Remember the whole kerfuffle about fewer opportunities for Communion under both kinds? The Diocese of Phoenix and the Diocese of Madison set new policies which bring distribution of Communion under both kinds (CUBK, for short) into line with the new GIRM. That means, there will be fewer occasions for distribution under both kinds.
At the time this started to be an issue, the Diocese of Phoenix related that there was an “Indult” to expand opportunities for CUBK which had expired. Apparently there was some confusion about the that expired indult, which actually dealt with cleansing of the sacred vessels, rather than CUBK. The permission for CUBK was conflated with that indult for lay people to cleanse vessels. The expiration of the indult was mistaken for expiration of wider permission of CUBK.
It seems that both the Dioceses of Phoenix and of Madison have revised their statements, though they have not revised their policies. In other words, they are basing their arguments on another foundation. That foundation is legitimate, but the argument is different.
The revised statement from the Diocese of Phoenix is here. Far more interesting and forthright is the statement of the Diocese of Madison’s Office of Worship, which is here, and here is an excerpt (my emphases):
b. The reports from the Phoenix Diocese concerning the expiration of an indult regarding Communion under both kinds seem to have been mistaken. I have contacted the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship regarding this. While there was permission granted to the US Bishops for Communion under both kinds on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (October 13, 1984), there was no time limit noted in the decree on file in the USCCB. My assumption is that this somehow was confused with another indult (regarding the purification of sacred vessels by EMHC) that expired and was not renewed around that same time. Unfortunately the internet has perpetuated this to the point that it is considered to be true, even though there is evidence to the contrary.
Okay! Let’s therefore set that record straight!
However, the bottom line remains that GIRM 283 says that the diocesan bishop determines the norms for CUBK. In the cases of both Phoenix and of Madison, the bishops have made determinations about CUBK according as they see conditions in the respective dioceses which is precisely what bishops ought to do.
I am guessing this will hardly assuage those who think that bishops should make any policies about CUBK or that the Church should place any conditions for or frequency of CUBK. They will spout about their rights and the ancient Christians and fuller signs and more people actively participating and the like. We have heard their arguments. A change in the grounding of the change in diocesan policies doesn’t make their arguments any stronger.
If they are worried about greater active participation and sign value of the Eucharist and how meaningful it all is to them, I recommend to them, priests and lay people alike, that they reflect also on the frequency of their use of the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Communion in any manner. If they are not in the state of grace when they receive, they receive no graces from the Sacrament and they actually commit the mortal sin of sacrilege. Reception of Communion should be about grace, not about their personal views – set against those of the Church’s laws – about their right to have “the wine” or “the cup”.
To my mind, even in the face of some of the confusion about the basis for restriction of CUBK, this dust up has brought to the fore the need for greater discernment about what the proper dispositions are for reception of Holy Communion and then care that there be no profanation of the Eucharist.
In spite of the fact that there were missteps in the explanations for the decisions made – missteps corrected – a fair consideration of the motives of the Dioceses of Phoenix and of Madison must lead people back to the conclusion that the bishops want to promote greater care of and reverence for the Eucharist and its celebration, and therefore the souls of those entrusted to them.