As I understand it, the 1975 edition of the Missale Romanum gave 14 instances when Communion could be distributed under both kinds. Since 1975 in some regions – including the USA – experimental privileges, not rights, were granted for the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds. These privileges, not rights, expired in 2005. These privileges, not rights, were not renewed by the Holy See. Therefore the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) for the 3rd edition of the Missale Roman and the 2011 Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America are now to be applied. However, diocesan bishops can to a certain extent lawfully establish other instances, such as important local feasts, etc., for Communion under both kinds. This is what Bp. Olmsted intends to do. He will implement the Church’s law.
This is how Mr. Cones reacted. First, the title of his piece.
Truthiness in Phoenix about communion from the cup
Thursday, September 22, 2011
By Bryan Cones
“Truthiness” (I had to look it up) suggests Mr. Cones is writing for aficionados of Comedy Central. Indeed, his schtick does produce some chuckles.
This next bit, however, is not funny.
(Note that Cones writes in absolutes: “deeply … incredibly… narrow…. utterly… universal…. entire… every.” Tiring.
The deeply dishonest q&a provided by the diocese–basically a collection of half-truths–provides an incredibly narrow reading of church law on this matter, utterly disregarding the universal practice of the ancient church [Noooo.] (still the practice of the Eastern Catholic churches), which was that the entire assembly received the eucharist under both kinds at every celebration of the eucharist.
Cones says that Bp. Olmsted and his staff in Phoenix are liars (“dishonest… half-truths”).
Furthermore, and let the comedy begin, Cones thinks Latins ought to be more like Eastern Catholics.
I love it when Latin liberals cite Eastern Catholic practices!
My understanding is that Eastern Catholics do not receive the Eucharist every time they attend the Divine Liturgy. Am I wrong?
Eastern Catholics only rarely admit women to read at Divine Liturgy. They still have the subdiaconate. The congregation can’t see what is going on because clergy shut the doors on them. They have unaccompanied chant without guitars. There is no Communion in the hand… ehvurrrr.
Yah! Bring it on! Let’s be like our Eastern brothers! Oh yes, and sisters… because women play a huge role in the governance of Eastern Churches.
The East! That’s the ticket! Maybe they don’t have guitars and saxophones – as in the Papal Mass in Berlin – but the priests do have spiffy hats! Eastern bishops wear crowns! Ad Orientem!
But I digress. Let’s skip down to another bit in Mr. Cone’s piece.
This decision is no less than an abuse of power by the bishop, a withdrawal from the faithful what they have a right to by their baptism. (Yes, baptized people have a right, in canon law, to the eucharist in its fullest form.) It may be that reception of the bread alone is “sufficient,” [I should think it is more than “sufficient” considering that the Host alone is the Body, Blood, soul and divinity of Christ, whole and entire.] but I haven’t the foggiest idea why we should settle for “sufficient” when we can have the fullness of the eucharistic symbol.
Perhaps Mr. Cones is under the impression that he receives “more Eucharist” by receiving under both kinds. Dunno. In any event, Cones should be getting worked up over what the Holy See and all the bishops of the USCCB have issued, not over what Bp. Olmsted is doing.
No. Bp. Olmsted is not a bully and people don’t have a right to Communion under both kinds all the time. Which canon in the 1983 Code gives people the right to Holy Communion under both kinds?
Holy Church determines how the sacraments are received, not individuals. The Church has determined that there are some occasions when it can be done, others when it cannot.
Isn’t it interesting how an experiment in a trial period becomes the norm? How a temporary option becomes the iron-bound obligation of the ages?
The conditions for Communion under both kinds were matters for a test period. Communion under both kinds is now assumed, by some, to be an absolute right all of the time. On the other hand, conditions for the use of the Extraordinary Form are not matters of experimentation or a test period. The provisions of Summorum Pontificum, clarified in Universae Ecclesiae, are not temporary trial runs. They are actual laws for the whole Latin Church. Stable groups have the right to make a request and pastors have an obligation personally to respond positively or to find another way to see to their needs.
If Cones and US Catholic are so concerned about rights and celebration of the Eucharist in ways that are centuries old, when they show the same high dudgeon when stable groups of the faithful are denied the Extraordinary form by their pastors?
When stable groups are straight-armed by their priests and bishops, will US Catholic and Mr. Cones write pieces saying that the excuses for not celebrating the Extraordinary Form are – just how did Cones put it again? – a “collection of half-truths” providing “an incredibly narrow reading of church law on this matter, utterly disregarding the universal practice of the ancient church”?
When Catholics are forced to the back of the bus because of their desire for the Extraordinary Form, or for the Ordinary Form in Latin and with Gregorian chant as Sacrasanctum Concilium mandated, will Mr. Cones come to their aid? When a bishop denies Catholics their legitimate aspirations for traditional, abuse-free liturgical worship in either Form will Mr. Cones write in US Catholic that it’s – just how did he put it again? – “an abuse of power by the bishop”?
But let’s move on.
Let’s consider for a moment basic conditions for Communion under both kinds, even during the period since 1975. The foundational conditions, before any others are considered, require that:
- The faithful have been well instructed (especially on the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist), and
- There is no danger of the profanation of the Sacrament or that the rite would be difficult to carry out on account of the number of participants, or for some other reason.
Don’t those conditions apply to any manner of reception of Communion, under both kinds or just one?
I wonder what might result from a brief quiz of the congregants participating at Masses where Communion under both kinds has been the practice for a while. After all, isn’t the “fullness” supposed to be… what… edifying? Instructive? Shouldn’t we be able to argue that a long experience of Communion under both kinds has made congregations more devout? Better Catholic Christians? More eager to receive in a worthy manner and to give witness to their Faith in their lives?
It would be interesting to hear these congregants explain their understanding of the Church’s teachings about the Eucharist, or about what Mass is. It would be interesting to know if they have been to confession lately. It would be interesting to know if married couples receiving under both kinds are also using contraception. I would be fascinating to learn if anyone receiving under both kinds for a long time now dissents from any defined teachings, or can even explain what a “sacrament” is.
Perhaps we should promote worthy reception of the Eucharist rather than froth about reception under both kinds.
Given what Bp. Olmsted has been doing, I’ll wager that Phoenixians are coming to a clearer, not fuzzier, understanding of the Church’s teachings and practices about a wide range of matters important to our Catholic identity in an ever more secular society. You have to know your Faith and practices before you can live and observe them.
Long-time lax catholics may not enjoy the resection and sutures Doctor Olmsted is applying, but, as St. Augustine once preached, a doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient screams for him to stop (cf. s. 80, 3).
In any event, I’ll bet Bp. Olmsted is losing sleep because Mr. Cones and US Catholic think he is a dishonest abuser of power. I have just sent His Excellency a “Say The Black – Do The Red” coffee mug as a consolation.