You have by now read that His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Morlino, intrepid Bishop of Madison, helped the priests of that diocese to understand that the indult distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds upon a wide variety of occasions has expired. As a matter of fact, it expired a few years ago. As a result the rector/pastor of the cathedral parish in Madison explained in his parish’s bulletin that distribution under both kinds would conform to present law. In other words, it would be a lot rarer. A similar series of events occurred in the Diocese of Phoenix under Bp. Olmsted.
What the expiration of the indult for more opportunities for Communion under both kinds means is that the directives for same are now the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Redemptionis Sacramentum and whatever law the local bishop establishes.
But let’s be clear about something. Communion under both kinds is still permitted, but on on fewer occasions. It is not being forbidden in the Diocese of Madison or the Diocese of Phoenix where similar measures are being followed. It is just that the law is now being followed.
In some corners people are having a nutty over this, even claiming that these troglodyte bishops, who clearly are trying to repress the laity and destroy all the obvious fruits of Vatican II, are denying people their right to Communion under both kinds. Hate-mongers! Reactionaries! Throw-backs!
I find it exceedingly ironic that when priests implement, for example, Summorum Pontificum in their parishes liberals start hollering “The bishop is the moderator of the liturgy in the diocese! The bishop gets to decide! The bishop! [sputter] The BISHOP!” But now when bishops act as moderators of the liturgy in their dioceses in the matter of Communion under both kinds liberals start squawking, “The bishop has no right to do this!”
Bp. Morlino has issued a more extensive explanation of what will now be the practice in the Diocese of Madison in a pdf available on the site of the diocese, here. The bishop lays out in simple terms even those locked into spittle-flecked high dudgeon can understand the whys and wherefores of his particular legislation.
If I read him correctly, I think his main concern is that people are not in fact benefiting from Communion under both kinds in the way Vatican II envisioned. There has been danger of profanation of the Eucharist and a blurring of the roles of clerics and laity. Therefore, measures must be taken. Were those aspects of Catholic life in good shape, then he wouldn’t be doing this. But they are not, so he has to do something about it.
Here is part of Bp. Morlino’s explanation. Keep in mind that this is a communication addressed to the priests of the Diocese of Madison which he has also made public. Therefore, the priests are the principle addressees and all others are being allowed in for a listen. We jump into this in media res and with my emphases and comments:
Now, with the issuance of the Roman Missal, the Church gets more specific in matters such as these (thus the General Instruction which we are presently using as our guide). [Not the old GIRM, but the present GIRM.] The Missal goes further than the Vatican II document, [SC 55 mentions some occasions in which Communion under both kinds could be distributed, namely, to newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism. Those who think Vatican II was the be-all-and-end-all of the Church’s journey might consider that SC 55 isn’t terribly expansive.] instructing that the Chrism Mass and Corpus Christi would be good occasions for distributing Communion under both species, as might be the distribution to wedding couples at their marriage, to children receiving their First Communion, to Confirmation candidates at their Confirmation, to consecrated religious at their conventual Mass, to women and men on retreat, and to deacons and seminarians at any Mass. The document also allows the pastor to choose certain other days, such as the patronal feast of the parish, to distribute under both forms, so long as the reasons are good and so long as all other conditions are met. [If you are going to have Communion under both kinds, these seem to be the moments to have it. But, remember, the possibility of having it, doesn’t mean it is obligatory.] But it does warn pastors:
“In practice, the need to avoid obscuring the role of the Priest and the Deacon as the
ordinary ministers of Holy Communion by an excessive use of extraordinary ministers might in some circumstances constitute a reason either for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species…(Norms, 24)” [Do I hear an “Amen!”? While some might want to argue that Communion under both kinds is a good in itself, there are other factors to consider as well, other goods to be upheld.]
The Third Edition of the Roman Missal reinforces the right of bishops to make additional
allowances for reception of Communion under both species, beyond that which the documents already mention:
“The Diocesan Bishop is also given the faculty to permit Communion under both kinds
whenever it may seem appropriate to the Priest to whom a community has been entrusted
as its own shepherd, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and that there is no danger of profanation of the Sacrament or of the rite’s becoming difficult because of the large number of participants or for some other cause (Roman Missal, 283).”
This permission has been assumed, if not expressed directly in the past. I recognize this, and I understand fully that communion under both forms at every Mass has become common practice at some parishes.
[NB:] However, I have been told of, and have personally experienced, the reality that the provision both that the faithful be well instructed and that there be no danger of profanation of the Sacrament, is not being met. [Therefore, Communion under both kinds should not be offered at all, much less in the much more expansive way it was before the expiration of the wider permissions!] As such, while recognizing the need for patient, prudent and practical steps according to your individual parishes, I’ve asked you to move in this direction. As I’ve said, over and over again, and as you know well, this requires catechesis. So many do not understand the Eucharist as the memorial of Christ’s Sacrifice, his death and resurrection; nor the real presence of Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under both species of bread and wine; nor the role of the ordinary and, if necessary, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. [It seems to me implicit in this paragraph that were there to have been adequate catechesis and adequate provision to avoid profanation, then Bp. Morlino would not be changing the diocesan practice. Consequently, if parish priests who have had this more expansive use of Communion under both kinds for a long time don’t like what Bp. Morlino is asking them to do, they would do well to blame themselves for the change, rather than blame Bp. Morlino, or Bp. Olmsted for that matter, or any other bishop who will also go in this direction. Don’t blame bishops for doing their jobs.]
Most of all (and this has been my point from the start) so many of our people do not understand the kinds of reverence due at all times to the sacrament, whether within the Eucharistic Liturgy or outside the celebration.
This gets back to the need for the new translation, and every point I’ve attempted to make. What we say and do at the Mass, and what we do before the Lord present in the tabernacle matters.
Thus, I cannot in good conscience, allow us to go forward without addressing these matters.
That’s specifically what I’ve asked you to do. Please help your people to know and understand the beautiful gift we have in the Eucharist, to know our obligations of preparing for reception of the Sacrament, both in terms of our preparation through the Sacrament of Confession, our observance of the pre-communion fast, our attending to our attire as best we can, and the like. Please help them to know of Christ’s presence, fully and entirely in the Sacred Host. Our people know well, the aspect of the Mass which is the Sacred banquet, but help them to know the Eucharist at the Memorial of Christ’s loving Sacrifice for them. Help them to understand your role in laying down your own life as the minister of Christ’s Body and Blood, present in the Host.
So, Bp. Morlino expresses his reasons for this move. He sees that there are problems which need to be corrected. Of course liberals will object that there is not any danger of profanation! No danger of blurring of roles! In this case, the diocesan bishop thinks differently. He sees problems. Therefore he is going to act for the good of the souls of the faithful under his charge.
Let’s track back to a point he made about the new, corrected translation.
Since I write a lot about the new translation here is how I read his words.
With the new, corrected translation more people will have an opportunity to hear more clearly the content of the original Latin prayers. Setting aside whatever beef a few people may have with some awkward phrasing in the new text, blah blah blah, the new text is undoubtedly closer to the content of the Latin original. Greater clarity is now possible. Benefits will follow. They must, over time, follow. In a similar way, just as we clarify the content of the words we also have to clarify the content of the gestures. Christ is the true Actor during Holy Mass. Our words and our gestures communicate something of Christ’s own words and gestures. We must be careful in what we say and do. We must be faithful to the Church’s legislation, each person carrying out his or her own proper role in participation in the sacred mysteries. From time to time that means examining our consciences about what we are doing. We have to take stock, human nature being what it is, and make course corrections from time to time.
That is my take on what is going on.
Therefore, WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Morlino together with good wishes for a long and fruitful mandate in the difficult Diocese of Madison.