Tuesday, September 27, 2011
LITERALISM, SCRUPULOSITY AND REVERENCE FOR THE SACRED SPECIES OF HOLY COMMUNION
THE BISHOP OF PHOENIX, THE MOST REV. THOMAS OLMSTED IS BANNING HOLY COMMUNION TO THE LAITY UNDER THE FORM OF CONSECRATED WINE. READ THE WHOLE STORY BY PRESSING THESE TWOhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif SENTENCES!
One of the numerous reasons cited for limiting the chalice to the laity (although it may be allowed under very strict circumstances and for special feasts like Corpus Christi, Holy Thursday, etc)is based on this questions and answer:
Why the practice of both forms is limited:
To protect the Sacred Species from profanation (careless treatment, spillage, swilling, etc.
Of course each bishop has the right as primary liturgist of the diocese to legislate for his diocese in things liturgical. I asked our bishop after he banned the chalice to the laity because of the H1N1 epidemic if we could use the option in the American Adaptation of the GIRM of intinction. He said no. For me that was "case closed." He made a decision and I in obedience followed, although I was not in complete agreement. But that's how the Catholic Church operates. The bishop is in union with the pope, but each bishop has authority to adapt universal and national norms on a local level. Catholic parishes are not meant to be "congregational" deciding for ourselves what we will do, but dioceses under a bishop in union with the Holy Father are congregational and bishops can make "congregational" decisions affecting the entire diocese, like Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Emeritus Boland. That's how we are structured.
Nonetheless, liturgical progressives are besides themselves and are lining up to condemn the Bishop of Phoenix for bringing his "congregation" backwards to pre-Vatican II times.
While I wonder if the Bishop o Phoenix is overreacting, I don't wonder about his role of leadership and I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude about how this will affect his diocese for better or worse when it comes to Eucharistic Reverence and liturgical practice.
Some liturgical progressives are also liturgical fundamentalists or literalistic about the manner in which the Liturgy should be celebrated. Here's two comments that I find rather amusing and disconcerting at the same time that I've lifted from a more progressive liturgical blog:
A lay person writes: "Maybe it’s not really relevant, but I can only imagine what crumbs and drops the disciples must have created during the last supper, and the amount of spillage when Jesus was cut with the spear while on the cross. No worries about profanation then."
A priest replies: "I think it’s highly relevant. This is, in fact, precisely the point. We are humans when we celebrate the sacraments, and sacraments are entries of the divine into our messy, human world with all that entails. Connections to the incarnation and the crucifixion are relevant."
My concluding comments: When I was in the seminary a Jesuit priest celebrating his first Solemn Mass after ordination used French Bread instead of the traditional wafer for his Mass. Loaves where placed in baskets with napkins or purificators to hold the consecrated bread. Rather than "break" the bread during the Agnus Dei, Communion Ministers, mostly laity even though there were enough priests available, broke the "Bread" as each individual communicant came forward. These communicants were forced to receive in the hand.
Afterward, the red carpet was littered with the crusts and crumbs of the Most Holy Eucharist. Some in the congregation were appalled and tried to clean up the mess. The priests present called these laity scrupulous for their concern!