Friday, October 7, 2011

BEING STINGY WITH THE COMMON CHALICE

Distribution of the Holy Communion and the Common Chalice at St. Joseph Church, Macon, GA:


THE CASE IN PHOENIX: AN EDITORIAL THAT QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF WITHDRAWING THE COMMON CHALICE (CUP FOR DIEHARDS) FROM THE LAITY. PRESS HERE TO READ THE COMMENTARY FROM A COMMONWEAL BLOG!

While this may dismay some of my readers, overall I see the restriction of the common chalice for the reasons stated by the Diocese of Phoenix as overblown or exaggerated. I would agree with almost all of the points that the editorialist mentions in the above commentary. Every parish and institution (seminary) that I've been in since 1976 has allowed the common chalice and the only profanation has been accidental or due to poor catechesis and even poorer preparation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We must lay the blame on that at the feet of bishops and priests who have no real program for preparation and certification of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and see it not so much as a very important ministry, especially when EM's bring Holy Communion to the sick or home bound on a very frequent basis but as a way to get more people involved in the parish and therefore purely perfunctory. It should be a ministry involving a lenghty diocesan preparation and licensing done by the bishop, a kind of "sub-deacon" type training.

St. Joseph recently returned to the common chalice (six at each Sunday Mass, two at each daily Mass). We stopped because of the fear of contagion when H1N1 was an epidemic.

My personal opinion is that the Church should in no way indicate to anyone that there is no chance of compromising one's health by receiving from the common chalice.

My personal preference (and I'm not a bishop so I won't institute it until permission is offered to do so) is intinction. I would also like to see it at the EF Mass. This cuts down on the need for numerous Eucharistic Ministers and "swilling" and also saliva that becomes predominant in the chalice as the number of communicants increases to the point that the last amount may be more saliva than Precious Blood.

Our sacramental system is "sensual" and there is the sense of flavor and taste that the Consecrated Wine conveys to the one receiving, that our Risen Lord whom we receive completely in either form is sweet to the senses as He redeems us. The Church of the East has always given the laity the Precious Blood by use of a spoon that has the consecrated "leaven Bread" mixed with the Precious Blood of Christ. That's been going on for two thousand years in their tradition. It is a good tradition that the Church of the Latin Rite should adopt to help bring the Church of the East and West back into Full Communion.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr, your last recommendation is fantastic! Similarly, I found out recently that the Eastern Church retained the phrase 'consubstantial' in their Creed and the comment was made to me that the Roman Church is 'coming back around'. Your suggestion would have a certain appeal for many reasons to many people.

rcg

Father Shelton said...

This poor bishop has his work cut out for him now! I think he's making a practical mistake, but I am sympathetic.

It seems to me it's one thing to say it is good for the congregation to communicate from the chalice, but it is another to say they should do so at every Mass. To use another liturgical example, it would be good to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord liturgically every day, and the Church could certainly introduce daily Christmas into the calendar. But not only would we not want to say that the Church should do this, we would also suggest the faithful appreciate Our Lord's Nativity more by limiting its liturgical celebration. We use incense, sing the Gospel, give solemn blessings, etc. on certain occasions, but not at every Mass. We can't say the adoption of these practices for frequent use would be bad--for it cannot be bad to celebrate Christ's birth, for example--but surely it is better to limit them.

I just don't understand why we think congregational Communion from the chalice is desirable at every celebration of the Mass.

As for intinction, this is the normal practice in most of the Catholic world where Communion from the chalice is reserved to occasional celebrations. The Holy Father administers Holy Communion to the congregation by intinction on Maundy Thursday, for example. One could suggest that there's no need to propose a practice for the Roman Mass that already is the norm for Mass in Rome.

Finally, I strongly suspect devotion to the Blessed Sacrament would increase if distribution from the Chalice were made more occasional rather than usual.

Charles Culbreth said...

Can I be your Director of Music if you ever need one, Fr. Allan?
There's an increasing lack of common sense and decreasing interest in the sensuum fidelium that sprouts up more frequently lately among prominet prelates. I fear (and loathe) having to break ranks, but a great deal of "walking this issue backwards" has been proffered by my fellow RotR travellers of late. I'm glad not to be alone, and a lone dissident questioning the necessity of the Phoenix dictum.

Anonymous said...

OK Michelle Bachmann, you don't have to tell people their are perfectly safe when receiving from the common cup. As far as I know, no one ever made such an assertion. To date, no one has said you'll get "mental retardation" from the common cup either, but just give it time . . .

Unless your motivation is, like Rep. Bachmann's, to play on people's irrational fears, then you do have to tell them they are as likely to get "contaminated" from a handshake, a doorknob, or a toilet handle, as they are from sharing the common cup.

Anonymous said...

Actually, one of the priests I love best made that very pronouncement, the one about the absolute safety of the chalice, not the one about retardation, during mass. The difference, of course, is that the most casual contacts, toilet seats, hand shakes, and door knobs do not involve oral contact and that path to the interior of the body. Common hygiene practises can prevent that. It is not illogical to be concerned about that with an entire congregation drinking from a common cup.

rcg

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, you don't know what Bachmann's motives were, and the jury is still out on vaccinations...there are reputable physicians and reserachers who are still concerned.

There is no way to test the hypothesis about the common cup, anyway. But, HS biology will tell you that any disease spread by droplet will be extant in the saliva of anyone harboring it. It becomes a matter of dosage, toxicity, and time of exposure. But, yes it could happen. You are so bleeping transparent.

Frajm said...

Charles, you'd have to duke it out with Nelda Chapman our full time organist/choir director, or you'd have to have a dual. That would be interesting!

Nancy A. said...

I, for one, am very grateful for the Chalice at every Mass. While I understand that Christ is fully present under both forms, it always felt as if something was missing without the Chalice. I would prefer intinction but until/unless that happens I can live with a common chalice. As far as contagion, I realize that this is a risk, but are there any documented cases of diseases spread by Holy Communion? I'm sure that if the secular press could find some they would gleefully report the scandal of the Church's barbaric, disease-mongering practice. So for now, I will give thanks for, and humbly partake of, the Body and Blood of Christ as it is offered in the Mass. As the cartoon character Ziggy might say, "Hooray for God!"

Frajm said...

There is no documentation as far as I know that can prove it. Of course we were required to stop the chalice to the congregation during the H1N1 so-called epidemic. That was a first since we've allowed the chalice to the laity. There is a permanent deacon in Dublin, GA who is also an gastroenterologist who came down with a serious intestinal bug that almost killed him and he attributes the bug to having the clean the common chalices after Mass by drinking of what remains and also drinking the ablutions. He's a medical expert on colon issues too, but of course his diagnosis of how he got this life threatening bug could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of evidence that sharing utensils such as cups among a froup spreads diseases. This includes alcoholic drinks from bottles of wine, beer, and spirits. Of course the same goes for shaking hands, hugging, kissing. That we don't get sick every day only means that the odds are generally in our favor for combination of reasons. We can control the odds of getting sick through behavior such as avoiding crowds and confined spaces with people whose health is not determined, personal contact and washing our hands or not touching our face or mouth before cleaning our hands. We violate everyone of these in a Catholic mass.

rcg

Templar said...

It's been a couple years I think since we had Cantor's in the Sanctuary so that's a really old picture. I think if you took a picture from today's Masses you'd see a LOT less of the Laity availing themselves of the Chalice. It's actually kind of amusing to watch the EMHC's having to chug a whole cup after Communion because so few have gone up for it.

As I've said elsewhere, everything at Mass should be aimed towards helping to part that veil between Heaven and Earth. I don't see how the Chalice does that. It adds nothing that is not already present in Communion under the species of Bread, in fact less, since kneeling for the Chalice is truly awkward. Hmmmm, isn't that interesting? Wonder if it's a co-incidence that Modernists push the Chalice so much because it implies standing.

pinanv525 said...

I must confess I miss the Cantesses at 5 pm low OF Mass. They were easy on the eyes and had voices that must have been dropped on them from Heaven...In their white robes and understated manner, they were an unobtrusive part of the Mass. Certainly not as distracting as a platoon of EMHC's deploying for action...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to quote from a post on Fr. Z's blog:
"In the last couple of decades, Communion under both species (with the congregation able to receive the Pre-cious Blood as well as the Sacred Host) has become routine in our experience. I knew (as many of you do) that Communion under both species was first introduced, on a limited basis, after the Second Vatican Council, and that it has become much more common since. What I did not know was that the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005. [Get that everyone? The key points: it was a special permission to depart from the norm and that permission expired.]" and "Almost no one realized that until very recently. Maybe we can be
forgiven for forgetting that we were operating under a temporary
indult. After thirty years, something can seem pretty permanent. But it wasn’t. The bishops of our country did apply for an extension of the 1975 in-dult, but that was denied." I would like to emphasize "DENIED". See http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/10/diocese-of-madison-wi-to-stop-regular-holy-communion-under-both-kinds-the-indult-ran-out-in-2005/ for more.

rob said...

Father,
Bishop Morlino is also moving to limit the practice of Communion in both kinds. His reasoning is that the indult for that practice (began in '75) expired in 2005. The US Bishops applied for an extension but it was *denied*. So, for the US Church to be truly in union with Rome, shouldn't the practice of having the common Communion Chalice at every mass be stopped?

You probably saw the piece on Fr. Z's sitehttp://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/10/communion-under-both-kinds-bp-morlino-explains-the-situation-to-his-priests/

Frajm said...

Rob, there seems to be some confusion about this indult and if it has expired that the GIRM allows for the common chalice on a more liberal basis. At any rate, I think we'll need to hear more from the United States Conference of Bishops as to the true nature of the expiration of the indult and American practice or even a clarification from Rome. To be honest, this is the first time I've heard of this expiration. Time will tell. Of course any bishop can legislate things like this for their own diocese.

pinanv525 said...

This is agonizing...somebody high up needs to put a stop to this with a definitive statement.