Thursday, 22 September 2011

Phoenix turns back the tide on 'both kinds'

The diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, under the leadership (and I use the word advisedly) of Bishop Olmsted, is really moving!

Recently, they announced the restoration of a male-only sanctuary for the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral.

Now, they are implementing the norms on the reception of Holy Communion under both kinds.

This is from their excellent Q&A on the diocesan www site:

12. What are the conditions that must be met when both forms are offered?

The conditions are:

  1. The faithful have been well instructed (especially on the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist), and
  2. 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.

As highlighted in the GIRM, the practical 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 (or lay) ministers might in some circumstances constitute a reason for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species. This is explained in the GIRM, paragraph 24.

For example, let's say a pastor deemed it appropriate to have Holy Communion under both species on the feast of Corpus Christi, but his particular situation would necessitate a dozen extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. While he and a deacon would be the only ordinary ministers, it is common sense that he would not be able to judge the necessary conditions as met.

13. You say this is a "relaxing of restrictions," but my parish "has the chalice" at every Mass, and under these conditions, we won't. It seems more restrictive, even extremely restrictive. Is there some sleight of hand happening here?

From one perspective, you're correct — for the Catholic Church in the United States. We have had special permission to experiment with Holy Communion under both forms for 25 years. The practice of both forms became very common in certain parts of this country, including parishes in Arizona. However, the vast majority of the parishes throughout the world have not had Communion under both forms. From the broadest, most inclusive perspective, the new norms are a great expansion of the practice. But it is true, from the more narrow perspective of a very small segment of the Catholic population, the norms could seem like a restriction. You can see, then, how the new norms will promote unity of practice around the world, even as it challenges almost every parish in the world to update its normal liturgical life. The norms invite us as U.S. Catholics to a more global and inclusive perspective, especially with those poor countries which cannot afford large amounts of wine for frequent usage.

Not only good praxis, but good catechesis (or 'communications' as I should say, doubtless...)

The good bishops of England and Wales will surely be equally diligent in applying the current liturgical norms in this country...

H/t @DeaconsBench on Twitter


Part-time Pilgrim said...

Needless to say I checked on their reasons for "restoring the male-only sanctuary". The argument is along William Oddie's lines but much more powerful because it is put in a positive way. They believe that by training boys to be altar servers and girls to be sacristans. Evidence of increasing vocations both to the priesthood and the religious life can result from this approach. I suspect that the content of the training is important too but it will be interesting to see the outcome.

Ben Trovato said...

As you say, it will be very interesting. One of the first outcomes is the vilification of the bishop by Catholics who disagree, of course: see Fr Z's blog for details.