say Christ is present under the appearance or in the species of bread, but not in the bread. That was one of the heresies of Martin Luther.

  44. And unfortunately, modern scholarship is showing more and more that some of these so-called ancient practices were figments of someone’s imagination.
    Ancient is not necessarily better. Or do you want to restore the ancient penitential system for adultery, apostasy, and murder?

  45. Dcn. G, It seems you are saying that the pedophile priests and bishops who covered it up were the ones who had the task of implementing Vatican II?
    And why are cassocks “effeminate?” Is the Pope so because he wears one everyday?

    [I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that Vatican II didn’t cause pedophile priests, since many of those who preyed on children were formed and ordained in the years before the council concluded. The notion that all our problems were caused by V2 is ridiculous. There were many other forces at work in the world. My lame crack about cassocks and lace was evidently a bad attempt at sarcasm. Dcn. G.]

  46. While you are all worked up over the use of the word “bread” for the Eucharist, you might as well condemn St. Thomas Aquinas as a heretic as well. He wrote a hymn you would evidently consider blasphemous. It’s called “Panis Angelicus.” It refers to the Eucharist as bread no less than three times.

  47. Thank you! I am personally in favour of intinction. Eventhough both the consecrated host and chalice constitute the “whole Christ”, the mingling of the body and blood coupled with reception on the tongue is a double sign of the life of Christ as well as reverence and awe in the presence of Our Lord. No mess, no fuss!

  48. Of course, when scholarship shows that the ancient practice was different from what had earlier been supposed, that needs to be taken into consideration, keeping a couple of points in mind. One is that the correction does not necessarily mean that what was being done in 1948 is better than what is being done now. Another is that sometimes changes in the ancient ways were an improvement (and sometimes those changes themselves can now be improved further); and sometimes the changes represent, on balance, a loss making a return to ancient practice desirable.

    IOW, knowing what they did in the year 450 (or whenever) gives us something worth thinking very carefully about, not a pattern to follow slavishly. In what respects was it better than current practice? In what respects is current practice better. And of course, it is the Pope and bishops who are responsible for deciding what to do.

  49. When is that ever TRULY a problem? I have never been to a parish (in South Africa-I guess a parish would be bigger in USA. We seat 250-300 comfortably) where there wasn’t enough priests or deacons. We have one priest who could do communion in 10 minutes. Instead he has a bevy of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion which cuts this time down to a bout 3-4 minutes. In the West we are obsessed on “saving time” in all the wrong places and squandering time in well…all the wrong places.

  50. Whether or not “spillage” is much of an actual problem, I would think that a real problem is making estimates of just how much wine do you need to consecrate. You can’t reserve the Precious Blood in the tabernacle, so if you run short you can’t get more from the tabernacle and if you have too much it must be consumed by the ministers.

    In trying to examine the rules, it seems that older documents are often given as reference in footnotes. It seems like one of those rules had been (though rarely enforced) that while an extraordinary minister might assist, if distributing Communion through the Chalice required the regular use of “extraordinary” ministers it should not be done.

    As far as I’m aware, Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox have traditionally distributed under both species, yet the Precious Blood has been distributed either by intinction or by dropping it into the communicant’s mouth by use of a spoon. Over the centuries, has distribution ever been regularly done by drinking through a common cup?

  51. “My lame crack about cassocks and lace was evidently a bad attempt at sarcasm.”

    Actually, it was pretty funny. As for people asserting that all modern ills are the result of Vatican II, can those people please, PLEASE, quote from any of the Council’s documents and show us where the direction taken in those documents by the bishops led us to things like priests buggering boys? It’s time to put up or shut up.

  52. Looking at the new Norms as promulgated, some of my concerns would already have been addressed. They indicated for instance that it is not to be done when the number of communicants may be so large that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine that would be required to be consecrated, and that the role of priest and deacon not become obscured by the use of extraordinary ministers. If the new norms are actually enforced, it would cut back on the use of Communion under Both Kinds unless a switch were to be made to intinction.

  53. For all of those who seem to be having such trouble with the idea of reception under both species – and whether it is or is not appropriate – it might be beneficial to attend a Sedar and pay particular attention to the distribution of the bread and wine during the ceremony. This is, after all, the basis for the Eucharistic prayer and, therefore the consecration of the Host and the Chalice. Christ gave both to His disciples when he instituted the Eucharist so, all the Church has done by restoring the reception under both species is returning the what was most likely the earliest form of Mass – with the disciples remembering (“Do this in memory of me”) what Christ did at the Last Supper and sharing it with those that followed. When I attended my first Sedar in college (as part of an interfaith outreach with the local Hillel chapter). I was profoundly moved by how closely the words of the Eucharistic prayer detailed what happens at a Sedar. I could visualize Christ breaking the bread and sharing it as I watched the leader of our Sedar do the exact same thing. And when the leader raised the final cup in hopes of the new convenant, I could hear the words from the Eucharistic prayer that told of that same moment 2,000 years ago. I think we often forget that our faith did not spring “full blown from the head of Zeus” but is rather a continuation of Judaism and that much of our ritual has its roots in that earlier faith.

    As to the other pointm I am always honored and humbled when I serve as a EMHC at Mass and have never had any congregant behave as though the Blood were simply wine. I have a feeling that a lot of these criticisms are the equivalent of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I cannot know if those who come to take the Cup truly feel the awe that they express or if they are putting on an act – but, then again, I don’t need to know – only God does. Neither can those who are sitting in judgement on this blog know what is in the hearts of those that they *think* are not properly reverential.

  54. “…. I am always honored and humbled when I serve as a EMHC at Mass and have never had any congregant behave as though the Blood were simply wine.” That is my experience, too, Katie. Interesting points, also, about the Sedar meal and the Jewish roots of the Eucharist.

  55. You’re right, George. And if the bishops were still withholding the cup from the laity, I might be the one complaining.

  56. Does this mean that they all make a profound bow while approaching the Chalice which they would not do if they were just going up to take a sip of wine?

  57. I read through all the comments. I guess I feel like many of the comments are getting off the topic of the article. The article is about the Bishop of Phoenix doing a 180 on a decision he made back in Sept regarding the distribution of the consecreted wine at mass. Apparently he read church documents and reached a conclusion regarding the restricting of the distribution of the consecreted wine. Then he made this proclamation to the priests and people of his diocese. Personally, I wonder how it was that when he read these church documents and thought he understood what they meant, why he didn’t put in a call to any of the other bishops in the U. S. and ask, “After reading these documents I understand them to say ‘this’ – is this what you understand?” But it appears that he didn’t do that. It just seems like this is kind of an important issue to understand before you make a proclamation like he did in Sept. Just my opinion.

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